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Is contaminated soil from the nuclear accident waste? A valuable resource? Ask the Experts

Tsunehide Chino, associate professor at Shinshu University, is interviewed online December 20, 2021; photo by Tetsuya Kasai.

April 8, 2022

Fukushima: The delivery of contaminated soil from the decontamination process following the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to an interim storage facility was largely completed last month. The law stipulates that the final disposal of the contaminated soil must be outside the prefecture, but no one has yet found a place to accept the soil. We asked Tsunehide Chino, an associate professor at Shinshu University and an expert on radioactive waste administration, about the legal status of the facility and how the contaminated soil should be “recycled.

     ◇ ◇Associate Professor Tsunehide Chino of Shinshu University

 –The delivery of contaminated soil to the interim storage facility was largely completed at the end of March.

Burying decontaminated soil in an interim storage facility: 2:27 p.m., June 17, 2021, Okuma Town, Fukushima Prefecture; photo by Tetsuya Kasai.

 The law states that “necessary measures shall be taken for final disposal outside the prefecture by 2045. That is quite a delicate phrase.”

 –prefectures can argue that the promise to remove the materials out of the prefecture should be honored.

 The problem has taken on another dimension since the law clearly states this. For example, the government signed a ‘letter of commitment’ with the governor of Aomori Prefecture regarding the final disposal of high-level radioactive waste from Rokkasho Village in Aomori Prefecture outside the prefecture. It is not a law.”

 The law is not wrong, and neither the prefectural governor nor the heads of local governments have any choice but to talk about their positions, even if they don’t believe that the cargo will be removed in 45 years. It has become difficult for them to express their true feelings.”

 –The national government has a policy of recycling contaminated soil with radiation levels below 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, as final disposal of the entire amount of contaminated soil is difficult.

 There is no legal basis for recycling. If the prefectural governor and others say that the contaminated soil in the interim storage facility will be taken out of the prefecture because it is clearly stated in the law, then it makes sense to discuss and make the recycling of contaminated soil into a law.

 –How was the standard for recycling (8,000 becquerels) determined?

 In 2005, the government established a clearance system that allows radioactive waste to be disposed of as normal waste, and set the standard at 0.01 millisievert per year as a level of radiation that has negligible effects on the human body when it is recycled or landfilled. This is equivalent to 100 becquerels of radiation per kilogram. After the nuclear accident, however, the government relaxed the standard for disposal to 1 millisievert per year. The amount of radiation that we calculated backwards from that is 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

 –So you want to apply this to soil that is to be reclaimed?

 The government has positioned reclamation as part of the disposal process. The government has taken the liberty of changing the rules to say that although it is disposal, it only needs to meet the 1 millisievert per year requirement.

 If it’s disposal, it has to meet clearance standards. The repository has been operated in accordance with these standards. But, for example, it is estimated that it would take 160 years of natural attenuation for contaminated soil with a level of 5,000 becquerels per kilogram to meet the criteria for disposal. It is unlikely that the facilities where the soil will be recycled will be maintained and managed for that long. The government’s policy is irresponsible.”

 –The government says that the soil to be reclaimed is a “precious resource.

 The Basic Policy for Fukushima Reconstruction and Revitalization approved by the cabinet in July 2012 clearly states that contaminated soil in the prefecture will be finally disposed of outside the prefecture 30 years after interim storage begins, and the idea that soil is a resource was written into law in December 2002.

 In waste administration, waste is anything that is no longer needed. If it can be used or sold, it is a resource. So we ask the Ministry of the Environment, ‘So you give away soil for public works projects for a fee? We tell them that there is no such thing as “reverse compensation,” in which we pay for the soil when we give it to them. But they are not very understanding.

 –The legalities regarding the handling of contaminated soil are unclear, and the standards are difficult to understand. How do you plan to resolve the situation where residents have no say in the matter?

 The situation cannot be solved by creating a law. The first step is for the government and TEPCO to explain firmly that it will be more difficult than expected to return the living environment in the hard-to-return zones and other areas to the state it was in before the nuclear accident. The best way to restore the trust that has been lost over the past decade is for both sides to understand the bitter reality.

     ◇ ◇ ◇

 Tsunehide Chino was born in 1978 in Tokyo. D. (Policy Science) from Hosei University’s Graduate School of Social Sciences. associate professor at Shinshu University’s Faculty of Humanities since 2014. has been researching issues such as radioactive waste for nearly 20 years, mainly in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture. He is also the coordinator of the Nuclear Waste Subcommittee of the Citizens Commission on Atomic Energy.


April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Government to phase out insurance fee exemption for Fukushima evacuees

A damaged clothing store is seen Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, in March as the whole town remains evacuated following the 2011 nuclear disaster

Apr 8, 2022

The government said Friday it will start phasing out from as early as fiscal 2023 medical insurance fee exemptions for evacuees affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a move that will increase the financial burdens on such people.

The phase-out affects evacuees who are now able to return or have already returned to the areas of their former residency following the lifting of evacuation orders.

The government aims to completely end the exemptions of health and nursing care insurance fees about 10 years after the evacuation orders were lifted in principle, with the 10-year period calculated as starting from April in the year after the lifting.

Reconstruction minister Kosaburo Nishime said the phase-out specifically took into account when evacuation orders were lifted to “avoid sharply increasing the burden” on the evacuees.

As for the 10-year timeframe, Nishime told a news conference the government believes that by then, the former residents would have returned to their hometowns and made some progress in rebuilding their livelihoods.

As for steps for former residents of zones still designated as off-limits in the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Okuma and Futaba, which host the Fukushima No. 1 plant crippled by the 2011 quake and tsunami disaster, the government will hold further discussions.

Many low-income people evacuated due to the nuclear crisis have so far been completely exempted from paying insurance fees as well as from a proportion of charges for the medical and nursing care services they receive.

As of late March, more than 32,000 people who evacuated after the nuclear disaster remain in other areas within Fukushima or outside the prefecture, according to government data.

The immediate target of the phase-out policy will be those who lived in areas where evacuations orders were lifted by 2014, such as the town of Hirono.

At first, the evacuees will be requested to shoulder half the amount of insurance fees before preferential treatment is scrapped completely in fiscal 2024.

Former residents of areas where the evacuation orders were lifted between 2015 and 2017 will see the phase-out policy begin in the period of fiscal 2024 to 2026, with the exemption ending entirely in two years.

The Fukushima No. 1 plant spewed out a massive amount of radioactive materials after the tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake flooded the facility, causing multiple meltdowns and hydrogen blasts at the complex and forcing some 160,000 people to flee at one point.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

Fisheries opposed to Fukushima water discharge, trade group tells PM

Hiroshi Kishi, head of the national fisheries cooperatives, speaks to reporters after a meeting with industry minister Koichi Hagiuda in Tokyo on April 5, 2022.

April 5, 2022

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A major fisheries group in Japan told Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Tuesday it remains firmly opposed to the planned discharge of treated water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea due to concern over negative impact on the industry.

“I told (Kishida) our position to oppose (the discharge) remains exactly the same,” Hiroshi Kishi, head of the national fisheries cooperatives, told reporters after visiting the prime minister’s office.

It was the first meeting between the head of the national fisheries cooperatives and Japan’s prime minister since April last year when the decision was made to release treated low-level radioactive water into the sea from around the spring of 2023.

Then Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced the policy without gaining consent from the fisheries group.

Kishida said the government will be fully responsible for the impact of the discharged treated water and vowed to support fishermen, according to Kishi and officials who attended the meeting.

“Steady progress in the decommissioning (of the Fukushima plant) is a prerequisite for reconstruction (of the affected areas), and we cannot avoid the issue of how to dispose of treated water,” Kishida said. “We will continue to exchange opinions and will make all-out efforts to tackle harmful rumors.”

Earlier in the day, Kishi conveyed similar concern to industry minister Koichi Hagiuda. “We just hope people in the fisheries industry will be able to continue fishing with peace of mind,” he told reporters after seeing Hagiuda in the federation’s office in Tokyo.

During the meeting, Hagiuda handed the group answers in writing to five requests it had submitted.

The government pledged in the document to ensure the safety of treated water as well as take appropriate measures to prevent and tackle reputational damage to food products, among others.

Hagiuda also told the federation it will stick to its promise to the fishermen that the Fukushima plant will not release the water into the sea without their understanding.

The minister told reporters that Kishi “understands the recovery of Fukushima will not complete without disposal of treated water” and expressed hope that the government will “clear anxiety of fishermen by taking appropriate measures.”

The government has already set up a 30 billion yen ($245 million) fund to support the fisheries industry and pledged to buy seafood when demand falls due to harmful rumors.

In the meantime, more than 1 million tons of treated water has accumulated on the premises of the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. after a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.

The water, which was contaminated after being pumped in to cool melted reactor fuel, is treated through an advanced liquid processing system that removes radionuclides except for tritium.

Before discharge, it will be diluted with seawater below one 40th of the current regulations, according to the government. It will also be lower than the World Health Organization’s tritium limit in drinking water.

Earlier this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency evaluated the safety of the release of treated water by sending a task force to the Fukushima plant to enhance transparency of the discharge plan and gain international understanding.

In addition to Japan’s local fishing communities, neighboring China and South Korea have also expressed their worries over the water discharge plan.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

Construction projects surge at Fukushima nuclear plant despite decommissioning progress

Officials work on the south side of Unit 2 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Feb. 26, 2022.

April 4, 2022

OKUMA, Fukushima — The site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station continues to host new construction projects some 11 years after the disaster triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunamis.

This Mainichi Shimbun reporter had the opportunity to visit the plant for the first time in seven and a half years, and reflect on why new facilities continue to appear even as the plant moves toward decommissioning.

The last time I visited the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, high radiation levels relegated me to observing the site from inside a bus, but on my Feb. 26 visit I was able to enter the outdoor area near the reactor buildings of Units 1 to 4, where the incidents occurred. Progress has been made toward decontaminating radioactive materials scattered in the meltdown, and 96% of the premises can reportedly now be walked around in normal work clothes.

While decommissioning seems to be advancing, various facilities have been newly constructed, and the issue of water remains. A rising number of tanks store treated water contaminated after it was pumped to cool fuel debris that melted down in the accident, as well as groundwater and rainwater that flowed into the buildings. Inside the tanks, the contaminated water is made to reach a radioactive concentration below regulation levels.

On the seventh floor of a building located near the site’s entrance, a Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) representative gave me an outline of the entire facility. I could see two large cranes on the ocean side around Units 1 to 4, and another large crane and framework structure on the mountain side. When I asked about it, the representative told me the frame was being assembled in a remote location to reduce worker radiation exposure. But it wasn’t a facility being dismantled; it’s a cover measuring 66 meters long, 56 meters wide, and 68 meters high that will wrap around Unit 1.

The hydrogen explosion in Unit 1 blew the building’s roof off, and 392 pieces of nuclear fuel remain in its spent fuel pool near the ceiling. Their removal is scheduled to start in fiscal 2027 to 2028. For this to happen, the surrounding debris must be removed, and the cover’s installation will help prevent the work dispersing radioactive dust.

Ground improvements works were progressing on the neighboring Unit 2’s south side. There, a working platform to remove 615 pieces of nuclear fuel from Unit 2 will be built, with its start slated for fiscal 2024 to 2026.

The buildings for Units 1 through 4 were damaged and contaminated, so different structures, such as platforms and covers, had to be built to remove nuclear fuel from the pools. Particularly conspicuous was the thick steel frame of the Unit 4 facility, from which fuel was completely removed in 2014. Although 53 meters high, it surprisingly uses about the same amount of steel as the 333-meter-high Tokyo Tower. Since the nuclear fuel is being removed in order, new construction work continues in reactor buildings’ vicinities.

The Japanese government decided in April 2021 to release into the ocean treated water stored in at least 1,000 tanks. The decision is not unrelated to the boom in construction.

At the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s March 1 review meeting on treated water discharge, TEPCO explained the offshore release was needed “to safely and steadily remove fuel debris and spent nuclear fuel.” The company listed at least 10 facilities earmarked for future construction. Put another way, the tanks need to be removed to provide land for these facilities.

Related construction work had already started at the seashore, where workers dug vertical holes to contain treated water before its release. After the implementation plan’s approval, undersea tunnel construction and other necessary work to release the water 1 km offshore will also begin.

Meanwhile, some broken cranes and damaged buildings have been left on site without being dismantled. The representative told the Mainichi Shimbun this was partly due to them trying to keep the solid waste processing volume low.

Also underway is construction of facilities to handle ever-increasing solid waste amounts. The representative said a white building I spotted in the site’s northwest side was the volume reduction facility, and that building work is going ahead for a solid waste storage facility in front of it.

The volume reduction facility scheduled for completion in March 2023 will use crushing and other methods to reduce concrete and metal debris volumes. Although nine storage buildings already exist, a 10th will soon be constructed. Nearby was also a new incineration facility for burning logged trees. TEPCO estimates solid waste generated will reach a volume of 794,000 cubic meters by March 2033, and that there will continue to be more related facilities.

Fuel debris removal will begin at the end of 2022. In the future, facilities to hold fuel debris and to store and reduce volumes of solid waste with high doses of radiation generated by the work will also be needed.

Each year creates new tasks that generate more waste, and the facilities to accommodate it. These buildings are also destined to eventually become solid waste. While this cycle continues, a final disposal method for the waste is undetermined. The government’s and TEPCO’s timetable says 20 to 30 years of plant decommissioning remain. But on site, where new construction projects continue to appear, a clear picture of when decommissioning will finish has yet to emerge.

(Japanese original by Takuya Yoshida, Science & Environment News Department)

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO to grow fish at nuclear plant to show water safety

No, it is not for April Fools’ Day only, for Tepco it is Fool’s Day everyday

Storage tanks line the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in January

April 1, 2022

Tokyo Electric Power Co. will raise seafood at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in a bid to ease concerns about its plan to release treated radioactive water stored there into the ocean.

“We want to contribute to dispelling the public’s anxiety and reassuring people,” a TEPCO representative said.

The government and TEPCO last year announced the plan to treat and then discharge contaminated water accumulating at the nuclear plant into the ocean starting as early as spring 2023. More than 1 million tons of water have already been stored.

Local residents and fisheries industry officials, worried about reputational damage to marine products caused by the water release, asked the utility to demonstrate the safety of the water that will be discharged instead of just spouting off technical terms.

They suggested that TEPCO keep fish at the plant to show that the processed water will pose no health risk.

The water treatment process removes most radioactive substances, but not tritium. The water will be diluted with seawater to reduce the tritium concentration to less than 1,500 becquerels per liter, one-40th the legal standard.

On experts’ advice, TEPCO decided to culture flatfish and abalone on a trial basis because both species can be caught off Fukushima Prefecture and grown easily.

Preliminary farming started in March in seawater at the plant to gain expertise.

Around September, the utility will begin growing 600 flatfish and 600 abalone. Some will be raised in ordinary seawater while others will be in treated and diluted water containing tritium at the same level of the water that will be discharged.

The concentration of tritium and other substances in the creatures’ bodies will be analyzed, as will their growth rates in the two sets of tanks.

A continuing video of the experiment will be made available on the internet.

TEPCO said it expects the raised fish to have tritium readings similar to those in the water of their farming tanks. So the figure for flatfish raised in the processed water will likely be higher than their seawater-cultivated counterparts.

“We hope to counter negative publicity by showing that fish can grow healthily (in the treated water),” a TEPCO official said.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , , | Leave a comment

No Fukushima Nuclear Discharge: Pacific Elders Voice statement

30 March 2022

Pacific Elders oppose the discharge of Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean saying it is unacceptable and contravenes international and regional agreements

We note, with deep concern, Japan’s decision to release treated radioactive water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

According to reports, the release of more than a million tonnes of water, which has been filtered to reduce radioactivity, could start in 2023.

We reiterate the observation by Secretary-General Henry Puna: “Our ultimate goal is to safeguard the Blue Pacific – our ocean, our environment, and our peoples- from any further nuclear contamination. This is the legacy we must leave for our children”.

Pollution of our ocean, and especially radioactive pollution, is unacceptable and contravenes international and regional agreements including the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, and the South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone Treaty of Rarotonga.

A principal objective of the London Convention is to protect the marine environment from pollution, including man-made radioactivity. Under the Treaty of Rarotonga, States Parties are obligated to prevent the stationing of any nuclear explosive device; to prevent the testing of any nuclear explosive device; not to dump radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter at sea, anywhere within the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, and to prevent the dumping of radioactive wastes and other radioactive matter by anyone in the territorial sea of the States Parties.

We see many strong reasons to oppose the discharge of Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean. The climate and biodiversity emergencies we currently face are already presenting severe threats to our waters, and so a decision by any government to deliberately contaminate the Pacific with radioactivity because it is the most cost-effective option seems perverse.

Japan has failed to consult with affected coastal countries, especially northern the Pacific Island States and no environmental impact assessment has been conducted. Furthermore, Japan has obligations not to allow pollution from their own waters to pollute international waters or the waters of other countries. When Pacific Islands Forum Leaders met with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide at the 9th PALM Meeting in July 2021, they highlighted the priority of ‘ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent and verifiable scientific assessments with regards to Japan’s announcement’.

We feel this constitutes a disregard for the human rights of both Japanese citizens, as well as those in the wider Asia Pacific region, including indigenous peoples, and it is justifiably being challenged, not least by UN Human Rights Special Rapporteurs.

Japan is under an international legal obligation to take all measures possible to avoid transboundary pollution from radioactivity, and develop alternatives to dumping in the Pacific by continued storage and treating the water to remove radioactive, including carbon- 14 and tritium.

We observe that the International Atomic Energy Agency has stated that the discharges will be done safely and in line with international practice. It continues to play the same historical role as set down in its 1957 statute of supporting and promoting the interests of the nuclear industry, not protecting the environment or public health. Radioactivity discharged from a pipeline poses potentially a greater coastal threat to the marine environment than deep-sea dumping from a ship.

We welcome the recent appointment of an independent panel of global experts2 on nuclear issues to support Pacific nations. Their technical advice, based on scientific evidence, will help inform consultations with Japan over its intentions to discharge treated nuclear wastewater.

This story was originally published at Pacific Elders’ Voice on 30 March 2022, reposted via PACNEWS.

No Fukushima Nuclear Discharge: Pacific Elders Voice statement

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , , | Leave a comment

The choices: fight to the last Ukrainian, or choose Macron’s dialogue path.

It will have to offer President Putin some kind of escape hatch.

So the settlement will have to have an escape hatch. And everyone knows pretty much what it is.

“It will have to be a settlement that agrees on the neutralisation of Ukraine and some diplomatic finesse to put aside for the time being the status of Donbas and Crimea to be negotiated at a later stage, and a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops.

“Washington’s position now is to fight to the last Ukrainian,”

Chomsky’s nuclear war fear: Fight to last Ukrainian or choose Macron’s dialogue path

Distinguished US professor sees a 30-year descent into conflict between Russia and the West
Damien McElroy, Apr 08,

Noam Chomsky has no truck with those who would explain away the brutality of the war in Ukraine, but he does warn that there only two outcomes of the seven-week conflict.

“One possibility is to move on to facilitate the destruction of Ukraine and possibly a nuclear war,” Prof Chomsky told The National. “That’s one possibility.

“So when you read a headline in a main journal in the United States calling for Russia delenda est (we must destroy Russia), what that is saying is I want to kill everybody in Ukraine and I want to move on to a nuclear war which will end human life on Earth.

“The other possibility is to abandon that stance to move in the direction that [French President] Emmanuel Macron was moving towards in his abortive discussions with [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin.”

The phrase “Russia delenda est” is an echo of Cato the Elder’s formula that declared Carthage must be destroyed to stop the enemies of Rome and was indeed published in recent weeks in Washington publications.

It is not an irony that it was updated by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy in 1899, in a famous attack on militarism and promotion of pacifism by the writer of the epic War and Peace.

For Prof Chomsky, 93, whose father was born in what is now Ukraine (his mother was born in what is now Belarus), the obvious path forward has been well promoted as an alternative to the Cold War settlement for more than 15 years.

To give Mr Putin the kind of security landscape he seeks for Russia avoids a bleak escalatory pathway with a country that has an enormous nuclear arsenal.

“Now that kind of settlement will be ugly,” he said. “That’s a fact. It will have to offer President Putin some kind of escape hatch.

“If it doesn’t offer an escape hatch then, when the hard men in Moscow have their backs to the wall and are told there’s nothing left for you, the only choice for them is to use all their power.

“So the settlement will have to have an escape hatch. And everyone knows pretty much what it is.

“It will have to be a settlement that agrees on the neutralisation of Ukraine and some diplomatic finesse to put aside for the time being the status of Donbas and Crimea to be negotiated at a later stage, and a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops.

“That’s basically the framework and it’s understood out of all sides.”

For one with an enormous following in radical leftist politics, Prof Chomsky evinces great respect for diplomatic expertise.

One scenario is that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy could reach a ceasefire with the Kremlin but Washington would effectively scupper it by refusing to unwind sanctions.

Continue reading

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India’s Inadvertent Missile Launch Underscores the Risk of Accidental Nuclear Warfare

Complex weapon systems are inherently prone to accidents, and this latest launch is one of a long history of military accidents in India,   Scientific American  By Zia MianM. V. Ramana on April 8, 2022

Last month, while most of the world focused on the war in Ukraine and worried that a beleaguered Russian leadership might resort to nuclear weapons, thus escalating the conflict into a direct war with the U.S.-led NATO nuclear-armed alliance, a nearly tragic accident involving India and Pakistan pointed to another path to nuclear war. The accident highlighted how complex technological systems, including those involving nuclear weapons, can generate unexpected routes to potential disaster—especially when managed by overconfident organizations.

India and Pakistan possess more than 300 nuclear weapons between them, and have fought multiple wars and faced many military crises. On March 9, two years after their dispute over Kashmir escalated into attacks by jet fighters, the Pakistan Air Force detected “a high speed flying object” inside Indian territory change course and veer suddenly toward Pakistan. It flew deep into Pakistan and crashed. The object was a BrahMos cruise missile, a weapon system developed jointly by India and Russia. India soon stated the launch was an accident.

The firing of the BrahMos missile falls within a long history of accidents involving military systems in India.  Military aircraft have strayed across the borders during peacetime. India’s first nuclear submarine was reportedly “crippled” by an accident in 2018, but the government refused to divulge any details. Secrecy has prevented the investigation of an apparent failure of India’s ballistic missile defence system in 2016. Engagements between India and Pakistan can arise from such accidents, as in 1999 when a Pakistani military plane was shot down along the border by India, killing 16 people. Pakistan has had its share of accidents, including a Pakistani fighter jet crashing into the capital city in 2020.

All these weapons systems are inherently accident-prone because of two characteristics identified by organizational sociologist Charles Perrow decades ago—interactive complexity and tight coupling—that combine to make accidents a “normal” feature of the operation of some hazardous technologies. The first characteristic refers to the possibility that different parts of the system can affect each other in unexpected ways, thus producing unanticipated outcomes. The second makes it hard to stop the resulting sequence of events. For Perrow, “the dangerous accidents lie in the system, not in the components,” and are inevitable.

Perhaps the best and most troubling proof of this proposition is in the realm of nuclear weapons—which embody all the properties of high-risk technological systems. Despite decades of efforts to ensure safety, these systems have suffered many failures, accidents and close calls. During 1979–1980, for example, there were several false warnings of Soviet missile attacks, some of which resulted in U.S. nuclear forces being put on alert. 

 ……………………………………The mistake that is of greatest concern is a false alarm of an incoming nuclear attack, possibly directed against nuclear forces. Indian or Pakistani—or Russian or NATO—policy makers may find themselves under immense pressure to launch a preemptive attack, thereby compounding the crisis. The terrible dilemma confronting them would be whether to use their nuclear weapons first or wait for the bombs from the other side to land. Nuclear war, even of a limited nature, between India and Pakistan could lead to millions of deaths in the short term and even graver consequences in the longer term for the region and beyond.  

……………  As the legendary analyst of nuclear command and control Bruce Blair warned, among nuclear weapon system managers and operators there is an “illusion of safety” that masks “the systematic potential for tragedy on a monumental scale.” Whether it is India and Pakistan preparing for a fifth war, or the forces of a nuclear-armed Russia struggling ever more violently to subdue Ukraine and stem the flow of lethal NATO weapons, such illusions threaten the destruction of cities and may lead to the killing of nations.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In France, the nuclear waste keeps piling up: new reactors will add to the dilemma

France inches towards nuclear waste solution as more reactors planned

President Macron’s ‘French Nuclear Renaissance’ aims to provide energy independence and greener electricity for France – but the nuclear waste keeps piling up        Connexion, By George Kazolias, 8 Apr 22,

Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to launch construction of six new nuclear reactors by 2050, along with studies for a possible eight further ones.

He also wants to prolong the life of existing reactors beyond 50 years in what he is calling the “French Nuclear Renaissance”.

Mr Macron’s vision to “take back control of [France’s] energy and industrial destiny” might be a winner with his electorate, but it clashes with the proposals of most of the left-wing presidential candidates, who want to reduce reliance on nuclear power. 

New reactors will add to waste dilemma

Solutions for dealing with the waste already produced by existing power stations, however, are still struggling to get out of the starting blocks – and there is no plan for what would be done with waste from a potential 14 additional ones…………..At present, however, none of France’s nuclear reactor waste has been dealt with in a long-term way. All waste considered radioactive, almost two million cubic tonnes of it, is stored at surface level, in treatment centres and pools, or shallow repositories.

Some 60% of this comes from reactors and the rest is from medical, research, military and other sources. 

The other waste, which includes items such as tools, clothing, mops and medical tubes, is not highly radioactive,

………   More problematic is what to do with France’s intermediate and high-level nuclear waste. 

In 1998, a site near the village of Bure in the Meuse in north east France was chosen as the final storage place for most of it. It will be stored half a kilometre below ground in a vast network of tunnels and galleries known as a Deep Geological Repository (DGR).

The facility will be big enough for all the nuclear waste accumulated so far, but on-site studies, administrative procedures and opposition to the programme, including court cases and civil disobedience, have slowed its opening.

Deep underground storage could be three years away

The Bure DGR will store the waste in galleries carved out of 160-million-year-old compacted clay rocks. Known by its French acronym, Cigéo, the project currently holds 84% of the 665 hectares required to build the facility. The prefecture of the Meuse gave it a declaration of public utility (DUP) in December – a formal recognition that a proposed project has public benefits that must be obtained for most large construction and infrastructure projects before work can begin.

Once the Conseil d’Etat gives its consent, the prime minister can sign his own DUP. Andra will then have the power to get the rest of the property it needs.

In the meantime, work has continued with digging of wells and galleries to test reversible techniques of stocking waste for up to 100,000 years.

The prime minister is expected to sign off only after the presidential elections, but the final green light might be three years away as the rigorous and independent Nuclear Security Agency studies the permit request to move and store the spent nuclear fuel and other radioactive matter.

Plans are for existing not future waste

Activity at the Cigéo remains high, nevertheless. This year, a 1,700m² building, called The Eclipse, is being built to house companies working on underground trials.

A 100m-long cavity will also be dug to test technologies and conduct experiments. This is the length each cavity will have to be for intermediate-level waste, which is often solidified into concrete.

The nuclear authority is hoping to start storing this type of waste in 2025.

It is impossible to bury the high-level radioactive waste. This is turned into a glass-like substance, but then requires a cooling period of at least 50 years. 

The clay storage facilities cannot handle temperatures above 90C.

Senator Sido said: “It is true that the most recent batches cannot be stocked in their present state. They are too hot and need a cooling-off period of several decades. But the first batches can be stocked now.” 

The remaining high-level waste might not arrive before 2060. By then, France will have produced at least as much nuclear waste again. For that, it might have to create a new underground facility.

“As far as I know, there is no project in the pipeline for high-level and long-lived waste which will be produced in the future,” Mr Sido said.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | France, wastes | 1 Comment

UK government got its energy strategy so wrong

 ‘Major misjudgment’: how the Tories got their energy strategy so wrong. Analysis: betting big on nuclear, hydrogen, oil and gas while passing over energy saving measures, Johnson’s plan is a huge missed

Government industrial strategies are often derided as attempts to pick winners. The UK’s Conservative government has taken a different approach with its new energy strategy. In terms of dealing with the energybill and climate crises, it’s picking losers.

Nuclear power is the only major energy technology that has increased in cost in the last decade and
routinely suffers from massive time and budget overruns. Even Kwarteng acknowledges that France’s large nuclear fleet “cost a fortune”. The gamble Johnson is making, with taxpayers’ money, is that nuclear power is a more reliable wager to secure clean future power than renewables and fast-developing energy storage technologies. It’s a long shot.

Renewables and storage will develop much faster and get much cheaper due to the rapid learning that comes with small-scale technologies, unlike colossal projects
like nuclear.

 Guardian 6th April 2022

April 9, 2022 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Expert warning that UK’s nuclear plans mean that there won’t be room for all the new radioactive wastes.

to me

Nuclear power plant plans could mean UK might run out of room for radioactive waste, says expert Current policy only allows for disposal of radioactive waste from 16GW of new nuclear capacity, far short of government’s new ambitions  

 By Madeleine Cuff, 8 Apr 22, Environment Reporter  The UK could run out of room to store radioactive waste if the government presses ahead with plans to build eight new nuclear power stations across the country, a nuclear waste expert has warned.

Ministers today set out plans to accelerate the development of new nuclear power stations to bolster the UK’s energy security and push the country to net zero.

The long-awaited energy security strategy set out plans for trebling the UK’s nuclear generation, with up to 24GW of nuclear capacity planned for 2050.

But one of the country’s leading nuclear waste experts has told i the UK could “run out of room” to store the waste produced by so many plants.

Officials have spent the last 50 years hunting for a permanent way to dispose of radioactive waste produced by the UK’s fleet of nuclear plants.

In 2019 fresh search was launched to find a community willing to host the radioactive waste, which would be buried hundreds of metres below the Earth’s surface.

“The policy at the moment is that it can take all of the legacy waste – everything we have generated in the last 70 years, plus up to 16GW of new nuclear build,” said Professor Claire Corkhill, an expert in nuclear waste at the University of Sheffield.

But if the UK builds 24GW of new nuclear it could run into a storage problem, she warns. “My worry is that if we go to 24GW of nuclear energy then we might run out of room to store the radioactive waste,” she said. “We’ve jumped the gun a little bit in saying that we are going to have this much new nuclear energy without thinking really about whether we have got anywhere suitable to put the waste.”

She said it the government could look for a second storage site, but finding one could take decades.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

US Officials Admit They’re Literally Just Lying To The Public About Russia

Former MI6 chief John Sawers told The Atlantic Council think tank in February that the Biden administration’s “intelligence” releases were based more on a general vibe than actual intelligence, and were designed to manipulate rather than to inform.

Just as the smear campaign against Julian Assange trained mainstream liberals to defend the right of their government to keep dark secrets from them, we may now be looking at the stage of narrative control advancement where mainstream liberals are trained to defend the right of their government to lie to them. Johnstone, Apr 7, 22, NBC News has a new report out citing multiple anonymous US officials, humorously titled “In a break with the past, U.S. is using intel to fight an info war with Russia, even when the intel isn’t rock solid“. 

The officials say the Biden administration has been rapidly pushing out “intelligence” about Russia’s plans in Ukraine that is “low-confidence” or “based more on analysis than hard evidence”, or even just plain false, in order to fight an information war against Putin.

The report says that toward this end the US government has deliberately circulated false or poorly evidenced claims about impending chemical weapons attacks, about Russian plans to orchestrate a false flag attack in the Donbass to justify an invasion, about Putin’s advisors misinforming him, and about Russia seeking arms supplies from China.

Excerpt, emphasis mine:

It was an attention-grabbing assertion that made headlines around the world: U.S. officials said they had indications suggesting Russia might be preparing to use chemical agents in Ukraine.

President Joe Biden later said it publicly. But three U.S. officials told NBC News this week there is no evidence Russia has brought any chemical weapons near Ukraine. They said the U.S. released the information to deter Russia from using the banned munitions.

It’s one of a string of examples of the Biden administration’s breaking with recent precedent by deploying declassified intelligence as part of an information war against Russia. The administration has done so even when the intelligence wasn’t rock solid, officials said, to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin off balance.

So they lied. They may hold that they lied for a noble reason, but they lied. They knowingly circulated information they had no reason to believe was true, and that lie was amplified by all the most influential media outlets in the western world. 

Another example of the Biden administration releasing a false narrative as part of its “information war”:

Likewise, a charge that Russia had turned to China for potential military help lacked hard evidence, a European official and two U.S. officials said. 

The U.S. officials said there are no indications China is considering providing weapons to Russia. The Biden administration put that out as a warning to China not to do so, they said. 

On the empire’s claim last week that Putin is being misled by his advisors because they are afraid of telling him the truth, NBC reports that this assessment “wasn’t conclusive — based more on analysis than hard evidence.”

I’d actually made fun of this ridiculous CIA press release when it was uncritically published disguised as a breaking news report by The New York Times:

Continue reading

April 9, 2022 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

U.S., NATO push Asia-Pacific bloc against Russia, China, with Ukraine as pretext

On Tuesday, the US, the UK and Australia announced they would cooperate to develop hypersonic weapons under the framework of the new AUKUS alliance, a move that analysts said is to build a NATO replica in the Asia-Pacific to serve US hegemony.

US, NATO seek united front with Asia-Pacific allies to isolate Russia, pressure China over Ukraine crisis
Global Times, By Liu Xin and Xu Yelu,  8 Apr 22, South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers were invited to join the high-profile NATO session on Thursday for the first time as NATO seeks to gain cooperation from Asia to isolate Russia and pressure China over the Ukraine crisis. But analysts said the US is coercing more countries to choose sides in the crisis and using it as an opportunity to help NATO’s global expansion.

South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers were invited to join the high-profile NATO session on Thursday for the first time as NATO seeks to gain cooperation from Asia to isolate Russia and pressure China over the Ukraine crisis. But analysts said the US is coercing more countries to choose sides in the crisis and using it as an opportunity to help NATO’s global expansion.

The NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels agreed to sustain and further strengthen support for Ukraine, and step up cooperation with partners, given the global implications of Russia’s action in Ukraine, according to a statement released after the meeting on Thursday.

The ministers also agreed that NATO’s next Strategic Concept, which will be finalized at the Madrid Summit in June, must take account of NATO’s future relations with Russia, and “China’s growing influence” on allied security, it said.

NATO will increase its cooperation with Asia-Pacific partners in areas like cyber, new technologies, disinformation, maritime security, climate change, and resilience, according to the statement.

South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong was in Brussels to attend a meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers on Thursday. He was the first South Korean foreign minister to join a high-profile NATO session, Yonhap News reported. Aside from South Korea, three countries – Japan, Australia and New Zealand – also attended the NATO session. Nikkei Asia reported this was the first time a Japanese minister attended such a meeting.

By inviting the four Asia-Pacific countries, NATO and the US wanted to draw more countries to form a united front against Russia over the latter’s conflict with Ukraine, and such a move will also help NATO’s global expansion, especially to Asia, as the US has always sought to build a more effective framework to contain China in the Asia-Pacific region, Li Kaisheng, a research fellow and deputy director at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.

As important US allies in Asia, South Korea and Japan have always wanted to play a bigger role in regional and international affairs and they may work more closely with the US as it is coordinating NATO with Asia-Pacific alliances, including the Quad mechanism of the US, Japan, India and Australia, and AUKUS of the US, the UK and Australia, Li said, noting that South Korea may also lean to the US after President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol takes office in May.

Yoon, who emphasized further promoting the South Korea-US alliance on security, was elected as the country’s next president in March. With the US cajoling its allies into joining a united front in bashing China, Yoon will be tested on whether he will keep his country’s relations with China free from the influence of its alliance with the US, analysts said.

Nikkei Asia said on Wednesday that NATO is looking to deepen its cooperation with Asia-Pacific countries to “discourage China from backing Russia in the war in Ukraine” and the bloc worries that Chinese financial and military assistance could drag out the conflict.

China has refuted disinformation spread by the US and some Western media, which claimed that China was considering supplying Russia with weapons to support its operation in Ukraine.

So-called remarks on discouraging China from supporting Russia are excuses. The US and NATO are using the conflict for their own strategic purposes, exploiting the crisis to revive NATO’s influence and turning it into a “battle” between so-called “democracy” and “autocracy,” Yang Xiyu, a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

Yang said that since the beginning of this century, the US has used NATO to shift its global strategic focus and alliance system to the east. From the Iraq war to the Afghan and Syria wars, we have witnessed NATO’s more frequent military operations outside NATO and more NATO members’ presence in the South and East China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region. The strategic purpose for the NATO meeting is to start its global expansion.

On Tuesday, the US, the UK and Australia announced they would cooperate to develop hypersonic weapons under the framework of the new AUKUS alliance, a move that analysts said is to build a NATO replica in the Asia-Pacific to serve US hegemony.

By gathering NATO and US allies in the Asia-Pacific together at the NATO meeting, NATO will become a platform for the US to lead its global allies and realize its expansion from Europe to the Asia-Pacific, analysts said, noting that NATO’s expansion is the root of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but the bloc never reflects on its problems and is still working to expand.

According to media reports, Finland is considering joining NATO. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at Thursday’s press briefing that China’s position on NATO’s eastward expansion is very clear. NATO is a product of the Cold War and should have become history long ago. “We advise relevant countries to exercise caution in developing relations with NATO.” Zhao said.

Yang warned that while the US is coordinating allies to contain China and Russia and spread confrontations globally, China should work harder to unite more countries to oppose the Cold War mentality and deepen cooperation with countries with shared interests, including South Korea and Japan.

As a product of the Cold War, NATO represents confrontations and targets certain countries. Its global expansion brings polarization and clashes. Its expansion in the Asia-Pacific region will surely target China, undermine the regional security environment and bring turbulence, Li said, urging regional countries to have a clear understanding of the disastrous results.

April 9, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | 1 Comment

Radioactive Waste Incineration including Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes 3.9 miles from Preston City Centre? — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

The following is a letter sent to Preston CIty Council today: “Dear Preston City Council, We are very concerned to see nuclear industry press statements concerning a new radioactive waste incineration plant for the “Clean Energy Technology Park” at Station Rd, Lea Town, Preston PR4 0XJ. The industry reports state that “the facility will expand […]

Radioactive Waste Incineration including Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes 3.9 miles from Preston City Centre? — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who speaks for the world? — IPPNW peace and health blog

Russia’s brutal war upon the nation of Ukraine should remind us that, for thousands of years, great powers have used their military might to launch military assaults upon smaller, weaker societies. Since World War II alone, these acts of aggression have included France’s colonial wars in Indochina and Algeria, Britain’s military intervention in the Middle […]

Who speaks for the world? — IPPNW peace and health blog

April 9, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment