Thousands of Japanese protestors want an end to nuclear power, as well as shutdown of Monju reprocessing plant
Anti-nuclear rally calls for more than just a Monju shutdown http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609230047.html By RYUJI KUDO/ Staff Writer September 23, 2016 Thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered in Tokyo on Sept. 22 to demand the government go beyond decommissioning the troubled Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor and abandon its plans to restart other nuclear power plants.
“We definitely don’t need the money-sucking and dangerous Monju,” said Hisae Sawachi, a writer and a member of the organizing committee of the demonstration, which took place under the banner “No nukes, No war.” “Why don’t government officials have the courage to close down all the other nuclear power plants?”
The rally, at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, followed the government’s decision this week to unplug the reactor, which has hardly generated any electricity despite the more than 1 trillion yen ($9.9 billion) spent on it over two decades.
Masaichi Miyashita, who heads the secretariat of an anti-nuclear group in Fukui Prefecture, told the rally that officials in Tsuruga in the prefecture, where the reactor is situated, are opposed to the government decision to decommission the reactor and want to keep it.
“I wonder how local leaders calling for the continuation of the Monju program consider the health and lives of residents,” he said. “I would like you, demonstrators, to continue to demand the decommissioning of Monju by pressuring the government not to waste taxpayers’ money.”
An estimated 9,500 people attended the rally, according to the organizer, which identifies itself as a citizens’ group that is collecting 10 million signatures for a petition to say “sayonara” to nuclear power. Satoshi Kamata, a journalist who has written about the nuclear industry and a member of the committee, said the government should phase out the entire nuclear program.
“Unplugging Monju is just a starting point in ending Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy and the restart of nuclear power plants, as well as in changing the course of the nation’s nuclear power policy,” he said.
It could have been an ISIS terrorist. Lucky it was only a peace protestor holding up nuclear weapons convoy
- 78-year-old anti-nuclear campaigner lies under military truck in Stirling
- The vehicle thought to be carrying nuclear warheads was part of a convoy
- Police intervened and stopped traffic so it could continue trip to Scotland
By JESSICA DUNCAN FOR MAILONLINE 17 September 2016
The incredible moment a 78-year-old retired teacher managed to hold up four military trucks thought to be carrying nuclear warheads has emerged online.
Shocking moment retired teacher, 77, holds up nuke convoy
The vehicles with their large police convoy were spotted passing through Raploch, in Stirling, at around 5pm yesterday after they had left the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield near Reading on Wednesday to make their way up to Coulport, Scotland.
But they were stopped by two activists including Brian Quail, an anti-nukes campaigner who is also believed to be a former teacher, and his younger colleague Alasdair Ibbotson, 21.
Speaking to the Mail Online Mr Ibbotson, who is a student and Green Party supporter, said: ‘I have been campaigning for nuclear weapon disarmament since I was 16. I am passionate about it because at the end of the day it causes the mass murder of millions of people, and is just wrong on every level.
‘The money spend on trident could be better spent on our NHS.
‘And if a pensioner and a student can stop them, anyone else with actually ill intent could do.
‘The MOD need to think about how this and whether they should use the road at all.‘We knew the convoy was passing through the area around that time because we have a national network tracking when they leave the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield and head to Coulport in Scotland.
‘We don’t know what was on board but we do know they are currently undertaking an upgrade programme and we believe regular parts are being taken between the two bases to be reassembled.’
Mr Quail and Mr Ibbotson were seen working as a duo to stop one of the vehicles.
Mr Ibbotson first jumped out in front of one of the vans with his hands above his head while the OAP quickly lay on the floor wedging himself in front of one of the back wheels.
Police on motorbikes rushed to drag the first protester to the roundabout but it took over two minutes and more than six police personnel to remove Mr Quail from under one of the vans.
The younger man has another attempt to lie down on the road as police move him to the pavement before ten members of the police are required to get them into the back of police vans.
The incident also brought rush hour traffic to a standstill as police swarmed the area and other road users got out of their cars to see what’s happening.
It is reported that the convoy was held up for over 20 minutes as police apprehended the two protesters.
The five minute clip, posted by Stirling University Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), is filmed at a roundabout in the city and begins with the person behind the camera saying that the footage is being filmed ‘about a mile from the town centre’ over the sound of police sirens.
The police escort and first lorry make it past the protesters but the third vehicle in the convoy is forced to slam on its brakes as the two men dart out in front of it with their hands above their heads.
With the incident causing an ever-increasing tailback of rush-hour traffic, it takes over six officers to eventually remove the man and sit him up on the nearby pavement.
A spokesman for Police Scotland said: ‘Two males have been arrested and charged for a breach of the peace after a military convoy was disrupted as it made its way through Stirling on Thursday, September 15.
‘Both men, aged 21 and 78, have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal and are expected to appear in court at a later date…………. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3792600/If-stop-Terrifying-moment-77-year-old-retired-teacher-student-21-holds-nuclear-weapons-convoy.html
Australian Delegation to France Blockaded By Anti-Nuclear Activists http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2016/09/05/australian-delegation-to-france-blockaded-by-anti-nuclear-activists/#more-51943 from Earth First! Newswire On the morning of September 1st an Australian delegation on a parliamentary inquiry into the management of nuclear waste, was blockaded in North-East France by anti-nuclear activists.
The delegation was visiting the National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) facilities in the municipality of Bure, where an anti-nuclear movement under the banner of Bure Zone Libre (Bure Liberated Zone, BZL) has been burgeoning in recent years.
A group of about twenty masked activists dressed in white overalls and armed with water guns, drums and a sound system blocked the Australian delegation from entering the ANDRA laboratory, forcing the delegation to turn around and leave.
“We’re here in solidarity with indigenous resistance to the planned nuclear facility in Australia,” said one activist with a red clown nose. “Nuclear industry endangers life itself, and we will resist it everywhere.”
The BZL movement recently got national headlines in France for toppling a three kilometer long wall which ANDRA has erected around the forest near Bure. The wall was intended to stop the group from reoccupying the forest which ANDRA aims to uproot for the construction of a controversial nuclear waste facility.
“Wherever they’ll build walls, we’ll turn them into wall jam,” the activist laughed, explaining the French wordplay confiture de mur, as mur means both blackberry and wall.
About twenty gendarmes (French military police) patrolled Bure after the action had already ended. The area has been increasingly militarized recently, with activists facing trumped legal charges.
The BZL activists sent the Australian delegates a letter explaining their actions, presented below.
Letter to Australian delegation:
Dear distinguished Australian visitors,
Nuclear industry is a ticking time bomb, whether radioactive waste is dumped in Bure, Wallerberdina, or anywhere else. There is no known way to permanently neutralize it. All claims to the contrary are unfounded (visit nirs.org for details). By accepting to dump nuclear waste in Australia you are not only endangering the lives of aboriginal people and Australians in the region, but of wildlife and of the lives of those who will suffer the consequences nuclear production from extraction to waste everywhere.
Here in Bure, Andra’s project has already cost the lives of two workers, most recently last January, showing the company’s incompetence and disrespect for human life. Undemocratically and illegally imposed on us, the costs of the Cigeo waste project rise as resistance to it is burgeoning, manifesting in absurd military and police presence in the area.
As nuclear power proves to be obsolete and dangerous the world over, and as sustainable alternatives are increasingly available, resistance materializes in Australia as well. You can choose to fight for a just, ecologically balanced world now, and leave Andra’s profit-driven propagandists to listen to what we have to say, or meet us from the other side of the barricades. We are fighting for our lives and for the lives of our children.
We are a growing contingent of local and international activists occupying Bure to stop nuclear catastrophe. In our collective way of organizing and living we present an alternative to nuclear waste and to the sick world which produces it.
Groups fear no nuclear debate in Niigata governor’s race http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609040026.html By YUKO MATSUURA/ Staff Writer September 4, 2016 NIIGATA–Anti-nuclear groups are pleading with Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida to rescind his decision not to run for re-election, seeing him as the “last bastion” to block the restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.
The groups fear that the absence of Izumida in the Oct. 16 Niigata gubernatorial election, whose official campaigning starts on Sept. 29, will cause a dearth in debate among candidates on the safety of the multiple-reactor nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. in the prefecture.
“Governor (Izumida) is not aware of his value,” said Kunio Ueno, 66, secretary-general of the organizing committee for a gathering of anti-nuclear groups held in Kashiwazaki on Sept. 3.
Eighteen groups, based in and outside Niigata Prefecture, set up the organizing committee for the gathering and demanded the decommissioning of reactors at the plant.
“We will not allow candidates in the gubernatorial election to conceal a point of contention,” their declaration read. “We will make the issue of the nuclear power plant the biggest point of contention.”
Outside the site of the gathering, several citizens groups collected signatures to ask Izumida to run in the election.
On Aug. 30, Izumida, 53, who is in his third term as Niigata governor, announced he will not seek re-election, citing a report in a local newspaper that was not related to the nuclear issue.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority is currently conducting screenings toward the restart of reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.
But Izumida has insisted that the causes of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, also operated by TEPCO, must be verified before reactor operations can resume in his prefecture. As of now, only Tamio Mori, 67, mayor of Nagaoka in Niigata Prefecture, has announced he will run in the governor’s race.
On the issue of whether to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, Mori has only said, “I will strictly examine it based on protecting the security and safety of people in the prefecture.”
About 1,300 people took part in the Sept. 3 gathering.
Sayaka Sakazume, 32, of Niigata city, said: “It will be a problem for me if there are no candidates I can vote for based on my thoughts against the reactor restarts. I want a political situation in which we can choose a candidate.”
Grand Canyon tribe fears for its future amid battle against uranium mining Conservationists and other campaigners are urging President Obama to designate 1.7 million acres of the Canyon watershed a national monument before he leaves office, Independent Tim Walker Arizona @timwalker 30 August 2016 “…….First mined for copper at the turn of the 20th Century, the Orphan Mine became a source of uranium to supply the nuclear arms race in the 1950s. It was closed in 1969, but not before contaminating the water in nearby Horn Creek with enough uranium that passing hikers are warned not to drink it. The US National Park Service has already spent millions on a clean-up effort that is still in its early stages. “It proves not everything you dig up can be covered again,” says Kaska, a member of the Havasupai tribe.
The Havasupai, whose name means “people of the blue-green water”, have lived in the Canyon for at least 800 years. The tribe, who today number fewer than 700, rely for their income on the tourists – some 20,000 per year – who visit their reservation to see its strikingly beautiful blue-green waterfalls. But now they fear their lives and livelihoods could be endangered by another uranium mine being drilled nearby.
Canyon Mine sits far from the tourist attractions of the Grand Canyon, six miles to the south in a quiet, 15-acre patch of the Kaibab National Forest. But it is close to Red Butte, a Havasupai sacred site – and, more perilously, it threatens to affect the tribe’s water. The aquifer under the mine flows into Havasupai Springs, their sole water source…
Now, the Havasupai, the Navajo and the Grand Canyon Trust are all part of a coalition of tribes, conservationists and other campaigners hoping to persuade President Obama to create a national monument that would permanently protect the Grand Canyon watershed from any further uranium mining.
Since taking office, Obama has created or enlarged 26 national monuments, protecting almost 550 million acres of federal land and water – at least twice as much as any of his predecessors. Last week, under the US Antiquities Act, he created the largest protected area on Earth, expanding a national marine monument around Hawaii to 582,578 square miles……..http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/grand-canyon-tribe-uranium-mining-obama-national-monument-a7215776.html
Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC) – strong petition against $19.2 billion nuclear power plant
the $19 billion Unit 3 is being built above an earthquake fault.
The Dangerous Nuclear Plant Rising on DC’s Doorstep http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/01/the-dangerous-nuclear-plant-on-dcs-doorstep/ by JOHN LAFORGE, Dominion Virginia Power, a section of the giant utility Dominion, is proceeding unlawfully with construction of its $19-billion-plus power reactor 80 miles from Washington, DC — called North Anna 3 — and must get formal approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) before it can continue, according to a petition filed August 30th by the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC😉, a nonprofit group based in Elliston, Va.
The group’s “Petition for a Declaratory Judgment” says in part: “At an estimated total cost of at least $19.2 billion, North Anna 3 would be the most expensive power [reactor] ever built in the United States and could raise customers’ rates by 26 % or more according to the Virginia Attorney General. While Dominion claims that North Anna 3 is needed for compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan, it would be far costlier than the low-carbon alternative of combined renewables, demand-side management, and efficiency … Dominion has not complied with Virginia law by failing to seek SCC approval before making expenditures on project development and beginning preliminary construction of North Anna 3.” Continue reading
Philippines: Alarm sounded over revival of mothballed nuclear plant, http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/01/philippines_alarm_over_revival_of_mothballed_nuclear_plant_/1255178 A diocese in the northern Philippines has voiced opposition to a government plan to revive a nuclear power plant constructed in the 1970s.
The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Morong in Bataan province was constructed during the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Costing US$.2.3 billion by the time of its completion in 1984, it remains intact though never fueled. Successive governments have not tried to operate the plant after studies revealed it was built near a major geological fault line and lies close to the then dormant Mount Pinatubo volcano.
“We don’t want to put the lives of people in danger … we don’t want our sources of livelihood destroyed,” read a pastoral letter issued by Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. “The diocese has already spoken on this, and we are again making our position known,” said Bishop Santos “For us, life is more precious than profit or money that will come from cheap electricity” he added and “we want to take care of God’s creation in response to His call to take care, not destroy and abuse creation”. Bishop Santos said the government should tap other sources of energy instead of reviving the nuclear plant.
The proposal to revive the plant came during a three-day international conference this week to discuss the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia-Pacific region. Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told journalists on the sidelines of the conference that the country should consider nuclear power to address power shortages and the high cost of electricity. Cusi said the government is already working on a road map and consulting experts on nuclear power.
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said that while nuclear energy is not a major contributor to climate change it poses “more danger to humanity than any kind of calamity or disaster known.” The faith-based group warned that the Philippines, with its high poverty incidence, “cannot withstand the disaster that may be brought about by a nuclear accident.”
A safety inquiry in the 1980s, revealed that the Bataan nuclear plant had over 4,000 defects.
Protests outside nuke conference venue in Manila http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/protests-outside-nuke-conference-venue-in-manila-116083000516_1.html IANS | Manila August 30, 2016 Around a dozen protesters gathered outside the venue of an international conference on nuclear power in this capital city on Tuesday, denouncing the development of atomic power in the Philippines.
The conference on the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia Pacific region hosted by thePhilippinesDepartment of Energy (DOE) brought together representatives from 18 countries who are members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss the issues and challenges of nuclear power, reports Efe news .
They also shouted slogans warning of the dangers of nuclear power and the threat of meltdowns, like the one at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. he protest was motivated by fears that the government is using the conference to revive the dormant Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, about 100 km west of Manila, which was built during the time of late Philippinesdictator Ferdinand Marcos but has never launched.
The conference will run until Thursday
Protests threaten China’s nuclear energy plans, Global Risk Insights, 26 Aug 16 NIMBYism is on the rise in China, and without better dialogue between stakeholders, threatens to undermine Beijing’s nuclear plans and efforts to meet its COP21 goals.
Over the past two weeks, thousands of residents of Lianyungang, a town in Jiangsu province, have gathered, halting preparations for a proposed nuclear waste reprocessing plant. Lianyungang is one of six sites under consideration for the project, but the two companies developing the plant, China National Nuclear Co. (CNNC) and France’s Areva, have not yet decided on a final location.
China’s ambitious nuclear plans The proposed fuel reprocessing center would recycle spent fuel to create new fissile material. This process also reduces the final volume of nuclear waste that needs to be stored. Currently, spent fuel is stored onsite at the power plant, usually first in cooling pools and then in dry casks. Long term storage facilities, such as the controversial Yucca mountain repository in Nevada, have been unsuccessful in gaining regulatory approval. However, on-site waste storage is not viable in the long term, and fuel reprocessing centers, like the proposed $15 billion CNNC-Areva project, will be critical to the viability of nuclear energy in China.………
Chinese state media has attributed the movement in Lianyungang to “nimbyism.” The NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) mentality has led to the suspension or cancellation of other industrial projects in China, such as praxylene or waste incinerator plants.
Lack of public input fuels opposition There is growing advocacy in China for an expanded role for public input in planning these projects – currently decisions at the planning stages are made with little input from residents: “for many local residents, there is no absolute guarantee that those projects, if built in their neighborhood, can be 100 percent safe. If there is some harm, they will bear the brunt of the costs and risks…..” http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/08/nimbyism-threatens-china-nuclear-plans/
Greenland Inuit oppose open-pit uranium mine on Arctic mountain-top http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988016/greenland_inuit_oppose_openpit_uranium_mine_on_arctic_mountaintop.html, Bill Williams ,17th August 2016
A collapse in the price of uranium has not yet stopped Australian mining company GME from trying to press ahead with a massive open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain in southern Greenland, writes Bill Williams – just returned from the small coastal town of Narsaq where local people and Inuit campaigners are driving the growing resistance to the ruinous project.
Recently I was invited to assess an old Danish uranium exploration site in Kvanefjeld in southern Greenland.
Inuit Ataqatigiit – the opposition party in the national parliament – had asked me to talk to local people about the health implications of re-opening the defunct mine.
An Australian firm called Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME) has big plans to extract uranium and rare earth minerals here. It would be a world first: an open-pit uranium mine on an Arctic mountain-top.
From the top of the range above the mine site I looked down across rolling green farmland to the small fishing village of Narsaq. Colourful timber houses rested at the edge of a deep blue strait that the Viking Eric the Red navigated a thousand years ago. Hundreds of icebergs bobbed on its mirror-like surface. To the east, half way up the valley, a small creek tumbled into a deep rock pool.
Behind that saddle lies Lake Tesaq, a pristine Arctic lake that GME plans to fill with nearly a billion tonnes of waste rock. This part of the mine waste would not be the most radioactive, because the company plans to dump this material in a nearby natural basin, with the promise that an ‘impervious’ layer would prevent leaching into the surrounding habitat.
Left behind – all the toxic products of radioactive decay
These mine tailings would contain the majority of the original radioactivity – about 85% in fact – because the miners only want the uranium and the rare earth elements. They would mine and then leave the now highly mobile radioactive contaminants, the progeny from the uranium decay behind: thorium, radium, radon gas, polonium and a horde of other toxins.
Even at very low levels of exposure ionising radiation is recognised as poisonous: responsible for cancer and non-cancer diseases in humans over vast timespans.
This is why my own profession is under growing pressure to reduce exposure of our patients to X-Rays and CT scans in particular – making sure benefit outweighs risk. It’s also why ERA, the proprietors of the Ranger mine in Kakadu, Australia, are legally obliged to isolate the tailings for at least 10,000 years.
While this is hardly possible, the mere fact that it is required highlights the severity and longevity of the risk. My Inuit audience in Narsaq was particularly interested to hear the messages I brought from traditional owners in Australia like Yvonne Margarula, of the Mirarr people:
“The problems always last, but the promises never do.”
And Jeffrey Lee from Koongara:
“I will fight to the end and we will stop it, then it won’t continue on for more uranium here in Kakadu.”
So far in 2016, not a single new nuclear reactor has opened
- The NZ public overwhelmingly supports its anti-nuclear stance
- The US suspended its ANZUS obligations to NZ after its destroyer was denied access in 1985
- Peace protests expected when non-nuclear ships visit NZ in November
When the NZ Navy celebrates its 75th birthday in November, US warships will be there. It will be the first time any American military ship has entered a New Zealand port since the country’s controversial anti-nuclear legislation was passed in 1987.
“What this means is that any ship that comes here will be coming on New Zealand’s terms,” says investigative journalist Nicky Hager, a key figure in the anti-nuclear movement at the time.
“Our terms were set 30 years ago with the nuclear-free policy.”
Peace campaigner and former Green MP, Keith Locke, agrees. “It is recognition that most of the New Zealand public does not want nuclear ships and the US cannot get around that,” he says.
Anti-nuclear stance strains relationship with US
The stand taken by the comparatively tiny nation caused a rift between the allies which has lasted three decades, and has been likened to a mouse that roared.
New Zealand’s anti-nuclear movement was spurred to action when France tested nuclear weapons at Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia in the 1960s. More than 80,000 New Zealanders signed a petition calling for a nuclear-free Southern Hemisphere.
“It was the biggest petition anywhere since the Suffragettes’ campaign of the 1890s,” Mr Locke says.
The anti-nuclear mood gripped the nation. Visiting US warships powered by small nuclear reactors sparked massive protests in the 1970s and 1980s, drawing thousands onto the streets…….
The nuclear ship ban has been a central pillar of New Zealand’s foreign policy ever since.
Warships from other nuclear-weapons states, such as the UK and China, have docked in New Zealand ports because they were prepared to declare their vessels “nuclear-free”.
However, the US stuck rigidly to its policy of “neither confirming nor denying” if a ship was nuclear-armed or powered. And that has kept American naval vessels out…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-13/new-zealand-celebrates-anti-nuclear-victory-over-united-states/7731644
Japan reactor restarts, despite protests, boosting Tokyo’s nuclear push, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-12/japan-reactor-restarts-in-post-fukushima-nuclear-push/7729892Japan has restarted a nuclear reactor despite a court challenge by local residents, in a boost for Tokyo’s faltering post-Fukushima push to bring back atomic power.
Operator Shikoku Electric Power said it switched on the No 3 reactor at its Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime prefecture, about 700 kilometres south-west of Tokyo.
The reactor — shuttered along with dozens of others across Japan in the wake of the March 2011 Fukushima accident — was expected to be fully operational by August 22.
The prefecture’s governor and the mayor of the plant’s host town agreed on the restart in October, in the face of opposition from some local residents who filed a lawsuit to halt the refiring.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and utility companies have been pushing to get reactors back in operation after a huge earthquake and tsunami caused a disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in north-eastern Japan.
The accident forced all of Japan’s dozens of reactors offline in the face of public worries over the safety of nuclear power and fears about radiation exposure, forcing a move to pricey fossil fuels.
Opposition to nuclear power has seen communities across the country file lawsuits to prevent restarts, marking a serious challenge for Mr Abe’s pro-nuclear stance.
In April, a court ruled that Japan’s only two working nuclear reactors could remain online, rejecting an appeal by residents who said tougher post-Fukushima safety rules were still inadequate. Two other reactors in central Japan had also been restarted before a court in March ordered them offline in response to a legal challenge.
Including the reactor restarting on Friday, Japan will have just three operating reactors — and furious local residents have vowed to fight on.
“We protest this restart of the Ikata nuclear reactor and are extremely angry,” the residents’ group said in a statement, adding that the reactor’s use of a plutonium-uranium MOX fuel made it especially dangerous.
“We can’t have another Fukushima.”
The utility said it would make “ceaseless efforts” to ensure the plant was safe and to keep residents informed about key details of the restart.
China protest against nuclear waste plant https://next.ft.com/content/dacb775a-5c7f-11e6-bb77-a121aa8abd95 Thousands take to streets in move that poses threat to country’s atomic plans by: Lucy Hornby and Luna Lin in Beijing, 7 Aug 16
Thousands of people took to the streets of an eastern Chinese city this weekend to protest against a proposed nuclear waste reprocessing facility, in a show of public opposition that China fears could derail its ambitious plans to construct dozens of nuclear reactors.
China has been building nuclear reactors at a blistering pace, part of a plan for non-fossil fuels to provide a fifth of national energy supply by 2030. The country so far lacks sufficient nuclear waste processing facilities to handle the output from its planned reactors, and is also short of enrichment facilities to process fuel for the reactors to burn.
Anti-nuclear protests in China have been few and far between but Beijing has treated them with kid gloves for fear of setting off broader public opposition to the state’snuclear plans. The only two nuclear projects that have attracted significant publicopposition in the past 10 years have been called off.
Protesters in Lianyungang, a port city to the north of Shanghai in Jiangsu province, said they were worried about the health and safety impact of the proposed Sino-French venture. Thousands of residents turned out on Saturday evening in a protest monitored but not stopped by local police, and a second protest was expected for Sunday evening.
“The government kept the project a secret. People only found out about it recently. That’s why most people are worried,” said Mr Sheng, a local resident who declined to give his full name. “Some speculate that the nuclear waste is from other countries and do not understand why the project should be built here instead of over there if it’s as safe and beneficial as they say.”
The city is about 30km west of the Russian-built Tianwan nuclear plant, a complex that will be among the largest in China when all eight planned reactors are built. Its economy has faltered along with China’s industrial slowdown. In June, a scrap steel yard in Lianyungang that was China’s largest declared it could not pay its debts.
“We already have a chemical industrial park in Lianyungang and the pollution problem is quite worrying. Nuclear waste is far worse than normal chemical pollution,” said Mr He, a local shop owner. “Also, we all know what happened to Fukushima in Japan after the nuclear accident. We are really worried.”
French nuclear fuel group Areva in 2012 agreed to co-operate with China National Nuclear Corp, which operates the Tianwan site, to develop a nuclear fuel recycling plant in China but did not specify a location. In November last year, the French company — whose reactor business has been merged with French rival EDF — said CNNC might buy a minority stake covering the areas of uranium mining, recycling and decommissioning.
This is a critical moment for the disarmament movement, and activists in Canada and abroad are pushing for broad public support for a nuclear ban. In September, the United Nations’ open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament will present its final report, hopefully laying out a path toward a convention banning these weapons for good.
Nuclear disarmament: back on centre stage ELIZABETH RENZETTI, The Globe and Mail, Aug. 05, 2016 Could Donald Trump accidentally be the best friend of the nuclear disarmament movement? This may sound like Dr. Strangelove-level madness, but the prospect of the Republican presidential candidate anywhere near the nuclear launch codes could be a pivotal movement for public awareness, and it comes at a critical time for the movement to ban those weapons.
Consider, first, that the disarmament movement, although well-organized and determined, has done its important work largely in the dark for the past three decades. It’s just not an issue that electrifies the public, even if it should. As former U.S. defence secretary William Perry writes in his recent book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, “Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness. Passivity shows broadly.”
Now, consider that Mr. Trump has made this existential threat – Russia and the United States each have nearly 2,000 weapons deployed and ready to launch – not so much theoretical as terrifyingly real. This week, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough created a stir when he said he had heard that a “foreign policy expert” was briefing Mr. Trump, and the presidential candidate mentioned nuclear weapons, asking, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”……
This is a critical moment for the disarmament movement, and activists in Canada and abroad are pushing for broad public support for a nuclear ban. In September, the United Nations’ open-ended working group on nuclear disarmament will present its final report, hopefully laying out a path toward a convention banning these weapons for good.
The eight nuclear powers (North Korea is the ninth) will try to block this. Canada, which has traditionally sided with it large and domineering American friend on nuclear-arms issues at the UN, could instead take a leading and ground-breaking role toward a more stable and peaceful world, as it did with the Ottawa Treaty banning landmines in 1997. (Last year, Canada was one of only 29 countries refusing to endorse a humanitarian pledge to seek a weapons treaty at the UN, along with the United States and Britain, also a nuclear power. Meanwhile 139 countries supported the pledge. Seventeen abstained, including the nuclear states India, Pakistan and China.)
More than 800 members of the Order of Canada have supported the campaign by Canadians for a Nuclear Weapons Convention, and the group Science for Peace has started a national letter-writing campaign to persuade Canadian lawmakers. This may take some doing……..
As long as the disarmament issue remains at the back of the public consciousness, nothing will change. In early August every year, the world briefly stops to remember the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then moves on again. This might be changing, though: There were powerful protests last month as British lawmakers voted to renew the Trident nuclear submarine defence, and alarm bells when the failed Turkish coup threatened Incirlik Air Force base, where the United States stores some of its nuclear weapons…….
both Russia and the United States are moving, in real time, to refurbish their nuclear arsenals.
It’s worth keeping in mind the words of Mr. Perry, who witnessed the devastation of Japan as a soldier stationed there after the Second World War: “I believe that the risk of a nuclear catastrophe today is greater than it was during the Cold War – and yet our public is blissfully unaware of the new nuclear dangers they face.” That’s a scary message, but fear can be a great motivator, at the right time. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/nuclear-disarmament-back-on-centre-stage/article31284426/
Campaigners call on government to stop Hinkley Point http://www.energylivenews.com/2016/07/26/campaigners-call-on-government-to-stop-hinkley-point/ Jul 26, 2016 Jacqueline Echevarria A group of campaigners are calling on the government to ditch the new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C (HPC) in Somerset.
Called ‘Stop Hinkley’, the group has sent a letter to Business, Energy and Industry Strategy Secretary Greg Clark ahead of a final investment decision for the project by EDF’s Board onThursday. They say a final investment decision for Hinkley would be “little more than spin as problems mount for nuclear delusion”.
They believe the nuclear project is too expensive, will kill British manufacturing, is bad for consumers, the taxpayer, business and potentially the environment and is a total waste of money.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects could be implemented very quickly and much more cheaply, they added.
They stated ditching EDF’s plans for HPC would provide the country with a “wonderful” opportunity to turn Somerset into a sustainable energy hub for England.Allan Jeffery from Stop Hinkley said: “Now even the financial press says Hinkley Point C has become a laughing stock. The cost keeps rising while the cost of renewables is falling rapidly and the potential to make savings with energy efficiency is huge. We could replace Hinkley much more quickly and cheaply without the safety fears and without producing dangerous waste we don’t know what to do with.”
According to the former Department of Energy and Climate Change, the estimated cost of the Hinkley Point C project over its lifetime could reach £37 billion.
French authorities have raided EDF’s headquarters in France before the Hinkley decision.
ELN has contacted BEIS for a comment.
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