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Fukushima Daiichi Looks Drowned

From Majia Nadesan’s Blog — August 23, 2018

“I realize this series of posts on Fukushima Daiichi’s webcam imagery may seem tiresome to some readers. However, I’ve been watching the plant for 7 years and am very aware of changes in emissions patterns.

Today the plant looks drowned, especially as viewed through the cam focused on units 1 and 2:



Yesterday: index1


Yesterday I noted that the lens has some sort of “stuff” on it but that alone does not explain the higher level of emissions that are visible on both cams and during day time hours (see my post from yesterday and screenshot of cam 4).

The weather in Fukushima presently is 82F, 42% chance of precipitation, with 84% humidity, which are pretty typical.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an article in their print edition titled, “New Challenge to ‘Abenomics’ Rises in Japan” (8/22/2018 p. A9) that begins with the following text:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies have benefited the titans of business with whom he likes to play golf but have left millions of people behind, said a former defense minister [Shigeru Ishiba] who is making a long-shot bid to lead the ruling party.

This sense that many of today’s leaders are detached from the needs of “the people” because of their close alliances with “the titans of business” is not restricted to Japan.

Our time for fixing catastrophic risks, such as those posed by Fukushima Daiichi, is limited and elapsing.

As Rome burned and as the Titanic sank, the majority of elites were distracted by their privilege until they too went down with their wrecked domains….”


August 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | 1 Comment

Making nuclear waste has to be stopped

Special credits to Roger Bristol, Marius Paul and Leonard J. Siebert
August 22, 2018
Roger Bristol —  “Structural materials become neutron activated resulting in radioactive iron, cobalt, and nickel. I am not sure where the chlorine comes from. Carbon is from neutron activation of air and in the stainless steel reactor vessel. Tritium is a fission product and comes from neutron activation of deuterium naturally occurring in cooling water. Thorium and protactinium are decay products of fuel. Uranium-232 comes from neutron activation of a decay product of uranium. Neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium come from successive neutron absorption of fuel. When uranium is struck with a neutron sometimes it fission and sometimes becomes a new nuclide.
The Ci is a unit of radioactivity. 1 Ci = 37,000,000,000 decays per second. Radium has a half-life of 1,602 years. The unit is based on the radioactivity of one gram of radium. To get the number of grams you would take the half-life and divide by 1,602 times the number of Ci and then multiply by the atomic weight divided by the atomic weight of radium (226).
l Graphite is used as a moderator in some reactors. To purify to graphite of neutron absorbing impurities chlorine is used leaving a residue of chlorine-35. Neutron activation creates the radioactive chlorine-36. Probably the weapons grade plutonium breeder reactors used graphite I suspect.”
Marius Paul — “Two other important topics about radioactivity:
(1) Half-lives can be deceptive, as some radioactive materials become more radioactive as time goes on, not less. Examples include radon gas and depleted #uranium. Even irradiated nuclear fuel, which decreases in radioactivity for the first 50,000 years, eventually increases in radiotoxicity after that period of time. Plutonium has a 24,000 year half-life, but when it disintegrates it is transformed into another radioactive element with a 700 million years half life. So half-lives can be deceptive.
(2) Some radioactive materials are very difficult to detect, even in a well-equipped nuclear plant, because they give off non-penetrating alpha or beta radiation – yet they can be extraordinarily dangerous. Examples are beta-emitting carbon-14 dust, which workers at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station tracked into their homes in the 1980s, and alpha-emitting #plutonium dust, which over 500 contract workers inhaled on a daily basis for almost three weeks at Bruce in 2009.”
Leonard J. Siebert — “One of the delights for me as I continue to attempt to educate people about Fukushima, is the sheer amount of both ignorance and erroneous information on the subject that plagues humanity.
One of the most laughable premises was that Plutonium, a transuranic element, exists in nature and people shouldn’t be alarmed by it.
Seriously, the article was published in a scientific periodical and while it was later retracted; the damage was done and I hear the comment repeated to this day by the Pro-nuke factions.
So in what will another subject for people to attack me about, question my expertise and accuse me of ‘fear mongering’; I will attempt to relate the facts in layman’s terms and even do so entertainingly.
In many of the reports I post about Fukushima and even in the media, the word ‘Transuranic’ or ‘transuranium’ often appears.
Now I get questioned all the time by ‘experts’ that love to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. However they usually take the tact of asking me basic physics or nuclear energy questions. It is not my goal to teach physics to anyone, plus that would take a lifetime to bring everyone up to the same understanding of the science with my statements. For me that is a waste of time and I have spent too many hours explaining processes that should be apparent to even a high school student in General Science, perhaps the ignorance in the science is a result of common core or too much Star Trek techno-babble; I cannot say. So I am only going to focus on terms, used in the media that are important for you to know. I will do my best to define them in a none bias manner but anyone with a REAL understanding of nuclear energy, knows that it is not clean, cheap, efficient, green or safe.
“Nuclear power is one HELL of a way to boil water.”- Albert Einstein. (He meant that with full irony for the fools he was addressing for even suggesting that idea, sadly the fools controlled the purse strings.)
So what is Transuranium?
I have to assume that chemistry managed to seep into your education and that you at least have heard of the Periodic Table of elements. (Please tell me you know the difference between an element and a compound, if you don’t; you need to look up element. This is one of the difficult things about writing anything about science, I have no clue how much you grasp.) On the Periodic Table elements are arranged from lightest (Hydrogen {H} atomic number 1) to the ‘current’ heaviest (Ununoctium {Uuo} atomic number 118). It is the ‘atomic number’ that defines what is Transuranium, anything with an atomic number below 93 is a natural element; anything with an atomic number above 92 (Uranium’s atomic number hence ‘Transuranium’) is an ‘artificially’ made element. So even though people love to affix the prefix ‘trans’ to many different aspects such a gender or race; it actually is a concrete term from Latin, meaning: Beyond, across or over.
All Transuranium elements are radioactive, unstable and decay into other elements, usually just as unstable and equally radioactive as the decay process can last eons. While I use the term ‘artificially’, I have qualify that with ‘on earth’. All of the elements with higher atomic numbers, however, have been first discovered in the laboratory, with neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium and californium later also discovered in nature. They are all radioactive, with a half-life much shorter than the age of the Earth, so any atoms of these elements, if they ever were present at the Earth’s formation, have long since decayed. What the reader should take from this is the plan truth; the earth was becoming less radioactive, before we started splitting atoms.
Enrico Fermi discovered that the nucleus of most atoms could absorb a neutron or neutrons thus changing the element into a new atom in 1933. It wasn’t until 1940 that Edwin McMillan successfully produced Neptunium ({Np} atomic number 93) and 1941 that Glen Seaborg produced Plutonium ({Pu} atomic number 94) that things really started to stink. (See what I did there ‘Pu’; come-on this is really dry material, I have to make it fun to read.)
Now don’t start thinking that only transuranium elements are the only radioactive ones out there, because that would be dead wrong. Uranium is of course radioactive as is Radium ({Ra} atomic number 88), Polonium ({Po} atomic number 84), and Tritium ({H3} one of the Hydrogen isotopes). There are of course more many being isotopes like Carbon 14, the one we use for ‘carbon dating’ but it needs to be understood that all these elements and isotopes were in a constant state of decay here on earth. While nature does produce some of them in limited or small amounts, it was not until we began monkeying with fission, that they are now being created all too commonly.
My thesis here is part of a broader picture that I refer to as ‘Baseline Background’. What it states is that any increase in acceptable ionizing radiation; must be compared to the ‘pre-artificial fission’ of the Chicago Pile because every background measurement after that up until today, is artificially fortified by the folly of nuclear energy in use today.
Plain truth be known, the world is becoming increasingly radioactive and its exponential and showing no signs of letting up. You cannot adapt to it, you will not become a mutant nor can or will any other life on this blue marble. On the microbiological scale, you have already passed the point of no return, on the bio-magnification scale you have sealed the fates of yourselves and your children and Fukushima was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
For those who laugh and say; ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ and continue on nuclear energy’s present course; dying of cancer is not a condemnation I would wish on my worst enemy. Yet, you are worthy of your reward for you lack of foresight.”

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Nuclear | , | 1 Comment

Watchdog says TEPCO nuclear disaster drill ‘unacceptable’

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An emergency drill at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture
August 22, 2018
The government’s nuclear watchdog slammed Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s efforts as “unacceptable” in communicating with nuclear authorities during an emergency drill held at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant.
TEPCO, operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, was among three utilities to receive the lowest of the three-level scores in terms of ability to share information expediently and accurately, the Nuclear Regulation Authority said July 25.
It was the first time for the company to be given the lowest score on communication skills in a yearly drill.
“It is unacceptable that TEPCO received a low rating, given that it was responsible for the Fukushima disaster,” an NRA official said. “TEPCO appears to be too compartmentalized for its relevant sections to work together and share information.”
The NRA is set to instruct the company to hold additional drills at the plant, which is located in Niigata Prefecture, if it receives another low rating.
The utility was slow in relaying information to the watchdog, and its briefing on its handling of the mock accident was inadequate, according to the NRA’s report.
“We could not respond sufficiently because the envisioned accident was harsh,” said Kiyoto Ishikawa, the chief of the plant’s publicity department, at a news conference.
The drill in question was carried out in March under the scenario of coping with a serious accident.
It involved difficult procedures to cope with a failure in the communication system to send such critical information as the pressure level in the reactors’ containment vessels to the NRA. Operators also simulated a string of maneuvers of the venting system to lower pressure inside the No. 6 reactor that suffered core damage.
“We had to deal with a tough situation because it proceeded with less time allotted for us than in a real accident,” Ishikawa said. “We are determined to make more efforts and improve our standing.”
The NRA’s assessment comes at a time when TEPCO seeks to bring the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant back on line in the near future to save expensive fuel costs incurred by the operation of its thermal power plants.
With seven reactors, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant is the largest in Japan. It is the only nuclear complex for TEPCO to turn to as it proceeds with decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear plants.
The two reactors have cleared the screenings by the NRA under the stricter reactor regulations put in place following the 2011 Fukushima triple meltdown.
The other plants that were rated on par with the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in the evaluation of emergency drills were Hokuriku Electric Power Co.’s Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture and Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka plant in Shizuoka Prefecture.
In the case of the Shika plant, Hokuriku Electric’s in-house information sharing system got bogged down, making it impossible for the NRA to remain in the communication loop.
In total, 10 operators of nuclear power plants carried out emergency drills.
The NRA considers it vital for the operator of a nuclear plant to share accurate information on the accident since the prime minister declares a “nuclear emergency” based on the NRA’s report.
In the Fukushima disaster, TEPCO had trouble passing on information on the unfolding nuclear crisis with the government swiftly and accurately, resulting in confusion.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

The nuclear establishment cannot be trusted on radiation

“The conventional approach of averaging the energy transfer from radioactive decay events across a whole organ or the entire body is like emptying a rifle into a football stadium and averaging the effects of the 6 bullets across all the 25,000 spectators. The assumption that between them 25,000 people should be able to stop six bullets without any of them feeling more than a tap on the arm will not console the six grieving families. In this example, the 25,000 spectators are the cells of an organ. The six bullets are like six alpha particles. By the averaging model, the energy from the velocity of the bullets is treated as equally distributed to all who feel no more than a tap as a result. But this model simply does not reflect the reality, that the full energy is absorbed by only six spectators but with catastrophic consequences for them. In terms of biological effect, it makes no sense to speak of the impact of six alpha particles distributed over 25,000 cells. Only the individual cells hit will suffer biological damage. The remainder will escape unscathed. The dose is not received by the whole organ. It is absorbed completely by only a handful of cells.”
21st August 2018
When it comes to questions about the safety or not of releasing radioactive particles into the environment the Nuclear Power industry is economical with the truth but get away with it because the mass media tends to accept what they are told and if anyone disagrees they are called scaremongers who don’t understand the science. They delight in pointing out that many of those who oppose them are not scientists but that is hypocritical as their own pronouncements about radiation risks are very poor science. I am sure they will point out that I am not a scientist so my arguments can be dismissed but it is up to you the reader to decide that.
I am a teacher, not a science teacher but a law teacher so evidence is something that I regard as very important and coherent arguments matter to me. I am a long-term anti-Nuclear power activist and I have written this article to teach people about radiation and, in order to teach it properly, I want to explain it in a clear way that people can understand. So, while I am not a “Scientist” I really do understand radiation because I have been studying it for  over three decades and the purpose of this article is to explain why the Nuclear Power establishment’s views on the safety or not of radiation are wrong.
The Nuclear Power industry created the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) to set the safety standards of the Nuclear Power industry in terms of what they call safe or unsafe “doses” of radiation. Because the Nuclear Power establishment, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sets international safety limits those limits are essentially self-regulation of their own industry and it is not the independent body that many ill-informed people assume it is – but that’s not their fault because the IAEA prefers to keep the public in the dark and not be too closely questioned. They do not like it when people point out that the problem with the IAEA and ICRP’s definition of a safe dose of radiation is that is deeply flawed because it based on old and outdated scientific assumptions.
Radiation does not affect inanimate objects in the same way as living things such as plants and animals. To put it in a more traditionally scientific way, physics and biology are two different sciences and the ways in which they interact means that the way in which radiation was quantified by physicists does not fit the reality of life as studied by biologists.
But the Nuclear Industry’s concept of a “safe dose” of radioactivity, widely accepted by the mainstream media is a very old and out-dated argument which is why it can no longer be blindly accepted as sufficient because science has moved on since it was first put forward, and it is of no use when applied to genetics which was only discovered in the early 1950s.
The IAEA conceptual model for quantifying a radiation dose is that it means the quantity of energy absorbed by matter is treated as if it is uniformly distributed throughout the mass that absorbs it, i.e., the energy is “averaged” over the entire mass. To do this makes perfect sense within the mathematically oriented discipline of physics. However, this model is woefully inadequate when transferred into the discipline of biology where averaging energy over a mass of living cellular material is, in many instances, a useless concept for determining the biological effect.
This quantitative model that was first developed introduced clarity into people’s thinking about radiation’s interaction with matter and so successful was this approach that it influenced all future thinking on the subject of radiation protection. According to this model, the biological effects of radiation were proportional to the amount of energy absorbed by the target, whether this was a particular organ or the body as a whole.
Radiation protection was given a scientific footing that would allow it to keep pace with the revolution that was taking place in nuclear physics and in the new world created by the Manhattan Project, to build nuclear weapons, which required Nuclear Power stations to provide the basics necessary. The first Nuclear Power station in the UK, at Calderhall, was very inefficient in producing electricity but it was primarily built in order to develop the UK’s nuclear weapons.
But a subtle flaw lay at the heart of the initial model of safe doses of radiation because it was all built upon the unfounded assumption that biological effects of radiation depended solely on the amount of energy absorbed. What made perfect sense from the point of view of the physicist was not in harmony with basic biological realities.
At first, this wasn’t apparent. Only in the latter part of the 1950s, after new fundamental discoveries were made in biology, did the major shortcomings to the model begin to intrude into what was already orthodoxy in radiation physics. Thus, the physics-based model — which was hugely successful in advancing radiation research — turned out in time to have been a conceptual blunder that blinded many to a true understanding of the biological effects of radiation. More significant is the fact that it continues to blind the understanding of people today, even people who have spent years of study on the subject.
At low doses, the equivalent energy delivered by x-rays or gamma rays externally and that delivered by alpha and beta particles internally produce different patterns of chemical disruption to individual cells. As a result, low dose effects from external irradiation cannot be used to predict effects from internal contamination.
Radiation comes in three forms – alpha, beta and gamma. Gamma radiation has the highest penetrative power and has to be encased in thick steel and concrete to prevent it from leaking. Beta radiation is less penetrative and alpha decay comes last as it cannot pass through a piece of paper which is why the Nuclear Power industry regards it as safe. However, alpha particles can cause damage even if they have the lowest penetration power among the three because, if they enter the human body by us breathing them in or if we eat something that is contaminated by them then there are very real dangers.
This was known a century ago when it became obvious that workers painting luminous Radium on the faces of clocks, watches and compasses to make them glow in the dark. World War 1 boosted demand and through the following decades, hundreds of girls and women were employed to paint dials and pointers. They would routinely put the tips of their paint brushes between their lips to obtain a fine point for the trickier numerals but by 1923 it was clear that the Radium they ingested was causing dreadful, agonising and frequently fatal illnesses.
Radium (which emits alpha particles) mostly lodges in bone, so the diseases affected the blood-forming function of the women’s bone marrow, leading to anaemia. Those with higher body burdens had ulcers and their bones were weakened to the point where vertebrae collapsed and legs would break spontaneously. The first deaths directly attributed to Radium Necrosis came in 1925. Court cases, compensation payments and improved workplace practices followed starting with a ban on licking brushes.
The simple conclusion that, dose for dose, internal emitters may produce a more negative biological effect than external irradiation is a disaster for the nuclear establishment and they lose the plot when confronted by it. Using external irradiation as a model, the physicists of the Manhattan Project argued that internal emitters would produce the same biological effect for the same amount of energy deposited by radioactive decay (with consideration given to the quality factor of each type of radiation). To capture this energy transfer in their mathematical calculations, the energy transmitted by alpha and beta particles during radioactive decay was averaged over the entire mass of the target organ to yield an organ dose.
Unfortunately, the IAEA continues to this day to insist that this is the proper way of calculating dosages from internal emitters. Alpha particles on average traverse no more than 30 to 40 microns, approximately 3 to 4 cell diameters but that is the point – it is at the level of the cell where radiation effects become significant, not over large masses of tissue. When emitted from an atom undergoing radioactive decay, these particles travel along discrete tracks within a small volume of cells. Biological damage is produced within individual cells along these particle tracks. While in transit, they initiate the ionization of molecules only along their path of travel, either hitting vital molecular cellular structures, such as the DNA molecule, or missing them altogether. Not all cells within the range of the particle are affected. Biological alteration occurs only in those cells that are hit by the particle. Cells that are missed by the particle suffer no injury. With internal emitters, the unit of interest for gauging biological effects is individual cells, not whole masses of tissue.
This is particularly true for the induction of a cancer. Cancers arise from mutations within a single cell. This being the case, averaging the effect of a particle over an entire mass is ludicrous. Being a hit or miss phenomenon involving individual cells, how can the effect of an alpha or beta particle be averaged over the entire organ?
The conventional approach of averaging the energy transfer from radioactive decay events across a whole organ or the entire body is like emptying a rifle into a football stadium and averaging the effects of the 6 bullets across all the 25,000 spectators. The assumption that between them 25,000 people should be able to stop six bullets without any of them feeling more than a tap on the arm will not console the six grieving families. In this example, the 25,000 spectators are the cells of an organ. The six bullets are like six alpha particles. By the averaging model, the energy from the velocity of the bullets is treated as equally distributed to all who feel no more than a tap as a result. But this model simply does not reflect the reality, that the full energy is absorbed by only six spectators but with catastrophic consequences for them. In terms of biological effect, it makes no sense to speak of the impact of six alpha particles distributed over 25,000 cells. Only the individual cells hit will suffer biological damage. The remainder will escape unscathed. The dose is not received by the whole organ. It is absorbed completely by only a handful of cells.
The IAEA assumption, made long ago,  that external and internal radiation produce the same biological effects has never been validated and is now regarded as an unsubstantiated theory that is deeply flawed. For many years I have heard the Nuclear establishment use this deeply flawed science in a hypocritical way by arguing that when large amounts of leukemia is found in children near Nuclear Power stations that it cannot be because of the Nuclear power station, because the dose released by that station is too low to be the cause. The biased use of poor science by the Nuclear power establishment in a circular fashion can produce ridiculous results that well illustrates why they cannot be trusted.
This became obvious after the Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster in 1986 when huge amounts of radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere over Europe. While the 2005 IAEA report predicted that only 4,000 additional deaths would result from the Chernobyl accident, the most recently published figures indicate that in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine alone, the accident resulted in an estimated 200,000 additional deaths between 1990 and 2004.
When it comes to safety and internal radiation doses, the European Committee on Radiation Risk (ECRR) has, in recent years, identified it as a serious misuse of scientific method in the extension and application of the traditional model. Such a process involves deductive reasoning. It falsely uses data from one set of conditions — high-level, acute, external exposure — to model low-level, chronic, internal exposure. The procedure is scientifically bankrupt, and were it not for political consideration, would have been rejected long ago, according to the ECRR.
It is high time that politicians caught up with the realities of life and realised that the Nuclear Power establishment are hoodwinking them about the safety or not of radiation. That is particularly true when it comes to them making decisions which concerns the release of radioactive particles into the atmosphere as if they accept their assertions without having advice from independent scientists then they are gambling with people’s lives.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Nuclear | , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima to maintain radiation monitoring budget

August 23, 2018
Japan’s nuclear regulatory body has reversed a plan to remove some of the radiation monitoring posts in Fukushima Prefecture.
Shoji Takeyama, a section chief of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, revealed this at a meeting of residents of Miharu Town in Fukushima Prefecture on Wednesday.
He also said the body will demand the same budget for the monitoring posts in the fiscal year that begins next April.
About 3,000 monitoring posts were set up across the prefecture after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011.
About 600 million yen, or roughly 5.4 million dollars, has been earmarked annually to maintain the posts.
The authority said in March that it would remove 2,400 monitoring posts over the next 3 years from locations where radiation levels have dropped, except for areas where evacuation orders remain in place.
But local residents protested the plan, and none of the monitoring posts have been removed so far.
If the budget demand is approved, all the posts are expected to be retained through the next fiscal year.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | 3 Comments

TEPCO seeks nuclear power industry tie-up with key players

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Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant
August 22, 2018
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, has begun talks with the nuclear industry’s key players about a possible tie-up for maintenance and management services and decommissioning of reactors.
The company is in discussions with Chubu Electric Power Co., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp., according to sources.
If the talks go well, a consolidation of the nuclear industry could be in the cards, the sources said.
TEPCO seeks to restart two of the seven reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture in the near future. Both are boiling water reactors, the same type as those that are to be decommissioned at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
TEPCO operates 11 boiling water reactors, seven of which are located at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant. The remainder are located at the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant.
However, the utility announced in June it would pull the plug on the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant, which suffered damage in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and narrowly escaped a serious disaster like at its sister plant.
Chubu Electric also operates three boiling water reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear plant in Shizuoka Prefecture. The plant’s two other reactors are in the process of decommissioning.
Hitachi and Toshiba were both involved in the design and construction of those reactors.
The four parties seek to streamline their nuclear energy operations through cooperation in maintenance and management services as well as safety management of their facilities after the restarts of their reactors.
Utilities today face an exceedingly higher price tag for bolstering safety precautions at their plants that are required under the stricter new reactor regulations put in place in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 disaster.
With none of their reactors back online, TEPCO and Chubu Electric fell behind other utilities.
Kansai Electric Power Co. and other operators of pressurized water reactors have restarted their plants.
Meanwhile, work to decommission reactors is looming large for TEPCO and other utilities, as many reactors are aging and nearing their 40-year life span.
The four companies are also expected to discuss possible construction of new nuclear plants in the coming years.
TEPCO plans to call on other electric power companies to join a consortium it seeks to set up in fiscal 2020 in connection with its project to construct the Higashidori nuclear plant in Aomori Prefecture. The construction of the facility has been suspended since the quake and tsunami.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Despite Putin’s boasts, loss at sea, and test failures in ‘invulnerable’ nuclear-powered missile

Putin lost his supposedly ‘invulnerable’ nuclear-powered missile at sea — now he has to go find it, Ryan Pickrell , Business Insider US Aug 26, 2018 

  • Russia is gearing up to search for a missing nuclear-powered cruise missile that was lost at sea during a failed test-fire last year.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has boasted about the weapon’s advanced capabilities, but all tests have reportedly ended in failure.
  • While the missile is supposed to be able to fly indefinitely, its nuclear-powered core has yet to initiate to allow it to do that.

Russia lost a nuclear-powered missile during a failed test last year, and now Moscow is gearing up to go find it, according to CNBC, citing people familiar with a relevant US intelligence report.

Proudly claiming that the world will “listen to us now”, Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted in early March that his country had developed a new nuclear-powered cruise missile with unlimited range, but each of the four tests between November 2017 and February reportedly ended in failure, according to reports from May.

“The low-flying, stealth cruise missile with a nuclear warhead with a practically unlimited range, unpredictable flight path and the ability to bypass interception lines is invulnerable to all existing and future missile defence and air defence systems,” Putin claimed. “No one in the world has anything like it,” he added.

The reports from testing don’t support the Russian president’s claims.

The longest recorded flight, according to US assessments, lasted only a little over two minutes. Flying just 35km, the missile spun out of control and crashed. In each case, the nuclear-powered core of the experimental cruise missile failed, preventing the weapon from achieving the indefinite flight and unlimited range the Russian president bragged about.

The tests were apparently conducted at the request of senior Kremlin officials despite the protests of Russian engineers who argued that the platform was not ready for testing. Russian media reports claim the weapon will be ready to deploy in ten years.

During one weapons test in November of last year, the missile crashed into the Barents Sea. Three ships, one with the ability to handle radioactive material, will take part in the search operations, which have yet to be officially scheduled.

Experts are concerned about the possibility that the missile may be leaking radioactive nuclear material. The missile is suspected to rely on gasoline for takeoff but switch to nuclear power once in flight.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Climate change is real. We must not offer credibility to those who deny it

If ‘balance’ means giving voice to those who deny the reality of human-triggered climate change, we will not take part in the debate, say Jonathan Porritt, Caroline Lucas, Clive Lewisand 57 other writers, politicians and academics

We are no longer willing to lend our credibility to debates over whether or not climate change is real. It is real. We need to act now or the consequences will be catastrophic. In the interests of “balance”, the media often feels the need to include those who outright deny the reality of human-triggered climate change.

Balance implies equal weight. But this then creates a false equivalence between an overwhelming scientific consensus and a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow doubt to serve those interests. Yes, of course scientific consensus should be open to challenge – but with better science, not with spin and nonsense. We urgently need to move the debate on to how we address the causes and effects of dangerous climate change – because that’s where common sense demands our attention and efforts should be.

Fringe voices will protest about “free speech”. No one should prevent them from expressing their views, whether held cynically or misguidedly. However, no one is obliged to provide them with a platform, much less to appear alongside them to give the misleading impression that there is something substantive to debate. When there is an article on smoking, newspapers and broadcasters no longer include lobbyists claiming there are no links to cancer. When there’s a round-the-world yacht race we don’t hear flat-earthers given airtime: “This is madness; they’ll sail off the edge!”

There’s a workable model for covering fringe views – which is to treat them as such. They don’t need to be ridiculed, just expected to challenge the evidence with better evidence, and otherwise ignored. As campaigners and thinkers who are led by science and the precautionary principle, and who wish to debate the real and vital issues arising from human-triggered climate change, we will not assist in creating the impression that climate denial should be taken seriously by lending credence to its proponents, by entertaining ideas that lack any basis in fact. Therefore we will no longer debate those who deny that human-caused climate change is real. There are plenty of vital debates to be had around climate chaos and what to do about it; this is simply no longer one of them. We urge broadcasters to move on, as we are doing.

Jonathon Porritt Chair, Sustainable Development Commission 2000-11  Continue reading

August 27, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Following Chernobyl, Britain’s District Councils’ information role was limited to PR for the government

**Chernobyl & Sellafield**  Slugger O’Toole 26th Aug 2018 , The Chernobyl disaster released fission products into the atmosphere above the Ukrainian nuclear power plant on 25 and 26 April 1986 which drifted over the Soviet Union and Europe scattering radioactive contamination.
In the months and years that followed, UK government working groups wrote reports on “the Lessons of Chernobyl”.
“After some initial problems” officials in Northern Ireland were “closely involved” with the working party as it drew up plans to build a radiation monitoring network (RIMNET) to automate the measurement of radioactivity in the air at stations across the UK to aid the response to “peace time nuclear accidents”.
Official papers released under the 20 year rule in file NIO/28/2/44A [PDF] indicate that the Northern Ireland Office wished to site automated monitoring stations in Aldergrove; Silent Valley; Ballinrees; Castle Archdale; They also desired the continuous measurement of radioactivity levels in drinking water in key locations – the Silent Valley reservoir and at a DOE Water Extraction Plant at Dunore Point on Lough Neagh – which “provide the vast majority of the Northern Ireland
population with drinking water”.
If you head down to the Public Records Office you can check out file NIO/28/2/44A and read how the Secretary of
State Tom King’s office responded to a letter from the clerk of Omagh District Council In November 1987 who wrote “on behalf of a convocation of Councils … pledged to achieving the closure of the Sellafield Nuclear Complex”.
On the one hand … Mr S McKillop described the press release which accompanied the letter as “tendentious and unconstructively critical of government policy as regards nuclear installations generally” and prepared a draft response.
On the other … the official did concede that the council “does however raise a relevant practical issue as
regards the necessity, post Chernobyl of reviewing emergency planning procedures and the role of District Councils in the process”. However, he concluded that “it is difficult to identify any significant role for them within the monitoring or scientific assessment aspects of the Contingency Plan” and suggested that “their input may be confined mainly to a P/R
advisory role where indeed their access and proximity to the general public could prove a most valuable asset”.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s emergency drill envisages nuclear accidents at multiple locations

NHK 25th Aug 2018 , Emergency crews and residents in central Japan began a major disaster drill
on Saturday that is the first exercise of its kind. The 2-day drill is
being held at 2 nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture. The Cabinet
Office planned the exercise to prepare for accidents striking multiple
locations at the same time. The drill is based on a scenario of an
earthquake causing the Ohi and Takahama Plants to lose power, stopping the
plant cooling systems and releasing nuclear substances. The 2 plants are
located 13 kilometers from each other.

Mainichi 25th Aug 2018

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Black Mist Burnt Country: art under the nuclear cloud of Maralinga, By Karen Hardy 24 August 2018 On September 27, 1956, the British exploded an atomic bomb on Pitjantjatjara land in South Australia. The place would become known as Maralinga, which means “thunder” in the now-extinct Garik Aboriginal language.

Black Mist Burnt Country tells the stories of the atomic tests in Australia in the 1950s and ’60s, revisiting the events and locations through the artworks of Indigenous and non-Indigenous contemporary artists across the mediums of painting, print-making, sculpture, photography, video and new media.

Now showing at the National Museum of Australia, it has been touring with great success since September 2016, opening then to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first test at Maralinga.

Curator JD Mittman, from the Burrinja Dandenong Ranges Cultural Centre, grew up “under the nuclear cloud” in Germany during the 1980s and when he came to Australia he was surprised to learn there had been atomic tests here.

In the collection of the small community arts centre he found a large canvas work by Jonathan Kumintjarra Brown entitled Maralinga Before the Atomic Test.

The question for me was what did ‘after’ look like?”

When he began his research he was surprised to find so many works concerning Australia’s place in the nuclear race.

Artist Arthur Boyd participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 1960s and his Jonah on the Shoalhaven – Outside the City (1976), features a tiny mushroom cloud, blending biblical imagery with contemporary landscape and personal symbolism.

Sidney Nolan’s Central Desert: Atomic Test (1952-57) is part of a classic series of desert landscapes Nolan began in the late 1940s. He added a mushroom cloud on the horizon at a later date.

“This exhibition doesn’t look at any one artist’s body of work,” says Mittman, “but displays how varied the approaches were, how different the perspectives were, and what the original stories were.

“Every generation has taken a different approach.”

There are large canvases by Kumintjarra Brown, one Frogmen, shows three men in masks and protective suits, another Black Rain tells the tragic story of a group of Anangu people who were found huddled together, dead, in a crater near the bomb site.

Mittman says it’s important for Australians, particularly generations who may not have even heard of the testing, let alone those of us to whom Maralinga is a familiar word but were unaware of such details as then prime minister Robert Menzies did not even consult cabinet when he gave permission to begin the testing.

“And it’s not just a story of the past,” he says.

“There is great concern among the indigenous community, and I don’t want to speak on their behalf, about the ongoing repercussions of the testing on country.

“And it’s even more than that, the multi-media work from Linda Dement and Jessie Boylan builds a bridge between the past and the present. “There are 15,000 warheads in the world at present, many of them on planes, in submarines, ready to strike within minutes.

“The Cold War might have ended but the nuclear threat has not gone away.”

He says it’s somewhat fitting that the exhibition opens in Canberra in the same week the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons protest arrives in Canberra heading to parliament to urge politicians to ratify the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

Black Mist Burnt Country at the National Museum of Australia until November 18.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, culture and arts | Leave a comment

Scepticism, even among pro-nukers, about Russia’s much boasted floating nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Power Plant of the Future May Be Floating Near Russia, NYT 26 Aug 26   18  “………some environmental groups — even those open to a role for nuclear power as a substitute for traditional power plants — are skeptical.

For one, they are not convinced by Rosatom’s assurances of safety. Critics worry that during a tsunami, the 21,000-ton steel structure might not ride out the wave. In a worst-case scenario, they say, it would instead be torn from its moorings and sent barreling inland, plowing through buildings until it landed, steaming and dented and with two active reactors on board, well away from its source of coolant.

In such a case, Rosatom says, a backup power source and coolant on board would prevent the reactors from melting down, at least for the first 24 hours. “During this time we would consider what to do,” said Dmitri Alekseyenko, the deputy director for Rosatom’s floating reactor program. Regulators in the United States, however, require on-land reactors to operate for 72 hours in an emergency shutdown without external water supplies.

And the fact that the technology is well tested in Russian ships gives critics little solace, given a long history of spills and accidents involving nuclear-powered submarines and icebreakers operated by the Soviet and Russian navies.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviet Union dumped reactors in the Kara Sea, in the Arctic Ocean north of Kola Bay. Russian nuclear submarines sank in 1989 and 2000, while one Russian nuclear icebreaker caught fire in 2011 and the reactor on another leaked radiation that year, according to Bellona, a Norwegian environmental group.

“The question is, would clients of Russia be comfortable with something like this being parked right at a pier in a major city?” Matthew McKinzie, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, said in a telephone interview.

A Greenpeace sailboat tailed the Akademik Lomonosov on its maiden voyage from a shipyard in St. Petersburg to Murmansk, where it will be fueled, flying a banner in English saying: “Floating Nuclear Reactor? Srsly?”  ….

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Russia, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Russian official threatens use of nuclear weapons in Syria

World War 3 fears: Russia threaten NUCLEAR WEAPONS to Syria in response to US sanctions RUSSIA may deploy nuclear weapons to Syria in response to the US policy of imposing sanctions over Moscow crossing “red lines”, a senior Russian lawmaker has warned. Sunday Express, By MATT DRAKE  Aug 26, 2018 Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy head of the economic policy committee of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, said it is time for Russia to draw its own red lines.

Among such measures, the official said the deployment of Russian tactical nukes in countries such as Syria, the use of gold-linked cryptocurrencies for Russian arms exports and the suspension of a number of treaties with the US – such as non-proliferation of missile technologies.

Mr Gutenev said: “I believe that now Russia has to draw its own ‘red lines.’ “The time has come to ponder on variants of asymmetric response to the US, which are now being suggested by experts and are intended not only to offset their sanctions but also to do some retaliatory damage.

Vladimir Gutenev, first deputy head of the economic policy committee of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, said it is time for Russia to draw its own red lines.

Among such measures, the official said the deployment of Russian tactical nukes in countries such as Syria, the use of gold-linked cryptocurrencies for Russian arms exports and the suspension of a number of treaties with the US – such as non-proliferation of missile technologies.

Mr Gutenev said: “I believe that now Russia has to draw its own ‘red lines.’

“The time has come to ponder on variants of asymmetric response to the US, which are now being suggested by experts and are intended not only to offset their sanctions but also to do some retaliatory damage.

“It’s no secret that serious pressure is being put on Russia, and it will only get worse.

“It is intended to deal a blow to defence cooperation, including defence exports.”

The minister added that Russia should follow the advice of “experts” and follow the US’ example of deploying nuclear weapons in other countries.

He added: “We should follow the advice of certain experts, who say that Russia should possibly suspend the implementation of treaties on non-proliferation of missile technologies, and also follow the US example and start deploying our tactical nuclear weapons in foreign countries.

“It is possible that Syria, where we have a well-protected airbase, may become one of those countries.”……….

August 27, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Syria, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nobody wants to pay the $4.7 Billion Nuclear Bill for South Carolina’s abandoned nuclear project

The $4.7 Billion Nuclear Bill That No One Wants to Pay  Utility and South Carolina lawmakers clash over who should pick up the costs of abandoned project, WSJ By  Mengqi Sun, 26 Aug 18 

Aug. 25, 2018 The primary owner of a power plant with two partially built nuclear reactors in South Carolina walked away from the $9 billion project last summer because of high construction costs and delays. Now no one wants to pay for it.

The utility overseeing the Virgil C. Summer plant is asking ratepayers across the Palmetto State to shoulder its construction expenses of $4.7 billion, citing a law passed last decade. But local lawmakers are trying to force South Carolina Electric and Gas Co to pick up more of the tab. … (subscribers only)


August 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 1 Comment