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Nuclear Politics – theme for March 2022

Homo Sapiens (and I do mean Homo, not Femina) has always solved his relational problems by fighting, by war and the threat of war.

And it sorta worked, in a sorta way. (The meek, the ”weak” men had some success, setting up co-operative arrangements, like the United Nations). It’s turning out that the ”weak” ”sissy” men might just have a broader, more considered, intelligence that just might be essential for the survival of the species. Heck they might even welcome Femina in – likely to be a lot more sapiens.

In the current crisis – one thing is for sure – if it develops into a third world war – it will be a nuclear war. Probably now, only Russia accepts that it’s just fine to send thousands of men to their deaths, and even Russians might be getting sick of this old idea.

The new way is – press a button, from far away, and incinerate millions. Trouble is that might cause millions on your side also to be incinerated – heck – even the ones pressing the buttons.

A new politics must be found. Otherwise, at best, the species might be lucky enough to survive, and evolve into a bee or ant-like species, with males as just a tiny minority.


March 4, 2022 Posted by | Christina's themes | 5 Comments

Radioactive waste stuck at 830 sites with nowhere to go

A temporary storage site for contaminated soil resulting from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The bags of radioactive waste are due to be shipped to an interim storage facility. The photo was taken in February.

March 3, 2022

Vast quantities of topsoil collected during decontamination work after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster are stuck in limbo at hundreds of sites with no early prospect of being shipped to interim storage facilities ahead of a government-set deadline.

The soil is being kept “temporarily” at 830 locations in six municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.

The city of Koriyama has 582 sites containing about 6,000 cubic meters of waste, followed by Fukushima with about 2,000 cubic meters at 200 locations.

Significant delays are expected in shipping the soil even though the government had planned to complete the operation by the end of this month as required by law.

The volume of contaminated soil and other radioactive materials awaiting shipment totals 8,460 cubic meters, which is the equivalent of 130 trucks each weighing 10 tons.

A key reason for the delay is that new houses were built on land where contaminated soil was buried as negotiations over storage sites in many communities dragged on. This accounts for about 50 percent of the cases cited by municipalities in a survey by the prefectural government last September.

About 30 percent of cases resulted from the refusal of landowners to bear the transportation costs, while about 10 percent are due to an inability by the authorities to contact the landowners.

As time passed, ownership of land tracts changed due to sales transactions and inheritance issues. Some landowners had no idea their plots contained radioactive material.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, shouldered the cost of the cleanup.

But the owners of the homes in question are obliged to pick up the tab for relocating so that the buried waste can be removed, according to the Environment Ministry.

Officials in the six local governments said the radiation levels at the 830 sites pose no health hazard as the readings were below 0.23 microsieverts per hour, the threshold for the need to decontaminate.

Decontamination work in affected communities in the prefecture wound up by March 2018.

The waste from those operations is required by law to be shipped outside the prefecture for final disposal by 2045.

Until then, the interim storage facility is all that is available.

The central government and Fukushima prefectural authorities have been locked in talks for the past 18 months on what to do with contaminated soil that cannot be moved any time soon.

The Environment Ministry called on local governments to continue managing contaminated soil that is deemed difficult to move in line with a directive issued in December 2020 that made it their responsibility.

The special measures law concerning the handling of radioactive materials stipulates that municipalities, which oversaw the cleanup, are responsible for managing the contaminated materials.

But the ministry’s directive upset local governments, which operate with limited manpower and funds.

Officials with the Fukushima and Sukagawa city governments held informal talks with the ministry last October to request that the central government collect, manage and transport the contaminated soil.

“We cannot manage these sites forever as the number of our employees is dwindling,” one official said.

Kencho Kawatsu, who chairs a committee with oversight for the environmental safety of the interim storage facility, underlined the need for the central and Fukushima prefectural governments to share in the responsibility for managing the temporary storage sites with municipalities.

“If the radioactive soil is scattered, it could fuel rumors that prove harmful to Fukushima municipalities,” said Kawatsu, a guest professor of environmental policy and radiation science at Fukushima University.

He suggested centralizing data on the issue to prevent such an occurrence.

March 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Greenpeace says Fukushima dismantling, dumping not credible.

March 3, 2022

Tokyo, Mar 3 (EFE).- Greenpeace denounced Thursday the lack of clarity and “inconsistencies” in the dismantling project of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, calling it a “fantasy” and saying the discharge of the water contaminated and treated to the ocean “does not solve the crisis.

Eleven years after the earthquake and tsunami that led to one of the worst nuclear accidents in history, the environmental organization makes a new call for attention after reviewing multiple documents from different government agencies and industry.

“Decommissioning is not possible in 40 years. The government should announce how much progress has been made. We are still in the shadows,” nuclear engineering expert Satoshi Sato told media.

“We will have to deal with treated water for decades,” said the expert in relation to the discharge of treated water into the Pacific Ocean, a plan planned for the year 2023 and that the International Atomic Energy Agency recently evaluated in a mission to the country.

The expert spoke about the serious problems detected in the dismantling plan. These included the poor condition of the buildings and their continuous degradation, the challenges and “not very credible” plans for extracting the fuel, the high levels of radiation present, the exposure of workers and the amount of highly radioactive waste generated.

The extraction of fuel from the four reactors of the Daiichi plant “will lead to more contaminated water and the water will be dumped back into the ocean. The current roadmap is minimizing the human and environmental impact and dumping is not the solution,” Greenpeace nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie said.

“TEPCO has no intention of dismantling the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the next 20 or 30 years. It is a fantasy and a much longer process than what they have explained to us,” said Burnie, stressing the need to inform affected communities in detail.

“The long-term consequences cannot be dismissed, because this transcends generations and this fact should be crucial when addressing the problem, and not the official agenda of the actors involved,” Burnie criticized the roadmap approved by the Japanese government.

March 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukraine: Fire breaks out at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — live updates

DW 4 Mar 22, Ukrainian officials report a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it was shelled by Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on Russia’s Putin to meet directly for talks. Follow DW for the latest

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted, “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out.”

Kuleba added, “If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”

Ukraine’s energy ministry told Russia’s RIA news agency that firefighters are unable to tend to the blaze at the plant as Russian troops continue to fire on them.

Plant spokesman Andry Tuz said shells were striking the plant and one of the six reactors was on fire. He said the reactor that was hit was under renovation and therefore nonoperational.

Tuz said it was imperative to cease fighting so firefighters could contain the blaze.

Dmytro Humenyuk of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety told Hromadske that the power units have several layers of fuel protection. The plant generates 25% of Ukraine’s electricity.

Humenyuk explained that under certain conditions, the power units can withstand up to 10 tons but are not designed to be hit by bombs or projectiles. If the reactor is seriously damaged and nuclear fuel exposed, the resulting catastrophe would be as bad as Chernobyl and if more than one reactor is hit, the result would be even more horrific.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was “aware” of the reports of shelling and in contact with Ukrainian authorities.

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Thursday…………………………………….

March 4, 2022 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment