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Japan’s Nuclear Watchdog Approves Decommissioning 2 Reactors at Oi Plant – Reports

Sputnik – 11.12.2019

TOKYO – Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority on Wednesday approved plans to decommission two reactors at the Oi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, the Kyodo news agency reported.

According to the Japanese news agency, Kansai Electric Power, which operates the Oi plant, decided to spend about $1.1 billion to dismantle the two most powerful reactors — namely No. 1 and No. 2 — by 2049 rather than shoulder the high cost of implementing additional safety measures.

Given that the reactors were commissioned in 1979, their lifespan is set to expire soon. In anticipation of this, Kansai submitted a decommissioning plan to the authorities in November 2018. In particular, the company said that in order to shut down the reactors it needed to utilize over 20,000 tonnes of low-level radioactive waste with over 10,000 tonnes of non-radioactive waste.

The plant’s two other reactors were commissioned much later — in 1991 and 1993 — so they will remain active.

After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, Japan’s nuclear watchdog introduced a 40-year limit on the lifespan of nuclear reactors in the country, but added the possibility of a 20-year extension if the stringent safety measures were met.

All of Japan’s 54 operating nuclear reactors were shut down in March 2011 after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami led to a leakage of radioactive material from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Before the disaster, 30 percent of Japan’s electricity came from nuclear power.

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Norway Opens Up for Nuclear-Powered Allied Submarines’ Port Calls Despite Local Resistance

Sputnik – 08.11.2019

According to local media, the presence of international submarines in Norwegian waters has tripled. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

Soon, nuclear-powered submarines will become commonplace near the centre of Norway’s largest Arctic city of Tromso, Norwegian Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen confirmed to the military newspaper Forsvarets Forum.

According to the minister, work is currently underway to prepare for port calls by allied nuclear-powered vessels at the Grotsund industrial port in Tonsnes. No exact time frame has been given, but it is assumed that the work will be completed over the next few months.

This means that warships of all calibre calling in for maintenance, logistics, or to rest their crews may become a common sight for the inhabitants of Tromso.

“Grotsund industrial port has been chosen as a port of call in Northern Norway because of a suitable dock and and good infrastructure in the area. This will be a permanent offering to our allies”, Bakke-Jensen said, describing the arrival of nuclear-powered submarines as part of the allied activity in Norway and surrounding areas.

Bakke-Jensen estimated the future number of calls at four to five a year. According to him, this will not entail any change in policy or approach to dealing with allied activity. This implies that Norway’s time-tested Bratelli Doctrine of 1975 that explicitly prohibits the arrival of foreign warships with nuclear weapons on board will stand.

“The Bratteli Doctrine has been established as Norwegian policy for over 40 years and has served Norway well”, the minister said.

However, these calls are not without controversy, and the project has met local opposition, among others from the Tromso Municipal Council. Local politicians and activists question the safety measures and are concerned over the consequences if anything goes wrong.

Bakke-Jensen stressed that regional actors have always been involved in the plans. He stressed that no call will be granted unless the Directorate of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety is sure that security is adequately safeguarded, and alleged that no accidents with western nuclear-powered vessels have occurred.

Meanwhile, the presence of international submarines in the waters outside of Norway has tripled, according to the daily newspaper Aftenposten. In 2018 alone, 27 port calls by US and UK nuclear-powered submarines were registered in Norway.

November 8, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Childish Fantasies vs Real World Energy Needs

By Donna Laframboise | Big Picture News | October 2, 2019

Certain politicians are making promises about carbon dioxide emissions and the year 2050 – three full decades from now. Certain adults are telling elementary school children that transforming the world’s energy system is easy peasy.

But that’s not the case. In an article titled Net-Zero Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Requires A New Nuclear Power Plant Every Day, Roger Pielke Jr. delivers the harsh, mathematical truth. Even if every person in the world thought abandoning fossil fuels made sense, even if every last government was committed to such a plan, the sheer size of the task would remain. In Pielke’s words: “The scale…is absolutely, mind-bogglingly huge.”

In an entire year, a nuclear power plant is capable of producing 1 “million tons of oil equivalent” of energy – or 1 mtoe for short. Says Pielke:

In 2018 the world consumed 11,743 mtoe in the form of coal, natural gas and petroleum… there are 11,051 days left until January 1, 2050. To achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally by 2050 thus requires the deployment of >1 mtoe of carbon-free energy…every day, starting tomorrow and continuing for the next 30+ years. Achieving net-zero also requires the corresponding equivalent decommissioning of more than 1 mtoe of energy consumption from fossil fuels every single day.

Let us be honest and grownup here. The chances of this happening are remote.

Now let’s remember that many people insist nuclear power is off the table. We’re supposedly in the midst of a climate crisis caused by CO2 emissions, yet low-emissions nuclear power is forbidden.

Such people think we should rely on wind power, instead. According to Pielke’s calculations, that would require the construction of 1,500 wind turbines every single day from now until 2050.

Currently, the US consumes approximately 20% of the energy used across the globe. Its share of the 1,500 new wind turbines required daily would therefore be 300.

Despite years of massive subsidies designed to encourage wind energy investment, fewer than 10 turbines are currently installed in the US each day. Surely even a child understands that ramping up from 10 turbines a day to 300 is a massive challenge that couldn’t possibly happen overnight. Even in an affluent country with a booming economy.

And please, let us also put aside fairy tales about wind power being environmentally friendly. As Mark P. Mills explained recently in the Wall Street Journal :

Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic. Solar power requires even more cement, steel and glass…

Those who “dream of powering society entirely with wind and solar farms” says Mills, are actually demanding “the biggest expansion in mining the world has seen.”

October 2, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | 2 Comments

Fukushima Disaster Puts Japan in ‘Nuclear Limbo’ Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Pundit

Sputnik – September 14, 2019

On 10 September, Japanese authorities announced that Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant which in 2011 experienced the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, currently has no technology to clear its wastewater from radioactive waste, and is instead discharging it into the sea.

More than a million tonnes of wastewater is reportedly stored in tanks at the Fukushima NPP (nuclear power plant). The facility is reportedly running out of available space and expects to exhaust its capacity by summer 2022. Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada admitted earlier that “we have no way but to release it [into the sea] and dilute it”.

Local residents reportedly have deep concerns about the potential damage this move can inflict, especially to the fishing industry, which is essential for Japan.

Christina Consolo, a nuclear expert, has shared her view on the issue.

Sputnik: It’s been reported that there’s enough room to keep the liquid (1 million tons of contaminated water) through summer 2022, but after that, there will be no space left?

Christina Consolo: It was somewhat surprising at how quickly the Environmental Ministry in Japan made a decision to release the contaminated water once their official meeting convened. I am not surprised at all however by their decision.

The situation is very serious. There is no other option then to release the contaminated water, but under the control of TEPCO’s time and choosing, or it may be released for them. An earthquake could release it, a tsunami could release it, a typhoon could release it.

But releasing the water goes far beyond just a ‘storage issue’ alone; the tanks are also under duress for a number of reasons. If you recall, at the beginning of the original water storage, the tanks were not assembled properly. Concrete slabs were hastily poured without rebar reinforcement.

TEPCO workers had to drill holes in the tops of them to release hydrogen build-up, or risk explosion and collapse of the tanks themselves.

There have also been a series of leaks, due to miles of pipes and flushing radioactive water great distances through sometimes ducted-taped hoses, with at least one reaching the official scale of a Level 3 Nuclear Accident in and of itself, in July of 2015.

And the longer this radioactive water sits in these giant metal tanks, the matrix of the metal itself at the atomic level is undergoing acceleration of entropy, known as “The Wigner Effect” – named after Professor Eugene Wigner, who discovered it at the Oak Ridge Laboratory while doing research for the US Government during World War II.

Metal exposed to radiation creates embrittlement issues and acceleration of corrosion, the same problem that caused 16,000 cracks in the nuclear reactors in Belgium.

This is problematic for the biggest reason of them all: if any of these tanks leak or break open outside of the control of TEPCO and prevents workers from being able to continue the myriad of daily maintenance involved due to spillage of radioactive water, creating no-go zones within the site itself, then TEPCO can have yet another very serious situation on their hands, on top of everything else happening over there. Anything and everything must be done to assure that workers can continue with the tremendous daily management of what is still an ongoing Level 7 Nuclear Accident.

They can not risk waiting for the tanks to empty themselves.

Sputnik: What is going to happen next? Do you think this liquid is a real threat to the ecological situation?

Christina Consolo: Any radiation released to the environment is always going to have detrimental effects… the question is how much and how far will those effects extend from the site of the release. Without knowing what exactly is in those tanks, that question is impossible to answer.

I personally have issue believing the radioactive water contained within them only contains Tritium, as I have followed this story for over eight years, and I can say without a doubt that every machine brought in to ‘filter out’ radioactive substances has failed miserably, as has every camera, robot, robot claw, robot snake, robot on rollers, etc.

TEPCO also has a history of withholding important facts that also make them very untrustworthy.

But more importantly from an ecological perspective, and a far bigger issue though which is rarely discussed, is the groundwater that moves through the Fukushima site because of the geology of the surrounding features.

The plant was built on a riverbed, where the volcanic spine of Japan funnels water down from the mountains. Groundwater experts estimate that every single day somewhere between 5-15,000 tonnes of groundwater flow underneath the plant, and out to the Pacific ocean.

Keep in mind, the only remnant of the cumulative 450 tonnes of corium or melted nuclear fuel that has been found is splatter on the insides of the reactors, or pebble-like material and drips.

TEPCO still has not located the 3 melted cores after 8 years of looking, leaving a looming question of how far these cores travelled as they melted, and how much groundwater is making contact with these cores before pouring into the Pacific each day. They are concerned enough that they are still pouring 300 tonnes of water through them daily.

Is it 10 percent – 50 percent – 80 percent? How much of this natural groundwater flow is making contact with the cores, under the plant? We have no idea. If indeed this is occurring, which some Fukushima experts believe that it is, then the 1000 tanks are a ‘drop in the bucket’ in comparison to what may be pouring into the Pacific each and every day.

We need answers to these questions. It is abhorrent and inexcusable that with today’s known technology, TEPCO does not know where the cores are, 8 years after the accident. We have powerful ground penetrating radar that could likely tell, so why are they not telling us?

Sputnik: It’s been 8 years since the Fukushima disaster. How have Japanese authorities adapted to this situation?

Christina Consolo: The Japanese authorities that were in charge at the beginning of this disaster, such as former Prime Minister Kan, have expressed a tremendous amount of regret, and even guilt, over mistakes they made withholding information about how dangerous the situation was from the Japanese people in the early part of the accident.

The fact TEPCO outright lied that meltdowns had occurred from Day 1, even though every nuclear physicist in the world was aware they had, due to the presence of neutron beams occurring in 13 different locations on the site (which indicated at least one reactor was breached), is difficult to forgive considering the US had an entire fleet of Navy ships offshore providing humanitarian aid that were getting absolutely blasted by nuclear fuel including MOX and plutonium.

PM Abe is very pro-nuclear but his wife is not, making for an ongoing and very publicized drama in Japanese news, and the pushback from massive demonstrations by the Japanese people continue to this day on a weekly basis.

The people are fighting any and all attempts at restarting reactors, in a very hardcore way. The authorities are pretending everything is fine, focusing on the Olympics in 2020, and I am certain the water will be dumped long before then.

But the tanks are going to just get filled right back up again, after some unfortunate TEPCO workers climb inside and test them for metal fatigue issues.

Sputnik: What has changed in nuclear safety since Fukushima has occurred?

Christina Consolo: In Japan a majority of the reactors still remain shutdown, which is good considering they never should have been built there in the first place.

An article in The Japan Times predicted the Fukushima disaster in 2004, and there are no guarantees that TEPCO will always be able to keep the Fukushima site under control, or another earthquake and tsunami will cause a similar, or even larger disaster at another site, as there are so many littering Japan.

Japan sits in a highly unstable zone of 4 intersecting tectonic plates and the island has an enormous amount of earthquake and volcanic activity.

The US did review some of its safety measures after 3/11 but the problem is it keeps re-issuing licenses to old plants, with ageing infrastructure.

And many plants in the US, and worldwide, are also prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, hurricanes, even tornadoes and lightning strikes.

We have been playing with this very dangerous technology despite having no safe way to dispose of the waste, and many studies done over decades that prove that illnesses and cancer are extremely high the closer that you live to a nuclear plant.

Sputnik: Despite the Fukushima explosion, the Japanese government didn’t abandon its nuclear energy program. How do you explain this decision?

Christina Consolo: I can not answer that question. There is no logical answer for it, except to decommission a plant is outrageously expensive.

TEPCO announced in the past month it will be decommissioning the Fukushima Daini plant to the south, which also sustained damage in 2011.

Right now Japan is in a nuclear limbo of sorts, with the water tank problem, the fishery pushback, the Olympics in 2020, and the somewhat surreal efforts of the Japanese government to assure the world it can handle the Olympic athletes and crowds without making them sick.

There are always economic issues to consider, and the costs of decommissioning of two huge nuclear plants, one with 3 melted cores that have never been found.

Japan has a lot of convoluted issues surrounding nuclear and there is always the dark cloud over what is truth or fiction when it comes to TEPCO, and the nuclear industry in general. I really can not explain this decision at all.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , | Leave a comment

Who is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution? Oceanographer or defense contractor?

R/V Neil Armstrong arrives at Woods Hole Oceanographic … collectspace.com
By Richard Hugus | August 28, 2019

WHOI is the acronym for the ‘Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’, based on Cape Cod, Town of Falmouth, village of Woods Hole, Massachusettts. On August 2, 2019 WHOI applied to the town of Falmouth for the clearing of 2.7 acres of woodland and the construction of a 3 story, 50,000 square foot building on what it calls its Quissett Campus, about a mile north of Woods Hole village. Woods Hole residents, the town of Falmouth, and a regulating authority called the Cape Cod Commission are now in the position of having to evaluate the proposed project and decide on approving it. Documentation and promotion of the project provided by WHOI to the Falmouth Planning Department, and summarized by the Falmouth Enterprise, says its new building — the New Quissett Facility — “is proposed as a ‘technology accelerator . . . by creating this facility the NQF will become the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation at WHOI and around the world and could lead to a net increase in regional economic activity.”

Mention of “autonomous vehicle and sensor technology” brings up the question of military research into and use of underwater drone and warfare technology and WHOI’s role in developing that technology.  Though operating for years in the midst of a pleasant residential and tourist area, few people are aware that WHOI is a defense contractor. The Institution was created in 1930 and  was devoted solely to defense work during World War II.  In all available documents submitted to the Cape Cod Commission for its recent building projects, and in all currently available representations of its activities to the public, WHOI describes itself as a scientific and educational institution dedicated solely to studying the ocean. In its documentation for the Quissett project, WHOI calls itself “the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to ocean research.” The omission by WHOI of its significant military research and development amounts to deception. WHOI receives major funding from the Office of Naval Research, which  “coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.” These programs are highly unlikely to be peaceful and benevolent. The US Navy and Marines are, afterall, in the business of war.

Source: slideplayer.com (C4ISR-Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)

A July 20, 2018 Department of Defense listing of Navy/Office of Naval Research contracts states: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded a $7,719,478 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and demonstration of advanced ocean battlespace capabilities . . . This contract was competitively procured . . . for science and technology projects for advancement and improvement of Navy and Marine Corps operations, including Ocean Battlespace Sensing . . . The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity . . .”

Ocean Battlespace Sensing has to do with submarine and mine warfare. There is no information on WHOI’s web site about this nearly $8 million grant, or about what it is doing in the area of ocean battlespace sensing and submarine warfare. On April 7, 2016 when the new research vessel Neil Armstrong first arrived in Woods Hole, Dr. Frank Herr, head of the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing department (so-called “code 32” above), was among the notables addressing a gathered crowd. WHOI Director Mark Abbott also spoke, telling him and others, “We’re very proud to have been selected by the Office of Naval Research to operate the Neil Armstrong.” Navy-owned ships and advanced ocean battlespace work are not what we normally associate with a “non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education”  — WHOI’s stated activities. Defense-related activities are clearly a part of WHOI’s operations, but they are consistently edited out of the public image WHOI promotes.

The Next Level – Drone Wars,  breakfornews.com

As another example: according to an April 22, 2019 report by the DoD Defense Logistics Agency: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded an $8,421,581 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research effort entitled, “Project Sundance.” Except for the announcement of this contract, there is no information available anywhere on the web, or at WHOI’s own web site,  about what Project Sundance is, leaving one to wonder if the project is classified — i.e., something the public is not entitled to know about.

Finally, in 1985, WHOI achieved fame when one of its scientists, Robert Ballard, discovered the wreckage of the Titanic. It wasn’t until years later that we got the full story. According to The National Geographic (November 21, 2017), the Titanic discovery only happened by the way in what was actually a top secret military operation to find two wrecked US Navy nuclear submarines. Remote sensing technology and an underwater submersible vehicle developed in Woods Hole and used aboard the WHOI research vessel, Knorr, was used in the discovery. National Geographic tells us the Knorr’s true mission: “the military wanted to know the fate of the nuclear reactors that powered the ships . . . this knowledge was to help determine the environmental safety of disposing of additional nuclear materials in the oceans.”

Ballard held the rank of Commander in the US Navy and was working as a liason to WHOI from the Office of Naval Research at the time of the discovery. Research on disposal of nuclear waste in the ocean is hardly in keeping with WHOI’s stated mission, “to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment.” Moreover, by making it look like this was just a fun adventure undertaken by WHOI to solve the mystery of the Titanic, a hoax was perpetrated on the public.

WHOI, the proponent of this new building project, is not being fully honest in the descriptions it gives of its mission and operations in Woods Hole. This calls WHOI’s credibility and full disclosure into question, and prompts further questions about the military-related role of the proposed new facility — “the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation.” The mentioned technology may well have uses in oceanographic research, but it may equally well have to do with “ocean battlespace sensing” — i.e., marine warfare. WHOI advertises itself as a humanitarian scientific institution without mentioning the clearly relevant fact that a significant part of its funding and research is from and for the US Department of Defense. It is not possible to fully evaluate a building proposal from an institution that is involved in secret projects because Cape Cod residents have no way of knowing if they are being given all the facts. Indeed, they have good reason to believe they are not being given all the facts,

The US military and its supporting contractors are the main source of wars of aggression and misery in the world today. It would be unethical to support expensive new facilities, paid for with our tax dollars and with what is left of our open space, for one of those contractors on Cape Cod. Yet war and militarization are so normalized in the American landscape, it is as if this is not even an issue.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

Quakes Prompt Fears of Devastating Consequences of Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump in Nevada

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Nevada state authorities have voiced fears that radioactivity could be released into the environment by powerful tremors, regularly hitting the proposed site of a nuclear waste repository, set to store thousands of tonnes of hazardous reactor fuel, according to the federal government’s plans.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and the state’s six Congressmen and Congresswomen have confronted the country’s Department of Energy over plans to license a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain in the Mojave Desert. The letter addressed to Energy Secretary Rick Perry followed powerful earthquakes in California in early July that hit an area just 100 miles northeast of the proposed waste dump site. It insisted that the seismic hazards in Yucca Mountain showed “one of the many geologic problems with the site as a nuclear waste repository”.

He stated that the quakes have only strengthened his “resolve to fight any continued federal effort to use Nevada as the nation’s nuclear dumping ground”.

“I’m proud to join our bipartisan group of federal representatives in once again sending the loud and clear message that Yucca has never been, and will never be, good for Nevada”, the letter from 16 July published by The Nevada Current reads.

The governor, joined by Senators and Representatives, threatened to challenge the DOE’s license application if its licensing resumes and criticised the federal government for considering proceeding with the development of the repository “at a location that evidences serious safety concerns and mounting uncertainties regarding its geological status”.

The letter cites the conclusions of the expert teams from the University of Nevada, Reno, and UNLV (University of Nevada in Las Vegas). In a separate letter to the governor from Reno’s experts, Nevada State Geologist James Faulds and Nevada State Seismologist Graham Kent noted that the proposed site “lies in a very dynamic, seismically active region, as evidenced by the Ridgecrest earthquakes as well as other historical temblors”. They insisted that more research is needed before the Yucca Mountain site can be determined as suitable for a nuclear waste storage.

The US government picked the area, stretching across the border between Nevada and California to store the by-products of reprocessing of old nuclear fuel into nuclear weapons-grade material in 2002. The state has fought these plans since then, debating whether the federal authorities are minimising seismic hazards there in their application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2008, Nevada challenged the department’s conclusions during a NRC licensing hearing, and the project was put on hold two years later.

However, in March 2019, the current energy secretary decided to revive the licensing proceedings, allocating $116 million for the project.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments

‘Worse Than Chernobyl’ Security Scare at UK Nuclear Waste Plant

Sputnik – July 14, 2019

The UK’s sprawling nuclear processing Sellafield plant in Cumbria has a powerful claim to fame, dubbed the “most hazardous industrial building in western Europe”.

There have been 25 safety breaches reportedly logged at the huge Sellafield nuclear waste plant in the UK over the past two years, according to The Sun on Sunday.

The cited incidents include radiation ominously leaking from a water pipe, a nuclear waste container for some reason not welded completely shut, spilt uranium powder and a burst pipe found to be leaking acid, to name just a few.

Logs show a bomb squad was summoned in October 2017 after potentially unstable chemicals sparked a scare, while just a month later it was revealed that a worker had been exposed to a low level of radiation.

Earlier this year, when a high-voltage cable was sliced, causing a power loss, the Office for Nuclear Regulation was swift to hit Sellafield with an improvement notice.

The Cumbria compound has a 140 tonne plutonium stockpile and takes in radioactive waste from the UK’s working reactors.

As bosses insist nuclear safety is an “overriding priority”, the 6km long, razor-wired site has, nonetheless, been dubbed the most hazardous place in Europe.

Locals live in constant fear of a serious incident happening there, said Janine Smith, from the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment.

“One safety breach is one too many. There just shouldn’t be any. Just one error could be catastrophic. The buildings at Sellafield are all so close together that if something was to happen at that site it would be a disaster. It could be worse than Chernobyl”, said Smith.

In response to the nuclear security scares, Sellafield Ltd said it is “never complacent about safety.”

“None of the events recorded in the past two years have been above the lowest level of classification. In line with our commitment to openness and transparency, we investigate all incidents and report details on our website,” said a spokesman.

The Chernobyl disaster occurred on 26 April 1986 at the No. 4 nuclear reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. The meltdown generated a blast [radiation] equivalent to the detonation of 500 nuclear bombs when a reactor exploded and burned.

It is one of just two nuclear energy disasters rated at the maximum severity level of 7, with the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

July 14, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s Three Nuclear Meltdowns Are “Under Control”: That’s a Lie

By William Boardman – Reader Supported News – June 22, 2019

The implementation of the safe decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is a unique complex case and expected to span several decades: the IAEA Review Team considers that it will therefore require sustained engagement with stakeholders, proper knowledge management, and benefit from broad international cooperation.

– Report by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Review Team, January 30, 2019

The bland language of the official IAEA report is itself a form of lying, offering the false appearance of reassurance that a catastrophic event will be safely managed “for several decades.” There is no way to know that: it is a hope, a prayer, a form of denial. The IAEA, as is its job in a sense, offers this optimism that is unsupported by the realities at Fukushima.

On April 14, 2019, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited the Fukushima meltdown site. According to The Asahi Shimbun’s headline, “Abe [was] pushing idea that Fukushima nuclear disaster is ‘under control’.” Abe entered the site wearing a business suit and no protective clothing to shield him from radiation. He stood on elevated ground about 100 meters from a building holding one of the melted-down reactors. He had his picture taken. He told reporters, “The decommissioning work has been making progress in earnest.” Abe’s visit lasted six minutes. This was a classic media pseudo-event, designed to be reported despite its lack of actual meaning – for all practical purposes it was another nuclear lie.

The entire Fukushima site remains radioactive at varying levels, from unsafe to lethal, depending on location. The site includes six reactors, three of them in meltdown, and at least as many fuel pools, some of which still contain fuel rods. The site has close to a thousand large storage tanks holding more than a million tons (roughly 264.5 million gallons) of radioactive wastewater.

The prime minister’s stage-managed visit placed him on a platform where the radiation level “exceeds 100 micro-sieverts per hour,” a low level but less than safe. That’s why Abe’s visit lasted only six minutes. Prolonged exposure to that level of radiation is not healthy. A year’s exposure to 100 micro-sieverts per hour would total 87,600 micro-sieverts in a year. How bad that would be is debatable. By way of illustration, even US regulations, not known for their stringency, allow American nuclear workers a maximum annual radiation exposure of 50,000 micro-sieverts.

Translation: the Prime Minister was posing in an area of dangerous radiation level and pretending it was all fine. Call it lying by photo op.

The first thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they are not even close to being over. The second thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that no one really knows what’s going on, but officials routinely and falsely issue happy-talk reassurances that just aren’t true. The third thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they won’t be over for years, more likely decades, perhaps even ever.

Now, more than eight years after the triple reactor meltdown at Fukushima, the status of the three melted reactor cores remains somewhat contained but uncontrolled, with no end in sight. No one knows exactly where the melted cores are. No one has any clear idea of how to remove them or how to dispose of them safely. For the foreseeable future, the best anyone can do is keep the cores cooled with water and hope for the best. Water flowing into the reactors and cooling the cores is vital to preventing the meltdowns from re-initiating.

Clean groundwater continues to flow into the reactors. Then radioactive water flows out into the Pacific. Continuously. A frozen ice wall costing $309 million diverts much of the groundwater around the site to the Pacific Ocean. The water flow is not well measured. Some contaminated water is stored on site, but the site’s storage capacity of 1.37 million tons of radioactive water may be reached during 2020.

One proposed wastewater solution is to dilute the stored radioactive water and then dump it in the Pacific. Fukushima fishermen oppose this. Radioactivity in Fukushima fish has slowly declined since 2011, but the local fishing industry is only at 20 percent of pre-meltdown levels.

When it exists, reporting on Fukushima continues to be uneven and often shabby, buying into the official rosy view of the disaster, as The New York Times did on April 15. The day after Abe’s visit to Fukushima, the Times reported that an operation to begin removing fuel rods from a fuel pool was a “Milestone in Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup.” The Times, with remarkable incompetence, couldn’t distinguish clearly between the fuel pool and the melted reactor cores:

The operator of Japan’s ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday at one of three reactors that melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, a major milestone in the long-delayed cleanup effort….

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said in a statement that workers on Monday morning began removing the first of 566 spent and unspent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s third reactor. A radiation-hardened robot had first located the melted uranium fuel inside the reactor in 2017.

That is such a botch. The fuel pool is a storage pool outside the reactor. It contains fuel rods that have NOT melted down. They could melt down if the pool loses its cooling water, but for now they’re stable. The fuel pool has nothing more to do with the melted reactor cores than proximity. The fuel pool is outside the reactor, the melted cores are somewhere near the bottom of the reactor. The melted cores are beyond any remediation for the foreseeable future. To pretend that the start of fuel rod removal is any kind of meaningful milestone while the three melted cores remain out of reach is really to distort the reality of Fukushima.

The summer Olympics are planned for Tokyo in 2020. In 2013, two years after the Fukushima meltdowns, Prime Minister Abe pitched the Tokyo site by telling the Olympic Committee in reference to Fukushima: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control.”

This was a lie.

Even now, no one knows where the melted reactor cores are precisely. One robot has made one contact so far. Radiation levels at the core are lethal. There is, as yet, no way to remove the cores safely. They think they’re going to remove the cores with robots, but the robots don’t yet exist. The disaster may not be as out of control as it was, but that’s about the best that can be honestly said, unless there’s another tsunami.

Official government statistics show pediatric cancers almost doubling since the Fukushima meltdowns of 2011. Thyroid cancers are reaching epidemic levels. The Japanese government refuses to track leukemia and other cancers. The official Fukushima death toll is more than 18,000, including 2,546 who have never been recovered. Most of Fukushima prefecture remains uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

On March 21, 2019, Dr. Helen Caldicot offered an assessment much closer to the likely truth:

They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.

The Japanese government doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to re-start all its other nuclear power plants. TEPCO doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to stay in business as long as the Japanese government is willing to make the company profitable with billions of dollars in bailouts. The IAEA and the rest of the nuclear industry don’t want to address Fukushima in full because they don’t want to see the over-priced, over-subsidized, and ultimately dangerous nuclear industry die from its own shortcomings. With billions of dollars at stake, who needs the truth?

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

June 24, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Russia set to air TV series that reveals US role in Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Press TV – June 8, 2019

Russia is set to air a TV series based on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that implicates the United States as playing a role in the worst nuclear accident in history.

Currently in post-production, the series by the Russian company NTV tells the story of the 1986 explosion that ripped through reactor Number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the then Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.

The explosion led to a huge radioactive leak, which permanently affected areas in places across three quarters of Europe. Thirty workers and firemen were killed in the immediate aftermath of the explosion and rescue operations. Most of them died of severe radiation-related illnesses.

The plot revolves around a CIA agent dispatched to Pripyat — the town inhabited by Chernobyl workers — to gather intelligence on the nuclear power plant.

The series will follow KGB officers in their attempts to hunt the espionage operation.

Director Aleksey Muradov said that his version, filmed in Belarus, will show “what really happened back then.”

“There is a theory that the Americans had infiltrated the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,” he said. “Many historians do not deny that on the day of the explosion an agent of the enemy’s intelligence services was present at the station.

This is while a five-part “Chernobyl” series produced by American premium cable and satellite television network HBO has recently triggered worldwide debate as some experts have challenged its credibility.

Russia’s most popular newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP), has dismissed the show as “a caricature and not the truth.”

“If Anglo-Saxons film something about Russians, it definitely will not correspond to the truth,” said Russian journalist Anatoly Vasserman.

Russian newspaper The Moscow Times, also wrote this week that the HBO production was biased against the Soviet Union and provided a “caricature”’ of the nation.

June 8, 2019 Posted by | Nuclear Power | , | 1 Comment

Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary

By John Laforge | CounterPunch | April 22, 2019

April 26 marks the 33rd anniversary of the 1986 radiation disaster at Chernobyl reactor Number 4 in Ukraine, just north of Kiev the capital. It is still nearly impossible to get scientific consensus on the vast extent of the impacts. The explosions and two-week long fire at Chernobyl spewed around the world something between one billion and nine billion curies of radiation — depending on whose estimates you choose to believe. The accident is classified by the UN as the worst environmental catastrophe in human history.

Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout has been blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) acknowledges only 56 deaths among firefighters who suffered and died agonizing deaths in the disaster’s immediate aftermath. However, the IAEA’s officially chartered mission is “to accelerate and enlarge the contributions of nuclear power worldwide.” Because of its institutional bias, one can dispute nearly everything the IAEA says about radiation risk.

Also on the low-end of fatality estimates is the World Health Organization which has to have its radiation studies approved by the IAEA! In 2006, the WHO’s “Expert Group concluded that there may be up to 4,000 additional cancer deaths among the three highest exposed groups over their lifetime (240,000 liquidators; 116,000 evacuees, and the 270,000 residents of the Strictly Controlled Zones).” The WHO added to this 4,000 the estimate that “among the five million residents of areas with high levels of radioactive cesium deposition” in Belarus, the Russian Federation and Ukraine” predictions suggest “up to 5,000 additional cancer deaths may occur in this population from radiation exposure…”

Alternately, Ukraine’s Minister of Health Andrei Serkyuk estimated in 1995 that 125,000 people had already died from the direct effects of Chernobyl’s radiation. Serkyuk said a disproportionate share of casualties were among children, pregnant women and rescue workers or “liquidators.” Liquidators were soldiers ordered to participate in the removal and burial of radioactive topsoil, heavy equipment, trees, and debris, wearing no protective clothing, respirators or radiation monitors.

On January 10, 2010 The Guardian reported that “reputable scientists researching the most radiation-contaminated areas of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine” dispute the IAEA estimates that only 56 firefighters died “and that about 4,000 will die from it eventually.” The paper noted for example, that, “The International Agency for Research on Cancer, another UN agency, predicts 16,000 deaths from Chernobyl; an assessment by the Russian academy of sciences says there have been 60,000 deaths so far in Russia, and an estimated 140,000 in Ukraine and Belarus.”

The Guardian further noted that, “Meanwhile, the Belarus national academy of sciences estimates 93,000 deaths so far and 270,000 cancers, and the Ukrainian national commission for radiation protection calculates 500,000 deaths so far.”

The Los Angeles Times reported in 1998 that, “Russian officials estimated 10,000 Russian ‘liquidators’ died.” The article quoted health officials who said “close to 3,600 Ukrainians who took part in the cleanup effort have died of radiation exposure.” In 2001, the BBC upped the estimate and reported, “More than 30,000 Russians have died from radiation, half of whom were involved in dealing with the immediate aftermath….”

An August 4, 2003 New Yorker magazine article noted vaguely that, “Thousands of people died of cancers and other diseases in the years after the Chernobyl disaster,” while The New York Times said April 23, 2003, “Thyroid cancer, leukemia and other cancers have skyrocketed in the area around the reactor.” Around the 10th anniversary, under the headline, “Genetics: Chernobyl’s burst in mutations,” The Washington Post reported that, “Studies indicated that people … living near Chernobyl are giving birth to offspring with a higher number of genetic mutations.” In her April 27, 1996 dispatch for the Associated Press, journalist Angela Charlton noted “a hundred-fold increase in the incidence of childhood thyroid cancers in the affected region.”

Chernobyl’s health effects were felt much further away than the area around the reactor. The Los Angeles Times reported July 25, 1996, that radiation from Chernobyl was “linked to leukemia cases in Greece.” Epidemiologic Reviews in Oxford Journals for March 30, 2005 reported, “The releases of radioactive materials were such that contamination of the ground was found to some extent in every country in the Northern Hemisphere.” In its 1988 Report to the General Assembly, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation found, “The accident at the Chernobyl … resulted in radioactive material becoming widely dispersed and deposited … throughout the northern hemisphere.”

In 2001, Alex Kuzma, executive director of the Children of Chernobyl Relief Fund, documented an 80-fold increase in cancers in Belarus and Ukraine, and reported that 50 million people, including 1.26 million children, are affected. Eugene Cahaill of the Dublin-based Chernobyl Children’s Project reported in the Irish Times in 2005 that, “Nine million people in Belarus, the Ukraine and Western Russian have been directly affected by the fallout.”

Thirty-six hundred deaths, or 125,000? Nine million people affected, or 50 million? The health effects of exposing everyone in the hemisphere to Chernobyl’s radiation (and Windscale’s, and Santa Susana’s, and Fukushima’s) — effects that are often delayed for decades — are quite incalculable. Got cancer?

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

April 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Deadly Dust: US Spreading Radiation and No One Wants to Raise the Issue – Author

Sputnik – April 3, 2019

In a new book named “Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” German author Frieder Wagner gives a detailed account of how the US has contaminated vast territories using depleted uranium (DU) ammunition and the cover-up strategy of the military, industry and governments, as well as those in the media and politics.

Sputnik: Mr Wagner, in your book “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” you talk about the use of uranium ammunition. What is especially dangerous about these weapons?

Frieder Wagner: Weapons containing uranium are produced from nuclear industry’s waste (byproducts of uranium enrichment). If, for example, you want to produce a ton of natural uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants, you get about eight tons of depleted uranium. It is a source of alpha radiation — radioactive and, moreover, very poisonous. It needs to be stored somewhere, and it is not very cheap.

Sputnik: How can it be used in weapons?

Frieder Wagner: About 30-40 years ago, military scientists made a discovery: uranium is almost twice as dense as lead. If you turn depleted uranium into a projectile and give it proper acceleration, then within a fraction of a second it will pierce through tank armor, concrete or cement.This, of course, was an important discovery. Furthermore, when a shell hits an armored tank the impact produces dust caused by the detonation and the subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite and it explodes at a temperature of 3000 to 5000 degrees — incinerating the tank’s interior and destroying it.

Sputnik: But what happens afterwards is also a problem — after the use of DU ammunition, isn’t it?

Frieder Wagner: Yes! After its use depleted uranium, which, as I have already said, is a source of alpha radiation (that is, a radioactive and very toxic substance), burns down to nano-particles that are a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell.

This way, I would say, a sort of metallic gas forms that people can inhale, and which is released in the atmosphere and can be carried anywhere by wind. People who inhale it are at risk for developing cancer.These nano-particles can also penetrate the body of a pregnant woman, overcoming the barrier between a child and a mother, and affect the health of an unborn baby, can infiltrate the brain and by travelling through the bloodstream end up in any human or animal organ. Everything that goes around the planet, sooner or later settles and, of course, contaminates, in particular, drinking water and everything else.

Sputnik: In what wars have DU weapons been used so far?

Frieder Wagner: It was actively used during the first Gulf war in 1991 against Iraq. The military has admitted that about 320 tons were used. Then in the second war in Iraq in 2003 over 2,000 tons were used. In between, it was used during the war in Kosovo, in Yugoslavia (1999), and in Bosnia in 1995, and after 2001 in Afghanistan, where it still used today.

Sputnik: Your book title says Made in the USA, were these weapons only used by the United States? 

Frieder Wagner: They were being developed in several countries at the same time. In Germany, they were also working on these weapons, as, of course, in Russia. However, it was used and on such a large scale, only by the US. They were reckless and they did not pay attention to any possible side effects — just as it was back when the first atomic bombs were used. That’s why I called the book: “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA”.

Sputnik: How did you manage to prove the use of this ammunition in the course of your research?

Frieder Wagner: For example, the Serbs gave us maps where they showed the locations where depleted uranium was used. When we were in Iraq, we talked to the locals. We traveled to places where large tank battles took place and took soil samples there, as well as dust samples from tanks. Looking at the tank, you can see whether it was hit by an ordinary projectile or a uranium munition.

Uranium munition leaves dust that burns everything around the hole made by the projectile. So you can determine the use of uranium ammunition. In all soil samples, we found depleted uranium. Unfortunately, uranium-236 was also found in most of the soil and dust samples — it is even more intense and poisonous. Its radiation is even stronger and does not occur in nature. It can only be produced artificially during reprocessing of fuel rods. This means that we were able to prove that the military, the United States and its coalition allies used uranium munitions made from spent uranium fuel rods.

Sputnik: Your book is based on the films The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children of Basra (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra, 2004) and Deadly Dust (Todesstaub, 2007). What did you see in Basra during your work on the documentary?

Frieder Wagner: It was horrific and still sometimes haunts me in my dreams. These were children with deformities, which we saw in orphanages in Basra and Baghdad. Some of them had such deformities that they had almost nothing human anymore.

There were children without a head or a nose, either with one eye or without eyes at all, with internal organs in a kind of “sack” outside their body. These ‘creatures’ can live only for a few hours, experiencing terrible pain, and then die.

Sputnik: The film “Deadly Dust” is linked to the book, but it is no longer distributed. WDR channel after this film did not make any more orders? Why is that?

Frieder Wagner: My exposes which I sent to WDR, as well as to the ZDF channels were rejected. Then I contacted an editor at WDR, for which I always made good films and with which I always had good relations with, because these films had doubled or trippled their ratings, and asked him: “What’s going on here?”” And after some hesitation he said: “Yes, Frieder Wagner, someone must tell you this. WDR considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you.” And that’s when I understood everything. It was in 2005.

I can also tell you the story of how, for example, a female editor at ZDF offered the TV channel a story on the use of these weapons during the war in Yugoslavia and also in Croatia. She wanted to talk about it with me prior so I could share my experiences. But when her boss found out that she wanted to talk to Frieder Wagner, he refused to pay for her trip — without any further explanation.

Sputnik: The so-called “deadly dust” is, as you have already described it, is spread by the wind. So should the use of uranium ammunition, in fact, be considered a war crime and banned?

Frieder Wagner: This is definitely a war crime. The dust from southern Iraq is carried to the north by the constant storms, the so-called desert storms — for example, to Erbil, where it meets the mountains and can’t travel further as the mountains make it difficult for it to go past towards Turkey. So this huge mass of dust settles in Erbil.We, for example, took samples of beef from around Erbil, and this is what we found out: depleted uranium used in ammunition has a characteristic atomic “fingerprint”. In northern Iraq we found the same “uranium fingerprint” as in the south. This means that the uranium dust that had originally settled in the south of Iraq is now also in the north, and children are now getting sick there and are born with deformities. It is now spreading all over the world.

Sputnik: Have the victims of uranium munition use in Kosovo or, for example, in Iraq, tried to go to court?

Frieder Wagner: So far no such attempts have been made in Kosovo or Iraq. Now in Kosovo, a whole group of lawyers are working on a lawsuit against NATO, because after the war they unleashed, people were injured, fell ill and died. The morbidity rate has increased by 20 to 30 percent, and there are more effected each year. So there will be an attempt to file a lawsuit.

Out of the approximately two thousand Italian soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kosovo, 109 have later developed cancer and died — this is proven information. 16 families, out of the 109 dead, filed lawsuits and won their cases. The courts ordered the Italian state or the country’s Ministry of Defence to pay them compensation. Since each cancer was of a different type, the payout amounts differed. But they ranged between 200,000 and 1,4 million euros.

Sputnik: How are things in Germany? Have there been lawsuits filed by the soldiers of the Bundeswehr?

Frieder Wagner: The German Ministry of Defense constantly denies any connection to this. Our soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. About 100,000 soldiers served in Afghanistan, and we found out that about 30% of those who returned got sick, although at first, of course, they do not notice this. If they subsequently marry and have children, then there’s a great risk that their children will have disabilities.These children will have the same toxic substances in their DNA as their parents. And this will be passed on for several generations — from children to grandchildren and to great-grandchildren.

Sputnik: But none of these people ever filed a lawsuit?

Frieder Wagner: In Germany there were no such precedents. About 600 servicemen went to court in the United States who could not appeal on their own behalf, but they filed lawsuits on behalf of their children who were born with developmental disabilities. And we’re not talking about a mere 90 or even 900 million pay out, but about billions of dollars now. The United States, of course, will try to delay the adoption of a ruling as much as it is possible and hope for a “biological” resolution of the situation — that is, that the plaintiffs will simply die.

April 3, 2019 Posted by | Book Review, Environmentalism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | 1 Comment

US Atomic Plants ‘Dodging Radioactive Bullets’ as Floodwaters Submerge Midwest

Sputnik – March 21, 2019

With heavy rainfall inundating the US Midwest, nuclear power plants risk being flooded. However, the plants continue to operate at full power, resulting in the potential for “unnecessary, extremely high risk” accidents, according to Kevin Kamps, the Radioactive Waste Watchdog at the organization Beyond Nuclear.

“In Nebraska alone, you’ve got the Offutt Air Force Base, which is the home of the [US] Strategic Command, which controls the nuclear arsenal of the US, and it’s largely flooded,” Kamps told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear hosts Brian Becker and Nicole Roussell.

​According to Offutt Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake, around 60 buildings on the south end of the base, including the 55th Wing headquarters and two aircraft maintenance hangars, were flooded over the weekend by as much as eight feet of water. The 55th Wing is a US Air Force unit assigned to Air Combat Command.

“You’ve also got two nuclear power plants in Nebraska. You’ve got Fort Calhoun, north of Omaha on the Missouri [River], which thankfully shut down in 2016. And the reason it shut down was the previous historic floods on the Missouri in 2011 damaged the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant, [so] that it never recovered. But you’ve also got the Cooper atomic reactor south of Omaha on the Missouri River, and yet again, for the second time, in 2011 and [now in] 2019, Cooper — which is being run by Entergy Nuclear of New Orleans on behalf of a public utility in Nebraska — ran at 100 percent power levels through these historic floods. For the industry, that’s the bragging point: ‘Look at what we can do,'” Kamp noted.

“It’s a Fukushima-like situation, where you’re dealing with a natural disaster and insisting upon operating at 100 percent power levels with your atomic reactor. Granted, Japan didn’t know that natural disaster was coming. And so, the danger is, if you lose power from the grid, and then your emergency diesel backup generators fail, you can’t control the cooling on those hellishly hot atomic reactor cores,” Kamp explained.

“In addition to the reactor risks, there are radioactive risks, which are still present at the shut-down Fort Calhoun but also at Cooper, both in the storage pools, which can go up in flames, but also in the dry casks that could be impacted by the floods. They [Omaha Public Power District, Entergy Nuclear] might have dodged a bullet again in 2019, but they keep taking these unnecessary, extremely high risks with their operations,” he added.

In March 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan’s Ōkuma, Fukushima prefecture, was hit by a 46-foot tsunami triggered by a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake. The natural disaster crippled the facility’s cooling system and resulted in the leakage of radioactive materials, hydrogen-air explosions and eventually the plant’s shutdown, Sputnik previously reported.

On Monday, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced that the Cooper Nuclear Plant was continuing to operate safely.

“We are operating at full power, and the water is receding… and we expect the water level to continue dropping,” NPPD spokesman Mark Becker said, according to Reuters. In addition, he noted that the plant was 899.75 feet above sea level Monday morning, below the 901.5 feet that would require the nuclear reactor to shut down.

“Back in 2011… there are about a half dozen major dams upstream of Fort Calhoun on the Missouri River, any one of which failing could have have created a domino effect of failures with the other dams, and it could have sent a very deep wall of water coming down the Missouri River. And the Fort Calhoun power plant could have been inundated under very deep water,” Kamp explained.

“It happened at Fukushima. All of a sudden, an hour after that earthquake in Japan, that wall of water — 45 feet deep — hit the nuclear plant and hit the last remaining power sources, which were the emergency diesel generators. So, here in Nebraska, there is renewed potential for those upstream major upstream dams to fail, [to] send a wall of water down. Another danger at both Fort Calhoun, with the stored waste, but also at Cooper with the operating reactor and the stored waste: if local levees were to fail and allow flood waters to inundate the sites even deeper,” Kamp noted.

“At Fort Calhoun, just now, they came within one foot, nine inches of having to shut down under their own very loose and weak protocols. That’s how close it came. So, it’s incredible the risks that they [NPPD, Entergy] take. If they had any responsibility, they would shut down.”

According to Becker, the US Army Corps of Engineers has reduced water releases from the Gavins Point Dam to decrease the risk of flooding downriver.

“And to give some credit, Fort Calhoun in 2011 did shut down months ahead of time — in April — because they saw what was coming with the snow melts; they had enough predictions. They [NPPD] shut down months ahead of time, and even though they did, they were so damaged by the floods, and they still screwed up and had a fire burning within the turbine building that nobody dealt with. That final straw of the fire not being dealt with days on end, that’s what led to the final shutdown several years later. Dodging radioactive bullets is not fun stuff, but it’s kind of what they do for a living,” Kemp noted.

March 21, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment