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

March 29 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ When a large generating plant shuts down, the grid’s frequency drops due to an imbalance between generation and load. DOE researchers are evaluating wind farms for providing frequency-responsive back-up currently supplied to the grid by conventional power plants. [Windpower Engineering]

NREL's National Wind Technology Center is the nation's premier wind energy technology research facility. NREL’s National Wind Technology Center is the nation’s
premier wind energy technology research facility.


¶ Five years after the Fukushima Disaster in Japan resulted in three reactor meltdowns, the global nuclear industry is spending $47 billion on safety enhancements mandated after the accident revealed weaknesses in plant protection from earthquakes and flooding, according to a Platts review. [Platts]

¶ The top official in China’s northern province of Hebei, one of the country’s most polluted, has vowed to use the staging of the 2022 Winter Olympics to drive efforts to cut smog and promote clean energy. Skiing and snowboarding events will be…

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March 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wishful thinking: the basis of new nuclear economics


Generation IV reactors are not going to save the nuclear power industry. Generation IV reactors are not going to save the nuclear power industry.

That nuclear power’s miserable economics are pretty much killing the industry, especially in the western world, is a reality acknowledged by virtually everyone at this point. After the first burst of reactor construction from the late 1960s until the early 1980s collapsed under the weight of multi-billion dollar cost overruns and lengthy schedule delays, a decade ago the industry argued it had learned and incorporated its lessons and the result would be a nuclear renaissance.

But before even a single reactor launched by this renaissance has begun operating (for a “renaissance that began more than a decade ago, this in itself is a telling point), bloated, untenable costs and delays from Georgia to Finland have again put the kibosh on the notion of any meaningful nuclear expansion in the west. And even in China, where transparency in economic…

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March 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March 28 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ A Sandia-led team, with support of the US DOE, has developed a way to make a magnetic material that could lead to lighter and smaller, cheaper and better-performing high-frequency transformers, helping adoption of more flexible energy storage systems and renewable energy. [Nanowerk]

Sandia National Laboratories researcher Todd Monson. Sandia National Laboratories researcher Todd Monson.

¶ Researchers from two Scottish universities are taking part in a project to boost the development of “meshed” offshore grids to link windfarms with the mainland. Aberdeen and Strathclyde are part of a four-year European initiative investigating high-voltage direct current technology. [The National]

¶ A research team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a novel, environmentally friendly low-cost battery that overcomes many of the problems of lithium-ion batteries. It has both lower weight and lower fabrication costs. [AZoCleantech]

Schematic structure of the AGDIB (Image by Professor TANG Yongbin) Schematic structure of the AGDIB

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March 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Under Pressure: On the Dangers of PWR Nuclear Reactors, Such as Three Mile Island and Sizewell B

Mining Awareness +

Hilda Murrell was abducted on the 21st of March 1984, as she prepared to testify at the Sizewell B Nuclear Reactor Inquiry. She was found dead on the 24th of March.

According to her nephew, Robert Green, “Hilda had conferred with Don Arnott who, uniquely among anti-nuclear scientists, had discovered a serious flaw in the control rods of the US nuclear power plant design which had failed at Three Mile Island, but which Thatcher was determined to build. His concerns were later endorsed by Dr Edward Radford, chair of the TMI Scientific Advisory Board. At the time key leaders of the nuclear industry supporting Thatcher’s plans took a close interest in what Don knew; he was tipped off that he was under surveillance, and some documents went missing. Before he could testify at the Sizewell Inquiry, he nearly died of a suspicious heart attack. In June 1985 he…

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March 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Self-censorship sensed as Japan’s TV stations replace outspoken anchors


The faces of Japan’s TV news are changing.

Broadcasters are under increasing political pressure from the government and a succession of outspoken anchors and newscasters have resigned.

Experts worry the situation marks a crisis in TV journalism, for it is believed broadcasters are now exercising self-censorship as they seek to toe the administration’s line.

Hosts Ichiro Furutachi of TV Asahi’s influential “Hodo Station” and Shigetada Kishii of the TBS evening news program “News 23″ will both be replaced in April. NHK, too, is considering pulling longtime anchorwoman Hiroko Kuniya from its “Close-up Gendai” news and features program.

Furutachi has often been criticized by the government and its supporters for his commentaries.

He is unrepentant. During a news conference announcing his departure, Furutachi reiterated his motto: “Newscasters at times represent the voices against the powers that be.”

Kuniya’s departure has long been whispered about as she is known for asking big-name politicians tough questions. However, she has survived until now.

Similarly, Kishii expressed opposition to contentious security bills before they cleared the Diet last September and called on fellow opponents to speak up.

“Voices should continuously be raised (for the bills) to be scrapped,” he declared.

Criticism was heaped upon him, particularly from the right. One conservative political group said his statement violated the Broadcast Law, which states broadcasters must be politically impartial.

On Tuesday, TBS named Hiroshi Hoshi, 60, a senior writer with the left-leaning Asahi Shimbun daily newspaper, as Kishii’s replacement.

Some analysts see cause for alarm in the slew of anchor replacements.

“There must be different reasons behind each station’s move, but if three journalists quit in succession, the audience would get the impression that it was the results of their criticism of the administration,” said Hiroyoshi Sunakawa, a professor of media studies at Rikkyo University.

It was around the Lower House election of 2014 that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party began to exert stronger demands on TV stations.

In one example, the government issued a document to Tokyo-based stations demanding that they “ensure fairness, neutrality and correctness” in their election coverage. In 2015, the LDP summoned TV executives for questioning over the content of the “Hodo Station” and “Close-up Gendai” programs.

Having experienced that pressure, the stations now are believed to refrain from running content that criticizes the administration.

“I don’t want to take risks,” said one young employee at a commercial TV station.

A source close to NHK sighed and said there is a growing atmosphere among NHK staff that they should be second-guessing the administration’s expectations.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

30,000 Japanese March In Protest of Restarting Nuclear Power Plants

An estimated 30,000 anti-nuclear activists attended a rally in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, Friday, to protest against Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plan to reopen a number of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | 1 Comment

Environment Ministry presents contaminated waste disposal plan for Fukushima

march 28 2016.jpg

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa speaks at the beginning of a meeting on interim storage facilities in the city of Fukushima, on March 27, 2016.

FUKUSHIMA — The Ministry of the Environment announced on March 27 that the government expects to acquire up to 70 percent of land for interim storage facilities for waste contaminated with radioactive materials emanating from the Fukushima nuclear crisis and bring up to 40 percent of contaminated soil into such facilities by the end of fiscal 2020.

The ministry has a rough road ahead, however, since as of March 25 it had only acquired about 1.3 percent of the land needed to build storage facilities straddling the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Okuma and Futaba, and it also faces serious challenges in negotiations with landowners.

On a total of 1,600 hectares of land, the interim storage facilities will be equipped with disposal sites for contaminated soil and other materials, as well as incinerators to reduce the volume of contaminated waste derived from decontamination work around the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Delivering of the waste began in March 2015 as a pilot project and it will be stored at the site up to 30 years.

The Environment Ministry presented the projection at a meeting held in the city of Fukushima on March 27. It announced the plan to secure 640-1,150 hectares, or 40-70 percent of the areas for the interim storage sites, by the end of fiscal 2020. A ministry official explained how it calculated the figures, saying that the ministry has already contacted 1,240 landowners by visiting their homes and “there is a feeling” that they will cooperate with the ministry’s plan.

Up to 28 million cubic meters of waste contaminated with radiation that is currently stored across Fukushima Prefecture is planned to be brought to the storage sites, and the ministry expects to deliver 5 million to 12.5 million cubic meters of that to the facilities by the end of fiscal 2020. Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa told a March 27 news conference in the city of Fukushima that the ministry plans to remove contaminated soil stored at schools and residential areas first, adding, “We’ve allowed a wide range in the projected figures (as negotiations with landowners are underway).”

Meanwhile, Toshitsuna Watanabe, mayor of the town of Okuma where an interim storage facility is planned to be built, expressed appreciation for the figures presented by the ministry to some extent, saying, “Though it appears to be a rough projection, I recognize that they at least presented the target figures.” He added, “With no goals presented before this, local residents were beginning to suspect the central government’s willingness (to put efforts in the storage project). We hope the ministry undertakes the task to reach those targets.”

A 61-year-old landowner who has evacuated from Okuma to the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki questioned the ministry’s plan, saying that 40-70 percent of land acquisition in five years is “too slow.”

“I have decided to sell the land, but the government hasn’t yet shown me the amount of compensation payment,” the man said.

The village of Iitate, currently under radiation evacuation orders, is working toward the lifting of the evacuation orders by the end of March 2017, excluding areas that are designated as “difficult-to-return” zones with high levels of radiation. Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno says, “According to the ministry’s plan, contaminated waste might not be removed (from the village) for five more years. There are piles of bags filled with contaminated soil and they are preventing disaster recovery efforts,” adding, “I want the ministry to speed up the land acquisition process.”

March 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment