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EU parliament opposes bid to reduce testing of Fukushima food imports

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STRASBOURG, FRANCE – The European Parliament on Wednesday warned against easing health controls imposed on food products imported from the Fukushima region in the wake of the nuclear meltdowns of 2011.

The checks were imposed on food from the area around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which went into meltdown after being hit by massive tsunami, spewing radiation over a wide area in the world’s most serious nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to reduce the list of foods subject to radiation tests before they can be imported into the bloc, which currently includes rice, mushrooms, fish and other seafood.

A resolution passed by a large majority of MEPs called on the commission to withdraw its proposal, saying it was “very difficult to verify whether the measures proposed are sufficient” to protect European consumers and there was reason to think it “could lead to an increase in exposure to radioactive contaminated food.

French Green MEP Michele Rivasi said extra vigilance was needed as the EU negotiates a trade deal with Japan.

MEPs criticized the Commission for not providing them with the data used to decide it was acceptable to relax the restrictions.

The matter will be reviewed in the coming weeks by experts appointed by EU member states, ahead of a vote expected in October, a parliament spokesman told AFP.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/09/14/national/politics-diplomacy/eu-parliament-opposes-bid-reduce-testing-fukushima-food-imports/#.WbsV7Rdx3rd

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September 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Conditional approval of TEPCO’s eligibility

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Japan’s nuclear regulators have affirmed that Tokyo Electric Power Company is eligible to operate nuclear reactors again, but they have imposed some conditions.

The members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority made the decision at a meeting on Wednesday.

They have been debating whether or not to give the utility a green light to restart 2 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture, central Japan.

TEPCO is the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant.

During the meeting, a plan was put forth. According to the plan, TEPCO must express in its safety regulations its determination to tackle the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi plant and its determination to prioritize safety over economic efficiency. In return, the regulators will certify that the company is eligible to operate nuclear reactors.

The plan also requires the industry ministry to make its intention to supervise the company clear.

At the meeting on Wednesday, the regulators agreed to certify that TEPCO is eligible to operate reactors as long as the industry ministry and the president of TEPCO agree to the provisions in the plan.

The regulators will compile a report that will effectively certify that TEPCO has their approval to restart the 2 reactors in Niigata.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170913_34/

 

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO gets OK to restart Niigata reactors, with conditions

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The nation’s nuclear watchdog gave conditional approval Sept. 13 to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s application to resume operations of its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.

It marks the first time that reactors operated by TEPCO, which manages the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, have passed more stringent reactor regulations imposed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority after the triple meltdown in 2011.

The two reactors at the plant in Niigata Prefecture–the No. 6 and No. 7 units–are the first boiling-water reactors in Japan to clear the regulations. They are the same type as the reactors at the Fukushima plant.

The NRA already accepts that TEPCO has the technological know-how to operate the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, one of the world’s largest.

But it had harbored doubts about the company’s fitness to operate a nuclear plant, given its tendency to put its balance sheet ahead of safety precautions.

The NRA ordered TEPCO to provide in the legally required safety code a detailed explanation of procedures it will take to ensure that the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is operated safely.

That way, the watchdog body aims to make the utility legally accountable if problems arise.

It will also closely monitor the utility’s actions in adhering to the safety code once the NRA approves the measures proposed by TEPCO.

The NRA will summon Tomoaki Kobayakawa, the new president of TEPCO, to request a more demanding safety code from the company.

As another condition for a restart, the NRA called for the industry ministry’s clear-cut commitment to oversee TEPCO’s compliance with safety if it is satisfied with the utility’s pledge to respond appropriately to the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The industry ministry oversees the nuclear industry.

Despite the NRA’s conditional approval, the utility will need to gain consent from local governments for a restart.

Niigata Governor Ryuichi Yoneyama, who took office last year, has made it clear that he will not agree to the restart until the prefectural government completes its investigation into the Fukushima nuclear disaster to determine what went wrong. The investigation is expected to take several years.

In an effort to underscore its eligibility as an operator of a nuclear plant, TEPCO submitted a written pledge in August that it is “determined to take the initiative in addressing the needs of victims in Fukushima Prefecture and accomplish the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”

If the safety code and the industry minister’s commitment are secured, the NRA concluded that the utility will be eligible to resume operations of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA, said at the Sept. 13 meeting that TEPCO’s vow in August is “binding.”

The NRA indicated that if TEPCO fails to adhere to its “promise” to heed to safety, it will exercise the power to suspend the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant’s operations or revoke its license to operate it.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant has seven reactors. The No. 6 reactor and the No. 7 reactor started operations in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Each has a capacity of 1.36 gigawatts.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201709130058.html

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Anniversary of radiation-caused death (at 24 years) of Manhattan Project physicist

Paul Waldon, Fight to stop nuclear waste dump in flinders ranges sa, Today the 15th of September is another red letter day in the nuclear arena, with the 72nd anniversary of the death of Haroutune Krikor “Harry” Daglian, physicist with the Manhattan Project.

Harry was NOT the only person working on the project to die from “Acute Radiation Syndrome” but he was the youngest at only 24 years of age. Three members of the big four were to follow Harry to a early grave with cancer deemed to be from the radiation they were subjected to during their time on the Manhattan and other projects.

The contaminated materials left over from the development of the bombs are still having a impact on life and the environment, and will continue to do so for generations. However the deaths and contamination on American soil from the development of the bombs, outnumber Japan’s. RIP Harry. https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | health, history, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Environmental injustice – nuclear waste shipped to area of Hispanic population

For 15 years, hundreds of environmental groups have advocated for hardened on-site storage of irradiated nuclear fuel, as close and safely as possible, to the point of generation as a necessary interim measure.

Why ship highly radioactive waste a thousand miles to the east when it could be moved just a few miles? San Onofre’s wastes can be transferred out of the tsunami zone, away from the earthquake faults, across the 5 Freeway, further inland and to higher ground. By moving the dangerous nuclear fuel rods into the heart of Camp Pendleton, there would be the added bonus of many thousands of U.S. Marines to help guard it.

Kevin Kamps, Takoma Park, Md. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-nuclear-waste-san-onofre-20170914-story.html

September 14, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear power and renewable energy shown to not work well together

German nuclear damage shows atomic and renewable power are unhappy bedfellows https://www.euractiv.com/section/electricity/news/german-nuclear-damage-shows-atomic-and-renewable-power-are-unhappy-bedfellows/,By Dagmar Dehmer | Der Tagesspiegel | translated by Sam MorganJul 26, 2017, A Germany nuclear plant was damaged because its operators increased and decreased its output to respond to energy grid fluctuations. The incident supports the theory that nuclear and renewable energy generation are incompatible. EURACTIV’s partner Der Tagesspiegel reports.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

As national security adviser, did Michael Flynn secretly promote a U.S.-Russian project to build dozens of nuclear reactors in the Middle East?

AOL 13th Sept 2017, Democratic lawmakers are probing whether retired U.S. General Michael Flynn
secretly promoted a U.S.-Russian project to build dozens of nuclear
reactors in the Middle East after becoming President Donald Trump’s first
national security adviser.

Representatives Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel
made the disclosure in a letter they sent on Tuesday to Flynn’s lawyer and
executives of firms that developed the reactor scheme and for which Flynn’s
now-defunct consulting company worked.
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/09/13/dems-investigating-whether-flynn-promoted-nuclear-reactor-project-as-trumps-national-security-adviser/23207327/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA officials not happy with Canada approving Ontario Power Generation’s plans for waste dump at Lake Huron

Macomd Daily 12th Sept 2017, The Canadian federal government has all but approved plans by Ontario Power
Generation to build an underground nuclear waste dump on the shores of Lake
Huron but U.S. officials are still making their objections known.

On Thursday, the House passed Rep. Paul Mitchell’s amendment that prohibits
American money for the International Joint Commission from being used to
attend an annual Canadian water resources conference demonstrating the U.S.
Congress’ opposition to the plan.  http://www.macombdaily.com/general-news/20170912/us-officials-still-trying-to-stop-canadas-plan-to-bury-nuclear-waste-under-lake-huron

September 14, 2017 Posted by | Canada, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

FLORIDA NUKE PLANT DID NOT MEET FED SAFETY GUIDELINES AS IRMA ROARED

,Newsweek, BY MELINA DELKIC  Operators of a nuclear power plant in the path of Hurricane Irma kept one reactor operating during the cyclone, despite failing to bring the plant up to federal safety code and long-known concerns about the danger faced by nuclear power plants during power outages.

The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, was in the midst of a region with 5 million power outages —”unprecedented,” according to Florida Power and Light CEO Eric Silagy — yet kept operating even though the risk of a serious accident rises significantly in a power outage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“When there’s a possibility to lose power, why would you take the risk of increasing that?” Maggie Gundersen, founder of Fairewinds Energy Education and former nuclear industry employee, told Newsweek.

Operators of a nuclear power plant in the path of Hurricane Irma kept one reactor operating during the cyclone, despite failing to bring the plant up to federal safety code and long-known concerns about the danger faced by nuclear power plants during power outages.

The Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, along the southeast Florida coast, was in the midst of a region with 5 million power outages —”unprecedented,” according to Florida Power and Light CEO Eric Silagy — yet kept operating even though the risk of a serious accident rises significantly in a power outage, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“When there’s a possibility to lose power, why would you take the risk of increasing that?” Maggie Gundersen, founder of Fairewinds Energy Education and former nuclear industry employee, told Newsweek.

….

A VALVE FAILURE AMID DANGEROUS STORM SURGE AND WINDS

The plant dodged a bullet — power outages in the state did not ultimately lead to a disaster. But a part of the reactor’s all-important cooling system, a piece called the steam generator’s feed regulating valve, did fail on Sunday night, prompting engineers to finally shut the lone reactor in operation that night.

Again, disaster was averted. There is “no known primary-secondary steam generator tube leakage” — jargon for radiation — according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The failure of the valve is just one problem at the plant: Turkey Point knew that it had improvements to make…….http://www.newsweek.com/turkey-point-nuclear-plant-hurricane-irma-663188

September 14, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change, extreme wildfires, and lung damage

Extreme wildfires in the US could lead to long-term lung damage https://www.newscientist.com/article/2147141-extreme-wildfires-in-the-us-could-lead-to-long-term-lung-damage/12 September 2017, And it looks like there is more to come. Most western states will remain at risk throughout September. “Fuel moisture levels and fire danger indices in these areas are at near-record to record levels for severity,” warns the NIFC. In August, rainfall was 25 per cent below average in western states – and temperatures were 2 to 6°C higher than normal.

As part of its wildfire outlook for the rest of the year, the NIFC predicts fires this month in parts of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. There, grasses were two to three times more profuse than usual, but have since dried out.

The NIFC says states such as Montana are so bone dry that they could still be at risk in October. Fires are also likely as late as December in central Texas and most of Oklahoma, following a predicted dry spell in late autumn.

Don’t breathe

Charities supporting lung health warn that people exposed to smoke and other pollution from the fires are at higher risk of short and long-term lung damage. Children, whose lungs are still immature, and the elderly are most at risk.

“We consider unhealthy air to contain around 35 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic metre, but in Montana, they’re looking at just under 1000 over many days on a regular basis,” says Janice Nolen of the American Lung Association in Washington DC. “A colleague of mine up there is saying he can’t breathe.”

“Man-made climate change is making things incrementally hotter and allowing for fuels to dry out that much faster,” says John Abatzoglou at the University of Idaho. There is also “a legacy of fire suppression and fuel accumulation” that has intensified the natural pattern of wildfires in the US.

“We need to prevent this going forward, and one reason we’re having this crisis is climate change,” says Nolen. “It’s exacerbating these events, making them more likely and moBy Andy Coghlan

There is no relief on the horizon for beleaguered citizens in California, Montana, Oregon and other western states besieged by an abnormally large profusion of forest fires.

Nationally, wildfires this year have scorched 3.3 million hectares. That is roughly the size of Maryland, and way ahead of the 2.25-million-hectare annual average up to September seen between 2006 and 2016.

The US National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Idaho says there are currently 64 very large fires. Montana has been worst hit, suffering 25, and Oregon now has 17. And it looks like there is more to come. Most western states will remain at risk throughout September. “Fuel moisture levels and fire danger indices in these areas are at near-record to record levels for severity,” warns the NIFC. In August, rainfall was 25 per cent below average in western states – and temperatures were 2 to 6°C higher than normal.

As part of its wildfire outlook for the rest of the year, the NIFC predicts fires this month in parts of Idaho, Nevada and Utah. There, grasses were two to three times more profuse than usual, but have since dried out.

The NIFC says states such as Montana are so bone dry that they could still be at risk in October. Fires are also likely as late as December in central Texas and most of Oklahoma, following a predicted dry spell in late autumn.

September 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Media are letting us down, coverage of climate change gets poorer, as climate change gets worse

Climate change is getting worse, and so is media’s coverage of it, Salon.com. Media are failing to inform audiences about pressing impacts on human migration patterns, women, and the economy, Broadcast networks are decreasing their climate coverage at a time when the case for reporting on the issue is become more and more compelling. By ignoring this serious matter, media are failing to inform audiences about pressing impacts on human migration patterns, women, and the economy.

In 2016, media had no shortage of compelling reasons to cover climate change — from the revelation that it was the third consecutive hottest year on record to the United States’ election of a climate denier to its highest office. Yet broadcast news outlets’ coverage of climate change dropped a whopping 66 percent from 2015 to 2016, making it the third consecutive year of declining coverage.

When media turn a blind eye to climate change, they ignore an issue that will have devastating impacts and multiply existing threats across the globe. According to The New York Times, unmitigated climate change could displace between 50 million and 200 million people by 2050. But the effects of climate change are already visible. In the U.S. last year, the federal government allocated $48 million in grants to resettle residents of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana, which represents “the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the impacts of climate change.”

 Climate change poses a particular threat to women. A whole host of studies have concluded that women will bear the brunt of climate change-induced natural disasters and severe weather events. According to a United Nations analysis, “Women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men — primarily as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change.” The analysis also stated, “When coupled with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, limited mobility places women in rural areas in a position where they are disproportionately affected by climate change.”
The prospect of a warming planet also presents a huge risk to the global economy. ……http://www.salon.com/2017/09/11/climate-change-is-getting-worse-and-so-is-medias-coverage-of-it_partner/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, media | Leave a comment

Background to the North Korea nuclear crisis – the Cold War that never ended

The Cold War Never Ended: Historical Roots of the Current North Korea Crisis, Portside, 12 Sept 17 The current conflict is one of the many unintended consequences of the continuing Cold War and the arbitrary division of the Korean peninsula that has lasted to this day. In a military confrontation with the United States, North Korea faces a terrible choice between using its weapons first or losing them in a conventional war against a far superior power.Suzy Kim, American Historical Association

With tensions at an all-time high between the United States and North Korea, theNew York Times headlined its recent digital newsletter with Lies Your High School History Teacher Told You About Nukes. The basic point was to debunk the theory of “mutually assured destruction” that is often used to explain why the Cold War remained cold and did not result in a nuclear holocaust. The article argues that despite possessing a nuclear arsenal that guaranteed “mutually assured destruction,” both the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a costly arms race that attempted to outmaneuver the other with more numerous and powerful warheads, delivered with more precise and faster missiles. This happened not because they wanted to engage in actual nuclear warfare, but because of the threatthat the other could “escape” mutually assured destruction, fight back, and win. This justified pursuing weaponry that could, in theory, take out the other side before it could retaliate. The Soviet Union was so terrified of this prospect that it spent enormous resources to retain at least the power to deliver a second strike, ultimately at the cost to its own ailing economy.
This is precisely what North Korea is doing now, but from a much weaker position, which only increases the risk of war. In a military confrontation with the United States, North Korea faces a terrible choice between using its weapons first or losing them in a conventional war against a far superior power. …….

British social historian E.P. Thompson pointedly asked whose needs the Cold War served and whether it was necessary. In a lecture delivered in 1981, Thompson asked us to think “beyond the Cold War” to a world where peace and freedom made common cause. Peace activists during the Cold War were lumped together with the Soviet “peace offensive” and branded naïve at best or dupes at worst, replicated today against those who seek engagement and peace with North Korea. Blaming appeasement and failure of diplomacy to stop Hitler and World War II while forgetting that World War I was the result of increased militarization and lack of diplomacy, the goal of peace was equated with appeasement and forsaken in the name of protecting freedom and “our way of life.”

Thompson concluded that the Cold War was an “addiction,” “a habit supported by very powerful material interests in each bloc,” from the military-industrial complex to intelligence and national security agencies, and the politicians they serve. This is no less true here in the United States as it is in North Korea today, where the American threat has been used to justify draconian measures since the Korean War.

North Korea’s threat of turning the United States into a “sea of fire,” while rhetorically inflammatory and unproductive, is based on its historical experience of the Korean War, during which the United States engaged in a literal scorched earth campaign of incendiary bombing that exhausted all targets. Despite American introduction of nuclear weapons into South Korea in 1958 in violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, North Korea began developing its own nuclear weapons in earnest only in the 1990s when it could no longer rely on the Soviet nuclear umbrella.

North Korea’s threat of turning the United States into a “sea of fire,” while rhetorically inflammatory and unproductive, is based on its historical experience of the Korean War, during which the United States engaged in a literal scorched earth campaign of incendiary bombing that exhausted all targets. Despite American introduction of nuclear weapons into South Korea in 1958 in violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, North Korea began developing its own nuclear weapons in earnest only in the 1990s when it could no longer rely on the Soviet nuclear umbrella…….http://portside.org/2017-09-11/cold-war-never-ended-historical-roots-current-north-korea-crisis

September 14, 2017 Posted by | history, politics international, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Himalayas facing grave threat from climate change

Global warming poses grave threat to the Himalayas, The Himalayan Times, September 12, 2017  Nepal,  THT ONLINE/RASTRIYA SAMACHAR SAMITI, KATHMANDU: Increasing global warming caused by greenhouse effect and its subsequent impact has posed a grave threat to the Nepal’s mountain ranges, experts said.

They stressed the need of taking timely interventions to minimise the impact of climate change on the mountains.

The experts shared their views at an interaction programme on ‘challenges f mountaineering tourism and environmental impact’ organised by Management Association of Nepal on Tuesday.

Former President of Nepal Mountaineering Association Ang Chhiring Sherpa revealed the fact that increasing atmospheric temperature caused rampant snow melting and mountains were in the gradual process of turning into just rocky hills.

“This situation is dangerous for the entire mountain ecosystem. Mountaineering tourism is certain to be severely hit by this. Some settlements in the mountain region are in the need of relocation, following the water crisis there.”…….. KATHMANDU: Increasing global warming caused by greenhouse effect and its subsequent impact has posed a grave threat to the Nepal’s mountain ranges, experts said…… https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/global-warming-poses-grave-threat-himalayas/

September 14, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Scientists worried about the state of Belgium’s nuclear reactors

RTBF 12th Sept 2017, [Machine Translation] Doel 3 and Tihange 2: a new alarming scientific
report asks them to be stopped. Should we extend the life of our nuclear
power plants beyond 2025? The FEB, the Belgian Federation of Enterprises,
advocates it to ensure our energy supply in the future.

But several scientists of the KUL are worried about the state of some reactors,
especially those of Doel 3 and Tihange 2. For them no doubt, they should be
stopped. They sent their critical note to the AFCN, the Federal Nuclear
Control Agency.
https://www.rtbf.be/info/societe/detail_doel-3-et-tihange-2-un-nouveau-rapport-scientifique-alarmant-demande-de-les-mettre-a-l-arret?id=9707100

September 14, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Swiss group CNP to stop buying power from Fessenheim nuclear power station

Fessenheim loses one of its biggest customers. The Swiss group CNP will
stop buying electricity from the French nuclear power plant (EDF), which is
due to close permanently in 2019.
https://www.lesechos.fr/industrie-services/energie-environnement/030550663088-fessenheim-perd-lun-de-ses-plus-gros-clients-2113553.php

September 14, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Switzerland | Leave a comment