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Fukushima Radiation is not safe

A repost of a December 2011 video from  Goddard’s Journal

 

Studies cited in order presented:
National Academy of Sciences Low-Dose Radiation Report
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=R1
Data tables used, 12D-1 and 12D-2:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=311
http://www.nap.edu/openbook/030909156X/gifmid/311.gif
How to scale that data to unique exposure scenarios, Annex 12D, Example 1:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=310

15-country study of nuclear-worker cancer risk
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17388693
Table 5 shown is from Part II of the study
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17388694
http://iangoddard.com/15countries_Part2_Table5.png

Jacob et al. (2009) meta-analysis of nuclear-worker studies
http://oem.bmj.com/content/66/12/789.full.pdf
Editorial on Jacob et al. quoted
http://oem.bmj.com/content/66/12/785.extract

Chromosomal translocations are associated with cancer
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152359/

Boffetta et al. (2007) more chromoHarm entails more cancer
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17071846

Bhatti et al. (2010) meta-analysis of chromosomal damage
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3075914/

# Addendum #

Since I posted this video, the ‘Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ published a special edition on low-dose radiation, the lead article of which matches and thereby corroborates the case I present in this video. It also covers additional research and nuclear-industry efforts to derail scientific investigation of radiation risks http://bos.sagepub.com/content/68/3/10.full.pdf

Some friends created PDF files of this video available here

In English

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5qUOl0_hAfneW9rWmJ0akNMZEk/edit

In Japanese

https://docs.google.co

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November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Russia tests intercontinental ballistic missiles for its “nuclear trains” program.

missile-envyRussia successfully tests missiles that fire from ‘nuclear trains’ Latest missile advancement comes as Kremlin deploys nuclear-capable missiles to Polish boarder , The Independent, Samuel Osborne  @SamuelOsborne93  Wednesday 23 November 2016 Russia has successfully tested intercontinental ballistic missiles intended for its “nuclear trains” program.

Tests on missiles for the Barguzin “railway-based combat rocket system” were carried out at the Plesetsk cosmodrome two weeks ago, the state-owned Interfax news agency reports…

The mobile weapons platform, made up of several train carriages designed to conceal the launchers of six Yars or Yars-M thermonuclear ICBMs and their command units, are expected to enter service between 2018 and 2020…….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-putin-nuclear-train-missiles-tests-success-a7433861.html

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New York Court of Appeals approves right of the state to review Indian Point Nuclear plant’s relicensing

legal actionIn major win for NY Gov. Cuomo, high court rules state can review Indian Point Indian Point nuclear plant, which the government of New York would prefer to close. Photo: Ricky Flores/The Journal Newsrelicensing  http://www.utilitydive.com/news/in-major-win-for-ny-gov-cuomo-high-court-rules-state-can-review-indian-po/431064/  

Dive Brief:

  • The New York Court of Appeals this week determined the state has the right to review Entergy Corp.’s request for a  Coastal Consistency Determination at its Indian Point nuclear plant, a major win for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D)’s bid to shutter the plant, the Associated Press reports. 
  • The facility is located about 40 miles north of New York City, and Cuomo has said it is impossible to operate safely so closely to themost populous metropolitan area in the country.
  • Entergy has requested a 20-year license renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and had argued the state did not have oversight over the process. Indian Point Units 2 and 3 have been operating since the mid-1970s.
 Dive Insight:

New York’s relationship with its nuclear plants is a strange thing: for three of them, it has allocated billions of dollars to keep running. The fourth, the state has tried for years to close down.

On Monday, Associated Press reports Cuomo’s quest to mothball Indian Point got a major win: The state’s highest court sided with the New York Department of State, allowing it to ensure the Indian Point continues to operate in compliance with the state’s coastal regulations.

Entergy had argued that the state’s concerns over its water permit were a cover for safety concerns, which it said fall to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In February, Cuomo ordered an investigation of the plant, over concerns it was leaking contaminated water, with monitoring wells showing a spike in radiation. A statement from Cuomo noted the state had already concluded Entergy’s relicensing application is inconsistent with the state’s Coastal Management Program.

“Indian Point is antiquated and does not belong on the Hudson River in close proximity to New York City, where it poses a threat not only to the coastal resources and uses of the river, but to millions of New Yorkers living and working in the surrounding community,” Cuomo said.

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Costs too high: India has to postpone its nuclear power programme

Money down holeEmpty Pockets Leave Indian Nuclear Plants Incomplete https://sputniknews.com/asia/201611231047759881-india-incomplete-nuclear-plants/  ASIA & PACIFIC 23.11.2016 India’s target to rapidly step up nuclear power capacity may be stumbling because many suppliers have not been paid. The Government is now trying to borrow from state-owned companies to complete the projects.

New Delhi : India’s ambitious nuclear power plans are facing the sword of financial uncertainty. The Indian Government has acknowledged that major equipment for two nuclear power projects was delivered on time because the suppliers had not been paid. The projects are being set up by the government-owned Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL).

“The delay in supplies of major equipment for Kakrapar Atomic Power 3 & 4 (2×700 MW) and Rajasthan Atomic Power 7&8 (2×700 MW) projects by the industries was mainly on account of financial crunch and shortage of skilled manpower,” says Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Atomic Energy.
The approved cost of units 7 and 8 of Rajasthan Atomic Power Station is $ 1852 million but the Government has approved about $ 150 million lessOvernmnet has while Indian government has approved USD 1723 million for units 3 and 4 of Kakrapar. NPCIL was scheduled to complete these projects in 2015 but the date has been put off to 2019.

India had changed the Atomic Energy Law this year to allow NPCIL enter into joint ventures with other government entities. “After the changes in the law, India would be able to set up a new nuclear power reactor in every four year,” says Rajiv Nayan, senior research associate, Institute of Defense and Security Analysis.

Sources say that companies like NTPC, Indian Oil Corporation and NALCO have agreed to invest $ 1,500 million each in joint ventures with NPCIL. “India will not get far even after adding this money with the amount available with NPCIL for investment. Costs and financing, therefore, complicate India’s ability to scale up nuclear power through its own means without relying on foreign imports,” writes Anirudh Mohan, Junior Fellow at Observer Research Foundation in a research paper. Currently, India is setting up 6,700-megawatt nuclear power projects across the country with an estimated cost of more than $ 18 billion. Being the sole company authorized to set up nuclear power plants, NPCIL is faced problems in generating funds for these projects.

November 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India, politics | Leave a comment

Fears about North Korea’s nuclear test swish around Donald Trump’s inauguration

flag-N-KoreaNUCLEAR WARNING: North Korea planing another nuke test on Donald Trump’s INAUGURATION http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/735831/North-Korea-nuke-test-Donald-Trump-president-inauguration-US-Lee-Su-seok-Kim-Jong-un NORTH Korea could launch another devastating nuclear test on the same day Donald Trump is inaugurated into the White House in a chilling show of strength, security experts have warned. By WILL KIRBY  Nov 24, 2016 The secretive state has launched 20 missiles this year alone as it aims to develop a long-range weapon, capable of hitting the US mainland.

In a military forum held in Seoul on Wednesday, Lee Su-seok, director of the Center for Unification Strategy at the state-run Institute for National Security Strategy, said: “North Korea may seek negotiations with the U.S. when it completes nuclear tests and reaches the stage of deploying a long-range nuclear-tipped missile.

“In early 2017, it is highly likely that Pyongyang will detonate another nuclear device and launch a long-range ballistic missile to reiterate its status as a nuclear power.”

With President-elect Trump set to be inaugurated on January 20 next year, these latest claims have sparked fears the ceremony could become a target.

Trump is not believed to consider the communist state a high priority at the moment, but this recent speculation about the country’s nuclear capabilities could spark increased efforts for dialogue and negotiations between the two countries.

 The hermit state’s leader Kim Jong-un is reportedly keen to speak to Trump, after years of declining relations with Barack Obama’s administration.
During the military forum, Lee Su-seok also expressed fears about the declining relations between North and South Korea.

He said: “Inter-Korean relations will remain frosty and strained until the first half of 2017 due to the North’s continued military provocations. Any dialogue with North Korea, if any, will be possible some time after Trump takes office in January.”

The director said: “The Kim Jong-un regime will continue its verbal and military threats in efforts to urge the nearly paralysed Seoul government to change the current strict policies toward Pyongyang”.  South Korea’s scandal-plagued president Park Geun-hye has recently been caught up in a corruption case involving her longtime confidant, Choi Soon-sill, who has been accused of using high-ranking connections to wield inappropriate influence inside the government.

As a result, Kim Jong-un’s loyal followers are expected to exploit the unrest in South Korea and create internal conflicts within the country.

November 24, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear contractors settle with USA Justice Dept over allegations of improper billing.

legal costsUnited States Settles Lawsuit Against Energy Department Contractors for Knowingly Mischarging Costs on Contract at Nuclear Waste Treatment Plant https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/united-states-settles-lawsuit-against-energy-department-contractors-knowingly-mischarging, 24 Nov 16, 

The Justice Department announced today that Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corp., URS Corp. (predecessor in interest to AECOM Global II LLC) and URS Energy and Construction Inc. (now known as AECOM Energy and Construction Inc.) have agreed to pay $125 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they made false statements and claims to the Department of Energy (DOE) by charging DOE for deficient nuclear quality materials, services, and testing that was provided at the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) at DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Washington.  The settlement also resolves allegations that Bechtel National Inc. and Bechtel Corp. improperly used federal contract funds to pay for a comprehensive, multi-year lobbying campaign of Congress and other federal officials for continued funding at the WTP.  Bechtel Corp. and Bechtel National Inc. are Nevada corporations.  URS Corp. is headquartered in California, and URS Energy & Construction Inc. is headquartered in Colorado.

“The money allocated by Congress for the Waste Treatment Plant is intended to fund the Department of Energy’s important mission to clean up the contaminated Hanford nuclear site, and this mission is undermined if funds are wasted on goods or services that are not nuclear compliant or to further lobbying activities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This settlement demonstrates that the Justice Department will work to ensure that public funds are used for the important purposes for which they are intended.”

“The environmental clean-up and restoration of the land that comprises the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the single most important projects in this region,” said U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby of the Eastern District of Washington. “It is imperative that funds allocated for this project be used appropriately and judiciously – the public expects nothing less.  This office and our DOJ and DOE counterparts take allegations of contractor abuse seriously and place a priority on investigating and pursuing enforcement when those allegations could impact the safety and security of our citizens.”

“The DOE Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring the integrity of Departmental contracts and financial expenditures,” said Acting Inspector General Rickey R. Hass. “We will continue to steadfastly investigate allegations of fraudulent diversion of tax dollars throughout DOE programs and appreciate the support of DOJ attorneys in these matters.”

Between 2002 and the present, DOE has paid billions of dollars to the defendants to design and build the WTP, which will be used to treat dangerous radioactive wastes that are currently stored at DOE’s Hanford Site.  The contract required materials, testing and services to meet certain nuclear quality standards.  The United States alleged that the defendants violated the False Claims Act by charging the government the cost of complying with these standards when they failed to do so.  In particular, the United States alleged that the defendants improperly billed the government for materials and services from vendors that did not meet quality control requirements, for piping and waste vessels that did not meet quality standards and for testing from vendors who did not have compliant quality programs.  The United States also alleged that Bechtel National Inc. and Bechtel Corp. improperly claimed and received government funding for lobbying activities in violation of the Byrd Amendment, and applicable contractual and regulatory requirements, all of which prohibit the use of federal funds for lobbying activities.

The allegations resolved by this settlement were initially brought in a lawsuit filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act by Gary Brunson, Donna Busche, and Walter Tamosaitis, who worked on the WTP project.  The False Claims Act permits private parties to sue on behalf of the United States when they believe that a party has submitted false claims for government funds, and to receive a share of any recovery.  The Act also permits the government to intervene in such a lawsuit, as it did in part in this case.  The whistleblowers’ reward has not yet been determined.

This matter was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, the DOE Office of the Inspector General and the FBI.

The claims asserted against defendants are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.  The case is United States ex rel. Brunson, Busche, and Tamosaitis v. Bechtel National, Inc., Bechtel Corp., URS Corp., and URS Energy & Construction, Inc., Case No. 2:13-cv-05013-EFS (E.D. Wash.).

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Legal, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Property values getting threatened by sea level rise. Climate change IS looking serious!

Flag-USAPerils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate [compelling photos]  Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt.

sea-level-rise_main

NYT, By IAN URBINANOV. 24, 2016  MIAMI — Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps?

Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

warming planet has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding.

But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008.

The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages.

Over the past five years, home sales in flood-prone areas grew about 25 percent less quickly than in counties that do not typically flood, according to county-by-county data from Attom Data Solutions, the parent company of RealtyTrac. Many coastal residents are rethinking their investments and heading for safer ground.

“I don’t see how this town is going to defeat the water,” said Brent Dixon, a resident of Miami Beach who plans to move north and away from the coast in anticipation of worsening king tides, the highest predicted tide of the year. “The water always wins.”

These concerns have taken on a new urgency since the presidential election of Donald J. Trump, who has long been a skeptic of global warming, claiming in 2012 that it was a concept “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”

A real estate developer, Mr. Trump is also the owner of several South Florida properties, including Mar-a-Lago, a 20-acre site that stretches between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach.

Mr. Trump’s recent selection of Myron Ebell to lead his Environmental Protection Agency transition team intensified these worries in Florida and among many climate scientists. Mr. Ebell has helped lead the charge against the scientific consensus that global warming exists and is caused by people.

State lawmakers in Massachusetts and New Jersey are pushing to impose new rules on real estate agents and others, obligating them to disclose climate-related damage like previous flooding.

Banks and insurers need to protect their collateral and investors more by improving their methods for estimating climate-change risks and creating more standardized rules for reporting them publicly, economists warn.

In April, Sean Becketti, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giant, issued a dire prediction. It is only a matter of time, he wrote, before sea level rise and storm surges become so unbearable along the coast that people will leave, ditching their mortgages and potentially triggering another housing meltdown — except this time, it would be unlikely that these housing prices would ever recover.

“Some residents will cash out early and suffer minimal losses,” he wrote. “Others will not be so lucky.”

Bull’s-Eye for Property Damage

Much of the uncertainty surrounding climate change focuses on the pace of the rise in sea levels. But some argue that this misses the point because property values will probably go under water long before the properties themselves do.

What is often called “nuisance” flooding — inundation caused more by tides than weather — is already affecting property values. Often just a foot or two deep, this type of flooding can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars and contaminate groundwater.

Florida has six of the 10 American urban centers most vulnerable to storm surge, according to a 2016 report from CoreLogic, a real estate data firm. Southeast Florida experiences about 10 tidal floods per year now. That number is likely to be around 240 floods per year by 2045, according to climate researchers……..http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/24/science/global-warming-coastal-real-estate.html?_r=0

November 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Puddles Found in Reactor Buildings at Fukushima Daini Plant

Fukushima Daini 2.jpg

Fukushima Daini

Following a powerful quake that hit northeastern Japan in the early morning on Nov. 22, 2016. The utility said Nov. 24 that puddles in three of the four reactor buildings at the idled Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant may have formed from water that splashed out of spent-fuel pools during the quake.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/photos/2016/11/445699.html

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Crisis averted, but is N-plant operator Tepco prepared for a bigger quake?

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An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a strong earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima on Tuesday. The operator of the plant said there were no abnormalities observed at the plant.

TOKYO — There was no avoiding fearful memories of the Japanese nuclear disaster of 2011 on Tuesday morning after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Fukushima caused a cooling system in a nuclear plant to stop, leaving more than 2,500 spent uranium fuel rods at risk of overheating.

But this time, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the utility that operates three nuclear plants, restored the cooling pump at the Fukushima Daini plant in about 90 minutes. The Daini plant is about 11km south of Fukushima Daiichi, the ruined plant where three reactors melted down five years ago after tsunami waves inundated the power station and knocked out backup generators.

Tepco reported that it never lost power at either the Daini plant or its neighbour to the north after the Tuesday quake, which had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the Japanese weather service.

We took the regular actions that we should take when handling troubles,” Mr Yuichi Okamura, acting general manager of the nuclear power division at Tepco, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The company was prepared for big tsunamis, having built sea walls rising to almost 15m at the Fukushima plants and enclosing backup generators in waterproof facilities, Mr Okamura said.

Critics of Tepco, which struggled to keep on top of a crisis that followed the 2011 calamity, said they were relieved that there had been no immediate damage. However, they remained sceptical that the company had done enough to prepare for a disaster on the scale of the earthquake five years ago.

That quake, which had a magnitude of 8.9, set off tsunami waves as high as 40m in some places. In contrast, the highest waves on Tuesday reached only about 1.4m.

It looks like the right things have been done,” said Mr Azby Brown, director of the Future Design Institute at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology and a volunteer researcher with SafeCast, an independent radiation-monitoring group.

But you never know until something happens. As far as this morning goes, they did a decent job, but mainly because it wasn’t that big of an earthquake or that big of a tsunami.”

Building higher sea walls, for example, “is all good, but that is like fighting the last war”, Mr Brown said.

It remains to be seen how well prepared they would be for some other unusual combination of disasters.”

Compared to five years ago, Tepco has improved its communication with the public, reporting information about the cooling pump at Daini almost as it happened on Tuesday morning.

The company also quickly said that it had suspended the treatment and transfer of contaminated water from the Daiichi plant, where an extensive clean-up and decommissioning process is underway. By the evening, those operations had been restored.

What I can say is today’s response was decent and they seemed to be confident,” said Mr Tatsujiro Suzuki, director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University. However, it would be difficult to independently verify Tepco’s claims because the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority depends on the company to release information.

He added that he was not convinced that Tepco was being fully transparent about its decisions, particularly about the clean-up at the Daiichi plant.

We should be informed fully whether this operation is reasonably done with cost-effectiveness and safety and making sure that the best technology is being used,” Mr Suzuki said.

Mr Daisuke Maeda, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said the agency had offices on the sites of the nuclear plants and worked with Tepco and other utility companies on Tuesday to confirm that the power stations were safe after the earthquake.

Regarding the longer-term situation, nuclear experts expressed concern about the safety of the clean-up operation at the Daiichi plant. The melted cores of three reactors have yet to be removed as they are still too radioactive for workers to approach.

Since the 2011 disaster, groundwater seeps into the reactors daily. The water, contaminated by the melted fuel rods, needs to be treated and stored on site. So far, Tepco has built more than 880 tanks of about 1,000 tonnes each.

The tanks are inspected four times a day to confirm that they do not leak, said Mr Okamura of Tepco.

And in an effort to halt the flood of groundwater into the damaged buildings, the company has built an underground wall of frozen dirt nearly 1.6km long encircling the reactors. The wall is not yet fully frozen, though, and groundwater continues to flow into the reactors.

Critics worry that the sea walls or storage tanks might not withstand a more powerful earthquake or tsunami. And Tuesday’s incident at the Daini reactor showed that quakes can set off problems even at plants that are not operating.

Most of the country’s 54 plants remain closed since the 2011 disaster, but the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to restart most of them.

A majority of the Japanese public is opposed to such a move. Candidates for governor who ran campaigns opposed to the revival have won elections in recent months in two prefectures that host nuclear plants.

According to Japanese daily Nikkei Shimbun, Mr Fumio Sudo, the chairman of Tepco, and Mr Naomi Hirose, the company’s president, were planning to meet on Tuesday with one of those governors, Ryuichi Yoneyama of Niigata, to try to persuade him to support a restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant there.

Mr Sudo and Mr Hirose returned to Tokyo after the earthquake.

Mr Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who oversaw an independent investigation of the Fukushima nuclear accident for the Japanese Parliament, said that building walls and storage tanks failed to solve the underlying problem of an earthquake-prone country relying on nuclear power. Instead, he said, both the government and utility companies should invest in developing alternative sources of power like solar or wind technology.

I think we expect more of such readjusting plate movements and that has been reasonably predicted, and many volcanic activity and earthquakes have been rampant over the last five years,” said Mr Kurokawa, an adjunct professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies. “So why are we continuing to restart nuclear plants?”

http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/crisis-averted-n-plant-operator-tepco-prepared-bigger-quake

An aerial view of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a strong earthquake hit off the coast of Fukushima on Tuesday. The operator of the plant said there were no abnormalities observed at the plant.

November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Earthquake: Social Aftershocks of Fukushima Disaster are Still Being Felt

image-20161122-10967-t6k0l6.jpg

A fishing boat washed inland by the 2011 Tsunami next to a shrine inside the Fukushima nuclear exclusion zone.

At 5.59am local time on November 22, Fukushima was hit by a 7.4 magnitude earthquake, triggering a tsunami warning. For residents in the same region of Japan devastated by the major 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and its tsunami, the threat of a renewed disaster was very real.

The tsunami warning was lifted a few hours later, and the earthquake was later declared a long-term aftershock from the larger quake five years ago. But for people still coming to terms with that disaster and its aftermath, this new earthquake will severely test their resilience once again.

On March 11 2011, the 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a 15-metre tsunami that inundated the Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima I) nuclear power station. Power was disabled to three reactors, which caused a serious nuclear accident as cooling systems failed. Large quantities of radiation were immediately released into the environment and approximately 100,000 people were evacuated.

The long-term social consequences of the original Fukushima Daiichi accident have been broad and far-reaching. Perception of risk, the likelihood of exposure to danger, has been at the heart of social controversy after the 2011 disaster. Radiation is invisible, and it is challenging to understand or percieve a threat that can only be detected by specialist scientific equipment. Often women and children are hit the hardest by this, regardless of socioeconomic status.

The concept of Fūhyōhigai, or the “harmful rumour”, was initially used by the media and local government to dismiss local women’s concerns about radiation exposure as weak and unscientific. However, this led to a cultural shift by women known as Fukushima’s “radiation brain moms”, who purchased monitoring equipment and took matters into their own hands, forming citizen radiation monitoring organisations (CRMOs).

By forming these groups of resistance, self-help and support, women rejected their culture’s social norms of obedience and subservience, that could have suppressed them from cultivating outrage over injustice and inequality. Participation in CRMOs has decreased over time, as the social memory of Fukushima Daiichi fades, but citizen science initiatives such as Safecast still provide useful information to many.

The recent earthquake temporarily halted the cooling system at the nearby Fukushima Daini (Fukushima II) reactor, and so there is likely to be a resurgence in monitoring, and a reunion of these support networks. Regardless of what happens now, there has already been a positive seismic shift in attitudes by both the government and scientists toward concerned mothers and community monitoring.

Living in ‘temporary’ permanence

Many impacts of the 2011 disaster have been hidden away in the private spaces of everyday life, with the tragedy putting enormous strain on family relations. Not only were thousands of families displaced from their homes, evacuation has meant the separation of family groups.

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Two girls play on a swing next to a radiation monitor and their temporary housing in Minamisōma, Fukushima prefecture.

Where once three generations could live together in Fukushima’s close-knit rural villages, relocation to cramped prefabricated temporary housing has meant many are forced to live apart. Today, five years after the disaster, 174,000 people are still displaced in a state of “temporary” permanence. Disconnection from the familiarity of place and family, as well as the constant worry about radiation risk, even threatens marital relationships. “Atomic divorce” (Genpatsu rikon) is on the rise, with disagreements on radiation safety, or whether to relocate back to territory now deemed “decontaminated”. News of the recent earthquake will doubtless have jogged memories and resurfaced hidden tensions.

The Japanese government is gradually declaring sections of the 20km nuclear exclusion zone safe and habitable. Despite this, the desire to move back to previously contaminated land has been underwhelming. For example, four months after Naraha Town was declared safe in September last year, only 6% of former inhabitants decided to move home to one of Fukushima’s many atomic “ghost towns”.

In the town of Minamisōma, on the northern edge of the exclusion zone, thousands of mothers and children have refused to return, despite societal pressure not to “betray” their home communities.

Nuclear uncertainty

While Japan’s tsunami warning system worked well, there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the consequences and likelihood of a further natural hazard causing a nuclear accident in Japan.

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident had already permanently changed the Japanese nuclear landscape. The government has undergone a process of gradual nuclear decommissioning since October 2011, and Fukushima Daaichi and Dai-ni no longer produce energy. Yet, Japan is still heavily reliant on nuclear energy and since 2015 has restarted two of its nuclear reactors, with 24 other reactors in the process of restart approvals.

While social resilience to emergencies has improved since 2011 in Japan, the social aftershocks of Fukushima Daaichi are ongoing. Though many advances have been made that emancipate vulnerable populations and provide increased connectivity, it remains to be seen how much these new technologies and attitudes have improved social resilience and reduced the likelihood of anxiety within the community of Fukushima.

http://theconversation.com/japan-earthquake-social-aftershocks-of-fukushima-disaster-are-still-being-felt-69241?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+November+23+2016+-+6153&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+November+23+2016+-+6153+CID_024bb0c94bf6d40a12017353049b25cd&utm_source=campaign_monitor_uk&utm_term=is+being+tested

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November 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Climate action in America’s cities, despite Donald Trump

solar-cityHow Cities Plan to Fight Climate Change in the Trump Years Local leaders learned how to take action when Washington couldn’t. Now they’re betting those efforts can survive an age of science-denying federal overlords. City Lab,  JOHN METCALFE and LAURA BLISS Nov 22, 2016 What impact will Donald Trump’s league of global-warming deniers and fossil-fuel boosters have on U.S. climate action? The short-term prognosis might not be as damaging as some fear, but the broader implications aren’t good. The president-elect has proposed slashing federal funding for clean energy development, resurrecting the coal industry, backing out of the Paris agreement, and essentially ditching the EPA. Trump won’t be able to do it all, but it seems safe to assume that for the next four years, domestic climate policy will be in the deep freezer—while the rest of us heat up.

Yet local leaders across the U.S. don’t need to be persuaded of the devastating impacts of climate change—environmentally, socially, and financially speaking—even if Trump and his top advisers do. Global warming’s effects are perhaps easiest to see on the local scale, with rising tides, melting snowcaps, and drier summers. A significant part what’s causing these changes lies in urban centers, which generate an estimated 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and house more than 50 percent of the population.

And U.S. cities have the power to shrink that footprint and prepare for the worst, even in the absence of financial or regulatory support from the federal government. Congress has long stalled on advancing climate policies, anyways—while cities have taken control of crucial variables that determine emissions and sustainability: renewable-energy programs, bus-rapid transit and rail, shared mobility, protections against flooding and the ever-rising seas.

Many local leaders say that this work has become more important than ever. Here are five American cities that have made real climate progress in ways that they plan to continue in the years of a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

Miami Beach…..

San Antonio…..

San Diego….

Los Angeles….

New York City.….   http://www.citylab.com/weather/2016/11/how-cities-can-fight-trump-on-climate/508280/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAtlanticCities+%28CityLab%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

November 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

On four continents, solar panel roads are being developed

Solar-Panel Roads to Be Built on Four Continents Next Year, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-24/solar-panel-roads-to-be-built-across-four-continents-next-year Bloomberg,  ahirtens   

  • Unit of Colas SA designed solar panels that embed into roads
  • Work progressing on larger test site in northern France

    Solar Road 1

  • Electric avenues that can transmit the sun’s energy onto power grids may be coming to a city near you.A subsidiary of Bouygues SA has designed rugged solar panels, capable of withstand the weight of an 18-wheeler truck, that they’re now building into road surfaces. After nearly five years of research and laboratory tests, they’re constructing 100 outdoor test sites and plan to commercialize the technology in early 2018.“We wanted to find a second life for a road,” said Philippe Harelle, the chief technology officer at Colas SA’s Wattway unit, owned by the French engineering group Bouygues. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.”
     As solar costs plummet, panels are being increasingly integrated into everyday materials. Last month Tesla Motors Inc. surprised investors by unveiling roof shingles that double as solar panels. Other companies are integrating photovoltaics into building facades. Wattway joins groups including Sweden’s Scania and Solar Roadways in the U.S. seeking to integrate panels onto pavement.

    To resist the weight of traffic, Wattway layers several types of plastics to create a clear and durable casing. The solar panel underneath is an ordinary model, similar to panels on rooftops. The electrical wiring is embedded in the road and the contraption is topped by an anti-slip surface made from crushed glass.

    A kilometer-sized testing site began construction last month in the French village of Tourouvre in Normandy. The 2,800 square meters of solar panels are expected to generate 280 kilowatts at peak, with the installation generating enough to power all the public lighting in a town of 5,000 for a year, according to the company.

    For now, the cost of the materials makes only demonstration projects sensible. A square meter of the solar road currently costs 2,000 ($2,126) and 2,500 euros. That includes monitoring, data collection and installation costs. Wattway says it can make the price competitive with traditional solar farms by 2020.

    The electricity generated by this stretch of solar road will feed directly into the grid. Another test site is being used to charge electric vehicles. A third will power a small hydrogen production plant. Wattway has also installed its panels to light electronic billboards and is working on links to street lights.The next two sites will be in Calgary in Canada and in the U.S. state of Georgia. Wattway also plans to build them in Africa, Japan and throughout the European Union.“We need to test for all kinds of different traffic and climate conditions,” Harelle said. “I want to find the limits of it. We think that maybe it will not be able to withstand a snow plow.”The potential fragility joins cost as a potential hurdle.“We’re seeing solar get integrated in a number of things, from windows in buildings to rooftops of cars, made possible by the falling cost of panels,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Pietro Radoia said. “On roads, I don’t think that it will really take off unless there’s a shortage of land sometime in the future.”’

November 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

China’s ambitious plan, lifting poor communities by means of solar rooftops

Unlike many other developing countries, around 99% of all Chinese households already have access to the grid.

community-solar

Solar PV can help China’s poorest, China Dialogue     23.11.2016 中文版本  In Anhui villages are hooking up to the grid to generate income and power, writes Suzanne Fisher-Murray The residents of Yuexi county, a mountainous area in eastern China, must have thought it was their lucky day when they heard they had been selected for China’s new solar poverty alleviation project.

The 382,000 residents are some of the poorest in the country, living below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about US$1 per day). This was the key criteria for their selection in the project, which is part of China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan, the roadmap for the nation’s development from 2016 to 2020.

In 2015, President Xi Jinping announced the Chinese government would eradicate poverty in China by 2020, which requires targeting the country’s 70 million people living below the poverty line. In April, 2015, China’s National Energy Administration released a plan to use solar photovoltaics (PV) to increase the income of 200 million Chinese households within 16 provinces and 271 counties.

The project is being piloted in Yuexi county, Anhui province before being rolled out across the country. Villagers identified as living below the poverty line will have rooftop solar panels rated at 3-5 kilowatts installed on their roofs and become shareholders in village solar power stations with a generating capacity of around 60-100 kilowatts. The aim is for the solar panels to earn each family 3,000 yuan (around US$430) in extra income each year. Local farmers could also earn additional income by leasing out non-arable lands or maintaining the solar farms.

So far, 182 villages (with 30,000 residents) in the county have been identified as eligible for the project. Construction has begun at a staggering pace: 57 solar parks were built in 2015, with the remaining 125 expected to be finished this year.

Unlike many other developing countries, around 99% of all Chinese households already have access to the grid.

Each household will use the solar electricity generated for their own purposes. This will reduce energy bills and any surplus electricity will be sold back to the grid. Families will also have shared ownership of the solar parks, splitting 40% of the profits between them, with the remaining 60% going to pay back loans and park construction fees. This means that once the solar panels are installed, households and villagers could begin to see the benefits quickly.“It will take more time before we know the impact of the project,” warned Yixiong Kang from China Carbon Futures Asset Management Company, which is overseeing the financial and technical aspects of the project.

“But it could have a huge impact. We are talking about the poorest families. They basically have nothing in their houses that use electricity [because they can’t afford to pay the bills].” The extra income they’ll earn could change that. “If you want to change the living standards of people, sometimes it’s not enough to just give them electricity. Electricity – that’s just a power supply. They need greater help,” he added.

Aside from the direct profits, the villagers would also likely benefit from subsidies paid to solar generation projects in China. The rates are set to go down in 2017 due to a solar power generation surplus, but, if paid, will also help increase the villagers’ profits. The village level solar stations will also be part of a Chinese emissions trading programme which is currently being established. The village solar stations that have certified emissions reductions certificates could trade 1000 kWh of their clean energy to replace one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions on the carbon trading scheme.

When China’s national cap-and-trade programme officially launches in 2017 its carbon trading market will be the largest in the world. The sums set to be generated are substantial. By the end of October 2015, China had seven pilot carbon trading markets in seven cities and provinces. The total emissions ‘allowances’ distributed during 2015, said Kang, was the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, with a projected turnover of 1.3 billion yuan (around US$188 million)….https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/9420-Solar-PV-can-help-China-s-poorest

November 24, 2016 Posted by | China, decentralised | Leave a comment

Stalling of nuclear power plan in South Africa shows Zuma’s waning power

flag-S.AfricaZuma’s waning power exposed by stalled nuclear plan. Mail and Guardian 24 Nov 2016 Mike CohenPaul Vecchiatto Government’s decision to stall plans championed by President Jacob Zuma to build nuclear plants has exposed his waning authority.

News of the delay came on Tuesday when the department of energy said additional atomic power won’t come on stream until 2037 under its “base case” scenario, 14 years later than previously projected. Although Zuma says reactors are key to addressing power constraints in Africa’s most industrialised economy, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, economists and ratings agencies warn that South Africa can’t afford them now.

 “Essentially the project has been indefinitely postponed and the final decision on nuclear power will only be taken by Zuma’s successor,” said Robert Schrire, a politics professor at the University of Cape Town. “This is a great victory for economic rationality and political expediency and reflects the new political balance of a weakened Zuma administration.”…….

Gordhan’s victory
Gordhan won a victory this month after prosecutors withdrew fraud charges against him for allegedly approving a pension payment to a tax service official, two days before he was due to appear in court. The Democratic Alliance, the main opposition party, alleged that Zuma intended to use the court case as a pretext for firing Gordhan and in the process remove the biggest obstacle to his nuclear ambitions.

The party also says that Zuma may already have signed a secret nuclear power supply deal with Russia and that the programme would be used to benefit his own financial interests and those of his allies. The president and the government deny the allegation……

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson told reporters the power blueprint was updated to reflect developments in the energy industry, including changes in technology costs and lower-than-anticipated demand. The draft plan will be finalised next year.

Eskom, which supplies about 90% of the nation’s power, isn’t shelving its nuclear plans yet. The state utility will continue to seek requests for proposals to build new reactors pending the completion of the energy plan…..

The dynamics of power in South Africa are shifting, according to Keith Gottschalk, a political scientist from the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.

Zuma is “still able to outvote and outmanoeuvre his opponents in the ANC, but the mounting pressure has meant he has not been able to always get his own way all the time,” he said. “He is on the way down like a slow-leaking puncture.” – Bloomberg http://mg.co.za/article/2016-11-24-news-analysis-zumas-waning-power-exposed-by-stalled-nuclear-plan

November 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

World Bank reports on How Solar is Changing the Climate Game

World-Bank http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/10/how-solar-is-changing-the-climate-game  November 10, 2016 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Thanks to plummeting unit costs, solar energy will be a crucial source of power for many countries working to meet their climate objectives by 2030.
  • Projects like Morocco’s Noor-Ouarzazate solar power plant, a $625 million solar rooftop project in India and a recent record solar auction in Zambia underscore how solar is being embraced rapidly as the energy of the future.
  • Multilateral development banks like the World Bank Group (WBG) can help client countries develop their solar resources, make projects less risky, provide access to low-cost capital for power plants and improve transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Washington, Nov. 10, 2016  Once a distant possibility, solar power is a game changer for developing countries that are swiftly embracing this clean, renewable source of energy to close their electricity access gaps and meet climate change mitigation goals.

Just the past year is a clear sign of that shift.

For the first time, renewable sources of energy have overtaken coal in terms of cumulative installed power capacity in the world. In 2015, an all-time record 153 gigawatts (GW) of capacity was added through renewables, with photovoltaic solar – which includes mini-grids and rooftop solar systems – accounting for nearly a third (49 GW) of the addition, according to the International Energy Agency. In other words, about half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world last year.

That number is growing. In fact, global electricity capacity from renewable sources of energy is projected to increase by 42 percent, or 825 GW, by 2021, with solar power expected to play a major role in reaching that goal.

Morocco, where climate experts and policymakers from around the world are gathered this week for COP22, is a prime example of this transformation. Earlier this year, the Moroccan king inaugurated the first facility of the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) complex in the world with support from the World Bank, the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and other partners. Once it is fully operational, the plant will produce enough energy for more than one million Moroccan households.

The North African country is not alone in the shift to solar, which is helping developing countries reduce their reliance on conventional fuels like coal and oil, and boost the share of renewables in their energy mix.

There is strong political will to seize the moment, especially with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change now in force.

Take the International Solar Alliance, for example. In June, the WBG signed an agreement with the alliance, consisting of 121 countries led by India to collaborate on increasing solar energy use around the world and helping the alliance mobilize $1 trillion in solar investments by 2030.

Seeing the potential of solar in India, the World Bank also pledged $1 billion in planned initiatives to help the South Asian country take sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of its people. This includes a $625 million projectapproved in June to install solar panels on rooftops around the country, supported by a $125 million co-financing loan from the CIF.

In neighboring Bangladesh, 18 million people now have access to electricity thanks to solar home systems that were installed as part of a World Bank project. In the country’s remote islands like Monpura, where extending the electricity grid would be impossible, standalone solar mini-grids are powering up entire communities and businesses, like that of welder Abdulrahim Hawlader.

Previously dependent on a diesel generator, Hawlader says solar power has transformed his business and boosted his income.

“We just turn on the switch and it (machinery) works,” he said. “Because of lower costs, we are making more profits.”

In Bolivia, families that live in remote areas without access to the power grid are turning to solar home systems to meet their electricity needs.

The expansion of off-grid lighting products and services have provided more than 26 million people access to modern energy services through the WBG’s Lighting Global, Lighting Africa, Lighting Asia and Lighting Pacific programs.

And in some countries where private investors hesitate to enter because of perceived risks, the WBG’s Scaling Solar program facilitates competitive auctions and offers standardized documents, financial guarantees and pre-approved financing to alleviate investors’ concerns and make these markets more attractive.

A recent auction in Zambia organized by Scaling Solar set record low prices of 6 cents a kilowatt hour for solar power generation, the lowest to date in Africa and among the lowest recorded globally. It paves the way to take electricity to thousands of Zambians in desperate need.

The applications of solar technology seem boundless. A solar plane recently made history after making a trip around the world entirely on solar power, without using any aviation fuel. An airport in Cochin, India became the world’s first of its kind to be powered fully by solar energy, followed by another in South Africa. Worldwide, companies are producing slick, new designs for solar roofs, windows and even floating solar panels to harness the sun’s power.

A confluence of favorable market forces, including cheaper-than-ever prices and technology, have encouraged the take-up of solar by private investors and countries alike. Solar PV costs have dropped nearly 60 percent since 2010 and are as low as 6 to 8 cents per kilowatt hour today, according to IRENA. They are projected to fall a further 60 percent in the next decade.

Under the WBG’s Climate Change Action Plan, $25 billion in private financing will be mobilized for clean energy in developing countries over the next five years, with another 30 gigawatts of renewable energy added either through direct investment or investments in enabling infrastructure by 2020.

Projects are already under consideration in many countries with WBG support focused on access to the right combination of financing, and technical and advisory expertise to help them succeed with their solar objectives and break down existing barriers.

These barriers include the lack of adequate transmission and distribution infrastructure, absence of affordable and effective storage solutions, weak enabling environments (including a lack of solar-friendly policies and regulation) and high upfront capital costs.  A universal uptake of solar power is also nearly impossible without private investment in the sector.

The WBG is working to increase private interest in markets where investors may have otherwise hesitated to enter on their own, with a suite of financial guarantees and instruments and help on technical, policy and regulatory aspects – all designed to strengthen confidence and draw investment in solar technology well into the future.

November 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment