The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

February 23 Energy News



¶ For the first time ever, a study by climate research institute Climate Analytics calculated what a cost-effective fossil fuel exit strategy would look like. The study focused on keeping global warming at 1.5° C until the end of this century. All coal-fired power plants in the EU need to be shut down by 2030, but that is just a start. [Deutsche Welle]

The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions  is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables. The cheapest way to reduce fossil fuel emissions
is to phase out coal and replace it with renewables.

¶ The German city of Stuttgart will have occasional selective bans of diesel cars during periods of high pollution beginning in 2018, state officials in Baden-Württemberg say. The intent of the selective-bans is to limit diesel pollution within the state’s capital city during periods when air pollution levels are already quite high. [CleanTechnica]

¶ A ComRes survey has found 85% of British adults are…

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February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Population Mixing” and Moorside – No One Wants to Talk! WHY?



Tim Farron has written on behalf of Radiation Free Lakeland to the Director of Public Health Cumbria County Council Colin Cox, Regarding construction of Moorside and “Population Mixing.”

“Population mixing” is a red herring used to explain the up to 20 times (Maryport) and 10 times (Seascale) acknowledged excess in cancers on the West Coast of Cumbria. IF the government will not take responsibility for radioactive emissions as a cause of excess cancer then it must take responsibility for its belief that “population mixing” is the cause of excess cancers. The public should be warned.

Radiation  Free Lakeland has written to all the prospective parliamentary candidates for Copeland on this crucial matter of public health- not one has replied.

Correspondence with Tim Farron MP below

Our Ref: Birk004/52/jag>…

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February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

February 22 Energy News



¶ “How South Australia can function reliably while moving to 100% renewable power” • Despite the criticism leveled at South Australia over its renewable energy ambitions, the state is aiming to be carbon neutral by mid-century, which will mean moving to 100% renewable electricity over the next 15-20 years. It can do that. [The Conversation AU]

Australian wind farm Australian wind farm


¶ Almost every railway station in India will soon be fed with solar power if the plans in India’s new union budget are implemented. The Indian Finance Minister announced that the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 MW of solar power capacity. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Energy company RWE has cancelled its dividend for the second successive year, after writedowns of €4.3 billion ($4.5 billion) on its power plants and a surprise…

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February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China delays nuclear reactor start again and again – Yawn!

Paris (AFP) Feb 21, 2017

Two nuclear reactors being built in the southern Chinese city of Taishan will come onstream months later than planned, said China General Nuclear Power (CGN), which runs the project together with France’s EDF.

“Taishan Nuclear recently organised a comprehensive evaluation on subsequent engineering construction plan and relevant risks, and after due consideration, it is decided to adjust the construction plan of Taishan project,” CGN said in a statement filed late Monday to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The reactors are of the so-called third-generation European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) type which has yet to go onstream anywhere in the world, and their start had been delayed once before, in 2016.

Britain in September gave the green light, with conditions, to EDF and CGN to build such a reactor an Hinkley Point, after a heated debate which included worries about China’s involvement.

Following EPR delays in Finland and in France, the two Chinese reactors are set to become the first of their type to go into service anywhere.

“The expected commercial operation of Taishan Unit 1 and Taishan Unit 2 are adjusted from the original first half of 2017 and the second half of 2017 to the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, respectively,” it said.

Construction of the Taishan plant started in 2009.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boom at Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet slowed by building delays – Sounds familiar?

arktika A mock up of the Arktika leading ships through icy waters. (Picture: Atomflot)

The number of convoys led by icebreakers through Russia’s Northern Sea route is up. A major icebreaker was sent for decommissioning, and radioactive waste was sent for storage has been cleaned out. Tugboats and ships are on the way. In short, business at Atomflot, Russia’s nuclear icebreaker port, is booming.

All of it is apparently progressing without any environmental side effects, according to a year-end review conducted by the company itself. Last year, Atomflot launched 410 vessels, equaling 5.2 million new tons of steel on the Arctic, up from 195 vessels in 2015.

Mustafa Kashka, Atomflot’s chief engineer, said that the port had for the first time shipped out its radioactive waste for storage and interment, saying the company was now working to not build up radioactive waste and spent fuel onsite.

Over the course of last year, the company sent 52 containers of radioactive waste to Russia’s National Operator for radioactive waste, known as NO RAO, in Sergeyev Posad region.

Atomflot also took steps toward the first dismantlement of a nuclear icebreaker ever, the Sibir, a project expected to begin at the Nerpa Shipyard north of Murmansk. It will be funded by a government program for nuclear and radiation safety. The project will provide a blueprint for future nuclear icebreaker dismantlement.

sibir The Sibir at the Atomflot port. (Photo: Anna Kireeva)

Kashka said the Sibir’s reactor would be removed this year and radioactive waste from the dismantlement procedures would get packed up for shipment to storage toward the end of November this year.

Atomflot last year signed contracts to build two icebreaking tugboats for liquefied natural gas projects on the Yamal Peninsula. The contract will further provide for port services and another two tugboats and a non-nuclear icebreaker for harbor use.

The icebreaking tugs were completed ahead of schedule in May, and the remaining vessels are expected by November of 2018.

Should the tugboat construction stick to schedule, it could revise the construction timetables for Russia’s enormous new icebreaker, the Arktika, whose launch was pushed back from 2017 to 2019 last year.

“The United Shipbuilding Corporation might not be able to complete new icebreakers if it doesn’t stop breaking with deadlines for other new vessels,” said Vyacheslav Ruksha, Atomflot’s general director, at a shipbuilding industry gathering.

He cited one icebreaker that is supposed to be launched by 2027, and predicted that if builders fell behind and failed to produce eight new icebreakers for Atomflot, the consequences for Russia’s oil drive in the Arctic might be lost.

Ruksha told the shipbuilders’ gathering that he thought their delays in getting new line icebreakers out the door resulted from the huge number of contractors involved in their construction.

In December, for instance, the Arktika was about 40 percent complete. In September, its two 175-megawatt reactors were installed.

At the meeting with Ruksha was United Shipbuilding Corporation Vice President Yevgeny Zagorodny, who admitted that the company was falling off schedule. But he blamed a total collapse of shipbuilding orders in the 1990s, which he said impacted the industrial production chain to this day.

He said he hoped all new icebreakers would appear on schedule, and that the company would “mobilize” to produce them over the course of the next 13 years.

As earlier, the new deadline for the Arktika was said at the gathering to be 2019. Following that, the Ural and Yamal new line icebreakers would be launched in 2020 and 2012, said Zagorodny. This means the launch of both these vessels has been pushed back by a year.

All three new line icebreakers are geared for clearing ice for convoys hauling ores, gas and oil around the Yamal and Gydansk Peninsulas along the Northern Sea Route across northern Russia. The icebreakers are designed not only to sail at sea but along river tributaries to the polar seas.

The newest icebreaker operating out of Atomflot is the 50 Let Pobedy, which launched in 2007.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Closing Richland nuclear plant would be a win for ratepayers, study says

By Ted Sickinger| The Oregonian/OregonLive
on February 18, 2017

Northwest ratepayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade if the Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Northwest shuttered the region’s only commercial nuclear power plant and replaced its electricity with renewable sources, a new study has found.

McCullough Research, a Portland-based consulting firm, estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over a 10-year span due to historically low prices for renewable energy.

“The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,” said economist Robert McCullough.  “It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities, like the 32-year old [Columbia Generating Station] … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.”

The report, commissioned by the anti-nuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility, is the latest of a series to question the safety, reliability and economics of the aging plant just north of Richland, Washington.

The Columbia Generating Station is all that’s left of a star-crossed plan to build five nuclear plants in the Northwest, a debacle that led to one of the largest municipal bond defaults in history. The Richland facility was the only one completed, and while it is an older design that has had a variety of operating issues, federal regulators recently cleared it to run through 2043.

The 1,200-megawatt nuclear plant is operated by a public utility consortium, Energy Northwest, and markets its power through the Bonneville Power Administration. Energy Northwest criticized the study’s findings, saying the plant had set generating records in four of the past five years.

“It has never run better, and the report faults CGS for what makes it so valuable: We make electricity around-the-clock,” said Mike Paoli, a spokesman for Energy Northwest. “With wind and solar, a lot of the generation happens at off-peak times. When peak demand comes, you have to have baseload generation to cover that.” Baseload generation refers to a consistent source of power to meet minimum power requirements.

The study modeled the capital, operating and fueling costs of the nuclear unit, comparing them with replacement expenses from solar and wind energy. The cost of renewable energy generation has declined precipitously in the past decade, which has made it a more economic choice for utilities.

But supplying energy is different than assuring capacity – making sure power is available when you need it. Most experts note that the Northwest wholesale markets are awash in energy, but could soon go into a capacity deficit. Such a shortage could be exacerbated by the slated closure of three coal-fired plants in Oregon, Washington and Montana in 2020 and 2021.

Kieran Connolly, Bonneville’s vice president for generation and asset management, said the agency is dependent on the nuclear plant when water conditions are low. He says some of the nuclear plants slated to close early, such as Diablo Canyon in California, were facing major new capital investments. That’s not the case at Columbia Generating Station, he said.

“Our customers’ focus is on safely, reliably and cost effectiveness” in meeting electricity needs, he said. “They’re not seeing it as a resource they are questioning. They just want to make sure it’s well managed.”

The study made some significant assumptions: that Bonneville has enough spare capacity in its hydroelectric system to back up and integrate the massive volume of renewables that it would take to replace the nuclear plant; and that transmission is available to bring such renewable power to market.

McCullough acknowledged that either could be wrong, but said Bonneville should be testing the market to determine whether it can find economical, carbon-free replacement power.

“This is an old plant, and we’re going to need to replace it,” he said. “Are we going to do it in a timely and organized fashion? It’s better to start that planning than do it all of a sudden after we discover an aging nuclear plant has sprung a leak.”

-Ted Sickinger

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dozens of nuclear alerts underreported by British MoD, new study reveals

Published time: 23 Feb, 2017 01:36
The UK Ministry of Defense has been accused of downplaying the real dangers stemming from the UK nuclear deterrent after the report by a safety watchdog put the number of accidents, involving British nukes, at 110, four times higher the official count.

Unveiled on Wednesday by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), an independent nuclear watchdog, the report sheds light onto dozens of mishaps involving British nuclear weapons, featuring previously unreported accidents with potentially disastrous consequences. The in-depth study, which traces back all 65 years of the British nuclear program, arranges accidents into seven sections in accordance with their place of origin.

The report is based on the official findings, including  the report on nuclear weapons safety written by Professor Sir Ronald Oxburgh, information revealed during parliamentary questions, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as well as from whistleblowers, witnesses and other researchers.

The biggest group of all lists accidents that took place on nuclear-capable submarines, ships and aircraft. The causes for a total of 45 mishaps, including 24 that occurred with nuclear-armed submarines, range from collision and fires to the effects of lightning.

In one of the most notable accidents of that kind, Royal Navy submarine HMS Vanguard, which is capable of carrying up to 48 Trident nuclear warheads, collided with a French Le Triomphant submarine, which could be armed with about the same amount of TN75 nuclear warheads. The circumstances of the accident, which happened early February 2009 in the Atlantic Ocean, were hushed up at the time and still not known to the full.

Although the official investigation report into the collision came to the reassuring conclusion that “at no time was nuclear safety compromised and the Strategic Weapon System remained inside tolerable limits at all times”, whistleblowers’ accounts are far more daunting. An officer who was on board the UK submarine reportedly said “We thought, this it we’re all going to die,” while recalling the incident in the conversation with Royal Navy whistleblower William McNeilly.

Other case studies include a nuclear warhead carrier sliding off the rode into the ditch on January 10, 1987 in Wiltshire. The misfortune is described by the authors as “most visible” and “embarrassing” incident to date. Overall, 22 road transportation incidents, among them overturning of vehicles carrying nukes, have been cited in the report.

While only 14 accidents, linked to the faults in manufacturing and production process, are listed in the report, the most severe nuclear accident in UK history also falls into this category. The fire at the Windscale plant in 1957 led to massive release of radiation from graphite-moderated reactor that triggered “around 100 fatal cancers and around 90 non-fatal cancers.”

The report also lists 21 “security-related” incidents and eight incidents blamed onto the improper storage and handling of the nukes.

The comprehensive study, spanning over 100 pages under an awe-inspiring title “Playing with Fire,” blames the defense ministry for attempting to sweep the issue of nuclear safety under the carpet by concealing essential details of the incidents and downplaying their impact.

READ MORE: Trident whistleblower calls out MoD’s ‘lame attempt’ to excuse nuke malfunctions

The report argues that the official data released by the British Defense Ministry in 2003 which put the number of incidents at 27, is “far from a full list of all the accidents.”

It is not the first time the British military has been accused of covering up major issues with its nuclear deterrent. News on a failed Trident missile test, carried out off Florida coast in June 2016, sparked a new round of heated debates on the British nuclear program. The routine test performed by the HMS Vengeance in June 2016 from Port Canaveral went horribly wrong with the missile heading back to the US mainland. However, the UK authorities did not issue any statement on the failed test, reportedly, advised to refrain from sharing unfavorable data by US colleagues.

READ MORE: Trident nukes useless against today’s actual security problems – CND report

The Trident missile malfunction came just weeks before the UK parliament voted in favor of renewing controversial Britain’s Trident deterrent, estimated to cost some £40 billion.

In January, McNeilly, who was first to leak the details about the serious fire issues aboard Trident submarine, told RT that he has witnessed Trident “fail 3 out of 3 WP 186 Missile Compensating Tests.”

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jonathon Porritt UK and others speak out against nuclear BAANG

BANNG Chair’s book on The Legacy of Nuclear Power launched in London.

Andy Blowers’ latest book, The Legacy of Nuclear Power, was launched at a packed Royal Asiatic Society in London on 11 January. The audience included academics, nuclear campaigners, media, government advisers as well as friends and colleagues Andy has known during his life as social scientist, county councillor, government adviser, nuclear company director and environmental activist. Speaking after the launch Andy said: ‘It was a wonderful occasion and very uplifting. After all these years developing this book it was great to have such a positive and moving reception’.

Sponsored by the Open University (OU) where Andy is still involved as Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences, the launch was introduced by colleague and friend, Professor David Humphreys. He talked about Andy’s contribution as a founder member of the OU and his significant teaching and research in geography and environmental policy and politics.

The lead speaker at the event was well-known environmentalist (or, as he prefers, campaigner for sustainable development) Jonathon Porritt, Director of Forum for the Future. In commending the book Jonathon stressed the emphasis on the infinite time-scales that nuclear power brings, extending its dangerous and unavoidable presence down the generations. He commented: ‘The nuclear industry invites us, all the time, to look forward – never look back. Andy Blowers’ compelling study shows why: its legacy, all around the world, is a shocking one, with no long-term solutions to the problem of nuclear waste in sight, and countless communities blighted in one way or another, by the nuclear incubus in their midst’.

In his presentation Andy picked up the theme of nuclear communities, those places which must bear the burden of the nuclear legacy for generations to come. In the book he calls them, ‘peripheral’, places that are geographically remote, economically dependent, politically powerless, socially resigned yet resilient and environmentally hazardous and degraded. They are places like the four studied in the book – Hanford in the United States where plutonium for the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki was developed; Sellafield in Cumbria once described as posing intolerable risks to people and the environment; La Hague in France where reprocessing works, nuclear power reactors and nuclear submarines combine to create a landscape of risk on the so-called ‘nuclear peninsula’. These places must live with the risk and this is the problem of the legacy that has to be managed safely and securely for the indefinite future.

Professor Gordon MacKerron from Sussex University and former Chair of the Committee on Radioactive Waste management (of which Andy was a member) spoke of a particularly dangerous part of the legacy, plutonium, of which 140 tonnes were in store at Sellafield, the largest concentration on the planet. Only a very small amount was needed for the production of nuclear weapons, the rest was stored in powdered form posing a problem of what to do with it. The government was flirting with the idea of converting it into fuel for nuclear power stations or for fast reactors that were far off in terms of commercial development. In reality there was no conceivable viable use for the vast stockpile, which should be declared a waste and managed accordingly.

In this vein, at the end of his contribution Andy argued that we must manage the legacy we already have in safe storage in the hope that a permanent solution to the problem will one day be found. We should not be creating more waste from new reactors which will add to the burden and perpetuate the presence of spent fuel in stores on deteriorating sites well into the next century and beyond into the far and unforeseeable future.

Bradwell is in clear and imminent danger of just such a future and new nuclear power there would be a danger for the present and a disaster for the future. It must be resisted at all costs. At the conclusion of his speech Andy took heart from the fourth place studied in his book, Gorleben in Germany. For nearly four decades the people there had struggled against the imposition of a deep disposal mine and a waste store for all the country’s highly active wastes. The story of the Gorleben Movement and its ultimate success was both moving and inspiring and had been the agent for Germany’s energy transition from nuclear power to renewable energy. Such a future was possible for Britain and preventing the dangers and destruction of the Blackwater by new nuclear reactors at Bradwell was one component in the change to a safe and sustainable future.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Radioactive boars found in Czech forests 31 years after Chernobyl disaster


Published time: 22 Feb, 2017 19:35

Radioactive wild boars have been detected in Czech forests, some 31 years after the Chernobyl disaster, a veterinary administration official said, adding that they are eating mushrooms that can absorb high levels of radioactive isotopes.

The animals became radioactive due to false truffles, the underground mushrooms they feed on, Jiri Drapal at the Czech State Veterinary Administration told Reuters. The mushroom is found in the Sumava mountain region in the Czech Republic, which borders Austria and Germany.

It can absorb high levels of radioactive isotopes, including Caesium 137, which was released in great quantities after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Caesium-137 has a half-life of 30 years, which means it loses half of its radioactivity within that period.

When boars eat radioactive mushrooms, they become radioactive themselves. Boar meat is highly popular in the Czech Republic, so there’s danger of radioactive meat ending up on one’s table.

“We can expect to find (affected) food for a number of years from now,” Drapal said, adding that all meat should be checked for radioactivity.

According to Reuters data, at least 614 wild boars were inspected from 2014 to 2016, and 47 percent of them were radioactive.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on April 26, 1986, at Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, which was then a republic of the Soviet Union. As a result of the explosion and fire, a huge radioactive cloud spread into the atmosphere, covering thousands of miles of Soviet and European territories.

READ MORE: Radioactive reindeer: Mushrooms blamed for Cesium spike in Norway

In 2014, scientists from the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) said that unexpectedly high levels of radioactivity were found in Norway’s reindeer and sheep


February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Limerick nuclear power plant causes Thyroid cancers

Posted: 02/21/17, 2:38 PM EST

Since the two nuclear reactors at Limerick began operating in the 1980s, the question of whether toxic radiation releases affected local cancer rates has persisted.

The latest official statistics raise a red flag: among children and young adults, who are more vulnerable to radiation, cancer rates are rising — especially cancers of the thyroid, which is most sensitive to radiation.

A disastrous meltdown, like those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, has always been possible at Limerick. But toxic radioactivity routinely generated is steadily released into local air and water. People living nearby drink, eat and breathe these chemicals on a daily basis.

A study from the early 2000s found high average levels of Strontium-90 in over 100 local baby teeth. This chemical, only created in atomic bomb explosions and nuclear reactor operations, is deposited in bone and teeth. Levels in teeth of children living near Limerick were 50 percent higher than in areas far from nuclear plants; and those results were published in medical journal articles.


The childhood cancer rate in the Pottstown area was 93 percent above the rest of the region in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While multiple factors can cause children to develop cancer, public health officials failed to document any.

Now that the Limerick nuclear reactors are aging, their parts are corroding and more likely to routinely leak radiation. A review of current local cancer rates in young people is in order.

In the most recent four-year period (2011-2014), a total of 430 cancer cases were diagnosed in Montgomery County residents under age 30, a jump from the 338 cases in the four years prior. The rate increase of 27 percent was significantly larger than the 5 percent rise for the rest of Pennsylvania.

Thyroid cancer is probably the most radiosensitive of all cancers. High rates of this cancer have been found in survivors of the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Baby Boomers exposed to above-ground bomb test fallout in the 1950s and 1960s; persons living near Chernobyl during the 1986 meltdown; and children living near Fukushima after the 2011 meltdown.

The reason thyroid cancer is sensitive to radiation? Another of the 100-plus chemicals released from reactors is iodine-131 (I-131), tiny radioactive metal particles that seek out the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. I-131 kills or damages healthy cells, which can lead to cancer. Since 1991, U.S. thyroid cancer cases diagnosed annually soared from 12,000 to 64,000.

New thyroid cancer cases in persons under 30-years-old rose from 40 to 79 in Montgomery County during the most recent two four-year periods, a 97 percent increase. The increase for the rest of Pennsylvania is just 9 percent. The county rate is well above the state.

Thyroid cancer is not caused by working in coal mines. It is not caused by smoking. It is not caused by drinking alcohol. It is not caused by eating processed foods. The Mayo Clinic lists just three risk factors for the disease; being female (not a cause); inherited defective genes (not a cause); and radiation exposure — the only known cause.

These findings demand immediate action. Local public health leaders need to acknowledge these adverse trends, and to further study the link between Limerick and thyroid cancer. Appropriate steps should be taken to eliminate releases of poison from the reactors, so that fewer may suffer from cancer in the future.

— Joseph Mangano Executive Director Radiation and Public Health Project

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dr. Caldicott on Fukushima: “Decommission or Cleaning Up? It’s Fantasy!”

This Week’s Featured Interview:

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: No End in Sight

no end in sight.jpg


KGO Radio: Host Pat Thurston recently interviewed Arnie Gundersen, chief engineer for Fairewinds Energy Education on KGO radio to discuss the latest challenging news from Japan about the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power reactor including the high levels of radiation emanating from the reactors, all the failed robotic expeditions, where we should go from here, as well as how ongoing radioactive releases from the Fukushima Daiichi site may be impacting the west coast of the United States.


BBC Newsday: BBC Radio interviewed nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen to discuss TEPCO’s attempts to send a special robot into Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #2 in Japan to investigate the obstacles in the way of TEPCO’s progress determining the location and condition of the atomic fuel. Unfortunately even this specially designed robot failed in its attempt to clear the path for additional investigations as the nuclear radioactivity was so high, it shut down the robots before they could complete their mission.

Listen Here


Enviro News: The astronomical radiation readings at Fukushima Daiichi Reactor #2 of 530 Sv/hr complicate the already complex task of decommissioning the plant. These levels are so radioactive that a human would be dead within a minute of exposure and specially designed robots can only survive for about 2 hours. Fairewinds chief engineer Arnie Gundersen says that the best solution would be to entomb the reactors, similar to the sarcophagus entombing Chernobyl, for at least 100-years, otherwise the radiation level that workers would be exposed to is simply too dangerous.
Read the whole article here



Are the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi over? The answer is no. Made all the more prevalent a year out from it’s initial release by the recent robotic expeditions into Reactor #2 which gave us a clearer picture on just how deadly the radiation levels are, watch Chief Engineer and nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen inform viewers on what’s going on at the Japanese nuclear meltdown site, Fukushima Daiichi. As the Japanese government and utility owner Tokyo Electric Power Company push for the quick decommissioning and dismantling of this man-made disaster, the press and scientists need to ask, “Why is the Ukrainian government waiting at least 100 years to attempt to decommission Chernobyl, while the Japanese Government and TEPCO claim that Fukushima Daiichi will be decommissioned and dismantled during the next 30 years?”
Like so many big government + big business controversies, the answer has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with politics and money. To understand Fukushima Daiichi, you need to follow the money.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees ‘pressured’ to return to contaminated homes, says Greenpeace

Even though radiation levels in a village near the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster still exceed international guidelines, its evacuated residents are being coerced to return, according to a Greenpeace report.



Residents from the Japanese ghost village of Iitate will be allowed to return to their former homes at the end of March – the first time since they were forced to flee the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. That’s the date the Japanese government has set to lift evacuation orders.

But according to environmental organization Greenpeace, it’s uncertain whether many will want to. Greenpeace says tests it has carried out on homes in Iitate show that despite decontamination, radiation levels are still dangerously high – but that’s not stopping the Japanese governmenment from pressuring evacuees from returning, under threat of losing financial support.

Those who refuse to go back to their former homes, and are dependent on the Japanese government’s financial help, are faced with a dilemma. After a year from when an area is declared safe again to live in, evacuated residents will see their compensation payments terminated by the government.

Radiation ‘comparable with Chernobyl’

The nuclear disaster led to more than 160,000 people being evacuated and displaced from their homes. Of these, many tens of thousands are still living in temporary accommodation six years on.

The village of Iitate, lying northwest of the destroyed reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power plantand from which 6,000 citizens had to be evacuated, was one of the most heavily contaminated following the nuclear disaster.


Government employees monitor radiation at a day-care center in Iitate in 2011

Around 75 per cent of Iitate is mountainous forest, an integral part of residents’ lives before the nuclear accident.

But according to Greenpeace’s report, published on Tuesday, radiation levels in these woods are “comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation.”

Put another way, Greenpeace said that in 2017, there clearly remains a radiological emergency within Iitate – defining emergency thus: “If these radiation levels were measured in a nuclear facility, not Iitate, prompt action would be required by the authorities to mitigate serious adverse consequences for human health and safety, property or the environment.”

The environmental organization says decontamination efforts have primarily focused on the areas immediately around peoples’ homes, in agricultural fields and in 20-meter strips along public roads.

But these efforts ended up generating millions of tons of nuclear waste – these now lie at thousands of locations across the prefecture, but they haven’t reduced the level of radiation in Iitate “to levels that are safe,” says Greenpeace.

‘Normalizing’ nuclear disaster?

The organization has accused the Japanese government of trying “to normalize a nuclear disaster, creating the myth that just years after the widespread radioactive contamination caused by the nuclear accident of 11 March 2011, people’s lives and communities can be restored and reclaimed.

“By doing so, it hopes, over time, to overcome public resistance to nuclear power.”

Greenpeace also lambasted the government for leaving unanswered what it calls a critical question for those trying to decide whether to return or not: what radiation dose will they be subjected to, not just in one year but over decades or a lifetime?


Greenpeace says Japan’s government wants to restore public confidence in nuclear power at the cost of harming residents

“Until now the Japanese government has exclusively focused on annual radiation exposure and not the potential radiation dose rates returning citizens could potentially face over their entire lifetime,” says Greenpeace.

Greenpeace, which has been monitoring Iitate since 2011, carried out its latest survey in November 2016

It found that the average radiation dose range for Iitate beginning from March 2017 over a 70-year lifetime was between 39 millisieverts (mSv) and 183mSv – and that’s not including natural radiation exposure expected over a lifetime, or the exposure received in the days, weeks and months following the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

That exceeds yearly guidelines set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) when added up over a 70-year period – it puts the maximum recommended radiation exposure at 1mSv annually.

Greenpeace says: “The highly complex radiological emergency situation in Iitate, and with a high degree of uncertainty and unknown risks, means that there is no return to normal in Iitate, Fukushima prefecture.”

It has called on the Japanese government to cease its return policy, and to provide full financial support to evacuees, and “allow citizens to decide whether to return or relocate free from duress and financial coercion.”

According to Greenpeace, “for the more than 6,000 citizens of Iitate, this is a time of uncertainty and anxiety.”

Heinz Smital, nuclear physicist and radiation expert at Greenpeace Germany, and part of the team taking measurements at Iitate, told DW the residents were faced with a very difficult situation.

“If you decide to live elsewhere [and not return to Iitate], then you don’t have money, you’re sometimes not welcomed in another area so you are forced to leave, because people say, ‘you’re not going back but you could go back,'” he said. “But for people who go back, they have contaminated land, so how can they use the fields for agriculture?”

He urged the Japanese government to more involve those affected in the decision-making process and not try to give an impression that things are “going back to normal.”

“It’s a violation of human rights to force people into such a situation because they haven’t done anything wrong, it’s the operator of the power plant responsible for the damage it caused,” said Smital.

“It’s very clear that there’s very serious damage to the property and the lifestyle of the people but the government doesn’t care about this.”

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Stand in solidarity Defend the human rights of Fukushima survivors



Disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima remind the world how dangerous nuclear power is. But right now, the nuclear industry is trying to downplay the risks of a nuclear disaster. In Fukushima radiation exposure is still a very real threat despite failed “decontamination”.

The Japanese government is set to lift evacuation orders in heavily contaminated areas around Fukushima. It will cut compensation and housing support to survivors, who are still struggling six years later.

Their basic rights to health, housing, and environment are being violated. The government is desperately trying to minimize the disaster at the expense of survivors in an attempt to revive the dying nuclear industry and suffocate other cleaner energy sources. We must say no!

Sign now to demand the government provides fair compensation, housing support, and is fully transparent about the radiation risks.

We’ll deliver your signature to the Prime Minister so he hears the global wave of resistance against nuclear!

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

High radiation risks in Fukushima village as government prepares to lift evacuation order – Greenpeace

Tokyo, 21 February 2017 – The Japanese government will soon lift evacuation orders for 6,000 citizens of iitate village in Fukushima prefecture where radiation levels in nearby forests are comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation. Seventy-five percent of Iitate is contaminated forested mountains.

A recent Greenpeace Japan led survey team found radiation dose rates at houses in the village of Iitate well above long-term government targets, with annual and lifetime exposure levels posing a long-term risk to citizens who may return. Evacuation orders will be lifted for Iitate no later than 31 March 2017, to be followed one year later by the termination of compensation payments.

“The relatively high radiation values, both inside and outside houses, show an unacceptable radiation risk for citizens if they were to return to Iitate. For citizens returning to their irradiated homes they are at risk of receiving radiation equivalent to one chest X-ray every week. This is not normal or acceptable,” said Ai Kashiwagi, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan [1].

As Japan nears the six years from beginning of the nuclear disaster, the Japanese government last week confirmed that it has not yet conducted any assessments of lifetime exposure risks for citizens if they were to return to Iitate.

The Greenpeace Japan survey results are based on thousands of real-time scanning measurements, including of houses spread over the Iitate region. This data was then used to calculate a weighted average around the houses, which were then computed to give annual exposure rates and over a lifetime of 70 years, taking into account radioactive isotope decay. The survey work also included soil sampling with analysis in an independent laboratory in Tokyo, the measurement of radiation hot spots and the recovery of personal dose badges that had been installed in two houses in February 2016.

For lifetime exposure due to external cesium radiation exposure, the dose range has been calculated, at between 39 mSv and 183 mSv, depending on either 8 or 12 hours per day spent outdoors, for citizens living at the houses over a 70 year period beginning in March 2017 [2]. Among the thousands of points Greenpeace Japan measured for each house, nearly all the radiation readings showed that the levels were far higher than the government’s long term decontamination target of 0.23µSv/h, which would give a dose of 1 mSv/yr.

The weighted average levels measured outside the house of Iitate citizen Toru Anzai was 0.7µSv/h, which would equal 2.5 mSv per year; even more concerning in addition, was the dose badges inside the house showed values in the range between 5.1 to 10.4mSv per year raising questions over the reliability of government estimates [3].

These levels far exceed the 1 mSv annual maximum limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) [4] , yet the decontamination program is being declared complete for the area that will have its evacuation order lifted next month.

“The government is not basing its policies on science or in the interest of protecting public health. It has failed to provide estimates of lifetime exposure rates for Iitate’s citizens, nor considered how re-contamination from forests will pose a threat for decades to come,” said Jan Vande Putte, radiation specialist with Greenpeace Belgium.

“The Abe government is attempting to create a false reality that six years after the start of the Fukushima Daiichi accident life is returning to normal. In the real world of today, and for decades to come, there is and will be nothing normal about the emergency radiological situation in Iitate,” said Vande Putte.

Greenpeace is demanding that the Japanese government provide full financial support to survivors, so that they are not forced to return for economic reasons. It must take measures to reduce radiation exposure to the absolute minimum to protect public health and allow citizens to decide whether to return or relocate free from duress and financial coercion.

Greenpeace has launched a public petition in solidarity in defense of human rights of Fukushima survivors.

Notes to Editors:

The report can be accessed here: “No Return to Normal”.

Photo and video is available here.

[1] X-ray dose rates range depend on multiple factors, including the equipment used and the patient. A typical dose per chest X-ray would be 0.05mSv, which if given each week would be 2.6 mSv over a year.

[2] These figures do not include natural radiation exposures expected over a lifetime, nor does it include the external and internal doses received during the days and weeks following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. In the case of many citizens of Iitate, evacuation was both delayed and complex, the early-stage external radiation exposure estimated for the 1,812 villagers where estimations of external radiation dose average 7 mSv, with the highest being 23.5 mSv according to Imanaka. Internal exposure from consumption of contaminated food products is also not included.

[3] The government estimates that levels of radiation inside houses is 60 percent less than outside due to the shielding effect of the building. The Greenpeace results raise the possibility that this is not a reliable basis for estimating dose levels in houses.

[4] ICRP recommendations for the public, sets the maximum recommended dose for areas that are not affected by a nuclear accident at 1 mSv a year. However, the Japanese government set a condition that it is acceptable for the public to receive up to 20 mSv per year in Iitate, as a response to an emergency right after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.

February 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment