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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

March 5 Energy News

geoharvey

World:

¶ With the Irish Government in a race against time to avoid a potential €360 million fine from the EU for failing to hit renewables targets, 2017 looks set to be a defining year for the country’s energy sector. The EU’ s fine is €120 million for each 1% the country is below target, and the clock is ticking down on a 2020 deadline. [Irish Independent]

Irish wind power Irish wind power

¶ Starting this summer, Ontario’s Fair Hydro Plan would provide households with this 25% break in their electric bills. ‎People with low incomes would receive even greater reductions to their electricity bills. As part of this plan, rate increases over the next four years would be held to the rate of inflation for everyone. [Cambridge Now!]

¶ Canadian company Northland Power has agreed to acquire the 252-MW Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm in the German North…

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

March 4 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “California’s Wild Climate Will Only Get More Volatile As Temperatures Rise” • The record rains soaking California this winter seemed an impossible reprieve: The state’s driest years on record was followed by a possible record amount of rain and snow. But that precipitation may just be the beginning of new water woes. [Huffington Post]

Lake Oroville went from drought in 2014, to overflow  in 2016. (California Department of Water Resources) Lake Oroville went from drought in 2014, to overflow
in 2016. (California Department of Water Resources)

Science and Technology:

¶ The University of Leicester’s College of Medicine has done research indicating that common forms of air pollution directly increase the potential for bacterial respiratory infection and alter the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment. Outdoor air pollution causes loss of 7 million lives each year and costs $500 billion per year in the US alone. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Businesses in the Scottish renewable energy sector expect a sixth of their workforce to…

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

Support request for Herve Courtois who contributes to nuclear-news.net from his friends and colleagues

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Hi readers

Every now and again, we here at nuclear-news.net find ourselves in a financial situation where our computers wear out due to the stress and abuse we give them trying to get quality science journalism out to you for free.

We do not ask for money on a subscription basis as this would take money away from those great NGO`s that support the victims of Fukushima and other nuclear disaster support groups like Chernobyl Children International, Trident Ploughshares, World Nuclear News 🙂 ,  Bellona, CRIIRAD, Nuclear Hotseat etc etc.

However, as we work on a voluntary basis and are self supporting sometimes even our meager needs to publish this blog (and other blogs and social media we are involved in ) overwhelm our personal budgets.

Herve Courtois is one of the 3 authors who contribute to nuclear-news to make this the most informative and balanced nuclear resource blog on the planet and his posts speak for themselves.

Herve has a child in Fukushima and is an invaluable resource for non click bait information concerning the Fukushima 2011 nuclear meltdown disaster. I would humbly request that you might help him to get a new computer so he can continue and even expand his work here and around other social media platforms. Many of his friends had to really push him to start a Go Fund Me page because he prefers donations to go to the victims of Fukushima etc.

Please help  our good friend Herve out by sending him a donation towards his new computer and I feel you will be compensated over the coming months and years with articles, interviews and memes from this dedicated, humble and selfless activist and Science Media Journalist who is appreciated by both pro and anti nuclear followers of this blog.

Please share this post on any media format you are on and within your workplace or activist group to help him make his small target goal!

Regards Shaun and Christina (the other contributers to this blog)

Link to his Go Fund Me page here;

https://www.gofundme.com/fukushima-311-watchdogs

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The secret meltdown in Norway is stepping in Fukushima footsteps! Iodine 131 in Europe again! #IAEA #UNSCEAR

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Just a quick forward to this article from Bellona.org. Bellona is a Norwegian based NGO  specialists in nuclear waste cleanup and safety. Both Nils Bohmer and Charles William Digges were in Tokyo within the first days of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown and offered their services and high specification radiation detection equipment to the Japanese government to measure the all important first days releases from the nuclear disaster of 2011.

These early measurements would have been crucial and also a requirement of the IAEA`s safety protocols (post Chernobyl) to ascertain the likely heath impacts to the surrounding areas to the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown disaster. The Japanese government refused their kind offer and it was another 2 years before Nils and Charles could get to the Fukushima disaster site.

This lack of nuclear safety culture and cover up was mentioned in the official IAEA Fukushima accident report and it seems also ignored by the Halden management.

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So, this couldnt happen again could it? Well it has no only happened again but there was no media reporting of the October 2016 meltdown (ongoing) that is producing iodine 131 and hydrogen to either the Norwegian public nor Bellona (that is based in Oslo Norway just north of the Halden Thorium Research reactor) until Bellona were contacted by myself (Shaun McGee arclight2011 the blogger) only a week ago asking for clarification of the safety of the melted fuel rods and radiation emission status.

Nils has seen fit to make a report on the few facts he could glean. No early radiation measurements to this disaster have been released except that EURDEP has some gaps in its radiation data from the Halden and Oslo radiation monitors even from as late as February 2017 (Screenshots from EURDEP radiation mapping EU below);

And Sweden ;

Screenshot from 2017-03-05 15:23:45.png

Here is a statement from Nils Bohmer from Bellona on this nuclear situation and some of the history and facts he has been able to get an update on;

Norway’s Halden Reactor: A poor safety culture and a history of near misses

haldenreactor Inside the Halden reactor before the meltdown. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Are those who operate Norway’s only nuclear research reactor taking its safety seriously? A new report raises concerns.

October 25th brought reports that there was a release of radioactive iodine from the Halden Reactor. The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority subsequently withdrew the reactor’s operating license from the Institute for Energy Technology. The NRPA has pointed out several issues the institute must resolve before the reactor goes back online.

It’s not the first time the NRPA has had to issue an order to the IFE. The NRPA had been supervising the IFE since 2014 over its lack of safety culture. The incident in October shows this frame of mind persists.

Reactor cooling blocked

So what happened in October? The iodine emission began when the IFE should have dealt with damaged fuel in the reactor hall. This led to a release of radioactive substances via the ventilation system. The release began on Monday, October 24 at 1:45 pm, but was first reported to the NRPA the next morning.

The next day, the NRPA conducted an unannounced inspection of the IFE. The situation was still unresolved and radioactive released were still ongoing from the reactor hall. The ventilation system was then shut off to limit further releases into the environment.

This, in turn, created more serious problems. When the ventilation system was closed down, the air coming from the process should also have been turned off. Pressurize air kept the valves in the reactor’s cooling system open, which in turn stopped the circulation of cooling water.

‘A very special condition’

In the following days, the NRPA continued to monitor the reactor’s safety, and many repeated questions about the closure of the primary cooling circuit. The IFE initially reported that the situation at the reactor was not “abnormal.” By November 1, the NRPA requested written documentation from the responsible operating and safety managers. A few hours later, the NRPA received notice from the IFE that the reactor was in “a very special condition.”

What that meant was that the IFE had discovered temperature fluctuations in the reactor vessel indicating an increased neutron flux in the core, and with that the danger of hydrogen formation. Bellona would like to note that it was hydrogen formation in the reactor core that led to a series of explosions at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011.

The IFE therefore had to ask the NRPA for permission to open the valves again, even if that meant releasing radiation to the public. The release that followed was, according to the NRPA, within the emission limit values specified in the operating permit.

In Summary

The IFE has been under special supervision by the NRPA, but it doesn’t seem to Bellona that the IFE has taken the requirement for increased reporting nearly seriously enough. It seems they further didn’t understand the seriousness of the situation that arose in October. The IFE either neglected procedures it’s obligated to follow, made insufficient measurements, or failed to report the results satisfactorily.

Bellona is concerned that the reactor core may become unstable by just closing the vents. Hydrogen formation in the reactor core is very serious, as Fukushima showed. The IFE has previously stopped circulation in the primary cooling circuit for, among other things, maintenance while the reactor has been shut down.

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Those who live around Halden had previously been satisfied with guarantees that the ravine in which the reactor could hermetically seal it off. As the incident in October shows, this guarantee no longer applies.

Nils Bøhmer is Bellona’s general director.

http://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2017-03-norways-halden-reactor-a-poor-safety-culture-and-a-history-of-near-misses

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 18 Comments

The island of the post-Fukushima children

Translated by Hervé Courtois

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In Kumejima, Mayumi and her two children are recovering their health away from the radioactivity of Fukushima.

 

Six years ago, Japan experienced the worst nuclear disaster in its history. Since then, the young inhabitants of the contaminated areas are welcomed on a preserved archipelago where they can recover their health.

Green shorts and long-sleeved T-shirt, Tatsuyoshi, 4, runs to the sea, stops halfway. For fear of the sand, he refused to bathe barefoot. “It’s like that, the first few days. Then he gets used to it, “says his mother, Mayumi Moriai, handing him his sandals. The young woman has already come three times to the small Japanese island of Kumejima, located 2200 kilometers south of Tokyo, in the Okinawa archipelago, to allow her two children to reconnect with nature. “We live in Koriyama, in Fukushima Prefecture, 70 kilometers from the nuclear power plant ravaged by the March 2011 tsunami. There the beach runs alongside the forbidden zone,” she said, clasping Masaki, her 10-month-old baby . Koriyama, a city of more than 300,000 inhabitants, recorded very high levels of radioactivity in 2011: more than 8 microsieverts (the unit measuring the effects of radiation on humans) per hour, 13 times more than in areas evacuated after the 1986 explosion of the Chernobyl power plant. However, its inhabitants have not been evacuated.

Strengthening children’s immunity

Beside Mayumi, other mothers accompany their toddlers to swim in the Pacific Ocean. All are hosted in the Kuminosato center, created in 2012 by Ryuichi Hirokawa, editor of the Days Japan magazine. Its purpose: to house, every month, about thirty children living year-round in the contaminated areas of Fukushima. A free detox treatment funded through donations from around the world. The idea of creating a refuge as far away as possible from the disaster area is based on the example of sanatoriums built in Belarus after the Chernobyl disaster. At that time, specialists had proved that a temporary stay outside contaminated areas could lower radioactive particles accumulated in children’s bodies and enhance the immunity of particularly vulnerable young organisms.

“The accident at the nuclear power plant has increased the risk of thyroid cancer, especially in children,” says Ryuichi Hirokawa. As of June 30, 2016, according to the medical university of Fukushima, 174 cases of thyroid cancer were suspected among young people of the region, of which 135 were confirmed after surgery. A survey conducted by the Fukushima Prefecture in September 2016 revealed that 79.5% of mothers fear for the health of their sons and daughters.

“We have been able to accommodate 2,200 children and 550 adults since 2012, but this is not enough,” Ryuichi Hirokawa said. He plans to open another center in Hokkaido, in the far north of Japan, while the government has begun recalling residents in villages initially classified as a forbidden zone (a 30-kilometer perimeter around the plant).

 

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The independent laboratory Tarachine monitors the health of children in Fukushima.

An independent control center

In the center’s large dining room, Mayumi Moriai and her children have their breakfast. Here, no need to worry about food: rice, fish, seaweed, vegetables come from southern Japan. “In Koriyama, at home, I avoid buying tubers and mushrooms. But it is impossible to limit oneself all the time. Here, all products that are eaten are controlled and guaranteed without radioactive cesium, “says Mayumi. “Analyzes of fungi brought by farmers in Fukushima reveal levels of radioactivity about 20,000 times higher than normal. Unfortunately, Japanese people love mushrooms, “says Kaori Suzuki, director of Tarachine, an independent radioactivity measurement center where Kuminosato can offer its residents free thyroid exams.

“We have no other place to go”

At the same table as the Moriai, Naoko Shimoyamada. She also lived in the Fukushima region, before moving to Yamagata, the neighboring prefecture, with her three daughters. Like many mothers, she had to fight with her entourage, and even with her husband, to be able to come to the Kuminosato center. In Japan, talking about radioactivity is taboo. “My friends think this is a brainwashing center!” Mayumi regrets. Unlike many of her fellow citizens, the young mother dares to evoke her anguish when she thinks about the accident. “I was cycling in the rain while the reactors were exploding. We had no information for weeks. “

If Mayumi fears for the health of her children, she does not plan to leave her city. “That’s where we were born, and we have no other place to go,” says her husband Ryuichi, who stayed at the family home. The return to normal praised by the authorities pushed the majority of families to stay. Even if the Geiger counter planted between the swing and the sandbox of the kindergarten in front of the Moriai’s house expresses everything except the normality.  The father of the family pointed to a square of earth turned over. “Workers dug a pit in every kindergarten in the city. Then they were seen burying in large black bags. Everyone knows that it is contaminated land, “says Ryuichi.

Back to Kuminosato. On the beach, little Tatsuyoshi runs in the waves. After three days, he forgot his fears. “All I want is for him to grow up healthy,” his mother hopes.

 

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Gardening workshop in the Kuminosato center: the residents reconnect with a protected nature.

A region still affected

Six years after the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, which caused the worst nuclear accident of the 21st century, 10,000 workers are still mobilized to decommission the Fukushima Daiichi plant since the disaster. The year 2017 will also be marked by the end of the allowances granted by the government for aid to voluntary evacuees, which opponents equate to a forced return for the 26,000 people who evacuated “on their own initiative”, according to the vocabulary official. Japan, which was 30% dependent on nuclear power before the accident, built 54 reactors at the seaside, and only two of them were restarted since the accident. According to a report published last year by two associations of American doctors, the Fukushima accident could cause 10,000 more cancers among the Japanese population due to radiation.

http://www.leparisien.fr/magazine/grand-angle/le-parisien-magazine-l-ile-aux-enfants-de-l-apres-fukushima-03-03-2017-6724407.php#xtor=AD-1481423551

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

2020 Olympic food suppliers lack necessary food safety certification

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As the organizers of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics work on ensuring that food provided during the tournament will be safe, the games face a huge shortage of domestic food producers with the necessary food safety certification.

The certification in question is known as “Good agricultural practice,” or GAP for short. Ever since the London Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, the provision of GAP-certified food and drink to venues such as the Olympic Village has become increasingly important.

However, the number of producers in Japan who hold GAP certification is extremely low — partly due to high costs and a lack of knowledge about GAP among consumers. It is thought that less than 1 percent of food producers in Japan hold either the Global GAP or Japanese GAP certification.

This is an issue for producers because the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Games is on the verge of finalizing criteria for food safety during the tournament — with much of the criteria expected to revolve around GAP certification.

In response to the current shortage of GAP-certified producers in Japan, an official close to the government commented, “If we keep going at this pace, there is a real danger than there won’t be enough domestically produced food available during the Games.” This would be a great shame because the country has a multitude of wonderful food and drink on offer, such as “wagyu” (Japanese beef) and Japanese tea.

Furthermore, it is expected that about 15 million meals will need to be provided during the 2020 Olympics, so naturally, it will be an excellent opportunity to showcase Japanese food to the rest of the world.

There is a modified version of GAP in Japan — based on Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) guidelines — but just five of Japan’s 47 prefectures, including Shimane and Tokushima, follow it.

A British version of GAP known as “Red Tractor” was introduced prior to the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics. In total, 80 percent of food producers who supplied the tournament in London picked up the Red Tractor certification by 2010. Such a system may well provide inspiration for Japanese farmers.

GAP is an important certification because it helps stop the mixing in of any improper substances during the food production process. For example, under GAP regulations, pesticides must be stored safely in a locked room. Also, any fluorescent lighting close to agricultural produce should be covered accordingly.

However, although GAP certification is undeniably well-intended, farmers wanting to apply must pay an annual registration fee in the region of several thousand yen per year, and depending on the size of the farm, there is a screening fee in the region of 100,000 to 400,000 yen per year. In addition, awareness about GAP is low among distributors and consumers, and the fact that GAP certification would not be accepted as a reason for raising food prices means that there are several hurdles for producers.

The government does plan to provide some financial support in this area, but for the time being, awareness across Japan about GAP certification remains a pressing issue.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170305/p2a/00m/0na/001000c

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

For Japan, there’s no escaping Fukushima Daiichi’s shadow

Six years on, nation gropes for viable energy policy as cleanup costs soar

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This Feb. 3 photo shows the No. 3 reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

TOKYO — Nearly six years after a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the catastrophe still looms large over Japan’s energy policy.

Most of the country’s nuclear plants remain offline due to safety concerns. The finances of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings — the operator of the ill-fated Fukushima facility — are in a shambles. Cleanup costs continue to mount, with no ceiling in sight.

On the night of Feb. 16, footage from inside Fukushima Daiichi’s No. 2 reactor containment vessel was beamed to Tepco’s head office in Tokyo. It was captured by a robot nicknamed “scorpion,” due to the camera on the tip of its tail, which can be pointed forward a la the arachnid. 

After moving forward about 2 meters, however, the robot became stuck in material deposits several centimeters thick. It was unable to approach its intended target: a spot just under the pressure vessel, where some melted nuclear fuel is suspected to have leaked through.

Tepco hopes to decide this summer how to remove melted fuel from the plant, but as things stand, simply determining the location and quantity of the debris is a challenge.  

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which supervises the electric power industry, estimated at the end of last year that dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster would cost 21.5 trillion yen ($190 billion). That figure, which covers decommissioning the reactors and compensating victims, is roughly double the 11 trillion yen METI estimated three years ago.

The financially strapped utility will never be able to cover the costs on its own, and its straits may well grow more dire. Many experts say the costs will rise further.

Decommissioning work alone — including the disposal of contaminated water — is now estimated at 8 trillion yen, up from an earlier projection of 2 trillion yen. If the costs continue to swell, Japan’s consumers could pay a heavy price. 

Forget “cheap” energy

Meanwhile, the central government is still urging the heads of local governments to approve reactor restarts in their communities, but it has stopped using the word “cheap” to describe atomic energy. 

http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/For-Japan-there-s-no-escaping-Fukushima-Daiichi-s-shadow

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

The week in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANThe most significant article of the week comes from 3 very  distinguished writers, in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,  in explaining how the USA’s military upgrade means a vast expansion of the killing power of the most numerous warhead in the US nuclear arsenal, with the ability to launch a”first strike”. Consequently, the Russians are   gravely concerned, and are developing new sea-based weapons.

President Trump’s  rather sweet  and antiseptic speech to Congress, avoided his previous bellicose promises, but did mention a big increase in defense spending, though not how he would pay for that.

 

CLIMATE.  With New El Nino Predicted, 3rd Hottest January on Record May be Cool Mark for 2017. Rapid spread of ocean acidification in the Arctic.  Antarctic Sea Ice Hits New All-Time Record Low. Huge slabs of permafrost disintegrating in Northwest Canada. Famine Warning Issued in Four Countries Following Worst African Droughts in Decades.  Experts gather at Vatican conference with call to avoid ‘biological extinction’.

NUCLEAR 

EUROPE. Europe’s wild boars posing a radioactive problem

UK.  Up to £219 billion to clean up the UK’s nuclear mess: autonomous robots to be developed.  Britain’s Failing New Nuclear Programme. UK taxpayers up for tens of billions of pounds sterling as govt bends to pressure to build new nuclear reactors.  Hinkley Point C – “risky and poor value for money” – House of Lords Committee. New Nuclear Reactors in Jeopardy because of Brexit?   “Small Nuclear” lobby not very happy – says taxpayer funding is essential. Oil and gas boss appointed to run UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

JAPAN  The spin begins- sanitising Fukushima for the Olympics.  TEPCO blunders raise doubts on ability as nuke plant operator.    Daunting obstacles to Fukushima cleanup, even as evacuees move back.  Bribery scandal over Fukushima decontamination.

SOUTH KOREA. Amid Nuclear Reactor Radiation Fears, South Korea Abandons Japan Airport Flights.

USA. How Donald Trump manipulates media news anchors. Trump’s renewed attack on news media.     Scott Pruitt appointed as EPA chief in order to destroy EPA? : his emails revealed.

Worker sneaked a gun into a nuclear power station. US Senators introduce Bill to promote easier licensing of nuclear reactors.  Georgia Power Suspends Study for Nuclear Plant Near Columbus.  America’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) itself has nuclear safety culture problems.

INDIA.  India launches nuclear destroyer missile.   India forced to back out of nuclear project sites, due to local opposition.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment