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Marine radioecology after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident: Are we better positioned to understand the impact of radionuclides in marine ecosystems?

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Highlights
• Marine radioecology studies at the FDNPP coast: process-based modelling and field investigations
• Dynamic modelling of transfer between seawater, sediments and the biological compartments
• New data on submarine groundwater discharges and ocean circulation of radionuclides
• We formulate a strategy for marine radioecology based on processes-based research.
• We highlight the need for more ecology knowledge in marine radioecology.
Abstract
This paper focuses on how a community of researchers under the COMET (CO-ordination and implementation of a pan European projecT for radioecology) project has improved the capacity of marine radioecology to understand at the process level the behaviour of radionuclides in the marine environment, uptake by organisms and the resulting doses after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident occurred in 2011. We present new radioecological understanding of the processes involved, such as the interaction of waterborne radionuclides with suspended particles and sediments or the biological uptake and turnover of radionuclides, which have been better quantified and mathematically described.
We demonstrate that biokinetic models can better represent radionuclide transfer to biota in non-equilibrium situations, bringing more realism to predictions, especially when combining physical, chemical and biological interactions that occur in such an open and dynamic environment as the ocean. As a result, we are readier now than we were before the FDNPP accident in terms of having models that can be applied to dynamic situations.
The paper concludes with our vision for marine radioecology as a fundamental research discipline and we present a strategy for our discipline at the European and international levels. The lessons learned are presented along with their possible applicability to assess/reduce the environmental consequences of future accidents to the marine environment and guidance for future research, as well as to assure the sustainability of marine radioecology. This guidance necessarily reflects on why and where further research funding is needed, signalling the way for future investigations.
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December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Greenpeace: Takahama & Sendai reactors must be shut down immediately following Kobe Steel scandal

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Tokyo, 1 December 2017 – On 30 November, Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric announced that they are delaying the restart of four nuclear reactors for approximately two months due to ongoing investigations into Kobe Steel components. Greenpeace is calling for the immediate shutdown of operating reactors, owned by these same utilities, that may also have defective Kobe Steel components at the Takahama and Sendai plants.
While Kansai Electric has delayed operation of Ohi 3 and 4 reactors, it continues to operate its two reactors at Takahama. Similarly, Kyushu Electric has delayed operation of Genkai 3 and 4, while continuing to operate its two reactors at Sendai. 
“If Kansai Electric and Kyushu Electric are delaying restart of the Ohi and Genkai reactors due to the need to conduct investigations, how can they justify continued operation of the reactors at Takahama and Sendai?  The NRA has so far failed in its responsibilities as a regulator to get to grips with this rapidly evolving scandal. It must set aside nuclear industry interests and prioritize inspections. That includes shutting down operating reactors that may have defective parts until and unless safety can be guaranteed.” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner Greenpeace Japan.
More than a month ago, Greenpeace Japan warned that there were potentially major safety risks with Kobe Steel components installed in reactors that warranted strong intervention by the NRA.[1] On 24 October, Greenpeace Japan, along with other citizens groups, submitted evidence to the NRA of Kobe Steel’s extensive supply chain to the nuclear industry, demonstrating the pervasiveness of the potential problems.[2] We called on the agency to take urgent action to launch a comprehensive investigation into the supply and widespread use of potentially flawed Kobe Steel products in the Japanese nuclear industry. Included in the demands were calls for the suspension of restart plans for the Ohi, Genkai reactors, and shutdown of the four reactors Takahama and Sendai.
As of today, the NRA has yet to issue detailed written instructions to all reactor operators to investigate the use of potentially faulty Kobe Steel components. Instead, submissions have been made by 6 of the 11 nuclear utilities and lack any substantial information and analysis.
In one example, On 13 October, it was confirmed that Shinko Metal Products Co., owned by Kobe Steel, supplied tubes to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) for use in heat exchangers at the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant but failed to conduct required inspections.[3 & 4]
 
For further information:
[1] The letter was signed by Green Action, Mihama-no-kai, Citizens Nuclear Information Center, Citizen’s Watch on Nuclear Regulator, Friends of the Earth Japan, and Greenpeace Japan
[2] The Kobe Steel Group Supply Chain to the Nuclear Industry And Safety Implications (Greenpeace Japan Briefing Paper)
[3] See the TEPCO’s announcement (in Japanese)
[4] For more information on the risks of faulty steel in these components, see: “Irregularities and anomalies relating to nuclear reactor primary coolant circuit components installed in Japanese nuclear power plants”
 
Contacts:
Chisato Jono, Communications Officer, Greenpeace Japan, email: chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, mob: +81 (0) 80-6558-4446
 
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany, email: sburnie@greenpeace.org, mob: +49 151 643 20548 (Germany)

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

The Japanese Government Is Lying to the International Community: the Radiological Situation in and around Fukushima is NOT Safe

A report from NIRS (Nuclear Information and Resource Service, in USA)
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
 
Appeal from a Japanese Anti-nuclear Activist Etsuji Watanabe
Nov.29 2017 Revised (Oct.12 2017)
Etsuji Watanabe: Member of the Japanese anti-radiation citizen-scientist group ACSIR (Association for Citizens and Scientists Concerned about Internal Radiation Exposures)
Special thanks to Mrs Yuko Kato, Mr Ruiwen Song, Ms Nozomi Ishizu, Mrs Kurly Burch, Ms Jennifer Alpern, and Mark Bennett Yuko Kato: Evacuee from Fukushima, member of the Kansai plaintiff group for compensation against TEPCO and government Ruiwen Song: Taiwanese freelance journalist.
The Japanese government has created foreign language websites which provide the information about radiology in general and the radiological situation in Fukushima. Journalists around the world, our friends and acquaintances living abroad are continually asking us whether the information that these Japanese central and local government websites present to the international community is correct or not. The following is our answer.
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[Question 1]
The stories uploaded on these websites give people the impression that worrying about radiation is unnecessary. As for this impression, has Fukushima now really become a safe place to live or visit?
[Answer]
First of all, Japanese anti-nuclear activists and evacuees from contaminated areas in Fukushima and Kanto, have been warning people all over the world NEVER to trust what the Japanese government is saying about both radiology in general and the specific radiological health effects caused by the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster (hereafter Fukushima accident) following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11th, 2011.
Prime-minister Shinzo Abe and the Japanese government as a whole including Fukushima prefectural government have repeatedly declared that “with regard to health-related problems (of the Fukushima accident), I (Abe) will state in the most emphatic and unequivocal terms that there have been no problems until now, nor are there any at present, nor will there be in the future.” (Abe’s statement at a news conference). See the Japanese government website here.
This claim is completely fabricated and false. In making these claims, the Japanese government is blatantly ignoring the vast number of studies in radiological sciences and epidemiology that have been accumulating historically. By engaging in this behavior, the Japanese government has been systematically deceiving the public, both nationally and internationally.
Just think of the amount of radioactivity released during the Fukushima accident. As you know, one of the standards used to assess the extent of radioactive releases and longtime human health effects is the levels of cesium 137 (Cs137) released into the environment. Based on the Japanese government data (which is an underestimate), the Fukushima accident released 168 times the Cs137 discharged by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. This amount is almost the equivalent to the total atmospheric nuclear explosions conducted by the United States on the Nevada test ground. The Nevada desert is not designated as a residential area, but the Japanese government has recommended evacuated residents return to live in areas with radiation levels of up to 20 mSv/year. By removing economic support for evacuees, the Japanese government has forced many people who had evacuated from these areas to return.
We estimate that in the Fukushima accident approximately 400-600 times the Cs137 were released into the atmosphere by the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima. Roughly 20% of the Cs137, or 80-120 Hiroshima-equivalents, were deposited on Japan. Of this, the decontamination efforts have only been able to retrieve five Hiroshima-equivalents. The waste from decontamination efforts is typically stored all over Fukushima mostly in mountainous heaps of large plastic bags. This means that 75-115 Hiroshima-equivalents of Cs137 still remain in Fukushima, surrounding prefectures, and all over Japan.
In addition, the Japanese government is now planning to reuse the retrieved contaminated soil under 8000Bq/kg in public works projects all over Japan. This self-destructive program has now been partially started without any announcements as to where the contaminated soil are and will be reused, under the pretext of “avoiding damage caused by harmful rumors”. This project is tantamount to scattering lethal fallout of Cs137 equivalent to about 5 times that of Hiroshima bomb all over Japan. The Japanese government is literally behaving like a nuclear terrorist.
Do you really imagine that Fukushima prefecture and surrounding areas, contaminated as they are to levels similar to the Nevada test site, is really a safe place for people to permanently live, or for foreign tourists to visit and go sightseeing?
Regrettably, we must conclude that it is not, for either residents or tourists the situation in Fukushima is not safe.
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[Question 2]
These websites also point out that the international annual dose limit for the public is at 1mSv, but this level is easily exceeded by only one CT-scan, insinuating that this 1mSv standard is set too low and thus not a useful indicator.
[Answer]
CT-Scans are often cited as if they had no radiation risks, But this is not true. A recent study clearly shows that every CT-scan (about 4.5mSv irradiation) increases the risk of cancers in children by 24%. See the website here.
In Fukushima the allowable level of radiation per year for residents is now 20mSv. Can you imagine having 4-5 CT-scans every year?
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[Question 3]
One of the websites states: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during breathing.” What do you think of this statement?
[Answer]
The Japanese government also ignores the long-term peril caused by “hot particles” ――micron-and- nano-sized radioactive particulates――which, if inhaled or absorbed into the human body, may lead to many kinds of cancers and other diseases including cardiac failure. We should consider internal irradiation to the cells near the radiation sources to be 500 times more dangerous than external irradiation because particles inside the body radiates very near or even inside cells, causing intensive damage to DNAs and other cell organs such as mitochondria.
 
[Question 4]
These websites explain that there exists not only artificial but also natural radioactivity, thus people are living in an environment surrounded by radiation all the time in everyday life.
[Answer]
One of the main tactics that the Japanese government often uses to propagate the “safety of low level irradiation” is to compare artificial radioactivity with natural radioactivity. But this logic is a methodological sleight of hand. It is crystal-clear that even exposure to natural radioactivity has its own health risks. Cancers sickened and killed people long before artificial radioactivity was used. For example, Seishu Hanaoka, one of the founders of Japan’s medicine, carried out 152 breast cancer surgeries from 1804 to 1836.
Both kinds of radioactivity have their own health risks. Risks caused by artificial radioactivity should not be compared but be added to the natural radioactivity risks as they both lead to the accumulation of exposure.
For example, potassium 40 (K40) is a typical natural radioactive nuclide. According to  the Japanese government, the average internal exposure dose for adults from K40 is about 4,000Bq/year or 0.17mSv/year. See the website here (in Japanese).
The ICRP risk model (2007) allows us to estimate the approximate risk posed by K40. The calculation shows that K40 is responsible for approximately 4,000 cancer cases and 1,000 deaths every year. If the same amount of radiation was added to that of K40 in the human body by artificial sources, the cancers and mortalities would be doubled to 8,000 and 2,000 a year, respectively. Based on the ECRR (2010) model, which criticizes the ICRP risk model as a severe underestimate, these figures should be multiplied by 40, reaching 320,000 and 80,000, respectively.
The extract you cite from the Fukushima government website is completely fake: “In Fukushima, the indoor radiation doses are now so reduced that no radioactive cesium can be found in the air. Therefore, no radioactive particles can invade the human body during respiration”. Reports from civic radiation measurement stations refute this claim. For example, dust collecting paper packs of vacuum cleaners used in Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture, are radiologically measured and 4,800-53,900Bq/kg radioactive cesium was detected in Oct-Dec 2015. See the website here (in Japanese).
 
[Question 5]
One of the websites says that the Fukushima prefecture has conducted whole-body counter screenings of the 170,000 local population so far but cesium was rarely detected.” Does this mean that we can safely consume food from Fukushima, and Fukushima residents are no longer being exposed internally to radiation?
[Answer]
This is a typical example of demagogy by the Japanese government: vague expressions lacking specific data, using the words “safe and secure” without clear explanation. In reality, the government has not publicized any data indicating serious irradiation of the population. For example, you mentioned the Fukushima prefectural government website saying that whole-body counter screenings of 170,000 members of the local population have found radioactive Cs only in very few cases. However, the fact that no specific number is given makes the statement suspicious.
These statistics, more than likely, exclude many firefighters or other municipal employees who, at the time of accident, helped local residents evacuate from a lot of contaminated areas surrounding the defunct Fukushima plant. These people were subjected to serious radiation doses.
Civic groups’ efforts for the disclosure of information has recently prompted city officials near the defunct plant to disclose the fact that it conducted whole-body counter check-ups on about 180 firefighters, nurses and municipal employees. According to Koichi Ohyama, a member of the municipal assembly of Minami Soma, the screening conducted in July, 2011, showed almost all of these people tested positive in Cs. The maximum Cs137 dose among the firefighters was as high as 140,000 Bq. This data reveals a part of the reality of irradiation but it is only a tiny part.
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[Question 6]
The government websites suggest that no health effects from irradiation have been reported in Fukushima. Is this true? Or have any symptoms appeared that indicate an increase in radiation-induced diseases in Fukushima?
[Answer]
One example is the outbreak of child thyroid cancer, but the Japanese government has been denying the relationship with irradiation from radioactive iodine released from the Fukushima disaster.
Japan’s population statistics reflect the health effects from the Fukushima disaster radioactivity. The following data clearly show that diseases increasing in Fukushima are highly likely to have been radiation-induced.
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[Question 7]
The Fukushima prefecture website says, “After the Fukushima accident, the Japanese government has introduced the provisional standards for radioactive iodine and cesium. The Fukushima prefectural government subsequently strictly regulated distribution and consumption of food with levels of radioactivity exceeding the provisional standards. Now we have had this new much stricter standard. The distribution and consumption  of food exceeding this new standard has been continuously regulated; therefore any food on the market is safe to consume.” Is it true?
[Answer]
As for food contamination, the Japanese government has also tried to cover up the real picture. First, the current government standard for radioactivity in food, 100Bq/kg, is dangerously high for human health, especially for fetuses, infants, children and pregnant women. Even six and a half years after the accident, the Agriculture Ministry of Japan as well as many civic radioactivity measurement stations all over the country have reported many food contamination cases, although the frequency is evidently reduced. See the website here.
The Japanese government has underestimated the danger presented by internal irradiation. But, we must consider two important factors. (1) The wide range of difference in personal radio-sensitivity. According to Professor Tadashi Hongyo (Osaka University Medical Faculty), the maximum difference is as wide as 100 times in terms of biological half-life of Cs137. (2) Recent studies denying that the so-called biological half-life decrease curve actually exists. According to the new model, daily food contamination can cause concentrations to accumulate as time passes. Even a daily 1Bq internal radiation dose from food cannot be safe for human health (details below).
Our recommendation is to be cautious of food or produce from Fukushima and the surrounding areas, and, even if contamination levels are said to have now generally decreased, to avoid jumping to the conclusion that all the food is fit to eat.
 
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[Question 8]
We would like to ask about the situations in prefectures surrounding Fukushima. A television program once reported, “As for the safety of Tochigi and Gunma prefectures, few people are raising concern about health effects of radiation.” Is it true that the prefectures somewhat distant from the Fukushima Daiichi plant are now safe with no human risk?
[Answer]
Regarding the radioactive contamination in prefectures surrounding Fukushima, you can refer to the following website.
This article examines the contamination in the Tokyo metropolitan area, but conditions are the same or more serious in Tochigi or other prefectures north of Tokyo, nearer to the defunct Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Another example is the statistics of stillbirth and neonatal mortality in Fukushima and the surrounding five prefectures (Tochigi, Gunma, Ibaragi, Miyagi, Iwate) shown here.
Perinatal mortality in not only Fukushima prefecture but also neighboring prefectures rose 15.6% just 10 months after the accidents. This clearly indicates the existence of some kind of human health damage from radiation.
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[Question 9]
We would like to ask about the decontamination efforts by famers living in Fukushima and neighboring prefectures. Should we think highly of the farmers measuring the amount of radiation deposited on the surface of soil to create radiation maps for farms, or washing the radiation from the surface of every single tree off the radiation with high-pressure washers? The farmers said that while these methods have been shown to be radiologically effective, their produce did not sell well, because consumers are still feeling anxious about health risks. Does the problem of radioactive food contamination in Japan just end up in whether each consumer personally believes it safe or not?
[Answer]
We must raise a question that, despite the government’s decontamination efforts, a huge amount of radioactive materials deposited in mountainous areas remain untouched. Now they are re-dispersing and re-depositing over wide areas of Fukushima and surrounding prefectures via winds, cars, trains, river water, pollen, spores, emissions from incinerators, in the form of radioactive dusts and particulates, among many others. For an example, see the following website.
So I regret to say that, although these farmers’ endeavors you mentioned are very precious and respectable, they are not sufficient to completely eliminate the risk of radiation exposure from food. The problem exists objectively in the nuclear materials deposited on and in soil, algae, plants, houses, buildings, forests, animal and human bodies, not subjectively in the consumers’ sentiment or psychology.
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[Question 10]
Japanese experts have recently pitched a cultivation method that can remove cesium by intensive use of potassium fertilizer. Is this method effective at all? Do you have any doubt about their claims?
[Answer]
They seem to be among those experts who have been criticizing the general public’s tendency to demand “zero irradiation risk” as an obstacle to Fukushima reconstruction.
As you know, cesium (Cs) has chemically similar characteristics to potassium (K). So it is true that higher levels of application of potassium fertilizer lowers the plant’s absorption, and therefore concentration, of radioactive Cs, decreasing Cs137/134 concentrations in produce, often to below the government standard of 100Bq/kg. But the following problems remain: (1) This procedure can prevent Cs transfer from the soil to produce only partly, not completely; (2) This process raises the potassium concentration in the produce and therefore heightens the burdens on certain human organs such as kidneys, the heart and the nervous system, causing new health risks; (3) Heightened concentration of potassium also leads to the heightened concentration of radioactive K40, so the reduced risk of radioactive Cs lead to an increased risk of internal irradiation by K40.
 
[Question 11]
Even if cesium concentration was reduced by applying more potassium fertilizer than usual, strontium contamination would remain. In Japanese government’s international press campaign as to the Fukushima accident, almost nothing has been said about strontium. If you have any information on strontium contamination, let us know.
[Answer]
We regret that the information about strontium that you are asking for is very limited and searching for it is also a challenge for us. The Japanese government and research institutes under the government have reported very limited data regarding strontium contamination. But it is important that the Japanese government admits the fact of strontium contamination within 80km from the defunct Fukushima plant. See the website here.
Did you know that the US Department of Energy data on the strontium contamination of soil in Japan and its visualization (in Japanese)  can be seen on the websites here?
 
[Question 12]
Some Japanese experts say, “the Japanese government has declared that no health effects from irradiation below 100mSv (or 100mSv/year) have been confirmed.” Some farmers have established a private food standard of 20Bq/kg, much lower than the Japanese government standard of 100Bq/kg. Do you think that doses under 100mSv or under 20Bq/kg are safe and secure?
[Answer]
As you mentioned, the Japanese government claims that no scientific studies verify that irradiation of 100mSv or less poses a threat to human health, suggesting that irradiation under 100mSv has no risk. This, however, is false. The government is fabricating this information. In fact, very many scientific studies have already confirmed and proven health effects induced by irradiation under 100mSv. For example, see the websites below.
 
The Japanese government is using the term “100mSv” in a deliberately ambiguous and confusing manner. The expression 100mSv can have three meanings: (1) a one-time irradiation dose, (2) cumulative irradiation doses, or (3) annual irradiation doses. So 100mSv is not the same as, nor equal to the 100mSv/year that you mentioned in parenthesis. The latter amounts to a 1Sv in cumulative dose over 10 years (which is an up to 10% lethal dose), and 5Sv over 50 years (which is a 50% lethal dose). The present government standard for evacuees to return, 20mSv/year, means that living there for 5 years leads to a cumulative dose of 100mSv, at which the Japanese government admits clear health risks.
Regarding 20Bq/kg as some farmers’ private food standard, it is critical to pay serious attention to the extraction process of Cs from tissues. Japanese-Canadian non-organic biochemist Eiichiro Ochiai points out in his book “Hiroshima to Fukushima, Biohazards of Radiation” (2014) that, based on the Leggett model, the Cs concentration injected in tissues at one time diminishes relatively quickly for about 10 days in most tissues. After that, processes slow down, tending to become steady. He writes: the decrease of the overall Cs level in the body does not follow an exponential decay curve (p.83). This means that consecutive intake of Cs, even in very low levels, results in the accumulation of Cs in the body. (Incidentally, Ochiai’s book can be downloaded for free from the website below.)
Regarding the Leggett model, see the website below.
Yuri Bandazhevsky considers over 10Bq/kg of radioactive Cs concentrations in the body to be unsafe because even this low level can possibly cause abnormal electrocardiographic pattern in babies, metabolic disorders, high blood pressure, cataracts, and so on.
Therefore, we can conclude unequivocally that neither the irradiation under 100mSv nor the privately set 20Bq/kg food standard are safe and secure.
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December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | 1 Comment

No way to find hot spots with dosimeter at 1m from the ground

Special thanks for their very important work to Kurumi Sugita of the Fukushima 311 Voices Blog and to Mr Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“.
We have published several articles in this blog saying that to protect the population the Japanese goverment should take into account the soil contamination as well as the radiation dose in the air.  The policy to open the evacuation zones and encourage the population to return to live there (with the end of financial compensation and relocation aid) is based only on the airborn radiation dose measurements (the evacuation order is lifted when the radiation dose is under 20mSv/year).  We have been saying that this is very dangerous, even  criminal, for the air radiation dose rate (indicating the amount of radioactive dose received by a person within a certin period time) is useful with a well-identfied fixed source of radiation, but is not adequate to reveal the overall environmental contamination after a nuclear accident. It doesn’t account for the internal radiation exposure induced health hazards (note 1).
Now we would like to point out another problem related to hotspots: it is nearly impossible to find hotspots by the usual measuring practice of the airborn radiation dose rate (in sieverts per unit of time).  To illustrate this difficulty, we are translating here a Facebook post of Mr Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“.
 
Here are the radiation dose rates, captured vertically above a highly radioactive substance (“black substance” or “black dust”) of 4,120,000 Bq/kg, measuring 79 μ Sv/h.
Below are measurements at different distances from the ground.
5cm:9.112 μSv/h
50cm:0.630 μSv/h
1m:0.251 μSv/h
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Conclusion: it is impossible to discover micro-hotspots right under your feet when you walk around measuring radiation doses at 1m of distance from the ground.
Measuring device:
Aloka TCS172B
Measurements carried out by Mr Yoichi Ozawa.
For 0cm from the ground, Aloka TCS172B, which cannot measure over 30µSv/h, was replaced by Polimaster PM1703M and Radex RD1706. The value is the average of the measurements of these two devices.  
 
Here is the video of the measurement.
As we can see from the graph above, the value in terms of Sieverts decreases drastically with the distance from the ground. At 1m, which is the usual reference height to measure the radiation dose rate, the value becomes very small even with the soil of over 4 million Bq/kg, which is absolutely enormous (note 2).
Some readers might be familiar with the image of a Japanese citizen measuring  radioactivity with a device at about 1m from the ground. This practice, almost unknown before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, has become widespread among citizens, although it has become rather a rare practice nowadays as many people have more or less become accustomed to live with radiation. Besides the fact that it is hard to live a life worrying about radiation around the clock and some people prefer to stop thinking about it, this “normalisation” of radiation is strongly enforced by a governmental security campaign. One of the methods employed is to focus on the external irradiation risk, neglecting the internal irradiation risk, by spreading the knowledge and data only in terms of the radiation dose in the air (measured by Sieverts), at the expense of other measurements such as the radiocontamination density in soil (surface contamination density in terms of Becquerel/unit of surface).
One of the now well-known problems of radiocontamination of the environment is that the contamination is not homogeneous, but dispersed with what is called a hot spot. This is a serious problem for the population, as the absorption of radioative particles contained in these hot spots can cause internal irradiation related health damage. And as we see above, it is extremely difficult to detect these hotspots, from 1m and above, even with the extremely highly contaminated substance such as “black dust”.
It is widespread belief among the public that if the value of the airborn radiation dose at 1m from the ground is under 0.23µSv/h (note 3), it is safe. This value, diffused by the authorities as well as by media, is indeed applied as the lower limit to carry out decontamination work.  Yet, as we have seen, even with the extremely highly contaminated substance such as “black dust”, at 1m, the radiation dose is only 0.25µSv/h, that is to say, only slightly over the limit of the 0.23µSv/h, which is believed to be the “safety level”.
It is unfortunate to say that for most of the residents taking the measurements of the airborn radiation dose by themselves, the values they observe have become rather an “encouraging” factor to continue living there or to return to live, than an alarming factor, as these values do not reveal but rather conceal the presence of hotspots which can cause internal radiation exposure induced health damage.
It is difficult to find hotspots anyway.  So when the soil contamination is high (see the concentration maps in this blog, for Namie, Minamisoma), it is better to keep the zone closed, continuing to aid the evacuated people.
 
Note 1: In opposition to the external radiation exposure which occurs when the human body is exposed to an external source, the internal radiation exposure is an exposure from inside the body due to the incorporation of radioactive particles through ingestion, inhalation or adhesion to skin.
Note 2: This extremely high level of contamination is understandable, for what is measured here is the infamous “black substance” or “black dust”, a kind of Cyanobacteria, about which we invite you to listen to podocast of Marco Kaltofen with English transcription.
Note 3: In fact, the 0.23µSv/h value is problematic in itself.  This is based on the 1mSv/year value following the ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) recommendations on the public health.  However,  the 0.23µSv/h value is not the result of a simple division of 1mSv by 365 days x 24 hours. The calculation of 0.23µSv/h presupposes that people stay inside for 16 hours/day and that the radiation is reduced by 60% because of the building structure.  Then, the background of 0.04µSv/h is added. (1000µSv÷365÷(8 + 〈16×0.4〉) + 0.04  But in the real life in rural areas such as Fukushima, people spend more time outdoors.  Besides, some recent research has shown that in some cases the radiation dose can be higher indoors than outdoors because of the infiltration of hot particles. Thus, the reality is much more complex to apply uniformly the value of 0.23µSv/h as a safety threshhold. Lastly, many people in Fukushima were victimes of the initial exposure right after the accident. For such population, any exposure, whatever the quantity is, is to be avoided.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

This week’s nuclear and climate news

The Kim Jong Un – Donald Trump warlike bombast continues, when what is needed is restraint and diplomacy. North Korea unveils a ‘monster’ new intercontinental ballistic missile. Trump administration considers a‘preventive strike ‘ against North Korea – the very worst option.

Always a silver lining, though. Businessmen in Britain and South Korea are enthusiastically marketing new underground bunkers. Their Chumdan Bunker System chief executive officer Go Wan Hyeok  said  “I’m wishing that he presses the button and shoots the bomb! ” “I want to then open up showrooms in Europe and in the UK”

The twin threats of climate change and nuclear pollution join together, as rising seas caused by climate change are seeping inside a remote island nuclear waste dump.

University research indicates that global warming will accelerate as CO2 levels rise.

Western nuclear nations snub Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

How could the Agung volcano in Bali affect global temperatures?

USA. Trump administration, Michael Flynn, and dodgy nuclear deals with Saudi Arabia.  Michael Flynn’s nuclear role complicates the federal investigation into Russian interference in 2016 USA election. New Study: Over a Trillion becquerels of Fukushima radiocesium fell on Hawaii.  NASA’s new toy – a nuclear reactor on Mars.

FRANCE. Another corruption investigation of French nuclear company AREVA. France joins the rush to market nuclear power to Saudi ArabiaMushrooms contaminated with radioactive cesium 137 stopped by France, – shipment from Belarus.  EDF says individuals detained after breaking into Cruas nuclear plant.

NORTH KOREA.  North Korea moving fast to complete its nuclear weapons program – could be done within a year.  Daily Mail reports North Korean defectors’ claim of damage caused by Kim Jong-un’s powerful nuclear missile test

JAPAN. Japan’s Kyushu Elec likely to delay nuclear plant restart due to Kobe Steel checks.  Kobe Steel scandal: ‘look the other way’ culture of corporate Japan, faked data for over a decade.  Japan is poised to release into the Pacific one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.  Fukushima ‘ice wall’ linchpin not living up to high hopes.  11,800 homes to be destroyed in areas evacuated from the nuclear disaster.   Testimony of a mother who evacuated from Tokyo. Fukushima Cover-Up and Denial.

UK. Looks as if UK nuclear power is coming to the end of the line.   South Korea looks to market nuclear technology to Britain,  in  UK’s Moorside Nuclear Power Station.

CANADA. Strong civic movement opposes Canadian proposal for nuclear waste dump close to Lake Huron.

SOUTH AFRICA. South Africa’s anti nuclear movement ready for President Zuma’s next pro nuclear move.

AFRICA – GABON Gabon’s uranium miners’ long wait for compensation for radiation-caused illness.

RUSSIA.  Russia: a new nuclear accident on the anniversary of the secret Mayak accident 60 years ago?   Scientist confirms potential source of Ru-106 as Mayak’s vitrification unit.      Damning report from Greenpeace on Rosatom and the Ruthinium 106 incident!

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

America’s worst option: a ‘preventive strike’ against North Korea would trigger ‘nuclear retaliation’

A ‘preventive strike’ against North Korea would trigger ‘nuclear retaliation’
On Tuesday, North Korea test fired what experts believe is its most advanced long range, nuclear-capable missile yet.
In response, Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN “If we have to go to war to stop this we will.”
A preventive strike against North Korea is not feasible and would have devastating consequences. The best path is still diplomacy.  Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, USA, Ret.   CNBC , 1 December 17, 
On Tuesday, North Korea test fired what experts believe is its most advanced long range, nuclear-capable missile yet. In response, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) bluntly told CNN’s that Trump will not allow North Korea to even possess a nuclear missile capable of hitting the U.S.”If we have to go to war to stop this we will,” he said. “We’re headed towards a war if things don’t change.”If Sen. Graham’s binary choice accurately reflects the president’s thinking, then war will come, and millions could die, including thousands of Americans. Such a war is too costly to seriously consider absent an imminent attack.

It is difficult to overstate the negative consequences that would result should President Trump order any type of “preventive” military strike—that is, an attack to deprive them of a capability rather than to stop an actual, imminent launch—against North Korea.

 Choe Kang-il, Deputy Director General for North American affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry recently told the New York Times, “If the United States even hints at a strike on North Korea, we will proceed with a preemptive attack on the U.S.”In case some are tempted to think these threats are merely bluster by the Kim regime, they were echoed almost precisely last month in congressional testimony by the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect.

Former diplomat Thae Yong-ho told members of Congress North Korean officers are trained to fire their weapons “without any further instructions from the general command if anything happens on their side.” Their response would be immediate and devastating.

Consider the most dangerous course of action: this latest test, reportedly fired from a mobile launcher, indicates North Korea has the ability to launch nuclear-tipped missiles. If the United States tries to take out launch points, or even a massive and sustained bombing campaign in an attempt to destroy their ability to retaliate, we will inflict extraordinary damage—but it is unlikely our attacks would successfully penetrate all their mountain bunkers.

That leaves the possibility that Kim Jong-un would order a mobile launcher to emerge from its protective bunker, and in retaliation, send a nuclear missile crashing into Guam, Hawaii, or Seattle.

Such an act would not be a fringe possibility were the U.S. to launch any type of “preventive” armed attack; it would be a likely outcome.

The window of opportunity to strike North Korea without risk of nuclear retaliation closed many years ago. For more than a decade, it has been impossible to take out North Korea’s ability to launch conventional and nuclear retaliatory strikes against our allies—the only recent development is that our homeland may now also be at risk of a counterstrike.

This further increases the cost of preventive war, making it an even worse policy option rather than a serious policy recommendation……… https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/30/preventive-strike-on-north-korea-would-trigger-nuclear-retaliation-lt-col-commentary.html

December 1, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea unveils a ‘monster’ – a new intercontinental ballistic missile

North Korea reveals images of new ballistic missile – it’s a monster, SMH, 1 Dec 17North Korea released numerous images Thursday that it says are of the new intercontinental ballistic missile it claims is capable of striking “the whole mainland of the US.”

Dozens of photos of the Hwasong-15 missile were published in state media. North Korea claims to have achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state with the missile launch Wednesday.

Michael Duitsman, a researcher at the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, tweeted soon after the photos were published: “This is very big missile … And I don’t mean ‘Big for North Korea.’ Only a few countries can produce missiles of this size, and North Korea just joined the club.”

Duitsman suggested the new ICBM appears to have a different engine arrangement and improved steering from the the smaller Hwasong-14 ICBM that the North tested twice in July.

“They wanted (to be able) to hit all of the US and they wanted something big to hit it with. This seems on the surface level to be that missile,” David Schmerler, a research associate at the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, told CNN.

The Hwasong-15 appears to be the longest-range missile ever tested by North Korea, which said it reached an altitude of 2,780 miles (4473 km) and flew a distance of 590 miles (949 km) in 53 minutes.

It would have had a range of 8100 miles had it flown in a flat trajectory, according to calculations by David Wright, an expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists. That would make it capable of reaching Washington, DC…….. http://www.smh.com.au/world/north-korea-reveals-images-of-new-ballistic-missile–its-a-monster-20171130-gzweym.html

December 1, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration, Michael Flynn, and dodgy nuclear deals with Saudi Arabia

White House May Share Nuclear Power Technology With Saudi Arabia, The overture follows an intense and secretive lobbying push involving Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates and even Iran-Contra figure Robert McFarlane. Pro Publica by Isaac Arnsdorf, The Trump administration is holding talks on providing nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia — a move that critics say could upend decades of U.S. policy and lead to an arms race in the Middle East.

The Saudi government wants nuclear power to free up more oil for export, but current and former American officials suspect the country’s leaders also want to keep up with the enrichment capabilities of their rival, Iran.

Saudi Arabia needs approval from the U.S. in order to receive sensitive American technology. Past negotiations broke down because the Saudi government wouldn’t commit to certain safeguards against eventually using the technology for weapons.

Now the Trump administration has reopened those talks and might not insist on the same precautions. At a Senate hearing on Nov. 28, Christopher Ford, the National Security Council’s senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation, disclosed that the U.S. is discussing the issue with the Saudi government. He called the safeguards a “desired outcome” but didn’t commit to them.

Abandoning the safeguards would set up a showdown with powerful skeptics in Congress. “It could be a hell of a fight,” one senior Democratic congressional aide said.

The idea of sharing nuclear technology with Saudi Arabia took an unlikely path to the highest levels of government. An eccentric inventor and a murky group of retired military brass — most of them with plenty of medals but no experience in commercial nuclear energy — have peddled various incarnations of the plan for years.

Many U.S. officials didn’t think the idea was serious, reputable or in the national interest. “It smelled so bad I said I never wanted to be anywhere close to that,” one former White House official said. But the proponents persisted, and finally found an opening in the chaotic early days of the Trump administration, when advisers Michael Flynn and Tom Barrack championed the idea……

In 2008, the Saudi government made a nonbinding commitment not to pursue enrichment and reprocessing. They then entered negotiations with the U.S. for a pact on peaceful nuclear cooperation, known as a 123 agreement, after a section of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954. A 123 agreement is a prerequisite for receiving American technology.

The talks stalled a few years later because the Saudi government backed away from its pledge not to pursue enrichment and reprocessing, according to current and former officials. “They wouldn’t commit, and it was a sticking point,” said Max Bergmann, a former special assistant to the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security at the time those negotiations occurred……..

The Obama administration held firm with the Saudis because it’s one thing to cap nuclear technology where it already exists, but it’s longstanding U.S. policy not to spread the technology to new countries. As Saudi Arabia and Iran — ideological and religious opponents — increasingly squared off in a battle for political sway in the Middle East, Republicans argued that the Obama administration had it backwards: It was enshrining hostile Iran’s ability to enrich uranium while denying the same to America’s ally Saudi Arabia.

One such critic of Obama’s Iran policy was Michael Flynn, a lieutenant general who was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. Flynn quickly took up a variety of consulting assignments and joined some corporate boards. One of the former was an advisory position for a company called ACU Strategic Partners, which, according to a later financial disclosure, paid Flynn more than $5,000.

Flynn was one of many retired military officers whom ACU recruited. ACU’s chief was a man named Alex Copson, who is most often described in press accounts as a “colorful British-American dealmaker.” Copson reportedly made a fortune inventing a piece of diving equipment, may or may not have been a bass player in the band Iron Butterfly, and has been touting wildly ambitious nuclear-power plans since the 1980s. (He didn’t answer repeated requests for comment.)

By 2015, Copson was telling people he had a group of U.S., European, Arab and Russian companies that would build as many as 40 nuclear reactors in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Copson’s company pitched the Obama administration, but officials figured he didn’t really have the backers he claimed. “They would say ‘We have Rolls-Royce on board,’ and then someone would ask Rolls-Royce and they would say, ‘No, we took a meeting and nothing happened,’” recalled a then-White House official.

In his role with ACU, Flynn flew to Egypt to convince officials there to hold off on a Russian offer (this one unrelated to ACU) to build nuclear power plants. Flynn tried to persuade the Egyptian government to consider Copson’s proposal instead, according to documents released by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Flynn also tried to persuade the Israeli government to support the plan and spoke at a conference in Saudi Arabia. (The trip would later present legal problems for Flynn because he didn’t report contacts with foreign officials on his application to renew his security clearance, according to Cummings. Cummings referred the information to Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Trump’s associates and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Flynn’s lawyer declined to comment.)

Copson’s outfit eventually splintered. A retired admiral named Michael Hewitt, who was to head up the security services part of the project, struck out on his own in mid-2016. Flynn went with him.

Hewitt’s new company is called IP3 International, which is short for “International Peace Power & Prosperity.” IP3 signed up other prominent national security alumni including Gens. Keith Alexander, Jack Keane and James Cartwright, former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross, Bush Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend, and Reagan National Security adviser Robert “Bud” McFarlane.

IP3’s idea was a variation on ACU’s. Hewitt swapped out one notional foreign partner for another (Russia was out, China was in), then later shifted to an all-American approach. That idea resonated with the U.S. nuclear-construction industry, which never recovered from the Three Mile Island disaster in the 1970s and was looking to new markets overseas.

But nuclear exports are tightly controlled because the technology is potentially so dangerous. A 123 agreement is only the first step for a foreign country that wants to employ U.S. nuclear-power technology. In addition, the Energy Department has to approve the transfer of technology related to nuclear reactors and fuel. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission licenses reactor equipment, and the Commerce Department reviews exports for equipment throughout the rest of the power plant.

IP3 — whose sole project to date is the Saudi nuclear plan — never went through those normal channels. Instead, the company went straight to the top.

At the start of the Trump administration, IP3 found an ally in Tom Barrack, the new president’s close friend and informal adviser and an ultra-wealthy investor in his own right. During the campaign, Barrack wrote a series of white papers proposing a new approach to the Middle East in which economic cooperation would theoretically reduce the conditions for breeding terrorism and lead to improved relations.

Barrack wasn’t familiar with nuclear power as an option for the Middle East until he heard from Bud McFarlane. McFarlane, 80, is most remembered for his role in the defining scandal of the Reagan years: secretly selling arms to Iran and using the money to support Nicaraguan rebels. He pleaded guilty to withholding information from Congress but was pardoned by George H.W. Bush.

Nevertheless, Barrack was dazzled by McFarlane and his IP3 colleagues. “I was like a kid in a candy shop — these guys were all generals and admirals,” Barrack said in an interview. “They found an advocate in me in saying I was keen on trying to establish a realignment of U.S. business interests with the Gulf’s business interests.”

McFarlane followed up the meeting by emailing Flynn in late January, according to six people who read the message or were told about it. McFarlane attached two documents. One outlined IP3’s plan, describing it as consistent with Trump’s philosophy. The second was a draft memo for the president to sign that would officially endorse the plan and instruct his cabinet secretaries to implement it. Barrack would take charge of the project as the interagency coordinator. Barrack had discussions about becoming ambassador to Egypt or a special envoy to the Middle East but never committed to such a role. (McFarlane disputed that account but repeatedly declined to specify any inaccuracies. IP3 declined to comment on the memos.)

Flynn, now on the receiving end of IP3’s lobbying, told his staff to put together a formal proposal to present to Trump for his signature, according to current and former officials.

The seeming end run sparked alarm. National Security Council staff brought the proposal to the attention of the agency’s lawyers, five people said, because they were concerned about the plan and how it was being advanced. Ordinarily, before presenting such a sensitive proposal to the president, NSC staff would consult with experts throughout government about practical and legal concerns. Bypassing those procedures raised the risks that private interests might use the White House to their own advantage, former officials said. “Circumventing that process has the ability not only to invite decisions that aren’t fully vetted but that are potentially unwise and have the potential to put our interests and our people at risk,” said Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and NSC spokesman.

Even after those concerns were raised, Derek Harvey, then the NSC’s senior director for the Middle East, continued discussing the IP3 proposal with Barrack and his representative, Rick Gates, according to two people. Gates, a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, worked for Barrack on Trump’s inaugural committee and then for Barrack’s investment company, Colony NorthStar.

By then, Barrack was no longer considering a government position. Instead, he and Gates were seeking investment ideas based on the administration’s Middle East policy. Barrack pondered the notion, for example, of buying a piece of Westinghouse, the bankrupt U.S. manufacturer of nuclear reactors. (Harvey, now on the staff of the House intelligence committee, declined to comment through a spokesman. In October, Mueller charged Manafort and Gates with 12 counts including conspiracy against the U.S., unregistered foreign lobbying, and money laundering. They both pleaded not guilty. Gates’ spokesman didn’t answer requests for comment.)

Ultimately, it wasn’t the NSC staff’s concerns that stalled IP3’s momentum. Rather, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior aide tasked with reviving a Middle East peace process, wanted to table the nuclear question in favor of simpler alliance-building measures with the Saudis, centered on Trump’s visit in May, according to a person familiar with the discussions. (A spokesperson for Kushner, asked for comment, had not provided one at the time this article was published; we’ll update the article if he provides one later.)


In recent months, the proposal has stirred back to life as the Saudi government kicked off a formal process to solicit bids for their first reactors. In October, the Saudis sent a request for information to the U.S., France, South Korea, Russia and China — the strongest signal yet that they’re serious about nuclear power.

The Saudi solicitation also gave IP3 the problem its solution was searching for. The company pivoted again, narrowing its pitch to organizing a consortium of U.S. companies to compete for the Saudi tender. IP3 won’t say which companies it has signed up. IP3 also won’t discuss the fees it hopes to receive if it were part of a Saudi nuclear plan, but it’s vying to supply cyber and physical site security for the plants. “IP3 has communicated its strategy to multiple government entities and policy makers in both the Obama and Trump administrations,” the company said in a statement. “We view these meetings and any documents relating to them as private, and we won’t discuss them.”

The Saudi steps lit a fire under administration officials. Leading the charge is Rick Perry, the energy secretary who famously proposed eliminating the department and then admitted he didn’t understand its function. (It includes dealing with nuclear power and weapons.) Perry had also heard IP3’s pitch, a person familiar with the situation said. In September, Perry met with Saudi delegates to an international atomic energy conference and discussed energy cooperation, according to a photo posted on his Facebook page. Perry’s spokeswoman didn’t answer requests for comment.

Other steps followed. Soon after, a senior State Department official flew to Riyadh to restart formal 123 negotiations, according to an industry source. (A State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.) In November, Energy and State Department officials joined a commercial delegation to Abu Dhabi led by the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s main lobby in Washington. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Edward McGinnis said the administration wants to revitalize the U.S. nuclear energy industry, including by pursuing exports to Saudi Arabia. The Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and the Energy Department are organizing another industry visit in December to meet with Saudi officials, according to a notice obtained by ProPublica. And in the days before Thanksgiving, senior U.S. officials from several agencies met at the White House to discuss the policy, according to current and former officials.

The Trump administration hasn’t stated a position on whether it will let the Saudis have enrichment and reprocessing technology. An NSC spokesman declined to comment. But administration officials have begun sounding out advisers on how Congress might react to a deal that gives the Saudis enrichment and reprocessing, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Senators have started demanding answers. At the Nov. 28 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ford, the NSC nonproliferation official who has been nominated to lead the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, testified that preliminary talks with the Saudis are underway but declined to discuss the details in public. As noted, Ford wouldn’t commit to barring the Saudi government from obtaining enrichment and reprocessing technology. “It remains U.S. policy, as it has been for some time, to seek the strongest possible nonproliferation protections in every instance,” he told the senators. “It is not a legal requirement. It is a desired outcome.” Ford added that the Iran deal makes it harder to insist on limiting other countries’ capabilities.

Sen. Ed Markey, the Massachusetts Democrat who led the questioning of Ford on this topic, seemed highly resistant to the idea of the U.S. helping Saudi Arabia get nuclear technology. “If we continue down this pathway,” he said, “then there’s a recipe for disaster which we are absolutely creating ourselves.” Markey also accused the administration of neglecting its statutory obligation to brief the committee on the negotiations. (The White House declined to comment.)

Any agreement, in this case with Saudi Arabia, would not require Senate approval. However, should an agreement be reached, Congress could kill the deal. The two houses would have 90 days to pass a joint resolution disapproving it. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Ben Cardin, suggested they wouldn’t accept a deal that lacked the same protections as the ones in the UAE’s agreement. “If we don’t draw a line in the Middle East, it’s going to be all-out proliferation,” he said. “We need to maintain the UAE’s standards in our 123 agreements. There’s just too many other countries that could start proliferating issues that could be against our national interest.”

Bob Corker, the committee’s chairman, has been a stickler on nonproliferation in the past; he criticized the Obama administration for not being tough enough. Corker isn’t running for reelection and has criticized Trump for being immature and reckless in foreign affairs, so he’s unlikely to shy away from a fight. (A spokesman declined to comment.) “The absence of a consistent policy weakens our nuclear nonproliferation efforts, and sends a mixed message to those nations we seek to prevent from gaining or enhancing such capability,” Corker said at a hearing in 2014. “Which standards can we expect the administration to reach for negotiating new agreements with Jordan or Saudi Arabia?” https://www.propublica.org/article/white-house-may-share-nuclear-power-technology-with-saudi-arabia

December 1, 2017 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

University research indicates that global warming will accelerate as CO2 levels rise

Study Discovers Why Global Warming Will Accelerate As CO2 Levels Rise, http://www.enn.com/pollution/article/53315   From: The University of Reading 
 November 29, 2017  
The findings are supported by observations, suggesting that forecasts made by climate models evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are realistic.

Paulo Ceppi, researcher at the University of Reading and lead author of the study, said: “This resemblance of computer simulations to observations increases our confidence in projections that the climate sensitivity to the progressive rise in carbon dioxide concentrations will increase over time into the future.”

Evidence suggests that the upper level of the Earth’s atmosphere warms faster than the surface in response to CO? levels. However, the new study shows that as CO? levels increase further, the rate of warming in the upper levels slows in comparison with that closer to the Earth’s surface.

Continue reading at The University of Reading.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Underground bunkers – a promising marketing opportunity for South Korean and UK businessmen

Bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch nuclear attack’ to help sell new ‘high street bunkers’  Mirror UK, 30 Nov 17    British bunker experts have been working alongside a Korean company on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war A bomb shelter boss ‘wants North Korea to launch a nuclear attack’ to help sell ‘high street bunkers’.

The bunkers have been built to withstand a nuclear attack, by Kim Jong-un are now being sold on Seoul’s high street.

 British bunker experts Castellex have been working alongside the Korean company Chumdan Bunker System on making the world’s toughest shelters to prepare for nuclear war.

A ‘bunker showroom’ has now been opened in downtown Seoul, in the same shopping area where people are buying clothes and cosmetics.   CBS owner Go Wan Hyeok says that demand from ‘petrified’ locals for affordable bunkers led him to set up in the busy retail district of Jangan-Dong – and wants to branch out to Europe and the UK within five years.

He said: “I’m wishing that he presses the button and shoots the bomb! 

“I think more people will be selling bunkers on the high street in the next five years but I’m the first in the world. I want to then open up showrooms in Europe and my friends in the UK.”……http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bomb-shelter-boss-wants-north-11613699

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Another corruption investigation of French nuclear company AREVA

Times 29th Nov 2017, The headquarters of the French state-owned company that designed Britain’s
new nuclear reactors was raided by police yesterday. About 50 officers
searched the offices of Areva, the nuclear engineering group, as part of a
preliminary inquiry into corruption allegations. The inquiry was launched
by the French national financial prosecution service into Areva’s purchase
in 2011 of uranium from Niger worth $319.8 million.

The uranium was sold later to Russian traders who made an $82 million profit and then to a
Lebanese company that made $17.6 million, according to French media
reports. A spokesman for Areva said that the deals had been lawful and were
part of negotiations with an unspecified customer to build a nuclear
reactor.

In the end the reactor was never built. A spokesman for Niger’s
government told Le Monde that it had made about $800,000 from the
transactions and had used the money to buy cars for presidential
bodyguards.

Areva, which designed the two reactors being built at Hinkley
Point by EDF, the state-owned French energy provider, is already under
investigation in connection with Niger. An inquiry was opened in 2014 into
allegations that it overpaid Uramin, a Canadian mining group, whose main
uranium mines were in Niger.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/french-police-raid-nuclear-developers-office-in-paris-8sk7vlptq

December 1, 2017 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Looks as if UK nuclear power is coming to the end of the line

Is This The End Of Nuclear Power In The UK? https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-This-The-End-Of-Nuclear-Power-In-The-UK.html, 

First, let’s put the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in context. The UK government first announced its nuclear power expansion program in 2006. The plan was to build five new nuclear generating stations, producing 16 GWs, to be on-line by 2030. The units planned are at Sizewell, Wylfa, Moorside, Oldbury and Hinkley.

At the time the government cited two concerns with respect to the adequacy of national electric power generation. First, that “security of supply (was) jeopardized” and second, that by 2025 there would be a need to replace aging coal-fired and nuclear power generating plants. The ensuing decade was not kind to the assumptions of UK energy planners.

The price of both renewables and natural gas dropped significantly. License extensions could keep most existing nuclear power stations running. And demand for power has fallen below expectations due to moderating economic trends and the dampening impact of conservation measures.

From a UK power generation perspective, the big winners in recent years have been natural gas and renewables. Coal burn has dropped drastically and nuclear has remained stable.

On a price competition basis, the future looks like a race to the bottom between natural gas and the ever-declining costs of wind and solar technology. On a cost basis, the Hinkley guarantee of £92.50 per MWh looks rather steep compared with the £57.50 recent price for off-shore wind.

We can already hear the harrumphing from the pro nuclear contingent. But this to us is the problem of making commercial nuclear technology the Zelig of the energy world. In a world eager for low carbon, base load capacity, nuclear has attempted to re-brand itself as the low carbon option. But in countries facing stagnant or declining electrical demand, the need for new, non-intermittent base load power generating resources is diminishing as well.

You can find Leonard Hyman’s lastest book ‘Electricity Acts’ on Amazon

And the other low carbon generating resources, renewables, intermittent though they may be, are now much cheaper than new nuclear construction (£57.50 vs £92.50).

At another level, electricity is a commodity. A commodity that we can’t store, but still. And in a commodity business, where the product is wholly undifferentiated, price is the only consideration. Taken in this context, new nuclear is a non-starter.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Western nuclear nations snub Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

Ambassadors of Western nuclear powers to snub Nobel ceremony
Head of anti-nuke group set to receive prize says decision by US, UK and France not to send top envoys shows its campaign is working,
 Times of Israel, OSLO, Norway, 30 Nov 17,  — Breaking with tradition, nearly all ambassadors of the world’s nuclear powers will not attend this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony which honors efforts to ban atomic weapons, the Nobel Institute said Thursday.

“We are disappointed that the ambassadors from the United Kingdom, the United States and France won’t be there,” the head of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Beatrice Fihn told AFP.

“They claim to be committed to a world without nuclear weapons, and they should be celebrating civil society’s work on the issue,” she said, regretting their “defensive” position, yet noting that it “shows that this treaty and the campaign is already having an impact on them.”

The Peace Prize was awarded on October 6 to ICAN, a coalition of non-governmental organizations lobbying for a historic treaty banning atomic weapons, which was signed in July by 122 countries though none of the nuclear powers.

ICAN will formally receive its prize at a lavish ceremony in Oslo on December 10.

During a meeting in the Norwegian capital last week, the United States, France and Britain all informed the Nobel Institute of their joint decision to be represented by their embassy’s second-in-charge.

“They clearly received instructions to express their reservations towards ICAN and the global treaty” to ban weapons of mass destruction, the head of the Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, told AFP.

Of the nine countries believed to have nuclear weapons capabilities, Russia and Israel, which has never acknowledged having nuclear weapons, will be the only ones sending their ambassadors to the ceremony………

The Nobel Institute said the ambassadors of India and Pakistan will be travelling at the time of the ceremony, while China has not attended the prize-giving since 2010, when a Chinese dissident was awarded the honor.

North Korea does not have an embassy in Oslo. The Nobel Institute said the ambassadors of India and Pakistan will be travelling at the time of the ceremony, while China has not attended the prize-giving since 2010, when a Chinese dissident was awarded the honor.

North Korea does not have an embassy in Oslo. https://www.timesofisrael.com/ambassadors-of-western-nuclear-powers-to-snub-nobel-ceremony/

December 1, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Aboriginal grandmother to testify on nuclear bomb test damage at Maralinga site, in Australia

World spotlight shines on Maralinga horrorhttps://au.news.yahoo.com/a/38090548/world-spotlight-shines-on-maralinga-horror/   Lisa Martin, 30 Nov 17,  Sue Coleman-Haseldine was a toddler crawling around in the dirt when the winds brought the black mist.

Her white nappies on the washing line were burnt.

It was in the 1950s when the British began testing nuclear weapons at Maralinga in the South Australian outback.

The legacy of the bombs dropped continues to haunt the 67-year-old Aboriginal grandmother. “We weren’t on ground zero at Maralinga, otherwise we would all be dead,” she told AAP. “I was born and grew up on a mission at Koonibba, but the winds came to us.”

Ceduna, the main township before the Nullarbor, is the cancer capital of Australia, Ms Coleman-Haseldine says. She’s had her thyroid removed and will be on medication for the rest of her life.

Her 15-year-old granddaughter is also battling thyroid cancer..

There are birth defects and cancers right across the community. “It’s changed our genes,” she said.”These diseases weren’t around before the bombs.”

On December 10, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will be in Oslo for the Noble Peace Prize award ceremony.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is being recognised for its work to achieve a treaty-based ban on nuclear weapons.

So far 122 countries have adopted the treaty, excluding Australia and countries with nuclear weapons – the US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel.

Only three countries have ratified the treaty and 50 are needed for it to become international law.

ICAN is a grassroots movement that began in Carlton, Melbourne more than a decade ago.

In Norway, Ms Coleman-Haseldine will tell the story of her people and their contaminated land.”You’ve got to keep the past alive to protect the future,” she said.

Ms Coleman-Haseldine hopes Australia will reverse its opposition and sign the treaty.

The Turnbull government has ruled that out but the Labor Party will debate the issue at its national conference next year.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Strong civic movement opposes Canadian proposal for nuclear waste dump close to Lake Huron

Canadian, American civic leaders urge feds to reject nuclear-waste proposal National Post, 30 Nov 17, TORONTO — More than 100 mayors and other elected officials on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are urging Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to put the kibosh on a proposed nuclear-waste bunker near Lake Huron.

In an open letter to McKenna on Thursday, the officials say they speak for 16 million people who want the Ontario Power Generation proposal shelved as a potential eco hazard.

“We are deeply concerned that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proposing to bury nuclear waste in close proximity to the Great Lakes,” the letter states. “We find it irresponsible and deeply troubling that OPG failed, and continues to refuse, to investigate any other actual sites.”

The 104 signatories include mayors, wardens and reeves in Ontario, among them Keith Hobbs, of Thunder Bay, Maureen Cole, of South Huron, Heather Jackson, of St. Thomas, and Pat Darte, from Niagara-on-the-Lake. American signatories include mayors Ron Meer, of Michigan City, Ind., Stephen Hagerty of Evanston, Ill., and Mike Vandersteen, of Sheboygan, Wisc.

A covering note from Mayor Mike Bradley of Sarnia, Ont., says the message in the letter is clear.We oppose the risk to our precious fresh water,” Bradley writes.

The Ontario Power Generation project, estimated to cost $2.4 billion and growing, would see a bunker built at the Bruce nuclear power plant near Kincardine, Ont., close to the Lake Huron shoreline. Hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of low and intermediate radioactive waste — stored for years at the site above ground — would be buried 680 metres deep……. http://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/canadian-american-civic-leaders-urge-feds-to-reject-nuclear-waste-proposal

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment