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A pair of earthquakes of M5.3 and M5.8 struck Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures early Thursday

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Strong quakes jolt eastern Japan

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A pair of earthquakes with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and 5.8 struck Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures in eastern Japan early Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The temblors occurred at around 12:44 a.m. and 2:53 a.m., originating at depths of about 60 and 30 kilometers off the coast of Fukushima. They measured up to 4 on the Japanese seismic scale of 7 in southern Fukushima and northern Ibaraki.

After the quakes, no abnormalities were detected at two nuclear power plants — the crippled Fukushima Daiichi and idled Fukushima Daini, according to the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

Fukushima was hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake-tsunami and nuclear crisis.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170105/p2g/00m/0dm/001000c

Pair of strong late-night quakes jolt Fukushima, Ibaraki

A magnitude-5.3 earthquake and another of magnitude-5.8 struck Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures early Thursday, the Meteorological Agency said. No tsunami warning was issued.

The earthquakes occurred at 12:44 a.m. and 2:53 a.m., originating at depths of about 60 km and 30 km off the coast of Fukushima, respectively. They measured up to 4 on the Japanese seismic scale to 7 in southern Fukushima and northern Ibaraki.

After the quakes, no abnormalities were detected at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the nearby idled Fukushima No. 2 plant, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

Fukushima was hit hard by the March 11, 2011, earthquake-tsunami and nuclear crisis.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/05/national/pair-strong-late-night-quakes-give-fukushima-ibaraki-jolts/#.WG57TFzia-c

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 1 Comment

Niigata governor rejects restarts in 1st meet with TEPCO execs

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Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, far right, holds talks with executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. in the Niigata prefectural government office on Jan. 5.

Niigata governor rejects restarts in 1st meet with TEPCO execs

NIIGATA–Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama met Jan. 5 with top executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) for the first time, reiterating his opposition to restarting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

It will be difficult to approve the restart as long as (the causes of) the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are not verified. In the present circumstances, I cannot accept the restart,” Yoneyama told Fumio Sudo, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., and Naomi Hirose, president of the company.

It was the first time for Yoneyama to meet with TEPCO executives since he assumed the post of Niigata governor last October. The talks were held in the Niigata prefectural government office.

Yoneyama, noting that it will take several years for the Niigata prefectural government to verify the causes of the 2011 nuclear disaster, asked the TEPCO executives to provide more information and other forms of cooperation.

In response, Sudo said, “The priority is to hear voices of local residents.”

This seemed to suggest that TEPCO will not restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant as long as the Niigata governor continues to resist the move.

A council of experts of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced late last year that the costs for dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will almost double to 21.5 trillion yen ($185 billion) from 11 trillion yen initially estimated in 2013.

To help cover the amount, TEPCO planned to restart two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa to generate 100 billion yen in annual profits. But that now looks difficult, given Yoneyama’s firm stance on the issue of restarts.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701050067.html

Gov. says restart of nuclear plant in Niigata to take “several years”

The restart of a nuclear power plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. on the Sea of Japan coast will likely take “several years,” the governor of Niigata Prefecture said Thursday, highlighting the difficulty in concluding post-2011 nuclear disaster reviews.

The utility known as TEPCO has been seeking to reactivate the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the world’s largest by generation capacity, as soon as possible to boost revenue, as it grapples with ballooning costs stemming from the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan’s northeast.

“There can be no discussions about a restart without reviewing” factors including the cause of the Fukushima nuclear accident and evacuation plans for residents, Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama said in his first talks with TEPCO executives since assuming office in October.

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2017/01/452300.html

Japan governor tells Tepco bosses nuclear plant to stay shut

The governor of Japan’s Niigata prefecture reiterated his opposition to the restart of Tokyo Electric Power’s (Tepco) Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, adding it may take a few years to review the pre-conditions for restart.

During a meeting on Thursday with Tepco Chairman Fumio Sudo and President Naomi Hirose, Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, who was elected in October on his anti-nuclear platform, repeated his pledge to keep the plant shut unless a fuller explanation of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was provided.

He also said that evacuation plans for people in Niigata in case of a nuclear accident and the health impacts that the Fukushima accident have had would need to be reviewed before discussing the nuclear plant’s restart.

The restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, the world’s largest, is key to helping Tepco rebound from the aftermath of the 2011 disaster at its Fukushima-Daiichi plant.

The Japanese government last month nearly doubled its projections for costs related to the disaster to 21.5 trillion yen ($185 billion), increasing the pressure on Tepco to step up reform and improve its performance.

Many of Japan’s reactors are still going through a relicensing process by a new regulator set up after the Fukushima disaster, the world’s worst since Chernobyl in 1986.

Shutting the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant for additional years would mean that the company would have to continue relying heavily on fossil fuel-fired power generation such as natural gas.

Governors do not have the legal authority to prevent restarts but their agreement is usually required before a plant can resume operations.

Three reactors at Tepco’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant melted down after a magnitude 9 earthquake struck Japan in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that devastated a swathe of Japan’s northeastern coastline and killed more than 15,000 people.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-tepco-idUSKBN14P0IK?il=0

 

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Environment Ministry deleted some of its remarks from minutes on contaminated soil meet

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The Ministry of the Environment deleted some of its remarks made in closed-door meetings on reuse of contaminated soil stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster from the minutes of the meetings, it has been learned.

When the ministry posted the minutes on its website, it said it had “fully disclosed” them. The deleted remarks could be taken to mean that the ministry induced the discussions. The remarks led the meetings to decide on a policy of reusing contaminated soil containing up to 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram. An expert on information disclosure lashed out at the ministry’s handling of the minutes, saying, “It is extremely heinous because it constitutes the concealment of the decision-making process.”

The meetings were called the “working group to discuss safety assessments of impacts of radiation.” The meetings were attended by about 20 people, including radiation experts, officials of the Environment Ministry and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) and others. The meetings were held six times from January to May in 2016.

The meetings discussed the reuse of radioactively contaminated soil generated when areas affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis were decontaminated.

Initially, the meetings themselves were unpublicized. But because requests for information disclosure on the meetings were filed one after another, the Environment Ministry posted the minutes and relevant data on its website in August. As a matter of clerical procedures, the ministry said at that time that everything was disclosed.

The minutes that were disclosed contain “draft minutes” that were prepared before becoming official documents, but the Mainichi Shimbun obtained an “original draft” that was prepared even before then. Comparing the disclosed minutes with the original draft, the Mainichi found multiple cases of remarks being deleted or changed. According to the original draft, an Environment Ministry official said at the fourth meeting on Feb. 24, “With the assessments of soil with 8,000 becquerels, there have been cases in which the annual radiation dose slightly exceeds 1 millisievert in times of disasters and the like. But it will be good if it stays within 1 millisievert.” But the remark was deleted from the disclosed minutes.

Soil contaminated with radiation exceeding 8,000 becquerels is handled as “designated waste,” but discussions were held on reusing of contaminated soil containing 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram during a series of meetings. In the Feb. 24 meeting, the JAEA showed an estimate that workers engaged in recovery work on a breakwater made of contaminated soil of 8,000 becquerels that has collapsed in a disaster would be exposed to radiation exceeding 1 millisievert per year — the maximum dose allowed for ordinary people. Based on the estimate, there was a possibility of the upper limit for reusing contaminated soil being lowered, but the Environment Ministry official’s remark promoted experts and others to call for s review to make a new estimate, with one attendee saying, “If it collapses, it will be mixed with other soil and diluted.”

A fresh estimate that the annual radiation dose will stay at 1 millisievert or lower was later officially presented, and the Environment Ministry officially decided in June on a policy of reusing contaminated soil containing up to 8,000 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170105/p2a/00m/0na/007000c

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

January 5 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ 2016 was the hottest year on record globally. While the world
is still waiting for confirmation of just how high the record was, there’s a lot of data to digest from the US. Nearly every square inch of the country was dramatically warmer than normal, and 85% of extreme temperature records set in 2016 were record highs. [CleanTechnica]

Percentages of hot versus cold records Percentages of temperature records set that were for hot weather

¶ Evidence the earth experienced a slowdown in global warming over the past couple of decades has been further eroded with a new US study confirming climate change continues unabated. NOAA found the oceans had warmed at the rate of 0.12° per decade since 2000, or nearly twice the previous estimate. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

¶ One of the world’s largest ocean circulation systems may not be as stable as believed, according to a…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The tipping point for climate change is nigh upon us #auspol 

jpratt27

The tipping point for climate change is nigh upon us
All this while climate change seemed like the mountain was far enough. But time is running out and we don’t seem to be concerned about the impending crash


Up until now, the conversation on the issue of climate change has almost always been hopeful. In various rounds of international negotiations, we have looked into the future and said that if we cap global carbon emissions, we will be able to stall temperature increases. While the “if” part of that conversation has been the proverbial can that has been conveniently kicked down the road time and again, the tone has generally been optimistic.
President-elect Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House is going to change things, however. While businessman-Trump, in 2009, had undersigned a full-page advertisement in The New York Times supporting President Barack Obama’s efforts to drum up a climate…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The “Nuclear Industry as Climate Hero” Spin, Spin and Spun again doesn’t make it true…here is why.

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The following is a message from Steamboat Andy he draws our attention to a great book by Kristin Shrader-Frechette which exposes the industry lies about their heroic climate saviour status used as justification for diabolic new build.

“ok, so at the heart of the climate change case for expanding atomic energy is the climate necessity argument,the claim that, because nuclear generation of electricity is carbon free, it is needed to help address CC, Note that the nuke industry have trimmed the figures down to including only stage 7 of a 14 stage nuclear fuel cycle, These stages are

(1) mining uranium ore- or leaching it out,by using hundreds of metric tons of chemicals such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid and ammonia.
(2) milling the ore to extract the roughly 0.2 percent uranium oxide from it.
(3) converting the uranium oxide to gaseous uranium hexafluoride by means of fluorine.
(4) enriching…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

January 4 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Trump’s climate-policy rollback may not be easy” • The US treasury is being offered millions in wind energy project bids. The wind industry creates huge numbers of jobs, and wind-farm technician is America’s fastest-growing occupation. The US President-elect’s promise of a rollback on climate-change policy may not come easy. [ETEnergyworld.com]

Wind farm Wind farm

Science and Technology:

¶ Renewable energy is on the rise, with the biggest development being the Paris Climate Agreement that all UN members signed. However, a study by researchers at Duke University indicates that green technology proliferation needs to increase by a factor of ten in order to have any lasting effect on reducing greenhouse gasses. [EconoTimes]

¶ Blooming rhododendrons, with their conspicuous displays of deep red or pale pink flowers, have always heralded the arrival of spring in the Himalayas. Now, however, this has undergone a dramatic change, as peak flowering…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Trump’s Presidency Is So Terrifying for Climate Change #auspol 

jpratt27


My name is Xiuhtezcatl. I’m 16 years old, and the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization empowering young people around the world to act for climate justice. Even though I’m too young to vote, I understand that the decisions out of the White House can have a powerful impact on the kind of world we will be left with. On many of the issues I care most about, including climate change, President Obama and administrations before him have not done nearly enough. With that said, the transition into a Donald Trump presidency has been nothing short of surreal.

Trump has filled his cabinet with corporate billionaires and oil tycoons — many of whom are charged with running federal agencies they don’t believe in. The role of head of the Environmental Protection Agency has been offered to Scott Pruitt, a fossil-fuel-loving, climate-change skeptic who doesn’t believe in environmental protection. His…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NHK Japan Special Fukushima – Radioactive Forest via Japan Focus, Cornell University USA.

Nuclear Exhaust

Japan Focus: ”
Radioactive Forest, Radioactive Wild Life:
Fukushima and the Lessons of Chernobyl

We are providing a special bonus for Asia-Pacific Journal subscribers.

The following NHK Documentary provides a riveting visual perspective on the transformation of the Fukushima region, 230 kilometers North of Tokyo in the wake of the 3.11 triple disaster. Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant laid waste to the region which remains a wasteland to this day.

Wild animals are roaming the streets in a town evacuated since the Fukushima natural disaster. They seem intent on taking over the disaster community.

Are the flora and fauna in the forests suffering radioactive contamination? The film does not offer conclusive evidence, but it provides graphic presentation of the massive and continuing disaster facing Fukushima in light of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Forests remain contaminated by radioactive particles. Wildlife including wild boars and…

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January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FPL Wants to Store Radioactive Waste Under Our Drinking Water Supply

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar and wind power cheaper than fossil fuels for the first time

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Despite the low price, not enough money is being put into renewable ways of generating electricity

Article source with video and images; http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-and-wind-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-for-the-first-time-a7509251.html

Solar energy is now cheaper than traditional fossil fuels.

Solar and wind is now either the same price or cheaper than new fossil fuel capacity in more than 30 countries, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The influential foundaton has described the change as a “tipping point” that could make fighting climate change into a profitable form of business for energy companies.

But investors and energy firms are still failing to put money into such green solutions despite the fact that they are cheaper than more traditional forms of electricity generation, according to the same report.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point – it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming,” said Michael Drexler, Head of Long Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development at the World Economic Forum. “Solar and wind have just become very competitive, and costs continue to fall. It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns.”

Just ten years ago, generating electricity through solar cost about $600 per MWh, and it cost only $100 to generate the same amount of power through coal and natural gas. But the price of renewable sources of power plunged quickly – today it only costs around $100 the generate the same amount of electricity through solar and $50 through wind.

The cheap price of solar and wind energy is already encouraging companies to build more plants to harvest it. The US is adding about 125 solar panels every minute, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association and investment in renewables in 2015 rose to $286 billion, up 5 per cent from the year before.

Even despite that cheap price, the investment isn’t enough to counteract the catastrophic effects of global warming. The worldwide investment is only 25 per cent of the $1 trillion goal set in the landmark Paris climate change accord, and because of political problems with investments it can’t be hard to convince companies to put their cash into green power.

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putin hacks his own election, tarring Paris Accord with ExxonMobil oil

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Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson (left) and Vladimir Putin meet in 2012. (Photo: Kremlin Press Service)

As unholy alliances between US president-elect Donald Trump and the Kremlin go, none are more potentially disastrous for the environment, or critical to Vladimir Putin’s future, than his tapping of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.

The windfall Putin’s wretched economy would reap as a result of the appointment doesn’t take any dusting for digital fingerprints to detect, but Some have suggested Kremlin hacking could have been aimed at ensuring precisely an oil bonanza.

There’s a second perk in it for Putin that’s just as shrewd: assuring his own reelection in 2018 while incidentally trashing the Paris Agreement of 2015 to boot.

For Tillerson, that’s not a stretch. He’s waffled about climate change just like the blustering president elect. He’s on the record saying Paris was a good starting point to embrace carbon taxes, but has told his shareholders exactly the opposite.

Meanwhile his company is being probed for fraudulently misleading those same shareholders about the dangers of climate change even as its own scientists recognized them.

homepage-bg-tower (Photo: trumptowerny.com)

The numbers make it clearer: ExxonMobil’s financial forecasts don’t at all comply with limiting the rise of global temperatures to within 2 degrees Celsius, as spelled out in Paris. Against the background of the other plutocrats Trump is elevating to his cabinet, Tillerson fits right in.

And that’s exactly what Putin wants. In 2011, Tillerson negotiated a breathtaking $500 billion deal with Russia’s state oil company Rosneft, run by Putin’s KGB crony Igor Sechin.

The deal opened 63.7 million acres of Russian land for ExxonMobil to produce on, most of it in on the Arctic shelf, which is thought to contain 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. ExxonMobil also gets land in Western Siberia for shale as well as a chance to explore the Black Sea. The total haul over time could be worth as much as $8.2 trillion. In exchange, Rosneft’s shaky, outdated technology would get a needed upgrade to drill, frack and produce. Sold.

But the EU and the US put the brakes on the whole thing in 2014 when they sanctioned Russia for annexing Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and fomenting a proxy war in the country’s east.

The ExxonMobil deal was remarkable at a time when Putin had harried Royal Dutch Shell out of the Sakhalin III joint venture over an arcane environmental violation and pelted Rosneft partner BP with “sustained harassment.”

Putin had also eliminated Rosneft’s domestic competition. He’d imprisoned oil magnates Mikhail Kodorkovsky and, later, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, and gave the remains of their companies to Rosneft to cannibalize. He even jailed Economics Minister Alexei Ulyukayev last year to assure Sechin didn’t lose hold on the spoils of those baked prosecutions.

The misanthropic, byzantine landscape for oil speculation in Russia hasn’t gone entirely unnoticed by Tillerson. He went briefly on record in St Petersburg in 2008 to carp, with other big foreign CEOs, about respect for the rule of law in Russia and the functioning of the judiciary.

But by 2012, when Putin handed Tillerson the Kremlin’s Order of Friendship, the ExxonMobil chief had dropped his academic legal concerns and was enjoying, as the Wall Street Journal put it, the “closest ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” of any of the revolving door pageant contestants Trump considered for Secretary of State.

Trump’s antic anxieties over Russian hacks that might have propelled him to the presidency are incidental in the face of what’s so obvious: Russia and Exxon need each other and can enrich each other considerably, and Trump is in the middle, ready to make one of his “just tremendous” deals. Both have the world to gain.

As Vox pointed out, Exxon famously missed out on the fracking boom of the early 2000s and lifting the sanctions against Russia would let it make up for lost time and profit.

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The Eiffel Tower lighted during the Paris climate summit. (Photo: http://www.arc2020.eu)

For Putin, a repeal of the sanctions means nothing less than saving his economy. Nearly half the Kremlin budget comes from oil revenue, and that’s expected to dip in 2020, according to the Wilson Center.

Small wonder, then, that Russia as the world’s fifth biggest emitter, still hasn’t ratified the Paris Agreement, and it certainly doesn’t support the argument that saving the climate means keeping oil in the ground. America, the world’s second biggest emitter, has signed on, but as with all things pre-dating Trump, Trump has promised repeatedly to burn US participation in the agreement to the ground.

Falling oil revenue and adhering to Paris could gut the Russian economy all over again and mean unrest for Putin leading up to a reelection in 2018.

He was coy in an interview with 60 Minutes in September about whether he would run for the Kremlin again, saying it would depend on “the specific situation in the country, in the world and my own feelings about it.”

There’s a method to his theatrical caution. Could it have been to wait and see what happened in the US election and whether a hacking campaign directed against Trump’s opponent would have any effect? Were a Trump victory and a right wing swerve in Europe the situation in the world he was waiting on to announce his candidacy? Are his feelings now, post-Brexit, more positive with a malleable, posturing egotist in the White House and right wing confederates well placed to seize power in Germany, France, Greece and the Netherlands?

The circumstances hardly seem accidental. And, on Thursday, US intelligence officials will take to Capitol Hill in an effort to convince a Trump-cossetting Senate that they’re not. Bizarrely, much of that argument will involve discrediting backstairs Internet troll and fugitive Julian Assange.

Trump and Putin might not be able to wreck the Paris agreement individually. But, together, the stage they have set for reckless populism and plutocracy will cast a hopeless shadow on the agreement in its infancy. At an ExxonMobil shareholders meeting in 2013, Tillerson posed his view on climate change mitigation in the form of a rhetorical question: “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” Not so rhetorically, he and Putin seem willing to show us.

January 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment