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1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water and nowhere to put it – Fukushima’s continued legacy

Japan grappling with 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water and nowhere to put it   Japan has a crisis on its hands at the site of the country’s worst natural disaster. One challenge it faces has been deemed near-impossible. NZ Herald,  Rohan Smith– 11 March 21, 

On the site of Japan’s nuclear disaster, 10 years on from the meltdown that changed the world forever, authorities are grappling with impossible choices.

Today marks a decade since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Towns surrounding the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi plant have long since been abandoned but the fallout from the March 11, 2011 event is far from over.

Every single day, 100 tonnes of groundwater seeps into one of the broken reactor basements at the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

That’s a problem because the water is mixing with radioactive debris and needs to be treated and stored. But TEPCO has more than 1.2 million tonnes of contaminated water sitting in storage tanks that are very quickly running out of capacity.

Estimates suggest the tanks will reach overflow point next year. And one of the choices on the table for Japanese authorities is hugely unpopular and potentially devastating: Release more than 1 million tonnes of the treated radioactive water into the sea.

On the site of Japan’s nuclear disaster, 10 years on from the meltdown that changed the world forever, authorities are grappling with impossible choices.

It is not the only problem that needs solving. There is a far more dangerous situation unfolding in several of the plant’s damaged reactors.

According to local reports, there is still 900 tonnes of melted reactor debris inside three reactors that experienced meltowns. The plan to extract it was described by the Times as “near-impossible” because “the radioactivity remains extremely high near the reactor containment vessels — enough to instantly kill a human and to disable a robot.”

The plan is to decommission the plant by 2051.

Pictures from abandoned properties in the original exclusion zone show weeds growing around homes that were vacated in a hurry.   ….  more https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/japan-grappling-with-12-million-tonnes-of-radioactive-water-and-nowhere-to-put-it/33TKZUD6JM4GHFJSMIBZ3WZKVY/

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The long-term problem of “peaceful” plutonium 

March 11, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD | Leave a comment

Ten years on from Fukushima, nuclear power continues to struggle with deeper problems.

Ten years on from Fukushima, nuclear power continues to struggle with deeper problems. Renew Economy, 

Ketan Joshi 10 March 2021  ”……….. Why couldn’t the power plant withstand the tsunami? The official Japanese government inquiry found that it was “collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents”.

The impact of the accident was unmissable. Japan’s fleet of nuclear power stations were shuttered almost immediately. The most noticeable flow-on impact was Germany bringing forward its planned nuclear phase out from 2036 to 2011. However, these shutdowns levelled off only a few years later, and the reduced output from these decisions has been entirely cancelled out by rising nuclear output in China, as shown in Ember’s 2020 electricity review:
A more recent report from Ember focused on Europe highlights the magnitude of change in Europe, and in particular, in France, often heralded as the flagship country for nuclear power
 deployment, and utterly unavoidable in debates or discussions about nuclear.

What that report shows is that in 2020, nuclear power suffered its most significant fall in output probably on record – notably, even greater in scale than the drop after Fukushima. Belgium and Sweden too have seen significant drops in nuclear power.

In an alternative universe where the political and cultural factors never led to the Fukushima nuclear accident, it’s tough to imagine a global electricity system all that different from today’s. Wind and solar would likely still be on a steep downwards cost curve, fossil fuels would still be raking in subsidies (sometimes with the support of the nuclear industry), and though nuclear’s output would still be higher, it would still certainly face the deeper, longer-term economic issues that have defined its growth and decline over the past several decades.
In Australia, nuclear power remains illegal, under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act. It has sat around the middle of popularity surveys for some time, but has seen an extremely gradual softening in public perception over the years. Politically, it’s only ever mentioned as a tactic for conservative politicians to provoke their foes, and is championed mostly by those who also aggressively oppose climate policies, including those that would be needed to make nuclear economical in Australia, such as carbon pricing.

The Fukushima accident has been at times framed as a turn-around point – a disaster exploited by cynical Greens. It was exploited at times, but at most it accelerated pre-existing trends.

In some places in the world, it seems important to sweat nuclear plants for as long as possible. In the US, for instance, the boom of cheap fossil fuels and an absence of strong renewable policies mean gaps will be filled by higher-polluting plants. In Europe, the drumbeat of closures is essentially inevitable, and that means deploying replacement clean energy portfolios as quickly as possible to ensure fossil fuels don’t take hold.

The Fukushima disaster simply catalysed a collection of deep, systemic factors that were already in place, and remain in place today. Nuclear will certainly play some role in the world’s future electricity grids, most likely in countries like China and India. But elsewhere, it is wind and solar that have become the most favoured to serve as the workhorses of grids. They too are not immune to public backlash, to poor economics or to industry headwinds, and there must be far more effort put in to ensuring they don’t suffer a similar fate.  https://reneweconomy.com.au/ten-years-on-from-fukushima-nuclear-power-continues-to-struggle-with-deeper-problems/

March 11, 2021 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

French Nuclear tests: revelations about a cancer epidemic

March 11, 2021 Posted by | France, health, OCEANIA, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

110, 000 people in French Polynesia affected by the radioactive fallout from atomic bomb tests

BBC 9th March 2021, Researchers used declassified French military documents, calculations and testimonies to reconstruct the impact of a number of the tests. They
estimated that around 110,000 people in French Polynesia were affected by
the radioactive fallout. The number represented “almost the entire”
population at the time, the researchers found.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-56340159

March 11, 2021 Posted by | France, health, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima 

Mirarr senior Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula ‒ on whose land in the Northern Territory Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine operated ‒ said she was “deeply saddened” that uranium from Ranger was exported to Japanese nuclear companies including TEPCO.
overseas suppliers who turned a blind eye to unacceptable nuclear risks in Japan have largely escaped scrutiny or blame. Australia’s uranium industry is a case in point.
The mining companies have failed to take any responsibility for the catastrophic impacts on Japanese society that resulted from the use of their uranium in a poorly managed, poorly regulated industry.
Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima  https://theecologist.org/2021/mar/09/australian-uranium-fuelled-fukushima, Dr Jim Green, David Noonan 9th March 2021
The Fukushima disaster was fuelled by Australian uranium but lessons were not learned and the industry continues to fuel global nuclear insecurity with irresponsible uranium export policies.
Fukushima was an avoidable disaster, fuelled by Australian uranium and the hubris and profiteering of Japan’s nuclear industry in collusion with compromised regulators and captured bureaucracies.

The Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission ‒ established by the Japanese Parliament ‒ concluded in its 2012 report that the accident was “a profoundly man-made disaster that could and should have been foreseen and prevented” if not for “a multitude of errors and wilful negligence that left the Fukushima plant unprepared for the events of March 11”.

The accident was the result of “collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO”, the commission found.

Mining

But overseas suppliers who turned a blind eye to unacceptable nuclear risks in Japan have largely escaped scrutiny or blame. Australia’s uranium industry is a case in point.

Yuki Tanaka from the Hiroshima Peace Institute noted: “Japan is not the sole nation responsible for the current nuclear disaster. From the manufacture of the reactors by GE to provision of uranium by Canada, Australia and others, many nations are implicated.”

There is no dispute that Australian uranium was used in the Fukushima reactors. The mining companies won’t acknowledge that fact — instead they hide behind claims of “commercial confidentiality” and “security”.

But the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office acknowledged in October 2011 that: “We can confirm that Australian obligated nuclear material was at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in each of the reactors — maybe five out of six, or it could have been all of them”.

BHP and Rio Tinto, two of the world’s largest mining companies, supplied Australian uranium to TEPCO and that uranium was used to fuel Fukushima. Continue reading

March 11, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Uranium | Leave a comment

This Is How the Biggest Arms Manufacturers Steer Millions to Influence US Policy — Rise Up Times

“Since Biden’s inauguration, the report states, the State Department has approved the sale of $85 million in missiles from Raytheon to Chile, and a $60 million deal between Lockheed Martin and Jordan to provide F-16 Fighting Falcons and services.”

This Is How the Biggest Arms Manufacturers Steer Millions to Influence US Policy — Rise Up Times

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Whitewashing of Fukushima meltdown by United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation

 

 

Note the careful choice of words – no adverse effects ”have been documented‘ ‘‘that could be directly attributed‘…….

Fukushima radiation did not damage health of local people, UN says, Guardian,  Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Wed 10 Mar 2021 

‘No adverse health effects’ detected despite three nuclear reactors being destroyed by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011   
Radiation caused by the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima a decade ago has not damaged the health of local people, according to a UN report.Gillian Hirth, chairwoman of the UN’s scientific committee on the effects of atomic radiation (Unscear), said that “no adverse health effects among Fukushima residents have been documented that could be directly attributed to radiation exposure from the accident” in March 2011…….

Concern over the potential health effects of the accident rose after reports of a high incidence of thyroid cancer in children living in Fukushima prefecture at the time of the disaster.

Unscear and other experts have attributed the higher rates to the use of highly sensitive ultrasound equipment and the large number of children who have been examined……..

But in a report released to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the triple disaster, Greenpeace Japan warned that large areas near the plant where evacuation orders have been lifted in recent years had still not been properly decontaminated, leaving returning residents exposed to potentially harmful levels of radiation for decades.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/10/fukushima-meltdown-did-not-damage-health-un-japan

March 11, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Nuclear education of state energy regulators

 

With the Department of Energy behind this –  can it really offer impartial education?

 

NARUC, DOE strike five-year deal to allow nuclear education of state energy regulators, Daily Energy Insider,  March 10, 2021 by Chris Galford  A new partnership between the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will provide opportunities for NARUC to educate state public service commissioners and staff on nuclear issues.

This Nuclear Energy Partnership will last for five years to help regulators better understand the barriers to and potential of what is currently the nation’s largest source of zero carbon power.[ [zero carbon? That’s just not true ]   It will officially begin this month and be co-chaired by Anthony O’Donnell of the Maryland Public Service Commission and Tim Echols of the Georgia Public Service Commission, chair and vice chair, respectively, of the NARUC Subcommittee on Nuclear Issues — Waste Disposal.

Estimates put nuclear power’s contributions to U.S. electricity at approximately 20 percent of the total last year. However, among the 94 nuclear reactors pumping out that clean power, many are approaching 40 years in service……. https://dailyenergyinsider.com/featured/29440-naruc-doe-strike-five-year-deal-to-allow-nuclear-education-of-state-energy-regulators/

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Education, USA | 1 Comment

I hate those Fukushima disaster anniversaries!

March 11, 2021

For the last ten years, every year, we have the same circus. For one or two weeks the mainstream media comes out with their anniversary articles, over and over repeating the same old songs, old facts, avoiding the really important issues. Along with this the antinuclear divas once a year prerorate their polished spiels basking in their little moment of glory, releasing their pieces on their dot.orgs. while asking for more donations.

In the meantime not much has changed. The ‘decommissioning’ work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is a neverending story despite all their nice PR technical blablabla, ignoring the fact that the technology necessary to complete the decommissioning has yet to be invented. At 30 Sieverts level of radiation anyone would get fried within 5 minutes, even their costly robots can’t hold their breath very long.

TEPCO is already gradually releasing partially filtered radioactive water, water still containing radioactive material, into our oceans, our environment. Further, it is their intention to dump all the partially contaminated, radioactive water currently stored in over 1,000 tanks into the sea. The only unknown is exactly when they’ll be able to push it thru.

Despite a few court victories, the victims still have not been properly, sufficiently compensated for all their losses and suffering. People on location are still stuck living in an environment with high levels of radiation, levels the government deems acceptable, thresholds higher than the international standards for nuclear plant workers!

The Japanese government and the nuclear lobby are still orchestrating the denial of threats, of facts, the denial of health risks for the population, campaigning for the evacuees to return.

The Fukushima disaster and its tragic consequences are still hurting the local population. Ten years is NOTHING in terms of radioactive contamination. Contamination that is there to stay. Ongoing… every day.

F these anniversaries!

March 11, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear technology’s role in the world’s energy supply is shrinking

Nuclear technology’s role in the world’s energy supply is shrinking
Anniversaries of the Fukushima and Chernobyl disasters highlight the challenges of relying on nuclear power to cut net carbon emissions to zero. Nature 10 Mar 21,   …………….
With attention focused on nuclear disasters, it’s hard to imagine the enthusiasm with which nuclear energy was once regarded, when it was seen by many as one answer to global energy demand. From the first experimental reactor in 1951, reactors were commissioned at an increasing rate, with 20–30 commissioned almost every year during a peak period between the late 1960s and the end of the 1970s. A fire in 1957 at one of the United Kingdom’s power plants, Windscale — later renamed Sellafield — did not impede the global rate of growth……….
In addition to the deaths and health risks, the cost of the damages caused by Chernobyl is thought to exceed US$200 billion, and the Japan Center for Economic Research estimates the costs of decontaminating the Fukushima site to be between $470 billion and $660 billion. In the wake of the disaster, 12 of Japan’s reactors have been permanently shut; a further 24 remain closed pending ongoing safety reviews, which are adding to the costs.
What all of this means is that, on top of construction costs, any country investing in nuclear power must be prepared to set aside — or must have access to — vast sums that can be released in the event of disasters, whether they occur as a result of human error or natural phenomena.
What all of this means is that, on top of construction costs, any country investing in nuclear power must be prepared to set aside — or must have access to — vast sums that can be released in the event of disasters, whether they occur as a result of human error or natural phenomena.

Considering the barriers to the adoption of nuclear energy, it is not surprising that much of the nuclear energy generated around the world is produced by nuclear-weapons states. Most countries will baulk at the idea of setting up a nuclear power plant if the total bill could run to hundreds of billions of dollars.

By contrast, although renewable-energy technologies are still in their relative infancy, their costs are falling and their regulation is much more straightforward. This is important: the technology used to turn on lights or charge mobile phones shouldn’t need to involve national or international defence apparatus.

Clearly, nuclear energy will be with us for some time. New plants are being built and older ones will take time to decommission. But it is not proving to be the solution it was once seen as for decarbonizing the world’s energy market. Nuclear power has benefits, but its continued low take-up indicates that some countries think these are outweighed by the risks. For others, the development of nuclear energy is unaffordable. If the world is to achieve net zero carbon emissions, the focus must be on renewable energies — and one of their greatest benefits is that their sources are available, freely, to all nations.

March 11, 2021 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Anxieties over Turkey’s new Russian-backed nuclear plants

Turkey’s nuclear power dilemma, Turkey’s first Russia-backed nuclear plant has raised issues around its safety and potential for use in building nuclear weapons.  Al Jazeera, By Sinem Koseoglu. 10 Mar 2021

Istanbul, Turkey – Turkish and Russian officials laid the foundation for the third reactor of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant Akkuyu in the southern coastal city of Mersin on Wednesday.

The plant’s first reactor unit is expected to be operational in 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic, and the remaining units in 2026.

The co-construction of the Akkuyu plant started in April 2018, eight years after the two countries signed an intergovernmental agreement.

The project is owned by the Russian energy company Rosatom while the Turkish Akkuyu is the license owner and the local operator.

Once completed, the plant is expected to produce 35 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually, about 10 percent of Turkey’s total electricity supply. The service life will last 50 years.

The facility will launch Turkey into the ”league of nuclear energy countries”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, hailing it as a “symbol of Turkish-Russian cooperation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at the event via video-conference from Moscow, called it a “truly flagship project”.

Akkuyu is the only nuclear power facility under construction in Turkey but a second project in the Black Sea province of Sinop is expected to kick off this year, reports suggest, if Ankara can find a new partner after Japan’s Mitsubishi pulled out last year.

The project was agreed on by the Japanese and Turkish governments in 2013. A consortium led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries conducted a feasibility study until March for the construction of a 4,500-megawatt plant in Sinop.

A senior energy official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera the Turkish government is also considering a third nuclear plant with four reactors in the country’s northwest. Turkey’s ultimate goal is not building a nuclear weapon but diversity in energy resources, he said.

Russian dependency?

Since the Akkuyu project was signed, proponents of nuclear energy in Turkey have argued it would limit Turkey’s dependency on foreign energy suppliers. They also underline it is clean energy.  [clean???]

However, some international experts think differently.   Henry D Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, DC, said Akkuyu’s financing model could further Ankara’s dependency on Russia, a major energy provider to Turkey. The project is fully financed by Moscow.

Sokolski said it is an intensive capital investment and questioned why Turkey frontloads such debt while alternative and cheaper energy resources are coming down the pipeline.

Could Akkutu be a target?

Turkey is not the only country seeking nuclear energy in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Jordan are still considering establishing nuclear power plants. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are in on it, while Israel is long believed to have a stockpile of nuclear weapons and Iran has the capacity to develop them.

Sokolski warned Turkey about the regional challenges of entering the fray. “Your neighbourhood is dangerous. People are fighting. Nuclear reactors in a shooting war can be targets.”

He said missiles and drones could knock out critical electrical supply lines to a reactor and destroy emergency generators, nuclear control rooms, reactor containment buildings, and spent reactor fuel buildings.

“These kinds of strikes can make people more anxious and result in radiological releases, like Chernobyl or worse,” said Sokolski.

Turkey has waged a war against the PKK, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party listed as a “terrorist” organisation by the United States, the European Union, and Turkey, for decades in a conflict that has killed an estimated 40,000 people.

News reports have suggested the armed group has camps in northern Iraq where armed drones are being developed.

Turkey is also embroiled in conflicts in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, while the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen have targetted Saudi and Emirati targets with its missiles and drones. Armed groups such as the Syrian National Defence Forces, which is supportive of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, could mimic such attacks, said Sokolski.

Turkey has waged a war against the PKK, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party listed as a “terrorist” organisation by the United States, the European Union, and Turkey, for decades in a conflict that has killed an estimated 40,000 people.

News reports have suggested the armed group has camps in northern Iraq where armed drones are being developed.

Turkey is also embroiled in conflicts in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, while the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen have targetted Saudi and Emirati targets with its missiles and drones. Armed groups such as the Syrian National Defence Forces, which is supportive of President Bashar al-Assad’s government, could mimic such attacks, said Sokolski.

Atomic weapon suspicions

Despite Turkey’s claims the plant will only be used to diversify energy resources, some have suggested Ankara may have plans to enrich uranium.

Turkey and nuclear-armed Pakistan have long had military cooperation agreements that were recently intensified, with some news reports suggesting Islamabad may be covertly supporting a nuclear weapons programme.

Military cooperation deals have been signed earlier this year with Kazakhstan, a country providing at least 35 percent of the world’s uranium…….https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/3/10/turkeys-nuclear-dilemma

March 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, Turkey | Leave a comment

USA’s new $100billion nuclear missile – a white elephant?

 

March 11, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ohio House passes its version of Bill rescinding nuclear subsidies

Ohio House passes its version of bill rescinding nuclear subsidies,  By Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland.com, COLUMBUS, Ohio, 10 Mar 21,  – The Ohio House has passed its version of a bill rescinding key portions of the controversial House Bill 6, including its $1 billion in nuclear subsidies.

House Bill 128 passed 86-7 on Wednesday afternoon. The bill also would revoke “decoupling” language in HB6 that guaranteed revenue for FirstEnergy at 2018 levels, and language that likely would have made it easier for FirstEnergy to pass a state test meant to prevent utilities from making excessive profits.

Of note, a House committee before passing the bill earlier this week changed it to add back in language offering $20 million in annual solar subsides to six large-scale solar projects. Developers behind some of the projects, some of which are have been completed or are close to it, told lawmakers that revoking the funding would economically undermine the deals they had made with companies that had agreed to buy the power they generated.

The Ohio Senate previously has passed two bills removing pieces of House Bill 6, which is at the center of a federal corruption probe. One would rescind the nuclear subsidies, while another would rescind the “decoupling” provision and seek refunds for consumers. No bill has received final passage.

Other portions of HB6 so far have remained untouched, provisions eliminating energy efficiency programs and renewable energy mandates, and subsidizing two coal plants — one in Indiana, one in Ohio — owned by a consortium of Ohio utility companies.

Ohio House and Senate leaders will have to sort out how they line up the competing versions of the bills. Any law change requires approval by both chambers before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature….. https://www.cleveland.com/open/2021/03/ohio-house-passes-their-version-of-bill-rescinding-nuclear-subsidies.html

March 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not an option for Taiwan,

March 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment