Archive for May, 2012

Japna’s nuclear companies bribed local governments: consumers eventually pay

May 6, 2012

Consumers ultimately footed bill, Utilities gave nuclear plant hosts billions Kyodo Electric utilities, their subsidiaries and related organizations provided at least ¥28.7 billion to local governments, mostly as donations, during the five years through to March 31, local government sources and data obtained by Kyodo News revealed.

The electric power companies incorporated most of the expenses into their electricity
charges for consumers and business clients as necessary costs for power generation. Such donations are not required to be made public and may amount to more than the latest finding revealed Tuesday, experts said. (more…)

Radioactive wastes a real problem for investors in rare earths processing

May 6, 2012

Investors need to consider the radioactive waste problems of rare earths processing

Uranium and thorium present real risk to rare earths developers – Dennis    Mineweb 2 May Interview with Carolyn Dennis of Dundee Capital Markets   “….. TCMR: Some rare earth deposits include uranium and thorium byproducts and, if a company is not recovering those, it needs to dispose of them. Is that a challenge most REE miners face?

CD: It’s a real risk across the board for rare earth companies. Each deposit, depending on the type of mineralogy, will have varying grades of uranium and thorium. The jurisdiction the deposit is in and how it approaches dealing with the uranium, thorium and radioactivity will dictate how much of an issue it is for the project. It can be a problem in processing as well. In a lot of cases, the thorium should be removed from the concentrate earlier in the process in order to improve processing downstream. Beyond that, radioactive waste material needs to be disposed of….”

Problems of brachytherapy treatment for breast cancer

May 6, 2012

It’s important for any woman really to discuss with her physician the risks and benefits of either approach,”

More women need breasts removed after brachytherapy  By Genevra Pittman NEW YORK   May 1, 2012   (Reuters Health) – Women who got seed radiation as part of their breast cancer treatment were more likely to have an infection or breast pain than those who were treated with whole-breast irradiation, in a new study. (more…)

Safety factors a secondary consideration to USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

May 6, 2012

“If filtered vents are good enough for Sweden, if they are good enough for Germany, if they are good enough for France and for Switzerland,”   “they should be good enough for us.”

Nuclear Safety Advocates Accuse Industry And Regulators Of Foot-Dragging On Basic Safety Measure HUFFINGTON POST, Tom Zeller Jr.04/30/2012  “……  one seemingly straightforward emergency feature: Requiring a filtered vent in the concrete containment buildings surrounding nuclear reactors like the one at Pilgrim.

Such a vent would come into play in only the worst sort of emergency, when the usual means for keeping the reactor core cool are lost and things inside are heating up to the point of becoming explosive. Operators can then open the vent and exhale the pressure directly into the air. The filter would capture dangerous radioactivity, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area. (more…)

Helping the damaged children of Chernobyl

May 6, 2012

Children of Chernobyl Airlifts 97th Group in Advance of 26th Anniversary 25, 2012 By Joshua Runyan  One week before the 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion that rained down fallout across an entire swath of Eastern Europe, Chabad’s Children of Chernobyl brought 26 more children to safety and medical care in Israel, its 97th rescue mission.

“On this significant anniversary, thousands of children every day are still feeling the tragic consequences of the Chernobyl disaster,” said Nancy Spielberg, founding board member of CCOC, in a statement. “They are facing devastating illnesses from radiation contamination –radiation that will be with us for thousands of years. As we’ve seen from the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, the impact from this kind of radioactivity is as devastating today as it was 26 years ago.”

To date, the Chabad-Lubavitch run organization, which was designed to rescue those most vulnerable from the April 26, 1986 meltdown that left thousands of square kilometers uninhabitable, has helped 2,822 children escape the contaminated living conditions surrounding that portion of Ukraine. Most are brought to a sprawling educational and residential complex in the central Israeli village of Kfar Chabad, where they’re provided with medical care and social services.

The organization also provides medicine, equipment and other needed items for those who
cannot leave Europe. Spielberg pointed to World Health Organization statistics, which show the rate of thyroid cancer in the contaminated areas surrounding Chernobyl as more than 200 times the world norm.

The Diseconomics of nuclear power

May 6, 2012
Around the world, solar power and wind power are growing fast, while the number of operational nuclear reactors in the world is shrinking
THE FINANCIAL RISKS  OF INVESTING IN NEW  NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS 2012 Since most of the cost of nuclear electricity is in the capital cost of nuclear plants, since build times can be 7 years or more, and since payback times can be 30 years or more, investors in new nuclear plants are exposed to financial risks from inaccurate estimates and from changes in markets in the  future.

There is increasing recognition in the business world that investing in new nuclear power stations is commercially risky.
This report describes five major types of risk for any investor considering putting money into new  nuclear plants, with particular emphasis on the situation in the UK: (more…)

A history of fraud – Japan’s Tepco nuclear company

May 6, 2012

TEPCO’s ‘malpractices’ included:
• falsification of inspection records over many years;
• covering up data about cracks in water circulation pumps and pipes which are critical for reactor cooling;
• failure to report cracks in reactor core shrouds (stainless steel cylinders surrounding the reactor core), steam dryers, access hole covers, and components associated with jet pumps (which circulate cooling water inside the reactor);
• in 1991 and 1992, tests of the leak rate of a Fukushima reactor containment vessel were faked by surreptitiously injecting compressed air into the containment building;
• written records of cracks in neutron-measuring equipment at Fukushima were deleted by contractor Hitachi at TEPCO’s request; and
• eight TEPCO reactors were still operating although required repairs
had not been carried out.”

Fukushma the Japanese Chernobyl’…a year later and politics still ‘trump’ safety…UK Progressive,   | APRIL 29, 2012 ”……….TEPCO’s history of fraud…on top of a flawed Mark 1 design… The operator responsible for Fukushima Daiichi, namely TEPCO has a history of fraud allegations.  In 2002, five TEPCO executives resigned over allegations they falsified nuclear plant safety records.  Five reactors were shut down as a result.

In 2006 the Japanese government discovered false water coolant temperature readings at Fukushima Daiichi in 1985 and 1988 and ordered TEPCO to re-inspect past data. (more…)

General Electrics nuclear reactors and Fukushima

May 6, 2012

5 of the 6 reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi are GE manufactured Mark 1 systems.   To add further insult to injury—the GE Mark 1 reactors at Fukushima—have “23 sisters in the US.”  According to Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) data, 23 of the 104 existing nuclear plants in the US are GE boiling-water reactors with GE’s Mark 1 radiation containment systems.  

nuclear reactors such as those at Fukushima are little more than a radioactive time-bomb …”looking for a place to happen.’

Fukushma the Japanese Chernobyl’…a year later and politics still ‘trump’ safety…UK Progressive,   | APRIL 29, 2012  ”…….. The GE Connection to Fukushima… Tanaka has not been the only engineer involved in the building and operation of ‘boiling-water’ reactors who became a whistle-blower against corporate practices deemed scientifically negligent in the nuclear industry.  Dale G. Bridenbaugh, Gregory C. Minor and Richard B. Hubbard, all former engineers with GE resigned in protest over major design flaws in the Mark 1 nuclear reactor designs they were reviewing. (more…)

The gloomy economics of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

May 6, 2012

There just isn’t any proof that small reactors are going to be any more economic than larger ones….  it’s all about hype and hope

Small nuclear reactors generate hype, questions about cost  STL Today 29 April 12, “…..Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric Co. announced plans to pursue a $452 million federal subsidy to advance development of small modular reactors that could be built alongside the utility’s much larger Callaway nuclear plant near Fulton, Mo.
While some utilities are still pursuing full-scale plants, there is a parallel push for smaller reactors that could be easier for utilities to finance and minimize sticker shock for regulators and consumers.
But despite a lower total cost, there’s no evidence yet that tiny fission factories would be able to produce electricity at a competitive cost in an era of abundant, cheap natural gas.
There just isn’t any proof that small reactors are going to be any more economic than larger ones,” said Peter Bradford, an adjunct law professor at Vermont Law School and a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member. “At this point, it’s all about hype and hope.”…. (more…)

Medical doctors refute uranium industry’s jink science about nuclear radiation

May 6, 2012

We call on Toro Energy to stop promoting fringe scientific views to uranium industry workers and to  the public at large.

The Medical Association for Prevention of War has released a statement signed by 45 medical doctors calling on uranium mining company Toro Energy to stop promoting the view that low-level radiation is beneficial to human health. Toro Energy, which plans to mine uranium at Wiluna in WA and has interests in uranium exploration ventures in the NT and SA, has sponsored speaking tours by controversial Canadian scientist Doug Boreham. The joint statement notes that recent research has heightened rather than reduced concern about the adverse health impacts of low-level radiation.

TORO ENERGY PROMOTES RADIATION JUNK SCIENCE , Statement by 45 doctors – (signatures at end ) 1 May 2012
Toro Energy is an Australian company involved in uranium exploration in Western Australia, the  Northern Territory, South Australia and in Namibia, Africa. The company’s most advanced project is  the proposed Wiluna uranium mine in the WA Goldfields.
Toro Energy has consistently promoted the fringe scientific view that exposure to low-level radiation  is harmless. Toro Energy has sponsored at least three speaking visits to Australia by Canadian  scientist Dr Doug Boreham, who argues that low-level radiation is actually beneficial to human health.
Those views are at odds with mainstream scientific evidence and expert assessment. For example: (more…)