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The American President’s Nuclear Codes

Flag-USANuclear codes: A president’s awesome power By Mark Hertling June 10, 2016 CNN The military aides who carry it call it “the football.” The more accurate name is the “president’s emergency response satchel.” But no matter what it is called, the contents of this small metal briefcase contained within a black leather satchel is always within a few feet of the president of the United States.

The contents of the case allow the commander in chief to issue orders authorizing a nuclear attack anywhere in the world. So it’s no surprise that the issue of judgment keeps coming up — there have been a number of public comments and exchanges recently over who is best prepared to handle the enormous responsibility associated with the potential use of nuclear weapons against an enemy.
It’s a responsibility that has weighed on the shoulders of U.S. presidents since the Cold War, when, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy had the foresight to ask some very difficult questions regarding a nuclear response.
Kennedy wanted clarification on the things he could do, and was specifically concerned as to what his actions might be if he were away from the White House and received information that might require him to launch an immediate preemptory strike. What should he do if he received information that led him to conclude that he should launch an immediate strike? And would the Emergency Action System allow the president to do so from anywhere in the world, without first consulting the secretary of defense? If he called the War Room in the Pentagon to order such a strike, what would he say? And how would the person receiving the order verify the authenticity of the president so there would be no delay in launch?
As part of the answer to those questions, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had his team design the emergency response satchel.
Codes President's nuclear
The briefcase contains four items: a top secret book (unsurprisingly called a “black book,” due to its color) containing response options; a listing of classified site locations all over the United States where the president might go during or after a nuclear attack (President George W. Bush made use of this list during the 9/11 terrorist attacks); a booklet describing the elements of the Emergency Alert System; and a card with authentication codes.
That bag — carried by the military aide — has been within feet of the commander in chief ever since for any situation where the president believes the use of nuclear weapons is warranted. If that is the case, he is able to order the military aide to open the briefcase and issue an alert to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. While that is occurring, the president reviews options from the nuclear triad — submarine launched missiles, aircraft with atomic weapons, or land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) — and then decides on a course of action.
The aide then connects the president with the National Military Command Center (NMCC) — in the Pentagon or an airborne command and control element — and positively identifies himself with a special code issued on a plastic card. Most presidents have kept that card — called the “biscuit” — in their possession at all times.
Should this happen, the code on the president’s card would be confirmed by either the secretary of defense, or the watch officer (a general or admiral on duty) at the NMCC, and the president could then order a strike. The president always has the authority to order an attack, with his options ranging from the launch of one missile to extensive, massive strikes from one or several elements of the triad: bombers, submarines, missiles.
The five military aides to the president, representing each of the services and alternating 24/7 shifts by his side or sleeping in the basement of the White House, are extensively trained on ensuring their commander in chief has the ability to immediately execute this function if required. They are required to always be within minutes of their boss, including riding in the same elevator as the president. They train with communication checks and practice drills, employing various scenarios, before and during every trip. In short, they are prepared to help him execute his responsibilities………http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/09/opinions/nuclear-codes-hertling/

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former NATO Commander calls for nuclear negotiations with Russia

diplomacy-not-bombsFormer NATO Commander: We need to talk to Russia about nuclear deescalation, Business Insider ALEX LOCKIE JUN 11, 2016, On Wednesday, at the Atlantic Council retired four-star Air Force General and former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, Philip Breedlove, spoke about the mounting tensions between Russia and the West as a NATO summit draws near.

At July’s Warsaw summit, NATO leaders will convene to discuss the future of the alliance, the possibility of expansion, and overall strategy…….

tensions between NATO and Russia are reaching alarming levels……

Breedlove firmly put forward that the US must open lines of communications with the Russians who have “talked themselves into a frenzy” regarding war and the use of nuclear weapons, as an Atlantic Council member put it.

Breedlove stressed that NATO should take the lead in establishing communication: “We have to, in a very determined way, we need to establish quality communications with the Russians. If we wait for it to fall in our lap we’re going to fail.”…..

“Russia does understand power, strength and unity,” said Breedlove, offering some hope for reconciliation for the two forces that find themselves in the most heated conflict since the Cold War……http://www.businessinsider.com.au/breedlove-on-russia-nuclear-deescalation-2016-6?r=US&IR=T

June 10, 2016 Posted by | politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s strange nuclear negotiating ideas

TrumpThe Trump Files: Donald’s Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/trump-files-donald-trumps-nuclear-negotiating-fantasy

The billionaire was once convinced he could cut a magnificent nuclear weapons deal with the Soviet Union.

MAX J. ROSENTHAL, JUN. 10, 2016 In the 1980s, Donald Trump became a global symbol of wealth and success who wasplanning to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. But the one deal he reallywanted to cut was an arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union that would take nuclear missiles off the Cold War’s battlefield. It’s now clear that Trump knowsquite literally nothing about nuclear weapons, but then he fantasized going toe-to-toe with the Russkies at the nuclear bargaining table.

“It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past,” he told the Washington Post in 1984. “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles…I think I know most of it anyway.”

Three years later, growing even more alarmed about Libya and other rogue nations getting the bomb, he told author Ron Rosenbaum that he was indeed working with the Reagan White House on nukes. “I’m dealing at a very high level on this,” he said.

Trump was frightened about the spread of nuclear technology—he seemed at one point during the interview to suggest the United States should bomb France to keep it from selling nuclear know-how—and worried about the deal-making skills of American officials. “They have no smiles, no warmth; there’s no sense of them as people,” Trump complained. “Who the hell wants to talk to them? They don’t have the ability to go into a room and sell a deal. They’re not sellers in the positive sense.”

  Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange-but-true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

In the 1980s, Donald Trump became a global symbol of wealth and success who wasplanning to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. But the one deal he reallywanted to cut was an arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union that would take nuclear missiles off the Cold War’s battlefield. It’s now clear that Trump knowsquite literally nothing about nuclear weapons, but then he fantasized going toe-to-toe with the Russkies at the nuclear bargaining table.

“It’s something that somebody should do that knows how to negotiate and not the kind of representatives that I have seen in the past,” he told the Washington Post in 1984. “It would take an hour-and-a-half to learn everything there is to learn about missiles…I think I know most of it anyway.”

Three years later, growing even more alarmed about Libya and other rogue nations getting the bomb, he told author Ron Rosenbaum that he was indeed working with the Reagan White House on nukes. “I’m dealing at a very high level on this,” he said.

Trump was frightened about the spread of nuclear technology—he seemed at one point during the interview to suggest the United States should bomb France to keep it from selling nuclear know-how—and worried about the deal-making skills of American officials. “They have no smiles, no warmth; there’s no sense of them as people,” Trump complained. “Who the hell wants to talk to them? They don’t have the ability to go into a room and sell a deal. They’re not sellers in the positive sense.”

“I used to laugh when I thought back on Trump and me in [the 21 Club] talking nukes,” Rosenbaum wrote for Slate this year. “I’m not laughing anymore.”

June 10, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Sweden’s contradiction – wants 100% renewable energy, AND to save the nuclear industry

contradictionflag-SwedenSweden has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2040 – and at the same time ‘saved nuclear power’ http://nordic.businessinsider.com/sweden-is-to-use-100-renewable-energy-by-2040—but-no-expiration-date-has-been-set-for-nuclear-energy-2016-6/

Business Insider Nordic   June 10, 2016 the Swedish government coalition together with a couple of the opposition parties presented a new broad agreement for Sweden’s energy consumption.

A date was set for Sweden’s energy production to be 100% renewable, but at the same time the agreement promises better conditions for Sweden’s nuclear power production: lower taxation, new facilites and no expiration date.

The agreement was presented at a press conference at which many of the involved parties emphasized the agreement as progress in the adaptation of renewable energy sources. Amongst other points an ambitious goal was set for 100% of Swedish energy consumption to come from renewable energy sources by 2040, according to Omni.

Such claims did not prevent some of the opposition parties from making the agreement out as a major victory in the dispute over the use of nuclear energy. A major tax on nuclear power was instead scrapped and no expiration date has been set, though one is often called for in the political debate.

According to SVT, Pernilla Gunther, who’s represented the Christian democratic party in the negotiations said, “With these negotiations we’ve achieved the goal of saving nuclear power, both in the long term and short term.”

Swedish nuclear power is a very controversial political topic.

The issue of nuclear power in Sweden is controversial because after the Harrisburg nuclear catastrophe a referendum in 1980 led to the decision that nuclear power should be non-existent in Sweden by 2010. The referendum has been criticized because there was no option to vote for not abolishing nuclear power.

Since then only one facility have been closed, while the Swedish parliament has approved that new facilities may be opened to replace old ones. The new agreement even allows for 10 new facilities to be built.

In this light it is not sursprising that the different parties are highlighting conflicting aspects of an agreement they all stand behind.

The problem seems to be that no sitting government is prepared to commit to abolishing nuclear power any time in the foreseeable future, though it is easy to shout demands and refer to the will of the people when in opposition. There has not been any consensus as to an alternative that is good enough, but with the new agreement perhaps there is hope.

When it comes to wind power, for example, the Liberal party left the discussions because they could not support the subsidies. Similarly the Danish government recently took a step back from the country’s wind power investment, because a ruling by the European Commission that would abolish the subsidy, along with falling prices on other sources is making wind power relatively expensive all of a sudden.

Renewable energy production is progressing, but the plan i svery ambitious.

At the same time, renewable energy production is certainly progressing and doing so according to schedule. Sweden and Norway have a joint scheme for meeting the green energy target of 28.4 terawatt-hours by 2020 and according to Reuters, the countries are set to deliver on track though Norwegian regulators may adjust the renewable quota downwards and while Swedish regulators adjust it upwards.

In any case the target is modest compared with Denmark, which already produces those amounts of renewable energy, with only a third of the population, according to Reuters. Yet Denmark has set the date of relying 100% on renewable energy to 2050. That makes the Swedish agreement saying 2040 seem very ambitious.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | politics, Sweden | Leave a comment

EDF/AREVA keen to get in on selling nuclear reactors to South Africa

text-relevantBullish Areva wants in on SA’s nuclear tender, City Press Yolandi Groenewald 2016-06-Hollande-sales10 France’s state-owned nuclear businesses are focused on winning the lucrative South African nuclear tender despite recent financial difficulties.

The French will bid as EDF/Areva – nuclear technology company Areva sold its reactor business to the state-owned energy utility EDF earlier this year……..

EDF was facing large investments at its French operations. Its investment compromised about €50 billion (R869.6 billion) over 10 to 15 years, which would extend the operating lifespan of its ageing fleet to 60 years……

The French nuclear industry has faced a number of storms during the past year. Areva teetered on the edge of bankruptcy after years of losses wiped out its equity. It was rescued by French state aid and a sale of its ­reactor business to EDF.

The Flamanville project in France, Areva’s first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) nuclear pressurised water ­reactor, is years ­behind schedule, way over budget and riddled with technical difficulties…….

France, Russia, China, the US and South Korea are competing for what could be South Africa’s biggest ­procurement project. The contract, estimated to cost ­between R580 billion and R1.56 trillion, aims to add ­nuclear capacity of 9 600 megawatts.

The government has said the nuclear programme would be developed at a pace the country can afford……..http://city-press.news24.com/Business/bullish-areva-wants-in-on-sas-nuclear-tender-20160603

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Germany, marketing, South Africa | Leave a comment

USA not yet able to get India into the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Toshiba WestinghouseNuclear Suppliers Group Meeting On India’s Membership Ends Inconclusive http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/nuclear-suppliers-group-meeting-on-indias-membership-ends-inconclusive-1417783 Agencies | June 10, 2016 VIENNA: 

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. No decision on India’s application to enter NSG in Vienna meeting
  2. Application to be taken up in meeting in Seoul on June 20
  3. Countries led by US support India’s bid, others led by China oppose
  A two-day meeting in Vienna of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to decide on India’s application for membership to the 48-nation club ended today without a breakthrough.

India’s application is now expected to be taken up in a meeting in Seoul on June 20.
The US-led push for India to join the club of countriescontrolling access to sensitive nuclear technology had made some headway on Thursday as several opponents appeared more willing to work towards a compromise, but China has consistently remained defiant.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group or NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms. It was set up in response to India’s first nuclear test in 1974.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the main global arms control pact.

After meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama pledged America’s backing for India to be given a seat in the NSG.

But China on Thursday maintained its position that the Non-Proliferation Treaty is central to the NSG, diplomats said.

The handful of other nations resisting India’s admission to the group, including South Africa, New Zealand and Turkey, somewhat softened their stance, opening the door to a process under which non-NPT states such as India might join, diplomats said.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Ari Beser gathers the stories of Japan’s Hibakusha

HibakushaStories From Fukushima You Have Never Heard.National Geographic  by Ari Beser in Fulbright National Geographic Stories on June 9, 2016 FUKUSHIMA, Japan— Ten months ago I arrived in Japan to cover a historic year—the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings, the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, and the first visit by a sitting U.S. President to Hiroshima.  I wanted to document the social impact nuclear technology has had on Japan.

Japan is the only country in the world to experience atomic war and a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. I have a unique family connection to Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a grandson of the only double crewman of the bomb missions, and I’ve spent the past five years in Japan meeting with the survivors of the bombs, or hibakusha as they are called in Japanese.

The hibakusha have been telling audiences their survival stories for decades. They experienced the bombing 71 years ago, and while they never forget their trauma and it never gets easier to describe it, each time they speak they spread their precious testimony in hopes of contributing to a world free of nuclear weapons. However when I turned my focus to Fukushima, I found it difficult to capture stories. Like Hiroshima and Nagasaki, everyone who was in Fukushima at the time of the disaster has a story, but unlike Hiroshima and Nagasaki many are struggling to find their voice.

The disaster is still fresh in the minds of the survivors. Many wish to speak out about their exposure to the radiation, or the dangers of nuclear power, but don’t know what to say, or how to describe what they went through.

The following voices each depict a different aspect of the disaster and show how Fukushima has been diversely affected.

In the next few months I will finish editing the videos I have filmed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima for my blogumentary that will be viewable on YouTube and Facebook at “Hibakusha: The Nuclear Family.”……..http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/09/stories-from-fukushima-you-havent-heard-yet/

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

Radionuclides from Fukushima reach Hawaiian Islands

Fukushima toiletElement from Fukushima plant reaches island cattle; But research finds levels are nothing to be alarmed about http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/element-fukushima-plant-reaches-island-cattle-research-finds-levels-are-nothing-be  June 10, 2016 By MAX DIBLE West Hawaii Today KAILUA-KONA — It took only one week for radionuclides to infiltrate the atmosphere above the Hawaiian Islands after they were released from damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami March 11, 2011.

By early April of that year, researchers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa began collecting ocean water and sediments to provide a baseline for cesium levels. Cesium is an alkaline earth element and a beta radiation emitter, meaning as it decays it emits electrons that can damage cell structures within the human body.

Establishing a baseline was critical, as data from government-monitored cesium tests from the 1960s through the early 1980s were the most recent available. That monitoring was administered to measure the effects of nuclear weapons testing by the United States in the Pacific following World War II.

Tests by the UH-Manoa research team continued every month through 2011 and were administered every three to six months in subsequent years. They were expanded to include tests on algae, lichen, coconuts, fish and mushrooms. An update on the research was posted on the university’s news website last Friday.

“The conclusion is pretty much that all is safe,” said Henrietta Dulai, associate professor in the Marine and Environmental Geology Division of the UH-Manoa Department of Geology and Geophysics. Dulai oversaw a small research team that included graduate students Hannah Azouz and Trista McKenzie. “Tests are still ongoing, but we do not expect any significant levels at all.”

Ocean currents that might have carried radioactive materials from Japan to Hawaiian shores never made direct contact with the near-shore environment of the Hawaiian Islands, and so ocean water and sediment samples collected by the researchers off Oahu never showed a spike in cesium levels.

However, Dulai said elevated levels were found in ocean water farther north around the Midway Islands and have been detected off the West Coast of the United States and Canada, reaching as far north as Alaska.

While the immediate surrounding oceans were spared, the Hawaiian Islands didn’t escape the disaster totally unscathed.

“The Department of Health monitored precipitation and the atmosphere and also milk,” Dulai said. “They found positive (cesium) hits in all of these.”

Dulai and her team were curious as to why they found nothing in their samples despite the state DOH detecting elevated cesium levels in the atmosphere. The team began collecting samples on precipitation gradients on Oahu and Hawaii Island, where it did locate elevated cesium levels.

A correlation was established between areas of higher rainfall and higher cesium levels in the soil. At higher elevations, more rainfall occurred and more cesium was absorbed by the soil. This is what led to elevated cesium levels detected in milk from grazing cattle.

It turned out that the topography of the islands captured the clouds and to a large extent spared the oceans from excess radioactivity, as cesium deposits from rainfall tended to accumulate on land. While this news might sound concerning, Dulai said residents of the Hawaiian Islands need not be alarmed.

“The natural radioactivity in the soil is orders of magnitude higher than this added cesium level,” Dulai explained. “The added cesium is a tiny fraction of what is there naturally or what was deposited during the nuclear weapons testing.”

Contamination in seafood and mushrooms also was found to be “orders of magnitude below” any health limits set by the FDA. Fish were a primary concern because they migrate, so while they wouldn’t have picked up extra cesium in Hawaiian waters, they might have been contaminated in waters from where they migrated.

Dulai and her team’s research will continue, as will monitoring done by the DOH, according to its website. The website states surveys since May 2011 conducting shoreline surveillance “remain consistent with normal background levels.”

The department also continues to monitor air, precipitation and drinking water using the Environmental Protection Agency’s RadNet system.

Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | environment, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

New Jersey nuclear reactors can continue guzzling water from Delaware River

nuke-tapPower stays on: Permit allows 2 N.J. nuclear reactors to keep operating By Bill Gallo Jr. | For NJ.com  June 10, 2016  LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. — New Jersey Friday granted a five-year permit that will allow PSEG Nuclear to continue to draw billions of gallons of water from the Delaware River to cool two of its nuclear reactors in Salem County.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s permit does not require the plant’s operator, PSEG Nuclear, to build cooling towers at its Artificial Island generating site in Lower Alloways Creek Township, something environmental groups have long urged.

Without this permit, officially known as the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, the two plants, Salem 1 and 2, might have been forced to shut down…….

Salem 1 and 2, when operating at full power, use 3 billion gallons of water a day from the Delaware River. The water is drawn in, circulated through the plants’ “open loop”cooling systems and discharged back into the river………

Environmentalists have long criticized the plants saying they are causing the death of marine life which is being caught on screens at the point of water intake or by actually being sucked into and through the cooling system…….

Bill Gallo Jr. may be reached at bgallo@njadvancemedia.com.    http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2016/06/power_stays_on_permit_allows_2_nj_nuclear_reactors.html

June 10, 2016 Posted by | USA, water | Leave a comment

Eskom promises to plug youth into nuclear future 

nuclear-teacherTimes Live| 10 June, 2016 
Eskom has initiated a major training programme for nuclear operators, saying it will train 100 artisans as operators at its Koeberg plant to meet South Africa’s requirements in the future.

The programme, launched by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown in Cape Town yesterday, is a strong vote of confidence by the government and Eskom for an expanded nuclear energy sector in the future.

The Koeberg-Eskom programme is the latest in several initiatives to gear up for the country’s proposed nuclear build, which government has said will involve the construction of 9600MW of new capacity. Others include training programmes with Russia, France, China and South Korea, where South African students are being empowered in a variety of skills……http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2016/06/10/Eskom-promises-to-plug-youth-into-nuclear-future

June 10, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Reactor at Belgian nuclear power plant shuts down after incident

 10 Jun, 2016 A reactor at Belgium’s Tihange nuclear power plant has shut down automatically following an abnormality on Friday, the plant operator said. The causes behind the incident are being investigated.

There has been no radiation leak, according to the operator…….The operator said it was “certain” the problem was somewhere “in the secondary part of the plant,” such as an engine room, and not in the nuclear zone.  https://www.rt.com/news/346143-belgium-nuclear-plant-tihange/

June 10, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Residents near Sendai nuclear plant agonize over future power supplies

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SATSUMASENDAI, Kagoshima — Residents here are agonizing over whether they will be able to do away with nuclear power and shift to renewable energy.

The No. 1 and 2 reactors at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in this Kagoshima Prefecture city of Satsumasendai were put back online in the summer of 2015.

There had been a common view that the suspension of operations at the Sendai nuclear power complex in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was having a grave impact on the local economy. But there were unexpected responses to a questionnaire survey of local businesses conducted by the city’s chamber of commerce and industry in 2014. On a question about the impact of the suspension of nuclear reactors, 50.3 percent of the 358 companies that responded to the survey said that there was “no” impact, surpassing 48.9 percent of the companies that said “yes.”

Hiroshi Tanaka, 58-year-old president of local electronics parts manufacturer Okano Electronics Co., said, “There was no impact.” At the request of the municipal government two years ago, he played a mediator role in ensuring cooperation among 18 local companies to put street lights using solar power to practical use. The city is currently making a strong effort to introduce renewable energy such as solar and wind power. The municipal government withheld approval of a plan to build a third reactor at the Sendai nuclear power station after the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011. The total output of renewable energy in the city stood at 250 kilowatts generated by only one windmill before the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but it rose to a total of 134,000 kilowatts as of the end of March 2016, enough to cover the needs of all 46,000 households in the city.

Satsumasendai Mayor Hideo Iwakiri has been saying, “The No. 1 and 2 reactors will eventually be decommissioned. We want to gear up for the next generation of energy.” Tanaka also said, “We will take the next step while the reactors are running.” Obviously, it is difficult for the renewable energy industry to create the same amount of jobs as the nuclear power industry. The city is planning to build a major conference hall by using government subsidies of 2.5 billion yen it is to receive for allowing the two reactors to resume operations. The city government, therefore, has been criticized for its policy focusing on the construction of public structures. But there are still calls within the construction industry to build another reactor at the Sendai nuclear power station.

Still, there are signs of the city becoming keen to fully break away from nuclear power. A 71-year-old former head of a neighborhood community association in the city’s Takae district, about 6 kilometers from the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant, said, “We cannot relieve our anxiety because of the accident in Fukushima. We want the existing reactors to keep running until they are decommissioned, but we want new ones to be installed somewhere else. I think that’s what everyone thinks.”

The central government is planning to have nuclear power make up 20 to 22 percent of the nation’s electric power needs in the future. The city is not able to do away with nuclear power so easily, so it is agonizing over the future of its energy program while putting up a two-front strategy — nuclear power and renewable energy.

I got on a boat to visit an islander, hoping to hear his real opinion. The Koshikijima Islands, about 30 kilometers west of the Sendai nuclear plant, merged into the city of Satsumasendai in 2004. Single-seat electric vehicles for tourists are lined up at a harbor on Kamikoshiki-jima island, the central part of islanders’ activities. In the yard of an shutdown school, a private-public project was under way to conduct a demonstration experiment on a power storage system that combines solar panels and used batteries for electric vehicles.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. built the country’s first commercial wind power plant on the island in 1989. After the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the city called the Koshikijima Islands “Eco Islands.”

The man I went to see is Kenta Yamashita, 30, who runs a company called “Higashishinakai no Chiisanashima Burando” (Small Island Brand in East China Sea). He studied architecture at a Kyoto university and worked for a while after graduating from college. He returned to his home six years ago to start his own business. His company, which has 13 employees, is engaged in projects to show the attractive points of the island such as “minshuku” (private homes that provide lodgings for travelers) and tour guides.

The Fukushima nuclear accident occurred one year after he returned to the island. No matter how much he is proud of the island’s beautiful nature, he can see the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant far away on a sunny day.

I sat face to face with him in his office that was converted from a house that was more than 100 years old, and asked him unashamedly about what he thinks of nuclear power. He lowered his eyes and thought for a while before saying with a stern face, “There is no electricity generated by nuclear power not even one kilowatt on this island. I don’t care about whether the reactors are running or not.”

Yamashita told me about a fishing port that has a breakwater, a stone wall built by islanders. So, I asked him to take me there. It was a place where fishermen sat on the stone wall and repaired fishing nets over small talk. Yamashita said, “This is an affluent island if you live idyllically. I think the distinct character of this island is the landscapes that cannot be measured by economics.” He said that he had an incisive memory of the stone wall.

This was from around a time when Yamashita moved away from the island to go to high school on the Japanese mainland. When he came back to the island on holidays, his father, who was working for a construction company, was destroying part of the stone wall at the fishing port as part of work to widen a road. He thought, “Who needs such construction work? What is the point of construction work to destroy a place that everyone has been caring about?” On that night, he rebuked his father in anger. His father replied, “It was for the sake of you.”

It requires money to go to school on the mainland. Yamashita was plagued by the irrational fact that he was able to live by having someone destroy the landscape that he had been familiar with since his infancy. He could not say anything to respond to what his father said.

“If you think about the economy alone, this is the worst island,” Yamashita said. He went on to say, “I want to do my best to create work which I can proudly tell the generation of our children ‘this is for the sake of you’. I believe that is the role for me to play.”

Yamashita then told me, “It is true that there are many people who rely on the nuclear power plant for their living. I can’t flatly say this and that.” He feels that nuclear power is equal to a public works project to destroy the stone wall. “It is better not to have nuclear reactors. But once they start moving, they will move closer to decommissioning. I even think that it was good to restart the reactors.”

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160608/p2a/00m/0na/016000c

June 10, 2016 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

More than half of jobs in UK solar industry lost in wake of subsidy cuts | Environment | The Guardian

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Change in government’s energy policy blamed for job losses just as solar power eclipses coal in electricity generation

Terry Macalister Energy editor:  The solar power industry says it has seen the loss of more than half its 35,000 jobs due to recent changes in government energy policy, just at a time when solar power has eclipsed coal as a major generator of Britain’s electricity.

Experts believe ministers had cut subsidies too far and too fast, praising the “seismic”, record-breaking growth of solar in recent years.

This month the Solar Cloth Company became the latest to be put into administration, following the liquidation and 170 job losses at Solarlec two weeks ago.

Source: More than half of jobs in UK solar industry lost in wake of subsidy cuts | Environment | The Guardian

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June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

France to formally ratify Paris climate accord on June 15 – Minister | Reuters

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

President Francois Hollande will formally sign the Paris climate agreement on Wednesday, June 15, making France the first industrialized nation to ratify the landmark accord, Environment Minister Segolene Royal said on Friday.

France’s Senate adopted a bill authorizing the government to ratify the agreement on Wednesday after a near unanimous vote by the lower house in May, Royal told a carbon pricing forum in Paris.  Source: France to formally ratify Paris climate accord on June 15 – Minister | Reuters

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June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 10 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Illinois power plant closings reveal worldwide nuclear issues” • Exelon and Illinois are dancing around the issues, with the industry taking the position that government (read: the people) should subsidize the waning years of nuclear installations, or else. It is a global issue, however. [CleanTechnica]

Clinton power station, near Clinton, Illinois. Photo by Dual Freq. CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons. Clinton power station, near Clinton, Illinois. Photo by Dual Freq.
CC BY-SA 3.0 unported. Wikimedia Commons.

Science and Technology:

¶ Researchers reported on an experiment in Iceland where they have pumped CO2 and water underground into volcanic rock. Reactions with the minerals in the deep basalts converted the carbon dioxide to a stable, immobile chalky solid. It took only months to covert 220 tonnes of CO2. [BBC]

World:

¶ Australian wind energy saw its biggest ever month in May, producing nearly a quarter more electricity than any previous month, and overtaking hydro to provide 8.5% of the country’s…

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June 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment