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For the 5th time, a court rules the Japanese govt liable for the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Japan gov’t, Fukushima operator told to pay over nuclear disaster https://news.abs-cbn.com/overseas/02/20/19/japan-govt-fukushima-operator-told-to-pay-over-nuclear-disaster, Agence France-Presse, TOKYO- A Japanese court Wednesday awarded nearly $4 million in fresh damages to scores of residents forced to flee their homes after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown.

The Yokohama district court ordered the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) to pay 419.6 million yen ($3.8 million) to 152 local residents, a court spokeswoman told AFP.

The verdict was the fifth time the government has been ruled liable for the disaster in eastern Japan, the world’s most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Presiding judge Ken Nakadaira said the government and TEPCO “could have avoided the accident if they had taken measures” against the tsunami that sparked the disaster, according to public broadcaster NHK.

In March last year, a court in Kyoto, western Japan, ruled both the government and TEPCO were responsible and ordered them to pay 110 million yen to 110 residents.

However, in a separate case in September 2017 in Chiba near Tokyo, the court ruled that only the operator was liable.

Around 12,000 people who fled after the disaster due to radiation fears have filed various lawsuits against the government and TEPCO.

Cases have revolved around whether the government and TEPCO, both of whom are responsible for disaster prevention measures, could have foreseen the scale of the tsunami and subsequent meltdown.

Dozens of class-action lawsuits have been filed seeking compensation from the government.

Triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake, the tsunami overwhelmed reactor cooling systems, sending three into meltdown and sending radiation over a large area.

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February 21, 2019 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

Lockheed Martin Sued for Fraud over Washington Nuclear Site

 https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2019/02/15/518025.htm

February 15, 2019 The U.S. Justice Department is accusing Lockheed Martin Corp. of using false records and making false statements to bill the Energy Department for tens of millions of dollars in unauthorized profits and fees at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington.

The federal civil lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington.

The Seattle Times says the lawsuit also accuses Lockheed Martin of using federal money to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks.

Hanford is located near Richland, Washington, and for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons. The site is now involved in a massive cleanup effort that costs more than $2 billion per year.

The lawsuit covers the period from 2010 to 2015.

Lockheed Martin denied the allegations and said it will defend itself vigorously.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

How they work out nuclear liability – insurance and claims

February 16, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, legal | Leave a comment

TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal

TVA says sale of Bellefonte nuclear plant to Haney would be illegal until regulators approve deal, TVA defends decision to scrap sale of nuclear plant

February 5th, 2019, by Dave Flessner

The Tennessee Valley Authority says it cannot complete the sale of its Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant to developer Franklin L. Haney because Haney doesn’t have a license yet to operate the unfinished twin-reactor plant in Alabama.

In a 25-page legal brief filed in federal court Monday, TVA attorneys contend that any sale to Haney would be illegal under the Atomic Energy Act since Haney is trying to acquire and eventually operate the nuclear plant without a properly approved permit.

Haney’s company, Nuclear Development LLC , was the top bidder for Bellefonte at a TVA auction of the abandoned plant in November 2016. But Nuclear Development only filed a license transfer application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to take over TVA’s construction permit on the Bellefonte plant on Nov. 13, 2018 — two weeks after the sale was originally supposed to close and only 17 days before an extended deadline for the sale on Nov. 30.

TVA told Haney the day before the Nov. 30 sale was supposed to be completed that it could not sell Bellefonte as a nuclear plant without approval of the license transfer by the NRC. In the sales agreement with Haney, TVA said “federal law at all times govern the validity, interpretation and enforceability” of the sale………..

The legal fight over whether TVA must now sell the Bellefonte plant to Haney is moving in some uncharted waters since the NRC has not previously transferred a deferred construction permit on a nuclear plant to a private individual or a company that has not previously operated a nuclear plant. NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said last month that the NRC staff is still reviewing Haney’s application to take over the deferred construction permit.

Although no active construction has occurred at Bellefonte in nearly a decade, TVA has maintained the plant in deferred status…………

Aided by more than $2 billion in production tax credits for new nuclear generation allocated for Bellefonte and the prospect of $5 billion or more in federal loan guarantees for the project, Haney claims he should be able to finish the reactors at a cost allowing him to deliver power as much as $500 million a year cheaper for electricity users.

But Haney, a former Chattanooga real estate developer who now lives in south Florida, has no previous experience owning or operating a nuclear plant. Haney has amassed a fortune over the past four decades buying, developing and leasing properties to TVA, the Internal Revenue Service and other government agencies and airports, along with hotels, office buildings and other developments.

Haney said he is assembling a team of top engineering, design and construction firms with experience in the nuclear power industry to finish building Bellefonte.

Haney, who contributed more than $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural fund through a limited partnership known as HFNWA and once hired Haney’s personal attorney Michael Cohen to help with the Bellefonte project, has applied for federal loan guarantees for Bellefonte. The U.S. Department of Energy is still considering Haney’s loan application……… https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/breakingnews/story/2019/feb/05/tva-says-bellefonte-illegal/488049/

February 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Boeing Sued for Negligence in Wildfire That Devastated Malibu

Bloomberg, By Edvard Pettersson, February 6, 2019, Boeing Co. was accused of negligence tied to a wildfire that tore through Malibu, California, in November and that purportedly started on the grounds of the nearby, disused Rocketdyne testing site.

A group of homeowners sued Boeing along with Edison International, the parent of the utility they say was at fault in igniting the fire, on Tuesday in Los Angeles. They claim Boeing failed to properly manage the vegetation on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory and allowed the fire to spread to surrounding neighborhoods.

The Woolsey fire killed 3, burned about 100,000 acres and destroyed 1,500 structures in and around Malibu. Southern California Edison has said an electrical substation on the Boeing property suffered an outage two minutes before the fire was first reported.

…… The case is LaPlante v. Southern California Edison, 19STCV03419, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County.https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-06/boeing-sued-for-negligence-in-wildfire-that-devastated-malibu

February 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Environmental groups to take legal action about South Carolina nuclear decision

Environmental groups challenge SC nuclear decision, setting stage for Supreme Court appeal https://www.postandcourier.com/business/environmental-groups-challenge-sc-nuclear-decision-setting-stage-for-supreme/article_53ded6a2-079e-11e9-bd1e-67572a7e9c93.html By Thad Moore tmoore@postandcourier.com Dec 24, 2018
A pair of environmental groups will challenge state regulators’ decision to let Dominion Energy buy South Carolina Electric & Gas and charge ratepayers for its failed nuclear project.

The legal challenge means that regulators on the state’s Public Service Commission will have to formally reconsider their decision, which would leave SCE&G customers to pay $2.3 billion over the next two decades for a pair of abandoned nuclear reactors.

The process was set in motion Monday by Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, a pair of environmental groups that faced off against SCE&G throughout the decade-long nuclear project. They filed their protest with the commission — the same regulators who made the decision.

The environmental groups say the PSC should have officially made a determination about whether SCE&G handled the nuclear project appropriately. Attorneys opposing the power company argued SCE&G failed to tell regulators about studies that questioned the project’s viability.

The PSC chided SCE&G this month, saying it had damaged the public’s trust. But regulators stopped short of formally saying they had been misled

The environmental groups went further. They argued Monday that “SCE&G fraudulently lied, misled and withheld material information” about the problems that sank its $9 billion plan to build a pair of reactors at V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, north of Columbia.

SCE&G and Dominion, a Virginia-based utility giant that has offered to buy it, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday.

December 28, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

Top court orders TEPCO to pay compensation for voluntary evacuation from Fukushima

December 18, 2018 (Mainichi Japan) TOKYO — The Supreme Court on Dec. 13 upheld the lower court ruling ordering Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) to pay about 16 million yen in compensation to a man in his 40s and his family that voluntarily evacuated Fukushima Prefecture to western Japan after the 2011 nuclear disaster.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s evidence at the State Capture Commission

I WARNED ZUMA OF NUCLEAR PROCUREMENT IMPLICATIONS, SAYS GORDHAN https://ewn.co.za/2018/11/19/i-warned-zuma-of-nuclear-procurement-implications-says-gordhan

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan says he advised former President Jacob Zuma that nuclear procurement would be a complex issue. Clement Manyathela 20 Nov 18 JOHANNESBURG – Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan has told the state capture commission that former President Jacob Zuma was determined to go ahead with the nuclear build programme despite the reality that the country could not afford it. Gordhan appeared before the inquiry on Monday in Parktown.

His interactions with the Gupta family are among other issues he is expected to deal with.

The minister says he advised Zuma that nuclear procurement would be a complex issue.

“I indicated to the former president that it would be lawful to follow procurement processes for such an expensive process to avoid being marred in scandals such as the arms deal.”

He says he wanted Zuma to be aware of the cost implications.

“I wanted to impress upon the former president that that undertaking, the nuclear procurement, required careful consideration of its costs, choice of supplier and due process.”

Last month, former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene told the commission Zuma was so determined to proceed with the nuclear build programme that he showed disregard and no appreciation for the financial ramifications for the country.

Gordhan will continue his testimony on Tuesday.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | legal, South Africa | Leave a comment

SCE and G electric utility aims to discredit the testimony of two former employees

In fight over power bills, SCE&G seeks to disparage ex-employees, $1 million nuclear report, Greenville News, Avery G. Wilks, The State Nov. 19, 2018 COLUMBIA — When the S.C. Public Service Commission rules on SCE&G’s electric rates next month, the Cayce-based utility doesn’t want those regulators to put too much stock into scathing testimony by two of its former employees.

Nor does SCE&G want the commission to weigh heavily a nuclear contractor’s late 2015 assessment that concluded SCE&G’s $9 billion nuclear construction project was foundering and way behind schedule.

Fighting allegations of fraud and mismanagement in this month’s PSC hearing into the failed V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion project, SCE&G has sought to disparage its former employees and a high-powered construction company that it paid $1 million.

It is a key part of SCE&G’s defense as the state’s utility watchdog, environmentalists and consumer groups cite those witnesses to bolster their arguments that the utility’s power bills – which rose by about $27 a month to bankroll the failing project – should be slashed.

That strategy likely will be on display again Tuesday when former utility executive Carlette Walker, vice president of nuclear finance administration for SCE&G’s parent company SCANA, and retired SCE&G engineer Ken Browne testify before the commission for the first time in this case.

Impeach your own people’

Walker and Browne are star witnesses for the S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff, the state’s utility watchdog.

In sworn statements filed with the PSC, both have said SCE&G executives misled the commission in 2015 by testifying the project would cost $698 million more to complete – a number supplied by the project’s lead contractor, Westinghouse.

That number was unrealistically low and based on a productivity rate that never had been achieved at the Fairfield County construction site, Walker and Browne say. A team of SCE&G accountants and engineers worked for weeks to estimate the project actually would cost an additional $1.2 billion to finish — $500 million more than Westinghouse had said.

That half-billion-dollar difference is key to Regulatory Staff’s argument that SCE&G fraudulently won rate hikes and kept its failing nuclear project alive by providing the PSC with low-balled cost estimates. ……..https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/2018/11/19/sce-g-seeks-disparage-ex-employees-1-million-nuclear-report/2055992002/

November 19, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

SCE and G ignored warning signs as costs ballooned for failed nuclear power project

November 15, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, legal, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court upholds right of 21 young people to sue federal government about climate change inaction

Independent 4th Nov 2018 , The Supreme Court has refused to halt a novel lawsuit filed by young
Americans that attempts to force the federal government to take action on
climate change, turning down a request from the Trump administration to
stop it before trial.

The suit, filed in 2015 by 21 young people who argue
that the failure of government leaders to combat climate change violates
their constitutional right to a clean environment, is before a federal
judge in Oregon. It had been delayed while the Supreme Court considered the
emergency request from the government.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/climate-change-lawsuit-trump-us-young-people-children-supreme-court-allows-julia-olsen-a8616136.html

November 5, 2018 Posted by | climate change, legal, USA | Leave a comment

France to defend lawsuit over its Pacific nuclear tests- “accepted its nuclear legacy with serenity” (whatever that means!)

France to defend itself against nuclear tests complaint,  France says it will defend itself against allegations of crimes against humanity for its nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific. The overseas minister, Annick Girardin, made the comment in the senate two days after French Polynesian opposition politician Oscar Temaru told a UN meeting in New York that a complaint had been lodged in the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Ms Girardin said France would defend itself and restate the facts, adding that it accepted its nuclear legacy with serenity……..https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/368543/france-to-defend-itself-against-nuclear-tests-complaint

October 13, 2018 Posted by | France, legal | Leave a comment

US indicts seven Russians for hacking nuclear power firm Westinghouse

 The United States on Thursday indicted seven Russian intelligence officers for conspiring to hack computers and steal data, including attempts to break into the computer networks of the nuclear power company Westinghouse Electric Co. France 24 4 Oct 18The Justice Department said one of the Russian officers performed online reconnaissance and stole log-in credentials of Westinghouse workers, including staff that work at its advanced nuclear reactordevelopment and new reactor technology units.

Westinghouse, which is located outside of Pittsburgh, provides fuel, services and plant design to customers, including Ukraine.

Three of the seven Russian military officers indicted on Thursday were charged in a separate case brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office for their role in hacking activities designed to influence the 2016 presidential election……..

In the indictment, prosecutors alleged that one of the Russian officers, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, performed “technical reconnaissance” of the company as early as Nov. 20, 2014, and got access to IP addresses, domains and network ports. The hackers also researched Westinghouse to learn about the company’s employees and their backgrounds in nuclear energy research.

In December, the Justice Department said, Yermakov and his co-conspirators registered a fake domain and website designed to mimic the company’s website and sent phishing emails to at least five employees. Once people clicked on the spoofed domain and provided their log-ins, they were rerouted to the original network.

On other occasions, according to the indictment, the conspirators also sent spearphishing emails to the personal emails of employees at Westinghouse. Two account users clicked on the malicious links.

The indictment does not clearly explain why Westinghouse was targeted or whether the hackers succeeded, and Justice Department officials declined to comment beyond the indictment.

Westinghouse did not immediately respond to a request for comment. https://www.france24.com/en/20181004-us-indicts-russians-hacking-nuclear-company-westinghouse

October 5, 2018 Posted by | legal, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s push for nuclear energy – court allows a reactor restart, but other legal actions are pending.

Japan Court Allows Nuclear Reactor to Reopen in Boost to Abe’s Energy Push, Bloomberg, By Stephen Stapczynski and Chisaki Watanabe, September 25, 2018,

Shikoku Elec.to restart Ikata No. 3 reactor on October 27  Government seeks to restore industry after Fukushima disaster

A Japanese court paved the way for the nation’s ninth nuclear reactor to restart, boosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to bring dozens of plants back online following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The Hiroshima High Court on Tuesday removed a temporary injunction against Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata No. 3 reactor, the company said in a statement. While the injunction ordered in December would end this month — meaning the utility could have restart the plant from Oct. 1 — the ruling is a symbolic victory for the government, which has often seen the courts stymie efforts to accelerate nuclear restarts.

Policy makers are seeking to restore the nation’s nuclear industry amid efforts to reduce reliance on costly fossil-fuel imports and cut carbon emissions. The battle in Japan over nuclear power has moved mostly to the courts, which have been used by groups opposed to the technology to keep plants shut. Seven of the nation’s 39 operable nuclear units are currently online, while one is under planned maintenance.

…….. There are roughly three dozen lawsuits pending against Japan’s nuclear facilities and the decision in favor of the utility may have some influence on future rulings, according to Datsugenpatsu Bengodan, a group of lawyers who oppose nuclear power. A nationwide survey by Mainichi Newspaper in February show the restart of nuclear reactors was opposed by almost half of the respondents, while about a third of them approved.

Last year, in a separate case, a Japanese high court overturned an injunction in place since March 2016 that barred Kansai Electric from operating two reactors at its Takahama facility in western Japan. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-25/japan-court-rules-shikoku-electric-can-restart-nuclear-reactor

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Japan, legal | Leave a comment

Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge is now open, but radiation fears remain.

Colorado wildlife refuge at old nuclear plant is open – for now, Euro News,  last 25/09/2018 By Keith Coffman, ROCKY FLATS, Colo. (Reuters) – “….Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge since it opened on Sept 15.

September 26, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment