San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS). Photo: Andrea Swayne
A precautionary shutdown of Unit 3 at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was begun this afternoon when sensors installed to detect a possible leak were set off in one of the unit’s steam generator tubes, according to a news release from Southern California Edison, which operates the power plant.
“The potential leak poses no imminent danger to the public or plant workers,” the utility company said in its statement. “There has been no release to the atmosphere.”
SCE Spokesman Gil Alexander said the sensors detected a leak of water from a closed loop used as part of the overall generator.
As of 6:30 p.m., no emergency classification has been needed or issued under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a result of the event, Alexander said. Read more.
The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation.
The crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war”. In the words of renowned novelist Haruki Murakami:
“This time no one dropped a bomb on us … We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives.”
Nuclear radiation –which threatens life on planet earth– is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.
While the long-term repercussions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are yet to be fully assessed, they are far more serious than those pertaining to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine, which resulted in almost one million deaths (New Book Concludes – Chernobyl death toll: 985,000, mostly from cancer Global Research, September 10, 2010, See also Matthew Penney and Mark Selden The Severity of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster: Comparing Chernobyl and Fukushima, Global Research, May 25, 2011)
Moreover, while all eyes were riveted on the Fukushima Daiichi plant, news coverage both in Japan and internationally failed to fully acknowledge the impacts of a second catastrophe at TEPCO’s (Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc) Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant.
The shaky political consensus both in Japan, the U.S. and Western Europe is that the crisis at Fukushima has been contained.
The nuclear power program in the United States was set up rigged—to allow the federal government to push atomic energy with state and local governments “pre-empted” on most issues.
That’s what the State of Vermont was confronted with last week as a federal judge blocked the state’s attempts to shut down the accident-plagued Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.
But there’s a way around this federal nuclear fix—the use by states of their power of “eminent domain.” That’s a legal principle going back centuries and is how, commonly, states condemn property for a highway right-of-way if the owners refuse to sell.
The application of the state’s power of “eminent domain” to nuclear power was pioneered in New York State in the 1980s—and was how the completed Shoreham nuclear plant was stopped from opening. That ended the scheme of nuclear promoters to turn Long Island into a “nuclear park” with seven to 11 nuclear plants.
The Long Island Power Act was passed by New York State in 1985 creating a Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) with the power to seize the assets and stock of the utility behind this nuclear scheme, the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO). Read more.
Japan using Fukushima people as human Guinnea Pigs
Byron nuclear reactor shut down after power loss
January 30, 2012 (BYRON, Ill.) (WLS) — A nuclear reactor at a northern Illinois plant shut down Monday after losing power, and steam was being vented to reduce pressure, according to officials from Exelon Nuclear and federal regulators.
Unit 2 at Byron Generating Station, about 95 miles northwest of Chicago, shut down at 10:18 a.m., after losing power, Exelon officials said. Diesel generators began supplying power to the plant, and operators began releasing steam to cool the reactor from the part of the plant where turbines are producing electricity, not from within the nuclear reactor itself, officials said.
Standing firm: An antinuclear activist gives a speech Friday evening as he and other protesters refused to take down their tents at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry by the 5 p.m. deadline. YOSHIAKI MIURA
Japanese anti-nuclear protesters defied a government order Friday to vacate the area in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Tokyo’s Kasumigaseki. Protesters have been occupying the Ministry grounds since Sept. 11, 2011. Childhood Leukemia Spikes Near Nuclear Power Plants
By John LaForge, CounterPunch 28 January 12
French researchers have confirmed that childhood leukemia rates are shockingly elevated among children living near nuclear power reactors.
The “International Journal of Cancer” has published in January a scientific study establishing a clear correlation between the frequency of acute childhood leukemia and proximity to nuclear power stations. The paper is titled, “Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants – the Geocap study, 2002-2007.”
This devastating report promises to do for France what a set of 2008 reports did for Germany – which recently legislated a total phase-out of all its power reactors by 2022 (sooner if the Greens get their way).
The French epidemiology – conducted by a team from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or INSERM, the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, or IRSN, and the National Register of hematological diseases of children in Villejuif, outside Paris – demonstrates during the period from 2002-2007 in France the doubling of childhood leukemia incidence: the increase is up to 2.2 among children under age five.
The researchers note that they found no mechanistic proof of cause and effect, but could identify no other environmental factor that could produce the excess cancers. Read more.
As much as 1.7 trillion gallons of contaminated wastes were dumped into unlined soil trenches at Hanford during the Cold War years. (photo: CongressmanAdamSmith.com)
Even decades after scientists came here during World War II to create plutonium for the first atomic bomb, a new generation is struggling with an even more daunting task: cleaning up the radioactive mess.
The U.S. government is building a treatment plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of waste left from a half-century of nuclear weapons production. The radioactive sludge is so dangerous that a few hours of exposure could be fatal. A major leak could contaminate water supplies serving millions across the Northwest. The cleanup is the most complex and costly environmental restoration ever attempted.
A USA TODAY investigation has found that the troubled, 10-year effort to build the treatment plant faces enormous problems just as it reaches what was supposed to be its final stage. Read more.
News from Beyond Nuclear, For Immediate Release, January 26, 2012
Contact: Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, office 301-270-2209 ext. 1, cell 240-462-3216
Press Statement by Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist at Beyond Nuclear, on the publication of the final report by the U.S. Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future
“Today the U.S. Department of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future unveiled the result of its two-year-long investigation into what to do with the accumulated radioactive waste at this country’s atomic reactors. By this year’s end, that waste will constitute a mountain 70 years high, with the first cupful generated on December 2, 1942 at Enrico Fermi’s Manhattan Project lab at the University of Chicago, when scientists first created a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
There remains no viable solution for either the management or certainly the ‘disposal’ of radioactive waste. Yet, the one essential recommendation that is not contained in the DOE report is to stop making any more of it. While a child would never be allowed to continue piling up toys in his or her room indefinitely, failing to tidy up the mess, the nuclear industry continues to be permitted to manufacture some of the world’s most toxic detritus without a cleanup plan. Read more.
TRENTON — Environmental activists said in a report Tuesday that nearly 3.3 million New Jerseyans drink water from supplies at risk of contamination if there’s a leak or accident at a nuclear plant.
Speakers at a State House news conference called for nuclear plants to be shuttered or phased out, with no new plants developed, in favor of renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar. In the short term, they want independent safety reviews, immediate upgrades and regular groundwater tests.
“The dangers are too close to home. There’s too many New Jerseyans drinking water that would be at risk. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting cancer from drinking a glass of water,” said Jennifer Kim, an advocate with New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.
Kim said the report is the first to measure the number of people whose drinking water supplies are within range of a nuclear plant.
She said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided water intake data previously not released by the government, citing national security interests. Read more.
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‘Smart’ Meters Take the Lead in Whole-Body RF Exposure
Comparison of Radio-Frequency Levels to the Whole Body from Various Sources in IJ W/cm2 over time (corrected by Daniel Hirsch, Committee to Bridge the Gap, & UCSC Nuclear Policy lecturer, for assumed duty cycle and whole body exposure extrapolated from EPRI/CCST SmartMeter estimated levels at 3 feet).
Rising to the Occasion – Law Makers Follow the Facts
As the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) moves toward a decision on its ‘smart’ meter opt-out policy, Santa Cruz County officials have taken the lead in producing a health report and crafting a responsible response to the industry attempt to force wireless ‘smart’ meters on the entire population without scientific testing or informed democratic consent. [ Download the PDF of here. ] While this revised proposed decision is a giant step forward in that it would allow the analog meters that are relatively safe and do not emit RF, it does not go far enough.
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY SUPERVISORS TAKE MULTIPLE ACTIONS AGAINST SMART METERS Nina Beety
A report by Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Poki Stewart Namkung, casting serious doubt on Smart Meter safety and the adequacy of FCC guidelines to protect the public, was unanimously accepted by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors. The board also approved renewing their Smart Meter moratorium ordinance, and will be adding their names to a petition to the California Public Utilities Commission circulating among county and city officials.
From the health department report “Health Risks Associated with Smart Meters”:
“Evidence is accumulating on the results of exposure to RF at non-thermal levels. including increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier in the head, harmful effects on sperm, double strand breaks in DNA which could lead to cancer genesis…”
“When it comes to nonthermal effects of RF, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for any claims of SmartMeter safety unless heat damage is involved.”
“There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF involving chronic exposure of the public, nor of sensitive populations, nor of people with metal and medical implants…”
The report includes ways to reduce exposure to EMF from cell phones, wireless internet, and other wireless and EMF devices.
The full report, as well as the letter from Santa Cruz County CAO Susan Mauriello recommending today’s actions, is here.
Michigan Launches SM Probe
Elsewhere in the news, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has launched an investigation into the deployment of smart meters by regulated electric utilities in Michigan.
Noting that electric customers and several municipalities have expressed concern about the deployment of smart meters by electric utilities operating in Michigan, the MPSC today opened a docket for the purpose of addressing these concerns to the degree possible, in light of the limits of the Commission’s statutory authority and expertise.
Today’s order directs all regulated electric utilities to submit information to the Commission in Case No. U-17000 by March 16 on the following topics:
* The electric utility’s existing plans for the deployment of smart meters in its service territory;
* The estimated cost of deploying smart meters throughout its service territory and any sources of funding;
* An estimate of the savings to be achieved by the deployment of smart meters;
* An explanation of any other non-monetary benefits that might be realized from the deployment of smart meters;
* Any scientific information known to the electric utility that bears on the safety of the smart meters to be deployed by that utility;
* An explanation of the type of information that will be gathered by the electric utility through the use of smart meters;
* An explanation of the steps that the electric utility intends to take to safeguard the privacy of the customer information so gathered;
* Whether the electric utility intends to allow customers to opt out of having a smart meter; and
* How the electric utility intends to recover the cost of an opt-out program, if one will exist.
County of Santa Cruz
COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE
701 OCEAN STREET, SUITE 520, SANTA CRUZ, CA 95060-4073
(831) 454-2100 FAX: (831) 454-3420 TOO: (831) 454-2123
SUSAN MAURIELLO, J.D., COUNTY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
January 18, 2012
AGENDA: January 24,2012
Board of Supervisors
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Dear Members of the Board:
On December 13,2011, your Board directed this office to return today with a report on issues associated with the current SmartMeter moratorium ordinance, and information on the possible extension of the moratorium for an additional year. Your Board also directed the Public Health Offcer to return with an analysis of the research on the health effects of SmartMeters, and directed County Counsel to return with a report regarding the legality of a public utility refusing service to customers who are willing to pay for service and are willing to have an analog meter.
As your Board is aware, the California Public Utility Commission is considering PG&E’s
application for modification to PG&E’s SmartMeter proposal to include an option for residential customers who do not wish to have a wireless SmartMeter. The item was scheduled on the January 12, 2012 agenda, but the commission anticipates that a vote on the proposal will not happen prior to February 1,2012. Moratorium Ordinance
Your Board has heard significant amounts of testimony regarding SmartMeters and concerns about their possible impact on health, questions about their accuracy, their inability to recover real-time data, privacy concerns, and the lack of safety standards for chronic long-term exposure to electromagnetic frequency radiation. In addition, PG&E has not presented studies to support their primary justification that the SmartMeter program will encourage customers to more effectively manage their utilization of electricity.
Given the broad concern about SmartMeter technology and your Board’s desire to go on record, this offce and County Counsel believe that notwithstanding the enforcement challenges, that it is in the best interest of public health, safety, and welfare for your Board to adopt the attached ordinance (Attachment A) implementing a temporary moratorium on the installation of SmartMeters in or on any home, apartment, condominium or business within the unincorporated area of the County. The purpose of the moratorium is to allow additional time to educate the CPUC about these concerns and allow time for adequate study of the impacts resulting from the SmartMeter technology.
SERVING THE COMMUNITY – WORKING FOR THE FUTURE “‘ Ordinance Imposing Temporary Moratorium on Installation of SmartMeters
Agenda: January 24, 200 i 2
PG&E, asserting that local governments do not have jurisdiction on the installation of the meters, has ignored the previous Santa Cruz County ordinance as well as similar ordinances adopted in other jurisdictions. PG&E believes that only the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has the authority to stop installation of the meters. Elected representatives, including the Board of Supervisors of Marin County, have acknowledged the limits of their ordinances to actually stop the installation of the meters. However, jurisdictions have adopted their ordinances with statements that such ordinances play an important role by informing the CPUC of significant community concerns.
Health Offcer Report
The Public Health Offcer’s report is provided as Attachment B. The report discusses the health risks associated with SmartMeters, the scientific reports and actions the public might take to mitigate potential harm.
PG&E Shutoff Update
At the December 13, 201 i, meeting, your Board questioned the PG&E representative about the utility company’s decision to shut off power to the homes of residents who removed their SmartMeters. Subsequent to that meeting, PG&E restored power to those residences with the intent of charging them based on past electrical bills.
At your January 10, 2012 meeting, your Board was presented with a petition to the California Public Utilities Commission regarding PG&E SmartMeter Opt-out Application, The petition provides the opportunity for local elected offcials to urge the Commission
to continue Petition A.II-03-0 14 for further public hearings. The petition is provided as
Attachment C. It is recommended that your Board direct the Chair to sign the petition on behalf of the Board and submit it to the PUC.
IT is THEREFORE RECOMMENDED THAT YOUR BOARD:
(1) Direct the Chair to send a letter to the PUC calling for independent testing and
monitoring of SmartMeters in place to determine duty cycles and frequency, especially
in the following circumstances:
. Where both gas and electric meters are located closely together
. Where there is a bank of SmartMeters such as on a multi-family residential
building or apartment building
. Where there is a collector meter on a home that serves the home, plus as many
as 5000 other residential units in the area
. Where a SmartMeter on a home acts as a relay for other local neighborhood
Ordinance Imposing Temporary Moratorium on Installation of Smart Meters
(2) Direct the Chair to send a letter to the PUC and PG&E allowing any Santa Cruz
County resident to request removal of a previously installed SmartMeter and the
replacement with an analog meter
(3) Accept and file the report from the Public Health Officer
(4) Direct the Chair to sign the petition to the California Public Utilities Commission on
behalf of the Board urging the Commission to delay consideration of a preliminary
decision on PG&E’s SmartMeter application until further public hearing and input are
(5) Adopt the attached ordinance imposing a temporary moratorium on the installation of
SmartMeters within the unincorporated area of Santa Cruz Comity and direct the Clerk
of the Board to place the ordinance on the February 7, 2012 agenda for final consideration.
A. Proposed Ordinance
B. Report from Public Health Offcer
C. Petition to CPUC
California Public Utilities Commission
AN UNCODIFIED ORDINANCE OF THE COUNTY OF SANTACRUZ IMPOSING A TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON THE INSTALLATION OF SMARTMETERS AND RELATED EQUIPMENT IN, ALONG, ACROSS, UPON, UNDER AND OVER THE PUBLIC STREETS AND OTHER PLACES WITHIN THE UNINCORPORATED AREA OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
The Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz find as follows:
WHEREAS, the County of Santa Cruz (the “County”), through its police powers granted by Article XI of the California Constitution, retains broad discretion to legislate for public purposes and for the general welfare, including but not limited to matters of public health, safety and consumer protection; and WHEREAS, the County of Santa Cruz has a franchise agreement with PG&E that has been in effect since 1955; and
WHEREAS, in addition, the County retains authority under Article XII, Section 8 of the Constitution to grant franchises for public utilties, and pursuant to California Public Utilties Code section 6203, “may in such a franchise impose such other and additional terms and conditions. . ., whether governmental or contractual in character, as in the judgment of the legislative body are to the public interest;” and
WHEREAS, Public Utilities Code section 2902 reserves the County’s right to supervise and regulate public utilities in matters affecting the health, convenience and safety of the general public, “such as the use and repair of public streets by any public utilty, the location of the poles, wires, mains, or conduits of any public utility, on, under, or above any public streets, and the speed of common carriers operating within the limits of the municipal corporation;” and
WHEREAS, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E”) is now installng SmartMeters in Central and Northern California and is installing these meters within the County of Santa Cruz; and
WHEREAS, concerns about the impact and accuracy of SmartMeters have been raised nationwide, leading the Maryland Public Service Commission to deny permission on June 21, 2010 for the deployment of SmartMeters in that state. The State of Hawaii Public Utility Commission also recently declined to adopt a smart grid system in that state. The CPUC currently has pending before it a petition from the City and County of San Francisco, and other municipalities, seeking to delay the implementation of SmartMeters until the questions about their accuracy can be evaluated; and
WHEREAS, major problems and deficiencies with SmartMeters in California have been brought to the attention of the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz, including PG&E’s confirmation that SmartMeters have provided incorrect readings costing ratepayers untold thousands of dollars in overcharges and PG&E’s records outlined “risks” and “issues” including an ongoing inability to recover real-time data because of faulty hardware originating with PG&E vendors; and
WHEREAS, the ebb and flow of gas and electricity into homes discloses detailed information about private details of daily life. Energy usage data, measured moment by moment, allows the reconstruction of a household’s activities: when people wake up, when they come home, when they go on vacation, and even when they take a hot bath. SmartMeters represent a new form of technology that relays detailed hitherto confidential information reflecting the times and amounts of the use of electrical power without adequately protecting that data from being accessed by unauthorized persons or entities and as such pose an unreasonable intrusion of utility customers’ privacy rights and security interests.
Indeed, the fact that the CPUC has not established safeguards for privacy in its regulatory approvals may violate the principles set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Kyllo v. United States (2001),533 U.S. 27; and
WHEREAS, significant health questions have been raised concerning the increased electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters, which wil be in every house, apartment and business, thereby adding additional human-made EMF to our environment around the clock to the already existing EMF from utility poles, individual meters and telephone poles; and
WHEREAS, FCC safety standards do not exist for chronic long-term exposure to EMF or from multiple sources, and reported adverse health effects from electromagnetic pollution include sleep disorders, irritability, short term memory loss, headaches, anxiety, nausea, DNA breaks, abnormal cell growth, cancer, premature aging, etc. Because of untested technology, international scientists, environmental agencies, advocacy groups and doctors are calling for the use of caution in wireless technologies; and
WHEREAS, the primary justification given for the SmartMeters program is the assertion that it wil encourage customers to move some of their electricity usage from daytime to evening hours; however, PG&E has conducted no actual pilot projects to determine whether this assumption is in fact correct. Non- transmitting time-of-day meters are already available for customers who desire enhanced customer education is a viable non-technological alternative to encourage electricity use time shifting. Further, some engineers and energy
conservation experts believe that the SmartMeters program–in totality–could well
actually increase total electricity consumption and therefore the carbon footprint; and
WHEREAS, this Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the CPUC on September 15, 2010 expressing concern about reports that SmartMeter technology was interfering with the proper functioning of common household devices and requesting a response from the CPUC; and
WHEREAS, there has been no response by the CPUC to the letter sent by the Board of Supervisors; and
WHEREAS, because the potential risks to the health, safety and welfare of County residents are so great, the Board of Supervisors wishes to adopt a moratorium on the installation of SmartMeters and related equipment within the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz. The moratorium period will allow the Council on Science and Technology and legislative process referenced above to be completed and for additional information to be collected and analyzed regarding potential problems with SmartMeters; and
WHEREAS, there is a current and immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare because, without this urgency ordinance, SmartMeters or supporting equipment will be installed or constructed or modified in the County without PG&E’s complying with the CPUC process for consultation with the local jurisdiction, the County’s Code requirements, and subjecting residents of Santa Cruz County to the privacy, security, health, accuracy and consumer fraud risks of the unproven SmartMeter technology; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Supervisors hereby finds that it can be seen with certainty that there is no possibilty that the adoption and implementation of this Ordinance may have a significant effect on the environment. This Ordinance does not authorize construction or installation of any facilities and, in fact, imposes greater restrictions on such construction and installation in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare. This Ordinance is therefore exempt from the environmental review requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Section 15061(b)(3) of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations; and
WHEREAS, there is no feasible alternative to satisfactorily study the potential impact identified above as well or better with a less burdensome or restrictive effect than the adoption of this interim urgency moratorium ordinance; and
WHEREAS, based on the foregoing it is in the best interest of public health, safety and welfare to allow adequate study of the impacts resulting from the SmartMeter technology; therefore it is appropriate to adopt a temporary moratorium that would remain in effect from the date of its adoption until December 31, 2012, unless your Board acts to repeal it prior to that date.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz as follows: SECTION I
Moratorium. From and after the effective date of this Ordinance, no SmartMeter may be installed in or on any home, apartment, condominium or business of any type within the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz, and no equipment related to SmartMeters may be installed in, on, under, or above any public street or public right of way within the unincorporated area of the County of Santa Cruz.
Violations of the Moratorium may be charged as infractions or misdemeanors as set forth in Chapter 1.12 of the Santa Cruz County Code. In addition, violations may be deemed public nuisances, with enforcement by injunction or any other remedy authorized by law.
This Board of Supervisors finds and determines that: (a) there is a current and immediate threat to the public peace, health, or safety; (b) the moratorium must be imposed in order to protect and preserve the public interest, health, safety, comfort and convenience and to preserve the public welfare; and (c) it is necessary to preserve the public health and safety of all residents or landowners adjacent to such uses as are affected by this interim ordinance as well as to protect all of the citizens of Santa Cruz County by preserving and improving the aesthetic and economic conditions of the County.
If any provision of this interim ordinance is held to be unconstitutional, it is
the intent of the Board of Supervisors that such portions of such ordinance are
severable from the remainder and the remainder is given full force and effect.
This interim ordinance is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Section 1 5060( c) (2) – the activity will not result in a direct or reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change in the environment and Section 15060(c) (3) – the activity is not a project as defined in Section 15378 of the CEQA Guidelines, because it has no potential for resulting in physical change to the environment, directly or indirectly….
Date: January 13, 2012
To: Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
From: Poki Stewart Namkung, M.D., M.P.H., Health Officer
Subject: Health Risks Associated With SmartMeters
On December 13, 2011, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors directed the Public
Health Officer to return on January 24, 2012, with an analysis of the research on the health
effects of SmartMeters.
In order to analyze the potential health risks associated with SmartMeters, the following
questions should be asked:
1) What is the SmartMeter system and what is the potential radiation exposure from the system?
2) What scientific evidence exists about the potential health risks associated with SmartMeters?
3) Are there actions that the public might take to mitigate any potential harm from SmartMeters?
SmartMeters are a new type of electrical meter that will measure consumer energy usage
and send the information back to the utility by a wireless signal in the form of pulsed
frequencies within the 800 MHz to 2400MHz range, contained in the microwave portion of
the electromagnetic spectrum. SmartMeters are considered part of ‘smart grid’ technology
that includes: a) a mesh network or series of pole-mounted wireless antennas at the
neighborhood level to collect and transmit wireless information from all SmartMeters in that area back to the utility; b) collector meters, which are a special type of SmartMeter that
collects the radiofrequency or microwave radiation signals from many surrounding buildings (500-5000 homes or buildings) and sends the information back to the utility; and
c) proposed for the future, a power transmitter to measure the energy use of individual
appliances (e.g. washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwasher, etc) and send information
via wireless radio frequency signal back to the SmartMeter. The primary rationale for
SmartMeters and grid networks is to more accurately monitor and direct energy usage.
The public health issue of concern in regard to SmartMeters is the involuntary exposure of
individuals and households to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation. EMFs are everywhere, coming from both natural and man-made sources.
The three broad classes of EMF are:
· extremely low frequency, ELF (from the sun or powerlines)
· radio frequency, RF (from communication devices, wireless devices, and SmartMeters)
· extremely high frequency, known as ionizing radiation (x-rays and gamma rays)
Much of this exposure is beyond our control and is a matter of personal choice; however,
public exposure to RF fields is growing exponentially due to the proliferation of cell phones, and wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology. To understand the relationship between EMF from SmartMeters and other sources, it is helpful to view the electromagnetic spectrum:
Fig. 1: The Electro-Magnetic Spectrum, showing the relations between ELF and RF fields, waveleigth aid frequency, and the ionizing and non-ionizing portions of the spectrum.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted limits for Maximum
Permissable Exposure (MPE) that are based on exposure guidelines published by the
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). The limits vary with
the frequency of the electromagnetic radiation and are expressed in units of microwatts per
centimeter squared. A SmartMeter contains two antennas whose combined time-
averaged public safety limit of exposure is 655¡.W/cm2 (Sage, 2011). According to the
California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) Report (2011), within distances of
three to ten feet, SmartMeters would not exceed this limit.
However, CCST did not account for the frequency of transmissions, reflection factors, banks of SmartMeters firing simultaneously, and distances closer than three feet. There are numerous situations in which the distance between the SmartMeters and humans is less than three feet on an ongoing basis, e.g. a SmartMeter mounted on the external wall to a bedroom with the bed placed adjacent to that mounting next to the internal walL. That distance is estimated to be one foot. The CCST Report also states that SmartMeters will generally transmit data once every four hours, and once the grid is fully functional, may transmit “more frequently.” It has been aptly demonstrated by computer modeling and real measurement of existing meters that SmartMeters emit frequencies almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week. Furthermore, it is not possible to program them to not operate at 100% of a duty cycle (continuously) and therefore it should not be possible to state that SmartMeters do not exceed the time-averaged exposure limit. Additionally, exposure is additive and consumers may have already increased their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the voluntary use of wireless devices such as cell and cordless phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), routers for internet access, home security systems, wireless baby surveillance (baby monitors) and other emerging devices. It would be impossible to know how close a consumer might be to their limit, making safety a uncertainty with the installation of a mandatory SmartMeter.
This report will focus on the documented health risks of EMF in general, the relevance of
that data to SmartMeters exposure, the established guidelines for RF safety to the public
at large, and then provide recommendations to ameliorate the risk to the public’s health.
Evidence-based Health Risks of EMFs
There is no scientific literature on the health risks of SmartMeters in particular as they are
a new technology. However, there is a large body of research on the health risks of EMFs.
Much of the data is concentrated on cell phone usage and as SmartMeters occupy the
same energy spectrum as cell phones and depending on conditions, can exceed the whole
body radiation exposure of cell phones phones (see Attachment B1, Figure 4). In terms of
health risks, the causal factor under study is RF radiation whether it be from cell phones,
Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, or SmartMeters. Therefore all available, peer-reviewed,
scientific research data can be extrapolated to apply to SmartMeters, taking into
consideration the magnitude and the intensity of the exposure.
Since the mid-1990’s the use of cellular and wireless devices has increased exponentially
exposing the public to massively increased levels of RF. There is however, debate
regarding the health risks posed to the public given these increased levels of radiation. It
must be noted that there is little basic science funding for this type of research and it is
largely funded by industry. An intriguing divide, noted by Genuis, 2011 is that most
research carried out by independent non-government or non-industry affiliated researchers suggests potentially serious effects from many non-ionizing radiation exposures; most research carried out by independent non-government or non-industry affiliated researchers suggests potentially serious effects from many non-ionizing radiation exposures research funded by industry and some governments seems to cast doubt on the potential for harm.
Elements of the controversy stem from inability to replicate findings consistently in
laboratory animal studies. However, analysis of many of the conflicting studies is not valid
as the methodology used is not comparable. Despite this controversy, evidence is
accumulating on the results of exposure to RF at non-thermal levels including increased
permeability of the blood-brain barrier in the head (Eberhardt, 2008), harmful effects on
sperm, double strand breaks in DNA which could lead to cancer genesis (Phillips, 2011),
stress gene activation indicating an exposure to a toxin (Blank, 2011), and alterations in
brain glucose metabolism (Volkow, 2011).
In terms of meta-analyzed epidemiological studies, all case-control epidemiological
studies covering ;:10 years of cell phone use have reported an increased risk of brain
tumors from the use of mobile phones (Hallberg, 2011). Other studies have pointed to an
increasing risk of acoustic neuroma, salivary gland tumors, and eye cancer after several
years of cell phone use and the tumors occur predominantly on the same side of the head
as the phone is used. The analysis of brain cancer statistics since the mid 20th century in
several countries reveals that brain tumor formation has a long latency time, an average of
over 30 years to develop from initial damage.(Hallberg, 2011). Therefore using studies
such as the Interphone Study which looked as shorter latency periods for the development
of specific brain cancers will result in inconclusive data.
Another potential health risk related to EMF exposure, whose legitimacy as a phenomen
remains contentious, is electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). In the 1950’s, various
centers in Eastern Europe began to describe and treat thousands of workers, generally
employed in jobs involving microwave transmission. The afflicted individuals often
presented with symptoms such as headaches, weakness, sleep disturbance, emotional
instability, dizziness, memory impairment, fatigue, and heart palpitations. Clinical research
to verify the physiological nature of this condition did not begin in earnest until the 1990’s
and found that the EMF involved was usually within the non-ionizing range of the
electromagnetic spectrum. In the early 2000’s, estimates of the occurrence of EHS began
to swell with studies estimating the prevalence of this condition to be about 1.5% of the
population of Sweden (Hilleert et ai’, 2002), 3.2% in California (Levallios et ai’, 2002), and
8% in Germany (infas Institut fur angewandte Sozialwissenschaft GmbH, 2003).
In 2004, WHO declared EHS “a phenomenon where individuals experience adverse health
effect while using or being in the vicinity of devices emanating electric, magnetic, or
electromagnetic fields (EMFs)… Whatever its cause, EHS is a real and sometimes
debilitating problem for the affected persons (Mild et ai’, 2004).”
Currently, research has demonstrated objective evidence to support the EHS diagnosis,
defining pathophysiological mechanisms including immune dysregulation in vitro, with
increased production of selected cytokines and disruption and dysregulation of
catecholamine physiology (Genuis, 2011).
Until recently, the diagnosis of EHS has not received much support from the medical
community due to lack of objective evidence. In an effort to determine the legitimacy of
EHS as a neurological disorder, however, a collection of scientists and physicians recently
conducted a double-blinded research study that concluded that “EMF hypersensitivity can
occur as a bona fide environmentally-inducible neurological syndrome (McCarty et ai’,
The guidelines currently used by the FCC were adopted in 1996, are thermally based, and
are believed to protect against injury that may be caused by acute exposures that result in
tissue heating or electric shock. FCC guidelines have a much lower certainty of safety than
standards. Meeting the current FCC guidelines only assures that one should not have
heat damage from SmartMeter exposure. It says nothing about safety from the risk of
many chronic diseases that the public is most concerned about such as cancer,
miscarriage, birth defects, semen quality, autoimmune diseases, etc. Therefore, when it
comes to nonthermal effects of RF, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for
any claims of SmartMeter safety unless heat damage is involved (Li, 2011).
There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF involving chronic
exposure of the public, nor of sensitive populations, nor of people with metal and medical
implants that can be affected both by localized heating and by electromagnetic
interference (EMI) for medical wireless implanted devices. Many other countries (9) have
significantly lower RF/MW exposure standards ranging from 0.001 to 50 ~W/cm2 as
compared with the US guideline of 200-1 000 ~W/cm2. Note that these recommended
levels are considerably lower that the approximately 600 ~W/cm2. (time-averaged) allowed
for the RFR from SmartMeters operating in the low 900 MHz band mandated by the FCC
based on only thermal consideration.
In summary, there is no scientific data to determine if there is a safe RF exposure level
regarding its non-thermal effects. The question for governmental agencies is that given
the uncertainty of safety, the evidence of existing and potential harm, should we err on the
side of safety and take the precautionary avoidance measures? The two unique features
of SmartMeter exposure are: 1) universal exposure thus far because of mandatory
installation ensuring that virtually every household is exposed; 2) involuntary exposure
whether one has a SmartMeter on their home or not due to the already ubiquitous
saturation of installation in Santa Cruz County. Governmental agencies for protecting
public health and safety should be much more vigilant towards involuntary environmental
exposures because governmental agencies are the only defense against such involuntary
exposure. Examples of actions that the public might take to limit exposure to
electromagnetic radiation can be found in Attachment B2.
A sign posted by protestors outside PG&E's San Francisco headquarters.
Protests Continue as CPUC Tries to Ignore ‘Smart’ Meter Public Health Threats
In this edition, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine adopts a resolution calling for a halt to wireless smart meters and sends a message to the California Public Utilities Commission, as Commissioner Peevey issues a revised proposed ‘smart’ meter opt-out policy.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle criticizes Peevey for his close ties to the industry he’s supposed to regulate. Magda Havas looks at the folly of wireless in schools. Two articles show why the ill-conceived plan for a wireless ‘smart’ grid is the New Stupid.
American Academy of Environmental Medicine
6505 E Central • Ste 296 • Wichita, KS 67206 Tel: (316) 684-5500 • Fax: (316) 684-5709
Decision Proposed Decision of Commissioner Peevey (Mailed 1/22/2012) BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, On the proposed decision 11-03-014
The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless “smart meters” in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature (references available on request). Chronic exposure to wireless radio-frequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.
As representatives of physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine, we have an obligation to urge precaution when sufficient scientific and medical evidence suggests health risks which can potentially affect large populations. The literature raises serious concern regarding the levels of radio frequency (RF – 3 KHz – 300 GHz) or extremely low frequency (ELF – o- 300 Hz) exposures produced by “smart meters” to warrant an immediate and complete moratorium on their use and deployment until further study can be performed. The board of the American Board of Environmental Medicine wishes to point out that existing FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installation of “smart meters” only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposures below the level of intensity which heats tissues. The FCC guidelines are therefore inadequate for use in establishing public health standards. More modern literature shows medically and biologically significant effects of RF and ELF at lower energy densities. These effects accumulate over time, which is an important consideration given the chronic nature of exposure from “smart meters”. The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from “smart meters”. Children are placed at particular risk for altered brain development, and impaired learning and behavior. Further EMF/RF adds synergistic effects to the damage observed from a range of toxic chemicals. Given the widespread, chronic and essentially inescapable ELF/RF exposure of everyone living near a “smart meter”, the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved. We consider a moratorium on installation of wireless “smart meters” to be an issue of the highest importance.
The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine also wishes to note that the US NIEHS National Toxicology Program in 1999 cited radiofrequency radiation as a potential carcinogen. Existing safety limits for pulsed RF were termed “not protective of public health” by the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (a federal interagency working group including the FDA, FCC, OSHA, the EPA and others). Emissions given off by “smart meters” have been classified by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Possible Human Carcinogen.
Hence, we call for:
• An immediate moratorium on “smart meter” installation until these serious public health issues are resolved. Continuing with their installation would be extremely irresponsible.
• Modify the revised proposed decision to include hearings on health impact in the second proceedings, along with cost evaluation and community wide opt-out.
• Provide immediate relief to those requesting it and restore the analog meters.
[ Download PDF here. ]
California Public Utilities Commission president, Michael Peevey, at his San Francisco, Ca. office on Tuesday Jan, 25, 2011. Photo: Michael Macor / The Chronicle
Decision PROPOSED DECISION OF COMMISSIONER PEEVEY
BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DECISION MODIFYING PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANY’S
SMARTMETER PROGRAM TO INCLUDE AN OPT-OUT OPTION
[ The initial fee has been reduced from $90 to $75. Other fees are the same. ]
This decision modifies Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E)
SmartMeter Program to include an option for residential customers who do not
wish to have a wireless SmartMeter installed at their location. The opt-out
option shall be an analog electric and/or gas meter.
This new opt-out option is a service that we are adopting with this
decision. This opt-out option is a service because the standard for metering has
been transitioned throughout the country and for the most part the world from
the older technology, analog meters, to today’s technology, SmartMeters. In this
decision we are not reversing that transition, however, we do approve an option
for those customers who, for whatever reason, would prefer an analog meter.
This option to move away from the standard will require PG&E to incur costs
such as purchasing a new meter, going back to the customer location to install
and service the meter, and monthly cost of reading the meter. These are some of
the examples of the additional costs required to opt-out of the standard wireless
SmartMeters. As a result, this decision further finds that customers electing the
opt-option shall be responsible for costs associated with providing the option.
Issues concerning the actual costs associated with offering the analog opt-out
option and whether some portion of these costs should also be allocated to all
ratepayers or PG&E shareholders will be addressed in a separate phase of this
To allow residential customers to begin selecting the opt-out option
immediately, this decision adopts interim fees and charges, which will be subject
to adjustment upon conclusion of the second phase of this proceeding. A
Non-CARE customer electing the opt-out option shall be assessed an initial fee of
$75.00 and a monthly charge of $10.00. A CARE customer electing the opt-
out option shall be assessed an initial fee of $10.00 and a monthly charge of $5.00.
This decision also authorizes PG&E to establish new two-way electric and
gas Modified SmartMeter Memorandum Accounts to track revenues and costs
associated with providing the opt-out option until a final decision on recoverable
costs and cost allocation is adopted.
This decision further directs PG&E to file a Tier 1 Advice Letter
implementing the opt-out option and to establish a SmartMeter Opt-Out Tariff
within 15 days of the effective date of this decision. Finally, the September 21,
2011 Assigned Commissioner’s Ruling directing PG&E to establish a delay list
shall no longer be in effect and all customers currently on the delay list shall be
transitioned to a wireless SmartMeter unless they elect to participate in the opt-
out option. This proceeding remains open to address cost issues associated with
the opt-out option.
Our first reaction to learning that state Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey had appointed himself the duty of deciding whether Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should be fined for the 2010 San Bruno disaster was: He can’t be serious. It would be hard to think of a less suitable overseer than the man who presided over years of well-documented coziness between utility and regulator.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the gas-pipeline explosion in which eight people died and 38 homes were destroyed was highly critical of the commission’s oversight of PG&E during Peevey’s tenure.
Peevey obviously does not see the inherent conflict in appointing himself as the arbiter of how much, if anything, the utility should be fined for a succession of violations of state and federal safety regulations in connection with San Bruno.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to express her opposition to Peevey’s self-appointment. She suggested that Commissioner Mike Florio – a consumer advocate who was not on the PUC in the years leading to the explosion – would be “the right choice” for the job. She urged the governor to intercede and replace Peevey with Florio. Read more.
Dr. Magda Havas: WiFi in Schools is Safe. True or False?
Is Wi-Fi in schools safe? Find out by watching this video. Learn how the Wi-Fi routers used in schools differ from those in homes; learn about studies that have documented the adverse effects of this radiation on rats, blood cells, the heart, cancer; learn about alternatives to wireless routers that are cost effective, energy efficient and that don’t emit microwave radiation.
By David Lazarus – LA Times April 20, 2008 [ Still relevant to breaking developments ]
California’s three biggest utilities are charging customers nearly $4.6 billion to install millions of “smart meters” at homes and businesses. These newfangled meters, the utilities promise, will revolutionize energy usage by giving consumers far greater control over how much they pay for power.
Unfortunately, the meters could be outdated before they’re even operational.
Instead of installing meters capable of receiving high-speed broadband Internet signals, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and Pacific Gas & Electric have opted for cheaper, lower-speed connections.
Yet the utilities are also laying the groundwork for advanced “smart grid” networks that will use broadband technology for managing power supplies and distribution.
The upshot: smart grids and smart meters that, in essence, won’t speak the same language.
“Relative to the meters you have now, the new ones are pretty smart,” said Kurt Yeager, executive director of the Galvin Electricity Initiative, a nonprofit group focused on improving the national power infrastructure. “Relative to the meters they should be installing, they’re pretty stupid.”
The utilities insist that lower-speed meters will function fine with a high-speed grid, and that ratepayers shouldn’t be concerned about being sold a pig in a poke. Read more.
How is it that so many intelligent, inside-the-beltway environmentalists are buying into an eco-health-safety-finance debacle with the potential to increase energy consumption, endanger the environment, harm public health, diminish privacy, make the national utility grid more insecure, cause job losses, and make energy markets more speculative?
Answer: by not doing their homework.
Welcome to the Smart Grid — a government-funded money machine capable of intruding into every aspect of our lives. Smart Grid technologies — initially funded to the tune of $3.4 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and slated to cost $11 billion through 2011 — are enough to make even die-hard liberals demand a claw back of misspent tax dollars.
On the surface, Smart Grids sound ‘green’ — with promises of saving energy, creating new power-line corridors run on wind and solar, way-stations to power-up electric vehicles, energy-efficient upgrades to an aging power infrastructure, and real-time customer knowledge of electricity use.
And there’s the enticing communications factor: a nationwide high-speed broadband information technology barreling down high-tension electric corridors called Broadband-Over-Power-Lines (BPL). What could be more perfect for communicating facts about the planet, funding enviro-candidates, pushing legislation, and organizing Earth Days?
But few who actually study how these new systems function want anything to do with them. Other than those who stand to make enormous profits and the physicists or engineers who dream up such stuff, Smart Grids are giving knowledgeable people the willies.
To help keep EON’s work going, please check out all the support options on our Donation Page or you can also send a check made out to EON to EON, POB 1047, Bolinas, CA
Sudi Scull, Stop Smart Meters San Francisco Co-Chair, talks to demonstrators and passersby. Photo: EON
PG&E’s Protection Racket –
Pay to Not Be Polluted
In a San Francisco rally opposing the proposed PG&E/CPUC ‘smart’ meter opt-out policy, organized by Stop ‘Smart’ Meters San Francisco Co-Chair Sudi Scull and various speakers argued that customers should not be made to pay to not have wireless gas and electric meters placed on their homes that are already making hundreds of people sick. They showed how the ‘smart’ meter deployment violates people’s constitutional rights as well as endangers health, safety, security, and privacy. They asked how a company with a record of anti-democratic and illegal acts stretching back over a century and with a ‘safety culture’ fraught with cost-cutting and negligence can be trusted to continue operating the aging Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in a tsunami and earthquake zone. They demanded no fee for being allowed to keep their analog meters and called for the shutdown of Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.
Anti-nuclear activists hold placards during a rally against nuclear energy in Yokohama, Japan. Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Yokohama on Saturday calling for an end to nuclear energy. Radiation fears have become part of daily life in Japan after cases of contaminated water, beef, vegetables, tea and seafood.
Who’s Watching the ‘Watchdogs?’
In this, the first 2012 edition of EON’s Nuclear News Digest, we cover recent developments, both encouraging and alarming, on this important issue. The take-home message of this edition is: informed consciousness and pushback is rising world-wide!
As radioactive debris from Fukushima begins to reach the North American West Coast, TEPCO’s Yakuza ties are revealed, and the Japanese government pushes to extend reactor operation to 60 years, thousands of anti-nuclear protestors have hit the streets in Yokohama, Japan in connection with a 2-day international conference calling for the worldwide shutdown of nuclear power – a goal supported by Japanese Bishops.
A critical Frontline doc is aired. Arnie Gundersen reports on nuclear waste dumping in Tokyo Bay and the dangers of radiation to children. Carl Grossman talks about the folly of U.S. nukes in space. Harvey Wasserman writes ‘This is the year we bury nuclear power.’
Fukushima’s radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.
PG&E’s application for a license extension for its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plants has been denied.
Uranium Mining in the Grand Canyon has been banned…for the time being – a major victory.
Though TEPCO is claiming a ‘cold shutdown’ of Fukushima has been achieved, Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds.org is asking – and answering – some tough questions in his latest video report.
Like: So what international authority is monitoring the on-going impact of Fukushima fallout? The so-called ‘watchdog agency’ the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Article II of the IAEA Charter reads: “The Agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.”
And where does the IAEA get its data? According to a recent Agency statement, “The IAEA receives information updates from a variety of official Japanese sources, through the national competent authorities.”
And who heads the IAEA? The current head of the IAEA is former Japanese nuclear regulator, Yukiya Amano – one of those ‘national competent authorities’ who was backed for the position by the U.S..
So, let us get this straight. The only agency monitoring Fukushima fallout has as its mission the PROMOTION of nuclear energy worldwide. Its only sources of data are Japan’s ‘national competent authorities’ who have shown their main mission is COVER-UP. And its head is one of Japan’s ‘national competent authorities.’
And, as Dr. Helen Caldicott keeps pointing out – to George Monbiot’s denialist consternation – the IAEA has a binding agreement with the World Health Organization (WHO) that the WHO cannot publish its own independent findings on the human and environmental impacts of radioactive pollution WITHOUT THE IAEA’s permission!
Then there’s the current attempt by the hardline coverup faction of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to unseat its Chairman Jaczko for telling the truth about Fukushima dangers.
In a controversial article cited below, “an estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new report in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services.”
But there’s plenty to be encouraged and empowered about, too. Planet-wide informed pushback against nuclear power and nuclear weapons – the Two Headed Dragon – is really revving up big time. Even the new FRONTLINE documentary ‘Nuclear Aftershocks,’ airing tomorrow, January 17, at 10:00 pm Eastern, is said to be hard hitting. Check it out with the rest of the crucial information below.
Its time to remember the old slogan: ‘Let’s get active now, so we won’t get radioactive tomorrow!’
Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Yokohama, Japan on Saturday afternoon calling for an end to nuclear energy in Japan after the Fukushima March 11, 2011 disaster that sparked the planet’s worst atomic crisis since Chernobyl. The protest began a 2-day conference committed to fostering global momentum against atomic power.
Anti-nuclear activists hold placards during a rally against nuclear energy in Yokohama, Japan. Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets of Yokohama on Saturday calling for an end to nuclear energy. Radiation fears have become part of daily life in Japan after cases of contaminated water, beef, vegetables, tea and seafood. They marched in the port city southwest of Tokyo chanting in chorus: “We don’t need nuclear power. Give back our hometown. Protect our children.”
About halfway through Nuclear Aftershocks, a new FRONTLINE documentary about the physical and social fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it becomes clear that correspondent Miles O’Brien and his production team are really going to piss some people off. In the best possible way.
Another new Arnie Gundersen Video: Cancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated
Fairewinds analyzes cancer rates for young children near Fukushima using the National Academy of Science’s BEIR (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) VII Report. Based on BEIR VII, Fairewinds determines that at least one in every 100 young girls will develop cancer for every year they are exposed to 20 millisieverts [millisievert (1 mSv = 0.001 Sv)] of radiation. The 20-millisievert/ year figure is what the Japanese government is currently calculating as the legal limit of radiological exposure to allow habitation of contaminated areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
YOKOHAMA–Speeches, singing and a march through Yokohama’s port side area: Those are among events scheduled for just the opening day of the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World that got under way Jan. 14 and closes the day after.
More than 8,000 people have applied to attend the event, which includes more than 100 forums and performances, an artists’ lounge and film screenings.
The conference will offer question and answer sessions with 39 international panelists from Taiwan, South Korea, China, Germany and elsewhere. Among the speakers are Mycle Schneider, a former adviser to Germany’s Environmental Ministry, and a chemical engineer and consultant on nuclear waste management. Both hail from Germany, which last year declared it would withdraw from nuclear energy. Panel Challenges Japan’s Account of Nuclear Disaster
By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: January 15, 2012
TOKYO — A powerful and independent panel of specialists appointed by Japan’s Parliament is challenging the government’s account of the accident at a Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and will start its own investigation into the disaster — including an inquiry into how much the March earthquake may have damaged the plant’s reactors even before the tsunami.
Amit Bhargava/Bloomberg News
Kiyoshi Kurokawa, who leads the inquiry, vowed that it would have no sacred cows.
The bipartisan panel with powers of subpoena is part of Japan’s efforts to investigate the nuclear calamity, which has displaced more than 100,000 people, rendered wide swaths of land unusable for decades and spurred public criticism that the government has been more interested in protecting vested industry interests than in discovering how three reactors were allowed to melt down and release huge amounts of radiation.
Several investigations — including inquiries by the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, and the government — have blamed the scale of the tsunami that struck Japan’s northeastern coast in March, knocking out vital cooling systems at the plant.
But critics in Japan and overseas have called for a fuller accounting of whether Tokyo Electric Power, or Tepco, sufficiently considered historically documented tsunami risks, and whether it could have done more to minimize the damage once waves hit the plant.
Questions also linger as to the extent of damage to the plant caused by the earthquake even before the tsunami hit. Any evidence of serious quake damage at the plant would cast new doubt on the safety of other reactors in quake-prone Japan. Tsunamis are far less frequent.
In his first interview since the panel was appointed last month, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, chairman of the new Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission, said his investigation would have no sacred cows.
The Japanese government’s decision to allow nuclear reactors to run as long as 60 years has anti-nuclear activists worried that lessons of Fukushima have not been learned. Read more…
Gregory Jaczko, NRC Chairman, Says Nuclear Industry Must Heed Lesson Of Japan
By MATTHEW DALY
WASHINGTON — The nation’s nuclear safety chief said Tuesday he is worried that U.S. nuclear plant operators have become complacent, just nine months after the nuclear disaster in Japan.
Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said recent instances of human error and other problems have endangered workers and threatened safety at a handful of the 65 nuclear power plants in the United States.
Workers at nuclear plants in Ohio and Nebraska were exposed to higher than expected radiation levels, Jaczko said, while three other plants were shut down for months because of safety concerns – the first time in more than decade that several plants have been shut down at the same time.
NRC’s squabbles hide serious safety lapses
Linda Pentz Gunter
Four of the five commissioners at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have charged their boss, Chairman Gregory Jaczko, with “causing serious damage to this institution.” That is tough talk coming from an agency where mismanagement under previous chairmanships actually did serious damage, not only to the regulatory integrity of the institution, but to safety integrity at nuclear reactors.
For example, in April 2000 the commission had photographic evidence of extensive corrosive leakage that put the Davis-Besse reactor near Toledo, Ohio, within a hair’s breadth of a meltdown. Yet, despite lava-like formations of rust roiling off the top of the reactor pressure vessel, the NRC allowed the reactor to restart, giving it the green light for two more years of operation. The NRC clearly needed a top-to-bottom safety shakeup. That’s when Chairman Jaczko showed up.
The grumbling over Jaczko is a convenient smokescreen to draw attention away from the fact that, for the first time in decades, the NRC actually has a chairman who, in his own words, is “a very passionate person about safety” at the country’s 104 operating nuclear reactors. That shows up the other four, who, much of the time, adhere to an old culture of capitulation to the demands of the nuclear power industry, a practice which almost invariably diminishes safety.
ATLANTA — The top U.S. nuclear official in Japan said Thursday that his team warned higher-ups that a spent fuel pool at a malfunctioning nuclear plant could be at risk of running dry, an issue that created a political controversy between U.S. officials and their Japanese counterparts.
WASHINGTON — Bill Magwood, the man at the center of an effort to overthrow the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and his most likely successor if the move is successful, served as a consultant for Tepco, the Japanese company that owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant, according to information provided by Magwood as part of his nomination and confirmation process, which was obtained by The Huffington Post.
On Friday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a letter signed by Magwood and three other commissioners attacking the panel’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, setting off a firestorm in the energy industry. Issa and the four commissioners framed the dispute as personal and managerial, but emails released by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) show a political and ideological battle underway over post-Fukushima safety standards.
Japan’s bishops oppose nuclear power
Members of the Japanese Episcopal Conference met in Sendai, where they launched a strong message: “It’s time to come to terms with the Fukushima disaster”
Vatican Insider staff
Rome Members of the Japanese Episcopal Conference met in Sendai, where they launched a strong message: “It’s time to come to terms with the Fukushima disaster”
vatican insider staff – Rome
Japan’s Catholic spiritual leaders are in no doubt about the fact that it is necessary “to put an end to nuclear energy now: to come to terms with the disaster of the tragic Fukushima accident.” From Sendai, the province that was worst hit by the earthquake last March, and the place where the Japanese Episcopal Conference met to spread the message of a text in which the Church clearly favours an end to the era of nuclear power in Japan. The bishops’ position, which was reported by UCA news and picked up on by missionary news agencies Fides and MissiOnline, leaves no room for interpretation.
The Japanese government announced today that radioactive concrete has been used to construct new apartment buildings in the Fukushima Prefecture, housing evacuees from a town near the site of the multiple nuclear plant meltdowns.
A, No,I don’t even doubt. I know they tell just lies.
Q, Why do you stay in Minamisoma ?
A, To prove government is killing us by using my own body. On 3/14, I thought that was already too late to evacuate, taking it into consideration that the reactors had already exploded and Tepco had released tons of radionuclides by venting. My place is not in the evacuating zone. Government still keeps telling us it’s not dangerous, so I wanted to prove how a human becomes if they live as the government tells us to do. Everyone dies. I thought this would be my best way to burn the rest of my life. This is why I recorded details of my health problem, but honestly it was faster than I thought.
Q, How did the symptom go ?
A, From June to August, had diarrhea like water. At first I though I had something bad. I finally associated it with radiation on 8/13. My fingers ( except for the thumb and pointing finger) got numb. More and more area started feeling numb. It hurt too. Even the doctor couldn’t tell why. My arms and neck didn’t have numb. When one month and half have passed since the beginning, numb feeling disappeared. Doctor told me, the symptom might be on and off. From 8/18, my jaw started having terrible pain. Doctor couldn’t tell why either. got prescribed for pain killer and suppository but worked only for 3 hours.got a result of blood test on 8/25. The inflammation reaction turned out to have become worse but don’t know where the inflammation was.
The Yakuza and the Nuclear Mafia: Nationalization Looms for TEPCO
Jake Adelstein Dec 30, 2011 Atlantic
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the monolithic corporation that controls all electric power in Greater Tokyo, and runs the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant that experienced a triple meltdown following the March 11 earthquake, is on the brink of nationalization according to Japanese government sources. The official reason is that the firm may not be able to handle the massive compensation payments it owes to victims of the meltdown without going bankrupt. Unofficially, the firm has such long-standing ties to anti-social forces, including the yakuza—that some members of the Diet, Japan’s national legislature, feel the firm is beyond salvation and needs to be taken over and cleaned up. A Japanese Senator with the Liberal Democratic Party stated on background, “TEPCO’s involvement with anti-social forces and their inability to filter them out of the work-place is a national security issue. It is one reason that increasingly in the Diet we are talking de facto nationalization of the company. Nuclear energy shouldn’t be in the hands of the yakuza. They’re gamblers and an intelligent person doesn’t want them to have atomic dice to play with.”
n June we reported that yakuza were working at the Fukushima nuclear power plant as cleanup crews and manual labor, but the post-meltdown yakuza ties were only the tip of the iceberg. This month, a new book was published, Yakuza and The Nuclear Industry: Diary of An Undercover Reporter Working at the Fukushima Plant (ヤクザと原発-福島第一潜入記-鈴木-智彦) in which a former yakuza fan magazine editor Tomohiko Suzuki reports on the nuclear business-industrial-political and media complex in Japan known as the “nuclear mafia” and Japan’s actual mafia: the yakuza. The book is already generating controversy and renewed examination of Japan’s “dark empire” and its ties to the underworld. It presents more solid pieces of evidence that Japan’s nuclear industry is a black hole of criminal malfeasance, incompetence, and corruption.
Pieces of homes, buoys, a fishing boat and other debris from Japan is washing up on Vancouver Island’s Long Beach. Photograph by: Christopher Pouget, Postmedia News
An aerial view of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Honshu in March after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan: The garbage patch is estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Photograph by: U.S. Navy
By Alex Roslin, The Vancouver Sun
After the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years, authorities in Canada said people living here were safe and faced no health risks from the fallout from Fukushima.
They said most of the radiation from the crippled Japanese nuclear power plant would fall into the ocean, where it would be diluted and not pose any danger.
Dr. Dale Dewar wasn’t convinced. Dewar, a family physician in Wynyard, Sask., doesn’t eat a lot of seafood herself, but when her grandchildren come to visit, she carefully checks seafood labels.
She wants to make sure she isn’t serving them anything that might come from the western Pacific Ocean.
Dewar, the executive director of Physicians for Global Survival, a Canadian anti-nuclear group, says the Canadian government has downplayed the radiation risks from Fukushima and is doing little to monitor them.
“We suspect we’re going to see more cancers, decreased fetal viability, decreased fertility, increased metabolic defects – and we expect them to be generational,” she said.
Evidence has emerged that the impacts of the disaster on the Pacific Ocean are worse than expected.
An official from Thailand's Food and Drug Administration takes a sample from a shipment of frozen fish imported from Japan soon after the tsunami to test for possible radiation. (photo: Sukree Sukplang, Reuters
We’re happy to report the Interior Department has announced a prohibition on mining at the Grand Canyon and the surrounding watersheds for the next 20 years.
Wildalert members helped secure mining moratorium
New mining claims will be prohibited across more than 1 million acres of public lands making up Grand Canyon National Park’s watershed, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Jan. 9. Many thanks to our wildalert members who helped contribute to this win by sending thousands of letters to the Interior department over the past year. Fukushima’s Impact on the Ocean Analyzed
11 January 2012—One month after the March 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident, ocean water at the plant’s wastewater discharge point had 45 million times the concentration of radioactive cesium-137 than before the accident, according to researchers in Japan and from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The numbers plummeted the next month because ocean currents moved the contaminants away from shore. By July, numbers were down to 10 000 times as high as normal.
This latest analysis, reported in the 1 December 2011 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology, indicates that the concentration in ocean water poses no direct threat to humans or marine life. However, accumulation in marine sediment could be of concern for decades, says Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at Woods Hole who was involved in the research.
What’s also troubling is that cesium-137 concentrations have stayed at near constant levels since July,
HOT Michigan Rain 12/30/11 Pt 1
2012—The Year We Finally Bury Nuclear Power
Harvey Wasserman – Insight
The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima’s radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.
Some 100 million tons of tsunami trash—much of it radiated by Fukushima fallout—has begun contaminating the beaches of our Pacific coast.
Germany and Japan, the world’s third and fourth largest economies, along with numerous others countries, have definitively turned away from the “Peaceful Atom.”
But it hasn’t yet been buried. That’s up to us. And 2012 is the year to do it.
Stefanie Penn Spear – EcoWatch.org
When I began editing Harvey Wasserman’s Insights article for the EcoWatch.org site, I had great difficulty getting past the first sentence: “The year 2012 has opened with news that Fukushima’s radioactive cloud may already have killed some 14,000 Americans, according to a major study just published in the International Journal of Health Services.” I immediately clicked on the “according to a major study” link and read the report. I thought I was fairly well informed on the fallout of the disaster, but I now realize that I was lacking information on the impact Fukushima has had on the Pacific Northwest and other parts of the U.S.
The report by Joseph J. Mangano and Janette D. Sherman is frightening. The report opens by saying,
The multiple nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima plants beginning on March 11, 2011, are releasing large amounts of airborne radioactivity that has spread throughout Japan and to other nations; thus, studies of contamination and health hazards are merited. In the United States, Fukushima fallout arrived just six days after the earthquake, tsunami, and meltdowns. Some samples of radioactivity in precipitation, air, water, and milk, taken by the U.S. government, showed levels hundreds of times above normal; however, the small number of samples prohibits any credible analysis of temporal trends and spatial comparisons. U.S. health officials report weekly deaths by age in 122 cities, about 25 to 35 percent of the national total. Deaths rose 4.46 percent from 2010 to 2011 in the 14 weeks after the arrival of Japanese fallout, compared with a 2.34 percent increase in the prior 14 weeks. The number of infant deaths after Fukushima rose 1.80 percent, compared with a previous 8.37 percent decrease. Projecting these figures for the entire United States yields 13,983 total deaths and 822 infant deaths in excess of the expected. These preliminary data need to be followed up, especially in the light of similar preliminary U.S. mortality findings for the four months after Chernobyl fallout arrived in 1986, which approximated final figures.
The report follows with an explanation of these numbers and the increase in U.S. mortality since the Fukushima fallout. I encourage you to read it.
Fukushima’s U.S. Death Toll – ProgressiveRadioNetwork
Have 14,000 Americans already died from Fukushima’s radioactive fallout? Health researchers Dr. Janette Sherman and Joe Mangano’s recent peer-reviewed scientific survey says yes….and that many more of us will be dying as well. Covered in major media throughout the world, these findings have been vehemently denied by the nuke power industry—but supported by scientists. Join us for an hot hour on the true death toll of atomic energy, from Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island to the daily emissions of your own nearby nukes.
A refreshingly frank and forward-looking report on the safety of French nuclear power plants in the wake of Fukushima should spur other countries to take a hard look at regulation of their own reactors.
Diablo Canyon Cost Recovery Denied
PG&E Can’t Charge Ratepayers $80 Million it Will Spend to Extend Life of Power Plant
By Nick Welsh – Santa Barbara Independent
Thursday, January 5, 2012
PG&E was denied permission to charge ratepayers $80 million for costs the utility giant estimates it will incur applying for permission to extend the life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Avila Beach another 20 years. Instead, an administrative judge with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) put PG&E on notice that it first must complete high-energy, three-dimensional offshore studies to determine the exact force and velocity of the new fault line discovered three years ago just a few hundred yards off the coast from the nuclear power plant.
The judge’s action came at the instigation of Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, an anti-nuclear watchdog group headquartered in San Luis Obispo. PG&E officials minimized the ruling, describing it as a ministerial action and pointing out that they had already agreed to a suspended approval, meaning that the new seismic studies needed to be completed before the relicensing application could be approved. David Weisman with the alliance insisted there was a significant difference between a suspension and a denial. With a suspended application, Weisman said, PG&E would have been allowed to use all the data it’s already collected as part of its relicensing application. But because the judge denied the application, he said, PG&E would have to use data collected only after the new seismic studies have been completed. In the intervening three to five years, Weisman said, the market forces that might impact the cost-benefit analysis required for the relicensing requirement could change dramatically. Solar and wind, he said, might be significantly cheaper in three years. Likewise, new requirements that PG&E take steps to better cool the water offloaded into the ocean by the reactors might make Diablo Canyon significantly more expensive. In the meantime, Weisman also confirmed that the alliance is also opposing PG&E’s effort to recover the costs associated with the three-dimensional seismic studies. PG&E, Weisman said, initially estimated the cost of such studies would be $18 million. Subsequently, he said, those costs have skyrocketed to $64 million. Until PG&E justifies that, Weisman said, the alliance would oppose the utility’s cost recovery application with the CPUC.
From: Boska, John
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 11:31 AM
To: Guzman, Richard
Cc: Pickett, Douglas
Subject: Developments in Japan
Rich, please review and comment, for distribution to our branch.
In a briefing with Joe Giitter that just ended, we were informed that the situation is now much worse in Japan. The walls of the Unit 4 spent fuel pool have collapsed, and there is no water in there. There were a large number of fuel assemblies in the pool, and the fuel may no longer be intact. The radiation levels are increasing so much that it may prove difficult to work on the other 5 reactors at the site, which could lead to more fuel damage and releases. […]
For now, the risk is that the interim report does not get the attention it deserves. So far it seems to have aroused more interest on a techie website called Physics Forums, beloved of nuclear engineers, than in the Japanese press.
Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012
Is the ongoing crisis surrounding the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant being accurately reported in the Japanese media?
No, says independent journalist Shigeo Abe, who claims the authorities, and many journalists, have done a poor job of informing people about nuclear power in Japan both before and during the crisis — and that the clean-up costs are now being massively underestimated and underreported.
“The government says that as long as the radioactive leak can be dammed from the sides it can be stopped, but that’s wrong,” Abe insists. “They’re going to have to build a huge trench underneath the plant to contain the radiation — a giant diaper. That is a huge-scale construction and will cost a fortune. The government knows that but won’t reveal it.” NRC says no cause yet for Davis-Besse cracks
Updated: Friday, 06 Jan 2012, 2:14 AM EST
Published : Thursday, 05 Jan 2012, 4:01 PM EST
* JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press
PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) – Federal inspectors are convinced that a nuclear reactor along Lake Erie is safe to operate even though they said Thursday it is not clear why small cracks appeared in a concrete shell that protects the plant.
Debris Field The Size Of California From Japanese Tsunami Begins To Litter West Coast
Japan tsunami debris starts to hit US coast
Debris From Japan Tsunami Starting to Wash Ashore in Tofino
Russia’s Phobos-Grunt space probe, with 22 pounds of radioactive Cobalt-57 on board, fell to Earth Sunday. The probe was launched in November to go to Phobos, a moon of Mars, but its rocket system failed to fire it onward from low Earth orbit….
What happened demonstrates what could have occurred to the plutonium-fueled rover which NASA calls Curiosity which it launched on November 26 on a voyage to Mars. Curiosity’s launch went without incident. It is now on its way to Mars. But it could have ended up like Phobos-Grunt—falling back to Earth from orbit, its 10.6 pounds of plutonium released as deadly radioactive dust.
Moreover, the United States and Russia are both planning to launch other space devices with nuclear materials on board. Accidents involving discharge of nuclear materials is inevitable—they’ve already occurred in both the U.S. and Russian/Soviet space programs….
NUCLEAR SAFETY AND NUCLEAR ECONOMICS:
HISTORICALLY, ACCIDENTS DIM THE PROSPECTS FOR NUCLEAR REACTOR CONSTRUCTION; FUKUSHIMA WILL HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT Download PDF here
MARK COOPER, PHD
Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis
Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School
History has shown that each major nuclear accident has caused a re-examination of the risks of nuclear power leading to more stringent safety requirement and higher costs. The failures that led to the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima are being scrutinized in the United States and other countries. An analysis of the current re-evaluations of nuclear power and a comparison with the substance and economic impact of past, post-accident reviews provides important insights into the prospects of new nuclear reactor construction in the decade after Fukushima.
Before Fukushima, the mythical “nuclear renaissance” had already proven to be a bubble with the air rapidly leaking out of it. Fukushima will make it even more difficult to inflate.
Fukushima is magnifying the economic problems that the “nuclear renaissance” faced, which are the very problems that have plagued nuclear power throughout its history. Nuclear power has always suffered from high cost and continuous cost escalation, high risk and uncertainty. With long lead-times and large sunk costs, nuclear is a risky investment in an environment filled with ambiguities. That is the reason that the “nuclear renaissance” never got started.
The nuclear reactor disaster at Fukushima will increase the cost and further undermine the economic viability of nuclear power in any country that conducts such a review.
The Japanese government has recently estimated that the cost of power from nuclear reactors will be 50 percent higher than estimated seven years ago.
This increase is consistent with the impact of past accidents.
Safety risks render the nuclear industry uninsurable in commercial markets. Fukushima reminds the financial markets that the liability of a major accident will instantaneously bankrupt the utility owner, absent the socialization of costs.
The cost of the Fukushima accident has been estimated as high as $250 billion and rising, which essentially bankrupted Tokyo Electric Power Co., the fourth largest utility in the world.
Estimates of the cost of a severe accident in the U.S. are in this range or higher.
Although the bailout of nuclear power cushions the blow, it also constrains the growth of profit, which makes the sector less attractive to investors.
Fukushima has stimulated vigorous reviews around the world in part because it is severe (the worst accident affecting a nuclear reactor in a market economy) and in part because it occurred in a nation that was assumed to have a high standard of safety and superb technical expertise. Although the technical challenges are different with each accident, the challenges perceived by those responsible for nuclear safety in the wake of the Fukushima accident are quite substantial and reflect general historic themes.
insufficient backup systems,
inadequate contingency plans, and
Even more striking are the persistent institutional failures revealed by a comparison between the post-accident evaluations of TMI and Fukushima, including
Failure of voluntary, self-regulation;
Denial of the reality of risk;
Lack of safety culture;
Lack of a comprehensive, consistent regulatory framework;
The challenge of continuous change and the failure to resolve outstanding safety issues;
Failure to require existing reactors to add safety measures because of cost; and,
Complexity, confusion and chaos in the response to a severe accident.
With the global nuclear safety institutions expressing strong concerns, particularly the advanced industrial nuclear nations, and the aftermath of Fukushima likely to command attention for years as the extent of the damage and the challenge of decommissioning unfold, the issues are likely to continue to have traction.
The reviews stimulated by accidents are not limited to safety issues. In the wake of Fukushima re-evaluations of energy options and nuclear risks and economics have substantially dimmed the prospects for construction of new nuclear reactors.
Major policy reviews by governments have led several nations to decide to scale back or abandon their commitments to nuclear power (including important large industrial national like Japan, Germany);
Financial institutions have conducted extensive reassessments of the economic prospects of nuclear power and concluded that the costs will rise;
Utilities with nuclear plans in several national have continued to be downgraded by the rating agencies, and
Several major firms have abandoned the sector altogether or been forced to scale back their activities.
As all stakeholders re-examine all aspect of energy policy, the risks of nuclear reactors increase and the attractiveness of nuclear power compared to other options decreases. From a big picture perspective, Fukushima has had and is likely to continue to have an electrifying impact on the development of nuclear power because it combines the most powerful message from TMI on cost escalation with the most powerful message from Chernobyl on the risk of nuclear reactors in a nation where it was not supposed to happen. And, it has taken place in an environment where information and images flow instantaneously around the world, so the public sees the drama and trauma of losing control of a nuclear reaction in real time.
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