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Putin’s warning on “chaos” if there are further strikes on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin warns of global ‘chaos’ if West strikes Syria again, ABC News 16 Apr 18,   Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.

Key points:

  • Vladimir Putin said further attacks on Syria will bring “chaos” in world affairs
  • America accused Russia of blocking attempts to investigate Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities
  • New sanctions against Russia will target companies linked to Syria

In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Mr Putin and Mr Rouhani agreed the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.

“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the UN Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” the Kremlin statement said.

The warnings come as US President Donald Trump’s aides announced plans for new economic sanctions against Russia for enabling the regime of Bashar al-Assad……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-16/russias-putin-warns-global-chaos-if-west-strikes-syria-again/9661662

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April 16, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Australia’s bushfires threatening nuclear reactor: Changing the name of a suburb helps the government keep this quiet.

Lucas Heights nuclear reactor: The untold threat of the Sydney bushfires.  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401 

As fires raged in Sydney, there has not been a peep out of the mainstream media about the fire hazard to Lucas Heights nuclear complex. Noel Wauchope reports. 

THE LATEST news on the bushfires raging in Sydney’s south-west is that the firefighters are “cautiously optimistic” and that emergency warning advice has been downgraded to “watch and act”.

However, the fire continues to burn in an easterly direction towards Barden Ridge and weather conditions are still dodgy, as Sydney’s record-breaking heatwave looks like coming to an end.

It’s been an anxious time — the fire has burned over 2,400 hectares. On Sunday (15 April), more than 500 firefighters in almost 100 fire trucks, along with 15 aircraft, battled the blaze throughout the day. Residents were told that it was too late to leave their homes. Heat from the bushfires was impacting the high voltage lines. There is very little rain forecast over the next few days.

So, it has all been a worry. But you wouldn’t know, would you, that the fire is so close to the Lucas Heights nuclear complex? The latest maps shown on The Guardian and NSW Rural Fire Service websites don’t really show how close this fire is getting to Lucas Heights. I have previously written about the safety hazards of Lucas Heights, with its reactor, cooling pond and accumulation of nuclear wastes — the amount of which is not publicly available.

The fires have reached about four kilometres from Lucas Heights. Embers carried by wind can form spot fires well ahead of the firefront — even up to 20 kilometres away. In the dense and rugged bushland, with predicted west to north-west winds up to 30 kilometres per hour – not forgetting that bushfires create their own weather systems – is not that hazardous to the nuclear complex?

But we don’t hear a word about this. What makes the silence easier, is that the residential area previously part of Lucas Heights was renamed Barden Ridge in 1996 to increase the real estate value of the area, as it would no longer be instantly associated with the High Flux Australian Reactor (HIFAR) — and now the Opal nuclear reactor.

Of course, now, because of the name change, there’s no public awareness that Australia’s nuclear reactor is anywhere near the fires. You can bet that the government wants to keep us all in blissful ignorance.

What we do know, is that fires are certainly a hazard to nuclear sites and there is the possibility of radiation release across a wide area, if fire invades a nuclear complex, with the fuel rods in cooling pools at great risk. When fires do happen near a nuclear site, there may be a security panic going on but that is not communicated to the public.

There have been wildfires threatening nuclear sites –  in Russia, Europe, California –  the pattern is to downplay, to not mention, the nuclear danger. The publicity pattern is always to ignore the radiation hazard.  For example:

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.” Like monitoring is going to help or they’re going to share their data. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos even though they were “monitoring” – comment by  Helen Helen Mary Caldicott and Henry Peters, on this article:  Wildfire burning in former Nevada nuclear site.

And from this one:   Russia emergency minister threatens to ‘deal with’ those spreading radiation ‘rumours’ about wildfires in contaminated areas

Whenever there have been wildfires threatening nuclear sites – in Russia, Europe or the U.S. – the pattern is to downplay, to not mention, the nuclear danger. The publicity pattern is always to ignore the radiation hazard.

For example during the recent Californian wildfires:

“It’s being fought by security site fire crews, with help from a helicopter able to detect any aerial release of radiation.”

As though any amount of monitoring is going to help or that any data would be publicly shared. Not a peep about the radiation numbers during the fires in and around Los Alamos, even though they were “monitoring” it.

And in the case of this fire in Russia, the emergency minister threatened to “deal with” those who spread radiation “rumours”:

For the current Sydney bushfires, it seems as though there will have been a lucky escape for the communities, despite the fact that two giant aircraft, the DC10 Nancybird and the C130 Hercules “Thor” — normally used for aerial water bombing — were not available to help fight the Sydney fire, having been sent back to the U.S., because by March, the fire risk is supposed to be over.

It will have been a much luckier escape that they realised if the nuclear complex remains unscathed — this time!  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/sydney-bushfires-raged-towards-lucas-heights-nuclear-reactor,11401

April 16, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety | Leave a comment

EDF’s “suicidal” business strategy of prolonging nuclear power, despite EDF’s heavy debts

Alternatives Economiques 12th April 2018 , [Machine Translation]

EDF has just presented its long-term energy strategy
to the board of directors. While the cost of solar and wind energy is
falling every year – it is already half the price of new nuclear power –
Belgium confirms its exit from  that it does not intend to close a
nuclear reactor, except those in Fessenhenuclear power in 2025 and that Portugal has covered in March more than 100% of its electricity needs by renewables ources, EDF defies its main shareholder, the State, and stubbornly in the nuclear everything.

The group confirms , before 2029, jeopardizing its
profitability and viability with surplus electricity that will drive down
sales prices for producers. The programs of control of the energy demand
and the development of renewable energies will lead to a mechanical
reduction of the share of the nuclear energy in the French energy mix”.

Faced with the risk of the “cliff effect”, with the end of life at the same
time many nuclear reactors built at the same time, But EDF does not hear it
that way. In financial difficulties with debt that has almost tripled in
ten years, gross operating surplus to the lowest since 2006 and a wall of
investment coming nearly 160 billion over ten years 1 , the company s
‘Heading into a suicidal strategy: prolonging nuclear reactors as much as
possible. There is no outlet for this generation of electricity while
consumption has been decreasing in France for several years and renewables
are developing? EDF invents the myth of massive exports to neighboring
countries!  https://www.alternatives-economiques.fr/anne-bringault/edf-saborde-transition-energetique/000841

April 16, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Unsafe development of Belarus nuclear power plant

Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Lithuania 13th April 2018 , The Astravets NPP project in Belarus is being developed in non-compliance
with international standards of environmental and nuclear safety, with
recurrent serious violations, repetitive incidences on the construction
site of Astravets NPP, poor occupational safety culture, lack of competence
and expertise in the project development process on the part of nuclear
safety regulatory authority and organisations in charge of construction
works of Astravets NPP.

The project is accompanied by persistent manipulations with international instruments and public opinion in Belarus
and neighbouring countries.

Lithuania has been raising these concerns ever since 2009 in all competent international organisations (International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nuclear Safety and Espoo Conventions, Aarhus
and Helsinki Water Conventions, in organisations of the European Union and
European Nuclear Safety Organisation (WENRA, ENSREG), the United Nations
and other organisations). Until now issues regarding safety at the
Astravets NPP raised by Lithuania and possible negative impact on Lithuania
and the entire region, including Belarus, remain unresolved.
http://urm.lt/default/en/news/fundamental-problems-of-the-astravets-nuclear-power-plant-under-construction-in-belarus-

April 16, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Nuke plant seized after sea contaminated 

Near Matera  (ANSA) – Potenza, April 13 – An Italian nuclear plant in the process of being decommissioned was impounded Friday after the nearby sea was found to be contaminated. The ITREC plant at Rotondella near Matera in Basilicata was found to be pouring contaminated run-off water into the Ionian Sea.
Three water collection tanks and the run-off pipe were seized in a probe by Potenza prosecutors.
Possible charges in the case are environmental pollution, misrepresentation, illegal waste disposal and illegal waste trafficking, judicial sources said……http://www.ansa.it/english/news/general_news/2018/04/13/nuke-plant-seized-after-sea-contaminated-4_ccf1d514-352a-4efb-8b42-1f61bf3f97e4.html

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Italy, oceans | Leave a comment

West Cumbria plea against Lake District being targetted for nuclear waste

Cumbria Trust 14th April 2018, The following letter from Tim Knowles, the former Chair of the last search
process (MRWS), appears in the current issue of The Whitehaven News.

Despite previously appearing to be in direct opposition to Cumbria
Trust’s stance, there now seems to be a lot of common ground between us.
Tim appears to share our scepticism that the new search process is a
national one, when the real target is expected to be West Cumbria again.

Not one single local authority of the UK beyond West Cumbria volunteered
during MRWS, and despite hints from RWM and BEIS that there are a number of
interested parties, we would be surprised if they are more than wishful
thinking.

Tim also makes the point that the funds being offered to the
community for taking part in the process are low by international
standards. As Eddie Martin, the former Leader of Cumbria County Council has
frequently pointed out, we only have to look at the state of West Cumbria,
with its Victorian railway system, poor roads and inadequate hospital and
education facilities to see how much to believe promises of community
benefits.

This area has been exposed to a great deal of risk from housing
the nation’s nuclear waste for two generations and has received almost
nothing in return. Why should we believe that it would be different this
time?

It is interesting to hear that that Tim understands that Trudy
Harrison MP, Copeland Mayor Mike Starkie and DBEIS Minister Richard
Harrington have been discussing an offshore Copeland site, presumably with
tunnel access from Sellafield. In the new search process, the offshore
strip available has been extended from 5km to 20km, and this is potentially
very significant, since it is likely to include areas far enough from the
Cumbrian mountains to have relatively low groundwater flow.

Cumbria Trust discussed the potential of offshore Copeland here and while we have had
expert advice that West Cumbria does not contain an adequate onshore site,
we accept that it is possible that a good site may be found further
offshore. If Copeland is going to volunteer itself again, we would
encourage them to volunteer offshore Copeland alone.

We hope and expect that they have enough common sense to exclude the Lake District National
Park from day one. It employs far more people than the nuclear industry, it
generates more income for Cumbria and it is a World Heritage Site. The
coastal strip outside the park is geologically similar to the failed
Longlands Farm Nirex site, so that only leaves offshore Copeland.

April 16, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Trump is being urged by Electric Power Supply Association to reject bailout for coal, nuclear

Power plant owners press Trump to reject bailout for coal, nuclear, Washington Examiner by John Siciliano, April 13, 2018 Power plant owners are urging President Trump to reject a plea by a Ohio power provider to save its fleet of coal and nuclear plants that are slated to shut down in the next three years, saying it would be legally wrong and jeopardize his America First agenda.

April 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Contractors siphoned 1.6 million yen off pay of Vietnamese trainees sent to Fukushima

waste
TOKYO — Construction firms skimmed roughly 1.6 million yen off the danger allowances of three Vietnamese technical trainees they sent to do cleanup work in the Fukushima nuclear disaster area over a period of seven months, the Environment Ministry announced on April 12.
The ministry punished four firms over the finding, including the construction firm “Creation” in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, and a prime contractor. The firms were suspended from participating in bidding for public projects for one month from April 13.
According to the Environment Ministry, Creation skimmed up to 4,600 yen per day off trainees’ danger allowances from September to December 2016, and March to May 2017, when they were working at home demolition sites in Kawamata, Fukushima Prefecture.
(Japanese original by Kazuhiro Igarashi, Science & Environment News Department)

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima doctor visits elderly patients dressed as period drama characters

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Hiroaki Shinmura is seen dressed as Zenigata Heiji, a period drama character, visiting the home of a 91-year-old patient in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 8, 2018. A nurse, right, is also wearing a period costume.
 
IWAKI, Fukushima — A hospital director here has taken to visiting elderly patients dressed as period drama characters in an attempt to cheer them up.
Hiroaki Shinmura, 50, head of Tokiwakai Joban Hospital, tends to dress as the Zenigata Heiji character, an Edo-period policeman, when he makes his visits, but is happy to switch to other characters such as Toyama no Kin-san and Mito Komon in response to patients’ requests.
Female nurses also dress up and accompany Shinmura, as he tries to fulfill his dream of creating a community in which “elderly people would like to live.”
The prefectural city of Iwaki was heavily affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. In the aftermath of the disaster, water and electricity at Joban Hospital stopped running, putting the hospital under immense pressure. The number of dialysis patients at the hospital, which was about 700, was the largest in Fukushima Prefecture at the time.
A few years later, around 2015, Shinmura kicked off his costumed home visits, which he conducts once a month.
In one of his more recent visits, he went to the Iwaki home of a woman in her 80s, dressed as Zenigata Heiji and carrying the appropriate props — bringing a smile to the woman’s face as she greeted him at the door.
“How’s your condition?” Shinmura asked the woman. “The color of your face is healthy,” he told the woman’s husband, who jokingly replied, “The afterlife is full up. Apparently they don’t want us yet,” adding, “Your visits somehow manage to cheer us up.”
In the aftermath of 3.11, it became impossible to provide dialysis to patients at Joban Hospital, each of whom required the treatment three times a week. Shinmura took action and asked the Fukushima Prefectural Government as well as medical institutions across the prefecture to help out. However, the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster had put the entire prefecture in a state of confusion, prompting Shinmura to seek help in other prefectures. In the end, institutions and local governments in Tokyo, Chiba and Niigata prefectures accepted the dialysis patients and their relatives, and all the patients were saved.
The sight of the relieved patients was a turning point in Shinmura’s life. “I came to realize that life is transient and that infrastructure, which I previously considered to be very robust, is in fact fragile. It made me think that if there’s anything that can be done now, I should do it immediately.”
In late March 2011, Shinmura returned to Joban Hospital and examined a considerable number of patients including those who had evacuated from their homes following the power plant disaster. He noticed that there was a sadness and lack of vitality in the patients’ expressions. The number of patients with mobility issues increased, perhaps due to a reluctance to venture outside because of radiation fears, raising demand for home visits.
However, he noticed that visiting patients’ homes in white coats was not conducive to frank conversation, because it felt like they were at the hospital. Then one day, Shinmura had a “eureka” moment. He appeared in a period costume for an event for inpatients, who seemed delighted by the sight, and Shinmura slapped his knee, saying, “This is it!”
The realization prompted him to purchase kimonos, wigs and props from a firm specializing in stage costumes. He then got into character and discovered that visiting elderly patients’ homes dressed as Zenigata Heiji put the patients at ease and led to them talking about events in their daily lives. It also helped Shinmura understand his patients’ concerns, joys and lifestyle habits.
Around New Year’s, Shinmura tends to dress as the god of wealth, Daikokusama. When plum flowers blossom, he goes for Mito Komon and when cherry blossoms emerge, he opts for Toyama no Kin-san. In total, there are no fewer than 50 characters in his repertoire, which includes fairytale characters such as Kintaro.
In the aftermath of the Kumamoto Earthquake, in April 2016, Shinmura sent backup staff to clinics in the city of Kumamoto, partly to repay his gratitude for the support he received for his dialysis patients after the 3.11 disaster.
Even as this interview is taking place, Shinmura is on his way to do another home visit dressed in character. “Take care,” say hospital staff members and patients with a smile, as he heads for another period drama-style visit.
(Japanese original by Shinichi Kurita, Tokyo Regional News Department)

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Tepco Staffer Testifies in Court that Tepco Executives Put Off Tsunami Measures at Fukushima Plant

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In this March 11, 2011 photo provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co., a tsunami is seen just after striking the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant breakwater.
TEPCO staffer testifies execs put off tsunami measures at Fukushima plant
April 11, 2018
TOKYO — A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee testified in court here on April 10 that company executives decided to postpone tsunami prevention measures at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant despite an assessment warning that a massive wave could hit the power station.
Three former TEPCO executives including former Vice President Sakae Muto, 67, are on trial for professional negligence causing death and injury over the Fukushima nuclear crisis triggered by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The TEPCO employee’s statements at the trial’s fifth hearing were in line with the arguments of the court-appointed attorney acting for the prosecution.
Since 2007, the male employee had been part of an internal assessment group tasked with estimating the maximum height of tsunami which could strike the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
The group commissioned a TEPCO-affiliated company to estimate the size of potential tsunami, based on a long-term assessment made by the government’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion that a massive wave could be generated by a quake in the Japan Trench, including off Fukushima Prefecture. In 2008, the TEPCO subsidiary reported that tsunami as tall as 15.7 meters could hit the plant.
In the trial, the employee stated, “I thought that TEPCO should take the assessment into consideration in taking (earthquake and tsunami) countermeasures, as the assessment was supported by prominent seismologists.” He said he was so confident that the utility would take action that he emailed another working group at the company, “There will definitely be major renovations at the Fukushima No. 1 and other plants.”
When the employee reported the assessment result to Muto, the then vice president gave him instructions that could be interpreted as an order to prepare to build a levee. However, the employee testified that Muto later shifted policy and called for an investigation into whether the long-term tsunami risk assessment is correct rather than taking tsunami countermeasures.
“I thought they (TEPCO) would consider taking tsunami prevention measures, but they changed policy unexpectedly and I lost heart,” the employee told the court.
Along with Muto, former TEPCO President Tsunehisa Katsumata and Vice President Ichiro Takekuro were slapped with mandatory indictments in February 2016 after a decision by the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution. Since the trial’s first public hearing, the court-appointed lawyers for the prosecution have claimed that the executives put off tsunami countermeasures even though TEPCO staff tasked with estimating the maximum height of tsunami that could strike the Fukushima plant endeavored to address the threat. The defendants have argued that they did not put off the countermeasures.
(Japanese original by Ebo Ishiyama, City News Department, and Ei Okada, Science & Environment News Department)
 
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The 2011 tsunami damaged pumps at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
TEPCO worker: Boss scrapped tsunami wall for Fukushima plant
April 11, 2018
An employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co. testified in court that his boss abruptly ended preparations in 2008 to build a seawall to protect the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant from a towering tsunami.
“It was unexpected,” the employee said of former TEPCO Vice President Sakae Muto’s instructions during a hearing at the Tokyo District Court on April 10. “I was so disheartened that I have no recollection of what followed afterward at the meeting.”
Muto, 67, was deputy chief of the company’s nuclear power and plant siting division at the time.
He, along with Tsunehisa Katsumata, former TEPCO chairman, and Ichiro Takekuro, former TEPCO vice president, are now standing trial on charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury over the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
To prove negligence, prosecutors are trying to show that the top executives could have predicted the size of the tsunami that swamped the plant on March 11, 2011, resulting in the most serious nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The employee was a member of a team tasked with compiling steps against tsunami at the earthquake countermeasures center that the utility set up in November 2007.
He reported directly to Muto.
According to the employee, TEPCO was considering additional safeguards on the instructions of the then Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency for all nuclear plant operators to review their anti-earthquake measures.
The group weighed its options based on a long-term assessment of the probability of major earthquakes released by the science ministry’s Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion in 2002.
The assessment pointed out that Fukushima Prefecture could be hit by a major tsunami.
Some experts were skeptical about the assessment, given that there were no archives showing a towering tsunami ever striking the area.
But the employee told the court, “Members of the group reached a consensus that we should incorporate the long-term assessment” in devising countermeasures.
The group asked a TEPCO subsidiary to conduct a study on the maximum height of a tsunami on the basis of the assessment.
The subsidiary in March 2008 informed the group that a tsunami of “a maximum 15.7 meters” could hit the Fukushima plant.
The group reported that number to Muto in June that year.
Based on Muto’s instructions, the group studied procedures on obtaining a permit to build a seawall to protect the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to the employee.
But in July, Muto, without giving an explanation, told the group at a meeting that TEPCO will not adopt the 15.7-meter estimate, the employee said.
He said Muto’s decision stunned group members who had believed the company was moving to reinforce the plant.
The tsunami that caused the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant reached 15.5 meters.
But Muto and the two others on trial have pleaded not guilty, arguing that the 15.7-meter prediction was “nothing more than one estimate.”
Why the TEPCO management dropped the tsunami prediction will be the focus of future hearings.
Prosecutors had initially declined to press charges against the three former executives, citing insufficient evidence. However, a committee for the inquest of prosecution twice concluded that the three should be indicted.
Their trial began in June last year. Lawyers are acting as prosecutors in the case.
(This story was compiled from reports by Mikiharu Sugiura, Takuya Kitazawa and Senior Staff Writer Eisuke Sasaki.)

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Soil contamination data of East Japan.

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Everybody’s data site has examined each data collected by citizens all over Eastern Japan making efforts to verify each given data by taking measures over and over again, so as to publish reliable and verified soil contamination measures, thus revealing the country’s real radiation hidden numbers.
Http://data.minnanods.net/maps/zoommap/

April 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment