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Japan’s big ‘nuclear restart’ overtaken by conservation and renewables

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The three-unit Ikata nuclear power plant in the south of Japan.Its 890MW unit 3 is the only reactor in Japan that has a chance of restarting in 2016.

For all Japan’s talk of 43 ‘operable’ nuclear reactors, only two are actually running, writes Jim Green, as renewables and a 12% fall in demand eat into the power market. And while Japan’s ‘nuclear village’ defends safety standards, the IAEA, tasked with promoting nuclear power worldwide, has expressed deep concerns over the country’s weak and ‘fragmented’ safety regulation.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Japan has 43 ‘operable’ power reactors (they are ‘operational’ according to the IAEA), three under construction, nine ‘on order or planned’, and three ‘proposed’.

The numbers suggest that Japan’s nuclear industry is finally getting back on its feet after the Fukushima disaster – but nothing could be further from the truth.

Before considering the industry’s current problems, a little historical context from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2016:

“[I]t has been 17 years since Japan’s nuclear output peaked at 313 TWh in 1998. The noticeably sharp decline during 2002-2003, amounting to a reduction of almost 30%, was due to the temporary shutdown of all 17 of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) reactors – seven at Kashiwazaki Kariwa and six at Fukushima Daiichi and four at Fukushima Daini.

“The shutdown was following an admission from TEPCO that its staff had deliberately falsified data for inclusion in regulatory safety inspections reports. During 2003, TEPCO managed to resume operations of five of its reactors.

“The further noticeable decline in electrical output in 2007 was the result of the extended shutdown of the seven Kashiwazaki Kariwa reactors, with a total installed capacity of 8 GWe, following the Niigata Chuetsu-oki earthquake in 2007. TEPCO was struggling to restart the Kashiwazaki Kariwa units, when the Fukushima earthquake occurred.”

How many of Japan’s reactors are really ‘operable’?

Nuclear power accounted for 29% of electricity generation in Japan in 2010, down from the historic peak of 36% in 1998, and plans were being developed to increase nuclear’s share to 50%. But all of Japan’s reactors were shut down in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Reactors didn’t power a single light-bulb from September 2013 to August 2015.

Japan had 55 operable reactors before Fukushima (including the ill-fated Monju fast reactor). In addition to the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, the permanent shutdown of another six reactors has been confirmed – all of them smallish (<559 MWe) and all of them ageing (grid connections between 1969 and 1977): Kansai Electric’s Mihama 1 and 2, Kyushu Electric’s Genkai 1, Shikoku’s Ikata 1, JAPC’s Tsuruga 1, and Chugoku Electric’s Shimane 1.

So Japan now has 43 ‘operable’ or ‘operational’ reactors, and it isn’t hard to identify some with little or no prospect of ever restarting, such as the four Fukushima Daini reactors (or Monju for that matter).

Two reactors at Sendai in Kagoshima Prefecture were restarted in August and October 2015. And that’s it – only two of Japan’s 43 ‘operable’ or ‘operational’ reactors are actually operating. Moreover an anti-nuclear candidate, Satoshi Mitazono, was elected governor of Kagoshima Prefecture in early July 2016 and he announced that he will seek the shut-down of the two Sendai reactors – he can prevent their restart after they shut down for inspection later this year.

As of 1 July 2016, 11 utilities had applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) for safety assessments of a total of 26 reactors, including seven reactors that have completed the assessment process. Apart from whatever hurdles the NRA might put in their way, there are other obstacles: citizen-led lawsuits; local political and public opposition; economic factors, in particular the questionable economics of large investments to upgrade and restart aging reactors; and the impact of electricity deregulation and intensified market competition.

It’s anyone’s guess how many reactors might restart, but the process will continue to be drawn out – the only strong candidate for restart this year is the Ikata 3 reactor in Ehime Prefecture.

The government’s current energy policy calls for a 22-24% nuclear share of electricity generation by 2030. That is less than half of the pre-Fukushima plans for future nuclear growth (the 50% target), and considerably lower than the 29% nuclear share in 2010. Currently, nuclear power – the two Sendai reactors – account for less than 1%.

To reach the 20-22% target would require the operation of around 35 reactors by 2030, which seems highly improbable.

Cheap renewables picking up high-level support

The use of both fossil fuels and renewables has increased since the Fukushima disaster, while energy efficiency has made the task considerably easier – national power consumption in 2015 was 12% below the 2010 level.

The World Nuclear Industry Status Report comments on energy politics in Japan:

“Japanese utilities are insisting on, and the government has granted and reinforced, the right to refuse cheaper renewable power, supposedly due to concerns about grid stability – hardly plausible in view of their far smaller renewable fractions than in several European countries – but apparently to suppress competition.

“The utilities also continue strenuous efforts to ensure that the imminent liberalization of the monopoly-based, vertically integrated Japanese power system should not actually expose utilities’ legacy plants to real competition.

“The ability of existing Japanese nuclear plants, if restarted, to operate competitively against modern renewables (as many in the U.S. and Europe can no longer do) is unclear because nuclear operating costs are not transparent. However, the utilities’ almost complete suppression of Japanese wind power suggests they are concerned on this score.

“And as renewables continue to become cheaper and more ubiquitous, customers will be increasingly tempted by Japan’s extremely high electricity prices to make and store their own electricity and to drop off the grid altogether, as is already happening, for example, in Hawaii and Australia.”

The Japan Association of Corporate Executives, with a membership of about 1,400 executives from around 950 companies, recently issued a statement urging Tokyo to remove hurdles holding back the expansion of renewable power – which supplied 14.3 percent of power in Japan in the year to March 2016.

The statement also notes that the outlook for nuclear is “uncertain” and that the 20‒22% target could not be met without an improbably high number of restarts of idled reactors along with numerous reactor lifespan extensions beyond 40 years.

Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, said the push signalled “a profound change in thinking among blue-chip business executives.” DeWit added:

“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.”

Safety concerns – the case of Takahama

The restart of the Takahama 3 and 4 reactors in Fukui Prefecture is indicative of the nuclear industry’s broader problems. Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO) first applied to the NRA for permission to restart the reactors in July 2013. In February 2015, the NRA gave its permission for KEPCO to make the required safety upgrades. The restart process was delayed by an injunction imposed by the Fukui District Court in April 2015, but the ruling was overturned in December 2015.

Takahama 3 was restarted in late January 2016, and TEPCO was in the process of resolving technical glitches affecting the start-up of Takahama 4, when the Otsu District Court in neighbouring Shiga Prefecture ruled on 9 March 2016 that the reactors must be shut down in response to a petition by 29 citizens.

The court found that investigations of active fault lines and other safety issues were not thorough enough, it expressed doubts regarding the plant’s ability to withstand a tsunami, and it questioned emergency response and evacuation plans. Citizens and NGOs also questioned the use of arbitrary figures in KEPCO’s safety analysis, and fire protection.

Nuclear Engineering International reported on 2 February 2016:

“While there are plans on paper to evacuate some Fukui residents to Hyogo, Kyoto, and Tokushima prefectures, many municipalities there have no detailed plans for receiving evacuees. Kyoto Governor Keiji Yamada said he did not feel adequate local consent had been obtained, citing concerns about evacuation issues. Shiga Governor Taizo Mikazuki said there was a lack of sufficient disaster planning.”

On July 12, the Otsu District Court rejected KEPCO’s appeal and upheld the injunction preventing the operation of Takahama 3 and 4. KEPCO plans to appeal the decision to the Osaka High Court.

Meanwhile, KEPCO is considering whether it is worth investing in upgrades required for the restart of the Takahama 1 and 2 reactors. The NRA controversially approved 20-year lifespan extensions for the two reactors (grid connected in 1974 and 1975), but citizens have initiated a lawsuit to keep them shut down.

Japan’s ‘lax’ and’ inadequate’ regulatory regime

While safety and regulatory standards have improved in the aftermath of Fukushima, there are still serious problems. Citizens and NGOs have raised countless concerns, but criticisms have also come from other quarters.

When the NRA recently approved lifespan extensions for two Takahama reactors, a former NRA commissioner broke his silence and said “a sense of crisis” over safety prompted him to go public and urge more attention to earthquake risks. Kunihiko Shimazaki, a commissioner from 2012 to 2014, said: “I cannot stand by without doing anything. We may have another tragedy …”

Professor Yoshioka Hitoshi, a Kyushu University academic who served on the government’s 2011-12 Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations, said in October 2015:

“Unfortunately, the new regulatory regime is … inadequate to ensure the safety of Japan’s nuclear power facilities. The first problem is that the new safety standards on which the screening and inspection of facilities are to be based are simply too lax. While it is true that the new rules are based on international standards, the international standards themselves are predicated on the status quo.

“They have been set so as to be attainable by most of the reactors already in operation. In essence, the NRA made sure that all Japan’s existing reactors would be able to meet the new standards with the help of affordable piecemeal modifications – back-fitting, in other words.”

Even the IAEA has slammed the feeble NRA

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) review in early 2016 made the following recommendations (among others) regarding the NRA:

  • To attract competent and experienced staff, and develop competencies relevant to nuclear and radiation safety.
  • To amend relevant legislation with the aim of allowing NRA to improve the effectiveness of its inspections. The NRA inspection programme “needs significant improvement in certain areas. NRA inspectors should be legally allowed to have free access to any site at any time. The decision process for initiating reactive inspections should be shortened.”
  • To strengthen the promotion of safety culture including a questioning attitude.
  • To give greater priority to the oversight of the implementation of radiation protection measures.
  • To develop requirements and guidance for emergency preparedness and response in relation to radiation sources.

The IAEA further noted that the NRA’s enforcement provisions are inadequate:

“There is no clear written enforcement policy in place at the NRA. There is no documented process in place at NRA for determining the level of sanctions. NRA inspectors have no power to enforce corrective actions if there is an imminent likelihood of safety significant event. They are required to defer to NRA headquarters. … NRA processes for enforcement are fragmented and some processes are not documented.

“NRA needs to establish a formal Enforcement Policy that sets forth processes clearly addressing items such as evaluation of the severity level of non-conformances, sanctions for different levels of non-conformances, processes for issuance of Orders, and expected actions of NRA inspectors if significant safety issues develop.”

As the industry declines, expect new safety cutbacks

The narrative from government and industry is that safety and regulatory standards in Japan are now adequate – or they soon will be once teething problems with the new regime are sorted out. NRA Chair Shunichi Tanaka claims that Japanese regulatory standards are “the strictest in the world.”

But Japan’s safety and regulatory standards aren’t strict. Improvements are ongoing – such as NRA actions in response to the IAEA report, and reports that legislation will be revised to allow unscheduled inspections of nuclear sites. But improvements are slow, partial and piecemeal and there are forces pushing in the other direction. An Associated Press report states that nuclear laws will be revised in 2017 but not enacted until 2020.

Reactor lifespan extensions beyond 40 years were meant to be “limited only to exceptional cases” according to then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, speaking in 2012. Extensions were considered an emergency measure against a possible energy crunch. But lifespan extensions have been approved in the absence of an energy crunch, and more will likely follow.

If Japan’s nuclear history is any guide, already flawed safety and regulatory standards will be weakened over time. Signification elements of Japan’s corrupt ‘nuclear village’ are back in control just a few years after the Fukushima disaster. Add to that aging reactors, and utilities facing serious economic stress and intense competition, and there’s every reason to be concerned about nuclear safety in Japan.

Tomas Kåberger, Professor of Industrial Energy Policy at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, noted in the foreword to the latest edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report:

“A nuclear industry under economic stress may become an even more dangerous industry. Owners do what they can to reduce operating costs to avoid making economic loss. Reduce staff, reduce maintenance, and reduce any monitoring and inspection that may be avoided.

“While a stated ambition of ‘safety first’ and demands of safety authorities will be heard, the conflict is always there and reduced margins of safety may prove to be mistakes.”

 

 

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

August 12 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Vote with Your Utility Bill for Wind Energy” • Some politicians and utilities say renewable power raises utility costs and sacrifices reliability. But real examples tell a different story. In Colorado, renewable energy is replacing coal plants and driving down costs of electricity service without sacrificing reliable service. [Red, Green, and Blue]

Arcadia Power image. Arcadia Power image.

¶ “Why Bill Gates Is Hugely Misinformed About Renewables & Loves Impractical Nuclear” • Why does Bill Gates not understand that we have all the science we need to stop climate change without nuclear power? Why does he not see that renewables are less costly and faster to install than nuclear power. There is an answer. [CleanTechnica]

¶ “Climate science: revolution is here” • It takes a long time to heat up a world. Even if emissions are stopped, climate change will continue for a long time. But week…

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

Mitsubishi Military Industrial Complex Nuked in Nagasaki: Mitsubishi Still Lives While Victims Still Die

Mining Awareness +


Mitsubishi Urakami Ordance Plant. Atomic Bomb Area Nagasaki.
Movie by US National Archives and Records Administration (Transcript at bottom of blog post).

The hurriedly-targeted weapon ended up detonating almost exactly between two of the principal targets in the city, the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works to the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Torpedo Works to the north… The official Manhattan Engineer District report on the attack termed the damage to the two Mitsubishi plants ‘spectacular.http://www.osti.gov/manhattan-project-history/Events/1945/nagasaki.htm

It also destroyed the Urakami Roman Catholic Church, at the time the largest in the east, and killed the worshippers within, as well as many others in Nagasaki.
Urakami Cathedral before A bomb

71 years later, today, people are still dying as a result of the delayed effect of radiation. Atomic bomb hospitals are full of those people“. (Setsuko Thurlow, May 27, 2016, DemocracyNow interview) https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/i-want-the-world-to-wake-up-hiroshima-survivor-criticizes-obama-for-pushing-new-nuclear-weapons/
Sumiteru Taniguchi's back injuries from Nagasaki bombing, January 1946, by USMC
Sumiteru Taniguchi’s back injuries from Nagasaki bombing, January 1946, by…

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

Bribery: Super League Nuclear

NuclearBribe Apologies to Friends of the Earth – the “Bribery: Its Working Well in *Numbria” is all ours…

In the Morning Star today…..

Hush money? The nuclear industry is in a league of its own


Aug 2016 Thursday 11th
posted by Peter Lazenby

PROPOSED bribes for communities near fracking sites are “small fry” compared to the hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash used to buy off those affected by the nuclear power industry, campaigners said yesterday.

Cumbria in north-west England “is in the grip of a far-reaching nuclear bribery scandal,” according to Radiation Free Lakeland, with taxpayers’ cash for public projects filtered through the privately owned nuclear power industry.

Campaigner Marianne Birkby said: “Compared to the nuclear industry, the frackers are in the third division where bribery is concerned, as we know all too well in Cumbria.

“The nuclear industry leads the super league — and has…

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

Chinese City Backs Down on Proposed Nuclear Fuel Plant After Protests

BEIJING — Bowing to days of passionate street protests, a city government in eastern China said Wednesday that it had halted any plans to build a nuclear fuel plant there. The reversal was the latest indication of how public distrust could hold back China’s ambitious plans for expanding its nuclear power industry.

The government of Lianyungang, a city near the coast of Jiangsu Province, announced the retreat in a terse message online. “The people’s government of Lianyungang has decided to suspend preliminary work for selecting a site for the nuclear cycle project,” it read, referring to a proposed plant for reprocessing used fuel from nuclear plants.

No reason was given, but it appeared clear enough. In recent days, residents have taken to the streets to oppose any decision to build the plant nearby. The main urban area of Lianyungang is just 20 miles southwest of a large and growing nuclear power plant on the coast, but the idea of a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility also being built in the area seemed to push public unease to a new height.

A 21-year-old Lianyungang resident with the surname Tang said Wednesday that demonstrators had been chanting “Oppose nuclear waste, defend our home.” Like other people contacted there, she did not want her full name used, citing fear of reprisal for talking to reporters.

Nobody wants this kind of thing built in their own home,” Ms. Tang said.

China’s authoritarian leaders are wary of local protests escalating into broader challenges to their power. But local governments have often given ground in the face of growing public opposition to chemical plants, waste incinerators and other potential sources of pollution. Now proposed nuclear projects are also becoming increasingly troublesome.

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A model of a nuclear reactor on display at the stand for the China National Nuclear Corporation at an expo in Beijing last year. Across the country, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 has hardened public wariness of nuclear power.

While the Chinese government does not hesitate to arrest the few political dissidents, it spends more time and energy to appease public demands,” Wenfang Tang, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, who studies public opinion and politics in China, said in emailed comments.

The high level of government sensitivity and responsiveness to public opinion further encourages political activism in Chinese society,” Professor Tang said. “The louder you are, the more quickly the government will respond.”

In Lianyungang and across China, the nuclear calamity in Fukushima, Japan, in 2011 has hardened public wariness of nuclear power, although the government argues that expanding the industry is essential for weaning the economy off coal, with all of its dangerous pollutants.

The biggest protest in Lianyungang took place on Saturday, when many thousands of people, including families with children, marched through the downtown area.

Despite warnings from the government, protests continued on a smaller scale this week, as residents defied ranks of riot officers with shields, according to news reports and video that people shared through social media.

I told my daughter that she must go to this protest,” one resident said, according to Sixth Tone, an English-language news website based in Shanghai. “With every extra person, the momentum will get bigger.”

The announcement does not mean the nuclear fuel-reprocessing proposal is dead. The project is a collaboration between the China National Nuclear Corporation and a French company, Areva, and it has high-level government support, although no final agreement to build it has been signed. Five other Chinese provinces are under consideration for the initiative, and Lianyungang could lift its suspension. The two companies have said that they want to start building in 2020 and finish by 2030.

But in China, suspensions of contentious projects have a way of quietly turning into permanent cancellations, and Lianyungang appears likely to follow that pattern. The big question now will be whether public opposition coalesces in the five other areas under consideration.

All but one — Gansu Province in the northwest — is a heavily populated coastal province. Gansu is already home to China’s first civilian nuclear reprocessing plant, a small facility that has been held back by technical problems.

In 2013, officials jettisoned plans for a nuclear fuel fabrication plant in the southern province of Guangdong after protests. Preliminary proposals to build nuclear power plants inland have also ignited intense opposition.

The Chinese government has said that as it expands its fleet of nuclear power plants, it needs a plant for reprocessing spent fuel, a practice that separates unused plutonium and some uranium from waste. That unused material could be used to generate power, but critics have warned that the plutonium could be deployed for weapons. Japan has also built a full-scale reprocessing plant, but it has not started up yet.

On Chinese social media, and even on news websites, commentators said that the contention in Lianyungang showed that the public should have a bigger say in nuclear energy planning.

In just a few days, the official stand of Lianyungang has undergone a sea change,” read a comment on Sohu.com, a Chinese news website. “Don’t underestimate just how determined the public is in opposition to nuclear waste, which is far more dangerous than wastewater from any paper pulp mill.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/11/world/asia/china-nuclear-fuel-lianyungang.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | China | , , | Leave a comment

Shikoku Electric restarts reactor under post-Fukushima regulations

Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, is restarted.

After the Tepco Fukushima Daiichi earthquake/tsunami disaster and the Kumamoto recent earthquake, it is to be wondered what Japan has learned?

The Ikata nuclear power plant is located on the Hinagu fault zone and Futagawa fault zone, themselves extension of Japan’s largest active fault “Median Tectonic Line”.

In case of any accident, for the residents living on Sadamisaki Peninsula evacuation would be only possible by boat to Kyushu Island, such evacuation would be therefore difficult, even impossible.

Unless there would be a Japanese Moses to open the sea, such evacuation plan should be referred to as an escape from reality.

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The Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ikata, Ehime Prefecture

MATSUYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) — Shikoku Electric Power Co. restarted a reactor at its Ikata power plant in western Japan on Friday, making it the fifth unit reactivated under tougher regulations set following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The No. 3 reactor at the plant in Ehime Prefecture is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to reach criticality, or a state of sustained nuclear chain reaction, on Saturday and begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday before resuming commercial operation in early September for the first time since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

“We will take steps toward criticality and resumption of power generation with priority on ensuring safety,” Shikoku Electric President Hayato Saeki said in a statement on Friday.

Meanwhile, around 70 residents and others opposing the reactor restart gathered around the seaside plant early Friday morning, chanting slogans such as “Don’t contaminate the Seto Inland Sea,” and “Stop the nuclear plant.”

Junko Saima, a 72-year-old woman from Yawatahama, adjacent to the town hosting the plant, which is located on one side of a narrow peninsula, said, “I am nervous that some kind of accident may occur.”

Opponents are concerned about the effectiveness of government-prepared evacuation plans in case of an accident and about potential major earthquakes that are not taken into account in the plans, while proponents are hailing the resumption as it could bring economic benefits.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of the Nos. 3 and 4 units at Kansai Electric’s Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata town and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart the No.3 reactor after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant eyeing to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu Island in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 kilometers east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

Meanwhile, in Kagoshima, new Gov. Satoshi Mitazono is planning to ask Kyushu Electric to suspend the two reactivated reactors at the Sendai plant to double-check any safety impact on the units from the powerful earthquakes that hit neighboring Kumamoto in April.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160812/p2g/00m/0dm/035000c

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

Biological effects of Fukushima radiation on plants, insects, and animals

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This is a pale grass blue butterfly, one of the most common species of butterfly in Japan. Recent research has revealed major impacts on this species from the radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Credit: Joji Otaki, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan

Following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, biological samples were obtained only after extensive delays, limiting the information that could be gained about the impacts of that historic disaster. Determined not to repeat the shortcomings of the Chernobyl studies, scientists began gathering biological information only a few months after the disastrous meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan in 2011. Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds.

A series of articles summarizing these studies has now been published in the Journal of Heredity. These describe widespread impacts, ranging from population declines to genetic damage to responses by the repair mechanisms that help organisms cope with radiation exposure.

“A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” stated Dr. Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, lead author of one of the studies.

Most importantly, these studies supply a baseline for future research on the effects of ionizing radiation exposure to the environment.

Common to all of the published studies is the hypothesis that chronic (low-dose) exposure to ionizing radiation results in genetic damage and increased mutation rates in reproductive and non-reproductive cells.

One of the studies (Hayashi et al. 2014) documented the effects of radiation on rice by exposing healthy seedlings to low-level gamma radiation at a contaminated site in Fukushima Prefecture. After three days, a number of effects were observed, including activation of genes involved in self-defense, ranging from DNA replication and repair to stress responses to cell death.

“The experimental design employed in this work will provide a new way to test how the entire rice plant genome responds to ionizing radiation under field conditions,” explained Dr. Randeep Rakwal of the University of Tsukuba in Japan, one of the authors of the study.

Another team of researchers (Taira et al. 2014) examined the response of the pale grass blue butterfly, one of the most common butterfly species in Japan, to radiation exposure at the Fukushima site. They found size reduction, slowed growth, high mortality and morphological abnormality both at the Fukushima site and among laboratory-bred butterflies with parents collected from the contaminated site.

Multiple sources of exposure were included in the butterfly study. “Non-contaminated larvae fed leaves from contaminated host plants collected near the reactor showed high rates of abnormality and mortality,” explained Dr. Joji Otaki of the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan. Some of their results suggested the possible evolution of radiation resistance in Fukushima butterflies as well.

A review of genetic and ecological studies for a range of other species at both Chernobyl and Fukushima (Mousseau 2014) revealed significant consequences of radiation. Population censuses of birds, butterflies, and cicadas at Fukushima showed major declines attributable to radiation exposure. Morphological effects, such as aberrant feathers on barn swallows, were also observed. The authors suggest that long-term studies at Chernobyl could predict likely effects in the future at the Fukushima site.

All of these studies highlight the need for early and ongoing monitoring at sites of accidental radiation release. “Detailed analyses of genetic impacts to natural populations could provide the information needed to predict recovery times for wild communities at Fukushima as well as any sites of future nuclear accidents,” Mousseau said. “There is an urgent need for greater investment in basic scientific research of the wild animals and plants of Fukushima.”

Provided by: American Genetic Association

http://m.phys.org/news/2014-08-biological-effects-fukushima-insects-animals.html

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

Japan urges Hong Kong to lift ban on food from areas near Fukushima plant

HONG KONG – Agricultural minister Yuji Yamamoto said in Hong Kong on Thursday that he has requested the territory to lift a food ban that restricts imports from five Japanese prefectures most affected by a radiation-leak scare following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

Imports of Japanese food, including milk, vegetables and fruits, from Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures have been banned since March 2011 following the magnitude-9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that led to the nuclear plant meltdowns over worries about contamination by radioactive substances.

However, meat, poultry, eggs and aquatic products can be imported with radiation certificates stating their safety.

I made a request to (Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam during a meeting Wednesday), if the regulation on the import of food from Japan could be relaxed and be eliminated,” Yamamoto told media at the opening of the annual Food Expo, where a record number of more than 250 Japanese companies are in Hong Kong promoting their products, including those from the prefectures of Fukushima and Kumamoto, which was hit by a series of earthquakes in April.

(On Friday) I should have a meeting with Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man. I expect that they will respond after very careful consideration and deliberation,” he said, adding that he wishes there could be a scientific-based analysis of products from Fukushima to eliminate the reputational damage.

Ko said monitoring will remain for the safety of Hong Kong people.

We have been relying on a risk- and evidence-based method to decide on the prohibition of fresh food imports from five Japanese prefectures,” Ko told reporters after touring the food fair. “We have continued to examine the progress made in Japan’s handling of the Fukushima nuclear incident,” including the measures they have put in place and test results on the food, he said.

We will look at all the information and make decisions on a scientific basis. In the upcoming meeting (with Yamamoto), we will explain to them Hong Kong’s position, which, most importantly, is that we will manage food safety based on the well-being of Hong Kong people,” he said.

The value of Japan’s agricultural, forestry and fishery exports last year reached a record-high ¥745 billion ($7.34 billion). Hong Kong remained the top destination for the 11th consecutive year, with a value of ¥179 billion, marking a 33 percent increase from 2014, according to ministry data.

The sale of dried sea cucumber, considered a healthy seafood delicacy, to Hong Kong registered a slight decline, while sales of instant noodles increased by 50 percent, which Yamamoto said was a “major surprise.”

Eliza Au, 40, owner of a startup private kitchen, said after sampling products from Kumamoto Prefecture she is confident in the quality of Japanese food.

The fruit, the Wagyu beef, all went under strict safety inspections, and the seasoning, the mix and match are all so appealing,” Au said.

The food fair, which showcases some 1,400 exhibitors from 26 countries and regions, will run through Monday.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/12/business/japan-urges-h-k-lift-ban-food-areas-near-fukushima-plant/#.V62BpjXKO-d

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

Shikoku Electric fires up Ehime plant MOX reactor amid protests

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MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. – Japan restarted another nuclear reactor Friday, as Shikoku Electric Power Co. reactivated reactor 3 at its Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture.

It will be the first time in some five years and three months for the reactor to be switched on, since it was suspended for a routine safety inspection in April 2011.

The Ikata reactor 3, which is powered by MOX fuel, is the fifth to go back online under the county’s new safety regulations, introduced in July 2013 after the March 2011 reactor meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The Ikata plant is now the second nuclear plant in operation in Japan, joining Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

On Thursday, local residents staged a protest over the restart.

Once you put a nuclear reactor back into operation, it’s hard to stop it,” said Shinichi Naide, a 51-year-old company employee.

Aki Hashimoto, 60, who joined the rally from Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, questioned what the country has learned from the Fukushima meltdowns. Nuclear authorities “must hear the voices of people who suffered from the Fukushima accident,” she said.

The reactivated reactor is slated to reach criticality, or a self-sustained nuclear fission chain reaction, early Saturday morning. On Monday, it will begin the generation and transmission of electricity, reaching full capacity on Aug. 22.

Shikoku Electric aims to start the plant’s commercial operations in early September.

The Ehime reactor 3 is the only restarted unit in Japan that runs on uranium-plutonium mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, as a court ordered Kansai Electric Power Co. in March to suspend two reactors at its Takahama plant after they resumed operations earlier this year, citing safety concerns.

MOX fuel, created from plutonium and uranium extracted from spent fuel, is a key component of the nuclear fuel recycle program pursued by the nuclear power industry and the government.

The government aims to bring reactors back online after the Fukushima crisis led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants, as it plans to have nuclear power account for 20 to 22 percent of the country’s total electricity supply in 2030 to cut greenhouse emissions and lower imported fuel costs.

The Ikata unit is expected to begin generating and transmitting electricity on Monday and resume commercial operation in early September in its first operation since it was halted in April 2011 for regular inspection.

The restart follows the reactivation of two reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture last year and the brief run of reactors 3 and 4 at the Takahama complex in Fukui Prefecture.

The mayor of Ikata and the governor of Ehime Prefecture have already given their consent to restart reactor 3 after regulators approved its restart in July last year.

In June, Shikoku Electric loaded nuclear fuel at the power plant, looking to reboot it on July 26. However, reactivation was postponed due to problems with the reactor’s cooling system.

A group of local residents filed a suit in May seeking an injunction to halt the restart arguing that a series of earthquakes that have hit nearby Kyushu in April could trigger quakes along the median tectonic line running close to the Ikata reactor.

The plant is about 170 km east of Kumamoto Prefecture, the epicenter of the quakes.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/08/12/national/shikoku-electric-poised-fire-ehime-plant-mox-reactor-amid-protests/#.V62BlzXKO-e

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

Accidents will happen, but covering them up is unacceptable

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Shenanigans at a nuclear power plant in Guangdong show that transparency when incidents occur is just as important as safety protocols

The official report on an incident at a nuclear power plant near Hong Kong, more than a year ago, raises some serious safety questions. As a result of a breach of operational guidelines, and an attempted cover-up, three staff at the Yangjiang nuclear plant in Guangdong, 220km from Hong Kong, received administrative warnings and their crew leader was stripped of his senior nuclear operator licence – a more severe punishment, though none lost their jobs. The Ministry for Environmental Protection said the incident occurred during maintenance in March last year. After receiving a system alert, the four staff took actions that caused a “residual heat removal pump” on one of the reactors – a crucial back-up part of the water-cooling system – to stop functioning for six minutes. They then tried to cover up the incident and did not enter it into a log book as required.

Technician shortage in China ‘threatens nuclear plant safety’

On the face of it, the incident may sound relatively trivial, especially if the unit was not running. People familiar with such operations say breaching guidelines briefly would usually fall well short of immediate safety significance. But a number of points remain unclear after an investigation that took more than a year. The statement did not say what caused the alert, what actions the four took that led to their warnings, or how the incident and the attempted cover-up came to light. Thankfully, two nuclear experts dismissed the possibility of a radioactive leak or public safety threat.

The most serious concern is the attempted cover-up. This perverts a reporting system put in place to help safeguard life and property because human error and safety incidents cannot be eradicated. The Yangjiang incident also highlighted a growing operational problem in the nuclear industry – the shortage of senior operators for a massive expansion needed to meet the country’s consumption and emissions-reduction goals. Uncompetitive pay rates for what can be a high-pressure job do nothing to help recruitment.

Nuclear cover-up: environment ministry slaps penalties on errant crew over failures at Guangdong plant

That said, it remains true there is no more reliable or cleaner way of producing electricity. China has earned a reputation for taking nuclear safety seriously and wanting to be seen to do so to help promotion of its nuclear technology to potential foreign buyers.

Exposure of the attempted cover-up is a reminder that transparency is as important with nuclear power plants as safety. Lessons learned with each incident can only result in safer and better reactors.

http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2001587/accidents-will-happen-covering-them-unacceptable

August 12, 2016 Posted by | China | , , | Leave a comment

This week’s nuclear and climate news

Christina Macpherson's websites & blogs

Christina Macpherson’s websites & blogs

CLIMATE. Sahara-Like Heat Marches North, Sparks Scores of Massive Wildfires Across Portugal. An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser. Carteret climate refugees seek home. Climate scientists’ predictions on sea level rise Rejection of expert knowledge – Clexit after Brexit.  Power of social media: Di Caprio on climate change.

NUCLEAR  Nagasaki Peace Declaration 2016.

English language media continues to examine the nuclear industry’s situation in Britain and USA, and this is surely a concern for the global nuclear industry. If it collapses in UK and USA – the outlook for nuclear’s global future is grim.

UK is in the most critical situation – a plethora of articles on this: EU Investigating Unfair French State Subsidies to the Nuclear Sector – Areva’s 4 Billion Euro Bailout by French Taxpayers.  France’s ruling socialist party calls for freeze on Hinkley Point nuclear development. Theresa May is advised that now is the time to get out of Hinkley nuclear project. UK government’s own projections find solar and wind ‘cheaper than new nuclear’.

USA. Much unhappiness about New York’s subsidy bailout of the nuclear industry – eg. $700 million of public money goes to New York’s FitzPatrick nuclear deal. WHY?. New York will regret hasty decision to bail out upstate nuclear facilities. Subsidizing Nuclear Will Only Make Our Grid Problems Worse. New York “s Clean Energy standard drafted with an effort to avoid legal challenges about nuclear subsidy. New Jersey won’t be following New York’s example of subsidising the nuclear industry. U.S. electricity consumers could end up paying more than $2.5 billion for nuclear plants that never get built.

CHINA. Public opposition stops nuclear waste project, perhaps permanently.

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear missile system gives President a “4 minute” window for decision

apocalypseIf we’re going to design the entire system in this way, to emphasize the speed and decisiveness of text-relevanta single person, we should probably also pick that person carefully.

Our Nuclear Procedures Are Crazier Than Trump
U.S. presidents are currently given a four-minute window to decide whether or not to initiate an irreversible apocalypse. Sad!
FOREIGN POLICY, BY JEFFREY LEWIS AUGUST 5, 2016 “……The “system” for launching U.S. nuclear weapons, the former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden said, “is designed for speed and decisiveness. It’s not designed to debate the decision.”…..The nuclear command and control system, however, is designed to function under crushing time pressures. And it does so by removing any opportunity for the president to weigh his or her options or modify existing plans. If the president decides to end the world, you could probably show the whole debate in a half-hour sitcom — during one of its commercial breaks…….

The key to understanding the U.S. command and control system is that it was designed to fulfill a requirement known as “launch under attack,” a very specific scenario to deter Russia from trying to knock out America’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by launching a massive nuclear attack on the U.S. homeland and escaping retaliation. Launch under attack is the idea that deterring Russia from trying this requires that the United States be able to do a very difficult thing: detect a launch of Russia’s ICBMs and then launch its own retaliation before the Russian ICBMs arrive about 30 minutes later. As long as the United States can launch its ICBMs before the Russian ones get here — that is to say, within their 30-minute flight time — Russia is toast. (And presumably, knowing it’d be toast, it’ll think twice about launching in the first place.)…….
All those steps leave something like eight minutes from the first call to the White House to the last moment at which the president can act…….
launch under attack also means that the command and control system has been built to take any order and execute it with stunning speed — and that is what Hayden was trying to say. Once a president gives the order to use nuclear weapons, there is no turning back. The system is designed to very quickly render the president’s will into death and destruction on the other side of the world. So maybe don’t elect the guy who melts down on Twitter every other day……
My advice to any future president would be to drop launch under attack as a mainstay of U.S. nuclear policy. Some systems might still be capable of launching quickly, but I would design the nuclear force around the assumption that the president plans to “ride out” a nuclear attack. This means having enough weapons at sea to do the job and relegating any land-based nuclear weapons to the role of warhead “sink,” drawing fire away from cities. The Obama administration has made some steps in this direction, instructing the military to plan for more realistic contingencies — but it has still elected to retain launch under attack as an option…….
Defense experts have a fetish about giving the president options, and they are simply loath to abandon this one, no matter how unrealistic. It is U.S. policy now and for the foreseeable future. In fact, Washington has gone to great lengths to design its nuclear forces, as well as its command and control system, around the ability of the president to determine the fate of hundreds of millions of people in a matter of minutes. The upcoming deliberations about nuclear modernization, which will probably cost a trillion dollars over the next 30 years or so, will proceed on the same assumption. If we’re going to design the entire system in this way, to emphasize the speed and decisiveness of a single person, we should probably also pick that person carefully. http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/08/05/our-nuclear-procedures-are-crazier-than-trump/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Previously classified documents help legal case for thorium affected nuclear workers

Once secret documents helping lawyers argue for sick nuclear workers at South Carolina complex Unlike many lawyers, Bob Warren agreed to represent sick workers at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The pay has been low, but Warren has for 13 years handled their cases in hopes of gaining compensation from the federal government. He’s done so, despite battling Parkinson’s disease and financial difficulties.Today, he continues to press their cases from a tiny law office in Black Mountain, N.C.  BY SAMMY FRETWELL sfretwell@thestate.com COLUMBIA, SC , 11 Aug 16, 

sick worker Idaho

Lawyers are using once-classified government documents to argue that potentially thousands of sick nuclear weapons workers and their families should be eligible for federal benefits.

The documents, released late last year, provide evidence that some workers at the Savannah River Site were exposed to thorium after 1972 even though the government said the South Carolina plant no longer had significant quantities of the radioactive material, said Bob Warren, an attorney representing ex-SRS employees.

Warren said the federal records show that SRS had ample amounts of thorium, a metal used in nuclear reactions that can cause cancer. Warren obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act from the U.S. Department of Energy after a three-year wait.

“Without this information, we would not be able to go forward,’’ Warren said in an interview with The State. “These documents are pivotal in making the case.’’

In a letter to a government radiation advisory board, Warren asks that more people employed at SRS be compensated for illnesses they contracted while working there.

Warren’s request, to be discussed by the advisory board Wednesday, seeks to expand a federal compensation program by making it easier for people who worked at SRS from 1973-2007 to gain benefits for cancer the site caused.

The federal government has already made it easier for many sick workers employed before 1973 at SRS to receive compensation because of likely exposure to thorium at the site.

Those eligible for benefits could get up to $400,000 each under the federal compensation program. The program, available to sick workers at federal weapons complexes across the country, has been criticized as a bureaucratic maze of rules so tough that many deserving people have been denied benefits. Some ex-workers have died before receiving compensation, according to a McClatchy newspapers investigation last year.

“There is no reason not to expand,’’ Warren’s written comments said, noting that approving his request would make “many more workers and their survivors eligible for benefits from the … program before they die.’’

Warren said if he is successful, several thousand people who worked at SRS from 1973 to 2007 could receive benefits.

SRS is a 310-square mile federal atomic weapons site near Aiken along the Georgia border. It was a cornerstone of the nation’s Cold War nuclear weapons production effort, at times employing more than 10,000 people. Many who worked there were exposed to radiation, and some now say the exposure made them sick.

Federal officials charged with recommending whether to expand the program are expected to challenge Warren’s arguments at Wednesday’s meeting of the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health. But Warren said it’s hard to dispute what he has found in more than 1,300 pages of records that the government released.

The documents, many of which were previously classified, contradict past federal justification for not expanding the compensation program, he said. The records indicate that thorium existed in notable quantities for years at SRS after 1972 – despite government arguments that it did not.

Among the documents are:

▪  Handwritten records from SRS officials showing that more than 8 tons of thorium were stored at the site in 1998.

▪ A 1982 memo from a ranking SRS official showing that thorium was among the radioactive materials the government wanted to discard.

▪  A 1976 inventory report showing about 7 tons of thorium on the site.

In addition, Warren’s comment letter to the advisory board uses the deposition of a top site official to show that the government had no bioassay medical screening program for thorium exposure before 2000.

Thorium is used in the aerospace industry and in nuclear reactions. Breathing thorium dust may cause an increased chance of lung disease as well as lung and pancreatic cancer years after being exposed, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Thorium, which is odorless and tasteless, also has been linked to bone cancer, the agency reports.

The 1,300 pages released by the government now “definitely show thorium shipments to, and in some cases from, SRS after 1972,’’ Warren’s letter says. In the past, federal health officials charged with giving the advisory board information have not provided documentation that would have helped the board recommend expanding the program to cover more recent years, he said.

The Department of Energy had no immediate comment on the thorium issue. It could be months before Warren’s request is resolved……….

Under the federal compensation program, employees sickened by numerous types of cancer at SRS and other federal weapons sites must show that the radiation they received was a significant cause of their illnesses. But the government also can declare entire classes of workers as eligible without requiring each worker to document his or her doses. The class designation can occur when individual dosage records are unavailable to workers.

Bioassy records are unavailable for individual workers to show exposure to thorium, Warren said. So Warren argues that all workers from 1973-2007 should be eligible for compensation. In 2011, he was successful in persuading the government to make workers prior to 1973 eligible for compensation because of thorium exposure.

Warren’s petition is part of a 14-year-effort to obtain compensation for people who say they were sickened by radiation at SRS. An attorney in Black Mountain, N.C., Warren is one of the few lawyers who took on SRS compensation cases, which do not pay attorneys well. He plans to retire soon because of health problems but he works with South Carolina lawyers Warren Johnson and Joshua Fester, who will continue the work.

Nationally, the government has paid more than $12 billion to sick ex-nuclear workers and their families, including those from SRS, McClatchy newspapers reported last year. The energy employees compensation program began in 2001. http://www.thestate.com/news/local/article94448307.html

August 12, 2016 Posted by | health, Legal, Reference, thorium | Leave a comment

France’s ruling socialist party calls for freeze on Hinkley Point nuclear development

text Hinkley cancelledflag-franceHinkley Point near melt-down as French socialist party calls for freeze, Telegraph,   Ambrose Evans-Pritchard 9 AUGUST 2016 Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project is close to unravelling after France’s ruling socialist party threw its support behind dissident trade union leaders and called for a fundamental review of the high-cost venture.

The whole saga has now become freighted with politics and misunderstandings in a three-way jostle between France, Britain, and China, with no outcome in sight that can please everybody.

The French socialists warned that Hinkley threatens the financial viability of EDF, the state-owned energy giant AREVA EDF crumblingresponsible for two thirds of the £18bn funding and for limitless liabilities if it all goes wrong.

“The socialist party judges that a project of such importance, that involves the solidity and survival of the national energy group, makes it imperative to ask every question and raise every reserve before going any further,” it said.

It endorsed a furious complaint by the six trade union members on the EDF board, who said the final go-ahead for the project was rammed through in late July without full disclosure in a “governance scandal”, and that the decision is now “null and void”.

Brexit has further changed the landscape and brought matters to a head. “The whole relationship with Britain, whether political or economic, must be reviewed in light of its withdrawal from the EU, and a project as important as Hinkley Point cannot reasonably be exempted,” said the party………

 from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy in Beijing  said Hinkley was a flagship project for China and was hailed at the time as a break-through into the Western nuclear market. “President Xi Jinping himself promoted the project when he was in London and it became bigger than a mere contract. It has taken on symbolic meaning at a political level,” he said…….

Nuclear power cannot easily be switched on and off. It is ill-adapted for use as a back-up source to cover lulls in renewable power. “In a world moving towards cheaper, flexible, decentralized power systems, investing in eye-wateringly expensive, always-on ‘base-load’ plants increasingly looks like a 20th Century solution for a 21stCentury problem,” said Richard Black from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

If the chief reason for continuing the project is to preserve good relations with France and China, the whole story is a textbook example of why it is hazardous to strike commercial deals with foreign state-owned companies. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/09/hinkley-point-near-melt-down-as-french-socialist-party-calls-for/

August 12, 2016 Posted by | France, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Finland failed to be transparent on nuclear waste burial, unlike Sweden

The foremost reason is that as the project was being discussed with the public, SKB’s research was found to be incomplete and, in certain cases, inaccurate.

When, in 2011, Sweden’s SKB first applied for a license to build the Forsmark repository, the KBS-3 project documentation was published, which made it possible to give the project a review that would be independent from the nuclear industry’s own evaluation.

In February 2016, a special expert group appointed by the government, called the Swedish National Council for Nuclear Waste (Kärnavfallsrådet), published a 167-page report entitled “Nuclear Waste State-of-the-Art Report 2016: Risks, uncertainties and future challenges.” Among other things, it identifies the repository project’s risks and uncertainties having to do with earthquake impacts, with the long-term prospects of financing and monitoring the site’s condition, and with the health effects of low doses of radiation.

Finland has no such expert body. The concept of the repository, under construction in Euroajoki municipality, is criticized by many Finnish scientists, but the government is not taking notice and is likewise ignoring the scientific objections coming from its neighbor Sweden.


wastes-1flag-FinlandWhen haste makes risky waste: Public involvement in radioactive and nuclear waste management in Sweden and Finland
 – How did it happen that in Sweden, the country that developed the technology for deep geological disposal of radioactive waste, construction of a such a repository – a first of its kind in the world – has been suspended for recognized risks and uncertainties, whereas Finland, which has copied the Swedish approach, is moving full speed ahead with building one? Bellona has looked for the answer on a fact-finding visit of the two countries. Bellona  August 9, 2016 by , translated by Maria Kaminskaya 

“……..Out of sight, out of mind?

The deep geological disposal concept was first suggested over 40 years ago to solve the problem of spent nuclear fuel, the nuclear industry’s most dangerous byproduct. To a certain degree, this was a continuation of the “bury and forget about it” principle, applied to the less radioactive and thus less dangerous waste – radioactive waste. But where radioactive waste could be placed in shallow trench-type reservoirs or semi-buried near-surface concrete vaults, for nuclear waste, disposal facilities – repositories or burial sites – were proposed for construction in rock formations at a depth of several hundred meters. To date, no such deep geological repository has been created anywhere in the world. Continue reading

August 12, 2016 Posted by | Finland, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment