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Swiss to vote on government’s anti-nuclear energy strategy

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The Swiss people will go to the polls on May 21st to decide whether the government’s ‘energy strategy 2050’ should go ahead.
The policy, which will instigate a gradual withdrawal from nuclear power in favour of renewable resources, is opposed by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) which in October launched a campaign to gather enough signatures to force a referendum on the matter.
On Tuesday the government confirmed that the SVP had gathered 68,390 valid signatures, well over the necessary threshold of 50,000, reported news agencies.
Consequently, in May the Swiss people will get the chance to have their say on the government’s energy plans.
The Energy Strategy 2050 was devised following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 and is spearheaded by energy minister and current Swiss President Doris Leuthard.
Under the plans no new nuclear power plants will be built in Switzerland and the five that do exist – including the world’s oldest operating reactor, Beznau I – will be decommissioned at the end of their technically safe operating life.
The strategy will also see a new focus on exploiting hydropower and other renewable resources such as wind and solar power, measures which require changes to the existing energy law.
On launching their referendum campaign last October the SVP said the strategy was irresponsible, invasive and would place a big burden on future generations.
Writing on its campaign website the SVP-led alliance against the strategy said Switzerland’s current energy provision was efficient and proven, and that the government’s plans were “a utopian, dangerous and excessive project”.
Renewable sources would never produce enough reliable energy at a cost-effective price to enable the country to abandon nuclear power, it added.
Last November the Swiss voted against a more extreme plan, backed by the Green Party but opposed by the government, which would have seen some of Switzerland’s nuclear power plants shut down as soon as this year.
The government argued that it needed more time to develop renewable energy sources sufficiently to be able to replace nuclear power.
Currently around 39 percent of Switzerland’s electricity needs are met by nuclear power, while 56 percent is generated through hydropower – the country’s most important domestic source of energy.
Historically that figure has been far higher; in the 1970s almost 90 percent of Swiss electricity was produced through hydropower, prior to the construction of most of the country’s nuclear power plants.

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February 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Convenient Acccounts of Fukushima Radiation Exposure Ignore Glaring Issue

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Every time I read something about the Fukushima disaster my blood pressure rises.

For example, recent efforts to represent (hypothesized) remnants of melted fuel rods in unit 2 as evidence of containment is revealed as misleading when one considers the size of the reactor (larger than a bus) and the amount of fuel contained within unit 2’s:

Justin McCurry January 30, 2017, Possible nuclear fuel find raises hopes of Fukushima plant breakthrough. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/possible-nuclear-fuel-find-fukushima-plant

Operator says it has seen what may be fuel debris beneath badly damaged No 2 reactor, destroyed six years ago in triple meltdown

Hopes have been raised for a breakthrough in the decommissioning of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after its operator said it may have discovered melted fuel beneath a reactor, almost six years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said on Monday that a remote camera appeared to have found the debris beneath the badly damaged No 2 reactor, where radiation levels remain dangerously high. Locating the fuel is the first step towards removing it. The operator said more analysis would be needed before it could confirm that the images were of melted uranium fuel rods, but confirmed that the lumps were not there before Fukushima Daiichi was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011. 

The amount of fuel contained of fuel in those reactors was substantial. If TEPCO had found all, or most, of the melted reactor fuel they would know it.

According to a November 16 report by Tepco titled, ‘Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuel at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station,’[i] as of March 2010 the Daini site held 1,060 tons of spent uranium fuel. The total spent uranium fuel inventory at Daiichi in March 2010 was reported as 1,760 tons. The 2010 report asserts that approximately 700 spent fuel assemblies are generated every year.[ii] The report specifies that Daiichi’s 3,450 assemblies are stored in each of the six reactor’s spent fuel pools. The common spent fuel pool contains 6291 assemblies. The amount of MOX fuel stored at the plant has not been reported.

I suspect that TEPCO knows that most of the fuel is gone from unit 2’s reactor containment and that what remains is a fraction of the total load, which was either dispersed in the explosions or has left the building.

But what bothers me even more than obfuscation around missing fuel are misleading accounts of radiation exposure.

Case in point:  The article published in CNBC below last week alleges that Fukushima radiation exposure was “far lower” than previously found:

Robert Ferris. Jan 24, 2017. Fukushima radiation levels far lower than previously thought, study finds. CNBC.Com, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/24/fukushima-radiation-levels-far-lower-than-previously-thought-study-finds.html

Radiation levels remaining from the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appear to be a small fraction of what previous measurements suggested, according to a recently published study that followed levels in tens of thousands of people living near the site of the accident.

Science magazine highlighted the research Monday, calling it the first study to measure individual radiation levels in locals following a major nuclear disaster. The study was published in the peer reviewed Journal of Radiological Protection in December.  

I’ve seen this type of headline before so I was immediately suspicious. I pulled up the journal article and found a glaring issue that problematizes the validity of this conclusion that radiation levels were lower than previously calculated.

Here is the glaring issue ignored in the CNBC’s optimistic headline: The radiation monitoring badges were provided to residents in August of 2011. The disaster and radiation exposure began March 11, 2011.

Consequently, RESIDENTS WERE NOT GIVEN BADGES TO MEASURE EXPOSURE UNTIL FULLY 5 MONTHS AFTER exposure, a fact that is acknowledged in the title of the research article but ignored in the news coverage:

Makoto Miyazaki and Ryugo Hayano. 2017. Individual external dose monitoring of alltizens of Date City by passive dosimeter 5 to 51 months after the FukushimaNPP accident (series): 1. Comparison of individual dose with ambient dose rate monitored by aircraft surveys. J. Radiol. Prot. 37 1(http://iopscience.iop.org/0952-4746/37/1/1) http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6498/37/1/1/pdf

For the measurement of individual external doses, Date City distributed individual dosim-eters (radio-photoluminescence (RPL) glass dosimeters: Glass Badge) to kindergarten-, elementary- and junior high school-children in August 2011. The target group was subsequently enlarged as the production capacity of the supplier increased, and the measurements are still ongoing

How is it possible to conclude that exposure was lower than previously thought when the evidence for that claim is generated from a study that excludes the first 5 months of exposure?

Truth has an especially slippery feel when it comes to Fukushima….

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REFERENCES

[i] It is worth noting that although this report was produced on 10/26/2010, the file properties indicate the document was modified on 3/13/2011: Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Casks and Spent Fuels at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (16 November 2010), http://www.nirs.org/reactorwatch/accidents/6-1_powerpoint.pdf

[ii] Integrity Inspection of Dry Storage Cask.

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/02/convenient-acccounts-of-fukushima.html

 

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

$200 Million More Invested Into Right wing Sized “Advanced” Nuclear Power using old tech LOL

“…..Two main drawbacks have limited its use. 1) Its melting point is substantially higher than sodium. 2) Nickel, a common alloying material in stainless steel, is soluble in hot lead, leading to serious material concerns in a relatively short period of time……..By limiting operating temperature to 450 C the designers are confident that SEALERs using the new alloy will be able to operate reliably for as long as 30 years. That confidence, of course, will be something that LeadCold will have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the regulatory agency……”

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/rodadams/2017/02/01/200-million-more-invested-into-right-sized-advanced-nuclear-power/#16e665523a31

LeadCold and Essel Group ME have announced an agreement for a $200 million (USD) investment to build uranium-fueled power sources. Their systems, trademarked SEALER, are designed to compete with diesel generators to supply dependable power to communities and industries in remote areas of the world.

SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) is a fast spectrum nuclear reactor that uses low enriched uranium oxide fuel (19.5%) cooled by molten lead.

The companies involved describe their agreement as enabling “…LeadCold to license and construct the first privately-funded lead-cooled nuclear power plant.”

Who Are These New Players In The North American Advanced Nuclear Industry?

LeadCold is a Swedish-Canadian company spun out of the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm. VINNOVA (The Swedish Innovation Agency) has been supporting applied science, materials research and systems engineering at KTH for lead-cooled systems since 1996.

That long-term effort resulted in a materials breakthrough that now supports a commercial product development effort. Lead has been an intriguing nuclear plant coolant option since the beginning of the Atomic Age, but it has a few characteristics that have – up to now – limited its utility.

Essel Group ME is a wholly owned subsidiary of Essel Group, a 90-year old multinational conglomerate headquartered in India with a wide array of subsidiary companies that operate in high technology, infrastructure, logistics, media and packaging.

Essel Group ME focuses its investments in subsidiaries companies in natural resources, education, logistics and industrial supply in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Their business focus gives them ample opportunities to experience both the importance of reliable power and the logistical challenge of supplying it to remote areas of the world. They know that electricity often costs ten times as much in a mining outpost in northern Canada or central Africa than it does even in high-cost grid-connected areas.

Why Canada?

Continue reading

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tepco’s termination of supply contract contested by Canada-based uranium producer Cameco

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Cameco to contest Tepco’s termination of supply contract

Cameco announced today that Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) has issued a termination notice for a uranium supply contract with Cameco Inc that it does not accept. “Cameco Inc sees no basis for terminating the contract, considers Tepco to be in default, and will pursue all its legal rights and remedies,” the Saskatchewan, Canada-based uranium producer said.

The Japanese utility confirmed yesterday it would not accept a uranium delivery scheduled for 1 February and would not withdraw the contract termination notice it provided to Cameco on 24 January, according to Cameco’s statement. Tepco alleges that an event of ‘force majeure’ has occurred because it has been unable to operate its nuclear generating plants for 18 consecutive months due to government regulations arising from the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011.

“We are surprised and disappointed that Tepco is seeking to terminate its contract given all the past productive discussions we have had to date,” said Tim Gitzel, president and CEO of Cameco. “For the past six years we have worked in good faith with Tepco to restructure this contract, and would continue to do so if there was any basis for a commercial resolution. During the past week we tried to engage Tepco to obtain clarification given conflicting information we had received previously from them and only received confirmation of their intent to terminate the contract yesterday.”

Cameco will “vigorously pursue” remedies to recover value for its shareholders and other stakeholders, Gitzel added.

Under the contract, Tepco has already received and paid for 2.2 million pounds of uranium since 2014. The termination would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, worth about $1.3 billion in revenue to Cameco, including about $126 million in each of 2017, 2018 and 2019 based on 855,000 pounds of deliveries in each of those years. In 2017, Cameco’s consolidated revenue, including the Tepco volume, is expected to range between $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion.

Cameco said it will be “moving expeditiously” to enforce its rights under the uranium supply contract to recover losses arising from Tepco’s actions.

“As with any commercial dispute, it will take some time for a resolution to be achieved, particularly if it proceeds all the way to arbitration,” Cameco said.

The company, which is scheduled to release its annual results after markets close on 9 February, said it has “sufficient financial capacity” to manage any loss of revenue in 2017 as a result of the dispute.

A spokesman for Tepco said: “We have terminated the uranium concentrate supply agreement with Cameco by giving written notice to Cameco in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement. We are aware that Cameco is showing their objection to our assertion of termination. However, our notice complies with the agreement and we will take appropriate action.”

http://www.freep.com/story/news/2017/02/01/trump–nuclear-waste-lake-huron/97346178

Tepco scraps uranium supply contract with Canada’s Cameco

Feb 1 Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp said on Wednesday that Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) , the operator of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, had scrapped its uranium supply contract with the company.

Shares of Cameco slid 12.2 percent to C$14.55 in early trading on Wednesday.

The company, one of the world’s largest uranium producers, said it considered Tepco’s move to terminate the contract unfair and that it would pursue legal action.

Cameco said Tepco cited a force majeure for ending the contract as it had been unable to operate its nuclear plants for 18 straight months due to Japanese regulations arising from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The company said it was notified of the contract termination by Tepco last week.

Tepco’s termination of the contract would affect about 9.3 million pounds of uranium deliveries through 2028, worth about C$1.3 billion ($995.41 million) in revenue to Cameco, the Saskatoon, Canada-based company said.

Cameco’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization could take a 10-15 percent hit in the near-term as a result of the Tepco dispute, said Edward Sterck, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

Tepco’s move comes amid a fall in demand for uranium that is largely a result of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, which led to shutdowns of all of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

Some reactors have since come back online, but global inventories of the radioactive metal remain high.

Cameco warned late last year that the uranium market would remain depressed until Japan’s nuclear reactors were restarted and excess supply was depleted.

Cameco also said it expected 2017 revenue of C$2.1 billion to C$2.2 billion, inclusive of Tepco’s volume, adding that it could withstand any potential loss of revenue this year from the dispute.

http://www.reuters.com/article/cameco-contract-tep-hldg-idUSL4N1FM35I

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

UK will be outside nuclear accident liability regime

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From Dr Paul Dorfman, University College London, UK

1 Feb 2017

Sir, Tom Greatrex (Letters, January 31) says that the UK quitting the European nuclear safety regime Euratom won’t impact on our nuclear safety. I find it hard to share his optimism. This is because we will not be part of the new EU nuclear accident liability regime — which will be €2.5bn per accident. Given current UK nuclear accident liability cover is a meagre £164m, one wonders how we remain better protected?

https://www.ft.com/content/d3c237b6-e7b5-11e6-893c-082c54a7f539

UK nuclear groups whinging like F&^K!! UK Government tries to defend itself against nuclear compensation claims regardless!

The pro nuclear organisations are panicking and showing symptoms of Brexitphobia (such as whining) as the UK prepares to withdraw from Euratom Treaty and are pulling out all the stops to reverse the situation. In the article below from the Weinberg Next Nuclear Foundation they even claim that leaving Euratom is not necessary even if the UK commits to Brexit. Research foundations and even anti nuclear assessments are included in their press release below.

The question is why is the UK are leaving the treaty? One reason could be that according to the new EU radiation protection legislation just being enacted by the German Government which rolls all the present legislation into one law and next year it will include making parts of the Euratom treaty Legal and binding.

A second point to note is that a new “Medical Physics Expert” (MPE) position has been accepted and that this will be an expert who will have cross boundary recognition which means that a German, Italian etc Expert  checking out the UK`s compliance with the provisions of all new EU nuclear regulations (and Vise Versa).

Thirdly by withdrawing from Euratom and the EU, there is another treaty that the UK is being recently queried about called ESPOO (The cross border contamination treaty). The UK is being asked to explain itself by Norway and some other countries in relation to the nuclear reprocessing plant Sellafield and the UK`s new nuclear builds. [ I will leave copy and pastes to the links to the ESPOO treaty regulation and MPE issues under the Weinberg panicking  article].

Given all the above it would seem that the UK has some secrets to hide and pulling out of these treaties would be to its advantage (The ESPOO treaty 1991 states that non EU state members need not fulfill the requirements).

When we consider the moves by UK experts to minimise the threat of radiation allowing 100 mSv/y instead of the normal 1 mSv/y because of the risk of legal actions against UK nuclear contaminated sites and interests in Japan (after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011) etc, we should consider this to be a defensive move against litigation, such as the British Nuclear Test Veterans legal challenges where foreign experts were dismissed out of hand by the UK supreme court  (The report was released a week before Christmas day) and the same battle is being fought over the increased Thyroid cancer cases in Japan (That the UK experts are supporting the “no damage due to radiation” defense).

It is interesting that the UK will risk research funding for the new reactor in Oxford etc to save itself (and the Japanese government) against the possibility of massive compensation damages. The UK is presently using its expert Geraldine Thomas to reduce the thyroid cancer checks in Fukushima prefecture and stopping the expansion of these tests to surrounding prefectures just when an increase is likely to be found and Japanese experts are rallying against this move by the Japanese and UK government experts. Another one of tne of the defenses for their position is the Radiophobia argument that has been debunked by many independent radation experts in articles and papers (reference WHOi the Independent World health Organisation for instance).

Lastly, the European commission is challenging tender procedures for renewables and gas energy sources and Euratoms right to overide this aspect of EU regulation (reference search terms on Euratom Belarus Hungary commission in the http://www.euractiv.com website for updated information). And of course the EURATOM considerations on health effects is being challenged because of new scientific evidence that has come to light (re-justification of Euratom link below).

Arclight2011 aka Shaun McGee

https://europeannewsweekly.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/uk-nuclear-groups-whinging-like-fk-uk-government-tries-to-defend-itself-against-nuclear-compensation-claims-regardless/

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Images indicate bigger challenge for TEPCO at Fukushima plant

A video taken on Jan. 30 shows the bottom of the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Water used to cool the nuclear fuel is dripping, and possible melted fuel is seen strewn on grating for maintenance work. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

 

If confirmed, the first images of melted nuclear fuel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant show that Tokyo Electric Power Co. will have a much more difficult time decommissioning the battered facility.

The condition of what is believed to be melted fuel inside the No. 2 reactor at the plant appears far worse than previously thought.

Before the pictures were taken by a remote-controlled video camera on Jan. 30, TEPCO presumed that most of the nuclear fuel at the No. 2 reactor had remained within the reactor’s pressure vessel. That presumption was based on findings of a study conducted last year involving cosmic rays.

As a result, TEPCO did not expect the camera to detect possible nuclear fuel debris below the pressure vessel.

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But the images showed black lumps scattered on a wire-mesh grating in the lower part of the containment vessel, which encloses the pressure vessel. This indicates that the fuel melted through bottom of the pressure vessel, spilled through the grating and fell on the floor of the containment vessel.

 

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This image of the area below the No. 2 reactor’s pressure vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant was taken on Jan. 30. Experts believe nuclear fuel melted the paint and components of equipment nearby and has hardened. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

 

The grating, which was used by maintenance workers before the disaster, was partially bent.

The images could show only part of the melted fuel in the No. 2 reactor. And there is still no indication on how widespread the black lumps were strewn, their volume and state.

TEPCO and government authorities in fiscal 2018 plan to decide on a method to retrieve the melted fuel from each of the three crippled reactors and start the removal work in 2021.

But a number questions remain unanswered, such as how to reduce workers’ radiation exposure, where the removed fuel will be kept, and when it will be disposed of.

The pictures raise another question: How will workers cut out the wire-mesh grating embedded with lumps of melted fuel?

The images were the first of possible nuclear fuel debris at the nuclear plant since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami caused the triple meltdown there in March 2011.

 

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Sasori (Scorpion), an investigative robot, is expected to be sent in the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in February.

 

High radiation levels have prevented workers from entering the No. 2 reactor, as well as the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors at the plant.

A number of problems have hampered investigations by robots into the location of melted fuel at the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701310073.html

 

 

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Niigata governor Ryuichi Yoneyama stands firm against restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant

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Ryuichi Yoneyama, governor of Niigata Prefecture, poses for a photograph in Tokyo on Jan. 23.

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love.

Previously an advocate for nuclear power, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata Prefecture.

He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

Changing my opinion wasn’t an instant realization,” Yoneyama said in an interview. “It was gradual. As people say, you don’t know the exact moment you’ve fallen in love.”

Yoneyama won’t support the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture until an investigation is complete into the chain of events that resulted in the triple meltdown at Fukushima No. 1, which he visited Wednesday. While utilities don’t need approval from local authorities to restart plants, power companies are tradition-bound not to move ahead until they get their consent.

Yoneyama, a 49-year-old doctor and native of Niigata, is one of the highest-profile local opponents pitted against a political establishment led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The establishment sees nuclear power as crucial for the country’s long-term energy security and environmental goals.

Regulations and public opinion are keeping nearly all of Japan’s atomic stations shut almost six years after the meltdowns at Fukushima, where the search has barely begun for fuel that burned through to the bottom of the reactors.

If the local governor remains firmly opposed to the restart, it will be very difficult for the reactors to come back online,” said James Taverner, an analyst at IHS Markit Ltd. “In addition to the local government, building the support and trust of local residents is key.”

A Kyodo News poll on the day of Yoneyama’s October election showed about 64 percent of Niigata voters opposed the restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, known popularly as KK. The restart of the facility was one of the key issues in the race to replace Gov. Hirohiko Izumida, who was famous for his tough stance against Tepco. He unexpectedly announced in August that he wouldn’t seek a fourth term.

To the residents of the prefecture, Yoneyama was the candidate who would make nuclear safety a priority, while his main opponent gave off the vibe that he was a member of the reactor restarts camp, the former governor said by email.

In last year’s gubernatorial race in Kagoshima Prefecture, where Kyushu Electric Power Co. operates the Sendai nuclear plant, a three-term incumbent was defeated by an opponent campaigning to temporarily close the reactors. A district court last year barred Kansai Electric Power Co. from running two reactors at its Takahama station in Fukui Prefecture only weeks after they’d been turned back on.

Yoneyama supported bringing back online Japan’s reactors during his unsuccessful bid in 2012 for a seat in the Lower House. The country was being forced to spend more on fossil fuel imports after the disaster, so restarting the plants was needed to help the economy recover, he said at the time.

Though Yoneyama’s position switch helped secure his first electoral victory after four failed campaigns for the Diet, nuclear opponents see him driven by more than political opportunism.

I had my reservations about Yoneyama,” said Takehiko Igarashi, an official at the Niigata division of the anti-nuclear group Nakusou Genpatsu. “But after he was vetted and endorsed by the Japanese Communist Party and other smaller parties that have an anti-nuclear slant, I knew that I could trust him.”

Tepco and Abe’s government see restarting KK as one way for Japan’s biggest utility to boost profits and help manage its nearly ¥16 trillion ($139 billion) share of the Fukushima cleanup. Resuming reactors 6 and 7 will boost annual profits by as much as ¥240 billion, the utility has said.

The economic argument, however, is beginning to hold less sway, with Yoneyama saying the benefits to the local economy are “overstated.” While the prefecture risks missing out on ¥1.1 billion a year in government support without the restarts, that represents a small slice of the prefecture’s budget, which tops ¥1 trillion, according to Yoneyama.

Abe, a strong backer of nuclear power, leads a government aiming for nuclear to account for as much as 22 percent of the energy mix by 2030, compared with a little more than 1 percent now.

While restart opponents like Yoneyama demand the government guarantee the safety of the reactors, they’ve also criticized the evacuation and emergency response plans as inadequate.

In his first meeting with Tepco executives since taking office, Yoneyama earlier this month told Chairman Fumio Sudo and President Naomi Hirose that he won’t support KK’s restart until a new evacuation plan is drawn up using the results of a Fukushima investigation. Tepco will fully cooperate with the probe and stay in communication with the governor, the company said in response to a request for comment.

Once I realized that the Fukushima disaster couldn’t be easily resolved, of course my opinion changed,” Yoneyama said. “If another accident occurs, overseas tourism will become a distant dream. Even Japanese may flee the country.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/02/01/national/niigata-governor-ryuichi-yoneyama-stands-firm-against-restart-of-kashiwazaki-kariwa-plant/#.WJHSePLraM9

 

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Daiichi: Why It’s So Hard To Clean Up

I completely agree with my friend Kitty, I could not have said it better that in her own words:

“I remember when Arnie started publishing and appearing on TV about Fukushima. Arnie Gundersen quickly won me over with his objective and detailed description of the situation. We would be very in the dark if it were not for Arnie Gundersen, Maggie Gundersen and others.

Many nuclear power plants are shutting down because of their and others, primary reporting of the ongoing Fukushima Catastrophe. Many nuclear projects discontinued. More time on earth for us and our children. Maybe some help and solace to nuclear victims and refugees everywhere.

What Arnie said in the video about why Fukushima is so hard to cleanup, is because of the groundwater. there must be enough of the groundwater and debris out of reactor two, to get a good picture now. Tepco should be doing everything it can to keep groundwater put. this includes building a dike and wall as Arnie says.”

Thank you Arnie Gundersen, thank you Maggie Gundersen, thank you Fairwinds for all the good work you did over the past years and still are doing, very much appreciated by many people in many countries.

 

 

In this, the fourth installment in their short film series, from December 2013, Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen responds to questions they have received about cleanup at Fukushima Daiichi. Please consider supporting their work, so they can continue to bring us the truth about nuclear power.

http://www.fairewinds.org/nuclear-energy-education/fukushima-daiichi-hard-clean?rq=elephant

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Cheap Nuclear Power? – that dream is FINISHED !

nuclear-costs3The dream of cheap nuclear power is over, Crains, By: NOAH SMITH, January 31, 2017  For much of my text-relevantlife, I loved the idea of nuclear power. The science was so cool, futuristic and complicated, the power plants so vast and majestic. I devoured science-fiction novels like “Lucifer’s Hammer,” where a plucky nuclear entrepreneur restarts civilization after a comet almost wipes us out. I thought of accidents like Three Mile Island and even Chernobyl as stumbling blocks to a nuclear future.

Then, in 2011, two things happened. First, a tsunami knocked out the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, forcing a mass evacuation and costing Japan hundreds of billions of dollars. Second, I learned that progress in solar power had been a lot faster and steadier than I had realized. I started taking a closer look at whether nuclear was really the future of energy. Now I’m pretty convinced that my youthful fantasies of a nuclear world won’t come true anytime soon.

Safety is part of the problem — but a much smaller part than most people realize…….

The biggest problem with nuclear isn’t safety — it’s cost. The economics of nuclear are almost certain to keep it a marginal part of the energy mix, especially in the U.S.

Many energy sources involve relatively small upfront costs. To increase solar power, just build more panels. Fracking also has lower fixed costs than traditional oil drilling. But nuclear’s fixed costs are enormous. A new nuclear plant in the U.S. costs about $9 billion to build — more than 1,000 times as much as a new fracking well, and more than 3,000 times as much as the world’s biggest solar plant.

Raising $9 billion is a daunting obstacle. It’s more money than Apple Inc., the U.S.’s most valuable company, borrowed in 2016.The plucky young entrepreneur raising enough money to build his own nuclear plant in “Lucifer’s Hammer” was pure fantasy; in reality, nuclear plants get build by giant corporations such as General Electric Co. and Toshiba Corp., with huge assistance from the government in the form of loan guarantees.

It’s hard to raise money for projects with giant fixed costs and long horizons for repayment, because they’re inherently risky. If something goes badly wrong with the project, all of that up-front money is lost. If competition makes a project un-economical in five or 10 years in the future, the financiers will take a big loss. It’s very hard to make predictions of more than a few years, especially about competing technologies.

For nuclear power, that’s the main risk — rapid advances in competing technologies. Solar power is already cheap and is plunging in price, while energy storage is also becoming much more affordable. If these trends continue, a nuclear power plant that’s economical today will be out-competed in a few years. In other words, there will be no way the owner could recover the fixed costs.

What’s worse, nuclear doesn’t look like it’s getting any cheaper. A recent paper by the Breakthrough Institute shows that in most countries, nuclear costs haven’t changed much in recent decades: Constant or rising nuclear construction costs, matched with dramatically falling solar and storage costs, mean that anyone who ponies up the $9 billion to build a nuclear plant today is taking a gargantuan risk.

Another source of risk is safety — not the well-known threats of accidents and storage leaks, but the unknown unknowns. If terrorists figure out how to bomb nuclear plants, or hackers find ways to invade their software and cause them to melt down, the destruction could be catastrophic. But no one really knows how likely or remote those threats will be a decade from now. And even if those risks can be prevented, doing so will probably will cause large unanticipated costs.

So nuclear power hasn’t become the futuristic dream technology the old science-fiction novels envisioned. Instead, it’s a huge, risky government-subsidized corporate boondoggle. Someday we may have fusion power or small, cheap fission reactors, and the old dream of nuclear will be realized. But unless one of those breakthrough technologies comes to fruition, nuclear isn’t the power of tomorrow.

Noah Smith writes for Bloomberg View.  http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20170131/OPINION/170139969/the-dream-of-cheap-nuclear-power-is-over?utm%5C_source=OPINION&utm%5C_medium=rss&utm%5C_campaign=chicagobusiness

February 1, 2017 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Britain’s Moorside nuclear project might not go ahead, now that Toshiba is in such a financial mess

This includes the proposed nuclear new build at Moorside, near Sellafield.

Last month Toshiba announced its US subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric, may have overpaid – by several billion dollars – for another nuclear construction and services business. Following this, its shares fell dramatically.

Toshiba confirmed yesterday it is now reviewing its involvement in all other overseas projects as a way of dealing with this situation. It also plans to sell its semiconductor business.

Its president and chief executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said: “Going forward, we will revise the positioning of the nuclear business as our main focus business in the energy sector, and review the future of nuclear businesses outside Japan.”…….

Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “I would be very concerned if this had any impact on NuGen.

“We will be seeking further information about their position and will be concerned if they is any effect on what would be the biggest single private sector investment that Cumbria has ever seen.”

To compound matters, Toshiba is also embroiled in an accounting scandal and it was yesterday announced that several Japanese banks may be about to launch a lawsuit against it.

A decision on whether to proceed with Moorside is due in 2018……http://www.in-cumbria.com/Doubts-on-Cumbrian-nuclear-project-bad89e7b-4e16-4895-b1ad-7c48a357166e-ds

February 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Donald Trump gives right-wing investment banker Breitbart News firebrand a top security role!

exclamation-Flag-USABannon Is Given Security Role Usually Held for Generals JAN. 29, 2017 WASHINGTON — The whirlwind first week of Donald J. Trump’s presidency had all the bravura hallmarks of a Stephen K. Bannon production.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, USA | Leave a comment

A personal story of nuclear radiation, cancer and death

radiation-emanatingJames Knieling  no high level international nuclear waste dump in south australia, 30 Jan 17 

 Funny thing about Radiation debris, once it drops into your house, its like the “Relatives Visiting From Hell!” I watched the biggest ever above ground Nuke go off from 75-miles away, while my dad hoisted it into position at the Mercury’s Nevada Test Site. *It was dark with only the lights of Fremont Street’s Casinos at 0530 and then the brightest light you ever did not look at went on. Then a 50mph wind struck us, and it felt like a hundred little bee stings on my bare arms, legs, and face

Then it was gone. About 20-years later they found Nuclear Hot Particles in the attics of our street. My dad built and operated 67-above ground nuclear bomb hoists in 1956-7. He died of his exposure, never being warned that his badge had gone red hot, with Small Cell Lung & Bone Cancer.

My field was Radiation Health Technology to work at the Nevada Test Site so when I had the chance to go to Bikini Atoll and see all the on-site data and films I went. I went on the 60-yr post-blast and we took reading for a week. The coconuts were lethal, the coconut crabs were lethal, the ground was, even with 17″ of protection fill, still off gassing lethal hot particles.

We were billeted in structures built several feet off the ground with blowers underneath to vent the radiation. We were told not to walk bare foot, and not sit, or linger on the ground. We were told to “Never, Ever turn off the A/C and Never, Ever to shut the fresh air vent!” Funny thing about being safe to visit. Only a 150+ people had a problem with the “OK to Visit” notice, and they dropped dead. See the sign below from the Bikinian Cemetery? Guess who’s in it? Answer~!The Bikinians the US Govt suckered as “Its safe to come home!” Not, they started dropping like flies! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1314655315214929/

February 1, 2017 Posted by | health, PERSONAL STORIES, USA | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s financial woes continue – about to be sued by trust banks

legal actiontext-relevantTrust banks preparing to sue Toshiba – report   http://www.channelnomics.com/channelnomics-us/news/3003570/trust-banks-preparing-to-sue-toshiba-report Vendor also preparing to sell part of its memory business, Scharon Harding, 30 Jan 17, Toshiba may be hit with lawsuits from Japanese trust banks that could total over 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) over the accounting scandal it endured in 2015, Reuters reports.

According to the report, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corp. said today it is getting ready to sue the Japanese vendor in the name of its clients’ pension funds after revelations the vendor had been exaggerating profits caused share prices to drop.

Reuters added that Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co. are organizing “similar” lawsuits, according to anonymous sources.

News of the potential lawsuits comes three days after Toshiba announced plans to sell parts of its memory business, including its SSD business, by 31 Marcch. The move is an attempt to minimize damage from an upcoming writedown for its U.S. nuclear business that could reach billions, according to CNBC.

Toshiba is already facing a pile of cases in relation to findings that the company’s bookkeeping practices led to the overstating of profits by over 170 billion yen (about $1.4 billion) by 45 institutional investors for 16.7 billion yen ($146 million) and 15 Japanese entities totaling 15.3 billion yen ($134 million), Reuters said.

February 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Thorium nuclear power was a commercial failure- nothing to do with nuclear weapons, as pro nukers pretend

Thorium-pie-in-skyThorium Reactors: Fact and Fiction, Skeptoid  These next-generation reactors have attracted a nearly cultish following. Is it justified?   by Brian Dunning  Skeptoid Podcast #555  January 24, 2017

Podcast transcript     “………True or False? Thorium reactors were never commercially developed because they can’t produce bomb material.

This is mostly false, although it’s become one of the most common myths about thorium reactors. There are other very good reasons why uranium-fueled reactors were developed commercially instead of thorium-fueled reactors. If something smells like a conspiracy theory, you’re always wise to take a second, closer look.

When we make weapons-grade Pu239 for nuclear weapons, we use special production reactors designed to burn natural uranium, and only for about three months, to avoid contaminating it with Pu240. Only a very few reactors were ever built that can both do that and generate electricity. The rest of the reactors out there that generate electricity could have been any design that was wanted. So why weren’t thorium reactors designed instead? We did have some test thorium-fueled reactors built and running in the 1960s. The real reason has more to do with the additional complexity, design challenges, and expense of these MSBR (molten salt breeder) reactors.

In 1972, the US Atomic Energy Commission published a report on the state of MSBR reactors. Here’s a snippet of what was found:

A number of factors can be identified which tend to limit further industrial involvement at this time, namely:

  • The existing major industrial and utility commitments to the LWR, HTGR, and LMFBR.
  • The lack of incentive for industrial investment in supplying fuel cycle services, such as those required for solid fuel reactors.
  • The overwhelming manufacturing and operating experience with solid fuel reactors in contrast with the very limited involvement with fluid fueled reactors.
  • The less advanced state of MSBR technology and the lack of demonstrated solutions to the major technical problems associated with the MSBR concept.

In short, the technology was just too complicated, and it never became mature enough.

It is, however, mostly true that, if we’re going to use a commercial reactor to get plutonium for a bomb, recycling spent fuel from a uranium reactor is easier, and you can get proper weapons-grade plutonium this way. It is possible to get reactor-grade plutonium from a thorium reactor that can be made into a bomb — one was successfully tested in 1962 — but it’s a much lower yield bomb and it’s much harder to get the plutonium.

The short answer is that reduced weapons proliferation is not the strongest argument for switching from uranium fuel to thorium fuel for power generation. Neither reactor type is what’s typically designed and used for bomb production. Those already exist, and will continue to provide all the plutonium that governments are ever likely to need for that purpose.

There’s every reason to take fossil fuels completely out of our system; we have such absurdly better options. If you’re like me and want to see this approach be a multi-pronged one, one that major energy companies, smaller community providers, and individual homeowners can all embrace, then advocate for nukes. You don’t need to specify thorium or liquid fuel or breeders; they’re already the wave of the future — a future which, I hope, will be clean, bright, and bountiful.  https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4555

February 1, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, thorium | 1 Comment

Fukushima is an Unresolved Nuclear Disaster – Former Advocate of Nuclear Power

Fukushima toiletJapan’s ‘Unresolved’ Disaster Sways Former Advocate of Nuclear Power, Bloomberg by  Stephen Stapczynski  and Emi Urabe, January 30, 2017,
  • Niigata governor witholding support for world’s biggest plant
  • Tepco sees restart as way to help pay Fukushima clean-up costs

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love.

Previously an advocate for nuclear power in Japan, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata. He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

“Changing my opinion wasn’t an instant realization,” Yoneyama said in an interview. “It was gradual. As people say, you don’t know the exact moment you’ve fallen in love.”

Yoneyama won’t support the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata until an investigation is complete into the chain of events that resulted in the triple meltdown at Fukushima, which he plans to visit Wednesday. While utilities don’t need approval of local authorities to restart plants, Japanese power companies are tradition-bound not to move ahead until they get their consent……

In last year’s gubernatorial race for the southern prefecture of Kagoshima, where Kyushu Electric Power Co. operates the Sendai nuclear plant, a three-term incumbent was defeated by an opponent campaigning to temporarily close the reactors. A district court last year barred Kansai Electric Power Co. from running two reactors at its Takahama station in western Japan only weeks after they’d been turned back on……….

Tokyo Electric and Abe’s government see restarting KK as one way for Japan’s biggest utility to boost profits and help manage its nearly 16 trillion yen ($139 billion) share of the Fukushima cleanup. Resuming reactors No. 6 and No. 7 will boost annual profits by as much as 240 billion, the utility has said.

The economic argument, however, is beginning to hold less sway, with Yoneyama saying the benefits to the local economy are ‘overstated.’ While the prefecture risks missing out on 1.1 billion yen a year in government support without the restart, that represents a small slice of the prefecture’s budget, which tops 1 trillion yen, according to Yoneyama……..

“Once I realized that the Fukushima disaster couldn’t be easily resolved, of course my opinion changed,” Yoneyama said. “If another accident occurs, overseas tourism will become a distant dream. Even Japanese may flee the country.” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-29/japan-s-unresolved-disaster-sways-symbol-of-nuclear-opposition

February 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment