Archive for July, 2012

Japan and media kept quiet about Fukushima children and thyroid abnormalities

July 21, 2012

doctors are outraged that the results are not being sufficiently publicized. 

The World Health Organization warns that young people are particularly prone to radiation poisoning in the thyroid gland. Infants face the direst consequences, as their cells divide at a higher rate.
Children who were under 18 when the nuclear disaster struck last year will be subject to continuous thyroid examinations every two years until they reach 20 years of age, and after that, every five years for the rest of their lives.

Over a third of Fukushima children at risk of developing cancer  http://www.rt.com/news/fukushima-children-radiation-exposure-abnormalities-632/  20 July, 2012,Over a third of children in Japan’s Fukushima region could be prone to cancer if medics don’t apply more effort in treating their unusually overgrown thyroid glands and commit to international health aid and consultations, according to a new report.
The shocking new report shows that nearly 36 per cent of children in the nuclear disaster-affected Fukushima Prefecture have abnormal thyroid growths. This is an extremely large number of abnormalities – some of which, experts say, pose a risk of becoming cancerous. (more…)

Advertisements

Australia’s nuclear and fossil fuel front groups campaign against wind energy

July 21, 2012

There are two main anti-wind farm groups in Australia busily fomenting anxiety and opposition. One is the Waubra Foundation, a group of mainly wealthy individuals, none of whom live in or near the town of Waubra, near Ballarat. Several of them, NIMBY style, have opposed turbines near their own properties elsewhere. They are led by an unregistered doctor, Sarah Laurie, and a wealthy mining investor, Peter Mitchell who also has connections to the Landscape Guardians. Despite their name, the Guardians have never attempted to guard our landscape from over-zealous residential developers, open cut coal or coal seam gas mining. They only target wind farm developments. All three – Waubra, the Guardians and Mitchell’s mining investment company share a South Melbourne post office box.

Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease  https://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+July+2012&utm_content=Latest+from+The+Conversation+for+20+July+2012+CID_be7f8aff1000afd17cabaf558b629431&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=Simon+Chapman+investigates   At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was curious about how many I could find. Within an hour or two I had found nearly 50 and today the number has grown to an astonishing 155. (more…)

Estimatinf Fujushima cancer risks,but they left out 20,000 workers

July 21, 2012

Thousands More Radiation-Related Deaths Expected From Fukushima, Asian Scientist, Study By Rebecca Lim July 20, 2012 Thousands of deaths could still be expected from the Fukushima nuclear fallout in the years to come, according to the first estimate of the disaster’s worldwide impact AsianScientist (Jul. 20, 2012) –

The research, published in the latest edition of the journal Energy & Environmental Science, found that inhalation exposure, external exposure, and ingestion exposure of the public to radioactivity may result in up to 1,300 cancer mortalities and up to 2,500 cancer morbidities worldwide, mostly in Japan.
Stanford University researchers John Ten Hoeve and Mark Jacobson feel that the risk of a meltdown is not small, given that “modest to major radionuclide releases (occurred) in almost 1.5 percent of all reactors ever built.”….

Estimates in the paper do not account for the increased radiation risk to the roughly 20,000 workers at the plant in the months following the accident.
Psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, fear, and unexplained physical symptoms which were seen post-Chernobyl, are likely to be repeated in evacuees after Fukushima, they say….

Removal of Fukushima reactor No 4 fuel rods – long, dangerous process

July 21, 2012

The pool at No. 4 was behind the secret worst-scenario mapped out by the government, which warned millions of people might have to flee from spewing radiation, including parts of the Tokyo area, which has a population of 35 million people. U.S. authorities have also repeatedly expressed worries about the spent-fuel pool at reactor No. 4.

“If we are asked whether things are completely safe, we cannot say that,”  ”If there is another major earthquake, we don’t know what may happen,

Japan removes two nuclear fuel rods from Fukushima plant Times Live Sapa | 18 July, 2012  A giant crane removed two rods packed with nuclear fuel from the Fukushima nuclear plant. This is the beginning of a delicate and long process to deal with a remaining risk of more radiation escaping from the disaster-struck plant. (more…)

No scientific basis for ‘Waste Confidence Rule’ but it keeps the nuclear industry going

July 21, 2012

he NRC also stated that it ‘retains confidence that spent fuel can be safely stored with no significant environmental impact until a repository can reasonably be expected to be available and that the Commission has a target date for the availability of the repository in that circumstance’” 

As a result of its confidence in the safety of spent fuel storage, NRC rules note that “no discussion of any environmental impact of spent fuel storage in reactor facility storage pools or independent spent fuel storage installations for the period following the term of the reactor operating license . . . is required in any environmental report, environmental impact statement, environmental assessment or other analysis prepared in connection with the issuance or amendment of an operating license for a nuclear reactor,” 

Group seeks to have spent fuel a factor in re-licensing Limerick plant The Mercury By Evan Brandt  07/17/12  LIMERICK ”…….Spent fuel rods are what remains after the uranium pellets inside the fuel rods in a reactor no longer generate enough heat to create the steam that turns the turbines and generates electricity at a nuclear power plant.

Although cooler, this spent fuel remains radioactive to some extent for hundreds of years. For years, spent fuel was kept in concrete “spent fuel pools” located inside a nuclear plant and filled with water to keep it from overheating. (more…)

Diminishing safety in ‘uprating’ nuclear reactors

July 21, 2012

nuclear watchdogs have warned that these bigger uprates also carry bigger risks.

“This trend is, in principle, detrimental to the stability characteristics of the reactor, inasmuch as it increases the probability of instability events and increases the severity of such events, if they were to occur,” the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, which is mandated by Congress to advise the NRC, has warned 

How to expand nuclear power without attracting (too much) attention
Washington Times,  by Brad Plumer   July 18, 2012 Since the 1970s, construction on new nuclear reactors in the United States has largely ground to a halt, thanks to public protests, regulatory obstacles and tight financing. Yet over that same period, U.S. utilities have managed to increase the amount of electricity they get from nuclear power. By quite a lot, in fact.
How is that possible? Through a process known as “uprating.” According to a new analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the operators of 98 of the country’s 104 commercial nuclear reactors have asked regulators for permission to boost capacity from their existing plants. All in all, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved more than 6,500 megawatts worth of uprates since 1977. That’s the equivalent of building six entirely new nuclear reactors—and during a period when fresh plants were impossible to build. (more…)

Horrendous cost of burying a dead nuclear power plant

July 21, 2012

consultancy Arthur D. Little has put the total costs at no less than €18 billion…..

Dismantling a nuclear plant until it has completely vanished can take several decades, depending on which technique is used.

the process of fully decommissioning a plant can take more than 40 years,

Germany’s pricey nuclear burial, Climate Spectator , 18 Jul 2012, Christoph Steitz and Tom Käckenhoff  “…..by 2014, almost nothing will be left of what once was Germany’s first commercial boiling water reactor. Germany’s decision to shut down all nuclear plants by 2022, (more…)

Soldiers used as radiation guinea pigs by France

July 21, 2012

An excerpt published in the newspaper refers to the “Gerboise verte”, code name for the test firings of April 25, 1961. It states that the experiment “should allow for a study of the physiological and psychological effects of atomic weaponry on humans, with the goal obtaining the necessary elements to prepare physically and morally for modern combat.”

Soldiers deliberately exposed to nuclear tests, says report According to the Tuesday edition of the French daily Parisian, a confidential military report proves that soldiers were deliberately exposed to nuclear tests that France conducted in Algeria in the 1960s. By FRANCE 24 17 July 12

A brief history of France’s nuclear testing in Algeria: (more…)

Britain Finland, Poland, Czech Republic – uneconomic nuclear power plans

July 21, 2012

COLUMN-Finnish delay fresh warning against nuclear: Wynn By  Gerard Wynn 17 July 12, (Reuters) – The lesson from the latest delay to Finland’s planned new nuclear reactor, announced on Monday, is either build lots of them or don’t build any at all.

It is a general economic principle that costs per plant decline the bigger a programme. Historical data support that for nuclear, where it may apply more acutely given its highly specialised and often unique supply chain and engineering skills.

It makes no sense to take a suck-and-see approach, building incrementally in a modular fashion, especially for new technologies such as Finland’s advanced pressurised water reactor.

But plans by developed countries including Britain,

COLUMN-Finnish delay fresh warning against nuclear: Wynn By  Gerard Wynn 17 July 12, (Reuters) – The lesson from the latest delay to Finland’s planned new nuclear reactor, announced on Monday, is either build lots of them or don’t build any at all.

It is a general economic principle that costs per plant decline the bigger a programme. Historical data support that for nuclear, where it may apply more acutely given its highly specialised and often unique supply chain and engineering skills.

It makes no sense to take a suck-and-see approach, building incrementally in a modular fashion, especially for new technologies such as Finland’s advanced pressurised water reactor.

But plans by developed countries including Britain, Finland, Poland
and the Czech Republic are for just that. It is not surprising that
developed countries are wary of big nuclear rollouts, given the high
capital cost and the present credit squeeze for both banks and
impoverished electricity consumers.

The danger is that they are caught in an economic no man’s land,
afraid to cancel programmes altogether in the face of the falling
costs of modular approaches such as wind power, biomass or gas, or to
ramp them up.

Of countries with definite plans, Britain supports industry plans for
16 gigawatts (10 or so large power plants) by 2025. This target looks
stretched given construction has not started on any, while developers
of 6 GW have already abandoned their interest……
Consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff estimated the capital costs of a
“first of a kind” plant (built without an established supply chain) at
nearly a fifth higher than an “nth of a kind”, in a report to the
British department for energy and climate last year.

The difference may be greater, however.

Precise estimates of the cost of nuclear power seem to go in circles
depending on the views of the advocates, given so many variables
including the discount rate applied to finance; the present and future
cost of rival technologies; and an assumed carbon price.

It is useful to review the scale of actual problems faced by first of
a kind plants being built using advanced pressurised water technology
under construction in Europe.

Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima on Monday said its Olkiluoto 3
reactor would no longer meet its 2014 completion date, which itself
was five years behind schedule and is also massively over-budget at
about 4,125 euros ($5,200) per KW.

The Finnish new build plans follow those of France’s new Flamanville 3 reactor.

French utility EDF last year estimated the overnight cost (excluding
cost of finance) of its new reactor, the first to be built in France
in 15 years, at 3,600 euros ($4,600) per kilowatt, up from an initial
estimated 2,000 euros ($2,500).

The Flamanville reactor will be over-due by four years.

Britain has the boldest plans for nuclear new build in the developed world.

The country will want to avoid these kinds of cost overruns and
delays, from a lack of supply chain and skills, but that is precisely
the situation the country presently faces.

A report published last November by a UK parliamentary panel found
that Britain’s nuclear R&D workforce had declined from more than 8,000
in 1980 to less than 1,000 now, following the closure of Government
nuclear laboratories.
The R&D programme received government funding of 300-350 million
pounds a year in the 1980s, compared with 11 million pounds annually
now, it found.

It is hard to see how a rebuilding of such intellectual capital can be
cost-effective unless applied to more than three or four plants,
leaving it dithering between shelving its plans or committing to a
large, prescribed target.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/17/idUSL6E8IHD4520120717

are for just that. It is not surprising that
developed countries are wary of big nuclear rollouts, given the high
capital cost and the present credit squeeze for both banks and
impoverished electricity consumers. (more…)

San Onofre nuclear plant’s serious safety problems

July 21, 2012

Made in Japan? Fukushima Crisis Is Nuclear, Not Cultural TruthOut14 July 2012  By Gregg Levine, Capitoilette | News Analysis “……..Back at San Onofre, US regulators disclosed Thursday that the damage to the metal tubes that circulate radioactive water between the reactor and the steam turbines (in other words, part of the system that takes heat away from the core) was far more extensive than had previously been disclosed by plant operators:

[Each of San Onofre’s steam generators has] 9,727 U-shaped tubes inside, each three-quarters of an inch in diameter.

The alloy tubes represent a critical safety barrier — if one breaks, there is the potential that radioactivity could escape into the atmosphere. Also, serious leaks can drain protective cooling water from a reactor.

Gradual wear is common in such tubing, but the rate of erosion at San Onofre startled officials since the equipment is relatively new. The generators were replaced in a $670 million overhaul and began operating in April 2010 in Unit 2 and February 2011 in Unit 3.

Tubes have to be taken out of service if 35 percent — roughly a third — of the wall wears away, and each of the four generators at the plant is designed to operate with a maximum of 778 retired tubes.

In one troubled generator in Unit 3, 420 tubes have been retired. The records show another 197 tubes in that generator have between 20 percent and 34 percent wear, meaning they are close to reaching the point when they would be at risk of breaking.

More than 500 others in that generator have between 10 percent and 19 percent wear in the tube wall.

“The new data reveal that there are thousands of damaged tubes in both Units 2 and 3, raising serious questions whether either unit should ever be restarted,” said Daniel Hirsch, a lecturer on nuclear policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who is a critic of the industry. “The problem is vastly larger than has been disclosed to date.”

And if anything, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is underplaying the problem. A report from Fairewinds Associates, also released this week, unfavorably compared San Onofre’s situation with similar problems at other facilities:

[SONGS] has plugged 3.7 times as many steam generator tubes than the combined total of the entire number of plugged replacement steam generator tubes at all the other nuclear power plants in the US.

The report also explains that eight of the tubes failed a “pressure test” at San Onofre, while the same test at other facilities had never triggered any more than one tube breach. Fairewinds goes on to note that both units at San Onofre are equally precarious, and that neither can be restarted with any real promise of safe operation….. http://truth-out.org/news/item/10333-made-in-japan-fukushima-crisis-is-nuclear-not-cultural