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Don’t Say Meltdown: Japan’s Coverup and US’ ‘Radioactive Russian Roulette’

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Japan finds itself in the midst of a fresh scandal, as the president of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has publicly admitted that the company staged a cover-up during the disastrous Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March of 2011.

Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with Kevin Kamps, from Beyond Nuclear, about the coverup and its possible implications for the US. 

Kamps documented how TEPCO knew about the meltdown from the beginning, and understated the true extent of the damage. “They clearly did conceal the three meltdowns for two months,” he said. “They [TEPCO] knew really within the first day or two that they had a meltdown, and they simply covered it up for as long as they could.”

Kamps pointed out a recent report in which the company attempted to dodge responsibility for their duplicity. “What’s interesting now is this panel report is trying to shift the blame from Tokyo Electric to the serving government at the time, which was the Democratic Party of Japan. They’re trying to blame Prime Minister [Naoto] Kan and his chief spokesman Yukio Edano, both of whom have really come out swinging against this report, saying it’s preposterous [and that] they made no order to TEPCO to not use the word ‘meltdown,’ but that’s what TEPCO’s trying to say, that’s it’s the government’s fault.”

Kamps explained that, at first, TEPCO spokespeople described the meltdown as  “‘core damage,’ in that the solid nuclear fuel, the fuel rods in the core of these three reactors, had suffered damage, had released some of their radioactive activity out into the environment.” 

“But a meltdown indicates that you’ve lost complete control of the integrity of the nuclear fuel cores, they have literally melted down because of the hellish thermal heat levels and have formed a molten mass that can then burn its way through the reactor pressure vessel and even the containment structures, into the earth. And they knew, by their own regulations and their own instruction manuals, that 5% or more core damage equals a meltdown, and they knew that, in unit 1, they had 55% core damage, they knew in unit 3 they had 25% damage, they knew this within a couple days.”

Loud & Clear host Brian Becker asked Kamps if TEPCO is aware of what happened to the cores. Kamps replied, “They still don’t know where the cores are. Tokyo Electric optimistically assumes that they are still located within containment structures, which are obviously damaged or even destroyed, because of the levels of radioactivity that have escaped and is still escaping. They don’t know for sure.” 

Kamps noted the drastic impact that nuclear reactor meltdowns have on the environment in contaminating soil and groundwater, and that similar incidents are possible in the US because the same technology is still being used. “We have 22 reactors in the United States that are of the same design of Fukushima-Daiichi,” he said. “We have another eight that are closely related, so that’s 30 of these radioactive Russian-roulette games going on in the United States.”

http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160706/1042496696/japanese-company-covers-up-meltodown.html

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Writing History and the Legacy of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident

Official histories are always full of omissions and strategic ambiguities. History is, after all, written by those in power.

Howard Zinn, among many others, taught us (i.e., the governed or the “people”) the importance of documenting alternative histories that reflect the perspectives and empirical realities experienced by everyday people and by marginalized authorities whose unwillingness to parrot official narratives leads to their censure.

The official Fukushima narrative is predicated upon four assumptions, all of which I call false:

1. The plant is officially in cold shutdown and radiation contamination is contained

2. No one died from the disaster and long term deaths are likely to be trivial

3. Fukushima produced less environmental contamination than Chernobyl

4. The indisputable ocean contamination produced by Fukushima is now gone

Assumptions 2 and 4 are evident in this article published by the Japan Times declaring that the Pacific Ocean is back to “normal”:
Pacific Ocean radiation back near normal after Fukushima: study. AFP-JIJI Jul 4, 2016 http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/04/national/science-health/pacific-ocean-radiation-back-near-normal-after-fukushima-study/#.V3vWMKKYK5o

SYDNEY – Radiation levels across the Pacific Ocean are rapidly returning to normal five years after the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant spewed gases and liquids into the sea, according to a study released Monday….

…Although no one is recorded as having died as a direct result of the nuclear accident, tens of thousands of people were uprooted, with many still unable to return home because of persistent contamination. Much could be said about this article but in this post I will focus on the assumption that levels of radioactivity in ocean water are returning to normal.

That statement can be both true and not-true simultaneously. The radionuclides may no longer be suspended in tested waters but that doesn’t mean they are gone and that the Pacific ocean eco-system has returned to “normal.”

In fact, it is empirically and logically impossible for most of the radionuclides from Fukushima in the ocean to have disappeared.

Radionuclides have a known decay pattern. Iodine-131 has an approximately 8 day half-life while Cesium-137 has an approximately 30 year half-life. Americium-241 has a 432 year half life.

While the Iodine-131 is probably gone, the Iodine-129 (with a 15.7 million half-life) is still there and contributing to radioactive contamination already present from dumping, atmospheric testing and nuclear accidents. As Wikipedia explains, “Most 129I derived radioactivity on Earth is man-made, an unwanted long-lived byproduct of early nuclear tests and nuclear fission accidents.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_iodine

Radionuclides with long half-lives contaminating the ocean are STILL THERE, still in the ocean, but perhaps they are no longer suspended in surface waters but rather have been absorbed by biological life or are suspended at lower levels in the water column.

BIOACCUMULATION

Official authorities can make the claim that the water has returned to “normal” (whatever that is after decades of dumping of waste and the effects of testing and accidents) because they are not examining how radionuclides have been sequestered in biological life.
In 2014, I conducted a historical search for bioaccumulation using the JSTOR index, focusing on the radionuclides known to present the majority sources of radiation derived from nuclear fallout: 241Am, 90Sr, 137Cs, 238Pu, 239Pu, and 240Pu (DOE, 1997, http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp156-c6.pdf).

 

Search results from the JSTOR index indicate that bioaccumulation was first studied in the late 1950s by scientists looking at the dispersion of radionuclides in the environment. They tended to be funded by government: for example, Oak Ridge National Laboratory funded research on bioaccumulation of radionuclides in “the marine environment.”

The research cited below finds clear evidence of bioaccumulation of a wide range of radionuclides by aquatic life: Marine organisms concentrate cesium 3-30 times over the levels in the surrounding water, although concentration can be much higher, by two or three orders of magnitude (Polikarpov 1966; Wolfe, 1971), especially in animals situated at the top of the food chain, as modeled by Alva and Gobas for killer whales (Hat Tip Enenews poster but forgot source [sorry]):

Alva, Juan & Gobas, Frank (2011, October 4). Modeling the Bioaccumulation Potential of Cesium-137 in a Marine Food Web of the Northwest Pacific, Canada[9080]. Paper presented at SETAC North America 32nd Annual Meeting in Session 498: Environmental Radiation: What Do We Know and What Should We Know for Assessing Risks http://www.researchgate.net/publication/233869698_Modeling_the_Bioaccumulation_Potential_of_Cesium_137_in_a_Marine_Food_Web_of_the_Northwest_Pacific_Canada

 

Other highly chemically and radiologically genotoxic radionuclides, such as Americium and Plutonium, are highly BIO-AVAILABLE. For example, research conducted by Fisher, Bjerregaard and Fowler (1983) found that Plutonium, Americium, and Californium concentrate readily in marine plankton:

Nicholas S. Fisher, Poul Bjerregaard and Scott W. Fowler (1983). Interactions of Marine Plankton with Transuranic Elements. 1. Biokinetics of  Neptunium, Plutonium, Americium, and Californium in Phytoplankton. Limnology and Oceanography, 28(3) (May, 1983), pp. 432-447 Published by: American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2835825

“The results suggest that Pu, Cf, and Am would associate with marine particles which could transport them vertically, transfer them into the marine food web, or both”Page 445; Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the reactive transuranic elements (e.g. Pu, Am, Co are likely to reach an equilibrium between surfaces of suspended particles and ambient seawater and that the adsorptive properties of particles scavenging these (and other) metals are governed by organic coatings (Balistrieri et al. 1981).

 

Phytoplankton particles with associated transuranics may sink slowly, transporting these elements to deeper waters and sediments (Bowen et al. 1980; Santschi et al. 1980), or they may be ingested by herbivores in surface waters. Once ingested, radionuclides may be assimilated into food chains (Lowman et al. 1971; Koide et al. 1981) or defecated in the form of fast-sinking fecal pellets (Higgo et al. 1977).

It is interesting that radionuclides such as Cesium and Americium bioaccumulate in different areas of organisms, and at different concentrations with Americium levels higher than Cesium, as illustrated by this study:

Metian, Marc, Warnau, Michel, Teyssie, Jean-Louis, Bustamante, Paco (2011) Characterization of Am-241 and Cs-134 bioaccumulation in the king scallop Pecten maximus: investigation via three exposure pathways. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 102(6), 543-550 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2011.02.008

[Abstract] In order to understand the bioaccumulation of Am-241 and Cs-134 in scallops living in sediments, the uptake and depuration kinetics of these two elements were investigated in the king scallop Pecten maximus exposed via seawater, food, or sediment under laboratory conditions. Generally, Am-241 accumulation was higher and its retention was stronger than Cs-134.

 

This was especially obvious when considering whole animals exposed through seawater with whole-body concentration factors (CF7d) of 62 vs. 1, absorption efficiencies (A(0l)) of 78 vs. 45 for seawater and biological half-lives (T-b1/2l) of 892 d vs. 22 d for Am-241 and Cs-134, respectively. In contrast, following a single feeding with radiolabelled phytoplankton, the assimilation efficiency (AE) and T-b1/2l of Cs-134 were higher than those of Am-241 (AE: 28% vs. 20%; T-b1/2l: 14 d vs. 9 d).

 

Among scallop tissues, the shells always contained the higher proportion of the total body burden of Am-241 whatever the exposure pathway. In contrast, the whole soft parts presented the major fraction of whole-body burden of Cs-134, which was generally associated with muscular tissues. Our results showed that the two radionuclides have contrasting behaviors in scallops, in relation to their physico-chemical properties.

 

Through absorption and adsorption radionuclides in the water column are readily assimilated by phytoplankton, whereupon they are either consumed – resulting in biomagnification – or fall towards the bottom of the ocean. A significant percentage (estimated at about a 1/2 of cellular load) of Pu and Am accumulated by plankton fall to intermediate depths, where they remain suspended, resulting in the “enrichment of waters of intermediate depth with Pu or Am lost from sinking algal cells” (Fisher et al, 1983).
In other words, the radioactive and chemically toxic radionuclides are still present but are not suspended in surface waters. They are interred in biological life!

FUKUSHMA IS A CONTAMINATED-WATER PRODUCING MACHINE AND IT AINT’ OVER YET

TEPCO has been dumping radioactive water deliberately for years.  I have documented this claim in my 2013 and 2016 monographs (see Nadesan Fukushim and the Privatization of Risk 2013 AND Crisis Communication, Liberal Democracy, and Ecological Sustainability 2016).

Moreover, Fukushima is STILL leaking contaminated water into the ocean. That water is highly radioactive, as evidenced by rising ground water contamination at the plant. That is why TEPCO built the ice-wall, which has not been successful according to company officials.

You can see documentation of rising ground water contamination here:
http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2015/03/ground-water-contamination-rising-at.html
There exists good evidence that part of the reactor fuel from units 1-3 is located in the underground river that empties into the Pacific Ocean:

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This scenario will result in endless contamination of the ocean with rising levels of Strontium contamination, according to the German Risk Studies.

The “German Risk Study, Phase B” found that a core meltdown accident could result in complete failures of all structural containment, causing melted fuel to exit the reactor foundation within five days (cited in Bayer, Tromm, & Al-Omari 1989).

Moreover, the study found that even in the event of an intact building foundation, passing groundwater would be in direct contact with fuel, causing leaching of fission products. Strontium leaches slower than cesium. A follow-up German study, “Dispersion of Radionuclides and Radiation Exposure after Leaching by Groundwater of a Solidified Core-Concrete Melt,” predicted that strontium contamination levels would rise exponentially years after a full melt-through located adjacent to a river (Bayer, Tromm, & Al-Omari, 1989).

The study’s experimental conditions are roughly similar to Daiichi’s site conditions, including groundwater emptying into an adjacent river, whereas Daiichi is physically situated above an underground river emptying into the sea.

The study predicted concentrations of Strontium-90 in river water would spike relatively suddenly, but maintain extraordinarily high levels of contamination for years: “The highest radionuclide concentration of approx. 1010 Bq/m3 is reached by Sr-90 after some 5000 days.”

CONCLUSIONS

The alternative narrative I have written here is precisely that, alternative. I am a peon. I have no authority to speak as a “social scientist,” as I have been reminded by trolls and certain polemical scientists over the last 5 years.

However, my lack of official expertise does not mean I am wrong.

The contradictions and elisions marring the official narrative will become more glaring with time, as Pacific life continues its inexorable collapse, offering fodder for those like myself who persist in challenging the genocidal authority of the nuclear-security state with alternative narratives, which lack official legitimacy but are no less true because of that deficiency.

REFERENCES

Bayer, A., Al-Omari, I., & Tromm, W. (1989). Dispersion of radionuclides and radiation exposure after leaching by groundwater of a solidified core-concrete (No. KFK-4512). Available http://www.irpa.net/irpa8/cdrom/VOL.1/M1_97.PDF

Gesellschaft fur Reaktorsicherheit (GRS) Deutsche Risikikostudie Kernkraftwerke, Phase B Report GRS-89 cited in Bayer, A., Al-Omari, I., & Tromm, W. (1989). Dispersion of radionuclides and radiation exposure after leaching by groundwater of a solidified core-concrete (No. KFK-4512). Available http://www.irpa.net/irpa8/cdrom/VOL.1/M1_97.PDF

“TEPCO Announced Record Cesium Level Found in Groundwater Beneath Fukushima Levee” The Asahi Shimbun (February 14, 2014): http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201402140041). The article said that cesium found in groundwater under a coastal levee near unit 1 spiked from 76,000 Becquerels per liter on February 12, 2014 to 130,000 Becquerels per liter on February 13, reaching the highest level of cesium ever detected at that location

Record strontium-90 level in Fukushima groundwater sample last July. (2014, February 7). The Japan Times. Available http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/02/07/national/record-strontium-90-level-in-fukushima-groundwater-sample-last-july/#.U2XIw17K3yh

Source : Majia’s Blog

https://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2016/07/writing-history-and-legacy-of-fukushima.html

 

 

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Renewables beat nuclear on economics, as Wall Street now finds

New Wind & Solar Lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions & Cost Less Than Keeping Aging Nuclear Power Plants Running, Clean Technica  July 5th, 2016 by   Recently, we have seen a spate of older nuclear reactors shut down by their owners for economic reasons. One of the first bellwethers of this trend was the Kewaunee power plant closure. While the public at large may not be aware, nuclear power plant owners are aware of the increasing costs of aging reactors and have responded accordingly. A recent quote from the head of Dominion following the Kewaunee closing tells the story. Thomas Farrell II, chairman, president, and CEO of Dominion, stated:

“This decision was based purely on economics. Dominion was not able to move forward with our plan to grow our nuclear fleet in the Midwest to take advantage of economies of scale.”

graph investment fossil etc

This story has been repeated as a succession of older nuclear power plants have announced closure, among them: Diablo Canyon, Crystal River, San Onofre, Fitzpatrick, Fort Calhoun,Vermont YankeeClintonQuad Cities, and Pilgrim.

Wall Street Wakes Up

Continue reading

July 6, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea Accuses US Of Creating Nuclear War Threat Near Korean Peninsula

 BY VISHAKHA SONAWANE @VISHAKHANS ON 07/05/16 International Business TimesNorth Korea Tuesday criticized the United States for its joint military drills with South Korea held between June 13 and 20. Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), in a commentary, held Washington responsible for nuclear war threat on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. sent two B-52 Stratofortress, which can be equipped with long-range nuclear air-to-ground missiles, to fly over the skies near South Korea during the exercises with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. KCNA said that Japanese planes that took part in the exercises targeting North Korea……http://www.ibtimes.com/north-korea-accuses-us-creating-nuclear-war-threat-near-korean-peninsula-2389291

July 6, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA nuclear bombers fly near South Korea

U.S. sends 2 nuclear bombers to fly in skies near S. Korea last month  http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2016/07/03/33/0301000000AEN20160703004100315F.html  SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) — The United States sent two B-52 nuclear bombers to fly in skies near South Korea last month, military officials said Sunday, a move seen as a display of force against North Korea.

The U.S. strategic bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam conducted flights in skies near the Korean Peninsula and Japan between June 13 and 20, the officials said.

The move was part of the U.S. Air Force’s efforts to check its military capacity in the Asia-Pacific region, they added.

In January the U.S. flew its strategic bunker-busting B-52 bomber across the skies of South Korea in response to North Korea’s fourth nuclear test.

The B-52 Stratofortress, armed with long-range nuclear air-to-ground missiles, conducted a low-level flight over the U.S. Osan Base, some 55 kilometers south of the capital Seoul.

The June flight of the B-52 bombers appeared to be detected by North Korea.

Pyongyang insisted that a formation of B-52s was busy conducting a “nuclear bomb-dropping drill” on June 17.

On June 23, North Korea claimed the successful launch of what it called a Hwasong-10 intermediate range ballistic missile, known as the Musudan missile to other countries, saying that it has the capacity to strike U.S. forces in the Pacific region.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France greenlights a raft of new tenders for solar energy

sunflag-franceFrance rolls out solar tenders for 20 GW by 2023 http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/france-rolls-out-solar-tenders-for-20-gw-by-2023_100025234/#ixzz4DUCfz1pn01. JULY 2016 BY:  IAN CLOVER French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal greenlights raft of new tenders for solar energy, including a three-fold increase in installed PV capacity, eyeing 20 GW by 2023. The French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal announced this week the introduction of a number of new solar tenders in France for the development of various PV applications.

Chiefly, France is aiming to triple its solar PV capacity to 20 GW by 2023, with the tenders expected to hit incremental goals of 10.2 GW by 2018, and between 18.2 to 20.2 GW by 2023.

Other tenders announced aim to support France’s stuttering building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) sector, with the French government earmarking 450 MW of BIPV tenders over the coming three years. Another tender will be aimed solely at the country’s self-consumption sector, particularly in C&I and agriculture, while 1 GW of tenders for ground mounted PV will be issued annually for the next six years.

An additional 50 MW tender for solar+storage has also been introduced for France’s overseas territories.

This latest suite of support for solar development follows the previous round of tenders – first introduced in 2014 – that have collectively attracted more than $1 billion in investment into France’s solar PV industry. Experts in the country believe that the certainty offered by this approach will curry further favor with investors, and should particularly help boost France’s ground-mount and BIPV sectors.

The plans were first announced by the Conseil Superieur de L’Energie (CSE) in April, which outlined how France will embrace further its use of solar and wind energy. However, the CSE confirmed that there will be no nuclear plant closures before 2019, but affirmed that nuclear’s share of the energy mix will fall from 75% currently to 50% by 2025.

For solar, the cumulative target for 2023 is relatively ambitious and certainly achievable. France currently has just over 6.2 GW of cumulative PV capacity installed – according to official figures from grid operator RTE – and added just under 1 GW of capacity in 2015. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects France to add around, or just above, 1 GW of new capacity this year, but the hope is that these new tenders will accelerate that pace of installation.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Donald Trump will not overturn Iran nuclear agreement

Republican hawk (Trump)Report: Donald Trump Will Not Overhaul Iran Nuclear Accord, Washington Free Beacon, BY: , 5 July 16 Donald Trump will not upend the Iran nuclear deal should he clinch the White House this November, according to a top foreign policy adviser for the presumptive Republican nominee.

“[Trump is] not going to get rid of an agreement that has the institutional signature of the United States,” Walid Phares said in an interview with the Daily Caller published July 4. “He is a man of institutions, but he’s going to look back on it the institutional way.”

Trump has been outspoken against the landmark diplomatic agreement, calling it “disastrous” and vowing to renegotiate the nuclear accord between the U.S., Iran, and five other world powers if he assumes the presidency.

Phares said that while Trump opposes the Iran deal and feels it was poorly negotiated, he would seek the input of Congress for improvements rather than fully dismantling it…….http://freebeacon.com/national-security/report-donald-trump-will-not-overhaul-iran-nuclear-accord/

July 6, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Germany’s struggle over nuclear waste storage

wastes-1flag_germanyGermany may wait 100 years for nuclear waste storage site https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/31991613/germany-may-wait-100-years-for-nuclear-waste-storage-site/#page1 July 6, 2016, Berlin (AFP) – Germany may not have a final storage facility for its nuclear waste up and running until the next century, an expert report released on Tuesday suggested.

For the past two years, a commission of scientists, industry leaders and civil society representatives have debated the question of where Germany should store waste from its soon-to-be-retired nuclear reactors.

Initially, the commission had hoped to reach a decision on the final site of the highly radioactive spent fuel from the country’s power plants by 2031, with the facility itself slated to open in 2050.

But even that decades-spanning timetable was described by commission president Michael Mueller as “ambitious”.

The final report, published on Tuesday, stated that the storage facility might only enter service “in the next century”. For many years now, a site in Gorleben, in the northern state of Lower Saxony, had been under discussion, drawing often violent clashes between police and anti-nuclear demonstrators.

But choosing a site for the permanent nuclear waste dump has become all the more pressing since 2011, when Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans to shut down all eight remaining reactors in the country by 2022 following the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

In the wake of that decision, the expert commission was instructed to go back to square one and choose a suitable spot within Germany based on scientific criteria.

Gorleben is still one of the possible options, but a series of other sites are also being looked at. Germany’s vocal environmentalist movement was quick to lash out at the report’s findings on Tuesday.

Commission members had simply “delayed” the decision, said Jochen Stay of anti-nuclear organisation Ausgestrahlt.

“The recommendations they’ve made are so vague that they could justify choosing any site,” Stay added.

Germany’s government has been locked in battles with industry for years over who should foot the bill for the nuclear phase-out, with the costs of storing the waste and safely dismantling the reactors representing a very substantial financial risk for the country’s four biggest power suppiers, RWE, Vattenfall, EON and EnBW.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | Germany, wastes | Leave a comment

Things are crook, very crook, for the uranium industry

Uranium spot prices descend beyond decade low
 The descending uranium price has put global producers under pressure. by Tess  Ingram Uranium spot prices are still likely to stage a rapid recovery on the back of improving demand, industry analysts and executives argue, despite a persistent supply glut driving prices to a largely unanticipated 11-year low.

burial.uranium-industry

Spot prices for uranium oxide, which is used mainly as fuel for nuclear reactors, crept below $US27 ($36) a pound in June for the first time since mid-2005.

The current levels are lower than when prices were sent spiralling after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  After hitting over $US130 a pound in 2007, prices had stabilised to about $US70 a pound at the beginning of 2011 before Fukushima sent them gradually declining to a low of $US28 a pound in May 2014. Prices increased in 2015 but have since slumped about 21 per cent year-to-date.

Argonaut analyst Matthew Keane said prices had persisted “a lot lower than a lot of people expected” and forecasts for the timing of an anticipated supply deficit needed to improve prices “keep getting kicked along”.

“We just haven’t got the reactors online and even though the Chinese build program is very aggressive, we haven’t caught up and really sucked away the inventory yet,” Mr Keane said. “The US and Europe are still sitting on adequate stockpiles.”…… http://www.afr.com/business/mining/uranium/uranium-spot-prices-descend-beyond-decade-low-20160705-gpyupv

July 6, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

South Australia’s financially risky nuclear waste import scheme

scrutiny-Royal-CommissionShunning nuclear power but not its waste: Assessing the risks of Australia becoming the world’s nuclear wasteland   http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629616301323 Mark Diesendorf 

Abstract

The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission has undertaken ‘an independent and comprehensive investigation into the potential for increasing South Australia’s participation in the nuclear fuel cycle’. In its Final Report, issued 6 May 2016, it acknowledges that nuclear power would not be commercially viable in South Australia in the foreseeable future. However it recommends that ‘the South Australian Government establish used nuclear fuel and intermediate level waste storage and disposal facilities in South Australia’.

This is a business proposition to store a large fraction of global nuclear wastes, providing interim above-ground storage followed by permanent underground storage in South Australia.

The present critical evaluation of the scheme finds that the Royal Commission’s economic analysis is based on many unsubstantiated assumptions. Furthermore, the scheme is financially risky for both Australian taxpayers and customers and has a questionable ethical basis.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, wastes | Leave a comment

Kiev’s new nuclear project puts Europe at risk

wastes-1flag-Ukraine‘Threat of 2nd Chernobyl’: Kiev’s new nuclear project puts Europe at risk, Greens warn

 Rt.com  5 Jul, 2016  The construction of a spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Ukraine poses “significant safety risks for the whole of Europe” because of numerous rule and standards violations, Ukrainian environmentalists warn.

The Ukrainian Greens Association, a non-profit environmentalist organization, listed the risks in a statement released on Monday.

“We are deeply concerned about plans to build a spent nuclear fuel storage in the upper reaches of the Dnepr River close to densely populated places,” the statement said, citing a speech made by the association’s spokeswoman, Anna Rak, at the first Nuclear Energy Policy Forum in Brussels on June 30.

Rak also emphasized that the government plans “to secretly fast-track the construction of a surface dry, spent nuclear fuel storage system… close to the Dnepr river,” ignoring basic safety standards and “creating the threat of a second Chernobyl.”

Ukraine’s Greens stressed that the decision to build the facility just 70 kilometers away from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, was taken “without a proper environmental impact assessment and public consultation with the [local] residents.”

They also warned that the contractor for the project, Holtec International, actually lacks sufficient experience while the technology it plans to use in construction has never been tested or tried in any other country.

The association added that the procedure of choosing the contractor was “neither transparent nor open,” warning that Ukraine may once again become a subject to “unpredictable and dangerous nuclear experiments,” apparently referring to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The organization demanded that Ukrainian authorities “ensure that the project complies with all international rules and standards before the construction is launched” and emphasized that the residents of the Kiev region have “an unconditional right” to get all relevant information about the project and to take part in the discussion concerning its construction.

The Ukrainian Greens Association also urged the European Commission, the European Parliament and international environmental bodies to carry out an “independent environmental assessment of the project.”……..https://www.rt.com/news/349590-nuclear-fuel-ukraine-eu/

July 6, 2016 Posted by | safety, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Stop nuclear plant subsidies- call to New York Governor Cuomo

nuclear-costs1Flag-USAGroup asks Cuomo to oppose nuclear plant subsidies, WRVO Public Media, 5 July 16 By  More than 100 organizations across New York and the country are sending a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking the state not to subsidize nuclear power plants.

The New York Public Service Commission is considering passing a nuclear tax credit plan this summer that would aid the financially struggling nuclear plants in upstate,as Cuomo asked them to do earlier this year. It’s part of his “Reforming Our Energy Vision” plan that aims to double the amount of renewable energy the state uses to 50 percent by 2030.

The plan calls for zero-emission credits would reward the plants for producing carbon dioxide-free electricity, similar to how New York subsidizes renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Supporters of the credits say the plants can help New York meet its green energy goals because they produce carbon-free electricity, but those who signed the letter, like Sierra Club member Linda DeStefano, say nuclear plants are too dangerous to keep around.

“People have been saying things like ‘nuclear is a bridge to safer, renewable energy,’ but if you keep saying it’s a bridge and you keep re-licensing these very old, especially dangerous nuclear reactors, you’re never going to get where you need to be,” DeStefano said. “In the meantime, you’re putting the whole upstate area in danger of a catastrophic meltdown as it happened in Fukushima, Japan.”

The letter, organized by the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE), calls for investment in renewable energy sources like wind and solar instead, but the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant in Oswego County said without these credits, they will have to close like the neighboring FitzPatrick plant plans to do next year. That would mean the loss of more than 1,600 jobs in Oswego County alone, which suffers from one of the worst unemployment rates in the state.

However, the letter contends that the money that would be used to subsidize nuclear power plants, which they estimate to be about $3.5 billion, could better be spent by subsidizing the communities losing those jobs instead.

“Instead of supporting nuclear subsidies, we respectfully request a nuclear decommissioning and just transition process that will protect the environment, retrain workers, and provide a smooth path for nuclear-reliant communities to benefit from the clean energy economy,” the letter says. “We urge your administration to fight for a decommissioning process that begins immediately to clean up and isolate the dangerous radioactive materials at New York’s nuclear sites. Doing so could preserve at least half of the nuclear workforce, and would ensure that the billions of dollars already set aside for decommissioning in New York starts getting pumped into local economies. Workers not employed for decommissioning should be supported through retraining programs and transitional wage support.”

They note that New York is already taking steps to mitigate the economic damage for these nuclear plant communities, by investing $30 million into a pot for lost tax revenues. And, they argue that more renewable energy jobs could be created for less money.

“For example, the planned Solar City factory in Buffalo, the 1366 Technologies factory near Rochester, and the Soraa LED lightbulb factory in Syracuse will collectively create approximately 6,420 long-term jobs,” the letter says. “The state investment in these facilities will be approximately $937 million. By comparison, the nuclear subsidies in the CES could cost over $3.5 billion to preserve fewer than 2,500 nuclear jobs.”……..http://wrvo.org/post/group-asks-cuomo-oppose-nuclear-plant-subsidies#stream/0

July 6, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA media keeps the issue of climate change off the political agenda

USA election 2016climate-changeClimate change: the missing issue of the 2016 campaign, Guardian 5 July 16 
Guardian US survey reveals anger of voters as election year debate fails to deal with concerns over the gathering global disaster by Ed Pilkington and Mona Chalabi  
The race for the White House is failing to grapple with the key issues of the day, especially the urgent need to combat climate change before atmospheric changes become irreversible, a slice of the American electorate believes.

As the primary election season turns toward a head-to-head between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there is increasing anger and frustration over the nature of the contest. A Guardian call-out to online readers in the US asking them to reflect on the race so far was met by a barrage of criticism on the tone and substance of the world’s most important election – with the two main parties, individual candidates and the media all coming under heavy fire.

The Guardian asked readers to identify the “one issue that affects your life you wish the presidential candidates were discussing more”. Resoundingly, the largest group of participants pointed to climate change………

The concerns of voters came to light as part of the Guardian’s Voices of America series which aims to highlight the way key issues have been ignored or under-played during a primary season when trivial personal attacks seemed to take precedence over substantial debate of issues that matter.

The Guardian call-out was not a poll, and as such was not a controlled survey of opinion. But it does illuminate a largely hidden depth of concern, particularly among liberal Americans, about a gathering global disaster that has tended to be discussed, if at all, at the fringes of the presidential debate…….

The climatologist Michael Mann, who is director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said he did believe that Clinton and Sanders had engaged in meaningful dialogue about climate change, and pointed the finger of blame at the media for failing fully to reflect that. He added that as the general election gets underway he hoped there would be more focus on “substantive and critical differences in the views of the candidates, and less focus on frivolous and prurient matters that serve as little more than distraction and misdirection”.

Mann said: “The American people could not have a starker choice before them between a presumptive candidate of one of the two parties who recognizes the risk posted by human-caused climate change and articulates solutions, and the presumptive candidate of the other party, who denies that climate change is even real.”……..https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/05/climate-change-voters-2016-election-issues?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

July 6, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Brexit uncertainty adding to anxiety of former supporters of UK’s Hinkley nuclear project

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKHinkley Point C critics try to derail it amid Brexit vote turmoil
Board of EDF, energy project’s key backer, is at risk of fracturing as ex-supporters worry about uncertainty of British government,
Guardian, , 2 July 16 Britain’s flagship energy project, Hinkley Point C, is hanging by a thread as critics inside key backer EDF use the political turmoil from the Brexit vote to try to derailthe already delayed £18bn scheme.

Jean Bernard Levy, the EDF group chief executive, and the French and British governments, have in recent days insisted they are as committed as ever to a positive final investment decision being taken as soon as possible.

But well-placed sources in Paris have told the Guardian that the already divided EDF board, which must make that decision, is in danger of fracturing further as former supporters of the project worry about Brexit.

“The situation for Levy was already very delicate,” said one source. “But it has become a lot more difficult because there is so little certainty around the British government,” they added. “No one could know today which way a vote [of the board on Hinkley] would go.”

Those arguing against the project say it is impossible to make any decisions when it is unclear who will be the future prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer and energy and climate change secretary.

Highly critical EDF unions in France, which have six representatives on the main board, are pressing waiverers among the five independent board members who have previously supported Levy to change their minds…….https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/01/hinkley-point-c-critics-try-to-derail-it-amid-brexit-vote-turmoil?CMP=share_btn_tw

July 6, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Struggling nuclear company EDF now looking for a nuclear shut-down business

 nuke-reactor-deadFrance’s EDF sets sights on $200 bln nuclear decommissioning market By Bate Felix and Benjamin Mallet PARIS, July 4 (Reuters) – EDF aims to snare a sizeable share of the global nuclear decommissioning market, worth an estimated 200 billion euros ($222 billion) over the next 15 years, by virtue of experience gained in dismantling its old reactors.

The French state-controlled utility is in the process of dismantling nine reactors and has 58 others in operation, supplying France with about 75 percent of its energy needs.

Worldwide, 110 reactors have been halted and will need to be safely dismantled, EDF executives said, adding that the company has a team of 800 experts in the complex process.

“Nuclear decommissioning is a very important market with opportunities for the international and local nuclear sector,” Dominique Miniere, executive director for EDF’s nuclear and thermal plants, told journalists in Paris……

Based on the completed decommissioning of reactors in the United States, EDF estimates that it will cost about 400 million euros to dismantle a 900 megawatt pressurised water reactor — a process that could take up to 15 years.

The company’s first dismantling of a nuclear reactor in France — the Chooz A reactor that ceased operating in 1991 — is expected to be completed in 2022. ($1 = 0.8974 euros) (Editing by David Goodman)  http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL8N19Q3N4

July 6, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, decommission reactor, France | Leave a comment