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World’s Biggest Nuke Plant Gets a Long-Awaited OK

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This Sept. 30, 2017 aerial photo shows the reactors of No. 6, right, and No. 7, left, at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, Niigata prefecture. 
TEPCO gets OK to restart nuclear reactors, to the displeasure of some
(Newser) – The biggest nuclear power plant in the world sits idle, as it has for nearly seven years. But that state is set to change, and not without public trepidation. The Guardian reports that Japan’s nuclear watchdog this week gave Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) the green light to restart two of the seven reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, which fell victim to the country’s nuclear power moratorium in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster. That calamity occurred on TEPCO’s watch, and the utility says the money it will generate from Kashiwazaki-kariwa’s power is key to funding its continuing decommissioning efforts at Fukushima. It has poured more than $6 billion into Kashiwazaki-kariwa in an effort to make it immune to the series of disasters that befell Fukushima.
A 50-foot seawall provides tsunami protection, for instance, and 22,000 tons of water sit in a nearby reservoir, ready for the taking if reactors need sudden cooling. But locals aren’t convinced—the Japan Times reports some people shouted at the meeting where the restart approval was granted—and that matters: Though the restarts are penciled in to occur in spring 2019, the AFP reports local authorities need to give their OK, and that process could take years. The plant is located in Niigata prefecture, and locals there cite the active seismic faults in the area as a major concern; the Guardian notes “evidence that the ground on which Tepco’s seawall stands is prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake.” A second is the fear that should an evacuation be necessary, it would be much less successful than that of Fukushima due to the bigger population.
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December 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Tepco’s Decision to Hide Public Disclosure of the Fukushima Nuclear Meltdowns in 2011

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December 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Local gov’ts of areas hosting nuke plant in Niigata Pref. divided over reactivation

In the meantime, if the reactivation of the atomic power station is to be delayed, there is a possibility that the national government’s grants to the host municipalities will be reduced.
That’s how it works…
Local govts of Niigata divided 28 dec 2017.jpg
Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama, left, talks with Masaya Kitta, second from right, head of TEPCO Niigata regional headquarters, at the Niigata Prefectural Government building on Dec. 27, 2017
NIIGATA — There are no prospects that two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant, which have passed a safety review by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), will be restarted in the foreseeable future, as local bodies hosting the plant remain divided over the issue.
The mayors of the city of Kashiwazaki and the village of Kariwa, which jointly host the power station, are in favor of reactivating the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the plant owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO).
Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama, on the other hand, remains cautious about the resumption of the units’ operations.
Gov. Yoneyama told Masaya Kitta, head of TEPCO’s Niigata regional headquarters who visited the governor on Dec. 27 that the prefectural government cannot agree on the early reactivation of the plant.
“I have no intention of objecting to the decision by the NRA, but our position is that we can’t start talks on reactivation unless our examination of three-point checks progresses,” Yoneyama told Kitta. The governor was referring to his policy of not sitting at the negotiation table over reactivation unless three points are examined by the prefectural government: the cause of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, potential effects on people’s livelihoods as well as health in case of an accident, and safe evacuation measures. He has stated that it would take two to three years to complete the checks of these points.
The governor also told Kitta, “Our examination will never be affected” by the NRA’s judgment that the plant meets the new safety standards. Moreover, the prefectural government is poised to independently examine the outcome of the NRA’s safety review of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa power station.
Kashiwazaki Mayor Masahiro Sakurai and Kariwa Mayor Hiroo Shinada were separately briefed by plant manager Chikashi Shitara on the outcome of the NRA safety review of the facility.
Both mayors have expressed their appreciation for TEPCO’s response up to this point, and Sakurai urged the power company to “make efforts to reassure local residents (about the nuclear plant),” while Shinada urged the utility to “try to provide information in an appropriate manner.”
In the meantime, if the reactivation of the atomic power station is to be delayed, there is a possibility that the national government’s grants to the host municipalities will be reduced.
The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is continuing to provide such grants to local bodies hosting idled nuclear plants by deeming them to be running plants in some form. In April 2016, the national government revised its rules on grants to nuclear plant host municipalities and decided to reduce the amount of funding if the facilities are not restarted within nine months after the completion of the NRA’s safety review, which is necessary for reactivation.
The No. 6 and 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant need to pass two more inspections within a year. If it takes several years to form a consensus among the local governments concerned, however, grants will be reduced in fiscal 2020 at the earliest. The amounts of reductions are estimated at some 400 million yen for Kariwa, about 100 million yen for Kashiwazaki and approximately 740 million yen for Niigata Prefecture.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

2017: Remarkable stories on nuclear issues

Because my websites focus on nuclear news, many important climate stories were not covered there. A pity – now that the most accurate climate predictions are turning out to be the worst case scenarios. It is clear that climate change is a global emergency – NOW.

Some remarkable climate stories that we did cover: Rise of deadly heatwaves will continue.   Food crops already affected.  Lakes around the world are affected by heat from climate change.  The importance of the Arctic – warm water being pushed to the surface, the disappearing ice, and its consequences, rapid spread of ocean acidification.

I’ve selected not the major news items, but nuclear stories that ought not to be forgotten.

The most impressive story of 2017:

brings together the climate and nuclear issues – Australian Mark Willacy’s text and visual coverage of the climate danger to the nuclear waste “dome” on Enewetak atoll.

Equally impressive

– USA’s  Kate Brown  and Ukraine’s Olha Martynyuk’s  – investigation of the cherry-pickers of Ukraine  “The Harvests of Chernobyl”.

Because many of these stories are long, and complicated, I’m providing here first the links to extracts on nuclear-news.net, which contain links to the originals.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS:  Evidence that Britain’s nuclear power industry subsidises nuclear weapons. America’s nuclear bomb tests and their health toll on Americans.

USA NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THE MONEY THEY COST:

Listing the financial institutions that provided 344 billion available to 27 nuclear weapon producing companies. How it happens that taxpayer $trillions are spent on nuclear weapons –  Follow the money.  $billions of Americans’ tax money squandered on weapons. How did the Pentagon lose $10 TrillionAmerica’s war profiteers

JAPAN and FUKUSHIMA. What It’s Like for Informal Labour Employed in Nuclear Power Stations in Japan.  The Fukushima Daichi nuclear power complex is a continuing, permanent, catastrophe. Small head size and delayed body weight growth in wild Japanese monkey fetuses after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster    Many articles by dunrenard.

RADIOACTIVE WASTE DANGERJust Moms, St Louis and the continuing horror story of nuclear weapons’ waste. Problems at Los Alamos National Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4) – dangerous plutonium pits. Nuclear catastrophe narrowly avoided at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

IONISING RADIATION and CHERNOBYL.

NUCLEAR INDUSTRY STAGNATES, and DEBUNKING THE PUSH FOR “NEW NUCLEAR” Stagnation – the most optimistic term to describe the global nuclear industry.  How the public pays and pays to keep the nuclear industry alive. Debunking the hype about Generation IV “new nuclear”.
 
SOME OTHER TOP STORIES.
Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea – the meaning of Trump’s threats
Andreeva bay – Ever increasing piles of toxic Russian radioactive trash – a challenge for Norway and Russia to clean up.
Uranium Mining – Health effects of uranium mining in India
Nuclear fusion – Debunking the myths about nuclear fusion – The ITER Power Amplification Myth
Scandalous history – The plutonium abuse of an Australian child, by Argonne National Laboratory

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

So, how many Bananas are equal to Chernobyl and Fukushima?: Jim Green on Nuclear Propagandists

 

Banana-radiation
 
The ‘Nuclear for Climate’ lobby group recently attended the United Nations’ COP23 climate conference armed with bananas, in order to make specious comparisons between radiation exposures from eating bananas and routine emissions from nuclear power plants.

One of the reasons the comparison is specious is that some exposures are voluntary, others aren’t. Australian academic Prof. Barry Brook said in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster: “People don’t understand that they live in an environment that is awash with radiation and they make decisions every day which affect their radiation dose – they hop on an airplane or eat a banana or sit close to the TV.” True – but people choose to hop on an airplane or eat a banana or sit close to the TV, whereas radiation doses from nuclear plants and nuclear accidents are usually involuntary.

Another reason why the comparison made by ‘Nuclear for Climate’ is specious is that it ignores spikes in radioactive emissions during reactor refueling. Radiation biologist Dr Ian Fairlie notes that when nuclear reactors are refueled, a 12-hour spike in radioactive emissions exposes local people to levels of radioactivity up to 500 times greater than during normal operation. The spikes may explain infant leukemia increases near nuclear plants − but operators provide no warnings and take no measures to reduce exposures.

The comparison between bananas and nuclear power plants also ignores the spike in emissions and radiation doses following catastrophic accidents. So, what’s the Banana Equivalent Dose (yes, that’s a thing) of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters?

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the collective effective dose from Chernobyl was 600,000 person-Sieverts. The UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation estimates radiation exposure from the Fukushima disaster at 48,000person-Sieverts.

Combined, exposure from Chernobyl and Fukushima is estimated at 648,000 person-Sieverts. Exposure from eating a banana is estimated at between 0.09-2.3 microSieverts. Let’s use a figure of 0.1 microSievert per banana. Thus, exposure from Chernobyl and Fukushima equates to 6,480,000,000,000 Banana Equivalent Doses – that’s 6.48 trillion bananas or, if you prefer, 6.48 terabananas or 6,480 gigabananas.

End-to-end, that many 15-cm (6-inch) bananas would stretch 972 million kilometres – far enough to reach the sun 6.5 times over, or the moon 2,529 times over.

Potassium cycle

Another reason the comparison made by ‘Nuclear for Climate’ is specious is explained by Dr Gordon Edwards from the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility:

“[T]he body already has a lot of “natural” potassium including K-40 [which is unavoidable], and any new “natural” potassium ingested is balanced by eliminating a comparable amount of “natural” potassium to maintain the “homeostasis” of the body. In other words the body’s own mechanisms will not allow for a net increase in potassium levels – and therefore will not allow for an increase in K-40 content in the body.

“Here’s what the Oak Ridge Associated Universities has to say; (ORAU was founded in 1946 as the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies.): ‘The human body maintains relatively tight homeostatic control over potassium levels. This means that the consumption of foods containing large amounts of potassium will not increase the body’s potassium content. As such, eating foods like bananas does not increase your annual radiation dose. If someone ingested potassium that had been enriched in K-40, that would be another story.’

“The same argument does not work for radioactive caesium, or for any of the radioactive pollutants given off by a nuclear power plant, because most of these materials do not exist in nature at all – and those that do exist in nature are not subject to the same homeostatic mechanism that the body uses to control potassium levels. Consequently any foodstuffs or beverages containing radioactive caesium or other man-made radioactive pollutants will cause an additional annual dose of ionizing radiation to the person so exposed.”

Likewise, Linda Gunter explained in a 16 November 2017 article:

“At the COP23 Climate Talks currently underway in Bonn, a group calling itself Nuclear for Climate, wants you to slip on their false banana propaganda and fall for their nonsensically unscientific notion that bananas are actually more dangerous than nuclear power plants! I am not making this up. Here is the picture.

“The oxymoronic Nuclear for Climate people are handing out bananas complete with a sticker that reads: “This normal, every-day banana is more radioactive than living near a nuclear power plant for one year.” …

“If you smell something rotten in this banana business, you are right. So let’s peel off the propaganda right now. In short, when you eat a banana, your body’s level of potassium-40 doesn’t increase. You just get rid of some excess potassium-40. The net dose of a banana is zero.

“To explain in more detail, the tiny radiation exposure due to eating a banana lasts only for a few hours after ingestion, namely the time it takes for the normal potassium content of the body to be regulated by the kidneys. Since our bodies are under homeostatic control, the body’s level of potassium-40 doesn’t increase after eating a banana. The body just gets rid of some excess potassium-40.

“The banana bashers don’t want you to know this and instead try to pretend that the potassium in bananas is the same as the genuinely dangerous man-made radionuclides ‒ such as cesium-137 and strontium-90 ‒ that are released into our environment from nuclear power facilities, from atomic bomb tests and from accidents like Fukushima and Chernobyl.

“These radioactive elements, unlike the potassium-40 in bananas, are mistaken by the human body for more familiar elements. For example, ingested radioactive strontium-90 replaces stable calcium, and ingested radioactive cesium-137 replaces stable potassium. These nuclides can lodge in bones and muscles and irradiate people from within. This is internal radiation and can lead to very serious, long-lasting and trans-generational health impacts.”

An unfortunate incident in Goiania, Brazil in September 1987 illustrates the hazards of cesium-137, a fission product. Two people stole a radiotherapy source from a disused medical clinic. A security guard did not show up to work that day; he went instead to the cinema to see ‘Herbie Goes Bananas‘. The radiotherapy source contained 93 grams of cesium-137. It was sold to a junkyard dealer. Many people were exposed to the radioactive cesium and they spread the contamination to other sites within and beyond the town. At least four people died from exposure to the radiation source and, according to the IAEA, “many others” suffered radiation injuries. Those injured included eight patients who required surgical debridments, amputation of the digital extremities and plastic skin grafts. The incident was rated Level 5 (‘Accident with Off Site Risk’) on the 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale.

Terrorists don’t arm themselves with bananas

There is a long history of nuclear power plants being used directly and indirectly in support of nuclear weapons programs. Bananas are of no interest to nuclear weapons proliferators. There’s no Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Bananas, no Comprehensive Test Banana Treaty, no Anti-Banana Missile Treaty. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump aren’t threatening each other with bananas; not yet, at least.

Nuclear historian Paul Langley notes that terrorists don’t arm themselves with bananas:

“The potassium cycle in humans is no excuse for nuclear authorities anywhere on the planet to claim any benefit or natural precedent for the marketing of nuclear industry emissions contaminated food.

“The fission products are not nutrients. Do not eat them. The nuclear industry promises to keep its radioactive sources sealed. When the industry invariably fails in this undertaking, it turns around and claims that the residue of its pollution is like a banana. Crap. The residue is like the residue of a rad weapon. Fact. It’s the same stuff. Terrorists do not attempt to arm themselves with bananas. They are not dangerous.

“Radio Strontium, Radio Iodine, Radio cesium have NO PLACE in food. Nuke is not clean, it is not green and it relies on lies it has concocted over decades. … The more the nuclear industry claims eating plutonium, strontium, cesium, iodine and other fuel and fission products is OK because bananas exist and because the potassium is a needed nutrient, the more I consider them to be blatant liars.”

http://www.dianuke.org/many-bananas-equal-chernobyl-fukushima-jim-green-nuclear-propagandists-radiation/

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fears of another Fukushima as Tepco plans to restart world’s biggest nuclear plant

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Tokyo Electric Power employees check instruments in a mock-up of the plant’s central control room.
Consent given to turn reactors at the massive Kashiwazaki-kariwa plant back on, but Japanese worry over active fault lines and mismanagement
If a single structure can define a community, for the 90,000 residents of Kashiwazaki town and the neighbouring village of Kariwa, it is the sprawling nuclear power plant that has dominated the coastal landscape for more than 40 years.
When all seven of its reactors are in operation, Kashiwazaki-kariwa generates 8.2m kilowatts of electricity – enough to power 16m households. Occupying 4.2 sq km of land along the Japan Sea coast, it is the biggest nuclear power plant in the world.
But today, the reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa are idle. The plant in Niigata prefecture, about 140 miles (225km) north-west of the capital, is the nuclear industry’s highest-profile casualty of the nationwide atomic shutdown that followed the March 2011 triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.
The company at the centre of the disaster has encountered anger over its failure to prevent the catastrophe, its treatment of tens of thousands of evacuated residents and its haphazard attempts to clean up its atomic mess.
Now, the same utility, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], is attempting to banish its Fukushima demons with a push to restart two reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, one of its three nuclear plants. Only then, it says, can it generate the profits it needs to fund the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi and win back the public trust it lost in the wake of the meltdown.
This week, Japan’s nuclear regulation authority gave its formal approval for Tepco to restart the Kashiwazaki-kariwa’s No. 6 and 7 reactors – the same type of boiling-water reactors that suffered meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.
After a month of public hearings, the nuclear regulation authority concluded that Tepco was fit to run a nuclear power plant and said the two reactors met the stricter safety standards introduced after the 2011 disaster.
Just before that decision, Tepco gave the Guardian an exclusive tour of what it claims will be the safest nuclear plant in the world.
Now, as on the day of the triple disaster that brought widespread destruction to Japan’s northeast coast, Kashiwazaki-kariwa has the look of a working nuclear plant. Just over 1,000 Tepco staff and 5,000-6,000 contract workers provide the manpower behind a post-Fukushima safety retrofit that is projected to cost 680 billion yen ($6.1bn).
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Kashiwazaki-kariwa nuclear power plant, with the Japan Sea in the distance.
They have built a 15-metre-high seawall that, according to Tepco, can withstand the biggest tsunami waves. In the event of a meltdown, special vents would keep 99.9% of released radioactive particles out of the atmosphere, and corium shields would block molten fuel from breaching the reactors’ primary containment vessels. Autocatalytic recombiners have been installed to prevent a repeat of the hydrogen explosions that rocked four of Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors.
Other parts of the sprawling complex are home to fleets of emergency vehicles, water cannon, back-up power generators, and a hilltop reservoir whose 20,000 tonnes of water will be drawn to cool reactors in the event of a catastrophic meltdown.
“As the operator responsible for the Fukushima accident, we’re committed to learning lessons, revisiting what went wrong and implementing what we learned here at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, says the plant’s chief, Chikashi Shitara. “We are always looking at ways to improve safety.
“Because of our experience at Fukushima, we’re committed to not making the same mistakes again – to make the safety regime even stronger. That’s what we have to explain to members of the public.”
‘This is no place for a nuclear power plant’
The public, however, is far from convinced. Last year, the people of Niigata prefecture registered their opposition to the utility’s plans by electing Ryuichi Yoneyama, an anti-nuclear candidate, as governor. Exit polls showed that 73% of voters opposed restarting the plant, with just 27% in favour.
Yoneyama has said that he won’t make a decision on the restarts, scheduled for spring 2019, until a newly formed committee has completed its report into the causes and consequences of the Fukushima disaster – a process that could take at least three years.
For many residents, the plant’s location renders expensive safety improvements irrelevant. “Geologically speaking, this is no place for a nuclear power plant,” says Kazuyuki Takemoto, a retired local councillor and a lifelong anti-nuclear activist.
Takemoto cites instability caused by the presence of underground oil and gas deposits in the area, and evidence that the ground on which Tepco’s seawall stands is prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake.
Local critics have pointed to the chaos that could result from attempting to evacuate the 420,000 people who live within a 30km radius of Kashiwazaki-kariwa. “That’s more people than lived near Fukushima, plus we get very heavy snowfall here, which would make evacuating everyone impossible,” Takemoto adds. “The situation would be far worse than it was in Fukushima.”
Adding to their concerns are the presence of seismic faults in and around the site, which sustained minor damage during a magnitude-6.6 offshore earthquake in 2007. Two active faults – defined by nuclear regulators as one that has moved any time within the last 400,000 years – run beneath reactor No. 1.
But for Tepco, a return to nuclear power generation is a matter of financial necessity, with the utility standing to gain up to ¥200 billion in annual profits by restarting the two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa.
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Workers at Kashiwazaki-kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, Japan.
The bill for decommissioning Fukushima Daiichi, decontaminating neighbourhoods and compensating residents affected by the meltdown could reach 21.5tr yen [$191bn], according to government estimates. That is on top of the money the firm is spending on importing expensive fossil fuels to fill the vacuum left by the nuclear shutdown.
Earlier this year, the Japan Centre for Economic Research said the total cost of the four-decade Fukushima cleanup – including the disposal of radioactive waste from the plant’s three damaged reactors – could soar to between 50-70tr yen.
“As Tepco’s president and our general business plan have made clear, restarting the reactors here is very important to us as a company,” says Shitara.
Much is at stake, too, for Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has put an ambitious return to nuclear power generation at the centre of his energy policy. His government wants nuclear to provide about 20 percent Japan’s electricity by 2030 – a move that would require the restart of about 30 reactors.
Of the country’s 48 operable reactors, only four are currently online. Several others have passed stringent new safety tests introduced in the wake of Fukushima, but restarts have encountered strong local opposition.
As part of the restart process, people across Japan were recently invited to submit their opinions on the Kashiwazaki-kariwa restart and Tepco’s suitability as a nuclear operator.
Kiyoto Ishikawa, from the plant’s public relations department, insists Tepco has learned the lessons of Fukushima. “Before 3-11 we were arrogant and had stopped improving safety,” he said. “The earthquake was a wake-up call. We now know that improving safety is a continuous process.”
The firm’s assurances were dismissed by Yukiko Kondo, a Kariwa resident, who said the loss of state subsidies if the plant were to remain permanently idle was a sacrifice worth making if it meant giving local people peace of mind.
“Tepco caused the 2011 accident, so there is no way I would ever support restarting nuclear reactors here,” she said. “They kept telling us that Fukushima Daiichi was perfectly safe – and look what happened.”

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

ICAN requesting meeting with Abe

26 dec 2017.jpg
The chief of the organization that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize will visit Japan next month. She is seeking a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, also known as ICAN, will visit Japan for 7 days from January 12th.
 
She plans to give lectures in the atomic bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
 
ICAN is now requesting the Japanese government to allow the meeting. The group is also calling for a debate session with officials from political parties.
 
The UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted this year, and ICAN played a key role.
 
Japan objects to the treaty, arguing it is not effective for nuclear disarmament because the world’s nuclear powers did not join it.
 
Fihn plans to offer Abe and others various ways to study the positive and negative effects of Japan joining the treaty.
 
Akira Kawasaki, a key Japanese member of ICAN, said they are calling for concrete discussions with non-participating nations. He said the countries may be arguing against the treaty because they are guaranteed protection by a country with nuclear weapons.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Disturbing links between Britain’s nuclear power stations and the military

Military secrets of our nuclear power plants https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/27/military-secrets-of-our-nuclear-power-plants

Disturbing links between Britain’s nuclear power stations and the military are highlighted by Dr David Lowry. In her excellent article on the Hinkley C nuclear plant financial fiasco (The long read, 21 December), Holly Watt mentions the innovative insight of Sussex University academics Prof Andy Stirling and Dr Phil Johnstone, who have identified the central importance of expansion of the skill base of the new nuclear build programme – headed by Hinkley C – for the Trident military nuclear renewal programme. Watt also mentions the first nuclear plant built on the same site, Hinkley A. What is barely acknowledged about this reactor is it was both built and operated to manufacture plutonium for British nuclear warheads, and probably some plutonium it created was sent to the US for use in its military stockpile too.

I have dug up considerable evidence that demonstrates this beyond any doubt. The first public hint came with an announcement on 17 June 1958 by the Ministry of Defence, on “the production of plutonium suitable for weapons in the new [nuclear] power stations programme as an insurance against future defence needs”.
The Conservative government’s paymaster general, Reginald Maudling, told parliament a week later: “At the request of the government, the Central Electricity Generating Board has agreed to a small modification in the design of Hinkley Point … so as to enable plutonium suitable for military purposes to be extracted should the need arise. The government made this request in order to provide the country, at comparatively small cost, with a most valuable insurance against possible future defence requirements.”

And that is exactly what they did. The nuclear world has thus turned full circle, as the atomic conjoined twins that had been painfully separated for nearly 50 years are being rejoined in an insidious way by this new Conservative government.
Dr David Lowry
Senior research fellow, Institute for Resource and Security Studies

December 29, 2017 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

2017 – the year that the world was hit by climate change

 http://www.dw.com/en/2017-the-year-climate-change-hit/a-41944142

The devastating effects of climate change are becoming apparent — and the world has begun taking action. But the frequency of extreme weather events has shown we are starting to run out of time.

“Crazy” weather has been a hot topic for elevator conversations this year — and yes, extremes are starting to become the new normal.

No continent was spared in 2017 when it came to extreme weather. From droughts to hurricanes, from smog to forest fires, these events killed thousands of people — and have been directly linked to climate change.

Read more: Extreme weather on the rise in Europe

Southern Europe, Canada and the United States were among the areas worst hit by devastating wildfires. Both in California and Portugal, 2017 has been the deadliest year on record for wildfires. Even icy Greenland wasn’t spared. Climate change, along with the dangerous combination of a lack of sustainable forest management and careless — or malicious — human activity, has been to blame.

Read more: Climate change sets the world on fire

Hurricanes and high water

Major storms were also responsible for the year’s most catastrophic events. Hurricane Harvey in the US, Irma and Maria in the Caribbean and Katia in the Gulf of Mexico left destruction in their wake. While hurricanes aren’t unusual in tropical regions, the frequency and intensity of these most recent storms — fueled by warming oceans — were out of the ordinary. But they may be a sign of things to come, if the world doesn’t take action to limit climate change.

At the same time, global sea levels reached a new high in 2017, with the polar ice caps melting at an accelerating pace. Warmer ocean temperatures contributed to the breakaway of a 1 trillion ton iceberg from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica in July, at 5,800 square kilometers (2,200 square miles) one of the largest icebergs ever recorded.

Flooding caused the death of hundreds of people in the Philippines, Greece, Germany and Vietnam, to name just a few countries. Meanwhile, drought is increasing the pressure on regions of Africa and Asia, such as Somalia, South Sudan and Pakistan, where armed conflicts are already making daily life a struggle for survival.

Often forgotten, the struggles of the world’s oceans also increased this year. Despite several initiatives protecting the Great Barrier Reef, coral bleaching has continued at an alarming rate. Ocean acidification, meanwhile, is on track to make the seas uninhabitable for many aquatic creatures, endangering entire ocean ecosystems.

Read more

— Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching even worse than expected

— Ocean acidification: climate change’s evil twin

Governments across the globe are taking action to address current and upcoming climate threats, and leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron, who took office in May and pledged to fund climate research, have been a source of hope for many.

Read more: Emmanuel Macron, Europe’s climate hero?

But 2017 will also, unfortunately, be remembered for the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris climate accord, along with President Donald Trump’s other moves away from the fight against climate change.

Read more: Answering unresolved questions from Trump’s climate announcement

As despairing as all of this may sound, it’s actually another call to take action. Weather has always been out of our control — and will remain so. But we can still work to avoid making extremes the new normal.

December 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Busting the blizzard of nuclear disinformation from Michael Shellenberger and ‘Environmental Progress’

Exposing the misinformation of Michael Shellenberger and ‘Environmental Progress’Nuclear Monitor Issue: #853 4689 30/10/2017, Jim Green ‒ Nuclear Monitor editor, and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia

Michael Shellenberger’s pro-nuclear lobby group ‘Environmental Progress’ (EP) is celebrating the decision to proceed with two partially-built reactors in South Korea. A citizens jury appointed by the government voted almost 60% in favor of completing the reactors. President Moon Jae-in said the government would allow construction of the reactors to proceed but “we will completely stop all plans for the construction of new nuclear reactors.”1

It’s doubtful that Shellenberger’s California-based organization could have significantly swayed the citizens jury in South Korea, but EP was very active in the debate and presumably had some effect in shifting opinions. Here is a summary of the work EP carried out in South Korea this year:2

  • EP published a 62-page pro-nuclear report ‒ ‘The High Cost of Fear: Understanding the Costs and Causes of South Korea’s Proposed Nuclear Energy Phase-Out’.3
  • Shellenberger visited South Korea four times between April and October 2017, giving speeches, holding press conferences on collaborating with nuclear advocates. He claims that dozens of media outlets reported on EP’s visits, that a press conference in Seoul was “packed”4, and that he enjoyed “a crush of media attention”.5
  • EP sent a sign-on letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in in July 2017 and another in August 2017.
  • In October, EP wrote to the citizens jury tasked with deciding the fate of the two partially-built reactors (Shin Kori 5 and 6).6
  • EP produced a video promoting nuclear power in South Korea.
  • Shellenberger has been talking and writing about his bizarre plan to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula by supporting the development of nuclear power in North Korea.
  • And, according to Shellenberger, EP countered the “lies” of Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Greenpeace in “two investigative pieces and three separate open letters to President Moon and the citizens jury that were signed by climate scientists and environmentalists from around the world.”6

EP’s campaign has involved a blizzard of misinformation and relentless, dishonest attacks against environment groups, particularly Friends of the Earth (FOE) and Greenpeace. Shellenberger claims4 that the “greatest coup” of the two groups was the “Hollywood-style anti-nuclear disaster movie” called Pandora7 which was released last year and has been watched by millions, mostly on Netflix. But FOE and Greenpeace had nothing to do with the production of the Pandora film!……..

The funding of the Pandora film isn’t an important issue but it neatly illustrates Shellenberger’s M.O. of relentless repetition of falsehoods in the hope that some mud sticks…..

Shellenberger himself featured in the dishonest and wildly inaccurate ‘Pandora’s Promise’ film a few years ago………

Nuclear power and weapons proliferation

Shellenberger states: “One of FOE-Greenpeace’s biggest lies about nuclear energy is that it leads to weapons. Korea demonstrates that the opposite is true: North Korea has a nuclear bomb and no nuclear energy, while South Korea has nuclear energy and no bomb.”4

In fact, the connections between nuclear power (and associated industries such as enrichment and reprocessing) and weapons proliferation are well understood and there are countless real-world examples demonstrating the risks.26

Prominent nuclear lobbyists are now openly talking about the connections between nuclear power (and related industries) and weapons production in order to boost the case for further subsidies to support the ‘civil’ nuclear industry, particularly in the US.27 It seems Shellenberger didn’t get the memo.

As for Shellenberger’s claims about proliferation on the Korean peninsula, he ignores the fact that North Korea uses what is calls an ‘experimental power reactor’ (based on the UK Magnox power reactor design) to produce plutonium for weapons.28 He ignores the fact that North Korea acquired enrichment technology from Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan network, who stole the blueprints from URENCO, the consortium that provides enrichment services for the nuclear power industry.28 He ignores the fact that North Korea’s reprocessing plant is based on the design of the Eurochemic plant in Belgium, which provided reprocessing services for the nuclear power industry.28

And Shellenberger ignores South Korea’s history of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons, a history entwined with the country’s development of nuclear power. For example, the nuclear power program provided a rationale for South Korea’s pursuit of dual-use reprocessing technology……..https://wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/853/exposing-misinformation-michael-shellenberger-and-environmental-progress

December 29, 2017 Posted by | South Korea, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Is Trump planning to kill the Iran nuclear deal, in January?

How Trump could kill the Iran nuclear deal in January The president will soon face a series of deadlines during which he could deliver on a campaign promise to rip up the 2015 agreement. Politico eu, By 12/28/17, President Donald Trump allowed the Iran nuclear deal to survive through 2017, but the new year will offer him another chance to blow up the agreement — and critics and supporters alike believe he may take it.

By mid-January, the president will face new legal deadlines to choose whether to slap U.S. sanctions back on Tehran. Senior lawmakers and some of Trump’s top national security officials are trying to preserve the agreement. But the deal’s backers fear Trump has grown more willing to reject the counsel of his foreign policy team, as he did with his recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital……..

The deal was negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration, along with five other nations. It lifted U.S. and European sanctions on Iran in exchange for strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear program. …..

The deadlines for Trump begin on January 11, when the agreement requires him — as it does every 90 days — to certify whether Tehran is meeting its obligations under the deal. International inspectors who visit the country’s nuclear facilities have repeatedly said Iran is doing so. But Trump refused to certify Iranian compliance in mid-October……..

upcoming deadlines for Trump to continue the temporary waiver of U.S. sanctions on Iran, which the deal dictates will not be permanently repealed for several more years. The president must renew the waivers every 120 days. Sources familiar with the law said multiple waiver deadlines arrive between January 12 and January 17, forcing Trump to reassess the deal.

If Trump rejects the waivers and restores biting sanctions, Tehran is certain to claim the U.S. has breached the agreement and — supporters of the deal say — may restart its nuclear program. That could court a military confrontation with the U.S. and Israel. At a minimum, the U.S would find itself isolated abroad given that every other party to the deal — France, the U.K., Germany, China and Russia — all strongly oppose a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

Top Trump officials, including National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, all hope to avoid that outcome, telling others that while they may not love the nuclear deal, the potential fallout from a unilateral U.S. withdrawal would be too great to risk……….https://www.politico.eu/article/iran-how-donald-trump-could-kill-the-iran-nuclear-deal-in-january/

December 29, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Sellafield Ltd buries the cost of its expensive Evaporator D Nuclear waste processing project

CORE 26th Dec 2017, There can’t be many nuclear bodies that choose to bury – just three days before Christmas – what is touted as a good news story by the industry. But this is exactly what Sellafield Ltd has contrived to do in its 22nd December announcement that the long overdue and eye-wateringly expensive Evaporator D has come on line at Sellafield.

Yet by confirming that the new Evaporator actually came on line at 0800 on the 8th December, the start-up has been kept under wraps for a fortnight until a time when public attention was focused on seasonal festivities rather than on nuclear
news. Keeping such a story under the public radar for so long is, to say the least, wholly out of character for the industry – though the Evaporator’s history is hardly something to shout about.

It is not however just about the burial of ‘good’ news itself that many will find disturbing, but rather the manner in which the burial rites have been manipulated and massaged to dupe the wider world. Designed to process the dangerous high level waste liquids produced by the site’s reprocessing operations so that they can be vitrified and canned for eventual disposal, Evaporator D is located in the site’s Highly Active Liquid Evaporation and Storage (HALES) facility.

Its tortured construction track record since its inception over a decade ago by British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) is well
documented and gives the lie to its original costings and timescale. As reported in the industry’s Nuclear Fuel journal in 2009 ‘Sellafield operators estimated (in 2007) the cost of the proposed Evaporator D at GBP90 million and said they expected it to be operational around 2010/2011’. Now in operation over six years late, the Evaporator’s £750M cost today represents an eight-fold increase on its original costing. …..

There are few positives to be taken from the Evaporator D saga that rivals the similar squandering of public money on the ill-fated and now defunct Sellafield MOX plant and even – when its financial accounts are eventually exposed publicly for the first time – the THORP plant itself. The one positive that will bring at least some cheer to the UK taxpayer is that, then costed at £600M, plans for an Evaporator E were abandoned by Sellafield in 2012.  http://corecumbria.co.uk/briefings/sellafields-delayed-evaporator-d-now-operating-and-gift-wrapped-for-christmas/

December 29, 2017 Posted by | UK, wastes | 1 Comment

Financial needs of nuclear industry override Japanese fears of another Fukushima

Fears of another Fukushima as Tepco plans to restart world’s biggest nuclear plant, Consent given to turn reactors at the massive Kashiwazaki-kariwa plant back on, but Japanese worry over active fault lines and mismanagement, Guardian Justin McCurry , 28 Dec 17, If a single structure can define a community, for the 90,000 residents of Kashiwazaki town and the neighbouring village of Kariwa, it is the sprawling nuclear power plant that has dominated the coastal landscape for more than 40 years.

When all seven of its reactors are in operation, Kashiwazaki-kariwa generates 8.2m kilowatts of electricity – enough to power 16m households. Occupying 4.2 sq km of land along the Japan Sea coast, it is the biggest nuclear power plant in the world.

But today, the reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa are idle. The plant in Niigata prefecture, about 140 miles (225km) north-west of the capital, is the nuclear industry’s highest-profile casualty of the nationwide atomic shutdown that followed the March 2011 triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi.

The company at the centre of the disaster has encountered anger over its failure to prevent the catastrophe, its treatment of tens of thousands of evacuated residents and its haphazard attempts to clean up its atomic mess.

Now, the same utility, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco], is attempting to banish its Fukushima demons with a push to restart two reactors at Kashiwazaki-kariwa, one of its three nuclear plants. Only then, it says, can it generate the profits it needs to fund the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi and win back the public trust it lost in the wake of the meltdown.

 This week, Japan’s nuclear regulation authority gave its formal approval for Tepco to restart the Kashiwazaki-kariwa’s No. 6 and 7 reactors – the same type of boiling-water reactors that suffered meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi.

After a month of public hearings, the nuclear regulation authority concluded that Tepco was fit to run a nuclear power plant and said the two reactors met the stricter safety standards introduced after the 2011 disaster.

Just before that decision, Tepco gave the Guardian an exclusive tour of what it claims will be the safest nuclear plant in the world…….

‘This is no place for a nuclear power plant’

The public, however, is far from convinced. Last year, the people of Niigata prefecture registered their opposition to the utility’s plans by electing Ryuichi Yoneyama, an anti-nuclear candidate, as governor. Exit polls showed that 73% of voters opposed restarting the plant, with just 27% in favour.

Yoneyama has said that he won’t make a decision on the restarts, scheduled for spring 2019, until a newly formed committee has completed its report into the causes and consequences of the Fukushima disaster – a process that could take at least three years.

For many residents, the plant’s location renders expensive safety improvements irrelevant. “Geologically speaking, this is no place for a nuclear power plant,” says Kazuyuki Takemoto, a retired local councillor and a lifelong anti-nuclear activist.

Takemoto cites instability caused by the presence of underground oil and gas deposits in the area, and evidence that the ground on which Tepco’s seawall stands is prone to liquefaction in the event of a major earthquake.

Local critics have pointed to the chaos that could result from attempting to evacuate the 420,000 people who live within a 30km radius of Kashiwazaki-kariwa. “That’s more people than lived near Fukushima, plus we get very heavy snowfall here, which would make evacuating everyone impossible,” Takemoto adds. “The situation would be far worse than it was in Fukushima.”

Adding to their concerns are the presence of seismic faults in and around the site, which sustained minor damage during a magnitude-6.6 offshore earthquake in 2007. Two active faults – defined by nuclear regulators as one that has moved any time within the last 400,000 years – run beneath reactor No. 1.

But for Tepco, a return to nuclear power generation is a matter of financial necessity, with the utility standing to gain up to ¥200 billion in annual profits by restarting the two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa…….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/28/fears-of-another-fukushima-as-tepco-plans-to-restart-worlds-biggest-nuclear-plant

December 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

USA and Russian Ministers say that North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power

North Korea will not be accepted as a nuclear power by US or Russia, say Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov Both sides agree to pursue a ‘diplomatic solution’ to the crisis, The Independent, Mythili Sampathkumar New York @MythiliSk 28 Dec 17 The US and Russia have insisted they will not accept North Koreaas a “nuclear state”, amid a series of missile tests by the East Asian nation and increased rhetoric from both Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on a myriad of issues, but both agreed on their stance regarding Pyongyang’s continued development of nuclear weapons despite United Nations sanctions.

State Department Heather Nauert said in a statement that “both sides agreed that they will continue to work towards a diplomatic solution to achieve a denuclearised Korean peninsula”. However, on the same call on Tuesday, Mr Lavrov criticised President Donald Trump’s “aggressive rhetoric” towards North Korea……..

Late last week, the UN Security Council also unanimously passed – including votes from Russia and China who have closer ties to Pyongyang – more sanctions on North Korea, further limiting its oil supplies and slave labour market. …..

according to Chinese customs data, China exported no oil products to North Korea in November – something that was above and beyond UN sanctions requirements. Beijing also imported no North Korean iron ore, coal or lead in last months, the second full month of those trade sanctions, the data showed….. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/north-korea-us-russia-nuclear-power-recognise-rex-tillerson-sergei-lavrov-a8130316.html

December 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fake scientists and radiation quackery – the message from nuclear front site “Environmental Progress”

Exposing the misinformation of Michael Shellenberger and ‘Environmental Progress’ Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor Issue: #853 4689 30/10/2017  “………….Fake scientists and radiation quackery

Environmental Progress’s UK director John Lindberg is described as an “expert on radiation” on the EP website.38 In fact, he has no scientific qualifications whatsoever let alone specialist qualifications regarding the health effects of ionizing radiation. Likewise, a South Korean article39 reposted on the EP website (without correction) falsely claims that Shellenberger is a scientist; in fact, he has a degree in cultural anthropology.

Lindberg is an ‘Associate Member’ of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI)40, a group comprised mostly of quacks, cranks, non-scientists and conspiracy theorists whose views are directly at odds with those of scientific associations such as UNSCEAR.

SARI is at war with the linear, no-threshold (LNT) model ‒ the group’s short ‘Charter & Mission’ insists three times that LNT is “misinformation”.41 Yet LNT enjoys heavy-hitting scientific support. For example the 2006 report of the US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation states that “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and … the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.”34 Likewise, a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states: “Given that it is supported by experimentally grounded, quantifiable, biophysical arguments, a linear extrapolation of cancer risks from intermediate to very low doses currently appears to be the most appropriate methodology.”42

A 2010 UNSCEAR report isn’t sold on the linear part of LNT but it is at odds with SARI (and EP) on the question of a threshold. The UNSCEAR report states that “the current balance of available evidence tends to favour a non-threshold response for the mutational component of radiation-associated cancer induction at low doses and low dose rates.”43By contrast, SARI promotes hormesis ‒ the discredited view that low-dose radiation exposure is beneficial to human health.44 https://wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/853/exposing-misinformation-michael-shellenberger-and-environmental-progress

December 29, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment