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NBC4 is revealing LA’s Nuclear Secret – investigative journalism spells it out

highly-recommendedsecret-agent-SmLA’S NUCLEAR SECRET

You really need to go to the link above and read the original article. It makes it easy for you to follow up aspects and find details

Years of mishandling dangerous radioactive materials and chemicals has also left a toxic legacy for generations of people living near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory.  BY JOEL GROVER AND MATTHEW GLASSER

Tucked away in the hills above the San Fernando and Simi valleys was a 2,800-acre laboratory with a mission that was a mystery to the thousands of people who lived in its shadow. In a place called Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), there was a secret collaboration between the U.S. government and private companies to test the limits of nuclear power.

For decades, scientists and staff at SSFL experimented with new types of nuclear reactors, advanced rocket systems and futuristic weapons. While this research helped launch Americans into space and provided a better understanding of nuclear power, years of mishandling dangerous radioactive materials and chemicals has also left a toxic legacy for generations of people living near the site. The scientists are now gone, but acres and acres of radioactive and chemical contamination remains right above the neighborhoods of thousands.

The NBC4 I-Team spent a year investigating the story of the Santa Susana Field Lab. Our work involved interviews with whistleblowers, an intense review of more than 15,000 pages of government, academic and corporate documents, and interviews with dozens of community members, experts and public officials. We now know these families have been living in the shadow of one of the nation’s worst nuclear disasters in history and for the first time, NBC4 is revealing LA’s Nuclear Secret. Continue reading


May 21, 2016 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA using Westinghouse nuclear reactors and fuel to compete with Russia for European dominance

How Washington Is Fighting For Russia’s Old Europe Energy Market, Forbes, Kenneth Rapoza , 17 May 16,  
Russia-USA marketing

The U.S. is going after Russian nukes in Europe. And they’re counting on just one company to do it. Oddly enough, it’s Japanese.

If you thought the energy security issue the U.S. has been selling to Europe was only about American liquefied natural gas, look closer. It’s also about Russian nuclear energy behind the old Iron Curtain.

Energy security in Eastern Europe is a thermo-nuclear reactor war that mainly pits Westinghouse Electric (WEC) against Russian Rosatom. It’s a drawn-out and extremely costly energy game the U.S. is trying desperately to win. State Department chief Hillary Clinton even “lobbied” for Westinghouse in Prague in 2012.

It’s not a secret.

Westinghouse Chief Executive Danny Roderick says Clinton’s showing made a big impression on the Czechs. “I was proud that she was in the trenches with me,” he reportedly said.

The unstated goal: lessen Russian control of the nuclear power market in Eastern Europe, even if that does not translate into an immediate market share for Westinghouse. Historically, for some of those countries Rosatom and its fuel assembly maker TVEL are the only game in town. Continue reading

May 21, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, marketing, politics international, Russia, USA | 1 Comment

Drastic impact of climate change: NASA shows these effects

Climate change effects shown in NASA images highlight drastic impact  [EXCELLENT PICTURES] 

MAY 20, 2016 THINK the science of climate change is not settled? These confronting before and after photos of shrinking glaciers and disappearing lakes may well change your mind.

The images released by NASA’s climate change arm reveal just how much our world has changed — some in months, others over years.

From the whiting event in Lake Kivu in Central Africa, to a flooding Mississippi River in the US, the before and after photos reveal startling changes in some places across the world, some in the space of just a few short years.

Other dramatic pictures reveal the effects of fire and flooding.

Glaciers also come up for mention with Alaska’s Columbia Glacier a particular cause for concern.

NASA: Climate Change and Global Warming

The glacier which descends through the Chugach Mountains into Prince William Sound used to extend to the northern edge of Heather Island, near the mouth of Columbia Bay in the 1700s.

But in 1980 it began a rapid retreat and according to NASA has now “thinned so much that the up and down motion of the tides affects its flow as much as 12km upstream, until the glacier bed rises above sea level and the ice loses contact with the ocean.”

NASA said the gallery, which is constantly updated, aimed to “present stunning images, mostly from space, of our ever-changing planet, chronicling changes taking place over time periods ranging from days to centuries.”

The agency said the before and after images not only aimed to show the impacts of climate change but also highlighted the destruction caused by wildfires and floods.

The pictures also show the retreat of glaciers as well as the human impact on urban areas due to population growth.

The gallery, which features dozens of images across the globe, also allows people to zoom in on their own area to see what changes are taking place around them.

Some of the images are just days old, showing recent impacts.

While scientists have been warning about the danger of the Earth warming up for years, climate change sceptics claim it’s a myth.

These images may put that into perspective.

It wouldn’t be the first time NASA has revealed a frightening future for the planet.

Just last year NASA also warned sea levels will rise by a metre over the next century.

Experts predicted an ice sheet the size of Queensland is melting faster than expected which could cause massive storm surges capable of decimating Australia’s coastal cities within the next century.

Scientists said satellite images revealed large sections of Greenland and Antarctica are vanishing at a much faster rate than previously anticipated, and predict sea levels will rise even further than originally thought.

The stark warnings from NASA are echoed by the World Bank which on Wednesday issued a warning that the world is underprepared for major risks posed by extreme weather and other hazards.

It warned by 2050, 1.3 billion people and $217 trillion in assets will be affected by worsening river and coastal floods.

The World Bank also predicted this will only get worse with rising population growth and migration.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA NOT receptive to Russia’s proposal for joint strikes on Syrian rebels

Russia urges joint strikes on Syria rebels but U.S. reacts coolly, Reuters, 20 May 16 Russia has proposed to the U.S.-led coalition that they stage joint air strikes on Syrian rebels, including militant Islamist group Nusra Front, who are not observing a ceasefire, but the United States responded coolly on Friday.

Such action would begin as of May 25 and be coordinated with the Syrian government, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a Defence Ministry meeting broadcast on state television, adding Moscow reserved the right to stage strikes unilaterally.

He said joint air strikes should also target convoys carrying weapons and ammunition crossing into Syria from Turkey.

“We believe the adoption of these measures will allow a transition to a peaceful process to be achieved in the entire territory of Syria,” he said. “Of course, these measures have been coordinated with the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic.”……

Washington has consistently refused to join forces with Russia in Syria ever since Moscow launched its campaign of air strikes in September last year, accusing it of acting solely to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The United States has called on Assad to step down.

Communication between the U.S. and Russian militaries on Syria has been limited to contacts aimed at avoiding an accidental clash as they carry out rival bombing campaigns and small numbers of U.S. forces operate on the ground.

Western officials suggested that the proposal, which the Pentagon said had not been formally presented to the U.S. Defense Department, was an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to raise Russia’s profile on the international stage.

“There is no agreement to conduct joint air strikes with the Russians in Syria,” said U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby. He added that the United States believed that Assad’s government was responsible for most of the violations of the fitful ceasefire that began on Feb. 27.

“We look to Russia to end such (government) violations, which includes strikes that have hit civilians and civilian facilities,” he said.

While Russia supports the Assad government, the United States and its allies support rebels trying to overthrow him in a civil war that has burned for more than five years and killed at least 250,000 people.

However, both sides oppose the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, which was not included in a ceasefire deal which has failed to prevent widespread violence. A U.S. military strike killed Nusra Front’s leader, Abu Firas al-Suri, in April.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the U.S. aim remains for Russia to persuade Assad to abide by the cessation of hostilities in Syria, saying it was not the first time Russia had made such a proposal…….

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The spread of particles with plutonium and cesium, from Fukushima nuclear fuel

plutonium_04Expert: Billions of pieces Fukushima nuclear fuel have spread pretty much everywhere — “It’s truly frightening… wherever there’s cesium, there’s plutonium” — Atomic bomb had one pound of uranium… Fukushima had hundreds of tons — TV: “Abundant quantities” of plutonium are being found (VIDEO) Japan Speaking Tour Series No. 3, Feb 24, 2016 (emphasis added):

  • Maggie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education Podcast host: One of the things that you’ve talked about and [environmental scientist Marco Kaltofen, PhD, PE] have talked about is internal radiation exposures and hot particles. What’s the difference between a bomb exploding and a nuclear plant exploding in the hot particles?
  • Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer and former nuclear engineer (emphasis added): Most of the bomb exposure was from a direct flash that was over in seconds. There wasn’t a significant amount of contamination on the ground because the bomb went off 1,000 feet in the air. So there was not a lot of radiation residual left on the ground for hot particles to get into people’s lungs… That’s not what we’re seeing at Fukushima Daiichi. Everything I’m finding here is millions and billions of very, very small particles that are spread pretty much everywhere. We’ll know a little bit more about that in the future… There’s no comparison between a bomb and what happened at Fukushima. A bomb obliterated maybe a pound of uranium and it was a thousand feet in the air, so most of it went up almost immediately; whereas each of the nuclear reactors at Fukushima had 100 tons of uranium in them so that the quantity of radiation that’s spread out throughout the countryside is orders of magnitude higher at Fukushima than it was at Nagasaki.

Fairewinds Japan Speaking Tour Series No. 2, Feb 17, 2016:

  • Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds’ Chief Engineer and former nuclear engineer (at 2:30 in): We found a parking lot at a supermarket [in Fukushima] that had a large radioactive source right in the middle… that people were walking over and driving over. It was loaded with black radioctive dust just wherever you go – it’s everywhere
  • AG: One of the samples that one of my fellow scientists collected showed plutonium –and significant amounts of plutonium. It was in a square meter… he was getting 19 disintegration per second [becquerels] of plutonium. That stuff is going to be around for a quarter million years
  • Maggie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education Podcast founder: That plutonium was part of the core that came out then in the explosion, correct?
  • AG: Yeah, the only source it could ever have come from is inside that nuclear reactor.
  • MG: And the plutonium is being redeposited at locations that where unanticipated?
  • AGYeah, it’s everywhere.… It is everywhere, and we’re very careful, we’re wearing gloves all the time, respirators all the times…
  • AG: Wherever the ground is exposed, there is a high level of radiation in the mountains around here… it’s all going to run right off and into the Pacific Ocean…
  • MG: You talked about the plutonium — where was that found?…
  • AG: The plutonium was found in a farmer’s field about 10 miles from the power plant, it was found because that’s where they looked. If it’s sitting out in that farmer’s field, it’s everywhere. Wherever there’s radiation — cesium — there’s going to be plutonium, and that’s truly frightening… It’s pretty clear that significant amounts of plutonium are scattered throughout the hillsides… plutonium has got a 25,000 year half-life, so it’s a quarter of a million years before it’s gone.

Discovery, Dec 27, 2015: “Although only limited areas of Fukushima are allowing residents to come back, that doesn’t mean these areas are safe. You can still find dangerous radioactive elements such as cesium, strontium, and plutonium in abundant quantities here.”

Fairewinds’ podcasts here: No. 2 | No. 3 — Watch Discovery broadcast here

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Japan’s Abe government intent on 2020 Olympics, pretending that Fukushima is OK now

 Fukushima Flunks Decontamination, CounterPunch, 20 May 16. by ROBERT HUNZIKER  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.

Fukushima: Living with a Disaster

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……

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.”…..

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

UK designs for more beautiful nuclear reactors

Rudd, Amber UKRealistic or idyllic? Nuclear plant designs shortlisted

A series of possible designs for the new Moorside nuclear development in Cumbria have been drawn up.

NuGen invited designers from around the world to come up with ideas for what would become Europe’s biggest new nuclear power plant.

Here are some of the schemes have been shortlisted for different parts of the nuclear development.

The shortlisted ideas were selected by an independent panel of experts, including Sir Terry Farrell (the British architect and urban designer famous for work including the MI6 Building in London) and Paul Tiplady (former Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park Authority).

The architecture and landscape community have embraced the challenge and have delivered some thoughtful, considered and visually breath-taking proposals for our Moorside Project.

We’ve narrowed the entries down to five – but we’re very keen to hear what the public think of our selection.


May 21, 2016 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

Ruhr nuclear plant intentionally pumped radioactive waste into atmosphere

exclamation-Smflag_germanyRuhr nuclear plant ‘pumped radioactive waste into air’, the Local de 20 May 2016 A former engineer at one of Germany’s nuclear reactors has made an astonishing claim: that the plant intentionally pumped radioactive waste into the atmosphere in 1986.

Speaking to the Westfälischer Anzeiger, 83-year-old retired engineer Hermann Schollmeyer apparently decided it was time to come clean, three decades after the incident he describes.

The official story had always been that radioactive waste was unintentionally leaked into the air at the THTR reactor in Hamm in May 1986, the western German newspaper reports.

But Schollmeyer now claims that the plant used the cover of the Chernobyl – which had released a cloud of radioactive waste over western Europe – to pump their own waste into the atmosphere, believing no one would notice.

“It was done intentionally,” Schollmeyer said. “We had problems at the plant and I was present at a few of the meetings.”

The problems related to balls of radioactive fuel getting stuck in the plant’s pipework…….

When asked why it took him so long to come forward about the incident, the engineer said “no one asked me before.”

Hubertus Zdebel, a member of parliament for the Left Party, told Neues Deutschland that “if Dr. Schollmeyer’s account is accurate we are talking about a scandalous and criminal action.”

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Germany, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

America gets Ukraine to hop on its nuclear power marketing bandwagon

Russia-USA marketingHow Washington Is Fighting For Russia’s Old Europe Energy Market, Forbes, Kenneth Rapoza , 17 May 16

“……..Nuking Ukraine

Getting Ukraine to hop on the Westinghouse band wagon was particularly crafty. Either it was simply fantastic timing on the part of Westinghouse, or the U.S. government and the new, post-Euromaidan government of Ukraine colluded to kick Russia to the curb.

“I think that Westinghouse was somehow involved in getting the EC to push Ukraine away from Russia on this front,” says Tomas Vlcek, an nergy security expert based out of Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

In March 2014, just two months after the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, a European environmentalist group called Bellona sent out stories saying that the Russian government was ready to punish Ukraine with an embargo on nuclear fuel supplies from TVEL.

When compared to what Gazprom has done with gas supplies, Putin ordering a stop on TVEL sales of nuclear fuel assemblies simply sounded like something he would propose. Only, it is not possible to ban nuclear fuel supply. Not only does the fuel rod stay in the reactor for years, someone else can make it for the reactor instead of the Russians. Like Westinghouse.

The Bellona coverage brandished Russia as a villain in the nuclear energy business too. Brussels called for “diversification” in Ukraine’s nuclear fuel market and gave Westinghouse’s European fuel division millions of euros in subsidies for the sake of “energy security”.

The whole shebang had nothing to do with Westinghouse in Pennsylvania. Their spokeswoman said she’s never heard of Bellona. Her colleagues in Europe, on the other hand-

Derek Taylor, the former E.U. civil servant who works at the Brussels branch of Bellona is also a Senior Advisor on energy at Burson-Marsteller which, in turn,is a public affairs firm working for Westinghouse worldwide.

Despite the civil war in East Ukraine, sanctions and Gazprom gas disputes, the Russians have never missed any scheduled nuclear fuel delivery to Ukrainian nuclear power plants.

Westinghouse is more than a brand name American power company. It’s a battering ram used by Washington to promote energy security.

In 2012, Ukraine’s nuclear regulator banned the use of Westinghouse fuel assemblies in the country pending an investigation. Two years later, according to sources in Ukraine, then-Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk consulted Westinghouse on picking a new nuclear safety regulator for his new government.

In 2015 during a scheduled outage at a reactor unit at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, two of the Westinghouse-made fuel assemblies were found to be leaking contrary to Westinghouse’s claims that those were of an ‘improved’ modification to fit the Rosatom VVER-1000 type nuclear reactors there.

Regardless, anti-Russia politics trumps technological problems. Westinghouse is currently planning to deliver five reloads of fuel to the South Ukraine and Zaporizhia nuclear power plants, the company said on April 28, meaning the new regulator has concluded its study and their VVER-1000 fuel assemblies are as good as those made in Russia. Capturing that market, as Toshiba says it will in corporate presentations, serves as a means to punish the Russians. It’s a political convenience the Russian’s are not willing to ignore.

“Our ability to make VVER fuel is not in question,” says Westinghouse Roderick. “We will continue to sell to VVER-1000s. I think it’s good to have competition in that market.”

It is good. Political pressure, whether Russian or American, is probably more harm than good. And it’s going to really irk countries, like Russia, who clearly see it as Washington poking them in the eye on purpose.

Energy security is therefore as much fact as it is fiction. It is as much a means to market Russian rivals as it is to limit the serious role energy politics plays in Russian-European relations.

But derailing nuclear projects while running into technical difficulties with Westinghouse fuel assemblies in Rosatom reactors is a dangerous way to promote energy security there. Paradoxically as it might seem, it plays into Russia’s hands when those projects to work according to plan. The Russians look reliable and solid by comparison.

“On the finance side too, I think Rosatom has Westinghouse beat,” says Jirusek about the Russian company’s ability to finance the construction of a new power plant and long term fuel supply deals.

Apart from Ukraine, where diversification was imposed for political reasons, Rosatom’s TVEL still holds its market share. Japan’s Westinghouse, despite paying no corporate tax in the U.S., will continue applying the pressure with the help of Washington and the U.S. taxpayer.

For the Russia-United States nuclear stand off , once again it is a war of attrition.

On May 12, Toshiba said it is coming back from the brink. It will post an operating profit of $1.1 billion this year after losing $6.6 billion last year due to massive write downs associated with Westinghouse and restructuring costs in the wake of a damaging accounting scandal.

No one should bet that Washington will suddenly stop selling their Westinghouse nukes to the Europeans. They could promote another Japanese-American hybrid, like the General Electric/Hitachi boiled water reactors. Or Oregon-based NuScale, who make a smaller modular reactor that is less capital intensive and is designed to be integrated into a renewable energy grid.  But they do not, obviously. It’s not because those are inferior products or even that Europe is currently a pressurized water reactor market. They do it because Westinghouse competes directly with the Russians. That’s what Washington is really after.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Thailand’s “Nuclear Energy for Peace Bill” – George Orwell would love it!

Cheers, doubts as nuclear energy bill gets NLA nod PRATCH RUJIVANAROM PRAPASRI OSATANON
THE NATION May 21, 2016  Move seen as facilitating the construction of nuclear power plant in the country.

THE NUCLEAR Energy for Peace Bill – seen as legislation that opens the door for nuclear power in Thailand -passed the National Legislative Assembly’s (NLA) consideration on Thursday. It received both cheers and opposition from academics and the public sectors…..
Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaign director Tara Buakamsri voiced concern this bill might not properly regulate radioactive material and nuclear waste transportation.

“We have cases of radioactive material and nuclear waste smuggling into Thailand and we need the regulatory body to control this activity. Moreover, the information disclosure about nuclear energy is still a problem,” Tara said.

He noted that the bill would also help facilitate nuclear power plant construction in Thailand, despite the nation still not being ready yet for this kind of energy.

“We have a very low budget compared to European countries to build nuclear power plants, so I’m afraid our nuclear power plants will have a safety problem and may cause harmful effects to the environment and people,” he said.

Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Science lecturer Jessada Denduangboripant said he was pleased the bill had passed.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaign director Tara Buakamsri voiced concern this bill might not properly regulate radioactive material and nuclear waste transportation.

“We have cases of radioactive material and nuclear waste smuggling into Thailand and we need the regulatory body to control this activity. Moreover, the information disclosure about nuclear energy is still a problem,” Tara said…..

May 21, 2016 Posted by | ASIA, politics | Leave a comment

Authorities hide the truth about illnesses from Fukushima nuclear radiation

Fukushima Flunks Decontamination, CounterPunch, 20 May 16. by ROBERT HUNZIKER  J

“………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……

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, health, Japan | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s Economic Nuclear Meltdown

How Washington Is Fighting For Russia’s Old Europe Energy Market, Forbes, Kenneth Rapoza , 17 May 16

“………Toshiba’s Economic Meltdown

Toshiba’s problems are Westinghouse’s problems. In Europe, going after the Russian market is a survival tactic.

Toshiba used to design and build reactors for half of Japan, also supplying those reactors with fuel. The March 2011 Fukushima disaster lit a match to those service contracts. Toshiba’s Fukushima reactors are decommissioned.

After Fukushima, Germany shut its reactors down, and they also used Westinghouse as a source for fuel rods, the assembly units that store the uranium that ultimately powers the reactor and makes energy. In less than two years, the company lost contracts at 60 reactors.

They were hemorrhaging money. Between 2012 and 2014, Westinghouse Electric’s cumulative operating losses reached $1.43 billion, according to Toshiba. Which means the company has no taxable income and, thus, is not paying taxes in the U.S. until its cumulative profits exceed that amount.

Their fuel fabrication plant in Västerås was on the verge of closing down.

Then the Ukrainian crisis came along. The Russians became super-duper bad guys and energy diversification was quickly put in play. While gas makes the headlines, nuclear power accounts for more than half of Ukraine’s electricity.

In March 2014, shortly after the annexation of Crimea and the first round of sanctions, the European Commission published an energy security strategy that included nukes as part of Europe’s energy diversification away from Russia. The EU issued a grant for $2.2

million to subsidize nuclear fuel diversification for Eastern European reactors. Guess who got the grant?

After the Czech Republic deal, Westinghouse secured a contract with the Bulgarian government to build a new AP1000 reactor at the Kozloduy nuclear power plant. It followed Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov’s decision to suspend the construction of a two reactor power plant in Belene, a joint project between Bulgaria’s National Electric Company and Rosatom. What became known as the “Belene saga” would later cost the Bulgarians $1.3 billion in payments and legal fees to Rosatom for not honoring a 2008 contract. The Russians, of course, think they were boondoggled.

Borisov practically admitted that the decision to scrap Belene and award the Kozloduy project to Westinghouse was more political than not. During a meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce, the Bulgarian News Agency quoted Borisov saying “We are one. We are friends… We stop Russian planes, we also stop three Russian (energy) projects, and if we aren’t your partners, then who is?”

Cheerleading From The State Department

An Oct. 30, 2015 unclassified State Department emails dated March 28, 2012 from Richard Morningstar, Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, addressed to Clinton’s Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, showed that Morningstar asked Abedin to pass on the message to Clinton that Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov told Morningstar his government had just canceled the Belene nuclear power project with Rosatom. He added that “Westinghouse is talking with the Bulgarians about doing a project at Kozloduy using the Russian reactor,” which probably means being the supplier of fuel rods instead of TVEL. The director of policy planning, Jacob Sullivan, was forwarded the email by Morningstar, to which Sullivan replied, “Not bad work.”

As competition between TVEL and Westinghouse continues, the United States will keep supporting Westinghouse projects, both politically and financially, to diminish the Kremlin’s influence, according to Stratfor.

“It would be wrong to suggest that no political influence takes place in the bidding process,” wrote Trusted Sources energy analysts led by James Henderson in an October 2014 study. 

Nuclear power accounts for 27% of the EU’s electricity generation via 131 units in 16 countries, according to a June 2014 study by the European Commission. Historically, in Eastern Europe, Russian share in nuclear tech market has been nearly 100%. Over the years, the industry has modernized to a point where any third party can build fuel rods to fit a competitor’s reactor.

Westinghouse can build fuel assemblies for Rosatom’s new and old-model reactors and vice-versa, with varying degrees of success and almost always at a higher price. Russia is the cheaper producer of the two, so when countries turn to Westinghouse for the fuel assemblies, they have to pay a premium for diversification.

The Russians have an edge. Rosatom has won all fuel supply tenders in Eastern Europe in the last 10 years, but back home in Russia there are no tenders to be head. None of 35 reactors operated by Rosatom in Russia have fuel suppliers other than TVEL. It’s a monopoly. That’s how they both get volume, money and the data necessary for quality improvement; a luxury Westinghouse does not have.

One source who wished to remain anonymous said Westinghouse is looking for market share in the fuel services markets of East Europe, because, “It’s the only way to prevent their looming insolvency,” this source said. “Their new reactor division is loss-making, the fuel division is their only cash cow and it is not growing and existing margins are getting slimmer and slimmer. We think Westinghouse has spent millions of dollars to include nuclear fuel as part of the energy security narrative, and the current E.U. sentiment against Russia play into their hand.”……..

May 21, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

South Australia gets rid of coal power, runs over 50% on renewable energy

South Australia runs mainly on renewable energy following coal plant closure,The Independent,  Gabriel Samuels 12 May 16  Majority of energy comes from solar and wind but the transition has been fraught with difficulties  South Australia now gets the bulk of its electricity from wind and solar power, following the closure of its last coal-fired power station.

The state, which includes the city of Adelaide,  exclusively has gas generators, solar panels and wind turbines serving a population of 1.7 million.

More than 50% of the region’s electricity stems from wind and solar with the remainder coming from energy efficient combined cycle gas plants.

The final coal station still in operation in Port Augusta closed down on May 9 after operating for 31 years. It generated 520 megawatts of power from coal but failed to compete with the falling price of clean renewable energy. Its closure produced a brief faltering in wholesale energy prices across the state.

The RenewablesSA transition initiative was established by the state govenment in late 2009 with a promise of $10 billion invested in low carbon generation by 2025…….

The state plans to become Australia’s wind and solar capital and is working towards complete reliance on natural sources

The state’s leading electricity provider, SA Power Networks, yesterday announced it will undertake Australia’s largest trial of storage batteries in solar homes in a bid to defer a $3 million network upgrade.

Meanwhile, last week Portugal ran entirely on renewable energy for four consecutive days between Saturday and Wednesday, in a bid to become completely reliant on natural resources.

The Independent has contacted RenewablesSA for comment.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

After 26 year battle for justice, Rocky Flats residents get some kind of deal from nuclear weapons plant operators

Deal reached between homeowners, weapons plant operators, Albuquerque Journal By Dan Elliott / Associated Press May 19th, 2016 DENVER — Thousands of homeowners have reached a $375 million settlement over their claims that plutonium releases from a nuclear weapons plant in Colorado damaged their health and devalued their property, officials said Thursday.

A federal judge must approve the agreement before it officially ends the 26-year legal battle between the residents and two corporations that ran the Rocky Flats plant for the federal government.

Perched on a wind-swept mesa west of Denver, Rocky Flats manufactured plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads until it closed in 1989 because of safety and environmental concerns. It’s the most prominent of Colorado’s Cold War relics, which also included a nerve gas manufacturing site east of Denver.

Few details of the settlement were available. The lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Merrill Davidoff, said the agreement has been submitted to the judge overseeing the case but no documents have been made public…….

The lawsuit took years to go to trial. In 2006, a jury found the companies had damaged nearby land and hurt residents’ health. In 2008, a judge ordered the companies to pay a combined $925 million.

An appeals court overturned the verdict and the award on Sept. 3, 2010, saying the homeowners hadn’t proved that plutonium releases from the plant had hurt their health or their property. The court said a decline in property value can’t be considered damage.

The case had been appealed to the Supreme Court, but the appeal has been dropped.

After a $7 billion cleanup that took 10 years, most of the 8-square-mile property became a wildlife refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The most heavily contaminated area remains off-limits to the public.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Russia aims to set up a nuclear sales empire, now pushing nuclear power to South East Asia

Putin Pushes Nuclear Power To Southeast Asia, Forbes, Kenneth Rapoza 20 May 16 Russian president Vladimir Putin did some lobbying for state owned Rosatom in Sochi on Friday, telling southeast Asian countries there that it was time to go nuclear.

Russia colonialism

“The level of cooperation between Russia and ASEAN in the fuel and energy sphere needs to be taken to a new level,” Putin was quoted as saying in the local press today. ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “Moscow is ready to cover the market and is ready to offer member countries projects on the construction of next generation nuclear electrical power stations,” he said during the Russia-ASEAN Summit in Sochi.

None of the 10 ASEAN nations are currently hooked up to nuclear power…..Rosatom is the world’s third largest developer of nuclear reactors. Its subsidiary TVEL producers fuel assembly rods, the technology that holds the uranium used to power the reactor and generate electricity. It competes with Westinghouse Electric Company, AREVA Inc. and now Chinese companies are starting to get in on the action, primarily in China but also in Eastern Europe, an historic strong hold for Russian utilities…..

No reactor deals between Rosatom and ASEAN nations have been signed at this time.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment