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What Radionuclides are at Drigg Nuclear Waste Dump Near the Irish Sea? Many Still Lethal After Natural Erosion Expected to Undermine It (Still Time to Oppose Drigg-Decision 15th July)

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Information on how to oppose Drigg found here:

For the LLWR-Drigg, “radionuclides included within the radiological assessment for the groundwater pathway” in a study for the British government (EA-NDA) are: “Am-241, Am-242m, Am-243, C-14, Cl-36, Cm-243, Cm-244, Cm-245, Cm-246, Cm-248, Co-60, Cs-135, Cs-137, H-3, I-125, I-129, I-131, Nb-94, Nb-95, Ni-63, Np-237, Pa-231, Pb-210, Pu-236, Pu-238, Pu-239, Pu-240, Pu-241, Pu-242, Ra-226, Sr-90, Tc-99, Th-230, Th-232, U-233, U-234, U-235, U-238, Zr-93 (Thus, these are apparently the ones believed to be present.)
Rusting Shipping Containers at Drigg on the Irish Sea
Rusting Shipping Containers of Nuclear Waste at Drigg Near the Irish Sea

As can be seen above, low level doesn’t mean low risk. Nor does it mean short-lived, as is seen below. Many have half-lives of thousands and even millions of years. Rather, this is a dilute to deceive scam so popular with illegal polluters, but this is condoned by the UK Government (as well…

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July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 12 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ A 2,000-page report from the UK Climate Change Committee foresees a domino effect on key infrastructure. Bridges lost to flooding means loss of electricity, gas and IT connections. Poor farming means the fertile soils become badly degraded by mid-century. And that is if Paris climate change goals are met, a pledge that is in doubt. [BBC]

Flooding in the UK. PA image. Flooding in the UK. PA image.


¶ China will ban the construction of new coal-based chemical facilities and coal-fired power plants until 2018 and continue to shed overcapacity in coal mining and oil refining, according to the state news agency, Xinhua. The ban on projects should cut coal’s share of the overall mix to 58% from the 64% it currently has. [Web India 123]

¶ Ireland’s Mainstream Renewable Power said today the 80-MW Noupoort wind farm in South Africa has achieved commercial operation. The wind…

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July 11 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists are investigating biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels. Corn, soybean and sugarcane produce a range of biofuels; however, they add to water scarcity, deforestation, and increased land use. An alternative is microalgae, which can be grown in façade panels on buildings, having little negative environmental impact. [The Fifth Estate]

The BIQ House in Hamburg. The BIQ House in Hamburg.

¶ Enginuity Worldwide, of Mexico, Missouri, wants to turn agricultural waste into BioCoal, which it says looks and burns just like regular coal and could help reduce emissions from coal plants.The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality has awarded the a $250,525 grant to research the subject. [Columbus Telegram]


¶ As part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator program, developers Dong Energy, EnBW, E.ON, Iberdrola, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall have signed up to the initiative to help reduce the cost of offshore wind to…

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July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Portugal Beats Nuclear France in More Ways Than One!

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Portugal beat host country France in the 2016 Eurocup soccer final:
Portugal stuns France with late Eder strike in Euro final
Posted:Sun, 10 Jul 2016 18:52:56 -0400

Portugal stunned the world in May by getting all of its electricity from renewable energy for 4 days. Portugal has said no to nuclear and yes to renewables. Meanwhile, the French government belligerently continues to prop up the nuclear industry and gets a larger percentage of electricity from nuclear power than any other country. This year Portugal has gotten almost 2/3rds of its electricity from renewable energy against France’s over 2/3rds from nuclear energy.
Greenpeace Portugal History May 2016 All Renewables
Greenpeace Portugal electricity from wind, solar, hydro for 4 days May 2016
Greenpeace Portugal 2016 almost 2/3rds electricity renewables
Screenshots from the Greenpeace video: Windmills are busily spinning in the video, it just can’t be seen in the screen-shot.

Portugal Must Have Stunned the World in 1974 By Peacefully Getting Rid of the Longest Authoritarian (Fascist) Dictatorship In the West: “The name “Carnation…

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July 12, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New governor’s Sendai plant shutdown pledge alarms utility


Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Satsuma-Sendai in Kagoshima Prefecture

Concern is growing among Kyushu Electric Power Co. and the central government over the new Kagoshima governor’s pledge to request a reassessment of the Sendai nuclear plant’s safety in light of the recent Kumamoto quakes.

Satoshi Mitazono, a former political reporter with TV Asahi Corp., was elected on his campaign pledge to build a “society without nuclear energy” in the July 10 gubernatorial race, defeating incumbent Yuichiro Ito.

Mitazono, 58, wants to suspend operations at the plant for a review of its emergency evacuation plan and to re-examine its safety features.

A top Kyushu Electric executive expressed bewilderment over Mitazono’s proposal.

A governor has no legal authority to order a halt,” the official said. “On what legal basis can the plant be shut down?”

But Mitazono’s calls reflect local residents’ mounting concerns over the Sendai plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, after a series of strong tremors rocked neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture starting in mid-April.

The company allows prefectural officials to inspect the nuclear plant site, and request for it to take corrective measures based on their findings under an agreement with the prefectural and Satsuma-Sendai city governments over safety issues.

Kyushu Electric, based in Fukuoka, would likely be forced to respond in one way or another when the governor asks for the suspension of the plant, regardless of legal authority.

With two reactors in operation, Sendai is the only nuclear power station back online in the nation after it cleared the new safely regulations implemented after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

After Mitazono emerged as the winner on July 10, Kyushu Electric’s closing stock price dropped more than 7 percent, compared to July 8, reflecting the company’s potentially gloomy prospects.

The two reactors at the Sendai plant are scheduled to be shut down in October or later for a regular check.

An official with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees the nuclear industry, said it would take a prolonged period before the plant could be restarted if a review of the evacuation plan or other demands were made.

A senior Kyushu Electric official concurred that it would not be easy to go back online on a regular time schedule if such demands were made.

It would be difficult to reactivate the reactors amid the opposition of the local government hosting the plant,” the official said.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | 2 Comments

Evacuation order lifted in Minami-Soma after 5 years, affecting 10,000 people


For the first time in five years, a train begins service on the 9.4-kilometer stretch between Odaka and Haranomachi stations in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line at 7:33 a.m. on July 12.

Evacuation order lifted in Minami-Soma after 5 years

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–In good news for residents, an evacuation order for the southern part of the city here was lifted on July 12 for the first time since the massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant five years ago.

However, due to lingering fears of radiation contamination, less than 20 percent of the populace are set to return to their homes.

The central government allowed residents back into the southern region of the city after midnight on July 11. It marks the sixth time that evacuation orders have been lifted for locales in Fukushima Prefecture, following such municipalities as Naraha and Katsurao.

The latest lifting in Minami-Soma affects a total of 10,807 residents in 3,487 households in all parts of the Odaka district and parts of the Haramachi district, making it the largest number of people to be let back into their homes since evacuation zones were established following the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Two residents living in a household in an area designated a “difficult-to-return” zone in the southern part of the city are still not allowed back home.

However, only about 2,000 residents signed up to stay overnight at their homes in the area ahead of the lifting of the evacuation order.

That is likely because many still fear the effects of radiation from the destroyed power plant, which straddles the towns of Futaba and Okuma to the south of Minami-Soma. In addition, five years was more than enough time for residents who evacuated elsewhere to settle down.

With at least some of the residents returning home, East Japan Railway Co. resumed service on the 9.4-kilometer stretch between Odaka and Haranomachi stations on the Joban Line for the first time in more than five years on the morning of July 12. The first train of the morning entered Odaka Station carrying 170 or so people on two cars as traditional flags used in the Soma Nomaoi (Soma wild horse chase) festival on the platform greeted passengers.

The central government is pushing to lift evacuation orders on all areas of the prefecture excluding difficult-to-return zones by March 2017.

Japan lifts evacuation orders in Fukushima affecting 10,000 people

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — The government on Tuesday further scaled down areas in Fukushima Prefecture subject to evacuation orders since the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, enabling the return of more than 10,000 residents to the city of Minamisoma.

Following the move, the city will become mostly habitable except for one area containing one house. But many residents seem uneager to return, having begun new lives elsewhere.

The government is in the process of gradually lifting evacuation orders issued to areas within a 20-kilometer radius of the plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and in certain areas beyond the zone amid ongoing radiation cleanup efforts.

Eight municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have areas defined as evacuation zones, which are divided into three categories based on their radiation levels. The most seriously contaminated area is called a zone “where it is expected that the residents have difficulties in returning for a long time.”

In Minamisoma, the government lifted evacuation orders for areas except for the difficult-to-return zone. As of July 1, the areas had a registered population of 10,807, or 3,487 households.

To encourage evacuees to return, the central government and the city reopened hospital facilities, built makeshift commercial facilities and prepared other infrastructure.

Radiation cleanup activities have finished in residential areas, but will continue for roads and farmland until next March.

The government hopes to lift the remaining evacuation orders affecting areas other than the difficult-to-return zones by next March, officials said.



July 12, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Court rules a third time against Takahama reactors


The No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant, from left to right, are pictured in this photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, on June 15, 2016.



OTSU, SHIGA PREF. – The Otsu District Court ruled against Kansai Electric Power Co. for the third time in five months Tuesday, in a decision that will keep its Takahama No. 3 and 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture shut down indefinitely.

Both sides are now gearing up for an appeal by Kepco to the Osaka High Court, where a decision could come next year, while the plaintiffs are expected to file further suits.

The utility had filed an objection to the Otsu court’s March decision, which granted a temporary injunction on the reactors, forcing Kepco to shut them down about two months after they had been restarted.

The court reaffirmed its decision in June and again made the same ruling on Tuesday after Kepco fought the June decision.

The utility was not arguing that both reactors were safe based on expert evidence and reasonable safety standards, but that they were safe due to detailed assertions directly related to their safety and prima facie evidence,” said presiding Judge Yoshihiko Yamamoto, the same judge who has twice ruled against Kepco. “However, the new safety standards haven’t drawn the limits of what dangers should be accepted by society.”

Representatives for the plaintiffs welcomed the ruling.

Once again, the Otsu court has ruled against the safety of restarting the reactors, especially with Lake Biwa nearby, even though Kepco has said it’ll likely appeal to the (Osaka) High Court,” said Yoshinori Tsuji, one of the chief plaintiffs.

The case boiled down to the basic question of what determines adequate safety for a nuclear power plant. It has raised questions about the way the Nuclear Regulation Authority is handling safety inspections for restarts.

Report: Japan court upholds injunction to halt nuclear reactors

A Japanese court on Tuesday upheld an order for the shutdown of two reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Takahama nuclear plant in western Japan, a Japanese news agency reported, in a widely expected ruling that prevents the utility from restarting them.

Japan’s second-biggest utility had appealed Otsu District Court’s March 9 ruling ordering it to shut the Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 units with immediate effect, which marked the first injunction to shut a nuclear plant in operation. The court last month also denied the utility’s request for a stay of execution of the injunction.

Kansai Electric is expected to appeal the latest decision to the Osaka High Court.

Court again nixes appeal to restart 2 Takahama nuclear reactors

OTSU, Japan (Kyodo) — A Japanese court again disallowed the operation of two nuclear reactors Tuesday, rejecting their operator’s request to suspend an injunction the same court had issued over the once-reactivated units at the Takahama power plant in Fukui Prefecture, western Japan.

The Otsu District Court’s decision, following the injunction issued in March over the Nos. 3 and 4 units at the Kansai Electric Power Co. plant, would continue to legally prevent the Osaka-based utility from restarting operation of the reactors on the Sea of Japan coast about 380 kilometers west of Tokyo.

Kansai Electric plans to appeal the decision to the Osaka High Court, company officials said.

In June, the district court also rejected the plant operator’s appeal to temporarily void the effects of the injunction, with public concerns lingering over the restart of nuclear power plants in Japan in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

Tuesday’s decision was issued under the same presiding judge, Yoshihiko Yamamoto, who made the judgments in March and June.

The March injunction was the first of its kind affecting operating reactors. One of the reactors was taken offline one day after the order. The other reactor was already offline.

The Takahama plant has cleared the post-Fukushima safety regulations, allowing Kansai Electric to reactivate the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors. But their operation was beset with problems.

Kansai Electric has announced it will remove fuels from the two nuclear power reactors in August, even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has expressed a desire to ramp up nuclear power generation at home.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Ice-Wall – A Fridge Too Far


The Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 caused significant damage to the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power generation site. The damage inflicted to the plant’s cooling system, caused a ‘Loss of Coolant Accident’ resulting in nuclear meltdowns and releases of radioactive materials from several of its reactors. It was the largest nuclear disaster since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 and only the second disaster (along with Chernobyl) to measure Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

The reactor buildings were severely damaged to their foundations, and having been built on ‘made ground’ above a highly active and porous aquifer up to 50 metres deep, ground water began to penetrate the damaged reactor building’s basement at a significant rate. Initially this proved an aid to the immediate situation, with the cooling system out of action an emergency system was set up utilising site waters to cool the damaged reactors, with 400 tons of water being continuously poured into the damaged reactor buildings every day to cool them. On the downside, this cooling water became contaminated by the exposed molten fuel. Added to that, approximately 400 tons per day of groundwater flowing into the basements of the damaged buildings also became contaminated due to cracks in the reactor containment vessels. Approximately 800 tons of contaminated water was required to be pumped up every day from the damaged buildings and treated to minimise its harmful contaminant content. Even after treatment, these stored waters contained significant amounts of caesium-134, caesium-137, strontium-90 and tritium. The water that was not reused for cooling was stored in holding tanks. Needles to say the contaminated water is accumulating as such a rate that some discharges to the sea will become inevitable. 

The technical problems posed for the authorities are immense.  High level contamination around the damages reactors, massive structural damage, derelict buildings and radioactive debris spread over an extensive area.  And an apparently unstoppable flow of ground water flooding buildings wherein the corium stumps of 3 melted-down reactors still lay. And as if to make matters worse, the water levels in the basement behaved tidally, indicating that the contaminated waters had a seriously large conduit or ‘preferential pathway’ to the open sea.  With all of these issues, even with the Chernobyl experience, the Fukushima clean-up project is a massive, unique and highly challenging situation, that may take as long as 50 years or more to fully address.

In years following the disaster the Japanese authorities, struggling to meet the daunting challenges, came under increasing internal and external pressure to seek external assistance in the clean-up and remediation of the Fukushima plant. In response, in mid-2013, Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (IRID) made a worldwide call for technologies to address their radio-chemical contaminated water, and other technologies to assist to remediate the site.  In a global ‘brainstorm’ they drew in a significant amount of good ideas and prospective valuable new technologies.

There are several key stages to ‘brainstorming‘.  Setting the context and defining the problems faced at Fukushima are largely self evident.  The plant needs to be made safe and decommissioned, and the wider environment beyond the plant needs to be remediated and restored, at least as far as is possible.  In generating ideas, there needs to be a flow of ideas that are uncompromised by ‘mindset’.  To this end those involved in the process are generally selected from both within and without the problem owning group and from as wide a range of expertise as possible.  So as not to prohibit radical ideas or ideas that would be outside the technical culture of the problem owning group, it is quite normal to reserve any critical review at this stage, until everything is on the table.  Thereafter, the filtering of ideas commences. The most promising are shortlisted and then follows a more detail examination of the pros and cons of each, where their merits and de-merits weighed.  On selection of the best idea, any specific problems are addressed and if acceptable, the front runner goes forward to be implemented as an operational project.

Consider the operation requirements of decommissioning the Fukushima reactor buildings.  There needs to a be robust containment wall put in place, to (a) control the immediate ingress and discharge of water (b) prevent spread of contamination during decommissioning and (c) a coffer must be installed to contain for what will remain a site of significant radiation risk for hundreds of years to come.  The ‘brainstorming process seems to have fallen short at Fukushima. The concept of the ice-wall was mooted long before IRID’s call for technology, and advanced as the optimum solution before any wide-ranging brainstorming took place.  Moreover, it would appear that the overseeing authorities had become ‘mindset’ on this solution, announcing the decision to construct the Ice-wall in September 2013 despite IRID still seeking and collecting worldwide technology submissions.  Installation of facilities to create the ice-wall commenced in June 2014 and was completed on February 9, 2016 at an estimated to cost some ¥34.5 billion ($339 million).  Activation was on March 31 this year, with commencement of the freezing of the seaward side wall.  Freezing of the land-side wall commenced on June 6 and has as yet to achieve and control over the water ingress to the ice-walled coffer. Yet despite this commitment to the ‘ice-wall’ as a solution to the problem, serious questions arise as to whether this technology is capable of meeting the short term needs, let alone the  medium or long-term containment needs.

Ice-wall technology has been used in Japan on hundreds of occasions in civil engineering projects to stem flooding and avoid collapse issues in tunnelling. The purported principal benefit of using a frozen barrier compared with a physical barrier is that it avoids the challenges of building a wall around such underground obstacles as pipes, which it can freeze plug, and if complete, create a seamless barrier. Once in place, frozen walls take a long time to melt and therefore if the site were hit by another earthquake or tsunami the wall might stay intact for a couple of months, allowing time for its refrigeration plant to be repaired and power restored.

As for the cons, relative to what is required at Fukushima, ice-wall technology has only ever been used on a short term basis, and never for a semi-permanent installation. None have run for the decades that Fukushima’s wall would need to be in place. The Fukushima wall at 1,500 metres in length, 30 metres in depth and at circa 70,000 cubic metres in volume would be nearly double the size of the largest prior ice-wall ever constructed.  Curiously it was designed only as a partial barrier in that it doesn’t reach to 50 meters to the impermeable rock strata below the aquifer and thus it has no containment floor beneath the site.  Such a wall has never been constructed on such a highly active aquifer and it is quite a different matter to freezer moving water.  As an added complication, due to the proximity of the sea to the site and the existence of preferential pathways to the sea, the groundwater would have a high mineral content and be highly saline, containing salts of sodium, potassium and critically calcium. Owing to this mixed salinity, freezing to below 0oC would not be nearly enough to freeze the soil-water column solid and stop the water flow.  The ground soil-water column would have to be taken to below -21oC and possibly to -41oC.  TEPCO are utilising a CaCl2/card-ice eutectic coolant, which has a minimum freezing temperature of -41oC ‘at the pump’ and closer to -25oC in the cooling pipes.  It would be hard pressed to get the ground temperature to -21oC due to heat ingress, and even at its coldest it won’t freeze a calcium rich saline system solid.  As for the heat ingress into the system, we mustn’t forget that we are trying to enclose 3 very warm meltdown corium stumps, effectively comprising a ‘hot-spring’ at the centre of the ice-wall structure.   Over and above that heat, the Fukushima site is located next to the Pacific and has seasonally warm southerly currents bathing the site’s shore front during the summer months bringing yet more heat into the system.  Even with a heat exchanger rated at 12.6 Mega Watt, (that’s about enough energy to run a small town), it’s a big ask, and I fear that given the geotechnical circumstances the desired ice-wall project outcomes are beyond the capacity of this technology.

A complication of ice-wall technology is that it causes ground heave.  The ice causes the ground to swell, creating a sheer between the unfrozen ground and the ice swollen frozen ground.  So, further damage to the foundations of the stricken buildings and localised subsidence is likely.  A greater problem might ensue when the wall is thawed.  The chewing of the ground by the ground heave process would likely destroy subsoil texture and leave the ground more permeable to water than before.

Given the pros and cons of an ice-wall I ask the question; why didn’t TEPCO opt for a jet grouted cement/mortar double wall that could have totally enclosed the site, as this was the method of choice for controlling groundwater migration at Chernobyl?  It would be possible to jet grout below the buildings and flexible ‘soft wall’ mortars could be used rather than Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) to guard against fracture by future earthquakes.

At present TEPCO contend that the ice wall project is going to plan.  However, Japan’s Nuclear regulatory authority (NRA) aren’t yet convinced, pointing out that the ice wall has yet to impact the collection of water in waterfront wells.  Test wells within and without the ice wall indicated water levels tracking each other over time, showing the internal and external groundwater systems still interconnected.  Moreover, the much vaunted advantage of the ice wall in being able to seal around a plug pipes appears not to be the case a Fukushima, where underground pipes and conduits remain warm and are probably acting as the preferential pathways for water ingress and egress.  NRA committee member Toyoshi Fuketa recently stated, “This is not a wall in a true sense. Perhaps it’s more akin to a bamboo screen, with groundwater trickling through the gaps”. It would now seem that in response to criticism and to control the water flow TEPCO are now resorting to a hybrid approach by trying to cement closed the holes in the wall.  The problem with cement is, it doesn’t set well below 0oC, but other related sealant options are available.

Thus far, it would appear that after 5 years with the bill racing toward $500 million, all TEPCO’s Ice-wall project has achieved is a very expensive steaming ‘slushy’ and no control over water ingress into the site.  Indeed there is little control on water egress from the site other than by continual pumping from the reactor building basement to tanks to maintain the basement water levels below groundwater, and in doing so hope migration of contamination into the sea is prevented.  Maybe it’s time to ‘call it a day’, purge the mindset and re-brainstorm the problem.

July 12, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment