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Japan is lying about the Fukushima nuclear disaster, as it promotes the 2020 Olympic Games

the Japanese government is lying and should be held accountable for hoodwinking the world about the ravages of Fukushima, especially with the Olympics scheduled for next year.
 “The ashes of half a dozen unidentified laborers ended up at a Buddhist temple in a town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Some of the dead men had no papers; others left no emergency contacts. Their names could not be confirmed and no family members had been tracked down to claim their remains. They were simply labeled “decontamination troops”
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis,   https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/09/16/fukushimas-radioactive-water-crisis/
   Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, which experienced three massive meltdowns in 2011, is running out of room to store radioactive water. No surprise! But now, what to do about phosphorescent water?

Addressing the issue, Japan’s environmental minister Yoshiaki Harada held a news conference (September 2019). Unfortunately, he proffered the following advice: “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it.” (Source: Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Fukushima: Japan Will Have to Dump Radioactive Water Into Pacific, Minister Says, The Guardian, Sept. 10, 2019)

“The only option”… Really?

Over the past 8 years, Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) has scrambled like a Mad Hatter to construct emergency storage tanks (1,000) to contain upwards of one million tonnes of contaminated radioactive water, you know, the kind of stuff that, over time, destroys human cells, alters DNA, causes cancer, or produces something like the horrific disfigured creature in John Carpenter’s The Thing! That’s the upshot of a triple nuclear meltdown that necessitates constant flow of water to prevent further melting of reactor cores that have been decimated and transfigured into corium or melted blobs. It’s the closest to a full-blown “china syndrome” in all of human history. Whew! Although, the truth is it’ll be a dicey situation for decades to come.

Ever since March 11, 2011, TEPCO has scrambled to build storage tanks to prevent massive amounts of radioactive water from pouring into the ocean (still, some lesser amounts pour into the ocean every day by day). Now the government is floating a trial balloon in public that, once the tanks are full, it’ll be okay to dump the radioactive water into the ocean. Their logic is bizarre, meaning, on the one hand, the meltdown happens, and they build storage tanks to contain the radioactive water, but on the other hand, once the storage tanks run out of space, it’s okay to dump radioactive water into the ocean. Seriously?

Meantime, the Fukushima meltdown brings the world community face to face with TEPCO and the government of Japan in an unprecedented grand experiment that, so far, has failed miserably. Of course, dumping radiation into the Pacific is like dumping radiation into everybody’s back yard. But, for starters, isn’t that a non-starter?

Along the way, deceit breeds duplicity, as the aforementioned Guardian article says the Japanese government claims only one (1) death has been associated with the Fukushima meltdown but keep that number in mind. Reliable sources in Japan claim otherwise, as explained in previous articles on the subject, for example, “Fukushima Darkness, Part Two” d/d November 24, 2017, and as highlighted further on in this article.

When it comes to nuclear accidents, cover-ups reign supreme; you can count on it.

As such, it is believed the Japanese government is lying and should be held accountable for hoodwinking the world about the ravages of Fukushima, especially with the Olympics scheduled for next year.

For example, the following explains how death by radiation is shamefully hidden from the public via newspeak: Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station worker deaths “that expire at home” are not officially counted. Accordingly, how many workers on a deathbed with radiation sickness leave home to go to work (where deaths are counted) just before they die? Oh, please!

Meanwhile, the last thing the world community needs in the face of an uncontrollable nuclear meltdown, like Fukushima, is deceptiveness and irresponsibility by the host government. Too much is at stake for that kind of childish nonsense. And just to think, the 2020 Olympics are scheduled with events held in Fukushima. Scandalously, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is A-Okay with that.

In contrast, a Greenpeace International March 8th 2019 article entitled: Japanese Government Misleading UN on Impact of Fukushima Fallout on Children, Decontamination Workers: “The Japanese government is deliberately misleading United Nations human rights bodies and experts over the ongoing nuclear crisis in areas of Fukushima… In areas where some of these decontamination workers are operating, the radiation levels would be considered an emergency if they were inside a nuclear facility.” Enough said!

“In its reporting to the United Nations, the Japanese government deliberately misrepresents the scale, complexity, and radiation risks in areas of Fukushima, the working practice and conditions for workers, and its disregard for children’s health and wellbeing. This reality should shame the government to radically change its failing policies,” said Kazue Suzuki, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Japan.

As such, either Greenpeace or the IOC is “dead wrong” about the conditions at Fukushima. Take your pick.

After all, the trend of misrepresentation of nuclear accidents has been established for decades. Not only Fukushima, Chernobyl (1986) is a nuclear disaster zone where the “official death count from radiation exposure” has been considerably discounted by various governmental agencies and NGOs. For inexplicable reasons (actually explicable but a long story), nuclear accidents are given Get Out Jail Free cards by the world’s press and associated governmental orgs and NGOs.

Yet, over time, the truth comes out, and when it does it’s dreadfully atrocious: A BBC special report, The True Toll of the Chernobyl Disaster d/d July 26, 2019 says: “The official, internationally recognized death toll, just 31 people died as an immediate result of Chernobyl while the UN estimates that only 50 deaths can be directly attributed to the disaster.”

That’s the official tally. Ugh! It’s so far off the mark that, if it were a baseball pitch, it’d be in the dirt, and a prime example of the public not getting the truth about the ravages of nuclear power accidents.

Of course, it is important to take note of how “wordsmiths” describe the death numbers, i.e., “died as an immediate result of Chernobyl” can only include someone standing at the site when it happened, leaving out all cases of radiation exposure that kills and cripples over subsequent days, months, and years. Or, in the case of the UN statement, “only 50 deaths can be directly attributed.” Only those standing there when it happened… ahem!

According to the BBC article, the Russian Academy of Sciences said as many as 112,000-125,000 died by 2005. That’s 2,500xs more deaths than the official reports, which also never increase in number over time as radiation takes its merry ole time blasting, destroying, and/or altering human cell structure. Ukrainian authorities claim death rates of Chernobyl cleanup workers rose from 3.5 to 17.5 deaths per 1,000 between 1988 and 2012 on a database of 651,453 cleanup workers, which equates to 11,392 deaths. Additionally, Belarus had 99,693 cleanup workers, equating to 1,732 deaths. Not only that, disability among workers shows that approximately 5% are still healthy in 2012 (only 5%, meaning 95% unhealthy) with commonality of cardiovascular and circulatory diseases and nervous system problems.

By 2008 in Belarus alone 40,049 liquidators or cleanup workers of Chernobyl were registered with cancer.

Viktor Sushko, deputy director general of the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine (NRCRM) based in Kiev, Ukraine, describes the Chernobyl disaster as: “The largest anthropogenic disaster in the history of humankind,” Ibid.

Thus begging the most obvious of questions re Fukushima victims in the years ahead; how many cases of cancer, and how many will die? Unfortunately, radioactive isotopes don’t stop once they’re activated in a nuclear meltdown. They’re pernicious over time destroying and/or grotesquely altering human cell structure. For proof, visit second-generation Chernobyl children locked up in orphanages in Belarus.

“As of January 2018, 1.8 million people in Ukraine, including 377,589 children, carried status of victims of the disaster, according to Sushko and his colleagues. Not only that, there has been a rapid increase in the number of people with disabilities, rising from 40,106 in 1995 to 107,115 in 2018,” Ibid.

According to a USA Today article – Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, April 17, 2016: “There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma.” Many of the children are hidden away deep in the forested countryside in orphanages in Belarus.

Back to Fukushima, there are numerous instances of governmental meddling to hide the truth, starting with passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, The State Secrecy Law, aka: Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS), Act No. 108, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years. Subsequently, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

Horrifically, at the end of the day, when nuclear goes bad, it takes everyone along on a daunting trip for years and years and more years, outliving life spans but continuing generation after generation, like the 453,391 Chernobyl-radiated-influence children born after the nuclear blowout in 1986. Chernobyl altered their genes before they were born…. Imagine that!

Cliodhna Russell visited children’s orphanages in Belarus in 2014: “Children rocking back and forth for hours on end, hitting their heads against walls, grinding their teeth, scraping their faces and putting their hands down their throats.” (Source: How My Trip to a Children’s Mental Asylum in Belarus Made Me Proud to be Irish, the journal.ie, March 18, 2014.)

Postscript: “It’s a real shame that the authorities hide the truth from the whole world, from the UN. We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that, but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it,” Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba (Fukushima Prefecture) Fukushima Disaster: Tokyo Hides Truth as Children Die, Become Ill from Radiation – Ex-Mayor, RT News, April 21, 2014)

Post-Postscript: “The ashes of half a dozen unidentified laborers ended up at a Buddhist temple in a town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Some of the dead men had no papers; others left no emergency contacts. Their names could not be confirmed and no family members had been tracked down to claim their remains. They were simply labeled “decontamination troops” — unknown soldiers in Japan’s massive cleanup campaign to make Fukushima livable again five years after radiation poisoned the fertile countryside,” (Source: Mari Yamaguchi, Fukushima ‘Decontamination Troops’ Often Exploited, Shunned, AP & ABC News, Minamisona, Japan, March 10, 2016)

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | 1 Comment

USA’s new National Security Adviser – out of the Bolton nuclear frying pan, into the Kupperman nuclear fire?

Trump’s Acting National Security Adviser Said Nuclear War With USSR Was Winnable
Questioning “mutual assured destruction,” Charles Kupperman called nuclear conflict “in large part a physics problem.” Huffington Post, By Nick Robins-Early , 16 Sept 19, 
President Donald Trump’s acting national security adviser, former Reagan administration official Charles Kupperman, made an extraordinary and controversial claim in the early 1980s: nuclear conflict with the USSR was winnable and that “nuclear war is a destructive thing but still in large part a physics problem.”Kupperman’s suggestion that the U.S. could triumph in a nuclear war went against dominant theories of mutually assured destruction and ignored the long-term destabilizing effects that such hostilities would have on the planet’s health and global politics.

Kupperman, appointed to his new post on Tuesday after Trump fired his John Bolton from the job, argued it was possible to win a nuclear war “in the classical sense,” and that the notion of total destruction stemming from such a superpower conflict was inaccurate. He said that in a scenario in which 20 million people died in the U.S. as opposed to 150 million, the nation could then emerge as the stronger side and prevail in its objectives. 

His argument was that with enough planning and civil defense measures, such as “a certain layer of dirt and some reinforced construction materials,” the effects of a nuclear war could be limited and that U.S. would be able to fairly quickly rebuild itself after an all-out conflict with the then-Soviet Union.

“It may take 15 years, but geez, look how long it took Europe to recover after the Second World War,” Kupperman said. Referring to the Japanese city on which the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945, he also claimed that “Hiroshima, after it was bombed, was back and operating three days later.”

At the time,Kupperman was executive director of President Ronald Reagan’s General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament. He made the comments during an interview with Robert Scheer for the journalist’s 1982 book, “With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush, and Nuclear War.”

The National Security Council did not immediately respond to questions on whether Kupperman, 68, still holds the same views of nuclear conflict as he did in the early 1980s. Kupperman’s seemingly cavalier attitude toward the potential death of millions of people was criticized at the time both by Democratic politicians and arms control experts.

It seems reasonable to suggest the crazies are in charge of the nukes,” Jeremy Stone, president of the Federation of American Scientists, wrote about Kupperman and his colleagues in 1984.

Contemporary nuclear experts similarly criticize Kupperman’s beliefs as wrongheaded and dangerous.

“Kupperman’s comments might as well have come straight from the script of (the film) ‘Dr. Strangelove.’ He was part of a group of defense analysts at the time who weren’t shy about sharing such views,” said Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association, who first noted Kupperman’s views in a Twitter post in January when Kupperman was hired as the deputy national security adviser.

“The simple fact is that a nuclear war can’t be won and must never be fought,” Reif said.

But rather than being sidelined as a relic of Cold War hubris, Kupperman now holds one of the most powerful positions in the White House. Although his role is temporary, civil rights groups have also already called on him resign over his extensive ties to the Center for Security Policy, an anti-Muslim think tank founded by conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.

Gaffney is a prominent anti-Muslim activist who repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theories that members of President Barack Obama’s administration were working to enforce Islamic law in the U.S., that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated top levels of government and that Obama was secretly Muslim himself. Kupperman served on the board of directors for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy between 2001-2010.

“CSP has continuously promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories, and anyone, like Mr. Kupperman, who has so closely associated with them for so long is ― at the very least ― complicit in their brand of anti-Muslim bigotry and should not be entrusted with one of the highest-ranking security roles in the United States,” Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Nihad Awad said Tuesday.

Before joining the NSA, Kupperman served as an informal adviser to Bolton and worked as a defense industry executive at Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He was a critic of the Iranian nuclear deal and in 2017 co-signed a letter to Trump backing Bolton’s plan to withdraw from the agreement.

Here are excerpts of Kupperman’s comments from his interview with Scheer: ……..https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/charles-kupperman-nuclear-war-trump-nsa_n_5d7b9809e4b03b5fc88212fd

September 17, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan says Dumping Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Into Pacific Ocean Is ‘Only Option

Dumping Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Into Pacific Ocean Is ‘Only Option’, Japan Says https://www.sciencealert.com/fukushima-is-running-out-of-space-to-store-contaminated-water ARIA BENDIX, BUSINESS INSIDER  12 SEP 2019 On March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by the most powerful earthquake in the nation’s history – a magnitude 9 temblor that triggered a tsunami with waves up to 133 feet (40 meters) high. The disaster set off three nuclear meltdowns and three hydrogen explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Eight years later, Fukushima holds more than 1 million tons of contaminated water.

The water comes from two main sources. First, the tsunami caused the reactor cores to overheat and melt,  so cleanup workers injected water into the cores to cool them. In the wake of the accident, groundwater  also seeped in beneath the reactors and mixed with radioactive material.

To store this contaminated water, the plant currently has 1,000 sealed tanks. But the water is still accumulating. There’s enough room to keep the liquid contained through summer 2022, but after that, there will be no space left.

At a news briefing in Tokyo, Japan’s environment minister, Yoshiaki Harada, said that come 2022, “the only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute” the contaminated water.

The Japanese government, however, is waiting on a verdict from a panel of experts before making a final decision about what to do with the water.

Meanwhile, the environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement that the “only environmentally acceptable option” would be to continue to store the water and filter it for contaminants.

But that would require more tanks and an expensive filtration process.

Dumping the water could reduce cleanup costs

Only two events have ever been designated “level 7” nuclear accidents by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): Fukushima and Chernobyl.

The majority of radiation released during the Fukushima disaster wound up in the Pacific Ocean, but the meltdown also forced the evacuation of more than 200,000 people from nearby areas – about 43,000 of whom still haven’t returned.

The Japan Centre for Economic Research has estimated that the cleanup costs of the disaster could amount to $US660 billion.

Shortly after the tsunami, Fukushima plant workers constructed storage tanks to house the contaminated water used to cool the reactor cores. But they also had to contend with the radioactive groundwater, since cracks in the downed reactors’ foundations allowed liquid to seep in from below.

This left cleanup crews with more dirty water to store and treat than they’d anticipated.

To purify all this water, plant workers at first used zeolites – volcanic materials that cling to a radioactive isotope called cesium. Then in 2013, they filtered the water for strontium, another toxic radioactive substance. But they had trouble filtering out an isotope called tritium, since it binds easily to water.

In 2016, the Japanese ministry concluded that none of the available methods for removing tritium would work on the Fukushima site.

Greenpeace later said the government had been deterred by the price tag of all the viable methods; one system from a company called Kurion would have cost around US$1 billion to set up, plus several hundred million dollars to operate each year.

‘The sea is not a garbage dump’

Water containing tritium isn’t very dangerous for humans – dumping tritium-laced water into the ocean is common practice for coastal nuclear plants. But it could endanger the local marine species, including fish, which provide a source of income for people living near the power plant.

In 2018, Fukushima’s operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), also revealed that isotopes like strontium lingered in the water, which meant that about 80 percent of the plant’s treated water still had radiation levels above the government’s standard for ocean dumping.

Some tanks had radiation levels that were 20,000 times greater than the government’s safety standards.

Sending that contaminated water into the ocean could allow it to travel to nearby shores in South Korea, where it could contaminate that local seafood supply, too.

“The sea is not a garbage dump,” Jan Hakervamp, a nuclear-energy expert at Greenpeace, told Business Insider.

“The sea is a common home for all people and creatures and must be protected.” his article was originally published by Business Insider.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Rising temperatures, rising seas – the growing climate change menace to nuclear power

Changing ambient temperatures are already posing serious risks to nuclear plants across the world. Nuclear regulators cannot wait until sea-level rise coupled with storm surges begin impacting operational safety of their plants—they must act now.

Nuclear vs. Climate Change: Rising Seas https://www.nrdc.org/experts/christina-chen/nuclear-vs-climate-change-rising-seas,  

Note: This is part two of a two-part blog series on the impacts of climate change on nuclear power plants. Check out our first blog post on the impact of increasing ambient temperatures.

Climate action isn’t simply about reducing emissions—it’s also about addressing local environmental concerns and minimizing risks to human health and safety. With that in mind, if nuclear power is going to have a role in addressing climate change, stronger safety and environmental regulations will be needed.

Unfortunately, this approach is missing from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which in January voted in a 3-to-2 decision to water down recommendations from its own staff to reevaluate seismic and flooding hazards at nuclear sites. “This decision is nonsensical,” Commissioner Jeff Baran wrote in his dissent, “Instead of requiring nuclear power plants to be prepared for the actual flooding and earthquake hazards that could occur at their sites, NRC will allow them to be prepared only for the old, outdated hazards typically calculated decades ago when the science of seismology and hydrology was far less advanced than it is today.” 

The January ruling came almost eight years after staff scientists released a list of recommendations in direct response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown. With the approval (and pending approvals) this year to rollback  multiple safety regulations , the U.S. nuclear fleet, the oldest in the world, cannot afford to wait another decade to strengthen safety and environmental regulations in preparation of climate change–in this case, rising sea levels.

What are the Risks?

Nuclear power plants require huge amounts of water to prevent fission products in the core and spent nuclear fuel from overheating (incidentally making nuclear the most water intensive energy source in terms of consumption and withdrawal per unit of energy delivered). That’s why over 40 percent of the world’s nuclear plants are built along the coasts, with that number rising to 66 percent for just plants under construction.  Unable to run on the electricity it generates itself to power the pumps that provide cooling water to the core and to the spent nuclear fuel stored onsite, a nuclear plant must rely on the grid or backup generators to ensure cooling water circulation. Any hazard that cuts off access to those sources of power restricts access to cooling water, ultimately risking a nuclear meltdown and off-site release of radiation, as happened during the flooding of Fukushima.

Flooding evaluations conducted by the NRC concluded that 55 of the 61 evaluated U.S. nuclear sites experienced flooding hazards beyond what they were designed to handle. Even more alarming, in 2014, the flood barriers at Florida Power & Light’s St. Lucie Nuclear Plant–one of the few plants reported to be prepared for disaster but which had been missing proper seals for decades–gave way to 50,000 gallons of water after heavy rainfall.

Storm surges like the one at St. Lucie Nuclear plant and extreme weather events, as witnessed in Fukushima, pose very real risks to both operational and decommissioned plants, almost all of which (in the US) will continue to store nuclear waste onsite for decades until a permanent storage solution is found. Coupled with increasingly rising sea-levels, these risks will continue to grow.  Even under a very low scenario of 1°C warming by midcentury, the 2018 U.S. National Climate Assessment reports that the “frequency, depth, and extent of both high tide and more severe, damaging coastal flooding will increase rapidly in the coming decades.” And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that 1.5°C of warming could be reached in as little as 11 years.

While all energy technologies will be impacted in some way by the increasing severity of natural disasters and sea level rise, the failure of nuclear power plants can result in irreversible health and environmental consequences on top of social and economic damages, including worst of all the release of radiation that can remain lethal for thousands of years.  Under government estimates, the Fukushima meltdown resulted in the displacement of 165,000 people, cleanup and compensation costs of up to $200 billion, and a timeline of 30 to 40 years. Experts say, however, that true costs could reach $500 billion and decontamination timelines could be underestimated by decades.

Nuclear in East Asia

Despite initial vocal opposition from the public in many East Asian countries that have slowed down nuclear buildout after Fukushima, the direction of government policies for nuclear development in East Asia remain mostly unchanged, and have simply resulted in rather a more conservative, moderate pace. In fact, this pace has sustained much of nuclear development in East Asia, home to many countries that have found nuclear power as an attractive solution to addressing the dilemma between achieving energy security for an increasing population and decarbonizing to mitigate global climate change.

Of the 56 nuclear power plants currently in construction around the world, 33 of them are in Asia; 16 in China alone. As observed in the graph below, [on original] if all nuclear units that are currently under construction reach completion, East Asia is slated to become the region with the largest number of operating nuclear power plants, 93 percent of which will reside along the coast.

What is alarming is that East Asia and the Pacific region is uniquely vulnerable to sea-level rise. A 2015 report by Climate Central found that of the top 10 countries most likely to be affected sea level rise for 4°C warming, seven are in Asia. Similarly, in a study by the World Bank, China and Indonesia will be the most vulnerable to permanent inundation. Given the heightened flooding risks in Asia, strengthening the authority of regulatory structures that oversee the safety of nuclear build out will be increasingly important.

What’s the Plan?

Fukushima was a lesson to the global community that even one of the world’s most technologically advanced and experienced countries can fail to prevent a nuclear meltdown. To prepare for the realities of rising sea levels that pose unique risks to different nuclear plants, regulators must require climate adaptation plans and heightened safety oversight. Nonetheless, at the international scale, not much work is being done to address these sea-level rise concerns.

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), in recognizing that the “world is ill-prepared for the risks from a changing climate,” conducted a study on the vulnerability of nuclear power plants to climate change, which is not yet available to the public. Since 2014, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has begun to include a section about the impacts of climate change on nuclear energy in its annual Climate and Nuclear Power Report. Yet even as these international organizations detail the many hazards changing climate poses to nuclear reactors, preventative and/or adaptation measures do not seem to be prioritized or encouraged, especially for existing nuclear plants.

“Outside of their Scope” at Home

Similar attitudes are held here in the U.S. Perched at the southern tip of Florida, the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station is seeking to be the first U.S. nuclear plant permitted to run for 80 years. Initially refusing to consider sea-level rise in the environmental review of the license extension, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released a revised draft this year, only to come to the following conclusion: It’s outside of the scope of the agency.

If new information about changing environmental conditions (such as rising sea levels that threaten safe operating conditions or challenge compliance with the plant’s technical specifications) becomes available, the NRC will evaluate the new information to determine if any safety-related changes are needed at licensed nuclear power plants,” the NRC report said.

The report arrives at this conclusion by utilizing lower-bound sea level rise estimates from the 2018 U.S. Climate Change assessment, rationalizing that the report “assigns very high confidence to the lower bounds of these projections and medium confidence to the upper bounds.” As highlighted by this Bloomberg analysis released this year, nuclear plant operators are not only allowed to perform their own flood risk estimates but are also able to decide what assumptions are made, with review from the NRC.

The uncertainty that comes with sea-level rise projections obviously exists. In securing the safety of such critical infrastructure, however, using the highest sea-level rise estimates is the only way to ensure that all actions that can be taken against a potential threat are taken. On the other hand, relying on the lowest storm surge estimates is akin to receiving a warning about a potential threat, and taking the bare minimum actions to prepare for it.

Changing ambient temperatures are already posing serious risks to nuclear plants across the world. Nuclear regulators cannot wait until sea-level rise coupled with storm surges begin impacting operational safety of their plants—they must act now. With the world’s scientists calling attention to the climate crisis ahead of us, action must be taken to ensure nuclear plants are part of the solution, not the problem.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Ontario’s secretive role in helping Trump to nuclear weaponise Space

The space race has a dirty nuclear secret and it’s right here in Ontario, https://nowtoronto.com/news/space-race-nuclear-power-ontario/  by Rosemary Frei, SEPTEMBER 16, 2019   

Unbeknownst to most Canadians, the Darlington nuclear power plant 70 kilometres east of Toronto has been playing a not-so-small role in the U.S. race to weaponize space

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission added momentum to the new push to go farther into outer space than humans have ever gone before.

Ontario’s nuclear industry could receive both a reflected glow from the extraterrestrial travel hype and a new revenue stream. It could also potentially increase international nuclear-weapons proliferation.

Unbeknownst to most Canadians, the Darlington nuclear power plant 70 kilometres east of Toronto has already been playing a not-so-small role in the space race.

The plant has been producing radioactive plutonium-238 as fuel for spacecraft in NASA’s mushrooming space pipeline since 2017.

That’s when Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced excitedly that it would start making plutonium-238 for space exploration. The plant produces about 10 kilograms of plutonium-238 a year.

“We are proud to have Ontario play a part, however small, in this most noble of human endeavours,” OPG’s then-president and CEO Jeff Lyash said in a news release.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), which runs the Chalk River facility near Ottawa, another participant in the initiative, posted a “Success Stories” article on its website seven days later. It cautioned that “this opportunity is still subject to regulatory and licensing processes.” But it quotes a CNL official as saying “staff should take a lot of pride in the fact that we are key partners.”

CNL has continued communicating with other project stakeholders. But when NOW contacted CNL for a comment it responded on September 5 that it is no longer involved in the project. OPG has removed the news release from its website and did not respond to NOW’s request for information. Turns out a company called Technical Solutions Management (TSM) is steering the initiative now.

TSM is owned by former nuclear-industry executives Billy Shipp, Pierre Tremblay and Paul Spekkens. CEO Shipp told NOW in an August 29 phone interview that NASA has yet to give its formal thumbs-up.

“For us to get out ahead of our client [NASA], in terms of anticipated need [for plutonium-238], or making statements of their need, is not that professional on our part. So we really have been very low-key on this,” Shipp says when reached for an interview aboard a boat off Vancouver Island.

But he noted that U.S. President Donald Trump’s establishment of a Space Command makes the project more likely to proceed.

Plutonium-238 has long been used to fuel flight, via conversion into electricity of the intense heat the atom pumps out. The U.S. powered military satellites with it in the 1960s. NASA also harnessed it most recently to propel Curiosity Rover to Mars in 2011.

The steps involved for the manufacture of made-in-Canada plutonium-238 to supplement the U.S.’s production involves first synthesizing neptunium-237, plutonium-238’s precursor at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington.

From there, the material is transported to Chalk River where it is put into bundles before it’s sent to Darlington and inserted into CANDU reactors. There, the neptunium-237 catches stray neutrons, transforming it into plutonium-238. The bundles are shipped back to Chalk River where the plutonium-238 is separated from by-products and packaged into pellets. The pellets are transported to Idaho National Lab where they are readied as ‘nuclear batteries’ for spacecraft engines. The current price of plutonium-238 isn’t public, but back in 2003 one kilogram was worth about $8 million U.S.

Gordon Edwards, co-founder and president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, says the form of radioactivity emitted by plutonium (namely, alpha particles) is highly toxic when inhaled but often isn’t picked up by radiation detectors.

For example, in November 2009, hundreds of workers at OPG’s Bruce nuclear plant breathed in plutonium dust (a by-product of nuclear-energy production) but the plutonium remained undetected for weeks. Many of the workers had not been given respirators. It was the largest preventable exposure of workers to internal radioactive contamination in the history of the civilian nuclear industry.

Even worse, says Edwards, is the fact the process used to create plutonium-238 can also be used to transform depleted uranium into plutonium-239, the key explosive in nuclear bombs.

“I grant that TSM’s plutonium-238 program does not fundamentally enhance this danger, but it does provide an opportunity to tell the public and politicians that if you can produce one kind of plutonium for the space program you can just as easily produce another kind of plutonium for a nuclear-weapons program, using essentially the same CANDU technology,” Edwards tells NOW.

However, no one inside the space or nuclear industries appears be seriously addressing these well-known problems. And there is plenty of money potentially available for a new plutonium-238 venture. NASA projects its research and development budget – including developing power and propulsion systems – will be $1.5 billion next year, rising to $3.4 billion by 2024.

TSM’s other co-owners, Tremblay and Spekkens, are well-placed to move such a project forward. Tremblay was OPG’s chief nuclear operating officer and president of OPG’s subsidiary Canadian Nuclear Partners. He became AECOM Canada Nuclear Operations’ president and CEO in August 2018. The American multinational is playing key roles in the multi-billion-dollar Darlington refurbishment. Tremblay started consulting for AECOM in June 2016; an industry article about this said the firm “has recruited key expertise that will undoubtedly position the company to play a key part in the massive nuclear power projects anticipated for Ontario over the next decade.”

Spekkens retired in 2016 as OPG’s vice president of science and technology and as chair of the CANDU Owners Group, a Toronto-based private organization that promotes CANDU use around the world. He then became a consultant and director of nuclear technology at Kinectrics.

He opined on the nuclear industry’s future at a June 2017 conference. In the abstract of his lecture, Spekkens says “this future will, of course, depend heavily on technology. But also (and perhaps equally) important will be non-technical considerations such as public acceptance, a pipeline full of qualified future employees, public policy in several levels of government, and of course, finances.”

@nowtoronto

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, space travel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Australia, millions unite in 40 organisations to say NO to nuclear power

Broad coalition representing millions of Australians opposes nuclear power,   https://www.sbs.com.au/news/broad-coalition-representing-millions-of-australians-opposes-nuclear-power  17 Sept 19, Some 40 groups have drawn up a statement calling on the federal government to embrace renewable energy rather than going down the path of nuclear.

More than 40 groups representing millions of Australians have come together to issue a clear message to the federal government that the nation’s energy future is renewable, “not radioactive”.

However, the mining industry is calling for the ban on nuclear energy to be lifted.

The coalition of groups has submitted a shared statement in response to the federal parliamentary inquiry into the prospects for nuclear power in Australia.

“The groups maintain nuclear power has no role in Australia’s energy future and is a dangerous distraction from real progress on our pressing energy and climate challenges and opportunities facing Australia,” the Australian Conversation Foundation said.

“[We call] for the federal parliament to embrace renewable energy as the cleanest, quickest, cheapest and most credible way to power Australian homes and workplaces, and re-power regional communities and the national economy.”

The ACF is joined by a broad coalition of faith, union, environmental, aboriginal and public health groups.

These include the ACTU, state and territory trade unions and councils, the Public Health Association of Australia, Uniting and Catholic church organisations, the Smart Energy Council, the Aboriginal-led Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, climate action groups and Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Their statement raises concerns over the long-life of nuclear waste, the volume of water needed to cool a nuclear reactor, the time needed to build a reactor, the high cost of a plant, security and safety.

However, in its own submission, the Minerals Council of Australia called on the legislated ban on nuclear to be lifted and uranium mining to be mainstreamed with other minerals.

Council chief executive Tania Constable said nuclear energy should be considered as part of the energy mix if Australia is to retain its strong industrial sector with high-paying long-term jobs.

It will also encourage investment and maintain system and price stability through a stable and reliable electricity market while significantly cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

“Australia has lost its comparative advantage in energy,” Ms Constable said in a statement. “Rising prices and falling reliability are forcing businesses to invest overseas instead of Australia.”

September 17, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, opposition to nuclear, politics | Leave a comment

Inside the US military’s $223 million ‘doomsday plane,’ capable of surviving a nuclear blast

September 17, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The health impacts of climate change

‘Like a sunburn on your lungs’: how does the climate crisis impact health?

Children, pregnant women and the elderly are the most at risk from extreme weather and heat – but the impact is already felt across every specialty of medicine

‘Americans are waking up’: two thirds say climate crisis must be addressed Guardian,  Emily Holden in Washington  16 Sep 2019 The climate crisis is making people sicker – worsening illnesses ranging from seasonal allergies to heart and lung disease.

Children, pregnant people and the elderly are the most at risk from extreme weather and rising heat. But the impact of the climate crisis – for patients, doctors and researchers – is already being felt across every specialty of medicine, with worse feared to come……..

  • Allergies

    Climate change makes allergies worse.

    As temperatures increase, plants produce more pollen for longer periods of time, intensifying the allergy seasons. Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can make plants grow more and cause more grass pollen, which causes allergies in about 20% of people. Carbon dioxide can also increase the allergy-causing effects of pollen.

  • Pregnancy and newborn complications

    Pregnant people are more vulnerable to heat and the air pollution that is being made worse by climate change……….

  • “We’re finding that we have increasing numbers of children born already in a weakened state from heat and air pollution. That’s a totally different story than thinking about climate change as the cause of hurricanes over Florida … It’s a much more pervasive and ongoing impact.”In the developing world pregnant people can also suffer from food and water scarcity. Insect-borne illnesses – such as the Zika virus, which was spread by mosquitoes – are also a hazard to developing fetuses.
  • Heart and lung disease

    Air pollution gets worse as temperatures rise, stressing both the heart and lungs. The fossil fuel pollution that causes the climate crisis also is linked with increased hospitalizations and deaths from cardiovascular disease, and it is connected with more asthma attacks and other breathing problem……

  • Risks for children

    Children under the age of five experience the majority of the health burden from climate change, according to Salas’ report………

  • Dehydration and kidney problems

    Much hotter days make it harder to stay hydrated. They are linked with electrolyte imbalances, kidney stones and kidney failure. Patients who need dialysis as their kidneys fail can have trouble getting treatment during extreme weather events.

    Skin disease

    Higher temperatures and the depletion of the ozone layer increase the risk of skin cancer. The same refrigerants and gases that damage the ozone layer contribute to climate change.

  • Digestive illnesses

    Heat is linked with higher risks for salmonella and campylobacter outbreaks. Extreme rains can contaminate drinking water. Harmful algae blooms that thrive in higher temperatures can cause gastrointestinal problems, too.

    Infectious disease

    Changing temperature and rainfall patterns allow some insects spread farther and transmit malaria, dengue, Lyme disease and West Nile virus. Waterborne cholera and cryptosporidiosis increase with drought and flooding.

    Mental health conditions

    The American Psychological Association created a 69-page guide on how climate change can induce stress, depression and anxiety. The group says “the connections with mental health are often not part” of the climate-health discussion……….

  • Neurologic disease

    Fossil fuel pollution can increase the risk of stroke. Coal combustion also produces mercury – a neurotoxin for fetuses. Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks increase the chance of neurological problems. Extreme heat is also linked with cerebrovascular disease, a disorder that affects blood supply to the brain.

    Nutrition

  • Carbon dioxide emissions are lowering the nutritional density of food crops, reducing plant levels of protein, zinc and iron and leading to more nutritional deficiencies. Food supplies are also disrupted by drought, societal instability and inequity linked with climate change.

    Trauma

    Extreme weather events, including hurricanes, floods and wildfires, often cause physical injuries. Doctors see minor fractures, crush injuries and smoke inhalation. Extreme heat is also linked with aggression and violence, and the climate crisis globally is connected with violent conflict and forced migration.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/16/climate-crisis-health-risks-extreme-weather

September 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

The danger, the unwisdom, of highly enriched uranium in space

Do we need highly enriched uranium in space (again)?  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists By Christopher Fichtlscherer, September 12, 2019 “……. Weapon-grade fuel for the Mars mission. In this rush to realize the old dream of space colonization, a central question is how to provide a planetary base with electrical power. Currently it seems as though NASA is in favor of nuclear energy. Most recently, on August 20, 2019, President Trump issued a presidential memorandum authorizing the possible launch into space of nuclear reactors fueled by highly enriched uranium (HEU) for “orbital and planetary surface activities.” But sending HEU reactors into space is risky and unnecessary because there are viable options for using low-enriched uranium (LEU), or for avoiding nuclear power altogether by harnessing solar energy.

Since 2015, NASA has funded a group at Los Alamos National Laboratory to build what is called the Kilopower reactor, a nuclear fission reactor for space applications. The Kilopower reactor is a sodium-cooled fast-neutron reactor with a block core that produces electrical energy with Stirling engine heat converters. NASA plans to build four or five Kilopower reactors, each with a lifetime of 12 to 15 years and a continuous energy output of 10 kilowatts, which could meet the energy needs of a possible Mars base. This Kilopower fast reactor could be fueled with either LEU or HEU. While the LEU fuel for the Kilopower reactor would contain 19.75 percent uranium 235, the HEU fuel would contain 93 percent of this isotope, a degree of enrichment that is called “weapon-grade.” In the newest prototype, these two versions of the fast reactor have essentially the same design but differ by size and weight. Los Alamos published a white paper about the Kilopower reactor in August 2017 supporting the LEU designs, but half a year later the lab successfully tested the HEU design. In October 2018, Los Alamos published a second white paper that favored HEU on the grounds that it would have a lighter weight.

Indeed, the HEU version of the Kilopower reactor is lighter, but it comes with alarming risks: the block fuel element contains around 43 kilograms of HEU, enough material for a terrorist group to build a nuclear weapon. There is also a proliferation risk. Kilopower would establish a precedent that other states could use to justify their own production of weapon-grade uranium. That is why, over the last four decades, the United States has led an international effort to persuade research reactor operators to switch from using HEU to using LEU. Building an HEU-fueled space reactor would undermine those attempts and the nonproliferation policies that inform them.

There are other downsides beyond the security risks. For example, the use of HEU would exclude private industry from taking part in space-reactor research and development. Such a reactor would also be more expensive than the LEU version because of the high costs required to secure significant quantities of HEU during the development and the launch. Finally, an HEU reactor would be sure to stir controversy for the reasons mentioned above and would be subject to cancellation by Congress.

Beyond that, the main advantage of the HEU reactor may not actually be much of an advantage. In 2015 scientists from the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, and in 2018 scientists from the Colorado School of Mines, each published designs for different, lighter LEU reactor models with a similar power output to the Kilopower LEU version. Moreover, it seems realistic that we can expect further weight and launching cost reductions well before a Mars colonization mission could start.

Accident risks. Sending nuclear reactors into space is not a new idea. The Soviet Union launched over 30 into orbit during the Cold War to power radars that tracked the US Navy. The United States launched only one reactor, in 1965. Dubbed the SNAP-10A, it had to be shut down after only 43 days due to an electrical component failure.

Most of these reactors are still orbiting above us—but not all of them. For example, the Soviet Kosmos 954 reactor crashed to earth in 1978, spreading radioactive material over a large area of northern Canada. In total there is about one ton of nuclear material in orbit, and all of it is at risk of colliding with other space debris and coming back to earth.

Major accidents have occurred in over 20 percent of space reactor missions. That is probably one of the reasons why no country has launched a reactor into space since the Cold War. Given these issues, why not avoid radioactive material for space missions altogether? Perhaps solar energy should be the first choice for electrical energy in space. Most satellites launched into space get their energy from solar panels, as does the international space station, which has successfully operated for over 10 years with solar arrays that produce up to 120 kilowatts of electricity. The NASA Mars rover Opportunity ran for over 14 years powered by solar panels. In short, the difficulties of running a solar power system on Mars seem manageable.

If we really want to build a Mars base in the not-so-distant future, why should we go with weapon-grade uranium, with all its security and proliferation risks, when we have both the option of affordable alternative LEU designs and solar options that eliminate these risks?  https://thebulletin.org/2019/09/do-we-need-highly-enriched-uranium-in-space-again/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter09162019&utm_content=NuclearRisk_UraniumInSpace_09122019

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Reference, space travel | Leave a comment

Japan’s Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi hopes son will push for abandonment of nuclear power

Koizumi hopes son will push for abandonment of nuclear power   http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909160016.html, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, September 16, 2019  HITACHI, Ibaraki Prefecture–Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he hopes his son in his new position in the Cabinet will wean Japan from nuclear power and expand the use of natural energy.In a speech here on Sept. 15, Koizumi said he was happy that his son, Shinjiro, 38, was appointed environment minister, his first Cabinet post, last week.

“He has studied things more than I did,” Koizumi said. “The environment is the most pressing issue. I want him to abandon nuclear power and turn Japan into a nation that can develop on natural energy.”

Koizumi also reiterated that he made a mistake when he promoted nuclear power when he was prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

Pro-nuclear advocates had said that nuclear power was safe, low-cost and clean, but Koizumi said the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011 “proved all three ‘virtues’ false.”

He said Japan has abundant natural energy and should seek a path that does not rely on nuclear power.

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Foreign Minister explains hurdles in Turkey’s path to nuclear weapons

September 17, 2019 Posted by | politics, Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Opposition in Suffolk to Sizewell nuclear plan, which hugely threatens wildlife

ITV 15th Sept 2019, RSPB hosts new festival in response to EDF’s plans to build nuclear reactor
at the edges of a nature reserve. A thousand people attended a festival
today organised by the RSPB in response to EDF’s plans to build a nuclear
reactor in Suffolk. Sizewell C will be built on the boundary of the
Minsmere Nature Reserve which is home to more than five and a half thousand
species of wildlife.

The RSPB manages the site and opposes the energy
giants plans. They say building the reactor so close to the nature reserve
could threaten the thousands of different species of wildlife that call
Minsmere home. EDF say that the environmental impact of the new site would
be kept to a minimum, and argue that new jobs for local people will be
provided.

Among the visitors supporting the festival today (Sunday,
September 15) was television presenter, Bill Turnbull, who lives nearby. He
said: There’s no infrastructure or communications for it here. What is
here, is Minsmere – where the RSPB have been trying really hard to get all
these birds to come back. And we are going to risk it all just simply
because it’s a convenient place to build a power station.” The public
consultation into EDF’s proposal for Sizewell C will end on September 27.

https://www.itv.com/news/anglia/2019-09-15/rspb-hosts-new-festival-in-response-to-edf-s-plans-to-build-nuclear-reactor-at-the-edges-of-a-nature-reserve/

September 17, 2019 Posted by | environment, opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear freighter’s Arctic voyage sparks fear in Norway

September 17, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Study: Germany needs clean energy surge to replace coal, nuclear

September 17, 2019 Posted by | Germany, renewable | Leave a comment

During the Cold War, America Almost Had Its Battleships Carry Nuclear Weapons – A crazy idea.

by Kyle Mizokami  16 Sept 19,  Key point: Although eventually abandoned, plans in the 1980s called for nuclear-armed battleships that would also carry U.S. Marines and Harrier jets……. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/during-cold-war-america-almost-had-its-battleships-carry-nuclear-weapons-80936

September 17, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment