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New report: Nuclear Power ‘seven decades of economic ruin’

Nuclear power ‘seven decades of economic ruin’, says new report  29.07.2019 – London, United Kingdom – Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament   New research has found that almost all nuclear power plants built since the nuclear industry’s inception have generated large financial losses.

The report by the German Institute for Economic Research examines 674 nuclear power plants built since 1951. Its authors found that typical nuclear power plants averaged 4.8 billion euros in losses.

The report authors argue that new technology for nuclear plants won’t solve the underlying economic difficulties: “Those in favor of nuclear energy like to point out the ongoing technological developments that could lead to it growing more efficient in the future.

“They include ‘fourth generation’ nuclear power plants and mini-nuclear power plants (small modular reactors, SMRs). Anything but new, both concepts have their roots in the early phase of nuclear power in the 1950s. Then as now, there was no hope that the technologies would become economical and established.”

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“The history of nuclear power is seven decades of economic ruin and environmental catastrophe. Toshiba’s decision last year to abandon plans to build a reactor at Moorside in Cumbria and Hitachi’s suspension of work this year on the Wylfa Newydd plant in Anglesey simply reflect the economic reality that this report sets out.

“Nuclear power isn’t only expensive, it creates an unsolvable waste problem, and as the TV drama Chernobyl so graphically reveals, nuclear accidents create human misery and environmental destruction.

“Our new Prime Minister should learn these lessons and adopt a fresh approach to energy that centres on clean and economically viable renewable technology.”

July 30, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

New research: 2017 radioactive cloud traced to an unacknowledged nuclear accident in southern Russia

Mysterious Radiation Cloud Over Europe Traced to Secret Russian Nuclear Accident  By Tom Metcalfe, Live Science Contributor | July 29, 2019 A vast cloud of nuclear radiation that spreadover continental Europe in 2017 has been traced to an unacknowledged nuclear accident in southern Russia, according to an international team of scientists.

The experts say the cloud of radiation detected over Europe in late September 2017 could only have been caused by a nuclear fuel-reprocessing accident at the Mayak Production Association, a nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region of the Ural Mountains in Russia, sometime between noon on Sept. 26 and noon on Sept. 27.

Russia confirmed that a cloud of nuclear radiation was detected over the Urals at the time, but the country never acknowledged any responsibility for a radiation leak, nor has it ever admitted that a nuclear accident took place at Mayak in 2017. [Top 10 Greatest Explosions Ever]

The lead author of the new research, nuclear chemist Georg Steinhauser of Leibniz University in Hanover, Germany, said that more than 1,300 atmospheric measurements from around the world showed that between 250 and 400 terabecquerels of radioactive ruthenium-106 had been released during that time.

Ruthenium-106 is a radioactive isotope of ruthenium, meaning that it has a different number of neutrons in its nucleus than the naturally occurring element has. The isotope can be produced as a byproduct during nuclear fission of uranium-235 atoms.

Although the resulting cloud of nuclear radiation was diluted enough that it caused no harm to people beneath it, the total radioactivity was between 30 and 100 times the level of radiation released after the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011, Steinhauser told Live Science.

The research was published today (July 29) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The cloud of radiation in September 2017 was detected in central and eastern Europe, Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and even the Caribbean.

Only radioactive ruthenium-106 — a byproduct of nuclear fission, with a half-life of 374 days — was detected in the cloud — Steinhauser said.

During the reprocessing of nuclear fuel — when radioactive plutonium and uranium are separated from spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power reactors — ruthenium-106 is typically separated out and placed into long-term storage with other radioactive waste byproducts, he said.

That meant that any massive release of ruthenium could only come from an accident during nuclear fuel reprocessing; and the Mayak facility was one of only a few places in the world that carries out that sort of reprocessing, he said.

Advanced meteorological studies made as part of this new research showed that the radiation cloud could only have come from the Mayak facility in Russia. “They have done a very thorough analysis and they have pinned down Mayak — there is no doubt about it,” he said.

The accident came a little more than 60 years since a nuclear accident at Mayak in 1957 caused one of the largest releases of radiation in the region’s history, second only to the 1986 explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which is now in the Ukraine. [Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster 25 Years Later (Infographic)]

In the 1957 accident, known as the Kyshtym disaster after a nearby town, a tank of liquid nuclear waste at the Mayak facility exploded, spreading radioactive particles over the site and causing a radioactive plume of smoke that stretched for hundreds of miles.

The study showed that the 2017 accident at Mayak was unlikely to have been caused by a relatively simple release of radioactive gas, Steinhauser said. Rather, a fire, or even an explosion, might have exposed workers at the plant to harmful levels of radiation, he added.

Russia has not acknowledged that any accident occurred at the Mayak facility, maybe because plutonium is made there for thermonuclear weapons. However, Russia had established a commission to investigate the radioactive cloud, Steinhauser said.

The Russian commission ruled that there was not enough evidence to determine if a nuclear accident was responsible for the cloud. But Steinhauser and his team hope it may look again at this decision in the light of the new research.

“They came to the conclusion that they need more data,” he said. “And so we feel like, okay, now you can have all of our data — but we would like to see yours as well.”

Any information from Russia about an accident at the Mayak facility would help scientists refine their research, instead of having to rely only on measurements of radioactivity from around the world, Steinhauser said.

The international team of scientists involved are keenly interested in learning more about its causes. “When everybody else is concerned, we are almost cheering for joy, because we have something to measure,” he said. “But it is our responsibility to learn from this accident. This is not about blaming Russia, but it is about learning our lessons,” he said.

July 30, 2019 Posted by | incidents, radiation, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Robots the only hope for highly radioactive areas in wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Robots come to the rescue after Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, CBS News, CORRESPONDENTLesley Stahl, Produced by Richard Bonin and Ayesha Siddiqi , 28 July 19

Eight years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused a massive nuclear meltdown in the Daiichi Power Plant, Lesley Stahl reports on the unprecedented cleanup effort

More than eight years have passed since a monster earthquake and tsunami struck Northeast Japan and triggered what became, after Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster in history at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. 

As we first reported last fall, when three of the plant’s six reactors melted down, hot fuel turned to molten lava and burned through steel walls and concrete floors. To this day, no one knows exactly where inside the reactor buildings the fuel is. And it is so deadly, no human can go inside to look for it. So the Japanese company that owns the crippled plant has turned to robots.

There are four-legged robots, robots that climb stairs and even robots that can swim into reactors flooded with water. They’re equipped with 3D scanners, sensors and cameras that map the terrain, measure radiation levels and look for the missing fuel.

This is part of a massive clean up that’s expected to cost nearly $200 billion and take decades.

Lesley Stahl: Has anything like this cleanup, in terms of the scope, ever happened before?

Lake Barrett:  No, this is a unique situation here.  It’s never happened in human history. It’s a challenge we’ve never had before………..

Lesley Stahl: Why not just bury this place? Why not do what they did at Chernobyl? Just cover it up, bury it, and just leave it here all– you know, enclosed?

Lake Barrett: Number one this is right next to the sea. We’re 100 yards from the ocean. We have typhoons here in Japan. This is also a high earthquake zone. And there’s gonna be future earthquakes. So these are unknowns that the Japanese and no one wants to deal with………

Lesley Stahl: How many tons of radioactive waste was developed here?

Lake Barrett: Probably 500 to 1,000 tons in each building.

Lesley Stahl: So how long will it be lethal?

Lake Barrett: It will be lethal for thousands of years.

Lesley Stahl: What we’re talking about really is three meltdowns?

Lake Barrett: Yes. It was truly Hell on Earth.

No one is gonna send a worker in there because they’d be overexposed in just a matter of seconds.”

The meltdowns triggered huge explosions that sent plumes of radioactive debris into the atmosphere, forcing the evacuation of everyone within a 12-mile radius – about 160,000 people in all. Weeks later, TEPCO officials engaged in so-called kowtow diplomacy – allowing townspeople to berate them as they prostrated themselves in apology.

Thousands of workers were sent to the countryside to decontaminate everything touched by radiation including digging up dirt and putting it in bags – lots of bags.

But while much of the evacuation zone has been decontaminated, there are still entire neighborhoods that are like ghost towns, silent and lifeless with radiation levels that remain too high.

At the plant they’re capturing contaminated groundwater, about 150 tons a day, and storing it in tanks, as far as the eye can see.

Lake Barrett: Water is always the major challenge here. And it’s going to remain a major challenge until the entire cores are removed.

The closer workers get to the reactors, the more protective gear they have to wear, as we discovered………..

In the years since the accident, much of the damage to the building has been repaired.

But it’s still dangerous to spend a lot of time here. We could stay only 15 minutes.

Lesley Stahl: There’s this number I’ve been seeing, 566.

Lake Barrett: Right. That’s telling you the radiation level that we’re in. It’s fairly high here. That’s why we’re gonna be here a short time.

Lesley Stahl: How close are you and I, right this minute, to the core?

Lake Barrett: The– the melted cores are about 70 feet that way.

Lesley Stahl: Seventy from here–

Lake Barrett: From here.

Lesley Stahl: –is the melted core?

Lake Barrett: Correct, that’s right over in here. We don’t know quite where other than it fell down into the floor.

Lesley Stahl: So if you sent a worker in right now to find it, how long would they survive?

Lake Barrett: No one is gonna send a worker in there because they’d be overexposed in just a matter of seconds.

Enter the robots.

Lesley Stahl: This is the robot research center.

Dr. Kuniaki Kawabata: Yes. This is for remote control technology development.

In 2016, the Japanese government opened this $100 million research center near the plant where a new generation of robots is being developed by teams of engineers and scientists from the nation’s top universities and tech companies………

But even with all the high-tech training and know-how, the robots have run into problems. For the early models, it was the intense levels of radiation – that fried their electronics and cameras.

Lake Barrett: Their lifetime was hours. We hoped it would be days, but it was for hours………

when Scorpion went inside, it hit some debris and got stuck after traveling less than 10 feet. ……

Finally, in 2017, the swimming robot [Little Sunfish] made its foray into the heart of the reactor.  ………. It beamed back images reveali ng clumps of debris, fuel rods, half-destroyed equipment and murky glimpses of what looks like solidified lava — the first signs, TEPCO officials say, of the missing fuel.  

Lake Barrett: These robotic steps so far have been significant steps. But it is only a small step on a very, very long journey.

Lesley Stahl: This is gonna take you said decades with an “S.” How many decades?

Lake Barrett: We don’t know for sure. The goal here is 40– 30– 40 years. You know, I personally think it may be even 50– 60, but it’s–

Lesley Stahl: Oh, maybe longer……….

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Australian Senate reaffirms Australia’s law banning nuclear power

This motion was moved by Senator Hanson-Young and passed by the Senate, 29 July 19

July 30, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

Olympic Games as PR to change the image of Fukushima and its radiation problems

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The ghost towns in Fukushima Prefecture

Split-Screen Documentary: Nuclear Ghost Town – After 8 Years

Fukushima’s ghost towns

More than eight years after one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, towns around Japan’s nuclear power plant struggle to rebuild, 2019 Jul 28, BYBrit McCandless Farmer   

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Dear moderators of the US Presidential debates: How about raising the issue of how to avert nuclear war? — IPPNW peace and health blog

Will the United States and other nations survive their escalating preparations for nuclear war? That question might seem overwrought but, in fact, the US government and others are increasing the role that nuclear weapons play in their “national security” policies. Trump’s glib threats of nuclear war against North Korea and Iran are paralleled by new administration plans to develop a low-yield ballistic missile, which arms control advocates fear will lower the threshold for nuclear war.When it comes to presidential debates, dear moderators, don’t you―as stand-ins for the American people―think it might be worthwhile to ask the candidates some questions about US preparations for nuclear war and how best to avert a global catastrophe of unprecedented magnitude?

via Dear moderators of the US Presidential debates: How about raising the issue of how to avert nuclear war? — IPPNW peace and health blog

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment