Nuclear issues

February 6, 2015

Informational items on various aspects of the nuclear industry



Dr Gordon Edwards – about Canada’s nuclear wastes

October 9, 2018

A conversation with Dr. Gordon Edwards: contemporary issues in the Canadian nuclear industry, and a look back at the achievements of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), Montreal, August 25, 2018, DIANUKE.ORG, SEPTEMBER 24, 2018 

  1. Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking.
  2. Private solutions for public problems.
  3. Early days: ignorance about nuclear waste.
  4. Belated realization of the problem.
  5. Barbaric plans for nuclear waste.
  6. In situ abandonment of nuclear facilities.
  7. Wrong people in charge, telling rather than consulting.
  8. The next big thing: unfeasible small modular reactors.
  9. The elusive “willing host community.”
  10. The great unknowable: long term care for nuclear waste. Who pays? Who cares?.
  11. A disturbed “undisturbed” geological formation is no longer undisturbed.
  12. Six hundred Lake Superiors needed to dilute nuclear waste to a safe level.
  13. No solution assumed.
  14. Proliferation of thousands of non-naturally occurring radioactive isotopes.
  15. Rolling stewardship.
  16. Opportunity costs of sticking with nuclear energy.
  17. Convenient disposal of a problem, no disposal of nuclear materials.
  18. What to expect from media and politicians.
  19. Victories.
  20. Cross-border activism for environmental protection.
  21. High, medium or low-level waste: similar ingredients in all of them.
  22. About the CCNR.
  23. Demystifying nuclear energy.
  24. Nuclear moratoria.
  25. Public hearings are a waste of time.
  26. Old nuclear plants are living on borrowed time.
  27. “I would do what I’m doing regardless whether it was effective or not.”
  28. Activism as scientific method: try it and see what happens.
  29. Being a conservative radical.
  30. The all-important nuclear weapons question.
  31. Propaganda battle over the film No act of God.
  32. The slowpoke journal: the short, lonely life of a district heating reactor.………….

Authorities deceive the public on radiation from Fukushima Daiichi

October 9, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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. Read the rest of this entry »

Plutonium a risk to humans and environment for thousands of years

October 9, 2018

Civil and military nuclear industries locked in dependence on each other

October 9, 2018

questions arise over many well-documented military entanglements of nuclear power

the “reliable provision of Russia’s defense capability is the main priority of the nuclear industry” – Rosatom

a host of other defense policy discussions are very clear that the UK nuclear ‘submarine industrial base’ would not be sustainable, if a decision were taken to discontinue civil nuclear power…statements from UK submarine industry sources note incentives to “mask” the costs of this military programme behind the related civilian industrial infrastructure…. a programme of submarine-derived small modular reactors should be adopted in UK energy policy in order to “relieve the Ministry of the burden of developing and retaining skills and capability” on the military side. – Rolls Royce

focused on facilitating ‘mobility’ between the civil and defense nuclear workforce – UK

In the USA, powerful imperatives have recently been openly declared in high level policy debate, to maintain support for otherwise-uncompetitive nuclear power in order to sustain a continuing nuclear navy.

How much of the costs of these shared underpinnings for military nuclear ambitions, are being concealed by otherwise uneconomic joint civil-military nuclear infrastructures?

A Global Picture of Industrial Interdependencies Between Civil and Military Nuclear Infrastructures  (this paper is richly supplied with comprehensive footnotes and references. Andy Stirling, Phil Johnstone, SPRU, August 2018 (This is an extended, updated and more fully referenced version of a chapter appearing in M. Schneider, A. Froggatt, J. Hazemann, T. Katsuta, M.V. Ramana, A. Stirling, P. Johnstone, C. von Hirschhausen, B. Wealer, The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018, Mycle Schneider Consulting, Paris, 2018)


Noting the increasingly unfavourable economic and operational position of nuclear power around the world, this paper reviews evidence for a hitherto neglected connection between international commitments to civil and military nuclear infrastructures.  Read the rest of this entry »


October 9, 2018

Ken Raskin, Tritium is mostly what the Japanese want to dump from Fukushima. Millions of tons of water with tritium in it. Massive amounts of nuclear waste from Fukushima.

Tritium bombards, and even attaches to tissue covalently. There is usually a lot of UNACCOUNTED FOR RADIONUCLIDE-TRITIUM, around nuclear reactors. That is because the nucleoapes that run the reactors are psychopaths. They have little value for life, human or otherwise. Like radioactice Carbon 14 can, Tritium, binds to tissue. TRITIUM then permanently bombards the heck out of surrounding tissue, with beta rays!

There was a large study, that showed tritium increases cancer 20 times.  It is teratogenic. There are several case studies, of workers with increased rates of granulomas and lymphomas who were chronically exposed for years.
The pronukers go on and on, about k40 which is a nonstart. Even the gaslighters do it. It is Irrelevent, then they trurn around and lie their asses off about the extreme radiotoxicity and biological toxicity of tritium!

The nuclearists encourage the myth of how harmless tritium is. It does not just mostly pass through the body in water. Another blatant lie. It biocumulates in worse ways than radioactive, iodine, cesium, uranium because it becomes a part of the human body. It impairs and destroys reproductive capabilities. There is a comprehensive study done showing it increased cancer several times. It can covalently take the place of hydrogen in the body, in tissue.

‘Key insights’ from the 2018 World Nuclear Industry Status Report

October 9, 2018
The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018   As always there is much of interest in the latest edition of the World
Nuclear Industry Status Report. We reprint the report’s ‘key insights’.  The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2018 Nuclear Monitor 8 Sept 18

NM865.4747 The 2018 edition of the World Nuclear Industry Status  Report has just been released. Here are the ‘key insights’ from the report:

China Still Dominates Developments

• Nuclear power generation in the world increased by  1% in 2017 due to an 18% increase in China.

• Global nuclear power generation excluding China  declined for the third year in a row.

• Four reactors started up in 2017 of which three were in China and one in Pakistan (built by a Chinese company).

• Five units started up in the first half of 2018, of which three were in China ‒ including the world’s first EPR and AP1000 ‒ and two in Russia.

• Five construction starts in the world in 2017.

• No start of construction of any commercial reactors in China since December 2016.

• The number of units under construction globally declined  for the fifth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 50 by mid-2018, of which 16 are in China.

Operational Status and Construction Delays

• The nuclear share of global electricity generation  remained roughly stable over the past five years with  a long-term declining trend, from 17.5% in 1996 to  10.3% in 2017.

• Seven years after the Fukushima events, Japan had  restarted five units by the end of 2017 ‒ generating still  only 3.6% of the power in the country in 2017 ‒ and nine by mid-2018.

• As of mid-2018, 32 reactors ‒ including 26 in Japan ‒ are in Long-Term Outage (LTO).

• At least 33 of the 50 units under construction are behind schedule, mostly by several years. China is no exception, at least half of 16 units under construction  are delayed. Of the 33 delayed construction projects, 15 have reported increased delays over the past year.

Only a quarter of the 16 units scheduled for startup  in 2017 were actually connected to the grid.

• New-build plans have been cancelled including in  Jordan, Malaysia and the U.S. or postponed such as in Argentina, Indonesia, Kazakhstan.

Decommissioning Status Report

• As of mid-2018, 115 units are undergoing  decommissioning ‒ 70% of the 173 permanently  shut-down reactors in the world.

• Only 19 units have been fully decommissioned: 13 in  the U.S., five in Germany, and one in Japan. Of these, only 10 have been returned to greenfield sites.

Interdependencies Between Civil and Military


Deplorable conditions of Japan’s ‘informal’ nuclear workers: Fukushima, radiation and leukaemia

October 9, 2018

Sworn to secrecy, after a superficial safety education drill, they are sent into highly contaminated, hot and wet labyrinthine areas.

the state also raised nuclear workers’ limits from no more than 50 mSv per year (mSv/y) and 100 mSv/5 years to 250 mSv/y to deal with emergency conditions, and determined that there would be no follow-up health treatment for those exposed to doses below 50 mSv/y, while TEPCO decided to not record radiation levels below 2 mSv/y in the misplaced justification that the effects would be negligible.

poor monitoring and record-keeping has meant that many former nuclear workers who develop leukaemia and other illnesses have been denied government compensation

Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis:   Chapter Author(s): Adam Broinowski Book Title: New Worlds from Below [many  footnotes and references on original] Sept 18

Nuclear workers are important as sentinels for a broader epidemic of radiation related diseases that may affect the general population. We live with contradictions everyday

Introduction The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour’.

During this period, many day labourers evacuated rented rooms (doya どや) and left the various yoseba (urban day labour market よせば, or lit. ‘meeting place’) to take up communal tent living in parks and on riverbanks, where they were increasingly victimised. With independent unions having long been rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters フリーター) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015)3 found themselves not only lacking insurance or industrial protection but also in many cases basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.

In this chapter, first I outline the conditions of irregular workers at nuclear power plants and the excess burden they have borne with the rise of nuclear labour in Japan since the 1970s. I then turn to post-3.11 conditions experienced by residents in radiation-contaminated areas. Contextualising these conditions within the genealogy of radiodosimetry standards, I seek to show, through personal interviews and localised responses, how those who are regularly exposed to radiation from Fukushima Daiichi are now confronting problems similar to those faced by informal nuclear labour for decades in Japan. This analysis shows how, after 40 years or more of environmental movements as discussed in Chapter Four, the struggle continues to find viable solutions to the systemic production of the intertwined problems of environmental crises and labour exploitation, and suggests how potential alternative directions for affected populations may lie in their mutual combination.

Conditions for Informal Labour Employed in Nuclear Power Stations Read the rest of this entry »

Molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors make the radioactive waste problem WORSE

October 9, 2018
Burning waste or playing with fire? Waste management considerations for non-traditional reactors, Lindsay Krall &Allison Macfarlane, 31 Aug 18


Nuclear energy-producing nations are almost universally experiencing delays in the commissioning of the geologic repositories needed for the long-term isolation of spent fuel and other high-level wastes from the human environment. Despite these problems, expert panels have repeatedly determined that geologic disposal is necessary, regardless of whether advanced reactors to support a “closed” nuclear fuel cycle become available. Still, advanced reactor developers are receiving substantial funding on the pretense that extraordinary waste management benefits can be reaped through adoption of these technologies. 

Here, the authors describe why molten salt reactors and sodium-cooled fast reactors – due to the unusual chemical compositions of their fuels – will actually exacerbate spent fuel storage and disposal issues. Before these reactors are licensed, policymakers must determine the implications of metal- and salt-based fuels vis a vis the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the Continued Storage Rule.

USA and Russia – in 20th Century -devised hideously elaborate ways of blowing each other up

October 9, 2018

Top-secret ‘doomsday machine’ documents reveal terrifying nuclear apocalypse plans Jasper Hamill  4 Sep 2018 It’s no secret that the US and Russia spent much of the 20th century devising hideously elaborate ways of blowing each other up. Now declassified documents written in 1964 have revealed the true extent of the apocalyptic atomic broadside Washington planned to unleash against its greatest enemy. A pair of top-secret memos written by top military chiefs shows the US was intending to implement an ‘overkill’ strategy which would have flattened Russian cities and killed tens of millions of people.

They demonstrate how generals were considering the possibility of unleashing thousands of nukes in a bid to cause ‘95% damage’ to targets such as military facilities and ‘urban-industrial centres’ including major cities. The files also document plans to blow up 30% of all the people living in 30 Chinese cities, saying this outcome would be ‘desirable’. The secret files were unearthed by George Washington University’s National Security Archive and shed light on a secret nuclear strategy called the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), which is often referred to as a ‘doomsday machine’ and has never been declassified. Researchers are only able to learn about this highly disturbing scheme by reading other documents which discuss it, meaning the release of the two memorandums is a major step forward in understanding the grim fate which would have befallen the world if a nuclear war erupted.

‘US nuclear war plans [made] during the Johnson administration included the option of a retaliatory strike against nuclear, conventional military, and urban-industrial targets with the purpose of removing the Soviet Union “from the category of a major industrial power” and destroying it as a “viable” society,’ wrote the National Security Archive in a statement. ‘The document, the Joint Staff’s review of SIOP guidance in June 1964, showed continued acceptance by policymakers of the cataclysmic nuclear strike options that had been integral to the plan since its inception. Accordingly, the SIOP set high damage requirements – 95% for the top priority nuclear targets – ensuring that it remained an “overkill” plan, referring to its massively destructive effects. ‘Prepared and continually updated by the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the SIOP has been characterized by some as a “doomsday machine”.’ The latest declassified document is a review of SIOP conducted by the Joint Staff, a group of senior military leaders.

It lays out plans for retaliatory and preemptive strikes against Russia or China which range in severity from an assault aimed at knocking out nuclear weapons facilities to a blitzkrieg designed to ‘destroy the will and ability of the Sino-Soviet bloc to wage, remove the enemy from the category of a major industrial power and assure a post-war balance of power favourable to the United States’. The plans also expose a scheme to use ‘population loss as the primary yardstick for effectiveness in destroying the enemy society with only collateral attention to industrial damage’, the National Security Archive added. What this means is that the US was willing to bomb Russia back to the Stone Age and viewed the destruction of its population as a valid strategy of war….


Politicians, media, the world – does no-one care about the unfolding horror of the melting Arctic?

October 9, 2018

It’s not only summer weather that is changing. Earlier this year, one study showed that when the Arctic is unusually warm, extreme winter weather is two-to-four times more likely in the eastern U.S.

Think of the Arctic as our early warning system, a big screaming alarm that is alerting us to the fact that the planet we will live on tomorrow is nothing like the planet we lived on yesterday, and we better get ready.

The Melting Arctic Is a Real-Time Horror Story — Why Doesn’t Anyone Care? This summer’s epic wildfires and other extreme weather events have a root cause By