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Next Thyroid Screening Scheduled at Tarachine Screening Center, Iwaki city on July 17, 2016

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On Saturday June 25, 2016 Sun Life  gave thyroid screenings in Fukushima city. A lot of people, small children and adults came to be examined.

The attending physician was Nomune Yoshihiro, a professor from the Ota Integrated Medical Development Center of Shimane University School of Medicine.

The next thyroid screening is scheduled to be performed at Tarachine, Iwaki city on July 17 2016. To schedule an appointment, those who wish to be examined should please contact Tarachine Screening Center as soon as possible. Adults as well as children can be examined.

The screening test considers cysts, and also thyroid of a state other than nodules, divided as follows:

No findings = nothing particular seen.

Yes, some Findings = cysts or nodules were observed, (follow-up required).  It requires close examination by a specialist.

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In addition A2 has been subdivided to three status:

A2-a Cysts that occur in the course of the A2-a anagen phase.
A2-b Anagen phase is not a reaction cyst.

A2-c Nodule (1mm ~ up to 5 mm)

The results of the echo image and the medical examination report are immediately available and given to you after the examination is finished.

Tarachine Screening Center

Onahamahanabatake-cho 11-3, Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture

Tel: 0246‐92‐2526

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June 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive cesium fallout on Tokyo from Fukushima concentrated in glass microparticles

Public Release: 26-Jun-2016 Goldschmidt Conference

New research shows that most of the radioactive fallout which landed on downtown Tokyo a few days after the Fukushima accident was concentrated and deposited in non-soluble glass microparticles, as a type of ‘glassy soot’. This meant that most of the radioactive material was not dissolved in rain and running water, and probably stayed in the environment until removed by direct washing or physical removal. The particles also concentrated the radioactive caesium (Cs), meaning that in some cases dose effects of the fallout are still unclear. These results are announced at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Yokohama, Japan.

The flooding of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) after the disastrous earthquake on March 11 2011 caused the release of significant amounts of radioactive material, including caesium (Cs) isotopes 134Cs (half-life, 2 years) and 137Cs (half-life, 30 years).

Japanese geochemists, headed by Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya (Kyushu University, Japan), analysed samples collected from within an area up to 230 km from the FDNPP. As caesium is water-soluble, it had been anticipated that most of the radioactive fallout would have been flushed from the environment by rainwater. However, analysis with state-of-the-art electron microscopy in conjunction with autoradiography techniques showed that most of the radioactive caesium in fact fell to the ground enclosed in glassy microparticles, formed at the time of the reactor meltdown.

The analysis shows that these particles mainly consist of Fe-Zn-oxides nanoparticles, which, along with the caesium were embedded in Si oxide glass that formed during the molten core-concrete interaction inside the primary containment vessel in the Fukushima reactor units 1 and/or 3. Because of the high Cs content in the microparticles, the radioactivity per unit mass was as high as ~4.4×1011 Bq/g, which is between 107 and 108 times higher than the background Cs radioactivity per unit mass of the typical soils in Fukushima.

Closer microparticle structural and geochemical analysis also revealed what happened during the accident at FDNPP. Radioactive Cs was released and formed airborne Cs nanoparticles. Nuclear fuel, at temperatures of above 2200 K (about as hot as a blowtorch), melted the reactor pressure vessel resulting in failure of the vessel. The airborne Cs nanoparticles were condensed along with the Fe-Zn nanoparticles and the gas from the molten concrete, to form the SiO2 glass nanoparticles, which were then dispersed.

Analysis from several air filters collected in Tokyo on 15 March 2011 showed that 89% of the total radioactivity was present as a result of these caesium-rich microparticles, rather than the soluble Cs, as had originally been supposed.

According to Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya;

“This work changes some of our assumptions about the Fukushima fallout. It looks like the clean-up procedure, which consisted of washing and removal of top soils, was the correct thing to do. However, the concentration of radioactive caesium in microparticles means that, at an extremely localised and focused level, the radioactive fallout may have been more (or less) concentrated than anticipated. This may mean that our ideas of the health implications should be modified”.

Commenting, Prof. Bernd Grambow, Director of SUBATECH laboratory, Nantes, France and leader of the research group on interfacial reaction field chemistry of the ASRC/JAEA, Tokai, Japan, said:

“The leading edge observations by nano-science facilities presented here are extremely important. They may change our understanding of the mechanism of long range atmospheric mass transfer of radioactive caesium from the reactor accident at Fukushima to Tokyo, but they may also change the way we assess inhalation doses from the caesium microparticles inhaled by humans. Indeed, biological half- lives of insoluble caesium particles might be much larger than that of soluble caesium”.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/gc-rcf062316.php

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive “Glassy Soot” Fell Over Tokyo After the Fukushima Meltdown

It’s science no one wishes was necessary.

Most of the radioactive material that rained down on Tokyo following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was encapsulated in glassy microparticles, researchers have found.

The findings, which will be presented on Monday at the Goldschmidt conference in Japan, show that the radioactive fallout from the 2011 earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster has been poorly understood. Previously, it was assumed that most of the radiation that fell dissolved in rain. This would mean that it would wash out of the soil and through the environment with the hydrologic cycle.

However, what actually happened is that, in the midst of the meltdown, molecules of radioactive caesium and nanoparticles of iron-zinc oxides became embedded in silicon oxide glass. This occurred because of the interaction between the molten core and the concrete containment units.

These tiny glass particles entered the air and fell as soot on the surrounding region. Because the radioactive molecules are contained in an insoluble medium, they will not wash out of the soil with rainwater to the same extent.

“It looks like the clean-up procedure, which consisted of washing and removal of top soils, was the correct thing to do,” says Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya, who will present the findings on Monday. “However, the concentration of radioactive caesium in microparticles means that, at an extremely localised and focused level, the radioactive fallout may have been more (or less) concentrated than anticipated.”

Beyond the consequences for the environment, there are significant consequences for human health. Breathing caesium encased in glass particles may have a very different impact from exposure to it as radioactive rain, and it may be dangerous at a much higher or lower concentration. The half-life of the material may also depend heavily on the medium.

This information will be valuable in assessing the ongoing impacts the Fukushima disaster. Hopefully, no nuclear meltdown on that scale occurs again, but if one does, this new science will help governments better respond to the crisis.

https://www.inverse.com/article/17503-radioactive-glassy-soot-fell-over-tokyo-after-the-fukushima-meltdown

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco admits they concealed the fact of meltdown 7 million Bq of all β nuclides leaked as contaminated water in Fukushima plant

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According to Tepco, highly contaminated water leaked from a water storage tank on 6/26/2016.

All β nuclides density is reportedly 96,000,000 Bq/m3. Cs-134/137 density is also 700,000 Bq/m3.

Tepco states the leaked volume was 72 L. Based on their announcement, at least 6,912,000 Bq of all β nuclides leaked to contain Sr-90.

Tepco says no contaminated water spread to the outside of the tank area.

The type of this tank has unwelded joint parts, which is vulnerable for leakage.

The life of these tanks was reported to be 5 years but in 2013 Tepco admitted it has no basis.

These tanks are not bearable for the contaminated water but these are still in use.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/mail/2016/1301003_8708.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/mail/2016/1301004_8708.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/mail/2016/1301009_8708.html

http://www.tepco.co.jp/press/mail/2016/1301051_8708.html

http://fukushima-diary.com/2016/06/7-million-bq-of-all-%CE%B2-nuclides-leaked-as-contaminated-water-in-fukushima-plant/

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima evacuees made to feel small if they don’t return

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Makiko Sekine tends flowers at a public housing unit for disaster survivors in Kawauchi, Fukushima Prefecture, with her husband, Hiroshi, on June 14. That day, the evacuation order was lifted for parts of the village, including the couple’s home district of Kainosaka.

KAWAUCHI, Fukushima Prefecture–In a rush of sorts, evacuation orders are being lifted from municipalities of this northeastern prefecture that were affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

The order was lifted for part of the village of Katsurao on June 12, followed by an area of Kawauchi village on June 14. It will be lifted for a section of Minami-Soma city on July 12.

The central government has decided to have all evacuation orders lifted by March next year, except for in “difficult-to-return” zones where radiation levels remain elevated.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having toured Katsurao and Kawauchi on June 3, said, “I want to make sure that the livelihood of the communities, as well as family and community ties, is revived as soon as possible.”

Having covered news in Fukushima Prefecture for four years, I cannot believe that everything is so rosy simply because evacuation orders are being lifted.

It is certainly good news that disaster-affected areas are becoming freely accessible again, but I know that some residents are being left behind in the process.

Hiroshi Sekine, 88, and his wife, Makiko, 81, a couple I have known for three years, are from the Kainosaka district of Kawauchi, where the evacuation order has been lifted.

They moved there from the neighboring city of Iwaki in 1959, five years before the first Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.

Deep within the mountains far from the center of the village, the couple reclaimed wasteland and turned it into farmland. They raised four children.

The Sekines, who now live in a public housing unit for disaster survivors elsewhere in Kawauchi, said they are not returning home.

Before the nuclear disaster, Kainosaka, home to 13 households, functioned as a small “community” where people helped out each other.

After five years spent in evacuation, the couple no longer have the energy to restart life in their inconveniently situated home district.

Even if they returned, they would be unable to sustain their life because nobody else is going back to Kainosaka.

“The lifting of the evacuation order is about deregulation,” a central government official told the Sekines. “It is up to you to decide whether you are going back or not.”

Once the evacuation order is lifted, however, the couple’s status switches from “those being forced by the central government into evacuation” to “those choosing to remain in evacuation despite having the option of returning.”

This new status will oblige them to feel apologetic, wary of what others may think of them.

The lifting of evacuation orders scheduled through next spring will allow around 46,000 people to return to their homes.

But many communities, like the Kainosaka district, will never be like what they were before.

How can we prevent people like the Sekines from being made to feel small because the evacuation order has been lifted? That is a complicated question about moral dignity, which cannot be solved with cash.

The Law on Special Measures for the Reconstruction and Revitalization of Fukushima was enacted a year after the onset of the nuclear disaster.

The law designates only “people who have been evacuated from zones under evacuation orders” and “people who have moved back to zones where evacuation orders have been lifted” as those entitled to coverage under the central government’s measures for “ensuring stability.”

When the law was enacted, nobody expected the cleanup of radioactive substances to take so long that it would delay the lifting of the evacuation orders, and that so many residents would choose not to return home after the orders are lifted, a central government official said.

The Sekines will be obliged to continue to live a life different from the one they had before the disaster.

I think people like the Sekines should be given the clearly defined status of “evacuees” by, for example, legally guaranteeing them the right to remain in evacuation.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201606270009.html

June 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s spurious nuclear marketing deals

text-relevantExperts say some deals Rosatom boasts about are not contracts, just a “memorandum of understanding” or “framework agreement.” Many of these are with countries that will not be ready for nuclear for years, if not decades, such as Algeria, Argentina, Bolivia and Nigeria.

whether any new plants ever get built, Rosatom is likely to keep signing new deals around the globe.nuclear-marketing-crap

“Rosatom likes to sign MOUs everywhere, they like one every few months, for the photo opportunity,”

Rosatom’s Global Nuclear Ambition Cramped by Kremlin Politics, Fortune by Reuters JUNE 26, 2016 The problem is that Russia wants to parlay Rosatom’s success into political leverage.

The $100 billion overseas order book of Russia’s nuclear power plant builder Rosatom—bigger than all its Western competitors combined—makes it look like the giant in its field.

But if the company—formed in 2007 from the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and tasked with turning nuclear power into a major export industry—is ever to reach its potential as a global industrial giant, it will have to shed Russia’s reputation for using energy policy as a means to political ends.

Deal after deal has collapsed in Europe, where individual countries and the European Union as a whole consider it a priority to reduce dependency on Russian energy, and relations have deteriorated over Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine.

A project in fast-growing, energy-hungry Turkey—possibly the ideal market on paper—has been stalled because of a collapse in relations between the two countries supporting opposite sides in the Syrian civil war.

And an array of deals announced in poorer developing countries like Egypt, Jordan and Bangladesh seem unlikely to reach fruition any time soon because of the countries’ lack of experience with nuclear power, shortage of capital and grids that are unsuitable.

“Rosatom is pretty good at announcing $100 billion euros of orders in 25 countries, but not an awful lot of these are firm contracts, they are just bits of paper,” said Steve Kidd at East Cliff Consulting. Continue reading

June 27, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

An end to debating nuclear power: Diablo Canyon agreement wraps it up

Diablo Canyon agreement should put an end to debate about nuclear power http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article85614127.html

PG&E concluded Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is not economical

Nuclear power can’t compete with solar, wind in new wholesale market

21st century approach emphasizes flexibility, distributed generation

BY S. DAVID FREEMAN

The agreement between PG&E, Friends of the Earth, organized labor and other environmental organizations is the final chapter in the tumultuous history of nuclear power in California.

It began in the 1960s, when Chet Holifield, then chairman of the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, envisioned nuclear power plants dotting the Pacific Coast every 50 miles. That dream never came true, but as Sacramento citizens will recall, we did build Rancho Seco. And Southern California Edison and PG&E completed large nuclear power plants of their own.

I helped bury Rancho Seco when I was general manger of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in 1990. And contrary to the dire predictions, the lights stayed on, the rates didn’t go up and SMUD has behaved rather well ever since.

The other large nuclear plants, San Onofre in Southern California and Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo created their own controversies. Their costs spiraled out of control to the tune of billions of dollars that triggered massive rate increases. In fact, it is fair to conclude that these cost overruns at the nuclear plants triggered the deregulation policies the state adopted more than 20 years ago.

Today, power plants that serve the investor-owned utilities must compete in the wholesale market created by California law. It is thus with some irony that the last remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is now going to be closed because its owner, Pacific Gas & Electric, has concluded it is not economical. Nuclear power just can’t compete with the sun and wind in the new wholesale market.

Nuclear power plants epitomize the 20th century approach to electricity production: the plants take lots of time and money to build, and generate immense amounts of electricity, but their inherent design requires them to be operated around the clock (except for refueling and repair pauses).

By contrast, the 21st century approach to electricity production emphasizes flexibility, distributed generation and seeks to reduce overall demand. In 2030, California law will require that 50 percent of electricity be from renewables like wind and solar. That power must be used when available, except for the amount stored. On most days for many hours, these renewable resources will provide 100 percent of the electricity needed. In those hours, a “must run” nuclear plant would crowd out that renewable energy and actually cause us to waste it.

This new concern is called “overcapacity.” It is a shorthand way of saying a large base load of must-run power, like from Diablo Canyon, just doesn’t fit into the power supply of the future. That was the conclusion reached not by me, but by PG&E.

Adapting to change is a challenge for environmental leaders as well as the electric utilities. Nuclear power, in decades past, was heralded as the alternative to burning dirty coal and other fossil fuels to generate electricity. There was no apparent alternative. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima had not yet happened. We didn’t have the sophisticated, affordable and powerful renewable technologies we have today.

Now we know better about nuclear power. It is dangerous and extremely expensive. No nuclear plant would ever have been built in America without giant subsidies from the federal government. The highly radioactive spent fuel is piling up at each reactor site.

After 50 years of looking, we must conclude there is no safe place to store it. Nuclear proliferation in the age of terror is a real threat, and the fuel in power plants can be exploited for bombs. America’s goal of eliminating nuclear weapons must start with ending nuclear power plants.

Whether or not you think nuclear power is a problem, it is economics that explains PG&E’s willingness to leave nuclear power behind. This is the kind of clear-eyed acceptance of change that today’s world requires of successful executives. By seizing the future rather than clinging to the past, PG&E’s leaders are setting an example their colleagues throughout the utility industry should study and emulate.

The Diablo Canyon agreement should put an end to the debate about nuclear power. It provides a template for a timely transition for all the nuclear and fossil fueled plants to an all-renewable future.

S. David Freeman is the former general manager of SMUD, chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and other utilities. Contact him at greencowboysdf@gmail.com.

June 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Brexit might help UK to develop nuclear projects

Tax - payersflag-UK5 ways Brexit would transform European energy, Politico,  , 24 June 16 Central and Eastern Europeans would lose a powerful ally, while nuclear and renewable investors would face an uncertain world.
A British vote to leave the European Union would force broad changes to the bloc’s energy policy, weakening its climate policy and removing a crucial Central European energy ally — but it could also give London far more freedom to pursue nuclear projects.

The U.K. is often an energy outlier in the EU, advocating nuclear power and shale gas sources shunned by others. And it tends to build alliances broadly aimed at keeping interference from Brussels to a minimum.

But both sides have a lot to lose.

A Brexit could undercut long-term climate policies in Brussels and London, and the EU would lose the U.K.’s pro-free market voice, which has historically helped tone down some more statist schemes coming from European capitals.

Here are the five ways that a Brexit would impact Europe’s energy and climate forecast:…….

4. The freedom to subsidize — maybe

One area the European Commission tries to avoid is state aid, particularly for energy projects.

But even when the Commission gives a green light, there’s the danger that another EU country might try to interfere. That’s what happened with Hinkley Point. Brussels approved a state aid plan in 2014, but Austria, backed by Luxembourg,challenged the decision in the European Court of Justice eight months later…….

Environmental advocates worry it would give the U.K. room to continue rolling back support for renewables in favor of other fuels.

“One of the reasons why the government has had to have a more sensible policy on these issues is because state aid disciplines have stopped it from throwing money at gas-powered stations and fracking and nuclear,” said  Nick Mabey, chief executive of the environmental analysis group E3G……..http://www.politico.eu/article/uk-brexit-renewable-energy-hinkley-nuclear-interconnectors-gas-climate-emissions-paris/

June 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Plant Closure will be a boon for marine life

Nuclear Plant Closure Will Benefit California Marine Species  NRDC.org   June 23, 2016  Elizabeth Murdock  “…….Closing the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility would finally end decades of harm to marine life in the region where the plant operates. The plant’s intake pipes draw in more than 2.5 billion gallons of water per day, or 2.8 million acre-feet annually. This large and continuous seawater withdrawal is estimated to kill roughly 1.5 billion fish in early life stages each year, as creatures are sucked into the cooling systems or become impinged against the screens on the open-water pipes. The cooling water is also discharged back into the ocean water at a warmer temperature, which can cause additional harm to fish and other marine life in the area.

Moreover, Diablo Canyon’s open-ocean intake is located less than one mile from the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and the adjacent Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area, which together protect an ecologically diverse seascape and provide a home to more than 700 species of invertebrates, as well as 120 fish species, marine plants, seabirds, and marine mammals. This “MPA (marine protected area) cluster” is important in its own right, as well as being an important part of an ecologically connected network that runs along the coast of California. While Diablo Canyon’s intake is not directly within the MPA cluster, the area of source water being drawn into the plant likely overlaps with the MPA boundaries and has the potential to withdraw marine life out of the protected area. NRDC was a leader in the effort to design and secure California’s landmark system of marine protected areas, and we remain deeply committed to ensuring the integrity of the network the marine species and habitats it shelters.

Other power plants in California that use “once-through-cooling” (OTC) technology have similar impacts on the ocean, although Diablo Canyon and the recently closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Diego have been responsible for the largest ocean water withdrawals in the state. The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is now the largest of the remaining once-through-cooling facilities, accounting for nearly 80 percent of all OTC ocean withdrawals in California.

Because of the significant impacts of OTC, NRDC has played a central role in advocating that California phase out the destructive practice altogether. Most notably, we have been deeply involved in the drafting, passage, and implementation of the State Water Board’s 2010 Once-Through-Cooling (OTC) Policy, which seeks to reduce the extreme impacts of power plant OTC systems on marine life and habitats. The policy directs plants to reduce their ocean intake flow rates by roughly 93 percent. For the Diablo Canyon facility to come into compliance, PG&E would have had to build close-cycle cooling towers by the end of 2024, which would have cost billions. But under the Joint Proposal, once PG&E begins decommissioning the Diablo Canyon facility, it will reduce its water intake rates—and thus its impacts on marine life—even more than it would be required to do under the OTC Policy. And ultimately, upon complete shutdown, it will cease its ocean water intakes and the associated impacts altogether.

California’s iconic ocean habitats and their marine species are of immense ecological, economic, and cultural value, within California and beyond. For three decades, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant has had a significant impact on the marine life in the region of the plant and the once-pristine bay where it is located. Removing this impact to California’s treasured marine wildlife and coastal habitats—and replacing it with clean energy—is something all Californians can celebrate.  https://www.nrdc.org/experts/elizabeth-murdock/nuclear-plant-closure-will-benefit-california-marine-species

June 27, 2016 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment

Fake story from Wall Street Journal claiming environmentalists support nuclear power

nuke-greenwash

So are there prominent climate scientists and self-described environmentalists advocating for nuclear power? To be sure. But their stance doesn’t necessarily define the larger movement of low-carbon, renewable energy advocates who hold a decidedly different position.

WSJ Fakes a Green Shift Toward Nuclear Power http://fair.org/home/wsj-fakes-a-green-shift-toward-nuclear-power/ By Miranda C. Spencer The Wall Street Journal(6/16/16) published an article headlined “Environmental Groups Change Tune on Nuclear Power: Focus on Climate Change Has Raised Profile of Reactors, Now Viewed as Reliable, Carbon-Free Source of Energy.” Written by Amy Harder, the approximately 600-word piece appeared on the front page of the Journal’s B section.

Its dramatic lead-in: Continue reading

June 27, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Plan for closing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant to save money and carbon

Diablo Nuclear Earthquake Hazard USGSClosing Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Will Save Money And Carbon, Forbes, Amory B. Lovins, Cofounder and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute,  ablovins@rmi.org,www.rmi.org

A widespread claim—that dozens of nuclear plants, too costly to run profitably, now merit new subsidies to protect the earth’s climate—just collided with market reality.

The CEO of one of America’s most prominent and technically capable utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric Company—previously chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute and the Edison Electric Institute—just announced its decision (subject to regulatory approvals) to close PG&E’s well-running twin nuclear reactors at Diablo Canyon because they’re uneconomic and won’t be needed.

Unlike previous nuclear shutdowns, some of which were too abrupt for immediate replacement with carbon-free resources, PG&E’s nuclear output will be phased out over 8–9 years, replaced timely and cost-effectively by efficiency and renewables. That means no more fossil fuel burned nor carbon emitted, all at less cost to ratepayers. How much less? Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says at least $1 billion (net present value to 2044).

PG&E also agrees that removing the inflexible “must-run” nuclear output, which can’t easily and economically ramp down much, will help integrate more renewable power reliably into the grid. Midday solar, rather than being increasingly crowded out by continued nuclear overgeneration, will be able to supply more energy. As Germany found, integrating varying solar and windpower with steady “baseload” plants can present challenges for the the opposite of the reason originally supposed: not because wind and solar power vary (demand varies even less predictably), but because “baseload” plants are too inflexible.

The big economic lesson here is that nuclear power’s ability to displace fossil-fueled generation is not simply about tons of carbon dioxide saved. Nuclear power also incurs an operating cost that for many reactors, including Diablo Canyon, has become very high. Saving and reinvesting that avoidable cost can buy a larger quantity of cheaper carbon-displacing resources, saving even more carbon. Nearly all commentators, even Bloomberg’s astute editorial board(twice), have overlooked this advantageous swap.

As the Italian proverb says, arithmetic is not an opinion. So let’s do the math.

Renewables and efficiency cost less than operating many nuclear plants

Diablo Canyon’s forward operating cost, about $70/MWh (levelized 2014 $), is in the top quartile of the national nuclear fleet according to the industry’s latest published data. That quartile’s national average operating cost in 2010–12 averaged $62/MWh in 2013 $. (These operating costs include major repairs, called Net Capital Additions, that tend to rise in the aging fleet, but they exclude all charges for the original construction cost and its financing.)

But carbon-free replacements cost far less. In California, windpower and utility-scale photovoltaics cost around $30–50/MWh to build and run. U.S.-average renewables cost roughly $10/MWh less than in California. Here are their empirical market prices:……..

Saving carbon by closing uneconomic reactors…….

Propaganda meets reality 
PG&E’s historic proposal contradicts each key premise of the crusade for more subsidies to avert the shutdown of uncompetitive nuclear plants. Most prominently, PG&E’s resource plan is designed specifically to get carbon-free replacements online to displace nuclear output before it’s turned off—not to substitute fossil fuels, as critics are vehemently assuming (as if they hadn’t read the proposal)……… http://www.forbes.com/sites/amorylovins/2016/06/22/close-a-nuclear-plant-save-money-and-carbon-improve-the-grid-says-pge/:

June 27, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant can and should close today

Diablo nuclear power plantLies, damned lies and the nuclear industry! Media With Conscience News,  Ace Hoffman 26 June 16 

Three important nuclear power events occurred in the past seven days — one in Nebraska and two in California — which together show just how doomed and unworkable nuclear power really is.

In Nebraska, the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) Board of Directors unanimously decided to shut down Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power plant because its cost of operation could not be justified against the current and expected future price of natural gas, solar and wind power (but mainly natural gas). Certainly natural gas prices are at an unnatural low compared to the price of oil and nuclear power, and that might change over the coming years, but natural gas prices cannot go up too much if they are to stay competitive with renewable energy prices — which are going to continue to plummet over the next few decades.

Solar panels thinner than a human hair have been developed in the labs. They don’t use many natural resources to make. Solar panels as flexible as a human hair have also been developed. They can be placed virtually anywhere. Wind turbine output keeps going up for the exact same land requirements, which of course, are already minimal to begin with. Power requirements of all the major household appliances keep coming down as better motors, coolers and pumps are developed. The future is bright for renewables, and getting brighter.

All this spelled doom for Fort Calhoun, a “small” (478 megawatts, the smallest operating reactor in the United States) lone reactor that cost about $178 million dollars to build when construction began in 1966, and now costs over $250 million annually to operate. It was “simply an economic decision” to close the facility according to the operators.

Being so old and run-down, it went offline yesterday suddenly, for a turbine issue, (its speed controller failed). But no matter how often a nuclear power plant goes offline without warning, regulators and operators still assure the public they are necessary for “baseload capacity.”

Lies, damned lies and the nuclear industry strike out again

In California, an apparently momentous decision was made regarding Diablo Canyon’s pair of massive nuclear reactors (~1,100 megawatts each), which first went online in the mid-1980s and were originally scheduled to close by this year, but were granted a 10-year extension a few years ago for no apparent reason at all.

After years of threatening to try to extend their license another 20 years to 60 years and beyond, its operator, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced that they would only run out their current license (good to 2024 and 2025 for units 1 and 2, respectively) and then be shut down permanently. The decision was made in cooperation with several environmental organizations (FoE, NRDC and A4NR) in some sort of secret backroom arrangement — an arrangement which has some good points, but has some very bad points, too.

First and foremost among the good points is, of course, that the plant will shut down. And second is that it will be replaced with renewable energy and increased energy conservation.

But first and foremost among the bad points is not only that it will take 10 more years, and not only that the decision is potentially reversible, but also that the aforementioned environmental groups apparently have lost interest in shutting the plant down earlier. That means another two million pounds of high-level nuclear waste will be generated in the meantime, with their approval. And worst of all, it means that if the San Andreas earthquake fault does what it’s been threatening to do for decades, and is actually considered late in doing, southern California will be ruined financially and environmentally. Not to mention the dozens of other faults that could shake the plant to smithereens any day of the week.

Additionally, while Fort Calhoun’s operators have promised to help the employees of that plant find other work (probably installing solar panels on rooftops, making new interconnections to the power grid, building wind turbines and so forth), Diablo Canyon has promised to take more than a third of a billion dollars of ratepayer money to do the same. As if it was the ratepayers who chose to make the workers work in a dying industry with high-paying jobs. As if there aren’t other nuclear power plants around the country that are having trouble finding workers, for those who want to stay in a dying industry. And as if there won’t be plenty of renewable energy jobs they can find for themselves.

In short, the deal stinks so badly, one activist in the Diablo Canyon area described it as being “sold down the river.”

n both cases, a major part of the decision was based on the fact that the electricity generated by Fort Calhoun and Diablo Canyon (and virtually every other nuclear power plant in the country) can be replaced immediately with other power sources, without the lights going out or reliability of the grid falling below set point levels. This is as it must be: Nuclear power plants require the rest of the grid to be operating or they themselves must shut down.

That’s why, when a massive power outage struck the northeastern United States in 2003, all the nuclear power plants in the area automatically shut down and could not help keep the grid up. They require about 30 megawatts of continuous power to operate, and as much as 100 megawatts during restart once they shut down for any reason. It took many days for the nuclear power plants to come back online even after the rest of the grid was restored. So much for the reliability of the “baseload” power system!

Diablo Canyon can and should close today. Even its owners have now admitted that its electricity output can be replaced entirely by renewables (although that might take a couple of years to accomplish, it would free up about 1500 workers (1200 PG&E employees, 200 subcontractors, and miscellaneous high-paid executives) to start installing solar panels and wind turbines. Its total output could be replaced in a matter of months.

Meanwhile, the nuclear waste at San Onofre is no longer being generated (SanO closed permanently in 2013 after a leaky steam generator could not be repaired). But the lies and damned lies continue spewing forth unabated from that complex as well. Last night, the quarterly Citizen’s Engagement Panel met once again, supposedly to engage with citizens but in fact, to push the utility’s agenda of cheap, ineffective, dangerous solutions to its nuclear waste problem — which it will have for 500,000 years unless something is done about it.

The meeting was attended by some high-powered outsiders from the Department of Energy and a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, Dr. Allison Macfarlane. Earlier in the day several localized meetings were held with these outsiders for additional discussions. It all looks very cooperative on paper, but in reality it’s nothing but the regular dog-and-pony shows the nuclear industry and the NRC have been putting on for decades.

Time was, speakers at an NRC hearing were sworn in, swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That ended about 20 years ago, and now we have a non-governmental body making nonsense plans and decisions which will affect the local population for decades to come, will solve nothing, will obstruct real solutions (more on that in a moment), and will push the utilities’ agenda down everybody’s throats (literally, when the waste escapes its escarpments)………http://mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/59553-nuclear-industry.html

June 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Pentagon’s nuclear-powered spending: a $trillion and climbing

Behold the Pentagon’s Amazing, Nuclear-Powered ATM, Mother Jones 

weapons1When the going gets tough, the world’s toughest military sends out RFPs.

ANDREW COCKBURNJUN. 24 “………creating and maintaining an effective fighting force becomes a secondary consideration, reflecting a relative disinterest—remarkable to outsiders—in the actual business of war, as opposed to the business of raking in dollars for the Pentagon and its industrial and political partners. A key element of the strategy involves seeding the military budget with “development” projects that require little initial outlay but which, down the line, grow irreversibly into massive, immensely profitable production contracts for our weapons-making cartels……

ongoing and dramatic programs to invest vast sums in meaningless, useless, or superfluous weapons systems are the norm. There is no more striking example of this than current plans to rebuild the entire American arsenal of nuclear weapons in the coming decades, Obama’s staggering bequest to the budgets of his successors.

These nuclear initiatives have received far less attention than they deserve, perhaps because observers are generally loath to acknowledge that the Cold War and its attendant nuclear terrors, supposedly consigned to the ashcan of history a quarter-century ago, are being revived on a significant scale. The US is currently in the process of planning for the construction of a new fleet of nuclear submarines loaded with new intercontinental nuclear missiles, while simultaneously creating a new land-based intercontinental missile, a new strategic nuclear bomber, a new land-and-sea-based tactical nuclear fighter plane, a new long-range nuclear cruise missile (which, as recently as 2010, the Obama administration explicitly promisednot to develop), at least three nuclear warheads that are essentially new designs, and new fuses for existing warheads. In addition, new nuclear command-and-control systems are under development for a fleet of satellites (costing up to $1 billion each) designed to make the business of fighting a nuclear war more practical and manageable.

This massive nuclear buildup, routinely promoted under the comforting rubric of “modernization,” stands in contrast to the president’s lofty public ruminations on the topic of nuclear weapons. The most recent of these was delivered during his visit—the first by an American president—to Hiroshima last month. There, he urged“nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles” to “have the courage to escape the logic of fear, and pursue a world without them.”

In reality, that “logic of fear” suggests that there is no way to “fight” a nuclear war, given the unforeseeable but horrific effects of these immensely destructive weapons. They serve no useful purpose beyond deterring putative opponents from using them, for which an extremely limited number would suffice. During the Berlin crisis of 1961, for example, when the Soviets possessed precisely four intercontinental nuclear missiles, White House planners seriously contemplated launching an overwhelming nuclear strike on the USSR. It was, they claimed, guaranteed to achieve “victory.” As Fred Kaplan recounts in his book Wizards of Armageddon, the plan’s advocates conceded that the Soviets might, in fact, be capable of managing a limited form of retaliation with their few missiles and bombers in which as many as three million Americans could be killed, whereupon the plan was summarily rejected.

In other words, in the Cold War as today, the idea of “nuclear war-fighting” could not survive scrutiny in a real-world context. Despite this self-evident truth, the US military has long been the pioneer in devising rationales for fighting such a war via ever more “modernized” weapons systems. ……..

The drive to develop and build such systems on the irrational pretense that nuclear war fighting is a practical proposition persists today. One component of the current “modernization” plan is the proposed development of a new “dial-a-yield” version of the venerable B-61 nuclear bomb. Supposedly capable of delivering explosions of varying strength according to demand, this device will, at least theoretically, be guidable to its target with high degrees of accuracy and will also be able to burrowdeep into the earth to destroy buried bunkers. The estimated bill—$11 billion—is a welcome boost for the fortunes of the Sandia and Los Alamos weapons laboratories that are developing it.

The ultimate cost of this new nuclear arsenal in its entirety is essentially unknowable. The only official estimate we have so far came from the Congressional Budget Office, which last year projected a total of $350 billion. That figure, however, takes the “modernization” program only to 2024……..

Assiduously tabulating these projections, experts at the Monterey Center for Nonproliferation Studies peg the price of the total program at a trillion dollars. In reality, though, the true bill that will come due over the next few decades will almost certainly be multiples of that. For example, the Air Force has claimed that its new B-21 strategic bombers will each cost more than $564 million (in 2010 dollars), yet resolutely refuses to release its secret internal estimates for the ultimate cost of the program.

To offer a point of comparison, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the tactical nuclear bomber previously mentioned, was originally touted as costing no more than $35 million per plane. In fact, it will actually enter service with a sticker price well in excess of $200 million.

Nor does that trillion-dollar figure take into account the inevitable growth of America’s nuclear “shield.”……..http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/pentagon-budget-nuclear-spending

June 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India stopped by China, from joining Nuclear Suppliers Group

China rejects bending rule for India to join nuclear club, Reuters,  SEOUL | BY JAMES PEARSON 25 June 16 

China maintains its opposition to India joining a group of nations seeking to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by controlling access to sensitive technology, said the head of the arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) met this week in Seoul, but China said it would not bend the rules and allow India membership as it had not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.

“Applicant countries must be signatories of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (NPT),” Wang Qun, the head of arms control department in China’s Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying in Seoul on Thursday night.

“This is a pillar, not something that China set. It is universally recognized by the international community,” Wang said according to a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday.

Opponents argue that granting India membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation. It would also infuriate India’s rival Pakistan, an ally of China’s, which has responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own.

Pakistan joining would be unacceptable to many, given its track record. The father of its nuclear weapons program ran an illicit network for years that sold nuclear secrets to countries including North Korea and Iran. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-nuclear-china-idUSKCN0ZA0IF

 

June 27, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international | 1 Comment

Illinois nuclear plant shutdown situation – defacto radioactive dump

DecommissioningNuclear plant shutdown in Illinois could offer lessons for SLO County  Power plant in Zion, Illinois, closed nearly 2 decades ago because of an employee’s mistake. Tribune, 26 June 16

Community leaders say storage of spent nuclear fuel is preventing redevelopment of desirable lakefront property

They are leading a push to obtain federal financial compensation for communities that become de facto storage sites for waste  BY STEPHANIE FINUCANE sfinucane@thetribunenews.comNearly 20 years after the shutdown of a nuclear power plant in the small community of Zion, Illinois, the city’s finance director describes the local economy in a single word: struggling.

“We’ve lost about $18 million communitywide,” said David Knabel, referring to the annual property tax that used to be generated by the power plant. “That tax burden got shifted to businesses and residents.”

Since the plant closed, property tax rates rose 143 percent, according to city documents. That’s made it tough to attract new employers.

“With the tax rate going through the roof … who wants to buy a house or bring businesses in?” asked Knabel.

Yet Zion isn’t blaming the nuclear power plant. As local pastor and City Commissioner Mike McDowell pointed out, that was a business decision.

The city is upset, though, that it’s become a long-term storage site for highly radioactive spent fuel — something it never signed on for.

Officials say the spent fuel is preventing redevelopment of the prime lakefront property where the plant was built, and they’re looking to the federal government for financial relief.

“We can’t get the federal government to move it,” said McDowell, “and at this point, we’re not being compensated for the impact.”……..

Once the decommissioning is complete, the property will be returned to Exelon Corp., the parent of Zion’s operator, Commonwealth Edison.

Officials in the city of Zion don’t know when that will be, nor do they know how much of the property could be permanently off-limits because of the spent fuel storage facility.

Like reactor communities across the nation — including San Luis Obispo County — the citizens of Zion did not expect to store spent nuclear fuel indefinitely. They believed the federal government would make good on its commitment to accept the waste, which at one time was destined for Yucca Mountain, Nevada. That plan fell apart, however, and the federal government has yet to identify an alternative site for permanent storage.

Zion is leading a push for federal legislation that would provide financial compensation to communities that have become de facto storage sites for spent fuel………http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article86054762.html

June 27, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment