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No. 2 reactor at Onagawa nuclear plant in Miyagi, halted by 2011 tsunami, passes safety screening

n-onagawa-a-20200227-870x606People protest Wednesday in Tokyo over the Nuclear Regulation Authority giving its approval for the safety measures implemented at the No. 2 unit of the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture. 

February 26, 2020

A nuclear reactor in Miyagi Prefecture damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster formally cleared screening by a national nuclear watchdog on Wednesday, paving the way for it to restart after anti-disaster measures are completed by the end of March next year.

The No. 2 unit of Tohoku Electric Power Co.’s Onagawa plant won the approval of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, becoming the second disaster-damaged reactor, after the Tokai No. 2 power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, to pass stricter safety standards introduced after the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Construction of an 800-meter seawall is among anti-disaster measures that still need to be completed at the plant, which straddles the town of Onagawa and the city of Ishinomaki. The operator also needs to obtain consent from local residents before it can restart the plant.

On March 11, 2011, all three reactors at the Onagawa complex shut down when a massive earthquake rocked northeastern Japan and a 13-meter tsunami hit the area, flooding the underground floors of the No. 2 unit.

However, the facility’s emergency cooling system operated correctly and there was no meltdown of the type that occurred at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 plant.

Tohoku Electric applied for safety screening for the No. 2 unit in December 2013 and has been constructing the seawall that will top out at 29 meters above sea level. It expects to spend about ¥340 billion ($3.08 billion) in total on the anti-disaster measures.

The company has already decided to scrap the No. 1 reactor, which began operations in 1984, and is considering applying for the restart of the No. 3 unit, which started power generation in 2002.

When it restarts, the Onagawa No. 2 reactor, which began commercial operations in 1995, will be the first boiling water reactor — the same type used at the Fukushima No. 1 plant — to resume operations since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami hit. The disaster claimed nearly 16,000 lives and left more than 2,500 missing.

Other boiling water reactors at Tepco’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture and the Tokai No. 2 plant of Japan Atomic Power Co. have already secured approval to resume operations from the regulator, but have yet to obtain local consent.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/26/national/miyagi-nuclear-reactor-safety/#.Xlare0pCeUk

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japan Lifts Shipment Restrictions on All Fish Species off Fukushima

gkjllmmPeople in the fishing industry, including fishermen and brokers, work briskly on Feb. 7, 2019, at the Matsukawaura fishing port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture.

Japan Lifts Shipment Restrictions on All Fish Species off Fukushima

February 25, 2020

Fukushima, Feb. 25 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government has lifted shipment restrictions on all of its designated fish species caught off Fukushima Prefecture that were introduced due to the 2011 nuclear disaster, a panel said Tuesday.

The government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters announced the lifting after fish of the one last remaining species of the 43 satisfied safety standards.

The restrictions had covered the 43 fish species caught off Fukushima, which hosts the disaster-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The last one is a species of skate.

In August 2016, the shipment restrictions on the fish were lifted. But in January 2019, the restrictions were reinstated after above-limit cesium was detected from skates caught off Fukushima.

Currently, members of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations voluntarily refrain from fishing in waters within 10 kilometers of the TEPCO plant, which underwent a triple meltdown after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/yjj2020022501227/japan-lifts-shipment-restrictions-on-all-fish-species-off-fukushima.html

Fishermen in Fukushima now free to ship all catches of fish

February 26, 2020

The last restrictions on fish taken off Fukushima Prefecture were lifted on Feb. 25, freeing fishermen here to ship any species caught in the area.

A ban was imposed on ocellate skate after one caught in the area was found to have levels of radioactive cesium exceeding the government standard of 100 becquerels per kilogram in January 2019. 

The government task force on the Fukushima nuclear disaster removed restrictions on the bottom-feeding species related to rays after the prefecture measured levels in about 1,000 fish, and found none exceeded the standard.

The maximum amount found in the fish was 17 becquerels.

The prefecture has since asked the government to lift the restrictions.

Restrictions were placed on 43 species of fish caught off the coast of the prefecture following the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The restrictions were lifted in stages after the safety of the fish was confirmed, with some fishing allowed on a trial basis.

In 2019, with trial fishing on limited days and in specified areas, the annual catch from the area stood at 3,584 tons, only about 14 percent of that in 2010, a year before the nuclear disaster.

Discussions will now start to resume full operation.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13165594

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | 1 Comment

Releasing radioactive water would further damage Fukushima’s reputation

n-sato-a-20200226-870x580Fukushima’s fishing industry was one of the prefecture’s hardest-hit sectors following the March 2011 nuclear disaster.

Feb 25, 2020

Releasing the treated radioactive water stored at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant risks further damage to the disaster-hit prefecture’s reputation and negates the nine-year effort to dispel negative perceptions about local agricultural produce, fisheries and tourism.

Although the government is considering dumping the water into the ocean, it should find a different solution and listen to the concerns of the people of Fukushima and local industries.

As the governor of Fukushima Prefecture between 2006 and 2014, I had my work cut out for me after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident in March 2011.

Some of my main challenges after the disaster were securing the safety of the residents, ensuring they had access to evacuation shelters, managing the whereabouts of 160,000 evacuees scattered in and out of the prefecture and deciding on the site for interim storage of the soil and waste generated by the decontamination effort.

Determining the site was very difficult, but in the end the towns of Okuma and Futaba, which co-host the crippled nuclear power plant, honorably made the agonizing decision to accommodate it on condition that the tainted waste would be moved to a final disposal site outside of Fukushima within 30 years after the storage began.

During my term, I visited South Korea and China in 2012 to explain to local media using scientific facts that Fukushima produce is safe. I also helped arrange for several national and international conferences to be held in Fukushima Prefecture, based on the belief that coming to the prefecture and trying the local food was the best way to reassure guests that the area was safe and secure.

In December 2012, I lured an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting to the prefecture. Hundreds of nuclear specialists, ministers and other dignitaries from around the world gathered to share the lessons from the nuclear disaster and discuss the need to reinforce nuclear safety.

Today, nearly a decade after the disaster, Fukushima’s reputation is recovering — but only to a limited extent.

Although the government has prioritized ensuring security based on scientific facts, the public sense of security has yet to be restored.

Notwithstanding the central and prefectural government’s message about safety from radiation, local produce still carries cheaper price tags than those from other prefectures and the number of school trips to Fukushima has not bounced back to pre-disaster levels.

The fishing industry along the eastern coast, which the nuclear power plant faces, has taken one of the biggest hits from the negative perception of Fukushima. The prices of fish caught off the prefecture are extremely low when they are brought to Tokyo.

Fukushima is one of the major rice producers in Japan. After the disaster, officials began to check all of the prefecture’s annual output of around 10 million bags of rice for radioactive materials. The blanket testing takes a lot of effort. Even though the inspection confirms the products’ safety, they are cheaper just because they come from Fukushima.

I heard that farmers in the western region of Aizu — one of the main rice producers in the prefecture — asked the agricultural cooperative to use Aizu labels, rather than those of Fukushima, to avoid stigma. The neighborhood is located more than 100 kilometers from the area that hosts the power plant.

According to the Consumer Affairs Agency, the share of people in Tokyo and other metropolitan areas who said they hesitate to buy food products from Fukushima due to radiation contamination fears was 12.5 percent in February 2019.

The stigma from the nuclear disaster has beleaguered tourism in Aizu, which is finally showing signs of recovery. Because the name of the Fukushima nuclear power plant contains Fukushima, it gives the inevitable impression that the entire prefecture is contaminated with radiation.

Discharging water containing radioactive tritium — which cannot be removed by the current filtering technology — into the environment would only exacerbate these problems. Even though the government insists that releasing the water into the ocean is safe, some in Japan and abroad have yet to change their perceptions of Fukushima.

Gaining the understanding of local residents about the release method would be difficult. Rice farmers, for example, have suffered ever since the disaster. Their prime Koshihikari brand of rice, which was the nation’s second-most popular after Niigata’s before the disaster, used to sell out quickly.

Fukushima is a few more steps away from convincing consumers that its agriculture, forestry and fisheries products are safe and secure, so I want the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. to prioritize the opinions of people in these key industries when discussing the issue of releasing the water.

When I was governor, the government and Tepco started to curb the amount of water being tainted with radioactive particles because the storage tanks, which could hold 1,000 tons of water each, filled up in just two days.

Doing so required preventing groundwater from flowing into the reactor buildings. We set up an impermeable wall of frozen soil around the reactor buildings to stem the flow of groundwater into the area, but this method did not work well at first.

So we used other approaches to divert groundwater away from the reactors. The combination of the methods reduced water flowing into the buildings from 450 tons to 130 tons a day.

But now the tanks are nearing their capacity, with Tepco estimating that they will reach that point by around the summer of 2022.

I understand that we cannot keep building storage tanks for the water. There is a limit to their capacity.

However, this dilemma calls for pooling scientific and other expertise from around the world to explore potential solutions, while building trust with local residents.

Tepco, which created the problem, and the government should take on the bulk of that task.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/25/national/social-issues/fukushima-radioactive-water-damage/#.XlYmt0pCeUk

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Is ocean discharge the best solution to Fukushima No. 1’s water crisis?

A government panel has said that releasing radioactive water accumulating at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean is the most reliable option

Japan Nuclear Flawed Cleanup

 

Feb 25, 2020

The issue of what to do with the treated radioactive water being stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is nearing its boiling point. Despite plans to install more tanks by the end of the year, the plant’s operator is projected to run out of space around summer 2022.

The estimate by the plant’s manager, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., underscores the fast approaching deadline for the tanks, which now number 1,000.

For three years, an industry ministry panel has been examining five disposal methods for the treated water. In December the number of options was reduced to three: diluting it and dumping it into the sea; letting it evaporate; or a combination of both.

In a report to the government on Feb. 10, the panel recommended releasing the water into the ocean as a more “reliable” method than evaporation, given the practice is common at nuclear power plants here and around the world, and said radiation monitoring would be easier.

One of the major concerns, however, is whether it is safe to discharge the water, which is contaminated mainly with tritium that cannot be removed by ALPS, the advanced liquid processing system installed after the triple-core meltdown in March 2011.

Proponents insist dumping will be safe, arguing that tritium emits beta radiation so weak that the health risks posed will be minimal. The industry ministry estimates that even if all the stored water were to be released into the environment over a one-year period, the resulting radiation exposure would be less than a thousandth of that received from natural background radiation.

Both methods have track records.

Since both volume and radiation levels can be regulated, ocean discharge of tritiated water is a method routinely practiced at nuclear power plants around the world.

Despite scientists’ emphasis on safety, however, opponents argue that either method will again hurt Fukushima’s image, damaging the agriculture, fishing and tourism industries that were just starting to recover from the disaster. The panel noted that risk in its report.

Among Fukushima’s hardest-hit sectors since the disaster is the fisheries industry, which is vehemently opposed to ocean release. They fear the water dumps will ruin a nearly decadelong effort to restore the once-thriving industry, which was forced to halt or restrict operations in waters near the plant.

For the past nine years, fishermen have been conducting operations on a trial basis and measuring catches for radiation before shipping. Amid signs of a recovery, they are now talking about full resumption of fishing.

Because of deep-seated negative perceptions, however, some people still avoid buying fish from Fukushima.

The government is facing a difficult decision balancing the interests of the industries with the shortage of storage space.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/25/national/social-issues/ocean-discharge-best-solution-fukushima-no-1s-water-crisis/?fbclid=IwAR3JIWmr2Ggl9ce6FQY785aGmH_Knba_QNzPb8AsnSsRVQ8tJqEjEVA7xDk#.XlYmQUpCeUk

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | 1 Comment

TEPCO ordered to cough up after it refused deal on compensation

Earlier in February, a Japanese judge ordered TEPCO to pay over 50 plaintiffs: “Refusing the court’s settlement offer was outrageous. It amounted to ignoring the company’s responsibility for causing this unprecedented nuclear disaster.”

ggjlmùPlaintiffs and supporters at a news conference in Fukushima after the court ruling on Feb. 19

February 20, 2020

FUKUSHIMA–The district court here sided with local residents seeking compensation for psychological damage resulting from the 2011 nuclear disaster after the operator of the stricken facility snubbed mediation efforts for a settlement.

The court on Feb. 19 ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 12.03 million yen ($108,000) to 50 of the 52 plaintiffs. 

The plaintiffs had sought 99 million yen in damages for their psychological suffering due to their voluntary evacuation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant and fear of being exposed to high levels of radiation.

In his ruling, Presiding Judge Toru Endo noted that residents who evacuated voluntarily found themselves living an uncertain and insecure existence with no future prospects.

The court acknowledged that those who didn’t evacuate were also unable to move around freely, given that they lived in fear and anxiety over the prospect of being exposed to radiation.

The court ordered TEPCO to pay between 22,000 yen and 286,000 yen to each eligible plaintiff, in addition to a uniform compensation sum of 120,000 yen per person that the utility had already paid.

The court recommended a settlement last December, the first of its kind among 30 or so class action lawsuits filed around the country over the nuclear accident, but TEPCO refused to comply.

Residents living in designated voluntary evacuation zones in Fukushima city and other areas more than 30 kilometers from the nuclear power plant filed the lawsuit in April 2016, seeking higher compensation than the figure stipulated in the government’s guidelines.

The plaintiffs had sought to settle the lawsuit quickly in light of their mental exhaustion and advanced age rather than engage in a drawn-out process.

In a statement, TEPCO said it will consider how to respond to the ruling after thoroughly examining it.

‘REFUSING SETTLEMENT OUTRAGEOUS’

After the ruling, Yoshitaro Nomura, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, condemned the stance that TEPCO took on the matter.

Refusing the court’s settlement offer was outrageous. It amounted to ignoring the company’s responsibility for causing this unprecedented nuclear disaster,” Nomura said.

Groups of disaster victims resorted to a system called alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, in the hope of winning compensation for the nuclear accident. But many of them started facing an impasse in the process two years ago after TEPCO refused to accept deals proposed by the Nuclear Damage Compensation Dispute Resolution Center.

The issue was taken up in the Diet, and the industry minister warned the utility to be more cooperative. However, the number of ADR cases that went nowhere continues to rise.

TEPCO refused to change course even after the district court recommended a settlement in a trial where the plaintiffs and the defendant are required to provide more solid arguments and proof.

The court-ordered compensation of 12.03 million yen comes to almost the same amount as the court proposed in the settlement last December. The government guidelines set individual compensation at 120,000 yen.

TEPCO has made it clear it intends to make no compromise on settlement offers that may lead to a revision of the government’s guidelines,” said lawyer Izutaro Manaki, a member of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association who is well-versed in compensation issues.

As of Feb. 14, TEPCO had paid more than 9.32 trillion yen in compensation. The company has covered the costs through government loans and higher electricity rates.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13144481

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Could the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Be a Victim of COVID-19?

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February 20, 2020

In a promotional video featuring Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, as well as fans of different nationalities, the organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games revealed on Feb. 17 the event’s official motto: United by Emotion.

Yet if there’s one emotion linking the world today, it might be fear. The COVID-19 outbreak shows little sign of weakening. As of Feb. 19, the disease has infected more than 75,000, killed 2,014 and prompted over 50 countries and territories to close their borders to arrivals from China. The “devil” virus, as Chinese President Xi Jinping has called it, has already surpassed the combined death toll of SARS and MERS and lies on the cusp of becoming a pandemic that spreads around the globe. The next few weeks will determine whether containment efforts can prevent COVID-19 becoming the “black swan event” that Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang has warned may derail the global economy.

The economic repercussions already look severe. According to analysis by research firm Capital Economics, COVID-19 will cost the world economy over $280 billion in the first quarter of this year, meaning that global GDP will not grow from one quarter to the next for the first time since 2009. China’s growth is expected to slow to 4.5% over the same period. Some 5 million companies have Chinese suppliers, according to data company Dun & Bradstreet, and all are under threat from slashed manufacturing capacity.

Korean automaker Hyundai has shut its huge factory in Ulsan due to a shortage of parts. Apple has told investors it will fail to meet quarterly revenue targets and warned of global “iPhone supply shortages” from the shutting of Chinese factories. The slowdown may also undermine U.S. plans to massively boost exports of agricultural goods, energy and services to China, hampering any potential recovery in farming communities and the Rust Belt.

Travel in and around the region has ebbed significantly. Some 21 airlines have cancelled all flights to mainland China. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific has cut 40% of network capacity and asked 27,000 employees to take unpaid leave to help it stay afloat. Events from the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens to K-Pop concerts have been cancelled or postponed.

Now, speculation is mounting about one of the year’s biggest events due to take place directly in the orbit of the outbreak—the 2020 Olympic Games, which are to be held in Tokyo beginning July 24. Japan has the second highest rate of COVID-19 infections after China, with 695 people testing positive for the virus, most of them on a cruise ship docked at the city of Yokohama. Yet the Olympics torch relay is due to begin next month and traverse to all of Japan’s 47 prefectures over 121 days, coinciding with its popular cherry blossom bloom.

The chill on visitor numbers across Asia already risk making the Games a subdued affair. Japan received 9.6 million visitors from China in 2019, accounting for a third of foreign tourist expenditure, but Chinese arrivals have virtually ceased since the outbreak. According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, Tokyo 2020 organizing committee chief executive Toshiro Muto said on Feb.5 he was “extremely worried that the spread of the infectious disease could throw cold water on the momentum toward the Games.”

Officials have since closed ranks as speculation about the Games has increased. Organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori insisted Feb. 13, “we are not considering a cancelation or postponement of the Games—let me make that clear.” As he spoke, some 3,700 people remained quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise liner, anchored less than two miles from Yokohama Baseball stadium, a key Tokyo 2020 venue. (Those uninfected were scheduled for release beginning Feb. 19.)

Four days later, the city canceled the Tokyo Marathon due to take place on March 1 for all except elite runners. Dick Pound, a former Olympian swimmer and member of the International Olympic Committee, told TIME the organisation was monitoring the situation closely but said no one was talking about relocation or cancelation with five months still to go. “If there’s a legitimate pandemic that is potentially a lot more lethal than normal illnesses of flu, that’s when you need to start thinking about it. But not at this stage.”

Mori’s confidence is in line with projections that COVID-19 will fade during warmer and more humid summer months, as SARS did in 2003. But it’s still not clear why SARS declined as temperatures rose. Some coronavirus strains—like MERS—thrive in the heat, says Prof. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. The theory of COVID-19’s summer regress is simply “based on wishful thinking,” he says. “There is no data to support it.”

It’s hard to overstate the economic impact on Japan were the Olympics forced to be canceled or relocated. The investment surrounding the event is staggering; the Games are set to cost $25 billion, according to latest predictions, nearly four times the original estimate. According to hospitality research firm CBRE Hotels, 80,000 hotel rooms were forecast to open across Japan’s nine major cities between 2019 and 2021. Tokyo’s Okura hotel reopened in September after a $1 billion renovation. In May, national carrier Japan Airlines is due to launch a low cost subsidiary, Zipair Tokyo, at a cost of around $200 million, to meet increased demand surrounding the Olympics. It will be based at Tokyo Narita International Airport, which is currently undergoing an expansion to nearly double capacity. (Tokyo’s other main airport, Haneda, is also due to boost capacity by 70%.)

The coronavirus is already keeping international visitors away beyond China. Capital Economics research suggests tourism arrivals in Japan will fall by 40% this quarter due to COVID-19, knocking off 0.4 percentage points from growth. The U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization forecasts that Japan could lose $1.29 billion in tourism revenue over the same period. Koichiro Takahara, CEO of Tokyo-based ride-sharing app nearMe, says he fears the Olympics could get cancelled if the outbreak worsens. That, he says, “would have a big impact on my business, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.”

It would also impose a political cost on Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Already, his insistence during the bidding process that radiation from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown would be tackled has been called out after Greenpeace found radiation hotspots in December near where the Olympic torch relay will pass. Similar assurances that COVID-19 will not disrupt the Games will be treated with skepticism, says Jules Boykoff, a politics professor at Pacific University, Oregon who studies the Olympics and played soccer for Team USA. “For many, when they hear Abe and other officials saying that COVID-19 will not affect the Olympics, they hear the unmistakable ring of previous empty promises.”

But it’s unclear what a Plan B might look like. Simon Chadwick, professor of the Eurasian Sport Industry at France’s Emlyon business School, suggests a networked event held across different countries is a more likely alternative. (The 2020 UEFA European Soccer Championships and 2022 Commonwealth Games are slated for such a format.) Yet there will be considerable resistance from sponsors and broadcasters who have already ploughed vast resources into securing rights deals and promotional activities. NBC alone spent $1.4 billion on broadcasting rights for Tokyo 2020. In this regard, both host and business interests will be furiously resisting any deviation. “The Japanese government is surely lobbying the IOC hard as it seeks to protect its multitude of investments,” says Chadwick.

That might explain an apparent unwillingness to address the uncertainty. Asked what contingency plans were in place for moving or postponing the Games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government told TIME, “We cannot provide a definitive answer to a hypothetical situation.” Yet as the virus spreads its tendrils further into the Asia region, the risks are only becoming more tangible

https://time.com/5786657/tokyo-olympics-coronavirus-asia-china/?fbclid=IwAR34KxB2bZoXlN1s8vBhoDGADn_iN8dQRzUoEOrWPTxZZj0MEqmF8yfsgTA

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby attacks Australia’s Nuclear Prohibition laws

Jim Green, Online Opinion, 27 Feb 2020https://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=20758&page=0  

Nuclear power in Australia is prohibited under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999. A review of the EPBC Act is underway and there is a strong push from the nuclear industry to remove the bans. However, federal and state laws banning nuclear power have served Australia well and should be retained.

Too cheap to meter or too expensive to matter? Laws banning nuclear power has saved Australia from the huge costs associated with failed and failing reactor projects in Europe and North America, such as the Westinghouse project in South Carolina that was abandoned after the expenditure of at least A$13.4 billion. The Westinghouse / South Carolina fiasco could so easily have been replicated in any of Australia’s states or territories if not for the legal bans.

There are many other examples of shocking nuclear costs and cost overruns, including:

* The cost of the two reactors under construction in the US state of Georgia has doubled and now stands at A$20.4‒22.6 billion per reactor.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in France has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$20.0 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the only reactor under construction in Finland has nearly quadrupled and now stands at A$17.7 billion. It is 10 years behind schedule.

* The cost of the four reactors under construction in the United Arab Emirates has increased from A$7.5 billion per reactor to A$10‒12 billion per reactor.

* In the UK, the estimated cost of the only two reactors under construction is A$25.9 billion per reactor. A decade ago, the estimated cost was almost seven times lower. The UK National Audit Office estimates that taxpayer subsidies for the project will amount to A$58 billion, despite earlier government promises that no taxpayer subsidies would be made available.

Nuclear power has clearly priced itself out of the market and will certainly decline over the coming decades. Indeed the nuclear industry is in crisis ‒ as industry insiders and lobbyists freely acknowledge. Westinghouse ‒ the most experienced reactor builder in the world ‒ filed for bankruptcy in 2017 as a result of catastrophic cost overruns on reactor projects. A growing number of countries are phasing out nuclear power, including Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Taiwan and South Korea.

Rising power bills: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because nuclear power could not possibly pass any reasonable economic test. Nuclear power clearly fails the two economic tests set by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Firstly, nuclear power could not possibly be introduced or maintained without huge taxpayer subsidies. Secondly, nuclear power would undoubtedly result in higher electricity prices.

Nuclear waste streams: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because no solution exists to for the safe, long-term management of streams of low-, intermediate- and high-level nuclear wastes. No country has an operating repository for high-level nuclear waste. The United States has a deep underground repository for long-lived intermediate-level waste ‒ the only operating deep underground repository worldwide ‒ but it was closed from 2014‒17 following a chemical explosion in an underground waste barrel. Safety standards and regulatory oversight fell away sharply within the first decade of operation of the U.S. repository ‒ a sobering reminder of the challenge of safely managing dangerous nuclear wastes for tens of thousands of years.

Too dangerous: The Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters results in the evacuation of over half a million people and economic costs in the hundreds of billions of dollars. In addition to the danger of nuclear reactor meltdowns and fires and chemical explosions, there are other dangers. Doubling nuclear output by the middle of the century would require the construction of 800−900 reactors. These reactors not only become military targets but they would produce over one million tonnes of high-level nuclear waste containing enough plutonium to build over one million nuclear weapons.

Pre-deployed terrorist targets: Nuclear power plants have been described as pre-deployed terrorist targets and pose a major security threat. This in turn would likely see an increase in policing and security operations and costs and a commensurate impact on civil liberties and public access to information. Other nations in our region may view Australian nuclear aspirations with suspicion and concern given that many aspects of the technology and knowledge-base are the same as those required for nuclear weapons.

Former US Vice President Al Gore summarised the proliferation problem: “For eight years in the White House, every weapons-proliferation problem we dealt with was connected to a civilian reactor program. And if we ever got to the point where we wanted to use nuclear reactors to back out a lot of coal … then we’d have to put them in so many places we’d run that proliferation risk right off the reasonability scale.”

Too slow: Expanding nuclear power is impractical as a short-term response to climate change. An analysis by Australian economist Prof. John Quiggin concludes that it would be “virtually impossible” to get a nuclear power reactor operating in Australia before 2040. More time would elapse before nuclear power has generated as much as energy as was expended in the construction of the reactor: a University of Sydney report concluded that the energy payback time for nuclear reactors is 6.5‒7 years. Taking into account planning and approvals, construction, and the energy payback time, it would be a quarter of a century or more before nuclear power could even begin to reduce greenhouse emissions in Australia (and then only assuming that nuclear power displaced fossil fuels).

Too thirsty: Nuclear power is extraordinarily thirsty. A single nuclear power reactor consumes 35‒65 million litres of water per day for cooling.

Water consumption of different energy sources (litres / kWh):

* Nuclear 2.5

* Coal 1.9

* Combined Cycle Gas 0.95

* Solar PV 0.11

* Wind 0.004

Climate change and nuclear hazards: Nuclear power plants are vulnerable to threats which are being exacerbated by climate change. These include dwindling and warming water sources, sea-level rise, storm damage, drought, and jelly-fish swarms. Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum states. “I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming. It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.”

In January 2019, the Climate Council, comprising Australia’s leading climate scientists and other policy experts, issued a policy statement concluding that nuclear power plants “are not appropriate for Australia – and probably never will be”.

By contrast, the REN21 Renewables 2015: Global Status Report states that renewable energy systems “have unique qualities that make them suitable both for reinforcing the resilience of the wider energy infrastructure and for ensuring the provision of energy services under changing climatic conditions.”

First Nations: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the pursuit of a nuclear power industry would almost certainly worsen patterns of disempowerment and dispossession that Australia’s First Nations have experienced ‒ and continue to experience ‒ as a result of nuclear and uranium projects.

To give one example (among many), the National Radioactive Waste Management Act dispossesses and disempowers Traditional Owners in many respects: the nomination of a site for a radioactive waste dump is valid even if Aboriginal owners were not consulted and did not give consent; the Act has sections which nullify State or Territory laws that protect archaeological or heritage values, including those which relate to Indigenous traditions; the Act curtails the application of Commonwealth laws including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 and the Native Title Act 1993 in the important site-selection stage; and the Native Title Act 1993 is expressly overridden in relation to land acquisition for a radioactive waste dump.

No social license: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because there is no social license to introduce nuclear power to Australia. Opinion polls find that Australians are overwhelmingly opposed to a nuclear power reactor being built in their local vicinity (10‒28% support, 55‒73% opposition); and opinion polls find that support for renewable energy sources far exceeds support for nuclear power (for example a 2015 IPSOS poll found 72‒87% support for solar and wind power but just 26% support for nuclear power). As the Clean Energy Council noted in its submission to the 2019 federal nuclear inquiry, it would require “a minor miracle” to win community support for nuclear power in Australia.

The pursuit of nuclear power would also require bipartisan political consensus at state and federal levels for several decades. Good luck with that. Currently, there is a bipartisan consensus at the federal level to retain the legal ban. The noisy, ultra-conservative rump of the Coalition is lobbying for nuclear power but their push has been rejected by, amongst others, the federal Liberal Party leadership, the Queensland Liberal-National Party, the SA Liberal government, the Tasmanian Liberal government, the NSW Liberal Premier and environment minister, and even ultra-conservatives such as Nationals Senator Matt Canavan.

The future is renewable, not radioactive: Laws banning nuclear power should be retained because the introduction of nuclear power would delay and undermine the development of effective, economic energy and climate policies based on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. A December 2019 report by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator finds that construction costs for nuclear reactors are 2‒8 times higher than costs for wind or solar. Levelised costs for nuclear are 2‒3 times greater per unit of energy produced compared to wind or solar including either 2 hours of battery storage or 6 hours of pumped hydro energy storage.

Australia can do better than fuel higher carbon emissions and unnecessary radioactive risk. We need to embrace the fastest growing global energy sector and become a driver of clean energy thinking and technology and a world leader in renewable energy technology. We can grow the jobs of the future here today. This will provide a just transition for energy sector workers, their families and communities and the certainty to ensure vibrant regional economies and secure sustainable and skilled jobs into the future. Renewable energy is affordable, low risk, clean and popular. Nuclear is not. Our shared energy future is renewable, not radioactive.

More Information

* Don’t Nuke the Climate Australia, www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org.au

* Climate Council, 2019, ‘Nuclear Power Stations are Not Appropriate for Australia – and Probably Never Will Be’, https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/nuclear-power-stations-are-not-appropriate-for-australia-and-probably-never-will-be/

* WISE Nuclear Monitor, 25 June 2016, ‘Nuclear power: No solution to climate change’, https://www.wiseinternational.org/nuclear-monitor/806/nuclear-power-no-solution-climate-change

Dr. Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia.

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, climate change, indigenous issues, water | Leave a comment

Trump is using Yucca Mountain to drum up Republican votes

February 27, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | 2 Comments

Egypt going into $25 billion debt to Russia, to buy nuclear reactors

Russia lends Egypt $25 billion for Dabaa nuclear power plant, AL-Monitor, 26 Feb 20,  CAIROAtomstroyexport, a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation, or Rosatom, announced Feb. 17 that three Egyptian companies were awarded a tender offer for constructing the first phase of Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear power plant.

The three Egyptian companies, competing among 10 others, are Petrojet, Hassan Allam and the Arab Contractors.

The Egyptian government intends to start negotiations within the next few days with the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority to obtain permission to start implementing the Dabaa nuclear plant project. The plant will be constructed in the Dabaa area of Marsa Matrouh governorate in the west of the country.

The Dabaa plant is the first nuclear plant for peaceful uses, with a total capacity of 4.8 gigawatts. The project is financially supported by Rosatom through a Russian loan amounting to $25 billion………….

Yemen al-Hamaki, a professor of economics at Ain Shams University said that under this agreement Egypt will use the loan to finance 85% of the total value of the building, construction, insurance and all other related works. Egypt would bear the remaining 15% in the form of installments. The loan is for 13 years at a 3% annual interest rate. If Egypt fails to repay any of the annual interest within 10 working days, it shall be subject to arrears of 150% of the interest rate calculated on a daily basis

Hamaki also warned that this massive Russian loan of $25 billion could blow up Egypt’s foreign debts. “This loan is a great risk to the future because it burdens the state and should be settled from the wealth and economic assets of the future generations,” she said, adding, “Egypt’s resorting to many loans foretells its inability to attract foreign investments, while tourism revenues continue to decline.” …..  https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/02/power-plant-nuclear-egypt-russia-loan.html#ixzz6F5iQcolQ

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby attack’s Anti Nuclear laws of Australian State of Victoria

Nuclear lobby takes aim at Victoria to tackle prohibitions, Michael West Media, by Noel Wauchope | Feb 26, 2020 Having dithered on real action to tackle global warming, some in the Coalition are now taking a keen interest in solving it — by going nuclear. Noel Wauchope investigates what’s behind the sudden push to overturn legislation prohibiting the exploration and mining of thorium and uranium and puts a definitive case against a nuclear industry in Australia.

A batch of Coalition MP’s are pushing nuclear power as Australia’s answer to climate change. The group includes Katie Allen inner-city Melbourne Liberal, Ted O’Brien, Queensland LNP, Trent Zimmerman, North Sydney Liberal, Bridget Archer Tasmanian Liberal, David Gillespie Nationals NSW, Rick Wilson West Australian Liberal, and Keith Pitt, LNP from North Queensland, who was this week promoted to cabinet as Resources Minister. Former deputy prime minister and Nationals leader, Barnaby Joyce, is also a staunch proponent of nuclear power.

Arguing that nuclear power is the answer to bushfires and a heating climate when these are conversely nuclear’s greatest threat is akin to an argument by the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. The US National Academies Press compiled a lengthy and comprehensive report on risks of transporting nuclear wastes. They concluded that among various risks, the most serious and significant is fire. And indeed, climate change, in general, carries serious threats to nuclear reactors and the entire nuclear fuel chain.

But any port in a storm when you’re trying to sell a product that is expensive, unpopular, illegal in Australia and has the problem of long-lasting toxic wastes.

The Australian public’s renewed enthusiasm for action on climate change was timely. The nuclear lobby had, coincidentally already geared itself up for a campaign to overturn Australia’s State and Federal nuclear prohibition laws. The current Victorian inquiry is the latest in a spate of Parliamentary Inquiries aimed at removing these laws. Submissions are due by this Friday, 28 February.

The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference (TOR) are narrow:……..

It is clear the goal is to remove Victoria’s Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983. The very first TOR makes the mining of uranium and thorium as the prime concern. Given Victoria could run a nuclear power station with uranium/thorium sourced from elsewhere, it is clear that, after years of pressure by thorium lobbyists, the underlying goal of this inquiry is to overturn the legislation prohibiting the exploration and mining of thorium and uranium in Victoria.

The Victorian legislation was brought in to protect this State’s precious agricultural land and iconic ocean coast from polluting mining industries. South Gippsland is particularly rich in thorium.

Nuclear lobby tries to water down Victorian prohibition

The Terms of Reference are overtly biased: with no qualification, they promote the nuclear industry as undoubtedly beneficial to Victoria. This is ludicrous, as the global nuclear industry is in a state of decline.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy technologies of wind, solar and storage are now recognised by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator as, by far, the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming  decades

This first Term of Reference assumes that the “exploration and production” will result in nuclear power plants for Victoria, otherwise why do it?  It also assumes that nuclear power will be effective in lowering C02 emissions.

However, there is no point in this “exploration and production” as it has been repeatedly demonstrated that nuclear power is no solution to climate change as in Dr. Paul Dorfman et al’s response to James Hansen on 20 December 2019 in the Financial Times.…….

The Terms of Reference are overtly biased: with no qualification, they promote the nuclear industry as undoubtedly beneficial to Victoria. This is ludicrous, as the global nuclear industry is in a state of decline.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy technologies of wind, solar and storage are now recognised by CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator as, by far, the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming  decades

This first Term of Reference assumes that the “exploration and production” will result in nuclear power plants for Victoria, otherwise why do it?  It also assumes that nuclear power will be effective in lowering C02 emissions.

However, there is no point in this “exploration and production” as it has been repeatedly demonstrated that nuclear power is no solution to climate change as in Dr. Paul Dorfman et al’s response to James Hansen on 20 December 2019 in the Financial Times.……… .https://www.michaelwest.com.au/nuclear-lobby-takes-aim-at-victoria-to-tackle-prohibitions/

February 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

The Planet Is Screwed, Says Bank That Screwed the Planet

February 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | Leave a comment

U.S. Pentagon demands $167 billion tax-payer nuclear funding through to 2025

February 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear insurance places the big responsibility on the tax-payer

February 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Legal, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Iran Nuclear Accord Parties Meet to Try to Salvage Deal

February 27, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Illegal radioactive substances found in South Tangerang house, Jakarta

February 27, 2020 Posted by | Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment