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Tokyo 2020 Olympics costs skyrocket because of Fukushima nuclear reconstruction


Construction of the main stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is underway in Japan, despite the fact that the final budget for the games still hasn’t been locked down. Recent estimates have put the total Tokyo Olympic bill at around $13 billion, but now it looks like that figure will soon be cut drastically.

CGTN’s Steve Ross reports.

“We were already able to reduce the venue cost by more than $2 billion,” Maya Takaya of the Tokyo Organizing Committee said.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics originally unveiled an audacious main stadium design by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, but the design was ultimately rejected as too costly. Sustainability has also become a key issue for taxpayers, with the committee expanding the use of existing venues from 40 to 60 percent.

A key problem is that various costs, including anti-terrorism security and augmented transportation facilities, were not reflected in Tokyo’s original Olympic bid.

“The IOC requested Tokyo to show a budget of the Olympics on specific points, but not all. But, by their explanation, we thought the budget was for all Olympic costs,” University of Kokushikan University Law Professor Tomoyuki Suzuki said. “After the Fukushima March 11 disaster, building material costs and contractors’ fees have gone up and up. The Olympic budget requires more and more.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Organizing Committee promises to announce revised costs by year’s end, when Japanese citizens are likely to be looking not only for a lower “bottom line,” but greater budget transparency, as well.

Video and article  link

Further reading;

“To finish this summary of his talk it would seem that the recent drive for tourism in the nuclear damaged Fukushima prefecture would actually be impacted during and after the Olympics. As the deadline for the games approaches clean up from the tsunami and nuclear disaster would be diverted into the Olympic infrastructure program as the tough IOC deadline approaches for July 2020.”

2020 Tokyo Olympics to Be Held Amidst “Hot Particles”

Katsuta said that the Fukushima evacuees are “extremely worried” that their plight will be overshadowed by the Olympics. He believes the Japanese government is using the Olympics to demonstrate to the world that Japan is now a “safe” country and that the Fukushima disaster “has been solved.”

“In Japan, the people are really forgetting the Fukushima accident as … the news of the Olympics increases,” he said.

Arnie Gundersen doesn’t think it makes sense to have some of the Olympic venues (soccer, baseball and possibly surfing) in Fukushima Prefecture itself.

Tokyo 2020 organisers have been keen to include the disaster-hit areas in the preparation for the Games.
In March, Fukushima won formal approval to host baseball and may have the honour of putting on the opening game.
And Kengo Kuma, designer of the new national stadium, the showpiece venue for the Games, has said he hopes to use timber from the disaster-hit region.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Daniel Ellsberg Reveals He was a Nuclear War Planner


“And that plan called, in our first strike, for hitting every city—actually, every town over 25,000—in the USSR and every city in China. A war with Russia would inevitably involve immediate attacks on every city in China. In the course of doing this—pardon me—there were no reserves. Everything was to be thrown as soon as it was available—it was a vast trucking operation of thermonuclear weapons—over to the USSR, but not only the USSR. The captive nations, the East Europe satellites in the Warsaw Pact, were to be hit in their air defenses, which were all near cities, their transport points, their communications of any kind. So they were to be annihilated, as well.”

“To start with, even if it were only the president, no one man—really, no one nation—should have the ability—the ability even—to threaten or to carry out a hundred Holocausts at his will. That machinery should never have existed. And it does exist right now, and every president has had that power, and this president does have that power.”

“How many fingers are on buttons? Probably no president has ever really known the details of that. I knew, in ’61, for example, that Admiral Harry D. Felt in CINCPAC, commander-in-chief of Pacific, for whom I worked as a researcher, had delegated that to 7th Fleet, down to various commanders, and they, in turn, had delegated down to people. So when you say, “How many altogether feel authorized?””

“The other thing I learned was that in the course of these maneuvers, we came within a hair’s breadth of blowing the world up, of having the plans I’ve just described go into action. A nuclear submarine—I should say, a submarine that was armed with nuclear torpedoes had the two top commanders, who thought they were being—going to go down, actually, as a result of these mock depth charges that were actually meant to force them to the surface. The commander, Savitsky, ordered the nuclear torpedo armed and ready for action against the destroyers or the cruiser. The second-in-command, whose assent was needed, agreed with him. And they were ready to go.”

“Why are we hitting Moscow? How do you possibly ever get the war stopped? How can you possibly get it limited? How could they surrender or the war end in any way, if you’ve hit their central command?” And that seemed to make some sense, and there was a withhold option against that—never implemented. When Cheney came in, years later, he was amazed to discover how many weapons were still targeted on Moscow. And we’re talking about hundreds here, which seemed crazy to me.”

“And that is what both U.S. and Russia have still on hair triggers, with the delegation, with launch on warning, with ICBMs on both sides that are vulnerable to attack by the other, and therefore have the incentive to use them or lose them if there’s warning of an attack on the way.”

“I would say to people who are in her position or Ed Snowden’s position, especially in a high position right now, if you are aware of documents—and I am certain these documents exist, in the Pentagon, in CIA, in the White House—that show the true scale of the horrors, the damage, the devastation that would occur if President Trump were to carry out his threats of armed conflict, armed action against this nuclear state, against North Korea—I’m sure, by the way, that these estimates exist”

“OK, if you knew this, consider revealing that to Congress and the press, whatever the cost to you, even if the cost is what I faced, life in prison, what Chelsea Manning was charged with, actual possible life in prison. A world’s worth of lives are at stake here. And I would say, do what I wish I had done in ’61, which is put out those documents then, or in ’64, before the Pentagon war actually got started in a big way. Don’t wait. As Martin Luther King says, there is such a thing as too late. And he talked of the fierce urgency of now. This crisis right now may awaken people in the Pentagon and in the public to the dangers we’ve been living with secretly for so long”

Quotes from Interview on Democracy Now. Full interview here;

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Media to blame for focussing on Trump trivia, minimising climate change

Climate change is the story you missed in 2017. And the media is to blame   Lisa Hymas

Some of Trump’s tweets generate more national coverage than devastating disasters. As the weather gets worse, we need journalism to get better, 

December 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

The most accurate climate predictions are turning out to be the worst case scenarios


The Worst-Case Climate Predictions Seem To Be the Most Accurate Ones

The climate models that predict the most warming over the next century were the best at predicting climate change over the past decade.  Dec 8, 2017 

It’s hard to predict the exact effects of climate change over the course of a few decades. Even while broad trends appear, the litany complex interactions between the air, the water, polar ice, land masses, and so on, make exact predictions elusive. To deal with this problem, scientists develop models that simulate a few of these elements at one time and see which models are the most accurate.

This variety of climate models is the reason long-term predictions tend to be all over the place, with some models predicting only a few degrees of warming while other models predict a lot more. While some people have been pointing to the more milder predictions as evidence that climate change might not be that bad, there is some bad news. A team of researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science has found that the most accurate models so far also tend to be the most severe ones.

The new study, published in Nature, compared more than a decade’s worth of data from climate satellites to a wide range of different climate models. This data included the amount of sunlight reflected back into space, how much heat is leaving the Earth, and how much total energy is entering and leaving the atmosphere. Scientists then analyzed various climate models for that period to see which ones came closest to predicting reality.

The researchers found that the most accurate models were the ones that predicted the most warming over the next century. This means that rather than see only a few degrees of warming—as predicted by some of the milder models—we’re much more likely to see almost twice that.

According to the paper, there’s a good chance we could see 5 degrees C of warming by 2100, and a 95 percent chance of more than 4 degrees of warming, assuming we do nothing to stop it. The goal set by the Paris agreement in 2015—to keep warming below 2 degrees C by the end of the century—is looking increasingly impossible. Source: MIT Technology Review

December 7, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Failure of Monju fast-breeder nuclear reactor leaves Japan with a huge spent fuel problem

Japan Times 6th Dec 2017, The operator of the Monju prototype fast-breeder nuclear reactor submitted
a plan Wednesday to decommission the trouble-plagued facility located in
Fukui Prefecture. The most recent plan presented to the Nuclear Regulation
Authority lays out a 30-year time frame to complete the project despite a
number of problems that remain unresolved, including where to store the
spent nuclear fuel.

The government had originally hoped the Monju reactor
would serve as a linchpin for its nuclear-fuel-recycling efforts as it was
designed to produce more plutonium than it consumed. But it experienced a
series of problems, including a leakage of sodium coolant in 1995 and
equipment failures in 2012. The plant has only operated intermittently over
the past two decades.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan, reprocessing, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S. ex-envoy Robert Gallucci urges Washington and Pyongyang to consider China’s ‘freeze to freeze’ compromise

Japan Times, 7 Dec 17  KYODO, WASHINGTON – A former U.S. envoy has urged the Washington to  hold talks with Pyongyang without preconditions to break the impasse over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile threats.

“I am of the view that the two sides should agree to have ‘talks about talks’ without any preconditions,” Robert Gallucci, chief negotiator for the now-defunct 1994 nuclear freeze struck with North Korea, said in an interview.

 Gallucci’s view is at odds with U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of imposing “maximum pressure” on North Korea in concert with the international community to compel the hermit country halt its provocative acts and engage in credible talks for denuclearization.

Gallucci also questioned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s emphasis on pressuring North Korea, pointing out Abe’s insistence that now is not the time to talk to the country, given that it hasn’t changed its provocative behavior.

“I can’t believe refusing to talk with North Korea is in the best interests of Japan,” he said, referring to Abe’s resolve to address Pyongyang’s abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s. “I think an effort at lowering tensions would be. That he does not see it that way, I regret.”………

In a separate interview, Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, said he does not believe pressure and sanctions alone will achieve the Trump administration’s goal of denuclearizing North Korea.

Pollack described the relationship as a seemingly endless cycle of provocations and pressure.

“Both countries are stuck in this loop where we increasingly are looking for additional increments of punishment and pressure, and they’re looking for additional increments of pressure through a sense of danger,” he said…….

December 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea says nuclear war on Korean Peninsula inevitable

‘Established fact’: North Korea says nuclear war on Korean Peninsula inevitable   Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY A nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is inevitable because of threatening military drills by South Korea and the United States, North Korea’s foreign ministry said in comments carried by the official Korean Central News Agency late Wednesday.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Solar power to take over, on Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland

Chernobyl’s nuclear wasteland primed for solar power explosionBellona,  by Charles Digges, Some would be rightly spooked by the idea of electricity produced by a glowing source emanating from Chernobyl, but thanks to a €100 million investment plan, that’s exactly what’s could happen.

It’s not, however, what you think. The electricity will come from a solar park sprouting in the middle of the carcinogenic wastelands surrounding the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster as part of a joint project between a Kiev engineering firm called Rodina Energy Group and Enerparc, a clean energy company based in Hamburg, Germany.

Ukraine’s minister of ecology, Ostap Semerak, announced a plan last July to revitalize the nearly 2000-kilometer swathe of land encircling the plant that gave nuclear disaster its name.

Long lasting radiation in the area makes farming, forestry, hunting, and just about anything else too dangerous, so renewable energy is seen as something productive to do with the huge empty area.

Luckily, all of the transmission lines that were laid to carry electrons from the notorious plant to Ukraine’s major cities – and that helped feed what is now the country’s 50 percent reliance on nuclear energy – remain largely intact.

When it’s done, the solar park could provide half the energy that originally flowed from Chernobyl, marking an inspiring comeback for an area inhabited by dystopian radioactive wild boar……..

the Chernobyl area could end up producing 2.5 gigawatts of solar produced electricity, pumping out half of what Chernobyl uses to produce before it melted down and exploded – with absolutely none of the danger……..

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ­– which financed Chernobyl’s New Containment Structure – is understandably wary of bankrolling projects in a radioactive exclusion zone. The solar farms, after all, are installed and maintained by people.

This poses some very real difficulties. Workers can only spend a limited amount of time in the exclusion zone, so their shifts are short, which means a bigger workforce is required – as is more money to pay them.

Yet they are challenges worth grappling with. If Ukraine manages to create a renewable energy rebirth on the site of the nuclear disaster that helped fell the Soviet Union, it would be a revolution of an altogether different kind.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Ukraine | Leave a comment

New York City’s public advocate, Letitia James, focuses on climate action

New York City’s watchdog sets her sights on climate change, Grist,  As New York City’s public advocate, Letitia James is first in line to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio. The first woman of color to be elected to hold citywide office in the Big Apple, she investigates complaints against city agencies and introduces legislation in the city council. Effectively, she’s the city’s official watchdog. And she recently set her sights on climate change, which she regards as an imminent threat to New Yorkers.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The already high cost of climate change – and the cost will hit us all

Climate change already costs us all money, and it’s going to get worse When it comes to floods and wildfires, the damage is shared with the public. JOHN TIMMER – 

December 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Armenia considers plan to abandon nuclear power and go for renewables

Armenia Debates Shift Away From Nuclear Power, Eurasia Net  December 6, 2017 – Oksana Musaelyan 

With its aged nuclear power plant scheduled to close in a decade, Armenians are discussing the feasibility of a shift to renewable energy.

A new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the European Union has helped catalyze the renewables discussion. Metsamor, the only nuclear plant in the Caucasus, provides about one-third of Armenia’s energy needs, but it is already past its original retirement date. As of now it is scheduled to close in 2026.

A provision in the EU partnership document calls for: “the closure and safe decommissioning of Metzamor [sic] nuclear power plant and the early adoption of a road map or action plan to that effect, taking into consideration the need for its replacement with new capacity to ensure the energy security of the Republic of Armenia and conditions for sustainable development.”

Armenia’s Justice Minister Davit Harutyunyan recently raised eyebrows by suggesting, contra previous government assurances, that the country wasn’t necessarily committed to nuclear power………

Advocates of renewable energy say that it is particularly well suited for Armenia because of its particular geopolitical situation: its borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed, and its dependence on natural gas and uranium from Russia has led to an uncomfortable degree of political dependence on Moscow.

Armenia was the first country in the region to easily offer permits to construct small solar, wind, and hydro power generation plants, and today renewable energy accounts for about 12 percent of Armenia’s total power consumption. That’s projected to grow to up to 18 percent in the next two years, according to Astghine Pasoyan, head of the Armenian Foundation to Save Energy.

Most of Armenia’s renewable energy today comes from small hydropower plants; solar and wind represent only a tiny portion of Armenia’s total electricity generation. But that portion is growing: Solar panels with a capacity of 3.5 megawatts have been installed over the last 10 years, with more than two-thirds of that total built only over the last year, Pasoyan said.

Further expansion is in the cards: in May, Armenia’s Energy Ministry issued a tender for a 55 megawatt solar power facility and a contractor, Arpi Solar, said in December that it will start work on the plan “very soon.”
“We started with a very small number and the trend is huge,” Pasoyan said. “I hope that the growth is not just in large-scale generation, but in average individual families, taking control of their energy needs and by doing that also helping the country strengthen its energy security.”

Pending changes in legislation would further liberalize the energy market. “For a lot of local communities and local businesses this will be a good opportunity to invest in renewable energy,” said Alen Amirkhanyan, director of the Acopian Center for the Environment at the American University of Armenia.

Amirkhanyan said that with sufficient investment in renewables, “there will no longer be a rationale for investing in very expensive technology, like building a new power plant.”………

December 7, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Surge in USA storage for renewable energy

U.S. Energy Storage Surges 46% Led by Big Project in Windy Texas By Brian Eckhouse 

 Power companies and developers added 41.8 megawatts of storage systems, including a 30-megawatt utility-scale project in Texas, according to a report Thursday from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. California added 8.4 megawatts of residential and commercial systems. The industry installed 28.6 megawatts in the third quarter of 2016.

Driven by regulatory demands and sharp price declines, energy-storage is becoming more common. Prices for lithium-ion battery packs have fallen 24 percent from 2016 levels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Utilities including Exelon Corp.Duke Energy Corp. and American Electric Power Co., meanwhile, are increasingly receptive to storage projects, which potentially will facilitate wider adoption of wind and solar power.

 GTM forecasts that 295 megawatts will be in operation in the U.S. by year-end, up 28 percent from 2016. And more is coming. GTM projects the U.S. energy-storage market will be worth $3.1 billion in 2022, a seven-fold increase from this year.
 “Energy storage is increasingly acknowledged in utilities’ long term resource planning across the country,” Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage, said in a statement.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

Women Leaders Aren’t Making Enough Foreign Policy Decisions, and it’s a Problem

by Meredith Horowski and Lillyanne Daigle

While women are leading the resistance, the halls of power in D.C. and states across the country lag pathetically behind. We saw this perhaps most vividly when Trump gathered an all-male group of politicians at the White House to discuss his efforts to gut women’s health care. In a single photograph, the gross underrepresentation of women’s voices in government and on issues directly impacting their lives was crystal clear.

And it was exactly that photograph — and the utterly out-of-sync gender dynamics it laid bare — that stuck in our minds this month as we sat in a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s unrestrained power to wage nuclear war. A committee with a 20:1 male-to-female ratio heard testimony from three men on whether one man should have total, unchecked power to start a nuclear war and blow up the planet. This is a system that, as Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said, “boggles the rational mind.”

Apparently, the Senate has a one-woman limit when it comes to foreign policy.

To read the full article at Teen Vogue,

December 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, women | Leave a comment

Proposal for Japan to ‘rent’ nuclear weapons from USA

Will Japan ‘rent’ nukes from US to counter North Korean threat?

‘Dual key’ nuclear weapons-sharing with Washington would save Tokyo trouble of developing own arsenal, protect alliance,  Asia Times,  DOUG TSURUOKA DECEMBER 6, 2017 , “……the unthinkable has become publicly thinkable. There’s widespread debate in Japan about whether the country should go nuclear – either by developing its own arsenal, or sharing such weapons with the US under a “dual key” arrangement, popularly known as “rent-a-nukes,” to counter the growing threat from North Korea…….

December 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Drones still buzz around France’s nuclear power plants!

Liberation 5th Dec 2017, [Machine Translation] Drones still buzz around nuclear power plants. After
the autumn 2014 overflights, the authorities took technical and legislative
measures to put an end to them. These efforts only partially address this
new threat.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment