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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

David Swanson: A Cold War Re-Education in 8 Minutes — Rise Up Times

“The U.S. could have chosen hot war, but could also have chosen peace.”

David Swanson: A Cold War Re-Education in 8 Minutes — Rise Up Times

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nuclear news – week to 22 March

Not a lot of remarkable news on nuclear this week . The nuclear lobby is doubling down on its media propaganda, touting nuclear as the solution to climatev change. Also it is determinedly promoting the Tokyo Olympics – the so-called ‘recovery Olympics’, despite the fact that international visitors are banned.

CoronavirusIncidence of new cases globally continues to rise, but death numbers are falling. Problems in distribution of vaccines.

Climate.   Developments in global heating are covered each week in Radio Ecoshock, which is a jump ahead of most news media. This week, it’s been about the predicted high temperatures in the world’s cities. Also, it’s a warm\ning that climate tipping points are coming sooner than expected.

A bit of good news March 20 was the U.N.’s International Day of Happiness.  For the fourth year in a row, Finland has been named the happiest country in the world, with Iceland coming in second, followed by Denmark, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Investigative journalism –  Advanced nuclear reactors : Assessing the Safety, Security, and Environmental Impacts of Non-Light-Water Nuclear Reactors.  New science report: advanced nuclear reactors no safer than conventional nuclear plants.  The economics of nuclear power plants are not favorable to future investments.

Nuclear power has become irrelevant — like it or not.   Why the Fukushima disaster signalled the end of Big Nuclear.

New research to determine plutonium pollution and its sources.

Don’t believe hydrogen and nuclear hype – they can’t get us to net zero carbon by 2050

Review of Michael Shellenberger’s book on ”Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All”.

JAPAN.  The nuclear lobby holds too much sway over governments, particularly in Japan.  Serious security lapse at a Japanese nuclear plant.    Japanese regulator decides against restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa No. 7 nuclear reactor.

New type of large and highly radioactive particles found in Japan.  Fukushima disaster 10 years on: How long will it take to clean up the nuclear waste?

UK. 

USA.

RUSSIA.  Russia planning to dispose of highly dangerous nuclear reactor cores of submarines at bottom of Kara Sea.

IRAN.  United Nations nuclear watchdog says it’s possible to return to the Iran nuclear deal.

FRANCE.  France must restructure debt-laden EDF (Electricite de France) and reform nuclear sector by October.  Flamanville nuclear reactor: 3 new welds do not meet safety requirements.

PACIFIC ISLANDS.  Outcry in Tahiti over nuclear fallout study.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. Unitede Arab Emirates $32 billion Barakah nuclear plant poses environmental, safety, and security problems.

AUSTRALIAMinerals Council of Australia trying to influence European Commission, to push for fossil fuels and nuclear.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 2 Comments

Fukushima disaster 10 years on: How long will it take to clean up the nuclear waste?

Streets have been rebuilt, while radiation decontamination has progressed steadily since the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident 10 years ago. But few residents have returned.  Straits Times, 
BY WALTER SIM AND SPE CHEN | MARCH 20, 2021

Decontamination and living with ‘black bags’

Piles of black bags were generated by the vast, painstaking clean-up and then transported from other storage places. Those black bags have occupied more than 90 blocks ranging from 180 sq m to 6,500 sq m in the northern part of Tomioka since 2015.

According to a 2018 report from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, the estimated total quantity of decontaminated soil will be somewhere between 16 and 22 million cubic metres after volume reduction. This is 13 to 18 times larger than the volume of the Tokyo Dome.

The Ministry says the total will likely be at the lower end of the provided range, in a latest reply to The Straits Times’ query.

Limits of decontamination

The “decontamination” only involves soil removal in flatland areas – the government has said that it is impossible to clear the soil in mountainous areas, but more than 70 per cent of the hardest-hit areas are mountainous.

Mr Nobuyoshi Ito is one of those who live in the mountainous areas where vast decontamination is hard to carry out.

Mr Ito first moved to Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture in 2010 after he retired as an IT engineer, to work as an “apprentice farmer”.

He had no ties with the village before that, but the self-professed “guinea pig” ended up staying on there, in open defiance of government orders to evacuate, and against his children’s wishes for him to live with them in Niigata prefecture on the west coast.

“When the government asked us to evacuate… I asked if there would be criminal charges if I continued to live here,” he told The Straits Times in 2016. “They said no.”

He carries a dosimeter around with him all the time, measuring anything he can lay his hands on from soil, plants to animal carcasses. He also owns a laboratory-grade radiation measuring machine at his cabin, deep in the mountains in the village.

He has become one of the most visible critics of the government, which he accuses of vested interests in lifting exclusion zones too quickly.

He thinks the government’s decision to not decontaminate forested mountainous areas will backfire due to factors such as rain that may spread radioactive material, and in a study last year found that 43 out of 69 locations along the Olympic torch relay route had radiation levels above the government limits.

He told The Straits Times that he fears that Tokyo is overly eager to portray that everything was “under control”, given that this could give the impression that it is “case closed”.

One possible explanation for the limited effect of decontamination in forests is the rapid shift in the main reservoir of Caesium-137 – a major contributor to the total radiation released – from litter and topsoil layers to the underlying mineral soil, according to a 2020 research paper published in Nature Journal.

Non-profit Greenpeace notes that such standards in towns neighbouring the nuclear plant would not pass in other parts of the world.

The indefinite future: Where to permanently store 16 million bags of nuclear waste

Removed soil and waste are stored in the interim storage facilities within the prefecture only for a certain period before the government finds permanent places.

The law requires that the final disposal site of high-level nuclear waste should be outside of Fukushima by March 2045.

Two fishing villages in Hokkaido are vying to host the final storage facility of Japanese nuclear waste for half a century, splitting communities between those seeking investment to stop the towns from dying, and those haunted by the 2011 Fukushima disaster who are determined to stop the project.

I cannot give a deadline at this moment. We will consider the entire schedule based on the progress at the two new potential sites, along with nationwide public relations activities.

MS MASARU KASHIMA

A deputy director in a division of the economy ministry that deals with radioactive waste.  https://www.straitstimes.com/multimedia/graphics/2021/03/fukushima/index.html?shell

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby’s lying propaganda on the run up to COP Climate Conference

Ya gotta admire the global spread and relentless persistence of the nuclear industry at every level. Whether it be aimed ast schoolkids or heads of state,  – the message is just such a lie – that nuclear power is ”essential to fight climate change’

Never mind that nuclear power is itself very vulnerable to climate change (over-heating, rising sea leveles, storm surges, water shortages……)

Anyway, today I was captivated by a charming, pretty, graphic, touted by the Public Service Enterprise Group, (PSE&G’) in an article extolling nuclear power, published by INSIDER NJ.

I just felt the need to make PSE&G’s picture honest.

 

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes, climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

The economics of nuclear power plants are not favorable to future investments

Investing into third generation nuclear power plants – Review of recent trends and analysis of future investments using Monte Carlo Simulation    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1364032121001301     Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews  Volume 143, June 2021, 110836  Author links open overlay panelB.WealerabS.BauerbC.v.HirschhausenabC.KemfertacL.Göke

Highlights

•Cost escalations in the nuclear sector observed in previous research continue until today.
•Investing into a nuclear power plant today is not a profitable business case.
•The net present values are mainly negative, in the range of five to ten billion USD.
•Interest during construction is a major cost driver not to be underestimated.
•Policy debates should consider total costs including interest and construction time.

Abstract

This paper provides a review of trends in third generation nuclear power plants, and analyzes current and future nuclear power plant investments using Monte Carlo simulations of economic indicators.

We first review global trends of nuclear power plant investments, including technical as well as economic trends. The review suggests that cost escalations in the sector observed in previous research continue until today, including the most recent investment projects in the U.S. and in Europe.

In order to extend this analysis, we carry out our own investment analysis of a representative third generation nuclear power plant, focusing on the net present value and the levelized cost of electricity. We base our analysis on a stochastic Monte Carlo simulation to nuclear power plant investments.

We define and estimate the main drivers of our model: Overnight construction costs, wholesale electricity prices, and weighted average cost of capital, and discuss reasonable ranges and distributions of those parameters.

Model runs suggest that investing in nuclear power plants is not profitable, i.e. expected net present values are highly negative, mainly driven by high construction costs, including capital costs, and uncertain and low revenues.

Even extending reactor lifetimes does not improve the results significantly. We conclude that our numerical exercise confirms the literature review, i.e. the economics of nuclear power plants are not favorable to future investments, even though additional costs (decommissioning, long-term storage) and the social costs of accidents are not even considered.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | 1 Comment

With ”regulatory capture” of USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission, California’s got nuclear fuel buried 108 feet from the sea  

Nuclear Fuel Buried 108 Feet From the Sea  https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/03/19/nuclear-fuel-buried-108-feet-from-the-sea/, BY ROBERT HUNZIKER  “The most toxic substance on Earth is separated from exposure to society by ½” of steel encased in a canister.” (Blanch)

That eye-opener comes from renowned nuclear expert Paul Blanch in reference to spent fuel rods removed from San Onofre Nuclear Generation Plant buried near the sea on California’s southern coastline 50 miles north of San Diego.

Seventy-three 20-foot tall canisters of highly toxic nuclear spent fuel rods are nestled underground within 108 feet of the Pacific Ocean and not far from Interstate 5 from which passersby catch a glimpse of 73 large rectangular lids poking above ground, thus sealing the most toxic substances on Earth ensconced in ½” dry casks. (Footnote: In contrast, German CASTOR V/19 ductile cast iron casks, with permanent integrated monitoring, are nearly two-feet thick)

What could possibly go wrong on the seashore?

At the outset of San Onofre’s plans for its 73 buried canisters, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission itself admitted: (1) the thin ½” stainless steel canisters could crack within 30 years (2) there’s no current technology to inspect, repair or replace cracked canisters (3) limited monitoring means leaks may not be detected soon enough. (Source: Sanonofresafety.org) It is not believed the foregoing has changed one iota.

Unfortunately, when it comes to nuclear risks, what can go wrong isn’t known until it actually goes wrong. Then, it’s too late. Which explains the contention of a professional group associated with publicwatchdogs.org that discussed issues of credibility and truthfulness of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission at a public hearing on March 9th, 2021. More on that follows later.

The 73 San Onofre rectangular lids symbolize the final act of decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, remnants of 50 years of nuclear power. Nobody knows with any degree of certainty the consequences of highly toxic spent fuel rods buried within 108 feet of the ocean. Is it risky or not risky? Is it even possible to define the risk?

In truth, the risks of nuclear power cannot be adequately defined. Experience shows that the risk factors have no ceiling, no comparisons, no analogies, nothing similar, only disastrous results when things go wrong. More to the point, it’s a grand experiment of juggling the most potent substance on the planet. Like a hot potato, nobody knows what to do with it, other than bury it somewhere somehow that hopefully keeps it secure. Is a beachfront 108 feet off the ocean a good, secure location?

Still, given enough time, nuclear risks are defined via incidents, e.g., Fukushima, which exposed the consequences of failure of identifying nuclear risks. If it were otherwise, Fukushima would’ve been better prepared. They weren’t!

According to Prime Minister Naoto Kan /Japan, 2011: “We did not anticipate such a huge natural disaster could happen.” At the tensest moments, PM Kan was briefed on plans for complete evacuation of Tokyo, a horrific beyond belief event that came far too close for comfort! Nowadays, the former PM is an antinuke protestor.

It’s worth noting that Fukushima houses 10 nuclear reactors and 11 open pools of water containing spent fuel rods. If exposed to open air, spent fuel rods erupt into a sizzling zirconium fire followed by massive radiation bursts of the most toxic material known to humanity. It can upend an entire countryside and force evacuation of major cities, literally begging the impossible question of whether San Onofre’s remnants threaten all of Southern California?

Throughout America nuclear facilities contain open pools of spent fuel rods. According to the widely recognized nuclear expert Paul Blanch: “Continual storage in spent fuel pools is the most unsafe thing you could do.” Some spent fuel rods have been removed and stored in dry casks, but what if the dry casks are buried 108 feet from the Pacific Ocean? And, what of dry casks only ½” thick filled with radioactive spent fuel rods running a 500°F temp inside and 400°F on the canister’s exterior? By all appearances, it is an extremely lively affair!

That goes to the heart of questions posed at a recent Nuclear Regulatory Commission public hearing on March 9th. Thereupon, on behalf of the general public, three professionals drilled down into the procedures of the NRC whilst questioning its credibility. The bios of those three professionals:

Paul Blanch, registered professional engineer, US Navy Reactor Operator & Instructor with 55 years of experience with nuclear engineering and regulatory agencies, widely recognized as one of America’s leading experts on nuclear power.

Stuart H. Scott, founder and Executive Director of Facing Future, best known for bringing Greta Thunberg to the 2018 UN climate negotiations in Poland (COP-24) and for convincing Dr. James Hansen, the 32-year veteran Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to COP-21, to attend Paris ’15.

Charles Langley, Executive Director of PublicWatchdogs.org, a public advocate with more than 25 years of experience in the field of energy law, energy policy, and utility rate setting.

According to publicwatchdogs.org, the NRC is a “captive regulator” that accedes to nearly every request for regulatory relief for the nuclear power industry, as well as relaxation of safety rules and enforcement for the industry, in fact, following the command of industry insiders. But, when it comes to the general public, the NRC summarily rejects nearly every public petition aimed at strengthening the rules or following enforcement of existing rules. The petition process at the NRC is a one-sided affair that leaves the public out in the cold. From 1975- 2012 there were 387 petitions filed under provisions of the code, only two granted substantive relief, and one of those was from the nuclear industry. So, over 37 years there were, in actuality, more like a thousand petitions submitted by the public, and only one made it. It should be noted that rejections of petitions cannot be appealed.

On the other hand, when an industry player makes requests, according to Paul Blanch, working for a public utility, asking NRC for “a deviation from the rules” on a phone call got approved within one hour.

As it happens, the field of play with the NRC is lopsided. Industry players can ask any questions of NRC, but the public can only ask “process questions,” which does not lead to adequate answers, if any answers at all. Moreover, according to publicwatchdogs.org: “The NRC is providing inaccurate and false information to the public… At issue is the fact that the NRC is claiming that a flooding event at the SONGS (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation or ISFSI is ‘non-credible’.”

Really? Non-credible? What does that mean?

According to publicwatchdogs.org: “ISFSI is an Orwellian word used by the NRC to describe a toxic beachfront nuclear waste dump containing a spent nuclear fuel depot that is deadly radioactive for 250,000 years. The SONGS “ISFSI” is located 108 feet from the beach, in a tsunami inundation zone next to an earthquake fault line. It contains 73 thin-walled stainless steel cans weighing upwards of 100,000 pounds each. Each 20-foot high canister contains the same amount of Cesium-137 that was released into the atmosphere during the entire Chernobyl event. The cans themselves are only guaranteed to last for 25 years.”

What happens if a king tide, during full moon, or tsunami strikes and triggers a loss of cooling for the containers? Therefore, publicwatchdogs.org demanded the NRC provide a realistic flood analysis, with consequences spelled out. But, according to the petitioners, the NRC has never analyzed a loss of cooling of the 73 buried canisters. That fact alone is beyond comprehension. How could they not? Will they now?

Furthermore, nobody can explain what happens with ruptured casks. The San Onofre casks are filled with helium gas with natural conduction airflow surrounding each individual container, which are thin casks ½” thick.

In all, Public Watchdog’s research found that NRC misrepresented information. At the hearing, petitioners exposed inept Nuclear Regulatory Commission processes, responses, and a lack of credibility, claiming the NRC is merely a rubber stamp for the nuclear industry and not at all responsive to public queries.

The following is a condensed version of the issues brought forth on the virtual meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

It should be noted that NRC rejected the group’s Oct 13th petition on the dubious grounds of the term “not credible.” Failure or leakage of the canisters, according to NRC, is “not credible.” But “not credible” is not defined anywhere in NRC documents. Of course, no answers came at the scheduled meeting.

An important pursuit at the hearing was exposure of deficiencies of the Holtec Umax spent fuel storage system at San Onofre, as well as exposing its use at other locations in the US. Not only that but a king tide could wash over the canisters, no tsunami needed. A few feet of water would be disastrous. Meanwhile, there are no contingency plans to remove flooded water from the canisters in an emergency. Which is insidiously irresponsible: “Each canister contains more radioactive cesium than released at Chernobyl, each of 73 canisters, plus there are over 3,000 in this country.” (Blanch)

The Holtec canisters provide a 1/2” to 5/8” barrier between the most toxic material in the world and a Chernobyl-size release of radiation. The canisters must be kept full of helium gas, welded shut, thus they can never be examined on the inside for cracks or leaks, and scandalously, not monitored for temperature, pressure, or radiation. But yet, the NRC says failure is “not credible.”

Was Chernobyl not credible?

Was Fukushima not credible?

Making matters worse, there’s no provision for drainage of water in the underground canisters. A king tidal wave could flood, and as water boils off, nobody would know what to do to save Southern California from some level of mass evacuation. Additionally, there are no provisions to refill the canisters with pressurized helium should pressure drop. These are obvious risks factors, plus: San Onofre is located within an inundation zone for tsunamis. It’s also close to Camp Pendleton, a legitimate enemy target.

“We regard the NRC’s preliminary decision to reject our petition as irresponsible and wrong and it places millions of people in Southern California at risk that is unquantifiable.” (Petitioners)

When NRC receives petitions, they can be rejected by an unspecified number of PRB members and the petitioner does not know if it’s only one member a minority a majority or whatever. No logical reasons are given for rejections of petitions and no supporting documentation.

The San Onofre canisters need to be removed and placed into thick-wall casks and transported to a new repository in New Mexico. “The biggest problem is the NRC failure to admit there is a problem.” (Blanch)

In the final analysis, the NRC abrogates its own mission statement, which is to license and regulate civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety to promote the common defense and security and protect the environment. Yet, by all appearances, the NRC is more akin to an emotionless Frankenstein monster that belittles detractors via evasion and disdain without any answers for credible questions. What a trip!

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

March 22, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Need for more research into causes of increased incidence of childhood lukaemia near nuclear site

National Library of Medicine 15th March 2021,  A previous investigation of the occurrence of childhood acute leukemia around the Belgian nuclear sites has shown positive associations around one nuclear site (Mol-Dessel). In the following years, the Belgian Cancer Registry has made data available at the smallest administrative unit for
which demographic information exists in Belgium, i.e. the statistical sector. This offers the advantage to reduce the potential misclassification due to large geographical scales.

Results confirm an increased incidence of acute childhood leukemia around Mol-Dessel, but the number of cases remains very small. Random variation cannot be excluded and the ecological design does not allow concluding on causality. These findings emphasize the need for more in-depth research into the risk factors of childhood leukemia, for a better understanding of the etiology of this disease.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33735659/

March 22, 2021 Posted by | children, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Russia planning to dispose of highly dangerous nuclear reactor cores of submarine at bottom of Kara Sea

March 22, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

New research to determine plutonium pollution and its sources

EurekAlert 19th March 2021,  Researchers looking at miniscule levels of plutonium pollution in our soils have made a breakthrough which could help inform future ‘clean up’ operations on land around nuclear power plants, saving time and money.
Publishing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers show how they have measured the previously ‘unmeasurable’ and taken a step forward in differentiating between local and global sources of plutonium pollution in the soil. By identifying the isotopic ‘fingerprint’ of trace-level quantities of plutonium in the soil which matched the isotopic fingerprint of the plutonium created by an adjacent nuclear reactor, the research team was able to estimate levels of plutonium in the soil which were attributable to reactor pollution and distinguish this from plutonium from general global pollution. This is important to provide key information to
those responsible for environmental assessment and clean up.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/lu-npr031721.php

March 22, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD | Leave a comment

Boris Johnson joins Britain up to a perilous, uncontrollable, nuclear weapons race

March 22, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The deterrence myth — Beyond Nuclear International

A lethal ideology, increasingly discredited

The deterrence myth — Beyond Nuclear International

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Something worth fighting for — Beyond Nuclear International

The bees, the bulldozers, and a vision for a better future

Something worth fighting for — Beyond Nuclear International

March 22, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK govt – cutting costs on troops as it expands nuclear missile numbers?

March 22, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear station likely to again miss a deadline

Georgia Power now says Vogtle nuclear ‘likely’ to bust deadline,  GEORGIA NEWS,  March 20, 2021, By Matt Kempner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution GEORGIA NEWS    Company cites need for ‘remediation’ work to meet standards

Georgia Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Company, now is acknowledging that the

company is likely to miss the current deadline for completing the first of two new nuclear reactors
at Plant Vogtle, a move that could further increase consumer costs on a project already years
 behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget.
Potentially more worrisome was the reason given. In a filing on Friday, the company cited the need for additional
 “remediation work” on the construction project “necessary to ensure quality and design standards are met.” It
said that, given the problems found, “primarily related to electrical commodity installations,” it is launching a
broader review of the quality programs on the massive project.
Independent monitors and staff for state regulators have long warned that Georgia Power was falling further
 behind on the project and was unlikely to make its latest deadline, increasing the likelihood of additional costs.
Those worries surfaced well before the COVID-19 pandemic raised still more challenges for the project.
But for years, Georgia Power and its parent company have repeatedly assured investors, Wall Street analysts
and government regulators that it expected to meet its November 2021 deadline to have the first of two new
reactors in commercial operation.
Only recently did the company say that timetable would be a challenge. In its Friday filing, the company wrote
that “a delay is likely and could add one month or more.” The November date is years later than what the
monopoly electric provider agreed to when it started the multibillion-dollar project with the approval of elected
members of the Georgia Public Service Commission.

Many other electric providers in Georgia, including municipal systems and electric co-ops, are also contractually tied to the Vogtle expansion.

The new reactors at Vogtle, located south of Augusta, have yet to generate electricity, but monthly bills for Georgia Power customers already include charges related to

the project. Additional costs for the project’s construction and additional company profits are expected to be rolled into customer bills later.

If the project is further delayed, Georgia Power faces the prospect of a short-term cut in its government-allowed profits. Long term, though, higher costs on the project

could allow the company to collect increased profits for decades, based on the way its rates are typically set, if agreed to by the PSC…………….
The Vogtle expansion is the only major commercial nuclear power expansion project currently underway in

March 22, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment