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Entergy Nuclear Staff May Not Have Standards to Know what “Good” Actually Is; Seem to Lack Engineering Acumen; Overwhelmed by Trying to Run the Nuclear Station; Security Forgot to Show Up to Safety Culture Focus Group – Leaked USNRC Inspection for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

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Excerpted from a leaked US NRC inspection report regarding New Orleans based Entergy owned Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station near Boston, Massachusetts:
The Safety Culture Group is hearing that people are happy and working to improve the site (Exception- Security). The observation of actual performance however is somewhat disjointed. It appears that many staff across the site may not have the standards to know what “good” actually is. There is a lot of positive energy, but no one seems to know what to do with it, to improve performance, leading to procedural non compliances, poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems… We attempted to conduct a safety culture focus group with Security and no one showed up, because the security supervisor “forgot” he needed to support it. The plant seems overwhelmed by just trying to run the station. An RP person wrote a CR last evening…

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

UK Government Increases Insecurity at Global Nuclear Security Conference.

iaea-global-security-programme IAEA Global Security Conference (pdf)

The following has been reproduced by kind permission of
Dr David Lowry from his excellent blog
UK Government increases insecurity at global nuclear security conference

A rare 5-day International nuclear security conference opened at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna yesterday, with the conference strapline reading. “Security Culture: One for All, and All for One”

IAEA secretary general Yukiya Amano opened the conference with words:

“Ensuring effective nuclear security is important for all countries, including those which possess little or no nuclear or other radioactive material.

Terrorists and criminals will try to exploit any vulnerability in the global nuclear security system. Any country, in any part of the world, could find itself used as a transit point. And any country could become the target of an attack. That is why effective international cooperation is vital….we can never relax our guard. Continued vigilance is…

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

Words of Caution on Climate #auspol 

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From Obama’s Top Scientist, Words of Caution on Climate
08 Dec 2016: Interview
As President Obama’s chief science adviser, John Holdren has been instrumental in developing climate policy. In an interview with Yale e360, Holdren talks about the urgency of the climate challenge and why he hopes the next administration will not abandon efforts to address it.
by elizabeth kolbert
John Holdren is the longest-serving presidential science adviser in U.S. history. He’s also probably one of the most influential, having advised President Obama on key energy issues for the last eight years. “Mr. Holdren has this president’s ear,” is how The New York Times put it in 2014.
A physicist by training, Holdren is among the chief architects of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan. This makes him one of the more controversial science advisers, as well. The plan has been lauded by environmentalists, but is loathed by conservative politicians…

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

More dire data, less climate change concern? #auspol 

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Donald Trump, set to become president of the United States in about a month’s time, has chosen Scott Pruitt – a leading opponent of federal environment and climate regulation – to head the country’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Pruitt, currently the attorney general in the state of Oklahoma, is currently suing the EPA in an effort to limit carbon emission limits on power plants put in place by outgoing president Barack Obama.
Pruitt does not believe that manmade climate change is a certainty, and has described the issue as “far from settled.” United States campaign group Sierra Club described his nomination, which must still be confirmed by the US Senate, as “putting an arsonist in charge of fighting fires.”
Trump had already put one of America’s best-known climate skeptics, Myron Ebell, in charge of leading the transition efforts between Obama’s EPA and Trump’s EPA, and there had been speculation that…

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December 11, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Rendered Uninhabitable by Heat — It’s Not Just Sudan, Parts From North Africa to the Middle East are Under the Gun

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“North Africa is already hot and is strongly increasing in temperature. At some point in this century, part of the region will become uninhabitable.”Dr. Johannes Lilieveld

“The number of climate refugees could increase dramatically in future. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia have calculated that the Middle East and North Africa could become so hot that human habitability is compromised.”The Max Planck Institute

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Heatwaves so hot that it’s impossible to perform any activity outdoors without threat of injury or worse. Raging dust storms that make the very air unbreathable. Massive droughts that wreck agricultural productivity and biodiversity altogether. Sections of Africa and the Middle East are currently getting a taste of these new, dangerous climate conditions. But their frequency could increase by five fold or more over the next 30-40 years — threatening harm, government collapse, and…

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

December 11 Energy News

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Science and Technology:

¶ Climate change may be to blame for the deadly avalanche in Tibet, a study found. On July 17, more than 70 million tonnes of ice broke off from the Aru glacier in the mountains of western Tibet. Glacial collapse is unprecedented in that area of Tibet, which for decades has seemed to resist the effects of climate change. [The Statesman]

Avalanche (Getty Images) Avalanche (Getty Images)

World:

¶ The Solar Energy Corporation of India has launched a tender of 1000 MW capacity for the development of grid-connected rooftop solar capacity for Central Government Ministries and Departments. This would be the largest rooftop tender for SECI, which has commissioned rooftop solar projects with over 54 MW of capacity. [NetIndian]

¶ Eleven oil-producing countries that are not OPEC members agreed to cut their output to boost prices. The group, which includes Russia, said that they will cut…

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

Abe Sees Fukushima Progress!!!

Radiation risks are being swept under the rug. That restoration plan voluntarily chooses to ignore the risks for people to be living in a contaminated environment, not differentiating between the external and internal exposures and their sure harmful consequences to people health. Not to mention the  ongoing incineration of contaminated waste in the Fukushima Prefecture 19 municipal incinerators, continuously redistributing radioactive nanoparticles into the environment. All done in the name of economic reconstruction!

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Cabinet to approve Fukushima restoration plan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited Fukushima Prefecture to inspect the progress of restoration following the 2011 nuclear accident.
Abe visited a machinery parts manufacturer in Minamisoma City on Saturday.
The government and Fukushima Prefecture have been working to create a cluster of robotics’ companies in the city.
The president of the manufacturer told the prime minister that he hopes the robotics industry will help revitalize the local economy.
Abe responded that the state-of-the-art robot testing facilities that had been built in the city should attract companies from around the world, and that he wants the region to develop around them.
Abe later visited the town of Kawamata, where an evacuation order is expected to be lifted next March.
He ate fermented natto soybeans manufactured in the town using local products.
Abe told reporters after the inspection that his government intends to help people from areas where the evacuation order will be lifted with housing and rebuilding their lives.
He also said his cabinet will approve a plan before the end of the month to accelerate Fukushima’s restoration. He said it includes partial governmental funding for decontamination in non-entry zones.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161210_23/

 

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

Tsunami-swept Section of Joban Line, Northeastern Japan Reopens

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A Joban Line train travels further inland on Dec. 10 after operations resumed along that section for the first time in five years and nine months.

Tsunami-swept section of Joban Line finally running again

A massive project to move a section of track of the JR Joban Line from coastal areas, which involved building three new stations, is finally up and running nearly six years after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Operations for the new route further inland resumed Dec. 10.

The section that is back in business runs from Hamayoshida Station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, to Soma Station in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture.

The latest work means that all coastal sections traversing hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture are again connected by the lines operated by East Japan Railway Co.

However, parts of coastal sections in Iwate and Fukushima prefectures still remain impassable. Those sections will not be back in operation until 2020.

The new route involved moving a section covering 14.6 kilometers as much as 1.1 km inland, building three stations and constructing elevated tracks. The total cost came to 40 billion yen ($350 million).

When the tsunami struck the coast of the Tohoku region in northeast Japan, Joban Line trains were in operation. While one train was mangled beyond repair and stations were also destroyed, all passengers and train employees managed to flee to safety.

The writer Maru Ayase, 30, was a passenger on a train that departed Sendai and was headed for Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on the day of the disaster.

The train she was on was delayed and forced to stop at Shinchi Station in Fukushima Prefecture when the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake struck.

Ayase recalled that the train car swung violently and she experienced whiplash. The woman sitting next to her grabbed on to her. The unnerving swaying seemed to last for 10 minutes.

Ayase and the woman sitting next to her decided to leg it to the next town. Walking along a road about a kilometer from the coast, Ayase saw a huge wave approaching and panicked.

Running for her life toward higher ground, Ayase managed to reach safety. Two young police officers who happened to be on the same train guided the 40 or so other passengers to a town government building further inland.

The driver and other workers on the train evacuated to a bridge over the rail lines at Shinchi Station.

The tsunami that struck the train cars and demolished the train station left only the bridge standing.

Recalling that day, Ayase said, “I feel a certain loneliness when I think that I was there to see Shinchi Station as it existed before the tsunami.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201612100046.html

East Japan Railway line suspended since 2011 tsunami partially reopens

SENDAI (Kyodo) — A 23-kilometer section of East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line reopened Saturday five years and nine months after the March 2011 quake and tsunami.

The reopened section runs between Soma Station in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, and Hamayoshida Station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, both in Tohoku in Japan’s northeast, the region hardest hit by the disaster.

There are six stations on the section. Following severe damage from tsunami, three of the six — Shinchi, Yamashita and Sakamoto stations — were moved inland by up to 1.1 km.

“This station is a symbol of recovery. I pray that many people visit this place,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he attended an opening ceremony for the new Shinchi station.

At 6 a.m. the first train to Sendai departed from Yamashita station in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture.

“I become overwhelmed by emotion when I think about the roads after the quake. I celebrate the start of the first train,” Yamamoto Mayor Toshio Saito said at the ceremony.

“I want to go to Sendai for shopping,” said Tamaki Fujikawa, 12, who was at Yamashita Station with her mother and younger sister to see the train off.

Of the whole Joban Line, chiefly running along the Pacific coasts to connect Tokyo and Miyagi Prefecture, only a section in Fukushima Prefecture between Tatsuta Station in the town of Naraha and Odaka Station in Minamisoma, remains suspended.

The government hopes to enable the resumption of services between Tomioka and Namie stations, the section running closest to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station that suffered meltdowns in the disaster, by the spring of 2020 after reopening other sections in 2017.

“I hope that the interrupted services restart soon,” said Yutaka Sugano, a resident of the town of Shinchi, 69, who was aboard the train going to Sendai.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20161210/p2g/00m/0dm/063000c

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Local people attend the reopening ceremony for the new station in Shinchi, Fukushima Prefecture, on Saturday. The station on the Joban Line is on a section of line hardest hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Section of East Japan Railways’ Joban Line, suspended since 2011 quake, partially reopens

SENDAI – A 23-km-long section of East Japan Railway Co.’s Joban Line reopened Saturday, some five years and nine months after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck.

The reopened section runs between Soma Station in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, and Hamayoshida Station in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, both in Tohoku, the region hardest hit by the disaster.

There are six stations on the section. Following severe damage from the tsunami, three of the six — Shinchi, Yamashita and Sakamoto stations — were moved inland by up to 1.1 km.

This station is a symbol of recovery. I pray that many people visit this place,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as he attended an opening ceremony for the new Shinchi Station.

At 6 a.m. the first train to Sendai departed from Yamashita Station in Yamamoto, Miyagi Prefecture.

I become overwhelmed by emotion when I think about the roads after the quake. I celebrate the start of the first train,” Yamamoto Mayor Toshio Saito said at the ceremony.

I want to go to Sendai for shopping,” said Tamaki Fujikawa, 12, who was at Yamashita Station with her mother and younger sister to see the train off.

Of the whole Joban Line, chiefly running along the Pacific coast to connect Tokyo and Miyagi Prefecture, only a section in Fukushima Prefecture between Tatsuta Station in the town of Naraha and Odaka Station in Minamisoma, remains suspended.

The government hopes to enable the resumption of services between Tomioka and Namie stations, the section running closest to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station that suffered meltdowns in the disaster, by the spring of 2020 after reopening other sections next year.

I hope that the interrupted services restart soon,” said Yutaka Sugano, a resident of the town of Shinchi, 69, who was aboard the train going to Sendai.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/12/10/national/section-east-japan-railways-joban-line-suspended-since-2011-quake-partially-reopens/#.WE0g-lzia-c

 

December 11, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Svetlana Alexievich, a Belarusian writer who won a Nobel Prize for her book on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, visited evacuees in Fukushima Prefecture recently to hear about their experiences.

Alexievich was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015 for her writing about human suffering through the testimonies of witnesses of the Chernobyl disaster. She has been highly praised for her oral history of that event.

Alexievich was invited to speak at a university in Tokyo.

“It may be impossible to stop nuclear power plants right away, but it’s important to consider what you can and should do,” she said at the event.

Alexievich’s books are written collages of testimonies by ordinary people. Her book, “Chernobyl Prayer: A Chronicle of the Future,” published in 1997, is representative of her work. It’s a collection of statements from the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 30 years ago in the former Soviet Union.

About a quarter of the land in Alexievich’s home country of Belarus was contaminated and seriously damaged by radioactive material. Even now, many former residents are not allowed to return to their hometowns.

Alexievich spent more than 10 years interviewing over 300 people, sometimes on camera.

“In the last few days, whenever I lifted my husband’s body, his skin would peel off and stick to my hand,” the wife of one firefighter told her.

She then wrote about their deep shock and continual sadness.

The Nobel Committee described her work as “polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

“I try to listen to people no one sees or hears,” Alexievich says. “There’s much more power in their emotions than in economic or medical data…. So I think it’s important to remember their lives.”

Alexievich came to Japan to hear what people in Fukushima prefecture have to say, and visited temporary housing to listen to residents’ stories.

She met with a former resident of Iitate village, a town that’s still under an evacuation order.

“I was a dairy farmer in Iitate, but now I’m unemployed,” Kenichi Hasegawa told her.

Before the earthquake, he had about 50 cows, and was living with 7 members of his family that spanned 4 generations. Hasegawa drove Alexievich to his former home, which still stands empty.

After the accident, all of his cows had to be put down or let go. Unable to continue dairy farming due to radiation, Hasegawa decided to demolish the cow shed. His family is now scattered.

“Wasn’t it difficult to leave home?” Alexievich asked him.

Yes, it was… We can’t live the way we did before the accident, because of the radiation,” Hasegawa said.

Government officials say the evacuation order on Iitate will be lifted next March, but Hasegawa is anxious about the future.

“They say we’ll be able to return home, but haven’t mentioned their plans for the village after that,” he says. “My children won’t be returning.”

“In Fukushima, I saw the exact same situation I’d seen in Chernobyl. The destroyed homes, the empty villages and cities, the victims’ despair — they’re all the same,” Alexievich said. “In both countries, governments rushed to develop new technology, but they weren’t able to fulfill their responsibilities. They were irresponsible toward ‘the ordinary people.’”

Alexievich was also told the story of a dairy farmer who committed suicide. A close friend of the farmer took her to the place where he died.

“He left a note saying, ‘I wish there’d been no nuclear power plants here,'” Hasegawa said.

Alexievich has spent years focusing on the suffering of ordinary people and making their voices heard. Visiting the 2 disaster-stricken regions has renewed her sense of determination.

“No one completely understands the horror of nuclear power. Literature should communicate it, and so should philosophers. It’s not a job for politicians alone,” Alexievich said. “In other words, we need to look at what happened in Chernobyl and Fukushima and put them together, to form new knowledge…. I saw the future, not the past, and we need to work on that future.”

It has been 30 years since the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, and 5 years since the one in Fukushima. The future depends on never letting the voices of “the ordinary people” go unheard — that’s the message from Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/newsroomtokyo/aired/20161208.html

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December 11, 2016 Posted by | Nuclear | , , | Leave a comment