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There’s no end to Fukushima crisis while melted fuel remains

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Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, left, speaks with Vice Industry Minister Yosuke Takagi

A massive concrete structure encases the wrecked No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the catastrophic 1986 accident.

Dubbed the “sarcophagus,” it was erected to contain the fuel that could not be extracted from the crippled reactor.

I never expected this word (“sekkan” in Japanese) to crop up in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Local governments raised objections to the use of this word in a report compiled by a government organ that supports the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

While the report discusses the extraction of melted fuel as a requirement, it is written in such a way as to suggest that the construction of a sarcophagus is an option that should not be dismissed out of hand.

This outraged the governor of Fukushima, Masao Uchibori, who lashed out, “Containing (the melted fuel) in a sarcophagus spells giving up hope for post-disaster reconstruction and for returning home.”

The government organ has since deleted the word from the report, admitting that it was misleading and that constructing a sarcophagus is not under consideration.

The report lacked any consideration for the feelings of local citizens. But more to the point, just deleting the word does not settle this case.

Even though five years have passed since the disaster, nothing has been decided yet on how to extract the melted fuel. How, then, can anyone guarantee that the fuel will never be “entombed”?

I am reminded anew of the sheer difficulty of decommissioning nuclear reactors. The Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun runs a weekly report on the work being done at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The report portrays the harsh realities at the site, such as leaks of contaminated water and accidents involving workers. Efforts to decommission the crippled reactors continue day after day, but the task is expected to take several decades.

Elsewhere in Japan, the rule that requires nuclear reactors to be decommissioned after 40 years is becoming toothless, and preparations are proceeding steadily for restarting reactors that have remained offline.

“Normalcy” appears to be returning, but there is a huge gap between that and the unending hardships in the disaster-affected areas.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201607230013.html

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July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

7.7 tons of Chiba’s Fukushima waste won’t be deemed radioactive anymore, clearing way for general disposal

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Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai (left) receives a notice from State Minister of the Environment Shinji Inoue at City Hall on Friday stating that tainted waste stored there from the Fukushima disaster won’t be deemed radioactive anymore.

CHIBA – The government on Friday informed the city of Chiba that the radioactive designation for 7.7 tons of Fukushima-tainted waste stored in the city will be lifted on Saturday, allowing it to be treated as general garbage.

State Minister of the Environment Shinji Inoue conveyed the decision to Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai during a meeting at City Hall in Chiba Prefecture’s capital.

The decision came after it was found that the radioactive activity of cesium in the waste had fallen below the state-set limit of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

It will be the first time for such a designation to be lifted for such waste.

The waste was part of the aftermath of the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 2011, which triggered a triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The defunct plant is owned by Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Inc.

Some 3,700 tons of designated radioactive waste created by the man-made meltdowns, including incineration ash, is stored in Chiba. The 7.7 tons in question is sitting in a garbage disposal facility in Mihama Ward in Chiba.

The lifting of the designation will allow the city to dispose of the waste in the same way as general waste. But Kumagai has expressed his intention to keep it in storage for the time being.

As of the end of March, 172,899 tons of such designated waste was being stored in Chiba, Tokyo and 10 other prefectures in eastern Japan.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/national/7-7-tons-of-chibas-fukushima-waste-wont-be-deemed-radioactive-anymore-clearing-way-for-general-disposal/#.V5MMs2U5ais

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurdles mar Japan’s renewable energy equation

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Workers walk among rows of solar panels at Kyocera Corp.’s floating solar power plant at Sakasama Lake in the city of Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture, in May last year.

At Yamakura Dam, 45 km southeast of Tokyo, construction workers are screwing together a 51,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of floating solar panels. When completed, it will be one of the world’s largest floating solar projects.

Roughly 30 percent of the work on the project in Chiba Prefecture is complete, and when it comes online in 2018, the 13.7 megawatt facility will provide enough electricity to power almost 5,000 households annually.

However, even attention-grabbing projects like this one will produce less than 1 percent of what’s needed for Japan to reach its 2015 goal of doubling its renewable energy use to between 22 and 24 percent by 2030 from around 10 percent at present.

The growth of renewable energy in Japan risks being smothered by a wave of newly approved coal mines across the country, as the government is expected to lower its optimistic goal of reviving nuclear energy.

Experts say the government energy policy review, expected as early as next year, will likely result in a downgrading of the forecast for nuclear power’s role in the 2030 energy mix — to between 10 and 15 percent from its current 22 to 24 percent. The move to amend the forecast, initially made in 2015, comes as the government faces ongoing legal challenges and public backlash against the restart of nuclear reactors that were taken offline in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns.

Downgrading the nuclear proportion of the energy mix will provide a fresh wave of opportunities for alternative energy sources to play a larger role.

However, experts say burdensome environmental assessments for wind and geothermal energy, disadvantaged access to the power grid, as well as 48 approved new coal mines, will mean renewable energy may see few of the benefits.

In almost every prefecture nuclear power and fossil fuels are classified as “baseload” energy sources and given priority access to the electricity grid. While renewable companies have access, they are the first to be switched off in the event of excess power and they aren’t compensated.

Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Japan, said this is the opposite of the way systems are configured in Europe, where renewables get first access to the grid because they have the lowest marginal cost of production.

“The government said they wanted to make sure the baseload generators wouldn’t have to adjust the baseload for renewables, which are unreliable. It’s a bit of a flawed argument,” Izadi-Najafabadi said.

He said it was “more about the financial arguments” for the operators of these plants. “These generators are only cheap if you produce at a constant rate,” he said.

Gerhad Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology Japan, a company that works with European technology companies investing in renewable energy here, says the country has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world. “Japan had the initial solar surge in 2011, but now there needs to be a focus on how to broaden and diversify,” Fasol said.

Shortly after the March 2011 Fukushima meltdowns the government introduced generous incentives for investment in renewable energy in the form of feed-in tariffs where the government buys renewable energy at above-market rates.

Data from Japan’s 10 largest regional utility companies showed the share of solar in the energy mix rose to around 3.4 percent in 2015 from 0.4 percent in 2012.

But as the initial feed-in tariffs have since been scaled back, the solar investment boom is fading. Sales in photovoltaic units are on the decline and Teikoku Databank Ltd. said in a recent report that the number of solar companies going bankrupt is rising sharply.

Izadi-Najafabadi said that while large-scale solar energy investment will likely see a “significant slowdown” over the next few years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects a massive uptake in rooftop solar, driven by consumers incentivized by favorable loan options from banks.

“The government forecast solar would be 7 percent of the energy mix in 2030; our forecast is closer to 12 percent. We also think the government might exceed their overall 22 percent total renewable prediction. Rooftop solar is really going to drive this,” Izadi-Najafabadi said.

Others, however, are not as optimistic. Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace Germany, who has analyzed Japan’s nuclear program since 1991, said large-scale renewable investment will continue falling and the government may not reach its renewable energy goals unless hurdles regarding access to the grid are surmounted.

“If you are a solar company and you aren’t guaranteed access to the grid, why would you invest? There is a critical role for the government in untangling the grid and wresting back control from the utility company in the next four years,” said Burnie.

“There is an intentional destabilization of renewables from the utility companies (through denying access to the grid) and it needs to stop.”

One of the reasons the government gives coal and nuclear energy preferential treatment is because they are considered more stable than renewable energy sources, which are reliant on weather.

In Europe, Burnie pointed out, an emphasis on a range of renewable energy sources provides most countries with a stable baseload of energy.

In Japan, the spread of renewable energy to sectors other than solar is thwarted by complicated environmental assessment approvals, which take between two and five years and are not required for nuclear power or coal-fired power plants.

There are only a few wind farms currently operating in Japan and most are offshore and in trial phases. Strong community resistance in parts of the country has also severely limited investment in land-based wind energy.

The country also has significant potential for geothermal energy, with a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science survey in 2008 finding Japan has the third-highest resources for geothermal in the world.

However, investment has also been slowed by the environmental assessment process and resistance from the onsen hot springs industry, which is concerned about the impact accessing more geothermal energy will have on their business.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama announced a moratorium on all new federal coal-mining leases in January and many developed countries are slowly weaning themselves off coal. However, in Japan the government is increasingly turning to fossil fuels to fill the energy gap left by idled reactors.

Liquefied natural gas has been used to fill much of the country’s short-term electricity needs and the approval of the 48 new coal mines in the past several years appears to indicate the government’s medium to long-term goals.

“We say in Japan it’s easier to build coal-fire power plants than wind farms,” said Nao-yuki Yamagishi, leader of the World Wildlife Fund Japan’s climate and energy group.

Yamagishi said that if the 48 new coal plants approved by the government come online, coal will overshoot a 26 percent target in the 2030 energy mix, down from 30 percent in 2013, and block space for further potential renewable energy increases.

Yamagishi said the recent move toward coal has made him skeptical about whether Japan is capable of fulfilling the pledge it made last December at the COP21 climate conference in Paris.

Japan vowed a 26 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a pledge at the lower end compared with other OECD countries.

“The current administration doesn’t place any emphasis on climate change,” Yamagishi said, adding that the recent Upper House election campaign had a lot of discussion about nuclear energy, but nothing about climate change.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/business/hurdles-mar-japans-renewable-energy-equation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+japantimes+%28The+Japan+Times%3A+All+Stories%29#.V5K-2e1VK1F

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Japan business lobby says Abe govt can’t rely on nuclear energy

Japan‘s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

Renewables supplied 14.3 percent of power in the year to March 2016 and the government’s 2030 target is 22-24 pct.

“In the very long term, we have to lower our dependence on nuclear. Based on current progress, nuclear power reliance may not reach even 10 percent,” said Asada, adding the association wanted measures to encourage private investment in renewables and for public funding of infrastructure such as transmission lines.

The influential business lobby has a membership of about 1,400 executives from around 950 companies.

Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo focusing on energy issues, said the push signaled “a profound change in thinking among blue-chip business executives.”

“Many business leaders have clearly thrown in the towel on nuclear and are instead openly lobbying for Japan to vault to global leadership in renewables, efficiency and smart infrastructure.”

When asked about the association’s proposals, an industry ministry official said the government was maintaining its nuclear target.

“The Japanese government will aim for the maximum introduction of renewable energy but renewable energy has a cost issue,” said Yohei Ogino, a deputy director for energy policy.

But three sources familiar with official thinking told Reuters in May that Japan will cut reliance on nuclear power when it releases an updated energy plan as early as next year.

Following the nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011, Japan has had some success in overcoming one of the world’s worst peacetime energy crises, partly due to lower oil prices and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices.

Japan has also promoted renewables but most investment has been in solar and in recent years it has cut incentives.

“There are too many hurdles for other sources of renewable power,” Asada said.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/japan-energy-idUKL4N19N1D4

 

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings

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This week TEPCO officials at a meeting with officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan admitted that the ice wall they promoted as an impermeable barrier to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water has failed to work as billed and is technically incapable of blocking off groundwater.

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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to be overwhelmed by enormous amounts of contaminated groundwater that is generated every day as it mixes and interacts with contaminated water in the basement of the reactor buildings.  Currently 400 tons of groundwater flows into the damaged reactor buildings every day and mixes with the highly radioactive water in the basements.

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TEPCO had developed the ice wall and installed subdrain wells around the reactor buildings to pump up the contaminated groundwater, treat it, and discharge it into the Pacific Ocean, in the hopes that it would reduce the amounts of contaminated water generated every day.  The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes that freeze the soil around them.

Before installation of the wall, TEPCO described the project to the public, saying, “We will create an impermeable barrier by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings.”

The ice wall began operating in March of this year, but has not yet made a meaningful impact on reducing the amount of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.

Experts are concerned that the increasing levels of highly radioactive water in the reactor buildings could escape into the local environment in the event of heavy rainfall or a tsunami.

TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels in seabed off Fukushima ‘100s of times’ higher than prior to disaster – Greenpeace

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A man walks at the empty Yotsukura municipal beach in Iwaki, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima

The amount of radioactive substances in seabed off Fukushima is hundreds of times higher than before the disaster, a report issued by Greenpeace reveals. The figures mean that there is absolutely “no return to normal after nuclear catastrophe” in the area.

On Thursday, the environmental group released a report addressing the results of the study during which scientists analyzed radioactivity levels along Fukushima’s rivers and in the Pacific seabed off the coast.

These river samples were taken in areas where the [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe government is stating it is safe for people to live. But the results show there is no return to normal after this nuclear catastrophe,”said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The report showed there is hundreds of times more radioactive substances in the seabed off Fukushima coast than there was prior to 2011. It also stated that the level of hazardous materials along local rivers is 200 times higher compared to the Pacific Ocean seabed.

The extremely high levels of radioactivity we found along the river systems highlights the enormity and longevity of both the environmental contamination and the public health risks resulting from the Fukushima disaster,” Kashiwagi said.

The vast territories including contaminated forests and freshwater systems “will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future,” scientists warned in the press release.

They analyzed the level of radioactive materials, such as Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 (Cs-137), noting a colossal increase in the figures.

While the amount of Cs-137 in seabed near the Fukushima plant was only 0.26 Bq/kg prior to the nuclear disaster, the current number stands at 120 Bq/kg, the report showed. On the whole, the data showed that Cs will pose a threat to human health for hundreds of years to come.

The radiation levels in the sediment off the coast of Fukushima are low compared to land contamination, which is what we expected and consistent with other research,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The current site of the destroyed plant “remains one of the greatest nuclear threats” to Fukushima communities and the Pacific Ocean, the group said.

The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly-contaminated water, the apparent failure of the ice wall to reduce groundwater contamination, and the unprecedented challenge of three molten reactor cores all add up to a nuclear crisis that is far from over,” said Ulrich.

Greenpeace also warned against the government’s decision to lift a number of evacuation orders around the Fukushima plant by March 2017.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, took place in March 2011 and resulted in three nuclear meltdowns and a leak of radioactive materials. The accident prompted a nationwide shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan with Sendai being the first to start working again, in August 2015.

https://www.rt.com/news/352628-fukushima-radiation-seabed-greenpeace/

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese business community wants renewable power, losing faith in nuclear power

poster renewables not nuclearflag-japanJapan business lobby says Abe government can’t rely on nuclear energy http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-energy-idUSKCN1020XH TOKYO | BY OSAMU TSUKIMORI AND AARON SHELDRICK, 22 July 16  Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

San Onofre nuclear waste stranded on the beach

“That site will not survive for 10,000 years, just based on the normal erosion and other factors,”

“For most in Congress, their political horizon is two years, four years, six years out,” McFarlane said. “They’re not motivated.”

radioactive trashsan-onofre-deadfFOCUS: WHY SAN ONOFRE’S NUCLEAR WASTE STAYS ON THE BEACH Policy stalemate leaves toxic spent fuel stranded, San Diego Union Tribune BY ROB NIKOLEWSKI July 22, 2016 Some 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is all stored up with no place to go.

The plant has not produced electricity since January 2012 for the nearly 19 million people served by Southern California Edison, the majority owner of the facility, andSan Diego Gas & Electric, which owns 20 percent.

Edison officials overseeing the plant’s decommissioning have set a target date of the end of 2032 to remove nearly every remnant of the generating station, which hugs the Southern California coastline at the northern tip of San Diego County in Camp Pendleton.

The operative word is “nearly” because, in all likelihood, the waste — also called spent fuel or used fuel — will stay behind for years to come, stranded until a long-term solution is reached on what to do with it. Going back to the 1960s when the plant broke ground, anti-nuclear critics and Edison officials have not often seen eye-to-eye. But when it comes to the spent fuel, they are in complete agreement: Both sides want it off the premises as soon as possible.

“This is not the right solution, putting the waste on the beach,” said Ray Lutz, El Cajon resident and founder of the nonprofit Citizens Oversight. Lutz made the comment on June 22, just before a Community Engagement Panel, one of a series of public meetings Edison hosts every three months.

“It’s very frustrating,” Tom Palmisano, Edison’s vice president of decommissioning and the chief nuclear officer, said earlier this month.

So why is the waste stuck near the beach? Continue reading

July 23, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

REGIONAL RISKS in America’s Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools

nuclear-spent-fuel-poolSpent Nuclear Fuel Rods and Storage Pools: A Deadly and Unnecessary Risk in the United States. Based on an Institute for Policy Studies report by Robert Alvarez entitled “Spent Nuclear Fuel Pools in the U.S.: Reducing the Deadly Risks of Storage.” 

“…….New York. If a spent fuel fire were to happen at one of the two Indian Point nuclear reactors located 25 miles from New York City, it could result in as many as 5,600 cancer deaths and $461 billion in damages. Indian Point spent fuel storage has about three times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

 Los Angeles. The spent fuel at Diablo Canyon nuclear reactors have nearly 2.7 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Miami. Turkey Point reactors 65 miles from Miami have 2.5 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Dallas. The Comanche Peak nuclear station 60 miles southwest of Dallas has spent fuel that contains about 2.3 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.

Atlanta. The Vogtle nuclear reactors near Augusta are 147 miles northeast of Atlanta. These reactors have generated 2.5 times more radioactivity than the combined total in the spent fuel pools at the four troubled Fukushima reactors.  https://ratical.org/radiation/NuclearExtinction/IPS-RA-ReportFactSheet.pdf

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Foolish greed in South Australia’s unwise plan to import nuclear wastes

greed copyPoison In The Heart: The Nuclear Wasting Of South Australia  Counter Currents by  — July 22, 2016 

“Nuclear weapons and nuclear power are both leading instances of the irrationalities 

that result from a social world that has been constructed to concentrate power 
in the hands of tiny minorities, and to make it possible for them 
to maintain and defend their power.”
 Andrew Lichterman, 2012
“. . . because a few, by fate’s economy, shall seem to move the world
the way it goes.”
 Edward Arlington Robinson, 1916

Our planet is deeply burdened. It presently harbours 390,000 tons of high level nuclear waste produced by nuclear reactors and weapons programs over the past 70 years. Spent nuclear fuel is one of the most dangerous materials on earth. Most of it is stored underwater in numerous cooling ponds throughout the world. High level nuclear waste is dangerous to all life for unthinkable periods of time. Plutonium, which is produced in every nuclear fuel rod, has a toxic lifespan of 240,000 years. With each passing year, a further 10,000 tons of spent fuel is added to the world’s accumulated stores of deadly waste. In addition to the spent fuel from nuclear reactors, vast amounts of lower-level radioactive waste lie scattered in mining sites, tailings dams, undersea dumps and soil-borne contamination on every continent.

We have no idea what to do with the stuff. The Americans sank over $13 billion into the construction of a massive underground repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. It was closed down in 2010 without taking in a single gram of nuclear waste. The Soviets didn’t bother with such elaborate schemes and until recently, simply dumped much of their waste – including obsolete submarines complete with nuclear reactors – into the Kara Sea and elsewhere in the Arctic Circle where they slowly corrode, leaching their lethal contents into the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean.

In the meantime, a small cadre of aspirational Promethean technocrats in South Australia have somehow decided that Australia holds the solution to the global problem of nuclear waste. The recently releasedNuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Report recommends that the South Australian government accepts over one third of the world’s high level waste for above-ground storage and eventual burial in yet-to-be-built underground repositories in the South Australian desert. The report proposes that South Australia imports 138,000 tons of high level radioactive waste in the form of spent fuel rods as well as an additional 390,000 cubic metres of intermediate level waste for storage and eventual disposal.

This has all been spruiked as a fail-safe commercial venture that will relieve the South Australian Government of its financial problems ever after and create a rosy economic future for generations that have yet to be born. Such madness blithely ignores the fact that the genetic and biological futures of those generations may thereafter be a different story…….  ww.countercurrents.org/2016/07/22/poison-in-the-heart-the-nuclear-wasting-of-south-australia/

July 23, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear weapons not able to reach Britain

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea admits ‘our nuclear weapons aren’t a threat to the UK’, Mirror UK, , 22 JUL 2016, [good pictures and video] 

The rogue state claimed that Theresa May’s comments on the nuclear threat that Kim Jong-un poses were “absolutely astonishing”. North Korea has admitted that its nuclear weapons CAN’T reach the United Kingdom. Pyongyang said that claims made by Theresa May on the threat it poses were “absolutely astonishing”.

A statement from the North Korean foreign ministry said: “It is illogical that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to the UK.

“It is a pity that the UK makes an excuse for the building of [nuclear submarines] by finding fault with the DPRK, thousands [of] kilometres away from it.”

Prime Minister May was making the case for renewing Britain’s Trident missile defence system when she pointed out that the UK must be prepared to act should it come under attack. May added: “We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts which would put our country in grave danger.”

However North Korea responded: “The DPRK does not regard the UK’s nuclear weapons as a threat to it.

“Therefore, the UK has no need to regard the DPRK’s nukes as a threat to it.”………http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/north-korea-admits-our-nuclear-8469712

July 23, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not clean, not carbon free- California is wise to phase it out

climate and nuclearThere are good reasons for California to phase out nuclear power, Huffington Post, Johann Saathoff,MP German BundestagCoordinator of energy policy for the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag  07/22/2016 “…….While electricity from nuclear power stations may be carbon-free at the time of production, looked at in overall terms it is anything but that and it is certainly not clean.

Nobody asks or calculates how much CO2 was released in the building of the power station. Nobody considers how CO2 is released through the mining, processing and enrichment of uranium and through its transportation.

And nobody in the world knows at this point where and how radioactive waste can be safely stored for the millennia to come, how much CO2 will have to be used in the process and what the costs will be in terms of the second energy bill, as in the case of fossil energy sources.

Considered in overall terms – even assuming no incidents – the actual costs of nuclear power per kilowatt hour and CO2 emissions are incalculable.

What is certain, however, is that unlike renewable energies, nuclear power is not carbon-free. For this reason alone a renaissance of nuclear power would be irresponsible. It would also be irresponsible because of the danger of accidents (particularly in earthquake-prone areas) and the unsolved question of the final storage of nuclear waste. Nuclear power is also not clean; discharges of hot water cause considerable damage to the environment – to say nothing of the enormous environmental damage caused by the extraction of uranium……..http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-saathoff/there-are-good-reasons-fo_b_11133916.html

July 23, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Politics trumps good sense as EDF prepares to approve Hinkley Point C nuclear project

handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PAHinkley Point C nuclear project expected to get go-ahead next week EDF likely to greenlight construction of power plant in Somerset, providing boost to UK government amid Brexit fallout, Guardian, , 23 July, The Hinkley Point C nuclear project is poised to get the go-ahead from EDF next week in what will be a major boost to a new government trying to steady nerves on the economy after the British vote to leave the European Union last month.

A board meeting of the French energy group on Thursday 28 July is expected to give a final investment decision in favour of building new reactors in Somerset despite internal divisions over the £18bn scheme.

The decision has been repeatedly postponed, partly because of pressure from trade unionists on the board of the partly state-owned French group who claim EDF cannot afford the cost and risk of such a massive project in the UK.

But Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, has the support of the British government to press ahead with a scheme that represents an important shop window for selling nuclear technology and expertise worldwide.

EDF said it would discuss Hinkley Point C (HPC) – which involves building two so-called European pressurised reactors (EPR) – at its forthcoming board meeting and underlined the importance of building in Britain. “The HPC project is a major element of the group’s … strategy. The two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point would strengthen EDF’s presence in Britain, a country where its subsidiary EDF Energy already operates 15 nuclear reactors and is the largest electricity supplier by volume.”

EDF would not publicly commit itself to a decision in favour of the project, but nuclear industry sources said all company preparations were being made as if it was a done deal. “We are all expecting the go ahead next week,” the sources said.

The timing could not be better for the UK government, which regards Hinkley as a flagship energy scheme despite criticism from the City about its massive cost.

EDF insists it can build the project for £18bn but a complex system of subsidies agreed by the former chancellor, George Osborne, could cost the consumer up to £37bn, according to a recent estimate published on the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) website………

Critics remained vocal. “It’s right that the UK should remain open for business but handing billions of energy bill payers money over to the French government for an outdated technology makes no business sense,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.

“A possible final investment decision next week will only show that high-level post-truth politics trumps good sense. The type of reactor EDF wants to build at Hinkley hasn’t yet been shown to work.

“For UK bill payers, the rationale for a massively over-priced power station like Hinkley has long since disappeared but all the key players are too embarrassed to stop it.”………https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/jul/22/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-project

July 23, 2016 Posted by | France, politics, UK | Leave a comment

India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

flag-indiaIndia Will Never Sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Says Sushma http://www.news18.com/news/india/india-will-never-sign-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-says-sushma-1271759.html CNN-News18 July 20, 2016,  New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

While making statement in the Lok Sabha, she said, India will continue to engage with China over its opposition to India’s entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“If someone does not agree to something once, it doesn’t mean that they will never agree to it. We are continuing our efforts in engaging with China on this issue,” the foreign minister said on India’s bid to gain entry to the NSG.

Swaraj’s statements on the NSG issue came in response to queries from Opposition members on the status of India’s bid for entry into the elite nuclear trading group.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New York’s nuclear subsidy plan will grow to a $multibillion cost to ratepayers

hungry-nukes 1Nuclear Subsidies Are Key Part of New York’s Clean-Energy Plan, NYT By VIVIAN YEE JULY 20, 2016 “………The commission is considering a proposal that makes the state’s three upstate nuclear plants important parts of its efforts to wean itself off fossil fuels, offering nearly $1 billion in ratepayer-financed subsidies over the next two years to save plants battered by rising costs and competition from cheap natural gas.

 The subsidy is likely to grow into the multibillion-dollar range over the 12-year period proposed by the state, a sum that has caused watchdogs to question whether the state is about to approve a major industry bailout with minimal public scrutiny — even though it is the public’s utility bills that will grow……..Though the commission outlined the plan in January, saying that the subsidy could cost anywhere from $59 million to $658 million by 2023, not until 10 days before the deadline for public comments did it disclose that the actual amount would be closer to $1 billion over the first two years. (The commission pushed the deadline back another week, to Friday, after a minor outcry, while maintaining that it had offered plenty of time and information.)………Exelon Corporation would stand to benefit the most from the plan; It owns two of the three upstate plants, and is in talks to buy the third, the FitzPatrick nuclear power plant in Oswego. Exelon has spent at least $426,000 on lobbying over the past two years, according to state records.

With very little process, and very little time for the public to even know this is happening, what they’re proposing here is a multibillion-dollar uncompetitive subsidy to one company,” said Jessica Azulay, a spokeswoman for the Alliance for a Green Economy, an environmentalist group.

The alliance has calculated the total cost over 12 years as more than $7.6 billion…..http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/21/nyregion/nuclear-subsidies-new-york-clean-energy-plan.html?_r=0

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | 1 Comment