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Fukushima, the Gift That Keeps on Giving



Radiation from Fukushima has now officially entered the food chain, can it be fixed?
Fukushima, as you may recall, was an accident at a Japanese nuclear complex back in 2011. A combination of an earthquake and a tsunami damaged the facility, allowing radioactive water to pour into the ocean. In fact, ABC news reported that — “The 2011 quake of magnitude-9 was the strongest quake ever recorded in Japan, and it generated a tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl a quarter of a century earlier.”

Since then, there have been various plans to stabilize the situation, but all have failed. Robots sent in to find the cores have failed. The National Post wrote that — “It takes two years to build them. Each operator trains for a month before picking up their controls. And they get fried by radiation after working for just 10 hours.” That’s right. In just 10 hours, the robots are so damaged, they don’t work. In fact, the article continued by writing — “The reason the robots need to get inside core is that officials need to locate the plant’s melted (and still very radioactive) fuel rods before they can plan on what to do next”.

Wait, you might be asking yourself, what about the ice wall? Well, RT reported that — “In March, (a Japanese) construction company began building the frozen wall of earth around the four damaged nuclear reactors and had completed most of the 1.5-km (1 mile) barrier. TEPCO hoped that the frozen earth barrier would thwart most of the groundwater from reaching the plant and divert it into the ocean instead.

However, little or no success was recorded in the wall’s ability to block the groundwater during the five-month-period. The amount of groundwater reaching the plant has not changed after the wall was built.” That’s right. This plan has also failed.

And while media has effectively been silent on the issue, it does pop up from time to time, such as this article in Science World Report — “(a) Woods Hole chemical oceanographer, tracked down the radiation plume in the seawater. He proposed that the (contaminated) seawater crossed the Pacific Ocean and reached (America’s) west coast.” In fact, that article revealed that — “the seawater samples collected last winter from the Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in the west coast indicated the presence of low levels of nuclear radiations. Thankfully, the levels were calculated too low to cause any harmful impact on the human or animal population of the region.” But that is missing the point – radiation has now officially entered the food chain.

Although the article in Science World Report notes that the levels were low, it should also be noted that their samples were all the way across the ocean. What if they took a sample in other places? Surely, logic would dictate that it would become stronger, the closer one gets to Japan.

It should also be noted that radioactive water continues to pour into the ocean on a daily, hourly, and by the minute basis. That hasn’t stopped. It is happening right now. It happens while you sleep. It happens while you are awake. It happens even if no one is talking about it and has been happening for more than 5 years, and there is no plan to stop it.


December 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

6.3 magnitude earthquake in Ibaraki, near Fukushima, on Dec. 28, 2016. Over 6,500 quakes felt across Japan in 2016


Earthquake rocks Japan near Fukushima nuclear power plant on December 28, 2016.

The 6.3 magnitude quake struck Japan’s Kanto region, the Japanese Meteorological Agency says.

It’s an area that neighbours the Tōhoku region, where Fukushima Power Plant had a disastrous meltdown in 2011.

English language news site The Japan News said the jolt was powerful enough to be felt in the region, part of Honshu Island.

While Japan’s NHK news agency said the tremors were felt throughout “wide areas” of the east coast, though the epicentre was not at sea.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is still decommissioning Fukushima’s ruined reactors, said they were investigating the impact of the quake there.

“At the moment, we have not confirmed the impact of the earthquake on our main power facilities (including nuclear power plants),” the statement read.



Latest earthquakes in Japan:


The quake struck Ibaraki Prefecture at 9.38pm local time (12.38pm UK time). There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries. Ibaraki Prefecture has had 176 earthquakes in the past 365 days.

Japan has a long history of powerful earthquakes and sits within the world’s most active volcano and earthquake zone.

The zone, called the Pacific Ring of Fire, is home to 90% of earthquakes and 81% of the most powerful quakes.

Over 6,500 quakes felt across Japan in 2016

The number of earthquakes that hit Japan this year with an intensity of one or higher was 3.5 times the figure for the previous year.

The Japanese seismic scale varies from zero, which is imperceptible to people, to seven, the most strongly felt by humans.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency says that as of 7 PM on Thursday, 6,566 earthquakes of one or higher had shaken the country this year. Last year’s number was 1,842.

In 2011, Japan registered more than 10,000 such quakes that were aftershocks of the Great East Japan Earthquake that triggered tsunami. But the number of quakes had been on a consistent downtrend since then.

The agency cites the Kumamoto earthquakes as a cause for the increase in 2016. The serial tremors in the western prefecture led to more than 3,000 such quakes in April alone.

The agency says 33 quakes registered an intensity of “5 lower” or above. Many people find it hard to move and walking is difficult at the “5 lower” intensity.

In November, a quake off Fukushima Prefecture caused tsunami from Japan’s northern to western Pacific coast, with a maximum 1.4-meter tsunami in a neighboring prefecture.

Agency officials urge people to prepare for quakes and tsunami in their daily life because strong tremors could strike anywhere in Japan.



December 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

2016: where do I begin?

This is worth a read dear subscribers, If you have time. A great synpsis on a difficult year from am Independent Journalist from the UK.. I wish him well for 2017. Shaun aka Arclight

Mr Topple

I’m currently sat on a train from London to Suffolk, a journey which I never envisaged I’d be doing so regularly at the beginning of the year, trying to write my review of 2016.

It really was one of those years for which only “where do I begin” seems an accurate appraisal. The EU referendum, the ‘Chicken Coup’, slaughter in the Middle East and sustained attacks by the Conservative government on disabled people and society’s most vulnerable all feature at the forefront of my mind. But my own life does also, this year, and the (get ready to cringe) ‘journey’ that I’ve been on.

So, here’s my take on 2016.

Mother: if you’re reading, I apologise in advance for the language…

Chaos at home

The EU referendum has to have been one of the greatest mistakes ever made by a sitting government – intentional or not. Simple as.

As I…

View original post 3,248 more words

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA Congressman files ‘Nuclear Sanity Act’ to limit Trump’s power to press the nuclear Armaggedon button

apocalypseGrayson files ‘Nuclear Sanity Act’ in response to Trump remarks  :DEC 29 2016 12:HTTP://WWW.FOX35ORLANDO.COM/NEWS/226096159-STORY WASHINGTON DC (WOFL FOX 35) – Florida Congressman Alan Grayson has filed the Nuclear Sanity Act in response to growing concern over President-elect Trump’s recent series of “Bomb, Baby, Bomb” pro-nuke mad libs.

The bill requires approval by the Secretaries of Defense and State before the U.S. launches nuclear war, unless U.S. territory is under attack by a foreign military. “We need to take the nuclear football out of Trump’s hands, before he fumbles it,” Grayson said.

This bill was filed on the heels of Trump’s bizarre call for U.S. nuclear expansion and statements that the U.S. will “outmatch” and “outlast” any nuclear adversary.

“What part of the phrase ‘mutual assured destruction’ does Trump not get?” Grayson said.

Neither the Constitution nor the U.S. Code currently curbs the President’s ability to launch nuclear weapons.

Trump“We need to place someone or something between Donald Trump’s impulses and Armageddon. When it comes to demonstrating Trump’s recklessness, we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Grayson said.

“If any finger rests on the nuclear button, it shouldn’t be Trump’s extended middle one.”

December 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | 6 Comments

Financial crisis brings meltdown in Toshiba’s nuclear power plans

financial-meltdownToshiba’s nuclear power hopes in meltdown The Australian, REBECCA SMITH, KOSAKU NARIOKA, The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2016 Toshiba seemed poised to profit from a global nuclear power revival when it paid $US5.4 billion to win a bidding war for Westinghouse Electric in 2006.

Today, that bet threatens to sink the venerable Japanese conglomerate, as cost overruns and missed deadlines on nuclear-reactor projects around the world have forced it to warn investors that it may soon have to report billions of dollars in losses.

Toshiba lost a fifth of its market value on Wednesday and its stock fell another 15 per cent early yesterday in Tokyo as panicked investors rushed to sell shares. The news of the nuclear writedowns came just as Toshiba was beginning to emerge from an earlier accounting scandal……

Westinghouse’s woes help explain why the nuclear industry has seen its dreams of global growth sputter. Until recently, the company was regarded as the industry’s front-runner, the only nuclear supplier to have landed contracts for its next-generation reactor in both the US and China.

But a series of missteps and unexpected problems have snarled nuclear projects by Westinghouse and rivals including Areva and General Electric.

Fifty-four reactors are under construction in 13 nations, and 33 are badly delayed, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, an independent annual assessment. Blunders have afflicted projects regardless of location, reactor design or construction consortiums.

To lower costs and speed construction times, Westinghouse and its competitors came up with cookie-cutter plant designs in which major sections would be built as modules in factories and then hauled to plant sites for final assembly. Gone was the customisation that added expense.

But the strategy appears to have backfired. “Supply-chain issues just moved from the plant sites to the factories. It didn’t solve the basic issue of quality control,” said Mycle Schneider, a nuclear expert based in Paris. And cookie-cutter designs meant flaws got replicated.

In France, Areva is trying to get to the bottom of a scandal involving falsified records for critical components that have wound up in nuclear plants there and in other countries, including the US. The problems appear to stretch back decades and to have gone unnoticed despite supposedly strict government supervision. Areva has said it is co-operating with investigators from France and other nations.

“There’s a world-wide problem with managing these megaprojects,” said Edwin Lyman, senior scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC. “Managers grossly underestimated the time and cost of construction.”………

It isn’t clear if Toshiba’s difficulties would have an impact on the eight reactors it is trying to complete in the US and China, but its disclosure suggests the situation is worse than previously understood.

In the US, Westinghouse was providing reactor components for nuclear plants in Georgia and South Carolina being built by utilities Southern and SCANA.

At the site of Southern’s Vogtle 3&4 reactors going up in rural Georgia, there have been rumours of financial problems for months, said Will Salters, business manager for the union IBEW Local 1579.

He said the site now employs about 500 of his electricians but the union recently received notice that there would be a hiring freeze pending a review.

“We’ve been hearing for months they were broke and had to meet certain milestones by Southern to get paid,” Mr Salters said……

Toshiba is already on a Tokyo Stock Exchange watchlist because of the accounting scandal that forced it to take a $US1.3bn writedown for its nuclear business in November 2015.

At the time, it acknowledged that it had overstated its profit for seven years.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Instability already apparent in Donald Trump’s nuclear weapons ‘policy’

TrumpDonald Trump’s New Nuclear Instability, Democracy Now DECEMBER 29, 2016 BY AMY GOODMAN & DENIS MOYNIHAN

President-elect Donald Trump exploded a half-century of U.S. nuclear-arms policy in a single tweet last week: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.” With that one vague message, Donald Trump, who hasn’t even taken office yet, may have started a new arms race.

Trump’s statement set off alarms around the world, necessitating a cadre of his inner circle to flood the airwaves with now-routine attempts to explain what their boss “really meant.”

On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow confronted former Trump campaign manager and newly appointed Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway about the shocking tweet:

Maddow: “He’s saying we’re going to expand our nuclear capability.”

Conway: “He’s not necessarily saying that —”

Maddow: “… He did literally say we need to expand our nuclear capability —”

Conway: “…What he’s saying is…we need to expand our nuclear capability, really our nuclear readiness, our capability to be ready for those who also have nuclear weapons.”

The next morning, during a commercial break on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe,” Trump spoke by phone with Mika Brzezinski, as she and her co-host Joe Scarborough sat in pajamas on the Christmas-themed TV set. The call was not broadcast, but when the show came back from the break, Brzezinski quoted Trump as saying, “Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Minutes after that aired, Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, told us on the “Democracy Now!” news hour: “Every day, Trump says something that makes us worried, but this may be the most terrifying yet. A nuclear-arms race is the last thing that the world needs. I think about climate change. I think about economic inequality. I think about all of these major threats that we’re facing as a country and as a world. Why would we add on top of that a totally manufactured, unnecessary threat?”………

Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear trigger is a terrifying prospect. It’s the anti-nuclear movement that needs to go on high alert to make sure that trigger never gets pulled.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The abandoned remains of China’s secret nuclear city ‘404’

Inside 404: Video footage reveals abandoned buildings inside once-busy nuclear city, 28, 2016 CHILLING footage has emerged showing the abandoned remains of a Chinese city used to build nuclear bombs known only as ‘404’.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | China, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Trump’s advisers ignore inconvenient scientific and economic evidence on climate change

climate-changeFacts matter, and on climate change, Trump’s picks get them wrong 27 December 2016 by dana1981

When speaking about climate change, President-elect Trump has flip-flopped between acceptance and denial, which suggests that he hasn’t put much thought into one of humanity’s greatest threats. However, what his administration does is far more important than what he thinks. Unfortunately, Trump has nominated individuals to several critical climate leadership positions who reject inconvenient scientific and economic evidence.

Stage 3 denial: climate dangers and model accuracy

Climate denial often pinballs between five different stages, but the cleverer denialist arguments tend to land on Stage 3: denial that climate change is a problem.

It’s ironic that Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson – CEO of ExxonMobil – has the most sophisticated position on climate change among Trump’s key nominees. Tillerson accepts that humans are causing global warming, but he denies that it’s a problem. His key argument focuses on sowing doubt about the accuracy of climate models.

This happens to be the core topic in my book Climatology versus Pseudoscience, whose analysis I updated for a presentation at the American Geophysical Union conference two weeks ago. Climate scientists have been making global temperature predictions for over 40 years, and they’ve turned out to be amazingly accurate, as this video of the key slides from my presentation shows:

Tillerson has long cast doubt on the accuracy of climate models, for example saying at a 2013 ExxonMobil annual shareholder meeting:

our ability to project with any degree of certainty the future is continuing to be very limited … our examination about the models are that they’re not competent.

This line of argument led to the question Tillerson posed at the company’s 2015 annual meeting:

What if everything we do, it turns out our models are lousy, and we don’t get the effects we predict?

The answer to that question is that we get the co-benefits associated with reduced burning of fossil fuels: cleaner air, cleaner water, healthier people, green jobs and economic growth, energy independence, and so on. But the point is that Tillerson tries to cast doubt on scientists’ ability to project what will happen in the future, because the projections show that we need to leave most fossil fuel reserves in the ground. For Exxon, that’s bad for business.

Stage 2 denial: we’re causing the problem

Trump’s appointees will sometimes get stuck in Stage 1 denial – that global warming is even happening – but most frequently they land in Stage 2 denial – that humans are responsible.

This is a question that’s about as settled as science gets. The best estimate in the 2014 IPCC report, representing the consensus of the world’s top climate scientists summarizing the body of climate research, was that humans have caused all the global warming over the past 65 years. The report concluded with 95% confidence that humans have caused most of the global warming since 1950. Climate scientists are as confident in human-caused global warming as medical scientists are that smoking causes cancer. There’s a 97% expert consensus on the subject.

Trump’s nominee to head the EPA, Scott Pruitt is in Stage 2 denial. So is his choice to lead the Department of Energy, Rick Perry. His choice to lead the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke is an interesting case, who strongly supported climate action in 2010, but now denies that humans are responsible. Even Trump himself has said “nobody knows” what’s causing it.

Somebody does: the world’s scientific experts.

Stage 4 denial: we can solve it

Trump’s nominees will sometimes advance to Stage 4 denial, and argue that solutions to the climate problem are too costly. For example, while environmental regulations actually have a positive net effect on employment, Pruitt and Trump argue that these sorts of regulations kill jobs. Tillerson argues that third world countries need fossil fuels to end ‘energy poverty.’ In reality, while access to electricity certainly helps the poor, distributed renewable energy like solar panels and wind turbines are a better fit for most developing nations, especially since poorer countries are the most vulnerable to climate changeimpacts.

Trump’s transition team also believes the cost of carbon pollution is lower than the estimates used by the Obama Administration. However, the most recent research on the subject indicates the actual cost is in fact much higher than government estimates, and a majority of economists agree that the federal estimate is too low.

Tillerson has claimed to support a revenue-neutral carbon tax – a bipartisan solution that in addition to helping curb climate change and its damages, would have a modestly beneficial direct impact on the economy. However, under Tillerson’s leadership, ExxonMobil hasn’t supported policymakers who have proposed this exact legislation, and has instead continued to fund climate denial organizations that work to obstruct it. And in 2013, Tillerson walked back his carbon tax support:

I would not support putting a carbon tax in place today because I think we still have a lot of gains to be made through technology and other less intrusive policies on the economy which are showing results.

Tillerson has argued that climate change is “an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions.” In other words, that we can keep burning fossil fuels, and solve the problem through adaptation efforts. However, research is quite clear that while we’ll need a combination of mitigation and adaptation, relying primarily on adaptation would be exceptionally costly.

It’s not surprising that the CEO of ExxonMobil advocates for a path that would lead to the burning of lots more fossil fuels. However, the Secretary of State has tremendous influence over America’s role in international climate negotiations. ExxonMobil’s priorities are in sharp conflict with America’s and the world’s on this issue.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment


book-Command-and-ControlWORLD WAR THREE, BY MISTAKE  Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever.  [Below, extracts from] New Yorker  By  December 23, 2016   “………My book “Command and Control” explores how the systems devised to govern the use of nuclear weapons, like all complex technological systems, are inherently flawed. They are designed, built, installed, maintained, and operated by human beings. But the failure of a nuclear command-and-control system can have consequences far more serious than the crash of an online dating site from too much traffic or flight delays caused by a software glitch. Millions of people, perhaps hundreds of millions, could be annihilated inadvertently. “Command and Control” focusses on near-catastrophic errors and accidents in the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union that ended in 1991. The danger never went away. Today, the odds of a nuclear war being started by mistake are low—and yet the risk is growing, as the United States and Russia drift toward a new cold war. The other day, Senator John McCain called Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, “a thug, a bully, and a murderer,” adding that anyone who “describes him as anything else is lying.” Other members of Congress have attacked Putin for trying to influence the Presidential election.  On Thursday, Putin warned that Russia would “strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces,” and President-elect Donald Trump has responded with a vow to expand America’s nuclear arsenal.  “Let it be an arms race,” Trump told one of the co-hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

The harsh rhetoric on both sides increases the danger of miscalculations and mistakes, as do other factors.

Close encounters between the military aircraft of the United States and Russia have become routine, creating the potential for an unintended conflict. Many of the nuclear-weapon systems on both sides are aging and obsolete. The personnel who operate those systems often suffer from poor morale and poor training. None of their senior officers has firsthand experience making decisions during an actual nuclear crisis. And today’s command-and-control systems must contend with threats that barely existed during the Cold War: malware, spyware, worms, bugs, viruses, corrupted firmware, logic bombs, Trojan horses, and all the other modern tools of cyber warfare. The greatest danger is posed not by any technological innovation but by a dilemma that has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one?

The pattern of the use of atomic weapons was set at Hiroshima,” J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, said in November, 1945, just a few months after the Japanese city’s destruction. “They are weapons of aggression, of surprise, and of terror.” Nuclear weapons made annihilation vastly more efficient. A single bomb could now destroy a target whose elimination had once required thousands of bombs. During an aerial attack, you could shoot down ninety-nine per cent of the enemy’s bombers—and the plane that you missed could obliterate an entire city. A war between two countries with nuclear weapons, like a Wild West shoot-out, might be won by whoever fired first. And a surprise attack might provide the only hope of national survival—especially for the country with an inferior nuclear arsenal.

During the same month that Oppenheimer made his remarks, Bernard Brodie, a political scientist at Yale University, proposed a theory of nuclear deterrence that has largely guided American policy ever since. Brodie argued that the threat of retaliation offered the only effective defense against a nuclear attack. “We must do what we can to reduce the advantage that might accrue to the enemy if he hit first,” Brodie wrote, after the Soviet Union had obtained its own nuclear weapons. Despite all the money spent on building nuclear weapons and delivery systems, their usefulness would be mainly psychological. “What deters is not the capabilities and intentions we have, but the capabilities and intentions the enemy thinks we have,” a classified Pentagon report explained. “The mission is persuasion.”

The fear of a surprise attack and the necessity for retaliation soon dominated the strategic thinking of the Cold War. Every year, technological advances compressed time and added more urgency to decision-making……..

The dangers of “launch-on-warning” have been recognized since the idea was first proposed, during the Eisenhower Administration. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, McNamara advised Kennedy that the United States should never use its nuclear weapons until a nuclear detonation had occurred on American soil, and could be attributed to an enemy attack. ….. After the end of the Cold War, a Russian surprise attack became extremely unlikely. Nevertheless, hundreds of Minuteman III missiles remained on alert. The Cold War strategy endured because, in theory, it deterred a Russian attack on the missiles. McNamara called the policy “insane,” arguing that “there’s no military requirement for it.” George W. Bush, while running for President in 2000, criticized launch-on-warning, citing the “unacceptable risks of accidental or unauthorized launch.” Barack Obama, while running for President in 2008, promised to take Minuteman missiles off alert, warning that policies like launch-on-warning “increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation.” Twenty scientists who have won the Nobel Prize, as well as the Union of Concerned Scientists, have expressed strong opposition to retaining a launch-on-warning capability. It has also been opposed by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State George Shultz, and former Senator Sam Nunn. And yet the Minuteman III missiles still sit in their silos today, armed with warheads, ready to go……..

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin confront a stark choice: begin another nuclear-arms race or reduce the threat of nuclear war. Trump now has a unique opportunity to pursue the latter, despite the bluster and posturing on both sides. His admiration for Putin, regardless of its merits, could provide the basis for meaningful discussions about how to minimize nuclear risks. Last year, General James Mattis, the former Marine chosen by Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense, called for a fundamental reappraisal of American nuclear strategy and questioned the need for land-based missiles. During Senate testimony, Mattis suggested that getting rid of such missiles would “reduce the false-alarm danger.” Contrary to expectations, Republican Presidents have proved much more successful than their Democratic counterparts at nuclear disarmament. President George H. W. Bush cut the size of the American arsenal in half, as did his son, President George W. Bush. And President Ronald Reagan came close to negotiating a treaty with the Soviet Union that would have completely abolished nuclear weapons.

Every technology embodies the values of the age in which it was created. When the atomic bomb was being developed in the mid-nineteen-forties, the destruction of cities and the deliberate targeting of civilians was just another military tactic. It was championed as a means to victory. The Geneva Conventions later classified those practices as war crimes—and yet nuclear weapons have no other real use. They threaten and endanger noncombatants for the sake of deterrence. Conventional weapons can now be employed to destroy every kind of military target, and twenty-first-century warfare puts an emphasis on precision strikes, cyberweapons, and minimizing civilian casualties. As a technology, nuclear weapons have become obsolete. What worries me most isn’t the possibility of a cyberattack, a technical glitch, or a misunderstanding starting a nuclear war sometime next week. My greatest concern is the lack of public awareness about this existential threat, the absence of a vigorous public debate about the nuclear-war plans of Russia and the United States, the silent consent to the roughly fifteen thousand nuclear weapons in the world. These machines have been carefully and ingeniously designed to kill us. Complacency increases the odds that, some day, they will. The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority approves closure of Monju nuclear reprocessing reactor by next April

monju-plant-in-tsuruga-fukui-prefectureNuclear watchdog approves scrapping Monju reactor Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has approved the government’s decision to scrap the Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor. The education, science and technology ministry briefed the NRA on Wednesday about the government’s decision last week about the troubled reactor in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

NRA Chairman Shunichi Tanaka said the decision is in line with the recommendation it made in November last year.
In it, the NRA urged an overhaul of a research and development project involving the reactor. It said scrapping the reactor would be an option unless a new operator were found for it.

The ministry also told the NRA on Wednesday that it will draw up a basic plan for decommissioning the reactor by next April.

It added that to eliminate possible safety risks soon, it will instruct reactor operator Japan Atomic Energy Agency to remove nuclear fuel from the reactor in about 5 and half years.

Tanaka asked the ministry to oversee the decommissioning process to ensure safety. He said the NRA will study whether relevant laws should be amended to step up regulation. He added that it may also set up an expert team to monitor the process.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan, reprocessing | Leave a comment outlines 10 reasons that will prevent a Trump-led USA nuclear renaissance

10 Reasons Trump Won’t Lead A Nuclear Renaissance   

1.Need for the product. With no growth in the market for electricity, the industry needs new power plants only to replace old ones and to decarbonize output in order to mitigate global warming. The Trump administration has declared an end to the so-called war on coal, which makes it less likely that the electric industry will have to close old coal fired generating stations soon and it has categorized global warming as a hoax, which removes an excuse to build non-carbon producing nuclear units. The nuclear industry will need another rationalization for expansion.

financial-disaster-12.Economics. Nuclear power looks like an expensive means of producing base load electricity with significant known risks and ongoing waste storage/disposal issues. A new 1,000 MW nuclear plant ordered today for 2025 in service would cost about $10 billion. New renewables can produce power at no higher a cost per kwh, without the same long construction schedule and need to build so large a unit. A new base load gas fired unit of the same size capacity could be completed in a few years and cost one fifth as much per MW and produce at a lower cost per kwh. Producing a commodity like electricity at a relatively high price in a competitive market is not a winning business strategy. Nuclear has to offer something else.

3. Base load generation. Nuclear plants run as base load units, something renewables cannot do — at least not until economical energy storage comes into the picture– because of the intermittency of their output. Still, renewables, particularly wind in the U.S. midwest and Texas, will temporarily displace more large central station power generation, forcing more units to “cycle”. Nuclear plants are less well suited for this duty. Flexibility and load following may become more highly valued than base load. This also reflects a change in the electric industry itself. The former command and control or paternalistic relationship between utility and consumer is changing. At a minimum consumers are dictating how their energy is produced, agreeing for example to pay premiums for “greener” forms of electricity. In other words, nuclear has something to sell in the base load market, but that market may be in decline.

4. Power markets. Neither U.S. nor UK power markets will support unsubsidized or non-mandated new generation. To the extent that the U.S. wholesale power markets remain both deregulated and regulated in parts, this is also a negative for new nuclear capacity. Deregulated power markets, both here and in the UK, aren’t permitting wholesale prices high enough to finance new gas fired capacity much less new nukes. Regulators will want a cost benefit analysis before approving a new nuclear facility. Basically, this means that a new nuclear project in order to proceed will need a subsidy of one sort or another. A carbon tax would do the job even better. But what GOP politician would vote for that tax, especially if some of their constituents view the issue of global warning as a hoax?

5. Nuclear as infrastructure. As currently built, nuclear projects require a large contingent of well paid labor and massive amounts of steel and concrete. A handful of qualified engineering firms, the usual suspects, also build other infrastructure and one can only think that these politically connected firms can lobby for nuclear projects as hard as they lobby for new bridges or highways. Nuclear construction then could play a role as a component of the as part of the infrastructure program needed to boost the economy. The problem, however, is that nuclear infrastructure has some drawbacks.

6. Resilience needed. Infrastructure should be resilient and anti-fragile. In battle, would we rather attack our enemy in a swarm formation as part of a horde of thousands or ponderously approach the fields of honor as a monolithic “death star”. The former is anti-fragile. The latter, as we all know from the movies (no spoiler intended), is powerful but most definitely fragile. The “enemy” here approaches from two sides: technological obsolescence (which is slowly confronting all central station power generators) and simple obsolescence from a harsher operating environment. In plain terms, stuff just wears out faster. It’s a riskier business that’s for sure.

7. Investor-owned operators needed. The two major U.S. electric utilities with an outsized presence in nuclear power, Entergy and Exelon, could be characterized as the Dogs of the UTY, thanks to their less than stellar stock performances. EDF, the builder of the new British station, almost didn’t get to a positive decision on the new plant due to a revolt on the part of concerned directors. Do investors want more nuclear power? Probably not without subsidies or guarantees.

nuke-&-seaL8. Coastal locations needed. One problem with commercial nuclear power is not that it produces expensive electricity via fission, but that its voracious need for cooling water requires mostly coastal or riparian sites. Ignore the technology for a moment. Rising seas, hurricanes, storm surges and the like could render an ever broader swath of coastline unsuitable for infrastructure of any sort. Even if the Trump administration sees no issues, property and casualty insurors as well as and bond investors might.

9. Using nuclear subsidies as corporate welfare. New York and Illinois both launched
programs best described as Welfare for the Nuclear Elderly. It’s heart-warming to see such generosity just prior to the holiday season aimed at aging, uneconomic nuclear plants. This sounds to us like a job creation/preservation program for rural areas (where high paying jobs are scarce) masquerading as an environmentally beneficial, carbon mitigating proposal. There is nothing inherently evil about subsidizing private sector jobs in the electric utility industry. We just wish they’d drop the low carbon fig leaf as a rationale or change the market so it pays for the supposed virtues of nuclearinstead of making this a political handout. But note that handouts to old nukes do not encourage the building of new ones.

peaceful-nuke10. Nuclear for defense. Defense spending may crowd out civilian needs.Themilitary already plans to modernize its nuclear warfare capability over comingdecades. In fact, if we think about where nuclear power as an energy source has worked best, it is in military-maritime applications, things like submarines and arctic icebreakers. If a nuclear accident on a naval vessel at sea occurs resulting in all hands lost–that is clearly a tragedy. If Indian Point goes full metal Fukushima, rendering significant parts of Westchester County, NY uninhabitable, we don’t even have the adjectives much less the liability coverage. We also doubt that military applications will take a back seat in the new administration. Beyond that, there are two big nuclear related projects in the U.S.: completion of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada and construction of a vitrification facility at the Hanford, WA site now holding significant amounts of highly radioactive materials in less than perfect circumstances. More than likely, the military, Yucca and Hanford will absorb the lion’s share of new nuclear-related infrastructure monies.

Without a rationale rooted in decarbonization or in shortage of alternative fuels or energy sources, the new administration in the U.S. can only make a weak case for commercial nuclear power. If it will not embrace direct subsidies (which the incoming Congress may be reluctant to do as a matter of principle), the administration may have a hard time finding private partners for nuclear projects. But it can, and probably will, make a strong case for completing the huge nuclear tasks already on the government’s plate. That spending could boost the economy just as much as putting up new nuclear power stations,


December 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s strange cabinet: Climate deniers, conspiracists and one-percenters

text politicsFlag-USAClimate deniers, conspiracists and one-percenters: Trump’s cabinet of characters

The president-elect plans to surround himself with enemies of the environment, billions of dollars in net worth and people who are against their own agencies, Guardian, , 30 Dec 16, Barack Obama’s original cabinet was chockablock with historic firsts. The first African American attorney general. The first Nobel laureate upon appointment. The first female homeland security secretary, and the first African American to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Donald Trump’s cabinet, if confirmed, also would advance multiple historic firsts. It would be the first cabinet of multiple billionaires. It would be the first cabinet to give pride of place to climate deniers. It would be the first cabinet whose members want to eliminate their own agencies. And it would raise the bar – a lot – for conspiracy theorists.

Before Trump’s team faces closer scrutiny from Congress in January, here’s your guide to understanding how these four categories define many of Trump’s major nominees and advisers. 

Climate deniers and enemies

These nominees would lead the four most important agencies in combatting climate change.

Scott Pruitt, EPA
Oklahoma state attorney general Pruitt wrote in a May 2016 editorial in the National Review that there was a climate change “debate” that was “far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged …” He was part of a “secretive alliance” with fossil fuel companies to fight Obama administration environmental regulations, according to 2014 New York Times reporting.

Ryan ZinkeDepartment of the Interior
Congressman from Montana

In a 2014 interview, Zinke blamed the buildup of greenhouse gases on volcanoes. “I’m a conservationist, but when there’s a volcano in the Philippines that erupts and produces more CO2 than humans have produced in 200 years – is CO2 really the problem?”

Rick Perry, Department of Energy

Former Texas governor

Perry wrote in a 2010 book that “we have been experiencing a cooling trend”. “I don’t believe that we have the settled science,” he said in a 2014 interview, continuing: “Calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice the country, and I believe a disservice to the world … I’m not a scientist.”

Mike PompeoCIA
Congressman from Kansas

Pompeo has used congressional hearings to grandstand against “what you all call climate change today”. He told CSPAN in 2013: “There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”

Rex Tillerson, secretary of state
CEO of ExxonMobil

Tillerson pays lip service to “risks of climate change” but runs the world’s biggest non-state oil and gas extraction company. Likewise, he has said ExxonMobil favors a climate tax and supports the Paris climate accords but has not backedthose statements with action.


Trump’s billionaire cabinet could be the wealthiest administration ever. At least six appointees have net worths estimated in the nine figures. Collectively, they have more money than a third of American households combined, according to a Quartz calculation………

Divided loyalties 

A noticeable Trump innovation in picking a cabinet: appointing leaders who have said they would like to destroy the agencies they’re supposed to lead. A variation is appointing leaders whose careers have undercut the agencies they’re supposed to lead.

Rick Perry

Perry famously suffered a memory lapse during a presidential debate in trying to name the Department of Energy as one of three federal agencies he would eliminate if elected. “Oops,” he said. Perry’s background in nuclear issues, which is the energy department’s main charge, appears to be limited to an effort to privatize the disposal of radioactive waste in Texas. Perry’s two immediate predecessors in the job were both nuclear physicists.

Scott Pruitt

Pruitt has been involved in multiple lawsuits against the EPA. He is currently part of a legal action waged by 28 states against the EPA to halt the Clean Power Plan, an effort by Obama’s administration to curb greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants. Pruitt has said the American people “are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations”, and he boasted on his LinkedIn page that he was “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda”………


Trump traffics in conspiracy theories and fake news – Barack Obama was born outside the US and sympathizes with terrorists, the election was rigged, Hillary Clinton is a criminal – so it’s only proper that his cabinet should too. Here are the three Trump nominees in competition for the tinfoil hat trophy.

Ben Carson, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Retired neurosurgeon

Carson believes pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grainthatVladimir Putin, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Abbas attended school together in Moscow in 1968, that Jews with firearms might have been able to stop the Holocaust, that he personally could stop a mass shooting and that Osama bin Laden enjoyed Saudi protection after 9/11………

December 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Billions of dollars in Toshiba’s nuclear writedown

Money down holeflag-japanToshiba Says Nuclear Writedown May Reach Billions of Dollars, Bloomberg, by Pavel Alpeyev,  Finbarr Flynn, and Tesun Oh December 27, 2016, 
  • Nikkei, NHK report charges related to Westinghouse acquisition
  • Writedowns may be more than company’s projected profit

Toshiba Corp. can’t get past its accounting problems.

The Japanese company, which paid a record fine a year ago for its bookkeeping practices, warned that it may now have to take another charge of several billion dollars related to an acquisition made by U.S. unit Westinghouse Electric.

The company’s shares fell 12 percent to 392 yen at the close in Tokyo on Tuesday, the biggest decline since December 2015, after earlier reports that it may book a loss of as much as 500 billion yen ($4.3 billion). Toshiba issued a statement after the market closed, saying that while the final writedown was yet to be determined, it would affect earnings.

The loss is related to a dispute over the value of an acquisition by Westinghouse of a nuclear construction company called CB&I Stone & Webster Inc. The Nikkei newspaper said the writedown would come to about 100 billion yen, while Japanese broadcaster NHK said the charge may total as much as 500 billion yen. Such a loss would eclipse the 168 billion yen in net income that analysts had been projecting for Toshiba’s current fiscal year through March. The Tokyo-based company booked a loss of 460 billion yen last year.

While the company can probably offset a one-time loss of 100 billion yen, a charge of 500 billion yen would be “severe” given its potential impact on shareholders’ equity, said Takao Matsuzaka, a credit analyst in Tokyo at Daiwa Securities Group Inc.

“It comes down to how much they can counterbalance any loss,” Matsuzaka said by phone. “Improving the financial base of the company is a top priority.”………

Toshiba was fined a record 7.4 billion yen in December last year after Japanese regulators found the manufacturer misled investors by filing false financial statements. The watchdog has also been gathering evidence to determine whether to seek criminal prosecutions of former bosses over the scandal.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Japanese nuclear authorities on alert as powerful earthquake hits nuclear power plant region

FUKUSHIMA FEARS – Powerful earthquake hits nuclear power plant region in Japan

AN earthquake in Fukushima has put the city’s nuclear power plant owners on alert.

By JON AUSTIN Dec 28, 2016  A magnitude 6.3 quake has hit Japan’s Kanto region, according to the Japanese Meteorological Agency. The area borders the Tōhoku region, where the Fukushima Power Plant had a devastating meltdown in 2011 after a mega earthquake caused a massive tsunami wave.

Japan’s NHK news agency said the tremors were felt throughout “wide areas” of the east coast, though the epicentre was not at sea, meaning a tsunami is unlikely.

The Japan News said it was powerful enough to be felt in the same region as the nuclear plant, which is part of Honshu Island.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company, which is still decommissioning Fukushima’s ruined reactors, is investigating any impact of the quake there. The firm said in a statement: “At the moment, we have not confirmed the impact of the earthquake on our main power facilities (including nuclear power plants).”

The quake struck Ibaraki Prefecture at 9.38pm local time (12.38pm UK time). There were no immediate reports of damages or injuries.

There was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake which hit Fukushima last month.

Japan has a long history of powerful earthquakes and sits within the world’s most active volcano and earthquake zone in the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The zone is home to 90 percent of earthquakes and 81 percent of the most powerful quakes on earth.

It comes after a series of large quakes hit the US near the Nevada-California state line, sparking fears that the long-feared Big One was coming.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

In Swedish storm wind power is equivalent to six nuclear power plants

Wind turbines at sunrise (Wind Data Centre)Wind power is equivalent to six nuclear power plants during Swedish storm   28 Dec 16, A hurricane-strength storm that swept through Sweden this week generated record wind power that topped at 5.7 million kWh during single hour, which is 0.5 million more than the previous record, says energy company Bixia (news release in Swedish).

Over the past three days wind power accounted for 26 percent of total electricity consumption, almost as much as six nuclear power plants, says Anders Enqvist, Director of Risk Management at Bixia.

Sweden currently has three nuclear plants with ten nuclear reactors in commercial operation, making it the only country in the world that has more than one reactor per million inhabitants, says the Swedish Institute.

In 2015 Sweden added 200 more wind turbines. More wind blows in Sweden during the winter.

December 30, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment