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America’s EPA now deliberately obscuring the truth on ionising radiation and health

Trump EPA Questioning Science on Radiation Safety, Non-Profit Watchdog Warns https://www.districtsentinel.com/trump-epa-questioning-science-radiation-safety-non-profit-watchdog-warns/

  by Sam Knight Environmental regulators are telling local officials that it’s okay for the public to be exposed to radiation equivalent to “5,000 chest x-rays,” according to critics.

The EPA issued a public guidance in September, advising local officials to respond to a possible nuclear emergency by claiming that 5,000-10,000 millirems exposure “usually result[s] in no harmful health effects.” The watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) said past studies funded by the US government declared that level to be highly carcinogenic.

“National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and EPA itself, have long estimated that 10,000 millirems could be expected to induce excess cancers in every 86th person exposed,” PEER said on Monday.

The non-profit criticized the agency for failing to cite which “radiation safety experts” it used to justify the declaration.

The EPA also didn’t say how long a human should be safe, when exposed to radiation at the 5,000-10,000 millirem range. It did note, however, that 75,000 millirem exposure “in a short amount of time (usually minutes too hours)” can cause acute radiation sickness.

“Although cancer has been associated with high doses of radiation received over short periods of time, the cancers usually do not appear for many years, even decades,” the guidance noted, ominously.

PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said the threshold cited by the agency could lead to a dangerous hands-off approach, should catastrophe strike.

“This signals that in the event of a Fukushima-type accident EPA will allow public consumption of radiation-contaminated drinking water for months,” Ruch said.

“Dr. Strangelove is alive and lurking somewhere in the corridors of EPA,” he added.

PEER noted that it is planning on suing the EPA to challenge the legality of the radiation exposure claims. The group said that the guidance violates the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The agency advice on radiation exposure–a supplement to a “Protective Action Guide”–was crafted, in its own words, “to help emergency planners prepare public communications prior to and during” radiological and nuclear emergencies.

In January, just before President Obama left office, the EPA issued the initial Protective Action Guide. It set the allowable threshold for the general population at 500 millirems, and the threshold for babies, children, and pregnant and nursing women at 100 millirems.

“Some commenters…believe the proposed PAG was too conservative and that EPA should consider establishing the PAG in the 2,000 to 10,000 [millirem] range,” the agency said in January, in the Federal Register.

PEER was critical of these limits, reacting to them by saying they also violated Safe Drinking Water Act rules.

“For decades, EPA had taken the position that ‘There is no known safe amount of radiation,’” the watchdog said on Monday.

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October 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

USA would consider direct talks with North Korea, eventually – Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan

US OFFICIAL SAYS NOT RULING OUT EVENTUAL DIRECT TALKS WITH NORTH KOREA, Eye Witness News, 18 Oct 17,

Tension has soared following a series of weapons tests by North Korea and a string of increasingly bellicose exchanges between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.  Reuters |  

TOKYO/UNITED NATIONS – The United States is not ruling out the eventual possibility of direct talks with North Korea, Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan said on Tuesday, hours after Pyongyang warned nuclear war might break out at any moment.

Talks between the adversaries have long been urged by China in particular, but Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant to sit down at the table while Pyongyang continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States.

“Eventually, we don’t rule out the possibility of course of direct talks,” Sullivan said in Tokyo after talks with his Japanese counterpart……..http://ewn.co.za/2017/10/17/us-official-says-not-ruling-out-eventual-direct-talks-with-north-korea

October 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Quitting Iran deal would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – ICAN

Quitting Iran deal would ruin 12yrs’ work, threaten nuclear war – rep for Nobel Peace Prize-winner Rt.com,  17 Oct, 2017

Washington’s threats to walk out of the Iran nuclear deal is a critical moment for global nuclear non-proliferation, as it risks uprooting over a decade of diplomatic work and bring the world on the verge of a nuclear war, Jean-Marie Collin of ICAN France told RT.

Collin, coordinator of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for France, which was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, told RT he believes the US is putting the world’s safety in jeopardy by threatening to quit the nuclear deal.

Defending the agreement, Collin argued that no deal could possibly please all sides, as the ability to compromise lies in the nature of every agreement.

“Maybe it’s not the best agreement that we obtained, but you know, an agreement is never the best,” he said, adding that the deal should be considered a success as it reduces the chances of a major nuclear conflict breaking out.

“The important fact is that we arrived [there] after 12 years of diplomatic work, we did not have any war, we did not have any conflict with Iran and the rest of the world,” Collin said.

The deal stuck between Iran and the US, Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany in 2015 should not be a subject to revision, as it would undermine the result of a decades-long negotiation process, Collin said, saying “the deal is the deal.”

You cannot ask to revise the deal,” he stressed, pointing out that it will be possible to renegotiate some of the provisions only after they expire in 2025, but not before.

“Maybe some state will want to add some new paragraphs, some new rules, it’s a possibility we cannot deny just now 10 years before,” he said.

Meanwhile, the statements by US President Donald Trump leave the deal’s fate hanging in the balance, Collin argued, as after Washington withdraws, Tehran will follow suit…….https://www.rt.com/news/406929-iran-deal-revise-ican/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Authorities always knew that nuclear fallout shelters would not work

Nuclear Fallout Shelters Were Never Going to Work, History  // OCTOBER 16, 2017 “…….[IN 1961]  the federal government was devising a way for 50 million Americans to survive a nuclear war by scurrying to the nearest basement. The National Fallout Shelter Survey and Marking Program had begun……….

With North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, pointed west and President Trump’s atomic sabre-rattling, fears of nuclear war have crept slowly back into the public consciousness. If the headlines rekindle some of the old unease about air-raid sirens and mushroom clouds, they’re also an occasion to consider a singular relic of the period that, oddly enough, never left us—the fallout-shelter sign.

Dented and faded now, the Kennedy-era signs still cling to the sides of buildings across the country. “They’re an enduring symbol of the Cold War,” says popular-culture historian Bill Geerhart, who since 1999 has maintained CONELRAD.com, a meticulous chronicling of the duck-and-cover era. “They outlasted everything, including the Berlin Wall. They’re tangible artifacts of that era.” And though their original purpose has vanished, the signs still have much to say. They are the products of an ill-conceived program, designed to appease a population with little faith in that program even working.

Kennedy was privately skeptical about the value of a public shelter program……. While fallout shelters would do nothing to safeguard people from an actual bomb, they would, in the words of JFK’s civil-defense chief Steuart L. Pittman, give “our presently unprotected population some form of protection.”……..
In fact, the untenability of the shelters was public knowledge before they had even opened. A November 1961 story on the front page of The Washington Post bemoaned that most of the designated shelters would be little more than “cold, unpleasant cellar space, with bad ventilation and even worse sanitation.”

Conditions were a serious problem, but location was a bigger one. Two-thirds of the fallout shelters in the U.S. were in “risk areas”—neighborhoods so close to strike targets that they’d likely never survive an attack in the first place. In New York, for example, most of the government shelters could be found in Manhattan and Brooklyn—despite the fact that a 20-megaton hydrogen bomb detonated over Midtown would leave a crater 20 stories deep and drive a firestorm all the way to the center of Long Island. Even out there, Life magazine said, occupants of a fallout shelter “might be barbequed.”……..

Anyone who read the newspapers understood not just that an inbound ICBM would leave them only 15 minutes, if that long, to get to a fallout shelter—but also that few structures in the city would survive a strike anyway. …….

Looking back on the civil-defense program in 1976, The New York Times observed: “the only reminders of fallout shelters [now] are the yellow-and-black signs placed outside buildings.”

That’s where thousands remain to this day—eerie reminders of a tense past that, as recent headlines remind us, feels unwantedly familiar. “They couldn’t have come up with a more ominous symbol,” reflected Eric Green, keeper of the Civil Defense Museum website, whose personal collection of fallout-shelter artifacts includes over 140 signs. “That’s the most ominous looking sign—the black and yellow and those triangles. It looked like exactly what it meant: This is the end.” http://www.history.com/news/nuclear-fallout-shelters-were-never-going-to-work

October 18, 2017 Posted by | history, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

Here’s how Trump’s ‘malignant narcissism’ will end his presidency, according to psychiatrists — and it’s going to be wild  HTTPS://WWW.RAWSTORY.COM/2017/09/HERES-HOW-TRUMPS-MALIGNANT-NARCISSISM-WILL-END-HIS-PRESIDENCY-ACCORDING-TO-PSYCHIATRISTS-AND-ITS-GOING-TO-BE-WILD/ SARAH K. BURRIS, 12 SEP 2017 

Dr. Lance Dodes is one of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts who came together to give an educated assessment of President Donald Trump for a new book. In an interview with Salon, Dodes explained the consensus among the professors is that “the evidence suggesting that Donald Trump may have serious mental health problems is overwhelming.”

 Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton on Duty to Warn: Trump’s “Relation to Reality” is Dangerous to Us All

No other medical practitioner is restricted by confidentiality the way psychiatrists are, but Trump is no one’s patient. Many trained in mental health can observe Trump and match his speech and behavior patterns to specific disorders. That’s as far as anyone can go without doing an actual in-person exam of Trump.

Dodes began with a diagnosis of “antisocial personality” and the qualities that people who have that exhibit. Comparing it to Trump, he thinks this is one of Trump’s problems.

“It is people who lie and cheat,” Dodes explained as part of the qualities Trump exhibits. “Everybody lies some of the time, but in this instance we mean people who lie as a way of being in the world, to manage relationships and also to manage your feelings about yourself. People who cheat and steal from others. People who lack empathy … the lack of empathy is a critical aspect of it. People who are narcissistic.”

He went on to say that Trump’s case of “malignant narcissism” is particularly acute because he also seems detached from reality when he is agitated. An example is Trump’s boasting of his crowd size being the largest in history, despite proof to the contrary.

“That is very troublesome because what it means is that he needs to believe it,” Dodes told Salon. “He is able to give up reality in exchange for his wished-for belief. Sometimes we call that a delusion.”

He said that in the past many have refrained from using the word “delusional” to describe Trump because it can be confused with people who think they’re the Queen of England or the second coming of Christ. However, “Trump has a fluid sense of reality, which is a sign of a very sick individual,” Dodes said.

Sociopathy is another sign of a mentally ill person. The intersection of cheating, lying and having an emotional disorder typically converge to sociopathy.

“It is not just bad behavior that people have to lie and cheat the way he does, it is an incapacity to treat other people as full human beings,” Dodes said. “That is why his focus is on humiliating others to aggrandize himself, as he did in the Republican primaries when he was debating and calling people names.”

Trump has done the same with women, LGBT people, immigrants, those with special needs and others. Part of being a human being is seeing the plight of others and feeling something. When Trump fails to see the harm in separating immigrants from children it shows his lack of empathy.

Trump manages to score supporters regardless and Dodes explained this is because many search for strong leaders while others are suspicious of them.

“As children, we all want to believe that our parents are good and strong and great and will protect us forever,” he told Salon. “So if you have someone who comes along say, ‘I am good and strong and great and I will protect you forever,’ a certain number of people will follow that person.” For many, Trump is the strong parent being attacked by media or Democrats and they want to protect him.

People trust that they’ll speak up for him, the problem, according to Dodes, is that Trump is a liar, so it’s “a one-sided bargain.”

“Trump is a very primitive man. He is also a man who has a fundamental, deep psychological defect,” he said. “It is expressed in his inability to empathize with others and his lack of genuine loyalty to anyone. You will notice that Trump wants everyone to be loyal to him, but he is loyal to nobody.”

Being a narcissist doesn’t make someone evil or dangerous, according to Dodes, but Trump’s other questionable qualities are what make it concerning and defines it as “malignant.”

As for how this all ends for Trump, Dodes has two possible scenarios for the presidency. First, if there’s a “Reichstag fire”-type event that Trump can use to attack his opposition, the country will rally around him. Dodes thinks it will be North Korea and he’ll end up dropping bombs on the country and the dominoes will begin to fall in Asia.

The second piece involves the Republican Party and the point at which they abandon Trump to preserve their own political careers. They’ll either invoke the 25th Amendment or impeach him. If that happens, Dodes thinks Trump will “cut bait” and leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

“Trump will resign and say, ‘I am still the best and the only savior, and these evil people and their evil media have forced me out,’” Dodes told Salon. “He will keep his constituency, he’ll leave with honor in his own mind and by the way, keep his businesses.”

 

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

Stalemate continues, as North Korea warns that ‘nuclear war may break out any moment’

North Korea says ‘nuclear war may break out any moment’ — but that’s the last thing it wants, Business Insider, ALEX LOCKIEOCT 18, 2017

“In terms of its precision strike technology, in terms of its ability to put metal on targets,” there is never really a contest between the US and South Korea versus North Korea, Plant told Business Insider.

 But a stalemate remains. North Korean artillery, before getting obliterated by US and South Korean air power, could kill off as many as 20,000 in South Korea’s capital of Seoul each day. This all but precludes a US preemptive strike…….

Read more at https://www.businessinsider.com/north-korea-nuclear-war-any-moment-us-threats-likelihood-2017-10#Bhct6Zj5xUZaFF7o.99

October 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes – a divisive problem for the French, that could mean the end of the industry

“if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

What to do with nuclear waste? The question dividing France,https://www.equaltimes.org/what-to-do-with-nuclear-waste-the#.Wea2VY-CzGg , 17 Oct 17On 15 August, an anti-nuclear campaigner almost lost his foot during a demonstration in Bure, in the east of France. One month later, on 20 September, police conducted several raids on premises housing activists in the village, including the emblematic “Maison de la résistance”, (House of Resistance), the nerve centre of the fight against the nuclear dump.

The small village of Bure, in the Meuse department, has crystallised the anti-nuclear campaign in France in recent months. In 1998, it was selected as the site for an Industrial Geological Storage Centre (Cigéo), where the plan is to progressively bury 85,000 cubic metres of highly radioactive long-lived waste in a bed of clay, 500 metres below ground, by means of operations expected to last 150 years.

The ANDRA (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management), which is managing the project, is expected to apply to the IRSN (French Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety) for authorisation to build in 2019. Its application has been deferred on several occasions due to legal and technical setbacks, which could explain the growing hostility towards the anti-Cigéo activists.

In an open letter, the residents of Bure and the surrounding area recently denounced the “systematic strategy of tension and asphyxiation” launched by the state several months ago, a strategy “aimed at wearing us down and isolating us, like hunted beasts”.

The closer the project comes to the completion phase, the stronger the opposition, and the more the noose of repression is tightened around the anti-nuclear campaigners.

A far from satisfactory solution

The 54 nuclear reactors in France, the second largest producer of nuclear energy in the world, behind the United States, produce 12,000 to 15,000 cubic metres of radioactive waste every year. This includes both low level short-lived radioactive waste and much more toxic long-lived waste.

“The uranium industry, presented as a “virtuous cycle” by the nuclear lobby, actually conceals a chain of dirty, polluting and unmanageable fuel, from the mine to the waste disposal phase,” denounces the French anti-nuclear network Sortir du Nucléaire.

Whereas before, France used to dispose of its nuclear waste in repositories in the Atlantic Ocean, underground disposal now seems to be “the only management option”, says Matthieu Denis-Vienot, who is in charge of institutional dialogue at ANDRA, in an interview with Equal Times.

This agency was given the task, in 1979, of answering the insoluble question of how to manage this waste, which can be destroyed by no known chemical or mechanical means, and is extremely toxic.

“We have the technical capacity to store this waste in such a way that it is harmful neither to man nor to the environment, nor the object of malicious acts,” ensures Matthieu Denis-Vienot. “Our priority is therefore focused on confining this waste, because we want to act responsibly and not to leave this burden with future generations.”

This option, although it has been written into French law since 1991 and is in line with the advice of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is far from satisfactory, according to some researchers.

“Whether the waste is thrown into the sea or buried in the ground, the principle behind it is the same: get rid of it, so we can forget about it, because we don’t know what to do with it,” argues Jean-Marie Brom, a physicist and researcher with the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research). “What I can tell you as a scientist, is that burying it is the only solution, but it is far from being a good one.”

At ANDRA, the response to this is: “It’s all well and good to say it’s a heresy, but now that it’s there, what can we do about it?”

And that is the final argument put forward to the anti-Cigéo movement by ANDRA. The waste to be buried in Bure is all that generated by 43 years of nuclear energy production.

For the time being, it is being kept at the storage and reprocessing plant in La Hague, in the Manche department of France, where it is vitrified and placed in containers. It is a valid precaution, given that although this waste only represents four per cent of the total, it accounts for 99 per cent of the radioactivity emitted. Moreover, it is the waste with the longest lifespan. It takes 24,440 years for plutonium, for example, to lose half of its radioactivity.

The other 96 per cent of the waste, which accounts for one per cent of radioactivity, is stored on the surface, in the main, at two other storage centres, a few dozen kilometres from Bure.

Anti-nuclear campaigners are outraged by the situation. “It is far too dangerous. Firstly, it means that for 100 years, two radioactive convoys will cross France every day to come to Bure. And secondly, the safety of the site cannot be guaranteed when such long lifespans are involved. What will happen if, one day, these 200,000 “parcels” resurface, whilst they are still radioactive?” asks Jean-Marc Fleury, president of Eodra, a group of elected officials from the Grand Est region who are opposed to the Cigéo project.

The response from ANDRA is that geologists have conducted research and have established that the clay subsoil in the Meuse department of France is a stable geological formation over time.

The IRSN (French Institute for Radiological Protection and Reactor Safety), in its report from July, pointed to a number of risks, such as fire, and whilst acknowledging that the project had reached “satisfactory technical maturity”, it concluded that ANDRA’s current waste disposal concept “did not provide sufficient safety guarantees”.

The anti-nuclear campaigners highlight the example of the United States’ WIPP facility, in New Mexico, where a fire led to the release of radioactive gas, or that of Asse, in Lower Saxony, Germany, where 126,000 barrels of radioactive waste have to be evacuated from an old salt mine being eroded by seepage.

All these countries, confronted with the same problem, are far from having found long-term solutions, and face the same criticisms from the anti-nuclear movement.

Future of nuclear industry at issue

For those opposed to the Cigéo project, it is an ethical issue. “Since we know that collective memory is relatively short, it is possible that in a thousand years, it might be forgotten that it there is radioactive waste in Bure and people will go through these areas, with all the risks that entails,” explains researcher Jean-Marie Brom. “How can we warn future generations that there is extremely dangerous waste here?”

A whole new dimension is added when taking into account the waste to come from the nine reactors due to be decommissioned. And all the more so given that this number is expected to rise, with the Energy Transition Law, which envisages reducing the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix from 72 to 50 per cent by 2025.

The waste resulting from this decommissioning will have to be stored somewhere.

Beyond the unresolvable waste issue, the fight against the Cigéo project is part of a wider case against the nuclear industry in general. In a context where Germany has announced plans to close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and where Italy no longer has nuclear power, France stands out as an exception in the eyes of the activists.

“What is at stake in Bure, is the future of nuclear power,” says Jean-Marc Fleury. “If the Cigéo is not built here, the nuclear industry will come to an end in the next ten years, because a project like this could never be implemented anywhere else, everyone is conscious of that. That’s why we are fighting: if we manage to stop it, it will mean the end of the industry. Regardless of how you look at it, nuclear power is an industry with no future.”

Matthieu Denis-Viennot of ANDRA is not convinced by this line of reasoning. “The Cigéo has to be left out of the debate for or against nuclear power. We may not have chosen to launch the nuclear industry in France, but the fact is that, today, electricity comes mainly from this resource. Given the staggering lifespan of this radioactive waste, we can always question whether such or such a decision is legitimate, but that should not, nevertheless, reinforce indecision.”

So far, Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister for the ecological transition, has not taken a stand.

The anti-Cigéo groups have, however, repeatedly reminded him of the positions he has taken in the past, including this photo from October 2016 of him posing, and smiling, with a placard against the Cigéo project.

But it seems that the new minister, who has taken off his environmental activist’s hat, has a short memory and is in no hurry to stop the project.

This story has been translated from French.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear white elephant: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns UK govt against further loan guarantees

IEEFA Brief: U.K. Government at Risk in Over-Budget Nuclear Project That Stands Incomplete, A Sensible ‘Plan B’ for Hinkley Point C Project in Somerset Would Avoid Extending Public Loan Guarantees   Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFAOct. 16, 2017 (IEEFA.org) — A research brief published today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis cautions the U.K. government against investing further in an unfinished nuclear project on the Bristol Channel in southwest England.

The brief — “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”— concludes that the Hinkley Point C plant, an over-budget and delayed 3,200 megawatt (MW) power project in Somerset, may never enter commercial operation.

Gerard Wynn, a London-based energy finance consultant and lead author of the brief, said problems surrounding the project reflect those affecting the nuclear electricity-generation industry broadly.

“The now-stumbling renaissance of nuclear power in Europe and the U.S. has been a story of delays and cost overruns, with a new generation of untested nuclear power designs proving much harder to build than anyone imagined and even the project developers admitting to high levels of risk,” Wynn said.

“European Pressurized Reactors are untested, and those under construction have been more expensive and take longer to build than expected,” Wynn said. “The history of recent nuclear projects makes it very likely, perhaps probable, that Hinkley will cost substantially more and take far longer to build than its advocates are claiming.”

THE BRIEF DRAWS PARALLELS BETWEEN HINKLEY AND COSTLY NUCLEAR PROJECTS that have faltered elsewhere, most recently in the U.S.

“The similarities between Hinkley, which is now finally under construction after years of delay, and other troubled European and U.S. projects, particularly the recently shelved V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, cannot be ignored,” the brief says. “Perhaps the most important similarity is in the question of what the project ultimately will cost.”

“Hinkley already is frequently described as the world’s most expensive power plant, with EDF estimating that the project will require £19.6 billion to build by the time it enters commercial operation, currently set for 2025. But others see higher costs, and any delays would inevitably lead to an increase in total costs. For example, the U.K.’s National Audit Office (NAO), which advises on the use of public money, calculates that the public subsidy for the plant could top £30 billion, and says the government needs a Plan B.”

Wynn noted that rising costs “were the leading factor in the decision by SCANA Corporation and Santee Cooper, the two South Carolina utilities building the Summer facility, to cancel that project. Costs there soared from an originally estimated $11.5 billion to upward of $25 billion by the time the utilities said they would abandon the two unit, 2,200-MW project.”

Other parallels with struggling and failed projects in Europe and the U.S. include:

1. Untested technologies…….

2. Construction delays of five to nine years…….

3. Cost overruns ranging from 79 percent to 250 percent…..

4. Delays and cost overruns are causing technology vendors extreme financial distress…..

5. Internal turmoil indicates misgivings among those closest to the projects……

Full report here: “A Half-Built, High-Priced Nuclear White Elephant: How Should the U.K. Proceed With This Troubled Project?”

Media contact: Karl Cates, kcates@ieefa.org917.439.8225

About IEEFA: The Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) conducts research and analyses on financial and economic issues related to energy and the environment. http://ieefa.org/ieefa-brief-u-k-government-risk-budget-half-finished-nuclear-project-may-never-come-online/

October 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear industry wants to ‘self assess’ for safety, efficiency: that’s not a good idea

Why NRC Nuclear Safety Inspections are Necessary: Columbia Generating Station, UCS,  DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT | OCTOBER 17, 2017 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) adopted its Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) in 2000. The ROP is far superior to the oversight processes previously employed by the NRC. Among its many virtues, the NRC treats the ROP as a work in progress, meaning that agency routinely re-assesses the ROP and makes necessary adjustments.

Earlier this year, the NRC initiated a formal review of its engineering inspections with the goal of making them more efficient and more effective. During a public meeting on October 11, 2017, the NRC working group conducting the review outlined some changes to the engineering inspections that would essentially cover the same ground but with an estimated 8 to 15 percent reduction in person-hours (the engineering inspections and suggested revisions are listed on slide 7 of the NRC’s presentation). Basically, the NRC working group suggested repackaging the inspections so as to be able to examine the same number of items, but in fewer inspection trips.

The nuclear industry sees a different way to accomplish the efficiency and effectiveness gains sought by the NRC’s review effort—they propose to eliminate the NRC’s engineering inspections and replace them with self-assessments. The industry would mail the results from the self-assessments to the NRC for their reading pleasure.

UCS is wary of self-assessments by industry in lieu of NRC inspections. On one hand, statistics might show that self-assessments increase safety just as a community firing all its law enforcement officers would see a statistical decrease in arrests, suggesting a lower crime rate. I have been researching the records publicly available in ADAMS to compare the industry’s track record for finding latent safety problems with the NRC’s track record to see whether replacing NRC’s inspections with industry self-assessments could cause nuclear safety to go off-track.

This commentary is the first in a series that convinces us that the NRC’s engineering inspections are necessary for nuclear safety and that public health and safety will be compromised by replacing them with self-assessments by industry.

Columbia Generating Station: Not so Cool Safety Moves………

UCS Perspective

Under the Atomic Energy Act as amended, the NRC is tasked with establishing and enforcing regulations to protect workers and the public from the inherent hazards from nuclear power reactor operation.

Owners are responsible for conforming with applicable regulatory requirements. In this case, the owner made a series of changes that resulted in the plant not conforming with applicable regulatory requirements for the air temperature within the control room. But there’s no evidence suggesting that the owner knew that the changes were illegal yet made them anyway hoping not to get caught. Nevertheless, ignorance of the law is still not a valid excuse. The public is not adequately protected when safety regulations are not met, regardless of whether the violations are intentional or inadvertent.

This case study illustrates the vital role that NRC’s enforcement efforts plays in nuclear safety. The soundest safety regulation in the world serves little use unless owners abide by it. The NRCs inspection efforts either verify that owners are abiding by safety regulations or identify shortfalls. Self-assessments by owners are more likely to sustain mis-interpretations and misunderstandings than to flush out safety problems.

The NRC’s ROP is the public’s best protection against hazards caused by aging nuclear power reactors, shrinking maintenance budgets, and emerging sabotage threats. Replacing the NRC’s engineering inspections with self-assessments by the owners would lessen the effectiveness of that protective shield.

The NRC must continue to protect the public to the best of its ability. Delegating safety checks to owners is inconsistent with that important mission. http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/why-nrc-inspections-are-necessary-columbia

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

European Union statement on the Iran nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

Iran nuclear deal: EU statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action  http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2017/10/16-iran-nuclear-deal-eu-jcpoa/

1. The JCPOA, the culmination of 12 years of diplomacy facilitated by the EU, unanimously endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231, is a key element of the nuclear non-proliferation global architecture and crucial for the security of the region. Its successful implementation continues to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful. The EU underlines that the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified 8 times that Iran is implementing all its nuclear related commitments following a comprehensive and strict monitoring system.

2. The EU is committed to the continued full and effective implementation of all parts of the JCPOA. The EU underlines that the lifting of nuclear related sanctions has a positive impact on trade and economic relations with Iran including benefits for the Iranian people. It strengthens cooperation and allows for continuous dialogue with Iran.

3. The European Union considers President Trump’s decision not to certify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) as being in the context of an internal US process. The EU encourages the US to maintain its commitment to the JCPOA and to consider the implications for the security of the US, its partners and the region before taking further steps.

4. While the EU expresses its concerns related to ballistic missiles and increasing  tensions in the region, it reiterates the need to address them outside the JCPOA, in the relevant formats and fora . The EU stands ready to actively promote and support initiatives to ensure a more stable, peaceful and secure regional environment.

5. At a time of acute nuclear threat the EU is determined to preserve the JCPOA as a key pillar of the international non-proliferation architecture.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Fatal flaws in Eskom’s plan for new nuclear power at Koeberg, South Africa

Stand up to nuclear policy https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/letters/2017-10-17-letter-stand-up-to-nuclear-policy/  17 OCTOBER 2017 What was once suspected has finally become reality. Instead of the preferred site of Thyspunt, the Department of Environmental Affairs has approved an environmental authorisation for up to 4,000MW of nuclear power at the current Koeberg site just outside Cape Town.

The department cites increasing need for base-load power and that nuclear energy is in the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), as reasons for approving the environmental impact assessment. Yet Eskom’s tariff application shows that electricity demand is declining and the IRP has been criticised, with reputable institutes such as the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) showing that nuclear energy is not needed.

Apart from a flimsy economic justification (no substantive assessment of “need and desirability”, as required by environmental law), other fatal flaws in Eskom’s final environmental impact report include:

• An unscientific failure to disclose the actual reactor technology to be assessed;

• An inadequate assessment of the emergency planning for the Koeberg site;

• An unacceptable containment of high-level (used fuel) waste on the Koeberg site;

• A complete failure to assess the plans for decommissioning the reactor; and

• An absence of a final plan for long-term nuclear waste management.

We therefore call on all South Africans to unite behind the Coalition Against Nuclear Energy (www.cane.org.za) and the Koeberg Alert Alliance in defence of an administratively unjust and unacceptable version of the environmental authorisation.

We further call on our fellow citizens to campaign to defeat once and for all the national pro-nuclear energy policy, as we did with the ill-conceived HIV/AIDS policy.

Mike KanteyNational chairman, Coalition Against NuclearEnergy

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Kansai Electric Power Co. to permanently close 2 nuclear reactors in Fukui Prefecture

Oi nuclear reactors set to be decommissioned , Japan News , October 17, 2017 Kansai Electric Power Co. intends to decommission the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture when the plant reaches 40 years of service in 2019, it has been learned.

KEPCO made the decision because the distinctive structure of the reactors’ containment vessels would require massive spending to apply safety measures that would meet the new standards set after the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The power company is expected to make an official decision by the end of this year and submit an application to the Nuclear Regulation Authority.

Since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, decisions have been made to decommission six nuclear reactors, not counting those at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The Oi reactors will be the first large-scale reactors, with a maximum output of over 1 million kilowatts, to be decommissioned……..

The deadline for the Nos. 1 and 2 Oi reactors to apply for an operating period extension is approaching in 2018. With work to improve safety likely being a difficult challenge, KEPCO has no prospect of cutting back on the cost, which is expected to be over ¥100 billion. The company therefore gave up on restarting the reactors.

Tens of billions of yen are expected to be spent over 30 years to complete the decommissioning of the reactors, but that is still much cheaper than restarting them. ….. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0004008184

October 18, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

29 French nuclear reactors at risk, warns France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

29 French nuclear reactors vulnerable to natural disaster – safety watchdog 

Another nine reactors at four nuclear sites are at “risk of partial loss,”which is ‘level 0’ according to the INES. The scale has 7 levels that describe the safety significance of nuclear and radiological events, with the highest level classified as a ‘major accident,’ and events from levels 1 to 3 classified as ‘incidents.’ Events without any safety significance are rated as Below Scale/Level 0.

The French company EDF, which operates the country’s nuclear reactors, said earlier that 20 reactors might not be able to withstand earthquakes, which could cause a collapse of their cooling systems, and nine reactors’ cooling systems could also be at risk.

The ASN said that thickness measurements of pipeline systems at the Belleville Nuclear Power Plant in May and June 2017 revealed the metal is too thin to resist an earthquake. After discovering the vulnerabilities, “a thickness measurement campaign” was carried out by EDF at potentially at risk nuclear facilities.

EDF said on October 11 that it was fixing pipe problems at 20 nuclear reactors to prevent the collapse of cooling systems, and the ASN is currently checking the progress.

Last week, Greenpeace activists staged a fireworks display on the premises of the Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant to highlight “security risks” at the facility. Four reactors at the site were included among reactors at risk level 2 by the ASN.

France operates 58 nuclear reactors with total capacity of 63.2 GWe. Concerns over seismic safety were among the reasons it was decided to shut down the Fessenheim plant by April 2020.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Russia positions itself as mediator on North Korean nuclear crisis

Russia steps up as go-between on North Korea
Moscow sees rogue state as key to mending fences with Washington, Nikkei Asian Review, 17 Oct 17 

TOMOYO OGAWA, Nikkei staff writer MOSCOW — Russia has been setting up a number of high-profile meetings with North Korean officials, positioning itself as an intermediary for negotiations with the isolated state in a bid to improve Moscow’s strained relations with the U.S.

Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house, met separately with North and South Korean representatives on Monday on the sidelines of an international meeting in St. Petersburg. Matviyenko had called for a direct dialogue between the two Koreas, but Pyongyang rejected the idea in protest of joint U.S.-South Korean military drills.

The vice chair of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly is believed to have given Matviyenko a statement from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, while arguing that nuclear weapons were the only way for the country to defend itself. Matviyenko’s meeting with the North Korean official lasted about an hour and a half, compared with just 30 minutes or so with the South Korean envoy.

The Russian speaker later called for the resumption of six-party talks on the North Korean issue, and stressed that she will continue making every effort to foster dialogue.

Russia is also hosting an international conference on nuclear nonproliferation starting Thursday, to be attended by Choe Son Hui, director of North American affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, and Wendy Sherman, former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs. Some expect the two countries to have some type of contact during the event…….. https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Russia-steps-up-as-go-between-on-North-Korea?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EBB%2010.17.2017&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

October 18, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Japan’s solar powered smart communities

The Sun Rises on Japan’s Solar-Powered Smart Communities, Solar Magazine, By Andrew Burger – 16 Oct 17 

Smart communities fueled by solar energy and the latest in advanced energy storage and smart microgrid technologies are taking root and beginning to expand in Japan, part and parcel of a national drive to enhance energy resilience and independence. Strong political and “grass roots” public support for “green energy,” greater consumer choice and renewable energy self-generation has emerged in Japan in the wake of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which all but leveled Tokyo Electric Power’s Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

October 18, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, Japan | Leave a comment