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Japanese school children who survived Fukushima meltdown are being subjected to ‘nuclear bullying

Discrimination suffered by evacuee pupils likened to that faced by those who lived through atom bomb blasts of Second World War

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School children wearing padded hoods to protect them from falling debris take part in an earthquake simulation exercise in an annual evacuation drill at an elementary school in Tokyo

 

Radiation! Bang bang!”

Gesturing as if with guns, two boys in Tokyo repeatedly taunted a girl whose family fled to Japan’s capital to escape radioactivity unleashed by the Fukushima nuclear crisis of 2011.

Tormented by headaches and weight loss, the girl began to skip classes, and switched schools to escape the bullies, her mother told Reuters. But the very radiation that uprooted the family brought more pain in her new home.

For her to be called ‘radioactive’ was heartbreaking,” said the mother, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Six years after an earthquake and tsunami sparked the Fukushima meltdown, several cases of “nuclear bullying”, as the Japanese media calls them, have prompted discrimination similar to that suffered by survivors of the World War Two atom bombs.

Japan has long grappled with bullying, but discrimination against Fukushima evacuees is a serious problem, with a government panel last month urging greater efforts to safeguard such children.

It called for better mental care in schools and asked teachers to improve their understanding of the disaster’s likely psychological and physical effects, besides watching for signs of bullying, so that it can be stopped.

Discrimination over the March 11 2011 nuclear calamity, the worst since Chernobyl in 1986, appears widespread. Nearly two-thirds of Fukushima evacuees faced prejudice or knew of some who did, a recent poll by the Asahi newspaper showed.

One boy suffered years of bullying after fleeing from Fukushima aged around 8, a regional educational board found in an investigation prompted by the family’s lawyers.

Students in his new home in Japan’s second largest city of Yokohama hit and kicked the boy, calling him a “germ.” They also demanded a share of the evacuee compensation they believed he was receiving.

The boy, who is now 14 and wants to remain anonymous, paid them 1.5 million yen (£10,700) to avoid physical abuse, the family’s lawyer said.

I thought of dying many times,” he wrote at the time. “They treated me like a germ because of the radiation.”

The board had initially refused to investigate, heeding only the written request of the lawyers, said one of them, Kei Hida.

Bullying, known as “ijime,” is one aspect of the immense pressure facing Japanese children to conform, with the most recent data showing a record 224,540 cases in 2015.

The new guidelines for disaster-stricken children supplement laws adopted four years ago requiring better measures in schools to detect, and prevent, bullying.

The scale of abuse is impossible to gauge, as child evacuees rarely protest.

But more than half face some form of it, said Yuya Kamoshita, leader of an evacuees’ rights group. “Evacuees tend to stick out, and are easily categorised as ‘different’, which makes them prone to bullying,” he said.

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Pupils take shelter under desks as part of quake drills ahead of the six-year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Schools and education boards’ efforts to tackle the problem have fallen short, he and other lawyers said.

The cases are reminiscent of victims of the 1945 bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose radiation exposure led to discrimination in marriage and at work over mistaken fears of infection, or birth defects in their children.

The bullying of Fukushima evacuees springs from similar prejudice, say victims, raising fears of the treatment they will encounter as adults.

Children who were in Fukushima may be unable to get married when they grow up, or their husbands may wonder whether they can have babies,” said the girl’s mother, who is from Iwaki, a city 50 km (31 miles) south of the nuclear plant.

I think this anxiety will stay with her.”

Bullying has a corrosive effect, said Masaharu Tsubokura, a Fukushima doctor who has treated disaster survivors and worked to spread understanding of radiation.

Some children can resist bullying, they can talk back,” he said. “But others cannot, they just hide themselves away. They lose their confidence and dignity.” 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/japan-fukushima-meltdown-school-children-nuclear-bullying-second-world-war-hiroshima-nagasaki-a7622646.html

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March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Plan to tunnel under the reactor buildings to remove melted fuel

Buried in technical reports was this interesting plan. Researchers have developed a method to tunnel under the reactor buildings to remove melted fuel.

The plan itself bases itself in existing concepts for sealed underground tunnel systems similar to the BART train system in the US or the Channel in the UK. Japan has a similar tunnel system used for rail lines that run between the main island of Honshu and Hokkaido.

TEPCO has attempted to continue presenting a narrative that the melted fuel remained in the reactor vessels or at least remained in the containment vessels, making it more straightforward to remove. This new plan assumes fuel to have melted deeply down into the reactor building basement concrete or potentially through the ground below.

The plan doesn’t clarify how much human entry to the underground base unit would be allowed or required. Seeing broader planning for potential scenarios would seem a wise move after early work found unexpected surprises causing designers to go back and rework plans. For such a plan to be under development means there is some thought among the decommissioning research teams that a worst case scenario could exist. These would include further inspections inside the containment structures and horizontal drilling below the reactor buildings to obtain soil samples.

The divergence between the work of the parties that have to actually plan the decommissioning work vs. the parties that have a stake in comforting public relations is quite clear. The very notion of such a plan raises questions about the true nature of the meltdowns.

A complex system of drilling equipment, debris retrieval, and nuclear waste casks would be included in the system. Additional inspection work will be required to determine if this new method will be needed.

The same report also includes the controversial sarcophagus plan.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima disaster evacuees told to return to abandoned homes

Thousands who fled 2011 disaster must choose between financial hardship or return to homes they believe are unsafe

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An evacuee is checked for radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the March 2011 meltdown.

Thousands of people who fled the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant six years ago will soon lose their housing subsidies, forcing some to consider returning despite lingering concerns over radiation in their former neighbourhoods.

The measure, condemned by campaigners as a violation of the evacuees’ right to live in a safe environment, will affect an estimated 27,000 people who were not living inside the mandatory evacuation zone imposed after Fukushima became the scene of the worst nuclear accident in Japanese history.

The meltdown in three reactors occurred after a magnitude-9 earthquake on 11 March 2011 triggered a powerful tsunami that killed almost 19,000 people along Japan’s north-east coast and knocked out the plant’s backup cooling system.

As a “voluntary” evacuee, Noriko Matsumoto is among those who will have their subsidies withdrawn at the end of this month, forcing them to make a near-impossible choice: move back to homes they believe are unsafe, or face financial hardship as they struggle on living in nuclear limbo.

Many of the other evacuees I know are in the same position,” Matsumoto said at the launch of Unequal Impact, a Greenpeace Japan report on human rights abuses affecting women and children among the 160,000 people who initially fled from areas near the plant. As of last month, almost 80,000 were still displaced.

Matsumoto said: “They would still have to contend with high radiation if they returned, but the government is forcing them to go back by withdrawing housing assistance – that’s tantamount to a crime.”

At the time of the incident, Matsumoto was living with her husband and their two daughters in the city of Koriyama, 43 miles (70km) west of the stricken facility, well outside the area where tens of thousands of people were ordered to leave.

Matsumoto initially stayed put, but three months later, with her youngest daughter, then aged 12, having nosebleeds, stomach ache and diarrhoea, she left her husband behind and took their children to Kanagawa prefecture, more than 150 miles south of Fukushima.

She said: “The government is playing down the effects of radiation exposure … Yet people who don’t return to places like Koriyama after this month will be left to fend for themselves. They will become internally displaced people. We feel like we’ve been abandoned by our government.”

Many of the people who left their homes of their own volition after the triple meltdown were mothers and their young children, who experts say face greater risks to their health from prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of radiation.

The voluntary evacuations have forced families to live apart, while parents struggle to earn enough money to fund their new accommodation and keep up mortgage payments on their abandoned homes.

Kazuko Ito, a lawyer and the secretary general of Tokyo-based NGO Human Rights Now, said: “The government has a responsibility to protect the human rights of evacuees but it doesn’t recognise this obligation. Instead, it downplays the health impact of the accident, especially the dangers associated with long-term radiation exposure.”

In an arrangement repeated among thousands of other Fukushima families, Matsumoto’s husband decided to stay in Koriyama, a city of 330,000 people that was never subject to an evacuation order, and run their restaurant, rather than risk becoming unemployed by joining his wife and children in Kanagawa. The high cost of travel means the family gets together once every two months.

The housing subsidy for households of two or more people from Matsumoto’s neighbourhood is typically 90,000 yen (£640) a month, according to local officials, who say some households will receive smaller sums after the subsidy is withdrawn.

Matsumoto said: “The nuclear accident is to blame for this situation, yet it’s been turned around to make it look like it’s our fault, like we are being selfish.”

Residents who were not living in the mandatory evacuation zone when they fled have been campaigning to retain housing subsidies, in a challenge to the authorities’ attempts to convince more evacuees that some neighbourhoods have been properly decontaminated.

Campaigners have called on the government to declare Fukushima neighbourhoods unfit for human habitation unless atmospheric radiation is brought to below one millisievert (mSv) a year, the maximum public exposure limit recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

While 1 mSv a year remains the government’s long-term target, it is encouraging people to return to areas where radiation levels are below 20 mSv a year, an annual exposure limit that, internationally, applies to nuclear power plant workers.

Matsumoto said the unprecedented decontamination effort in Fukushima had brought radiation levels in and around her home to below government-set limits, but insisted that children were still at risk from “hotspots” in places such as parks and forests. “Those areas have not been decontaminated,” she said. “It’s true that atmospheric radiation has been lowered, but that’s not the case on the ground and in the soil.”

At the end of this month, evacuation orders will be lifted in four more towns and villages near Fukushima Daiichi, with only those closest to the plant, where radiation is more than 50 mSv a year, still off-limits.

The headline, subheading and first two paragraphs of this article were corrected on 11 March 2017. The evacuees have not been told they must return to their homes if they want to keep their subsidies, as originally suggested. The subsidies are being withdrawn regardless, which will force many to return out of financial necessity.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/10/japan-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-evacuees-forced-return-home-radiation

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Kumamoto, Murata & Nakate: “Fukushima Evacuees Face New Hardship Six Years On”

 

March 9, 2017

Miyako Kumamoto: The Liaison Committee for Organizations of Victims of the Nuclear Disaster / Hiromu Murata: The Liaison Committee for Litigation Plaintiffs of Nuclear Disaster Victims / Seiichi Nakate: Japan Nuclear Evacuee Association for Comprehensive Rights

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Backlog from the Fukushima Anniversary

Just to let you know. I accumulated some backlog since I have been busy away from home to attend the various events organized for the Fukushima 6th Anniversary in Paris, plus having computer problems. I have therefore been unable to update this last week recent Fukushima news on the blog. I will slowly try to catch up with my backlog,

Starting today, I will try slowly to catch up the backlog, by posting some of these last week news every day a bit at a time. To share with you those news and also to keep the chronology of the Fukushima ongoing catastrophe on this blog without any missing gap.

Please bear with me.

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March 15, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | | 1 Comment

UK’s Moorside nuclear project in more doubt, with Toshiba’s crisis

Toshiba delay causes further Moorside uncertainty, ITV, 14 Mar 17,  Toshiba has delayed reporting its third quarter earnings for the second time, leading to further uncertainty over the future of a major nuclear development in Cumbria.

The Japanese company owns a 60 percent stake in NuGen, the company behind the proposed Moorside nuclear project in west Cumbria.

However, Toshiba is expected to announce huge losses for 2016, and that it will pull out of nuclear projects outside Japan.

This is to do with its US nuclear unit Westinghouse, which is reported to have overpaid for another nuclear company by billions of dollars.

Westinghouse would supply three nuclear reactors to the Moorside nuclear plant in Cumbria. Toshiba first delayed announcing its third quarter financial results in February, after which the company’s chairman stepped down, and the further postponement was revealed this morning……..http://www.itv.com/news/border/2017-03-14/toshiba-delay-causes-further-moorside-uncertainty/

March 15, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Historian warns on the approach of fascism

If We Don’t Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian Timothy Snyder warns: History gives us a bunch of cases where democratic republics became authoritarian regimes. By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet March 13, 2017 How close is President Donald Trump to following the path blazed by last century’s tyrants? Could American democracy be replaced with totalitarian rule? There’s enough resemblance that Yale historian Timothy Snyder, who studies fascist and communist regime change and totalitarian rule, has written a book warning about the threat and offering lessons for resistance and survival. The author of On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century talked to AlterNet’s Steven Rosenfeld.

The year figure is there because we have to recognize that things move fast. Nazi Germany took about a year. Hungary took about two and a half years. Poland got rid of the top-level judiciary within a year. It’s a rough historical guess, but the point is because there is an outside limit, you therefore have to act now. You have to get started early. It’s just very practical advice. It’s the meta-advice of the past: That things slip out of reach for you, psychologically very quickly, and then legally almost as quickly. It’s hard for people to act when they feel other people won’t act. It’s hard for people to act when they feel like they have to break the law to do so. So it is important to get out in front before people face those psychological and legal barriers…..

I think that the people who inhabit the White House inhabit a different ideological world in which they would like for the United States not to be the constitutional system that it now is……
Democracy only has substance if there’s the rule of law. ……
The second thing about ‘post-truth is pre-fascism’ is I’m trying to get people’s attention, because that is actually how fascism works. Fascism says, disregard the evidence of your senses, disregard observation, embolden deeds that can’t be proven, don’t have faith in god but have faith in leaders, take part in collective myth of an organic national unity, and so forth. Fascism was precisely about setting the whole Enlightenment aside and then selling what sort of myths emerged……..
 in terms of what might happen next, or what people could look out for, some kind of event that the government claims is a terrorist incident, would be something to be prepared for. That’s why it’s one of the lessons in the book…….
it is much easier to have a dramatic negative event, than have a dramatic positive event. That is one of the reasons I am concerned about the Reichstag fire scenario. The other reason is that we are being mentally prepared for it by all the talk about terrorism and by the Muslim ban. Very often when leaders repeat things over and over they are preparing you for when that meme actually emerges in reality…..
the German Jews then, and people now, don’t understand how quick their neighbors will change; don’t understand how quickly society can change………
German Jews were not aware of, or Germans were not aware of, was how new media can quickly change conversations. In that way, it’s not exactly the same, but radio at that time often ended up being a channel for propaganda. There are parallels with the internet now, where there were hopes that it would be [primarily] enlightening. But in fact, it turns out that with presidential tweets, or with bots, or isolated habits of viewing, it isn’t necessarily enlightening. It’s the opposite. A lot of us were blindsided by the internet in much the same way that people could be blindsided by radio in the 1930s……..
most of the time authoritarianism depends on some kind of cycle involving a popular consent of some form. …….
Are you in favor of the end of the American way of democracy and fair play?’ Because that’s what’s really at stake…….
The crucial thing is to get some kind of in [political opening] where people go along with or accept stigmatization. …..And if you go along with this, what else are you agreeing to go along with?……..http://www.alternet.org/activism/if-we-dont-act-now-fascism-will-be-our-doorstep-says-yale-historian

March 15, 2017 Posted by | politics, resources - print, USA | Leave a comment

Bogus claims made for Transatomics’ molten salt nuclear reactor

Molten Salt Reactor Claims Melt Down Under Scrutiny  03/08/2017 more  http://www.powermag.com/blog/molten-salt-reactor-claims-melt-down-under-scrutiny/  Kennedy Maize It was an astonishing event when two MIT nuclear engineering graduate students at the end of 2015 announced they had come up with a revolutionary design for a molten salt nuclear reactor that could solve many of the technological problems of conventional light-water reactors. Cofounders of the firm Transatomic – Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie – hyped their technology as able to run on conventional spent fuel, and “generate up to 75 times more electricity per ton of mined uranium than a light-water reactor.”

Their claims surfaced in MIT’s highly regarded magazine, Technology Review, under the headline, “What if we could build a nuclear reactor that costs half as much, consumes nuclear waste, and will never melt down?”

Dewan and Massie raised millions of dollars in venture capital, including a chunk of Peter Theil’s Founders Fund. Transatomic said it would have a demonstration reactor in operation by 2020. The entrepreneurs touted their technology, which had its roots in work of the legendary Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the 1950s, as passively safe and more efficient than conventional nuclear generating technology.

Then it came under scrutiny from the MIT nuclear graybeards. The grad students got it wrong. Very wrong.

Transatomic’s response: Never mind.

The hyped claims for the technology prompted MIT physics professor Kord Smith to raise his eyebrows. As Technology Review reported, somewhat shamefacedly, Smith thought the claims for the technology were bogus, based on the physics, notified the MIT hierarchy, and launched an inquiry. The magazine quoted him, “I said this is obviously incorrect based on basic physics.” He asked the company to run a test, which ended up confirming that “their claims were completely untrue.”

Transatomic recalculated its hyperbolic claims, and posted the results. It concluded that “75 times” was fantastic, and the real figure was “twice,” still a worthwhile increase in fuel efficiency, but hardly earth shattering. The new analysis also concluded that the technology could not use spent fuel to power its reactor technology, undercutting a major claimed advantage for the technology.

Founder Leslie Dewan told Technology Review that she now hopes to develop a demonstration reactor by 2021. But any advanced technology of this sort that meets Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules would be decades away.

Was this hyperbolic advancement of the venerable molten salt technology intentional? MIT’s Smith, who blew the whistle on the claims, says it was innocent. The founders didn’t subject their initial calculations and claims to any kind of peer review. Smith told Technology Review, “They didn’t do any of this intentionally. It was just a lack of experience and perhaps overconfidence in their own ability. And then not listening carefully enough when people were questioning the conclusions they were coming to.”

In other words, this was another case of technology hubris, an all-to-common malady in energy, where hyperbolic claims are frequent and technology journalists all too credulous.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Rupert Murdoch to gain by Trump firing attorney Preet Bharara

The Big Winner in Donald Trump’s Decision to Fire Preet Bharara Might Be Rupert Murdoch, My Mag, By , 12 Mar 17, Throughout his six-decade career working on three continents, Rupert Murdoch has used his media properties to advance the prospects of politicians whose policies help his business interests. Whether it was Margaret Thatcher’s union-busting in the 1980s or Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to put Fox News on Time Warner’s cable system in the 1990s, Murdoch went all-out for leaders who allowed him to protect and expand his corporate empire.

Since Election Day, Murdoch, now the executive chairman of Fox News, has personally nudged the network in a more pro-Trump direction, sources tell me. That effort included anointing Trump-friendly Tucker Carlson as the successor to Megyn Kelly as host in the 9 p.m. slot. Fox News staffers are also grumbling that segments now have to fit a “pro-Trump narrative,” one insider told me. Trump seems to be returning the goodwill: He asked Murdoch to submit names for FCC commissioner and tweeted praise for Fox News. He’s even taken policy ideas from the network. Now Murdoch may be poised to reap a much bigger win from a Trump administration action.

That’s because on Saturday Trump oversaw the firing of Preet Bharara,  the U.S attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan, whose office is in the middle of a high-profile federal investigation of Fox News. The probe, according to sources, is looking at a number of potential crimes, including whether Fox News executives broke laws by allegedly obtaining journalists’ phone records or committed mail and wire fraud by hiding financial settlements paid to women who accused Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. …….

Given that Fox News is Murdoch’s most profitable division, the prospect of indictments is a serious problem. …..

for Murdoch, it must be a relief that Bharara’s replacement could be an ally. According to the Times, Trump’s short list to replace Bharara includes Marc Mukasey — who just happens to be former Fox News chief Roger Ailes’s personal lawyer….. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/winner-in-trumps-decision-to-fire-bharara-might-be-murdoch.html

March 15, 2017 Posted by | media, politics, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea could use “electromagnetic pulse” (EMP) attack o ‘plunge US into DARK APOCALYPSE’

North Korea’s nuclear EMP attack to ‘plunge US into DARK APOCALYPSE’ http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/596437/Kim-Jong-un-Donald-Trump-World-War-3-Nuclear-War-North-Korea-US-EMP-Pyongyang

KIM Jong-un could send the US back to the Stone Age by unleashing a devastating Cold War-style attack on its power grid, a former CIA boss has warned. By Jamie Micklethwaite / Published 14th March 2017 North Korea and the US have been at loggerheads recently, with the tubby tyrant threatening to launch a devastating nuclear assault on US heartland.

Donald Trump has responded by promising repercussions for the hermit state and deploying anti-missile systems on their border.

But a former head of the country’s intelligence agency has warned The Donald that Kim could detonate a nuclear missile into the atmosphere, unleashing a terrifying “electromagnetic pulse” attack.

This would knock out the US’ energy infrastructure, unleashing a doomsday apocalypse scenario.

Former CIA chief chief James Woolsey said: “I think this is the principal, the most important and dangerous, threat to the United States.

“If you look at the electric grid and what it’s susceptible to, we would be moving into a world with no food delivery, no water purification, no banking, no telecommunications, no medicine.

“All of these things depend on electricity in one way or another.”

EMPs can naturally occur – but can also be created with nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.

During the Cold War, the US experimented with this, exploding a nuclear weapon above the Pacific, that knocked out lights and telephone wires in Hawaii. Ex-CIA worker Peter Vincent Pry revealed even a small nuclear bomb could cause a devastating EMP attack.

He said: “One of the myths out there is that you need a high-yield weapon to do an EMP attack.

“Even a low-yield, primitive weapon like the bomb used in Hiroshima will produce a potentially catastrophic EMP field because it’s simply attacking things that are not hardened.”

Terror expert Scott Stewart added that the US grid was very vulnerable, and any EMP attack could trigger a nuclear war.

He said: “Nuclear weapons give (Kim) a deterrent.

“That you can draw a nuke on Seoul very easily is far more of a deterrent than an EMP strike against the United States. “Nothing would take his government down quicker than an actual war against the US.”

The North has launched five missiles this year in a chilling warning to the US.

US troops, including elite marines who killed Osama bin Laden and nuclear bombers are currently taking part in military exercises on the North Korean border with South Korea.

http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/596437/Kim-Jong-un-Donald-Trump-World-War-3-Nuclear-War-North-Korea-US-EMP-Pyongyang

March 15, 2017 Posted by | South Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Defector says that Kim Jong Un’s nuclear ambitions could bring about state collapse.

Defector: North Korea’s next nuclear test could lead to collapse http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/03/14/Defector-North-Koreas-next-nuclear-test-could-lead-to-collapse/6641489489192/ By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   March 14, 2017   The senior North Korea diplomat who defected to the South from Pyongyang’s Embassy in London said Kim Jong Un‘s nuclear ambitions could bring about state collapse.

Thae Yong-ho, who recently compared Kim to the Roman emperor Nero, said North Korea is headed down a dangerous path as it seeks recognition as a nuclear weapons state like “India or Pakistan,” Voice of America reported Tuesday.

“The Kim Jong Un regime will never give up nuclear weapons,” Thae said.

The high-profile defector added North Korea could “fall apart” if the regime decides to conduct a major nuclear test at its Punggye-ri nuclear site, where Pyongyang conducts tests of weapons of mass destruction.

Recent satellite images show tunnel digging continues at the site, which lies below the 800-meter Mount Mantap.

According to 38 North, the activity indicates North Korea may be prepared to conduct additional underground nuclear tests.

Thae said Tuesday the site is located on a road that connects Pyongyang to Hamgyong Province, and that “roads and railways that go up north pass by the nuclear test site.” “If a large explosion takes place and the area becomes contaminated with radiation while Pyongyang loses control of the border region of North Hamgyong Province, mass defections could take place,” Thae said.

A nuclear failure in a “small country like North Korea” could lead to disaster, the defector said, adding China and the international community must be aware of the danger.

Thae also said Kim Jong Un is trying to achieve parity with South Korea’s relatively more powerful military with his nuclear weapons program.

In an annual ranking of militaries around the world, South Korea troops ranked the 11th most powerful in 2016, while North Korea’s military strength ranked 25th in the survey by website Global Firepower.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics | Leave a comment

Proposed transportation of liquid highly enriched uranium (HEU) to Savannah South Carolina is not safe.

Nuclear shipment not safe http://www.niagarathisweek.com/opinion-story/7189835-nuclear-shipment-not-safe/ Niagara This Week – St. Catharines, Susan Prayn 14 Mar 17,  The proposed transportation of liquid highly enriched uranium (HEU) from Chalk River to Savannah South Carolina is not safe.

A liquid highly enriched uranium mixture containing other fissionable products with high toxicity has never been transferred in the world before.

A recent report by Dr. Marvin Resnikoff, a recognized nuclear transportation and waste disposal expert for many U.S states and the U.S government concludes that the NAC-LWT could not withstand more severe realistic accident conditions. For this reason, the highly radioactive liquid from Chalk River should not be transported in the NAC-LWT cask.

The liquid should be solidified before transport, or not transported at all.

 With the recent over 40-car collisions on the 401 and the diesel spill in B.C., as well as future accidents coming, why are we endangering the environment, the people, and the first responders? Is it the cost of solidifying this liquid?

The Iroquois Caucus has a media release condemning the transport and will not stand idly by.

In Indonesia, they are down blending their HEU. They have signed on to the International Repatriation Agreement. Why is Canada treated differently?

Call your local MP and ask what they are doing on this issue.

 

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Canada, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Toshiba might have to pay the buyer, to take failed nuclear unit off its hands.

Toshiba pushes sale of nuclear unit Westinghouse as crisis deepens, Reuters,  By Makiko Yamazaki and Taiga Uranaka | TOKYO, 14 Mar 17 

Toshiba Corp (6502.T) is ‘actively considering’ a sale and other strategic options for U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse, the group said on Tuesday, as it expanded a probe into problems there that caused it to miss an earnings deadline for a second time.

The Japanese conglomerate said it believed it could find buyers for a majority stake in Westinghouse despite the potential for future losses as the unit had a stable fuel and services business.

But Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa sidestepped questions about a potential Chapter 11 filing for Westinghouse, saying only there were various options. Sources have said bankruptcy lawyers have been hired as an exploratory step.

A sale would represent the latest in a series of drastic steps as Toshiba grapples with a multibillion dollar financial maelstrom stemming from Westinghouse’s ill-fated purchase of a U.S. nuclear power plant construction company in 2015.

It has already put up most or even all of its prized memory chip business for sale to cope with an upcoming $6.3 billion writedown for the nuclear business and to create a buffer for potential losses down the road.

Westinghouse has been plagued by huge cost overruns at two U.S. projects in Georgia and South Carolina and liabilities related to those projects mean it is unlikely to be an easy asset to sell, despite attractive technology.

Tsunakawa emphasized that the projects were only a small part of Westinghouse’s business.

“Around 80 percent of Westinghouse’s revenues come from stable businesses in services and fuel-related businesses so I think that will be taken into consideration too,” he told a news conference.

He added, however, that it was not yet clear yet whether Toshiba would be paid by the buyer or would have to pay the buyer to take Westinghouse off its hands.

Toshiba aims to have Westinghouse off its consolidated accounts by the end of the next financial year in March 2018, he said.

South Korea’s KEPCO is seen by industry executives as the only potential buyer, as it expands in nuclear after a successful deal in the United Arab Emirates……..http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-idUSKBN16L02X

March 15, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

fossil fuel corporations have captured academic research

 

Does this corporate capture of academia apply to nuclear research, also?

 

The fossil fuel industry’s invisible colonization of academia https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2017/mar/13/the-fossil-fuel-industrys-invisible-colonization-of-academia

Corporate capture of academic research by the fossil fuel industry is an elephant in the room and a threat to tackling climate change, Guardian, Benjamin Franta and , 13 Mar 17, On February 16, the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center hosted a film screening of the “Rational Middle Energy Series.” The university promoted the event as “Finding Energy’s Rational Middle” and described the film’s motivation as “a need and desire for a balanced discussion about today’s energy issues.”

Who can argue with balance and rationality? And with Harvard’s stamp of approval, surely the information presented to students and the public would be credible and reliable. Right?

Wrong.

The event’s sponsor was Shell Oil Company. The producer of the film series was Shell. The film’s director is Vice President of a family-owned oil and gas company, and has taken approximately $300,000 from Shell. The host, Harvard Kennedy School, has received at least $3.75 million from Shell. And the event’s panel included a Shell Executive Vice President. 

The film “The Great Transition” says natural gas is “clean” (in terms of carbon emissions, it is not) and that low-carbon, renewable energy is a “very long time off” (which is a political judgment, not a fact). Amy Myers Jaffe, identified in the film as the Executive Director of Energy and Sustainability at the University of California, Davis, says, “We need to be realistic that we’re gonna use fossil fuels now, because in the end, we are.” We are not told that she is a member of the US National Petroleum Council.

The film also features Richard Newell, who is identified as a Former Administrator at the US Energy Information Administration. “You can get 50% reductions in your emissions relative to coal through natural gas,” he says, ignoring the methane leaks that undermine such claims. The film neglects to mention that the Energy Initiative Newell founded and directed at Duke University was given $4 million by an Executive Vice President of a natural gas company.

Michelle Michot Foss, who offers skepticism about battery production for renewables, is identified as the Chief Energy Economist at the Center for Energy Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. What’s not said is that the Energy Institute she founded at UT Austin is funded by Chevron, ExxonMobil, and other fossil fuel interests including the Koch Foundation, or that she’s a partner in a natural gas company.

You may notice a pattern. The very experts we assume to be objective, and the very centers of research we assume to be independent, are connected with the very industry the public believes they are objectively studying. Moreover, these connections are often kept hidden.

To say that these experts and research centers have conflicts of interest is an understatement: many of them exist as they do only because of the fossil fuel industry. They are industry projects with the appearance of neutrality and credibility given by academia.

After years conducting energy-related research at Harvard and MIT, we have come to discover firsthand that this pattern is systemic. Funding from Shell, Chevron, BP, and other oil and gas companies dominates Harvard’s energy and climate policy research, and Harvard research directors consult for the industry. These are the experts tasked with formulating policies for countering climate change, policies that threaten the profits – indeed the existence – of the fossil fuel industry.

Down the street at MIT, the Institute’s Energy Initiative is almost entirely fundedby fossil fuel companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, and Chevron. MIT has taken $185 million from oil billionaire and climate denial financier David Koch, who is a Life Member of the university’s board.

The trend continues at Stanford, where one of us now works. The university’s Global Climate and Energy Project is funded by ExxonMobil and Schlumberger. The Project’s founding and current directors are both petroleum engineers. Its current director also co-directs Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, which is named after (and was co-founded by) the CEO of a natural gas company (now owned by Shell). Across the bay, UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Institute is the product of a $500 million deal with BP – one that gives the company power over which research projects get funded and which don’t.

Fossil fuel interests – oil, gas, and coal companies, fossil-fueled utilities, and fossil fuel investors – have colonized nearly every nook and cranny of energy and climate policy research in American universities, and much of energy science too. And they have done so quietly, without the general public’s knowledge.

For comparison, imagine if public health research were funded predominantly by the tobacco industry. It doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to understand the folly of making policy or science research financially dependent on the very industry it may regulate or negatively affect. Harvard’s school of public health no longer takes funding from the tobacco industry for that very reason. Yet such conflicts of interest are not only rife in energy and climate research, they are the norm.

This norm is no accident: it is the product of a public relations strategy to neutralize science and target those whom ExxonMobil dubbed “Informed Influentials,” and it comes straight out of Big Tobacco’s playbook. The myriad benefits of this strategy to the fossil fuel industry (and its effects on academic research) range from benign to insidious to unconscionable, but the big picture is simple: academia has a problem.

As scientists and policy experts rush to find solutions to the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced, our institutions are embroiled in a nationwide conflict of interest with the industry that has the most to lose. Our message to universities is: stop ignoring it.

We are not saying that universities must cut all ties with all fossil fuel companies. Energy research is so awash with fossil fuel funding that such a proposal would imply major changes. What we are saying is that denial – “I don’t see a conflict,” MIT’s Chairman told the Boston Globe – is no longer acceptable.

Two parallel approaches can help. First, mandatory standards should be established in climate policy and energy research for disclosing financial and professional ties with fossil fuel interests, akin to those required in medical research. And second, conflicts of interest should be reduced by prioritizing less conflicted funding and personnel.

One way or another, the colonization of academia by the fossil fuel industry must be confronted. Because when our nation’s “independent” research to stop climate change is in fact dependent on an industry whose interests oppose that goal, neither the public nor the future is well served.

Dr. Benjamin Franta is a PhD student in the Department of History at Stanford University, an Associate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a former Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has a PhD in Applied Physics from Harvard University. 

March 15, 2017 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Toshiba Corp will miss its second deadline to report third-quarter earnings,

Toshiba misses earnings deadline again, faces delisting risk, Straits Times, 14 Mar 17, TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – Toshiba Corp will miss its second deadline to report third-quarter earnings, delivering another blow to investor confidence and moving a step closer to being delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The company applied for an extension until April 11 with authorities, citing the need for more time to complete an auditor review of the results for the period ended Dec 31, it said in a statement on Tuesday (March 14). If the application is rejected, the company has an eight-day period until March 27 to submit earnings to the TSE or face delisting.

Toshiba shares fell as much as 5.1 per cent during morning trading…….

Even if Toshiba clears these hurdles, there is a longer-term threat to stakeholders. The nuclear business writedown has pushed Toshiba’s liabilities beyond its level of assets. If the company can’t reverse the situation by the end of the fiscal year in March, it could face demotion to the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In turn, that would force an automatic selloff by some index funds……..http://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/toshiba-asks-again-to-extend-deadline-for-q3-earnings-filing

March 15, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment