Monthly Archives: September 2011

Fukushima is Forever – Nuke Digest 8-31-11

Digesting the Nuclear News
In this edition: Fukushima continues to fester with radionuclides and deepening bad news. Earthquakes, storms and floods slam America’s mid-west and east coast nuclear plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fragments into squabbling camps. PG&E – operator of California’s seismically and tsunamicly challenged Diablo Canyon nuke – gets slammed for a litany of safety failures. Some countries shutter their nukes, while others press on to an atomic future. Despite cover-up attempts and industry hype, citizen opposition to nuclear energy and weapons is in a resurgence around the world. Let’s hope the planetary anti-nuclear reaction can achieve ‘critical mass’ this time.
New Unit 3 Damage Photo Published by Cryptome

Today’s print and video entries are arranged for your quick-scan convenience in four categories: FUKUSHIMA UPDATES; INTERNATIONAL; CALIFORNIA; and U.S.. We end with brief clips of Obama’s and Bill (‘I love nukes’) Gates’ statements on nuclear power. That’s what we’re up against, and what we will overcome.

Fukushima Now Radiating Everyone: ‘Unspeakable’ Reality ‘Will Impact All Of Humanity’

Fairewinds Updates on Fukushima:

Newly Released TEPCO Data Proves Fairewinds Assertions of Significant Fuel Pool Failures at Fukushima Daiichi

Newly Released TEPCO Data Proves Fairewinds Assertions of Significant Fuel Pool Failures at Fukushima Daiichi from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

40-year-old worker died of acute leukemia after working for seven days at the plant
On Tuesday, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501.TO) said that a 40-year-old worker died of acute leukemia after working for seven days at the plant. The amount of cumulative radiation exposure of the worker was 0.5 millisievert, far below the legal limit. Tepco said that his death is unlikely to be related to his work at the plant.

Fukushima Fallout: Worse than Hiroshima or Chernobyl?
by Gordon Edwards, August 29, 2011
No one has ever before experienced the extensive radioactive contamination of air, water, soil, and food that now faces the Japanese people after the Fukushima disaster.

It is important to realize that each nuclear reactor contains more than a thousand times as much radioactive material as the radioactive fallout from a Hiroshima-type atomic bomb.

Evacuate FUKUSHIMA – 福島の子供を守れ

Inside Fukushima – Photo report
Kazuma Obara, a native of Japan’s tsunami-hit Iwate prefecture, is the first photo-journalist to get unauthorized access to the Fukushima plant and photograph conditions for cleanup workers. Yes, they’re still there.

Radioactive Cesium Found In Wide Areas Around Japan Fukushima Plant

By Mitsuru Obe
TOKYO -(Dow Jones)- The first comprehensive survey of soil contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant showed that 33 locations spread over a wide area have been contaminated with long-lasting radioactive cesium, complicating Japan’s effort to clean up the disaster-hit region, the government said Tuesday.

The survey of 2,200 locations within a 100-km radius of the crippled plant found that those 33 locations had cesium-137 in excess of 1.48 million becquerels per square meter, the level set by the Soviet Union for forced resettlement after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Cesium in Incinerator Dust Across East Japan – The Japan Times
High levels of cesium isotopes are cropping up in dust at 42 incineration plants in seven prefectures, including Chiba and Iwate, an Environment Ministry survey of the Kanto and Tohoku regions shows.

Fukushima workers showered with highly radioactive water
August 31st, 2011 at 01:09 PM

2 workers showered with highly radioactive water, NHK, August 31, 2011
Tokyo Electric Power Company says 2 male workers at its troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were showered with highly radioactive water by mistake.

After Cleanup* High school: 7.9 microsieverts/hour — Day care center: 7.1 microsieverts/hour Japan Times
Fukushima day care center hot spots
Two day care centers and a high school building in Fukushima Prefecture remain contaminated with high levels of radioactive matter even after they underwent cleanup work, Greenpeace Japan said.

Radioactive waste swamps Japan sewage plants
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse: A terrifying look at radioactive sludge piling up at sewage plants hundreds of kilometers from the crippled Fukushima reactor – with noplace to go. From Al Jazeera.

Japanese Island’s Activists Resist Nuclear Industry’s Allure
IWAISHIMA, Japan — When the boats came to start work on a planned nuclear power plant just off this tiny island, an aging fisherwoman named Tamiko Takebayashi carried out a dramatic protest: she lashed herself to the dock.

Above-limit cesium found at incinerators in 7 prefectures Mainichi News
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Incinerator dust and ash with too much radioactive cesium to allow it to be buried has been found at 42 facilities in Tokyo, Chiba, Iwate and three other prefectures as well as Fukushima, the Environment Ministry said Saturday.

The result of a survey of 469 facilities in 16 prefectures in northeastern and eastern Japan since late June was reported as a panel of experts at the ministry considers how to allow dust and ash containing over 8,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram to be buried.

Issue of radiation-tainted food in Japan escalates
By Naoko Fujimura and Chris Cooper, Bloomberg
Mushrooms joined the threats to Japan’s food chain from radiation spewed by Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, as the country expands efforts to limit the effects of the disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plan’s No.1 (C) and No.2 (L) reactors are seen in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, in this photo taken March 31 and released by Japan’s Defence Ministry April 1, 2011. In its attempts to bring under control its radiation-gushing nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by last month’s massive earthquake and tsunami, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is trying to get workers ever closer to the sources of stubborn radiation at the plant and end the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Picture taken March 31, 2011.
Photograph by: .., REUTERS/Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force/Handout

Japan’s NGOs, Academics Call for Abolition of Nuclear Plants
Speakers liken current policy to wartime tactics
by Jun Hongo – Japan Times

The Explosive Truth Behind Fukushima’s Meltdown
by David McNeill in Tokyo and Jake Adelstein
Japan insists its nuclear crisis was caused by an unforeseeable combination of tsunami and earthquake. But new evidence suggests its reactors were doomed to fail.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March. Photograph: Reuters
International Atomic Energy Agency fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman inspects the damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in May, 11 weeks into the disaster.


Germany Dims Nuclear Plants, but Hopes to Keep Lights On

BIBLIS, Germany — Not since the grim period after World War II has Germany had significant blackouts, but it is now bracing for that possibility after shutting down half its nuclear reactors practically overnight.

Even before Fukushima, nuclear energy’s days in Germany were numbered. Biblis had been the site of giant national antinuclear demonstrations, and Germany was already enacting a plan for slowly phasing out nuclear energy by 2023. The country had become the world leader in wind power and a master at squeezing more energy efficiency out of appliances and homes, having built tens of thousands of self-heating “passive houses.”

Still, Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself a physicist, decided last fall to extend the operating licenses of Germany’s nuclear plants over concerns that innovation alone would not satisfy the country’s energy appetite.

Fukushima changed everything.

“We’ve got to stop these sorts of reports coming out” — Int’l conference warns that media talk of Fukushima health effects “may be harmful” New Scientist by Andy Coghlan,

Alarmist predictions that the long-term health effects of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan will be worse than those following Chernobyl in 1986 are likely to aggravate harmful psychological effects of the incident. That was the warning heard at an international conference on radiation research in Warsaw, Poland, this week.

One report, in UK newspaper The Independent, quoted a scientist who predicted more than a million would die, and that the prolonged release of radioactivity from Fukushima would make health effects worse than those from the sudden release experienced at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in Ukraine.

“We’ve got to stop these sorts of reports coming out, because they are really upsetting the Japanese population,” says Gerry Thomas at Imperial College London, who is attending the meeting. “The media has a hell of a lot of responsibility here, because the worst post-Chernobyl effects were the psychological consequences and this shouldn’t happen again.”

Nuclear Power’s Future in Japan and Abroad: The Fukushima Accident in Social and Political Perspective
Daniel Aldrich / Associate Professor, Purdue University and Mansfield US-Japan Network for the Future Fellow / August 25th, 2011

The 11 March 2011 triple-disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan has devastated the Tohoku region but also altered the regulatory and market environment for atomic energy around the world. This article looks at the new situation in Japan for local residents and political elites along with the post-Fukushima changes in energy policies for Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Japan and the world stand at a crossroads where decision makers and citizens must publicly evaluate the costs and benefits of pursuing nuclear power.

Germany’s Chancellor Merkel called the event a “turning point in the history of the industrialized world” and many observers have seen it as the end of the “nuclear renaissance.” This may be because, as Ferguson observed, “An accident anywhere is an accident everywhere”.

The End of the Nuclear Era? Not So Fast…
by Sandy Leon Vest – Solar Times

In the aftermath of the March 11 triple-reactor meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, stories and opinion polls trumpeting Japan’s “growing anti-nuclear sentiment” flourished in both the corporate-owned and alternative media. When Germany’s Angela Merkel announced that her country would reject nuclear power and begin shuttering it’s old plants, the headeline spanned newspapers across the globe.
Less widely reported is that, even as Germany, Japan and a handful of other countries — among them, Italy, Switzerland and some ASEAN member states — are rejecting or at least reconsidering their commitments to nuclear power, many more (including the US) are still on the nuclear fast track. Russia, India, Brazil and some Middle Eastern oil economies and a host of developing countries number among those still hot to go nuclear.
Only this summer, the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a decades-old economic research group, predicted “a massive worldwide growth in nuclear energy production” over the next decade.

China’s Nuclear Power Plans Unfazed by Fukushima Disaster
by David Biello – Environment 360

In the wake of the Fukushima meltdowns, some nations are looking to move away from nuclear power. But not China, which is proceeding with plans to build 36 reactors over the next decade. Now some experts are questioning whether China can safely operate a host of nuclear plants.

Chernobyl Decay and Deformed
Russian Video


NTSB Blames PG&E ‘Litany Of Failures’ In San Bruno Explosion

SAN BRUNO (CBS SF/AP) — The head of a federal safety panel is faulting Pacific Gas & Electric company for a “litany of failures” leading up to last year’s pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and incinerated a suburban neighborhood.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said Tuesday PG&E also exploited weak safety oversight by state regulators who placed “a blind trust” in the utility.

Investigators slam PG&E over San Bruno explosion
By Steve Johnson, Pete Carey, Paul Rogers and Joshua Melvin – San Jose Mercury

WASHINGTON — In a blistering report summing up a yearlong investigation, federal authorities Tuesday denounced PG&E for “a litany of failures” that led to the deadly San Bruno blast and accused the company of ignoring clear warnings that could have prevented the disaster.

“Opportunities were missed that could have and should have prevented this tragedy,” said Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Accusing the company of having “exploited weaknesses” in government pipeline regulations “to the detriment of public safety,”

Japan meltdown focuses concern on San Onofre Orange County News

How much Japan radiation? Scientists answer – Orange County Register
What appears to be the first scientific estimate of radiation released during the height of the Japanese nuclear crisis reveals a burst hundreds of times the background levels near the crippled reactors.

Scientists at UC San Diego did produce a number — a total of 400 neutrons per square meter between Mar. 13 and Mar. 20, some 365 times natural, background radiation levels — but it’s a tough one to place in a context that anyone but a nuclear expert can readily understand.

“It’s a large amount of radioactivity, obviously,” said Mark H. Thiemens, dean of the university’s Division of Physical Sciences and an author of the new study.

Looking down on Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors during the height of the crisis. Associated Press photo.

Flow of particles from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that were carried across the ocean by winds. Image based on a graphic from UC San Diego study; courtesy the authors.

Evidence of neutron leakage at the Fukushima nuclear plant from measurements of radioactive 35S in California
Antra Priyadarshi, Gerardo Dominguez, and Mark H. Thiemens
A recent earthquake and the subsequent tsunami have extensively damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, releasing harmful radiation into the environment. Despite the obvious implication for human health and the surrounding ecology, there are no quantitative estimates of the neutron flux leakage during the weeks following the earthquake. Here, using measurements of radioactive 35S contained in sulfate aerosols and SO2 gas at a coastal site in La Jolla, California, we show that nearly 4 × 1011 neutrons per m2 leaked at the Fukushima nuclear power plant before March 20, 2011.

Nuclear Waste Shipments from San Onofre to Nevada
From Mary Olson – NIRS – Nuclear Information and Resource Service
A guy who has a You-Tube program DEVOTED to Route 66 (in Nevada) featured in his episode an ENORMOUS 26 wheel heavy haul that is taking 28 days from SONGs NPP (San Onofre) to Clive Utah for “disposal” — The fellow is not very easy to listen to, so jump to 3 min 40 seconds (by sliding the “status button”) and you will see something that likely he should not have been standing so close to! He mentioned that this is the first of 4… and they are going over the Cajon Pass… a very steep grade!


Obama Likely to Stick With Nukes

Experts predict the US is likely to maintain its huge arsenal of nuclear weapons despite President Barack Obama’s claim to support nuclear disarmament.

3 Things That Must Happen for Us To Rise Up and Defeat the Corporatocracy
Most Americans oppose rule by the corporatocracy but don’t have the tools to fight back. Here are three things we need to create a real people’s movement.

Congressman: Emergency diesel generator was inoperable due to flooding at Maryland nuke plant where transformer exploded during hurricane

Vermonters Look to Go National Direct Action Versus Entergy’s Nukes
Newfane, VT .
A classic David vs. Goliath battle is taking shape in the courtroom and in the streets and fields of Vermont as Entergy Nuclear of Louisiana tries to overturn Vermont law in the federal courts.

Irene Damage at Nuclear Plants in Virginia
Va. quake may have exceeded nuke plant design: NRC
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The historic earthquake that shut down Dominion
Resources Inc’s North Anna nuclear plant last week may have exceeded
what the reactor was designed to withstand, the U.S. nuclear regulator
said on Monday.

Nuclear Facility Off Line After Wind Gusts Strike Transformer
By Greg Chalmers

The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant Unit 1 operated by Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, a joint venture of Constellation Energy Group (NYSE: CEG) and EDF Group, automatically went off line late Saturday after a piece of aluminum siding propelled by wind gusts hit the nuclear facility’s main transformer. Calvert Cliffs Unit 2 remains at 100 percent power.

NRC infighting goes nuclear
It’s war at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko regularly faces the sharp end of Republican spears for his work to shut down the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, but his biggest clash appears not to be with Capitol Hill but with fellow NRC Commissioner Kristine Svinicki.

Dial “M” for Meltdown – Fairewinds Video by Brian Rich

U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Holds Fast to Status Quo
‘Obama’s commitment to nuclear modernization continues the nuclear arms race’
by Haider Rizvi

5 things the media isn’t telling you about human activity and earthquakes
By Nora Eisenberg – Raw Story
Shortly before midnight Mountain Time on August 23, the largest earthquake in Colorado in more than a century, with a magnitude of 5.3, sent tremors as far away as Kansas. Some twelve hours later, a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Northern Virginia sent shock waves as far away as Toronto. The local damage in each event did not appear extensive, though structural effects, on bridges, tunnels, nuclear power plants and more are yet to be determined.

Earthquake reignites debate over safety of nuclear power
By Andrew Restuccia – Raw Story
Virginia’s largest earthquake in more than a century shook the East Coast on Tuesday, and is likely to revive a long-standing debate about the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants.

Reactor Accidents
East Coast Earthquake and North Anna
11:30 am, August 24, 2011

As indicated below, power has been restored to North Anna and emergency diesel generators are no longer being used. Both reactors at North Anna remain shutdown. One of the diesel generators suffered a coolant leak, which is why it failed. It’s not yet clear whether the leak was caused by the earthquake or was a result of earlier improper maintenance and inspection. The reactors will remain shutdown for inspection for possible earthquake-related damage; at this writing there is no indication how long that might be.

Most importantly is that, according to Dominion Resources, North Anna is designed to withstand only a 6.2 earthquake. At a U.S. Geological Survey rating of 5.8, the east coast earthquake came uncomfortably close to the margin. A 2008 NRC survey of earthquake risk at U.S. reactor sites placed North Anna as the seventh riskiest site in the country–based on possible earthquake size and reactor design basis. The riskiest site according to the NRC? Indian Point, NY, just 35 miles from Manhattan. Here is a March 2011 report from MSNBC on earthquake risk and nuclear power in the U.S.

Clearly there is a pressing need to upgrade existing reactor sites to withstand larger earthquakes than now contemplated–or close them. This is as true for the east coast and midwest as it is for the much more earthquake-prone California reactors at San Onofre and Diablo Canyon–which could experience far, far stronger earthquakes than that felt in the east yesterday.

What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk

By Bill Dedman
So much for San Andreas: Reactors in East, Midwest, South have highest chance of damage

What are the odds that a nuclear emergency like the one at Fukushima Dai-ichi could happen in the central or eastern United States? They’d have to be astronomical, right? As a pro-nuclear commenter on put it this weekend, “There’s a power plant just like these in Omaha. If it gets hit by a tsunami….”

It turns out that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has calculated the odds of an earthquake causing catastrophic failure to a nuclear plant here. Each year, at the typical nuclear reactor in the U.S., there’s a 1 in 74,176 chance of an earthquake strong enough to cause damage to the reactor’s core, which could expose the public to radiation. No tsunami required. That’s 10 times more likely than you winning $10,000 by buying a single ticket in the Powerball multi-state lottery, where the chance is 1 in 723,145.

And it turns out that the nuclear reactor in the United States with the highest risk of an earthquake causing core damage is not the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, with its twin reactors tucked between the California coastline and the San Andreas Fault.

It’s not the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a four-hour drive down the Pacific coast at San Clemente, surrounded by fault lines on land and under the ocean.

It’s not on the Pacific Coast at all. It’s on the Hudson River.

One in 10,000
The reactor with the highest risk rating is 24 miles north of New York City, in the village of Buchanan, N.Y., at the Indian Point Energy Center….

Rank. Reactor, nearby city, state: Chance each year of core damage from an earthquake, showing NRC estimates based on 2008 USGS data. Old estimate from 1989 data. Change in risk. [excerpt] [ Wonder what the estimate for Fukushima was?! JH ]
1. Indian Point 3, Buchanan, N.Y.: 1 in 10,000 chance each year. Old estimate: 1 in 17,241. Change in risk: 72 percent.
15. Diablo Canyon 1, Avila Beach, Calif.: 1 in 23,810 chance each year.
15. Diablo Canyon 2, Avila Beach, Calif.: 1 in 23,810 chance each year.
46. San Onofre 2, San Clemente, Calif.: 1 in 58,824 chance each year.
46. San Onofre 3, San Clemente, Calif.: 1 in 58,824 chance each year.

Earthquake Caused Massive Nuclear Storage Casks to Move
by Peter Bacque
Last week’s central Virginia earthquake caused 25 spent-fuel storage casks — each weighing 115 tons — to move on their concrete pad at Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna nuclear power plant.

The shifting of these massive casks holding used nuclear fuel was the first caused by an earthquake in the U.S., according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Obama Backs Loans for New Nuclear Plant
President Barack Obama announced a guarantee of $8.3 billion in loans for the first new U.S. nuclear power plant in nearly three decades, underscoring the administration’s efforts to reduce dependence on foreign oil. (Feb. 16)

Bill Gates: “I love nuclear.”
From a speech delivered at MIT, Bill Gates discusses his support for nuclear energy. Recorded April 21, 2010 | Kresge Auditorium | Cambridge, MA.

Obama’s support for nuclear power
On February 16, 2010, Obama said: “Now, I know its been long assumed that those who champion the environment are opposed to nuclear power. But the fact is, even though weve not broken ground on a new nuclear plant in 30 years, nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions. To meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we’ll need to increase our supply of nuclear power. It’s that simple.”

What is your stance on nuclear power?
cnn youtube democratic debate question 25.
What is your stance on nuclear power?

Obama on nuclear power

That’s what we’re up against, folks…

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