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Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty has enduring value

THE ENDURING VALUE OF THE CTBT, Arms Control Wonk, by  | September 6, 2016

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is turning its attention to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for the first time since 1999, when it held the briefest of hearings on the Treaty before fast-forwarding it to the Senate, which rebuked President Bill Clinton by denying its consent to ratification. The vote was mostly along party lines – only four Republican Senators voted yea back then – a preview of bitter partisan divides to follow.

One of these years, the SFRC will hold lengthy hearings on the CTBT, focusing on what has changed since the 1999 vote, what benefits the Treaty can provide, and what insurance policies could address lingering concerns. The two biggest and most important developments since the 1999 vote, as former Secretary of State George Shultz and others have noted, are the U.S. stockpile stewardship program and advancing capabilities to detect very low-yield, covert nuclear tests.

At the time of the 1999 vote, effective stockpile stewardship without explosive testing was a concept. Now it is a reality. The U.S. nuclear labs have figured out how to extend the longevity of existing warhead designs without explosive testing. Exceptional progress has also been made in detecting extremely low-yield tests – both by U.S. national technical means and by a parallel International Monitoring System built by the CTBT Preparatory Commission, based in Vienna. As a consequence, the two biggest concerns of CTBT skeptics have been satisfactorily addressed.

For these reasons alone, the CTBT deserves open-minded consideration in hearings informed by technical expertise. The Senate’s consent to ratification could do more than any other single step to reduce nuclear dangers in East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East, where continued or renewed testing would rattle allies and accelerate negative regional dynamics……….

Given the CTBT’s enduring value, it deserves a boost by means of a rare UN Security Council resolution and a companion P-5 statement – especially on the 20th anniversary of the Treaty’s signing ceremony at the United Nations.

Note: The Stimson Center will convene a meeting on September 13, 2016 on the United States and the Future of the CTBThttp://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1201904/the-enduring-value-of-the-ctbt/

September 7, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Latest on Comprehensive Test Ban, from Congressional Research Service

Update on Comprehensive Test Ban, & More from CRS http://fas.org/blogs/secrecy/2016/09/ctbt-update-crs/  Sep.06, 2016   by  The Congressional Research Service has prepared an updated account of the status of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT), which would prohibit explosive testing of nuclear weapons.

“As of August 2016, 183 states had signed the CTBT and 164, including Russia, had ratified it. However, entry into force requires ratification by 44 states specified in the treaty, of which 41 had signed the treaty and 36 had ratified.” The U.S. has not ratified it.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on the CTBT tomorrow, September 7.

See Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty: Background and Current Developments, September 1, 2016.

Other new and updated products from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

Climate Change: Frequently Asked Questions about the 2015 Paris Agreement, September 1, 2016

U.S. Textile Manufacturing and the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, September 1, 2016

Comparing DHS Component Funding, FY2017: Fact Sheet, September 2, 2016

OPM Announces Premium Increase in the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance ProgramCRS Insight, September 1, 2016

The European Union’s Small Business Act: A Different Approach, September 1, 2016

Zika Response Funding: Request and Congressional Action, updated September 1, 2016

September 7, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia, vulnerable to terrorist attacks, is buying 16 nuclear power plants from Russia

elephant-terror-in-roomSaudis Buy 16 Nuclear Plants From The Russians, Terrorists Rejoice http://dailycaller.com/2016/09/06/saudis-buy-16-nuclear-plants-from-the-russians-terrorists-rejoice/#ixzz4JViTS5aX  ANDREW FOLLETT Energy and Environmental Reporter Saudi Arabia will buy 16 nuclear power plants from Russia for $100 billion despite terrorism concerns, according to a Monday announcement from a government-controlled nuclear power company.

Saudi Arabia has a long history of terrorist attacks within its borders, and the country itself has been accused of directly funding Islamic terrorism. The planned reactors would be incredibly vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

Saudi Arabia’s new reactors would not produce the weapons-grade plutonium necessary to make a nuclear weapon, but materials from them could be used to create dirty bombs. A dirty bomb combines radioactive material with conventional explosives that could contaminate the local area with high radiation levels for long periods of time and cause mass panic, though it would be millions of times weaker than an actual nuclear device. The Islamic State wants to steal this kind of radioactive material for a dirty bomb.

“There are prospects for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy,” Yury Ushakov, aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, told journalists. “Our company, which has the most advanced technologies, is ready to join the project on construction of 16 nuclear power reactors in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The project is provided until 2030, its cost is $100 billion,”

Russia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement last year to work together on “peaceful” nuclear energy projects. The stated purpose of these reactors is to generate electricity, power desalination plants and reduce domestic oil consumption so Saudi Arabia can sell the oil abroad. The reactors will be built by the Russian government controlled Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Cooperation.

Russia has supported the development of nuclear power in other countries with terrorism problems, such as AlgeriaIran and Egypt.

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September 7, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson maintains the secrecy on nuclear power procurement plans

secret-dealsflag-S.AfricaTina Joemat-Pettersson refuses to provide papers on nuclear plans, BD Live,  BY LINDA ENSOR,  06 SEPTEMBER 2016, ENERGY Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has refused to supply the DA with a range of documents related to the government’s nuclear power procurement plans, saying they are privileged, sensitive state documents the release of which “could compromise the new build process”.

Another ground for her refusal is that the requested documents are also subject to the sub judice rule as there is litigation in the High Court in Cape Town in a case brought in October last year by Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute against the minister and President Jacob Zuma.

The two organisations which are attempting to stop what they say is a flawed and illegal, nontransparent nuclear procurement process, have requested the same information from the government.

The minister’s refusal was contained in a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA energy spokesman Gordon Mackay, who asked for copies of the proposal for the roll-out of new nuclear power plants as signed off by her; the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review by the International Atomic Energy Agency; the terms of reference for the National Nuclear Energy executive co-ordinating committee, its communication and stakeholder engagement strategy and its phased decision-making approach to implementing government’s nuclear programme; and the designation of Eskom as the owner and operator of nuclear power plants in SA……..http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/energy/2016/09/06/tina-joemat-pettersson-refuses-to-provide-papers-on-nuclear-plans

September 7, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Roundup of news on USA’s nuclear stations’ shutdowns

nukes-sad- Nuclear Shutdown News – August 2016 http://sandiegofreepress.org/2016/09/nuclear-shutdown-news-august-2016/ SEPTEMBER 6, 2016 BY  BY MICHAEL STEINBERG / BLACK RAIN PRESS
 Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear-free future. Here is our August 2016 edition:

US nuclear industry reaches a new low with resale of decrepit nuke plant already scheduled to permanently shut down next year. On July 12, Syracuse.com in upstate New York announced, “Entergy to sell FitzPatrick to Exelon in mid-August.”

The FitzPatrick nuclear plant is located in Lake Ontario near the Canadian border. It started up in late 1974, not long after Richard Nixon’s reign over the White House permanently shut down. This means the nuke plant’s one reactor has been cranking away for almost 42 years, releasing radiation into the air and water in the Great Lakes region all the while.

US nuclear reactors were designed to operate only 40 years.

FitzPatrick’s reactor is exactly like the four ruined Japanese reactors at Fukushima, designed and built by US corporate behemoth General Electric.

Originally owned and operated by Niagara Mohawk, it is one of the most inappropriately named nukes in the nation, along with Indian Point, Millstone, Pilgrim and Turkey Point, ownership was later handed off to the likewise unfortunately monikered New York Power Authority.

Around the turn of the century, as FitzPatrick was approaching age 30, New Orleans-based Entergy began buying up a number of aging and troubled  nuclear plants at (for nukes) bargain basement prices, including FitzPatrick, planning to milk them as long as they could get away with it.

Now that it can no longer make money off risky relics, Entergy has begun to shut them down, like Vermont Yankee in 2014. Pilgrim on Cape Cod in Massachusetts is on Entergy’s closure list as well.

Earlier this year, Entergy announced it would be closing FitPatrick next year as well.

Enter New York Gov. Cuomo

New  York Governor Mario Cuomo has actively supported the shutdown of Indian Point’s two  messed up reactors. Located in the Hudson River this nuke is less than 40 miles north of New York City.

But when FitzPatrick’s’s proposed closure went public, Cuomo turned tail, citing supposed concerns about a threat to the state’s electrical supply.

Subsequently, he led the charge in an effort in the state legislature that resulted in a multibillion-dollar bailout for FitzPatrick and several other dangerously degenerated  unprofitable upstate nuke plants, to keep them going solely because of this taxpayer pocket emptying subsidy.

By the way, Entergy is the 2nd largest owner and operator of US nuke plants. Number one on that despicable list is Chicago-based Exelon. Exelon had been pressuring the Illinois legislature to give it big time bucks to bail out a number of its nukes in the region that have become chronic money losers.

But the Illinois legislature refused to defraud Illinois citizens, so last month Exelon announced it would be closing down two of its loser nukes next year, with more such closures looming in the future.

So now Entergy and Exelon will get their way in the Empire State with FitzPatrick, whose sale price of $110 million it will easily recoup thanks to Cuomo’s shameful move.  His Clean Energy Standard act will provide $482 million per year to “financially strapped nuclear plants” in New York, excluding Indian Point. Syracuse.com reported that Entergy’s Bill Moke said, while thanking “Cuomo for his leadership.”

For his part, Cuomo said he was “pleased by the significant progress being made.”

Exelon also owns two other aged General Electric built nuclear plants on Lake Ontario in New York, comprising three reactors, Ginna and Nine Mile Point, which will likewise share in the taxpayer ripoff subsidy buck while increasing the threat of a meltdown on Lake Ontario.

Source: Syracuse.com

Vermont Yankee nuke plant to ship massive amounts of radioactive water to Tennessee.

On July 16 the Associated Press reported, “Plans to ship hundreds of thousands of gallons to Tennessee processing facility raising concerns.” As reported before, the Entergy-owned Vermont Yankee nuke plant shut down in 2014. As we are learning, since more and more US nukes are closing, a whole new set of problems are arising, because shut down nuclear reactors leave behind vast amounts of radioactive waste posing a threat to the health of humans and other living beings.

In the case of Vermont Yankee, “a huge donut-shaped space in its reactor” called a taurus, “with a capacity to hold 1.1 million gallons of emergency cooling water,  has become “a giant holding tank for (radioactive) water waiting to be sent away” since Vermont Yankee’s closure, the AP reported.

“Radiation in the taurus has grown substantially,” Neil Sheehan of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the AP.

Arnie Gunderson, a nuclear engineer turned whistleblower, added, “”The taurus now contains a witches blend of radioactive chemicals.”

Another complicating factor is “intrusion water”, water seeping into the plant from outside. The NRC considers this water “only slightly radioactive” and plans to release it into the Connecticut River, which flows by Vermont Yankee south  though into Massachusetts and Connecticut before emptying into Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

Paul Gunter, a longtime no nukes activist, told the AP, “I’d like to see  public notification of shipments and routes, and first responders along the route notified ahead of time and placards noting contents on the outside of trucks.”

Tennessee, where Entergy wants to send the Vermont Yankee radioactive waste to, is site of the Oak Ridge nuclear facility, which was built during World War II to develop the atomic bomb. It already has vast amounts of nuclear waste.

Source: Associated Press, ap.com.

September 7, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

CIA reveals that Pakistan is selling nuclear materials to North Korea

Pakistan selling nuclear materials to North Korea – CIA’s explosive revelation; US informs India, Zee News, September 6, 2016 New Delhi: America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has apprised India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that Pakistan is supplying nuclear material to North Korea.

According to reports, Pakistan has been sending nuclear materials to North Korea through sea route.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) supplied Monel and Enconel (nuclear substances) to Pyongyang in clear violation of United Nations sanctions…….http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/pakistan-selling-nuclear-materials-to-north-korea-cias-explosive-revelation-us-informs-india_1926237.html

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Study: Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yields

EurekAlert, 6 Sept 16 UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — An eight-year study of soybeans grown outdoors in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere like that expected by 2050 has yielded a new and worrisome finding: Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations will boost plant growth under ideal growing conditions, but drought – expected to worsen as the climate warms and rainfall patterns change – will outweigh those benefits and cause yield losses much sooner than anticipated.

The new discovery, reported in the journal Nature Plants, contradicts a widely accepted hypothesis about how climate change will affect food production, said University of Illinois plant biology professor Andrew Leakey, who led the new research…….http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-09/uoia-sfd090116.php

September 7, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down Following Valve Problem

Cape Cod.com September 6, 2016 PLYMOUTH – The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth experienced an unplanned shutdown this morning, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

A statement from the agency said it was caused by a high water level resulting from a problem with a regulating valve…….Entergy announced last year that they would close Pilgrim by 2019. http://www.capecod.com/newscenter/pilgrim-nuclear-power-plant-shuts-down-following-valve-problem/

September 7, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Concern as leaky ‘ice wall’ around Fukushima nuke plant resembles ‘bamboo screen’

It has been nearly five and a half years since the meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, and both the utility and the Japanese government remain stymied in their efforts to control the buildup of radioactively contaminated water at the facility.

The problem is simply stated: Groundwater flows down from higher inland elevations towards the Pacific, collecting in the nuclear plant’s shattered reactor buildings and becoming contaminated. The plant grounds are packed with (occasionally leaky) storage tanks full of water pumped out of the reactor and turbine building basements, but the water does not stop.

TEPCO has attempted to stop the groundwater from getting into the buildings with a 1.5-kilomter subterranean “ice wall” (actually frozen soil) around the No. 1-No. 4 reactor buildings, but results have been inconclusive. Meanwhile, water decontaminated at the plant remains laced with radioactive tritium, and no storage site has yet been found to put this wastewater. The government is aiming to have all the radioactive water at the Fukushima plant dealt with by the end of 2020, the year Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics, but the way ahead is far from clear.

For one, the ice wall has holes in it.

“Due to heavy rain, the temperature rose above 0 degrees Celsius in two locations (along the wall),” a TEPCO public relations representative told a news conference on Sept. 1, the day after Typhoon Lionrock passed through northeastern Japan. The rainfall that came with the storm had caused a massive increase in the flow of groundwater, which then melted two holes in the ice wall, the official stated.

The freezing operation began in March this year, but part of the perimeter refused to solidify due to local geological features that caused the groundwater to flow particularly quickly. The fact that the typhoon’s rains could punch more holes in the wall revealed yet another weak point in the entire project, and experts have begun openly calling it a failure.

TEPCO decided on the ice wall in 2013, to close the spigot on the some 400 tons of radioactively contaminated water being produced daily at the Fukushima plant as groundwater came into contact with the melted fuel from the station’s reactor cores. A total of 1,568 pipes were sunk vertically 30 meters into the earth along a perimeter around the reactor buildings. Then coolant chilled to 30 degrees below zero was circulated through the pipes to freeze the surrounding soil and create an “ice dam.”

The project was treated as TEPCO’s trump card in its battle against the contaminated water problem, and the utility began the freezing operation along the plant’s seaward side in March this year. Freezing commenced on the rest of the wall in June, and TEPCO claimed that as of August, 99 percent of the seaward section and 91 percent of the landward section had been frozen successfully

However, in the five months since the operation began, there has been almost no drop in the amount of radioactive water produced. Experts at an Aug. 18 meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) asked TEPCO point blank, “When will we see results?” Others commented, “TEPCO’s claim that the ice wall is highly effective at blocking the water flow is utterly bankrupt,” leaving utility officials fumbling for answers.

“The ice wall isn’t really a ‘wall’ per say, but more like a bamboo screen, which has gaps,” Nagoya University professor emeritus Akira Asaoka told the Mainichi Shimbun. “It’s obvious that the ice wall’s ability to block water is poor. A different type of wall should be considered as soon as possible.”

To complicate matters, the ice wall project is tangled up with expectations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese government decided in September 2013 to commit large sums of public money to the ice wall and other contaminated water countermeasures. Four days later, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Buenos Aires, telling the assembled members of the International Olympic Committee’s general session that “the situation (at the Fukushima plant) is under control.” He stated that the effects of the radioactive water had been entirely confined to the 0.3 square kilometers of the plant’s harbor. Later that day, Tokyo was announced as host of the 2020 Games.

So far, the central government has poured some 34.5 billion yen into the ice wall project. To say that the stupendously expensive initiative had failed would very likely invite scathing public criticism. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko told a news conference last month that “it’s true the ice wall is a difficult project, but the freezing is progressing.” And yet, no results have been forthcoming.

Solving the Fukushima No. 1 plant’s contaminated water problem by 2020 is inscribed in the reactor decommissioning schedule set by the government and TEPCO. If the ice is a failure, it would not just throw the work schedule off kilter; it would violate a publicly stated commitment to the international community.

To boost the ice wall’s effectiveness, in June TEPCO began injecting a specialized cement into parts of the perimeter that remained stubbornly unfrozen, and instituted supplementary projects to make the ground easier to freeze. TEPCO plans to freeze every side of the perimeter, but it remains to be seen if the utility will have anything to show for its work.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160907/p2a/00m/0na/011000c

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Former Japan PM accuses Abe of lying over Fukushima pledge

Junichiro Koizumi disputes current leader’s description of situation at stricken nuclear power plant as being under control

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Junichiro Koizumi is supporting US sailors and marines who claim they developed illness after being exposed to Fukushima radiation while helping with relief operations.

Japan’s former prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has labelled the country’s current leader, Shinzo Abe, a “liar” for telling the international community that the situation at the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is under control.

Koizumi, who became one of Japan’s most popular postwar leaders during his 2001-06 premiership, has used his retirement from frontline politics to become a leading campaigner against nuclear restarts in Japan in defiance of Abe, a fellow conservative Liberal Democratic party (LDP) politician who was once regarded as his natural successor.

Abe told members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Buenos Aires in September 2013 that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was “under control”, shortly before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Games.

IOC officials were concerned by reports about the huge build-up of contaminated water at the Fukushima site, more than two years after the disaster forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

When [Abe] said the situation was under control, he was lying,” Koizumi told reporters in Tokyo. “It is not under control,” he added, noting the problems the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), has experienced with a costly subterranean ice wall that is supposed to prevent groundwater from flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors, where it becomes highly contaminated.

They keep saying they can do it, but they can’t,” Koizumi said. He went on to claim that Abe had been fooled by industry experts who claim that nuclear is the safest, cleanest and cheapest form of energy for resource-poor Japan.

He believes what he’s being told by nuclear experts,” Koizumi said. “I believed them, too, when I was prime minister. I think Abe understands the arguments on both sides of the debate, but he has chosen to believe the pro-nuclear lobby.”

After the Fukushima crisis, Koizumi said he had “studied the process, reality and history of the introduction of nuclear power, and became ashamed of myself for believing such lies”.

Abe has pushed for the restart of Japan’s nuclear reactors, while the government says it wants nuclear to account for a fifth of Japan’s total energy mix by 2030. Just three of the country’s dozens of nuclear reactors are in operation, and two will be taken offline later this year for maintenance.

Koizumi, 74, has also thrown his support behind hundreds of US sailors and marines who claim they developed leukaemia and other serious health problems after being exposed to Fukushima radiation plumes while helping with relief operations – nicknamed Operation Tomodachi (friend) – following the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

In 2012 the service personnel launched a lawsuit accusing Tepco of failing to prevent the accident and of lying about the levels of radiation from the stricken reactors, putting US personnel at risk.

Most of the 400 plaintiffs were aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier that was anchored off Japan’s north-east coast while helicopters flew emergency supplies to survivors of the tsunami, which killed almost 19,000 people.

Medical experts, however, said the sailors would have received only small, non-harmful doses of radiation; a US defence department report published in 2014 said no link had been established between the sailors’ health problems and their exposure to low doses of Fukushima radiation.

Koizumi, who met several of the sick servicemen in San Diego in May, plans to raise $1m by the end of next March to help cover the sailors’ medical expenses.

I felt I had to do something to help those who worked so hard for Japan,” he said. “That won’t be enough money, but at least it will show that Japan is grateful for what they did for us.”

Despite his opposition to Abe’s pro-nuclear policies, Koizumi was complimentary about his performance as prime minister during his second time in office in the past decade.

As far as nuclear power is concerned, we are totally at odds,” Koizumi said. “But I think he’s reflected on the mistakes he made during his first time as leader and is doing a much better job second time around.”

In political longevity terms, Abe’s performance could hardly be worse. He resigned in September 2007 after less than a year in office, following a series of ministerial scandals, a debilitating bowel condition and a disastrous performance by the LDP in upper house elections.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/07/former-japan-pm-junichiro-koizumi-accuses-abe-lying-over-fukushima-pledge

Junichiro Koizumi

Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi poses for photos as he arrives for a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Koizumi is raising money for the hundreds of American sailors who say they got sick from radiation after taking part in disaster relief for the 2011 tsunami that set off the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Former Japan Premier Accuses Abe of ‘a Lie’ on Fukushima Safety

Koizumi says situation at Fukushima plant not under control

After previously backing nuclear power, Koizumi now opposes it

Former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi blasted current premier Shinzo Abe’s stance that the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is under control.

It’s a lie,” an impassioned Koizumi, 74, told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. “They keep saying it’s going to be under control, but still it’s not effective. I really want to know how you can tell a lie like that.”

A spokesman for Abe’s office didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and e-mail requesting comment.

More than five years after the meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, the operator — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. — continues to struggle to contain the radiation-contaminated water that inundates the plant. Tepco is using a frozen “ice wall” to stop water from entering the wrecked facility, but still about 300 metric tons of water flows into the reactor building daily, mixing with melted fuel and becoming tainted, according to the company’s website.

Company spokesman Tatsuhiro Yamagishi said by e-mail that a process to bolster the ice wall is beginning to have an effect, adding that the company believes no underground water is flowing into the sea without being treated. All radioactive materials are under measurable limits, he said.

Koizumi was speaking at an event to publicize his campaign to raise money to help U.S. servicemen who say they contracted radiation sickness while working on the cleanup after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdown.

The former prime minister backed the use of nuclear power during his years in office from 2001-2006, but now says he regrets that he had been ignorant about its risks and is campaigning for its abolition.

When I was prime minister, I believed what they told me. I believed it was a cheap, safe and clean form of energy,” Koizumi said. “I’m now ashamed of myself for believing those lies for so long.”

Restart Roadblocks

Koizumi also blasted Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, saying that its chief, Shunichi Tanaka, gave permission to restart the Sendai reactor in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu despite having reservations about its safety.

The authority wasn’t immediately available to comment outside of business hours.

Local courts and governments have been one of the biggest roadblocks to restarting more reactors, crimping Abe’s goal of deriving as much as 22 percent of the nation’s energy needs from nuclear by 2030.

The Otsu District Court earlier this year made a surprise decision that restricted Kansai Electric Power Co. from operating two reactors in western Japan only weeks after they’d been turned back on.

On March 10, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the disaster, Abe said that Japan can’t do without nuclear power.

No Perfect Source’

Just three of the nation’s 42 operable reactors are currently online. Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai No. 1 and 2 reactors, which restarted last year, are facing opposition from the region’s new governor, who has twice formally demanded that they be temporarily shut for inspection.

There is no perfect source for electricity,” Dale Klein, an adviser to Tepco and a former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview in Tokyo last week. “If there were a perfect source, we wouldn’t be having our energy debates. Wind has its problems, solar has its problems, coal has its problems. But at the end of the day, we need electricity. And I think nuclear is an environmentally viable way to produce electricity.”

Koizumi contested claims by Abe’s administration that the nuclear watchdog is imposing the world’s most stringent safety standards in the earthquake-prone nation. “If you compare the Japanese regulations to those in America, you realize how much looser the Japanese regulations are,” he said.

Abe knows the arguments on both sides, but he still believes the arguments for nuclear power generation,” Koizumi added.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-07/former-japan-premier-accuses-abe-of-a-lie-on-fukushima-safety?utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&cmpid%3D=socialflow-twitter-business

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Abe’s Fukushima ‘under control’ pledge to secure Olympics was a lie – former PM

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s promise that the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant was “under control” in his successful pitch three years ago for Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympic Games “was a lie”, former premier Junichiro Koizumi said on Wednesday.

Koizumi, one of Japan’s most popular premiers during his 2001-2006 term, became an outspoken critic of nuclear energy after a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (Tepco) Fukushima Daiichi plant, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Abe gave the assurances about safety at the Fukushima plant in his September 2013 speech to the International Olympic Committee to allay concerns about awarding the Games to Tokyo. The comment met with considerable criticism at the time.

“Mr. Abe’s ‘under control’ remark, that was a lie,” Koizumi, now 74 and his unruly mane of hair turned white, told a news conference where he repeated his opposition to nuclear power.

“It is not under control,” Koizumi added, citing as an example Tepco’s widely questioned efforts to build the world’s biggest “ice wall” to keep groundwater from flowing into the basements of the damaged reactors and getting contaminated.

“They keep saying they can do it, but they can’t,” Koizumi said. Experts say handling the nearly million tonnes of radioactive water stored in tanks on the Fukushima site is one of the biggest challenges.

Koizumi also said he was “ashamed” that he had believed experts who assured him that nuclear power was cheap, clean and safe and that resource-poor Japan had to rely on nuclear energy.

After the Fukushima crisis, Koizumi said, “I studied the process, reality and history of the introduction of nuclear power and became ashamed of myself for believing such lies.”

All Japan’s nuclear plants – which had supplied about 30 percent of its electricity – were closed after the Fukushima disaster and utilities have struggled to get running again in the face of a sceptical public. Only three are operating now.

Abe’s government has set a target for nuclear power to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030.

The meltdowns in three Fukushima reactors spewed radiation over a wide area of the countryside, contaminating water, food and air. More than 160,000 people were evacuated from nearby towns.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/abe-s-fukushima-under-control-pledge-to-secure-olympics-was-a/3108276.html

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Despite dwindling momentum, Koizumi pursues anti-nuclear goals

While Japan’s once-charged anti-nuclear movement struggles to retain its momentum five years after the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi remains doggedly determined to attain his goal of ending the country’s reliance on atomic energy.

On Wednesday, he renewed his pledge to help ill U.S. veterans whose conditions they claim are linked to the release of radioactive plumes from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Koizumi, who is opposed to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear stance, said it was an “outright lie” when Abe said during Tokyo’s final presentation for the bid to host the 2020 Olympics that the contaminated water situation at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant is under control.

Koizumi also said Japan can be put on a sustainable path without atomic power.

The nuclear power industry says safety is their top priority, but profit is in fact what comes first,” Koizumi told an audience of more than 180 who had gathered for his news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. “Japan can grow if the country relies more renewable energy.”

As part of his anti-nuclear push, the 74-year-old former leader set up a fund in July to help U.S. sailors with conditions such as leukemia that they say was caused by radioactive fallout from Fukushima No. 1. He said the fund has raised about ¥40 million so far, with a goal of topping ¥100 million by next March 31.

In May, Koizumi visited Carlsbad, California, to speak to several veterans with health conditions who had taken part in Operation Tomodachi while aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.

Those veterans had provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to the Tohoku region after quake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, at the request of the Japanese government.

After talking to the sailors, I thought it would not be enough for me to simply say ‘I’m sorry’ and leave,” Koizumi said, explaining the impetus for setting up the fund.”Words alone would not be enough and I thought that I had to do something.”

Currently, about 400 U.S. veterans are taking part in a class-action lawsuit in California against Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., operator of the stricken plant. The lawsuit says that some suffer from leukemia, testicular cancer and thyroid problems, or have experienced rectal and gynecological bleeding.

However, a 2014 report by the U.S. Defense Department determined that there was no causal relationship between radiation exposure during Operation Tomodachi and their illnesses.

Koizumi noted that while expressing sympathy for the veterans, a Foreign Ministry official had even said that there was nothing the Japanese government could do.

I’m not a doctor, but using common sense one can infer their conditions were caused by radiation, since strong and healthy sailors just don’t find tumors or suffer from conditions like nasal hemorrhages,” Koizumi said.

He was a backer of nuclear power while leader between 2001 and 2006.

But Fukushima changed all that.

After the disaster, he became one of the most outspoken opponents of atomic energy, calling the often-repeated mantra of “clean, safe, cheap” nuclear power a lie.

With the shift, he set up a foundation with former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa in 2014 to call for an immediate phasing out of nuclear power to be replaced with a renewable energy policy.

Yet, Abe’s government sees nuclear energy as a key plank in his bid to export infrastructure and hopes to restart the nation’s reactors so that nuclear can supply 20 to 22 percent of Japan’s electricity by 2030.

Currently, two reactors at the Sendai power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and one reactor at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture are operating.

On Wednesday a request by Kagoshima Gov. Satoshi Mitazono to suspend power generation at the Sendai plant was snubbed by operator Kyushu Electric Power Co.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/07/national/politics-diplomacy/despite-dwindling-momentum-koizumi-pursues-anti-nuclear-goals/#.V9BHrzVbGM8

September 7, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment