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Fukushima, an ongoing tragedy Japanese government has brushed aside


Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, found that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014, three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

His findings were published in the electronic edition of the journal of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology late last year, but was refuted by the Fukushima prefectural government and other experts as it doubted the cases are related to the nuclear crisis and the government attributed to the surge to “over diagnosis.”

“Unless radiation exposure data are checked, any specific relationship between a cancer incidence and radiation cannot be identified,” Shiochiro Tsugane, director of the Research Center for Cancer Prevention and Screening, was quoted by a local report as saying.

More than 160 teenagers in Fukushima Prefecture were diagnosed with thyroid cancer, including suspect cases, since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was crippled by the monstrous quake-triggered tsunami in March 2011. And the number almost certainly increase with the passage of time.

At the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the parents of the children who were diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Fukushima formed a mutual help group to demand the government provide convincing evidence that their children’s sufferings were not related to the nuclear crisis.

In fact, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology sent a message to the Japanese government suggesting it to conduct detailed and continuous research on residents’ health in Fukushima, but the government here did not respond to the advice, according to Tsuda who urged the government to face up to the aftermath of the nuclear issue.

Meanwhile, overseas nuclear experts are also surprised by the irresponsible and indifferent attitude of the Japanese government toward the nuclear refugees.

Oleksiy Pasyuk, an expert on energy policy at the National Ecological Center of Ukraine, told Xinhua that one of the main mistakes made by Japan in the aftermath of the accident was that the government had not stocked enough medicinal iodine tablets, which can prevent the absorption of radioactive material into the human body.

“No iodine tablets were distributed to residents living in the plant’s vicinity, who may have been exposed to radiation — it was an essential lesson, which they had to learn from Chernobyl,” Pasyuk said last month at the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The Fukushima disaster is the worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, but the Japanese government has failed to learn the lessons from the Chernobyl over the past 25 years.

The management of the Fukushima plant had been warned in advance about the risks of failure of the emergency electricity generators and the subsequent failure of the cooling systems in a seismically active region, said Olga Kosharna.

The expert with the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said that “if they had re-ionizers of hydrogen or holes in the roof, there would be no explosion and no such severe radiation effects. There has been a human error.”

“Japanese mentality is hierarchical — all are awaiting instructions from the top chief to start acting and it is time-consuming. Besides, there was no independent nuclear agency, which examines the technical state of the plant and decides whether to stop the functioning of the reactors or suspend its operating license,” Kosharna told Xinhua.

More than five years on, the debate over the aftermath of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in three decades are continuing, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the international community in 2013 when Japan bid for the 2020 Olympic Games that the crisis was “totally under control.”

The fact is obvious that about 200 tons of highly-contaminated water flows freely into the Pacific Ocean everyday and the nuclear power plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) still can not prevent the contaminated water from leaking from its makeshift containers.

TEPCO in March launched its ambitious project of freezing soil to create an ice wall to decrease toxic water leaking into the ocean. Local reports said that the project is expected to reduce the water to about 50 tons, but added that the effects are still unclear, as such a project is unprecedented on such a huge scale.

According to research by Fukushima University, about 3,500 trillion becquerels of radiative cesium-137 were discharged into the sea with the toxic water since the disaster broke out and the radiative material has reached the western coast of northern America.

Meanwhile, about a hundred thousand evacuees are still displaced and live in cramped temporary housing camps due to the uncontrolled nuclear disaster.

However, in the face of such troubles regarding the ongoing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis, the Japanese government is eager to reboot the country’s idled nuclear plants.

The Sendai nuclear power plant in the Kyushu area was reopened last November despite the eruption of a nearby volcano. It is also close to Kumamoto Prefecture, which was hit by waves of strong earthquakes, including one measuring a magnitude of 6.7 and another registering M7.3, last month.

The majority of the Japanese public oppose the restarting of the country’s nuclear power plants and only about 30 percent are supportive. More than 60 percent of Fukushima prefectural residents are dissatisfied with the government’s countermeasures against the nuclear disaster.

Fukushima, an ongoing tragedy Japanese government has brushed aside

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

TEPCO: Frozen soil wall proving effective

20 may 2016

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the work to freeze soil around the crippled reactors is making progress. It is designed to stop radioactive groundwater from flowing out of the facilities.

Tokyo Electric Power Company began freezing the soil in late March to make a 1.5-kilometer frozen wall surrounding the 4 reactors.

The reactor facilities have been the main source of radioactive contamination of groundwater at the plant.

TEPCO says that as of Tuesday, more than 80 percent of 6,000 checkpoints set up along the wall logged temperatures below zero. The operator says it means the freezing work is going well.

It also says that groundwater levels are rising in areas between the reactor facilities and the frozen wall along the coast. TEPCO officials assume the wall is preventing the water from seeping out. But water is still coming in through some unfrozen parts of the hillside.

Officials told reporters on Thursday that they will further carefully monitor the effect of the frozen wall and seek its completion.

Below are diagrams from TEPCO’s newest report:

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

Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

Japan’s Abe administration is pushing very hard to decontaminate land, roads, and buildings throughout Fukushima Prefecture, 105 cities, towns, and villages. Thousands of workers collect toxic material into enormous black one-ton bags, thereby accumulating gigantic geometric structures of bags throughout the landscape, looking evermore like the foreground of iconic ancient temples.

Here’s the big push: PM Abe committed to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which shall be a crowning achievement in the face of the Fukushima disaster. Hence, all stops are pulled to repopulate Fukushima Prefecture, especially with Olympic events held within Fukushima, where foodstuff will originate for Olympic attendees.

The Abe government is desperately trying to clean up and repopulate as if nothing happened, whereas Chernobyl (1986) determined at the outset it was an impossible task, a lost cause, declaring a 1,000 square mile no-habitation zone, resettling 350,000 people. It’ll take centuries for the land to return to normal.

Still and all, is it really truly possible to cleanse the Fukushima countryside?

Already, workers have accumulated enough one-ton black bags filled with irradiated soil and debris to stretch from Tokyo to LA. But, that only accounts for about one-half of the job yet to be done. Still, in the face of this commendable herculean effort, analysis of decontamination reveals serious missteps and problems.

Even though the Abe government is encouraging evacuees to move back into villages, towns, and cities of Fukushima Prefecture, Greenpeace nuclear campaigner Heinz Smital claims, in a video – Fukushima: Living with Disaster d/d March 2016: “Radiation is so high here that nobody will be able to live here in the coming years.”

Greenpeace has experts on the ground in Fukushima Prefecture March 2016, testing radiation levels. The numbers do not look good at all. Still, at the insistence of the Abe government, people are moving back into partially contaminated areas. In such a case, and assuming Greenpeace is straightforward, it’s a fair statement that if the Abe government can’t do a better job, then something or somebody needs to change. The Olympics are coming.

The Greenpeace report of March 4, 2016: Radiation Reloaded – Impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident 5 Years Later, exposes deeply flawed assumptions by the IAEA and the Abe government in terms of both decontamination and ecosystem risks.

Ever since March 2011, for over 5 years now, Greenpeace has conducted 25 radiological investigations in Fukushima Prefecture, concluding that five years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, it remains clear that the environmental consequences are complex and extensive and hazardous.

A 17-minute video entitled “Fukushima: Living with Disaster,” shows Greenpeace specialists in real time, conducting radiation tests in decontaminated villages and towns of the prefecture. Viewers can see actual real time measurements of radiation on dosimeters.


For example, in the Village of Iitate, 40 kilometers northwest of the Daiichi nuclear plant, Toru Anzai, an evacuee of Iitate, is told decontamination work on his plot of land nearly complete, and he is to rehabitate in 2017. However, Toru has personal doubts about governmental claims. As it happens, Greenpeace tests show abnormally high levels of radiation where decontamination work is already complete.

“Here we have around 0.8 microsieverts (μSv) per hour,” Heinz Smital, nuclear campaigner Greenpeace, “0.23 was the government target for decontamination work.” An adjoining space registers 1.5-2.0 μSv sometimes up to 3.5 μSv. “This is not the kind of count where you can say things are back to normal.”

Throughout the prefecture, decontamination is only partially carried out. For example, decontamination is confined within a 20-meter radius of private plots and along the roads as well as on farmland, leaving vast swaths of hills, valleys, riverbanks, streams, forests, and mountains untouched. Over time, radiation contamination runoff will re-contaminate many previously decontaminated areas.

Alarmingly, Greenpeace found large caches of hidden buried toxic black bags. Over time, it is likely the bags will rot away with radioactivity seeping into groundwater.

At Fukushima City, 60 km from the plant, Greenpeace discovered unacceptable radiation levels with spot readings as high as 4.26, 1.85, 9.06 μSv. According to Greenpeace: “These radiation levels are anything but harmless.”

The government officially informed Miyoko Watanable, an evacuee of Miyakochi, of “radiation eradicated” from her home. But, she says, “I don’t plan to live here again.” Greenpeace confirmed her instincts: “Although work has only recently finished here, we find counts of 1-to-2 μSv per hour… That’s not a satisfactory for the people here in this contaminated area” (Heinz Smital).

Once an area is officially declared “decontaminated,” disaster relief payments for citizens like Miyoko Watanable stop. The government is off the hook.

Without a doubt, the government of Japan is confronted with an extraordinarily difficult challenge, and it may seem unbecoming to ridicule or find fault with the Abe administration in the face of such unprecedented circumstances. But, the issue is much bigger than the weird antics of the Abe government, which passed an absolutely insane secrecy law providing for 10 years in prison to anybody who breathes a secret, undefined.

Rather, whether nuclear power is truly safe is a worldwide issue. In that regard, the nuclear industry has an unfair PR advantage because of the latency effect of radiation. In general, the latency period for cancers is 5-6 years before statistically discernible numbers. People forget.

Consequently, it is important to reflect on key facts:

In a 2014 RT interview, Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, said: “It’s a real shame that the authorities hide the truth from the whole world, from the UN. We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that, but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it.”

Alas, two hundred fifty U.S. sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan, on a Fukushima humanitarian rescue mission, have a pending lawsuit against TEPCO, et al claiming they are already experiencing leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illness, stomach ailments and other complaints extremely unusual in such young adults. Allegedly, the sailors were led to believe radiation exposure was not a problem.

Theodore Holcomb (38), an aviation mechanic, died from radiation complications, and according to Charles Bonner, attorney for the sailors, at least three sailors have now died from mysterious illnesses (Third US Navy Sailor Dies After Being Exposed to Fukushima Radiation, Natural News, August 24, 2015.) Among the plaintiffs is a sailor who was pregnant during the mission. Her baby was born with multiple genetic mutations.

Reflecting on 30 years ago, Adi Roche, chief executive of Chernobyl Children International, care for 25,000 children so far, says (2014): “The impact of Chernobyl is still very real and very present to the children who must live in an environment poisoned with radioactivity.”

“Children rocking back and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats… This is what I witnessed when I volunteered at Vesnova Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus (February 2014),” How my Trip to a Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus Made me Proud to be Irish, the March 18, 2014 (Cliodhna Russell). Belarus has over 300 institutions like this hidden deep in the backwoods.

Chernobyl is filled with tear-jerking, heart-wrenching stories of deformed, crippled, misshaped, and countless dead because of radiation sickness. It’s enough to turn one’s stomach in the face of any and all apologists for nuclear power.

According to Naoto Kan, Japanese PM 2010-11 during the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown: “For the good of humanity it is absolutely necessary to shut down all nuclear power plants. That is my firm belief” (source: Greenpeace video, March 2016).

Over 60 nuclear reactors are currently under construction in 15 countries. China has 400 nuclear power plants on the drawing boards. Russia plans mini-nuclear floating power plants to power oil drill rigs in the Arctic by 2020. Honestly!

Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

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

(part 2) Young woman from Fukushima speaks out

This interview was filmed on February 12, 2016, in Fukushima Prefecture. The young woman was 15 at the time of the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima, and we are releasing this interview with her permission. She is one of the 166 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the nuclear disaster who has been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer (as of February 2016).

Fukushima residents who were 18 years old or younger at the time of the nuclear accident have been asked to participate in the voluntary thyroid ultrasound examination which is part of the Fukushima Health Management Survey. However, 18.8% of this age group were not tested in the 1st round of testing.* While the final results for the 2nd round of testing are not yet complete, every year the number of children participating in the official thyroid examinations is decreasing; the number of children who have not participated in the 2nd round of testing is currently 50.7%** For those young people aged 18-21 (as of April 1, 2014) and who were living in Fukushima at the time of the nuclear accident, 74.5% have not yet taken part in the official thyroid ultrasound examination.**

This young woman’s reason for speaking out is to motivate the families of children who have not yet received the thyroid ultrasound examination to have their children tested. However, in sharing her story about a topic which has become increasingly difficult to talk publicly about in Japan, she faces inherent risks which may include those to her work, community life and personal relationships. I therefore ask that her privacy is respected.

Ian Thomas Ash, Director

contact :

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

May 20 Energy News



¶ While Australian network operators are usually keen to underline the importance of the grid, a survey by Western Power of regional consumers has shown that an overwhelming majority, four out of five, are either very keen or are open to the idea of cutting the line altogether. [RenewEconomy]

Customers want to leave the grid. Most customers want to leave the grid.

¶ The latest inventory of national greenhouse gas emissions, released by the government, indicates that Australian emissions increased 1% over the 2015 calendar year, growing to 3% above 2000 levels, and forecast to be above of Australia’s target of -5% on 2000 levels by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

¶ According to a new report from GlobalData, China was responsible for nearly half of all new wind installations globally during 2015. Only a few weeks ago, GlobalData predicted China’s installed wind capacity would triple by 2030, reaching 495 GW, up from 149…

View original post 602 more words

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate and Nuclear News This Week

a-cat-CANCLIMATE CHANGE. NASA – World Just Had Seven Months Straight of Record-Shattering Global Heat.  World Bank warns on the growing dangers of climate change.   Climate change exacerbates wildfires – Canada’s tragedy. Women head UN climate change body/

Noam Chomsky on the twin threats: Climate Change and Nuclear Proliferation.

NUCLEAR   Uranium industry finally acknowledging its dire situation. International Atomic Energy Agency keen to teach kids how great is the nuclear industry.


FRANCE.  Sparks flew at Electricite de France’s AGM: EDF has €37 billion of debt.  EDF hoping to extend life of nuclear reactors, postpone decommisson costs. Credibility of nuclear corporation EDF taking a beating over Hinkley Nuclear project shemozzle. French prosecutors launch probe into Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic bid.

UK.  How Margaret Thatcher’s nuclear dream has turned into UK’s Hinkley nightmare.  Genetic damage in children of nuclear test veterans: an investigation begins.  Former AREVA CEO ‘Atomic Anne’ Lauvergeon under a cloud at Rio Tinto.  Greens Urge Ireland to Insist on Hinkley Nuclear Power Consultation Following UNESC Ruling.

JAPAN. Japanese cities say ‘no’ to nuke restart.   Mayor blasts nuclear power to students visiting from Taiwan.  FUKUSHIMA: No one knows where the Fukushima nuclear reactor melted cores are.  Tepco to put some Fukushima decommissioning work on hold during G-7 summit.   School to close in Fukushima as too few children able to attend.

RUSSIA plans for Africa to be its nuclear colony, starting with south Africa. Russia joins the throng desperate to sell nuclear radioactive trash to Britain.

CANADA. Indigenous residents of Yellowknif, Canada, send Terrestrial Energy nuclear salesmen packing.

CHINA. Chinese nuclear companies planning to carve up nuclear exports between each other.

ARMENIA. Nuclear danger in Armenia.

INDIA.  to sell nuclear reactors to Bangladesh (But what if Bangladesh is under water before long?)

PAKISTAN wants to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

GERMANY Adolf Hitler’s secret NUCLEAR BOMBS found – claims engineer

100% renewable energy powers Portugal for four days.  Revolutionary solar power: London Borough’s solar panels over marketplace. Berkely Lab finds that Solar Power brings Environmental and Public Health Benefits.

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

New York’s proposed Clean Energy Standard a financial gift to the nuclear industry

Tax - payersA gift to the nuclear power industry, The River Reporter May 18, 2016 — State officials are in the midst of a round of meetings regarding the state’s proposed Clean Energy Standard (CES), which will determine how much renewable electricity will be distributed to customers by utilities in years to come. The proposed plan calls for the state to generate 80% of electricity from renewable power by 2050, which is certainly a laudable goal.

Incredibly, however, the proposed CES mandates that rate-payers keep the state’s four nuclear power plants alive by paying higher-than-market prices for the expensive electricity produced by the plants.

As Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy, wrote in a memo, “The proposed Clean Energy Standard also includes a gift to nuclear corporations operating in Upstate New York. Due to low electricity prices, declining demand, competition from wind power, and rising nuclear costs, New York’s four upstate reactors have been struggling economically. Two are on the verge of closure unless they receive a financial lifeline. Tucked into the ‘Clean Energy Standard’ is that lifeline. In addition to requiring that utilities and ESCOs [Energy Supply Companies] purchase renewable energy, the policy would mandate that utilities buy 4.6% of the electricity they deliver in 2017 from nuclear reactors ‘facing financial difficulty.’ By 2020, utilities would be required to buy 15.7% of electricity from unprofitable nuclear plants.”….

while proponents call nuclear power a form of clean energy because it doesn’t release any carbon into the air while electricity is being generated, the process of collecting uranium to power the nuclear plants could hardly be considered clean.

Again, according to Azulay, the mining of uranium is largely unregulated and there are over 15,000 abandoned uranium mines in this country that have not been cleaned up. She says, “After mining, uranium is processed into uranium dioxide ore at a mill; milling generates vast amounts of radioactive and toxic tailings that are deposited on the ground or in open ponds. The fuel is then enriched in an energy-intensive process. By the time fuel is delivered to a reactor for use, approximately 25,000 pounds of mining waste (rock, mill tailings, and depleted uranium) have been generated for each pound of nuclear fuel.”

Nuclear power plants are not the answer to present or future energy needs, and New York State taxpayers should not be asked to pay for those that become unprofitable. Comments regarding the CES are due by June 6, and a sample comment and submission instructions can be found at

May 20, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

‘Generation IV’ nuclear companies desperate for tax-payers’ money

Emperor's New Clothes 3

hungry-nukes 1Flag-USANuclear Firms: More Federal Money for Advanced Reactors. Bloomberg BNA,  By Rebecca Kern May 17 — Nuclear companies said in a Senate hearing that continued support from Congress is needed to further develop and commercialize advanced nuclear reactors, several of which are getting some Department of Energy funding.

“Successful completion of the DOE cost-share program depends on sustained congressional support and continued appropriations,” John Hopkins, chairman and chief executive officer of NuScale Power LLC, an advanced nuclear reactor company, said at a May 17 Senate Energy and Natural Resources hearing on advanced reactors. “We appreciate your past support and we ask that you continue to prioritize small modular reactor programs in a tight budgetary environment.”……

NuScale has been receiving cost-share grants from the DOE since 2013 and expects to submit its first-of-a-kind small modular reactor licensing application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by the end of 2016, Hopkins said……

John Gilleland, chief technical officer of TerraPower LLC—a nuclear design company developing a generation-four reactor—also said there is a need for more government funding….

TerraPower is working with the China National Nuclear Corporation, an economic corporation overseen by the Chinese government, to develop a 1,200 megawatt electric liquid sodium-cooled fast reactor that uses depleted uranium as fuel in the metallic form. They hope it will be commercially deployable in the 2020-2030 time frame, Gilleland told Bloomberg BNA May 17.

Support for Advanced Nuclear Bills

Jacob DeWitte, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oklo, an advanced reactor start-up company, lauded the work done by the committee to pass the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012) in late April (76 ECR, 4/20/16). The bill included language from a bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) that would establish a National Nuclear Innovation Center between the Energy Department and the NRC to establish capabilities for the private sector to test and demonstrate advanced reactor concepts.

He also supported S. 2795 introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) that would promote the development of advanced nuclear technologies, which is being marked-up by the Senate Environment and Public Works committee this week…..

Also, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) has introduced H.R. 4979 which would direct DOE and the NRC to work together on an advanced nuclear reactor framework. This bill will be marked up by the House Energy and Commerce committee this week (92 ECR, 5/12/16)……

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl

May 20, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Russia plans for Africa to be its nuclear colony, starting with south Africa

Russian-Bearflag-S.AfricaHow Russia Is Expanding Its Vast Nuclear Empire Into Africa, AFK Insider By Dana Sanchez   May 19, 2016, Russia’s government-owned nuclear agency Rosatom hopes to use South Africa as a springboard into the rest Africa as it seeks to expand its influence on the continent by building nuclear power plants.

Rosatom plans to sign framework cooperation agreements with Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, adding to those already made with South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana, Reuters reported.

Right now, South Africa may be the best prospect. Nigeria looks less likely as its economy contracts in the global oil price plunge.

“Given the extremely bad economic situation in Nigeria today, it might take a bit longer. But the government and the new president are still determined to go nuclear,” said Viktor Polikarpov, Rosatom’s vice-president of sub-Saharan Africa.

South Africa in 2015 approved a plan to develop up to 600 megawatts of nuclear capacity by 2030 as part of a bigger plan to build 9,600 megawatts of nuclear power at up to nine new nuclear reactors……

Environmental activist group Greenpeace warned the ANC in 2015 to abandon nuclear build plans or face massive resistance, NuclearNews reported.

“The ANC needs to know that if it does go for the nuclear option as part of the (energy) mix, then they are on a collision course with the broader spectrum of the South African civil society,” said Greenpeace Director Kumi Naidoo said on Monday that the ANC should “take nuclear off the table.

Russia has competition to do the nuclear build from China, France and South Korea, Reuters reported. It’s already planning to seek more deals across the region that range from building power plants to supplying reactor fuel.

“What we are targeting is to build South Africa as a nuclear cluster of nuclear industries so that we can use our partners and our partnership for our expansion into Africa,” Polikarpov said in an interview Tuesday in Cape Town.

Rosatom can offer financing options, Polikarpov said, according to Bloomberg. These include a contract with a state-export credit offered to the government of South Africa, a buyer-owner operator agreement, a public-private partnership, or a combination of them…….

The allure of the turnkey nuclear power plant, built, owned and operated by Rosatom, allows governments across the world to embrace such projects. But for Russia they are much more than a major economic export. They are another geopolitical tool, allowing the Kremlin to tie up strategic governments into long-term cooperation.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | AFRICA, marketing, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Revolutionary solar power: London Borough’s solar panels over marketplace

flag-UKLondon borough installs 6,000 solar panels over marketplace  £2m scheme by Hounslow council on Western International Market will be biggest solar scheme by any local authority, and use batteries to store energy. London council is unveiling a vast installation of 6,000 solar panels on a wholesale market rooftop, which it says is the largest such array put up by a local authority.

solar market London borough

The London Borough of Hounslow says its £2m investment in solar, which has been installed on the roof of Western International Market, is also the first by a council to adopt battery storage to maximise the power from the panels.
The 1.73 megawatt (MW) array of 6,069 panels and four 60kW lithium batteries system now generates half the site’s required electricity.

The site is west London’s largest wholesale market for fresh produce and flowers, and uses around 3.5 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity to provide climate controlled facilities to around 80 wholesalers and buyers – the equivalent of 1,750 homes a year.

Hounslow council, which owns the market near Heathrow Airport, says the solar system will contribute 2% of its carbon reduction target, cutting emissions by more than 780 tonnes a year.

It will also save £148,000 in energy costs which, along with £100,000 in generation tariff payments and £7,000 in export tariffs, means that the council expects to be £255,000 better off in the first year of operation.

Charles Pipe, energy manager at Hounslow, said: “From the very beginning, this project has been about reducing our carbon footprint and making an investment for the future. “But we have achieved so much more than that. Not only can we expect to see immediate savings on our electricity bills, but we are expecting to see a return on this investment in about five years.”

LG Electronics, one of Hounslow’s partners in the scheme, said it was the company’s largest solar panel installation in Europe and would deliver significant costs savings to the borough.

LG Solar’s UK senior solar sales manager Bob Mills said: “What’s more, the project has set the wheels in motion for further investment and research into the potential of battery storage, which is set to revolutionise the solar industry.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, energy storage, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change exacerbates wildfires – Canada’s tragedy

Wildfires burn in Alberta on May 7. Photo by Darryl Dyck / BloombergAs Alberta wildfire rages, thousands who fled must wait weeks to go home
The more than 88,000 Fort McMurray residents evacuated during the wildfire must wait until June to begin a phased re-entry plan, says Alberta premier,
Guardian,  , 19 May 16, The wildfire in northern Alberta continues to rage out of control, growing to more than 423,000 hectares as officials said it would be at least another two weeks before the tens of thousands of evacuated Fort McMurray residents would be allowed to return to the city.

Relief – in the form of cooler weather and slight precipitation – may be on the way for fire crews, Rachel Notley, the Alberta premier, said on Wednesday. “So of course we’re all crossing our fingers that that happens.”

While the fire had expanded by 68,000 hectares in the past day, making it more than six times the size of Toronto, much of the fire’s growth has been confined to remote forested areas.

Earlier this week, shifting winds forced the evacuation of 8,000 non-essential staff from more than a dozen camps and sites north of Fort McMurray. Hours later, the fire consumed an oil sands camp belonging to Horizon North Logistics, and authorities warned the fire was fast approaching the Syncrude and Suncor Energyfacilities in the area.

On Wednesday the government said firefighters had been able to hold off the fire from the oil sands facilities. “We were very successful in some of the areas there to the north, so the fire hasn’t encroached as far as we had first feared,” said Chad Morrison, Alberta’s manager of wildfire prevention. “It was very unfortunate that we lost one lodge and that’s obviously due to the extreme fire behaviour.”

In early May, the fire transformed from one that was largely in controlto a raging wildfire that breached the city of Fort McMurray. Amid heavy smoke and flames that licked city streets, more than 88,000 residents were ordered evacuated.

The Alberta premier said that residents would be able to return to the city beginning 1 June, in a phased re-entry plan that would see residents in the least-damaged areas be allowed in first. By 4 June, residents of neighbourhoods like Beacon Hill, where the fire destroyed an estimated 70% of homes, will be allowed to return.

The dates are tentative, stressed Notley, and contingent on the fire’s behaviour in the coming weeks. “This is our best guess,” she said. “If conditions change as they did just this week, the voluntary re-entry may begin later than 1 June.”…….

Speaking in Ottawa on Wednesday, Don Forgeron, the chief executive of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said the fire will likely be the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history, estimating that the cost to insurers would land somewhere between C$3 billion and C$9 billion.

The world, he said, was now in a new era in which disasters such as fires and floods were happening more often. He pointed to a recent report by Canada’s parliamentary budget officer predicting that disasters linked to climate change could cost the government an average of C$902m a year over the next five years. “Climate change … has moved from future threat to present danger,” Forgeron said.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

One of the world’s oldest nuclear plants helped build the Jewish state’s secret nuclear arsenal

Israel’s atomic angst May 21st 2016

A textile factory with a differenceOne of the world’s oldest nuclear plants helped build the Jewish state’s secret nuclear arsenal

Dimona Israel Nuclear

WITH its cupola dully glinting in the sun across kilometres of an exclusion zone in the Negev Desert, the nuclear reactor near the Israeli town of Dimona has for decades been the subject of intense speculation. Its bland official name, the Centre for Nuclear Research, belies a martial purpose. Foreign intelligence services, atomic scientists and a former Israeli employee claim that it is the source of fissile material used to make Israel’s nuclear weapons.

The country’s atomic secrets have always been closely guarded, so little is known about the plant at Dimona. However, officials at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) admitted at a scientific conference last month that the reactor is showing its age. An ultrasound inspection of the aluminium core found 1,537 small defects and cracks, they said. The lifetime of such a reactor is usually around 40 years. At 53, Dimona is one of the world’s oldest operating nuclear plants.

The reactor, which was supplied by France, was switched on 15 years after the establishment of the state of Israel. The embattled country’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, insisted that Israel needed a nuclear deterrent. The programme was spearheaded by his assistant, Shimon Peres, and the main components were first activated in 1963. The government claimed that Dimona was a “textile plant”.

Many of the ancillary systems in the reactor have been renewed or replaced, but the core itself cannot be swapped out. The flaws that have been detected are closely monitored and there is no serious suggestion that the reactor is unsafe. Yet in most other countries it would have been deactivated long ago. Safety concerns will only increase with time.

Israel has never used its reactors for generating electricity. Along with the United States, France, Russia and China, it is one of the few countries believed to have acquired the nuclear “triad”. It can deliver nuclear weapons as bombs dropped from an aircraft, as warheads on a land-launched missile (since the 1970s) and on missiles fired from submarines.

The third leg of the triad is thought to have been added in 1999, when Israel received the first of six planned submarines. These were built and largely paid for by Germany. If, as reported, they can launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, this would give Israel a “second-strike” capability, allowing it to retaliate even if an enemy were to destroy its air bases and missile silos in a nuclear “first strike”. In January Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said: “Our submarine fleet will act as a deterrent to our enemies who want to destroy us.”

Nuclear experts estimate that Israel has between 80 and 200 warheads, more than enough to deter would-be attackers. The dilemma facing Israel is whether to close the ageing reactor that helped make them. If it does, it would be unlikely to get the materials needed to build a new one, since it has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Yet Uzi Even, a former member of the IAEC and Dimona scientist, argues that the reactor should be shuttered. (A smaller and older reactor, supplied by America in 1960 for research purposes, is scheduled to be deactivated in 2018 and replaced by a particle accelerator.)

Dimona’s defenders say it has both symbolic value (as a reminder that Israel will defend itself fiercely) and practical uses, too. It is a source of materials needed to maintain nuclear warheads, such as tritium (which decays, but could theoretically be produced or procured by other means). It is also the centre of a “secret kingdom” of scientists whose capabilities the government is loath to give up.

For nearly six decades, Israel’s policy of “nuclear opacity” has served it well. Its Arab neighbours are convinced it is a nuclear power, but Israel clings to the ambiguous formulation that it “will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the region”, neither acknowledging nor denying its capabilities. With powerful neighbours still openly advocating its destruction, the Jewish state will keep its doomsday weapons. But its ageing reactor? Perhaps not.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | history, Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA House and Senate committees approve bills favouring “new nuclear” companies

safety-symbol-Smenvironmental groups raised concerns with H.R. 4979 in a May 17 letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, saying changes to the NRC’s licensing framework could lead to safety concerns.

text-my-money-2Ed Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he had concerns with requiring the Energy Department to split the costs of advanced reactor development, because this ultimately would be borne by taxpayers.

House, Senate Panels OK Advanced Nuclear Reactor Bills Bloomberg BNA,  By Rebecca Kern May 18 — House and Senate committees approved two bills May 18 that would create a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the review of advanced reactors.

During separate hearings, the House Energy and Commerce Committee favorably reported out the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act (H.R. 4979), and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S. 2795)………

Emperor's New Clothes 3NuScale Power LLC will be the first company to submit a licensing application to the NRC by year-end for its advanced small modular reactor that is 50 megawatts and can be transported by rail, truck or barge (95 ECR, 5/17/16).

The bills will next go to the House and Senate floors, although no schedules for votes have been announced.

Dan Schneider, the Energy and Commerce’s press secretary, told Bloomberg BNA May 18 that the committee members look forward to working with the co-sponsors of S. 2795 once the House passes H.R. 4979 to work out differences between the bills.

Environmentalists Cite Concerns

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May 20, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Egypt goes into $25 billion nuclear debt to Russia

Russian-Bearflag-EgyptEgypt gets $25 billion loan from Russia for nuclear plant BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MAY 19, 2016 CAIRO – Egypt has announced a $25 billion loan from Russia for the building of a nuclear power plant.

Thursday’s announcement came in a decree by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The Russian loan will cover 85 per cent of the expenses of the plant’s construction.

Egypt, which will cover the other 15 per cent, is to repay the loan over a 22-year period, starting in 2029, with a 3 per cent annual interest rate.

Egypt and Russia agreed in February 2015 to build the plant together and signed a memorandum of understanding on the project. But the relations between the two nations were badly impacted after the horrific Russian passenger plane crash in Sinai last October, when all 224 people on board were killed.

Egypt’s economy has plummeted amid a slump in the tourism sector.

May 20, 2016 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Berkely Lab finds that Solar Power brings Environmental and Public Health Benefits

sunFlag-USANew Berkeley Lab Study Tallies Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Solar Power, Berkely Lab,  Jon Weiner 510-486-4014 • MAY 18, 2016 Berkeley, CA — Solar power could deliver $400 billion in environmental and public health benefits throughout the United States by 2050, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

“We find that a U.S. electric system in which solar plays a major role—supplying 14% of demand in 2030, and 27% in 2050—would result in enduring environmental and health benefits. Moreover, we find that the existing fleet of solar plants is already offering a down-payment towards those benefits, and that there are sizable regional differences in the benefits,” said Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area.

The total monetary value of the greenhouse-gas and air pollution benefits of the high-penetration solar scenario exceeds $400 billion in present-value terms under central assumptions. Focusing on the existing end-of-2014 fleet of solar power projects, recent annual benefits equal more than $1.5 billion under central assumptions.

The report, The Environmental and Public Health Benefits of Achieving High Penetrations of Solar Energy in the United States, may be downloaded here. The report is part of a series of papers published as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s On the Path to SunShot study. The DOE launched the SunShot Initiative in 2011, with the goal of driving down the cost of solar energy so that it was cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. The new reports take stock of the progress already made, and highlight various barriers and opportunities that remain to achieving SunShot-level cost reductions. The full set of reports, including two others involving Berkeley Lab, can be found here…..

May 20, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment