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

Tokyo Accused of Cooking Fukushima Radiation Data



Radiation readings conducted by private activists, 40 km from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility are about eight to ten times higher than those published by authorities, said Yoichi Tao who majored in physics. Research by Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, showing that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014 is being dismissed as based on “over diagnosing”.

Japanese grassroots activists and independent journalists continue to accuse Tokyo of cooking the data about the impact of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility (NPP).

Local government authorities in Iiate village in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture have recently been reporting the radiation levels at 0.38 microsieverts per hour. The village is located some 40 kilometers from the crippled nuclear power facility where cleanup operators struggle with not even knowing where the molten corium from three meltdowns went. It is “assumed” that it has molten its way into the ground underneath the crippled reactors. Some 300 tons of radioactive contaminated water per day continue to leak out into the Pacific Ocean.

The population is growing increasingly suspicious of the reliability of official data. For one, Tokyo adopted legislation that threatens citizens, including journalists, with up to ten years prison for releasing “unauthorized information” about the ongoing disaster.

The administration, in part pressured by Japan’s banking and finance industry, plans to re-start NPPs despite known, extreme earthquake risks. Data about adverse health impacts on clean-up workers and especially on children are suppressed. Funds for evacuated populations are cut for those who refuse to move back to so-called de-contaminated areas. De-contamination consists of removing the top soil in an approximately 100 meter wide zone around roads, residential areas and homes.

Yoichi Tao, who majored in physics, is one of the activists who is braving the central and local governments. Tao said that readings conducted by grassroots organizations show that the radiation levels are about 8 – 10 times higher than those that are being reported by official sources. Tao added that the government dispatched the military to de-contaminate isolated patches to the figures “look good”. “That’s how they do it”, he added.

Toshihide Tsuda, professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, discovered that the rate of children suffering from thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture was as much as 20 to 50 times higher than the national average as of 2014, three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. His finding, however, did not arouse concern from the Japanese and local governments. It was rejected by the Fukushima prefectural government, attributing the phenomenon to a surge of “over diagnosis.” The local government insisted the cancer incidents and nuclear radiation were not related.

Other experts, like Dr. Christopher Busby, warned that the distribution of the top soil from contaminated areas throughout Japan will make it even more difficult to extrapolate the statistical data that are required to assess the impact of the nuclear disaster. D. Busby suggests that this could be a deliberate policy.

The official narrative touted by the administration of prime Minister Shinzo Abe is that Japan has the situation “totally under control”. The administration also rejects that there should be any issues with holding the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In November 2015 the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Mitshei Murata, called on the President of the International Olympic Committee to move the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo or to cancel the games over the situation at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Murata wrote:

Not only do we have a continued contamination of the groundwater and the Pacific Ocean by the unstable plant, but the brittle structure of the damaged plant represents itself a serious threat, in particular in our earthquake prone region. Given the relative proximity of Tokyo, just some 200km South of Fukushima, represents in my view an ongoing risk for our largest city, for its citizens and all visitors. You might agree that one more alarming development as the recent earthquake of magnitude 8.1 just some weeks ago might indeed increase the pressure to stop the planning process of the 2020 games all together.

Murata urged IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach to discuss sending independent experts to Japan to assess the current and future risk situation emanating from the damaged nuclear plant. Murata added:

Personally I believe, that the IOC cannot and should not take on the responsibility to plan for the Olympic games in a region where daily 7000 workers are attempting to clean up a contaminated nuclear reactor. The meltdown of three of the four reactor cores in Fukushima, where the contamination is clearly not under control and where a natural disaster as an earthquake quickly could increase the danger, in my opinion should strongly advocate restraint.

Mitshei Murata offered that he would gladly cooperate with the IOC President and could help finding independent scientists and experts, who could assist the IOC assessing the current situation and the future risks. Mitshei Murata concluded his letter, stating that he had copied the letter to Physician friends of his who are part of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War IPPNW (Peace Nobel Prize 1985) and with others who have repeatedly issued critical statements on the poor management of the serious nuclear power plant accident in Fukushima.



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

Fukushima victims still suffer five years on

TOKYO, May 25 (Xinhua) — Iidate Village, about 40 kilometers from Japan‘s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, is now almost a ghost town.

Few human traces can be spotted, weeds are spreading, dirty water flows everywhere, and no living sounds can be heard except for a few raven’s croaks.

Japanese photographer Hida Shinsyuu has visited the nuclear contaminated zone more than 30 times. Looking through his camera, he often cannot hold back his tears.

Even more so, when he sees “nuclear refugees” suffering from diseases such as thyroid cancer yet having no one to turn to, he feels a lot of anger.

“In Fukushima, families who have thyroid cancer sufferers are experiencing loneliness and pain, as they are unwilling to reveal the “scars” to their relatives or friends, nor do they want to tell their children about the nuclear radiation,” said Shinsyuu.

In June 2015, Shinsyuu met a girl in Fukushima who had thyroid cancer. When the Fukushima nuclear accident broke out, the girl was at her junior high graduation ceremony.

The following year, she was diagnosed as thyroid cancer, and had surgery to remove the right part of her thyroid. In her third year of senior high part of her lymph nodes were removed.

However, the thyroid cancer returned after she entered college, and she had to quit school to remove her whole thyroid.

The girl told Shinsyuu that she had a dream of becoming a designer one day. Quitting school has made that dream distant.

Her parents are angry. No one has claimed responsibility for their child’s suffering. They were told her sickness had nothing to do with Fukushima.

The girl is just one of 166 teenagers who has been diagnosed with or suspected of having thyroid cancer, among whom 116 have undergone surgeries.

Five years following the nuclear crisis, the parents of children diagnosed with thyroid cancer in Fukushima have formed a group demanding the government provide convincing evidence that their children’s suffering is not related to the nuclear accident.

Sato Satiko, a mother living in Fukushima, complained about a governmental press conference to Spanish newspaper El Mundo in February.”Fukushima mothers were not allowed to ask even one question, all questioners were asked by pro-government press. The Japanese government and media are neglecting and humiliating us on purpose.”

Toshihide Tsuda, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Japan’s Okayama University, found that the incidence of thyroid cancer among children in Fukushima Prefecture was 20 to 50 times higher than the national average in 2014, three years after the disaster hit.

His findings, however, have fallen on deaf ears. The Fukushima prefectural government insists that the incidents of cancer and nuclear radiation are not related.

“The Japanese government hasn’t given any countermeasures against the children’s health problems in Fukushima,” said Tsuda. He says the government should learn from Chelnobyl and deal with the aftermath of the nuclear disaster seriously.

Nursing facilities to help reduce residual nuclear radiation are also lacking, according to Korobe Shinichi, a pediatrician and consultant for the Chernobyl Children’s Foundation.

“After getting treatment at the nursing facility for only four weeks, 30 percent of residual radioactive cesium in human bodies will be reduced,” said Shinichi.

However, such sanitariums set up after the accident are far less than those established after Chernobyl.

Based on the Japanese government’s approach, the long-term harm will probably be more serious than Chernobyl, Shinichi said.

He also pointed out that some families affected by the accident have become broken. Single mothers are suffering great mental stress and in urgent need of help.

Kanna Mitsuta, director of Japanese environmental protection organization “the Friend of the Earth Japan,” feels distressed about the Japanese government’s new policy of expediting the return of displaced Fukushima nuclear refugees.

The move actually means abandoning nuclear refugees in the name of reconstruction. Furthermore, the cause of the nuclear disaster has not been clarified and radioactive risks remain high in the refugees’ hometown, said Mitsuta.

A joint opinion poll conducted by national daily The Asahi Shimbun and the Fukushima local press in 2015 showed that over 70 percent of Fukushima residents were unsatisfied with the government’s countermeasures in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster. But for a government bent on putting the issue to rest, public opinion matters little.

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

Canada’s wildfires – surrounding a radioactive trash site

wildfire-nukeflag-canadaThe nuclear waste site at the heart of Canada’s wildfires south of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, in an area partly ravaged by flames, sits a nuclear waste site.

Situated at the extreme north of the Beacon Hill landfill tip, it contains some 42,500 m3 of radioactive minerals, including uranium and cesium.

But does it pose a threat to society today? According to information gained by euronews reporter Renaud Gardette, the site lies in the middle of the huge wildfires, blazing uncontrollably since May 1.

Why was the landfill created?

To understand the origins of the landfill site, we must first go back to 1982 when Canada launched an extensive exploration and containment of low-level radioactive land programme all over the territory. It was piloted by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office (LLRWMO).

In Fort McMurray, radioactive minerals were regularly discharged and used along the Northern Transportation Road. Built in the 1930s, the thoroughfare was initially used to transport uranium from the Port Radium mine (Northwest Territories) to Fort McMurray. From there, uranium was also transported by train to Port Hope, Ontario.

The Port Radium mine closed in 1960. Thefts and pillages occurred along the road and that is where the contamination is most visible.

The LLRWMO detected more radioactive sites around Fort McMurray. Work began in 1992 and, up to 2003, 42,500m3 of waste were sent to a specially-engineered landfill with a double layer of clay, several management systems, protection and monitoring, as well as a layer of earth and grass.

The site is monitored annually by the LLRWMO.

Does the site really exist?

The site’s existence is confirmed in several reports, including the Inventory of Radioactive Waste in Canada, published in 2012 by the LLRWMO.

What if?

Several questions have arisen. Was the site burnt in the wildfires? Have radioactive particles been emitted into the atmosphere? What is the risk to the environment?

For the moment, no specific warning has been triggered.

The response from the Canadian authorities

(Translated from French)

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and our Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Office are responsible for managing historic low-intensity radioactive waste located in the Beacon Hill dump at Fort McMurray. The site is at the north end of the Beacon Hill landfill site, which itself is south of the city of Fort McMurray and west of Highway 63. The approximate coordinates are: 56 degrees 39 ’10 “ N, 111 degrees 20 ’56 “W.

  • CNL manages these sites on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd, the federal corporation that is ultimately responsible for the safe management of historic low-intensity radioactive waste.
  • The low-intensity waste at Beacon Hill consists of uranium ore residue, mixed with soil and placed in isolation (in a separate cell), which is covered with a thick layer of low-permeability soil, then another, dense layer of clean earth. In total, there are at least 45 centimetres of clean soil over the contaminated soil.
  • According to the information available, it appears that the site was affected by the fires. That said, this does not pose any immediate risk to the health and safety of people and the environment. There are also no concerns about the physical integrity of the cell.
  • Given the composition of the contaminated soil, that is to say, ore residue mixed with earth, there is no risk that it will catch fire. In a similar way to a field or garden, fire can ignite the grass, but the earth itself does not catch fire.
  • We continue to monitor the situation closely.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Canada, climate change, safety | Leave a comment

Middle Eastern nuclear stations and radioactive materials – a cause for anxiety

terrorism-targets-2The Middle East: Culprit for my nuclear security insomnia Nilsu Goren, 24 May 16, 

What keeps me up at night—US East Coast time—is reading Turkey’s morning news concerning Syria and Iraq. The insomnia is especially severe when my thoughts turn to nuclear security not just in Syria and Iraq but in countries throughout the Middle East.

All participants in this roundtable agree that, despite the achievements of the Nuclear Security Summits, the threat of nuclear terrorism is not necessarily diminishing. In the Middle East, nuclear terrorism seems a particularly immediate concern. True, the region lacks large quantities of highly enriched uranium and plutonium. But its political instability and its tendency toward violent extremism are conditions that can enable nuclear terrorism.

According to the 2016 Nuclear Security Index, published by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Middle Eastern nations rank poorly when it comes to safeguarding their nuclear materials from theft. Of the 24 countries that possess at least 1 kilogram of weapons-usable nuclear materials, two are Middle Eastern: Israel and Iran. The Index ranks these countries near the bottom of the theft-protection list. Israel comes in at number 20 and Iran at 23.

Among the 152 countries with less than 1 kilogram of weapons-usable nuclear materials, about a dozen are Middle Eastern. They are all over the lot in their vulnerability to theft—from the United Arab Emirates at number 24 to Syria at 151 (just above Somalia). Clearly, the region’s efforts to prevent nuclear theft are not strong enough.

Where vulnerability to nuclear sabotage is concerned, the Middle East does even worse. Of the 45 countries in NTI’s sabotage index, five are Middle Eastern. Israel—the highest-ranking of the five—comes in at number 36. Iran is tied with North Korea for last place.

And as my roundtable colleague Hubert Foy has discussed, concern about nuclear materials is not limited to fissile materials. Radiological sources are also an issue of pressing concern. The Middle East’s generally lax security environment, along with its political instability, makes the misuse of radiological sources more likely in this region than in many other places.

Civilian radiological sources are ubiquitous, particularly in medicine. They would be relatively easy to access in children’s hospitals, for example. Luckily, most radioactive sources are not easily dispersible. Their half-lives are short. They could contaminate only limited areas. Moreover, anyone attempting to steal an unshielded source might die from acute radiation exposure. Still, using a radiological source in a “dirty bomb” could create panic and terror in local populations. A dirty bomb would turn affected areas into no-go zones for a number of years, which would have profound economic repercussions.

Another reason to be concerned about Middle Eastern nuclear security is the planned expansion of nuclear power in the region. Some nations, pointing toward Iran’s limited right to enrich uranium under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, will also wish to enrich uranium domestically. To be sure, such nations have the right to pursue the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including uranium enrichment. But in order to alleviate international concerns about their enrichment capacity, these nations must develop robust laws regarding nuclear security. They must establish procedures for secure interim storage of nuclear materials. And they must make final disposition plans for spent fuel and radioactive waste.

The International Atomic Energy Agency can help with all of those tasks. It has the authority, resources, and expertise for the job. But a lot of work will nonetheless fall to state regulatory authorities. A key challenge will be for regulators to establish independence from political authorities. A key component of success, meanwhile, will be identifying nuclear security approaches appropriate to the region—via close cooperation between regulators and the nuclear industry. Here the Nuclear Security Summits can extend their legacy. The Nuclear Industry Summits that ran parallel to the Nuclear Security Summits offer a valuable model for including industry in the dialogue toward establishing good nuclear security practices in the Middle East.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

UK governmnet not deciding on Hinkley nuclear station anytime soon

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKNo deadline set for final decision on Hinkley nuclear plant Energy minister tells MPs that no time limit has been set for EDF to make a final investment decision on the much-delayed nuclear plant, Guardian,  24 May 16    

The UK has set no deadline for the final go-ahead to the much-delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear plant, energy minister Andrea Leadsom told a committee of MPson Tuesday.

The head of the company aiming to build the new reactors, French state-owned EDF, told the same hearing he could not give a date for the decision nor confirm that it would start generating electricity in 2025, as previously pledged.

If built, the £18bn plant would generate 7% of the UK’s electricity and is a central plank of the government’s energy policy. EDF originally promised UK customers they would be cooking their Christmas turkeys with power from Hinkley by 2017. But the schedule has repeatedly slipped, amid concerns over the cost and difficulty of the project, which has led to questions about how the UK would keep the lights on without Hinkley……..

The energy secretary, Amber Rudd, said in April that a failure to build Hinkley would not mean the lights going out…

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

Death of long-term and highly respected anti nuclear activist Michael Mariotte

Flag-USAAnti-Nuclear Activist Michael Mariotte Dies at 63 And the leading anti-nuclear advocate Michael Mariotte has died at the age of 63. Mariotte served as executive director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service for three decades, leading successful campaigns to defeat two nuclear facilities and uphold restrictions on the transportation of radioactive waste. He also co-founded the newspaper that became the Washington City Paper. Mariotte died of pancreatic cancer at home in Kensington, Maryland, on May 16.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

America’s NRC changing nuclear fee structure to help Small Nuclear reactors: Shillenberger delighted

 NRC Sets Variable Fees for Small, Modular Nuclear Reactors    , Bloomberg,   By Rebecca Kern May 23 — The annual fee structure for small, modular nuclear reactors will vary depending on how much heat a reactor generates, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a final rule…….

text shillNuScale Power LLC is expected to be the first company in the U.S. to submit a small modular reactor design application to the NRC by the end of the year, with project commercialization by 2024. NuScale’s reactor modules would each generate 50 megawatts (95 ECR, 5/17/16).

The NRC is implementing a variable annual fee schedule for these reactors including a minimum fee, a variable fee and a maximum fee based on the reactor’s cumulative licensed thermal power rating, which is the total heat output for all modules at a nuclear power plant. …..

Safety Concerns from Environmentalists

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit organization focused on scientific research of environmental issues, opposes different fees for small modular reactors because the safety risk of these reactors is still unclear, it said.

“It’s not clear that the relative risk of SMRs and the effort needed to license and regulate them is proportional to the power rating,” Ed Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told Bloomberg BNA May 23. He said this is especially true “since SMR applicants are requesting exemptions that require significant technical analysis, such as reducing emergency planning zone size and weakening security requirements.”

Also, Lyman disagreed with the statement that the SMRs would require less regulatory oversight. “NRC inspections of a multi-module SMR bundled unit may be more complex and entail more labor than inspections of a single large reactor with the same power rating,” he said.

Similarly, Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information Resources Service, said he thinks that reduced fees for SMRs would ultimately impact NRC safety inspections.

“Smaller reactors means there would be several times more reactors requiring inspections and oversight for the same amount of power. Basing the fees on the generation capacity seems like it’s likely to starve the agency of resources to do its job,” he told Bloomberg BNA May 23.

TVA Submits Early Site Permit for SMR

The Tennessee Valley Authority submitted an early site permit application for the potential to construct and operate multiple small modular reactor units at its Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tenn. TVA is the first in the nuclear industry to submit any such application related to SMR technology to the NRC, TVA said in a May 13statement.

The utility, which currently operates three nuclear plants in the South, has not decided what company it would purchase the SMR technology from, a TVA spokeswman told Bloomberg BNA May 23.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl

May 25, 2016 Posted by | politics, technology, USA | 1 Comment

Californians want to palm off their nuclear waste problem onto Texas

radioactive trashFlag-USACalifornia looks to Texas to solve nuclear waste problem 

Dallas company has filed to open nuclear waste dump in West Texas

Californians say proposal is chance to move spent fuel from Rancho Seco, San Onofre plants

Moving radioactive materials out of earthquake zones still won’t happen till 2021

Southern California Edison announced in 2013 that it would permanently retire its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Clemente, California. What to do with the spent nuclear fuel at the site remains an unresolved issue. Mark Boster Tribune News Service


California lawmakers are rallying around a plan to relocate radioactive waste from the state’s shuttered nuclear power plants to a storage site in West Texas after failing to secure enough political support to move that waste to a repository in Nevada.

The Texas site is owned by Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists, which submitted a nuclear waste storage proposal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in April.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents parts of Orange and San Diego counties, said the proposed Texas site is California’s next best hope for moving high-level radioactive waste from areas vulnerable to earthquakes and other natural disasters………

“Seems like we’re on track to make West Texas the nation’s default nuclear waste dump after the one in Nevada fell through,” said Andrew Wheat, the research director for Texans for Public Justice, an advocacy group that targets what it labels the corrupt influence of corporate money in politics.Even if legislators and government officials do decide to move forward with building a nuclear waste facility in West Texas, it would still be years before Californians would see a reduction in the size of the toxic inventory at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Diego County, which was decommissioned in 2013, and the Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station in Herald, which was mothballed in 2009.

Waste Control Specialists did not respond to questions about how long it would be before the company would be able to relocate nuclear waste from California to Texas, but The Texas Tribune has reported that waste relocation efforts would not begin until 2021………

The U.S. government has compensated over 52,000 nuclear workers illnesses related to radiation exposure, but the process is complicated. Deaths resulting from exposure while working at the plants and the compensation process for survivors begs the question

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

Timing is all important, for iodine tablets to be effective against ionising radiation

North Rhine-Westphalia prepares for Belgium nuclear accident with iodine tablets, DW, 2q4 May 16“…….In the case of a nuclear disaster, timing is paramount in the administration of iodine tablets. The medication works by supplying the thyroid gland with a concentrated amount of “healthy” iodine. In theory, this should prevent the gland from absorbing any radioactive iodine released into the air in a nuclear accident.

Taken too early, however, “healthy” iodine will already have been partially or even completely broken down. Taken too late, the radioactive iodine will have already been absorbed by the thyroid – potentially increasing the risk of thyroid cancer.

The only nuclear accident to date, which called for the use of iodine tablets was the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. In Poland, some 10.5 million children and 7 million adults were successfully administered the “healthy” iodine, with later examinations reaping only positive results. In Belarus, however, where no iodine tablets were administered, thyroid cancer in children – which is usually extremely rare – was reported 100 times higher than normal.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Germany, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Sweden heads for 100% renewable energy

renewable-energy-pictureflag-SwedenSweden phases out fossil fuels in attempt to run completely off renewable energy Sweden’s prime minister announced his country will work towards becoming ‘one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states of the world’, Independent, 25 May 16  Samuel Osborne  @SamuelOsborne93  Renewables account for over half of Sweden’s energy, while the UK has one of the lowest renewable energy shares in Europe.

In 2015, Sweden’s prime minister announced his country will work towards becoming “one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states of the world,” in a speech to the UN General Assembly.

Between 2013 and 2014, 51.1 per cent of Sweden’s energy needs were met by renewables, according to data from Eurostat and the Renewable Energy Directive.

As the chart by Statista shows, [on original] Sweden’s renewable energy share (RES) was larger than that of many other European nations. ……

May 25, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

German State close to Belgium prepares iodine tablets, in concern about neighbouring nuclear stations

North Rhine-Westphalia prepares for Belgium nuclear accident with iodine tablets, DW, 24 May 16  Amid growing safety concerns over Belgium’s aging nuclear reactors, Germany’s most populous state has purchased iodine tablets in case of a nuclear accident. Activists insist the best solution is to close the plants. With plans already in place to end its domestic use of nuclear power by 2022, Germany has taken a clear stance on its use of nuclear energy since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

But while Berlin pushes forward with alternative renewable energy sources at home, across the border in Belgium, its efforts are overshadowed by two controversial nuclear power plants.

Tihange 2 and Doel 3 were both scheduled to be shut down in 2015. Under a deal to preserve jobs and invest in clean energy, however, Belgian officials decided to extend their operation until 2025.

Following reports that pressure vessels at both reactor sites have shown signs of metal fatigue, the two reactors have become a source of growing tension between Germany and Belgium in recent months. Just 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from Tihange, lies the German city of Aachen – home to some 240,000 people and best known as the residence of ninth century emperor, Charlemagne.

In April, German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks called on Brussels to carry out more teststo at the plant to show that Belgium “takes the concerns of its German neighbors seriously.” The 40-year-old reactors should be closed “until outstanding safety issues are resolved,” the minister said.

Fears have also grown over the possibility of terrorists targeting nuclear power plants, particularly after the March 22 terrorist attacks in the Belgian capital.

Brussels rejected Berlin’s request, claiming that the two plants “respond to the strictest possible safety requirements.” Less than a month later, however, Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block announced that in the case of a nuclear disaster, people living within a 100-kilometer (60-mile) radius of the reactor would be provided with iodine tablets in a bid to minimize the effects of radiation. With Belgium only 300 kilometers at its widest point, the majority of the country’s 11-million population would effectively be included in the measure.

Having heard nothing from Brussels on the closure of either power plant, the North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that they, too, would be taking similar preventative measures, with iodine tablets being made available to the over 45-year-olds, children and pregnant women in the case of a serious nuclear leak.

“We will gradually provide each municipality with iodine tablets,” spokeswoman for NRW Interior Ministry Marlin Mailänder told DW……

Anti-nuclear energy campaigners welcomed the move by the NRW Interior Ministry on Tuesday, but vowed to continue their campaign to close the nuclear reactors.

“Of course it’s a sensible step,” co-founder of the citizen initiative “Aachen Action Group Against Nuclear Engery,” Jörg Schellenberg, told DW.

“But the better solution would be to bring an end to the source of the danger,” he added. “We need to shut down the nuclear power plants once and for all.”

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Germany, safety | 1 Comment

Lithuania, and environmentalists not happy with Belarus’ nuclear power plan

flag-UkraineMinsk Letter: Belarus goes ahead with nuclear power, Irish Times,  Kieran Cooke in Minsk, 24 May 16, 

“…….Though Chernobyl is in Ukraine, it’s estimated that the prevailing winds resulted in up to 70 per cent of the radioactivity being deposited on Belarus, much of it in the southern region of the country, close to the Ukrainian border.

Undeterred by the legacy of Chernobyl – many here still suffer from cancers and other diseases as a result of what ranks as the world’s worst nuclear accident – Belarus is now building its own nuclear power plant……

The government – for more than 20 years under the firm grip of president Alexander Lukashenko – claims that more than 60 per cent of the country’s 9.5 million approve of the nuclear facility, though no nationwide poll has ever been taken…..

Government critics say no proper public hearings have been held about the plant, and that those who dare to raise objections have been harassed or arrested……..

Russian reliant

Critics point out that Belarus will still be reliant on Russia. A Russian state nuclear company has designed and is responsible for much of the construction. Russia will also supply the plant’s nuclear fuel – and deal with the waste.

Neighbouring Lithuania, always suspicious of a government in Minsk it sees as a remnant of the old Soviet order, is deeply concerned about what’s going on. It points out that the plant at Ostrovets is only 20km from the Lithuanian border and only 50km from Vilnius, the capital.

Officials in Vilnius say Belarus has not answered questions about the safety of Ostrovets and is in contravention of international agreements on nuclear facilities. The government in Minsk firmly denies the accusations.

Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarus author and winner of the 2015 Nobel prize for literature for her work on interviewing Chernobyl victims and other writings, has described the nuclear fallout from Chernobyl as an unimaginable disaster for her country.

Back at the new nuclear plant, due to become operational in two years, we are being bombarded with data. So many thousands of tons of concrete, so many tons of steel are being used in its construction.

“What happens if a missile is fired at the plant?” asks one journalist.

“Then we are all in trouble,” comes the reply.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Belarus, politics, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Standard & Poor’slowers the credit rating of the Finnish firm Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO)

thumbs-downflag-FinlandCredit ratings agencies downgrade nuclear power company TVO, YLE, 24 May 16 

One of the big three credit ratings agencies operating on the world stage, Standard & Poor’s, has lowered the credit rating of the Finnish firm Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) from BBB-/A-3 to BB+/B.

The nuclear power company is owned by a consortium of power and industrial companies in Finland, the largest shareholders being the energy firms Pohjolan Voima and Fortum…….

Construction of a third TVO plant unit, Olkiluoto 3, has been plagued with problems from the start and is now seven years behind schedule. TVO has several pending disputes with the unit’s suppliers. In 2012, TVO submitted a claim and defence to the International Chamber of Commerce for damages due to delays……

In July 2010 the Finnish Parliament ratified a decision-in-principle from the government concerning TVO’s application to construct a fourth plant unit, Olkiluoto 4. In September 2014, the government however rejected TVO’s application to have the validity of the decision-in-principle extended.

May 25, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Finland | Leave a comment

‘Armageddon drone’ that can search for radiation


The ‘Armageddon drone’ that can search for radiation: Nevada nuclear test site to trial atomic disaster technology

  • ‘Sandstorm’ craft used for radiation sensing and environmental monitoring
  • The drones will also be used for sensor development and site security
  • Researchers expect to begin tests with new technology this coming fall  


The US government is set to deploy two radiation-detecting drones at the former ‘Nevada Test Site’ to test new sensing capabilities that could help in future nuclear disasters.

The ‘Sandstorm’ unmanned aircraft will be used for remote radiation sensing and environmental monitoring, along with other security applications.

Researchers are now working to expand the sensor technology for unmanned aerial systems, and they expect the Sandstorm drones to begin tests in the fall.

The Sandstorm drones were purchased by the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

This location was once the infamous Nevada Test Site, where nearly 1,000 nuclear tests were conducted both under and above ground, beginning in the 1950s.

Now, the NNSS leads missions on emergency response, national security, defense applications and experimentation, nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and environmental management.

As of December 2013, Nevada is one of six FAA authorized test sites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

The new drones will help to expand the research and development programs, according to NNSS officials……..

May 25, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

China getting prepared for nuclear emergencies

safety-symbol-SmChina establishes national nuclear emergency team Reporter: Wu Guoxiu 丨 CCTV.com05-24-2016 China has established a national nuclear emergency rescue team, to cope with potential nuclear accidents, and take part in international rescue operations. CCTV reporter tells us more now on how the country is increasing its nuclear emergency preparedness.

The national rescue team is composed of armed forces members and existing rescue professionals. On duty 24-7, their job is to deal with serious nuclear accidents in the country, or abroad.

“The rescue team has 320 members, and six squads, including technical support, evacuation, rescue, radiation monitoring, decontamination and medical treatment. The bases will conduct drills, training and theoretical studies,” said Li Ganjie, Chief of China Nuclear Safety Bureau……..

a nuclear safety law is expected to come out by the end of this year. But new challenges have come as China exports nuclear technologies to international markets.

“Exporting nuclear technology doesn’t mean you sell a nuclear power plant, it also involves nuclear safety and emergency systems. Our nuclear emergency response needs to be improved to meet the international level,” said Wang Yiren, Deputy Director of China Automatic Energy Authority…..

May 25, 2016 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment