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SC Gov Nikki Haley’s Plutonium Hypocrisy: Financial and Family Ties to Areva, Holtec, and More

Mining Awareness +

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she wants US and foreign plutonium out of South Carolina. And, yet, she wants more plutonium and more radioactive waste to be made. What Nikki really seems to want is the Areva MOX project to be completed. However, it would actually create more nuclear waste, along with producing dangerous plutonium fuel, that no one wants to buy anyway.
Nikki Haley Areva

Kris Singh of Holtec has been both campaign donor and is from the same part of India as Nikki Haley’s father and she calls him a family friend. Holtec appears to have been first founded as a concrete company in India, before Kris Singh went to study in America. Privately owned by Kris Singh (and perhaps other unknown individuals), it is arguably a foreign firm. Perhaps Nikki’s father has a stake in it?

Nikki the Nuclear Fiend?
We have a tremendous opportunity to be…

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June 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michael Mariotte: Counterweight to Nuclear Energy (1952 – 2016)


Let us be clear: without Michael Mariotte’s decision in the mid 1980’s to devote his talents to stopping the nuclear industry, many things would be very different today. Michael could not do what he did without Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), and the many thousands of people who work with NIRS could not have produced the results they did without Michael at the helm. This is one telling of this story.

Dispassionate passion: The smartest one in almost any room… but never resting on his own analysis; always digging, asking the next question, checking the facts. Michael Mariotte was a journalist and an organizer and at bottom it was these talents that made his leadership of the civilian end of the US anti-nuclear community so deft. Michael’s dispassion was sometimes misunderstood as indifference, but he was standing back, watching as the pieces of a puzzle would come together. Michael’s…

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June 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 30 Energy News



¶ “Floating Solar: A Win-Win for Drought-Stricken Lakes in
U.S.” • Floating PV projects are increasingly used around the world. One prime spot for them could be the US Southwest, where they could prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs as they make energy. [Yale Environment 360]

A 2.3-MW floating solar array in Kasai City, Japan. A 2.3-MW floating solar array in Kasai City, Japan.

¶ “The End of the Era of Baseload Power Plants” • PG&E’s plan to close the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant marks a historic transition for the electric power industry. While it ends nuclear power in California, it also ushers in an entirely new paradigm for our electric system. [Greentech Media]


¶ HVDC grid connections in the German North Sea could be planned and built almost two years faster than is currently the case, and technical innovations could also help cut costs by up to 30%, according to a…

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June 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 29 Energy News



¶ India’s National Hydro Power Corporation has announced plans to set up a 600 MW floating solar project at one of its largest hydro power complexes. Media reports say that the company will set up the solar project at the 1,960 MW Koyna hydro power project. [CleanTechnica]

The Koyna Dam in Maharashtra, India. Photo by Nichalp. CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons. The Koyna Dam in Maharashtra, India. Photo by Nichalp.
CC BY-SA 2.5. Wikimedia Commons.

¶ The Jamaican Minister for Science, Energy, and Technology recently told the country’s legislature that the government will allocate 150 MW of renewable energy capacity this year. The minister said that 50 MW of capacity will be based on waste-to-energy technology. [CleanTechnica]

¶ The London Array has reliably powered 500,000 homes. Originally leased a second area in the hope of doubling the size of the farm, but this second phase was cancelled due to concerns about the welfare of the red-throated diver, a…

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June 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How far up the ladder did the #Fukushima cover up really go?

Tokyo – About the only country today where a public apology is still accepted is in Japan, and quite honestly, this writer has always thought life would be so much more simpler if that’s all it took to right a profound wrong.



That is what took place last week when CTV News reported Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) President Naomi Hirose acknowledged in public the company had delayed its disclosure of the meltdowns of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Hirose’s apology on the cover-up was to be expected after the news came out that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor had instructed staff to avoid using the term, “meltdown” after the disaster in March 2011. “I would say it was a cover-up,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”

Hirose said he would take a 10 percent pay cut and another executive will take a 30 percent pay cut for one month each to show how sincere the apology really is. I hope all the children with thyroid abnormalities and all those displaced refugees from Fukushima Prefecture are willing to accept a one-month pay reduction by TEPCO executives as compensation for their troubles.

An investigative report submitted by three company-appointed lawyers on June 16, 2016, said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials to avoid using the specific description “meltdown” under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, although the company’s attorneys say they have no direct evidence of this.

So TEPCO officials used the less damaging term “core damage” for two months, leaving the Japanese population and the rest of the world to think the disaster wasn’t that bad. Boy, was the world ever fooled? Of course, former officials at the Prime Minister’s Office have denied there was any pressure exerted on TEPCO, but what else would they be expected to say?

It wasn’t until May 2011 that TEPCO officials used the scary “M” word reports the Associated Press, and that was because computer simulations showed the fuel in one reactor had melted to the point it had fallen into the bottom of the primary containment chamber, and the other two reactor’s cores had melted far worse than previously thought.

It is interesting that every investigation so far had put the blame for the Fukushima disaster squarely on the shoulders of TEPCO. The first independent investigation authorized by the National Diet in its 66-year history was commissioned in 2011. That investigation reported: “It was a profoundly man-made disaster – that could and should have been foreseen and prevented. And its effects could have been mitigated by a more effective human response. “Governments, regulatory authorities and Tokyo Electric Power lacked a sense of responsibility to protect people’s lives and society.”

The big question for me is simple. Did Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put enough pressure on TEPCO officials that the disaster was downplayed to the world? Abe’s government has not been very forthcoming about anything to do with Fukushima over the past five years, as this writer has reported previously in Digital Journal.

And owing to the fact that Mr. Abe has been adamant in saying Japan needs its nuclear power plants, anything he says about Fukushima I would take with a grain of salt. Digital Journal reported that on March 6, this year at a press conference, Abe insisted that safety of nuclear plants was the government’s “top priority.” He also said the government would “not change its policy” in which reactors that meet the new standards can be restarted. So, yes, I think he probably did speak sternly with TEPCO officials in March 2011.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear watchdog finds 3 nuclear plants guilty of ‘malicious’ safety violations

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) concluded on June 29 that three nuclear power plants were guilty of “level 2” safety violations by breaching standards on placement of power cables

A “level 2” violation is the second heaviest violation in the NRA’s four-tier list.

The NRA deemed that new safety standards regarding power cable installation had been violated at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture, Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture and Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. TEPCO’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear station in Niigata Prefecture was earlier found to have committed a level 2 violation.

The NRA is set to carry out additional safety inspections on the three recently named nuclear plants as well as at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant to check whether problems at these plants have been corrected.

Violation of power cable-related safety standards has been found at 19 reactors within 6 nuclear plants, as well as at Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd.’s spent fuel reprocessing facility in Aomori Prefecture. Subsequent inspections by power companies and the NRA found such violations at a total of 5,344 locations on the premises of those nuclear plants. Of these, violations at the four nuclear stations including the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant were deemed particularly malicious as utilities failed to check their power cable placing and continued to violate the safety standards even after regulations for power companies to conduct in-house inspections on power cable installation were introduced in October 2003.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric looks to fire up MOX-fueled Ehime reactor around Aug. 25

As if Fukushima ‘s catastrophe was not enough, Japan seems to have a death wish when it is now restarting the Shikoku Electric’s Ehime reactor, loaded with Mox-fuel.

This Ehime reactor standing right on the main fault line which caused the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes in the nearby island of Kyushu, with plenty destruction.

18 avril 2016.jpg



MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Shikoku Electric Power Co. is considering launching commercial operations of its No. 3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture around Aug. 25, sources said. The date would be later than the initially planned time frame of mid-August.

The company reviewed the schedule to provide more time for a mandatory pre-use inspection from regulators, the sources said.

Shikoku Electric on Monday finished loading 157 fuel assemblies into reactor No. 3, including 16 units of mixed oxide, or MOX fuel — a blend of uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel.

The company plans to resume operations of the reactor as early as July 26 if the safety checks show no major issues.

Reactor No. 3 was shut down in April 2011 for a routine safety inspection.

Shikoku Electric expects the reactor to improve its earnings by some ¥25 billion annually after it begins commercial operations.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Outgoing Fukushima plant chief says long road still ahead


The crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has seen improvements over the past three years but it will continue to be a difficult project during its decades-long decommissioning, the outgoing chief of the plant said Thursday.

Akira Ono, who headed the plant for three years until Thursday, said improvements include removing spent fuel rods from the damaged reactor building 4 and reducing the amount of groundwater seeping into reactor buildings, which then mixes with highly contaminated water.

“As for the working environment, workers can now have hot meals at a new, large rest station. In March, we were also able to widen the areas where they can work with their regular clothes” as radiation levels have decreased, Ono said.

Under the high radiation atmosphere, workers have to wear protective suits and full-face masks that are uncomfortable and make it hard to communicate with each other.

But the plant still needs to ensure facilities and equipment are operating more smoothly, and also further improve working conditions over the next two to three years in order to handle decommissioning work expected to take 30 to 40 more years, Ono said.

The Fukushima No. 1 plant faced an electric outage this week, which shut down some of the cooling facilities for its underground ice walls.

Ono said that the decommissioning work will also face other challenges, including identifying the exact location of melted fuel rods.

Shunji Uchida, who will be heading the plant from Friday, said he will spearhead efforts to create a strong foundation for the long decommissioning task ahead.

Ono takes on a new role at the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, a body funded by the government and regional utilities to research technologies for decommissioning work.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan approves guidelines of reusing soil from Fukushima for public works

TOKYO, June 30 (Xinhua) — Japan’s Ministry of the Environment approved Thursday guidelines of reusing contaminated soil from the Fukushima nuclear disaster for national public works despite public concerns over safety.

According to the guidelines, Japan would allow tainted soil generated from the Fukushima decontamination work with the radioactive cesium level lower than a certain limit varying from 5,000 to 8,000 becquerels per kilogram according to different uses, to be reused in national public works.

The tainted soil, while reused, shall be covered with clean earth, concrete or other materials, so as to make the amount of radiation sustained by residents living nearby less than 0.01 mSv a year after the construction is completed, according to the guidelines.

The reuse is aimed to cut the amount of radioactive soil from Fukushima disaster to be shipped to other prefectures for final disposal, according to the ministry.

The decision was made despite public concerns that contaminated materials would still leach out as roads or other public works in which the tainted soil is used might decay or collapse during earthquakes, floods or other national disasters or fail over time.

Earlier estimates by a working group of the ministry showed that it would take as long as 170 years before the soil’s radiation levels drop to legal safety standards, while public works such as roads are often durable for just 70 years.

Under the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, the safety standards for reusing materials generated from the Fukushima decontamination work are less than 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Monju fiasco, Fukushima plans point to a better energy source


Michihito and Yoko Endo in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, in March. The couple and other evacuees plan to build a large-scale solar farm on the rice paddies behind them.


We are perhaps witnessing a turning point in history regarding humankind and energy.

The total capacity of facilities in Japan that sell electricity generated from solar power under the feed-in tariff system exceeded 30 gigawatts by the end of last year, according to figures of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

Most of those facilities began generating power after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. Their total capacity is worth 30 nuclear reactors, although actual output depends on the time of day and the weather.

Frankly, I was surprised to learn that solar power has grown so big despite the many barriers, such as regional utilities essentially setting upper limits on the amount of electricity generated with renewable energy sources that they purchase.

And solar power is turning out to be useful.

Through inquiries with nine regional utilities, The Asahi Shimbun learned that electricity generated with solar power accounted for about 10 percent of power supply at peak demand last summer.

In the service area of Kyushu Electric Power Co., the ratio was close to 25 percent.

The shift to renewable energies is more pronounced on the global scale.

For example, global wind power capacity topped 430 gigawatts in 2015, according to the Global Status Report released on June 1 by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), an international body.

Global nuclear power capacity is now 386 gigawatts, according to figures of the International Atomic Energy Agency, so wind turbines have outstripped nuclear reactors in terms of output capacity.

Solar power has a total capacity of 227 gigawatts, nearly 60 percent of that of nuclear power.


A symposium was held June 4 in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, to commemorate the start of a large-scale solar farm project in the town of Tomioka, also in the prefecture. Tomioka remains entirely evacuated because of the nuclear disaster.

Under their own initiative, residents of the town plan to build a giant solar farm with an output capacity of 30 megawatts. Proceeds from the project will be used to help rebuild communities.

The plan is being led by Yoko Endo, a 66-year-old former music teacher, and her husband, Michihito, a 60-year-old former art teacher. The couple now live in evacuation in the city of Iwaki, also in Fukushima Prefecture.

The couple’s former home is in a government-designated “no-residence” zone, whereas Yoko’s family home nearby stands in a “difficult-to-return” zone.

Michihito’s 2 hectares of rice paddies have also been rendered unusable.

The couple said they thought they would still be able to produce something that would be good for Japan from their terrain, even if they could not return to Tomioka and no longer grow crops there.

They solicited cooperation from their “neighbors” in diaspora across the country for the solar farm project, and they obtained agreements from more than 30 landowners for the use of about 35 hectares of rice paddies.

The total cost of the project is 9.5 billion yen ($91 million), an exceptionally large figure for a project initiated by residents. Citizens’ investments will cover 1.3 billion yen of the expenses.

Proceeds from the project will be used to help elderly residents get to and from medical institutions and stores when they return to Tomioka. The money will also fund projects to help pass on farming technologies to younger generations when farming can resume in the town.

The couple plan to start building the solar farm this autumn and have it operational in March 2018.

“We hope to nurture the project so that people will look back and say that this solar farm project, led by the initiative of residents, was more bright and brilliant than any other project of the kind,” Yoko Endo said.

Other large-scale renewable energy projects are springing up in Fukushima Prefecture.


“An energy source that relies on nuclear power is not suited to human needs,” Tetsuya Takahashi, a professor of philosophy with the University of Tokyo, said in his keynote lecture during the Koriyama symposium. “Once it runs amok, it hurts human livelihoods to an unrecoverable extent.”

Takahashi was born in Iwaki and spent his childhood in Tomioka. People from that area are now aspiring to create an energy source that is better suited to their needs.

As I listened to the professor talk, my thoughts went to Monju, the prototype fast-breeder reactor.

In 1956, shortly after Japan set out on its nuclear development program, the government said in its initial long-term plan that a fast-breeder reactor “best fits the circumstances of Japan.” At the time, the reactor appeared to represent the best solution.

In the following years, the fast-breeder reactor became the symbol of Japan’s nuclear development.

The government has spent 1 trillion yen on the construction of Monju, which began in earnest in 1985. But its development program was suspended after sodium leaked from the reactor in 1995.

Things got so bad that the Nuclear Regulation Authority recommended to science minister Hiroshi Hase last November that Monju should be brought under a different operating body.

“The first thing to do is to implement reliable maintenance in a state of suspended operation,” a study group set up by the science ministry said May 27 in a report about Monju’s operating body.

Something as basic as that is not being done properly.

A project once thought to symbolize national policy was, after all, not best suited to the people’s needs.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Melted fuel may be at the bottom of No.2 reactor

NHK has learned it is highly likely that a large amount of melted nuclear fuel remains at the bottom of one of the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Experts from Tokyo Electric Power Company and other institutions confirmed a large black shadow at the bottom of the No.2 reactor, using a device that uses elementary particles called muons.

The probe to see into the reactor’s interior has been conducted with the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization and others.

The analyses of the image led the experts to believe that most of the melted fuel is likely located at the bottom of the reactor together with other structures in the reactor.

This is the first time that an image of what’s believed to be molten fuel has been captured. Similar shadows are said to have been confirmed also on the walls of the reactor.

The results of the probe have a considerable impact on a process to remove melted fuel, the most difficult part of reactor decommissioning.
TEPCO is conducting further analyses of the reactor.

During the accident in 2011, nuclear fuel melted down in the plant’s 3 reactors. Most of the fuel in the No.1 reactor is believed to have melted through the core. But the locations of the fuel in the No.2 and 3 reactors are not yet known.

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear marketing: the ambitions and the reality

text-relevantRussia’s nuclear energy expansion – a geopolitical footprint?, New Eastern Europe Russian-BearNews, , 28 June 2016 “…….As the low oil and gas prices globally have squeezed Russia’s fossil fuel export revenues, an integral part of the country’s income, the nuclear industry has been looking for a worldwide expansion. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear champion, has in the recent years set an ambitious course to deliver Russian nuclear power generating technology to both traditional partner countries as well as to new “developing“ economies…….

Nuclear ambitions

Over the past decade state-owned nuclear corporation Rosatom and its network of subsidiaries have made direct or indirect commitments to build nuclear power plants in a number of countries around the world. As stated by a Rosatom official in a recent interview, Russia has signed intergovernmental agreements for the possible construction of 36 nuclear reactors overseas and is holding “active and consistent” tendering negotiations about 21 others. It is apparent that Russia seems to be looking away from Europe and its traditional markets in search of new business opportunities for its nuclear industry.

During the Russia – ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit held on 19 and 20 May in Sochi, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said his country is ready to provide a Generation III nuclear reactor technology to countries in Southeast Asia. Another Rosatom official called forAfrica to invest in nuclear energy during an annual energy forum in Johannesburg in February 2016.

The reality

The overall expansion agenda seems really impressive, but in fact only some of the projects are in an active construction phase – such as those in Belarus, China, Finland, India, and Slovakia. The projects in Egypt, Hungary, Iran and Vietnam are also likely to get the go-ahead in the near future. As for the rest, the picture has not been so rosy.

Turkey’s Akkuyu project is becoming increasingly bogged down after the relationship between Moscow and Ankara embittered last November. Ukraine has denounced an agreement with Russia on the construction of two units at the Khmelnitsky site as the two countries have become increasingly hostile due to the looming Donbas and Crimea crises. China appears to have taken over the project for the expansion of the Atucha plant in Argentina. And nuclear development on the African continent (except for South Africa and Egypt) is nowhere closer to reality in the near future.

Looking back at Europe, both Finland’s Hanhikivi and Hungary’s Paks 2 nuclear new build projects have come under scrutiny of the authorities. In the Finnish case, the main condition set by Helsinki to allow the project was for 60 per cent of the ownership of Fennovoima, the company building Hanhikivi, to be held by investors from the EU. This meant Rosatom could only be a minority owner with its 34 per cent. As with Hungary, the European Commission (EC) has launched two procedures against the government in Budapest looking into the legality of the state aid and public procurement conditions around the Paks 2 project. The EC has expressed its doubts on whether the deal with Russia fully meets EU regulations and has been concluded on market terms. The EC said it would assess if a private investor would have financed the project on similar terms or whether Hungary’s investment constitutes state aid.

Economics and geopolitics

From an economic point of view, nuclear projects are specific with their high upfront capital costs. This fact often creates major hurdles for countries or companies looking to build nuclear capacities………

Apart from the initial investment, which is undoubtedly good business for Rosatom, even more attractive is the possibility for nuclear fuel supplies the Russian-designed reactors will be using over their operational lifetime. As this is on average 30-50 years, it is a brilliant opportunity for continued revenue over a very long period of time. ……

Forced to play by the common rules, Russia has to accommodate to open competition on EU terms. Therefore, it is looking for an ambitious expansion of its nuclear exports around the world, striving to “conquer” market shares as a first mover, while major nuclear industries in Europe and Japan are plagued by shrinking business opportunities, financial problems, and negative public opinions.  The real contenders to Russia’s nuclear expansion in the short and medium term will become China and the US. It only remains to be seen where the business ends and geopolitics begins.


June 30, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment