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The radioactive heaps at Paducah, USA

Voice of Paducah Plant Worker #1: And then later on, they took the Geiger counters out, and they told us, “That stuff won’t hurt you. It’s harmless. It won’t hurt you if you ate it, it wouldn’t hurt you.” I think they ought to be held accountable. And I’d like to see them be put on trial, and I hope they put them in prison, because a lot of my friends I know died from what they did.” 

Bill Gates’ Nuclear Pipe Dream: Convert Depleted Uranium to Plutonium to Power Earth for Centuries, Truth Out Tuesday, 15 March 2016By Josh Cunnings and Emerson UrryEnviroNews | Video Report Editor’s Note: The following news piece represents the second in a 15-part mini-series titled, Nuclear Power in Our World Today, featuring nuclear authority, engineer and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen. The EnviroNews USA special encompasses a wide span of topics, ranging from Manhattan-era madness to the continuously-unfolding crisis on the ground at Fukushima Daiichi in eastern Japan.

TRANSCRIPT:

Josh Cunnings (Narrator): Welcome to the EnviroNews USA news desk. I’m Josh Cunnings. Thank you for tuning in for the second episode in our 15-part mini-seriesNuclear Power in Our World Today.

Last time, in our kickoff episode, we focused on the widespread devastation wreaked by 15,000 abandoned uranium mines. These toxic and festering open sores are sprawled all across the entire western U.S. landscape, posing a direct threat to humans and all life.

In episode two, we pick up where we left off with the dirty frontend of the nuclear power industry — which becomes in turn, the nuclear bomb fuel industry. Following the 1940s and 50s uranium rush to make bombs, over 80 sites were contaminated so badly that they received a special “legacy” site designation on the EPA’s superfund list — a special commitment from the U.S. government to clean up those places because weapons of war were manufactured there. Amongst those legacy sites is the gaseous diffusion uranium processing facility at Paducah, Kentucky………..

Voice of 2000 Paducah Plant Documentary Narrator: Even up through the 1980s, Department of Energy investigators say that protection against radiation at the site was very inconsistent. Men walked through uranium dust on the floors, and brushed it off the tables where they ate. Respirators weren’t required. At one point the company stopped providing work coveralls.

Voice of Paducah Plant Worker #1: And when they took those [coveralls] away from us, well we’d have to bring work clothes from home, and we’d work in that stuff, and we would get it all over us, and then we’d bring it home and it’d be washed in the laundry. I told them I didn’t like bringing that stuff home to be washed in the laundry with my kids’ clothes and my wife’s clothes. And the public relations people said, “Well, if you were really concerned, you’d wash your clothes here at the washroom.”…………

Voice of 2000 Paducah Plant Documentary Narrator: No one knew until this document was released last year that plant officials were also tracking worker cancers and deaths, while denying there was any reason to worry.

Cunnings: Due to poor market conditions, the company running the site went belly-up [in 2014]. The city once labeled as our nation’s premier atomic boomtown, now left in the wasteland of its own nuclear demise.

The radioactive heaps at Paducah are mostly depleted uranium — a byproduct of uranium enrichment, and a substance that used to be considered unusable for nuclear fission, rendering it useless for both nuclear power generation and bomb making.

But science is always advancing, and one technology kingpin has an idea for Paducah — an idea that not everyone thinks is a good one………. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35229-bill-gates-nuclear-pipe-dream-convert-mountains-of-depleted-uranium-to-plutonium-to-power-earth-for-centuries

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March 16, 2016 Posted by | environment, USA | 1 Comment

Political importance to world’s nuclear powers, of getting Hinkley project happening

text Hinkley cancelled

“The governments of the UK, France, and China have invested huge amounts of political capital in seeing Hinkley Point C come to the point of construction,” he said.

“This political capital lies with the public, convincing them that nuclear is part of a low-carbon future; [with the] the financial institutions, convincing them that when the UK makes a decision it sticks to it and hence the UK is an investable proposition; and with international governments—when the UK makes an international agreement it is binding.” 

The UK’s Next Nuclear Power Plant Could Collapse Before It’s Built  Motherboard, BY NICOLE KOBIE 15 March 2016 The UK could face power outages and missing emissions targets if the nuclear plant isn’t built – but that doesn’t mean it should be

Nuclear power stations are always controversial, but the UK’s proposed Hinkley Point C is particularly so. It may well be the most expensive object ever built; it guarantees higher power bills; and it’s already taken down executives, despite construction yet to start.

Hinkley Point C is set to be the first new nuclear power station built in the UK since 1995, poised to hit the grid as older nuclear sites and coal are ditched. However, its high costs are now leaving the project—and the future of the UK’s power supply—in danger.

Set to be built in Somerset by energy company EDF, which is majority-owned by the French government, there’s a chance Hinkley Point C may collapse before it’s built, and it’s nothing to do with protesters or environmental complaints. The problem with Hinkley is money: its costs risen to £18 billion ($25 billion)—with some projecting the final cost to be £24 billion ($34 billion)—and EDF has yet to finalise funding. Though it is expected to sign off on the project soon, financial analysts stressed last week that EDF can’t afford to build it.

The delays may already cause shortages in the UK’s electricity supply as it’s currently planned, which would naturally worsen if the project fails to get off the ground. The plant is supposed to start operations in 2025, when several older nuclear sites are decommissioned and the deadline hits for shutting down coal plants. Tony Roulstone, a professor setting up the University of Cambridge’s new MPhil in nuclear energy, believes the project will take ten years to construct, and given work isn’t expected to start until 2018 or 2019, will miss its deadline. “This will put the UK in a difficult position because they were counting on electricity from Hinkley by 2025,” Roulstone said.

“As some have said, the UK does not have a plan B,” he added. “The AGRs [advanced gas-cooled reactors, which make up most of the UK power stations] will close down by 2030 and at that stage we would have just one nuclear power station, Sizewell B.”

Hinkley Point C is expected to provide 7 percent of the UK’s energy. At the moment, about a fifth of the UK’s power comes from the eight currently-operating nuclear plants, but seven of those are due to be decommissioned. That, alongside theplanned closure of coal plants, which make up 22 percent of our power today, led the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to claim in a report we could see a potential supply gap of 40 to 55 percent by 2025…………..

EDF is set to make a final decision on funding the project soon, ahead of a board meeting in April, after multiple delays. However, back in February the project’s director, Chris Bakken, stepped down to “pursue new professional opportunities,” and more recently the company’s finance director, Thomas Piquemal, departed, with rumours suggesting he believed the project would damage EDF’s finances too much.

The board-level turmoil might actually be a sign that EDF’s remaining executives plan to approve the project, according to Martin Freer, director of the Birmingham Centre of Nuclear Education and Research and a professor of physics at the University of Birmingham. “My take on the resignation of the chief of finance signals that the HPC [Hinkley Point C] decision is being pushed through against the judgement of financial caution,” Freer told me. “EDF are at a point in their history where they roll the dice and hope to be lucky.”

Roulstone noted that the new plant’s construction cost is the same as EDF’s capitalisation. “Only major sales of assets and/or funding by the French government can rescue EDF and hence Hinkley,” he said………

Freer suggested that there’s more than power supply and emissions targets at risk. “The governments of the UK, France, and China have invested huge amounts of political capital in seeing Hinkley Point C come to the point of construction,” he said. “This political capital lies with the public, convincing them that nuclear is part of a low-carbon future; [with the] the financial institutions, convincing them that when the UK makes a decision it sticks to it and hence the UK is an investable proposition; and with international governments—when the UK makes an international agreement it is binding.” http://motherboard.vice.com/en_uk/read/the-uks-next-nuclear-power-plant-could-collapse-before-its-built

March 16, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

The health toll of Fukushima nuclear disaster – especially workers and children

Nuclear Expert: Fukushima “like the worst nightmare becoming reality” — Released as much as 1,000 atomic bombs worth of radioactive material — “Everyone on earth has been exposed… an increase in cancer will be the result” »
“Shocking how many people died in Fukushima” — Cremated bodies of Fukushima radiation workers found near plant — “Such a high rate of cancer” being detected in Fukushima children (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/shocking-many-people-died-fukushima-cremated-remains-fukushima-radiation-workers-found-plant-high-rate-cancer-being-detected-children-videos?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

AP,Mar 10, 2016 (emphasis added): Fukushima ‘Decontamination Troops’ Often Exploited, Shunned — The ashes of half a dozen unidentified laborers ended up at a Buddhist temple in this town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant… They were simply labeled “decontamination troops” — unknown soldiers in Japan’s massive cleanup campaign to make Fukushima livable again five years after radiation poisoned the fertile countryside… One laborer… said he was instructed never to talk to reporters… Minutes after chatting with some workers in Minamisoma, Associated Press journalists received a call from a city official warning them not to talk to decontamination crews… [W]orkers have developeddiabetes, cerebral and respiratory problems… local hospital intern Toyoaki Sawano said in a medical magazine last month… Hideaki Kinoshita, a Buddhist monk who keeps the unidentified laborers’ ashes at his temple [said] “There is no end to this job… Five years from now, the workers will still be around. And more unclaimed ashes may end up here.”

Mainichi, Mar 7, 2016: Experts divided on causes of high thyroid cancer rates among Fukushima children — A total of 166 children in Fukushima Prefecture had been either diagnosed with thyroid cancer or with suspected cases of cancer… “Compared to the estimated prevalence rates based on the country’s statistics on cancer, which are shown in data including regional cancer registration, the level of thyroid cancer detection is several dozen times higher(in children of Fukushima Prefecture),” said the final draft for the interim report compiled by the prefectural government’s expert panel on Feb. 15… [T]wo teams both concluded that the number of cancer cases found in Fukushima children was “about 30 times” that of national levels [and] agree that the “30 times higher (than the national occurrence rates)” is unexplainable. At the moment, the most likely theories for such a high rate of cancer detection are the “overdiagnosis theory” held by [the team led by Shoichiro Tsugane, a member of the Fukushima government’s expert panel] and the “radiation effect theory” that [the team led by Okayama University professor Toshihide Tsuda] supports… Tsugane is not completely denying the effects of radiation in children’s cancer… [Tsuda] argues that radiation exposure is the main cause of the high prevalence of cancer in children [and] because the spread of cancer cells to lymph nodes and other tissues could be seen in 92 percent of patients, Tsuda believes thatoverdiagnosis makes up 8 percent of the patients at most…

RT, Mar 11, 2016: Shocking how many people died in Fukushima‘ – documentary director… Authorities in Japan want locals to think “nothing happened,” documentary director Jeffrey Jousan told RT. “The government prints the number of people who died as a result of the 2011 disaster in the newspapers… the (death toll) amounts to 300-400 people in each prefecture, but in Fukushima it is over 8,000 people It is shocking… to see [how] many people have died in Fukushima”… [I]t is still unclear how many people have succumbed to or suffer from radiation-caused cancer diseases directly linked to the crippled plant.

Watch Press Conferences: Prof. Tsuda | Dr. Angelika Claussen, physician

March 16, 2016 Posted by | children, employment, Fukushima 2016, health, Japan | 1 Comment

Nuclear Disaster by Design – Nuclear Safety inFLEXibility

For the NRC’s Fukushima fixes to reach their target destination, the NRC must determine why Pilgrim procured an inadequate FLEX air compressor, why River Bend thought it had 24 hours to handle a one-hour problem, and how dozens of flood protection problems remaining invisible during the NRC-mandated walkdowns at Arkansas Nuclear One.

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USANuclear Safety inFLEXibility http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/nuclear-safety-inflexibility , director, Nuclear Safety Project | March 15, 2016Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #23

Disaster by Design

Among the actions taken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in response to the March 11, 2011, accident at Fukushima was to issue an order on March 12, 2012, to all U.S. nuclear plant owners requiring them to procure equipment and implement measures to enable their facilities to cope with an extended loss of normal and backup power supplies to emergency equipment.

The NRC required that owners develop a phased response capability (Fig. 1). The initial response is by permanently installed equipment. Recognizing that this equipment may become unavailable (as happened at Fukushima), the NRC required a followup response capability by portable equipment stored in places not likely to be affected by the accident. Recognizing that portable equipment provides an interim response, the NRC required a longer term response capability to be provided by the “nuclear cavalry” (equipment and staffing resources arriving from offsite locations). The Nuclear Energy Institute developed the Diverse and Flexible Coping Strategies (FLEX) Implementation Guide for use by plant owners in complying with the NRC’s order.

Safety Detour?

There can be a big difference between the course plotted and the road taken. For example, a family heading out by car from their home in Atlanta, Georgia for a relaxing vacation on Sanibel Island in Florida should become a little troubled upon seeing the Washington Monument through the windshield.

If the following examples are any indication, the road to the Fukushima fixes ordered by the NRC might have taken a detour or three. Continue reading

March 16, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

A South Australian ponders on transporting high level wastes across the globe

submission goodResponse to the Tentative Findings of the SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission A Submission by Paul Langley Nuclear Exhaust 16 Mar 16  “……Transport of HLNW from around the world to a SA HLNW geologic repository

The Royal Commission apparently assumes that the movements of many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of spent nuclear fuel from many countries around the world to the Gawler Craton will be low risk, no problems and perfectly safe. As contradictory as those stances are. I do not accept that position of default safety. Further I do not accept that the unloading of the HLNW will be perfectly safe. I do not accept that road transport from port to repository site will be perfectly safe, even on a dedicated purpose built road.

I would recommend that Super Freighters laden with the contents of countless reactor cores not sail down the Somali coast nor in the waters to the south of Thailand for fear of pirates. They should avoid man made Islands in the South China Sea. I suppose the ships will be guarded by 6 English policemen each with two revolvers between them. Rather than half the Pacific Fleet they would actually warrant. If they ever get to leave their home ports.  What is the Somali coast going to be like in 40 years? Peaceful or short of rad weapons…….” https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/response-to-the-tentative-findings-of-the-sa-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/

March 16, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

India’s massive bet on solar power is paying off

text-relevantIndia’s big move into solar is already paying off CNN Money by Huizhong Wu   @CNNTech March 7, 2016:  India’s massive bet on solar power is paying off far earlier than anticipated.

The price of solar power has plummeted in recent months to levels rivaling that of coal, positioning the renewable source as a viable mainstream option in a country where 300 million people live without electricity.

 Solar prices are now within 15% of coal, according to KPMG. If current trends hold, the consultancy predicts electricity from solar will actually be 10% cheaper than domestic coal by 2020.

And that could turn out to be a conservative forecast. At a recent government auction, the winning bidder offered to sell electricity generated by a project in sunny Rajasthan for 4.34 rupees (6 cents) per kilowatt hour, roughly the same price as some recent coal projects.

“Solar is very competitive,” said Vinay Rustagi of renewable energy consultancy Bridge to India. “It’s a huge relief for countries like India which want to get more and more solar power.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made access to electricity a top priority, and has set the goal of making 24-hour power available to all 1.3 billion Indians. Currently, even India’s biggest cities suffer from frequent power outages…..http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/07/technology/india-solar-energy-coal/index.html

March 16, 2016 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

Response to South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission’s Tentative Findings

Royal Commission tentative findings

ABOUT SUBMISSIONS in response to The Tentative Findings of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, Noel Wauchope  16 Mar 16

submission goodToday I take the unusual step of publishing several extracts from one submission. The Royal Commission has allowed very little time for people to send in submissions. So – few are available to me right now.

BUT – Paul Langley of South Australia has prepared a submission. And it is a beauty!  Why? Because not only does it pack a punch, but, equally important, Langley provides a wealth of information, facts, figures, and reference sources – https://nuclearexhaust.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/response-to-the-tentative-findings-of-the-sa-nuclear-fuel-cycle-royal-commission/

Sad to mutilate such a strong and lengthy submission, but I have done so on this website. So there are 5 extracts from the submission, on today’s page. If you have time, go to the original. If you don’t have time, at least see what Langley writes about Transport of High Level Nuclear Waste,  Gawler Crater,  The Law and the Profits,  Gaining Public Trust,  AN ALTERNATIVE to nuclear industry 

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

The workers of the Fukushima nuclear clean-up

Fukushima Keeps Fighting Radioactive Tide 5 Years After Disaster, NYT By JONATHAN SOBLE MARCH 10, 2016 TOKYO — Of the thousands of workers who have answered the help-wanted ads at Fukushima Daiichi, the ruined and radioactive nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan, the part-time lettuce farmer and occasional comic-book artist Kazuto Tatsuta must be among the least likely.

“I needed a job,” Mr. Tatsuta, 51, recalled of his decision in 2012 to accept work at the site of one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents.

His duties included welding broken water pipes and inspecting remote-controlled robots that survey radioactive hot spots. And his comic strips, once populated with baseball players and gangsters, now tell stories of middle-aged, blue-collar men like himself who do the grunt work at Fukushima, some of whom find a sense of purpose and belonging they lacked in the outside world.

“It’s secure. You’re not going to get laid off there,” Mr. Tatsuta said. “But you’re also working for a goal.”

Five years after powerful earthquake and tsunami struck, causing three reactors at Fukushima to melt down, that goal is the focus of a colossal effort at once precarious and routine. A veneer of stability at the plant masks a grueling, day-to-day battle to contain hazardous radiation, which involves a small army of workers, complex technical challenges and vexing safety trade-offs.

Fukushima has become a place where employees arrive on company shuttle buses and shop at their own on-site convenience store, but where they struggle to control radiation-contaminated water and must release it into the sea. Many of the most difficult and dangerous cleanup tasks still lie ahead, and crucial decisions remain unsettled………

The duration of the cleanup also creates the risk of labor shortages, he said, especially in jobs requiring special skills. Japan’s population is shrinking and, with the future of nuclear power uncertain, many young people are unwilling to stake careers on the industry.

For now, Fukushima is bustling with about 7,000 workers, much more than before the disaster and twice as many as two years ago. The town of Iwaki to the south has become a kind of workers’ village. At dawn, vans and buses line up to ferry workers to the plant via staging areas where they don protective white Tyvek suits, radiation monitors and gas masks.

“You think of it as totally normal work,” said Mr. Tatsuta, who asked to be identified only by his pen name to avoid being blacklisted by the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company……….

For workers at the site, radiation is a constant enemy — though many see it more as a threat to their livelihoods than their lives. Government regulations forbid cleanup workers to be exposed to too much radiation, and when they hit the limits, they risk being laid off or reassigned to lower-paying jobs.

“If you go over the radiation limits, you can’t work,” Mr. Tatsuta said. “You’re always calculating how to keep the dose low.”

The temptation to cheat can be strong, for both workers and their managers. A government examination of Tokyo Electric’s safety practices in 2013 found that it had underreported the radiation exposure of a third of the workers whose records were reviewed. The company says it has since tightened reporting procedures……..http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/11/world/asia/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster.html?_r=0

March 16, 2016 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2016, Japan | Leave a comment

Bill Gates enjoys spruiking his plutonium dream

Bill Gates’ Nuclear Pipe Dream: Convert Depleted Uranium to Plutonium to Power Earth for Centuries, Truth Out Tuesday, 15 March 2016 By Josh Cunnings and Emerson UrryEnviroNews | Video Report Voice of Bill Gates –-“……… Excerpt #1: There was a concept a long time ago that you would do a different type of reactor called a “fast reactor,” that would make a bunch of another element called plutonium, and then you would pull that out, and then you would burn that. That’s called “breeding” in a fast reactor. That is bad because plutonium is nuclear weapons material. It’s messy. The processing you have to get through is not only environmentally difficultly, it’s extremely expensive.

Gates'-travelling-Wave-NuclCunnings: The man considered by many to be supposedly a humanitarian trailblazer when it comes to combatting disease, has a plan to fast-breed the mountainous heaps of depleted uranium at Paducah into plutonium — one of the most dangerous and disease-causing substance on the face of the planet. Then in turn, this plutonium would be used to power what would be the so-called new fourth-generation nuclear power plants. Let’s listen to Gates articulate his plutonium scheme.

Voice of Bill Gates — Excerpt #2: The concept of this so-called “TerraPower reactor” is that you, in the same reactor, you both burn and breed. So, instead of making plutonium and then extracting it, we take uranium — the 99.3 percent that you normally don’t do anything with — we convert that, and we burn it.

[Editor’s Note: Bill Gates is the current Chairman of the Board of TerraPower — a Washington-based nuclear power technology company.]

Cunnings: Now get this, only 60 seconds after Gates acknowledges the tremendous problem of bringing more plutonium into this world, he turns around and makes a joke about it to a crowd filled with university students from nuclear programs — all this, only a few months after the catastrophic triple melt-through at Fukushima Daiichi.

Bill Gates — Excerpt #3: Our flame is taking the normal depleted uranium — the 99.3 percent that’s cheap as heck, and there’s a pile of it sitting in Paducah, Kentucky that’s enough to power the United States for hundreds and hundreds of years. You’re taking that and you are converting it to plutonium (humorously under his breath) — and then you’re burning that.

Cunnings: Oh yes, Mr. Gates seems to have a little love affair going on with plutonium — and the notion is that we need nuclear power to save ourselves from climate change.

Bill Gates — Excerpt #4: You could go nuts!

Wall Street Journal Interviewer Alan Murray: If everything goes perfectly?

Gates: Absolutely.

Murray: How often does everything go perfectly?

Gates: In nuclear? Ah, well, ya’ know… If you ignore… (laughter) No, no. Come on. If you ignore 1979 [Three Mile Island], and 1986 [Chernobyl], and 2011 [Fukushima], come on — we’ve had a good century (laughter). No seriously. I mean, in terms of raw figures, you know, coal mining, natural gas … More people die, I mean … It wasn’t far from here a natural gas pipe blew up and incinerated people.

Bill Gates Excerpt #5: So we can simulate Richter-10 earthquakes. We simulate 70-foot waves coming into these things. Very cool. We basically say no human should ever be required to do anything, because if you judge by Chernobyl and Fukushima, the human element is not on your side.

Bill Gates Excerpt #6: We have, you know, total fail-safe … Any reactor that a human has to do something … that’s a little scary.

Bill Gates Excerpt #7: So, you’ve got to design something that humans just don’t have to be involved in.

Bill Gates Excerpt #8: I love nuclear. It does this radiation thing that’s tricky (laughter). But they’re good solutions. You know, it was interesting; recently, in Connecticut this natural gas plant blew up 11 guys. It just blew them up.

Murray: But you are personally investing in nuclear?

Gates: Right………” http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35229-bill-gates-nuclear-pipe-dream-convert-mountains-of-depleted-uranium-to-plutonium-to-power-earth-for-centuries

March 16, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Court hearing – clash between German Govt and nuclear utilities

German utilities, government clash at nuclear court hearing  Reuters 14 Mar 16 

*Gov’t confident it will win the case -Minister

* Utilities could claim as much as 19 bln euros

* Final decision to take several months (Recasts, adds comments from RWE, Minister, graphic)

By Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff KARLSRUHE, Germany, German power firms and government members clashed at a court hearing over the country’s controversial decision to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022, a lawsuit that could allow utilities to claim 19 billion euros ($21 billion) in damages.

In a case that pits a struggling energy industry against the government, Germany’s Constitutional Court will examine the arguments of E.ON, RWE and Vattenfall , who want to be compensated for the closure………http://uk.reuters.com/article/germany-utilities-nuclear-idUKL5N16N2G7

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Germany, Legal | Leave a comment

Fukushima – too toxic for humans AND for robots

Fukushima’s ground zero: No place for man or robot BY AARON SHELDRICK AND MINAMI FUNAKOSHI , Reuters,  Mar 11, 2016 The robots sent in to find highly radioactive fuel at Fukushima’s nuclear reactors have “died”; a subterranean “ice wall” around the crippled plant meant to stop groundwater from becoming contaminated has yet to be finished. And authorities still don’t know how to dispose of highly radioactive water stored in an ever mounting number of tanks around the site……

Today, the radiation at the Fukushima plant is still so powerful it has proven impossible to get into its bowels to find and remove the extremely dangerous blobs of melted fuel rods, weighing hundreds of tonnes. Five robots sent into the reactors have failed to return.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) 9501.t, has made some progress, such as removing hundreds of spent fuel roads in one damaged building. But the technology needed to establish the location of the melted fuel rods in the other three reactors at the plant has not been developed.

“It is extremely difficult to access the inside of the nuclear plant,” Naohiro Masuda, Tepco’s head of decommissioning said in an interview. “The biggest obstacle is the radiation.”

The fuel rods melted through their containment vessels in the reactors, and no one knows exactly where they are now. This part of the plant is so dangerous to humans, Tepco has been developing robots, which can swim under water and negotiate obstacles in damaged tunnels and piping to search for the melted fuel rods.

But as soon as they get close to the reactors, the radiation destroys their wiring and renders them useless, causing long delays, Masuda said.

Each robot has to be custom-built for each building.“It takes two years to develop a single-function robot,” Masuda said.  ………

ICE WALL

Tepco is building the world’s biggest ice wall to keep groundwater from flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and getting contaminated.

First suggested in 2013 and strongly backed by the government, the wall was completed in February, after months of delays and questions surrounding its effectiveness. Later this year, Tepco plans to pump water into the wall – which looks a bit like the piping behind a refrigerator – to start the freezing process.

Stopping the ground water intrusion into the plant is critical, said Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear engineer………..Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Minami Funakoshi. Editing by Bill Tarrant http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-disaster-decommissioning-idUSKCN0WB2X5

 

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Plutonium and ” fourth generation nuclear power”

Bill Gates’ Nuclear Pipe Dream: Convert Depleted Uranium to Plutonium to Power Earth for Centuries, Truth Out Tuesday, 15 March 2016 By Josh Cunnings and Emerson UrryEnviroNews | Video Report Cunnings: “………..EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry chatted with the esteemed nuclear industry expert and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen to explore whether Gates’ plan is a good idea or not.

plutonium_04Emerson Urry: Let’s go back to Bill Gates again, [and] the fourth generation nuclear power. I’ve heard him out there speaking about this, and essentially his ambition to, let’s say, convert Paducah, Kentucky [to plutonium]. What can you tell us about Paducah, Kentucky? We understand it went bankrupt a couple years back, and I think there is quite a bit of radioactive material still there. We’ve heard at one point in time it was also one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters from the Freon — not to mention having four allocated coal-fired power plants. What can you tell us about Paducah, Kentucky? What does the situation on the ground look like there, and how do you think they will deal with all that?

Arnie Gundersen: Paducah didn’t have centrifuges, it had gaseous diffusion, and there’s no need for the plant anymore, so the plant has to be decommissioned and destroyed. What’s happened is, the way they shut the plant down was, to be nice, sub-optimal. And what they allowed it to do was for all that uranium to cake inside the pipes. So, had they done it in a more orderly fashion, the plant could have been much cleaner when they went to shut it down — but they didn’t. So, the Paducah site is a very expensive cleanup that is going to take 20 or 30 years to decontaminate. You know, it’s like all of these bomb legacy sites — Hanford in Washington State…

Urry: … that has the plutonium leak in AY-102 correct? Which has that been ratcheted down? Have they been able to ratchet down AY-102?

Gundersen: No. Hanford is going to take 70 years and cost 110 billion dollars to clean up. So, here we are paying over half of a century for the legacy of building bombs for five years in 1940. And so, Paducah is another one of those sites. It was built to enrich uranium. Why did we do that? Because we had a bomb program. And now we’re stuck with these huge costs that are underfunded or unfunded by Congress. That plant is going to sit there for 30 years. It will create a lot of employment for a lot of people knocking it down, but it also is highly radioactive, and it’s got to be done so cautiously, and it’s a really difficult problem.

Cunnings: There’s no known disintegration of plutonium small enough that doesn’t possess the ability to cause cancer. To be clear, there is no safe amount to be exposed to whatsoever.

Plutonium, though a naturally occurring element was virtually non-existent on planet earth before the dawn of the nuclear age. Now, each of the roughly 400 uranium-powered nuclear reactors in the world create approximately 500 pounds of plutonium each year — or enough to create about 100 nuclear warheads each.

Coming from a “humanitarian” concerned with curing diseases, the notion that plutonium is the way to save ourselves from a runaway climate catastrophe seems the epitome of oxymoronic — utterly and woefully contradictory. But stay tuned for more on that topic, as in episode 14 of this series we examine whether or not we really need nuclear to solve the climate quandary.

But, in the meanwhile, let’s just say that Bill Gates’ nuclear ambitions go beyond mere ideas. He actually possesses financial holdings in one very dangerous situation indeed — a situation that is presently causing residents around St. Louis, Missouri to live under an all-out nuclear nightmare. And that scenario will be the topic of discussion in the next episode of our short series.

So please, tune in tomorrow for part three, where we explore the scary situation at hand in the Westlake Landfill in St. Louis, Missouri. Signing off for now, this is Josh Cunnings…… http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35229-bill-gates-nuclear-pipe-dream-convert-mountains-of-depleted-uranium-to-plutonium-to-power-earth-for-centuries

March 16, 2016 Posted by | - plutonium, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Japan to work with France and USA on new technologies for decommissioning Fukushima nuclear station wreck

France, Japan and United States to work together on Fukushima decommissioning http://enformable.com/2016/03/france-japan-united-states-work-together-fukushima-decommissioning/ The Japanese government has decided to work with the United States and France to develop new technologies to help operators decommission the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The Science and Technology Ministry of Japan will work together with the French National Research Agency and the United States Department of Energy.

The United States will work with Japan to develop new technologies to deal with the incredible amounts of radioactive waste being generated by decommissioning and decontamination activities.

France will help develop new robotic and remote-control equipment that will survive the extreme levels of radiation in the crippled reactor buildings.

The agreement between the three nations will also enhance the cooperation between governments.

March 16, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Climate action a winner for USA with clean energy and transport policies

Clean energy is win-win for the US, Climate News Network, March 13, 2016, by Tim Radford Simply implementing its Paris climate conference commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions could save the US billions of dollars – and save hundreds of thousands of lives.

LONDON,  13 March, 2015 − Scientists have worked out how the US could save as many as 300,000 lives by 2030, and get a tenfold return on its investments at the same time.

It’s simple. All the nation has to do is what it promised to do at the Paris climate conference last December − launch clean energy and transport policies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two-thirds or more, and pursue the international goal of keeping global warming to below 2°C.

Drew Shindell, professor of climate sciences at Duke University, North Carolina, and colleagues report in Nature Climate Change that the climate policies agreed by 195 nations at the latest UN summit on climate change deliver a winning scenario for the most powerful nation on Earth.

If the US pursued the switch to electric cars and renewable energy, hundreds of thousands of premature deaths could be prevented − not just by containing global warming and limiting the extent of climate change, but by the consequent reduction in soot, aerosols and ozone, all of which are pollutants with consequences for health.

Implementation costs

And although such policies would cost considerable sums to implement, the money saved in the long run would exceed expenditure by between fivefold and tenfold. Even in the short term, benefits of up to $250 billion a year are likely to exceed implementation costs.

“Achieving the benefits, however, would require both larger and broader emissions reductions than those in current legislation or regulations,” the scientists warn………..

The clean energy policies would prevent 175,000 premature deaths by 2030, with 22,000 fewer annually thereafter. Clean transport policies could prevent 120,000 premature deaths by the same year, and about 14,000 annually thereafter.

Calculations like these are based on a wide range of assumptions, and so are the potential rewards. Near-term national benefits could be anything from $140 billion a year to $1,050bn by 2030, but the Duke scientists settle on a likely figure of $250bn. Altogether, by 2030, the US would have saved $1,200bn under their proposals.

But if other countries do the same thing, the benefits would begin to multiply with the decades. Those benefits, the scientists say, would roughly quintuple, and could be 10 times larger than implementation costs.

“The US has pledged to markedly reduce emissions that cause warming, but has left many details to be determined later,” the scientists say − which is why they constructed their own emissions scenarios………

The proposals sound like a win-win offer. But the Duke scientists are aware of the problems. Their suggestions go twice as far as policies yet to be implemented in the US Clean Power Plan, and the costs of implementation would not be fairly spread.

They end on a note of realism: “Most benefits would accrue to society at large, whereas businesses that could face economic losses would not directly benefit from decreased emissions.

“These misaligned economic incentives between the welfare of individual companies and that of society at large create substantial implementation barriers.”  − Climate News Network http://climatenewsnetwork.net/clean-energy-is-win-win-for-the-us/

March 16, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

World losing the battle against climate change: record-breaking heat

climate-changeRecord-breaking heat shows world ‘losing battle’ against climate change, ABC News 15 Mar 16 Alan Finkel tells Q&A Australia’s chief scientist has warned the planet is “losing the battle” against climate change, after new data showed February set a “completely unprecedented” record for the hottest month since global records began.

The data released by NASA compared each month going back to 1880 against average temperatures between 1951 and 1980, and confirmed preliminary analysis that February was the hottest month on record………

Meteorologist Dr Jeff Masters said although the absolute hottest month on record was July 2015, July and August tend to be 4C hotter than January and February because the large land mass in the Northern Hemisphere cools the planet during the northern winter.

Writing on the Weather Underground blog, Dr Masters and his co-author Bob Henson said February was exceptional because it was 1.35C hotter than the long-term average, while July was only 0.75C hotter than average.

“Perhaps even more remarkable is that February 2015 crushed the previous February record [set during the peak of the 1997-98 El Nino] by a massive 0.47C,” they wrote…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-14/february-smashed-all-time-global-heat-record/7246356

March 16, 2016 Posted by | climate change | 1 Comment