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

March 25 Energy News

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Science and Technology:

¶ A colorful goop, developed at the University of Toronto, could be a real-life blockbuster. When spread on a strip of metal and subjected to an electric current, it can break apart molecules of water at about three times the rate and far more cheaply than any substance currently available. [The Globe and Mail]

The University of Toronto has developed a catalyst that could improve energy storage. (Marit Mitchell/University of Toronto) The University of Toronto has developed a catalyst that could improve energy storage. (Marit Mitchell/University of Toronto)

World:

¶ India’s massive solar power capacity addition target is expected to revolutionize the Indian jobs market. According to a report by the Natural Resources and Defense Council, India may end up creating over a million new jobs in its endeavor to have 100 GW of solar capacity by March 2022. [Sustainovate]

¶ Chinese media reported that the country’s National Energy Administration ordered 13 provincial governments to suspend approvals of new coal-fired…

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March 25, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TEPCO draws fire after apologizing to Niigata panel

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Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida, right, and Naomi Hirose, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., hold a meeting at the Niigata prefectural government building in January.

NIIGATA–Even when they apologize, executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. can still manage to draw additional criticism.

The executives, who hope to restart one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world in Niigata Prefecture, held talks here March 23 with a nuclear technology committee set up at the prefectural government.

Takafumi Anegawa, chief nuclear officer of TEPCO, offered an apology for the utility’s misleading responses to the committee’s repeated inquiries about the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Specifically, Anegawa acknowledged that TEPCO could have declared the triple meltdown at the plant a few days after the crisis unfolded following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, instead of two months later.

TEPCO said late last month that it had found a passage detailing the criteria of a meltdown in its emergency response manual. Had the company known about that passage when the accident started, TEPCO said, it could have declared the meltdowns earlier.

When pressed by the Niigata committee on March 23 on why it took five years to find such an important passage in the emergency manual, the TEPCO executives did not give an explanation, saying the matter was still under investigation.

Committee members voiced their displeasure.

“Why did TEPCO turn it up now?” asked Masaaki Tateishi, professor emeritus of sedimentology at Niigata University. “It is out of the question for TEPCO to seek to restart its reactors, given its corporate culture.”

Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a journalist covering nuclear technology and a committee member, said TEPCO has again shown its slipshod approach toward dealing with an accident.

“TEPCO must have produced the manual but did not read it,” he said. “What it comes down to is that (its employees) had not been well trained.”

TEPCO plans to bring online two of the seven reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture and has submitted a safety screening application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant has a capacity of 8.21 gigawatts.

However, Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida remains cautious toward restarting the nuclear plant, even if the reactors meet the NRA’s stricter safety regulations that were set following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The governor believes the full picture of the Fukushima disaster has not been unveiled.

The Niigata nuclear technology committee has been looking into what went wrong at the Fukushima plant, even after the Diet and the government wrapped up their investigations into the nation’s worst nuclear accident.

In autumn 2013, the committee set up an investigative panel to determine why TEPCO’s official acknowledgment of the meltdowns was delayed.

The panel demanded explanations from the company. TEPCO said in a reply in November 2015 that what constitutes a meltdown “had not been defined” within the company.

The panel kept pressing TEPCO, and in late February, TEPCO admitted that the manual used at the time of the Fukushima disaster had a passage defining a meltdown.

Anegawa told the committee on March 23 that the passage was uncovered during an investigation conducted “with the utmost care” to determine whether the delay in reporting to the government the meltdowns and other aspects of the Fukushima accident violated the law.

However, he declined to discuss details of how the company came across the passage, saying a third-party panel comprising lawyers and other experts were studying the issue.

After the meeting, Anegawa told reporters that he regretted the company’s probe “was not thorough.” He did not say when the third-party panel will release its findings.

Committee chief Ken Nakajima, professor of reactor safety at Kyoto University’s Research Reactor Institute, said the committee will continue to demand explanations from TEPCO.

“Humans are the ones who must ensure the safety (of nuclear facilities),” he told reporters. “Trust in TEPCO has been eroding. We cannot move ahead unless we are convinced of the veracity of what the company says.”

Governor Izumida, who has long questioned TEPCO’s credibility, declined an offer from TEPCO President Naomi Hirose in January to collaborate in drawing up an evacuation plan for a possible emergency at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

“We cannot evacuate if you hide a meltdown,” the governor told Hirose during the meeting at the prefectural government building.

Izumida’s distrust of the utility runs deep.

After the Fukushima accident unfolded, Izumida confronted TEPCO officials over their previous denials over the phone that meltdowns had occurred at the plant.

The governor insisted that nuclear fuel rods must have melted, but the TEPCO officials repeated their denials by drawing a diagram of the reactors.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201603240072

TEPCO apologizes for meltdown announcement delay

Tokyo Electric Power Company has apologized to a Niigata Prefectural Government panel for not realizing sooner that 3 reactors at its Fukushima Daiichi plant had melted down in March 2011.

The panel is studying the safety of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in the prefecture. Niigata has made verification of the details of the Fukushima accident a prerequisite for the plant’s restart.

TEPCO waited 2 months after the Fukushima accident to announce the meltdowns. The panel had questioned the delay. But TEPCO insisted it had no basis for making the determination.

Last month, nearly 5 years after the disaster, the utility revealed it could have declared the reactors had melted down 3 days after the accident if it had adhered to an in-house manual.

On Wednesday, Managing Executive Officer Takafumi Anegawa apologized to the panel. He said the utility should have realized and reported the existence of the manual sooner.

Panel members asked the utility why the manual went unnoticed for 5 years. They said the utility’s longstanding and false claim that it had no standards for determining a meltdown makes it an untrustworthy nuclear plant operator.

The prefectural panel says it will resume discussions after a panel of outside experts set up by TEPCO submits a report on the cause of the delay.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160323_30/

 

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO says 5.3 tons of tainted water leaked at nuclear plant

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An estimated 5.3 tons of water contaminated with radiation leaked from a pipe in a building housing cesium removal equipment at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the facility’s operator said.

The leaked water contained 383,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter and 480,000 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances per liter.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said March 23 the water has not flowed outside the high temperature incinerator building. TEPCO said it was in the process of pumping up the water for storage.

The utility said workers doing remodeling work earlier in the day cut off a pipe inside the incinerator building. When workers subsequently operated radioactive material removal equipment in another building, contaminated water leaked from the cut section of the pipe to the floor of the incinerator building.

TEPCO said it is trying to determine the cause of the incident, adding that workers had confirmed that they closed a valve before cutting off the pipe to prevent water leakage

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201603240048

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Home solar energy is booming in USA

text-relevantThe Surprise New Boom Market for Residential Solar  Huffington Post, By Barbara Grady 24 Mar 16 As the price of solar powered electricity keeps falling and rooftop panels pop up in an increasing number of neighborhoods, an interesting thing is shaping up in the market.

Residential solar is no longer for just well-to-do homeowners. Indeed, the growth market in solar is median- and low-income neighborhoods in California and other locales, according to multiple recent reports.

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In 2015, a full 65 percent of residential solar getting installed in California was in zip codes with median household incomes of $70,000 or less, while just 6 percent of installations in the state were happening in neighborhoods with median household incomes above $100,000, according to a report from Kevala Analytics.

A surge in solar adoption — as well as a shift in where that adoption is taking place — is driven by economics that make solar the money saving option for electricity rate payers and by policies that offer flexible ways for people to benefit from solar.

In California, Massachusetts, New York, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland and some other places, policies that extend the reach of solar to renters and residents without rooftops are widening the market for individual and community installations alike. Financing mechanisms prevalent in some markets but not in others have also made it possible for people to opt for solar without requiring they have money for big upfront costs.

Federal policies adopted in the last couple of years, such as Property Assessed Clean Energy loan funds, and National Community Solar programs have helped. …..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greenbiz-group/residential-solars-new-bo_b_9526460.html

March 25, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Brussels attack renews fears over nuclear sites as targets for terrorism

terrorism-targets-2Terror Cell Probe Puts Spotlight on Nuclear Concerns Belgium evacuated its nuclear
facilities after Brussels bombing; staffers returned to work under strict security  
 By MATTHIAS VERBERGT and GABRIELE STEINHAUSER, WSJ March 24, 2016

BRUSSELS—The investigation into the Islamic State cell behind the Paris and Brussels attacks has renewed concerns about terrorists’ efforts to get their hands on radioactive material.

Belgium’s federal prosecutor said last month that police had discovered a 10-hour tape showing the home of a man working in Belgium’s “nuclear world” during a house search linked to the Paris attacks. The recording came from a surveillance camera installed in front of the man’s home, a spokesman for the prosecutor said at the time.

The same terrorist cell has been tied to Tuesday’s bloodshed at Brussels’ international airport and a subway station.

Authorities around the globe have long feared that terrorists could get nuclear material to build a “dirty bomb” or launch an attack on a nuclear power plant. ………Belgium is especially vulnerable as a target because of the high terrorism threat and the fact that its seven nuclear reactors are at least 30 years old, said Tom Sauer, a nuclear terrorism specialist at Belgium’s University of Antwerp…….

Germany and other countries bordering Belgium have raised concerns about general safety standards at Belgium’s nuclear plants and questioned a Belgian decision late last year to extend the lifetime of the country’s oldest reactors in Doel and Tihange to 2025 from 2015.

In 2014, 65,000 liters of lubricating oil spilled down an emergency evacuation pipe at Doel’s fourth reactor in just over 30 minutes, causing the reactor’s stoppage. FANC at the time said it had “strong evidence” that this had been caused by a “deliberate manual act.” The perpetrator hasn’t been apprehended………

A study by the U.S. organization Nuclear Threat Initiative in January showed Belgian nuclear plants aren’t protected against cyberattacks, receiving the lowest score in the survey along with China, Iran and North Korea…….. Write to Matthias Verbergt at Matthias.Verbergt@wsj.com and Gabriele Steinhauser at gabriele.steinhauser@wsj.com   http://www.wsj.com/articles/terror-cell-probe-puts-spotlight-on-nuclear-concerns-1458844289

March 25, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear attack was the original plan of the Brussels bombers

nuke-reactor-targetBrussels attackers initially considered nuclear site: Report http://www.torontosun.com/2016/03/24/brussels-attackers-initially-considered-nuclear-site-report REUTERS, MARCH 24, 2016 BRUSSELS – Suicide bombers who blew themselves up in Brussels were originally considering an attack on a nuclear site in Belgium, but arrests started last week may have forced them to switch to targets in the Belgian capital, the DH newspaper said.

Referring to an incident in December that prosecutors confirmed in which militants covertly filmed the home of an unidentified senior official in the nuclear industry, the paper quoted a police source as saying two of the suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim Bakraoui, had filmed the daily routine of the head of Belgium’s nuclear research and development programme.

The police source did not address why investigators thought they had continued to plan to go through with the plan despite the discovery of the covert video three months ago and the ramping up of security around nuclear plants as a result. The sensitive inner high-security areas of a nuclear power station would almost certainly have been beyond the reach of militants such as the Bakraouis.

A 10-hour video from a camera hidden in front of the nuclear official’s house was found in December during a police raid in Belgium, linked to the Paris attacks a month before.

On February 17, Belgian prosecutors confirmed the existence of the video seized in December and said the man in it was linked to the country’s nuclear industry. Earlier this month, 140 soldiers were dispatched to guard the country’s three nuclear sites. On Tuesday after the Brussels bombings, the sites were sealed and non-essential staff evacuated as a precaution.

While investigators had known the camera with the video had been removed from its concealment by two men, they did not know their identity. DH said it was now clear that it was the two brothers.

Investigators were not available for comment.

Any plans for an assault on a nuclear site, even a symbolic operation on the perimeter, might have been foiled by a police operation last week in the Brussels borough of Forest, the newspaper said. In that raid, officers unexpectedly stumbled upon armed men in a flat that was searched in connection to the Paris attacks investigation.

One of the men in the flat, later identified as an Algerian national called Mohammed Belkaid, was killed by police in a shootout and police believe one or two others may have escaped.

But clues found in the flat led the police to the arrest three days later of the prime surviving suspect in the Paris attacks Salah Abdeslam and another suspected militant Amine Choukri also using the name of Monir Ahmed Alaaj.

The arrests may have forced the hand of the attackers who decided to shift to targets in Brussels, focusing on the airport and metro: “There is no doubt that they rushed their operations because they felt under pressure,” the police source was quoted by DH as saying.

“Even if one couldn’t prevent these (Brussels) attacks, one can say that their magnitude could have been much bigger if the terrorists had been able to implement their original plan and not opted for easier targets,” said the police source.

March 25, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

According to Donald Trump – OK to nuclear bomb Syria?

USA election 2016Donald Trump open to nuclear retaliation after Brussels attack  By REENA FLORES CBS NEWS March 24, 2016, Donald Trump is not ruling out the use of nuclear weapons in the U.S. fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), according to an interview with the GOP front-runner that aired on Bloomberg TV Wednesday.

Asked if he would consider nuclear retaliation after this week’s terror attacks in Brussels, Trump responded: “Well, I’m never gonna rule anything out. And I wouldn’t wanna say. Even if I felt — it wasn’t going — I wouldn’t wanna tell you that because, at a minimum, I want them to think maybe that we would use it.”

“The fact is that we need unpredictability,” Trump said of his openness to using nuclear weapons. “When you ask a question like that, it’s a very – it is a very sad thing to have to answer it because the enemy is watching and I have a very good chance of winning. I frankly don’t want the enemy to know how I’m thinking. But with that being said, I don’t rule out anything.”

When pressed on whether he would have utilized America’s nuclear capabilities after September 11, Trump said that he would only have used it as a “last resort.”

During his interview, Trump emphasized that terrorists “are winning” and “we don’t do anything about it.”……http://www.cbsnews.com/news/donald-trump-open-to-nuclear-retaliation-after-brussels-attack/

March 25, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Why are US media Presidential candidates ignoring $trillion nuclear weapons spending?

Only Bernie Sanders has adopted a position of outright rejection. In May 2015, shortly after declaring his candidacy, Sanders was asked at a public meeting about the trillion dollar nuclear weapons program. He replied: “What all of this is about is our national priorities. Who are we as a people? Does Congress listen to the military-industrial complex” that “has never seen a war that they didn’t like? Or do we listen to the people of this country who are hurting?” In fact, Sanders is one of only three US Senators who support the SANE Act, legislation that would significantly reduce US government spending on nuclear weapons. In addition, on the campaign trail, Sanders has not only called for cuts in spending on nuclear weapons, but has affirmed his support for their total abolition.

missile-moneyThe Trillion Dollar Question the Media Have Neglected to Ask Presidential Candidates, Moyers and company The American people will be footing the bill — but, by and large, they haven’t heard much about our country’s planned trillion-dollar nuclear weapons upgrade.BY LAWRENCE WITTNER | MARCH 21, 2016 ISN’T IT RATHER ODD THAT AMERICA’S LARGEST SINGLE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE SCHEDULED FOR THE COMING DECADES HAS RECEIVED NO ATTENTION IN THE 2015-2016 PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES?

The expenditure is for a 30-year program to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal and production facilities. Although President Obama began his administration with a dramatic public commitment to build a nuclear weapons-free world, that commitment has long ago dwindled and died. It has been replaced by an administration plan to build a new generation of US nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the nation well into the second half of the 21st century. This plan, which has received almost no attention by the mass media, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs and production plants. The estimated cost? $1,000,000,000,000.00 — or, for those readers unfamiliar with such lofty figures, $1 trillion.

Critics charge that the expenditure of this staggering sum will either bankrupt the country or, at the least, require massive cutbacks in funding for other federal government programs. “We’re… wondering how the heck we’re going to pay for it,” admitted Brian McKeon, an undersecretary of defense. And we’re “probably thanking our stars we won’t be here to have to have to answer the question,” he added with a chuckle.

This nuclear “modernization” plan violates the terms of the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires the nuclear powers to engage in nuclear disarmament.

The plan is also moving forward despite the fact that the US government already possesses roughly7,000 nuclear weapons that can easily destroy the world. Although climate change might end up accomplishing much the same thing, a nuclear war does have the advantage of terminating life on earth more rapidly.

This trillion-dollar nuclear weapons buildup has yet to inspire any questions about it by the moderators during the numerous presidential debates. Even so, in the course of the campaign, the presidential candidates have begun to reveal their attitudes toward it.

On the Republican side, the candidates — despite their professed distaste for federal expenditures and “big government” — have been enthusiastic supporters of this great leap forward in the nuclear arms race. Donald Trump, the frontrunner, contended in his presidential announcement speech that “our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work,” insisting that it is out of date. Although he didn’t mention the $1 trillion price tag for “modernization,” the program is clearly something he favors, especially given his campaign’s focus on building a US military machine “so big, powerful and strong that no one will mess with us.”

His Republican rivals have adopted a similar approach. ………

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has been more ambiguous about her stance toward a dramatic expansion of the US nuclear arsenal. Asked by a peace activist about the trillion dollar nuclear plan, she replied that she would “look into that,” adding: “It doesn’t make sense to me.” Even so, like other issues that the former secretary of state has promised to “look into,” this one remains unresolved. Moreover, the “National Security” section of her campaign website promises that she will maintain the “strongest military the world has ever known” — not a propitious sign for critics of nuclear weapons.

Only Bernie Sanders has adopted a position of outright rejection. In May 2015, shortly after declaring his candidacy, Sanders was asked at a public meeting about the trillion dollar nuclear weapons program. He replied: “What all of this is about is our national priorities. Who are we as a people? Does Congress listen to the military-industrial complex” that “has never seen a war that they didn’t like? Or do we listen to the people of this country who are hurting?” In fact, Sanders is one of only three US Senators who support the SANE Act, legislation that would significantly reduce US government spending on nuclear weapons. In addition, on the campaign trail, Sanders has not only called for cuts in spending on nuclear weapons, but has affirmed his support for their total abolition…….http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trillion-dollar-question-the-media-have-neglected-to-ask-presidential-candidates/#.VvGf-fJH-yw.twitter

March 25, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Large number of baby deaths close to nuclear contaminated site

Flag-USACemetery full of dead babies missing brains next to US nuclear site — Funeral Director: Almost all infants we have died the same way… “that’s pretty much all I see on death certificates” — Few miles from “most contaminated place in hemisphere” — “One of largest documented anencephaly clusters in US history” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/one-largest-documented-clusters-history-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29  March 23rd, 2016

Waiting for answers: a community copes with babies’ deaths

Seattle Times, updated Jan 28, 2016 (emphasis added): How the state is missing chances to find deadly birth defect’s cause… at least 40 other mothers have lost babies to [anencephaly, which result in missing large parts of the brain] in Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties since 2010… one of the largest documented clusters of anencephaly in U.S. history… “Something’s going on and someone needs to tell us,” said [mother Sally] Garcia… Dr. Lisa Galbraith was one of the doctors… In Prosser, the obstetrician oversaw care of Garcia’s pregnancy and others affected by the disorder… “I had a total of four or five babies with anencephaly over the course of two years,” recalled Galbraith… the rate of anencephaly was much higher [than US averages]… Washington health officials… have collected no blood samples, performed no genetic tests and conducted no examination of water, soil… and have no plans to do so… In Texas, just three babies withanencephaly sparked enough outrage to overhaul the state’s birth-defects reporting system.

Seattle Times video transcript – Carlen Majnarich, funeral director: “It’s tragic… It just seems like that’s pretty much all I see on the death certificate is the same diagnosis. And nobody seems to know why. We average close to 100 families a year here in Prosser [a few miles from Hanford]. Almost all the infants that we have have died of anencephaly. It’s just what do you say?”… Sally Garcia (mother who lost her baby to anencephaly): “All these on this side [of the cemetery] are all babies… all babies, starting from right there.”

The Legal Examiner, Dec 31, 2015: [T]he strange eruption of anencephaly cases, which occurs in Washington at a rate almost 5 times as high as the national average, has highlighted a number of government policies that may actually conceal these sort of birth defect “clusters,” rather than help investigate them.

KVEW-TV, Mar 4, 2016: As of November 2015 cases of anencephaly have continued to increase with the current rate at 9.5 per 10,000 live births.

Sara Barron, MS, BSN – American Journal of Nursing, Mar 2016: In the spring of 2012 two babies without brains were born within weeks of each other at the rural hospital in Washington State where I was working… I was stunned when the delivering physician said another patient was expecting the same outcome. After speaking with colleagues at neighboring hospitals, I learned that two other babies with anencephaly had recently been born in the area. In over 30 years of nursing, I had seen only two cases of anencephaly prior to these. I called the Washington State Department of Health and reported a birth defect cluster… RISK FACTORS…Radiation exposure. Popular media and blogs have often linked the Washington State NTD cluster to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Benton County, Washington. Althoughleaks from nuclear power plants have been associated with a higher rate of anencephalyand other NTDs, Washington State Department of Health investigators point out that the three counties with the highest prevalence of NTDs were both upwind and upriver of the Hanford site, making the nuclear plant an unlikely cause of the 2012 cluster.

  • Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “The Hanford Site… is widely considered to be the most contaminated place in the Western Hemisphere
  • KOIN: “The biggest, most toxic nuclear waste site in the Western hemisphere
  • Time: “The largest nuclear clean-up site in the western hemisphere
  • AFP: “The Western hemisphere’s most contaminated nuclear site“”

More infant deaths near Hanford: Cemetery blocks filled w/ babies downwind of US nuclear site — Mother: My newborns died in hours… tumors all over, brain disintegrated after massive stroke — “Body parts, cadavers, fetuses… nuke industry took in the dead of night”

Watch the Seattle Times video here

March 25, 2016 Posted by | children, USA | 1 Comment

Danger of terror attacks on Germany’s nuclear stations

terrorism-targets-2German nuclear plants are vulnerable to terrorist attacks – study Rt.com 24 Mar, 2016 Germany’s nuclear power plants are insufficiently protected against potential terror attacks, including 9/11-style ones, according to a newly-released study.

A nuclear plant’s smokescreen designed to prevent any attacks on it from air provides only minimal protection for the facility, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news agency reported, citing findings presented by Oda Becker, a physicist and independent expert on nuclear plants, at the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) congress in Berlin on Thursday.

Such smokescreen “only slightly diminishes a chance of collision with a plane,” hijacked by terrorists. Additionally, only two out of eight currently operating nuclear plants in Germany are equipped with such systems, the report points out.

According to Becker’s research, another significant threat to German nuclear plants is posed by a possible terrorist attack using helicopters filled with explosives. A fall of an aircraft rigged with explosives on a nuclear plant could lead to a “massive release of radiation,” as nuclear facilities in Germany are not designed to withstand explosions of such scale.

Reliability tests have demonstrated that the plants’ personnel cannot possibly prevent terrorists from infiltrating the facility and committing a terrorist act there, the study adds.

In another study published March 8 and titled “Nuclear power 2016 – secure, clean, everything under control?” Becker listed insufficient security standards, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and emergencies caused by the deterioration of the German nuclear plants’ security systems as major threats to the industry.

“A serious accident is possible in case of every German nuclear plant,” she said at that time, adding that “there are no appropriate accident management plans.” Becker added that temporary nuclear waste storage sites can also pose a serious threat to people, as they can also be targeted by terrorists and lack relevant security systems.

“The interim [nuclear waste] storages lack protection against aircraft crashes and dangers posed by terrorists,” Becker said, adding that security aspects of the future nuclear waste storage should be discussed, including possible security upgrades of the existing storage sites and the establishment of new facilities.

According to Belgian media, Brussels suicide bombers Khalid and Ibrahim El-Bakraoui were already planning attacks on nuclear plants, although not in Germany but in Belgium. The arrest of Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam allegedly thwarted their plans and forced them to choose another target………

The recent news from Belgium has given some German politicians and activists additional cause for concern. Hubert Weiger, the head of the BUND, said that the Brussels attacks became another reason for immediate nuclear phase-out. “It is even more necessary than ever to abandon this technology,” he said, as quoted by DPA.

Eight nuclear plants remain operational in Germany, after Angela Merkel’s government decided to abandon the use of nuclear energy and immediately halt all operations on the country’s eight oldest nuclear plants in March 2011. Another plant was shut down in 2015. The remaining nuclear stations are due to be closed by 2022.

At the same time, Simone Peter, a co-chair of the German Green Party, demanded additional security checks at all European nuclear plants.

“EU nuclear power plant stress tests did not include [the possibility] of a terrorist attack. It is time to reassess [our] approach to security,” she tweeted. https://www.rt.com/news/337092-german-nuclear-plants-terrorists/

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Germany, safety | Leave a comment

UK govt getting resigned to the likely scrapping of Hinkley Point C nuclear project

text Hinkley cancelledU.K. Sees No Power `Black Hole’ If EDF Scraps Nuclear Plan,Bloomberg,   AlexJFMorales  24 Mar 16  The U.K. won’t struggle to keep the lights on if Electricite de France SA decides not to proceed with its 18 billion-pound ($25 billion) plan to build a new nuclear-power plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said.

Britain has nine years to fill any gap in generation created by the loss of a 3.2-gigawatt project that could produce 7 percent of the country’s electricity supply, Rudd said in an interview Thursday.

“If there were any delay, we would have plenty of time to arrange replacements,” Rudd said after giving a speech near Rochester in southeast England. “It’s absolutely not right to think that there will be some sort of black hole in 2025.”………

EDF executives and French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron have reiterated this month that the company will take a final decision soon to go ahead with the project. Still, the company originally said that new nuclear power would be generated by Christmas 2017, a deadline that has since slipped to 2025…….

The U.K. network operator has signed contracts for 3.6 gigawatts of reserve power that it can use to meet shortfalls. National Grid can also ask shops and factories to reduce demand during peak times to help ease pressure on the system……..

Rudd spoke after giving a speech at the U.K. end of the new 1-gigawatt BritNed interconnector, which allows electricity to flow between the Netherlands and Britain. She made the case for Britain’s continued membership of the European Union, saying that a departure would risk inflating customer energy bills by 500 million pounds a year. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-24/u-k-sees-no-power-black-hole-if-edf-scraps-nuclear-plan

March 25, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

America’s nationwide problem of nuclear wastes, and Edison’s experimental Holtec solution

Mona-Lisa-wastesO.C. Watchdog: Could there be an ‘early’ nuclear cleanup at San Onofre? Orange County Register, By TERI SFORZA March 23, 2016 “…….NATIONWIDE PROBLEM  Some 72,000 metric tons of highly radioactive waste has piled up at 75 commercial reactor sites in America over the past half-century, according to a recent review by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

That’s not how it was supposed to be.

To encourage the development of nuclear power, the federal government passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, promising to accept and dispose of spent fuel and high-level waste by Jan. 31, 1998.

Utilities operating nuclear power plants made payments into a Nuclear Waste Fund to pay for disposal.

About $750 million a year was collected from ratepayers, and the disposal program’s funding grew to $41 billion over three decades. But the federal government never accepted any commercial nuclear waste for permanent disposal.

The nuclear industry sued, and a federal judge found that the U.S. Department of Energy couldn’t continue charging for a service it not only wasn’t providing, but wouldn’t provide for many decades. In 2014, utilities stopped collecting the charge – about 20 cents a month on the average electric bill. After the government spent $10 billion on a now-abandoned plan to create a permanent disposal site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, about $30 billion remains in the fund, earning about $1 billion in interest a year.

Local governments, including San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Oceanside, Encinitas and San Diego County, are pressing Washington to fulfill its obligations.

“We all want it gone,” said San Clemente City Councilman Tim Brown last month.

BREAKTHROUGH?

Edison agrees.

“We are very much in alignment with our nearby communities, which are making efforts to get the nuclear fuel moved off-site to another location,” said Maureen Brown, Edison spokeswoman. “Before it can be moved off-site, though, it has to be in a dry storage canister for transport. We are continuing with preparations to expand dry storage and get all the fuel out of the spent fuel pools.”

That’s supposed to be done by 2019. Edison has chosen Holtec International’s Hi-Storm Umax underground system for dry storage. The fuel is expected to remain in an “underground monolith” on-site through 2049, when Edison assumes the federal government will take custody of all spent nuclear fuel.)

The Department of Energy will begin public meetings on the new push for interim storage sites on Tuesday in Chicago.A second hearing is scheduled in Atlanta on April 11 and a third in Sacramento on April 26.

“(W)e in the communities surrounding SONGS have a keen interest in removing the spent fuel from the site,” Victor wrote in a recent memo to the Community Engagement Panel. “As the option of Yucca Mountain has stalled, spent fuel has been backing up at sites around the country with no place for permanent disposal. The idea of consolidated interim storage (CIS) could be a solution.

San Onofre’s storage system will be part of a real-time experiment, as Edison partners with the Electric Power Research Institute to develop inspection techniques to monitor casks as they age.

No entity has previously done what Edison is planning – burying this kind of spent fuel in dry casks for decades. Critics have raised concerns about the ability of the casks to withstand the heat of the fuel over time.

Some don’t think temporary storage is the answer.

“If such a site were ever built, it would be a disaster for the hosting community,” said activist Ace Hoffman of Carlsbad. “DOE calls it ‘consent-based,’ but how can future generations that will have to deal with the mess give their consent? And why on earth would they?

“DOE calls it ‘interim,’ but what exactly that means has never been defined, except to mean ‘until a permanent repository opens up somewhere.’ Who’s going to fall for that line?” http://www.ocregister.com/articles/fuel-709466-nuclear-san.html

 

March 25, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Just a ‘leak” – 5.3 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear reactor No 1!

TEPCO says water-radiationcesium leaked at nuclear plant http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201603240048  March 24, 2016 An estimated 5.3 tons of water contaminated with radiation leaked from a pipe in a building housing cesium removal equipment at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the facility’s operator said.

The leaked water contained 383,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per liter and 480,000 becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances per liter.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said March 23 the water has not flowed outside the high temperature incinerator building. TEPCO said it was in the process of pumping up the water for storage.

The utility said workers doing remodeling work earlier in the day cut off a pipe inside the incinerator building. When workers subsequently operated radioactive material removal equipment in another building, contaminated water leaked from the cut section of the pipe to the floor of the incinerator building.

TEPCO said it is trying to determine the cause of the incident, adding that workers had confirmed that they closed a valve before cutting off the pipe to prevent water leakage.

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Nuclear power far too slow to have any impact on climate change

This Map Of All The Nuclear Reactors In The World Is A Reality Check, CO.Exist ADELE PETERS 03.23.16

ice-sheets-meltingThere are fewer nuclear reactors than you may realize. And by the time more text irrelevantare financed and built, the Arctic ice will be all gone anyway. Seventy years ago, some experts were convinced that nuclear power would change the world for the better. “Here was the power that would do all work…of a veritable Utopia,” the editors of a book on the Atomic Age wrote in 1945.

They also thought it would quickly grow. In the mid-1960s, one estimate predicted that by the year 2000, nuclear power would supply more than half of all the electricity in the U.S. As of 2016, it’s at a little less than 20%; globally, it’s only about 14%.

A new map from Carbon Brief shows the location of every reactor ever built around the world, including the 400 nuclear power stations now in use and others under construction. “Once you see it visually like that, you really get a sense of where the history of nuclear power is, and where it’s future is going to be,” says Simon Evans, policy editor for the U.K.-based Carbon Brief.

Some countries have given up on nuclear power completely, such as Germany, which closed eight reactors after the disaster at Fukushima in 2011 and plans to close the rest by 2022. Lithuania and Italy have shut down their reactors. Sweden’s national power company announced in January that its nuclear plants are losing money, and may shut down for financial reasons.
Part of the reason for slow growth of nuclear is the gigantic cost of building a plant. While technologies like wind and solar keep dropping dramatically in price, nuclear is getting more expensive in most countries. Since the mid-1950s, when the price of both nuclear and solar panels was first published, the cost of nuclear power has gone up three times. Solar, on the other hand, has become 2,500 times cheaper in the same period……

New nuclear power would be a real setback in terms of trying to solve the climate problem,” says Mark Jacobson, an engineering professor at Stanford who has researched how renewable power could meet all energy needs in the U.S. “Even if there were no issues like meltdown or waste proliferation—which are serious issues—it’s just so costly and it takes so long to put up new nuclear reactors that by the time the next set of nuclear reactors are planned, permitted, constructed, it takes 10-19 years. The Arctic ice will be gone.”

Nuclear power isn’t entirely “clean,” in terms of greenhouse gas pollution, because the large amount of energy used to refine uranium often comes from fossil fuels.Even keeping old reactors running may not make financial sense. In California, for example, extending the life of the Diablo Canyon plant will require new cooling towers that cost around $8 billion. It may also need billions in earthquake retrofits, because engineers realized after the project was built that it’s on a fault line.”For $8 billion, you can replace the entire Diablo Canyon with the same power produced by a combination of on-shore wind and utility-scale solar PV,” says Jacobson.

There’s also the inherent risk of even the “safest” nuclear reactors, and the problem of what happens when a plant is decommissioned. “You can’t do anything with the property for at least 60 years,” he says. “Probably there’s enough radioactivity for thousands of years.”

Instead, Jacobson says, it’s possible to produce cost-effective, reliable power from solar, wind, and hydroelectricity. It’s also possible to provide that power around-the-clock, as recent projects like a 24-hour solar farm near Las Vegas proves.

“People who are pushing nuclear aren’t driven by science or logic, but idealism and passion,” he says.http://www.fastcoexist.com/3058064/this-map-of-all-the-nuclear-reactors-in-the-world-is-a-reality-check

March 25, 2016 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Chernobyl’s anti radiation sarcophagus

chernobyl-cover$1.7B Giant Arch to Block Chernobyl Radiation For Next 100 Years by REUTERS, 24 Mar 16  In the middle of a vast exclusion zone in northern Ukraine, the world’s largest land-based moving structure has been built to prevent deadly radiation spewing from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site for the next 100 years.
On April 26, 1986, a botched test at the Soviet nuclear plant sent clouds of smouldering nuclear material across large swathes of Europe, forced over 50,000 people to evacuate and poisoned unknown numbers of workers involved in its clean-up.

A concrete sarcophagus was hastily built over the site of the stricken reactor to contain the worst of the radiation, but a more permanent solution has been in the works since late 2010.

Easily visible from miles away, the 30,000 tonne ‘New Safe Confinement’ arch will be pulled slowly over the site later this year to create a steel-clad casement to block radiation and allow the remains of the reactor to be dismantled safely……..

The EBRD has managed the funding of the arch, which has cost around 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) and involved donations from more than 40 governments. Even with the new structure, the surrounding zone, which at 1,000 square miles is roughly the size of Luxembourg, will remain largely uninhabitable and closed to unsanctioned visitors…….

The upcoming 30th anniversary of the disaster has shone a new light on the long-term human impact of the worst nuclear meltdown in history.

The official short-term death toll from the accident was 31 but many more people died of radiation-related illnesses such as cancer. The total death toll and long-term health effects remain a subject of intense debate.

On Wednesday, Ukrainians who were involved in the cleanup of Chernobyl – the so-called “liquidators” – protested in central Kiev to demand the government acknowledge their sacrifice with improved social benefits.

“Thirty years ago, when we were young, we were saving the whole earth from a nuclear explosion. And now no one needs us. Absolutely no one,” said one of the protesters, former liquidator Lidia Kerentseva. http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/1-7b-giant-arch-block-chernobyl-radiation-next-100-years-n544721

March 25, 2016 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment