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Authorities deceive the public on radiation from Fukushima Daiichi

Dr Yamashita is only one among a host of politicians, bureaucrats, experts and advertising and media consultants who support the post-3.11 safety mantra of anshin (secure 安心), anzen (safe 安全), fukkō (recovery 復 興). Through public meetings, media channels, education manuals and workshops,54 local citizens in Fukushima Prefecture were inundated with optimistic and reassuring messages.
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At the same time, to reduce ‘radiophobia’ and anxiety, while focusing on the psychological impact from stress, health risks from radiation exposures have been trivialised and/or normalised for the general public.
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This approach is backed up by international nuclear-related agencies. As stipulated on 28 May 1959 in the ‘WHA12-40’ agreement, the WHO is mandated to report all data on health effects from radiation exposures to the IAEA, which controls publication.
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Nevertheless, it is no longer possible to ignore a significant body of research, including 20 years of scientific studies compiled in Belarus and Ukraine that show serious depopulation, ongoing illnesses and state decline.

Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management Adam Broinowski {extensive footnotes and references on original]  September 2018, “……… (Official Medicine: The (Il)logic of Radiation Dosimetry On what basis have these policies on radiation from Fukushima Daiichi been made? Instead of containing contamination, the authorities have mounted a concerted campaign to convince the public that it is safe to live with radiation in areas that should be considered uninhabitable and unusable according to internationally accepted standards. To do so, they have concealed from public knowledge the material conditions of radiation contamination so as to facilitate the return of the evacuee population to ‘normalcy’, or life as it was before 3.11. This position has been further supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which stated annual doses of up to 20 mSv/y are safe for the total population including women and children.43 The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Scientific Commission on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) also asserted that there were no ‘immediate’ radiation related illnesses or deaths (genpatsu kanren shi 原発 関連死) and declared the major health impact to be psychological.

While the central and prefectural governments have repeatedly reassured the public since the beginning of the disaster that there is no immediate health risk, in May 2011 access to official statistics for cancer-related illnesses (including leukaemia) in Fukushima and southern Miyagi prefectures was shut down. On 6 December 2013, the Special Secrets Protection Law (Tokutei Himitsu Hogo Hō 特定秘密保護法) aimed at restricting government employees and experts from giving journalists access to information deemed sensitive to national security was passed (effective December 2014). Passed at the same time was the Cancer Registration Law (Gan Tōroku Hō 癌登録法), which made it illegal to share medical data or information on radiation-related issues including evaluation of medical data obtained through screenings, and denied public access to certain medical records, with violations punishable with a 2 million yen fine or 5–10 years’ imprisonment. In January 2014, the IAEA, UNSCEAR and Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima Medical University (FMU) signed a confidentiality agreement to control medical data on radiation. All medical personnel (hospitals) must submit data (mortality, morbidity, general illnesses from radiation exposures) to a central repository run by the FMU and IAEA.44 It is likely this data has been collected in the large Fukushima Centre for Environmental Creation, which opened in Minami-Sōma in late 2015 to communicate ‘accurate information on radiation to the public and dispel anxiety’. This official position contrasts with the results of the first round of the Fukushima Health Management Survey (October 2011 – April 2015) of 370,000 young people (under 18 at the time of the disaster) in Fukushima prefecture since 3.11, as mandated in the Children and Disaster Victims Support Act (June 2012).45 The survey report admitted that paediatric thyroid cancers were ‘several tens of times larger’ (suitei sareru yūbyōsū ni kurabete sūjūbai no ōdā de ōi 推定される有病数に比べて数十倍の オーダーで多い) than the amount estimated.46 By 30 September 2015, as part of the second-round screening (April 2014–March 2016) to be conducted once every two years until the age of 20 and once every five years after 20, there were 15 additional confirmed thyroid cancers coming to a total of 152 malignant or suspected paediatric thyroid cancer cases with 115 surgically confirmed and 37 awaiting surgical confirmation. Almost all have been papillary thyroid cancer with only three as poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (these are no less dangerous). By June 2016, this had increased to 173 confirmed (131) or suspected (42) paediatric thyroid cancer cases.47

The National Cancer Research Center also estimated an increase of childhood thyroid cancer by 61 times, from the 2010 national average of 1–3 per million to 1 in 3,000 children. Continue reading

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September 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | 4 Comments

Peaceful agreement between North and South Korea – but little of substance on denuclearization

North Korea agrees to dismantle nuclear site if U.S. takes steps too

At inter-Korean summit, little of substance on denuclearization https://thebulletin.org/2018/09/at-inter-korean-summit-little-of-substance-on-denuclearization/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20Email&utm_campaign=September21

By Elisabeth Eaves, September 19, 2018 The leaders of North and South Korea met again this week, ostensibly with a goal of moving the peninsula they share towards denuclearization. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have done so, says Bulletin columnist Duyeon Kim, who followed the summit from Seoul. She shared her analysis with CNN.

“I hate to pour cold water on the situation, but … we have to wait and see what details come out of Moon’s meeting with Trump,” she told CNN anchor Kristie Lu Stout. Moon and US President Donald Trump are expected to speak next week.

The joint statement the Korean leaders issued on Wednesday was short on specifics and new information, Duyeon Kim says—which was as expected. North Korea said it would dismantle a missile engine-test facility and launch pad, a promise it had already made in June. It also said it was willing to dismantle the country’s Yongbyon nuclear complex—if the United States took unspecified “corresponding” measures first.

“Based on the joint statements and the press conference—what is known to us publicly—it does not move the ball forward at all,” Duyeon Kim told CNN. “We’re still in the same place.”

This is the third summit between the North’s hereditary dictator, Kim Jong-un, and the South’s elected President Moon Jae-in. Moon has become a sort of peace broker between the North and the United States, whose leaders were threatening each other with destruction just last year, and many observers still hope he will be able to bring them together.

Earlier, Duyeon Kim shared her expectations for this week’s summit with the BBC, available on this Twitter video thread. As she notes, North Korea and the United States have yet to agree on a definition of “denuclearization.”

September 22, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority partnering with Japan Atomic Energy Agency

Whitehaven News 20th Sept 2018 , The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has joined forces with the Japan
Atomic Energy Agency to share expertise in nuclear decommissioning and
radioactive waste management. The NDA – which is responsible for cleaning
up and decommissioning 17 sites in the UK including Sellafield in Cumbria
– has signed an agreement that will see skills, knowledge, research,
information and technology exchanged with the JAEA, Japan’s research and
development institute for nuclear energy.

JAEA’s work includes undertaking research and development work to support the decommissioning
and environmental restoration of TEPCO’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear Power station. It is also aiding the decommissioning of the Monju
fast breeder reactor and the Tokai Reprocessing Plant.
http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/business/NDA-joins-forces-with-Japan-Atomic-Energy-Agency-98721037-4777-4322-a8fc-22b18d0c979e-ds

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Japan, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Theft of radioactive materials

Radioactive material is still missing in Malaysia: Cause for concern?, Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsBy Francisco ParadaMargarita Kalinina-PohlMiles A. Pomper, September 14, 2018 A radioactive source was reported missing on August 10 in Malaysia. Since then, Malaysian authorities have expressed growing concern about the possible use of this material in a terrorist attack. The reality is that this material could be used to build a radiological dispersal device (RDD), commonly known as a “dirty bomb,” and it can be found virtually in any country in the world……..

According to records from the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board, there have been more than 16 cases involving the theft or loss of radioactive material since the 1990s, with the last incident reported in February 2017. Reports of the present incident in Malaysia indicate that the source “was being transported 30 miles from the town of Seremban to Shah Alam on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.” The missing device is an industrial radiography unit with an iridium 192 isotope used for non-destructive testing. Without knowing the specific activity (i.e., the concentration of radioactivity) of the isotope, one cannot be sure of its precise potential harm, but commonly, this type of device is considered to be, in plain language, very dangerous. ……..

The incident caused concerns at the highest levels of the government, and it was discussed in the National Security Council of Malaysia. Datuk Ayub Khan Mydin Pitchay, the Special Branch’s Counter-Terrorism Division assistant principal director, reported that after an investigation, the case was not linked to terrorism, and now is a criminal investigation. However, the possibility of malicious intent and insider threat cannot be ruled out, and the Malaysian government in late August set up a special force of the Atomic Energy Licensing Board and local police to continue investigating the incident.

Regional concerns in Southeast Asia. The missing radioactive device in Malaysia also raises concerns on the regional level, for a variety of reasons. First, Malaysia is in a strategic location for shipping routes as it shares a border with Singapore—one of the world’s busiest ports. With a high volume of cross-border transfer of goods into and out of Singapore, a perpetrator could smuggle a radioactive source to a country with porous borders. Fortunately, Singapore has a robust radiation portal monitor (RPM) infrastructure to prevent the smuggling of radioactive material. Complementing their RPMs, national authorities decided to ramp up security at their borders checkpoints as well. ……..

Global problem. One of the common motivations behind the theft of radiation sources is the hope of profits; missing or stolen radioactive sources can become a safety concern if they end up in scrap metal yards or are intentionally sold as scrap metal……… https://thebulletin.org/2018/09/radioactive-material-is-still-missing-in-malaysia-cause-for-concern/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20Email&utm_campaign=September21

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Malaysia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

North Korea would Permanently Dismantle Nuclear Complex If U.S. Takes Corresponding Steps on the peninsula

North Korea Agrees to Permanently Dismantle Nuclear Complex If U.S. Takes Corresponding Steps, TIME,  ERIC TALMADGE AND KIM TONG-HYUNG / AP , September 19, 2018   (PYONGYANG, North Korea)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced a sweeping set of agreements after their second day of talks in Pyongyang on Wednesday that included a promise by Kim to permanently dismantle the North’s main nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures, the acceptance of international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Declaring they had made a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula, the two leaders were side by side as they announced the joint statement to a group of North and South Korean reporters after a closed-door meeting Wednesday morning……

The statement caps off the third summit between Kim and Moon, who is under increasing pressure from Washington to find a path forward in its efforts to get Kim to completely — and unilaterally — abandon his nuclear arsenal. ……..

The question is whether it will be enough for President Donald Trump to pick up where Moon has left off.

Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship, and both leaders have expressed interest in a follow-up summit to their meeting in June in Singapore. North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a cease-fire, but neither leader mentioned it as they read the joint statement.

In the meantime, however, Moon and Kim made concrete moves of their own to reduce tensions on their border.

According a joint statement signed by the countries’ defense chiefs, the two Koreas agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to reduce military tensions and prevent accidental clashes. They also agreed to withdraw 11 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone by December and to establish a no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas that will apply to planes, helicopters and drones………http://time.com/5400296/north-korea-dismantle-nuclear-complex-nyongbyon/

September 21, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 1 Comment

North Korea is willing to allow outside inspectors to check its closed nuclear weapons test site

South Korea Says Pyongyang Willing to Open Up Nuclear-Weapons Test Site

Moon makes disclosure after returning from summit with Kim, in bid to win over North Korea skeptics, WSJ, By Andrew Jeong and Dasl Yoon,  Sept. 20, 2018 SEOUL—North Korea is open to allowing outside inspections of a nuclear-weapons testing site it closed in May, South Korea’s leader said Thursday, just a day after the North agreed to open a missile site to inspectors.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

A good move – Malaysia rejecting nuclear energy

September 21, 2018 Posted by | Malaysia, politics | Leave a comment

Typhoon Mangkhut heading straight for 2 Chinese nuclear power stations

RED ALERT: Typhoon Mangkhut to SMASH into TWO nuclear plants as MILLIONS evacuate in panic https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1018412/Typhoon-Mangkhut-Hong-Kong-China-nuclear-plants-red-alert-worst-storm

TYPHOON MANGKHUT – the most powerful storm of the year – is expected to directly hit two nuclear power plants later today with shocking 120mph winds, as officials issue a red alert warning.

By OLI SMITH  Sep 16, 2018 Typhoon Mangkhut has battered Hong Kong and southern China today, prompting 2.45 million to evacuate.

The typhoon is the world’s most powerful storm of the year, with winds as high as 170 miles per hour – twice as powerful as Hurricane Florence which has struck the US east coast. At least 64 people have died in the wake of the typhoon in the Phillipines while so far two are reportedly dead in Hong Kong.

Officials have issued a red alert warning amid mounting fears over two nuclear power stations in the direct path of the typhoon.There are concerns the typhoon will damage the nuclear reactors and efforts are underway to avoid a repeat of the Japanese Fukushima catastrophe, when an earthquake and tsunami sent three nuclear reactors into meltdown.

The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station, both in Guangdong, mainland China, confirmed they were “combat ready” and in emergency lockdown as the superstorm nears.

Emergency safety investigations have been carried out at both plants for last-minute preparations behind the typhoon strikes this evening with 120mph winds.

A spokesman for the Taishan facility said: “All emergency personnel are at their posts and have conducted their preparatory work.The plant is fully prepared for the typhoon, and everything is in its place.”

Workers at the Yangjiang plant also secured the facility’s five generating units but fears remain for the sixth, which remains under construction.

Plant manager Chen Weizhong added that all doors and windows were tightly closed.

Mangkhut has already caused mass devastation in the Philippines, where around 40 gold miners are feared trapped following a landslide.The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) raised the storm signal to T10 – the highest level possible, as the city shut down.

Footage from Hong Kong shows the scale of devastation, including a high-rise construction crane collapsing and windows in skyscrapers breaking under pressure.

One video shows a father and son swept off their feet and thrown into a wall due to the sheer power of the winds

After the typhoon passes over Hong Kong, the powerful storm is expected to wreak havoc across several Chinese megacities.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | China, climate change, safety | Leave a comment

Community in Madhya Pradesh protest against proposed nuclear plant

Activists, villagers raise concern over proposed nuclear plant in MP https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/activists-villagers-raise-concern-over-proposed-nuclear-plant-in-mp-118091801368_1.html

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi September 18, 2018  Activists and villagers raised their concerns over a proposed plant in Chutka in on Tuesday, saying it would destroy nature and take away their homeland.

In 2009, Corporation of Ltd. (NPCIL) has decided to set up the atomic station in Mandla district of to generate 1,400 MW power.

Power Generating Company Limited (MPPGCL) is the nodal agency to facilitate the execution of the project.

The villagers claimed they have been protesting for the past nine years over the atomic power plant and when they did not relent, compensation was put into their accounts forcefully. “MPPGCL forcefully put the compensation amount in our accounts and took our Aadhaar copies from the  We have written to the to remove their money,” said Meera Bai, a resident of Chutka.

Another resident, Dadu Lal Kudape, said they visited other villages where nuclear plants would be coming up and they found contaminated and 

“We do not want the same things to happen to us,” he said.

Padmini Ghosh, Women’s Regional Network Coordinator, said if European countries are dismantling plants, is building them. “We need to review nuclear policy and install renewable plants,” Ghosh said.

Raj Kumar Sinha, activist working with the villagers, said they are being exploited and no amount of money could compensate for their land.

“These people are nature lovers. They can’t be bought with money,” he said.

The Women’s Regional Network said a total of 17,000 people would be displaced if the plant comes up.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Typhoon Mangkhut heads towards two nuclear power stations on China’s Guangdong coast

Typhoon Mangkhut: Two nuclear power plants on China’s Guangdong coast in path of storm  Workers batten down the hatches at Yangjiang and Taishan facilities as superstorm set to make landfall nearby, South China Morning Post Sarah Zheng, 16 September, 2018,Two nuclear power plants stand on the projected path of Typhoon Mangkhut, which is expected to make landfall in mainland China as early as Sunday afternoon. Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station, both in Guangdong province, said they were “in combat readiness” mode as the superstorm approached.

The Taishan plant, which is about 135km from Hong Kong, said via WeChat that officials had discussed how best to deal with the approaching storm and specialist workers had conducted safety investigations.

Emergency response teams had also been briefed and were prepared for the typhoon’s arrival………

The Yangjiang power plant, which went into commercial operation in 2014, has been in the news before.

In 2016, four members of its staff were punished for breaching operational guidelines and covering up an incident in which a residual heat-removal pump on one of the reactors stopped functioning for six minutes.

Last year, component supplier Dalian Teikoku Canned Motor Pump Company was fined for violating operating rules regarding welding at the plant……..https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2164363/chinese-nuclear-power-plant-path-super-typhoon-mangkhut

September 17, 2018 Posted by | China, climate change | Leave a comment

Fukuhima academic team establishing an archive of nuclear disaster lessons

Fukushima prof., residents seek to establish an archive of nuke disaster lessons, Mainichi  News,  KATSURAO, Fukushima, 16 Sept 18 — A Fukushima University professor and his team are gathering materials for an archive project to pass on the lessons learned from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and nuclear disaster in this prefecture in northeastern Japan.

In a March 2017 plan finalized by the Fukushima Prefectural Government, the archives will be inaugurated in the summer of 2020 at a cost of approximately 5.5 billion yen in the town of Futaba, which has been rendered “difficult to live” due to radioactive fallout from the triple core meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)’s Fukushima No.1 Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011. The facility will have a total floor space of 5,200 square meters with areas for exhibitions, management and research, storage, training sessions and holding meetings. The design was modeled after a similar center in the western Japan city of Kobe that was built to store records of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, but with more focus on the nuclear disaster than the quake itself.

Professor Kenji Yaginuma of Fukushima University’s Fukushima Future Center for Regional Revitalization and his team are visiting places affected by the nuclear accident and collecting testimonies of residents, documents, pictures and images for the project…………
Yaginuma’s team is collecting just about anything that shows the daily lives of residents before the quake, or items that show what happened in the disaster and the ensuing nuclear accident, as well as materials indicative of post-disaster situations………..https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180912/p2a/00m/0na/028000c

September 17, 2018 Posted by | culture and arts, Japan | Leave a comment

South Korea’s President Moon hopes to break nuclear deadlock, in third meeting with Kim Jong Un

Moon seeks to break nuclear deadlock at Pyongyang summit, Yahoo News,  Sunghee Hwang, AFPSeptember 16, 2018 

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the third time in Pyongyang this week

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the third time in Pyongyang this week (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-je)

Seoul (AFP) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in travels to Pyongyang this week for his third summit with Kim Jong Un, looking to break the deadlock in nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States.

Moon — whose own parents fled the North during the 1950-53 Korean War — flies north on Tuesday for a three-day trip, following in the footsteps of his predecessors Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and mentor Roh Moo-hyun in 2007.

No details of the programme have been announced but Pyongyang is likely to pull out all the stops to create a good impression, with tens of thousands of people lining the streets to welcome him.

The visit comes after the North staged its “Mass Games” propaganda display for the first time in five years……….

Despite the deadlock in denuclearisation talks, since the Panmunjom summit the two Koreas have sought to pursue joint projects in multiple fields.

But North Korea is under several different sets of sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes, complicating Moon’s desire to promote cross-border economic schemes.

The dovish South Korean president is taking several South Korean business tycoons with him to the North, including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and the vice chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group, whose founder was a wartime refugee from the North………

special advisor Moon Chung-in added that the South Korean president could look to persuade Kim to come up with a “somewhat radical and bold initiative”, such as dismantling some nuclear bombs, and press the US for reciprocal measures.

“And the United States should be willing to come up with major economic easing of economic sanctions,” he said. https://www.yahoo.com/news/moon-seeks-break-nuclear-deadlock-pyongyang-summit-041619994.html

September 17, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Massive flow of money into Japanese coal and nuclear power

Why Can’t Japan Kick Coal And Nuclear? Oil Price, Energy Finance in Japan 2018: Funding Climate Change and Nuclear Risk was commissioned by a climate change-focused non-government organization (NGO) called 350.org based in the United States. The study found that the Japanese finance industry gave US$80 billion in loans and underwriting services, the majority (50 percent) of which went straight to coal development, with the other half split between nuclear and other fossil fuel resource companies. The other US$12 billion went to bonds and shares in the same industries.

Among the 151 Japanese financial institutions analyzed in the Energy Finance in Japan 2018study, only 38 of them were not involved with coal or nuclear energy projects. A similar 350.org study from last year shows that Japanese insurance companies represent a large proportion of investors in domestic and international coal industries. Japan’s single biggest investor in coal for the five-year period studied was Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), followed by Nippon Life Insurance (NLI) and Nomura Holdings………..

In the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the government responded swiftly and strongly to public outcry and shut down all 54 of Japan’s nuclear reactors as they awaited new, significantly more rigorous safety standards. Now, more than 7 years later, just a fraction of these nuclear power plants have reopened for business. It was at this point that Japanese officials started looking for new avenues to power the country, and they found what they were looking for in coal.

It’s difficult to say, however, how long-lived the Japanese coal renaissance will be. There is a large amount of opposition to the extremely dirty fossil fuel, with critics urging Japan to reverse its course and return to “greener” pastures. Encapsulating the nation’s ambivalence, at the same time that Japanese financial institutions were still funneling money into coal power development and bonds earlier this year, Japanese banks were also creating stricter financing guidelines to include advanced air-pollution technologies.

In fact even MUFG, mentioned above as Japan’s single biggest investor in coal, has significantly tightened their coal-financing policies this year, along with  Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. At the same time NLI, Japan’s biggest insurer in terms of revenue, announced in July that it would no longer grant loans to new coal projects or invest in coal-fired plants, citing environmental reasons, and Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Company announced that it would stop financing overseas coal plants in May.

Some critics, including 350.org, say that these changes, while meaningful, are not nearly significant enough to stem the massive flow of Japanese money into coal, and thereby Japanese pollutants into our atmosphere. It’s still unclear whether these first steps away from coal will have any impact on the many coal projects already underway, and while investment may be now limited to some extent, it’s a far cry from divestment. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Why-Cant-Japan-Kick-Coal-And-Nuclear.html

September 17, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

‘Super typhoon’ Typhoon Mangkhut dwarfs Hurricane Florence – trashes its way to Philippines, coast of China

‘Super typhoon’ far more powerful than Florence hurtling towards millions https://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/super-typhoon-far-more-powerful-than-florence-hurtling-towards-millions/news-story/48529ee24228b6257c73bcddd0c07802

A SUPER typhoon that has already dwarfed Hurricane Florence is set to break records as it tears towards its target with up to 43 million people in the firing line. Megan Palin@megan_palin,  SEPTEMBER 14, 2018

AN “extremely dangerous” super typhoon predicted to be the one of the strongest systems on record is howling towards Hong Kong and the Philippines with up to 43 million people in the firing line.

Typhoon Mangkhut is the equivalent of a Category 5 severe tropical cyclone, boasting maximum sustained winds of 205kph and gusts up to 285kph. Bureau of Meteorology Australia tropical climatologist Greg Browning told news.com.au that Mangkhut was “significantly stronger” than Hurricane Florence which is simultaneously hurtling towards the US as North Carolina locals evacuate the region to avoid the onslaught.

“(Mangkhut is) relatively rare (because it’s) at the top of the severe scale,” Mr Browning said. It’s extremely dangerous as it’s a very large system with very strong winds and a potential storm surge over a large distance.

“There will be very heavy rainfall associated with it which has potential to cause widespread damage.”

Mr Browning said Mangkhut was the most powerful storm system to have developed on Earth this year but that it wasn’t the strongest since records began in 1946, as has been reported internationally. Typhoon Haiyan – which killed more than 6,000 people when it lashed the Philippines with maximum sustained winds of 230kph and gusts of 325kph in 2013 – holds that record.

On Friday, Mangkhut was in the Pacific, about 450km from the Philippines with the 125km-wide eye expected to make landfall on the country’s largest island, Luzon, on Saturday.

The Global Disaster Alert and co-ordination System (GDACS) said it expected a “high humanitarian impact based on the storm strength and the affected population in the past and forecasted path” of destruction. As many as 43 million people could be exposed to Mangkhut’s cyclonic winds, according to the GDACS. More than four million Filippinos are reportedly at risk of the storm which could drench areas as far south as the country’s island capital, Manila. Mr Browning said the super typhoon was then likely to continue tracking west to Hong Kong and southern China, jeopardising millions more lives, on Sunday and Monday.

‘THE BIGGEST KILLER OF ALL’

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii has categorised the system as a “super typhoon“ which Mr Browning said equates to “very destructive winds” and heavy rainfall that’s likely to cause infrastructure damage anywhere it hits.

“But the biggest killer of all with a system like this is typically the storm surge,” he said.

“The region close to the typhoon’s crossing can expect (to bare the brunt).”

With a 900km wide rain band – which is 50 per cent bigger than Haiyan’s – combined with seasonal monsoon rains, the typhoon could also set off landslides, according to forecasters.

Countries across east and southeast Asia are issuing emergency alerts and ordering evacuations as both Mangkhut and a second storm, Typhoon Barijat taunt the region.

Mangkhut is forecast to hit the northeastern Cagayan province of the Philippines, early on Saturday local time.

Office of Civil Defense chief Ricardo Jalad told an emergency meeting led by the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that about 4.2 million people in Cagayan, nearby Isabela province and outlying regions were vulnerable to the most destructive effects near the typhoon’s 125km-wide eye. Nearly 48,000 houses in those high-risk areas are made of light materials and vulnerable to Mangkhut’s ferocious winds.

Storm warnings have been raised in 25 provinces across the Philippines restricting air and sea travel. Schools have been closed and bulldozers are on standby in the event of landslides.

The military and police in Luzon have been placed on red alert — barring all troops from going on leave — so they can respond to emergencies in communities expected to bear the brunt of the typhoon.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba told local media that this typhoon was “very different, this is more complicated because of possible storm surges”.

MEGACITIES IN PATH OF DESTRUCTION

The Hong Kong observatory’s tracking system shows a 70 per cent probability that Mangkhut could deviate within a 500km radius from its predicted position, causing uncertainty over the next few days. The observatory warned of rough seas and frequent heavy squalls, urging residents of the densely populated financial hub to “take suitable precautions and pay close attention to the latest information” on the storm.

Australian expat Alexis Galloway, who lives in Hong Kong, told news.com.au the government this morning “announced on the radio they are opening 47 emergency shelters once the T3 is raised”.

“This is the first time I’m actually quite nervous (about a typhoon) … we live right on the water too and 15 minutes from Shenzhen! Right in the thick (of it),” she said.

The system is already stronger than any of the 15 past severe or super typhoons that warranted the highest “No 10” warning sign, the South China Morning Post reports.

On the Chinese mainland, the three southern provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan are co-ordinating preparations, including suspending transport and moving people to shelter inland, the national meteorological agency reported. The area is home to a string of megacities and more than 100 million people. Guangdong, China’s manufacturing hub, has set up 3777 shelters, while more than 100,000 residents and tourists have been moved to safety or sent home. The province has recalled more than 36,000 fishing boats to port, while train services between the cities of Zhanjiang and Maoming have been suspended and all ferry services between the Guangdong and Hainan have been put on hold.

megan.palin@news.com.au | @Megan_Palin

September 14, 2018 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

China Building a Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker

September 14, 2018 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment