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September 11 Energy News



¶ “The balancing act: A tough task cut out for grid managers” • A massive deployment of renewable capacity implies a paradigm shift for thermal plants. This is something that could be testing for grid managers. India has a national target to add 141 GW of solar and wind energy by 2022, but this will change how the grid is run. [The Indian Express]

India has 42 GW of hydro capacity, but this could grow to 52 GW by 2021. India has 42 GW of hydro capacity. It could have 52 GW in 2021.

¶ “Clinton and Trump polar opposites on global warming and energy” • Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump want the US to become a global energy superpower. The similarity in their energy policies ends there. Trump’s position is based on fossil fuels, while Clinton’s is based on renewable power. [San Francisco Chronicle]


¶ Cuba is embracing renewable and affordable energy as a new solar panel park…

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September 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Planet at the Crossroads

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  The short-term focus of our news media reflects the short-term focus of news consumers.  Reporters often omit critical elements of a story in order to meet the need for brevity.  For instance, an NPR story yesterday gave a glowing report on an unexpected discovery of a great new oil reservoir in west Texas.  At a time when most of our scientists are on the verge of losing hope for the survival of our civilization due to greenhouse gas production, it would seem that the danger implicit in a major Texas oil discovery should have been mentioned in the story.  But no.  The story below covers the brevity problem quite well.

From Animalista Untaimed:  “The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. And it’s all happening on our watch.”

“The Rio Olympics went out…

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September 10 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ The National Electrical Manufacturing Association laid out a strategic vision for microgrid development and use for the 21st century in ¨Powering Microgrids for the 21st Century Electrical System.¨ It says microgrids will make a transition from off-grid ¨island¨ systems to integral parts of broader-based power grid networks. [Microgrid Media]

 Please click on the image to enlarge it.

¶ A new report from the World Bank has concluded that air pollution is the fourth leading cause of premature deaths worldwide, costing the global economy about $225 billion in lost labor income in 2013. It says an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost in 2013 as a result of various diseases attributed to indoor and outdoor air pollution. [CleanTechnica]


¶ Natural Energy Wyre, has announced the launch of the UK’s Tidal Hydro Energy Plant in Fleetwood, Lancashire. The mouth of the River Wyre…

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83 species now eligible for test fishing off coast of Fukushima

83 species eligible 11 sept 2016.jpg

These surf clams, seen here in June at Hisanohama Port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, were caught during test fishing.

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–Ten species were added to the list of catches eligible for test fishing off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, but lingering concerns about radiation are keeping sales of such marine products low.

Still, the latest additions, which include the Japanese flounder, the white-spotted conger eel and the spotted halibut, have encouraged fishermen who have been struggling to rebuild their lives since the Fukushima nuclear disaster started in March 2011.

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations on Aug. 25 added the 10 species to bring the total number eligible for test fishing to 83. The additions were approved during a meeting in Iwaki of the prefectural council for the rebuilding of regional fisheries.

I think the 83 fish species accounted for about 70 percent of our pre-disaster hauls,” said Tetsu Nozaki, president of the prefectural fisheries federation. “I am placing particularly high hopes for a great boost in the value of our catches from the resumed fishing of Japanese flounder.”

Test fishing for flounder started on Sept. 2.

The Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative association, which is part of the prefectural federation, plans to resume catches of white-spotted conger eel in September. But the Iwaki city fisheries cooperative association has decided to wait until water temperatures are low enough to ensure freshness of the white-spotted conger eel.

Test fishing has expanded because the environment of the sea has significantly improved since the initial impact of the nuclear disaster. Radioactivity levels in fish caught there now stably remain within the safety limit for many species.

Despite extensive testing to ensure safety of Fukushima marine products, many dealers are still reluctant to buy the species.

Fish and shellfish from Fukushima Prefecture are being shipped to various parts of Japan, such as the Tohoku, Kanto, Chubu and Hokuriku regions. Prices of seafood items from Fukushima Prefecture are not much lower than those from other prefectures, according to Yoshiharu Nemoto, head of the fishing ground environment division with the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Experimental Station.

Yet few dealers are bidding for Fukushima marine products. If this trend continues with more Fukushima fish reaching the market, unsold leftovers from the prefecture could start to pile up and project a negative image, Nemoto said.

It will become more necessary than ever to make publicity efforts, such as regularly releasing data concerning safety,” he said.

Test fishing began in June 2012, 15 months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Initially, only three species were covered: two kinds of octopuses and one type of shellfish.

While coverage has since expanded in stages, the latest addition of 10 species at one time is second only to the addition of 12 species, including brown sole and red sea bream, in August 2015.

Since April 2011, the Fukushima prefectural government has been monitoring the impact of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant on fish and shellfish. The radiation tests, which cover about 200 samples every week, have so far been conducted on 38,000 samples of 184 species.

The concentration of radioactive cesium initially exceeded the central government’s safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram in most of the fish and shellfish surveyed. But the concentration has declined from year to year, and no sample has exceeded the safety limit since April 2015.

In more than 90 percent of the samples tested in July 2015 and later, radioactivity levels were below the detection limit.

Radioactivity levels in fish caught near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are also falling.

The central government’s Japan Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) on Aug. 25 released data on radioactivity levels in Japanese flounder caught in July in waters around the crippled nuclear plant.

The FRA said its high-precision tests, with a lower limit of detection set at a mere 1 becquerel per kg, found radioactivity levels of less than 10 becquerels per kg in all 41 individual organisms tested. More than 90 percent of them measured less than 5 becquerels per kg.

Catches from test fishing have continued to grow: 122 tons in 2012, 406 tons in 2013, 742 tons in 2014 and 1,512 tons in 2015.

But last year’s catch was only 5.8 percent of the annual catch of 26,050 tons averaged over the decade preceding the 2011 disaster.

Fishermen are holding out high hopes for more fish species being eligible for catches.

September 11, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Only 28% of Fukushima children returning to former schools


Only 28 percent of children are returning to their public elementary and junior high schools in five towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture following the lifting of evacuation orders imposed after the 2011 nuclear disaster, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned. The majority of schoolboys and girls are opting to stay out of their hometowns due to anxiety over radiation exposure and resettlement at evacuation sites.

The trend raises concerns that the number of young people in these towns and villages will dwindle and the survival of the municipalities is at stake.

The five municipalities are the towns of Hirono and Naraha and the villages of Iitate, Kawauchi and Katsurao. They set up temporary elementary and junior high schools at evacuation sites after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster triggered the multiple core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant. Hirono and Kawauchi reopened their public schools in 2012 and Naraha and Katsurao will follow suit in April 2017. Iitate plans to reopen its schools in April 2018, one year after the evacuation order is lifted.

Once these public schools have reopened, the temporary schools at evacuation sites are shut down, prompting children from the five affected municipalities to choose one of three options — return to their hometowns, commute to their former schools by school bus or other means, or attend schools at evacuation sites.

According to the Mainichi study, 55 percent of 259 pupils and students from Hirono and Kawauchi have returned to their former elementary and junior high schools because the evacuation orders were relatively short. But only 139 students or 15 percent of students from Naraha, Katsurao and Iitate responded to a survey in 2015-2016 that they would return to their original schools. Only three students, or 4 percent, of 74 students from Katsurao said they would return to their hometown schools.

As for students from Naraha, 17 percent of students replied that they would attend their hometown schools but half of them hoped to commute to their hometown schools from outside the town. If young evacuees in Iwaki, a major evacuation destination, try to commute by train and bus, a one-way trip takes one hour. An official of the Naraha board of education expressed concerns that these students are really serious about commuting to their hometowns. A Kawauchi village official says that the returns of child-rearing generations are the village’s lifeline. These municipalities operate school buses to encourage the evacuees to return to their hometowns as a stopgap measure rather than as a permanent solution.

Yusuke Yamashita, an associate professor of urban and rural sociology at Tokyo Metropolitan University, says, ”There are some parents who send their children to temporary schools before eventually returning to their hometowns. If these municipalities reopen their schools hastily, some families may abandon plans to return home (out of safety fears). It is important for the communities to offer as many options as possible by keeping temporary schools.”

September 11, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Science Subverted by Politics in Fukushima

The high rate of thyroid cancer occuring in Fukushima is not caused by radiation. Or so the government would like everyone to believe!


Study draws a blank on thyroid cancer and 2011 nuclear disaster

Researchers have found no correlation between radiation exposure and the incidence rate of thyroid cancer among 300,000 children living in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

But the team at Fukushima Medical University, which carried out the study, cautioned that the health of local children should continue to be monitored to be more definitive.

At the present stage, we have found no evidence pointing to any relationship between doses of external radiation resulting from the nuclear accident and the thyroid cancer rate,” said Tetsuya Ohira, a professor of epidemiology at the university. “But we need to continue to look into the situation.”

The study involves 300,476 children in Fukushima Prefecture who were aged 18 or younger when the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant went into a triple meltdown in March 2011 after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The children underwent the first round of health checks between October 2011 and June 2015.

Of the total, 112 were tentatively diagnosed as having thyroid cancer.

There are two types of radiation exposure: external exposure in which a person is exposed to radiation in the atmosphere, and internal exposure in which a person is exposed through the intake of contaminated food, water and air.

For the study, municipalities in the prefecture were classified into three groups based on the estimate for residents’ external exposure. That data was obtained during a prefecture-wide health survey carried out after the disaster occurred.

The first group is a zone where people with an accumulative dose of 5 millisieverts or more represented 1 percent or more of the population there. The second group is a zone where people with an accumulative dose of up to 1 millisievert account for 99.9 percent or more of the population. The third group is a zone that falls into neither of the other two groups.

The scientists looked at the incidence rate for thyroid cancer in each group and concluded there is almost no difference among the groups.

The number of subjects diagnosed with thyroid cancer was 48 per 100,000 people in the first group, 41 in the second group and 36 in the third group.

The finding was similar to a separate survey in which researchers looked into the possible association among 130,000 or so children whose radiation exposure had been estimated.

Hokuto Hoshi, head of a health survey panel set up at the prefectural government after the nuclear disaster, said he will closely follow the results of future studies to offer a more conclusive finding.

The outcome of the recent study provides one indication in making any overall judgment,” said Hoshi, who also serves as vice chairman of the Fukushima Medical Association. “The study is substantial and we are going to pay attention to the findings of further studies.”


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Fukushima railway decontamination waste to total 300,000 cubic meters



FUKUSHIMA – An estimated 300,000 cubic meters of waste will be generated as a result of radioactive decontamination work in a suspended section of East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line in Fukushima Prefecture, Jiji Press learned Saturday.

Decontamination work is going on to restore train services in the section between Namie and Tatsuta, both in the nuclear disaster-hit northeastern prefecture, by spring 2020. But how to secure enough space to temporarily keep such waste, including soil, is a difficult question.

Due to the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power station, the Joban Line is still suspended between Hamayoshida, in the Miyagi Prefecture town of Watari, and Soma, in Fukushima Prefecture, as well as between Odaka, in the Fukushima town of Minamisoma, and Tatsuta, in the Fukushima town of Naraha.

The Hamayoshida-Soma section is scheduled to reopen in December this year and part of the Odaka-Tatsuta section, between Odaka and Namie, in spring 2017. Ahead of the reopening, work there to replace stones under rail tracks and soil and cut trees and grass along the tracks has almost finished.

In the remaining Namie-Tatsuta portion, decontamination work is proceeding so that train services will be resumed between Tomioka, also in Fukushima Prefecture, and Tatsuta in 2017. Decontamination work is also taking place between Namie and Tomioka, a portion that runs through the heavily contaminated no-go zone so services can be resumed by the spring of 2020.

Currently, bags filled with decontamination waste are stored along the rail tracks. They must be transferred elsewhere before restoration work starts.

The Environment Ministry has started negotiations with owners of land near the railway line. The ministry has already obtained agreement from some owners on the use of land.

But it is still difficult to secure enough land to store 300,000 cubic meters of waste.

The ministry is also considering utilizing locations where radioactive waste from decontamination work across Fukushima Prefecture is currently being kept. The places will become available after the waste is transferred to an interim waste storage complex near the Fukushima power plant.

September 11, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | 5 Comments