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The past week in climate and nuclear news

Today, the UN climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany, are wrapping up. The world’s diplomats discussed and developed national pledges, with USA’s Michael Bloomberg pledging American action by cities and States, in defiance of President Trump. Scientists reported that the plans are not enough to meet the Paris climate goal of holding the global temperature increase to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. It is still worth acting to prevent extreme changes, but climate change impacts are already locked in.

To give an example of the kind of climate feedback mechanisms  that might be happening, China has this year increased its carbon emissions, largely because of less availability of hydropower.  Hydropower was in short supply because of drought, which, in itself, was probably exacerbated by climate change.

You would think it hardly possible that tensions could ratchet up any further around North Korea, but they have. China has sent a diplomat to North Korea, and has asked USA to stop the naval military drills around the Korean peninsula.

 

Climate change and nuclear threats are twins. Climate change leading to wars.  Activists at COP23 Decry Companies and Corporate Sponsors Pushing Fossil Fuel as Energy Solution. 19 nations pledge to phase out coalInsurance companies move to divest from coal projects. Minerals deal needed to fuel the clean energy transition.

Nuclear power – dying a slow, painful and wildly expensive death. Even the International Atomic Energy Agency admits that the nuclear industry is failing.

EUROPE. EU Parliamentarians Still Awaiting Answers From EU About Radioactive Ruthenium Cloud That Spread Across Europe. Europe’s radiation cloud is not harmless, if you happen to be near the source.

JAPAN. U.N. body calls on Japan to improve protection of press freedoms and Fukushima residents rights.  If war breaks out on Korean peninsula, Japan must be ready for influx of evacuees. Nine nuclear reactors in Japan use products manufactured by steelmaker that admitted faking quality data. Japan students offered reward for joining gov’t events on nuclear waste. Tepco starts removing nuclear fuel assemblies from wrecked Fukushima Reactor No. 3 .

USA.

UK. UK’s Ministry of Defence blocks reports on nuclear issues, as £1.3 billion spend-up on Trident begins.  Anger in Scotland, as UK’s Ministry of Defence plans big expansion at Trident nuclear bases . Courier and Mersea Island Environmental Alliance (MEIA) concerned at dangers of nuclear plan for Bradwell.  Enormous survey over 13 countries shows that UK citizens want solar power, not nuclear.   Welsh anti-nuclear group partnering with Friends of the Earth Japan to oppose nuclear build at WYFLA. Nuclear radiation harmed 3 generations of family, claims British veteran. Australian aborigines challenge Scottish nuclear waste transfers. UK Labour will plan for the economic impacts of climate change.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea has a sound reason for wanting nuclear weapons.

IRAQ. Extreme weather, prolonged drought – helped ISIS to recruit jihad fighters.

IRANReport from International Atomic Energy Agency: Iran is sticking to the nuclear agreement.

CHINA. A Nuclear Space Shuttle by 2040 – the aim of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

FRANCE . France’s President Macron vows to replace every dollar Donald Trump withdraws from climate change efforts. French government considers changing focus of EDF from nuclear to renewables.

GERMANY. Remove all nuclear warheads stationed in Germany – call from Germany’s Green Party.

SOUTH AFRICA. New report says that South Africa should ditch nuclear plan, to save Eskom from ruin.

FINLAND. Owners and suppliers of Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor – locked in dispute over delayed project.

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November 18, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

As UN Climate Talks close, hard decisions face the world’s nations

‘Planet at a crossroads’: climate summit makes progress but leaves much to do, The UN negotiations in Bonn lay the groundwork for implementing the landmark Paris deal, but tough decisions lay ahead, Guardian, Damian Carrington , 18 Nov 17, The world’s nations were confident they were making important progress in turning continued political commitment into real world action, as the global climate change summit in Bonn was drawing to a close on Friday.

The UN talks were tasked with the vital, if unglamorous, task of converting the unprecedented global agreement sealed in Paris in 2015 from a symbolic moment into a set of rules by which nations can combine to defeat global warming. Currently, the world is on track for at least 3C of global warming – a catastrophic outcome that would lead to severe impacts around the world.

The importance of the task was emphasised by Frank Bainimarama, Fiji’s prime minister and president of the summit: “We are not simply negotiating words on a page, but we are representing all our people and the places they call home.”

The Paris rulebook, which must be finalised by the end of 2018, now has a skeleton: a set of headings relating to how action on emissions is reported and monitored. Nations have also fleshed this out with suggested detailed texts, but these are often contradictory and will need to be resolved next year. “The worst outcome would have been to end up with empty pages, but that is not going to happen,” said a German negotiator.

One issue that did flare up during talks was the action being taken by rich nations before the Paris deal kicks in in 2020. Developing nations argued not enough is being done and, with the UN climate negotiations running largely on trust, the issue became unexpectedly serious before being defused by commitments to a “stocktake” of action in 2018 and 2019.

 The final hours of the negotiations were held up by a technical row over climate funding from rich nations, always a sensitive topic. Poorer and vulnerable nations want donor countries to set out in advance how much they will provide and when, so recipient nations can plan their climate action. Rich nations claim they are not unwilling, but that making promises on behalf of future governments is legally complex.

Progress in raising the importance of genderindigenous peoples and agriculture in tackling climate change was made. But NGOs criticised slow progress in delivering previous funding promises. Raijeli Nicole, from Oxfam, said: “For the most part, rich countries showed up to Bonn empty-handed.”

Coal – the dirtiest fossil fuel – has had a high profile at the summit, with the US administration’s only official side-event controversially promoting “clean coal”. But the overwhelming momentum has been against the fuel, with a new coalition of countries pledging a complete phaseout. This happened outside the negotiations, a significant move, according to Camilla Born at thinktank E3G: “We have had the Paris agreement living in the real world.”

Poland, which is heavily dependent on coal, is hosting the next UN climate summit in a year’s time and has frequently held up climate action in the EU. But on Friday, apparently under heavy EU pressure, it ended its hold-out against passing a climate commitment called the Doha amendment which sets in law pre-2020 climate action.

Germany, however, has been unable to commit to phasing out its huge coal industry, because Angela Merkel’s talks to form a new coalition have run over time. Nonetheless, Barbara Hendricks, the out-going German environment minister, said on Friday: “The phasing out of coal makes sense environmentally and economically.” She was certain the new government would act, she said….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/17/planet-at-a-crossroads-climate-summit-makes-progress-but-leaves-much-to-do

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

The hellish reality: what a ‘preventive war’ against North Korea would be like

Ultimately, the larger problem is that President Trump’s policy objectives are unattainable.

Denuclearization is a non-starter from North Korea’s perspective because Kim believes – not without reason – that nuclear weapons are a matter of regime survival, having seen what happens to leaders in countries like Libya when they give up their nuclear programs.

As long as President Trump insists on “complete, verifiable and total denuclearization,” Washington is walking America down a path that leads to (likely nuclear) military conflict

A ‘preventive’ war with North Korea would be total hell. Here’s why http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/11/17/preventive-war-with-north-korea-would-be-total-hell-heres-why.html  By Harry J. Kazianis | As the Trump administration continues to rattle sabers at North Korea with rhetoric eerily similar to the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the possibility of a preventive U.S. war with North Korea may be more real than foreign and defense policy experts recognize.

It would be both foolish and naïve to think that all the tough talk coming out of the Trump administration is simply meant to intimidate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un into giving up his nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

The three so-called “adults in the room” who are apparently the strongest voices influencing President Trump’s foreign policy are National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Mattis is an active duty lieutenant general in the Army. Mattis and Kelly are retired Marine Corps generals. Their common experience is commanding ground forces in the Iraq War. If they are shaping the Trump administration’s North Korea policy, it stands to reason that their views would have a decidedly military tilt.

If President Trump decides to take military action, what might it look like?

Any unprovoked U.S. military action would be a preventive strike. That is, a military strike intended to prevent North Korea from acquiring a future capability to attack the U.S. That is different from a preemptive strike that is launched to stop an imminent military attack from an adversary.

So what military options are truly available to President Trump?

Option 1: Preventive nuclear strikes.

It’s impossible to completely rule out the possibility – however remote – that the U.S. might use nuclear weapons in a preventive strike against North Korea.

If North Korea’s nuclear program and weapons are in deeply buried and hardened bunkers, nuclear weapons might be the only way to destroy them with a high rate of confidence. A relatively little-known fact is that the United States has a nuclear bunker buster: the B61-11 low- yield nuclear gravity bomb.

About 50 B61-11 bombs are believed to be deployed. Theoretically, the B61-11 could be mated with GPS guidance to make it a precision strike weapon. Also, the B61-11 could theoretically be outfitted with the BLU-113 hardened steel-tipped warhead to penetrate more than 30 feet of concrete.

But wouldn’t using nuclear weapons be beyond the pale?

Under ordinary circumstances, yes. But the Trump administration may not believe these are ordinary circumstances. If the administration assumes military conflict with North Korea is inevitable and views North Korea as 1945 Japan, the rationale would be very similar: Using nuclear weapons would bring about a quick resolution and would save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost in a conventional conflict. As a point of reference, more than 30,000 U.S. soldiers died in the Korean War.

Needless to say, the nuclear option would be a big gamble. If we were not 100 percent successful, we would have to expect that North Korea would retaliate with its full range of conventional and nuclear weapons.

While the U.S. homeland would not be threatened, both South Korea and Japan would be. And the nearly 35,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in South Korea would certainly be at risk – as would the estimated 200,000 or more U.S. citizens living in South Korea.

Option 2: Decapitation strikes by bombers or submarines.

Another big gamble would be a decapitating air and missile strike. This would be military action based on the belief that if North Korea’s leadership – Kim Jong Un and his most loyal top military and civilian leaders – could be killed, the regime would implode and collapse.

Success would depend on near-perfect intelligence about all the targets’ whereabouts. Moreover, we would have to assume that many of them – including Kim himself – would be in deeply buried and hardened bunkers that would be difficult to destroy, even with precision conventional missiles and bombs.

And we know from experience that we were not able to immediately take out Saddam Hussein and the other 54 “most wanted Iraqis” when we invaded Iraq in 2003.

If a decapitating strike failed, we would have to assume that North Korea would retaliate and we would be drawn into a protracted ground war.

At a minimum, North Korea would likely unleash a conventional artillery barrage on Seoul, which has a population of 10 million. While such an attack might not level Seoul, it would still cause significant damage and extract untold casualties. Kim might launch his nuclear weapons, believing he had nothing to lose.

Option 3: Conventional ground attack with hundreds of thousands troops.

So that leaves a conventional ground attack, which would likely be preceded and backed up by air and missile strikes.

Given the experience of McMaster, Mattis, and Kelly – as well as the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, is a Marine – such an option makes sense and seems more likely. After all, expeditionary war is exactly what these generals know how to do.

However, almost all the experts believe that any such war would be drawn out and costly –perhaps as many as 20,000 deaths per day in South Korea.

And remember, Kim Jong Un would have the nuclear option at his disposal, along with his chemical and biological weapons. Such is the risk of any military action against a nuclear-armed country.

Option 4: Deterrence.

But the U.S. does have another military option. It just doesn’t involve the actual use of military force. It’s called deterrence.

North Korea has had nuclear weapons for at least a decade and has not used them against either South Korea or Japan. Presumably this is because of the threat of a U.S. nuclear response looms over Pyongyang’s head. If that’s the case, even in the worst case scenario of North Korea having the ability to launch a missile at the continental United States, deterrence would still hold.

Deterrence worked when America and the Soviet Union had thousands of warheads pointed at each other. Supposedly crazy or irrational leaders with nuclear weapons – such as Josef Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao Zedong in China – were successfully deterred.

Indeed, Kim Jong Un would have to be suicidal to actually attack the U.S., knowing that we could respond with utterly devastating force that could result in his death and the total annihilation of his country. However, the Kim dynasty has repeatedly demonstrated its larger interest is its own survival and perpetuating the regime.

Ultimately, the larger problem is that President Trump’s policy objectives are unattainable.

Denuclearization is a non-starter from North Korea’s perspective because Kim believes – not without reason – that nuclear weapons are a matter of regime survival, having seen what happens to leaders in countries like Libya when they give up their nuclear programs.

As long as President Trump insists on “complete, verifiable and total denuclearization,” Washington is walking America down a path that leads to (likely nuclear) military conflict

November 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA govt now spending $billions on cyberweapons and armed drones, in plans against North Korea

Downing North Korean Missiles Is Hard. So the U.S. Is Experimenting.
Buried in an emergency funding request to Congress lie hints of new ways to confront Pyongyang, like cyberweapons and armed drones. NYT , 
WASHINGTON — Concerned that the missile defense system designed to protect American cities is insufficient by itself to deter a North Korean attack, the Trump administration is expanding its strategy to also try to stop Pyongyang’s missiles before they get far from Korean airspace.

November 18, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Concerns over safety of nuclear waste storage casks at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Sea level rise factors into nuclear waste discussion Pilgrim advisory panel reviews issues related to dry cask storage. Cape Cod Times, PLYMOUTH , 17 Nov 17, — Entergy Corp.’s plan to store more than 4,000 highly radioactive spent fuel assemblies in massive casks about 25 feet above mean sea level at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station raised considerable concern among members of the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel at a meeting Wednesday.

Concerns ranged from the potential for the metal-lined casks to corrode over time and leak, to the possibility that sea level rise could put them underwater in a storm.

The spent fuel will likely be stored in multipurpose dry casks, manufactured by Holtec, that are 18 feet tall and 11 feet in diameter. Once filled, they weigh 173 tons. The casks will stand on two concrete pads outside the reactor. The first pad is already in place and holds eight loaded dry casks. It can accommodate about 38.

The second pad is yet to be built and its location is still under study. It will likely be close to the first. Highly radioactive metal now in the reactor’s core also will be stored in casks, Entergy representative Joseph Lynch said.

The plant is scheduled to shut down permanently by May 31, 2019. The 21-member advisory panel was appointed to advise the governor on matters related to the plant’s decommissioning.

The reactor’s location on the coast of Plymouth raises issues such as flooding potential and cask corrosion.

Lynch provided data, based on the company’s most recent flood study, that showed a Category 5 hurricane, with waves swelling to 9 feet, could raise the sea level to 22.4 feet.

Although Lynch said the data demonstrated “we have margins,” panel members and members of the public who attended the meeting said those margins were too tight…….

Rising sea levels should be factored into planning, said Duxbury resident James Lampert. “I’m concerned, and this panel should be concerned, that we’re always taking today’s snapshot,” Lampert said. “There’s no plan to move any of this stuff. You have to assume these casks may be on the two pads for 50 or 100 years.”

Lampert asked how much of the fuel was so-called “high burn-up” — a question Lynch could not answer. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website, high burn-up spent fuel is hotter and more radioactive…….

Dry cask storage of lower burn-up spent nuclear fuel has been done since 1986, but dry storage of high burn-up spent fuel is more recent, according to the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy website. About 200 dry casks have now been loaded with at least some high burn-up fuel, the site says, and almost all spent nuclear fuel being loaded in the United States is now high burn-up.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan declined “for security reasons” to say how much spent fuel at Pilgrim is high burn-up.

Lampert also asked the panel to review a study by research scientist Gordon Thompson on weapons capable of penetrating dry casks.

Mary Lampert, president of the citizens group Pilgrim Watch, called projections that plants already closed, such as Vermont Yankee, would be free of stored fuel by 2052 “fantasy,” since there is still no national repository to permanently handle spent fuel.

Gov. Charlie Baker and the decommissioning panel should be looking at the worst-case scenario, she said.

The multipurpose dry casks made by Holtec are not the best choice, she said.

“Holtec casks are designed for the short term,” she said. “Diablo Canyon’s casks are showing early signs of stress corrosion.”

Although the casks are permitted for 20 years by the NRC, they will likely be relicensed for 40 or even 60 years, Lynch said.

Rebecca Chin, co-chairwoman of the Duxbury Nuclear Advisory Committee, lobbied for monitoring wells around the perimeter of the casks. “We need to know what’s running off the pad into the groundwater,” Chin said. http://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20171116/sea-level-rise-factors-into-nuclear-waste-discussion

November 18, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

North Korea building ballistic missile submarine, rejects Trump’s stand on negotiation

North Korea rejects Donald Trump’s call for nuclear talks, as images emerge of ‘ballistic submarine’ under construction, Telegraph,   Reuters News Agency 17 NOVEMBER 2017

North Korea has rejected Donald Trump’s call for talks over its nuclear programme just days after the US president completed his high-profile to Asia.

Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said that negotiations would not happen while America continued “war games” in the region.

The snub occurred as new satellite images suggested North Korea is pursuing an “aggressive schedule” to build its first operational ballistic missile submarine.

The developments mark a double setback for Mr Trump, who is seeking a breakthrough in the stand-off over North Korea after rallying support for his approach in Asia.

During a five-nation tour of the region Mr Trump surprised commentators with a call for North Korea to “come to the table and make a deal” over its nuclear programme.

However speaking to Reuters, Mr Han rejected the proposal and criticised America for carrying out joint military practices with South Korea.

“As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the US and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations,” Mr Han said.

“There are continued military exercises using nuclear assets as well as aircraft carriers, and strategic bombers and then…raising such kinds of military exercises against my country.”

Mr Han said North Korea’s nuclear programme was about protection, saying: “This is the deterrent, the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat from America.”

He also claimed Mr Trump drive for tighter sanctions was to “overthrow” the regime by “isolating” it and creating a “humanitarian disaster”.

China has contested Mr Trump’s claim that a “freeze for freeze” proposal – where North Korea stops its nuclear development and America ends its military war games – was off the table.

Meanwhile 38 North, a Washington-based project that monitors North Korea, said that satellite images indicate the regime is aggressively pursuing a ballistic missile submarine. ……http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/17/satellite-images-suggest-north-korea-aggressive-work-ballistic/

November 18, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dangerous nuclear-powered space exploration to get more dangerous, as China joins the race

China’s nuclear spaceships will be ‘mining asteroids and flying astronauts to the moon’ as it aims to overtake US in space race   State media publishes Chinese scientists’ ambitious plans to revolutionise space travel and exploration in coming decades, South China Morning Post, Stephen Chen: Friday, 17 November, 2017 China is on course to develop nuclear-powered space shuttles by 2040, and will have the ability to mine resources from asteroids and build solar power plants in space soon after, according to state media. The ambitious claims, made by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology – the country’s leading rocket developer and manufacturer – were published on the front page of People’s Daily on Friday.

According to the report, a new “nuclear fleet” of carrier rockets and reusable hybrid-power carriers will be ready for “regular, large scale” interplanetary flights, and carrying out commercial exploration and exploitation of natural resources by the mid-2040s.

China will catch up with the United States on conventional rocket technology by 2020, it said. In 2025, it is expected to launch a reusable suborbital carrier and start suborbital space tourism.

By 2030, it aims to put astronauts on the moon and have the capabilities to bring samples back from Mars. In the 2040s, a nuclear-powered fleet will be ready to carry out mining operations on asteroids and planets, the report said…..

“The nuclear vessels are built to colonise the solar system and beyond,” Wang Changhui, associate professor of aerospace propulsion at the School of Astronautics at Beihang University in Beijing, said…..

A nuclear spaceship would have a reactor loaded with radioactive fuel for fission – the splitting of atoms that produces large amounts of energy.

That energy could be used to generate a driving force as well as electricity for the craft’s on-board equipment….

 During the cold war, dozens of satellites equipped with various types of nuclear reactors were launched by the former Soviet Union and the United States..

But the nuclear space race was eventually postponed, partly due to its threat to humanity. In 1978, Russian spy satellite Kosmos 954 crashed and sprayed radioactive waste over an area of 124,000 square kilometres in Canada.

More than 30 dead nuclear satellites are still drifting in space and could fall to earth at any time over the next few thousand years.

“Safety issues will be the top challenge for the Chinese nuclear fleet,” Wang said. “If they come down, it will cause a global nuclear disaster.”

According to China’s space authorities, the nuclear shuttles would be docked at a transport hub that would orbit the earth. Reusable spacecraft would be used to transport people and cargo to and from the shuttles.

But even if they were permanently in space, the nuclear-powered vessels were still at risk of being hit by meteorites or even colliding with one another, Wang said.

Regardless of those concerns, a mainland space expert said the targets given in the People’s Daily report would be almost impossible to achieve…….http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2120425/chinas-nuclear-spaceships-will-be-mining-asteroids

November 18, 2017 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment

Japan Atomic Power in trouble: diverted its decommissioning funds to build new reactors

Japan Atomic Power in dire straits after diverting funds, Asahi Shimbun, By TSUNEO SASAI/ Staff Writer, November 17, 2017 

Japan Atomic Power Co. has diverted so much of its decommissioning funds to build new reactors that it now lacks enough cash to scrap its aging units or even resume operations of existing ones. The problem-plagued company is banking on a decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, but even that might not be sufficient to save it financially.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry requires nuclear power plant operators to accumulate decommissioning funds every year based on their estimated costs to scrap reactors.

The ministry’s guidelines, however, do not prohibit the companies from temporarily using the accumulated money for other purposes.

According to calculations, Japan Atomic Power should have saved around 180 billion yen ($1.6 billion) to decommission its four nuclear reactors.  The company declined to give details about how much of decommissioning fund was used for other purposes. However, a person familiar with the situation said the operator “diverted the majority.”

That leaves Japan Atomic Power without the necessary funds to carry out its plans to decommission its one-reactor Tokai nuclear plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, and the No. 1 reactor at its Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The company’s two other reactors–the reactor at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant and the No. 2 reactor at the Tsuruga plant–are off-line. To survive the financial crunch, Japan Atomic Power will soon apply to the NRA to extend the operating life of the idled Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant reactor. That reactor will reach its 40th year of operation in November 2018. Even if the NRA approves the 20-year extension, the company does not have the 174 billion yen needed to improve safety measures at the reactor to bring it online.

An active geological fault line was found running directly beneath the No. 2 reactor building at the Tsuruga nuclear plant, meaning a resumption of reactor operations there is nowhere in sight.

Japan Atomic Power decided to use decommissioning funds to cover costs to build the Tsuruga No. 3 and No. 4 reactors in a bid to curb borrowing from financial institutions, according to several sources.

However, that decision was made before disaster struck at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

After the triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, all reactors in the nation, including those of Japan Atomic Power, were suspended…….. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201711170054.html 

November 18, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

More nuclear reactors in more countries increase proliferation risks

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 16th Nov 2017, In an August 2017 report, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz argues for federal subsidies to prop up the US nuclear power industry on the novel
grounds that the industry is vital to our national security.

One of his principal conclusions is that to have an effective nonproliferation policy
we need to be selling lots of reactors internationally. The conclusion is
dead wrong but, unfortunately, it’s also influential.

The current energy secretary, Rick Perry, picked up the argument. In October 12 testimony, he
told Congress that “we have to support this industry,” because, among other
things, it is important to the success of our nonproliferation policy.

What kind of reactor exports might this entail? The Energy Department’s acting
assistant secretary for nuclear energy, Edward McGinnis, told an
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference in Abu Dhabi on
November 1 that the United States wants “to spur exports of nuclear energy
plants and equipment, including to the conference’s host nation UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

That, after all, is where the export opportunities are—in
the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, among countries taking their first steps
into nuclear energy. Most don’t have the required financial resources and
would need massive loans.

Some, like Saudi Arabia, or perhaps Turkey,
appear to have more on their mind than electricity generation. The trouble
is that power programs based on the most common type of nuclear power
plant, the light water reactor, give a country a large leg up on creating a
nuclear weapons option if that is what it wants. As a result, more nuclear
reactors in more countries increase proliferation risks. Whatever the
advantages of this technology, nonproliferation is not one of them.
https://thebulletin.org/exporting-power-reactors-no-way-fight-proliferation11282

November 18, 2017 Posted by | marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Disposal of low-level radioactive waste from Fukushima crisis begins

To call that site a storage site is a misnomer. As there will also be incineration and conditioning of radioactive debris there. It would be more accurate to call it a processing and storage facility….. Temporary storage, supposedly for 30 years maximum….
tomioka 17 nov 2017.jpg
FUKUSHIMA – Disposal began Friday of low-level radioactive waste generated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, more than six years after the crisis was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.
A disposal site in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, accepted the first shipment of the waste, which contains radioactive cesium ranging from 8,000 to 100,000 becquerels per kilogram, and includes rice straw, sludge and ash from waste incineration.
The Environment Ministry is in charge of the country’s nuclear waste disposal, which totaled 200,000 tons from 11 prefectures as of the end of September. The majority of the waste, 170,000 tons, originates from the prefecture hosting the crippled nuclear power plant.
“I would like to ask the central government to move this project forward while taking adequate safety steps in mind,” a Tomioka official said. “Building mutual trust with local residents is also important.”
Under the ministry’s policy, each prefecture’s waste is to be disposed of. However, Fukushima is the only prefecture where disposal has started, whereas other prefectures have met with opposition from local residents.
In Fukushima, it will take six years to complete moving the stored waste to the disposal site, the ministry said.
The government “will continue giving first priority to securing safety and properly carry out the disposal with our best efforts to win local confidence,” Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa said at a news conference.
The government proposed in December 2013 that Fukushima Prefecture dispose of the waste at the then-privately owned site. The request was accepted by the prefectural government two years later.
To help alleviate local concerns over the disposal, the government nationalized the site and reinforced it to prevent the entry of rainwater.

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

UN body calls on Japan to improve protection of press freedoms

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GENEVA (Kyodo) — A U.N. body on Thursday called on Japan to take steps to better protect press freedoms as concerns about the country’s laws aimed at curtailing leaks of state secrets could hinder the work of journalists.
In another of the 218 non-legally binding recommendations on Japan’s human rights record released by the U.N. Human Rights Council’s working group, Tokyo was urged to apologize and pay compensation to “comfort women” forced to work in Japan’s World War II military brothels.
The recommendations reflected the views of some 105 countries. Of the issues raised, the U.N. council will adopt those that have been accepted by the country in question at a plenary session around March 2018.
In relation to freedom of the press in Japan, the recommendation called on the country to amend Article 4 of the broadcasting law that gives the government authority to suspend broadcasting licenses of TV stations not considered “politically fair.”
Japan had already attracted criticism, in particular from David Kaye, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, over its law called the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, which came into force in 2014.
Under the law, civil servants or others who leak designated secrets could face up to 10 years in prison, and those who instigate leaks, including journalists, could be subject to prison terms of up to five years.
In his report, Kaye noted that the law may be arbitrarily enforced as subcategories under which information may be designated as secret are “overly broad.”
On the issue of “comfort women,” raised at the request of South Korea and China, the recommendation urged Japan to promote fair and accurate historical education, including the women’s stories, and to apologize and compensate victims.
The recommendation also said Japan should abolish or suspend the death penalty, reflecting calls from European Union countries, and continue to provide support to those affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis caused by the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami. In particular, a directive to address health issues faced by pregnant mothers and children was noted.
The U.N. Rights Council is mandated to “undertake a universal periodic review” of whether countries are meeting their human rights obligations and commitments.
The examination is conducted on all 193 members of the United Nations in periodic cycles of a few years. The latest review was the third for Japan.
Nuclear-news.net exclusive report from yesterday on the UN meeting;

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

Japanese Mothers Testing for Radiation in Food Post-Fukushima Disaster

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The “Mothers’ Radiation Lab” in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture is staffed by local mothers who test foods, water, soil and other local materials for nuclear radiation.

In the aftermath of the 9.1-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear power plant in Fukushima to leak radioactive materials, a group of Japanese mothers work to ensure local food is safe to eat. Despite lacking a scientific background or university education, they are passionate about informing keeping the public informed.

Although levels of radiation have declined since the 2011 incident, these mothers know the struggle for safe food and water is not over. “Mothers’ Radiation Lab” staff has found Shitake mushrooms, which are often included in Japanese cuisine, have the highest noticeable levels of radiation.

“How do you fight these invisible threats? The best way is to measure them,” says Kaori Suzuki, director at Mothers’ Radiation Lab.

https://www.linktv.org/shows/trust-docs/japanese-mothers-find-high-levels-of-radiation-in-food-post-fukushima-disaster

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

Radioactive contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area in the early stage of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident and its fluctuation over five years

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Fig 1. Sampling sites of soil samples.

Geographical distribution of the 134+137Cs precipitation referred to the aircraft monitoring results by the MEXT of Japan on December 16, 2011 [30]. Adapted from ‘Extension Site of Distribution Map of Radiation Dose, etc.’ (http://ramap.jmc.or.jp/map/).

 

The activity and inventory of radioactive material in the eastern part of Tokyo tended to be high… The radioactive plume with high 131I activity spread into the Tokyo metropolitan area…
Almost no public information about the radioactive contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area and Kanto district had been shared…
The plume containing a large amount of radioactive material drifted into the Tokyo metropolitan area… where over 30 million residents live… [Publications] include almost no discussion of the fact that radioactive materials were carried into the Tokyo metropolitan area…
The contamination level was extremely high in a roadside ditch sludge in Kashiwa City…
The quantity of 134+137Cs deposited in the region studied was estimated… from values measured in the soil, it was estimated as 5.35 TBq…
High activities and inventories of the radionuclides were found in eastern Tokyo and northern Chiba… The contamination was even higher in the adjoining northern part of Chiba located east of Tokyo…
The results reveal that the Tokyo metropolitan area even now continues to be affected by radioactive contamination caused by the FDNPP accident…
Gordon Edwards, Ph.D, nuclear expert, 2017 (pdf): Intensive contamination extends over 200 km south – right down to the outskirts of Tokyo
IRSN, 2016 (pdf): Fukushima-Daiichi Accident: Main contamination events… Event of 14-16 March – This event is marked by turning winds and by a rainfall that generated significant contamination of the Japanese territory. On the evening of the 14th of March, a first radioactive plume was transported by winds towards the southwest… and reached the Tokyo area. At Tsukuba, 153 Bq/m3** were measured…
** 153 Bq/m3 = 153,000,000 uBq/m3 Cs-137 in Tsukuba after Fukushima vs. 1.2 uBq/m3 Cs-137 in Tsukuba before Fukushima (source) = 127,500,000 times higher Cs-137 after Fukushima

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