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FUKUSHIMA : The silent voices

Documentary: A young Japanese filmaker expatriated in France goes back to her birthplace near Fukushima City.
Six years after the nuclear disaster, she’s aiming to re-open the debate
with her family on this catastrophe which became a taboo topic.



“” My name is Chiho SATO, I live in France for 5 years and I was born in Fukushima.
My parents and grandparents still live 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in what is called “the voluntary evacuation zone”.

More than four years after the disaster, radioactivity, invisible but omnipresent, has gradually disappeared from the minds of the inhabitants of the region.

Far from the dramatic and anxiogenic images frequently shown in Europe, I directed an intimate documentary.

A touching testimony about the inhabitants of one of the most radioactive regions in the world.

My objective: Re-open the debate on the situation in Fukushima by including the voice of the inhabitants themselves. “”

Please read also my previous articles about this excellent documentary, the best about Fukushima in my humble opinion:

The Silent Voices”: what is really to be living within the Fukushima disaster

About the documentary film “Fukushima the silent voices”

Fukushima, the Silent Voices”, a documentary with the Japanese culture in the background through the lens of a disaster


September 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

There is a diplomatic way to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis

The nuclear threat can be contained by diplomacy, These issues are manageable if they are given the right degree of priority, 25 Sep 17    “……… North Korea is the issue of the day. The objective of a denuclearised Korean peninsula, pursued by the previous US administrations, is no longer an achievable goal.

The best that can be hoped for is the suspension of nuclear and missile testing in return for security assurances and practical aid. Sanctions are designed to draw Kim Jong Un into a negotiation with that aim, and to pressure China to take a more active part. But it is very hard to see President Kim pulling back now. And China is more concerned about a new US-led war in Korea or the north collapsing and sending millions of refugees into China, than it is about living with a nuclear armed Pyongyang.

The US only really has two strategic options: contain and deter the threat; or destroy it, which would require regime change. There are always military options. But all who have studied the secret Pentagon plans are sobered by the scale of loss of life in South Korea these would entail. There is also a risk of China reluctantly coming to the aid of the north as it did in the 1950s.

Realistically, it seems the only practical option is containment. That requires missile defence systems to create uncertainty that nuclear-tipped missiles would ever get through to their target, and to deter any use of such weapons by being clear that North Korea would be destroyed if it ever tried to use them.
Mr Kim may be hard for us to comprehend, but he is a rational actor and he is certainly not suicidal. US concern about this isn’t exaggerated by the Trump administration: it has a serious problem on its hands.
However much we may view containment as the only sensible answer, there are still dangers of miscalculation. Mr Kim may be tempted to use his nuclear arsenal to hold others to ransom. There is also a proliferation threat. We have seen how Pyongyang has used its nuclear technology as an export earner. In 2007, the Israelis destroyed a secret nuclear reactor in the Syrian desert that had been designed and built by the North Koreans. Is it conceivable that a future terrorist organisation might be able to obtain such a device? Unlikely. But if they had the means, then Pyongyang would be the first place to go to get it. Pakistan’s ambivalent relationship with terrorist organisations adds to the dangers.
One country where our nuclear weapons concerns had eased is Iran. The nuclear agreement has its weaknesses, especially that it only applies for 10 years. But it is worth having, and Tehran is complying by its technical requirements. If Donald Trump walks from the nuclear deal — as he threatened at the UN last week — then before long he could find he has another North Korea to deal with, this one in the Gulf.
The outlook on nuclear weapons might look grim. But as we showed in the cold war, these issues are manageable with skilful diplomacy and the right investments in defence. We just have to give it the right degree of priority. When I was at MI6, and before that our negotiator with Iran on its nuclear programme, I was always mindful of the nuclear threat. The only issue that can seriously threaten our way of life must be among our top international security priorities. The writer is chairman of Macro Advisory Partners and a former chief of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service

September 25, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Leaders of USA and North Korea continue to trade threats and insults

Kim Jong-un ‘won’t be around much longer’–inevitable—korea.html   Donald Trump has made fresh threats against the North Korean regime after it branded him a ‘mentally deranged megalomaniac’.

The US President warned Pyongyang’s foreign minister that if he if ‘he echoes thoughts’ of the country’s leader Kim Jong Un they both ‘won’t be around much longer’.

He was responding after Ri Yong Ho told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that targeting the US mainland with its rockets was inevitable after ‘Mr Evil President’ made an ‘irreversible mistake’ by calling Mr Kim ‘rocket man’.

Describing Mr Trump as a ‘mentally deranged person full of megalomania,’ Mr Ri went on to tell the annual gathering of world leaders that the country was now ‘only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state’s nuclear force’.

Hitting back on Twitter, Mr Trump wrote: ‘Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at UN If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!’

Shortly before Mr Ri was scheduled to speak at the assembly, the Pentagon announced a fleet of US bombers and fighter jets had flown off North Korea’s coast, in what it called a ‘clear message’ to Pyongyang.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said it underlined the range of military options available to the US.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Britain’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – really happening, or vapourware?

Is The UK Really Planning To Approve “Mini Nuclear Reactor” Rollout? by James Ayre It was reported last week in The Telegraph that ministers in the UK were “ready” to approve the rapid development and testing of a fleet of “mini nuclear reactors” — to be used as baseload capacity and meant to make up for older soon-to-be-decommissioned nuclear facilities.

Is there any truth to this assertion? What about the assertion that such mini nuclear facilities will provide electricity that’s one-third cheaper than that provide by the nuclear facilities currently in use in the UK?

That sounds a bit “too good to be true” (which means that it probably is), but that is the sales pitch that’s being used.

I haven’t been able to find out too much about what’s going on, as many news outlets haven’t been covering the matter apparently, but it seems that “Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi, and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of ‘small modular reactors’ (SMRs)” in recent days — if The Telegraph is to be believed.

Here’s more from that coverage: “Whitehall sources confirmed that ­officials from the Department for Business were whittling down proposals from consortia keen to work with government to develop SMRs, with an ­announcement on the final contenders for funding expected soon.

“The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled ‘UK SMR: A National Endeavour’, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.

“The mini reactors are each expected to be able to generate between 200 megawatts and 450 megawatts of power, compared with the 3.2 gigawatts due from Hinkley, meaning more of them will be required to meet the UK’s energy needs.”

The Rolls Royce report claims that its projects would be able to generate electricity at a strike price of £60 per megawatt-hour — a fair bit higher than a number of other electricity generation modalities can offer. Though, I guess that the sales pitch is based on the idea of its use as baseload capacity?

September 25, 2017 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

American first strike against North Korea -prevented by North Korea’s A-Bomb – says Russia

North Korea’s A-Bomb Is Deterring U.S. First Strike, Russia Says

  • U.S. knows ‘for sure’ it has A-Bomb, foreign minister says
  • Korea, Japan, China, Russia may suffer if things get violent

North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons is preventing the U.S. from launching a first strike against the rogue nation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview.

 “The Americans won’t strike because they know for sure — rather than suspect — that it has atomic bombs,” Lavrov said Sunday on Russia’s NTV television. “I’m not defending North Korea right now, I’m just saying that almost everyone agrees with this analysis.”
 Lavrov said the U.S. attacked Iraq “solely because they had 100 percent information that there were no weapons of mass destruction left there,” refuting arguments the American government made at the time.
Tensions between the nations ratcheted up this weekend as President Donald Trump and North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho traded threats. On Saturday, U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers flew over international waters east of North Korea.
Lavrov said thousands of innocent people will suffer, in North Korea and in bordering South Korea, Japan and even maybe China and Russia, in the absence of a diplomatic solution.

Turning to another source of tension, Lavrov also added that he can’t rule out that the U.S. plans for Syria go beyond fighting terrorism. The Americans “swear that they have no goal in Syria other than eliminating terrorists,” he said. “When it happens, we’ll see if this was true or the U.S. nonetheless pursues some political goals, which we yet don’t know of.”

September 25, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian nuclear shill Ben Heard’s attack on renewable energy: refuted by 6 international academics

Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’ AUTHORS W. Browna,(a) , T. Bischof-Niemz (b)  , K. Blok(c) , C. Breyerc(d) , H. Lund (e) , B.V. Mathiesen (f  )  (Their  university positions are listed at the end of this post) September 2017

Abstract A recent article ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems [by Ben Heard, Barry Brook, Tom Wigley and Corey Bradshaw] claims that many studies of 100% renewable electricity systems do not demonstrate sufficient technical feasibility, according to the authors’ criteria.

Here we analyse the authors’ methodology and find it problematic. The feasibility criteria chosen by the authors are important, but are also easily addressed at low cost, while not affecting the main conclusions of the reviewed studies and certainly not affecting their technical feasibility.

A more thorough review reveals that all of the issues have already been addressed in the engineering and modelling literature. Nuclear power, as advocated by some of the authors, faces other, genuine feasibility problems, such as the finiteness of uranium resources and a reliance on unproven technologies in the medium- to long-term. Energy systems based on renewables, on the other hand, are not only feasible, but already economically viable and getting cheaper every day.

Contents Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Distance travelled by ionising radiation, if a leak occurs in North Korea’s nuclear testing

North Korea nuclear tests: How far will radiation travel if a leak occurs?  By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist September 24, 2017, 

Recent earthquakes near North Korea’s nuclear test site have raised questions as to how far radioactive material would travel if an underground atomic explosion triggers a leak.

A magnitude 3.2 earthquake was detected near the test site on Saturday, according to the Associated PressThe U.S. Geological Service (USGS) registered the quake at a magnitude 3.5.

The temblor originated in the northeastern part of the county near Kilju, where a large nuclear test occurred at the beginning of September and triggered a mountain collapse.

“The quake is small enough to suspect that it could have been caused by a tunnel collapse, and satellite data shows there have been many landslides in the area since the nuclear test,” Hong Tae-kyung, a professor at the department of Earth System Sciences at Yonsei University, told the AP.

However, Korea’s Meteorological Administration believed the earthquake to be natural.

This string of earthquakes raises questions on how far the wind would carry dangerous radiation if a leak occurs.

Non-tropical systems would be the driving force for where radiation would travel. These systems generally travel in a west to east manner with some fluctuations to the north and south.

“As a weak front passes through North Korea early this week, winds around 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) will begin to pick up from the west to northwest at 20-30 mph,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.

Any radiation that would be released into the atmosphere during the second half of the week would push towards northern Japan, possibly towards Hokkaido and far northern Honshu, to the north of Tokyo.

Reppert added “The only major city this would affect is Sapporo, as this would be north of Sendai.”

Any radiation would likely stay fairly close to the ground for the first day or two following a possible leak, before gradually rising higher into the atmosphere.

Beyond the passage through Japan, any possible radiation could travel close to southeastern Russia, the Aleutian Islands or head into the North Pacific Ocean away from any land masses.

This general steering flow will likely persist through the week with slight day-to-day variation.

If a leak occurs, health hazards would not only be limited to those who are outside without the proper protection.

“The big concern is the underground water will be contaminated, polluting the plants and animals, and finally the people who consume animal meat will be seriously impacted,” Wei Shijie, a former worker on nuclear weapons in China, told The Telegraph.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, radiation | Leave a comment

North Korea’s latest earthquake probably not a nuclear test

Reports: Latest North Korean Earthquake Was Likely Not Nuclear Test Tom McKay\A 3.4-magnitude earthquake rattled the area of Kilju in northeastern North Korea on Saturday, CBC reported, 6km short of the Punggye-ri facility where the country has tested nuclear weapons.

The area where the earthquake struck is not known to experience natural earthquakes. As earth-shaking booms are a natural feature of underground nuclear weapons testing, the quake led to suspicions North Korea had detonated yet another model of nuke — as it did earlier this month, sparking fears it had successfully developed a hydrogen bomb.

“This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests,” the United States Geological Survey wrote on its website. “We cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event. The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5km by the seismologist.”

According to the Washington Post, China’s state earthquake-monitoring agency initially believed the test to have been an explosion, although South Korean officials told the Associated Press “the analysis of seismic waves and the lack of sound waves clearly showed that the quake wasn’t caused by an artificial explosion.”

Per the AP, the 3.4-magnitude quake would be much smaller than previous nuclear tests, the weakest of which generated a magnitude 4.3 quake and the strongest of which, the test this month, resulted in a magnitude 6.3 quake. One possible explanation is the region is undergoing aftershocks in the wake of the previous nuclear tests.

“It could be a natural earthquake that really was man-made as the nuclear test would have transferred a lot of stress,” Yonsei University in Seoul earth system sciences professor Hong Tae-kyung told CBC. “The quake is small enough to suspect that it could have been caused by a tunnel collapse, and satellite data shows there have been many landslides in the area since the nuclear test.”

Other than the disquieting pace of North Korean nuclear weapons development, one immediate concern from the ongoing tests is seismological data suggesting the test site might be about to cave in.

Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province concluded earlier this month another test at Punggye-ri could cause the overhead mountain to cave in, potentially releasing large amounts of radioactive material which could drift far beyond the region into neighbouring countries including China.

According to South Korean paper Chosun Ilbo, sources said after the September 3rd test, residents in the area were prohibited from travelling to the capital, Pyongyang, due to possible radioactive contamination.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, safety | Leave a comment

Iraq wants nuclear reactors: does that fill you with confidence?

Iraq seeks help with reactor World news briefs, Sept. 23: United Nations, Puerto Rico 

   Iraq’s foreign minister is asking nuclear countries for help building an atomic reactor for peaceful purposes, saying the country has a right to use atomic power peacefully. Ibrahim al-Jaafari made the request in his speech Saturday to the U.N. General Assembly’s annual meeting of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs. He called for assistance “to build a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes in Iraq, to acquire this nuclear technology.” Former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein’s previous efforts to build a nuclear reactor were met with an Israeli airstrike in 1981 and years of suspicion about his nuclear intentions. The U.S. cited concerns that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction as the basis for invading Iraq in 2003, but none were ever found. Al-Jaafari cited the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty’s provisions allowing countries to pursue peaceful nuclear energy projects.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Iraq, politics international | Leave a comment

Putting plutonium or other materials too close together could cause a nuclear reaction.

Oversight panel: Nuclear lab workers violated safety rules
Putting plutonium or other materials too close together could cause a nuclear reaction.
 Daily Herald, , September 23, 2017  SANTA FE, N.M. — A national laboratory’s workers producing a shell for a triggering device for nuclear weapons violated safety rules in August by storing too much material at one location in a facility for plutonium, a highly radioactive material, a federal oversight panel reported.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board memorandum called the Aug. 18 incident at the Los Alamos National Laboratory a “criticality safety event” and said workers there discovered the placement error made by a casting crew three days later when they moved the grapefruit-sized shell again.

The workers at that point failed to follow proper procedures for reporting the Aug. 21 action, the safety board said in a one-page memorandum dated Sept. 1. The report doesn’t specify whether the shell itself contained plutonium.

The Albuquerque Journal and Santa Fe New Mexican reported Saturday on the safety board’s memorandum.

Michael Golay, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has served on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s research review committee, told the New Mexican there are strict controls on the use of nuclear materials because putting plutonium or other materials too close together could cause a nuclear reaction.

Golay said he could not comment on the specific conditions at Los Alamos……..

Los Alamos — the birthplace of the atomic bomb and still a premier nuclear research facility — is resuming production of the plutonium triggering devices, which are called cores and which haven’t been made since 2011. The Energy Department wants to ramp up production.

While Los Alamos officials have said the plutonium facility is operating safely and that improvements have been made in recent years, the oversight board earlier this year found that many of the safety systems in place at Los Alamos date to the 1970s and needed to be upgraded…….

September 25, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Holtec planning to build small nuclear reactors in Ukraine


KYIV. Sept 11 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Holtec International (the United States) in 2023 will start the active phase of building small module reactors SMR-160, President of Ukrainian National Nuclear Generating Company Yuriy Nedashkovsky said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new plant of the company in New Jersey (the United States).
According to a posting on the website of Energoatom, Nedashkovsky said that earlier President of Holtec International Chris Singh made a proposal to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to create a hub in Ukraine to sell small module reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa with localization of production facilities and the large amount of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.
Nedashkovsky said that Kharkiv-based Turboatom has turbines suiting SMR-160. There is a chance of attracting other Ukrainian enterprises to the project.
He said that the start of licensing of SMR-160 could start in 2018.
He said that SMR-160 reactors are rather cheap compared to more powerful reactors. They can be installed in small areas and do not require powerful lines. Nedashkovsky said that the need in SMR-160 after 2025 is estimated at $1 trillion.
“These reactors have an increased level of safety due to the fact that they use passive safety systems: that is it has no pumping equipment, reinforcement and other things which require external power supply,” the president of Energoatom said.
The plant, built by Holtec in New Jersey, is mainly focused on two spheres: production of container fleet for spent nuclear fuel, as well as vessels for small modular reactors of the SMR-160 project.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine | 1 Comment

Construction workers at Hinkley Point C nuclear project reject pay offer, will support industrial action

Bridgwater Mercury 21st Sept 2017, CONSTRUCTION workers at Hinkley Point C have overwhelmingly rejected a
renewed pay offer in the long-standing dispute over pay and bonuses on the
project. Industrial action is now likely after 95 per cent of staff
rejected the new deal from EDF which was understood to be about a five per
cent increase on their gross pay. A worker at the power plant site, who did
not want to be named, expects the same proportion of the workforce will
support industrial action. He said: “Considering it is the biggest
project in Europe strike is an absolute catastrophe”.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | employment, UK | Leave a comment

‘Just Moms St Louis’ lobby for cleanup of Westlake Landfill nuclear waste problem

Citizen group prays for fix to Westlake Landfill nuclear waste problem, Sean Franklin , KSDK September 24, 2017,  ST. LOUIS – A citizen group that wants to clean up the West Lake Landfill prayed for a solution to what they claim could be a nuclear waste disaster.

September 25, 2017 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Call to stop United States nuclear corporate welfare – in bailing out nuclear power stations

No corporate welfare: States shouldn’t bail out nuclear plants, Savannah Now,  September 23, 2017
“…..There is no denying that more than half of America’s nuclear power plants face a financial crisis. Collectively, these plants lose nearly $3 billion a year. They simply haven’t been able to compete with power plants that run on cheap natural gas.

In desperation, nuclear operators are begging state legislatures for subsidies to keep their plants running. They’re hoping to lure lawmakers into bailing them out by promising zero-emissions energy production.

State legislators should reject their requests. Nuclear subsidies cost taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars and offer little to no economic or environmental benefits.

Nuclear plants in several states already receive taxpayer-funded subsidies. In July, an Illinois federal judge upheld state legislation that funnels $230 million per year to Chicago-based Exelon to keep its nuclear facilities operating. The same month in New York, a federal judge dismissed a consumer lawsuit against a $480 million annual handout to three nuclear plants.

Subsidy proponents say additional bailouts are needed to prevent plant closures. They claim that if plants go offline, utilities will have to raise electricity rates. They’re wrong.

Nuclear bailouts don’t protect consumers from energy price increases; they facilitate them. Nuclear subsidies are expected to raise New Yorkers’ electric bills by $3.4 billion within the first five years. The Illinois program constitutes the biggest energy rate hike in U.S. history — projected to cost residents and businesses $16.4 billion.

The same goes for other states. Under a proposed subsidy in Ohio, consumers would see their electric bills climb 5 percent per year. Consumers in the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast would have to pay $3.9 billion more per year if nuclear plants in the area received similar backing.

Bailout proponents also raise the specter of job losses. While nuclear facilities do provide local jobs — Exelon employs 5,900 people at its plants in Illinois —subsidy programs just rob Peter to pay Paul. The downsides of propping up an inefficient sector outweigh any economic benefits. An analysis of the Illinois subsidies found they would cost the state 43,000 jobs by 2030 and $14.7 billion in economic output.

Natural gas firms create jobs and grow the economy without picking taxpayers’ pockets. According to the American Petroleum Institute, in Illinois the natural gas industry supported nearly 150,000 jobs and contributed $18 billion to the state economy in 2015. The numbers are higher still for New York, where natural gas is responsible for 152,000 jobs and more than $20 billion in economic output.

Unlike nuclear subsidies that jack up monthly energy bills, natural gas saves consumers billions. And, also according to the aforementioned API report, electricity prices in Ohio have dropped 50 percent since 2008 thanks to affordable natural gas. Last year, thanks to the continued natural gas boom, Americans spent just 4 percent of their household budgets on energy costs — the lowest share ever……

September 25, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dozens of Japanese towns choosing decentralised solar energy, with microgrids

Quiet energy revolution underway in Japan as dozens of towns go off the grid, Japan Times BY AARON SHELDRICK AND OSAMU TSUKIMORI  REUTERS, 24 Sept 17,  A Miyagi city’s efforts to rebuild its electrical power system after 3/11 mark a quiet shift away from Japan’s old utility model and toward self-reliant, local generation and transmission.

After losing three-quarters of its homes and 1,100 people in the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, the city of Higashimatsushima in Miyagi Prefecture turned to the government’s “national resilience program,” with ¥3.72 trillion in funding for this fiscal year, to rebuild.

 The city of 40,000 chose to construct microgrids and decentralized renewable power generation to create a self-sustaining system in Tohoku capable of producing an average of 25 percent of its electricity without the need of the region’s power utility.

The city’s steps illustrate a massive yet little known effort to take dozens of the nation’s towns and communities off the power grid and make them partly self-sufficient in generating electricity…….

September 25, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, Japan | Leave a comment