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Toshiba tumble turn and toss, should have gone Solar!

Toshiba Corp. plunged by the most on record as the once heralded U.S. nuclear renaissance turns into a nightmare for the Japanese company.



December 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mountain of Light by Gen’yū Sōkyū – excerpt

As a writer and priest in Fukushima, Sōkyū grapples with the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear disaster in this short story about a son organising a funeral for his father, who collected radiation-contaminated waste


Rice fields in Fukushima, no longer cultivatable after the evacuation zone was dissolved in August 2012.

Akutagawa Prize winner Gen’yū Sōkyū has an unusual vocation among litterateurs: he is the chief priest of a temple in Fukushima, where nuclear disaster struck following the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Both a leader and a major voice in reconstruction efforts, Gen’yū uses fiction to grapple with the catastrophe, and in this story, Mountain of Light, he imagines (perhaps even hopes for) a future of provincial ascendance and “Irradiation Tours”. In this excerpt, the narrator relates his coming to terms with his father’s devotion in collecting the community’s “irradiated” — their radiation-contaminated waste, in other words.

The editors at Asymptote

The next time I saw Dad was at Mom’s funeral. He himself would die three years later at ninety-five—twenty-five years after our last conversation—of old age, not cancer. After my mother’s cremation, he spoke to me.

Your ma had a hard time of it, but it was all worthwhile. Thanks to the irradiated, we managed to live meaningfully, right up to the end, and that’s no joke. When my time comes… you’ll burn me on top of that mountain, right?”

His hearing wasn’t so good by that time, so while I said “Don’t be stupid,” apparently what he heard was “Okay, I’ll do it,” although I didn’t realise this until much later. He held my hands in front of Mom’s altar and said “Thank you” over and over again… It might’ve been a misunderstanding, but that was the first time he had ever shown me gratitude.

My brother and sister-in-law had only offered incense at the crematorium, and were no longer there. He was a consultant to an electronics manufacturer, and even though he said he had a meeting to attend, I was sure they had left out of fear. I too had debates with the missus about the effects of low-level exposure, almost every night. Eventually we stopped speaking, and came to see each other as “contaminated.” We’d separated by then. And that’s when I finally realised that we were both being completely ridiculous.

I’m sure all of you will agree—I mean, think about it, academics had all these opposing theories and no one was willing to budge. Some people said that anything up to one hundred thousand times the intensity of background radiation is fine, look at astronauts, they’re fine—and then others demanded that we spend trillions of yen on decontamination to scrape off fertile soil with low-level radiation. The Hormesis and Prophylaxis camps, yeah, that’s what they were called. Both sides wanted the other to calm down and talk things through, but like me and the ex, they just couldn’t do it. You could say my divorce was the result of a proxy war, haha.

People—organisations are even worse—go to terrifying lengths to save face. The ICRP, that’s the International Commission on Radiological Protection, they of all people should’ve created spaces for discussion, but showed no intention of doing so. And then public opinion was set on throwing every last baby out with the bathwater: if nuclear reactors were bad, then all radiation was bad too. In short, no one was calm.

But as you know, after the power plant accident, it was the ICRP who recommended raising the radiation exposure limit by twenty to a hundred times of the normal value. After that was rejected, they just stayed silent, same as me and the ex. Even now I have no idea who’s right. But what’s certain is that the radioactive potassium and carbon and whatnot in our bodies emit a fair amount of radiation, with or without the reactors. Somebody weighing sixty kilos would put out, oh, five thousand becquerels or so. Anyway, the Commission never officially changed their stance on low-level exposure after that. And now we have all of you taking part in this Irradiation Tour, coming to see the mountain my old man made. Radon hot springs are popular once more, and Fukushima’s population is even growing rapidly.

What was I… oh, right—that was quite a ramble—I was telling you about Dad’s request.

For the record, it wasn’t cancer. He might’ve said “Cancer wouldn’t be bad,” but in the end he had a prolonged bout of the autumn flu and kicked the bucket, just like that.

I got the news from my cousin, and when I came back Dad was already laid out in the main room, around there. Yes, right there, where the blond man is sitting, haha. I lifted the white cloth, and saw my old man looking solemn for the first time. It was as if he’d taken off the okame mask—I had never seen that face before, honest.

I spent the whole night thinking. I recalled what Dad said at Mom’s funeral, and I wasn’t sure what to do about his cremation. But the answer soon came to me. You see, my mother’s remains had disappeared from the altar.

Since Mom died eight years ago, I’d started coming back home a little more often. I’d retired from my job, and I didn’t have a family of my own. I wasn’t that worried about Dad living alone, rather I’d come to believe his mountain may have been some kind of miracle.

On one of those visits, he’d told me about their dog’s death, and how he had buried it atop that mountain. Sitting by my old man’s pillow, I looked over at the altar and noticed that while my mother’s picture was there, her remains were not. I put the pieces together and went outside. It was a still, humid night at the beginning of summer.

The sound of insects filled the air. It was my first time ever on that mountain. I realised, halfway up, that it had become much taller than before. It was even taller than it is now, nearly thirty metres, I’d wager. As I went up the winding path, I was aware of the dosimeter packed in my bag, but you know, I didn’t take any measurements. I think my feet were a bit shaky, but I wasn’t scared of anything anymore. Dad did the same thing every day, and he lived peacefully until the age of ninety-five, just like Mom.

Now and then, I felt his presence. Staring at the ground as I climbed, in the dim light of the moon, it seemed my old man was saying “It’s okay, it’s okay” and smiling overhead.

As I expected, there were two pieces of natural stone at the top, set about one metre apart. At some point, Dad had made and maintained a grave for Mom and another for their dog up there. And that’s why this mountain is like one of those burial mounds.

Looking around, I saw the neon signs of the neighbouring town twinkling like countless stars. Of course, the stars in the sky were also countless, and so beautiful. Perhaps Dad built the mountain with the knowledge of this view. I was suddenly reminded of him saying the word “meaningfully” at Mom’s funeral. The last words I’d heard Mom say also seemed to echo in my ear: “Someone come by?”

Thinking back later, the mountain seemed to be glowing faintly that time too, but I couldn’t distinguish it from the silvery moonlight.

I went to the temple the next morning and asked the priest to carry out the funeral at my home. I had the newspapers run not just a death notice, but a full obituary too. My old man had single-handedly taken on the irradiated of this town as well as other parts of the prefecture, so I felt the public ought to know about his death. I might’ve been a little carried away.

The funeral was an incredible affair.

I was very grateful for the hundred-odd wreaths, and the not one but five priests, but this wasn’t your regular congregation—this was a mob. The prefectural governor came, five or six mayors came too. Pretty sure there were over two thousand attendees. But the real highlight came during the cremation, after everyone had gone home.

The priest from my family temple was actually very supportive. When I told him about my old man’s request, he said “Let’s do it. We’ll perform the cremation on top of that mountain.” After the ceremony, the guys from the neighbours’ association carried Dad’s coffin up the mountain. As our ancestors did, we gathered kindling, placed a board on the kindling, and laid the coffin on the board. Straw from nearby rice fields, once considered hazardous, was piled up high on the coffin. It was starting to get dark, and the fire burned beautifully, it did. By that time, the Hormesis school of thought was already pretty mainstream, so I wasn’t surprised by the hundred or so people who had stayed behind to watch from the foot of the mountain. What I didn’t expect was what happened after those people had left. I’d invited the priest into the house, and as we were drinking, I heard a massive bang. I went outside to take a look, and the whole mountain was smouldering, not just the area around my old man’s body.

It’s okay.”

That wasn’t my old man, it was the priest standing next to me.

After all, the mountain was made up of countless trees, branches, grass, all perfectly flammable. The priest probably also knew that the temperature would go up to five, six hundred degrees at most, and as long as it didn’t go over seven hundred degrees the caesium wouldn’t disperse.

Is that true?”

Yes, it’s okay, it’s okay, all of it will stay in the ashes.”

The priest came across as a salesman—no, I hear he used to work at an incinerator, maybe that was it—he spoke with complete assurance. I have no idea which of them first came up with the “it’s okay” mantra. Anyway, we made a makeshift table and continued drinking outside, sitting on upturned beer crates.

That’s when we finally saw it. Where the sky was turning into night, the air had a kind of sheen, it seemed to be lit from some deeper layer. It was the mountain, giving off a pale purple fluorescence. Now and then flames peeked out, smoke billowed up, but the purple aura that encompassed the whole shone with a light that would repel darkness forever. It was as if the cloud bearing the noble Amitābha had descended before our eyes.

The mountain continued to smoulder for several days, gradually shrinking and becoming more compact. And every night, the whole mountain would emit a soft light. No one knows why. All sorts of experts came and investigated the thing, but it’s still a mystery. After the usual forty-nine days of mourning, Dad’s bones were buried close to Mom’s gravestone, and since then the light seems to have become stronger, haha, but that’s probably my eyes playing tricks on me.

Look, there it is, you’ll start to see it as night falls. On your feet, everyone, and let’s ascend the Mountain of Light.

It’s okay, no need to rush. Radiation’s not as strong as it was five years ago, but there’s still plenty to soak up.

Sorry, one more thing—I said earlier that this mountain’s also a burial mound, so first, I’d like all of you to put your hands together in prayer for a moment.

Thank you.

Okay then, please put on your shoes and head outside. Now, now, no pushing. I know you can’t wait to get all the exposure you can, but as in all things, sharing is caring. More and more foreigners visiting these days, but I still don’t have any materials in English, sorry about that. PU-RI-I-ZU KA-MU A-GE-I-N, haha.

Ah, just look at that. You wouldn’t think such beauty could come from this world. Translucent, pure, noble, and absolutely toxic. If it were the colour of lapis lazuli, I guess it’d herald the coming of Bhaiṣajyaguru the Medicine Buddha instead of Amitābha. Wow, even the souvenir store’s neon sign is reflected in the sky—we’re looking at the Pure Land of the East here, everyone.

All right, everyone. Please follow me, single file. The staff will give you detailed instructions, please do as they say. It’s okay, it’s okay. Everyone gets the same exposure. Yes, this is the eighty millisievert course. Hey, you there, no sneaking off to get two rounds in, that’s a violation. Good grief, you guys… Those of you who haven’t changed into your white robes, it’s okay, take your time. Right, we’re heading out now, nice and easy… rokkonshōjō, the sky is clear, rokkonshōjō the mountain shines…

Translated from Japanese by Sim Yee Chiang.

For more of Gen’yū, read one of his early reactions to the events of March 2011 here, translated and published in the July 2011 issue of Asymptote.


  • Gen’yū Sōkyū is a novelist and essayist, as well as the 35th chief priest of the Fukuju-ji Zen Buddhist temple in the town of Miharu, Fukushima. Born and raised in Miharu, he started writing novels while reading Chinese literature and drama at Keio University, Tokyo. His second novel, Chūin no hana (Flowers in Limbo), was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 2001. His work, which explores the application of Buddhist or Zen teachings in everyday contexts, has been translated into French, German, Korean and Chinese. As an influential leading writer and committee member of the government’s Reconstruction Design Council, Gen’yū is currently a major voice in national reconstruction after the massive earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. His website can be found here.
  • Sim Yee Chiang is a contributing editor at Asymptote. He was born in Singapore, received an undergraduate education and a master’s in English from Stanford University, and researched issues of English-Japanese and Japanese-English literary translation under the auspices of the University of Tokyo, where, seduced by the praxis itself, he now hopes to contribute to the exponentially growing mass that is world literature.



December 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

10 More Thyroid Cancer Cases Diagnosed in Fukushima



FUKUSHIMA — Ten more people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of late September this year in the second round of a health survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents, which began in April 2014, a committee overseeing the survey disclosed on Dec. 27.
The number of people confirmed to have cancer during the second round of the survey stands at 44, while the overall figure including cases detected in the first round stands at 145.

The first round of checks — covering people aged 18 or under who were living in the prefecture at the time of the outbreak of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant — began in 2011. The second round covers about 380,000 people, including children who were born in the year following the outbreak of the disaster. The survey’s third round began in May this year.

Some have pointed to the danger of “excessive diagnoses” during health checks in which doctors find cases of cancer that do not require surgery, which could place a physical and mental burden on patients. There have accordingly been calls for the Fukushima Prefectural Government to scale down the scope of its health survey.

During a meeting of the oversight committee in Fukushima on Dec. 27, Hokuto Hoshi, deputy head of the Fukushima Medical Association, requested that the prefectural government set up a third-party organization to independently gather scientific knowledge on thyroid cancer. “Scientific discussion should be conducted independently,” he said.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fund to help young people with thyroid cancer



A private fund in Japan has begun providing financial assistance for young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer offers a lump sum of 100,000 yen, or 850 dollars, to help pay for treatment for patients up to the age of 25. The first payments were made to 35 people on Monday.

The fund’s name refers to March 11th, 2011, when a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering tsunami that crippled a nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

People in Fukushima and 14 other prefectures in eastern Japan are eligible to apply.

Fund officials say that 9 of the 35 recipients are not residents of Fukushima Prefecture. They say that in at least one case, the cancer had spread to the lungs when the diagnosis was made.

They are soliciting applications for the assistance as well as donations.

An official says the fund hopes to offer support to as many people as possible, adding that the cost of treatment weighs heavily on some families.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE – Campaign to stop bad nuclear health practices in Fukushima Thyroid Cancers

Campaign to stop bad nuclear health practice in Fukushima concerning thyroid cancer epidemic

The usual suspects are trying to cover up the health effects in Fukushima aided by the Japanese Secrets Law of 2013 that makes it illegal to talk about health effects caused by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster under pain of imprisonment. thomas-geraldine

170 cancers found because of new “screening”techniques.. thats the excuse to reduce the testing in Fukushima for thyroid cancers. In spite of the data from Chernobyl (see below) and the ongoing thyroid cases and other health effects being reported by Chernobyl Children International concerning the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, their work is still ongoing.

I wait in anticipation of Prof Keith Baverstocks response to this outrage .. here is his previous rebuttal and condemnation of Geraldine Thomas`s “dangerous advice” and ergo her colleague Prof Yamashita who left the Fukushima Medical University because of his outrageous and narcissistic claims that were widely publicised and condemned  …. .. Thomas versus Baverstock debate in summer of 2016 in full published here;

About the Campaign loosely translated from Japan

Regarding the Thyroid inspection regime that currently is in place in Fukushima Prefecture, The Nippon Foundation (Chairman Yohei Sasagawa) held a meeting that was chaired by Niwa Tanuki of the Radiation Effects Institute on December 9th 2016. In attendance were Prof Shunichi Yamashita (who famously claimed that “radiation is good for you” and made many more unscientifically proven comments) who is currently the executive vice president of Nagasaki University, Jacques Lochard vice chairman International Radiation Protection committee (ICRP) and Prof Geraldine Anne Thomas from the Imperial College University department of the Chernobyl Thyroid Tissue bank. The name of the conference is the “Fifth Fukushima International Expert Council Organising Committee December 2016”. Also in attendance was the Fukushima Prefectures and with the main members of the conference asked that the Thyroid testing of children should be changed to a voluntary basis and that this would mean that the testing regime was being reduced in spite of the the increase found after Chernobyl after 5 years by Prof Keith Baverstock who was in charge of the World Health Organisations radiological department during this time (this department was closed down and the workload was amazingly deferred to the more pro nuclear biased IAEA some years later).


The thyroid examination in Fukushima Prefecture actually require further enhancement and expansion because of the increase in the number of “cancer patients or suspects” on each successive report thus far. The “Thyroid inspection” in neighboring polluted prefectures that that have not been included are also necessary and should be incorporated as well. If this proposal is executed, the victims in Fukushima, neighboring prefectures and indeed the whole country will be in “rejected” from the future statistics concerning health monitoring data.
“We call on scientists and citizens nationwide,
We decided to do a “proposal to the Fukushima prefectural governor” to oppose the contraction of the Fukushima prefecture thyroid examination and indeed seek further improvement such as seek its expansion into effected nearby prefectures. (Attached document).”

Contact point for academics and NGOs to join the campaign

Those who can approve please contact me to the following e-mail. To Masato Tashiro

Copy of Letter

“….The thyroid screening should not be reduced by “voluntary participation” but should be expanded and enhanced
December 20, 2016

Toshihide Masukawa Nagoya University Institute for Elementary and Nuclear Sphere Origin Research Organization
Ikeuchi graduated Professor Emeritus, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies
Shoji Sawada Emeritus Professor, Nagoya University
Susumu Shimazono Professor, Sophia University
Katsuma Yagasaki Emeritus Professor, University of the Ryukyus
Michiaki Matsuzaki Dohoku Jobo Cooperative Director Asahikawa North Medical School
Masato Miyaji Emeritus Professor, University of Tokyo
Masato Tashiro Low dose exposure and health project representative (secretariat)

Yasuhiro Sasagawa Chairman of the Nippon Foundation (Chairperson), Etsuko Kita, Chairman of the Sasakawa Memorial Health Cooperation Foundation, Chairman of Niwa Takei Radiation Impact Research Institute, Shunichi Yamashita, Executive Vice President, Nagasaki University, Vice Chairman of the International Radiological Protection Committee, Geraldine Anne Thomas Professors Imperial College London etc are the name of the Fukushima International Expert Council on the 5th radiation and health on December 9, 2016,

To solve the thyroid problem in Fukushima ~ The lesson of Chernobyl 30th anniversary “Utilize the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in 5 years ~” to the Governor of Fukushima Prefecture.
Over  170 thyroid cancer cases and suspected cases have been discovered in children at thyroid screening conducted to investigate the relationship between the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident due to the Great East Japan Earthquake and childhood thyroid cancer.
The point of the committees “Recommendation” is that “Thyroid inspection program should be voluntary participation” from the viewpoint of “risk and benefit about the screening program, and cost effectiveness”. “Recommendation” states that “The increase in thyroid abnormality is not the influence of radiation exposure due to nuclear accident, but due to the screening effect” this is the reason.
Based on the results of examination of the points shown below, we conclude that children’s thyroid cancer found in the Fukushima prefectural health-care survey, although there are various opinions among experts, denied the possibility of being caused by radiation exposure It is important to see what you can not and to watch for the future trends, and I think that it is necessary to continue thorough screening of thyroid cases more firmly than before.
The screening started from October 2011. A preliminary survey was started in advance to grasp the prevalence of naturally occurring thyroid cancer on the premise that it takes several years until carcinogenic symptoms make themselves known. As a result, thyroid cancer-affected people were discovered at a higher rate than expected, but in future the examination should be continued in order to investigate whether there will be an increase in thyroid cancer due to the effects of the accident which was its original purpose. There is no medical basis to reduce these inspections. One of the principles of screening is to target high risk groups. Exposure by radioactive iodine due to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident this time has produced children in the high-risk group to be examined, and the examination should be continued.
The occurrence of radiation-induced malignant neoplasms is considered medically long-lasting, and it is hoped that we will continue the long-term testing system in the future. Though 6 years have passed since the accident, those who are over the age of 18 who graduate from high school, get a job, go on to university and go out of the Fukushima prefecture should also be treated with thyroid examinations outside the prefecture, this practice is necessary. Including these problems, in order to promote health management by minimizing the health effects of radiation exposure from the nuclear accident which is the responsibility of the nuclear power plant owner, we should be offering the health administration notebook to the nation and to the residents of Fukushima with its surrounding prefectures. …..”

How bad is Prof. Geraldines advice anyway? And why do the BBC support her so much? See this link (And the other links below as source for this article and its claims) debunking her claims using the ICRP dose model 2016 (short video)

link to original post in Japanese;

A link to a detailed report on the committees arguments are here and some overview from an health worker who has been studying this issues for some years can be found here;

Clinicopathological Findings of Fukushima Thyroid Cancer Cases: October 2016

Some of the research and posts concerning Prof. Geraldine Thomas that we here on have uncovered can be found on these links in ascending order of date;

And a few articles looking into Prof Yamashita and his colleagues claims here and the battle for truth as background information to the article;

Save the Fukushima children from Prof. Yamashita -Lies exposed!

Confirming the Toshihide Tsuda Thyroid study findings in Fukushima – Answering the nuclear lobby’s questions!

Filmmakers Ash and Kamanaka discuss radiation, secrets and lives


Fund to help young people with thyroid cancer

NHK Japan; 27 Dec 2016

A private fund in Japan has begun providing financial assistance for young people diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The 3.11 Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer offers a lump sum of 100,000 yen, or 850 dollars, to help pay for treatment for patients up to the age of 25. The first payments were made to 35 people on Monday.

The fund’s name refers to March 11th, 2011, when a massive earthquake hit northeastern Japan, triggering tsunami that crippled a nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

People in Fukushima and 14 other prefectures in eastern Japan are eligible to apply.

Fund officials say that 9 of the 35 recipients are not residents of Fukushima Prefecture. They say that in at least one case, the cancer had spread to the lungs when the diagnosis was made.

They are soliciting applications for the assistance as well as donations.

An official says the fund hopes to offer support to as many people as possible, adding that the cost of treatment weighs heavily on some families.

Nobel laureate scholar criticizes Fukushima’s screening reduction


“..The Fukushima child’s thyroid cancer screening “shrinking” the objection of Professor Masukawa brought Nobel prize winner to anger…”  Source in Japanese;

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s Legacy of Lies and Cover-Ups makes its revival unlikely

NUCLEAR-LIES1Legacy of Lies and Cover-Ups Leaves Nuclear Energy Revival Elusive By Paul Brown

There have been three well-documented major nuclear accidents in the last 60 years, each one accompanied by official lies and cover-ups. There have been other less well-known serious accidents that have been so effectively hushed up that decades later there are only the sketchiest details available.

The legacy of these disasters is a deep distrust of the industry by many voters. In some leading industrial countries this has led to governments being forced to abandon nuclear power altogether, while others face such strong opposition to new stations being built that they have abandoned the idea, although they still keep the old ones operating, at least for now.

This checkered history of the industry matters. It has caused a global split. While many scientists and politicians concerned about climate change believe that nuclear power is vital if governments are to meet their commitments to curb dangerous global warming, just as many do not.

The opposition is based on the belief that the industry has lost all integrity and credibility and that renewables are a cheaper, safer and all-round better bet. This view is reinforced by the inability of the industry to deal with its waste. Renewables can easily be recycled, but nuclear waste remains dangerous for thousands of years, leaving future generations to pay for it.

But it is the three major disasters that are at the root of this fierce debate. They happened over a span of 60 years and all had different causes. But all followed a familiar pattern.

The first was at Windscale in north-west England in 1957, when a plutonium-producing reactor caught fire. The second was Chernobyl on the border of Ukraine and Belarus in 1986: the top blew off one of the reactors and there was a serious fire. The third was at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, when an earthquake and a tsunami caused meltdowns at three reactors.

Official Concealment

All three accidents had startling similarities in the official reaction. In each case the governments involved, the nuclear regulators and plant owners tried to hide the scale of the disaster from the public who were most in danger. In each case this resulted in unnecessary exposure of the population to harmful radiation.

Second, the possible long-term health effects to the people involved were hotly disputed. In each case this took the form, both at the time and ever since, of governments and the industry playing down the health risks.

There is still an argument about whether the Windscale fire caused a leukaemia cluster in children in the neighborhood. After Fukushima, governments and the industry claim, very few or no deaths at all resulted. Expect the argument to continue for decades.

Third has been the underplaying of the enormous cost and intractable nature of trying to clean up the mess. For example, people who are evacuated are told the move is only temporary, when it could last for decades, possibly generations.

Again, the official estimate for “compensation” for the Fukushima accident rose from ¥5.4 trillion (£40bn) to ¥8 trillion (£70bn), a fact only slipped out at the end of November 2016, nearly five years after the accident.

Technically Insurmountable

In each case, even after the Windscale accident 60 years ago, the clean-up of the actual nuclear pile that caught fire has several times started and then been abandoned as too difficult. They are not expected to be completed for decades.

There is no hope of cleaning up Chernobyl or Fukushima this century. A new concrete shell over Chernobyl to replace the existing crumbling structure should be in place by 2017 at a cost of €2.1—but this is designed only as a temporary structure, to last 100 years.

Governments tried hard to cover up what happened. At Windscale, the British government subsequently admitted it had deliberately covered up the seriousness of the accidents to keep its nuclear weapons program on track.

In Chernobyl’s case it was the sky-high radiation readings from as far away as Scandinavia and Germany that led the Soviets to admit what had happened. Thirty years later the real health effects of the accident are hotly disputed.

Thousands of children have had their thyroids removed and there have been many birth defects and cancers. Belarus, worst hit by the disaster, is anxious to play down the long-term effects to avoid frightening potential foreign investors in the country.

The nuclear industry has been trying hard to put all this in the past. In response to public concerns it has come up with a whole series of “safer” designs for nuclear power stations. As a result, some countries like Finland and Britain are encouraging the building of a new generation of French, Japanese, Chinese and American designs.

This time, however, it is not just safety that is at issue. For the last 35 years not a single nuclear power station in the west has been built to time or on budget. It undermines the claim that nuclear power will be able to compete with other fuels on price. It has repeatedly been shown that, without government subsidy, nuclear power cannot survive.

The latest evidence for this is the two new power stations being built in Finland and France. Both are nearly 10 years behind schedule and have more than doubled in cost.

The original claims that the price of the electricity the stations would produce would be competitive cannot be true. Wholesale prices must already have more than doubled before a single watt of power has been produced.

Yet, despite this track record, the nuclear industry hopes to keep on growing and claims it is expecting to do so—and many governments continue to pour money into research and development. They do so in the hope that one day nuclear power will provide a safe and economically viable method of producing electricity.

So far, however, there is no sign of the long-predicted nuclear renaissance. The costs of a safe design continue to increase as the industry and governments attempt to live down the legacy of misleading the public for the last 60 years. It seems that if the climate is to be saved from overheating, we shall have to do this without the aid of new nuclear power.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

America’s ineffective white elephant Blue Ribbon Commission on nuclear wastes

text-from-the-archivesThe Commission has entirely ignored the immense evidence that DOE’s plans for disposal of water-radiationseveral types of defense waste pose much greater threats to water resources, most especially at Hanford

 “I am dismayed that the Commission saw fit to recommend that the Department of Energy (DOE) have a large upfront role in both the next steps for repository program, …  DOE was in large part responsible for the mess the program is in now,

Radioactive Wastes From Nuclear Bomb Program Given Short Shrift In Blue Ribbon Commission Report EnEws Park Forest, TAKOMA PARK, MD–(ENEWSPF)–January 27, 2012. Arjun Makhijani, Ph.D., President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, today commented on some of the recommendations of the final report of the Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) on America’s Nuclear Future.

The commission was created to address U.S. nuclear waste issues after the Obama administration cancelled the Yucca Mountain program….

….On wastes from the nuclear bomb program:
Makhijani: “It is tragic that the Commission did not substantively address the most pressing radioactive waste contamination threats to precious water resources – for instance hundreds of times the drinking water limit at Hanford, Washington on the banks of the Columbia River.
The Commission had a charter to conduct a ‘comprehensive’ review of the nuclear waste problem, including defense wastes from the nuclear bomb program. Yet, it simply said it did not have the resources to deal with all the problems and punted the nuclear weapons waste issue to Congress while focusing on commercial spent fuel at nuclear reactor sites.” Continue reading

December 28, 2016 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

North Korea accelerates its race for nuclear weapons

missiles s korea museumflag-N-KoreaNorth Korea ‘racing ahead’ on nuclear plan, defector says By KJ Kwon, CNN December 27, 2016 CNN)Political uncertainty in the United States and in South Korea could give North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “an apt time” to develop nuclear weapons “at all costs by the end of 2017,” a high-profile North Korean diplomat who recently defected to South Korea said Tuesday.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Long range nuclear missile tested by India: it could reach China

missile-risingflag-indiaIndia Tests Long-Range Nuclear Missile that Can Hit Targets in China, VOA, Anjana Pasricha, 26 Dec 16, NEW DELHI — 

India has successfully carried out a fourth test of its nuclear-capable, intercontinental Agni-V missile, which can hit targets more than 5,000 kilometers away, effectively putting China’s northernmost areas within range of Indian nuclear weapons.

The 17.5-meter-long, 50-ton surface-to-surface missile was test fired Monday from Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of the eastern Odisha state, and splashed down near Australian waters.

Ajay Lele, at New Delhi’s Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, says the test ensured the Agni-V missile is operational.

“After this, the missile will be handed over for the operationalization of it to India’s strategic forces command and they will undertake two tests and subsequently the missile will come into India’s armory,” said Lele.

Longer range

Earlier generations of Agni missiles, developed over the last decade, are capable of striking anywhere in Pakistan, India’s neighbor and South Asian rival. The two countries have fought three wars and tensions continue to run high. Pakistan also possesses nuclear weapons.

Defense analysts say the longer-range Agni-V missile has been developed with an eye on China, which New Delhi also views as a threat.

India and China fought a brief war in 1962 and have an unresolved boundary dispute in the Himalayas. New Delhi also remains wary of China’s close ties with Islamabad and bid to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean.

The Agni missile adds considerable heft to India’s nuclear capability and its aspirations to be viewed as a regional power. Only China, France, Russia the United States and Britain have long-range nuclear weapons.

Scientists said the latest missile incorporates new technology for navigation and guidance.

Indian leaders welcomed the successful test of the Agni, which means “fire” in Hindi and Sanskrit.

Congratulating the scientists, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the “[s]uccessful test firing of Agni-V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defense.”

December 28, 2016 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power deal causing Toshiba to lose $billions

cliff-money-nuclearToshiba may lose ‘billions of dollars’ on troubled U.S. nuclear power deal WP,  December 27  Toshiba said it may have to book several billion dollars in charges related to a U.S. nuclear power acquisition, a shock warning that sent its stock tumbling 12 percent and rekindled concerns about its accounting acumen.

The Japanese group said cost overruns at U.S. power projects handled by a nuclear construction business newly acquired from Chicago Bridge & Iron would be much greater than initially expected, potentially requiring a huge writedown.

Such a hit would be another slap in the face for a sprawling conglomerate hoping to recover from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal as well as a writedown of more than $2 billion for its nuclear business in the last financial year.”This will come as an additional shock to Toshiba’s institutional investors that may further undermine confidence in company management as well as significantly weakening its international nuclear credentials,” said Tom O’Sullivan, founder of energy consultancy Mathyos Japan.

O’Sullivan noted the acquisition in December 2015 coincided with the finalizing of a record fine by Japanese regulators for accounting irregularities at Toshiba, indicating that corporate governance controls were extremely weak……

As of end-September, Toshiba had shareholders’ equity of 363 billion yen, or just 7.5 percent of assets, which could fall close to zero if the company is forced to log significant losses…….

Toshiba has positioned its nuclear and semiconductors businesses as key pillars of growth while seeking to scale down less profitable consumer electronics units such as personal computers and TVs…….

The deal between CB&I and Toshiba’s Westinghouse division has been fraught with disagreement since at least July.

Clashing over who should shoulder potential liabilities related to cost overruns and over calculations for working capital for the unit, CB&I sued Toshiba’s Westinghouse division after Westinghouse said it was owed more than $2 billion…….

December 28, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

“No danger” – when Torpedo fired at Plymouth nuclear submarine dock?

safety-symbol1flag-UKTorpedo fired at Plymouth nuclear submarine dock ‘posed no danger’ Plymouth Herald, By JLewis_Herald  December 27, 2016 A torpedo was inadvertently fired at the nuclear submarine dock in Plymouth.

And, in a separate incident, a dockyard worker in the city breathed in radioactive material, an investigation of incidents involving the nuclear industry has found.

But in both cases, The Times reports, the nuclear safety regulator deemed the incidents as being of no nuclear safety significance.

The decision that these and dozens more apparent safety breaches at nuclear installations around the country pose no danger has alarmed some scientists, who told the newspaper they should have been taken much more seriously.

Among the other incidents reported to the Office for Nuclear Regulation but dismissed as no more than ‘anomalies’ were three road accidents involving vehicles carrying nuclear material, the discovery of radioactive hydrogen in groundwater around the Dungeness nuclear power station in Kent and at least 70 safety incidents on the UK’s main nuclear warhead base at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

The Times reports that brief accounts of all the incidents were quietly published earlier this year.

They record events in the three years up to March 15 in what is said to be the first report of its kind.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has defended its classification of the incidents, including the accidental firing of the torpedo at a nuclear submarine in dock in Plymouth and the ingestion of potentially deadly isotope of cobalt 13, breathed in by a Devonport Dockyard worker……..

December 28, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Could Donald Trump tweet his way into nuclear war?

TrumpCould Donald Trump help unleash nuclear catastrophe with a single tweet?, Canberra Times, Greg Sargent , 27 Dec 16,  Donald Trump’s alarming tweet about his desire to “greatly strengthen and expand” the “nuclear capability” of the US unleashed a frenzy of media efforts to try to divine his actual policy intentions. It forced some of his advisers into tortured claims that Trump didn’t say what he actually said, even as others simultaneously insisted that Trump did meaningfully put other countries on notice that if he deems them to be challenging our supremacy, they will face an arms race.

But perhaps the most worrisome thing about Trump’s nuclear tweet is not the intention to break with decades of international disarmament efforts that it may have signalled, though that’s frightening enough on its own. Rather, it’s that he saw fit to tweet about nuclear weapons at all.

As we prepare for President Trump to take near-unchecked control of our nuclear machinery, his nuclear tweet is best seen as a window into his temperament. Trump still does not appreciate that every word he utters carries tremendous weight and could have dramatic, untold, far-reaching, unpredictable consequences – something that is especially true in the nuclear arena. Or, perhaps worse, Trump may be entirely indifferent to this fact.

Arms control experts I spoke with suggested that Trump’s willingness to tweet about nuclear weapons raises the possibility of Trump doing the same as president – and more to the point, the possibility of him doing so amid some species of international crisis or escalation………

As we prepare for President Trump to take near-unchecked control of our nuclear machinery, his nuclear tweet is best seen as a window into his temperament. Trump still does not appreciate that every word he utters carries tremendous weight and could have dramatic, untold, far-reaching, unpredictable consequences – something that is especially true in the nuclear arena. Or, perhaps worse, Trump may be entirely indifferent to this fact.

Arms control experts I spoke with suggested that Trump’s willingness to tweet about nuclear weapons raises the possibility of Trump doing the same as president – and more to the point, the possibility of him doing so amid some species of international crisis or escalation……

whatever Trump’s actual intentions for our nuclear arsenal and the future of international disarmament efforts, his willingness to use Twitter to posture and chest-thump around nuclear matters should itself stir urgent concern. This will be particularly true if it holds over into situations involving escalating tensions…..

December 28, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear aggression Black, former director, Centre for Research on Canadian-Russian Relations; Barrie, Ont.

U.S. nuclear warheads, especially on America’s full fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, already outnumber those of Russia and are, in fact, up-to-date (U.S. Must Grow Its Nuclear Force – Dec. 23).

It was the United States that unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and got us into a potential arms race in the first place; anyone who ever believed that the U.S.-constructed (not just “backed”) European Missile Shield with its forward ends in Romania and Poland was aimed at Iran and not at Russia should give their head a shake.

The shield badly skews the nuclear balance in Europe and its presence is precisely why Russia has to upgrade, when it cannot afford it. The U.S. already is spending more on armaments, including on its nuclear force, than Russia and China put together. Someone better mute Donald Trump and his team soon or the entire world is in danger of a nuclear conflagration.

December 28, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

“No nukes, no Trump” – protest rally in New York

Protesters rip Trump’s nuclear views during Midtown rally, drawing support and criticism from tourists, Daily News, NY JEFFERSON SIEGEL, 27 Dec 16, Crowds of Midtown tourists found themselves mingling Monday night with people protesting President-elect Donald Trump’s recent comments on escalating the nuclear arms race.

The demonstrators found they were noticed as well.

Chanting “No nukes, no Trump,” and holding candles in empty milk containers, several dozen protesters were both encouraged and excoriated by the passing mobs during the demonstration from about 4 to 6 p.m…..

On so many levels, from conflicts of interest to some of the people he’s chosen for cabinet positions that seemed to have espoused bigotry and hatred in the past,” said Joseph Lalli, 60, of the Bronx, “a man like Trump does not appear to have the temperament that is suitable to be the president of the most powerful nation in the world.”……

December 28, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019

Solar leading the charge in Mexico’s clean energy push BN Americas By Adam Critchley – Tuesday, December 27, 2016  Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019 to 5.4GW, the energy ministry (Sener) said.

Key growth drivers are two supply auctions held in March and September, which will result in 1,691MW and 1,853MW being added, respectively.

Solar dominated the September auction, accounting for 54% of electric power sold and 53% of clean energy certificates (CEC) issued. It was followed by wind with 43% of power and 41% of CECs. Hydroelectric and geothermal accounted for 3% of power and 2% of CECs, respectively.

Mexico’s solar PV capacity is expected to grow 275% this year, or by 390MW, US consultancy GTM Research has said.

Mexico’s installed clean energy capacity grew 6.3% year-on-year in June to 20.2GW, and these types of sources now account for 28.4% of the country’s energy generation mix, Sener said.

Growth has so far been led by wind and co-generation. Wind power capacity is expected to triple over the coming years, largely due to the development of the projects awarded contracts in this year’s auctions. Wind power capacity is expected to total 2,456MW by the end of 2018 and 3,857MW by the end of 2019.

In the first half of 2016 Mexico generated 30,586GWh of clean energy, 19.68% of the total generated, with a 34.9% increase in generation by co-generation plants and 11.9% growth by wind……

December 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment