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Dead trees stoke wildfire fears

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Climate Change and Fires Replace Forests with Weeds

GR: Climate-change droughts are killing trees and shrubs in dry lands around the world. For many years, forest ecologists argued that some vegetation requires periodic fires to stay healthy. The fires clear out underbrush and open areas where trees are tightly packed.

As climate change advances, the ‘let it burn’ philosophy has taken on a new meaning. Across the western U. S. and other drying regions, trees are dying. Human-caused climate change with fire as its agent, is sweeping away the forests and shrublands. Fire-prone weeds are taking their place. Weedlands, sometimes called ‘annual grasslands’ have lower biodiversity, productivity, and ability to absorb heavy rains. The process is known as desertification. Today, firefighters have little choice but to ‘let it burn,’ Perhaps they are unconsciously aware that the magnificent conifer forests of the world will never return.

“Since 2010, more than…

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July 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 18 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “How China Floated to the Top in Solar” • After years of growth and pollution, China is changing tact and embracing sustainability – no longer beholden to the singular tenet of growth at any cost. China is now the world’s largest renewable energy investor. And the US has relinquished its leadership role, following the policies of Donald Trump. [Time]

Fisherman and solar panels (Kevin Frayer | Getty Images)

¶ “Big oil’s electric fight against coal and nuclear” • The powerful American Petroleum Institute is fighting nuclear power subsidies, opposed to any efforts to expand renewable electricity, and telling the Trump administration that its study on the power grid better not hurt natural gas in an effort to help coal and nuclear energy. [Axios]

¶ “Big oil sees salvation in gas, but what if it’s wrong?” • Oil executives are pitching natural gas, but with the…

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July 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK Parliament select committee to inquire into government’s plans to leave Euratom

Utility Week 1`7th July 2017, The newly elected chair of parliament’s business select committee has
pledged to make an inquiry into the government’s plans to leave Euratom
one of her top priorities. Rachel Reeves, who was voted chair of the
business, energy and industrial strategy select committee last week, said
in a BBC radio interview that she wanted to hold a probe into Britain’s
departure from the pan-European nuclear energy community.

Reeves, who is a former shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, described the nuclear sector
as “hugely important” to the UK economy. She said: “We need to do an
inquiry into Euratom because 65,000 jobs are in the civil nuclear sector.
“When we are up and running, I want to do an inquiry into this because so
many jobs and research depends on it.”

She made her comments as the European Commission published its position paper on negotiations into the
UK’s withdrawal from Euratom, which kicked off today (Monday). In its
position paper, the commission states that the Euratom treaty will cease to
apply to Britain from the date when the UK withdraws from the EU.
http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/BEIS-committee-to-scrutinise-Euratom-exit/1307532

July 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

New film YELLOW CAKE The Dirt Behind Uranium

YELLOW CAKE http://www.yellowcake-derfilm.de/site/english/

The Dirt Behind Uranium

A film by Joachim Tschirner (2005 – 2010, 108 Min.)

The Film

Uranium mining, the first chain link of the nuclear energy production has always been out of the public eye. A web of propaganda, disinformation and outright lies covers its 65-year history.

The award-winning documentary “YELLOW CAKE The Dirt Behind Uranium” takes the viewers to the biggest active mines in Namibia, Australia and Canada while at the same time in Germany the film accompanies the most gigantic clean-up operation in the history of uranium mining.

In the East German provinces of Saxony and Thuringia the former third largest uranium producer worldwide was located. Operating until German Unification, it had the code name WISMUT and supplied the Soviet Union exclusively with the much sought-after strategic resource Yellow Cake. During the last 20 years WISMUT has taken huge substantial and financial efforts to come to terms with its past. A past that is today’s reality on other continents.

While making this film more than thirty new nuclear power plants are in the process of being built and today about 150 more power plants are being planned worldwide. The market for uranium changed in a dramatic way. Uranium has become one of the most sought after resources in the world: during five years the price of uranium increased twenty-fold …


Written an directed by: 
Joachim Tschirner
Director of photography: Robert Laatz
DOP team in Germany: Jana Marsik, Lars Barthel, Friedo Feindt, Christian Maletzke, Andrè Götzmann
Editors: Joachim Tschirner, Burghard Drachsel
Narrator: Jonathan Failla
Vocals:
 Wenzel, Nora Guthrie
Music: Fred Krüger
The complete Team: click here

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere to avoid extreme climate change

TO AVOID EXTREME #CLIMATECHANGE START REMOVING CO2 #STOPADANI #AUSPOL https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/to-avoid-extreme-climatechange-start-removing-co2-stopadani-auspol/

Carbon dioxide must be removed from the atmosphere to avoid extreme climate change, say scientists Ian Johnston, The Independent July 19, 2017

Humans must start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as soon as possible to avoid saddling future generations with a choice between extreme climate change or spending hundreds of trillions of dollars to avoid it, according to new research.

An international team of researchers – led by Professor Jim Hansen, Nasa’s former climate science chief – said their conclusion that the world had already overshot targets to limit global warming to within acceptable levels was “sufficiently grim” to force them to urge “rapid emission reduction

But they warned this would not be enough and efforts would need to be made to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 12.5 per cent.
This, the scientists argued, could be mostly achieved by agricultural measures such as planting trees and improving soil fertility, a relatively low-cost way to remove carbon from the air.

Other more expensive methods, such as burning biomass in power plants fitted with carbon-capture-and-storage or devices that can remove carbon from the air directly, might also be necessary and would become increasingly needed if steps were not taken soon.
An academic paper in the journal Earth System Dynamics estimated such industrial processes could cost up to $535 trillion this century and “also have large risks and uncertain feasibility”.
“Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, implausible clean-up or growing deleterious climate impacts or both,” said the paper.

“We conclude that the world has already overshot appropriate targets for greenhouse gas amount and global temperature, and we thus infer an urgent need for rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions [and] actions that draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide.
“These tasks are formidable and … they are not being pursued globally.”
Cuts to emissions of greenhouse gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and ozone would also be required.
The study is to be used as part of a ground-breaking lawsuit brought against the US Government by 21 children in which the plaintiffs claim their constitutional right to have a health climate in which to live in is being violated by federal policies.

If the case succeeds, environmentalists believe it could force the Trump administration to reduce greenhouse gases and take other measures to prevent global warming.
The paper pointed out that the last time temperatures were this high, during the Eemian period, global sea levels were about six to nine metres higher than they are today, suggesting significant rises are still to occur.
The paper said that the Paris Agreement, the tumbling price of renewable energy and the recent slowdown in the increase of fossil fuel emissions had led to a sense of optimism around the world.
But, speaking to The Independent, Professor Hansen said he believed this optimism was misplaced.
“The narrative that’s out there now … is that we’ve turned the corner,” he said.
“On the contrary, what we show is the rate of growth of climate forcing caused by increased methane [and other gases] is actually accelerating.

That’s why it’s urgent.”
Asked to assess the world’s current progress in fighting climate change, he said the “s*** is hitting the fan”.
Professor Hansen, now a scientist at the Columbia University Earth Institute in the US, said he believed the court case had a chance of winning.
A court would not be able to tell the Government what to do, he admitted, but would be able to say that failing to deal with the problem was unconstitutional and require politicians to produce an effective plan.
The paper said the need for “prompt action implied by these realities [of climate change] may not be a surprise to the relevant scientific community” because of the available evidence.

“However, effective communication with the public of the urgency to stem human-caused climate change is hampered by the inertia of the climate system, especially the ocean and the ice sheets, which respond rather slowly to climate forcings, thus allowing future consequences to build up before broad public concern awakens,” it said.
“All amplifying feedbacks, including atmospheric water vapor, sea ice cover, soil carbon release and ice sheet melt could be reduced by rapid emissions phasedown.
“This would reduce the risk of climate change running out of humanity’s control and provide time to assess the climate response, develop relevant technologies, and consider further purposeful actions to limit and/or adapt to climate change.”
It warned that sea level rise of up to a metre “may be inevitable even if emissions decline” and would have “dire consequences”.
Sea level rise of several metres would result in “humanitarian and economic disasters”.
“Given the increasing proportion of global population living in coastal areas, there is potential for forced migrations of hundreds of millions of people, dwarfing prior refugee humanitarian crises, challenging global governance and security,” the paper said.

Press link for more: Yahoo.com

July 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

New report recommends closure of nuclear power project in South Carolina

Report urges end of nuclear power project in South Carolina, The Eagle, By SEANNA ADCOX Associated Press, Jul 18, 2017 , COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s utility regulators should stop the construction of nuclear reactors already years behind schedule and return billions in cost overruns to consumers, according to a report released by environmentalists Tuesday

The Public Service Commission could save utility customers up to $10 billion by “pulling the plug” on South Carolina Electric & Gas’ two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, about 30 miles northwest of Columbia, and ordering at least some prepaid costs refunded, according to the report funded by the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth.

“It’s now time for South Carolina to admit failure,” said the report’s author, Mark Cooper with Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. “It was a mistake. It was an expensive mistake. It can become a catastrophic mistake if we don’t stop now.”

 The report is being submitted to the Public Service Commission ahead of an October hearing.

SCE&G owns 55 percent of the reactors, while state-owned utility Santee Cooper owns the other 45 percent. Since 2009, SCE&G customers have funded the reactors through a series of rate hikes approved by commissioners. Construction now accounts for 18 percent of residential customers’ electric bills.

The utility’s plans are uncertain. Westinghouse, the contractor building the reactors, filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA, has said abandoning the project is an option. SCANA CEO Kevin Marsh told commissioners in April that other options include finishing one or both reactors. Roughly one-third of the project is complete, said SCANA executive Steve Byrne.

A company spokeswoman did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment……http://www.theeagle.com/news/nation/report-urges-end-of-nuclear-power-project-in-south-carolina/article_64893f12-d60c-5c1d-b1a7-86e7b3c80de0.html

July 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Even a single nuclear missile strike could darken the skies, chill the atmosphere, stop rainfall, ruin harvests and cost a billion lives

Here’s One More Good Reason Not to Launch a Nuclear War https://www.ecowatch.com/nuclear-war-climate-change-2461364979.html, By Tim Radford

Four U.S. scientists have just introduced one more good reason not to launch a nuclear war. It would not simply guarantee the mutual destruction of the participants. It would also precipitate catastrophic climate change.

And, they argue in the journal Environment Magazine, even a single nuclear missile strike could darken the skies, chill the atmosphere, stop rainfall, ruin harvests and cost a billion lives.

Observers with memories that stretch back to the Cold War and the arms race between the U.S. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) powers on the one hand and the USSR on the other will know something of this already.

In 1983 the astronomer Carl Sagan and colleagues introduced the idea of global annihilation or at least the end of human civilization, in a “nuclear winter” as a consequence of a nuclear weapons exchange.

Years later, as the Soviet Union collapsed and the Russian Federation was born, the same scientists did their calculations again, and reduced the threat to a kind of “nuclear autumn.”

Nuclear Club

Eight nations now possess a nuclear arsenal: The U.S., Russia and China all have nuclear weapons big enough to precipitate a nuclear calamity, and a ninth, North Korea, now claims to have nuclear capability.

This prompted researchers and political scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to revisit the question. They contemplated the theoretical effect of a 15-kiloton nuclear warhead with the explosive force of 15,000 tons of TNT.

Once exploded, it would incinerate 1,300 square kilometers of a city and its surrounds. This would be quite enough to push five million metric tons of black carbon smoke particles into the stratosphere.

This would be enough to screen solar radiation, reduce the agricultural crop season by between 10 and 40 days a year for at least five years, and lower global temperatures to a point lower than normal for at least 25 years.

In the very short term, this cold snap would be colder than anything for the last 1,000 years. Rainfall would decrease by as much as 20 percent to 80 percent in the Asian monsoon region.

The American southwest and western Australia could become 20 percent to 60 percent drier. South America and southern Africa, too, would see less rain. This global “nuclear drought” and the resulting famines “could kill up to a billion people from starvation.”

The most immediate victims would be those in countries that are already poor or food-insecure. And, the scientists warn, should a warhead fall upon a nuclear power facility “the spread of toxic radionuclides and their long-term effects would be greatly magnified.”

The drop in precipitation would, they warn, also increase conflict in developing regions, “although global temperature reduction may reduce social violence in the United States and other developed countries.”

We’re losing our memory of the Cold War and we’re losing our memory of how important it is to get this right,” said Tyler White, a political scientist concerned with international security and nuclear policy and one of the authors.

“Even a conflict that doesn’t involve the United States can impact us and people around the world.”

July 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 2 Comments

On Mandela Day, South Africa’s anti nuclear movement pledges to stop the government’s nuclear plans

Anti-nuclear groups will do ‘everything possible’ to stop government’s plans, https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2017-07-18-anti-nuclear-groups-will-do-8216everything-possible8217-to-stop-government8217s-plans/ 18 JULY 2017 – 17:19 BEKEZELA PHAKATHI Anti-nuclear lobby groups say they will do all that is possible, including turning to the courts and mass protests, to stop the government’s nuclear plans.

On Tuesday, groups belonging to #StopCorruptNuclearSA spent 67 minutes as part of Mandela Day, occupying bridges on highways in Cape Town to protest government’s ongoing pursuit of nuclear power, which they say represents SA’s “most urgent threat”.

Last month, President Jacob Zuma said in Parliament that the government was still intent on pursuing the nuclear new-build programme at a pace and scale the country could afford. He said the nuclear programme remained firmly part of the energy mix SA was pursuing to ensure energy security. The mix includes hydro, solar, coal, wind and gas.

Kate Davies, one of the founding members of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) which forms part of the anti-nuclear lobby, told Business Day that the groups would do everything to stop government from continuing with the nuclear programme. “We firmly believe that it is a great mistake for our country to pursue nuclear. We simply cannot afford it … We are also hearing that Eskom is already bankrupt … hopefully, sense will prevail. We are waiting and watching, and we remind civil society to be vigilant,” said Davies.

She said the secret nature of the programme meant it was open to corruption at a scale worse than the arms deal and that the government should rather focus on renewables, which have been proven to be cheaper and safer than nuclear. Furthermore, she said, demand for electricity was decreasing as consumers find smarter ways to use power and the current consumption patterns meant the country did not need nuclear.

Vainola Makan, from Right2Know Campaign, which is also part of the anti-nuclear lobby, said: “Citizens face a major issue with government at the moment, in that our government continues to purposefully exclude South Africans from important decisions.”

The High Court in Cape Town recently set aside the two determinations issued by former energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, that laid the basis for the nuclear procurement. It found that the determinations relating to the construction of nuclear plants with a capacity of 9,600MW were unconstitutional and invalid.

The court also declared the nuclear co-operation agreement between the South African and Russian governments to be unconstitutional and unlawful. The case was brought against the government by Earthlife Africa and SAFCEI.

Following the ruling, Energy Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said the government was reviewing its nuclear agreements with many countries.

Last month, Zuma said it was important to note that the High Court found fault with the process followed, especially in tabling the intergovernmental agreements in preparation for the nuclear new-build programme. The judgment, said Zuma, did not deal with substantive matters pertaining to the country’s future energy programmes.

July 18, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

July 17 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Heritage at Risk: How Rising Seas Threaten Ancient Coastal Ruins” • The shores of Scotland’s Orkney Islands are dotted with ruins that date to the Stone Age. But after enduring for millennia, these archaeological sites, along with many others from Easter Island to Jamestown, are facing an existential threat from climate change. [Yale Environment 360]

Ruins on Scotland’s Rousay Island coast (Adam Markham)

World:

¶ Saudi Arabia has plans for a 400-MW wind farm and for further tenders to kick off this year as part of a $50 billion spending program on renewables within six years. The program is intended to help meet the Saudi target of producing enough electricity from renewables to power 3 million homes within six years. [The National]

¶ More than half of India’s gas-based capacity of about 25,139 MW remains stranded due to unavailability of natural gas. To bring respite…

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July 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Drought ravages South Europe crops

RPT-One of worst droughts in decades devastates South Europe crops,
* Crops damaged include olives, almonds and durum wheat

* Farmers in southern Europe question their long term future. 

By Isla Binnie and Paul Day ROME/MADRID, July 14 (Reuters) – Italian durum wheat and dairy farmer Attilio Tocchi saw warning signs during the winter of the dramatic drought to come at his holding a mile away from the Tuscan coast.

“When it still hadn’t rained at the beginning of spring we realised it was already irreparable,” he said, adding that he had installed fans to try and cool his cows that were suffering in the heat.

Drought in southern Europe threatens to reduce cereal production in Italy and parts of Spain to its lowest level in at least 20 years, and hit other regional crops including olives and almonds.

Castile and Leon, the largest cereal growing region in Spain, has been particularly badly affected, with crop losses estimated at around 60 to 70 percent……By Isla Binnie and Paul Day

ROME/MADRID, July 14 (Reuters) – Italian durum wheat and dairy farmer Attilio Tocchi saw warning signs during the winter of the dramatic drought to come at his holding a mile away from the Tuscan coast.

“When it still hadn’t rained at the beginning of spring we realised it was already irreparable,” he said, adding that he had installed fans to try and cool his cows that were suffering in the heat.

Drought in southern Europe threatens to reduce cereal production in Italy and parts of Spain to its lowest level in at least 20 years, and hit other regional crops including olives and almonds.

Castile and Leon, the largest cereal growing region in Spain, has been particularly badly affected, with crop losses estimated at around 60 to 70 percent.

July 18, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

A New Measure of Ionization Density at the DNA: The Unit of Genetic dose, the Müller

 

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Via Chris Busby

ECRR develops a new unit of radiation exposure. Following developments in internal radiation research the ECRR will shortly be presenting the concept of Genetic Dose, which is the new term for the ECRR unit of biophysical enhanced dose presented in the 2003 and 2010 reports.

The unit of Genetic Dose (which is a measure of ionization density at the DNA) is the Müller written Mü.

The unit was named after Herman Joseph Müller, who was awarded the Nobel prize for his discovery of the genetic effects of ionizing radiation.

For details of the calculation of the genetic dose refer to ECRR2010. A new edition of the ECRR risk model is in preparation, will include new information and risk factors for heritable damage and will be published shortly.

The ECRR will abandon the Sievert but include the ICRP weighting factors in w(j).
Genetic Dose (Mü) = Absorbed Dose (Gy) x enhancement factors w(i), w(j).

This method and the description of the new unit will be published in the peer-review literature.

European Committee on Radiation Risk:
The European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) is an informal[1] committee formed in 1997 following a meeting by the European Green Party at the European Parliament to review the Council of Europe’s directive 96/29Euratom, issued in May of the previous year

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco ‘s response to the article about the release of tritiated water into the ocean

n-tritium-a-20170716-870x580

 

A certain article reported today, “TEPCO decided to release tritiated water into the ocean” quoting the comment of TEPCO’s chairman Mr. Kawamura about the release of tritiated water into the ocean. The comment intended to say that TEPCO shares the same recognition with Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Dr. Tanaka, et al. that in accordance with the current regulation and standard based on scientific and technical ground, there should not be an impact of releasing tritiated water into the ocean. The comment did not intend to announce the concluded policy of the company on the matter.

We need to give our full attention to the satisfaction of both peace of mind of local residents and reconstruction of Fukushima, as well as the safety requirement to meet regulation and standard for the final decision. We will carefully examine our policy on the matter with the government and local stakeholders from such a perspective.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/announcements/2017/1444608_10494.html

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Tepco Dump 770,000 tons of Tritiated Water Into the Pacific Ocean???

n-tritium-a-20170716-870x580.jpg

 

Massive amounts of radiation-contaminated water that has been processed and stored in hundreds of tanks at the plant are hindering decommissioning work and pose a safety risk in case another massive quake or tsunami strikes.

“TEPCO needs to release the water — which contains radioactive tritium that is not removable but considered not harmful in small amounts — into the Pacific Ocean”, declared Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s new Chairman Takashi Kawamura during an interview at the TEPCO headquarters in Tokyo on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

The method is favored by experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency and Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority as the only realistic option. Earlier, TEPCO had balked at calls by NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka for controlled release of the water, now exceeding 770,000 metric tons, into the sea, fearing a public backlash.

Tepco’s intention to release more than 770,000 metric tons of triated water into the sea was relayed by many media, the Japan Times adding to the volume number of 770,000 metric tons, that it was contained in 580 tanks. The volume number is right, to be precise it concerns 777,647 metric tons of tritiated water, but the 580 tanks number is wrong.

Knowing that those tanks have a capacity of 1000 metric tons each, 777,647 metric tons can only be stored in 780 tanks and not in 580 tanks only.

Of course in that 777,647 metric tons, are not included the other 202,565 metric tons of  only partially decontaminated water, in which Cesium and Strontium are been already filtered out but the other 62 radionuclides have not been yet filtered by the Multi-nuclides Removal System (ALPS). Those 202,565 metric tons stored in some additional 202 tanks more in the Storing Tank Area.

Bringing the total of contaminated water, Cesium/Strontium partially decontaminated water plus the 62 radionuclides decontaminated water (Tritiated water) to a total of 980,212 metric tons stored in 980 tanks.

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Of course it is not question to release the partially decontaminated water (202,565 metric tons) into the sea, only the fully decontaminated water (all radionuclides removed to the exception of tritium), the tritiated water, the 777,647 metric tons.

On the Tepco Press Release on Jul 10,2017, Tepco indicates quite clearly the actual volume of the 2 types of water stored in those tanks. Knowing that all those tanks have a capacity of 1000 metric tons each, the maths are easy.

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Some media along the way, I suspect the Japan Times AGAIN, added the 580 tanks number into its article, maybe a typo from 5 to 7, then the error was copied on and on by the other media.

It is sad to see professionnal media not capable to get their numbers right.

Since that July 13, 2017 declaration from Tepco’s new chairman, Tepco is now backpedaling, saying that they have not yet reached that decision, fearing a public backlash and the ire of the local fishermen.

The radioactive half-life of Tritium is 12,3 years, its radioactive full life is 123 years to 184,5 years. Once inside the body, tritium can lead to internal exposure. Its biological half-life of 10 days, full life 100 to 150 days.

Tepco Press Release July 10, 2017 Nuclear Power Station (310th Release) Nuclear Power Station (310th Release):  http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu17_e/images/170710e0201.pdf

 

July 18, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | 1 Comment