Thursday, November 13, 2014


 Helen Caldicott, the pioneering Australian antinuclear activist and pediatrician who spearheaded the global nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s and co-founded Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), has joined with left-leaning environmental groups here in an uphill fight to halt nuclear power as a "solution" to the global warming crisis. "Global warming is the greatest gift the nuclear industry has ever received," Dr. Caldicott told Truthout.

The growing rush to nuclear power was only enhanced, experts say, by the weak climate deal at the Copenhagen 15 climate conference. The prospects for passage of a climate bill in Congress - virtually all versions are pro-nuclear - were enhanced, most analysts say, because it offered the promise that China might voluntarily agree to verify its carbon reductions and it could reassure senators worried about American manufacturers being undermined by polluters overseas. But at the two-week international confab that didn't produce any binding agreements to do anything, Caldicott and environmental activist groups were marginalized or, in the case of the delegates from Friends of the Earth, evicted from the main hall.

The upshot of the latest trends boosting nuclear power - although no nuclear reactor has been built in America since the 1970s - are indeed grim, she said. "Nothing's going to work to stop them but a meltdown," she said, fearing the prospects of such a calamity. "I don't know how else the world is going to wake up."

Her fears may sound apocalyptic, but as Truthout will explore in more depth in part II of this article, the dangers of a meltdown, terrorist attack and radiation damage are far greater than commonly known. That's because of what federal and Congressional investigators, advocacy groups and medical researchers say is a culture of sloppy security, health and safety oversight by a cozily pro-industry Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (An NRC spokesman denied those allegations in a written statement to Truthout.) The quasi-independent agency is funded primarily by fees from nuclear power plants. On top of all that, the Obama administration is planning to offer about $20 billion in loan guarantees to fund two new uncertified and risky reactors designs that have faced safety and cost overrun problems overseas...


The Inconvenient Truth in the US-China Climate Pact? | GreenWorld

China’s government tends to be ruled by a high degree of economic realism. The national economy comes first and has largely trumped other considerations, such as the environment, human rights, democracy, global public opinion, etc. The decision to enter into the climate pact with the U.S., to the extent that China intends to honor it (and there is no indication at this stage that it does not), suggests that it has to give serious consideration to how it will meet the lofty objective implied by the commitment to provide 20% of its total energy supply through low-carbon generation sources by 2030. It is being reported widely that this objective equates to China installing as much low-carbon generation as the entire current U.S. electricity production from all sources.
It’s completely reasonable to wonder, with such an ambitious goal, how much China will rely on nuclear as opposed to renewables to get there. In fact, there is no reason to expect that China will abandon nuclear, given all the rest of the reasons the country has been pursuing it: building of international prestige, demonstration of geopolitical might, illustration of engineering prowess, development of manufacturing capacity, etc.
But in reality there is no way that nuclear is going to be even close to a majority share of how China will get to the goal. China will soon have 22 reactors in operation and has the largest pipeline of reactors in construction in the world at a whopping total of 27. There are reportedly another 59 reactors in the planning stage, and 150 reactors proposed. These numbers are very similar to the historical U.S. reactor pipeline, which once approached a high of about 250 reactors proposed, planned, or developed. The U.S. fell short by more than half that number. capping out at 114 commercial reactors completed (15 of which are closing or closed), plus the five currently in construction.
If every one of these were actually built and put into operation, China’s ambitious nuclear development plans would cap out at about 250,000 MW of nuclear generation–more than 10 times the reactors and 12 times its current nuclear power capacity. And China would do this in about the same amount of time it has taken to develop just the 22 reactors currently in operation–an incredibly ambitious expansion under the huge constraints facing nuclear energy development. Essentially, China would have to build and put into operation 15 reactors/year for 15 years, more than one per month...
more: The Inconvenient Truth in the US-China Climate Pact? | GreenWorld

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

PRESS RELEASE UPDATE: Dangerous Uranium Hexafluoride Leak Worse Than Initially Reported, Regulator Says | Nuclear Energy Information Service

10 nov 2014

CHICAGO– A more serious incident occurred at the Honeywell Uranium conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois than was originally reported by the plant operators to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC Event Report states,
“DISCOVERY OF AFTER-THE-FACT EMERGENCY CONDITION – ALERT DECLARATION NOT MADE DURING EVENT INVOLVING URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE LEAK After review of additional observations and other evidence not directly involved with the response, Honeywell has determined that the event should have been upgraded at 1942 [CDT] on 10/26/14, to an ‘Alert’ classification per our classification criteria.”
“Emergency response and public awareness to a hazardous release from Honeywell depends on the reliable, honest and timely reporting by Honeywell. No government agencies can detect in real time an ongoing release of radioactive Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6) or toxic Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) at the facility”, stated Gail Snyder, Board President of Nuclear Energy Information Service...

more: PRESS RELEASE UPDATE: Dangerous Uranium Hexafluoride Leak Worse Than Initially Reported, Regulator Says | Nuclear Energy Information Service

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast | TEPCO Publishes Arrogant Press Release To The US On Fukushima | SimplyInfo

News Release | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institiution

Fukushima Radioactivity Detected Off West Coast

Media Relations Office
November 10, 2014
(508) 289-3340

Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.

In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami off Japan, the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant released cesium-134 and other radioactive elements into the ocean at unprecedented levels. Since then, the radioactive plume has traveled west across the Pacific, propelled largely by ocean currents and being diluted along the way. At their highest near the damaged nuclear power plant in 2011, radioactivity levels peaked at more than 10 million times the levels recently detected near North America...

Satellite measurements of ocean temperature (illustrated by color) from July 28th to August 4th and the direction of currents (white arrows) help show where radionuclides from Fukushima are transported.  Large scale currents transport water westward across the Pacific.  Upwelling along the west coast of North America in the summertime brings cold deep water to the surface and transports water offshore.  Circles indicate the locations where water samples were collected.  White circles indicate that no cesium-134 was detected.  Blue circles indicate locations were low levels of cesium-134 were detected.  No cesium-134 has yet been detected along the coast, but low levels have been detected offshore. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

TEPCO Publishes Arrogant Press Release To The US On Fukushima | SimplyInfo

As news came out about yet another finding of Fukushima radioactive contamination offshore of North America, TEPCO published a rather bizarre press release. The corporate statement insists the contamination “Level raises no concern for human or animal health”. 

This is a bit like taking healthy food advice from McDonalds...

from tepco -

Fukushima Daiichi NPS Prompt Report 2014


Level raises no concern for human or animal health; company notes progress in protecting ocean and pledges continued monitoring of water
TOKYO, November 11--Yesterday, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a private organization in the United States, reported that samples of water taken from the Pacific Ocean off the U.S. West Coast contain very small amounts of Cesium 134, at concentrations it has noted are "well below what is thought to be of human health or fisheries concern," and within safety limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. Noting the report, the Tokyo Electric Power Company issued the following statement...

11.14 BERKELEY, CA: Safety Countermeasure of Onagawa NPS after the Great East-Japan Earthquake, and the current situation of nuclear power in Japan

Colloquium: Center for Japanese Studies | November 14 | 10 a.m. | 180 Doe Library

Akiyoshi Obonai, Chief Nuclear Reactor Engineer and Chief Electrical Engineer, Tohuko Electric Power Company

On, March 11, a massive earthquake occurred at 2:46 p.m. Japan standard time, and the epicenter was about 130km off the Pacific Ocean from the Oshika peninsula where Onagawa NPS is located.

This talk will first address what happened at Onagawa Nuclear Power Station (NPS), and how the plant was managed in order to reach a cold shut down.

Next Obonai will go over the safety countermeasure after 3/11, learning the lesson from Onagawa and Fukushima. He conducted the detailed evaluation of 3/11/11 earthquakes and tsunamis. Based on this evaluation, further seismic reinforcement has been conducted and a high levee (about 29m above sea level) was constructed. In addition, safety upgrades were made for severe accidents, i.e. Filtered Containment Vessel System, and alternative decay heat removable system.

Finally, Obonai will talk about the current situation of nuclear power in Japan. For example, government policy, people’s attitude toward nuclear power, and the circumstance for restarting nuclear power station.

Akiyoshi Obonai received his masters in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1994. He currently works for the Tohuko Electric Power Company in reactor operation, reactor safety analysis and nuclear fuel management. He is certified by the Japanese government as a Chief Nuclear Reactor Engineer and Chief Electrical Engineer, 510-642-3415

Institute of East Asian Studies Calendar: Safety Countermeasure of Onagawa NPS after the Great East-Japan Earthquake, and the current situation of nuclear power in Japan

Monday, November 10, 2014

DIABLO CANYON – Whose Fault? | video | FOE lawsuit | Fairewinds Energy Education

Relay Chatter from Fairewinds Energy Education

If an earthquake fault caused a nuclear accident at California’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, whose fault would it be?  Did you know that Diablo Canyon is adjacent to two active earthquake faults: the Hosgri and Shoreline faults?

When we think of earthquake damage we think of buildings shaking and crumbling, pipes bursting and breaking. Diablo Canyon would suffer not only these traditional earthquake disasters, but also severe, dangerous mechanical threats. Arnie explains something engineers call “relay chatter”. In three short video segments, he shows us what relays are and how a seismic event would wreak havoc at Diablo Canyon causing “relay chatter”.  In addition, its proximity to two earthquake faults leaves it at risk for other mechanical failures and safety issues.

In this Fairewinds’ Video, Arnie Gundersen shares key points from his expert report for Friends of the Earth (FoE) regarding Diablo Canyon’s seismic quandary.  Arnie’s expert report is below, along with the entire FoE legal case file and submittal to the NRC.

Whose Fault? | Fairewinds Energy Education

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Diablo Canyon reactors and the fight for a safe, nuclear-free California (updating)

  1. On August 25, the Associated Press broke the story that the Nuclear Regulatory commission had suppressed a formal “differing professional opinion” of former senior resident inspector Dr. Michael Peck, in which he concludes that the Diablo Canyon reactors are operating outside of the license because of the newly identified earthquake risks. On the same day, Friends of the Earth relesed Dr. Peck’s suppressed DPO in its entirety...

more at FOE Updates: news releases and updates

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Carbon Free, Nuclear Free | Fairewinds Energy Education

In this video, Fairewinds' nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen talked with staffers from the United Nations about why nuclear power is not a viable solution to the issue of climate change. Lending itself as a beautiful segway to the powerful demonstration of thousands, Gundersens' presentation to UN staff coincided with the People's Climate March that took place in NYC.
Making his way from New York City to Westchester county, Arnie met up with Tim Judson, executive director of NIRS, (the Nuclear Information and Resource Service) to address the proximity of the Entergy owned Indian Point reactors to downtown Manhattan- a mere 26 miles away. Not unique to Japan, the possibility for a nuclear disaster like the meltdown at Fukushima could happen at any nuclear power site in the United States.

transcript at: Carbon Free, Nuclear Free | Fairewinds Energy Education