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Japan is the ideal country for nuclear plants…

A series of earthquakes, including a M6.1 intense one, hit Shimane, the prefecture holds 3 reactors in Shimane Nuclear Power Plant.
Dear friends (especially non-Japanese folks) can you imagine the life like that shivers always run through your body when you experience, or even just hear an earthquake? Because you know every single jolt possibly cause meltdown in some of 53 reactors scattered around all over your country??
But simple facts: the pro-nuke masses, politicians and enterprises are all majorities here, and remaining reactors are ready to restart in few years.
And FYI, 30% of the major earthquakes in the world happen in the Japanese Archipelago.
Lately a remarkable number of tourists (approx. 3 times larger than 2010) are visiting Japan, and the government and the JP media welcome this phenomena as ‘inbound prosperity.’ And the Olympics is coming in 2020.
Everyone is welcome to come to Japan, but I kindly (and sarcastically) recommend you to prepare yourself with a gas mask, and some potassium Iodide tablets if you dare to visit this shaking islands.
 
April 9, 2018
M6.1 quake hits western Japan’s Shimane, 5 injured
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A collapsed torii gate of Karita Shrine is blocking a street in Oda, Shimane Prefecture, on April 9, 2018.
 
TOKYO (Kyodo) — A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit the western Japanese prefecture of Shimane early Monday, injuring five people, while also causing a partial blackout and disrupting water supply in the hardest-hit city of Oda.
The quake occurred at 1:32 a.m. at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. It registered upper 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7.
Four people were injured in Oda including a 17-year-old boy who fell from his bed at home, local officials said. A woman in her 70s in the adjacent city of Izumo injured her leg, also after falling from her bed.
Some 100 households lost tap water and 50 households electricity in Oda. A Self-Defense Forces unit has been dispatched to assist in water supply to the area based on a request by the prefectural government.
Damage to some buildings and cracks in roads were also confirmed. In Oda, an entrance gate at a Shinto shrine was destroyed and homes were damaged, forcing more than 100 people to evacuate at one point.
No abnormalities were found at the Shimane nuclear power plant, its operator Chugoku Electric Power Co. said.
Isamu Yamashita, an 81-year-old man who evacuated to an elementary school in Oda, said, “When the quake hit, I couldn’t stand on my own and had to hold on to a column. I still cannot return home because I am scared of possible aftershocks.”
A hospital in the city was forced to stop most of its outpatient services after a pipe in a water storage tank was damaged. The hospital received emergency water supply from the city to serve its inpatients.
West Japan Railway Co. halted some express trains in the region but road traffic was unaffected, according to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center.
In Shimane, a magnitude 5.1 quake struck in 1963 just two hours before a magnitude 5.0 quake hit some 10 to 20 km from the epicenter of the latest quake.
 
 
Earthquake cracks streets, leaves 5 injured in Japan
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This photo released by the Shimane Nichinichi Shimbun via Jiji Press on April 9, 2018 shows the tarmac along a street damaged by a earthquake in the city of Ohda, Shimane prefecture.
 
TOKYO — A strong earthquake hit western Japan early Monday, cracking streets, cutting water and power to a number of homes and injuring five people. The Meteorological Agency said the magnitude 6.1 quake struck 7 miles underground near Ohda city, about 480 miles west of Tokyo.
 
Five people sustained injuries, but most of them were minor and not life-threatening, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
 
The quake also rattled nearby Izumo, home to one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. No damage was reported at the shrine.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said roads were cracked in some locations, while more than 1,000 households lost water supplies and dozens of homes were without electricity.
 
Local officials said dozens of trains in the region were delayed or suspended.
 
There was no danger of a tsunami.
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April 9, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Naoto Kan gets a closeup view of nuclear France

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The former Japanese PM visits Flamanville and La Hague, and draws 400 locals to an inspiring evening event in Normandy, France
April 8, 2018 By Linda Pentz Gunter
Most of the time you don’t see former leaders of major world powers trudging along windy clifftops as they listen to anti-nuclear activists hold forth. That is why I find the odyssey of former Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, ever more extraordinary. For a handful of years now he has been traveling around the world speaking out in favor of an end to the use of nuclear power. And he has been talking to us.
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Naoto Kan visits a windswept Normandy beach from which you can see the Flamanville nuclear site as well as the La Hague reprocessing facility.
Kan of course was the Prime Minister in power at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster which struck on March 11, 2011. For all the mistakes and naiveté swirling at the time, Kan made one monumentally important decision. He picked up the phone and countermanded Tepco’s decision to pull its workforce out of the stricken Fukushim-Daiichi nuclear site.
 
That saved countless lives and likely the entire country. Untended, the reactors would have melted down and released a radioactive inventory that would have forced the abandonment of the neighboring Fukushima-Daiini nuclear plant. That in turn would have melted and the resulting cascading accident could have led to the evacuation of Tokyo. As Kan says in every speech, losing Tokyo would have been the end of Japan.
 
Unlike many such statesmen, however, Kan does not limit his addresses to august institutions. He gets down in the weeds with the grassroots. And perhaps never before as much so as during his mid-March visit to France.
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Naoto Kan is interviewed during his visit with anti-nuclear activists in Flamanville, France.
Kan was in Normandy, France at the same time that its president, Emmanuel Macron, was promoting his country’s deeply flawed EPR reactors in India, an irony that was not lost on his audience. His visit was hosted by two of the leading anti-nuclear organizations in the region — CRILAN and Collectif anti-nucléaire Ouest.
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Naoto Kan with CRILAN’s Didier Anger, one of France’s best known anti-nuclear activists.
Kan came right to Flamanville, the site of the French “flagship” EPR, the very one Macron was flogging in India. Flamanville 3, now fast approaching hot testing, has become a disaster of epic proportions in which nothing has gone right, from a faulty concrete pour for the foundation to the flawed forging of essential safety components. It is massively over-budget and years behind schedule.
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At least 400 people packed an evening event featuring Naoto Kan.
Kan’s Normandy itinerary included a public event that drew 400 people along with a press conference. But he also walked the talk, literally, visiting the beach where the first occupations occurred against the first two Flamanville reactors; a site where activists planted granite headstones in memory of the “unknown irradiated”; and the La Hague reprocessing site. After learning about the latter, Kan vowed to campaign to stop the opening of the long in the works Rokkasho reprocessing facility in Japan.
 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Downplaying: Hokkaido METI bureau requested changes to nuclear energy part of high school lecture

7 april 2018
The image on the left shows a March 2011 hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant originally used in the lecture materials, while the image on the right shows the materials after alterations had been made, adding photos of disasters from other energy sources alongside the hydrogen explosion photo.
 
SAPPORO — High-ranking officials from the local bureau of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) requested that an assistant professor change an October 2017 lecture to high school students pointing out the dangers of nuclear power, it has been learned.
 
“We will review our operations so as not to cause misunderstandings,” stated industry minister Hiroshige Seko regarding the request by the Hokkaido Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry.
 
The lecture at Hokkaido Niseko High School in the prefectural town of Niseko was on energy issues. The school had been chosen by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, an industry ministry-affiliated body, as a model for energy education last academic year, and the lecture by Hokkaido University assistant professor Sadamu Yamagata was supported by a government grant.
 
According to multiple sources close to the matter, Yamagata sent his lecture materials to the school beforehand to be printed, and the school handed the documents over to METI’s Hokkaido bureau at the latter’s request. Two high-ranking officials from the bureau then visited Yamagata and requested that he make changes to a section of the materials explaining the dangers and costs of nuclear power, illustrated with a photo of the aftermath of a hydrogen explosion at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
 
The officials told Yamagata that this was “only one perspective” and that called it “impression manipulation.”
 
Yamagata added the statement, “natural energy is not necessarily 100 percent safe” along with a photo of a collapsed windmill, but did not comply with the request to change the section about nuclear energy.
 
“I found it uncomfortable that (the request for changes) was focused on nuclear power,” Yamagata told the Mainichi Shimbun. Hokkaido Niseko High School principal Noboru Baba said, “The lecture content was good. I don’t know if there was intrusion (by the ministry) into education.” However, residents who were aware of what had happened view the flow of events as meddling by the government in education, and the Niseko Municipal Government has held three meetings to explain the situation to locals.
Industry minister Seko told a post-Cabinet meeting news conference on April 6, “It’s common sense that the government takes responsibility for the content of an agency-commissioned program, but with the focus (by the bureau officials) only on nuclear energy, misunderstandings can arise easily.”
 
The incident comes on the heels of criticism of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology for pressuring the Nagoya Municipal Board of Education by requesting a report about a lecture given by former vice minister of education Kihei Maekawa.
 
But how should the Hokkaido case be understood? The class taught by Maekawa was set up by the school and the Nagoya education board, completely independently of the central government. On the other hand, the Hokkaido case was funded by a central government grant, and Japan’s stance has so far been that funding gives related government bodies a say in how the monies are used.
 
The Hokkaido bureau’s Natural Resources, Energy and Environment Department denied intervening, telling the Mainichi, “The purpose was to show both the merits and demerits of all types of energy sources, and if the lecture had hypothetically been extremely critical of natural energy resources, the same request for alternations would have been made. If only the shortcomings of nuclear energy are presented while ignoring the benefits, that is a problem.”
 
However, experts are critical. Hokkaido University emeritus professor Yoichi Anezaki said, “The case of the education ministry requesting a report of Maekawa’s class was also problematic, but in this case with the industry ministry, which plays a key role in nuclear power policies, requesting that a section pointing out the issues with nuclear energy be changed, it’s an intrusion into education by authority and is much worse. It’s tantamount to censorship.”
 
“The belief that just because the government provided the grant, it means that it can have its say on the content of education doesn’t make sense,” said Kyoto University of Art and Design professor and former education ministry bureaucrat Ken Terawaki. “If we allow for this, then it means that it’s fine for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Ministry of Defense the necessity of military affairs in the classroom. Intrusion into education is a serious matter.”
 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Few return to Fukushima schools after evacuation lifted

Fourteen public elementary and junior high schools in five municipalities near the Fukushima Daiichi NPP reopened their doors in April for the first time in seven years, but only 135 youngsters showed up. The figure represents just 3 percent of the 4,000 or so children who were enrolled at 21 local schools prior to the disaster…
Those municipalities where evacuation orders were lifted refurbished school buildings and constructed new swimming pools and gymnasiums to attract more children…
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Three first-graders gather at their classroom on April 6 in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture, after a ceremony welcoming them to the elementary school.
 
Near-empty classrooms marked the start of the new academic year in municipalities where evacuation orders dating from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were recently lifted.
 
Fourteen public elementary and junior high schools in five municipalities reopened their doors in April for the first time in seven years, but only 135 youngsters showed up.
 
The figure represents just 3 percent of the 4,000 or so children who were enrolled at 21 local schools prior to the disaster.
The low return rate highlights the daunting task for officials trying to revitalize local communities, given fears that an absence of children offers only murky prospects of survival.
 
Municipalities where evacuation orders were lifted refurbished school buildings and constructed new swimming polls and gymnasiums to attract more children.
 
Schools reopened in Namie, Tomioka, Iitate and the Yamakiya district of Kawamata, where evacuation orders were lifted in spring 2017 with the exception of difficult-to-return zones, as well as in Katsurao, where most of the village was deemed safe to return to in 2016.
 
Those municipalities had set up temporary schools at locations where many residents evacuated.
 
After the lifting of the evacuation orders, the percentage of residents who have returned to their former communities range from 3.5 percent in Namie to 33.9 percent in Kawamata.
Most of the returnees are senior citizens.
 
Younger residents apparently are reluctant to return due to lingering concerns about radiation and also because many have made a fresh start in the areas where they moved to after the disaster.
 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Contractor skimmed pay of Vietnamese trainees doing Fukushima cleanup work

waste
TOKYO — A construction firm siphoned off the danger allowances of Vietnamese technical trainees it sent to do cleanup work in the Fukushima nuclear disaster area, the Environment Ministry announced on April 6.
 
The firm, which assigned the technical trainees to radioactive decontamination and home demolition work, used false wage records in explaining that the allowances had been paid. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is investigating the firm for suspected violations of the Labor Standards Act.
 
The foreign trainee system is intended to bring foreign workers from developing countries to Japan to learn technical skills.
 
The Environment Ministry has confirmed that the construction firm skimmed off the trainees’ danger allowances in 2016 and 2017, when they worked at a demolition site in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture.
 
One of the trainees spoke about the pay-skimming at a news conference on March 14 this year. However, the construction firm had given Environment Ministry investigators the falsified wage records, and Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa stated on March 27 that the danger allowances had been paid.
 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Arbitration ends for Fukushima damages claim

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April 6, 2018
A government body has given up trying to arbitrate between Tokyo Electric Power Company and more than 15,000 people seeking higher monthly compensation for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
 
It was the largest arbitration case involving the nuclear accident.
 
Namie Town in Fukushima Prefecture filed a petition with the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center in 2013, on behalf of residents who were forced to evacuate after the disaster.
 
More than 15,000, or about 70 percent of the town’s population, signed the petition to demand more compensation from TEPCO, the operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
 
TEPCO’s monthly payment for each Namie resident was calculated at 100,000 yen, or about 934 dollars.
In March 2014, the dispute resolution center offered an arbitration plan that called for raising this amount by 50 percent. The town agreed to accept it.
 
But TEPCO maintains that increasing the compensation would have a significant impact on other evacuees. The center has repeatedly asked the utility to accept the plan.
 
On Friday, the dispute resolution center told the town of its decision to end the arbitration process.
 
The claimants are expected to consider whether to file a lawsuit against TEPCO. The town says more than 800 of the claimants are now dead.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Seven years later: Contradictory responses to Fukushima

Nuclear safety is an oxymore, shut them all down!
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On March 11, 2011, the one-two punch from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunami wave it triggered left workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan powerless to prevent three reactors from melting down. In March 2017, the Japan Center for Economic Research estimated that the cleanup cost could range from $470 billion to $658 billion.
The conclusions Japanese and U.S. institutions made about why the Fukushima facility was so vulnerable to such an accident were strikingly similar. The commission created by Japan’s National Diet concluded that its “root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions.”
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee that investigated the accident similarly concluded “that regulatory agencies were not independent and were subject to regulatory capture.” According to the NAS report, regulatory capture is “the processes by which regulated entities manipulate regulators to put their interests ahead of public interests.” It found that the plant’s owner “manipulated the cozy relationship with the regulators to take the teeth out of regulations.”
 
In response to the accident, Japan established an agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority. The NRA is not a clone of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), but it clearly is patterned after the U.S. agency, adopting many of its principles and policies to safeguard public health and safety.
Now, in an odd nuclear safety yin and yang, while Japan’s NRA strives to beef up its role as an effective, independent regulator, the NRC is backsliding towards becoming a cozy captive enforcing toothless regulations.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NRC upgraded nuclear plant security. The upgrades included increasing the frequency of “force-on-force” tests, which determine whether security staff can thwart an assault on a plant. A team of mock intruders visited each operating nuclear plant at least once every three years and simulated four sabotage attempts against the plant’s gates, guards and guns.
The force-on-force tests either demonstrated security was sufficient or identified weaknesses for correction before actual intruders could exploit them. But plant owners complained about the cost, so the NRC has reduced the number of force-on-force exercises from four to one and is even considering allowing the plant owners to conduct the tests themselves.
Plant owners also complain about the high cost of NRC safety inspections and have targeted some of the NRC’s most important inspections, such as of fire protection measures, for replacement with self-assessments.
Nuclear dentistry last year involving the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona removed teeth from regulatory requirements. One of the two backup emergency power supplies for Palo Verde’s Unit 3 reactor blew up during a test. The plant’s NRC license allowed the reactor to continue operating for as long as 10 days with its backup power capability diminished. The repairs would take considerably longer than 10 days, however, so the plant owner asked the NRC for permission to continue operating for as long as 62 days. Despite the fact that NRC safety protocols prevent the agency from even considering requests for longer than 14 days, the NRC not only considered it, it granted it.
Granting the request also contradicted a formal agreement between the NRC and industry limiting how long a reactor can operate with less than the minimum amount of safety equipment specified in its operating license to 30 days. The agreement termed the 30-day limit a safety backstop, but it did not stop the agency from allowing the Palo Verde reactor to operate unsafely for twice that long.
It is admirable that the new Japanese nuclear power regulator is seeking to improve its safety oversight capability. But it is unfathomable that in the United States, the NRC is retreating from the regulatory front. There’s no doubt that uncompromising, effective regulation is not cheap. But Fukushima reminded the world of what was already well-known — that ineffective safety oversight can cost far more.
Americans deserve — and need — the nuclear regulator toward which Japan is striving.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Journalists, bloggers to be scrutinised by U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Homeland Security to Compile Database of Journalists, Bloggershttps://biglawbusiness.com/homeland-security-to-compile-database-of-journalists-bloggers/  By Cary O’Reilly – Bloomberg Government April 5, 2018

  • Seeks contractor that can monitor 290,000 global news sources

• ‘Media influencer’ database to note `sentiment’ of coverage


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to monitor hundreds of thousands of news sources around the world and compile a database of journalists, editors, foreign correspondents, and bloggers to identify top “media influencers.”

It’s seeking a contractor that can help it monitor traditional news sources as well as social media and identify “any and all” coverage related to the agency or a particular event, according to a request for information released April 3.

The data to be collected includes a publication’s “sentiment” as well as geographical spread, top posters, languages, momentum, and circulation. No value for the contract was disclosed.

“Services shall provide media comparison tools, design and rebranding tools, communication tools, and the ability to identify top media influencers,” according to the statement. DHS agencies have “a critical need to incorporate these functions into their programs in order to better reach federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners,” it said.

The DHS wants to track more than 290,000 global news sources, including online, print, broadcast, cable, and radio, as well as trade and industry publications, local, national and international outlets, and social media, according to the documents. It also wants the ability to track media coverage in more than 100 languages including Arabic, Chinese, and Russian, with instant translation of articles into English.

The request comes amid heightened concern about accuracy in media and the potential for foreigners to influence U.S. elections and policy through “fake news.” Nineteen lawmakers including Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month, asking whether Qatar-based Al Jazeera should register as a foreign agent because it “often directly undermines” U.S. interests with favorable coverage of Hamas, Hezbollah and al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

The DHS request says the selected vendor will set up an online “media influence database” giving users the ability to browse based on location, beat, and type of influence. For each influencer found, “present contact details and any other information that could be relevant, including publications this influencer writes for, and an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer.”

A department spokesman didn’t immediately return a phone call and email seeking comment.

Responses are due April 13. Seven companies, mainly minority- or women-owned small businesses, have already expressed interest in becoming a vendor for the contract, according to the FedBizOpps web site.

— With assistance from Daniel Snyder

To contact the reporter on this story: Cary O’Reilly in Washington atcoreilly@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Loren Duggan atlduggan@bgov.com; Robin Meszoly at rmeszoly@bgov.com; Theresa Barry attbarry@bgov.com

April 9, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties | 1 Comment

Deutsche Welle Expose Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons Link

Marianne Wildart, 8 Apr 18In this recent article the German News outlet  ‘Deutsche Welle’ expose the link between civil nuclear and nuclear weapons.  Nuclear ‘energy’ is a political choice.

……….A study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland simulating the costs of the global transition to renewables and found that a 100-percent renewable energy system would be cheaper that what we have today.

The disposal of nuclear waste is still controversial, especially in the U.K.

Fell, meanwhile, has documented the explosion of nuclear powers costs, as well as the security concerns over new nuclear reactors.

Yet India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK remain committed to building new nuclear power plants. And Fell sees a motive for this that has nothing to do with securing an affordable energy supply. “The main driving force behind the new nuclear reactors are nuclear weapons, and the desire for nuclear weapons,” he told DW.

Scientists at the University of Sussex have come to a similar conclusion. In their study of British nuclear policy they attribute the construction of new reactors to cross-funding with military nuclear programs. They argue that maintaining nuclear power programs and expertise at the expense of electricity customers has the advantage of relieving the defense budget….    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/331643/posts/1820643667 

 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No wonder that nuclear company AREVA changed its name (to ORANO): former director indicted for corruption.

Le Monde 7th April 2018, Acquisition of Uramin: the former director of the Areva mines indicted for  “corruption” The former director of the Areva mines has been indicted in Paris for “corruption” in the investigation of the acquisition of the mining company Uramin in 2007.

Areva, now Orano, had paid 1.8 billion euros to acquire the Canadian Uramin, but the exploitation of the three deposits
of the company in Namibia , South Africa and Central Africa had proved much more difficult than expected. The operation had turned into a financial chasm and had forced Areva, at the end of 2011, to provision 1.5 billion euros.
http://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2018/04/07/rachat-d-uramin-l-ex-directeur-des-mines-d-areva-mis-en-examen-pour-corruption_5282269_1653578.html

April 9, 2018 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Demolition of plutonium processing plant stalled due to radiation risks to workers

Danger from radiation shuts down nuclear plant demolition in Washington state, WLWT5,  
NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, 8 Apr 18, 
Seven decades after making key portions of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are being exposed to radiation as they tear down buildings that helped create the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Dozens of workers demolishing a plutonium processing plant from the 1940s have inhaled or ingested radioactive particles in the past year, and even carried some of that radiation into their vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The incidents have prompted the federal government, along with state regulators, to halt the demolition of the sprawling Plutonium Finishing Plant until a safe plan can be developed.

The contamination has also shaken confidence in a massive cleanup of Hanford, the nation’s most polluted nuclear weapons production site. The work costs the federal Treasury around $2 billion a year. Hanford is near the city of Richland, about 200 miles southeast of Seattle.

“This is a very disturbing set of incidents,” said Tom Carpenter, head of the Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge.

The Energy Department, which owns Hanford, has launched an independent investigation into the spread of radiation at the plant. The investigation will be conducted by an agency office that is not connected to work at Hanford.

Radioactive particles are known to have contaminated 42 workers, which led to the shutdown of demolition, the agency has said.

Carpenter said widespread worker contamination has been rare at Hanford in recent decades. Plutonium production ended in the 1980s and the site in 1989 switched its focus to cleanup of nuclear wastes.

“It’s one of the more serious events to happen in the age of cleanup at Hanford,” Carpenter said. “There have been other incidents, but none rose to the level of plutonium contamination of this many people and private vehicles and being found miles and miles away.”

A union representing some Hanford workers said it was closely monitoring the situation…..http://www.wlwt.com/article/danger-from-radiation-shuts-down-nuclear-plant-demolition-in-washington-state/19712632

 

April 9, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Through “back channels”, secret talks go on between USA and North Korea

Secret, direct talks underway between US and North Korea, By Elise LabottKevin Liptak and Jenna McLaughlin, CNN, April 7, 2018  Washington  The United States and North Korea have been holding secret, direct talks to prepare for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, a sign that planning for the highly anticipated meeting is progressing, several administration officials familiar with the discussions tell CNN.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa: confusion and uncertainty over costly nuclear deal

Uncertainty mounts over costly nuclear deal https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/uncertainty-mounts-over-costly-nuclear-deal-14317275  SUNDAY INDEPENDENT / 8 APRIL 2018,  SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI   Cape Town – South Africa’s decision on the nuclear programme is likely to be clarified in the next two weeks when Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe briefs Parliament on whether it’s officially off the table or not.

Portfolio committee on energy chairperson Fikile Majola said on Saturday Radebe would appear before the committee in the week of April 17 to talk about independent power producers (IPP), the nuclear energy programme and the sale of the country’s oil reserves.

Majola said he did not know if a definite decision had been made to scrap the nuclear programme, but Radebe would shed light on this then.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in Davos, Switzerland, in January the programme was off the table.

This was followed by statements from former finance minister Malusi Gigaba and his successor Nhlanhla Nene to the effect that the nuclear project was unaffordable.

But Majola said he was not aware that nuclear energy was off the table.

“The committee is not aware of what is going to happen besides what the president has said.”

The government signed several agreements this week with the IPPs amounting to R55.6 billion. But this elicited an angry response from the National Union of Mineworkers and National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

When the matter was in the High Court in the Western Cape, Radebe said there would not be any nuclear deal until the matter had been brought before Parliament.

However, Ramaphosa has said it was off the table and did not even mention it in his State of the Nation Address.

Russian energy firm Rosatom told Independent Media recently it was still bidding for nuclear contracts and had not heard anything from the government.

Rosatom has signed multiple agreements in Africa to deliver nuclear energy. In Egypt the Russians bagged a nuclear deal worth $30 billion (R360 billion), with $25bn of it to be vendor financing.

This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin was in Turkey to sign another nuclear deal.

The Russians are to build a nuclear plant on the coast of Turkey. This followed an agreement signed a few years ago.

Head of Rosatom in southern Africa Viktor Polikarpov said recently the company was in Ghana and was moving into East Africa.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

International Energy Agency underestimates renewable energy

Is the IEA underestimating renewables? Spreading nuclear weapons cost, DW, 26 Mar 18   Gero Rueter  Scenarios from the International Energy Agency (IEA) have failed to predict the growth of renewables and overestimated the role of nuclear. Critics say that’s a political choice.

Last year, the world’s photovoltaic power capacity overtook nuclear for the first time – reaching 402 gigawatts, compared to 353 (GW). Wind power outstripped nuclear back in 2014, and by the end of 2017 amounted to 539 GW.

According to the World Wind Energy Association, 2017 saw the installation of 52.6 GW of new wind capacity. The latest estimates from Solar Power Europe put PV capacity installed in that year at 98.9 GW.

New nuclear power facilities going online were modest in comparison – amounting to just 2.7 GW, according to Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Report.

Back in 2010, you might not have predicted such a shift in the global energy mix – at least, not if you were basing your predictions on the International Energy Agency’s annual Word Energy Outlook (WEO), which estimated annual deployment of less than 10 GW of photovoltaic capacity.

According to this scenario, globally installed solar capacity would hit around 85 GW last year – 315 GW less than the actual figure.

Critics say this is part of a pattern of the IEA consistently underestimating the growth of renewables while making unrealistic assumptions about the development of nuclear.

The 2010 WEO estimated that nuclear capacity would reach 470 GW by the end of 2017, over 110 GW more than the current global figure.

And that imbalance has, according to a 2015 study, has continued in subsequent annual WEOs from the IEA, which ignores facts such as “climate protection and divestment of finance from the conventional energy sector.”

Political bias?

Claudia Kemfert, head of the German Institute for Economic Research’s energy and environment department, told DW the IEA has underestimated drop in renewable power costs, as well as the cost of nuclear and fossil alternatives.

“Probably for political and economic reasons, neither the external costs of fossil fuels nor the cost increases of nuclear energy have been factored in,” Kemfert said. “The fossil fuel and nuclear industries have an interest in artificially exaggerating the cost of renewables in order to influence policy in their favor.”

Sven Teske of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at Sydney University, an advisor to the International Panel on Climate Change, told DW he’d been told unofficially that how much nuclear power was included in IEA scenarios was “basically dictated.”

Hans-Josef Fell, president of the Energy Watch Group, says the IEA acts “on behalf of the OECD governments that ultimately oversee it,” and reflects their ongoing commitment to the fossil fuels sector.

And that has serious consequences, Fell says. “It is likely these scenarios are a major culprit in the global community’s failure to put a sufficiently intensive focus on renewable energy over the last ten to 20 years,” he told DW. “It paints a picture of renewables as too expensive and unable to expand fast enough.”…………http://www.dw.com/en/is-the-iea-underestimating-renewables/a-43137071

April 9, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

China and South Korea at odds over first step in nuclear crisis talks

SCMP, 07 April, 2018, Beijing wants to ensure it has a major role in reining in Pyongyang’s nuclear programme while Seoul prefers a process built around US talks with the two Koreas, the Posthas learned…….http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2140694/platform-talks-north-korea-nuclear-crisis-divides-china

April 9, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment