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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

B61 thermonuclear warheads in Turkey – a worry in the light of coup attempt

Coup attempt in Turkey raises a nuclear concern at US air base Incirlik Air Base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. It is also America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons.  South China Morning Post, 24 July, 2016  A little more than 100 miles from the territory held by Islamic State, there is a little piece of Americana. It has an eight-lane swimming pool, a baseball diamond and housing tracts built on carefully manicured cul-de-sacs.

The Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey has some other American assets: several dozen B61 thermonuclear warheads. The base has been a linchpin in Nato’s southern flank for more than half a century, the staging ground for US anti-terrorism missions and the fight against Islamic State.

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But the failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increased long-standing concerns about the military usefulness and security of the Incirlik armoury, America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons. Security remains at the highest level. Electrical power was restored Friday after a weeklong blackout that strained living conditions at the base. The 3,000 US service personnel stationed there have been ordered to remain inside the gates. Hundreds of dependents were sent home months ago because of fears of a terrorist attack.

The base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. Its commander and his subordinates were arrested on suspicion of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, leaving junior officers in control. The developments have shocked US military experts who say they demonstrate a worrying level of instability in Turkey’s military command close to the B61s.

Defence officials have never acknowledged the existence of these weapons on the base and refused at news briefings after the coup attempt to answer questions about them…….

The weapons are in underground vaults in a mile-long security zone at the base, protected by an Air Force guard unit with attack dogs. The nearly 12-foot-long weapons have devices that are supposed to prevent unauthorised detonation, but experts are divided on the effectiveness of those controls.

Unlike the strategic weapons that the US deploys in missile silos, submarines and intercontinental bombers, the B61s at Incirlik are tactical weapons that can be deployed at low altitude in the battlefield……..

“The weapons should be pulled back,” said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “They have been in excess of what is needed in Europe for the past two decades. And now we have this new situation. This is the US nuclear base closest to a war zone. The country has a deeply fractured political and military system.” http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/1994052/coup-attempt-turkey-raises-nuclear-concern-us-air-base

July 25, 2016 Posted by | safety, Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!

Russian-BearBuy-China-nukes-1Buy-S-Korea-nukesflag-UK

Russia, China and South Korea ‘should be invited to build UK nuclear plants’, Telegraph    Emily
Gosden
, energy editor 23 JULY 2016

Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.

UK-subsidy 2016

Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.

Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..

Mr Yeo suggested UK investors could be brought on board to operate any such plants to help counter political concerns about the technologies.

He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/

July 25, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing, Russia, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Russia marketing its nuclear clean-up business to Japan

Japan nuclear cleanup next target in Russian economic offensive, Nikkei Asian Review, TAKAYUKI TANAKA, Nikkei staff writer SOSNOVY BOR, 24 July 16, Russia –– A Russian state company has offered to help decontaminate radioactive water at the battered Fukushima nuclear power plant and assist in decomissioning reactors. In addition to export revenues, Moscow sees a chance to cozy up to a staunch U.S. ally.

Russian-BearTake our tech

Around a 100km drive west of St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of Finland, sits Sosnovy Bor, home to state nuclear energy giant Rosatom’s waste disposal operations. Inside a controlled perimeter, subsidiary RosRAO, the facility’s manager, has created a prototype water decontamination plant for use at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings‘ Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station — the site of Japan’s largest nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The scrubbing facility, unveiled in June, is capable of removing tritium, or radioactive hydrogen, from nuclear-tainted water, something beyond the capabilities of the Fukushima plant’s current cleanup equipment. Distillation and electrolysis isolate and concentrate the isotope, which is then locked away in titanium. Experiments under conditions similar to those on the ground reportedly show the technology cutting wastewater’s radioactive material content to one-6,000th the initial level, making it safe for human consumption or release into the ocean.

Duplicating the facility near the Fukushima site and running it for the five years necessary to process 800,000 cu. meters of contaminated water would cost around $700 million in all. Companies in Japan and the U.S. are at work on their own facilities for tritium disposal, but the Russian plan’s cost and technological capability make it fully competitive, according to the project’s chief.

Rosatom has made other overtures to Japan. Executives from a mining and chemical unit have visited several times this year for talks with Japanese nuclear companies, aiming to cooperate on decommissioning the Fukushima plant and upgrading a reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture for spent nuclear fuel. Russia has amassed a wealth of expertise dealing with damaged nuclear reactors in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, and would like Japan to draw on that knowledge, the subsidiary’s chief executive said.

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Nuclear expertise

Revving up nuclear technology exports is essential to re-energizing Russia’s domestic industry and breaking free of dependence on the resource sector, Moscow has decided. The nuclear business, along with the space industry, is one of the few tech-intensive sectors where the country is internationally competitive. President Vladimir Putin has leaned more heavily on leaders in Europe and emerging countries in recent years to agree to deals with Russia’s nuclear companies………..http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-nuclear-cleanup-next-target-in-Russian-economic-offensive

July 25, 2016 Posted by | Japan, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

South Korean nuclear company to staff Emirates nuclear reactors

Buy-S-Korea-nukesHydro & Nuclear staff to operate Abu Dhabi’s Barakah plant, New agreement will see KHNP staff stationed at Barakah until 2030 Gulf Business, By Robert Anderson, 23 July 16 

Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed an operating support services deal with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power that will see the company dispatch personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant until 2030.

Under the agreement, the Korean firm will provide main control room operators and local operator to support ENEC’s recently launched local operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company……http://gulfbusiness.com/korea-hydro-nuclear-power-staff-operate-abu-dhabis-barakah-plant/#.V5UxYtJ97Gg

July 25, 2016 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

North Korea seek ‘nuclear nation’ status at ASEAN forum

flag-N-KoreaNK to seek ‘nuclear nation’ status at ARF   Pyongyang’s top diplomat attends ASEAN forum, Korea Times,  By Rachel Lee Ri Yong-ho, 23 July 16 
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is expected to call on the international community to accept his country as a nuclear state at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in Laos, officials here said Sunday……..

The North has stepped up its nuclear weapons program this year. It fired a Hwasong-10 intermediate range ballistic missile on June 22, after carrying out its fourth nuclear test on Jan. 4 and a series of ballistic missile tests afterwards.
This year’s ARF, the region’s largest security gathering, attracted diplomats from 27 countries, including all members of the six-party talks aimed at Pyongyang’s denuclearization as well as the 10 ASEAN-member states……..

“The ARF will discuss some of the very complex issues surrounding terrorism, the South China Sea and North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats after its fourth nuclear test early this year,” Yun said, expressing his will to have the majority of participating countries strictly follow the U.N. Security Council’s latest sanctions on Pyongyang.

On the sidelines of the forum, Yun will hold talks with Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos _ all of which have been friendly with Pyongyang _ as part of his efforts to attract participation in sanctioning the North. High on the agenda will also be the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery on the Korean Peninsula. …..http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2016/07/120_210172.html

July 25, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 1 Comment

There’s no end to Fukushima crisis while melted fuel remains

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Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori, left, speaks with Vice Industry Minister Yosuke Takagi

A massive concrete structure encases the wrecked No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, site of the catastrophic 1986 accident.

Dubbed the “sarcophagus,” it was erected to contain the fuel that could not be extracted from the crippled reactor.

I never expected this word (“sekkan” in Japanese) to crop up in connection with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Local governments raised objections to the use of this word in a report compiled by a government organ that supports the decommissioning of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

While the report discusses the extraction of melted fuel as a requirement, it is written in such a way as to suggest that the construction of a sarcophagus is an option that should not be dismissed out of hand.

This outraged the governor of Fukushima, Masao Uchibori, who lashed out, “Containing (the melted fuel) in a sarcophagus spells giving up hope for post-disaster reconstruction and for returning home.”

The government organ has since deleted the word from the report, admitting that it was misleading and that constructing a sarcophagus is not under consideration.

The report lacked any consideration for the feelings of local citizens. But more to the point, just deleting the word does not settle this case.

Even though five years have passed since the disaster, nothing has been decided yet on how to extract the melted fuel. How, then, can anyone guarantee that the fuel will never be “entombed”?

I am reminded anew of the sheer difficulty of decommissioning nuclear reactors. The Fukushima edition of The Asahi Shimbun runs a weekly report on the work being done at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The report portrays the harsh realities at the site, such as leaks of contaminated water and accidents involving workers. Efforts to decommission the crippled reactors continue day after day, but the task is expected to take several decades.

Elsewhere in Japan, the rule that requires nuclear reactors to be decommissioned after 40 years is becoming toothless, and preparations are proceeding steadily for restarting reactors that have remained offline.

“Normalcy” appears to be returning, but there is a huge gap between that and the unending hardships in the disaster-affected areas.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201607230013.html

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

7.7 tons of Chiba’s Fukushima waste won’t be deemed radioactive anymore, clearing way for general disposal

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Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai (left) receives a notice from State Minister of the Environment Shinji Inoue at City Hall on Friday stating that tainted waste stored there from the Fukushima disaster won’t be deemed radioactive anymore.

CHIBA – The government on Friday informed the city of Chiba that the radioactive designation for 7.7 tons of Fukushima-tainted waste stored in the city will be lifted on Saturday, allowing it to be treated as general garbage.

State Minister of the Environment Shinji Inoue conveyed the decision to Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai during a meeting at City Hall in Chiba Prefecture’s capital.

The decision came after it was found that the radioactive activity of cesium in the waste had fallen below the state-set limit of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram.

It will be the first time for such a designation to be lifted for such waste.

The waste was part of the aftermath of the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami of March 2011, which triggered a triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant. The defunct plant is owned by Tokyo Electric Power Holdings Inc.

Some 3,700 tons of designated radioactive waste created by the man-made meltdowns, including incineration ash, is stored in Chiba. The 7.7 tons in question is sitting in a garbage disposal facility in Mihama Ward in Chiba.

The lifting of the designation will allow the city to dispose of the waste in the same way as general waste. But Kumagai has expressed his intention to keep it in storage for the time being.

As of the end of March, 172,899 tons of such designated waste was being stored in Chiba, Tokyo and 10 other prefectures in eastern Japan.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/national/7-7-tons-of-chibas-fukushima-waste-wont-be-deemed-radioactive-anymore-clearing-way-for-general-disposal/#.V5MMs2U5ais

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hurdles mar Japan’s renewable energy equation

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Workers walk among rows of solar panels at Kyocera Corp.’s floating solar power plant at Sakasama Lake in the city of Kasai, Hyogo Prefecture, in May last year.

At Yamakura Dam, 45 km southeast of Tokyo, construction workers are screwing together a 51,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of floating solar panels. When completed, it will be one of the world’s largest floating solar projects.

Roughly 30 percent of the work on the project in Chiba Prefecture is complete, and when it comes online in 2018, the 13.7 megawatt facility will provide enough electricity to power almost 5,000 households annually.

However, even attention-grabbing projects like this one will produce less than 1 percent of what’s needed for Japan to reach its 2015 goal of doubling its renewable energy use to between 22 and 24 percent by 2030 from around 10 percent at present.

The growth of renewable energy in Japan risks being smothered by a wave of newly approved coal mines across the country, as the government is expected to lower its optimistic goal of reviving nuclear energy.

Experts say the government energy policy review, expected as early as next year, will likely result in a downgrading of the forecast for nuclear power’s role in the 2030 energy mix — to between 10 and 15 percent from its current 22 to 24 percent. The move to amend the forecast, initially made in 2015, comes as the government faces ongoing legal challenges and public backlash against the restart of nuclear reactors that were taken offline in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns.

Downgrading the nuclear proportion of the energy mix will provide a fresh wave of opportunities for alternative energy sources to play a larger role.

However, experts say burdensome environmental assessments for wind and geothermal energy, disadvantaged access to the power grid, as well as 48 approved new coal mines, will mean renewable energy may see few of the benefits.

In almost every prefecture nuclear power and fossil fuels are classified as “baseload” energy sources and given priority access to the electricity grid. While renewable companies have access, they are the first to be switched off in the event of excess power and they aren’t compensated.

Ali Izadi-Najafabadi, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Japan, said this is the opposite of the way systems are configured in Europe, where renewables get first access to the grid because they have the lowest marginal cost of production.

“The government said they wanted to make sure the baseload generators wouldn’t have to adjust the baseload for renewables, which are unreliable. It’s a bit of a flawed argument,” Izadi-Najafabadi said.

He said it was “more about the financial arguments” for the operators of these plants. “These generators are only cheap if you produce at a constant rate,” he said.

Gerhad Fasol, CEO of Eurotechnology Japan, a company that works with European technology companies investing in renewable energy here, says the country has a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the world. “Japan had the initial solar surge in 2011, but now there needs to be a focus on how to broaden and diversify,” Fasol said.

Shortly after the March 2011 Fukushima meltdowns the government introduced generous incentives for investment in renewable energy in the form of feed-in tariffs where the government buys renewable energy at above-market rates.

Data from Japan’s 10 largest regional utility companies showed the share of solar in the energy mix rose to around 3.4 percent in 2015 from 0.4 percent in 2012.

But as the initial feed-in tariffs have since been scaled back, the solar investment boom is fading. Sales in photovoltaic units are on the decline and Teikoku Databank Ltd. said in a recent report that the number of solar companies going bankrupt is rising sharply.

Izadi-Najafabadi said that while large-scale solar energy investment will likely see a “significant slowdown” over the next few years, Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects a massive uptake in rooftop solar, driven by consumers incentivized by favorable loan options from banks.

“The government forecast solar would be 7 percent of the energy mix in 2030; our forecast is closer to 12 percent. We also think the government might exceed their overall 22 percent total renewable prediction. Rooftop solar is really going to drive this,” Izadi-Najafabadi said.

Others, however, are not as optimistic. Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace Germany, who has analyzed Japan’s nuclear program since 1991, said large-scale renewable investment will continue falling and the government may not reach its renewable energy goals unless hurdles regarding access to the grid are surmounted.

“If you are a solar company and you aren’t guaranteed access to the grid, why would you invest? There is a critical role for the government in untangling the grid and wresting back control from the utility company in the next four years,” said Burnie.

“There is an intentional destabilization of renewables from the utility companies (through denying access to the grid) and it needs to stop.”

One of the reasons the government gives coal and nuclear energy preferential treatment is because they are considered more stable than renewable energy sources, which are reliant on weather.

In Europe, Burnie pointed out, an emphasis on a range of renewable energy sources provides most countries with a stable baseload of energy.

In Japan, the spread of renewable energy to sectors other than solar is thwarted by complicated environmental assessment approvals, which take between two and five years and are not required for nuclear power or coal-fired power plants.

There are only a few wind farms currently operating in Japan and most are offshore and in trial phases. Strong community resistance in parts of the country has also severely limited investment in land-based wind energy.

The country also has significant potential for geothermal energy, with a National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science survey in 2008 finding Japan has the third-highest resources for geothermal in the world.

However, investment has also been slowed by the environmental assessment process and resistance from the onsen hot springs industry, which is concerned about the impact accessing more geothermal energy will have on their business.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama announced a moratorium on all new federal coal-mining leases in January and many developed countries are slowly weaning themselves off coal. However, in Japan the government is increasingly turning to fossil fuels to fill the energy gap left by idled reactors.

Liquefied natural gas has been used to fill much of the country’s short-term electricity needs and the approval of the 48 new coal mines in the past several years appears to indicate the government’s medium to long-term goals.

“We say in Japan it’s easier to build coal-fire power plants than wind farms,” said Nao-yuki Yamagishi, leader of the World Wildlife Fund Japan’s climate and energy group.

Yamagishi said that if the 48 new coal plants approved by the government come online, coal will overshoot a 26 percent target in the 2030 energy mix, down from 30 percent in 2013, and block space for further potential renewable energy increases.

Yamagishi said the recent move toward coal has made him skeptical about whether Japan is capable of fulfilling the pledge it made last December at the COP21 climate conference in Paris.

Japan vowed a 26 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a pledge at the lower end compared with other OECD countries.

“The current administration doesn’t place any emphasis on climate change,” Yamagishi said, adding that the recent Upper House election campaign had a lot of discussion about nuclear energy, but nothing about climate change.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/07/22/business/hurdles-mar-japans-renewable-energy-equation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+japantimes+%28The+Japan+Times%3A+All+Stories%29#.V5K-2e1VK1F

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Japan business lobby says Abe govt can’t rely on nuclear energy

Japan‘s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

Renewables supplied 14.3 percent of power in the year to March 2016 and the government’s 2030 target is 22-24 pct.

“In the very long term, we have to lower our dependence on nuclear. Based on current progress, nuclear power reliance may not reach even 10 percent,” said Asada, adding the association wanted measures to encourage private investment in renewables and for public funding of infrastructure such as transmission lines.

The influential business lobby has a membership of about 1,400 executives from around 950 companies.

Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo focusing on energy issues, said the push signaled “a profound change in thinking among blue-chip business executives.”

“Many business leaders have clearly thrown in the towel on nuclear and are instead openly lobbying for Japan to vault to global leadership in renewables, efficiency and smart infrastructure.”

When asked about the association’s proposals, an industry ministry official said the government was maintaining its nuclear target.

“The Japanese government will aim for the maximum introduction of renewable energy but renewable energy has a cost issue,” said Yohei Ogino, a deputy director for energy policy.

But three sources familiar with official thinking told Reuters in May that Japan will cut reliance on nuclear power when it releases an updated energy plan as early as next year.

Following the nuclear reactor meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011, Japan has had some success in overcoming one of the world’s worst peacetime energy crises, partly due to lower oil prices and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices.

Japan has also promoted renewables but most investment has been in solar and in recent years it has cut incentives.

“There are too many hurdles for other sources of renewable power,” Asada said.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/japan-energy-idUKL4N19N1D4

 

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings

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This week TEPCO officials at a meeting with officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority in Japan admitted that the ice wall they promoted as an impermeable barrier to prevent groundwater from entering the crippled reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water has failed to work as billed and is technically incapable of blocking off groundwater.

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The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continues to be overwhelmed by enormous amounts of contaminated groundwater that is generated every day as it mixes and interacts with contaminated water in the basement of the reactor buildings.  Currently 400 tons of groundwater flows into the damaged reactor buildings every day and mixes with the highly radioactive water in the basements.

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TEPCO had developed the ice wall and installed subdrain wells around the reactor buildings to pump up the contaminated groundwater, treat it, and discharge it into the Pacific Ocean, in the hopes that it would reduce the amounts of contaminated water generated every day.  The wall consists of a series of underground refrigeration pipes that freeze the soil around them.

Before installation of the wall, TEPCO described the project to the public, saying, “We will create an impermeable barrier by freezing the soil itself all the way down to the bedrock that exists below the plant. When groundwater flowing downhill reaches this frozen barrier it will flow around the reactor buildings, reaching the sea just as it always has, but without contacting the contaminated water within the reactor buildings.”

The ice wall began operating in March of this year, but has not yet made a meaningful impact on reducing the amount of groundwater that enters the reactor buildings.

Experts are concerned that the increasing levels of highly radioactive water in the reactor buildings could escape into the local environment in the event of heavy rainfall or a tsunami.

TEPCO admits that ice wall will not stop groundwater from entering crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactor buildings

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Radiation levels in seabed off Fukushima ‘100s of times’ higher than prior to disaster – Greenpeace

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A man walks at the empty Yotsukura municipal beach in Iwaki, about 40 km (25 miles) south of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Fukushima

The amount of radioactive substances in seabed off Fukushima is hundreds of times higher than before the disaster, a report issued by Greenpeace reveals. The figures mean that there is absolutely “no return to normal after nuclear catastrophe” in the area.

On Thursday, the environmental group released a report addressing the results of the study during which scientists analyzed radioactivity levels along Fukushima’s rivers and in the Pacific seabed off the coast.

These river samples were taken in areas where the [Prime Minister Shinzo] Abe government is stating it is safe for people to live. But the results show there is no return to normal after this nuclear catastrophe,”said Ai Kashiwagi, Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The report showed there is hundreds of times more radioactive substances in the seabed off Fukushima coast than there was prior to 2011. It also stated that the level of hazardous materials along local rivers is 200 times higher compared to the Pacific Ocean seabed.

The extremely high levels of radioactivity we found along the river systems highlights the enormity and longevity of both the environmental contamination and the public health risks resulting from the Fukushima disaster,” Kashiwagi said.

The vast territories including contaminated forests and freshwater systems “will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future,” scientists warned in the press release.

They analyzed the level of radioactive materials, such as Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 (Cs-137), noting a colossal increase in the figures.

While the amount of Cs-137 in seabed near the Fukushima plant was only 0.26 Bq/kg prior to the nuclear disaster, the current number stands at 120 Bq/kg, the report showed. On the whole, the data showed that Cs will pose a threat to human health for hundreds of years to come.

The radiation levels in the sediment off the coast of Fukushima are low compared to land contamination, which is what we expected and consistent with other research,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan.

The current site of the destroyed plant “remains one of the greatest nuclear threats” to Fukushima communities and the Pacific Ocean, the group said.

The hundreds of thousands of tonnes of highly-contaminated water, the apparent failure of the ice wall to reduce groundwater contamination, and the unprecedented challenge of three molten reactor cores all add up to a nuclear crisis that is far from over,” said Ulrich.

Greenpeace also warned against the government’s decision to lift a number of evacuation orders around the Fukushima plant by March 2017.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the largest since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, took place in March 2011 and resulted in three nuclear meltdowns and a leak of radioactive materials. The accident prompted a nationwide shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan with Sendai being the first to start working again, in August 2015.

https://www.rt.com/news/352628-fukushima-radiation-seabed-greenpeace/

July 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese business community wants renewable power, losing faith in nuclear power

poster renewables not nuclearflag-japanJapan business lobby says Abe government can’t rely on nuclear energy http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-energy-idUSKCN1020XH TOKYO | BY OSAMU TSUKIMORI AND AARON SHELDRICK, 22 July 16  Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear weapons not able to reach Britain

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea admits ‘our nuclear weapons aren’t a threat to the UK’, Mirror UK, , 22 JUL 2016, [good pictures and video] 

The rogue state claimed that Theresa May’s comments on the nuclear threat that Kim Jong-un poses were “absolutely astonishing”. North Korea has admitted that its nuclear weapons CAN’T reach the United Kingdom. Pyongyang said that claims made by Theresa May on the threat it poses were “absolutely astonishing”.

A statement from the North Korean foreign ministry said: “It is illogical that the DPRK’s nuclear weapons pose a threat to the UK.

“It is a pity that the UK makes an excuse for the building of [nuclear submarines] by finding fault with the DPRK, thousands [of] kilometres away from it.”

Prime Minister May was making the case for renewing Britain’s Trident missile defence system when she pointed out that the UK must be prepared to act should it come under attack. May added: “We must continually convince any potential aggressors that the benefits of an attack on Britain are far outweighed by their consequences and we cannot afford to relax our guard or rule out further shifts which would put our country in grave danger.”

However North Korea responded: “The DPRK does not regard the UK’s nuclear weapons as a threat to it.

“Therefore, the UK has no need to regard the DPRK’s nukes as a threat to it.”………http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/north-korea-admits-our-nuclear-8469712

July 23, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

flag-indiaIndia Will Never Sign Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Says Sushma http://www.news18.com/news/india/india-will-never-sign-nuclear-non-proliferation-treaty-says-sushma-1271759.html CNN-News18 July 20, 2016,  New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that India will never sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

While making statement in the Lok Sabha, she said, India will continue to engage with China over its opposition to India’s entry to the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“If someone does not agree to something once, it doesn’t mean that they will never agree to it. We are continuing our efforts in engaging with China on this issue,” the foreign minister said on India’s bid to gain entry to the NSG.

Swaraj’s statements on the NSG issue came in response to queries from Opposition members on the status of India’s bid for entry into the elite nuclear trading group.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

India not in Nuclear Suppliers Group, because India won’t sign Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty

India Nuclear Suppliers Group Membership Depends on Signing NPT http://sputniknews.com/politics/20160722/1043439110/india-npt-signing.html  No country which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) can become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj told the lawmakers that India will not sign the NPT.“It is worth mentioning that China does not make the rules for how to become new members of the group. The international community has forged a consensus long ago that the NPT is the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. No country should or can put itself opposite to the NPT,” Lu Kang was cited as saying by The Times of India.

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty entered into force in 1970 with the aim to prevent the spread of nuclear weaponry. Three states, namely India, Pakistan and Israel, denied to sign the treaty. North Korea withdrew from NPT in 2003.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is a group of nuclear supplier countries whose aim is to prevent nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials, equipment and technology which could be used to produce nuclear weapons. As of 2016, the NSG has 48 members, including China

July 23, 2016 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

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