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Iran to enrich uranium to 60% after ‘wicked’ nuclear site attack,

Iran to enrich uranium to 60% after ‘wicked’ nuclear site attack, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56743560 14 Apr 21, Iran will produce 60%-enriched uranium in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on a nuclear site, President Hassan Rouhani says, bringing it closer to the purity required for a weapon.

A blast knocked out the power system at Natanz on Sunday, causing damage to thousands of uranium centrifuges.

Mr Rouhani warned the perpetrators that enrichment would now be ramped up as a response to “your wickedness”.

But he reiterated that Iran’s nuclear activities were “exclusively peaceful”.

France, Germany and the UK expressed “grave concern” at the move, saying Iran had “no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level”.

The three countries are parties to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, under which it is permitted to enrich uranium up to 3.67% purity to make reactor fuel. Weapons-grade uranium is 90%-enriched or more.

Iran began producing 20%-enriched uranium – a level that takes most of the overall effort required to get to weapons-grade – in January as part of its response to the US sanctions reinstated by former President Donald Trump when he abandoned the accord three years ago.

Israel, which sees Iran’s nuclear programme as a potential threat to its existence and is critical of Joe Biden’s efforts to revive the deal, has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the Natanz incident. But public radio cited intelligence sources as saying it was a cyber operation by Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency.

US intelligence officials told the New York Times that a large explosion completely destroyed the power system that supplied an underground hall at Natanz where uranium hexafluoride gas was fed into centrifuges to separate out the most suitable isotope for nuclear fission, called U-235.

The head of the Iranian parliament’s research centre, Alireza Zakani, said on Tuesday that several thousand centrifuges were “damaged or destroyed in one instant” and that “the main part of our enrichment capacities” were eliminated.

On Tuesday night, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced it had just started enriching uranium up to 60% purity for the first time in response to the attack.

“We expect to accumulate the product next week,” Kazem Gharibabadi tweeted. “This will improve significantly both the quality and quantity of radiopharmaceutical products.”

Iran will also install 1,000 additional centrifuges at Natanz and replace damaged IR-1 centrifuges – the oldest and least efficient – with more advanced IR-6 models, significantly increasing its enrichment capacity.

President Rouhani told a cabinet meeting on Wednesday that, while Iranian security agencies had yet to provide their final reports on the attack, “apparently it is the crime of the Zionists”. Iran does not recognise Israel’s right to exist and often refers to it as the “Zionist state”.

“You cannot conspire against the Iranian nation and commit a crime in Natanz; we will cut off your arms when you commit a crime,” he said.

“What you did was nuclear terrorism; what we’ve done is legal,” he added.

Mr Rouhani said those responsible wanted to derail the indirect talks between US and Iranian officials in Vienna which are aimed at reviving the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We know what you are trying to do; you want us to be empty-handed at the talks but we’re attending the negotiations with an even fuller hand.”

ran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, later warned that US officials did not want to “accept the truth” and often made suggestions that were “not even worth looking at”.

“Sanctions must be removed first. Once we are certain that has been done, we will carry out our commitments,” he said.

The governments of France, Germany and the UK said enriching uranium up to 60% was “a serious development” since it constituted “an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon”.

“Iran’s announcements are particularly regrettable given they come at a time when all JCPOA participants and the United States have started substantive discussions, with the objective of finding a rapid diplomatic solution to revitalise and restore the JCPOA. Iran’s dangerous recent communication is contrary to the constructive spirit and good faith of these discussions.”

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Iran’s decision was “provocative”.

In their annual threat assessment released on Tuesday, US intelligence agencies said they continued to “assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities that we judge would be necessary to produce a nuclear device”.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics, technology | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry – a vortex of corruption

Part two | Nuclear energy in Africa, The second in this three-part series looks at how power purchase agreements raise the cost of electricity for consumers and act as major sources of inflationary pressure in economies. New Frame, By: Neil Overy, 1 Dec 2020 

”……………..A vortex of corruption

Another issue that needs to be seriously considered when evaluating the cost of nuclear power is corruption. A 2013 survey of corruption in the nuclear industry by Richard Tanter from the University of Melbourne found “widespread and often deep corruption” in the nuclear industry, saying that national and international nuclear regulatory regimes were “virtually completely ineffective”. 

In recent years, the industry has been rocked by several corruption scandals. 

In 2014, a massive corruption scandal involving South Korean nuclear vendor Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Company, resulted in dozens of employees receiving a cumulative total of 258 years in prison for fraud and corruption. Many of these charges related to the supply of counterfeit equipment, some of it safety-related, to nuclear power stations in South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. 

In July, five people were arrested in Ohio in the United States, including the Ohio house speaker, for receiving $60 million from an embattled nuclear energy operator in exchange for securing the passage of a $1.5 billion bailout for the operator. 

A month later, Brazilian federal prosecutors charged a subsidiary of EDF and Brazilian nuclear company Eletronuclear with corruption.    

The construction and ongoing maintenance of nuclear power stations are areas particularly susceptible to corruption for two specific reasons. First, because they are megaprojects they are massively complicated enterprises that involve potentially hundreds of contractors and subcontractors, which creates fertile conditions for corruption. Second, these fertile conditions are exacerbated by the secrecy that surrounds nuclear power. While this secrecy is supposedly designed to stop the spread of nuclear technology or the capture of nuclear materials, it fosters an environment that is shielded from scrutiny and public oversight. 

While Africa has no recent experience of nuclear power plant construction, other recent megaprojects on the continent – the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, the Lauca Dam in Angola, the Mambilla Hydropower Project in Nigeria, and the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations in South Africa – show how corruption can become entrenched in megaprojects on the continent. 

In this regard, it is worth remembering that Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index for 2019 found that sub-Saharan Africa was the worst performing region in the world, followed closely by North Africa. There is clearly good reason to be concerned about possible corruption in any nuclear deals concluded on the continent. South Africa’s recent unlawful deal between former president Jacob Zuma’s government and Rosatom shows just how real this danger is. 

Part three looks at the costs associated with nuclear waste disposal, decommissioning nuclear power stations and major nuclear accidents.  https://www.newframe.com/part-two-nuclear-energy-in-africa/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

With breathless enthusiasm, media applauds another nuclear lobby confidence trick – ”Earth 300”

Full of deceptive words and phrases – “clean” ”emissions-free” ”solutions to climate change” ”safe and sustainable atomic energy from a molten salt reactor” – journalists can hardly contain themselves as they regurgitate the propaganda from the nuclear lobby. Not so long ago, nuclear proponents were climate change deniers. Now they see that getting on the climate change bandwagon is their only chance to get taxpayers’ money, to fund their failing industry.

Tickets for this nuclear-powered superyacht will cost $3 million for VIPs and be free to scientists and students selected to help study climate change., Business Insider, APR 13, 2021,  

The striking behemoth has been dubbed Earth 300‚ with a stated mission to carry out research expeditions in order to “confront earth’s greatest challenges,” according to Jefferson. Featuring naval architecture by NED, it spans an insane 984 feet—300 meters, hence the suffix—which makes it even longer than RMS Titanic (883 feet). The majority of that real estate has been dedicated to scientific equipment and tech straight from Silicon Valley.

The vessel will reportedly be powered by nuclear tech known as molten salt reactors (MSRs). ……he project has gained a number of partners, including IBM, RINA, Triton Submarines and EYOS Expeditions. Iddes anticipates Earth 300 will launch in 2025,- Robb Report 14 Apr 21,

April 15, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Electricity customers pay excessive costs for nuclear power – Egypt, Turkey, UK, France, Russia

Part two | Nuclear energy in Africa, The second in this three-part series looks at how power purchase agreements raise the cost of electricity for consumers and act as major sources of inflationary pressure in economies. New Frame, By: Neil Overy, 1 Dec 2020   Recent deals brokered between host nations and nuclear power companies show how consumers ultimately bear the cost of building nuclear power plants because of power purchase agreements, which favour the vendor and lower their financial risk but often lead to hugely inflated electricity costs for consumers.  

No official details have yet been given to indicate what the price will be for electricity generated by the El Dabaa plant that Russia’s state-owned Rosatom is building in Egypt. But in 2016, one Egyptian energy expert predicted that prices per megawatt hour – how much it costs to produce one megawatt of energy for one hour – from El Dabaa would be at least four times more than from renewable power sources. Renewable energy prices have fallen significantly since 2016, while nuclear power has become more expensive. 

British consumers will pay excessive amounts for electricity from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station that EDF is building for decades after the plant is completed. While construction does not follow the Build-Own-Operate model, EDF negotiated a 35-year power purchase price linked to inflation with the British government in 2016 to extract as much profit as possible. The British government’s Public Accounts Committee conservatively estimated that this deal will cost consumers an additional $40 billion (about R615 billion) over the 35 years of the contract compared with alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. 

A similar story is playing out in Turkey. Critics have pointed out that the price the government has agreed to pay Rosatom for electricity generated by the Akkuyu plant the Russian vendor is building will cost the country an additional $27 billion over the 15-year period of the power purchase agreement. This is because the price that has been agreed between Rosatom and the Turkish government is significantly above current electricity costs. A 2019 report by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects notes that electricity purchased from the plant will be at least 275% more expensive than alternatives.

Financial trouble

Despite such deals being signed, the long-term financial viability of state-owned nuclear vendors is questionable. EDF received significant cash injections from the French government and secured favourable loans backed by the British Treasury for Hinkley Point C, but was still forced to sell a third of its stake in the project to the China General Nuclear Power Group in 2016 because it was running out of money. 

And EDF remains in serious financial trouble. It is about $52 billion in debt and two major agencies have given it a negative credit rating. The French energy company’s problems stem from delays in the construction of Hinkley Point C, which is said to have cost it at least another $4 billion so far, and at other nuclear power stations it is building. The Flamanville 3 project in France is now four times over budget and 10 years late. In Finland, the Olkiluoto 3 project is also four times over budget and is now only expected to be running in 2022, 13 years after its original start-up date. Further delays at Hinkley Point C and Flamanville 3 are strongly anticipated, which will plunge EDF further into the mire, meaning that more bailouts from the French government are likely. 

Rosatom has experienced serious problems financing the Akkuyu nuclear power station. In 2016, it tried to sell a 49% share in the project because it could not raise the necessary capital to complete the plant. After failing to find any buyers, Rosatom was saved, at least in the short term, late last year by a $400 million loan from another Russian state-owned enterprise, Sberbank. Unsurprisingly, the completion of this plant is also delayed. Originally scheduled to be operational by 2019, its completion has already been pushed back twice and it is now predicted to be partially operational by 2023. 

That companies like EDF and Rosatom are reliant on the willingness of their respective governments to fund their survival is troubling. The economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic perfectly illustrate how susceptible both the global economy and individual economies are to unexpected shocks. Falling electricity sales in France owing to Covid-19 are resulting in intense speculation that EDF will need a significant emergency bailout from the French government sometime in early 2021 or face financial ruin. It is not clear what would happen to the plants it is currently building if EDF were to collapse. They could be abandoned, or taxpayers in host countries could be forced to pay even more for their completion. 

These financial difficulties are often the result of problems that emerge during the construction phase of nuclear power stations, which lead to delays. A study completed in 2014 revealed the extent of this problem, saying only 3% of nuclear power stations have been built on schedule. In 2018, researchers from the Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London found that between 1955 and 2016, construction delays increased the cost of nuclear power plants by 18% on average over their original budgets. 

Consumers as cash cows

In effect, the public pays twice for these delays. In vendor countries such as France and Russia, taxpayers contribute to the bailouts of state-owned companies like EDF and Rosatom. In recipient countries, such as the United Kingdom, Egypt and Turkey, the public pays through artificially inflated electricity bills. 

Rather than reflecting on this double burden, vendors and compliant governments are inventing new ways to squeeze yet more money out of the public. To fund additional nuclear power plants in Britain, the government is now considering a new funding model called Regulatory Asset Base (RAB). 

The RAB model basically gives a blank cheque to vendors, allowing them to start charging customers for electricity during the construction phase of a power plant, before the station even produces electricity. In addition, it covers vendors for construction cost overruns of up to 30%, all of which would be paid for by consumers. It is proposed that the British government would cover any construction cost overruns of more than 30%. In effect, this funding model transfers almost all financial risk from investors to consumers, through hugely inflated electricity bills or tax transfers to vendors, or both.  

In September, EDF appeared to indicate that it would only bid for the contract to build the proposed $25 billion Sizewell C nuclear plant in Britain if the British government adopted the RAB funding model…………………https://www.newframe.com/part-two-nuclear-energy-in-africa/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment

Iran and Israel – the situation shows the strong connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons- small nuclear reactors with enriched uranium fuel.

Nuclear Alert: Iran & Israel Playing High-Stakes Poker with Nuclear Power & Nuclear Weapons  Fairewinds, Maggie Gunderson, 14 Apr 21, Fairewindsy now, Fairewinds is sure you know that an explosion at an Iranian nuclear enrichment plant has slowed Iran’s progress to enrich uranium. The crisis shows a very blurry line between Civilian Atomic Power and Military Atomic Bombs!………..

For decades, we are informed there is no correlation between weapons and civilian power. This standoff between Iran and Israel highlights the strong connection between nuclear weapons and nuclear power, like hand-in-glove.

The borderline between bomb-grade uranium and civilian power-grade uranium is determined by how much the isotope Uranium-235 (U-235) is enriched. Traditionally, if uranium enrichment is above 20%, that is considered the low-end of weapons-grade enrichment, which falls between 20% and 100% enrichment for bombs.  Therefore, the higher the percent of enrichment of U-235, the easier it is to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

To be cost-effective, the nuke industry claims its U-235 must be more enriched to prevent atomic power reactors from refueling as often. Currently, uranium fuel used worldwide in operating nuclear power plants is enriched to about 6%.  But the nuclear industry’s new designs for proposed Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) will use fuel enriched to about 20%.

Yes, as Fairewinds quoted above, SMRs will use nuclear fuel that is “one step away from weapons-grade uranium” used to make bombs!

At Fairewinds, we have two questions today:

  1. First, what are Iran’s plans for gaining that much enrichment? Iran claims that this centrifuge produced fuel is for peaceful purposes only, then why does the uranium have to be enriched to almost bomb-grade? Is Iran building SMRs?
  2. Where does that place the United States in world politics with its creation of SMRs? The U.S. plans to build tens of thousands of these allegedly new Small Modular Reactors. Moreover, SMRs use HALEU fuel (High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium) enriched to almost 20% Uranium-235. 
  • How does this action make the U.S. any different from what Iran is doing when the U.S. SMRs will contain high-test Uranium identical to what is being enriched in Iran?
  • Is this federal push for this new SMR design some type of ploy to spread atomic bomb-grade fuel all over the world?
  • The U.S. nuclear power industry is looking at SMRs as its latest cash cow, expecting to sell and build SMRs all over the world!  What kind of international threat is this if thousands of proposed SMRs are located all over the U.S. and worldwide?

As a result of the attack on its enrichment facility, Iran has further changed its mind and said it would enrich uranium to 60%. According to the BBC:

Iran will produce 60%-enriched uranium in retaliation for a suspected Israeli attack on a nuclear site, President Hassan Rouhani says, bringing it closer to the purity required for a weapon. … But he reiterated that Iran’s nuclear activities were “exclusively peaceful”.

France, Germany and the U.K. expressed “grave concern” at the move, saying Iran had “no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level”.

Fairewinds is clear that the 20% enriched fuel planned to be used in SMRs is only one easy step away from creating bomb-grade atomic fuel!  Now that Iran has informed the world that it intends to enrich its uranium to 60%, scientists worldwide know that there is no peaceful civilian atomic reactor of any kind using U-235 enriched to 60%!

Fairewinds hopes that diplomats will resolve this enrichment conundrum before the military situation escalates further. https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/nuclear-alert-iran-israel-playing-high-stakes-poker-with-nuclear-power-nuclear-weapons

April 15, 2021 Posted by | spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A shadow war between Israel and Iran hangs ominously over nuclear talks in Vienna

A shadow war between Israel and Iran hangs ominously over the resumption of
critical talks in Vienna on Wednesday, aimed at returning Iran and the US
to the 2015 nuclear agreement. The talks come just three days after a
sabotage attack at a key Iranian nuclear plant near Natanz, where an
explosion cut off electricity to the whole site. The attacked damaged an
unknown number of centrifuges – sophisticated machines that make uranium
usable for nuclear purposes – and has stopped work at the facility for now.

BBC 14th April 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-56716472

thousands of machines used to refine nuclear material were destroyed or
damaged in an attack at a key site on Sunday, an Iranian official has said.
Alireza Zakani, head of the Iranian parliament’s Research Centre, said the
incident had “eliminated” Iran’s ability to carry out the process. The
attack took place in a facility up to 50m (165ft) underground, another
official said. Iran has blamed Israel for what it called an act of “nuclear
terrorism”.

BBC 13th April 2021

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-56734657

Iran gave notice yesterday that it will begin enriching uranium closer to
weapons-grade purity, two days after an explosion at its most important
nuclear facility for which it blamed Israel.

TTimes 14th April 2021

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/iran-takes-its-biggest-step-to-building-atomic-bomb-rtt587wxf

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

The fiasco of nuclear preprocessing: UK, Japan, USA.

Part one | The slow violence of SA’s nuclear waste,

Part one of this four-part story considers the imminent danger involved in storing used radioactive materials, a dilemma growing at a rate of more than 32 tonnes a year. New Frame , By: Neil Overy, 8 Mar 21

”……………..This is a process by which fission products are chemically separated out of used fuel rods to extract any unused uranium. This alleged solution to the problem of high-level waste has been one of the illusionary solutions Eskom has regularly mooted and just as regularly abandoned because of the colossal costs and serious dangers involved in reprocessing. 

In the United Kingdom, the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, opened at huge cost in 1994, closed in 2018 having reached none of its intended reprocessing targets. Its decommissioning is now set to cost taxpayers at least $5.5 billion and take up to 100 years to complete. In Japan, construction of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant began in 1993 and was supposed to be completed by 1997. Incredibly, the plant is still not complete – its completion date has been postponed 25 times – and it is now expected to be operational in 2023, 26 years late and tens of billions of dollars over budget. 

Even when operational, large quantities of dangerously radioactive waste, which needs to be stored for thousands of years, remains. Some of this waste is separated plutonium, a fissile material used in nuclear bombs, which presents a very serious security risk. This is precisely why reprocessing has never been authorised in the United States. As the Union of Concerned Scientists conclude, reprocessing is “dangerous, dirty and expensive”. Quite clearly, reprocessing is not an option South Africa should consider. …… https://www.newframe.com/part-1-the-slow-violence-of-sas-nuclear-waste/?fbclid=IwAR0TEdv3xITKJISxqQs_UwdO9JB4m5LkPABzUl9b6R_nYVZKdL2S2ikp-MA

April 15, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, reprocessing | Leave a comment

South Korea aims to fight, at International Tribunal, Japan’s plan to empty Fukushima water into Paific Ocean


S Korea aims to fight Japan’s Fukushima decision at tribunal, 
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/4/14/s-korea-aims-to-fight-japans-fukushima-decision-at-tribunal, 15 Apr S Korea
Moon Jae-in asks officials to look at ways to refer Japan’s Fukushima decision to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has ordered officials to explore petitioning an international court over Japan’s decision to release water from its Fukushima nuclear plant, his spokesman said, amid protests by fisheries and environmental groups.

Moon said officials should look into ways to refer Japan’s move to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, including filing for an injunction, spokesman Kang Min-seok told a briefing.

Japan unveiled plans on Tuesday to release more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water into the sea from the plant, which was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami, starting in about two years after filtering it to remove harmful isotopes.South Korea protested strongly against the decision, summoning Koichi Aiboshi, Tokyo’s ambassador in Seoul, and convening an intra-agency emergency meeting to craft its response.

Moon also expressed concerns about the decision as Aiboshi presented his credentials, having arrived in South Korea in February for the ambassador’s post.“I cannot but say that there are many concerns here about the decision as a country that is geologically closest and shares the sea with Japan,” Moon said, asking Aiboshi to convey such worries to Tokyo, according to Kang.An aerial view shows the storage tanks for treated water at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 13, 2021 [Kyodo via Reuters]South Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it had raised similar concerns with the United States after the Department of State said Japan’s decision was “transparent” and in line with global safety standards.

The ministry also said it shared “strong regret and serious concerns” about the water’s planned release at a video conference on Wednesday with Chinese officials on maritime issues.

A series of protests against the move by politicians, local officials, fishermen and environmental activists took place in South Korea on Wednesday, including in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul and consulates in the port city of Busan and on Jeju island.

A coalition of 25 fisheries organisations staged a rally and delivered a written protest to the embassy, urging Tokyo to revoke the decision and Seoul to ban imports from Japanese fisheries.

“Our industry is on course to suffer annihilating damage, just with people’s concerns about a possible radioactive contamination of marine products,” it said in a statement.

The progressive minor opposition Justice Party and some 30 anti-nuclear and environmental groups called Japan’s move “nuclear terrorism,” and said they sent the Japanese embassy a list of signatures of more than 64,000 people opposed to the move collected from 86 countries since February.

April 15, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Regulator’s stop to restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant a blow to nuclear company Tepco.

Japan Times 14th April 2021, Japan’s nuclear regulator decided Wednesday to effectively ban Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. from restarting its largest nuclear plant due to serious safety flaws, dealing a blow to the utility’s efforts to turn its business around following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority formally decided to bar Tepco from transporting nuclear fuel stored at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in Niigata Prefecture or loading it into reactors. The company has seen restarting the seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa complex, once one of the world’s largest nuclear plants by output, as a main pillar of its
business restructuring plan.

The plant was found to have been vulnerable to unauthorized entry at 15 locations since March last year because of
defective intruder detection systems and backups, according to the NRA. It is the first time the regulator has issued a corrective order for a commercial nuclear reactor.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/04/14/national/tepco-nuclear-plant-restart-ban/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima: How the ocean became a dumping ground for radioactive waste

Fukushima: How the ocean became a dumping ground for radioactive waste,  https://www.dw.com/en/fukushima-how-the-ocean-became-a-dumping-ground-for-radioactive-waste/a-52710277

The nuclear disaster at Fukushima sent an unprecedented amount of radiation into the Pacific. But, before then, atomic bomb tests and radioactive waste were contaminating the sea — the effects are still being felt today.

Almost 1.2 million liters (320,000 gallons) of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant is to be released into the ocean. That’s on the recommendation of the government’s advisory panel some nine years after the nuclear disaster on Japan’s east coast. The contaminated water has since been used to cool the destroyed reactor blocks to prevent further nuclear meltdowns. It is currently being stored in large tanks, but those are expected to be full by 2022.

Exactly how the water should be dealt with has become highly controversial in Japan, not least because the nuclear disaster caused extreme contamination off the coast of Fukushima. At the time, radioactive water flowed “directly into the sea, in quantities we have never seen before in the marine world,” Sabine Charmasson from the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) tells DW.

Radiation levels in the sea off Fukushima were millions of times higher than the government’s limit of 100 becquerels. And still today, radioactive substances can be detected off the coast of Japan and in other parts of the Pacific. They’ve even been measured in very small quantities off the US west coast in concentrations “well below the harmful levels set by the World Health Organization,” according to Vincent Rossi, an oceanographer at France’s Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO).

But that doesn’t mean there’s no risk, says Horst Hamm of the Nuclear Free Future Foundation. “A single becquerel that gets into our body is enough to damage a cell that will eventually become a cancer cell,” he says.


A study from the European Parliament reached a similar conclusion. The research found that “even the smallest possible dose, a photon passing through a cell nucleus, carries a cancer risk. Although this risk is extremely small, it is still a risk.”

And that risk is growing. Radioactive pollution in the ocean has been increasing globally — and not just since the disaster at Fukushima.

Atomic bomb tests

In 1946, the US became the first country to test an atomic bomb in a marine area, in the Pacific Bikini Atoll. Over the next few decades, more than 250 further nuclear weapons tests were carried out on the high seas. Most of them (193) were conducted by France in French Polynesia, and by the US (42), primarily in the Marshall Islands and the Central Pacific. 

But the ocean wasn’t just being used as a training ground for nuclear war. Until the early 1990s, it was also a gigantic dump for radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. 

From 1946 to 1993, more than 200,000 tons of waste, some of it highly radioactive, was dumped in the world’s oceans, mainly in metal drums, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Several nuclear submarines, including nuclear ammunition, were also sunk during this time.

Is the ocean a perfect storage site?

The lion’s share of dumped nuclear waste came from Britain and the Soviet Union, figures from the IAEA show. By 1991, the US had dropped more than 90,000 barrels and at least 190,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste in the North Atlantic and Pacific. Other countries including Belgium, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands also disposed of tons of radioactive waste in the North Atlantic in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

“Under the motto, ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ the dumping of nuclear waste was the easiest way to get rid of it,” says Horst Hamm.

To this day, around 90% of the radiation from discarded barrels comes from those in the North Atlantic, most of which lie north of Russia or off the coast of Western Europe.

“The barrels are everywhere,” says ecologist Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France. He was present in 2000 when the environmental organization used submarines to dive for dumped drums a few hundred meters off the coast of northern France, at a depth of 60 meters (196 feet).

“We were surprised how close they were to the coast,” Rousselet says. “They are rusty and leaking, with the radiation clearly elevated.”

Nuclear waste barrels dumped in the sea decades ago, a common practice in the Channel between France and England in the 1960s, are now rusty and are leaking radioactive substances

Germany also implicated

In 1967, Germany also dumped 480 barrels off the coast of Portugal, according to the IAEA. Responding to a 2012 request for information from the Greens about the condition of those barrels, the German government wrote: “The barrels were not designed to ensure the permanent containment of radionuclides on the sea floor. Therefore, it must be assumed that they are at least partially no longer intact.”

Germany and France don’t want to salvage the barrels. And even Greenpeace activist Yannick Rousselet says he sees “no safe way to lift the rusted barrels” to the surface. That means nuclear waste will likely continue to contaminate the ocean floor for decades to come.

For Horst Hamm, the long-term consequences are clear. The radiation will be “absorbed by the marine animals surrounding it. They will eventually end up caught in fishing nets, and come back to our plates,” he says.

In its 2012 response to the Greens, however, the German government described the risk to humans from contaminated fish as “negligible.”

Rousselet sees things differently: “The entire area along the coast is contaminated by radiation — not just in the sea, in the grass, in the sand, you can measure it everywhere.”

Radioactive dumping ground

The main reason behind the radiation along the northern French coastline isn’t the underwater barrels, but rather the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant at La Hague. It is located directly on the coast and “legally discharges 33 million liters of radioactive liquid into the sea each year,” says Rousselet. He thinks it’s scandalous.

In recent years, La Hague has also been the scene of several incidents involving increased radioactivity levels.

The dumping of nuclear waste in drums was banned in 1993 by the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution. But discharging liquid contaminated with radiation into the ocean is still permitted internationally.

Spike in cancer rates

According to a study by the European Parliament, statistics show cancer rates are significantly higher in the region surrounding La Hague. Cancer rates are also high near the nuclear processing plant in Sellafield in northern England. A study from 2014 concluded that the total amount of radioactivity discharged into the sea from the Sellafield plant over the years is equivalent to the amount released by the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.

The report say a link to health effects “cannot be ruled out” even if there is no clear evidence to date of a link between illness and radioactive discharges from nuclear facilities.

“The exact effects of radioactive radiation are extremely difficult to measure and prove. We only know that it has an impact,” says Rousselet, adding that it’s crucial to walk away from everything that causes radioactive waste.

Dumping more waste at Fukushima

In Fukushima, the operating company of the Tokyo Electric Power Company nuclear plant claims that before the cooling water is discharged into the sea as planned, all 62 radioactive elements will be filtered down to safe levels — except for the isotope tritium. The advisory panel in Tokyo considers discharging the cooling water into the sea to be “safer” than other alternatives, such as evaporating the water.

Just how harmful tritium is to humans is a source of controversy. According to the plant operator, the concentration of tritium in the collection tanks is sometimes much higher than that of conventional cooling water from nuclear power stations.

“The local fishermen and residents cannot accept the discharge of water,” Takami Morita of the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science said in a press release. While fish pollution levels are below the harmful limit, demand for fish from the region has dropped to one-fifth of what it was before the disaster.

Releasing the cooling water into the sea “is a good method because of the diluting properties of the water,” Sabine Charmasson of the IRSN says. “There aren’t any real problems on the security side, but it’s difficult, because there are also social implications. It might be an appropriate method, but it’s never easy to release radioactive substances into the environment.”

In a press release, Greenpeace said: “There is no justification for additional, deliberate radioactive pollution of the marine environment or atmosphere.”

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima” is not over: Japanese NGOs raise concern over the ongoing nuclear disaster

Fukushima” is not over: Japanese NGOs raise concern over the ongoing nuclear disaster, Friends of the Earth Japan, Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC), 14 Apr 21,

On the 10th anniversary of one of the worst nuclear accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, and amid the controversial decision of the Japanese government to dump “treated” radioactive water into the ocean, Japanese NGOs Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC) co-produced a documentary film Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster. The film sheds light on the ongoing suffering of victims of the accident and poses critical questions about the Japanese government’s poor responses to the accident.

While then-Prime Minister Abe vainly declared to the world that “the situation in Fukushima is completely under control”, nuclear decays are continuing inside the molten fuel rods, and the exploded plants are still emitting radioactive particles to this day. In the meanwhile, evacuees are torn apart in limbo, with grim hopes of returning to their homeland, continued fear of radioactive fallout, and a dire socio-economic situation. Fisherfolk, who overcame the initial fear of ocean contamination, are forced to relive the experience each time TEPCO and the Japanese government repeatedly choose to release contaminated water into the ocean.
This happens all under the propaganda that Fukushima is pressing ahead with “Fukkou (Recovery)”.  
This video aims to highlight the current situation of the victims of the man-made disaster, and challenge the government propaganda of Fukushima’s Recovery.

Fukushima 10 Years Later: Voices from the continuing nuclear disaster
Produced by Friends of the Earth Japan and Pacific Asia Resource Center
Supervised by HOSOKAWA Komei (Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy)
Directed by MATSUMOTO Hikaru (Friends of the Earth Japan)
Running time: 43 min.

The English subtitled version of the film is now available on Vimeo on Demand and will cost USD 5.75 to rent and USD 47.50 to purchase.
https://vimeo.com/ondemand/fukushima10years

For further information on the film, please contact OKUMURA Yuto, Pacific Asia Resource Center.
E-mail: video@parc-jp.org
Yuto Okumura,Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC)

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

South Africa’s history of ”state capture” by the nuclear industry

The battle for 2050 energy dominance: Nuclear industry makes its pitch   Mail and Guardian, 14 Apr 21, Moscow The nuclear industry believes it should be able to account for more than 50% of South Africa’s vacant 24 gigawatts of power left behind by the demise of coal in a net-zero 2050 scenario. This was one of the outcomes of a government communications’ panel discussion on alternative future energy sources for South Africa hosted on Wednesday.”’

……………….before returning to instruct the then energy minister, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, to sign a deal with the Russians on the sidelines of the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria.At the same time, Russia’s state-owned nuclear agency, Rosatom, released a statement that it had clinched a deal with South Africa. A legal battle ensued and in 2017, the Western Cape high court ruled that the secret tabling of the intergovernmental agreements with Russia, the US and Korean were unconstitutional and unlawful, and that they be set aside.

A legal battle ensued and in 2017, the Western Cape high court ruled that the secret tabling of the intergovernmental agreements with Russia, the US and Korean were unconstitutional and unlawful, and that they be set aside……….

In 2019 a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said that Russian engagement with South Africa during the Zuma era was deep rooted and relied on a web of relationships at the highest levels of both governments.

This included the promotion of multibillion-dollar projects involving state-owned companies particularly in the energy sector, and the leveraging of Cold War-era ties forged during South Africa’s period of national liberation.

The researchers linked the significance of the secret deal to a larger problem of state capture.

According to authors Andrew S Weiss and Eugene Rumer: “As early as the autumn of 2011, Zuma told then finance minister Pravin Gordhan that he wanted to award the entire construction deal to Russia. He brushed aside Gordhan’s insistence on following established procedures for state procurement, according to Gordhan’s written testimony to the state capture commission.

“Gordhan warned Zuma that failing to follow the established procedures could land the president in trouble similar to the fallout over the earlier arms-sales scandal that had nearly ended his political career,” the report noted……….


During the presidency of Thabo Mbeki, Eskom explored possibly expanding the Koeberg nuclear power facility but decided in 2008 that the project was unaffordable.

more https://mg.co.za/business/2021-04-14-the-battle-for-2050-energy-dominance-nuclear-industry-makes-its-pitch/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Unrelenting dishonest propaganda leading us to war against China


Not sleepwalking but marching with eyes wide open to war. Independent Australia, By William Briggs | 13 April 2021  
While the USA moves towards war, anti-China rhetoric grows on a daily basis and the idea of war is being sold as the “right” thing, writes Dr William Briggs.

A LIE told often enough can become accepted, but it can never be the truth. China has been declared a threat to all that we hold dear, but it is just not so. China, for all its faults, is not a threat and nor is it practising genocide!

The Uyghur genocide claim gets bigger as each day dawns. Peter Hartcher, in The Age on the 10 April, writes of this genocide and of ‘the evil genius of the system of genocide with Chinese characteristics.’ The “genius” according to Hartcher is that the Chinese are allowing the Uyghurs to live. What a clever and cunning genocide that is!

The plight of the Uyghurs is but the latest lurid episode in a sustained and enormously successful push to demonise China in the eyes of the world. The motivations behind this are simple enough. China’s economic star is rising and America’s best days are behind it.

The world is certainly on the edge of a precipice. There is a broad acceptance, despite an embarrassing lack of evidence, that China is an enemy and, as an enemy, a threat. Nobody is ever eager for war, but people have often enough been persuaded that war is an acceptable option. This is particularly so when an existential threat exists, or in this case, is manufactured. The potential for war, justifications for it and warnings of how it might almost “accidentally” become a reality have come to dominate thought……..

If the USA goes to war with China, it will not be by chance. It has been meticulously planned, costed, budgeted for and the weapons, including “low-yield” nuclear weapons, have been manufactured and deployed by the USA. The world should be aghast at such blatant preparations, but it is not. Those who would take us to war need first to convince us that we have no option, that we are protecting freedom, that we are standing for justice and that a threat exists that the enemy is engaging in genocide.

In the space of just a decade, the people have come to accept this. China has gone from economic saviour of the world to arch enemy. Governments begin the process but could not be expected to convince the people alone. Television and print media: editorials, opinion pieces from leading journalists and international editors, columnists and experts, have all played a decisive role.

A recent poll by the Lowy Institute showed that in 2018, 52 per cent of Australians believed that China would act responsibly in the world. Two very short years later and that figure had dropped to just 23 per cent! The polls are then used by the same anti-China crusaders to prove that a problem exists. They are happy to ignore the effect that a daily barrage of anti-China campaigning can do and how it can shift people’s views…….

The most recent reporting of the treatment of the Uyghurs is that the Chinese are engaged in a campaign of genocide. Genocide was practised in Nazi Germany, in Kampuchea, in Rwanda, in Armenia, in Australia, but to suggest that the Chinese behaviour towards the Uyghurs, while quite possibly repressive, even reprehensible, is genocidal is ludicrous.

There has been discrimination and persecution. Life, for the Uyghurs, has never been easy. However, the West paid little or no attention to these people until about the time that the USA began to talk of “containing” China. It was, for the USA, a fortuitous discovery.

The Chinese, at the end of the 20th Century, waged a campaign against Islamist separatist groups that had become active within the Uyghur population. Violence met violence and conditions worsened for the Uyghurs. None of this concerned Washington. What happened to make things change so dramatically? The Chinese, in all likelihood, did step up repressions but the USA have manipulated events to suit a specific propaganda purpose.

Uyghur stories become more and more horrifying. The Western media was once content to rail against the existence of “re-education” camps. Then it was reports of campaigns of mass rape and then mass sterilisation programs. This morphed into claims of social genocide. Reports of forced labour emerged and evolved into stories of slave labour. The term “social” genocide came into use but has now been shortened to genocide.

This ramping up of rhetoric has one real purpose. China must, at every turn, be shown to be a malignant force. The editorialists, international editors, columnists and journalists have become a willing and shameless weapon in this campaign. If it all ends in war it will not be a chance thing. The world will not be “sleepwalking”. 

Nobody wants war but we are being prepared for it. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/not-sleepwalking-but-marching-with-eyes-wide-open-to-war,14982#.YHZ_2MRzAdY.twitter

April 15, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ratepayer advocate calls on New Jersey Supreme Court to reverse decision allowing subsidy to nuclear power

Nuclear subsidy gets new challenge, NJ Spotlight TOM JOHNSON, ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT WRITER | APRIL 14, 2021 | ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT, NJ ratepayer advocate asks Supreme Court to consider decision on $300 million subsidy. Regulators are poised to add more,

New Jersey Rate Counsel Director Stefanie Brand is asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to reverse last month’s appellate court decision upholding the award of hundreds of millions in ratepayer subsidies to the state’s nuclear power plants.

In a notice of a petition for certification, the Division of Rate Counsel argued the lower court erred when it upheld the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ decision in 2019 to approve $300 million in new surcharges on customers’ gas and electric bills. Without the subsidies, Public Service Enterprise Group, whose subsidiary operates three nuclear units in South Jersey, has threatened to close the plants because they are no longer profitable.

If the high court decides to review the case, it could result in the justices taking up the case at roughly the same time as the BPU, which is scheduled to decide whether the plants — Hope Creek, Salem I and Salem II — qualify for additional subsidies from ratepayers for another three years. The BPU is expected to rule on those applications on April 27. The first subsidy added about $70 a year to what residential customers pay for electricity………   https://www.njspotlight.com/2021/04/nj-rate-counsel-director-stefanie-brand-seeks-supreme-court-reversal-300-million-nuclear-subsidy-pseg/

April 15, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, legal, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s mismanagement of nuclear waste

Part one | The slow violence of SA’s nuclear waste,

Part one of this four-part story considers the imminent danger involved in storing used radioactive materials, a dilemma growing at a rate of more than 32 tonnes a year. New Frame , By: Neil Overy, 8 Mar 21

Where will South Africa permanently and safely store the radioactive nuclear waste produced by the Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town? This critical question remains worryingly unanswered, despite the government’s intention to create even more high-level waste by extending the life of Koeberg 20 years past its original decommissioning date, and by building an additional 2 500MW of new nuclear power in South Africa.

The South African story of what to do with this high-level waste is one characterised by endless broken promises, gross mismanagement, ineptitude and pie-in-the-sky “solutions”. This catalogue of failures means there is now so much high-level waste stored at Koeberg that Eskom is having to build a transient interim storage facility (TISF) at the site, just 25km from Cape Town. That this site is both “transient” and “interim” perfectly illustrates that Eskom, or any other operator of nuclear power plants for that matter, has no long-term answer to the question of what to do with high-level nuclear waste. 

Three categories of radioactive waste are produced by nuclear power stations – low-level waste, intermediate-level waste and high-level waste.

Continue reading

April 15, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment