Thursday, September 22, 2016

Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident plausible, experts say : Broadcast: News items : University of Sussex


“The next nuclear accident may be much sooner or more severe than the public realizes.”

Biggest-ever statistical analysis of historical accidents suggests that nuclear power is an underappreciated extreme risk and that major changes will be needed to prevent future disasters
A team of risk experts who have carried out the biggest-ever analysis of nuclear accidents warn that the next disaster on the scale of Chernobyl or Fukushima may happen much sooner than the public realizes.
Researchers at the University of Sussex, in England, and ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, have analysed more than 200 nuclear accidents, and – estimating and controlling for effects of industry responses to previous disasters – provide a grim assessment of the risk of nuclear power.
Their worrying conclusion is that, while nuclear accidents have substantially decreased in frequency, this has been accomplished by the suppression of moderate-to-large events.  They estimate that Fukushima- and Chernobyl-scale disasters are still more likely than not once or twice per century, and that accidents on the scale of the 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in the USA (a damage cost of about 10 Billion USD) are more likely than not to occur every 10-20 years.
As Dr Spencer Wheatley, the lead author, explains: “We have found that the risk level for nuclear power is extremely high.
“Although we were able to detect the positive impact of the industry responses to accidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, these did not sufficiently remove the possibility of extreme disasters such as Fukushima. To remove such a possibility would likely require enormous changes to the current fleet of reactors, which is predominantly second-generation technology.”
The studies, published in two papers in the journals Energy Research & Social Science and Risk Analysis, put fresh pressure on the nuclear industry to be more transparent with data on incidents.
“Flawed and woefully incomplete” public data from the nuclear industry is leading to an over-confident attitude to risk, the study warns.  The research team points to the fact that their own independent analysis contains three times as much data as that provided publicly by the industry itself. This is probably because the International Atomic Energy Agency, which compiles the reports, has a dual role of regulating the sector and promoting it...

more: Risk of another Chernobyl or Fukushima type accident plausible, experts say : Broadcast: News items : University of Sussex


Nuclear Hotseat #274: Journalism’s Fukushima Coverage Failures w/Prof. Celine-Marie Pascale, Shaun McGee in UK on Sellafield Documentary’s Hot Impact, and Excellence in Journalism Report


This Week’s Featured Interviews:

    • Prof. Celine-Marie Pascale of American University in Washington, D.C. is a sociologist who did a study of mainstream media coverage in the first two years after Fukushima – and not only are her observations stunning, she’s got the data to back them up.  Originally presented on Nuclear Hotseat #203, May 2, 2015.
    • Nuclear Hotseat European correspondent Shaun McGee reports on growing response to the BBC Panorama documentary on nuclear safety problems at the UK’s Sellafield facility.  Watch the Sellafield BBC Panorama documentary!

LISTEN: Nuclear Hotseat #274: Journalism’s Fukushima Coverage Failures w/Prof. Celine-Marie Pascale, Shaun McGee in UK on Sellafield Documentary’s Hot Impact, and Excellence in Journalism Report


Numnutz of the Week:

Thinking about why Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) thinks that nuclear energy is “pollution free” (?!?!?????) is enough to give a girl the (radioactive) vapors!  Has he never heard of plutonium?  Or does he think that’s just one of Walt Disney’s characters?

ACTION REQUESTED:

TWEET THIS IN SUPPORT OF CAPE DOWNWINDERS AND THE CAMPAIGN TO SHUT DOWN PILGRIM NUCLEAR:
Pilgrim nuclear dangers last 2 wks – emergency shutdown, gas & water leaks, malfunctions, no evacuation possible. #ShutPilgrimNow!

more!
http://nuclearhotseat.com/2016/09/21/nuclear-hotseat-274-journalisms-fukushima-coverage-failures-wprof-celine-marie-pascale-shaun-mcgee-in-uk-on-sellafield-documentarys-hot-impact-and-excellence-in-journalism-report/


Thursday, September 15, 2016

DNA damage, cancer caused by ionizing radiation identified - UPI.com


Researchers found mutational signatures which appear to indicate changes to DNA caused by exposure to ionizing radiation, which may allow doctors to better treat cancer caused by non-spontaneous mutations. Photo by Constantin-Ciprian/Shutterstock

In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists showed the effects of gamma rays, X-rays and radioactive particles on DNA, deciphering patterns they think will help differentiate between spontaneous and radiation-caused tumors, allowing for better cancer treatment...

more: DNA damage, cancer caused by ionizing radiation identified - UPI.com


Hinkley C nuclear go-ahead: May caves in to pressure from France and China - The Ecologist



Hinkley is a project from a dying era, which would saddle Britons with eye-watering costs for decades, and radioactive waste for millenia. Renewables, smart grids and energy storage are the fleet-footed mammals racing past this stumbling nuclear dinosaur.
The French and the Chinese may be celebrating the UK's decision to press ahead with the Hinkley C 'nuclear white elephant', writes Oliver Tickell. But the deal is a disaster for the UK, committing us to overpriced power for decades to come, and to a dirty, dangerous, insecure dead end technology. Just one silver lining: major economic, legal and technical hurdles mean it still may never be built.

The UK's energy department, BEIS, today announced the go-ahead for the controversial Hinkley Point C (HPC) nuclear power plant in Somerset.
Only weeks ago Theresa May's government delayed the signing of the deal with EDF to confirm its subsidy package which is likely to cost UK energy users anywhere from £30 billion to over £100 billion for 35 years after it opens...

more: Hinkley C nuclear go-ahead: May caves in to pressure from France and China - The Ecologist


Monday, September 12, 2016

New Study Casts Doubt on the Future of Nuclear Power - EcoWatch


While it's been touted by some energy experts as a so-called "bridge" to help slash carbon emissions, a new study suggests that a commitment to nuclear power may in fact be a path towards climate failure.

For their study, researchers at the University of Sussex and the Vienna School of International Studies grouped European countries by levels of nuclear energy usage and plans, and compared their progress with part of the European Union's 2020 Strategy...

more: New Study Casts Doubt on the Future of Nuclear Power - EcoWatch


Amid climate concerns, nuclear plants feel the heat of warming water | Midwest Energy News


Nuclear power proponents say the energy source is crucial to reducing the impact of climate change.
But ironically, “We’ll have to solve global warming if we want to keep using nuclear power,” says Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety expert Dave Lochbaum.
That’s because nuclear power plants need large amounts of water for cooling, and overheating can present a major safety risk. As the lakes and rivers that typically supply cooling water become hotter thanks to climate change — and as droughts dry up some water bodies — nuclear power plants face problems, researchers say...
more: Amid climate concerns, nuclear plants feel the heat of warming water | Midwest Energy News


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Can Nuclear Power Slow Down Climate Change? An analysis of nuclear greenhouse gas emissions | The Helen Caldicott Foundation



Can Nuclear Power Slow Down Climate Change  
(click title to access link to PDF of full report)
By Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen Ceedata Consultancy
Commissioned by the World Information Service on Energy (WISE) Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 2015
Supporting organizations:
Sortir du Nucléaire, France, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), Nuclear Information & Resource Service (NIRS), USA, Ecodefense, Russia, Global 2000 (Friends of the Earth), Austria, Bürgerinitiative Lüchow-Dannenberg, Germany, Folkkampanjen mot Kärnkraft-Kärnvapen, Sweden
This report is sponsored by: the Greens in the European Parliament
Acknowledgement
The author would like to thank Mali Lightfoot, Executive Director of the Helen Caldicott Foundation, for her valuable suggestions and comments.
Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen, MSc storm@ceedata.nl
With this study WISE hopes to contribute to a thorough debate about the best solutions to tackle climate change. Nuclear energy is part of the current global energy system. The question is whether the role of nuclear power should be increased or halted. In order to be able to fruitfully discuss this we should at least know what the contribution of nuclear power could possibly be.

Summary and conclusions (for complete report click on the link  above or go directly to the report on the WISE site which is downloadable)
Starting point
Nuclear power is claimed to be nearly carbon-free and indispensable for mitigating climate change as a result of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
Assuming that nuclear power really does not emit carbon dioxide CO2 nor other greenhouse gases (GHGs), how large is the present nuclear mitigation share and how large could it become in the future? Could the term ‘indispensable’ in this context be quantfied? These issues are assessed from a physical point of view, economic aspects are left outside the scope of this assessment.
How large is the present nuclear mitigation share?
The global GHG emissions comprise a number of different gases and sources. Weighted by the global warming potential of the various GHGs 61% of the emissions were caused by CO2 from burning of fossil fuels for energy generation. Nuclear power could displace fossil-fuelled electricity generation, so hypothetically the maximum nuclear mitigation share would be 61% if the global energy supply were to be fully electric and fully nuclear.
In 2014 the nuclear contribution to the global usable energy supply was 1.6% and consequently the nuclear mitigation share was 1.0%.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) asserts that the nuclear contribution to the global energy supply was 4.6% in 2014. However, this figure turns out to be based on a thermodynamically inaccurate statistical trick using virtual energy quantities.
How large could the nuclear mitigation to climate change become in the future according to the nuclear industry?
We found no hard figures on this issue, for that reason this study analyses the mitigation consequences of the envisioned developments of global nuclear generating capacity. During the past years the International Atomic Energy Agency and the nuclear industry, represented by the World Nuclear Association (WNA), published numerous scenarios of global nuclear generating capacity in the future, measured in gigawatt- electric GWe. Four recent scenarios are assessed in this study, as these can be considered to be typical of the views within the nuclear industry...

more: The Helen Caldicott Foundation | Can Nuclear Power Slow Down Climate Change? An analysis of nuclear greenhouse gas emissions.


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