For information about ‘Fukushima Unsensored,’ an EON program with Prof. Akira Murakami Wednesday, March 14, 7pm to 9pm at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Connie Barbour Room, upstairs without wheelchair access (sorry) ~ 1606 Bonita Ave at the corner of Cedar and Bonita in Berkeley click here. To download a flyer in PDF click here.
The Face of Nuclear Totalitarianism –
Aging Nukes, Mini Nukes and
Obama’s Great Atomic Bailout
Opening Commentaryby Jim Heddle
Mary Beth Brangan and Rachel Johnson contributed to this digest edition.
Reality Sets In
As its one year anniversary approaches this Sunday, nothing debunks the delusional corporate fantasy of a nuclear-powered future like the ongoing global disaster still radiating from Fukushima.
As the recent GreenPeace Report, ‘The Echo Chamber: Regulatory Capture and the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster’ shows, ‘The Nuclear Safety Paradigm’ is over – a significant nuclear accident has occurred approximately once every decade.
It took just 18 days for the Fukishima fallout to circle the globe, create hotspots in North America and Europe, and reach the Southern Hemisphere, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Within ten weeks, infant deaths spiked 35% in San Francisco and Seattle, and 48% in Philadelphia, according to a study by Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control) statistics.
West Coast soil, milk and produce are still showing contaminated readings according to the UC Berkeley School of Nuclear Engineering. As recently as mid Feb. elevated levels of Cesium 134 and 137 were detected in Bay Area milk. The UC Berkeley labs also found elevated levels of radiation in other foods, berries, soil, water, etc.
Nuts for New Nukes
Nevertheless, the Obama Administration and its nuclear industry backers continue to push for a so-called ‘nuclear renaissance’ paid for by tax-dollar loan guarantees and rate-payer surcharges – and including a fleet of mobile mini-reactors that will be trucked around the landscape. Obama’s NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) is freely issuing license extensions to aged reactors that should already be in mothballs.
In effect, its a nuclear bailout that socializes the costs and risks and privatizes the profits.
That’s because nuclear energy cannot survive in a ‘free market environment.’ Wall Street won’t invest. Insurers will not insure. Democratic choice will not choose it – if given half a chance.
Truth and Nukes Don’t Mix
It can not survive in a transparent, democratic environment either. As Robert Jungk conclusively showed as long ago as 1979 in his book The New Tyranny: How Nuclear Power Enslaves Us, because of its vast ‘security’ vulnerabilities, nuclear energy is, at its core, a fundamentally totalitarian technology, requiring secrecy and authoritarian social controls to the max. [See Naomi Wolf’s trenchant articles on the on-going ‘fascist shift’ here and here.] Already, in the face of mass public uprisings across the globe and the growth of the Occupy Movement here at home, power holders are moving to criminalize dissent with the passage of laws like the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) and HR 347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011.
Rather than acting in the public interest with strictly-enforced policies based on science, so-called ‘regulatory agencies’ like the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) consistently fulfill their core mandate, which is to promote – not impede – the spread of nuclear energy technology.
Thus the internationally coordinated campaign to tamp down transparent reporting on the real human and environmental impacts of nuclear disasters like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
Then there’s the inconvenient fact that nuclear power generation is inseparably joined at the hip with its Siamese Twin, nuclear weapons production and proliferation – has been from the gitgo of the ‘Peaceful Atom’ propaganda campaign.
If the Nuclides Don’t Git Ya, Then the EMFs Will
The final irony is that nuclear weapons have been rendered obsolete by the advent of electro-magnetic, ‘directed energy’ weaponry (hence the dual focus of this blog).
Both ionizing (nuclear) and non-ionizing (electro-magnetic) radiation are part of the same spectrum and, in fact, have many similar damaging affects on cells, humans and other biological systems.
A Dormant Movement Stirs – ‘Occupy Nukes?’
Despite significant successes in the ’70s and ’80s, the transnational nuclear abolition movement has been quiet of late. Until, that is, the Fukushima wake-up call, the warhead wagging at Iran and the rise of the ‘occupy movement(s).’ Will the awakening Beast of Public Dissent include abolition of nuclear power and weapons in its change agenda? Will Americans stand for the imposition of technocratic, totalitarian nuclear socialism disguised as ‘the only technology that can save us from Climate Change?’ [ See Gar Smith’s “Nuclear Roulette: The Case Against a ‘Nuclear Renaissance'” published by IFG – the International Forum on Globalization. PDF here. ]
Will they be fooled by the fallacious claims that nuclear energy is ‘carbon free,’ when it is in fact carbon-intensive at every stage of the nuclear cycle from mining to milling to transport to storage, and depends on ‘outside power’ from coal and gas plants to cool its fuel storage pools?
Will they stand for being exposed to the proliferating blankets of electro-magnetic pollution being deployed by a wireless ‘smart meter’-based energy grid, new G generations of cellphones, the elimination of the existing national wired phone networks, the spread of wi-max and the dense build-out of neighborhood micro-antenna systems?
Not if a resurgent international anti-nuclear movement can help it. For a list of Fukushima anniversary actions compiled the NIRS (Nuclear Information & Resource Service) click here.
[For EON’s upcoming series of programs with visiting Japanese professor Akira Murakami click here. ]
This Fukushima anniversary edition of the EON Nuke Digest looks at a resurgent international nuclear abolition movement in collision with the corporate push for ‘new nukes’ through the eyes of journalists, researchers and activists like Naomi Wolf, Amy Goodman, Carl Grossman, Cindy Folkers, Robert Alvarez, Aileen Mioko Smith, Deb Katz, Ace Hoffman, Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman, Gar Smith, Maggie and Arnie Gundersen and many others.
It also includes video reports from both commercial and independent media that poke behind the feel-good facade of industry lies and government spin. We begin with the trailer for a powerful new documentary by our colleagues Kazumi Torri and Steve Zeltzer.
“FUKUSHIMA, Never Again” Trailer
Uploaded by laborvideo on Feb 6, 2012
“Fukushima, Never Again” 57.40 min
English and Japanese captions – Production Of Labor Video Project
“Fukushima, Never Again” tells the story of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns in north east Japan in March of 2011 and exposes the cover-up by Tepco and the Japanese government. This is the first film that interviews the Mothers Of Fukushima, nuclear power experts and trade unionists who are fighting for justice and the protection of the children and the people of Japan and the world. The residents and citizens were forced to buy their own geiger counters and radiation dosimeters in order to test their communities to find out if they were in danger. The government said contaminated soil in children’s school grounds was safe and then when the people found out it was contaminated and removed the top soil, the government and TEPCO refused to remove it from the school grounds.
It also relays how the nuclear energy program for “peaceful atoms” was brought to Japan under the auspices of the US military occupation and also the criminal cover-up of the safety dangers of the plant by TEPCO and GE management which built the plant in Fukushima. It also interviews Kei Sugaoka, the GE nulcear plant inspector from the bay area who exposed cover-ups in the safety at the Fukushima plant and was retaliated against by GE. This documentary allows the voices of the people and workers to speak out about the reality of the disaster and what this means not only for the people of Japan but the people of the world as the US government and nuclear industry continue to push for more new plants and government subsidies. This film breaks the information blockade story line of the corporate media in Japan, the US and around the world that Fukushima is over.
Production Of Labor Video Project
P.O. Box 720027 – San Francisco, CA 94172
www.laborvideo.org – firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on obtaining the video go to: www.fukushimaneveragain.com
3/11: Japan Marks Anniversary of Meltdowns, Tsunami in Day of Mourning, Protest
US: groups call for day of anti-nuclear activism
– Common Dreams staff
On the first-year anniversary of the Fukushima tsunami disaster people gathered in Japan and around the world for a day of mourning and protest.
“Planetary Genocide”: Fukushima One Year Later : The Poisoning of Planet Earth
by Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri – Global Research
[ A must-read with excellent links and sources. Eds. ]
…How much longer can we be deceived about the extreme dangers of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons? Everything that encompasses nuclear energy is unsafe. It is hazardous in the extreme. Further, nuclear waste has been accumulating for six decades. There is NO LONG-TERM SAFE WAY TO STORE ANY NUCLEAR WASTE. For example, countless drums of nuclear waste have been dumped into the ocean, and have been found to be leaking radioactive poisons.
Everything on our planet has been contaminated with life-long and long-term radiation. I continue to write: “Invisible does not mean safe.” With many nuclear facilities in the US old and having numerous problems, the core issue of it as a hazardous endeavor remains. Two nuclear plants with serious troubles are Vermont Yankee, and just last month San Onofre (built right on a fault line). They are just the tips of the proverbial radioactive iceberg…. Read more.
Most Important Video of the Year?
Asahi TV: “Unbelievable” — If Unit 4 pool gets a crack from quake and leaks, it would be end for Tokyo -Expert — Doesn’t have to be large tremor, already shaken many times
Expert Warns: Leakage of Water from the Unit 4 SFP Will Mean “THE END” (Mar. 8, 2012)
Source: “Morning Bird” by TV Asahi
Uploaded by: tokyobrowntabby
Date Aired: Mar 8, 2012
Most discussion of the No. 4 spent fuel pool has focused on an earthquake causing the pool to collapse. This video is different because it reveals:
1. A crack, rather than the collapse of the pool itself, can be the end of Tokyo
2. The quake that could put a crack in the pool and be the end of Tokyo does not have to be a large one
3. The sense of shock when people in Japan are made aware of this information for the first time
Fukushima-Daiichi: An Accident Waiting to Happen
by Fairewinds Energy Education
CCTV Host Margaret Harrington speaks with Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds about Arnie’s recent trip to Japan and their report for Greenpeace about the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The issue of regulatory capture is an issue that Japan and every energy producing country in the world is facing. As the Gundersen’s book Fukushima Daiichi: Truth and Future Prospects, published in Japan, points out, the Japanese people are poised to become energy innovators and world leaders with new technologies, if they choose to break their nuclear power dependency.
1/3 of Fukushima kids have lumps in thyroids: Arnold Gunderson
CollapseNet – Tuesday, 28 February 2012 19:19
CCTV host Margaret Harrington interviews Maggie and Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education Corp regarding the triple meltdown in March 2011 at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The video is 58 minutes, so if you want to read the points of significance within this interview, a bullet list is provided below. — JB, Supervising Editor
• 10:30: enormous number of Japanese people requesting more information from regulators about radiation levels in contaminated rice, fish, beef, green tea, water, fall-out etc–without getting answers
• 12:30: within 4 days of Fukushima, 40,000 times normal levels of noble gases, Xenon, Krypton etc from Fukushima reached Seattle. That was followed by heavier radioisotopes, such as Iodine, Cesium and Strontium
• 13:00: One third of Fukushima kids tested have lumps in their thyroids
• 14:30: Why is this information marginalized by the media?
• 15:15: US government down-played extent of the accident early on. Hillary Clinton reached agreement with Prime Minister of Japan that US would not interfere with Japanese exports….
• 15:30: NRC knew extent of accident 9 days before Japanese people were warned and evacuated
• 16:30 Governments played with people’s lives for sake of economy. In US and Canada all monitoring was shut down on westcoast…Independent labs showed tremendous amounts of radiation. FDA is not testing. The attitude is: If you don’t know, it’s not there….What you don’t know can’t hurt you
• 17:00 There is a concerted effort among the nuclear industry to deliberately downplay risks of low-level radiation. World-wide push controlled by nuclear industry
• 19:00 chances of kids in Fukushima getting cancer are 1:20 to 1:100
• 19:30 Germany has put in place plan to end nuclear power. Also unrest and demonstrations in France, premier nuclear power country. Italy is also phasing out nuclear power
• 21:00 German study showing cancer risk from nuclear power plants, esp. early childhood cancers. French study just substantiated that study
• 25:00 many other illnesses can be attributed to radiation
GREENPEACE REPORT – Arnie Gundersen Featured: The Echo Chamber: Regulatory Capture and the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster
It has been almost 12 months since the Fukushima nuclear disaster began. Although the Great East Japan earthquake and the following tsunami triggered it, the key causes of the nuclear accident lie in the institutional failures of political influence and industry-led regulation. It was a failure of human institutions to acknowledge real reactor risks, a failure to establish and enforce appropriate nuclear safety standards and a failure to ultimately protect the public and the environment.
This report, commissioned by Greenpeace International, addresses what lessons can be taken away from this catastrophe. The one-year memorial of the Fukushima accident offers a unique opportunity to ask ourselves what the tragedy – which is far from being over for hundreds of thousands of Japanese people – has taught us. And it also raises the question, are we prepared to learn?
There are broader issues and essential questions that still deserve our attention:
* How it is possible that – despite all assurances – a major nuclear accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 happened again, in one of the world’s most industrially advanced countries?
* Why did emergency and evacuation plans not work to protect people from excessive exposure to the radioactive fallout and resulting contamination? Why is the government still failing to better protect its citizens from radiation one year later?
* Why are the over 100,000 people who suffer the most from the impacts of the nuclear accident still not receiving adequate financial and social support to help them rebuild their homes, lives and communities?
These are the fundamental questions that we need to ask to be able to learn from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This report looks into them and draws some important conclusions:
1. The Fukushima nuclear accident marks the end of the ‘nuclear safety’ paradigm.
2. The Fukushima nuclear accident exposes the deep and systemic failure of the very institutions that are supposed to control nuclear power and protect people from its accidents. Read more.
FUKUSHIMA ANNIVERSARY TO BE MARKED BY PROTESTS, RALLIES, FLASH MOBS ACROSS U.S. AND ENTIRE WORLD
From Alabama to Wisconsin, Vermont to California and across the world, the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster will be marked by protests, rallies, flashmobs and other actions from the growing movement for a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.
NIRS has compiled a list of Fukushima anniversary actions in the U.S. here: https://www.nirs.org/action.htm. Local contacts and/or links are provided for the actions. Note that there is a link to a different page listing actions across the world, available in five languages.
The listed events include a wide variety of actions, from “die-ins” in several states to a mock “evacuation” of Vermont Yankee to rallies in California, New York and elsewhere. In Washington, DC, a goat named Katie, whose milk contained high levels of radioactivity when she lived near the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Connecticut and who has been stricken with inoperable cancer, takes her Farewell Tour to the White House on Sunday, March 11, at 12 noon.
“One year after the Fukushima accident began—an accident that still has not ended—at least 80,000 Japanese people have lost their homes and livelihoods. Hundreds of thousands more are living in contaminated zones and afraid, often for good reason, of the food they eat and water they drink. The nuclear industry and radiation deniers claim that no one has died because of Fukushima. That’s only because the cancers that are coming take more than one year to appear. While the nuclear industry appears determined not to learn any lessons from Fukushima, the public understands the lessons very well. And the most important lesson is that we must end the use of nuclear power and move as quickly as possible to clean and sustainable energy sources,” said Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
The list of Fukushima anniversary actions is available here: https://www.nirs.org/action.htm.
From Roger Herried – Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse Archivist
NHK will be doing a special two part series covering the Fukushima Disaster.
Here is the link for the two shows that will be aired on Friday and Saturday.
Big Nuclear’s cosy relationship with the Obama administration
Amy Goodman – Guardian UK
One year on from Fukushima, the US is rewarding the nuclear energy lobby by underwriting new investment – regardless of risk
Super Tuesday demonstrated the rancor rife in Republican ranks, as the four remaining major candidates slug it out to see how far to the right of President Barack Obama they can go. While attacking him daily for the high cost of gasoline, both sides are traveling down the same perilous road in their support of nuclear power.
This is mind-boggling, on the first anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission warning that lessons from Fukushima have not been implemented in this country. Nevertheless, Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing: they’re going to force nuclear power on the public, despite the astronomically high risks, both financial and environmental. Read more.
Naomi Wolf: America’s nuclear future
24 Feb 2012
After the Fukushima disaster, Germany ditched nuclear power. So why has the US stopped worrying and learned to love nukes?
This week, Naomi wrote about nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear safety, as the Obama administration prepares to go ahead with a new expansion of both a civilian nuclear power program and nuclear weapons-producing facilities.
Is America’s nuclear industry unsafe at any size? How will the US meet emissions targets and move beyond a fossil-fuel energy economy without nuclear power, as some environmental activists have accepted is necessary?
Naomi will be joining commenters for her weekly live webchat here in the discussion thread from 1pm till 2pm EST (6-7pm UK time). Commenting will be switched on then, and the thread will remain open afterwards. Read more.
From Rocky Flats to Fukushima: this nuclear folly
Naomi Wolf guardian.co.uk
There’s no such thing as safe and accidents are always covered up. So why let Obama build a whole new generation of reactors?
Flare-up: How the Sun Could Put an End to Nuclear Power
by Gar Smith
Published on Thursday, March 8, 2012 by Common Dreams
Solar energy may soon eclipse nuclear power — only not in the way we hoped. According to NASA, the planet will soon face an outbreak of powerful solar flares capable of collapsing global power grids. Were this to happen, the world’s reactors could be left to run wild, overheat, melt down, and explode. As this is being written, the strongest solar storm in six years is barreling toward the Earth at 4 million miles per hour. [ AP)] (Photo: AP)
The sun’s magnetic cycle peaks every 22 years while sunspot activity crests every 11 years. Both events are set to peak in 2013. Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) trigger geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs) — tides of high-energy particles that can disrupt power lines. Since the 1970s, the array of high-voltage transmission lines spanning the US has grown tenfold. NASA warns these interconnected networks can be energized by a solar flare, causing “an avalanche of blackouts carried across continents [that] … could last for weeks to months.” A National Academy of Sciences report estimates a “century-class” solar storm could cause 20 times the damage as Hurricane Katrina while “full recovery could take four to ten years.”
Fukushima residents report various illnesses
Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 9, 2012
A debate is raging in Japan over the extent of the radiation contamination in the wake of last year’s nuclear disaster in Fukushima.
Arnie Gundersen at the Japan National Press Club
by Fairewinds Energy Education
The Japan National Press Club hosts Arnie Gundersen. More than 80 journalists were present where questions were asked regarding the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi and the ongoing risks associated with the GE Mark 1 BWR nuclear reactors.
Every day is March 10
The Fukushima crisis is far from over -From Diablo Canyon
BY CAROLE HISASUE
It’s been almost a year since we sat in front of our TVs, drop-jawed, open-mouthed, watching in horror as an above design-basis earthquake and monstrous tidal wave engulfed the coasts of northeastern Japan. Almost a year since video of an exploding nuclear reactor played again and again. Almost a year since I called my brother in Tokyo, begging him to fly our family out of harm’s way. Bring everyone! Bring your wife’s family! They shouldn’t stay in Fukushima! Oh, right, there are no trains running and no gas for cars. OK, so you can’t do anything about her family—they’re trapped in radiation zone—but at least bring your family over!
But, wait. We have a nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, just south of us. What if something happens here? Read more.
Exposing the “No Harm” Mantra
The Dangerous Myths of Fukushima
by JOSEPH MANGANO and JANETTE SHERMAN – Counterpunch
The myth that Fukushima radiation levels were too low to harm humans persists, a year after the meltdown. A March 2, 2012 New York Times article quoted Vanderbilt University professor John Boice: “there’s no opportunity for conducting epidemiological studies that have any chance for success – the doses are just too low.” Wolfgang Weiss of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation also recently said doses observed in screening of Japanese people “are very low.”
Views like these are political, not scientific, virtually identical to what the nuclear industry cheerleaders claim. Nuclear Energy Institute spokesperson Tony Pietrangelo issued a statement in June that “no health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.”
In their haste to choke off all consideration of harm from Fukushima radiation, nuclear plant owners and their willing dupes in the scientific community built a castle against invaders – those open-minded researchers who would first conduct objective research BEFORE rushing to judgment. The pro-nuclear chants of “no harm” and “no studies needed” are intended to be permanent, as part of damage control created by a dangerous technology that has produced yet another catastrophe.
But just one year after Fukushima, the “no harm” mantra is now being crowded by evidence – evidence to the contrary.
First, estimates of releases have soared. The first reports issued by the Japanese government stated that emissions equaled 10% of 1986 Chernobyl emissions. A few weeks later, they doubled that estimate to 20%. By October 2011, an article in the journal Nature estimated Fukushima emissions to be more than double that of Chernobyl. How anyone, let alone scientists, could call Fukushima doses “too low” to cause harm in the face of this evidence is astounding.
Where did the radioactive particles and gases go? Officials from national meteorological agencies in countries like France and Austria followed the plume, and made colorful maps available on the internet. Within six days of the meltdowns, the plume had reached the U.S., and within 18 days, it had circled the Northern Hemisphere. Read more.
Of dollars and dimensions
Questions abound over Diablo seismic studies as PG&E argues you should pay more for them
BY MATT FOUNTAIN – New Times
Pacific Gas & Electric has lots of ’splaining to do these days.
The utility is smack-dab in the middle of a complex web of government agencies, committees, advocacy groups, legislators, and expert panels, each demanding that it perform studies to prove Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is seismically safe before its customers cough up any dough for the plant’s relicensing.
Those studies are now the focus of some very tough questions: Will they be thorough? Are they worth $64 million? And, perhaps more theoretically, should it be customers or shareholders who pick up the tab?
PG&E wrapped the first phase of its studies—what it calls the “low-energy” 2-D phase—in mid-December. The company originally estimated the cost to ring in at roughly $17 million, which the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) authorized. But as a stipulation, the commission created Independent Peer Review Panel (IPRP), a group of appointees tasked with scrutinizing the science of PG&E’s studies. It includes reps from the state Energy, Coastal, and Seismic Safety commissions, and the state Geologic Survey.
Now, the utility says it’s out of money and is asking for another $47 million to cover the 3-D “high energy” phase, which, put quite simply, entails using massive air guns to blast loud sound waves into the sea.
There are a number of known faults relevant to Diablo Canyon, and two—the Hosgri and Shoreline faults—are thought by some U.S. Geological Survey scientists to intersect. While the Shoreline isn’t thought to be able to produce much of a temblor on its own, estimates for the Hosgri max out at a 7.3-magnitude earthquake. The possibility of both faults rupturing together has watchdogs barking for examination.
The plant is designed to withstand the ground motion from a 7.5-magnitude quake.
The Big Lie: One Year After Fukushima, Nuclear Cover Up Revealed
by Karl Grossman
Published on Monday, March 5, 2012 by Common Dreams
As the first anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster arrives, the cover-up involving nuclear power is more extensive than ever.
The Big Lie was integral to the nuclear push from its start. Read more.
From Ace Hoffman:
Don’t restart San Onofre Nuclear Waste Generating Station — EVER!!!
March 6th, 2012
To Whom It May Concern,
I hope you will join me in calling for an IMMEDIATE PUBLIC INQUIRY into what is happening at San Onofre Nuclear WASTE Generating Station, and a prevention of the restart of either reactor — ever.
Both units are currently shut down (see Southern California Edison’s recent press release, below). Let’s keep them that way, to prevent a Fukushima USA from happening here. We love our community and don’t want to lose it.
The Union of Concerned Scientists lauds the NRC for its initial reaction to the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, but warns it is dragging its feet on safety recommendations for US nuclear plants.
A new mapping tool released March 5 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) illustrates the potential radiological impacts of a severe accident at the nation’s nuclear reactors and flags risk factors associated with each individual U.S. plant. In the year since the disaster, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has failed to enact a single safety mandate for U.S. reactors, even though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission advised a 50-mile evacuation zone for U.S. citizens in Japan—a distance within which 120 million Americans live from U.S. plants—and there were five emergency shutdowns at U.S. facilities in 2011, due to earthquake or extreme weather.
“There are clear lessons learned from the Fukushima disaster, yet our government allows the risks to remain,” said NRDC Scientist Jordan Weaver, PhD. “It doesn’t have to take an earthquake and a tsunami to trigger a severe nuclear meltdown. In addition to human error and hostile acts, more common occurrences like hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding—all of which took place around the country last year—could cause the same type of power failure in U.S. plants.”
What if the Fukushima nuclear fallout crisis had happened here?
There are 104 nuclear reactors in the United States. If one of them lost both primary and backup power for even a matter of hours, it could lead to a meltdown and an airborne radioactive plume. See what could have happened if a reactor in your area had a severe nuclear accident on March 11, 2011.
Nuclear Power Information Tracker
MapList Definitions About This Feature
U.S. Nuclear Reactors
Monitoring Nuclear Power
Spotlight: Earthquake Risk
If you click on the tracker’s new Earthquake Risk filter, you may be surprised by what you see: 27 reactors clustered primarily in the eastern and southern coastal states, with a handful in the Midwest. “Where,” you might reasonably ask, “are the West Coast reactors?”
The reason for their absence has to do with what we mean here by “earthquake risk”: not the absolute risk of earthquakes occurring, but the risk of earthquakes that the reactor was not designed to withstand—such as the 5.8-magnitude August 2011 quake with its epicenter ten miles from the North Anna plant in Virginia. The West Coast reactors are not on the list because the risk of earthquake damage was appropriately incorporated into their design.
[ EON Editors’ note: Recent discoveries and studies of earthquake faults at both San Onofre and Diablo Canyon show the above statement to be in error. For example, Diablo was built to withstand a 7.5 earthquake. The shaker that hit Fukushima was 9.0. ]
The NRC has known since 1996 that some reactors were at greater earthquake risk than they were designed for, and in 2005 identified the 27 reactors most at risk. But thus far the NRC has not required these known protection shortcomings to be resolved.
THE WORM TURNS at Vermont Yankee
Deb Katz – Citizens’ Awareness Network
Hidden in Judge Murtha’s decision was a Trojan horse that has made Entergy’s quest for continued operation much harder. With all the focus on preemption and the Judge seeming to grant Entergy all that it wanted, it sure looked like smooth sailing for this rogue corporation. But not so fast…. Read more.
Japan disaster dims hopes for US nuclear rebirth
By John W. Schoen, Senior Producer MSNBC – The Bottom Line
Long before the accident at Fukushima, Japan, the U.S. nuclear power industry faced major headwinds, led by the rising cost of generating kilowatts by smashing atoms. The tsunami and subsequent meltdowns at the Japanese plant made matters worse.
When first developed for commercial use in the 1950s, nuclear power was touted as the energy source of the future that would one day be “too cheap to meter.” But over the past six decades the rising cost of engineering, licensing and building a modern nuclear power plant has proven to be the industry’s undoing in the United States. More recently, a sharp drop in natural gas prices and slowing demand for electricity due to conservation and a weak economy have forced the industry to shelve ambitious plans to build dozens of new plants.
Now, as a handful of utilities press on with plans to build new reactors, they face the prospect of more stringent safety regulations.
“The cost of nuclear is going up,” said Mark Cooper, a researcher at Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment. “Every time there’s an accident, people take a hard look, and what they discover is that the reactors are not as safe as we thought. And safety is cost.” Read more.
On this Super Tuesday in Georgia, one issue where the Republican candidates fully agree with President Obama is nuclear power. The nation’s first reactors since 1978 recently won federal approval. Atlanta-based Southern Company is attempting to build two new reactors at the Vogtle plant in eastern Georgia. We speak with Stephen Smith of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, one of nine groups seeking to block the project, who notes that nuclear power plants rely on federal loan guarantees because Wall Street is not interested in investing. “You would think that the conservative party would be conservatively approaching use of both ratepayer money and taxpayer money and that they would want transparency and openness,” Smith says. “Yet we’ve heard virtually nothing from anyone in the Republican Party.”
Anti-nuclear activist sees commonalities between Minamata and Fukushima
Aileen Mioko Smith explains that she thought of “The 10 Strategies Taken by the State, Prefectural Governments, Academic Flunkies and Companies in the Cases of Minamata and Fukushima” during a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. (Mainichi)
According to Aileen Mioko Smith, who together with her late husband, the photographer Eugene Smith, drew the world’s attention to one of Japan’s most far-reaching pollution-caused diseases, the ongoing Fukushima nuclear crisis and Minamata disease have many things in common.
“Inequality,” said Smith, when asked what it is that both disasters have. It was not the government’s inaction that she brought up first, but rather the unfairness of it all.
“Minamata disease emerged when major Japanese chemical manufacturer Chisso Corp. found itself lagging behind its competitors in the industry’s switch to petrochemicals, decided to sacrifice Minamata (Kumamoto Prefecture), and made money from it. While environmental contamination was forced onto Minamata, Chisso Corp.’s headquarters flourished,” Smith said. “The same can be said of Fukushima. If the nuclear power plants had been built in Tokyo, no energy loss would have been incurred through electric power transmission. But the plants were built in Fukushima, and Tokyo enjoyed the electrical power. The structure of inequality, in which someone gains and someone loses, is the same.” Read more.
Messages to Fukushima
Uploaded by GreenpeaceVideo on Mar 1, 2012
An international Greenpeace alpine team delivers messages of support and hope for the victims of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi to the summit of Mt Fuji. Collected from thousands of people in Japan and all over the world, Greenpeace hopes that these messages will help unite the people of Japan in opposition to nuclear power, and encourage the Japanese authorities to listen to them. At the same time, another group of Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner at Lake Kawaguchiko, in the shadow of Mt Fuji.
Climbing team is comprised of eleven alpinists from Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.
Dept. of Energy signs agreements to develop small nuclear generators
By John Timmer
The Obama administration’s Department of Energy, led by Steven Chu, has taken a “portfolio” approach to easing the country into a future in which we’re less reliant on fossil fuels. Instead of betting on a single technology to solve all our problems, the DOE has been pushing a mix of renewables, efficiency measures, and nuclear power. After having licensed the first new nuclear plant in decades, the DOE has now reached agreements with companies that are trying to develop an alternative to these large facilities.
Rather than building large, Gigawatt-scale reactor buildings, several companies are developing what are termed small, modular nuclear reactors that produce a few hundred Megawatts of power. These are typically designed to be sealed units that simply deliver heat for use either directly or to generate electricity. When the fuel starts to run down, the reactors will be shipped back to a central facility for refueling. Since they will never be opened on site, many of the issues associated with large plants don’t come into play.
The new agreements, set up with Hyperion Power Generation, SMR, and NuScale Power, will give the companies access to the DOE’s Savannah River National Lab, with the intention of having them develop sites there for a test installation. Ultimately, the test installations are intended to provide data that will go into the licensing of these new designs. Chu, in announcing the agreement, stated, “We are committed to restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing the next generation of these technologies.”
We’ll be running a feature on the future of nuclear power in the US early next week.
The Demonic Reality of Fukushima
And the Absurdity of the NRC
by CINDY FOLKERS – Counterpunch
In the days following the March 11, 2011 beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano repeatedly reassured the Japanese public, news media, and world community that there was “no immediate health risk” from mounting radioactive releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. His choice of words was very similar to the U.S. nuclear power establishment’s during the Three Mile Island melt down of 1979, as captured by Rosalie Bertell’s classic anti-nuclear primer No Immediate Danger? Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth.
However, as the New York Times revealed Monday, Edano and his colleagues at the highest levels of the Japanese federal government were actually worried about a worst-case scenario, a “demonic chain reaction” of atomic reactor meltdowns spreading catastrophic amounts of deadly radioactivity from the three operating units at Fukushima Daiichi (as well as multiple high-level radioactive waste storage pools there), to the four operating reactors and pools at Fukushima Daini (just 7 miles south, which itself avoided catastrophe thanks to a single surviving offsite power line; several offsite power lines were lost to the earthquake, and all diesel generators were lost to the tsunami), to the operating reactor and pool at Tokai (much closer to Tokyo). Regarding such a nightmare scenario, eerily similar to what Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa depicted in Dreams, the New York Times reported:
“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano is quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.” Read more.
No Nuclear Nirvana
Robert Alvarez – Senior Scholar, Institute for Policy Studies
Nuclear power remains expensive, dangerous and too radioactive for Wall Street.
March 5, 2012 — Is the nuclear drought over?
When the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently approved two new nuclear reactors near Augusta, Ga., the first such decision in 32 years, there was plenty of hoopla.
It marked a “clarion call to the world,” declared Marvin S. Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute. “Nuclear energy is a critical part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy,” declared Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who traveled in February to the Vogtle site where Westinghouse plans to build two new reactors.
But it’s too soon for nuclear boosters to pop their champagne corks. Japan’s Fukushima disaster continues to unfold nearly a year after the deadly earthquake and tsunami unleashed what’s shaping up to be the worst nuclear disaster ever. Meanwhile, a raft of worldwide reactor closures, cancellations, and postponements is still playing out. The global investment bank UBS estimates that some 30 reactors in several countries are at risk of closure, including at least two in highly pro-nuclear France. Read more.
The Mainichi Daily News
Editorial: Time to say goodbye to nuclear power
The illusion of nuclear power safety has been torn out by the root. The Fukushima nuclear disaster that followed the great waves of March 11 last year made sure of that.
What, we wondered at the time, would happen if the reactor vessels exploded? How far would the radioactive contamination spread? Even thinking of it now, nearly a year on, makes one feel crushed.
Economic concerns, however, have begun to wear down the fear of nuclear disaster. And so, as we consider our nuclear power and energy policy’s future, we must remember what the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant meltdowns have done to Japan, the pain of the people who have lost their hometowns, and the radioactive contamination that will blight the landscape for decades to come.
Unfortunately, that it makes us so uneasy to think about this speaks volumes about the state of politics in Japan.
First of all, the government has indeed begun to hammer out plans to reduce the country’s dependence on nuclear power, and there are no whisperings that this will be overturned. On the other hand, we have yet to see an overall vision or process on how the government will evaluate the risks associated with nuclear power and advance policy to decouple our economy from it….
Click here for more.
Japan’s Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now
Published: March 8, 2012 – NYT
“After seeing what happened in Okuma, Futaba and Iitate, we cannot just turn these things back on,” said Shinobu Tokioka, the mayor of Ohi, naming evacuated communities near the Fukushima plant. He said he thought the reactors would eventually be turned back on because his and other host communities need the plant-related jobs and other revenues.
In many respects, Japan is already on the road to recovery from the huge earthquake and tsunami, which killed as many as 19,000 people, and to a lesser degree from the nuclear accident. The northeastern coastal towns that were flattened by the waves have cleaned up millions of tons of debris and are beginning to rebuild. Read more.
19:39 8 March
High levels of cesium found at former nuclear lab outside L.A.
LOS ANGELES, March 8, Kyodo
High levels of radioactive cesium have been detected on the ground of a former nuclear facility in the suburbs of Los Angeles called the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, where an experimental nuclear reactor suffered fuel melting in 1959, according to U.S. government data obtained Thursday.
The data, provided to local residents in February as an interim report by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is examining the extent of contamination in the area, show that radioactive cesium measured up to about 7,300 becquerels per kilogram of soil, or nearly 1,000 times the benchmark used by the agency.
The area was decontaminated after the nuclear accident, and the U.S. Department of Energy, which was dealing with research there, declared in the 1980s that the land could now be used as farmland or for residential purposes. Read more.
Children Living with “Hot Spots” in High-Radiation District: “I’m Scared of Radiation”
Outcry from Fukushima City: “No More Decontamination, We Need Evacuation!”
This video clip is from a morning TV news program “Morning Bird” aired on TV Asahi on November 17, 2011. It shows the outcries from the residents in Watari District of Fukushima City.
Uploaded by tokyobrowntabby on Nov 19, 2011
Asahi Flyover: No spent fuel pool seen in Reactor No. 3 — SFP ‘must’ be in center of screen, however we can’t see any of it (VIDEO)
Published: February 29th, 2012 at 10:53 am ET
Fukushima Japan Flyby, over the “legal limit” of radiation update 3/3/12
A compendium of useful footage, despite irritating interspersed comments by the YT poster, MsMilkeytheClown
Radiation from Japan Disaster reaches 14 U.S. States – EPA Report – MSNBC
BREAKING!! EPA Finds Radiation 300% Over Limits In Milk and Drinking Water In 13 US Cities
Uploaded by AwakeInLA on Apr 12, 2011
This is an upload of an interview with Alexander Higgins on the IntelHubradio show. The Corporate controlled media have been criminally negligent in covering up the truth about the horrific scale and scope of the Japanese nuclear disaster. Thanks to individuals like Alexander Higgins and alternative media sites like IntelHub, Jeff Rense and others, the truth about the Japanese nuclear disaster is being reported. The radioactive fallout is now in the air, water, milk, and the food supply across North America, Europe, and Asia, and it is getting worse every day. Do not believe the Corporate controlled media, THERE IS NO SAFE or HARMLESS Levels of radiation, period!
Here is some of the radiation data that the EPA has been collecting and suppressing.
•Little Rock milk radiation — 3 times the EPA Maximum
•Radiation in Philly Drinking Water 73% of federal drinking water standards.
•Los Angeles milk radiation was above federal drinking water standards.
•Radiation found in Phoenix milk was almost at the federal drinking water standard.
•Radioactive Iodine in Boise Idaho rainwater was 130 times above Federal Drinking Water standards.
•Radioactive Caesium was 13.66 times above federal limit for Caesium-134, 2 year half-life.
•Radioactive Caesium was 12 times federal limit for Caesium-137, 30 year half-life.
•Tennessee drinking water was detected with radiation slightly above 1/2 the federal maximum.
•Radioactive Iodine has been detected in the drinking water across the entire US in the following states: California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Tennessee, Montana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, and Alabama, as well as in Canada.
•Cesium and Tellurium were found in Boise, Las Vegas, Nome and Dutch Harbor, Honolulu, Kauai and Oahu, Anaheim, Riverside, San Francisco, and San Bernardino, Jacksonville and Orlando, Salt Lake City, Guam, and Saipan.
•Uranium-234, with a half-life of 245,500 years has been found in Hawaii, California, and Washington.
Here are some sites that contain information and research about the nuclear disaster and global radioactive fallout
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