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Plan for pan-European alliance against the promotion of nuclear energy- Austria and Luxembourg to start it

Austria, Luxembourg Agree on Alliance against Nuclear Power 05 Mar 2018  Luxembourg and Austria have agreed on an Alliance against the promotion of nuclear energy in Europe.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear: The unstoppable lessons of the Fukushima Catastrophe

Mediapart 16th March 2018, Two voices from Japan shake the pronuclear torpor of France on the seventh anniversary
of the Fukushima catastrophe. Listen to Naoto Kan, former prime minister
who became anti-atom, and read Masao Yoshida, the defunct director of the
Powerhouse, is to understand the powerlessness of Governments in the face
of a nuclear catastrophe.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Informational power to the people: Safecast volunteers monitor Fukushima radiation


NGO Safecast co-founder Pieter Franken explains to schoolgirls how to assemble a Geiger counter kit in their classroom in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. 

Tracking Fukushima’s radiation ,  Source: AFP   Editor: Fu Rong     Beneath the elegant curves of the roof on the Seirinji Buddhist temple in Japan’s Fukushima region hangs an unlikely adornment: a Geiger counter collecting real-time radiation readings.

The machine is sending data to Safecast, an NGO born after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that says it has now built the world’s largest radiation dataset, thanks to the efforts of citizen scientists like Seirinji’s priest Sadamaru Okano.

Like many, Okano lost faith in the government after the nuclear meltdown seven years ago.

“The government didn’t tell us the truth, they didn’t tell us the true measures,” he said.

Okano was in a better position than most to doubt the government line, having developed an amateur interest in nuclear technology 20 years earlier after the Chernobyl disaster. To the bemusement of friends and family, he started measuring local radiation levels in 2007.

“The readings were so high, 50 times higher than natural radiation,” he said of the post-disaster data. “I was amazed. The news told us there was nothing, the administration was telling us there was nothing to worry about.”

That dearth of trustworthy information was the genesis of Safecast, said co-founder Pieter Franken, who was in Tokyo with his family when disaster hit. Franken and friends had the idea of gathering data by attaching Geiger counters to cars and driving around.

“Like how Google does Street View, we could do something for radiation in the same way,” he said. “The only problem was that the system to do that didn’t exist and the only way to solve that problem was to go and build it ourselves. So that’s what we did.”

Within a week, the group had a prototype and got readings that suggested the 20-kilometer exclusion zone declared around the Fukushima plant had no basis in the data, Franken said.

“Evacuees were sent from areas with lower radiation to areas with higher radiation” in some cases, he said.

The zone was eventually redrawn, but for many local residents it was too late to restore trust in the government.

Okano evacuated his mother, wife and son while he stayed with his flock.

A year later, based on his own readings and after decontamination efforts, he brought them back. He learned about Safecast’s efforts and in 2013 installed one of their static counters on his temple.

“I told them: ‘We are measuring the radiation on a daily basis… so if you access the (Safecast) website you can choose (if you think) it’s safe or not’.”

Norio Watanabe has been a Safecast volunteer since 2011. In the days after the disaster evacuees flocked to Koriyama, which was outside the evacuation zone. He assumed his town was safe.

He sent his children away, but stayed behind to look after his mother, a decision he believes may have contributed to his 2015 diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

“As a scientist, I think the chance that it was caused by the Fukushima accident might be 50-50, but in my heart, I think it was likely the cause,” he said.

His thyroid was removed and is now healthy, but Watanabe worries about his students, who he fears “will carry risk with them for the rest of their lives.”

“If there are no people like me who continue to monitor the levels, it will be forgotten.”

Safecast now has around 3,000 devices worldwide and data from 90 countries. Its counters come as a kit that volunteers can buy through third parties and assemble at home.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, PERSONAL STORIES, politics, radiation | Leave a comment

Foreign policy run by macho males: it’s just so dangerous!

American Foreign Policy Has A Masculinity Problem, Huffington Post, Lauren Sandler, Columnist  15 Mar 18 

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, psychology and culture, Trump - personality, USA | Leave a comment

The push for nuclear power for Saudi Arabia raises fears of weapons proliferation in Middle East

Saudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concerns,The Hill, 

At issue is a deal that would allow the United States to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration has already started negotiations, with Energy Secretary Rick Perry reportedly meeting with senior Saudi officials in London last month.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Flamanville EPR Nuclear Reactor: The Countdown to the Atomic Clock.

Paris Normandie 17th March 2018, [Machine Translation]“They are not ready. “Monday morning, at the end of acommittee of health, safety and working conditions of the plant, trade unionists of the CGT are circumspect. EDF agents have just visited the  future Local Crisis Center (CCL), one of the “post-Fukushima” equipment whose vocation is to ensure the management of crises.

“They’re supposed to be up and running in two weeks, but we’re far from it …” After seven
years of delay and a construction cost that has tripled to reach 10.5
billion euros, the commissioning of the EPR, this new generation nuclear
reactor under construction in Flamanville, is scheduled for May 2019. The
goal is to be able to load the fuel into the tank in December.

But the context remains tense for this site which accumulated the setbacks: the
problems recently discovered on the tank lid – which will have to be
changed before 2024 when it is normally every 20 or 30 years – or on the
secondary circuit welds leave an uncertainty about the authorization that
could give – or not – the ASN, the “policeman” nuclear.

Sébastien Lecornu,”second” of Nicolas Hulot and former president of the departmental council
of the Eure, visiting the site of the EPR in early February, had said: “I trust EDF–le-compte-a-rebours-de-l-horloge-atomique-FH12516146

March 19, 2018 Posted by | France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

UK’s headlong rush into new nuclear power development could run into big problems about selecting sites

PeterBanks Blog 17th March 2018, It has been a busy time lately. BANNG has attended a number of meetings and
Prof. Andy Blowers has been involved as an expert in the Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) consultation process. And on top of that the weather has thrown a wobbly which has potential implications on the decisions for energy policies.

There have been two important meetings. One concerned the Government’s consultation on reviewing the siting criteria
for new nuclear power stations. For all of us concerned about the Government’s headlong rush towards more ridiculous nuclear development it is vital to respond to this consultation.

Clearly the Government is attempting to extend the time period allocated for selecting potential new nuclear sites. The sites included in the previous consultation on the siting criteria in 2008 should have had power stations generating by 2025 and even Hinkley Point C (HPC) has only a remote chance of being up and running by then.

BANNG also had an important strategic meeting with the Nuclear New Build departments of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA). This event was co-chaired by BANNG’s Andy Blowers and the EA’s Simon Barlow. The meeting was attended by senior representatives from the EA and ONR and 6 from BANNG. Andy Blowers once again was also able to represent Colchester Borough Council.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Climate change promotes the spread of mosquito and tick-borne viruses


EUROPEAN COMMISSION JOINT RESEARCH CENTRE , Spurred on by climate change, international travel and international trade, disease-bearing insects are spreading to ever-wider parts of the world.

This means that more humans are exposed to viral infections such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya, Zika, West Nile fever, Yellow fever and Tick-borne encephalitis.

For many of these diseases, there are as yet no specific antiviral agents or vaccines.

Global warming has allowed mosquitoes, ticks and other disease-bearing insects to proliferate, adapt to different seasons, migrate and spread to new niche areas that have become warmer.

These are the findings of a JRC report that aims to raise awareness about the threat posed by the spread of arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses)……..

March 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Iraq is left with long term toxic legacy of USA’s use of depleted uranium weapons

Iraq, 15 years On: A Toxic US Legacy, March 18, 2018, by  Middle East Eye   Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq as part of its ongoing effort to ensure the Iraqi nation’s perpetual misery. Common Dreams, by Belén Fernández,  Fifteen years ago this month, the United States spearheaded a fantastically bloody war on Iraq ….

Increasing rates of cancer and birth defects …..

Consider, for instance, Cockburn’s 2010 article for The Independent, headlined “Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah ‘worse than Hiroshima'”. In it, he outlined the results of a study by British scientist Chris Busby and colleagues Malak Hamdan and Entesar Ariabi on the increase in reports of cancer, birth defects, infant mortality and other forms of suffering in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the focus of a particularly vicious US assault.

To be sure, as one of the top polluters on the entire planet, the US military has never been thrilled about acknowledging what would appear to be obvious: that saturating the environment with toxic materials will have repercussions on both environmental and human health, including the health of the United States’ own warriors, as underlined by the afflictions affecting veterans of the Vietnam War and first Gulf War, among other imperial escapades.

According to Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, an award-winning toxicologist based in Michigan, “around six billion bullets were expended into the Iraqi environment” between 2002 and 2005 alone – which, along with bombs, have led to “public contamination with … toxic metals”.

Depleted uranium: a long-term hazard

But the US military arsenal extends far beyond traditional guns and bombs. In 2012, Robert Fisk wrote about a 14-month-old Iraqi named Sayef who had a severely enlarged head, was blind, paralysed and unable to swallow. Noting that much blame for the rise in congenital birth defects in Fallujah had been directed at the United States’ use of white phosphorus there, Fisk was nonetheless forced to include the caveat: “No one, of course, can produce cast-iron evidence that American munitions have caused the tragedy of Fallujah’s children.”

Yet the possibility of a cause-and-effect relationship becomes more and more difficult to deny. Already in 2009, the Guardian had reported that doctors in Fallujah were “dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants” as the previous year, such as a baby born with two heads.

In 2013, Al Jazeera quoted Sharif al-Alwachi of the Babil Cancer Centre in southern Iraq, who attributed escalating cancer rates since 2003 on the US military’s use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. Al Jazeera also threw in the following uplifting note: “The remaining traces of DU in Iraq represent a formidable long-term environmental hazard, as they will remain radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years.”

Indeed, DU constitutes a can of worms unto itself. A 2016 Washington Spectator essay titled “Irradiated Iraq,” by Washington, DC-based investigative journalist Barbara Koeppel, remarks on the convenient US classification of its own uranium weapons as “conventional” when in fact “they are radioactive and chemically toxic”.

Destructive capacity

This is the same US, of course, that goes into warmongering hissy-fits each and every time the word “radioactive” comes up in the context of Iran while also engaging in countless other varieties of hypocritical rampage.

Koeppel cites former United Nations weapons inspector Scott Ritter‘s observation: “The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties.”

Luckily for the US, there are plenty of members of the national media and wider domestic landscape willing to succumb to the notion that DU is simply Something We Don’t Talk About; you might even say the issue itself is radioactive.

Others, however, have wholeheartedly embraced the destructive wonders of DU, as was the case with a US special operations soldier I spoke with earlier this year. This young man had just completed tours of duty in Iraq and Syria, where the US recently came under criticism for its renewed use of DU; he expressed dismay that sectors of the international community had failed to appreciate the effectiveness of the weaponry in question.

Back in 2001, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered some watered-down thoughts on DU, gently suggesting that international humanitarian law “prohibit[s] weapons, means or methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering, which have indiscriminate effects or which cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment”…..

March 19, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, environment, health, Israel | Leave a comment

Foolhardy and dangerous: The Nuclear Energy Institute industry group wants to reduce cyber-protection standards.

Reuters 16th March 2018, A science advocacy group urged the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on
Friday to reject a longstanding industry request to limit cyber attack  protections at nuclear plants, a day after the Trump administration publicly blamed Moscow for hacking into nuclear power and other energy infrastructure.

The Nuclear Energy Institute industry group petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June 2014 to limit the scope of the agency’s cyber-protection safeguards to only systems with a direct impact on safety. The institute said in the petition that such limits would be “less burdensome” for operators of nuclear power plants while being “adequately protective” of public health and safety.

The petition is “foolhardy at best and, at worse, downright dangerous,” said Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advisory group.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirm Russian hackers targeting U.S. nuclear plants

Union of Concerned Scientists 16th March 2018, Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation officially confirmed that Russian hackers have been targeting US nuclear power plants and other critical facilities since at least 2016.

Regardless, the US nuclear industry has been pressuring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to relax its cyber security standards. Below is a statement by Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“The Department of Homeland Security alert is a stark
reminder that nuclear power plants are tempting targets for cyber
attackers. Although the systems that control the most critical safety
equipment at US nuclear plants are analog-based and largely immune to cyber
attacks, many other plant systems with important safety and security
functions are digital and could be compromised. For instance, electronic
locks, alarms, closed-circuit television cameras, and communications
equipment essential for plant security could be disabled or reprogrammed.
And some plants have equipment, such as cranes that move highly radioactive
spent fuel, that utilize computer-based control systems that could be
manipulated to cause an accident.”

March 19, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Russia, USA | 2 Comments

Republican candidate for governor exposes his rivals’ campaign funding from the nuclear industry

GOP governor hopeful says his rivals are tainted by nuclear cash, BY JAMIE SELF,, March 15, 2018 

A Republican running for governor says his rivals have something he lacks: a tie to the utilities responsible for a failed multi billion-dollar effort to build two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.

Greenville real-estate lender John Warren is calling on his rivals to return campaign contributions they have received from the utilities, Cayce-based SCANA and officials tied to state-owned Santee Cooper.

“Their judgment is clouded by special interests, but I have a plan to address the V.C. Summer crisis that starts with cleaning house,” said Warren on Tuesday in a statement.

Warren’s main targets in the attack are Republican Catherine Templeton, who has received $15,000 in contributions from board members of Santee Cooper, and S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, who received at least $115,000 in contributions from SCANA, its employees and leaders before the utility’s announcement last July that it was abandoning efforts to build two nuclear reactors at its V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

After that announcement, McMaster became a vocal critic of SCANA, saying its customers either should get the two nuclear reactors they were promised or their money back. The governor also has called for the sale of Santee Cooper, SCANA’s junior partner in the deal, and forced the release of a damning report about the nuclear project.

McMaster has said he has no plans to return the SCANA-related donations.

……. Templeton has received at least $15,000 in campaign donations from Santee Cooper board members and their families, including $3,500 from former Santee Cooper board chairman Leighton Lord……On Day 1 as governor, Warren says he will fire the entire Santee Cooper board and push legislation to stop utilities involved in the nuclear project from continuing to charge their customers for it. He also says he would call for a forensic audit and valuation of Santee Cooper, push for the preservation of the two unfinished V.C. Summer reactors and encourage the sale of equipment on the site.
Reporter Avery G. Wilks contributed.; Jamie Self: 803-771-8658, @jamiemself

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Should failing nuclear and coal stations be bailed out by taxpayers?

Should taxpayers bailout energy conglomerates? 18, 2018   Secretary Perry’s Coal Bailout Is a Raw Deal for Taxpayers By David Williams

An independent government agency saved Americans from a massive de facto tax hike.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry had proposed a multibillion-dollar bailout of failing coal and nuclear power plants. He wanted to give these plants taxpayer-funded subsidies to keep them afloat. Luckily, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made the right call and quashed the plan.

Sec. Perry’s proposal — commonly called the notice of proposed rulemaking, or NOPR — would have granted government subsidies to any power plants capable of storing 90 days’ worth of fuel supply on-site. The only electricity generators that fit this description are coal and nuclear plants. Natural gas and renewables plants don’t store their fuels on site.

The secretary’s goal was to keep nearly bankrupt coal and nuclear plants operating, so they can produce electricity in case natural disasters or cyberattacks disrupt America’s energy grid.

Fears of an electricity shortage are overblown — the power grid is already resilient. According to Sec. Perry’s own department, America’s energy grid reliability is “adequate today despite the retirement of 11 percent of the generating capacity available in 2002.”

Natural gas plants, in particular, are dependable. A recent Brattle Group study found natural gas “relatively advantageous” compared to other energy sources in terms of power grid reliability. It’s relatively easy for these plants to ramp up or slow down electricity generation in response to changing demand or emergency situations.

A DOE report released in August concluded as much. It did not find that the closure of failing coal and nuclear plants would lead to electricity shortages — even though Sec. Perry hoped for such a conclusion to justify a coal and nuclear bailout.

Extending a financial lifeline to failing coal and nuclear plants wouldn’t have been cheap. Sec. Perry’s bailout would have cost taxpayers $10.6 billion a year.

These subsidies would have helped just a handful of lucky corporations. Ninety percent of NOPR funds dedicated to nuclear energy would have been divvied up between five or fewer companies.

Regular Americans oppose this crony capitalism. Seventy-seven percent of voters in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are trying to bail out nuclear company Exelon, agree that regulators shouldn’t offer special treatment to specific corporations.

Sec. Perry tried to strangle free-market innovation by picking winners and losers. Such cronyism would thwart the continued rise of natural gas, which is now abundant thanks to the advent of hydraulic fracturing and other drilling technologies. In 2016, America generated more electricity from natural gas than from coal for the first time.

That’s good news for the environment. Replacing coal with natural gas has helped reduced greenhouse emissions to levels not seen since 1988. It has also resulted in lower electricity prices for consumers.

The proposed coal and nuclear bailout was a terrible deal for taxpayers. FERC should be commended for refusing to funnel billions of our hard-earned dollars to prop up dying industries.

David Williams is president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

March 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Carolina’s anti-nuclear protestors were right, all along

The State 16th March 2018, Once ignored, small band of protesters proven right about bungled nuclear
project. Through the years, the activists’ message was simple: the nuclear
project’s costs would spiral out of control; electricity customers would
face higher bills; the reactors would produce power the state did not need;
and the untested nuclear design could slow down completion of the project.

Instead, the groups wanted utilities, including SCE&G, to spend money
making homes more energy efficient, and developing solar and wind power,
which, they say, are cheaper and better for the environment

March 19, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

UK nuclear regulator identifies 5 areas needing improvement in Hinkley Point C EPR project

Nucnet 16th March 2018, The UK’s nuclear regulator has identified five key areas of supply chain
management where improvements are needed ahead of acceleration in both
construction and manufacturing for the Hinkley Point C EPR project in
Somerset, England.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation has rated an overall
inspection finding as ‘amber’. This means that some arrangements are
below standard and the ONR is seeking improvements.

The five key areas include issues such as improvement programmes, lessons learned,
self-assessment and quality assurance. The ONR said the inspection of the
supply chain for Hinkley Point C was instigated in the context of the
records falsification issues that emerged in 2016 at Areva’s Le Creusot
forge facility. The facility, now operated by Framatome, is a supplier of
key components to the Hinkley Point C project. The falsification issues
became apparent after the French nuclear safety regulator, ASN, confirmed
that major technical and organisational shortcomings had occurred at the Le

March 19, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment