After Fukushima, What? – EON Nuke Digest 6-21-11

Is the ‘Nuclear Renaissance’ DOA?
Too soon to tell. But, as today’s stories show, there are signs that – despite subsidies, liability caps, loan guarantees, friends in high places and deep pockets for PR – the nuclear industry is at least on the ropes.

Fukushima report shows nuclear power can never be safe and cheap Damian Carrington – Guardian UK
The first “independent” review of the safety failures during Japan’s nuclear disaster reveals some chillingly obvious “lessons” to be learned
…I used quote marks on the word “independent” because the report comes from the International Atomic Energy Association (pdf) (IAEA) which, while independent of Japan, is far from independent from the nuclear industry it was founded to promote. But this conflict of interest only makes the findings of the IEAE’s experts more startling….
So let’s take a look at some of the 15 conclusions and 16 lessons (I’ve edited a bit for brevity)….Read more

Midwest Floods: Both Nebraska Nuke Stations Threatened
By Rady Ananda

June 20 UPDATE: On June 17, the NRC published another Event Report by Fort Calhoun. A hole in the floor (caused by what?) has led to flooding, threatening the pumps. “Flooding through this penetration could have impacted the ability of the station’s Raw Water pumps to perform their design accident mitigation functions.”

About 5 million* acres in the US corn belt have flooded, which will spike the cost of gas and food over the next several months. Worse, several nuclear power plants sit in the flooded plains. Both nuclear plants in Nebraska are partly submerged and the FAA has issued a no-fly order over both of them.

On June 7, the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant filed an Alert with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after a fire broke out in the switchgear room. During the event, “spent fuel pool cooling was lost” when two fuel pumps failed for about 90 minutes.

NPPD: Nuke Plant Could Be Shut Down “In Three Seconds”, Critics Still Worry
By Joe Jordan on June 21, 2011
Despite ongoing and growing flood worries don’t tell the folks who run a Nebraska nuclear power plant, which is designed similar to the wrecked reactor in Japan, that the facility 70 miles from Lincoln and Omaha is an accident waiting to happen.

Rising water, falling journalism
By Dawn Stover | Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

… Failure of the fourth estate. Newspapers and websites all over the country have reported on the flooding and fire at Fort Calhoun, but most articles simply paraphrase and regurgitate information from the NRC and OPPD press releases, which aggregators and bloggers then, in turn, simply cut and paste. Even the Omaha World-Herald didn’t send local reporters to cover the story; instead, the newspaper published an article on the recent fire written by Associated Press reporters — based in Atlanta and Washington.

Scrambling for reactor manual, borrowing equipment: Report shows Japan nuke plant unprepared
AP/Wash Post
TOKYO — A new report says Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

The report, released Saturday by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., is based on interviews of workers and plant data. It portrays chaos amid the desperate and ultimately unsuccessful battle to protect the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant from meltdown, and shows that workers struggled with unfamiliar equipment and fear of radiation exposure.

Report: Tritium Leaks Found at 3/4 of US Nuclear Sites
by Jeff Donn
BRACEVILLE, Ill. – Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.

Burying Our Heads in Radioactive Sand
Leslie Savan
Japan is the most nuke-fearing country in the world—Hiroshima and Nagasaki saw to that, and Godzilla is one way they’ve taught their children to never forget. The Japanese take such care in making their skyscrapers, bridges and tunnels earthquake-proof that most of us assumed they’d go even further to protect their nuclear reactors… until those cores started melting down like knots on a fuse after Friday’s tsunami.

So if nuclear meltdowns, partial or full, could happen there, they could happen anywhere, and all those pictures of cars and buildings bobbing in ink-black water like disaster-movie props carry a very immediate sense of warning. They’re a reminder of just how fragile the whole world is—and how brittle are the mental containment systems we use to assure ourselves that whatever we’re doing in the name of our way of life is safe, sane and right.

…Has any of this dampened the right’s enthusiasm for American exceptionalism, for “creating our own reality” as the biggest empire on the block? Not really. Some truths turned out to be inoperative—like, for example, that housing prices would always go up, or that we’d face a “mushroom cloud” if we didn’t send an army against Saddam. That a radioactive cloud is more likely to drift our way on prevailing air currents from nuclear reactors that we designed ourselves (GE designed six and built three of Fukushima’s disintegrating reactors) is so mind-boggling that it’s best dismissed as part of the left’s “agenda.” Which is what Glenn Beck did Monday, insisting that (perfectly rational) talk about Japan’s nuclear disaster is being fomented by none other than George Soros and the Tides Foundation.

Cold Comfort at Senate Nuclear Safety Hearing
George Zornick
…Commissioners also had no answers about how to fix backup power systems that continue to cool nuclear material in the event of a major power outage. The batteries at Fukushima ran for only eight hours—not nearly long enough. In the United States, the standard length is only four hours. “This is something we have to look into and take action on,” said commissioner George Apostolakis. “I’m not sure what that action would be.”

Amidst these less-than-inspiring answers, the NRC commissioners tried to downplay the possibility of similar events happening here anyhow. “The likelihood of something like this happening in the United States is very, very small,” said Jaczko. Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the committee, asked commissioner William Magwood to list four or five areas of concern following Fukushima, and he couldn’t provide any. He responded instead that “you can’t predict events that will happen in the future. You have to be able to recover from whatever happens.”

Fukushima and the Mass Media Meltdown:
The Repercussions of a Pro-Nuclear Corporate Press

keith harmon snow 19 June 2011

A sociological and technological discussion — in the wake of the out-of-control nuclear apocalypse in Japan — addressing the compromise of public health and security created by the failure of the western corporate mass media to equitably report on, mildly investigate, or even moderately challenge the nuclear power industry.

Author’s note, 19 June 2011:
The following report was written after learning about the pro-nuclear and corporate bias of the Society of Environmental Journalists. It was originally published by VOICE NEWS, Winstead CT, in 2001 and was originally titled “The Potential Repercussions of a Pro-Nuclear Press.” I have made a few minor changes, added hyperlinks, and inserted a few comments in [brackets]….

US Nuke Regulators Weaken Safety Rules
by Jeff Donn
NEW JERSEY – Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Fukushima Workers Had to Bring Their Own Protective Gear

by Mari Yamaguchi
TOKYO — A new report says Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant was so unprepared for the disaster that workers had to bring protective gear and an emergency manual from distant buildings and borrow equipment from a contractor.

Nuclear Crisis in Japan – NIRS – Nuclear Information and Resource Service
UPDATE, Friday, June 17, 2011. There have been increasing reports of radioactive “hotspots” being found around Japan, especially in the area outside but near the evacuation zone of course, but also quite far away. For example, the Wall Street Journal reported today on a hotspot found in Chiba Prefecture 120 miles from Fukushima Daiichi and not too far from Tokyo. There have been reports of elevated readings in Tokyo itself, and across northern Japan.

From Hiroshima to Fukushima
Jonathan Schell
… Some have suggested that in light of the new developments we should abandon nuclear power. I have a different proposal, perhaps more in keeping with the peculiar nature of the peril. Let us pause and study the matter. For how long? Plutonium, a component of nuclear waste, has a half-life of 24,000 years, meaning that half of it is transformed into other elements through radioactive decay. This suggests a time-scale. We will not be precipitous if we study the matter for only half of that half-life, 12,000 years. In the interval, we can make a search for safe new energy sources, among other useful endeavors. Then perhaps we’ll be wise enough to make good use of the split atom.


“The disaster in Fukushima is not only a disaster for Japan. It is a global disaster. We come together now across cultural boundaries, political and generational boundaries, to call for changes in the way we use energy, and in the ways we conduct the search for solutions to the problems facing humanity,” says Jackson Browne. “We join with the people of Japan, and people everywhere who believe in a non-nuclear future.”

The Nuclear Endgame Begins in Germany
by R. Andreas Kraemer
Germany may well be regarded as the nation where the endgame of nuclear power began. The conservative and pro-business German government proposed a law to switch off all nuclear power plants by the end of 2022. Polls indicate that 85 percent of Germans want nuclear power to be phased out within a decade. A clear technical and economic vision of a clean energy future, and a renewed determination for rational energy policies, fuel this demand.

The End of Nuclear
New Worldwatch Institute Report, Timed in Conjunction with Chernobyl Anniversary, Shows Nuclear Industry Was in Decline Even Before Fukushima

Washington, D.C.—Even before the disaster in Fukushima, the world’s nuclear industry was in clear decline, according to a new report from the Worldwatch Institute. The report, which Worldwatch commissioned months before the Fukushima crisis began, paints a bleak picture of an aging industry unable to keep pace with its renewable energy competitors.

To download a free copy of this report, click here.

The Big Fukushima Lie Flies High
by Karl Grossman
The global nuclear industry and its allies in government are making a desperate effort to cover up the consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. “The big lie flies high,” comments Kevin Kamps of the organization Beyond Nuclear.

Not only is this nuclear establishment seeking to make it look like the Fukushima catastrophe has not happened ­going so far as to claim that there will be “no health effects” as a result of it­ but it is moving forward on a “nuclear renaissance,” its scheme to build more nuclear plants.

Indeed, next week in Washington, a two-day “Special Summit on New Nuclear Energy” will be held involving major manufacturers of nuclear power plants including General Electric, the manufacturer of the Fukushima plants­and U.S. government officials….

Are We on the Brink of Burying Nuke Power Forever?
by Harvey Wasserman
This may be the moment history has turned definitively against atomic energy.

To be sure: we are still required to fight hard to bury reactor loan guarantees in the United States. There are parallel struggles in China, Indian, England, France and South Korea.

The great fear is that until every single reactor on this planet is shut, none of us is really safe from another radioactive horror show.

Thus the moment is clearly marked at Fukushima by three reactors and a radioactive fuel pool still untamed after three months, with the horrific potential to do far more apocalyptic damage than we’ve seen even to date.

A Dimming Nuclear Future
By LOUISE LOFTUS Published: June 14, 2011
PARIS — Three months after Japan’s worst earthquake of modern times, a total meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor appears to have been averted. Whether the same can be said of the nuclear industry remains to be seen.

TEPCO And TBS Cam Show Vapor Geysers June 18

Controversy over Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant

The geysers can be seen best after 4:15 but can be seen as early as 3:30 cresting about the clouds moving inbetween the plant and the cam…

Vermont Yankee – Bernie Sanders

Has US Ordered News Blackout Over Crippled Nebraska Nuclear Plant?

New NASA Research Points To Possible HAARP Connection In Japan Earthquake, Tsunami
Recent data released by Dimitar Ouzounov and colleagues from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland highlights some strange atmospheric anomalies over Japan just days before the massive earthquake and tsunami struck on March 11.

Seemingly inexplicable and rapid heating of the ionosphere directly above the epicenter reached a maximum only three days prior to the quake, according to satellite observations, suggesting that directed energy emitted from transmitters used in the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) may have been responsible for inducing the quake.

Published in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) publication Technology Review,
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