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

The world must not fall for the fantasies of the nuclear and technology billionaires – theme for January 2022.

We have the example of Japan – its ”nuclear village” with towns locked in to an economy that depends on the nuclear industry, with its criminal connections and dependent on nuclear-linked subsidies from the government.

We have the example of Russia’s secret ‘‘sacrifice zones” where the population are both bribed and brainwashed into becoming hubs of deadly nuclear wastes.

Yet now -we are being subjected to global propaganda about the nuclear industry as the saviour of the planet!

The reality is:

  • they want the gee-whiz non-existent ”new” nuclear reactors in order to keep the nuclear industry, and in particular, the nuclear weapons industry , going.
  • they want to keep the ageing big nuclear reactors going so that they don’t have to deal with the shutting down and toxic wastes problems – that is so costly that it’s best to pass costs down to our great-grandchildren

Meanwhile we are asked to believe in the spin of the new magicians – the technology billionaires – very clever people indeed, but lacking in all-round intelligence and wisdom.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

TEPCO to begin robot probe of Fukushima reactor

Jan. 6, 2022

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station says it will launch a probe of the inside of the No.1 reactor on Wednesday using robots. The firm is seeking to clear debris from the reactor interior as part of the decommissioning process.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the probe will involve six types of robots, each with a different function.

It says the survey will continue for more than six months. It will use ultrasonic devices to locate and measure the thickness of debris believed to be submerged under water inside the reactor containment vessel.

The utility says it also hopes to collect small samples of the debris.

TEPCO says it will use a robot to install a cover on a path for the survey machines to move smoothly under water.

The No.1, 2 and 3 reactors of the plant suffered meltdowns in the massive earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

TEPCO confirmed the existence of what is believed to be solid fuel debris inside the No.2 and 3 reactors, but not inside the No.1 reactor. The debris consists of molten nuclear fuel and metal parts.

Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Company, which was established by TEPCO, said on Thursday it will use the robots to gather information before considering how to remove the debris.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

A warning against fetishizing nuclear power so it’s part of every solution

the enthusiasm overlooks some ugly truths about nuclear power.

Many alternative reactor designs are pitched as if they’re novel. They’re not. A good example is the Natrium reactor

The drawbacks of sodium technology should resonate especially loudly for Californians.

The 1959 explosion of a sodium-cooled test reactor at the government’s secretive Santa Susana Field Laboratory outside Simi Valley remains the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history

Today’s younger environmental activists may be more inclined to accept these promises today because their thinking wasn’t forged in the anti-nuclear protests of the 1960s and 1970s, as was that of their older colleagues.

The danger is that they, and society, may have to learn the harsh lessons of nuclear power’s past all over again. 

Nuclear energy backers say it’s vital for the fight against global warming. Don’t be so sure, Los Angeles Times,  BY MICHAEL HILTZIKBUSINESS COLUMNIST , JAN. 6, 2022  

No one would have believed this possible only a few years ago, but nuclear energy has been creeping up in public estimation, despite its long record of unfulfilled promise and cataclysmic missteps.

The impetus has come from government and big business, among other sources.

Billions of dollars in incentives to keep existing nuclear plants operating and to get new nuclear technologies off the drawing board were enacted as part of the $1.2-trillion infrastructure bill signed late last year by President Biden.

You don’t compromise safety to keep a nuclear plant open so you can meet a carbon target—you need to have minimum, stringent safety standards. – EDWIN LYMAN, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS……………

Some celebrity entrepreneurs have weighed in, without demonstrating that they have given the issue the thorough consideration it deserves. Elon Musk last month tweeted that “unless susceptible to extreme natural disasters, nuclear power plants should not be shut down.”Musk didn’t, however, define “extreme natural disasters” or mention the myriad other reasons that a plant might need to be shuttered, such as advanced age, upside-down economics or dangers in its own design or operation……………..

the enthusiasm overlooks some ugly truths about nuclear power.

The history of nuclear power in America is one of rushed and slipshod engineering, unwarranted assurances of public safety, political influence and financial chicanery, inept and duplicitous regulators, and mismanagement on a grand scale.

Many of the problems originated in the government’s decision to place the technology in the hands of the utility industry, which was ill-equipped to handle anything so complicated.

This record accounts for the technology’s deplorable public reputation, which has made it almost impossible to build a new nuclear plant in the U.S. for decades. Forgetting the history threatens to stage the same drama over again.

The debate over the nuclear power future is really two separate debates.

First, there are the optimistic expectations raised by alternatives to the design of the 93 reactors currently in operation in the U.S. — reactors in which a radioactive core heats water, producing steam to drive electricity-generating turbines.

Then there’s the question of what to do with the existing reactors, many of which have lasted well beyond their design lives. Only 28 of these have remained “competitive” — that is, economically viable — according to energy expert Amory Lovins.

That existing fleet includes Diablo Canyon, whose owner, PG&E, said the plant was facing an unprofitable future when it made the decision to abandon plans to seek a permit renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Many alternative reactor designs are pitched as if they’re novel. They’re not. A good example is the Natrium reactor, which is cooled not by water but liquid sodium and is being promoted by TerraPower, a firm founded by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates.

Far from an advanced new technology, sodium-cooled reactors date from the very dawn of the nuclear power age. They were considered as an alternative to water-cooled reactors for submarine power plants, for example, by Adm. Hyman Rickover, the founder of America’s nuclear navy.

Rickover, whose rigorous standards for technology and crew training made the nuclear navy a success, ordered a prototype sodium reactor for the submarine Seawolf. Almost instantly, the technology demonstrated its flaws.

While the Seawolf was still at the dock, the reactor sprung a leak. “It took us three months, working 24 hours a day, to locate and correct” the leak, Rickover told a congressional committee in 1957.

Rickover abandoned any thought of using the reactors in his submarines, finding them “expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shut down as a result of even minor malfunctions, and difficult and time-consuming to repair,” as he advised his Navy superiors and technical experts at the Atomic Energy Commission in late 1956 and early 1957.

The drawbacks of sodium technology should resonate especially loudly for Californians.

The 1959 explosion of a sodium-cooled test reactor at the government’s secretive Santa Susana Field Laboratory outside Simi Valley remains the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history, venting an immense amount of radioactivity into the air and creating what former California EPA Director Jared Blumenfeld called “one of the most toxic sites in the United States by any kind of definition.”

The three entities controlling portions of the site — Boeing Co., the U.S. Department of Energy and NASA — reached agreements with the state in 2007 and 2010 binding them to restore the site to “background” standards. Much of the work still hasn’t begun.

“There’s been a kind of cult that’s been trying to keep this technology alive for decades” despite persistent evidence of its inadequate reliability or sustainability, says Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the author of a report challenging safety and efficiency claims made for Natrium, among other alternative technologies.

“Pretty effective lobbyists” push the idea that “this is somehow a breakthrough technology that’s going to transform nuclear power,” Lyman said of sodium-cooled reactors.

“History tells us that it’s not a very reliable source of power and has a number of safety and security disadvantages that make one wonder why there’s such enthusiasm for it,” he said. None of the other alternatives, he adds, solve the most pressing problem of nuclear power: what to do with the radioactive waste produced by every plant.

………. TerraPower’s utility partner, PacifiCorp, a unit of Berkshire Hathaway (the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett), which is to take over the project once it’s operational, has no experience running a nuclear plant.

In any case, the Natrium reactor won’t become operational until 2028 at the earliest. That’s a deadline imposed by the government’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which is providing some of the funding…….

He cautions against “fetishizing nuclear power so it’s part of every solution.” His view is “you don’t compromise safety to keep a nuclear plant open so you can meet a carbon target — you need to have minimum, stringent safety standards.”

By that measure, there’s hardly any doubt that Diablo Canyon should be shut down, and the sooner the better.

The plant’s history makes that case…………………………………………….

 The danger is that claims for the future of nuclear energy — that it will be a cheap and efficient path to a carbon-free future — will be as illusory as those of the past, when nuclear power was also promoted as safe and “too cheap to meter.”

Today’s younger environmental activists may be more inclined to accept these promises today because their thinking wasn’t forged in the anti-nuclear protests of the 1960s and 1970s, as was that of their older colleagues. The danger is that they, and society, may have to learn the harsh lessons of nuclear power’s past all over again.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | 1 Comment

Extraditing Julian Assange Threatens Journalists Worldwide

In countries where the press faces restriction and persecution, US interference sets a dangerous precedent. The Nation, By Hasan Ali January 2022

On December 14, while addressing the Foreign Relations Committee of the United States Senate, the ambassador-designate to Pakistan, Donald Armin Blomepledged that he would champion the press in his new post. “Pakistani journalists and members of civil society face kidnappings, assaults, intimidation and disappearances,” he said, promising to advocate for expanded protections and to hold the perpetrators of these actions to account.

As a Pakistani journalist myself, I ought to have been relieved. In spite of all the talk of its impending decline, the United States remains the world’s preeminent superpower, and you would think that an incoming ambassador throwing his weight behind the media would augur better days for our embattled fraternity. Instead, I cannot help but question his moral authority to lecture anyone in the world on the issue of press freedom. Three successive administrations of the country he represents have mercilessly gone after Julian Assange, the long-tortured founder and publisher of Wikileaks, whom the United States government is trying to place in the dock on trumped-up charges of incitement and espionage.

On December 10—just four days before Blome made his speech—a British court ruled that Assange could be extradited to the United States to stand trial, where he faces a maximum sentence of 175 years’ imprisonment.

We have already read in these pages about the impact such a prosecution would have on the First Amendment. Let us now widen the net and examine what it will do to those of us who work outside the glittering republic. In Pakistan, the perils of telling the truth have never been greater. Scores of journalists—a handful of them spoke to The Nation in August—have been targeted because the state did not approve of their work. Indeed, so brazen has been this policy of intimidation that in the same week that this magazine published its report, the brother of one of the journalists profiled was abducted in broad daylight from the streets of Lahore.

The story is not very different beyond Pakistan’s borders either. In our neighbor to the east, India, which is supposed to be the world’s largest democracy, journalists are routinely charged with sedition and incitement, or else beaten and tortured for writing the wrong tweet. In Afghanistan, ever since the Taliban took control, hundreds if not thousands of reporters have fled, with the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee estimating that some 70 percent of the country’s news outlets have ceased operations. Then there is Iran, our Western neighbor, where female journalists are banned for blowing the whistle on workplace harassment, locked up for publishing material that is deemed irreligious, and murdered for taking photographs of public protests. Finally, there is China, with whom we share a border to the northeast. It ranks 177 of the 180 on the World Press Freedom Index and has become even more repressive in the wake of Covid 19.

Which returns us to the case of Assange, who is being punished for publishing documents that prove that the United States committed war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. Daniel Bastard, Asia-Pacific director of Reporters Without Borders, says, “The way the US has been treating Julian Assange is clearly giving a blank cheque to authoritarian governments around the world to crack down on press freedom and force into silence journalists and information providers who displease them.” His view is shared by his colleague Rebecca Vincent, who argues that the persecution of Assange will undermine US efforts to promote the cause of press freedom internationally. “If the Biden administration is serious about its commitment to media freedom, they would lead by example and end this more than decade-long persecution now.”………….

Sadly, what we have witnessed in the first 11 months of Biden’s premiership is a continuation of the same policy positions that left critics of the previous administration convulsing with anger. The United States continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia; leaders of countries with which it has important strategic partnerships—Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and Volodomyr Zelensky, to name a couple—are being allowed to punish those who would hold them to account; and the preeminent chronicler of American atrocity, Julian Assange, is being tormented for doing what any courageous reporter with access to the same information would have done in a heartbeat………..

If the United States were to free Assange, it would send a powerful message to the political establishment of repressive regimes around the world that the US has ceased to believe that journalism is a crime.

Otherwise, things will carry on as they are. My colleagues will continue to be abducted in broad daylight; many will return to tell the tale to police officers who won’t register their complaints out of fear; some, like Mudassar Naaru, will disappear altogether. Others, like Saleem Shahzad, will be found dead in a ditch.

And all the while, the likes of Donald Blome will find themselves in drawing rooms with unscrupulous leaders who will earnestly nod their heads while listening to sermons on press freedom, without ever really feeling under pressure to change their ways.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

To preserve the planet, we must reduce our consumption of resources.

To save the planet, the degrowth movement calls not for us to sacrifice prosperity, but to redefine it.  UNDARK,  BY PETER SUTORIS 12.30.2021  THE GLOBAL CONVERSATION about climate change has revolved largely around a single, misguided idea: that we can replace carbon-intensive technologies with cleaner ones and reach the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions without fundamentally altering our economy. In other words, that we can achieve, and indefinitely maintain, green growth.

But a competing narrative argues that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible, and that even supposedly green technologies will perpetuate the extraction of natural resources and the destruction of the natural environment. Even if these technologies help us mitigate climate change to an extent, they might backfire, for example, by disrupting biodiversity. In this narrative, the underlying problem lies not in the so-called cleanliness of our technologies but in our compulsion to keep growing our economies.

Proponents of this second view argue that to preserve the planet, we must reduce our consumption of resources, a strategy that has come to be known as degrowth. This approach calls for us to shrink parts of our economy, and to move away from measures such as gross domestic product as indicators of economic health…………

Degrowth doesn’t imply a radical decline in living standards, as some commentators have suggested, nor does it mean that poor people would become even poorer. This is because degrowth calls not only for reducing the extraction of resources but also for distributing those resources more equitably. Neither does degrowth mean that all sectors of the economy would shrink; sectors less dependent on resource extraction, such as education and health care, could keep expanding.

But even more importantly, degrowth is too often portrayed merely as an economic idea when it is, in fact, just as much a cultural notion. The culture of degrowth calls for us to view ourselves as stewards of the planet. It pushes us to recognize that our relationship with the natural environment is a two-way street — that we must take care of nature if we want nature to take care of us. And it calls for us to respect our planet’s limits, to look out for other species, and to recognize that our own fate is tied up with the health of the ecosystems we inhabit.

A culture of degrowth sees justice as intergenerational, and respects the rights of the world’s future inhabitants.

What would it take for society to embrace degrowth as a new cultural paradigm?

We can start by questioning the underlying ideologies that have enabled our economic system for decades, including extractivism, the idea that the earth is ours to exploit, and speciesism, the idea that human beings are morally superior to all other species, which fuels the widespread belief that non-human species are essentially disposable…………..

 our current global system of infinite growth didn’t emerge by chance. It was partly an outgrowth of cultural forces that took hold in the post-World War II era: a revolution in advertising, media coverage that stressed the benefits of capitalism and globalization, and a drumbeat of Hollywood films depicting material wealth as the symbol of success.

Similar forces could be marshalled to drive a cultural shift toward degrowth…………..

Education is another space that shapes culture. Many of the world’s education systems are currently focussed on churning out productive workers who can keep the infinite-growth economy spinning. Even at so-called elite educational institutions, critical thinking too often equates with problem solving for infinite growth. Our education systems — currently preoccupied with STEM subjects, and with imparting technology skills demanded by corporate employers — must place greater emphasis on creativity, imagination, and political engagement. We need to be able to imagine alternative futures before we can bring them into being, and degrowth is no exception…………

Ultimately, degrowth is inevitable. We will either choose this path voluntarily, or we will be forced into it violently and uncontrollably as a result of environmental disasters. If we want to prevent the suffering and tragedies that accompany such drastic shifts, we must bring about a culture of degrowth. And where the cultural winds blow, the political winds will follow.

Peter Sutoris, Ph.D., is an environmental anthropologist based at University College London, and the author of “Visions of Development” (Oxford University Press) and the forthcoming “Educating for the Anthropocene” (The MIT Press). More about his research can be found at and he tweets @PSutoris.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear is not a practicable means to combat climate change.

Nuclear is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change.”

Communiqué – Statement: Former Heads of Nuclear Regulation and Governmental Radiation Protection Committees: Nuclear is not a Practicable Means to Combat Climate Change.  Nuclear Consulting Group 6th Jan 2022

Dr. Greg Jaczko, former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Prof. Wolfgang Renneberg, former Head of the Reactor Safety, Radiation Protection and Nuclear Waste, Federal Environment Ministry, Germany.

Dr. Bernard Laponche, former Director General, French Agency for Energy Management, former Advisor to French Minister of Environment, Energy and Nuclear Safety.

Dr. Paul Dorfman, former Secretary UK Govt. Committee Examining Radiation Risk from Internal

The climate is running hot. Evolving knowledge of climate sensitivity and polar ice melt-rate makes clear that sea-level rise is ramping, along with destructive storm, storm surge, severe precipitation and flooding, not forgetting wildfire. With mounting concern and recognition over the speed and pace of the low carbon energy transition that’s needed, nuclear has been reframed as a partial response to the threat of global heating. But at the heart of this are questions about whether nuclear could help with the climate crisis, whether nuclear is economically viable, what are the consequences of nuclear accidents, what to do with the waste, and whether there’s a place for nuclear within the swiftly expanding renewable energy evolution.

As key experts who have worked on the front-line of the nuclear issue, we’ve all involved at the highest governmental nuclear regulatory and radiation protection levels in the US, Germany, France and UK. In this context, we consider it our collective responsibility to comment on the main issue: Whether nuclear could play a significant role as a strategy against climate change.

The central message, repeated again and again, that a new generation of nuclear will be clean, safe, smart and cheap, is fiction. The reality is nuclear is neither clean, safe or smart; but a very complex technology with the potential to cause significant harm. Nuclear isn’t cheap, but extremely costly. Perhaps most importantly nuclear is just not part of any feasible strategy that could counter climate change. To make a relevant contribution to global power generation, up to more than ten thousand new reactors would be required, depending on reactor design.

In short, nuclear as strategy against climate change is:

• Too costly in absolute terms to make a relevant contribution to global power production

• More expensive than renewable energy in terms of energy production and CO2 mitigation, even taking into account costs of grid management tools like energy storage associated with renewables roll-out.

• Too costly and risky for financial market investment, and therefore dependent on very large public subsidies and loan guarantees.

• Unsustainable due to the unresolved problem of very long-lived radioactive waste.

• Financially unsustainable as no economic institution is prepared to insure against the full potential cost, environmental and human impacts of accidental radiation release – with the majority of those very significant costs being borne by the public.

• Militarily hazardous since newly promoted reactor designs increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation.

• Inherently risky due to unavoidable cascading accidents from human error, internal faults, and external impacts; vulnerability to climate-driven sea-level rise, storm, storm surge, inundation and flooding hazard, resulting in international economic impacts.

• Subject to too many unresolved technical and safety problems associated with newer unproven concepts, including ‘Advanced’ and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

• Too unwieldy and complex to create an efficient industrial regime for reactor construction and operation processes within the intended build-time and scope needed for climate change mitigation.

• Unlikely to make a relevant contribution to necessary climate change mitigation needed by the 2030’s due to nuclear’s impracticably lengthy development and construction time-lines, and the overwhelming construction costs of the very great volume of reactors that would be needed to make a difference.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Going nuclear: Should nations unilaterally decide?

Going nuclear: Should nations unilaterally decide? DW, 6 Jan 22,

As nations like France extend the life of ageing nuclear energy infrastructure, bordering countries that could suffer most from a meltdown have little say.

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster that spread radioactive waste across Europe — some of which remains present 35 years later — sparked a reevaluation of the cross-border impacts of nuclear energy. Some plant projects in border regions were abandoned, while existing reactors were subject to more stringent safety regimes.

Twenty-five years later, the fallout from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster caused the likes of Germany to commit to phasing out atomic fuel by 2022. Belgium also just confirmed it will be nuclear-free by 2025.

But a decade on from Japan’s tsunami-induced meltdown, countries from China to France and the United States continue to rely on power generated by nuclear reactors, many of which were constructed in the 1960s and ’70s.

France, the world’s most nuclear-energy dependent country that generates 70% of its electricity from atomic power, confirmed last February that it would extend the life of its 32 oldest nuclear reactors for another 10 years.

Due in part to increasing safety risks with ageing facilities, some are asking if such nations still have the right to make this decision on their own.

When France shut a reactor in February 2020 at its oldest nuclear plant at Fessenheim on the German border due to reported cracks in a reactor cover and other faults, then-German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze affirmed Germany’s wish to influence nuclear policy across the Rhine.

“We won’t let up in our efforts to campaign for a move away from nuclear power in our neighboring countries,” she saidadding thatthe”nuclear phaseout in Germany is rock solid.”

Who has the power to decide on nuclear?

Though a raft of treaties and agreements lay out minimum consultation requirements between states, there is no framework to specifically consult with local communities across borders that could be most affected by a nuclear accident, noted Behnam Taebi, co-editor of The Ethics of Nuclear Power and professor of energy and climate ethics at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The 1991 Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context obliges contracting parties to prevent, reduce and control “adverse” impacts across borders, while the 1998 Aarhus convention applies Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration that states “environmental matters are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens.”

But according to Taebi, these conventions are about transferring risks between states, and they do not say anything about local communities at the borders of neighboring counties, or whether and how they should be consulted. There is no binding transboundary procedure relating to nuclear energy development, and no framework in place that could, for instance, force France to communicate and consult with towns and cities across the border. ………………………………..

in 2018, referring to Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, the Dutch Safety Board — which independently investigates the causes of incidents or accidents — concluded that cross-border “cooperation has partly been arranged on paper, but that it probably will not run smoothly if a nuclear accident were to occur in reality.” 

For 10 years, Austria opposed the Czech Republic’s Temelin nuclear plant that opened in 2000 near its border, with some politicians threatening to block Czech entry into the EU until the latter agreed to tightened safety measures.

While the European Commission stepped in to help resolve that conflict, Kirchner noted that under current agreements, neighboring countries have no power to veto unwanted developments.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Including nuclear power as ”sustainable” completely undermines the European taxonomy’s original aim of the Green Deal

The published proposal is an incredible greenwashing of long outdated and dangerous technologies. It undermines the taxonomy’s original goal of providing investments for an ecological restructuring of society – the Green Deal.

Instead, the proposal keeps the nuclear technology, which has long since failed in reality, alive and tempts to rely on fossil gas for too long. Every euro that flows into nuclear and gas based on this
classification is missing for real sustainability and effective climate protection.

 Ausgestrahlt 5th Jan 2022

January 8, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Dangerous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Nuclear energy backers say it’s vital for the fight against global warming. Don’t be so sure, Los Angeles Times,  BY MICHAEL HILTZIKBUSINESS COLUMNIST , JAN. 6, 2022  

”……………………………………. Diablo Canyon, which is on the Pacific shoreline about 250 miles south of San Francisco and 190 miles north of Los Angeles, was the third location chosen by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. for a nuclear generating plant starting in the early 1960s.

The previous choices were abandoned because they were judged too close to active earthquake faults — even though PG&E initially asserted in both cases that no faults were nearby. The company then turned to Diablo Canyon, again asserting that there were no active faults within about 20 miles of the site.

As it eventually emerged, there are at least four major active faults within that range, prompting David Brower, the first executive director of the Sierra Club and the founder of Friends of the Earth, to jokingly describe nuclear reactors as “complex technological devices for locating earthquake faults.” (It was the Sierra Club’s endorsement of Diablo Canyon that prompted Brower to resign and form Friends of the Earth.)

With every discovery of a new fault in Diablo Canyon’s vicinity, PG&E minimized the threat and persuaded the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal regulator responsible for licensing nuclear plants, to go along.

The NRC’s decision in 1981 to allow construction to proceed after a fault discovery without reexamining the plant’s seismic engineering provoked two commissioners, Peter A. Bradford and Victor Gilinsky, to issue a blistering dissent.

They described the confidence of two NRC advisory boards in the utility’s reassurances as “almost mystical,” and charged that the boards’ rationales for accepting PG&E’s arguments as evidence that neither board “had any idea what it was talking about.”

Then there’s PG&E’s atrocious safety record, which should curdle the blood at the thought of leaving the plant under its control. The company’s consistent failures include the 2010 pipeline explosion that killed eight and leveled an entire residential neighborhood in San Bruno.

PG&E’s equipment sparked more than 1,500 fires from 2014 through 2017, according to state records. In 2020, it pleaded guilty to 84 counts of criminal manslaughter related to the 2018 wildfire that all but destroyed the town of Paradise and ranks as the deadliest blaze in California history.

In September, the company was charged with 11 felonies and 20 misdemeanor counts related to what Shasta County Dist. Atty. Stephanie Bridgett called its “reckless and criminally negligent” operations, resulting in the deaths of four people. (“My co-workers are not criminals,” PG&E Chief Executive Patti Poppe said after the charges were unveiled. “We welcome our day in court so people can learn just that.”)

As recently as Tuesday, California state investigators concluded that a PG&E power line sparked last year’s massive Dixie fire, which burned more than 960,000 acres in five Northern California counties. The investigators referred the case to local criminal prosecutors.

“PG&E seems to be incapable of operating safely,” says Daniel O. Hirsch, a former environmental faculty member at UC Santa Cruz and president of the Committee to Bridge the Gap, an anti-nuclear group. “You’re mixing an incompetent utility with an unforgiving technology.”……………………..

January 8, 2022 Posted by | Legal, Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Maori workers exposed to radiation in cleaning up USA’s failed nuclear reactor in Antarctica

Detour: Antarctica – Kiwis ‘exposed to radiation’ at Antarctic power plant, 8 Jan, 2022 By Thomas Bywater, Thomas Bywater is a writer and digital producer for Herald Travel

In a major new Herald podcast series, Detour: Antarctica, Thomas Bywater goes in search of the white continent’s hidden stories. In this accompanying text series, he reveals a few of his discoveries to whet your appetite for the podcast. You can read them all, and experience a very special visual presentation, by clicking here. To follow Detour: Antarctica, visit iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Waitangi Tribunal will consider whether NZ Defence Force personnel were appropriately warned of potential exposure to radiation while working at a decommissioned nuclear reactor in Antarctica.

It’s among a raft of historic claims dating from 1860 to the present day before the Military Veterans Inquiry.

After an initial hearing in 2016, the Waitangi Tribunal last year admitted the Antarctic kaupapa to be considered alongside the other claims.

“It’s been a bloody long journey,” said solicitors Bennion Law, the Wellington firm representing the Antarctic claimants.

Between 1972 and the early 1980s, more than 300 tonnes of radioactive rubble was shipped off the continent via the seasonal resupply link.

Handled by US and New Zealand personnel without properly measuring potential exposure, the submission argues the Crown failed in its duty of care for the largely Māori contingent, including NZ Army Cargo Team One.

“This failure of active protection was and continues to be in breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,” reads the submission.

The rubble came from PM3A, a portable nuclear power unit on Ross Island, belonging to the US Navy. Decommissioned in 1972, its checkered 10-year operating history led it to be known as ‘Nukey Poo’ among base inhabitants. After recording 438 operating errors it was shut off for good.

Due to US obligations to the Antarctic Treaty, nuclear waste had to be removed.

Peter Breen, Assistant Base Mechanic at New Zealand’s Scott Base for 1981-82, led the effort to get similar New Zealand stories heard.

He hopes that NZDF personnel involved in the cleanup of Ross Island might get medallic recognition “similar to those who were exposed at Mururoa Atoll”. Sailors were awarded the Special Service Medal Nuclear Testing for observing French bomb sites in the Pacific in 1973, roughly the same time their colleagues were helping clear radioactive material from Antarctica.

A public advisory regarding potential historic radiation exposure at McMurdo Station was published in 2018.

Since 1975 the Waitangi Tribunal has been a permanent commission by the Ministry of Justice to raise Māori claims relating to the Crown’s obligations in the Treaty of Waitangi.

The current Military Veterans’ Kaupapa includes hearings as diverse as the injury of George Nepata while training in Singapore, to the exposure of soldiers to DBP insecticides during the Malayan Emergency.

Commenced in 2014 in the “centenary year of the onset of the First World War” the Māori military veterans inquiry has dragged on to twice the duration of the Great War.

Of the three claimants in the Antarctic veterans’ claim, Edwin (Chaddy) Chadwick, Apiha Papuni and Kelly Tako, only Tako survives.

“We’re obviously concerned with time because we’re losing veterans,” said Bennion Law.

Detour: Antarctica is a New Zealand Herald podcast. You can follow the series on iHeartRadio, Apple PodcastsSpotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

January 8, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, health, indigenous issues, New Zealand, wastes | Leave a comment

Government Wants YOU to Pay for New Nuclear

Thanks to CND for this information: The government is trying to force through controversial new legislation which will make consumers bankroll the nuclear power industry, whilst giving them no protection from spiralling costs. This will force thousands more families into fuel poverty.  The electricity generated from nuclear power is double the costs of renewables. Nuclear […]


The government is trying to force through controversial new legislation which will make consumers bankroll the nuclear power industry, whilst giving them no protection from spiralling costs. This will force thousands more families into fuel poverty.  The electricity generated from nuclear power is double the costs of renewables. Nuclear is hampered by generic design flaws, long delays and safety risks. It’s dangerous to people and planet. To meet Britain’s 2050 net zero goals, instead of forcing consumers to bankroll a failed industry, the government should be investing more in renewables.

Contact your MP, urging them to vote against the Bill on Monday 10th January. See briefing CND is sending to MPs.

We are writing now  to urge you to vote against the Nuclear Energy (Finance) Bill which has its final reading in the House of Commons on Monday 10 January.

This controversial new legislation will force consumers to bankroll the nuclear power industry, whilst giving them no protection from spiralling costs. This will force thousands more families into fuel poverty.

The Bill will enable energy companies to charge consumers to construct and operate new nuclear power plants under a regulated asset base (RAB) funding model. Evidence shows that under such models, costs for nuclear power stations abandoned during construction as well as cost over-runs of $2.1 billion are all being passed on to consumers. Richard Hall, Chief Energy Economist at Citizens Advice, who gave evidence to the parliamentary Committee examining the Bill, argues ‘…consumers do not have any control over the risk. Essentially, they are the passive recipient of the risks.’

The electricity generated from nuclear power is twice the price of renewables. Nuclear is hampered by generic design flaws, long delays and safety risks. It’s dangerous to people and planet. To meet Britain’s 2050 net zero goals, instead of forcing consumers to bankroll this costly, inefficient and dangerous form of power generation, the government should be investing in renewables and making homes energy-efficient to reduce carbon emissions as well as energy bills.

As you know there is no “away” for nuclear wastes and the government are presently spending eyewatering amounts of money on public relations largely in Cumbria to try and persuade the County to bury heat generating nuclear wastes under our precious and irreplacable land and sea.  The reason? Not for safety’s sake but in order to clear the decks for more nuclear crapola for which we all must pay time and time again in every way possible?

We urge you to vote against this Bill. 
with many thanks

Marianne Birkby on behalf of
Radiation Free Lakeland

January 8, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Safety concerns: NRC was right to deny OKLO’s plan for small nuclear reactors

“The company asserted that its reactor was so small and so safe that it didn’t need to play by the same rules as those used to license larger reactors,” Lyman said. “But the fact remains that even a very small reactor contains enough highly radioactive material to cause significant radiological contamination in the event of an accident or a terrorist attack.”..

NRC denies Oklo Power’s plan to construct 1.5 MW advanced nuclear reactor in Idaho

Utility Dive Jan. 7, 2022 Robert Walton, Reporter   

Dive Brief:

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday announced it denied without prejudice an application by Oklo Power to construct the United States’ first advanced nuclear reactor, in Idaho. The small design, dubbed “Aurora,” would be capable of producing 1.5 MW of electric power.
  • The NRC cited “significant information gaps” in the company’s application, including details on potential accidents and its classification of safety systems and components. However, the company can resubmit its application and regulators said they are “prepared to re-engage” the company.
  • Oklo is reviewing the decision, but in a statement said it was “eager to continue moving forward” on the Idaho reactor as well as others. Opponents of the project say a failure to provide safety information could put the public at significant risk in the event of an accident or attack.

……………………….  according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, NRC was right to reject the application.

“Oklo simply refused to give the NRC the basic information that the agency needs to assess compliance with its regulations and its legal mandate to protect public health, safety, and the environment,” UCS Director of Nuclear Power Safety Edwin Lyman said in an email………

“The company asserted that its reactor was so small and so safe that it didn’t need to play by the same rules as those used to license larger reactors,” Lyman said. “But the fact remains that even a very small reactor contains enough highly radioactive material to cause significant radiological contamination in the event of an accident or a terrorist attack.”……….

January 8, 2022 Posted by | safety, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

France – a serious anomaly detected in several EDF nuclear reactors

Nuclear: a serious anomaly detected in several EDF reactors. While several
nuclear production units are not running due to ten-yearly inspection
visits, EDF announced on Thursday that it would extend the shutdown of a
reactor at Chooz by three months, after having detected a fault there
similar to that of another plant. stopped. While this has so far only been
identified in reactors of the same generation, it questions the safety of
the fleet, on which France depends to produce its electricity. In the
Tribune, Karine Herviou, Deputy Director General of the Institute for
Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) reports a serious anomaly.

 La Tribune 6th Jan 2022

Les Echos 6th Jan 2022

 Reuters 6th Jan 2022

January 8, 2022 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

UK Parliament to debate Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill on 10 January – may transfer billions of new nuclear costs to consumers

The Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill has its final reading in Parliament on Monday 10 January. If passed, it will change the way the nuclear power industry is financed, transferring billions of pounds onto individual
consumers, whilst affording them no protection from spiralling costs. This will force thousands more families into fuel poverty. CND is urging all Members of Parliament to vote against this legislation.

 CND Briefing 6th Jan 2022

January 8, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Coronavirus cases doubled in a few days at Sellafield nuclear site

 CORONAVIRUS cases at Sellafield have more than doubled in a week as
Omicron continues to spread rapidly throughout the county. Numbers of cases
among those employed on the site rose from 320 in the week to Wednesday 29,
up to 712 in the week to January 5.

 Carlisle News & Star 7th Jan 2022

January 8, 2022 Posted by | health, UK | Leave a comment