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Anti-Olympics groups want more attention put on event’s downfalls

July 23, 2019
Anti-Olympics groups on Tuesday called for the end to the quadrennial international sports event, highlighting the situation surrounding Japan’s disaster-struck Fukushima and its connection to the games, as well as the overall displacement of residents within host cities.
With only a year left before the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin, members of the group, speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, argued the games were detrimental to those who were the most vulnerable, and the influx of money has not been used in places where it is necessary.
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(Misako Ichimura)
The press conference was held by former professional athlete and academic Jules Boykoff, Misako Ichimura, a member of an anti-Tokyo Olympics group and Anne Orchier, a member of a group opposing the 2028 Los Angeles games.
Ichimura, of Hangorin no kai NoOlympics 2020, emphasized the negative impact the upcoming Olympics has had on residents, including how about 230 households were told in 2012 to move out of their homes after authorities decided to tear down the Toei Kasumigaoka apartment bloc in central Tokyo, to make way for a new stadium.
She also touched on the plight of people in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.
“The Tokyo Olympics are trying to demonstrate that the ongoing issues in Fukushima have already been resolved, but those affected by the disasters are still suffering,” she said at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.
Boykoff, who traveled to the prefecture on Monday and met with local officials, agreed with Ichimura’s sentiments, calling the visit “one of the most intense experiences of my life.”
Boykoff said he learned from a local politician during his trip that reconstruction efforts have been slow and nuclear radiation levels in some areas in the northeastern region remain high.
“To return to Tokyo afterward and see all the money plunged into the Olympics while people still suffer in Fukushima was mind-blowing for me,” he said.
Ichimura also mentioned how dangerous the extreme heat, commonly associated with summers in Tokyo, has been on laborers and likely will be on athletes during the games.
“Three construction workers have already passed away on-site, and there have been a series of accidents as well as cases of heatstroke,” she said. “Tokyo summers will pose a serious health risk to many people if the Olympics are held in such extreme conditions.”
Weather-related concerns have been mounting, especially after a record-breaking heatwave hit Japan’s capital last summer, with an area near Tokyo seeing the temperature soar to 41.1 C.
Although the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will begin in a year, Ichimura has vowed to continue the fight against the status quo.
“We will not stay quiet as long as (the Olympics) continue to be held throughout the world, whether that is a year before (the event), a day before, or even after it’s begun,” she said.
Individuals against the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics have also rallied in support, citing the U.S. city’s growing homeless population.
Homelessness rose 16 percent in 2018 in Los Angeles, with at least 60,000 people being without a home on any given night, according to Orchier, an organizing member of NoOlympics LA.
“They are not bulldozing mansions to build luxury hotels or stadiums, they’re going after the most vulnerable,” she said, echoing Ichimura’s plea.
Furthermore, a study conducted by her group showed that while 45 percent of the city’s residents were opposed to the 2028 Olympics, 51 percent were moderately or extremely concerned about the impact it would have on homelessness.
“Serious grievances churn beneath the surface of the Olympics, and they absolutely deserve our collective attention,” Boykoff said.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

The 2020 Olympics Are Likely to Be a Disaster

After spending a day with Tokyo’s anti-Olympics organizers, it was clear why they are angry about the 2020 Olympics—and that they are ready to fight.
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Members of the group Okotowari Olympics 2020 protest outside the Japan Sport Olympic Square.
July 22, 2019
By Dave Zirin and Jules Boykoff
At first glance, this must appear to be the politest anti-Olympics movement imaginable. The group fighting against the games is known as Okotowari Olympics 2020, or No Thanks Olympics 2020. However, after spending a day among them, it is clear that the honchos in the Japanese Olympic Committee should be worried. These organizers are feisty, whip-smart, and their goal is nothing short of preventing next year’s Olympics from landing in Tokyo. Their concerns are based on the recent history of what happens to a city after the Olympics descend: debt, displacement, and hyper-militarization. For them, it is also a question of priorities.
In the words of one organizer, Tomiko, “People are still suffering from [the earthquake and Fukushima nuclear meltdown of] 2011. The government needs to spend money to help those still suffering, not on the Olympics.”
This group of activists and agitators spent the day taking a disparate group of three dozen people—many from past or future Olympic cities—on a tour of Olympic building projects already underway. By the time they were finished, it was very clear why they were protesting.
Akio Yoshida, who, like several of the Okotowari organizers, cut her teeth doing work in solidarity with Tokyo’s large homeless population, said, “The displacement already happening will just move more people from their homes. All Olympics discriminate. Some people are prioritized. Others are disregarded.” After touring future Olympic sites, we could all see who the winners will be: well-connected developers, construction magnates, and security barons. Meanwhile, the working poor and houseless will be left out.
We saw a body of water slated for open-water swimming, with bacteria levels dangerous to the human touch. We saw a baseball stadium, the home of the famed Yakult Swallows, that will be demolished, only to be rebuilt a block away to meet the specifications of the Olympics. We saw public spaces such as a youth aquatic center that will be shut down to make way for Olympic sports, while young people will have to spend next summer with their noses pressed against the glass. We saw a beautifully designed, massive public stadium that was built only for volleyball and will be handed over after the Olympics to a private business concern. The stadium cost $300,000,000.
Around Tokyo, we saw public spaces clogged with construction that fenced out everyday people. One public area that was typically buzzing with baseball was off-limits, while bulldozers constructed an Olympic track venue. It’s deeply ironic that a traditional location for amateur athletes to train will be demolished for Olympic facilities. As one organizer said, “What is the point of the Olympics if they will actually serve to stifle amateur sports?”
Atsumi Masazumi, who lives in the neighborhood around the new National Stadium, told us, “The area I was proud of is being changed for the worse by the Olympics. It’s sneaky to use the Games to change the building codes. It’s horrible.” He stressed that he loves sports but doesn’t love what the Olympics are doing to his city.
We also traveled to the Odaiba Marine Park, the future location of Olympic swimming and the triathlon. But the beach was fenced off from the public. Signs pegged to posts around the perimeter of the area informed passersby that the beach would be closed from July 1 through September 6 in order to hold an Olympics-related event. Again, spaces meant for the public were being cordoned off because of the Olympics.
We saw all this while walking in a typical Tokyo summer’s stifling humidity, a reminder of the kind of temperatures that outdoor athletes will have to face next year.
We didn’t just walk and tour. In a quick-fire action at Japan Sport Olympic Square, the activists unfurled two banners reading “Olympics Kill the Poor” and “Reverse the 2020 Tokyo Olympics” and posed for a photo in front of the Olympic rings. Jittery security guards on the scene treated the two banners as if they were Molotov cocktails in the making, desperately shepherding activists away from the vicinity.
Satoko Itani, a professor of sport and gender studies at Kansai University, told us that the Olympics-induced state of exception we saw in motion all around us was “not only about the Olympics, but what happens afterwards.” It is the concern of “what happens afterwards” that activists will spend the next year fighting. This week is meant to kick off those actions, with symposiums, demonstrations, and rallies. If today is any indication, they will be organized in a way that everyone involved is crystal clear that the stakes for Tokyo could not be higher.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | 1 Comment

Beach in Fukushima Prefecture reopens for first time since 2011 disasters

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Children play in the sea at Kitaizumi Beach in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Saturday.
July 20, 2019
MINAMISOMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Kitaizumi Beach in Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, reopened Saturday after it was closed following the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami and subsequent nuclear accident.
After it opened, the beach was filled with the noise of cheering children.
“I was relieved to see the beach crowded with people,” said Saki Yamaki, a 29-year-old Minamisoma resident, who visited the beach with members of her family.
“I couldn’t swim well because the waves were high, but I really enjoyed (my visit),” said Kazuto, Yamaki’s 8-year-old son.
“Seeing the sea makes me feel calm, and the sounds of waves help me forget negative things,” a woman in her 60s who lost a relative in the tsunami. said. “I hope the number of visitors will recover to the pre-disaster level,” said the woman, who also lives in Minamisoma.
Areas of the ocean offshore are well-known surfing spots, and the Japan Pro Surfing Association hosted a surfing competition the same day.
“To dispel harmful rumors (about radiation), we’ve tried to make the beach the safest one in Japan,” said Masahiro Nishizawa, a 49-year-old Minamisoma citizen who played a central role in planning the competition and in work to make the beach safe for people to visit.
“We hope to hold an international surfing competition here in the future,” he added.
A beach volleyball event was also held on Kitaizumi Beach.
Preparations for the beach’s reopening included the construction of a seawall and a public park.
Tests carried out by the Fukushima Prefectural Government in May confirmed that the amount of radiation in the air and the quality of water at the beach were the same as was recorded before the disasters.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to decommission all four reactors at Fukushima Daini

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The No. 4 reactor building stands at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holding’s Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power station in Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, in July 2012
Tepco to decommission reactors at Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant
 
July 20, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. will formally decide to decommission the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant after informing the prefecture’s governor of its policy as early as this month, a company source has said.
Excluding the nearby No. 1 plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, it is the first time that the utility has decided to decommission a nuclear facility, the source said Friday.
The decommissioning of all four reactors at the No. 2 plant will likely require more than 40 years and cost an estimated ¥280 billion ($2.6 billion), the source added. If realized, all 10 reactors in Fukushima Prefecture will be scrapped.
Tepco now believes that it can secure funds to cover costs for the decommissioning and necessary workers, sources said.
The company will submit a specific decommissioning plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority by the end of March 2020, according to the sources.
Closure of the No. 1 plant, which suffered core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, has already been decided.
After telling Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori about the policy, it could be formally approved at a Tepco board meeting scheduled for the end of this month, the source said.
The No. 2 complex was also hit by tsunami waves in the 2011 disaster and temporarily lost reactor cooling functions. But unlike the No. 1 plant, it escaped meltdowns.
Since the disaster, firms operating 21 nuclear reactors in the nation, including those at the No. 2 plant, have decided to decommission the facilities.
If the decision is approved by the board, the Tokyo-based utility’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture will become its only nuclear complex.
In June last year, Tepco President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told the governor that the company is leaning toward scrapping all four reactors at the No. 2 plant. A project team was later formed at the utility and looked into whether that is possible, according to the source.
The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts.
 
 
Tepco to retire remaining reactors in Fukushima
Decommissioning is expected to take 40 years and cost $2.5bn
Tepco plans to authorize the decommissioning of all four Fukushima Daini reactors this month, a project estimated to cost $2.5 billion.
July 20, 2019
TOKYO — Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings will scrap the four Fukushima Prefecture reactors that escaped damage in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, moving to decommission all of the nuclear power plants the public utility owns in the disaster-stricken region.
The shutdown of the Fukushima Daini plant, which is located just 12km away from the Daiichi Plant crippled by fuel meltdowns, will be formally authorized at the company’s board meeting at the end of the month. This marks the first decision by the utility, known as Tepco, to decommission nuclear reactors apart from the Daiichi facilities. 
Costs for decommissioning Fukushima Daini are estimated to exceed 270 billion yen ($2.5 billion). While Tepco’s reserves are not enough to cover them, the government adopted new accounting rules allowing operators to spread a large loss from decommissioning over multiple years. The company also believes it has secured enough people with necessary expertise to move forward. 
Tepco soon will inform Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori of its decision. The utility intends to submit the decommissioning plan to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority by March next year. 
The decision means all 10 reactors in Fukushima will be scrapped. The Daini reactors will be decommissioned in roughly 40 years, sharing the same timetable as the Daiichi site. Tepco owns one other nuclear plant, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility in Niigata Prefecture.
The Daini plant, where each reactor produced 1.1 gigawatts of power, served the Tokyo area for about three decades. Japan’s central government sought to restart the complex but faced withering opposition from local residents in Fukushima.
Including the Fukushima Daini facilities, a total of 21 reactors across Japan are now slated for decommissioning. Recent additions include two units at the Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture and one reactor at the Onagawa facility in Miyagi Prefecture.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Growing foreign resident population in Fukushima Prefecture now numbers more than 14,000, says new report

According to a census report released earlier this month, there were 14,047 foreign nationals living in Fukushima Prefecture as of the beginning of this year.
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July 19, 2019
Reflecting a nationwide trend of an increasing number of foreign residents in Japan, Fukushima Prefecture is also seeing its foreign community expand.
According to a census report released earlier this month, there were 14,047 foreign nationals living in Fukushima Prefecture as of the beginning of this year — an increase of 1,263 from the same point in the previous year.
Compared to 2013, when the survey of foreign nationals registering their residency began, the number of foreign nationals in Fukushima has increased by 154 percent. The trend is especially evident in urban areas like Koriyama, Iwaki and the city of Fukushima. As of Jan. 1 Koriyama logged the highest number of foreign residents, with 2,682 — an increase of 205 from the previous year. Iwaki came next, with 2,541 foreigners, and the city of Fukushima was home to 1,925.
As the foreign community continues to expand, the prefecture is tasked with building an environment in which they feel welcome and supported. “With the central government’s policy of increasing the number of foreign laborers, we’re seeing more technical intern trainees working in places like factories,” an Iwaki official said.
The number of foreign laborers — including technical trainee interns — is growing nationwide, and Fukushima Prefecture is no exception. According to the Fukushima Labor Bureau the number of foreign laborers in the prefecture has tripled, from 2,493 in 2011 to 8,130 in 2018.
As the population and availability of workers both continue to dwindle in the prefecture, the need for residents to coexist with foreign laborers is growing.
“The foreigner laborers who work in our town are members of the community and a vital source of labor,” said the chairperson of a supervising body at the Hanawa Chamber of Commerce, in the town of Hanawa in Fukushima Prefecture. The chamber was authorized by the government to take on responsibility for hosting foreign laborers. Opportunities to study Japanese are also being considered as a way to better welcome foreign nationals, whose labor could lead to a revitalization of the region.
According to the Japan Student Services Organization, the number of foreign exchange students in Fukushima Prefecture was about 2.5 times higher in 2018 than in 2012, with the number jumping from 302 to 776.
For foreign nationals living away from their home countries, administrative support is essential. “For those who can’t speak Japanese well, it’s crucial for there to be systems in place to help with communication,” said Chung Hyunsil, a 58-year-old South Korea-born Fukushima resident who serves as the director of a nonprofit called Fukukan Net.
Taking such ne
eds into account, the prefecture is seeking to improve its consultation services. Its plan includes expanding accessibility at the Fukushima International Association from seven languages to 11 by the end of the year, and using social media to promote events and community-building in different languages as well.
Fukushima Prefecture’s International Affairs Division aims to “explore the needs of foreign nationals while building an environment in which they can live comfortably.”
This section features topics and issues from Fukushima covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original article was published on July 11.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to decommission Fukushima Daini nuclear plant

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July 19, 2019
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. will formally decide to decommission the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant after informing the prefecture’s governor of its policy as early as this month, a company source said Friday.
Excluding the nearby Daiichi, crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, it is the first time that the utility, also known as TEPCO, has decided to decommission a nuclear plant.
The decommissioning of all four nuclear reactors at Daini will likely require more than 40 years and some 280 billion yen ($2.6 billion) in costs, the source said. If realized, all 10 nuclear reactors in Fukushima Prefecture will be scrapped.
Closure of the Daiichi plant, which suffered core meltdowns at three of its six reactors, has already been decided.
After telling Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori about the policy, it may be formally approved at a TEPCO board meeting, scheduled at the end of this month, the source said.
The Daini complex was also hit by tsunami waves in the 2011 disaster and temporarily lost reactor cooling functions. But unlike the Daiichi plant, it escaped meltdowns.
Since the disaster, the decommissioning in Japan of 21 nuclear reactors, including those at Daini, has been decided.
For the Tokyo-headquartered power company, the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture will be its only nuclear complex.
In June last year, TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa told the governor that the company is leaning toward scrapping all four reactors at the Daini plant. A project team was later formed at the utility and looked into whether that is possible, according to the source.
The prefecture has demanded the utility scrap the reactors, saying their existence would hamper its reconstruction efforts.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO begins studying dislodged reactor cover

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Translation by Rachel Clark
July 17, 2019
At TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 1, the top lid of the containment vessel covering the reactor has been shifted (or out of proper position). Because of this, the radiation dose in the building became high, which has been an obstacle to decommissioning work, TEPCO has started to conduct its investigation on the 17th to check the situation of the shifted upper lid and contamination using a robot.
 
The first unit of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was affected by the hydrogen explosion at the time of the accident, and the upper lid of the three layers of the containment vessel covering the nuclear reactor was shifted from its proper position.
Because of this, radiation dose around this reactor goes up as high as 2.23 Sv/h.
For this reason, it is necessary to lower the radiation dose either by taking out the fuel left in the spent fuel pool in the Unit 1 building, or by correcting the position of the lid that weighs about 60 tons, or by installing a new cover, etc. On the 17th, TEPCO started to investigate the situation by a remote-controlled robot for more details.
In their plan, first they want to put the robot in the gap between the upper and middle lids among the three layers of lids, then to lower the camera and confirm the condition of the lowest tier, and to wipe the surface of the lid measured with a three-dimensional scanner, in order to collect radioactive materials.
On the 17th, TEPCO started the investigation from 3:00 pm. What they actually doing now is to take photos in order to confirm the view of a robot’s camera.
The investigation will be continued through early next month, of which the results will help TEPCO examine the necessity of decontamination as well as of moving the lids and shielding radiation.
TEPCO begins studying dislodged reactor cover
July 18, 2019
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has begun a robot survey of a dislodged cover of the facility’s No.1 reactor containment vessel. High radiation leaking from the area is hindering Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, from carrying out decommissioning work.
The roughly 500-ton, three-layer cover was dislodged by a hydrogen explosion after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Around the cover, radiation levels as high as 2.23 sieverts per hour have been detected.
TEPCO plans to remove 392 nuclear fuel assemblies from a cooling pool next to the reactor container.
But workers must either put the cover back in place or install a shield to lower radiation levels before starting the work.
The firm began examining the dislodged cover on Wednesday.
Engineers are sending robots between the cover’s top and middle sections to conduct 3D scanning and collect samples of radioactive material from its surface.
TEPCO is to continue the survey through early next month and consider what needs to be done.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Temporal variation of radionuclides contamination of marine plants on the Fukushima coast after the East Japan nuclear disaster

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July 16, 2019
As a result of the Great East Japan Earthquake and associated tsunami in March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) released a large amount of radioactive materials into the environment, resulting in contamination of many marine organisms.
In this study, 15 marine algal and a seagrass species were collected from the sublittoral zone of the Iwaki Coast of Fukushima Prefecture from May 2012 to June 2015 and analysed for variations in 110mAg, 134Cs, and 137Cs with time.
The results indicated that (1) 110mAg, 134Cs, and 137Cs were present in all marine plants collected in May 2012; (2) the concentration of 110mAg in the seagrass Phyllospadix iwatensis decreased significantly with time, while the ecological half-life of 110mAg in P. iwatensis was longer at locations closer to the FDNPP; and (3) the 110mAg/137Cs radioactivity ratio of P. iwatensis was remarkably high until 2015, indicating that detectable 110mAg was present in the coastal environment 4 years after the accident.
The concentration of 110mAg in P. iwatensis was higher than those in other marine algae, demonstrating a species-specific mechanism of accumulation.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | 1 Comment

UK Nuclear Finance: From No Subsidies to Nuclear Tax

July 27, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

A damning new report on the unlikely future for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

At a global level, the report concludes that, as with the much-heralded ‘nuclear renaissance’ of recent times, SMRs will not be built in any significant scale.
Whether the economies claimed from the use of production line techniques can be achieved will only be known if reactors are built in very large numbers, and at significant cost.
Spending so much time and effort pursuing such an uncertain technology, at a time when the ‘climate emergency’ has now reached the political and public lexicon in requiring urgent attention, does not appear to be an effective use of taxpayer resources.
In the overall view of the report authors, the prospects for SMRs in the UK and Worldwide are limited and not worth the huge levels of effort or finance being proposed for them.

NFLA support joint report with the Nuclear Consulting Group which looks at the prospects of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors in the UK and globally and concludes they will not be built to any significant  scale http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nfla-joint-ncg-report-on-smrs/    25 Jul 19

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes cooperating with the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG) in its development of one of the most detailed analyses of the technologies being developed to create small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the UK and around the world. This report concludes there remains fundamental barriers to any significant development of this new nuclear technology, and its prospects for creating some kind of ‘nuclear renaissance’ are unlikely to be realised.

The report has been developed by Professor Stephen Thomas of Greenwich University, Dr Paul Dorfman of University College London and NCG Founder, Professor M V Ramana of British Columbia University, and the NFLA Secretary. (1) The global nuclear industry has put forward SMRs as a panacea to the problems of high cost and the difficulty of financing large nuclear reactors; a ready-made alternative that can fill the gap.

However, as the NCG / NFLA report outlines in detail, there are huge obstacles to overcome. Some of these are technical issues, others are around building up an effective supply chain, while the financing of such schemes will only be possible with significant and large subsidy from the public purse.

The report starts with considering the failures in delivering larger nuclear reactors, and then takes in turn each type of SMR technology that has been put forward by companies involved in the nuclear industry.

The report outlines in some detail UK Government policy on SMRs. It notes that after some considerable early promotion of the technology, interest has markedly cooled, despite another fairly limited amount of money being offered to develop the technology, announced earlier this week. (2) The report notes the extraordinary set of conditions set out by Rolls Royce to be met by the UK Government if it is to invest significant amounts of money in its own SMR design, which the authors argue could and should not be committed to at a time when serious doubts remain about the economic viability of the technology.

At a global level, the report concludes that, as with the much-heralded ‘nuclear renaissance’ of recent times, SMRs will not be built in any significant scale. The authors note that the two main rationales for SMRs – promised lower overall project costs and lowering the risk of cost overruns by shifting to an assembly line approach – are more than offset by the loss of scale economies that the nuclear industry has pursued for the past five decades. Indeed, many of the features of the SMRs being developed are the same ones that underpinned the latest, failed generation of large reactors. Reactor cost estimates will remain with a large degree of uncertainty until a comprehensive review by national nuclear regulators is completed, the design features are finalised and demonstration plants are built. Whether the economies claimed from the use of production line techniques can be achieved will only be known if reactors are built in very large numbers, and at significant cost.

Spending so much time and effort pursuing such an uncertain technology, at a time when the ‘climate emergency’ has now reached the political and public lexicon in requiring urgent attention, does not appear to be an effective use of taxpayer resources. Abundant evidence shows that renewable energy supply, storage, distribution and management technologies are being developed ever cheaper and swifter at a time when real urgency is required across society and government to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. SMRs are no answer to creating low-carbon economies by 2030 or close to that date. Governments should consider this report carefully and not be diverted by an unproven technology inherent with many difficult issues still to overcome.

In the overall view of the report authors, the prospects for SMRs in the UK and Worldwide are limited and not worth the huge levels of effort or finance being proposed for them.

NFLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:

“This excellent independent analysis on the prospects for small modular nuclear reactors needs to be read by the new Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom and senior civil servants in the UK Government who have been providing support to the development of small modular nuclear reactors. It is clear from this joint report between the NCG and the NFLA that this technology is not the panacea to kick start new nuclear reactors, far from it. As Councils around the country declare ‘climate emergencies’ it is clear from this report that scarce available resource should not be spent developing this technology but rather diverted into renewable energy, smart energy, energy efficiency and energy storage projects instead. As large new nuclear like at Moorside and Wylfa has failed to be realised, it is time now to move away from small nuclear reactors as an expensive sideshow to the critical needs of mitigating carbon.”

Report co-author Professor Steve Thomas added:

“Nuclear proponents are saying that SMRs will be the next big thing – but the reality is they are as expensive as large reactors, produce the same waste, carry the same radiation risks, and are a long way from any real deployment.”

Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.

Notes for editors:

(1) NCG / NFLA report – Prospects for Small Modular Reactors in the UK and Worldwide, July 2019
http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Prospects-for-SMRs-report-2.pdf

(2) Energy Live News, Government mulls investing £18 million to develop UK’s first mini nuclear reactor, 23rd July 2019 https://www.energylivenews.com/2019/07/23/government-mulls-investing-18m-to-develop-uks-first-mini-nuclear-reactor/

July 27, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Soaring temperatures in Europe – risk of record ice melt in Greenland

July 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Germany’s Grohnde nuclear plant headed for shutdown, due to high temperatures

Nuclear power plant in Germany at verge of getting switched off due to heat wave – Nuclear phase-out, 26 Jul 2019, Benjamin Wehrmann  https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/nuclear-power-plant-germany-verge-getting-switched-due-heat-wave

Clean Energy Wire / NDR / Bloomberg  

A nuclear power plant in northern Germany has come to the verge of being taken off the grid on Friday, a Lower Saxony state environment ministry spokesperson told Clean Energy Wire. The ministry on Thursday had said the Grohnde nuclear plant near Hannover would likely be taken offline, as high temperatures were excessively warming a river used for the plant’s cooling system, and should be started up again once the heat wave that has hit Germany and other European countries with unprecedented temperatures has abated. On Friday, the plant’s operator, Preussen Elektra had informed the ministry that water temperatures were not rising as quickly as expected. However, precautions for a possible shutdown were taken nonetheless, the operator said. The river Weser, into which the plant’s cooling water is discharged, is suffering low water levels and has warmed to above 26 degrees Celsius. Additional heat from the nuclear reactor could damage the river’s ecosystem, the ministry said.

According to preliminary figures from meteorological service DWD, 25 June set another temperature record for Germany. Lingen in Lower Saxony recorded a high of 42.6 degrees, breaking the previous day’s all-time German high of 40.5 degrees.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Germany | Leave a comment

Fears about a Soviet-era nuclear waste site, on the planned route for a Moscow expressway.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | environment, Russia | Leave a comment

Bikini Atoll, site of nuclear bomb testing, still 10 times more radioactive than Chernobyl

After 61 Years, U.S. Testing Site For Nuclear Weapons Still 10 Times More Radioactive Than Chernobyl https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidbressan/2019/07/25/after-60-years-u-s-testing-site-for-nuclear-weapons-still-10-times-more-radioactive-than-chernobyl/#396a418e26be    David Bressan

Between 1946 and 1958 the atolls of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean were testing ground for the United States nuclear arsenal. The first bomb, called Able, was detonated July 25, 1946, on Bikini Atoll. The first-ever American hydrogen bomb, with the code name Ivy Mike, was tested on Enewetak in 1951. The 1954 Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb was 1,000 times more powerful than Little Boy, the uranium bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima. In 12 years the U.S. tested 67 nuclear weapons on the Bikini and Enewetak Atolls. The craters formed by the explosions are visible from space; however, less obvious is the radioactive contamination of the entire area.

A survey conducted in 2015 found concentrations of radioactive plutonium-239 and -240 in the soil of Bikini and Enewetak almost ten times higher than levels in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, where thirty-three years ago the reactor experienced a catastrophic core meltdown, exploded and parts of the nuclear fuel were released. Levels of gamma radiation were also higher than previously reported on Bikini and significantly elevated on sites tested on Enewetak and Rongelap Atolls.. Radioactive fallout from the Castle Bravo test on March 1, 1954, also contaminated the nearby Rongelap and Utirik Atolls, prompting the evacuation of the local population. Still today some sites surpass the maximum exposure for radiation considered safe by experts. Apart the 67 tests, also a leaking nuclear waste repository is contributing to the radioactive pollution of the area.

On Runit Island, one of forty islands forming the Enewetak Atoll, sits “The Dome” – a 100 meters wide crater filled with 85,000 cubic meters of radioactive debris and waste and covered with half a meter of concrete. The dome sits on permeable rocks and in 2013 leaks of radioactive water were noted at the base of the structure. As sea levels are rising the entire site will be flooded, potentially causing widespread radioactive contamination, including plutonium-239.

July 27, 2019 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA | Leave a comment