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Japan’s municipalities in growing rejection to hosting nuclear waste dumps

Assemblies make moves to reject playing host to nuclear waste By CHIAKI OGIHARA/ Staff WriterAugust 28, 2018 More local assemblies are taking measures to send a strong message to the central government not to bother asking them to host storage facilities for nuclear waste.The moves, in the form of ordinances, were accelerated after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in July 2017 released its Nationwide Map of Scientific Features for Geological Disposal that classified areas around Japan into four colors denoting their suitability as storage sites for nuclear waste.

Electric power companies are looking for land plots to construct an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. The central government is planning a final storage facility where high-level radioactive waste would be mixed with glass and vitrified before being buried more than 300 meters underground.

Twenty-two municipal assemblies now have ordinances that limit the entry of highly radioactive waste into their communities.

About half of the ordinances were adopted by 2005, followed by an extended period when concerns decreased about being chosen as a site for nuclear waste storage facilities.

But the release of the geological disposal map prompted five municipal assemblies to quickly adopt ordinances limiting the introduction of nuclear waste to their communities.

Dark green areas on the map show places deemed appropriate for hosting the final storage facility. They are all within 20 kilometers from the coast, have favorable geological features and are considered adequate for the transportation of waste.

About 900 municipalities fall into the dark green areas.

Light green areas on the map have favorable geological features but face problems in transporting the waste.

Orange areas are considered inappropriate from a geological standpoint, while silver areas are also deemed inappropriate because they have reserves of natural resources that could be mined in the future.

Between autumn 2017 and spring 2018, the village of Yamato and the towns of Higashi-Kushira and Kimotsuki–all in dark green areas in Kagoshima Prefecture–adopted ordinances to reject the acceptance of nuclear waste.

Two towns in Hokkaido passed similar ordinances. Biei, located in a light green area, took the action in April, while Urakawa, which lies mostly in a dark green area, adopted the ordinance in June.

Kagoshima Prefecture has the most municipalities–11–with such ordinances. In 2000 and 2001, six municipalities adopted the ordinances amid rising concerns that an interim spent fuel storage facility would be brought in. Between 2005 and 2015, four other municipalities followed suit.

The town of Yaku was among the first group, but its ordinance became invalid after it merged with Kami-Yaku to form the new town of Yakushima.

The Yakushima town assembly is now planning to submit an ordinance in its September session to reiterate its opposition to serving as a site for nuclear waste storage.

However, the law for nuclear waste storage would take legal precedence over any municipal ordinance, meaning that the local governments could still be asked to accept the nuclear waste.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan (NUMO) is in charge of the final nuclear waste storage project, and it has held explanatory meetings around Japan about the geological disposal map.

At those meetings, NUMO officials have stressed that it would not force a locality to accept nuclear waste if the prefectural governor or municipal mayor was opposed.

Still, Kohei Katsuyama, chairman of the Yamato village assembly in Kagoshima Prefecture, said the ordinance serves as a strong sign of the municipality’s stance of rejecting any idea of serving as host of a nuclear waste storage facility.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

France’s Environment Minister quits in protest about nuclear and climate policy

Popular French environment minister quits in blow to MacronLaurence FrostGeert De Clercq, PARIS (Reuters) 28 Aug 18 – French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on Tuesday in frustration over sluggish progress on climate goals and nuclear energy policy, dealing a major blow to President Emmanuel Macron’s already tarnished green credentials.

Hulot, a former TV presenter and green activist who consistently scored high in opinion polls, quit during a live radio interview following what he called an “accumulation of disappointments”.

“I don’t want to lie to myself any more, or create the illusion that we’re facing up to these challenges,” Hulot said on France Inter. “I have therefore decided to leave the government.”

Hulot was among Macron’s first ministerial appointments following his May 2017 election victory. His inclusion helped to sustain a green image France had earned 18 months earlier by brokering the Paris Agreement to combat global greenhouse emissions.

But the centrist president has watered down a series of campaign pledges on the environment, including a commitment to cut the share of nuclear power in French electricity to 50 percent by 2025 and boost renewable energy.

Those policy shifts have been a repeated source of frustration for Hulot. Since a post-election honeymoon period, they have been accompanied by a sharp slide in Macron’s ratings, which touched new lows after his bodyguard was filmed assaulting demonstrators last month.

……. Greenpeace France director Jean-Francois Julliard said that while Macron had “made some fine speeches” and stood up to U.S. President Donald Trump on climate change, he had “never turned these words to concrete action” at home……..

August 29, 2018 Posted by | France, politics | 1 Comment

South Korea’s nuclear corporation in desperate effort to save Moorside nuclear plant project 

Kepco in last-ditch attempt to save Moorside nuclear plant project Korean utility group looks at potential lenders to finance construction Sylvia Pfeifer in London, Song Jung-a in Seoul and Leo Lewis in Tokyo, 28 Aug 18

Korea Electric Power Corp is meeting lenders to finance the construction of a new nuclear power plant in west Cumbria, as it makes a last-ditch attempt to save the project. Kepco said it was “exchanging opinion with potential lenders” but noted that the Korean government, which owns a majority stake in the company, had said it was “too early” to enter financing negotiations. The South Korean group was named last December as the preferred bidder for Toshiba’s NuGen unit, which was to build the plant at Moorside. But the deal ran into problems after the UK announced in June that it was considering how the funding for new nuclear power plants should be structured. One model under review is for private investors to secure a return on a nuclear plant’s so-called regulated asset base (RAB). The following month, Toshiba said it was exploring alternative options for the business and had terminated Kepco’s preferred bidder status.

Toshiba has set a deadline to secure a deal by the end of September, according to people close to the negotiations. The company declined to comment. The persistent delays have prompted NuGen to review its operations. It started a 30-day consultation period at the start of August raising the prospect of about 100 job losses. Toshiba is believed to have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on developing the site so far. It was forced to pay close to $139m to buy a 40 per cent stake held by France’s Engie last year. The failure of the Moorside plant would deal a blow to the UK government’s plans to encourage the construction of new reactors to replace its ageing fleet.

A government spokesperson in Seoul confirmed the company had launched a joint study to ascertain whether the RAB model was “workable”. The Korean government is understood to remain keen to progress with the investment because it would give it a foothold in one of the few western nations backing the construction of new reactors. But it has said the investment must pass a “national audit” test before it can proceed.

Kepco wants to deploy two of its APR-1400 reactors at Moorside to generate a combined electricity of about 3GW — close to 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs. Kepco said it was “too early” to say whether it would be able to meet the criteria for the audit. A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said the government had “repeatedly engaged with Kepco and the government of the Republic of Korea both in Korea and the UK in support of ongoing Moorside negotiations”. “Ultimately, this remains a commercial matter between Toshiba and Kepco,” he added.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

The way that Donald Trump could start a nuclear war

Here’s how Donald Trump could start a nuclear war, Quartz, By Tim Fernholz, August 28, 2018 The more you know about nuclear weapons, the more worried you might be.

Jeffrey Lewis is an arms control expert and analyst of the high-stakes diplomacy conducted around North Korea’s nuclear program. He is also so worried about the future that he wrote a book explaining how easily Donald Trump could stumble into nuclear war.

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States, published by HMH on Aug. 7, is a work of speculative fiction that draws on deep factual knowledge. It is framed as the report of future government commission investigating a nuclear conflict that has left 1.4 million Americans dead, with Lewis acting as its rapporteur.

While Trump’s well-documented impulsiveness and shoddy policymaking process weigh heavily, Lewis does not depict the president’s character recklessly launching nuclear missiles at rivals. Instead, the reality depicted in The 2020 Commission demonstrates how the assumptions of all parties—the South Korean government, Kim Jong Un’s totalitarian state, and the US government—leave perilously little room for error.

Far more readable than your average government report, the story is centered on an all-too-believable scenario and I will avoid spoilers. By and large, the public—and perhaps many lawmakers—believe that North Korea cannot yet attack the US with a nuclear weapon, that US air defenses could stop it, and that clear, timely communication between all parties is possible. But three key factors at the heart of the story are also likely to be true in real life:

  • North Korea likely has nuclear weapons capable of striking not just South Korea and Japan, but also the US, contrary to claims by government officials that the country does not yet have a “reliable” way to launch its weapons.
  • The US missile defense system is unlikely to stop any nuclear missiles launched at the US, and the US military has little ability to prevent the launch of missiles from North Korea ahead of time.
  • The lack of clarity around each country’s motivation, particularly the psychology of Kim Jong Un, leaves a grey area ripe for nuclear actors to mis-interpret each other’s signals of deterrence.
  • Nor, perhaps, do many Americans understand the nature of the nuclear threat against them, which Lewis depicts by drawing on graphic eye-witness testimony from the Hiroshima attacks.
  • Earlier in 2018, Trump said North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat after he held a summit with Kim. The summit produced no lasting agreement. Before and since, Lewis predicted that Trump would use any positive signals to declare that he had solved the problem of North Korea’s nuclear threat, and that North Korea would not give up its nuclear weapons. When these two realities collide, Lewis warned, Trump will have to lose face, or blame the North Koreans—a recipe for increasing tension. ……..

August 29, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Slow death of nuclear power, leaving stranded radioactive trash

Radioactive waste stranded as U.S. shifts from nuclear energy, Lack of a long-term repository leaves communities as de facto storage sites, Chemical and Engineering News, by Jeff Johnson, special to C&EN, AUGUST 28, 2018 

The U.S. appears to be witnessing the slow death of nuclear power. Plants are aging out and retiring, and their place in the electricity marketplace is being captured by cheaper, simpler, and less controversial sources—particularly natural gas plants and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

But even as reactors shut down and communities eye former nuclear sites for redevelopment, a big problem remains: Despite more than 50 years of laws, regulations, lawsuits, and debates, the U.S. has no long-term repository for nuclear waste—nor even much of a plan for one.

A decade ago, more than 120 reactors generated electricity in the U.S., and the nuclear power industry and federal regulators were heralding a nuclear power renaissance. Today, however, operating reactors have dropped to 98. Twelve more reactors have committed to shutting down by 2024, according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which regulates nuclear power generators.

The rest of the current reactors will also likely close over the next two decades as they reach their expected lifetimes. Two power plants remain under some level of construction, half of the number planned a year ago.

As reactors shut down, radioactive spent fuel from decades of electricity production remains in pools and casks on the plant sites, much to the chagrin of nearby residents and civic leaders. They want the waste gone and the land put to productive use.

Al Hill is the mayor of Zion, Ill., a 25,000-resident community on the shore of Lake Michigan, 45 miles north of Chicago. In 1973, two reactors at Zion Nuclear Power Station began generating power for the region and operated until 1998. Since then, the plant has been successfully decommissioned, and by the end of this year, most concrete structures and the reactor cores will be hauled to low-level radioactive disposal sites, Hill says. However, 64 5-meter-tall, 150-metric-ton waste canisters will remain, lined up like giant bowling pins on a concrete slab 90 m from the lakeshore……….

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Under the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a U.S. geologic repository was to be operating by 1998. That act called for the creation of two waste repositories, one each in the eastern and western parts of the U.S. It also laid out a process to examine and select potential waste sites from several candidates. In 1987, however, Congress amended the law, modifying it in such a way that only Yucca Mountain in Nevada could qualify as a geological waste repository. The law was nicknamed the “screw Nevada bill.”

The state has opposed hosting a radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain from the start, notes geologist Allison Macfarlane, who served as NRC head from 2012–14 and before that was a member of a special blue-ribbon committee that examined the site-selection process. Some geologists, Native American tribes, and environmental organizations have also opposed a Yucca Mountain repository. Nevertheless, geologic site studies, pilot plant construction, and policy planning slowly advanced.

But while campaigning for president in Nevada in 2008, Barack Obama promised to cancel the site. When elected, he followed through and killed Yucca, then created the 15-member commission that included Macfarlane. The commission did not reconsider the geological suitability of Yucca Mountain as a waste repository. Rather, it spent two years examining the site selection process. It ultimately recommended a total overhaul of the site assessment and selection process, including having the process led by a “single-purpose federal corporation” instead of the Department of Energy. The commission also recommended a “consent-based” process with incentives offered to encourage communities and states to accept the waste.

Commission members pointedly said the Yucca Mountain approach had been a “top-down, federally mandated solution” that was forced onto a community and eventually would fail. …….

“I don’t get the sense that nuclear waste is a high priority for the Trump administration,” former NRC head Macfarlane says. “There is no real group to put pressure to resolve the waste issue, except the people living near the shutdown sites. The nuclear industry is struggling right now, and they aren’t likely to pour money into this, and Congress appears willing to let it be.” Macfarlane still supports a consent-based approach for repository selection and would not comment on the suitability of Yucca Mountain as a repository

Meanwhile, NRC spokesperson McIntyre notes that two companies, Holtec International and Interim Storage Partners, are pursuing consolidated interim storage facilities and have applied for NRC licenses. The two sites are near one another in the southwest on both sides of the border between Texas and New Mexico.

Operations would be years away, McIntyre adds, and would require a complex—and also controversial—transportation plan to move the huge casks of radioactive material through much of the U.S.

Also, NRC is nearly ready to publicly release a proposed regulation to speed the decommissioning process. The regulation is needed, McIntyre says, because decommissioning is likely to become much more common and does not hold the same risks as an operating plant. Communities are watching closely for changes that might threaten safety, Hill says.

The regulation will have far-reaching impact, McIntyre notes, since the decommissioning process can legally take up to 60 years and will affect some 80 communities. But spent fuel removal will remain on hold, stored in casks or pools, until transportation and long-term repository issues are addressed.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Aboriginal group’s unwavering struggle against uranium mining in Western Australia

Fighting for life in the “place of death” August 27, 2018

Traditional owners won’t give up 40-year opposition to Yeelirrie uranium mine,  By Linda Pentz Gunter

In the local Aboriginal language, the name Yeelirrie means to weep or mourn. It is referred to as a “place of death.” Yeelirrie is on Tjiwarl Native Title lands in Western Australia, where it has long been faithfully protected by Aboriginal traditional owners. The Seven Sisters Dreaming songline is there. It is home to many important cultural sites. And for 40 years, due to resolute indigenous opposition, and thousands of community submissions of protest, it had been spared plans by the Canadian mining company, Cameco, to plunder it for uranium.

The earth guardians know that such a desecration would cause the extinction of multiple species of subterranean fauna. It would release death. It would destroy Yeelirrie.

Now the fate of those tiny creatures hangs in the balance, their future in the hands of three brave women, backed by environmental organizations, after the outgoing Western Australian government decided to allow the Yeelirrie uranium mine project to go forward.

That decision was made in January 2017, despite the fact that, in August 2016, the Western Australia Environmental Protection Agency (WAEPA) had recommended that the Yeelirrie project be rejected. 

The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA), which is engaged in contesting the uranium mining permit for Yeelirrie, said the WAEPA had rejected the Yeelirrie mine plan “on the grounds that the project is inconsistent with three of the objectives of the Environmental Protection Act — the Precautionary Principle, the Principle of conservation of biological diversity, and the Principle of intergenerational equity. The EPA decision was based on the overwhelming evidence that the project would make several species of subterranean fauna extinct.”

But former Minister for Environment, Albert Jacob, threw all that aside to approve the Yeelirrie mine in the waning days of Western Australia’s Liberal government, now replaced by Labor, which came in on a mandate to end uranium mining that it now may not be able to enforce.

In February 2018, CCWA and three members of the Tjiwarl community initiated proceedings in the Western Australia Supreme Court in an attempt to invalidate the approval decision made by Jacob. The case was dismissed by the court, a decision said CCWA executive director, Piers Verstegen, that shows that “our environmental laws are deeply inadequate,” and “confines species to extinction with the stroke of a pen.”

However, while the decision was a set-back, Verstegen said, “it’s absolutely not the end of the road for Yeelirrie or the other uranium mines that are being strongly contested here in Western Australia.”

Accordingly, CCWA and the three Tjiwarl women — Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong, and Vicky Abdullah (pictured left to right above the headline) vow to fight on, and have begun proceedings in the WA Court of Appeal to review the Supreme Court decision.

“I grew up here, my ancestors were Traditional Owners of country, and I don’t want a toxic legacy here for my grandchildren,” Abdullah told Western Australia Today in an August 2017 article.

“We have no choice but to defend our country, our culture, and the environment from the threat of uranium mining — not just for us but for everyone.”

Yeelirrie is one of four uranium mines proposed for Western Australia. The other three are Vimy’s Mulga Rock project, Toro Energy’s Wiluna project, and Cameco’s and Mitsubishi’s Kintyre project. Each of them is home to precious species, but Yeelirrie got special attention from the WAEPA because the proposed mine there would cause actual extinctions of 11 species, mostly tiny underground creatures that few people ever see.

According to a new animated short film, produced by the Western Australia Nuclear-Free Alliance, all four of these proposed mines could irreparably damage wildlife, habitat and the health of the landscape and the people and animals who depend on it. The film highlights Yeelirrie, but also describes the other three proposed uranium mines and the threats they pose.

At Mulga Rock, in the Queen Victoria Desert, the site is home to the Sandhill Dunnart, the Marsupial Mole, the Mulgara and the Rainbow Bee Eater, according to the film.

Wiluna, a unique desert lake system, could see uranium mining across two salt lakes that would leave 50 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste on the shores of Lake Way, which is prone to flooding.

The Kintyre uranium deposit was excluded from the protection of the Karlamilyi National Park within which it sits so that uranium could be mined there. It is a fragile desert ecosystem where 28 threatened species would be put at risk, including the Northern Quoll, Greater Bilby, Crest Tailed Mulgara, Marsupial Mole and Rock Wallaby.

At Yeelirrie, says the CCWA, “Cameco plans to construct a 9km open mine pit and uranium processing plant. The project would destroy 2,421 hectares of native vegetation and generate 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits.”

The mine would likely operate for 22 years and use 8.7 million litres of water a day. 

Under Australian laws, ‘nuclear actions’ like the Yeelirrie proposal also require approval by the Federal Environment Minister. CCWA and Nuclear-Free Western Australia, have launched a campaign directed at Federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, calling for a halt to the Yeelirrie mine, given the immense risk it poses to “unique subterranean fauna that have been found nowhere else on the planet.” They point out that the Minister has the opportunity to “protect these unique species from becoming extinct.

“Species have a right to life no matter how great or small,” they wrote. “One extinction can massively disrupt an entire ecosystem. No one should have the right to knowingly eliminate an entire species from our planet forever.”

August 29, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, Uranium | Leave a comment

The planet in the Epoch of Stupid

The Ass Clown Epoch, Counter Punch,  , 28 Aug 18  How do we define “dumb” in the Age of Stupid? Whether you call it the Anthropocene, or the more scientific ‘Ass Clown Epoch’, stupid is the defining feature of our “smart” everything society: From our phones to the lampshades and corkscrews that increasingly depend on them to function. When the greatest minds of your generation came up with the idea of enriching themselves to the extent that no one else can survive – financially or even physically – it’s time to acknowledge that we are in the throes of irreversible human cognitive collapse. Some would point to the Supreme Dotard at its apex as symptomatic of its underlying causes rather than the cause itself. After all, stupid is the fertile foundation from which both “intelligent life” and Donald Trump evolved.  ……

 For these people, “asshole” is less an insult than a badge of honor since it denotes a rugged and “alpha” disposition. Science has confirmed that the smell of sulfur has its own aphrodisiac underpinnings if it’s emanating from someone dressed as a banker or a tech bro.  ……
There’s always the risk of unfairly maligning those with actual disabilities who bear the brunt by association with those who use their intellects to devise ways of driving species essential to the continuation of life to extinction, and then talk about moving to Mars and nuking it for their own survival. We can’t call the latter “retards”, since the word still has unpleasant associations with hate speech directed at vulnerable people, yet not calling them out on their intellect-driven choices misses a valuable opportunity to reassess what it means to be “smart” and how this designation puts us all at risk as in . . . “The decision by educated and well-informed bureaucrats and corporate executives to build nuclear power plants close to the coastline of a seismically active island prone to tsunamis was monumentally . . . misguided”. As was the decision to invade Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya . . . The list is as long as our capacity to unlearn history is boundless……..
Understatements like “misguided” only serve to insulate evil-doers from their evil, and even evoke sympathy and admiration for their “plight” as remorseful serial killers with the benefit of hindsight. Even “psychopaths” enjoy a sort of cult status, and considered role models in tech and banking circles.  …..
Understatements like “misguided” only serve to insulate evil-doers from their evil, and even evoke sympathy and admiration for their “plight” as remorseful serial killers with the benefit of hindsight. Even “psychopaths” enjoy a sort of cult status, and considered role models in tech and banking circles.  …….
The people we deem “genius”, blessed, gifted, or even capable, are too often committed to the destruction of everything or anything that sustains balance, harmony and joy for short-term, ego-driven gains that have endlessly cascading consequences for organized life on earth. Very bad ideas, once monetized, become “innovation”, while the criminal masterminds behind them them are dubbed “visionaries”. It takes a genius to devise ways to integrate banking systems, airlines, hospital equipment and vending machines so that they all crash simultaneously in some foreseeable future without running water or electricity…….

If a person is somehow able to mathematically chart a course for himself to a distant, freezing planet, having helped mastermind the destruction of his own, we somehow consider this development an achievement milestone ……..Jennifer Matsui is a writer living in Tokyo.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste stuck on California beach with nowhere to go

HOW A NUCLEAR STALEMATE LEFT RADIOACTIVE WASTE STRANDED ON A CALIFORNIA BEACH, Nuclear waste is all dressed up with nowhere to go, The Verge By hen I got to the San Onofre State Beach about 60 miles north of San Diego, the red sun of fire season was sandwiched on the horizon between a layer of fog and the sea. Surfers floated in a line off the shore. It looked like any other California beach — except for the row of signs that warned “Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Area,” and the twin reactor domes rising above the bluffs.

On the beach, perspectives on the plant ranged from resignation to frustration. “It’s part of the landscape now,” said one man walking his dog. A woman who was roasting marshmallows in the sand with her family said it’s eerie to see the plant when she’s out surfing: “You turn around and take a wave, and you just see these nuclear boobs staring out at you.” Her husband wondered what will happen with the spent nuclear fuel now that the plant is no longer operating. “No citizen wants it here permanently, but nobody wants to take it,” he said. “So we’re just in a really hard spot. What are you supposed to do with it?”

All those containers of fuel left behind mean that no one can use the land for anything else. And the problem is widespread: spent fuel from commercial reactors is scattered across roughly 80 sites in 35 different states, according to the Government Accountability Office. It wasn’t supposed to be like this: for decades, the plan has been to bury highly radioactive nuclear waste underground. (There were also proposals to bury the waste in the ocean or shoot it into the sun — but those weren’t as practical, according to a report by the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.)

August 29, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia’s $9 billion nuclear-powered supercarrier will probably never be completed

Russia Kicks Off Work on Engine for Nuclear-Powered Supercarrier, A Russian Navy research institute has reportedly commenced work on engine designs for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.The Diplomat , By Franz-Stefan Gady, August 28, 2018 The Russian Navy has commenced research on engine designs for Russia’s planned nuclear-powered supercarrier, dubbed Project 23000E Shtorm (Storm), the chief of the Russian Navy’s shipbuilding department, Rear Admiral Vladimir Tryapichnikov, said in a television interview on August 24……….

August 29, 2018 Posted by | weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel soon to be removed from Japan’s failed Monju fast breeder reactor

Nuclear fuel removal to start at Monju reactor  NHK, 28 Aug 18 The operator of Japan’s Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor plans to soon start removing its nuclear fuel from a storage container as part of the plant’s decommissioning.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency plans to scrap the reactor in Tsuruga City in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan, over 30 years.

Work to move the fuel to a detached storage pool was to start in late July. But it was postponed due to equipment trouble including fogging up of monitoring camera lenses during trials.

The work is now to start on Thursday……..

August 29, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Japan | Leave a comment

How India & Pakistan Deal With The Bomb -“Brokering Peace in Nuclear Envi­ronments “

Diplomacy In The Nuclear Age, Kashmir Observer, HAIDER NIZAMANI • Aug 28, 2018, How India & Pakistan Deal With The Bomb

India and Pakistan ‘gatecrashed’ the nuclear club in May 1998. Children who were born right after the nuclear tests, carried out by the two countries in that year, are now able to vote — a generation, particularly in Pakistan, that has grown up on a steady diet of nuclear national­ism that portrays weapons of mass destruction as guarantors of national security and sources of col­lective pride. In times when the country can showcase little by way of achievements, we always console ourselves by saying that we have nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems are made by experts trained in science and engineering but there is also another ‘nuclear expert’ whose bread and butter is linked to writing about these. There was only a small group of such ex­perts two decades ago but nuclear tests by India and Pakistan have opened up many new spots for them. They are camped mainly in think tanks in New Delhi, Islam­abad and Washington DC.

An overwhelming majority of them use the lens of political realism that sees states as key actors who pursue their national interests in competition with each other. Moeed Yusuf also belongs to this tribe of nu­clear experts. He defines the crises explored in his book as “exercises in coercion through  adversaries seek to enhance their relative bargaining strength vis-à-vis their opponents”………..

limitations of Yusuf’s book Brokering Peace in Nuclear Envi­ronments   are, in fact, the limitation of realist theory that focuses on state actors and their actions and does not delve into the social, economic, political and strategic fac­tors that cause those actions and determine their direction and outcome. Additionally, many Indian and Pakistan security experts consciously or un­wittingly end up echoing official versions as the true versions of history. In many parts, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments also follows the same path which makes its analysisa bit lopsided and its prescriptions a little too Pakistan-centric.

Its strength, however, is the large number of interviews that Yusuf has conducted with poli­cymakers, especially from the United States and Pakistan, who played key roles during the three crises mentioned above. For this reason alone, if for nothing else, his book should be seen as a good addition to the academic literature available on war and peace between India and Pakistan.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | India, Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese students submit nuclear abolition petition to UN

Students submit nuclear abolition petition to UN  A group of Japanese high school students has visited the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva to submit a petition calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The 20 “peace messengers” met Anja Kaspersen, the director of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, on Tuesday. Some of the students are from the atomic-bombed cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The students showed Kaspersen photos taken immediately after the 1945 bombings. They told her the bombs not only killed many people but also forced survivors to live with burns and aftereffects.

They submitted about 100,000 signatures they had collected over the past year and urged the UN to do more to create a world with no nuclear weapons.

Kaspersen said the students’ campaign is not just about hope, but it is also helping young people in many countries to promote generosity and understanding.

The UN adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year, but nations possessing nuclear weapons and Japan have not joined it. Riko Shitakubo from Hiroshima said she renewed her resolve to keep trying to change the situation surrounding nuclear weapons.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Water leak in Japan’s unfinished Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant

August 29, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

USA scales back emergency zones for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to make them more affodable

US regulators agree smaller SMR emergency zones, 28 August 2018

The NRC’s preliminary finding is part of a safety evaluation of a 2016 Early Site Permit application from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the potential use of a site at Clinch River for two or more SMR modules of up to 800 MWe. This is the first SMR-related application of any type to be received by the NRC.

The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) described the decision as a “potential regulatory breakthrough” that could accelerate future deployment of SMRs and advanced reactors. “The industry believes that this recognition of the enhanced safety features of small and advanced reactors could greatly simplify the licensing of these technologies and increase their cost competitiveness,” it said.

TVA’s application uses information from four SMR designs – BWXT’s mPower, Holtec International’s SMR-160, NuScale Power’s SMR, and Westinghouse’s SMR – to provide the technical basis for a requested exemption to the ten-mile EPZ requirement currently in use. The most detailed information was provided on the NuScale SMR, for which a design certification application was submitted to the NRC in January 2017. According to the application, the enhanced safety characteristics of those designs, such as smaller reactor cores, simpler systems, and built-in passive safety features, mean that off-site emergency planning requirements and plans can be scaled down to be proportionate with those reduced risks.

NRC staff found TVA’s proposed dose-based, consequence-oriented methodology to be a “reasonable technical basis” for determining EPZ size, consistent with the basis used to determine that for large light water reactors, NEI said.

The NRC also granted TVA its exemption from a ten-mile EPZ for future combined construction and operating licence applications for which the radioactive source term is bounded by the conditions established by the NRC. An SMR plant at the Clinch River site based on the NuScale SMR design would meet the conditions for a so-called site boundary-sized EPZ.

NEI Technical Advisor for Nuclear Generation David Young said current emergency planning requirements would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on applicants and licensees, which would diminish the cost competitiveness of advanced reactors and hinder their development.

NEI Technical Advisor for Nuclear Generation David Young said current emergency planning requirements would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on applicants and licensees, which would diminish the cost competitiveness of advanced reactors and hinder their development.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

China reaffirms commitment to no first use of nuclear weapons

China stands by its commitment not using nuclear weapons, Pakistan Observer , August 28, 2018  BEIJING : China on Tuesday reiterated that it will not use nuclear weapons first and foremost at any time and under any circumstances.

This is the policy from the first day, since the possession of nuclear weapons, said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular news briefing.

The Chinese government has solemnly stated that it will never go for first use of nuclear weapons. China has always abide by this commitment, firmly adheres to the nuclear strategy of self-defense and defense, and always maintains nuclear power at the minimum level required for national security, without posing a threat to any country.

We resolutely oppose any ill-conceived practices that arbitrarily distorted China’s policy intentions and sought excuses for expanding and strengthening its nuclear arsenal, she added.

Hua Chunying termed the US Department of Defense’s annual report to this effect, ridiculous, stating that the so-called report is unreasonable to China.

Asked to comment on President Trump’s statement on China-US economic and trade consultations, she said China’s position on relevant issues is consistent and its attitude is very clear and consistent.

“We have consistently advocated the resolution of contradictions and differences through dialogue and consultation, and we insist that dialogue and consultation must be based on reciprocity, equality and integrity. Only such communication and consultation can make sense and progress can be made,” she added……..

August 29, 2018 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment