nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

New Tepco chief reaffirms Fukushima commitment, but underscored need for plant restarts

b-tepco-a-20170624-870x691Tomoaki Kobayakawa

 

Dealing with the aftermath of nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1 power plant remains the most important mission for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., Tomoaki Kobayakawa, Tepco’s new president, said Friday, but he also stressed the need to restart nuclear plants for the sake of continuing the utility’s business.

To fulfill responsibilities over (disaster in) Fukushima is the fundamental (policy) for our company, and that will never change at all,” Kobayakawa, the former chief of the Tepco’s electricity retail arm, said at a news conference at the firm’s headquarters in Tokyo.

Kobayakawa officially took the helm as head of the ailing power giant after the reshuffle of top management was approved at a shareholder’s meeting earlier on Friday.

Struggling financially amid ballooning costs for dealing with the aftermath of the nuclear accident caused by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011, Tepco is effectively under control of the state with the state-backed Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. holding the majority of its shares.

Ten of 13 board directors were replaced with new members, including honorary chairman of Hitachi Ltd. Takashi Kawamura. Kawamura was appointed the new chairman to back Kobayakawa.

Under the new board, Tepco will proceed with the new revitalization program it mapped out in May. The plan includes reactivating Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Niigata Prefecture, so as to make up for the estimated ¥22 trillion cost of dealing with damage, including decommissioning of Fukushima No.1 and compensation for disaster-hit areas.

I believe securing safety and gaining the understanding of local people are our utmost priorities” in order to reactivate the nuclear plant, Kobayakawa said.

In October 2016 in the Niigata gubernatorial election, voters elected doctor and lawyer Ryuichi Yoneyama, whose anti-nuclear stance is firmly against any restart of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, over a pro-nuclear candidate from the Liberal Democratic Party.

At the shareholder’s meeting in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward earlier Friday, which was attended by about 1,200 people, some expressed diverse opinions on the company’s intention to restart nuclear power plants.

One suggested that restarting a nuclear power plant could be a “ray of hope” that stands as the symbol of recovery from the disaster, while another claimed Tepco’s financial recovery will “never be possible” without reactivating ceased plants.

Others were concerned about the firm’s plan to continue its nuclear power business.

One shareholder called the proposed restart of the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant as “a long-shot gamble” repeatedly saying that the Niigata plant is “good-for-nothing”, and that it has only caused the utility to incur costs of ¥680 billion for safety measures.

Another shareholder urged the utility to abandon its plan to reactivate Fukushima No.2 and Kariyazaki-Kariwa, and open them for engineers worldwide to use as research centers for decommissioning technologies.

These proposals were turned down at the end of the three-hour meeting after facing opposition from board members.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/23/business/corporate-business/new-tepco-chief-reaffirms-fukushima-commitment-underscored-need-plant-restarts/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Meeting between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump not likely to lead to any nuclear trade deal with India

PM Modi-Trump talks: Civil nuclear deal to figure, no pact on reactors,Time of India.| Jun 25, 2017, 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • A pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
  • The progress on the 2008 civil nuclear deal is likely to be discussed during the meeting.
  • During his visit to the US on June 25-26, Modi is slated to meet Donald Trump.
NEW DELHI: The Indo-US civil nuclear deal is expected to figure during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump on Monday, but a pact between the NPCIL and Westinghouse to build six power reactors in Andhra Pradesh is unlikely to be signed.
A host of strategic issues are expected to be discussed during the parleys between the leaders of the world’s two largest democracies,….
They said a financial turmoil in Westinghouse and absence of a functional reference atomic plant were the main impediments behind the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) unwillingness to sign the agreement with the American nuclear giant.

According to a joint statement by Modi and the then US president Barack Obama in 2015, both the sides had resolved to work towards “finalising the contractual agreement by June 2017”.

However, a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then.

Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in March.

Apprehending uncertainty, the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the NPCIL are unwilling to go ahead with any agreement with the beleaguered company till it comes out of the financial turmoil……http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-trump-talks-civil-nuclear-deal-to-figure-no-pact-on-reactors/articleshow/59311335.cms

June 26, 2017 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Yoshida – a hero of the Fukushima nuclear calamity

The Man Who Saved Japan,Yoshida’s Dilemma, One Man’s Struggle to Avert a Nuclear Catastrophe Asia Times, 25 June 17 “…….Almost nobody associated with the Fukushima disaster came out of it looking good, not Kan, not the regulators (such as they were), and certainly not the executives at Tepco’s downtown headquarters.

The exception was Yoshida, often touted as the “hero” of the Fukushima disaster, although he was too modest to claim the title for himself.

Yoshida is the central figure in a new book on the nuclear meltdowns called Yoshida’s Dilemma, One Man’s Struggle to Avert a Nuclear Catastrophe by Rob Gilhooly, a Japan-based journalist and photographer.

Gilhooly’s book is the best and most comprehensive account of the nuclear disaster in English so far (a Japanese translation is under discussion). Much of the subject matter is technical, but the author is skillful enough to make it readable and accessible to the general reader……

Yoshida explained to a government investigation committee that he had ordered the evacuation of nonessential personnel from the plant, but kept back 50 to 60 engineering staff to tackle the cascading disaster and at no time contemplated abandoning the plant on Japan’s Pacific coast.

He and his group of engineers became known as the “Fukushima 50” that risked their own lives to contain the calamity.

By most accounts, Yoshida, who had worked for Tepco for 32 years, was a typical Japanese company man, but he surmounted the stereotype in the way he handled the accident.

For example, massive amounts of water were being pumped into the damaged reactors for cooling and as all sources of fresh water were depleted at the site, Tepco executives ordered him not to use sea water as a replacement.

The executives, still apparently under the delusion that the reactors could be brought back into service some day, opposed salt water as it would have contaminated the reactors beyond all repair.

Yoshida ignored these orders from head office and ordered his plant workers to pump seawater into the damaged reactors. This was a critical decision at a critical moment in the disaster.

Just keep pumping,” he told subordinates. “Pretend you didn’t hear me [tell Tepco executives he was pumping fresh water] and just keep pumping.”

The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission established by the parliament later concluded that (Yoshida’s) disregard for corporate headquarters instructions was possibly the only reason that the reactor cores did not explode.

It was Masao Yoshida’s finest hour.http://www.atimes.com/article/yoshidas-dilemma-one-mans-struggle-avert-nuclear-catastrophe/

June 26, 2017 Posted by | Japan, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

37 sites close, as world’s largest coal company winds down

The World’s Largest Coal Mining Company Is Closing 37 Sites https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzqdme/the-worlds-largest-coal-mining-company-is-closing-37-sites,ANKITA RAO, Jun 23 2017,

As solar energy becomes cheaper than coal, India’s growth will depend on renewables.

Coal India—a government-back coal company–is reportedly closing 37 of its “unviable” mines in the next year to cut back on losses.

India is primed for an energy revolution. The country’s ongoing economic growth has been powered by fossil fuels in the past, making it one of the top five largest energy consumers in the world. But it has also invested heavily in renewables, and the cost of solar power is now cheaper than ever. In some instances, villages in India have avoided coal-powered electricity altogether, and “leapfrogged” straight to solar power.

Partly because of this shift, Coal India, which produced 554.13 million tonnes of coal in the 2016-2017 fiscal year (for comparison, the largest company in the US produced about 175 million in 2015) saw demand dip in recent months. This is not the first sign that coal is no longer the most economic option for emerging economies like India and China. Earlier this year, the heavily industrial state of Gujarat cancelled its proposed coal power plants. And a few weeks ago The Hindu reported that Coal India had identified another 65 mines in losses.

ndia’s energy situation is changing so fast that even expert predictions about its switch to renewables are wildly off: A study from last year claimed India would be building more than 300 coal plants in the next 10 years, but experts said the data was already outdated by the time the report was published, and that India would be moving toward renewables instead.

We are collectively moving away from fossil fuels“For the first time, solar is cheaper than coal in India and the implications this has for transforming global energy markets are profound,” said Tim Buckley, Director of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in a statement. The decline of Coal India, which produces 80 percent of the country’s domestic coal output, is more evidence that we are collectively moving away from fossil fuels as cleaner, renewable technologies become more widely available. This reality is important to grasp in every country where coal used to be king. Even as Donald Trump promises coal jobs, let’s remember that those jobs don’t are unlikely to come back.

“One of the most popular mines today employs [a couple hundred people] who are doing the work that used to be done by thousands,” Jerome Scott, a left-leaning activist with the League of Revolutionaries for a New America, said at the Left Forum earlier this month in Manhattan. “That’s the fundamental contradiction within capitalism—it’s being disrupted because they’re able to hire fewer and fewer workers.”

And for countries like India, where companies like Coal India employ more than 300,000 people, training people to work in more viable energy markets will be increasingly important to provide sustainable livelihoods. Luckily, it looks like the solar industry will have some job openings.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, India | Leave a comment

Low morale in India’s nuclear industry: exodus of scientists

Scientists’ exodus hits Bhabha Atomic Research Centre http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/jun/24/scientists-exodus-hits-bhabha-atomic-research-centre-1620535.html, By Richa Sharma  24th June 2017 NEW DELHI: The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which hogged the limelight for unnatural death of nuclear scientists in the past few years, is faced with a different challenge now: Attrition. As many as 85 scientists have left the country’s top nuclear research facility in the last five years, according to an RTI reply.

The reason ranges from lack of professional working environment to harassment. Early this year, a BARC scientific officer went missing after sending an email to her family in which she cited wok pressure and mental harassment by her senior. She, however, returned home a week later.
This was not the first time when such allegations were made. In 2015, a group of BARC scientists wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging harassment and victimisation by their seniors and sought his intervention.

Things seem to have not improved as the RTI query revealed that 85 scientists and technical officers— mostly in their early or mid level—have quit between 2012 and 2016. The centre did not give any reason for the same.
The number of deaths in the nuclear research facility presents a horrific story as 73 suicides, including by many scientists, were reported between 1995 and 2016. Many BARC scientists were also found dead in mysterious conditions and murdered.

According to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), adequate arrangements are in place at workplace and departmental residential township for security of scientists.
“Unnatural death of scientists/employees of DAE are always being accorded due importance and this office monitors sensitive cases of death from time to time in consultation with Units, Intelligence Bureau, local police,” said the DAE.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | employment, India | Leave a comment

There are “positive signals” on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue – China

China hails “positive signals” on Korean Peninsula nuclear issue http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/23/c_136389835.htm Editor: Mengjie BEIJING, June 23 (Xinhua) — China on Friday hailed recent “positive signals” on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and called for addressing concerns of various parties in a balanced way.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comments in response to a question regarding remarks by a number of diplomats concerned about the issue.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) ambassador to India Kye Chun Yong said Wednesday the DPRK would not rule out suspending nuclear and missile tests if the United States abandoned the practice of holding large-scale military drills, according to media reports. The ambassador said Pyongyang was ready for negotiations with the United States at any time and without preconditions.

Meanwhile, a special advisor to President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) indicated a reduction of joint war games with the United States if the DPRK stopped nuclear and missile activities.

“China believes these positive messages are important for easing tension on the peninsula and for a solution to the issue through dialogue,” Geng said. Geng said the root of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue was in security. He said the solution required comprehensive measures and addressing both the symptoms and root causes.

China proposed a “dual-track approach” to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, establishing a peace mechanism in parallel, and a “suspension for suspension” to defuse the looming crisis.

As a first step, Pyongyang may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale Washington-Seoul military exercises.

China has also called for strengthening efforts on non-proliferation and promotion of peace talks to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula to a peaceful settlement.

“We are glad to see China’s proposals have gained increasing support and responses,” Geng said.

China welcomes and encourages suggestions to help alleviate tension and confrontation, enhance communication and trust, and restart dialogue as soon as possible, Geng said.

He called for the international community to seize all possible opportunities, to promote the settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultations.

June 24, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Students and researchers at research reactors should have background checks, warns Japan’s nuclear regulator

NRA urging background checks on students using Japan’s research reactors, Japan Times, 23 June 17 KYODO Japan’s nuclear regulator has urged universities to conduct background checks on students and researchers working at research reactors, as a step to ensure the proper handling of nuclear materials and prevent terrorism, a source said Thursday.

The check items include mental disorder and criminal records and those who have access to strictly controlled nuclear material storage areas at research reactors owned by universities will be subject to the new rule.

But the decision will likely raise concerns about privacy and human rights, legal experts say. University officials are concerned that the inquiries could also discourage students from becoming researchers in the nuclear industry.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority’s request comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency recommended the Japanese government conduct background checks on workers at nuclear power plants and those involved in decommissioning work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, crippled by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Based on the recommendation, the nuclear safety watchdog decided last year to conduct background checks on workers at nuclear plants. Plant operators plan to start the checks as early as this fall.

A total of 17 check items also include students’ and researchers’ names, nationalities, employment history and addiction to alcohol, the source said……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/23/national/nra-urging-background-checks-students-using-japans-research-reactors/#.WU14LpKGPGg

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Bangladesh

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

“….Dhaka, Bangladesh

I met Honufa soon after she arrived in Dhaka 10 years ago. Erosion and saltwater intrusion on her family’s land on one of the low-lying islands in the mouth of the Ganges River had forced the young Bangladeshi woman to leave her village for the capital. She had taken a boat and then an overnight bus and ended up in a slum called Beribadh.

Honufa is a climate refugee, one of thousands who have struggled to grow their crops. Millions are likely to follow her if current trends continue.

“In the next 20 years we would expect five to 10 million people to have to move from the coastal areas,” says Saleemul Huq, director of the Bangladesh-based International Centre for Climate Change and Development. “The whole country is a climate hotspot, but the most vulnerable area is the coast. Dhaka is the place where people head to,” he says.

Huq, who has advised the Bangladesh government at successive UN climate summits, says there is strong evidence that climate change is now impacting Dhaka. “Temperatures have already gone up by 1C. We can see that the weather patterns have changed. Ask anyone in the street, and they will say the frequency of floods has changed. Bangladesh has a long history of floods, but what used to be a one-in-20-year event now happens one year in five. It is what we would expect with climate change models.”

Huq and other Bangladeshi climate scientists expect to see more extremes. “Changing rain patterns suggest we will not get more rain over the coming years but it will be distributed differently, with less in the dry season and more during the monsoons. Paradoxically, this will lead to more floods and droughts, and heavier monsoons,” he says.

“We are beginning to see sea levels rising and increased salinity in coastal areas. It is a slow onset, which will get worse. It is a climate change phenomenon and not something we had before.”

Huq leads research into how Bangladesh can adapt to climate change. “We’ve done a lot of research looking at the most vulnerable hotspots. We are learning by doing,” he says. “Government has now invested in a major climate change action plan. To counter coastal salinity there is a big program of rainwater harvesting and coastal protection. Scientists are developing saline-tolerant rice. People and government are proactive.

“The trouble is that we are always catching up with the problem. There is a limit to what we can grow. At some point we will run out of options, then people will have to move. We know that if we don’t take action people will all end up in Dhaka, so [we] need to invest in other towns and cities.”….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots?CMP=share_btn_tw

June 24, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

India gives up on importing Western nuclear reactors, to save face, will build its own.

India’s inward nuclear turn, ECONOMIC TIMES,  JUN 22, 2017, By Brahma Chellaney Just as Japan’s Diet has ratified the civil nuclear agreement with New Delhi, India has decided to build 10 nuclear power reactors of indigenous design in what is the largest such construction decision in the world since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. India’s turn to a “fully home-grown initiative“ reflects the continuing problems in implementing the 2005 Indo-US nuclear deal.

June 23, 2017 Posted by | India, politics | Leave a comment

Plutonium in Workers’ Urine


The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that, contrary to the reassurances made a few days ago by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (see here), workers at JAEA’s Oarai Research and Development Center, WERE internally contaminated by Plutonium:

Plutonium found in urine of 5 workers in Ibaraki accident. THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, June 20, 2017 http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201706200039.html

Minute amounts of plutonium have been detected in the urine samples of all five workers who were accidentally exposed to radioactive plutonium at Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, on June 6…. While maintaining the level of exposure the five workers experienced “would not have immediate effect on their health for a few months,” Akashi said their internal exposure levels are “relatively high for cases occurring in Japan as far as I know.”… 

…In urine testing, NIRS said it can detect smaller amounts of plutonium as the measurement time is much longer, while the smallest radiation doses the dosimeter for lungs can detect is between 5,000 and 10,000 bequerels.

I shouldn’t be too critical of these oscillating reports given the US won’t even admit when its workers are contaminated with Plutonium, as the recent tunnel collapse at Hanford reminds us:

Tia Ghose. May 10, 2017. Hanford Disaster: What Happens to Someone Who’s Exposed to Plutonium? Live Science, https://www.livescience.com/59042-how-does-plutonium-damage-the-body.html

Workers at a nuclear-waste site in Washington state were recently told to hunker down in place after a tunnel in the nuclear finishing plant collapsed, news sources reported yesterday (May 9)…

The tunnel was part of the plutonium and uranium extraction facility (PUREX) said to be holding a lot of radioactive waste, including railway cars used to carry spent nuclear fuel rods, news agency AFP reported. At least some of the radioactive waste at the Hanford facility contains radioactive plutonium and uranium, according to the DOE, although at least some of it is also radioactive “sludge” composed of a mixture of radioactive substances. Right now, authorities have not revealed whether radioactive substances have been released or whether people have been exposed any of these contaminants

Governments don’t want to talk too much to the public about plutonium. Every dimension of knowledge about this element seems to be weaponized. Despite the desire for secrecy, plutonium always seems to be out of bounds, contaminating some people or environment, or perhaps all people, especially men’s testes (see here).

Plutonium’s astonishing level of chemical toxicity and atomic instability are fetishized by the atomic priesthood, but the priesthood cannot control their Frankensteinan creation, as these stories and ongoing atmospheric emissions at Fukushima Daiichi demonstrate:

index.png

 

index2.png

 

http://majiasblog.blogspot.fr/2017/06/plutonium-in-workers-urine.html

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Plutonium in workers’ urine at Oarai Research and Development Center

plutonium oarai 20 juin 2017.jpg

Traces of plutonium in workers’ urine

Doctors say extremely small quantities of radioactive substances have been detected in the urine of 5 workers who were accidentally exposed to the materials early this month at a research facility north of Tokyo.

The incident took place on June 6th at a facility of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency in Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture. The workers were inspecting a nuclear fuel container when a bag inside suddenly burst, expelling radioactive powder.

The agency initially said as much as 22,000 becquerels of plutonium-239 were detected in the lungs of one of the workers. But they were discharged from hospital by Tuesday of last week after repeated examinations at the National Institute of Radiological Sciences detected no plutonium in their lungs.

On Monday, the institute said checks of the 5 workers’ urine later revealed extremely small amounts of plutonium and other radioactive materials.

It says the workers have so far suffered no damage to their health, but that they have reentered hospital to take medicines that will purge the plutonium from their bodies. They will take the drug for 5 days, after which doctors will decide if further medication is necessary.

An official related to the institute says the radioactive materials in the workers’ bodies are at levels that will not immediately affect their health.

Meanwhile, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, which employs the 5 workers, on Monday submitted to the country’s nuclear regulator an interim report on how the accident unfolded.

The agency’s president, Toshio Kodama, told reporters that he apologizes to the public for the incident. Kodama added that his organization may have problems sensing and foreseeing risks.

Kodama said the agency has to work on organizational issues, including worker awareness.

The agency says it plans to conduct a detailed investigation into the cause of the accident. It says it will consider measures to prevent recurrences and report to the regulator.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170619_27/

Tokyo, June 19 (Jiji Press)–Trace amounts of plutonium have been detected in the urine of all five workers exposed to radioactive materials at a nuclear research facility in eastern Japan earlier this month, a radiological research center treating them said Monday.
 The radioactive substances detected in the urine were plutonium-239, plutonium-238 and americium-241, the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, or NIRS, said.
The results showed that the workers at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo,
suffered internal radiation exposure, the NIRS said.
The NIRS plans to continue examining the five workers for about a month to estimate levels of exposure.
   The exposure is unlikely to reach levels that cause symptoms, said Makoto Akashi, a senior official at the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, which oversees the NIRS.

http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017061901238

Plutonium found in urine of 5 workers in Ibaraki accident

Minute amounts of plutonium have been detected in the urine samples of all five workers who were accidentally exposed to radioactive plutonium at Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA)’s Oarai Research and Development Center in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, on June 6.

The test results were announced June 19 at a news conference by the National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS) within National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST).

The revelation marks the latest twist in the changing assessment of severity of the health risks in the accident. Initially JAEA announced on June 7 that one of the five workers had suffered an internal exposure of 22,000 bequerels during an inspection at the nuclear energy research center. On June 9, JAEA said no plutonium was detected in any of the five workers’ lungs in further testing by NIRS.

Makoto Akashi, an executive of QST, said at the news conference the latest finding confirmed that the workers did “suffer an internal exposure.”

While maintaining the level of exposure the five workers experienced “would not have immediate effect on their health for a few months,” Akashi said their internal exposure levels are “relatively high for cases occurring in Japan as far as I know.”

He also added that long-term observation may be necessary depending on the level of internal exposure.

JAEA’s initial “internal exposure of 22,000 bequerels” assessment was hastily done on the night of the accident on June 6. The five workers were examined using a dosimeter that can detect small traces of X-rays emitted by plutonium particles inhaled into the lungs.

However, the next day, NIRS staff discovered that four of the workers did not have all the plutonium on their bodies completely removed. After thorough decontamination efforts, they were retested for plutonium in the lungs, which was “not detected.”

It is believed the initial assessment came back with a high reading, as the dosimeter also picked up the radiation from the plutonium residue on their bodies.

In urine testing, NIRS said it can detect smaller amounts of plutonium as the measurement time is much longer, while the smallest radiation doses the dosimeter for lungs can detect is between 5,000 and 10,000 bequerels.

The latest test result suggests the possibility that some plutonium particles inhaled into the workers’ lungs have been absorbed into the bloodstream, then discharged into the urine.

The five workers had been discharged and are in stable condition, but were readmitted to the institution for further treatment on June 18. They started receiving medication via intravenous drip injections to speed the excretion of radioactive substances in their bodies from June 19, according to NIRS.

It is the second time they have received this medication. NIRS confirmed the treatment’s effectiveness as the amount of plutonium in their urine increased after the first round of injections compared to the amount found prior to receiving the drug.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201706200039.html

June 22, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

New activity at North Korean nuclear test site

US spy satellites detect activity at North Korean nuclear test site, By Barbara StarrElise Labott and Zachary CohenCNN, June 20, 2017

Story highlights

June 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea’s major turn away from nuclear energy with Kori-1’s permanent shutdown

 Jun.20,2017 , Changed energy policy prioritizes public safety, in line with South Korea’s turn from developing to developed country

“Permanently shutting down operations at Kori-1 is the beginning of a journey toward a nuclear-free country; it is the turning point toward a safe country. I will soon be preparing a roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out that can set South Koreans’ hearts at ease,” President Moon Jae-in said on June 19. With anxiety increasing around the world about the safety of nuclear power following the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, Moon has become the first South Korean president to declare a nuclear power phase-out, signaling a major change in the country’s energy policy.

“Since South Korea has to import the majority of its energy, nuclear power was the energy policy chosen when we were still a developing country, but now it’s time to change that,” said Moon during an address delivered at a ceremony marking the permanent shutdown of Kori-1. The ceremony took place at the Kori Nuclear Power Headquarters of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP), located in Gijang County, Busan.

Moon’s declaration of the goal of making South Korea nuclear-free signifies his willingness to turn the country’s current energy policy paradigm on its head. It affirms a transition from the energy policy of developing countries, which prioritize cheap power and efficiency, to that of developed countries, which place a premium on the environment and on the people’s right to life.

The key message offered by Moon is “public safety.” While mentioning the earthquake that struck Gyeongju in Sep. 2016, Moon emphasized that South Korea is no longer safe from earthquakes. Citing the fact that 3.82 million people live within a 30 km radius of the Kori plant, he argued that a nuclear accident in South Korea could be even more horrific than what happened at Fukushima

“The world today is moving irreversibly toward phasing out nuclear power. This is something we have to start now on behalf of our descendants, who will live in this country for millennia to come,” Moon said, making clear that it was impossible to return to the energy policy of the past.
Moon’s address also marks the point when he begins to specifically implement the pledges he made as a presidential candidate. He had promised to scrap all plans for building new nuclear reactors, to immediately shut down reactors whose operational life cycle has ended, to suspend construction on Shin Kori-5 and Shin Kori-6, and to shut down Wolseong-1. “It’s as if the people of Busan [who live close to the Kori nuclear plant] have to live with this bomb by their beds that could go off at any time,” Moon said, after watching the nuclear disaster film “Pandora” at the end of last year. “We shouldn’t be asking whether or not to open up Pandora’s box [nuclear power]; we should be getting rid of the box altogether.”“The reason we haven’t been able to phase out nuclear power is not because of a lack of researchers but because of a lack of government will. The fact that the new government has not only shut down the Kori-1 nuclear reactor but also announced a new energy policy and declared its intention to phase out nuclear power in this address is very significant,” said Yun Sun-jin, a professor at the Graduate School of Environmental Studies at Seoul National University.“The next stage is to draw up a detailed roadmap for the nuclear power phase-out. Developed countries are reducing their consumption of electricity. A superficial comparison should be avoided since their industrial structures are different from ours, but in the future, we too should be able to move in the direction of the efficient consumption of energy,” Yun added.By Jung Yu-gyung and Lee Jung-ae, staff reporters

June 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Korea | Leave a comment

Russia pushing for selling nuclear reactors to India, Bangladesh, China

Rosatom may start building new nuclear power plants in India and Bangladesh http://tass.com/economy/952448   June 20, MOSCOW, Rosatom plans to initiate main activities for construction of the second stage of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in India, start building Ruppur NPP in Bangladesh ad commission power units at Tianwan NPP in China and two NPPs in Russia, First Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom Kirill Komarov said on Tuesday.

“We have serious ambitious plans on new starts this year because the third unit of Tianwan [NPP] in China and the fourth unit of Rostov NPP in Russia should start this year. We endeavor to start the first unit of Leningrad NPP-2 this year,” Komarov said. “We expect concreting start for the third and the fourth units of Kudankulam NPP in India this summer. We also expect concreting start on Ruppur site in Bangladesh, where we are building a two-unit NPP,” he added.

Rosatom has many plans for projects in Europe during this year, Komarov said.

Rosatom has reached agreements on construction of 34 power units across the globe to date.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, India, marketing, Russia | 2 Comments

New South Korean president vows to end use of nuclear power

Moon Jae-in said he would lead country towards a ‘nuclear-free era’ following fears of a Fukushima-style meltdown

4967.jpgMoon Jae-in speaks at an event to mark the closure of South Korea’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1.

 

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, has vowed to phase out the country’s dependence on nuclear power, warning of “unimaginable consequences” from a Fukushima-style meltdown.

Moon, a left-leaning liberal who won last month’s presidential election by a landslide following the impeachment and arrest of Park Geun-hye, said he would increase the role of renewable energy and lead South Korea towards a “nuclear-free era”.

Speaking at an event to mark the closure of the country’s oldest nuclear plant, Kori-1, he said: “So far, South Korea’s energy policy pursued cheap prices and efficiency. “Cheap production prices were considered the priority while the public’s life and safety took a back seat. But it’s time for a change.

We will abolish our nuclear-centred energy policy and move towards a nuclear-free era. We will completely scrap construction plans for new nuclear reactors that are currently under way.”

Moon added that he would not extend the operation of ageing reactors, many of which will come to the end of their lifespans between 2020 and 2030.

Weaning South Korea off nuclear power, however, could take decades, and there is expected to be opposition from construction companies, which have increased technology exports under Moon’s nuclear-friendly predecessors.

The country was the fifth-largest producer of nuclear energy last year, according to the World Nuclear Association, with its 25 reactors generating about a third of its electricity.

The former president Lee Myung-bak saw nuclear as an important source of clean energy, while Park wanted to increase the number of reactors to 36 by 2029.

Moon recognised the role of nuclear power in South Korea’s rapid economic development, but added that Japan’s Fukushima disaster – which prompted the evacuation of tens of thousands of people – had convinced him that his country must look to new sources of energy.

The country’s economic status has changed, our awareness on the importance of the environment has changed. The notion that the safety and lives of people are more important than anything else has become a firm social consensus,” he said.

Anti-nuclear campaigners have long warned of the potentially disastrous consequences of a meltdown at a nuclear plant in South Korea, where many reactors are close to densely populated areas.

The public’s support for nuclear power has weakened since the 2011 Fukushima meltdown and a 2013 corruption scandal over fake safety certificates for reactor parts.

The Fukushima nuclear accident has clearly proved that nuclear reactors are neither safe, economical nor environmentally friendly,” Yonhap news agency quoted Moon as saying.

South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquakes, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact.”

He also plans to close at least 10 ageing coal-fired power plants before his term ends in 2022 and to boost renewables’ share of the energy mix to 20% by 2030.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/19/new-south-korean-president-vows-to-end-use-of-nuclear-power

June 19, 2017 Posted by | South Korea | | Leave a comment