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Fukushima, the impossible return to the villages of the former evacuation zone: the example of Iitate

Translation Sean Arclight
The commune of Iitate, in the department of Fukushima, was hard hit by the fallout from the disaster of March 2011. Deserted by the inhabitants after the evacuation order, it bears the aftermath of the accident and several years of abandonment. While authorities encourage return and abolish aid to refugees, former residents are afraid to return to an environment where radioactivity remains above international standards.
From the same author, see also on Géoconfluences: Cécile Asanuma-Brice, “The nuclear migrants”, October 2017.
The Tohoku disaster, which was accompanied by an unprecedented industrial disaster with the explosion of the Fukushima daiichi power station on March 11, 2011, has not finished generating debate and tensions over the proposed solutions for the management of the protection of the inhabitants. The situation is complex, mixing international and national industrial interests, the need for local revitalization and health and social management. The inhabitants are torn between the desire for an impossible return, the policies of resilience constrained [1] and the difficult resettlement in their new host community (Asanuma-Brice, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017).
In this article, we propose to make an initial assessment of the situation in Iitate, an old village evacuated after the disaster, reopened to housing in 2017, and whose former residents saw the public financial aid suspended at the shelter in April 2018.
1. The village of Iitate: between ocean and mountain
The department of Fukushima is crossed by two large mountain ranges: Ousanmiyaku, the longest mountain range in Japan, which crosses the main island from Aomori Prefecture to the north, ending in the south of Tochigi, and Abukumakochi (commonly known as Abukumasanchi) stretching from south of Miyagi to the north of Ibaraki Department. These two rocky mountain ranges cut the territory into three zones: in the west the region of Aizu, in the center Nakadôri and in the east, the area of ​​Hamadôri which runs along the coast to extend to the Pacific (figure 1 ).
Figure 1. Localization of Iitate in Hamadôri Region and Fukushima Prefecture
Iitate is located northwest of Hamadôri, on the emerged part of the Pacific Plate. The inhabited area is engulfed in the heart of the Abukumakochi Mountains, whose highest point on the perimeter of the community is Mount Hanatsukaya (918.5 meters). The population was approximately 6,000 at the time of the accident. The forests that cover almost the entire territory (Figure 2) are rich in a variety of trees: ginkgo biloba, keyaki (Zelvoka serrata), fir, beech, harigiri (kaopanax pictus, a thorn), osmanthus, oaks … In addition to the forest (75% of the forest area of ​​which about 50% is state-owned), the territory of the commune was mainly devoted to agriculture (8% of meadows for raising beef, known as “black beef”, 6.2% of rice fields, 4.9% of fields, the remaining 7% are scattered in various activities [source: ).
Figure 2. A forest environment about 40 kilometers from the Fukushima daiichi power station
The location of the urbanized areas within the basins between each mountain has made them particularly vulnerable to the deposits of isotopes carried by the winds coming from the Fukushima dai ichi plant (Asanuma-Brice, Libération, 2018).
The municipality is thus at the extreme north-west of the torch of contamination, the winds carrying the cloud laden with nuclear material having rushed into it. As the radioactive cloud flew over the area on March 14th, the snow deposited contamination on the ground, soiling for many years a lush nature.
Figure 3. Radiation doses and prohibited area after the disaster
In 2011, a few months after the readjustment of the evacuation zone first demarcated in a semi-circle of 20 km around the power plant (Figure 3), the village of Iitate is finally evacuated as well as all the communes on which the radioactive cloud had fallen (Figure 4). If since 2016 the evacuation order had been pushed back under the pressure of the inhabitants, it has been effective since March 2017. In April 2018, the financial aid to the shelter allocated to the former inhabitants of the village are abolished. Since 2014, the government had opted for a risk communication budget to influence refugees on their return. The government and international institutions maintain the argument of too high a cost that would be linked to a shelter policy (Asanuma-Brice, 2014).
Figure 4. Status of prohibition lifts in the area, situation in 2018
This decision is not without arousing the confusion of scientists specialized in nuclear physics who believe that it is still much too early to take such measures. This is particularly the case of Professor Imanaka Tetsuji, a professor at the Nuclear Experimentation Center at Kyôto University, or Kôji Itonaga, a professor in the Department of Biological Resources at Nihondaigaku University in Tokyo. Both of them presented the results of their expertise at the Iisora ​​symposium, which was held in Fukushima on 17 February 2018 by former village residents and researchers of various persuasions to discuss the relevance or otherwise of this decision (figure 5).
Figure 5. Iisora ​​Symposium in Fukushima, February 17, 2018
Iisora ​​Symposium in Fukushima, February 17, 2018 – Professor Imanaka (Kyota University Nuclear Experiment Center) presents his results: “Is 20 msv an acceptable safety rate? “. Photo: Cécile Asanuma-Brice
2. Did the decontamination work?
In the village of Iitate, the situation is still far from settled. The multiple decontamination campaigns have not been able to overcome the radioactivity rate, which is still equivalent to 10 times the pre-accident standard for measurements made around dwellings, and 20 times for measurements taken in the mountains. In August 2017, a measurement campaign carried out by Professor Itonaga’s team (University of Japan / Nihondaigaku) ​​on 8 houses in the village revealed rates ranging between 0.15 and 0.4 microsievert / h for measurements made on the floor, and 0.23 to 0.78 microsievert / h for measurements made near the ceiling of dwellings. In 2014, the rates were considerably higher, up to 2 microsievert / hour depending on the case. There is therefore a drop, but nevertheless deemed insufficient by the two teachers to allow the return to housing, especially as outside homes, rates recorded are flying quickly. The average measured on the ground is 0.65 microsievert / h, that made at 1 meter from the ground is 0.59 microsievert / h. These houses surrounded by forest suffer the effects of surrounding vegetation that can not be decontaminated. These houses paradoxically become victims of their natural environment, polluted for many years to come. Rainfall following steep gradients carries isotopes to valleys where dwellings are located which in turn see the increased contamination rate despite repeated waves of decontamination.
On the sample taken, Professor Itonaga (Figure 6) estimates that it will take another fifty years before the average level of environmental irradiation returns to 1 msv / year, a rate internationally defined as acceptable for the population [2]. In addition, this rate of acceptability has been increased to 20 msv / year, the municipality being part of the perimeter classified as a state of emergency. The removal of the evacuation order is therefore decided in the state by the administration which, while recognizing the instability of the environment still classified “emergency zone”, forced, by removing subsidies to the shelter and by closing temporary housing estates, residents return to live in areas still contaminated.
Figure 6. Iisora ​​Symposium in Fukushima, February 17, 2018
Iisora ​​Symposium in Fukushima, February 17, 2018 – Professor Itonaga (Department of Biological Resources, Nihondaigaku University, Tokyo) leads the debate with the speakers of the day, composed of scientists and former residents of the village of Iitate. Photo: Cécile Asanuma-Brice
In 2017, the authorities declared that they wanted to recycle all the waste below 8,000 Bq / kg, although the norm before the accident was 100 Bq / kg, in road works. Nevertheless, the radioactivity levels measured in the Iitate region are more than twice this threshold, with peaks of up to 40 000 Bq / kg for the measurement of only cesium 134 and 137 in the surrounding mountains. In June 2017, measurements on the sap of trees in the mountains adjacent to the dwellings revealed levels of 143 298 Bq / kg (by association of the measurement of 2 cesium 134 and 137) for an oak tree and 39 185 Bq / kg for the sap of a cherry tree (see Box 1).
Although the contamination is disparate and mobile depending on precipitation, and the decontamination is momentarily effective on a lot of soil for which 15 cm of surface soil replaced by healthy soil had been scraped off, the half-life of cesium 137 being thirty years, it seems difficult to consider a decline in the general rate of radiation irradiation before the end of this period.
 Radioactivity, becquerels, cesium, what are we talking about?
The becquerel per gram (or per kilogram) characterizes the overall content of radioactive elements. Cesium 134 and 137 are the two main nuclides dispersed in the environment after the explosion of the Fukushima plant. It is found in large quantities and potentially far from the plant. Other nuclides such as plutonium or strontium are also present, but in smaller quantities and mainly within a hundred kilometers around the plant because these particles are heavier. The half-life of cesium is 30 years on average. However, “cesium is an alkali metal. For the human body, it strongly resembles potassium. But the body contains significant amounts of potassium, it is essential to humans […]. And for this reason, when the cesium is released into the environment, the body considers it as it does with the alkali metal potassium, that is to say, it integrates and accumulates in our body. “*
* Hirano, Kasai, 2016, extract translated from Japanese by Robert Stolz and English by Geoconfluences
3. The village of Iitate, an impossible return?
The village of Iitate which extends over 230 km² had already begun its demographic decline before the evacuation, from 9 385 inhabitants in 1970 to 6 209 in 2010 (Figure 7). It is only composed of 41 people according to the authorities in 2015. In 2018, part of the population returned to live in these territories, unable to pay rent elsewhere without subsidies from the state, and today about 700 people who returned to live in the village.
Figure 7. Communal population of the village of Iitate 1970-2015
Of the initial pre-disaster population, 4,934 persons [3] in 2,032 households fled to the interior of Fukushima Prefecture, with the vast majority in Fukushima itself (3,174 people) ( Figure 9). Only 297 persons, divided into 156 households, migrated out of the department, mainly to the Tokyo area (Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Tokyo departments, see Figure 8). A total of 90% of the population has moved in seven years while 546 people in 288 households plan to return to the village. For the latter, the breakdown by household shows that they are almost exclusively couples without children, the size of these households being 1.9 persons. They are preparing to enter an ecosystem mainly composed of forests, formerly anthropized, but left abandoned for 7 years. Thus, the rice fields formerly in activity would require a colossal work to be rehabilitated. The forests themselves are no longer maintained and nature has regained its rights in the vast majority of the territory.
Figures 8 and 9. Destination of refugees from the village of Iitate
The lifting of benefits in April 2018 led, for most of the elderly without resources, to a forced return to a deserted region. Of the 4,934 people who sought refuge within the department, 384 of them, divided into 233 households, were housed in seven temporary housing sites that were being closed. 363 persons (174 households) were rehoused in public housing, or 8% of the total, 1,053 (550 households) are relocated to private sector housing rented by the public services, and the 49%, made up of 3,119 people in 1,060 households, is hosted by parents. 15 single people are in retirement homes.
In December 2017, a survey conducted by Professor Itonaga’s laboratory of 52 households totaling 195 people revealed the main trends in residents’ intentions regarding the return policy (Figure 10).
Figure 10. Decisions of residents about their return and their house in Iitate.
These statistics show that of the 28.9% of households that decided to return, 11.1% of households do so to comply with the order of the administrative authorities, but 17.8% because they can not to assume their daily lives elsewhere without the help of the allowances. 20% of these households, despite the financial strain they are in, will not return, and 46.7% have not yet decided in December 2017.
The results of the multiple-choice questionnaire concerning the types of housing within the village of Iitate for the inhabitants who returned to live in the village show that while 25% of these 17 households were able to renovate their former home, 25% will preserve it in its current state, and 12.5% ​​do not plan to rebuild it, for lack of physical and / or financial means. However, most buildings were made with natural materials and therefore perishable (wood structure, tatami, etc.). Japan is under the influence of a humid sub-continental climate in summer, which results in the simultaneous recording of high heat with a very high level of humidity. A monsoon season (May-June) precedes two typhoon seasons that sweep the archipelago in June and September, producing very high rainfall and generating regular floods. All these reasons make frequent renovation of buildings necessary. These buildings, which have been vacant for seven years, are for the most part in an advanced state of disrepair. In addition, animals have reconquered these spaces long uninhabited. Houses ravaged by wild boars or cattle, come to discover the places, are not rare. We can therefore assume that in the 37.5% of households that will preserve their habitat in the current state, a good part will live in precarious and unstable conditions.
The main reason (68.9%) for which the inhabitants do not wish to return to their village is the fact of having to live without the proximity of their children and grandchildren who, as for them, will not return.
A significant part of the former inhabitants justifies their decision of no return by the refusal to live in a territory where mountains and forests are still contaminated (64.4%). Forests covering more than 70% of the town, this point is important and can not be easily resolved. The same percentage of people (about 65%) are reluctant to return because of the renewal of nature on the village. Among other things, there is the overabundance of wild animals that have regained their rights over these territories [4].
For 62.2% of them, the absence of shops, hospitals and other daily services are at the origin of their decision of no return.
53.3% believe that the level of ambient radioactivity is still too high to consider returning to live in their village. 51.1% mention the impossibility of having an agricultural activity, 51.1% are worried about future health effects. A similarly large number of inhabitants, 46.7% will not return because of the presence of sacks of contaminated soil strewn on the territory of the municipality. Secondary reasons (below 40%) relate to the inability to consume mushrooms and other mountain plants, the absence of neighbors and the breakdown of community links. For some residents of Iitate, it’s simply “inhuman to get people to find that” (McNeill & Matsumoto, 2017).
4. What are the inhabitants’ demands?
The question of whether the government or TEPCO took responsibility for the accident led the residents to form associations to defend their rights in court. Nevertheless, these approaches are parallel and do not respond to situations of resettlement forced by the authorities. We list below some points regularly mentioned by the inhabitants during our field surveys:
it would be desirable for the authorities to recognize the difficulty of maintaining the right of residence in municipalities where the rate of contamination remains high due to “long-term industrial pollution”. Thus, for the inhabitants who wish to return, allowances should be put in place in order to allow the renovation of their habitat, as well as the decontamination works which are imposed at regular rate.
a constant and free health monitoring of the re-entrant populations
frequent radioactivity measurements, not only atmospheric, but also plants and other consumer products.
for those who decide to live outside the municipality: help and support should be established to ensure, if not possession, in any case the rental of a secure property in the place as well as job search support for people of working age. For people who are no longer able to work, a grant must be awarded to them to enable them to support their daily lives.
the problems relating to simultaneous membership of two separate communes due to the duplication of the place of settlement also remain to be resolved. This generates questions relating to the payment of local taxes, the right to vote as well as various everyday documents (driver’s license, administrative point of attachment for any employment procedure, etc.).
a recurring problem is the presence of radioactive waste in the territory that participates in maintaining a high level of ambient radioactivity. The need to create adapted legislative rules recognizing the damage caused by the obligation to live in a territory affected by an industrial disaster and to obtain the appropriate compensation.
The removal of the evacuation order in the contaminated areas of Fukushima prefecture plunges the population into the deepest disarray. The impossible choices that the inhabitants have been facing for seven years now lead them too many times to turn to the ultimate exit: suicide.
On March 3, 2018, the local newspaper, Fukushima Minpo wrote: “In the heart of the shelter, more than 2,211 people died from reasons directly attributable to the stress of the shelter.” The most affected municipalities are Minamisôma (507 people), Namie (414) Tomioka (410 people), Futaba (147 people), in other words, the communes whose population was evacuated without support for a possible reintegration in their place of residence. ‘Home. The number of deaths in question here exceeds those attributable to the natural disaster (tsunami or earthquake). Of a total of 4,040 inhabitants of Fukushima County who lost their lives for reasons directly related to the disaster, 1,605 (39.7%) people died as a result of the natural disaster and 2,211 (54.7%) because of the mismanagement of the shelter.
The suicide of these people is attributable to the stress of the forced return policies, the prolongation of the accommodation for seven years in temporary housing (whereas this period is limited to four years in the law), the maintenance in the hope of a possible return of people, often elderly, who are confronted with a deplorable reality of the environment in which they return nevertheless, for not being able to assume their life elsewhere.
On February 21, 2018 national and local newspapers dedicated theirs to the suicide of a 102-year-old man from the village of Iitate. ” Oh ! I think I lived too long, “were the last words of Mr. Okubo, a farmer of Iitate like so many others.
To complete:


From the same author:
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice : (2018) « L’être en son milieu, du rapport humain-objet-milieu au Japon comme ailleurs sur la planète », Libération, 11 juin 2018,
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2017) “Atomic Fission and Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown: When politics prevails over scientific proof”, in Christophe Thouny and Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto (eds.), Planetary Atmospheres and Urban Society After Fukushima, Palgrave McMillian.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice, « Les migrants du nucléaire », Géoconfluences, octobre 2017.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2016). La mémoire de l’oubli, une forme de résistance à la résilience, publication des actes du colloque « Après le désastre, réponses commémoratives et culturelles », Éditions de l’Université de Tôkyô (en français).
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2016) Franckushima, rédaction de la Préface et chapitres, Direction Géraud Bournet, L’utopiquant.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2015) « De la vulnérabilité à la résilience, réflexions sur la protection en cas de désastre extrême : Le cas de la gestion des conséquences de l’explosion d’une centrale nucléaire à Fukushima », Revue Raison Publique, no. « Au-delà du risque Care, capacités et résistance en situation de désastre », Sandra Laugier, Solange Chavel, Marie Gaille (dir.)
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2015) « À Fukushima, la population est dans une situation inextricable », CNRS Le Journal, mars 2015.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2014) « La légende Fukushima », Libération, septembre 2014.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2013) « Fukushima, une démocratie en souffrance », Revue Outre terre, mars 2013.
  • Cécile Asanuma-Brice (2012) « Les politiques publiques du logement face à la catastrophe du 11 mars », in C. Lévy, T. Ribault, numéro spécial de la revue EBISU de la Maison franco-japonaise n° 47, juin 2012.
Autres articles de l’auteure à consulter ici : 


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

Data (2010-2017) from Minimamisoma Municipal Hospital, Fukushima via Etsuji Watanabe (added notes below)

Reblogged from

( Minamisoma City Councilperson Koichi Oyama succeeded in having Minamisoma Municipal Hospital disclose patient statistics from 2010-2017 for public discussion at a Council meeting on September 12, 2018. “Summary” below calculated by Etsuji Watanabe from figures in “Disorders” chart obtained by Councilperson Oyama. Note Fukushima Medical University’s insistence on attributing all of these conditions to the stresses of evacuation.

Part 2 to address solid cancers and leukemia. Translation by Norma Field.)

Summary of rates in patient increase at Minamisoma Municipal Hospital by category (2010-2017)

Obesity            28x

High blood pressure   1.86x

Diabetes          1.83x

Dyslipidema    2.08x

(low HDL levels)

Chronic kidney disease           3.65x

Liver dysfunction         3.88x

Polycythemia  4.5x

Atrial fibrillation         3.79x

Stroke 3.52x

“Disorders for which evacuation caused by the East Japan Great Earthquake can be considered a risk factor”:

2010-2017 data from Minamisoma Municipal Hospital on seven disorders deemed attributable to evacuation according to Fukushima Medical University


Japanese post here.

Posted in *English.

And a list of cancers from the same hospital and time period here;

A First: Medical Data Obtained from Minami-soma Municipal General Hospital in Fukushima

Sean Arclight commenting: “Health statistics from Minamisoma Municipal General Hospital seems to prove cancers and other health issues are on the rise in Fukushima.
In Japan there are new laws to stop medical staff releasing data on health effects that may be caused by the nuclear disaster. This new controvertial law (against the supposed new open transparency purported by the nuclear industry post Fukushima disaster) was enacted in late 2013 and threatens to imprison or give huge fines to medical staff. This makes verification difficult.
These statisitcs are for a relatively small area covered by the Minamisoma General Hospital within the Fukushima Prefecture.
As we now have the statistics we can challenge the authorities to deny or confirm the figures. If they deny the figures and later it comes to light, then at least we will have someone to hold responsible and to question further. This is the best we can do with whistleblowers from Japans health workers and it is important to publish the claims as we are doing here.
There has been a long fight over health issues caused by radiation and toxicity from the destroyed nuclear plant. The authorities have constantly denied “rumours” of nosebleeds, skin rashes and childrens Thyroid cancers over the past 7 years or so. Some of these “rumours” are slowly being proven true and the nuclear industry also has co-opted the psychological effects, blaming the victims weakness and ignorance instead of the psychological effects of trauma caused by the huge industrial accident and its consequences.
A recent UN report has highlighted how corporations often play down any physical and mental health issues caused by these sorts of industrial contamination, writing off any direct links to toxicity and mental health especuially.
Another report has highlighted that micro particles (thought to be harmless until around 10 years ago) can penetrate the blood brain Barrier and we can anticipate some mental impacts from these toxins entering the very sensitive brain tissues.
The new UN report has highlighted that Fukushima decontamination workers and the local communities concerns are often ignored and should be taken into account instead.
Also, many of the workers at the plant may fall outside regular health checks into the future because of the nature of their contracts and the illegal practises of contractors that has been present in japan for many decades. Thus, skewing the actual health effects to workers toiling in such contaminated environments.”
Minamisōma is about 25 kilometres (16 miles) north of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, the site of the nuclear accident that followed the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Much of the city lies within the 30 kilometer mandated evacuation zone near the plant, and thus most of the residents were forced to leave.
In March 2012, the city was divided into three zones: in the first, people were free to go in and out but not allowed to stay overnight; in the second, access was limited to short visits; and in the third area, all entry was forbidden because of elevated radiation levels that were not expected to go down within five years after the accident.
On April 15, 2012 some of people of Minamisōma were able to return to their homes when the evacuation zone was reduced from 30 kilometers to 20 kilometers from the reactors, with the exception of a wide area on the western border of the city with the town of Namiie. At the time the evacuation order was lifted the centre of city was still scattered with ruins and lacked electricity and running water, while schools and hospitals remained closed.
On July 12, 2016 the evacuation order was lifted for all areas of the city except the western border region with Namiie; this permitted all of the remaining evacuees (with the exception of one household) to return home. In August of the same year, elementary schools and junior high schools, which has been closed since 2011, were allowed to reopen.
The lawyer Ken’ichi IDO got these data from a member of the Minami-soma municipal council who himself obtained these data from the Minamisoma municipal hospital.
Ken’ichi IDO’s group of lawyers intend to submit the data to the court as evidence for the ongoing trial, “Trial to get the children out of the irradiation “(Kodomo datsu hibaku saiban).
We were worried that Fukushima might be a Chernobyl, which sparked health damage to residents. However, the country and Fukushima prefecture did not have a health investigation except for pediatric thyroid cancer.
At this time, Mr. Kōichi Oyama, a member of the Minami- Soma City Council, obtained data from the Minami-soma municipal general hospital.
“The shocking data came out: when year 2010 and year 2017 year were compared, there were 29 times more of adult thyroid cancer, 10.8 times more of leukemia, 4.2 times more of lung cancer, 4 times more of pediatric cancer, 3.98 times more of pneumonia, 3.97 times of myocardial infarction, 3.92 times more of liver cancer, 2.99 times more of large intestine cancer, 2.27 times more of stomach cancer, and 3.52 times more of stroke.
There is not a lot of data for sure, but it is necessary to be careful to short-circuited the entire hospital data. We should also consider the effects of closed-down medical institutions, reducing population, aging of residents, and physical fatigue and mental stress, accompanied by a tsunami or nuclear accident.
However, the number of patients in the hospital was compared, 70,878 people in fiscal year 2010, and in fiscal year 2017 they did not increase. Population over 65 years old in Minami-soma city in 2010 was 18,809, and in 2017 it was 18,452, and it has not increased.
Stress also seems to have been more serious in the early days, but the number of patients continues to be consistent for these 7 years.
We are planning to submit this evidence on the date of our oral argumentation in court (October 16) in order to raise this important medical issue.”
Source: Ken’ichi IDO

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Residents near West Lake Landfill might not be impressed at EPA’s spin – “radiation is good for you”

Editorial: Attention West Lake residents: EPA says radiation is good for you.  By the Editorial Board 15 Oct 18 

Residents around the West Lake Landfill will be thrilled to learn that the Environmental Protection Agency is weighing a plan to rewrite science regarding the amount of tolerable human exposure to low-level radiation. The EPA has begun touting the idea that a little radiation could actually be good for you.

Despite prevailing medical and scientific research showing a direct link between various forms of cancer and low-level radiation, the EPA wants to rewrite exposure guidelines in an apparent nod to industries that either produce radioactive waste or encounter it in their operations, such as gas fracking and oil drilling.

Easing the danger threshold helps corporations reduce their costs and boost profits. But it decidedly does not mean radiation, even at low levels, isn’t hazardous to human health.

The EPA rethink is happening not because scientists suddenly are surging forth with new findings about supposedly beneficial effects of radiation. Rather, the agency is relying on the findings of a single outlier, Edward Calabrese, a University of Massachusetts toxicologist.

Reducing EPA standards on exposure “would have a positive effect on human health as well as save billions and billions and billions of dollars,” Calabrese stated in 2016. He told a Senate oversight panel on Oct. 3 that cancer-risk assessments on radiation are “based on flawed science” and “ideological biases.”

Calabrese appears to suggest that high cancer rates among humans exposed to radiation from atomic-bomb research and explosions in the 1940s and ’50s caused an overreaction regarding the threat from lower-level exposures. Scientists concede that low-level radiation might not be as harmful as once feared, but that’s a far cry from being harmless or beneficial.

The new proposed EPA guidelines coincide with Trump administration efforts to de-emphasize science if it relies on health data that cannot be revealed without violating individuals’ right to privacy. In April, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared, “The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end.” If source data remained secret, the administration would discount it in determining environmental and climate policy — a Catch-22 situation since medical data involving individuals’ health records must be kept secret under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

This new interpretation would be great news for companies like Republic Services, whose West Lake Landfill contains tons of radioactive waste that the company wants to keep capped and buried in an unlined pit instead of spending millions of dollars to dig it up and transferring it to a proper radioactive-waste facility. Oil- and gas-drilling companies could realize major savings if pipes and other equipment contaminated by underground radioactivity were designated as safe and allowed to be reused.

Sure, it would mean some St. Louis-area residents or oilfield workers are exposed to potentially dangerous radioactivity. But think of the savings for Trump’s big-business donors!

October 16, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) focuses on renewables, dismisses nuclear power

Dr Jim Green, Nuclear Monitor #867, 15 Oct 2018

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a landmark report warning that global warming must be kept to 1.5˚C, requiring “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities.1

The world must invest US$2.4 trillion in clean energy every year through 2035 and cut the use of coal-fired power to almost nothing by 2050 to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change, according to the IPCC. To put the US$2.4 trillion figure in context, about US$1.8 trillion was invested in energy systems globally in 2017, of which about 42% was invested in electricity generation and about 18.5% in renewables.2

Unsurprisingly, the World Nuclear Association (WNA) used the IPCC report to promote nuclear power.

WNA Director General Agneta Rising said the IPCC report “makes clear … the necessity of nuclear energy as an important part of an effective global response” to climate change and that it “highlights the proven qualities of nuclear energy as a highly effective method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing secure, reliable and scalable electricity supplies.”3 In a separate statement, the WNA falsely claimed that nuclear power increases under all of the IPCC scenarios compatible with limiting warming to 1.5˚C.4

Almost all of the WNA’s claims are false or exaggerated. The IPCC report raises numerous concerns about nuclear power (discussed below). In general terms, nearly all of the scenarios presented in the IPCC report envisage a decline in nuclear power generation to 2030 followed by an upswing.5 No logical rationale ‒ or any rationale at all ‒ is provided to support the upswing from 2030 to 2050.

The points that jump out from the IPCC’s low-carbon 1.5°C scenarios are that nuclear accounts for only a small fraction of energy/electricity supply (even if nuclear output increases) whereas renewables do the heavy lifting. For example, in one 1.5°C scenario, nuclear power more than doubles by 2050 but only accounts for 4.2% of primary energy whereas renewables account for 60.8%.6 In another 1.5°C scenario, nuclear nearly doubles by 2050 but its contribution to total electricity supply falls to 8.9%, compared to 77.5% for renewables.7

The IPCC report notes that: “Nuclear power increases its share in most 1.5°C pathways by 2050, but in some pathways both the absolute capacity and share of power from nuclear generators declines. There are large differences in nuclear power between models and across pathways … Some 1.5°C pathways no longer see a role for nuclear fission by the end of the century, while others project over 200 EJ / yr of nuclear power in 2100.”8

Nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger has a very different take on the IPCC report to the WNA … and most of his claims are false as well.9 Shellenberger takes the IPCC to task for stating that nuclear power risks nuclear weapons proliferation.10,11 That is “unsubstantiated fear-mongering”, he claims, although Shellenberger himself has written at length about the manifold and repeatedly-demonstrated connections between nuclear power and weapons.12 “No nation has used its civilian nuclear plants to create a weapon”, Shellenberger now claims ‒ which is garbage.13

Shellenberger seems troubled by the IPCC’s claims about a possible connection between nuclear power and childhood leukemia ‒ but he doesn’t explain why. The IPCC’s comments are modest: “Increased occurrence of childhood leukaemia in populations living within 5 km of nuclear power plants was identified by some studies, even though a direct causal relation to ionizing radiation could not be established and other studies could not confirm any correlation (low evidence/agreement in this issue).”10 In fact the evidence of a link is stronger than the IPCC suggests.14,15

Shellenberger complains about “biased and misleading cost comparisons” in the IPCC report though the report simply notes that nuclear power provides an example of “where real-world costs have been higher than anticipated … while solar PV is an example where real-world costs have been lower”.16

Shellenberger claims that solar and wind contributed 1.3% and 3.9% to global electricity supply in 2017 ‒ the true figures are 1.9% and 5.6%.17 He fails to note that all renewables combined supplied 26.5% of global electricity supply in 2017 (2.5 times more than nuclear) or that renewable supply has doubled over the past decade while nuclear power has been stagnant.

References: Continue reading

October 16, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Japan’s, Australia’s governments obey the nuclear lobby’s doctrines on ionising radiation

Nuclear industry responds by calling those who disagree with the ICRP and IAEA in these matters “radiophobes”. The Japanese government responds to the disagreement coming from its people with more and more imposed secrecy, and greater compliance with international nuclear bodies. Looked at in another way, the Japanese government obeys the IAEA and ICRP.

It is little wonder the Japanese  world nuclear industry via its local mouthpieces and puppets in every land continues to claim the effects of the nuclear disaster have no consequence. Nor is it any surprise that the nuclear industry continues to illegally diagnose opponents to its dictates and insults as being “radiophobic”.

Earthquake Damage At Fukushima – is Industry’s Narrative Truthful or Certain? Nuclear History, 16 Oct 18  “……..As I have pointed out previously, the declared extent of decontamination in Japan has enable some evacuees to return to their homes. The residual contamination remaining in those cleanup areas being about the same, roughly, as the Maralinga lands in South Australia after cleanup there. The risk of radiogenic cancer in the Maralinga Lands in 1 in 50,000 over 50 years. The owners of the Maralinga lands had been suffering forced removal from their lands from the 1950s until the 1990s, with full return of lands completed in the 21st century. Many people died waiting to return.

In Japan many people are concerned that they have been economically forced to return to places prior to a proper cleanup. In Australia, many people are concerned that the Maralinga cleanup was a dud, cheap, and insufficient. As usual vitrification in nuclear residues resulted in explosions and so elements including plutonium were simply buried in trenches.

In Japan, great piles of contaminated material, so active the piles have to be shielded with sand bag shielding in order to protected nuclear garbage workers, remain in the open air. A minority of the material is under cover in interim storage.

But all of this is claimed to be of no consequence according to the nuclear industry.

Since the 1990s, when the Maralinga cleanup was designed around the new intervention level proposed by the ICRP planned for the 21 century, many Australians have stated that the new levels allowed are too high. And that the risk at Maralinga is too high. The ICRP intervention level is 10 mSv. The actual level aimed at Maralinga was 5 mSv. Japan complies with the guidelines. And that fact is in actual reality no comfort for many many affected Japanese people. No comfort at all. Because those people do not trust either nuclear authorities or their own government. Given the fact that the Japanese people are renowned for their loyalty and compliance, what has caused the change? Was it too many nuclear lies? See “Protection of the public in situations of prolonged radiation exposure. The application of the Commission’s system of radiological protection to controllable radiation exposure due to natural sources and long-lived radioactive residues.” which is shown in abstract here: The fact of the matter is were it not for nuclear industry, having to cope with living in areas contaminated with long lived fission products would not be a possibility or actuality outside of a nuclear war. And that also remains a possibility. See also : “Application of ICRP Recommendations to the Protection of People Living in Long-term Contaminated Areas after a Nuclear Accident or Radiation Emergency
Per Hedemann-Jensen Head of Department of Radiation and Nuclear Safety
Danish Decommissioning, Risø” at which states in reference to the IAEA: “Publication 111: 3.1. Justification of protection strategies Para 27: Justification of protection strategies goes far beyond the scope of radiological protection as they may also have various economic, political, environmental, social, and psychological consequences” The Danish authorities comment:

“Comment: If radiation protection guidance on justification of protection strategies is going to be overwhelmed or discounted by other considerations than radiological factors, it raises the question of the ICRP recommendations and other international guidance.”

The situation is such in parts of nuclear industry afflicted Japan that hospitals cannot get staff. Meanwhile, evacuees have been economically forced back to their homes by government. In at least one area of Japan, this has compromised the treatment of diabetes. Many questions about both the accident and consequences remain, and distrust of official information remains among many affected communities. Social and other factors are now empowering communities in Japan to question government edicts based upon IAEA and ICEP recommendations. A court case underway in Japan related to economically return of people to land now remediated to ICRP standard according to IAEA procedures highlights the fact that in a democracy citizens remain free to dispute government decisions. Or “If radiation protection guidance on justification of protection strategies is going to be overwhelmed or discounted by other considerations than radiological factors, it raises the question of the ICRP recommendations and other international guidance.” Source: Per Hedemann-Jensen Head of Department of Radiation and Nuclear Safety

Danish Decommissioning, Risø

Nuclear industry responds by calling those who disagree with the ICRP and IAEA in these matters “radiophobes”. The Japanese government responds to the disagreement coming from its people with more and more imposed secrecy, and greater compliance with international nuclear bodies. Looked at in another way, the Japanese government obeys the IAEA and ICRP. However there is nothing in the Japanese Constitution, I imagine, which gives either IAEA or the ICRP any authority over the Japanese people. No ordinary Japanese person ever voted for government by IAEA and ICRP.

It is little wonder the world nuclear industry via its local mouthpieces and puppets in every land continues to claim the effects of the nuclear disaster have no consequence. Nor is it any surprise that the nuclear industry continues to illegally diagnose opponents to its dictates and insults as being “radiophobic”.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA nuclear regulators plan to reclassify Hanford High Level Nuclear Waste (HLW) as Low Level Wastes (LLW)

Regulators Discuss New Plans For Nuclear Waste At Hanford, by Cassandra Profita  Oct. 15, 2018 Federal and state energy regulators will hold back-to-back meetings in Portland on Tuesday for a proposal to reclassify some of the high-level nuclear waste at the Hanford Site in Washington.

The proposal has major implications for the nuclear waste that remains in Hanford’s storage tanks.

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Energy has been working to retrieve the nuclear waste left in storage tanks, and in one area known as C-Farm, they’ve removed as much as they can get.

“But there is some amount they were not able to get,” said Jeff Burright, nuclear waste remediation specialist with the Oregon Department of Energy. “And that equates to approximately 70,000 gallons of waste.”

The Energy Department wants to downgrade that remainder to “low-level radioactive waste,” so they can leave it in place and fill the tanks with grout. The area would then be sealed off to prevent the waste from migrating.

It’s the first step in a long closure process for about 10 percent of the storage tanks on the site. But the Oregon Department of Energy has raised concernsthat federal officials are moving too quickly. The state has filed public comments asking federal officials to do additional reviews before making any decisions.

“The movement of waste through the Hanford environment is a very complex process that we’re still trying to fully understand,” Burright said. “Despite their best efforts, there are still uncertainties over very long time scales that could represent future risk.”

Burright said closing the tanks could prevent the future removal of the 70,000 gallons of remaining waste should new technologies emerge. Plus, he said, there may be additional risks stemming from the million gallons of waste that have already leaked or spilled into the ground underneath the tanks on the site.

The Oregon Department of Energy is holding its own informational meetingon the issue at 6:30 p.m. after the U.S. Department of Energy’s informational meeting from 3-5 p.m. in Portland on Tuesday. Both meetings will be held at the same location, the Eliot Center at the First Unitarian Church, 1226 SW Salmon St.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Global nuclear lobby desperate to market an array of non existent Small and Medium Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

IAEA Showcases Global Coordination on Small, Medium Sized or Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) IAEA, October 2018   Vienna, Austria The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) expanding international coordination on the safe and secure development and deployment of small, medium sized or modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) has come into focus with new publications and expert meetings on these emerging technologies.

Significant advances have been made in recent years on SMRs, some of which will use pre-fabricated systems and components to shorten construction schedules and offer greater flexibility and affordability than traditional nuclear power plants. Some 50 SMR concepts are at various stages of development around the world, with commercial operations expected to begin in the coming years.

Following an IAEA meeting in September on SMR design and technology, energy experts from around Europe gathered at the Agency’s Vienna headquarters for a workshop earlier this month to discuss infrastructure, economic and finance aspects of SMRs. The meetings are part of an ongoing SMR project involving the IAEA Departments of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Safety and Security and Technical Cooperation. In addition, representatives of regulatory authorities and other stakeholders also met this month at the IAEA’s SMR Regulators’ Forum, which exchanges experiences on SMR regulatory reviews.

Many IAEA Member States are interested in the development and deployment of SMRs as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov, Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “The IAEA’s flurry of recent activities on SMRs is part of our efforts to respond to Member State requests for assistance on this exciting emerging technology.”

The IAEA recently released two new publications on SMRs: Deployment Indicators for Small Modular Reactors, which provides Member States with a methodology for evaluating the potential deployment of SMRs in their national energy systems; and an updated edition of Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments, which provides a concise overview of the latest status of SMR designs around the world and is intended as a supplement to the IAEA’s Advanced Reactor Information System (ARIS)…….

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Washington DC pushes 100% renewable energy bill

Joshua S Hill 

Like the Australian Capital Territory in Canberra, which has its own 100 per cent renewable energy target that will be met by 2020 – it is a strong and not-so-subtle reprimand to the occupant of the capital district’s most famous house.

The CleanEnergy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 was introduced to the Council of the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.) in July and has been working its way through procedures before the first of two public hearings was held last week.

In addition to increasing the District’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 100% – which would mandate utilities operating in the District source all their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2032 – the omnibus bill also seeks to establish a solar energy standard and require utilities to procure at least 5 per cent of their power from solar by 2032.

In a move obviously intended to increase solar development in the area, the bill includes an interesting wrinkle which proposes to increase the mandated share of solar, up until a limit of 1.68GW.

“The fight to reduce the impacts of climate change is the most important environmental issue of our time,” said council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) in July, who drafted the bill.

“The District has been a leader in this fight, but we need to do much more if we wish to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction goals in the Sustainable DC Plan and in our commitment to the Paris Accords on Climate Change.

By changing the way we approach energy consumption and building emissions, we will have a clear path forward in the fight against the devastating effects of climate change.”

The first of two hearings comes at an opportune time for the successful passing if the omnibus bill, coming as it did only a day after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a Special Report on global warming, which outlined “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

“If passed, this will be the strongest clean energy and climate protection law in the nation,” said Mark Rodeffer, chair Sierra Club DC Chapter. “To meet DC’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by 2032 and 80 percent by 2050 and to protect our communities from the catastrophic effects of climate change, this kind of resolute action is needed.”

In addition to the aforementioned provisions in the omnibus bill, it also includes new building emissions standards, funding for local sustainability initiatives, and the promise of new rules on transportation emissions.

“This bill provides the bold action needed to match the urgency of the climate crisis,” added Cliff Majersik, Executive Director of the Institute for Market Transformation. “It builds on the Clean Energy DC plan and the District’s 12-year legacy of clean energy and green building policy achievement, again blazing a path for other cities to follow.

It will stimulate investments to cut energy costs, reduce the flow of money from the District for energy imports, and create jobs for DC residents advancing renewables and energy efficiency.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump DOES have the opportunity to end the diplomatic nuclear crisis, promote disarmamament

The Nuclear Trump Card, The American Conservative, The Donald has the best shot at nuclear disarmament of any president over the last 20 years.  By HUNTER DERENSIS • October 15, 2018 There is no greater issue facing America today than that of war and peace. Marginal changes in the corporate tax rate, the precise number of visas provided to foreign workers, minor adjustments to the Social Security retirement age—all are peripheral when compared to the immense weight of foreign policy decisions. Using military force, deciding what’s in the national interest, and setting geopolitical strategy all have consequences that can affect whole nations, regions, even the world.It is the responsibility of statesmen to be as judicious as possible when it comes to military force, to act realistically and practice restraint. This prevents unwarranted infrastructure destruction, unforeseen blowback, and criminal loss of life. This carries over into a duty to work towards mutually beneficial arms control agreements and non-proliferation treaties to rein in the most destructive weapons ever created by man.

Unfortunately, outside the post-retirement advocacy of former secretary of defense William Perry and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, very few public figures seem to realize the dangers of nuclear brinksmanship and the importance of disarmament.

Currently, an exchange of 100 atomic bombs would kick up enough dust and debris to blot out part of the sun and starve one third of the earth’s population. Eight countries have the capability to carry out such a mass genocide. Further down the line, if 100 hydrogen weapons (H-bombs) were used, the planet would experience a nuclear winter and up to seven billion people would starve to death. Ellsberg terms this “omnicide”: the murder of everyone. Russia and the United States, as the only countries possessing H-bombs, are especially obligated to reduce their nuclear stockpiles and lessen the danger of nuclear war. The cost of not doing so could be the world itself.

……….Politically, Trump is in a better position than either of his predecessors on nuclear issues. His presidency is not dominated by ideological neoconservatives who buck any tactical diplomacy, and as a Republican his hawkish right flank has been partly neutered. Some of President Obama’s better intentioned efforts, like the nuclear agreement with Iran, were hindered by domestic politics and hawkish Republicans, always adversarial to Democratic-led peace initiatives. Trump, as a Republican, is not encumbered by such political restraints, a la “only Nixon can go to China.”

Thus far, Trump has squandered his opportunity. Jumping feet-first into Obama’s trillion dollar nuclear modernization plan launched in 2016, Trump has not made nuclear discussions with Russia a first-tier, or even fourth tier, issue. And when he has commented on it, it’s with his typical pugnaciousness. This attitude contradicts his efforts with North Korea, and isn’t the first contradiction in “Trumpism.” Meanwhile, pulling out of the nuclear agreement with Iran has exacerbated diplomatic tensions, but from Trump’s point of view, he sees the abrogation as a step in the direction of his vaunted “better deal.” His offer of new negotiations without preconditions shows that his goal is resolution, albeit in a tactically poor way. The administration should crystallize a consistent outlook on nuclear de-escalation, even if it’s only out of selfish motivations………

Most Americans support the Korean peace initiative. In the 2000, 2008, and 2016 presidential elections, voters chose the less hawkish candidate. Peace is popular, especially when the consequences of a possible nuclear fallout are explained. Hypothetically, if Trump were to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to Washington, D.C. to initiate negotiations on nuclear weapons, he would do so from a position of political strength.

Some analysts postulate that a world power needs no more than a couple hundred nuclear weapons to achieve a deterrence factor as envisioned by MAD (mutually-assured destruction). This makes the United States’ and Russia’s combined 13,500 warheads (active and decommissioned) more than a little overkill. It’s within both countries’ interest to reduce their stockpiles to make accidents less likely and lessen the chance of death on a scale not since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Since the United States and Russia possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, this one diplomatic overture could, over years, end the nuclear crisis on our planet. Donald Trump could make all the difference.

Hunter DeRensis is an editorial assistant at The American Conservative and a student at George Mason University. Follow him on Twitter @HunterDeRensis.  n

October 16, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry’s deceptive narrative about Fukushima earthquake in March 2011

The status of “Station Blackout” is a serious one.

“it will be many years before the Japanese people know exactly what happened at Fukushima Daiichi on 11 March 2011. One of the key mysteries was role, if any, the magnitude 9 earthquake played in damaging the plant’s reactor cooling systems. Until lethal levels of radiation inside the reactors fall and workers can carry out comprehensive investigations, the truth about the tremor’s impact will remain a subject of conjecture and contention”

Mr. Takamatsu states with expert authority that the pipes of cooling system ware not designed for the 50 second vibration of the magnitude quake. Barry Brook, kangaroo expert, disagrees and tells the world the quake caused no damage at Fukushima. Yet Mr. Brook must surely know the earthquake caused grid blackout. For reactors are all shut down by earthquakes. A solar plant would have kept generating until the last panel shattered. No one would have been evacuated from such a solar plant.

I submit that Prof. Barry Brook’s description of the effects of earthquake upon the Fukushima Diiachi on 11 March 2011 is totally ignorant of the facts as presented by many qualified experts and fly in the face of the independent commission set up by the Japanese Parliament (Diet). It is confirmed that expert investigators concern aspects of TEPCO’s explanations regarding the quake are “irrational”.

Thus any narrative based upon the nuclear industry view, in line with TEPCO’s may fairly be said to be “irrational”. For the industry view is that there is no possibility of quake damage to any structure or sub structure, such as coolant pipes and valves.

Earthquake Damage At Fukushima – is Industry’s Narrative Truthful or Certain? Nuclear History, 16 Oct 18 I am again going to contrast the statements made by Barry Brook in regard to the events and outcomes at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 with the facts as presented by Mark Willacy. These facts are published in Willacy’s book, “Fukushima – Japan’s tsunami and the inside story of the nuclear meltdowns”, Willacy, M., Pan Macmillan, copyright 2013, Mark Willacy.

However, I will also include information related to the events which were first published and discussed in 2011. ………..

The earthquake generated the tsunami. What else did the earthquake cause?

In this blog I have included posts which give the IAEA considerations for the electrical grids which are connected to nuclear power plants. The IAEA states that the level of engineering and resilience built into such grids may be a significant additional cost for any nation considering generation to nuclear power.

It comes as no surprise then the electrical grid connected to the Fukushima Daiichi NPP failed for two reasons. 1. The earthquake caused all the nuclear reactors connected to the same grid to rapidly shut down. Thus the earthquake caused a blackout due to cessation of electrical generation. 2. The physical grid infrastructure – poles and wires – were damaged by the earthquake. At Fukushima this meant that more than one of the reactors was physically separated from the grid by the earthquake.

It can therefore be seen that the earthquake meant A. Fukushima Diiachi could not generate nuclear electricity as the quake had shut the reactors down. B. The Fukushima Diiachi Nuclear Power Plant was in Station Blackout for one reason: earth quake damage to nuclear infrastructure – the electrical grid. Continue reading

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry hanging out for State laws to subsidise uneconomic nuclear reactors

Two Federal Courts May Have Just Saved The Nuclear Power Industry, Forbes, Brian H. Potts

States that want to keep their aging nuclear power fleet from retiring now have a court-approved roadmap for doing so.  That’s because two federal courts of appeals last month upheld very similar state laws in Illinois and New York aimed at subsidizing those states’ under-performing and at-risk nuclear power plants.

The current market conditions are, quite literally, killing the nuclear power industry. With natural gas prices low and cheap renewable energy flooding the markets, it’s been virtually impossible for many nuclear power plants to compete.

Some view this as simply the market picking winners and losers. But others see this as a problem. To significantly lower this country’s greenhouse gas emissions, they argue, we’ll need baseload power (i.e., power plants that can run all of the time). And only three current large-scale power sources fit that bill: coal, natural gas, and nuclear. Of those three, only nuclear power can generate energy without carbon dioxide emissions. [ What a lie!!]

Yet in Illinois (and in most other states), nuclear energy does not qualify as a “renewable energy resource,” which means nuclear generation facilities are categorically ineligible to produce and sell renewable energy credits.

That’s why, in response to concerns that two of Exelon Corporations’ nuclear generation facilities were on the brink of closing and that the zero-emission value of nuclear generation was not being recognized, the Illinois legislature passed the Future Energy Jobs Act.

The Act directed the Illinois Power Agency to create a subsidy program requiring generators that use coal or natural gas to buy zero-emissions credits (ZECs) from nuclear power plants connected to the regional grid. The price of each credit was set at $16.50 per megawatt-hour, a number Illinois derived from a federal working group’s calculation of the social cost of carbon emissions.  But, to ensure that the new program does not cause power prices to skyrocket, the price of ZECs under the program goes down if average annual energy prices on the market exceed a set cap.

Almost immediately, a group of generation facilities and consumers filed a lawsuit challenging the Illinois law. The group alleged, among other things, that the ZEC program invades the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) exclusive authority over the wholesale sale of electricity in the interstate markets.

Under the Federal Power Act, FERC has sole jurisdiction over the interstate sale of electricity at wholesale; yet states are authorized to regulate energy production within their borders, including the power plants that produce that energy.

The challengers in the case, called Electric Power Supply Association v. Star, argued that Illinois’ ZEC program went too far because it tied the price of ZECs to future wholesale market prices.

On September 13, 2018, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. “The zero-emissions credit system can influence the [market] price only indirectly,” according to the Court, because the value of a credit does not depend on the producer’s bid in the market.

Interestingly, at the Seventh Circuit’s request, FERC submitted a brief in the case, which argued that Illinois’ ZECs program was “not preempted” by the Federal Power Act because it does not expressly require generation facilities to participate in the FERC-regulated markets.

Exactly two weeks after the Seventh Circuit issued its decision, the Second Circuit issued a strikingly similar ruling in a case called Coalition for Competitive Electricity v. Zibelman.

Plaintiffs in the Zibelman case, a group of electrical generators and trade groups, also alleged that the Federal Power Act preempts New York’s ZEC program.

That program subsidizes three specific nuclear plants: FitzPatrick, Ginna, and Nine Mile Point, all of which are also owned by Exelon Corporation. Each of the plants under the New York program will obtain an additional $17.48 per megawatt-hour over the program’s first two years, and then the ZEC price every two years thereafter will be reset.

Brushing aside similar arguments from the challengers as the Seventh Circuit did, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on September 27, 2018 ruled that the ZEC program is not preempted “because Plaintiffs have failed to identify an impermissible ‘tether’ . . . between the ZEC program and wholesale market participation.”

Together, these two decisions won’t just save the specific nuclear power plants at issue. They may give a lifeline to the entire nuclear power industry.

Unless, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court decides to weigh in.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Hitachi and General Electric headed for another nuclear financial fiasco- small modular reactors?

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Public hearing in Charleston area: focus is on the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.

Charleston-area public hearing focuses on SCE&G, failed nuclear project, etc. Post and Courier 15 Oct 18 

  • The hour is drawing near for Charleston-area residents who want to vent to the powers-that-be about the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.

    Or about their South Carolina Electric & Gas power bills.

    Or about whether Dominion Energy should get the go-ahead to buy SCE&G.

  • The S.C. Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the state, is coming to the Lowcountry this week for the last of three public hearings.

    The agency held previous meetings in Columbia and Aiken. The final roadshow is set for Monday at Charleston County Government’s Lonnie Hamilton Public Services Building at 4045 Bridgeview Drive in North Charleston. It starts at 6 p.m.

  • To keep things moving along, the floor will open for 3 minutes per speaker. All comments will be folded into several ongoing cases surrounding SCE&G, which was financially responsible for more than half of the failed expansion of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station before abandoning the site in mid-2017. The disastrous project has already cost ratepayers billions of dollars — and is likely to cost them much more.

    The feedback that the commissioners gather will factor into other hearings scheduled for early November, when attorneys for SCE&G will face off against a slew of lawyers for environmental groups, industrial power users and the state’s utility watchdog agency. Those cases will decide whether the Cayce-based energy company misled the public about the progress of construction at the Midlands nuclear plant. They also will determine whether SCE&G executives acted prudently in allowing work to continue for so long before pulling the plug. And they will ultimately resolve whether SCE&G and Dominion can charge ratepayers another $3.1 billion for the unfinished reactors over the next 20 years should their tie-up be approved……….

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

S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham want Trump to continue with MOX nuclear fuel boondoggle

October 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, technology | Leave a comment

Many South Carolina residents are unaware that they’re paying for $9 billion nuclear debacle

A lot of SC power customers don’t know they’re paying for $9 billion nuclear debacle, Greenville News

Bristow Marchant, The State  Oct. 15, 2018 COLUMBIA, S.C. — More than a year after construction of two nuclear reactors was abandoned, many S.C. residents still are unfamiliar with the project that could end up costing them billions.

In a statewide poll of electric ratepayers, 40 percent of those surveyed said they were not familiar with the collapse of the V.C. Summer expansion project in Fairfield County.

The joint project by the state-owned Santee Cooper utility and SCE&G, a subsidiary of Cayce-based SCANA, collapsed in July 2017, leaving power customers holding the bag for some $9 billion spent on the now-abandoned project.

The project’s failure has roiled both companies, sparked investigations and prompted action from the Legislature.

But the controversy has passed many South Carolinians by.

Slightly less than half of the S.C. residents surveyed, 48 percent, reported being familiar with the project’s collapse. Another 12 percent weren’t sure.

Part of the reason could be that not all S.C. residents get their electricity from SCE&G or Santee Cooper.

Duke Energy’s S.C. customers made up 25 percent of those surveyed, while 29 percent get their power from SCE&G and 12 percent from Santee Cooper. Another 21 percent are members of electric co-ops — that get their power indirectly from Santee Cooper — and another 13 percent get their energy from some other source or were unsure.

Only 46 percent of Santee Cooper and electric co-op customers reported being familiar with the V.C. Summer debacle.

The poll by Clout Research was conducted for the S.C. Club for Growth, a conservative free-markets advocacy group, to gauge public opinion on the potential sale of state-owned Santee Cooper. But among S.C. residents who are not Santee Cooper customers, 50 percent told pollsters they were unfamiliar with the state-backed utility.

October 16, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment