The Energy Page: NUCLEAR




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Expert: Nuclear Power Is On Its Deathbed

A new report from a University of Vermont researcher says the cost of the safety measures needed for nuclear energy will eventually make the power source economically unviable

dollar signAfter the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan last year, the rising costs of nuclear energy could deliver a knockout punch to its future use in the United States, according to a researcher at the Vermont Law School Institute for Energy and the Environment.

"From my point of view, the fundamental nature of [nuclear] technology suggests that the future will be as clouded as the past," says Mark Cooper, the author of the report. New safety regulations enacted or being considered by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission would push the cost of nuclear energy too high to be economically competitive.

The disaster insurance for nuclear power plants in the United States is currently underwritten by the federal government, Cooper says. Without that safeguard, "nuclear power is neither affordable nor worth the risk. If the owners and operators of nuclear reactors had to face the full liability of a Fukushima-style nuclear accident or go head-to-head with alternatives in a truly competitive marketplace, unfettered by subsidies, no one would have built a nuclear reactor in the past, no one would build one today, and anyone who owns a reactor would exit the nuclear business as quickly as possible." MORE

The dream that failed

Nuclear power will not go away, but its role may never be more than marginal, says Oliver Morton

damaged Japanese reactor

THE LIGHTS ARE not going off all over Japan, but the nuclear power plants are. Of the 54 reactors in those plants, with a combined capacity of 47.5 gigawatts (GW, a thousand megawatts), only two are operating today. A good dozen are unlikely ever to reopen: six at Fukushima Dai-ichi, which suffered a calamitous triple meltdown after an earthquake and tsunami on March 11th 2011 (pictured above), and others either too close to those reactors or now considered to be at risk of similar disaster. The rest, bar two, have shut down for maintenance or “stress tests” since the Fukushima accident and not yet been cleared to start up again. It is quite possible that none of them will get that permission before the two still running shut for scheduled maintenance by the end of April.

Japan has been using nuclear power since the 1960s. In 2010 it got 30% of its electricity from nuclear plants. This spring it may well join the ranks of the 150 nations currently muddling through with all their atoms unsplit. If the shutdown happens, it will not be permanent; a good number of the reactors now closed are likely to be reopened. But it could still have symbolic importance. To do without something hitherto seen as a necessity opens the mind to new possibilities. Japan had previously expected its use of nuclear energy to increase somewhat. Now the share of nuclear power in Japan’s energy mix is more likely to shrink, and it could just vanish altogether. MORE




action alert

Darlington nuclear plant to be refurbished by SNC-Lavalin, Aecon for $600-million

The McGuinty Government just threw away $600 million to begin planning to rebuild Darlington, at a time when it’s also cutting back on funding for health and education. Please send Ontario’s Energy Minister a letter just by clicking here. He needs to hear from you that you support lower cost, safer and less risky electricity sources such as water power imports from Quebec, energy efficiency and natural gas-fired combined heat and power. Together we can stop this project from moving forward.

Causes of Fukushima disaster exist in Canada

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was not caused by a freak act of nature but rather by failures of the Japanese government, its nuclear safety watchdog and the nuclear industry, says a new report released today by Greenpeace International. This raises questions about the safety of Canada’s nuclear stations, says Greenpeace Canada.


red dotLessons Canada needs to learn from Fukushima

Japan Struggles with Tainted Reactor Water at Fukushima

Fukashima water storage(The Wall Street Journal) - Nearly a year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked triple meltdowns at reactors in Japan, the taming of the Fukushima nuclear plant has become in large part a quest to control water.

Foreign journalists on a tour of the Fukushima compound Tuesday saw fields of squat, gray water-storage tanks; miles of orange, black and gray hoses; an AstroTurf-covered barge full of contaminated water; and white-suited workers huddled in a field preparing space for a new water container.

Water is crucial to the continued safety and stability of the Fukushima plant, even after reactor temperatures fell at the end of last year to a level at which little radioactivity is being emitted. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is still injecting hundreds of thousands of gallons (liters) into the reactors every day to keep them from overheating again. MORE


red dotNuclear-Free Summer Looms Over Japan’s West in Risk to Recovery From Quake

Only two of 54 reactors in Japan are operating

red dotFar more cesium released from Fukushima than previously believed

red dotRadiation exposure: a quick guide to what each level mean


Green groups seek ban on new Ontario nuclear reactors

thumbs downGreenpeace Canada and three other environmental groups say they intend to go to court to try to stop the construction of new nuclear reactors in Ontario.

Lawyers with Ecojustice and the Canadian Environmental Law Association—on behalf of the law association, Greenpeace Canada, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and Northwatch—have filed an application for judicial review in Federal Court.

The province plans to build two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington, Ont., about 70 kilometres east of Toronto.

A federal government-appointed review panel concluded in August that the project contained no major environmental risk and recommended it be approved.

The environmental groups say the province is fast-tracking construction without proper environmental studies, especially in the wake of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down after the earthquake and tsunami in March. MORE


Japan Ignored Nuclear Risks, Official Says

In his testimony on Wednesday, Haruki Madarame, Japan's nuclear safety chief, described a complacency with lax standards.TOKYO —In surprisingly frank public testimony on Wednesday, Japan’s nuclear safety chief said the country’s regulations were fundamentally flawed and laid out a somber picture of a nuclear industry shaped by freewheeling power companies, toothless regulators and a government more interested in promoting nuclear energy than in safeguarding the health of its citizens.

The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, stricken by an earthquake and a tsunami last March, has led to widespread criticism of nuclear officials for their lax approach to safety, as well as for a bungled response that allowed meltdowns to occur at three of the plant’s six reactors.

The scale of the accident, which forced almost 100,000 people from their homes and contaminated a wide area of northeastern Japan, has put pressure on the government to explain why warnings about the plant’s safety went unheeded and global safety standards were ignored, even as officials promoted nuclear power as the country’s most reliable source of electricity. MORE


red dotUS nuclear watchdog questions oversight of safety enforcement

red dot"Broken" NNSA Ties With Nuclear Labs Endanger Research: Report

Studies at the three U.S. nuclear-weapon laboratories could suffer as a result of a "broken relationship" with the federal agency charged with overseeing the facilities, the National Research Council said in an assessment announced on Wednesday. .


Despite Fukushima disaster, anti-nuclear activists fight uphill battle in Japan

Even though most Japanese now oppose nuclear power, activists say building a strong movement has proven difficult.

A worker tries to clean a school in the nuclear zoneThe triple meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant last March unleashed the largest wave of public protest the country, not known for its activism, has seen in decades.

But activists say they are struggling to turn widespread anger toward the government agencies and industry responsible for the disaster into a sustained movement that causes real change.

“[After the accident] parents’ groups sprang up all over the country, and for six months or so they’ve been able to run on pure momentum. But long-term activism is very difficult. We have to turn this into a movement that doesn’t forget, doesn’t give up, and doesn’t stop,” says Emiko Ito, a mother of four and co-founder of the National Network of Parents to Protect Children from Radiation, which has over 275 member organizations from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Mothers make up the majority of new participants, Ms. Ito says. The Tokyo area has the most groups, followed by the Osaka/Kyoto region and then the prefectures near the damaged plant. MORE


red dotA Confused Nuclear Cleanup

Atomic Wasteland series: Why Canada’s nuclear cleanup will cost billions of dollars and take decades to complete

nuclear waste disposal actionIt lights our Christmas trees, drives industry, makes medicine, heats our homes and is carbon-free.

Nuclear power has a back end, too. Radwaste.

More than 240,000 tonnes of intensely radioactive civilian waste has piled up around the globe since the dawning of the atomic age. Sixty years on, no one is sure yet how to safely and permanently dispose of the stuff, much of it harmful to living organisms for thousands of years.

Canada’s share of the high-level heap stands at 44,000 tonnes. Virtually all is spent uranium fuel bundles — 2.3 million of them — that powered the commercial and research reactors that made Canada a leading nuclear nation. “If you don’t respect it, you can get hit pretty hard,” says Don Howard, director of the wastes and decommissioning division for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Spent fuel bundles are just one piece of fallout from the nuclear fuel cycle. MORE


Nuclear worries abound in Great Lakes region. Do solutions?

There are four nuclear reactors on Lake Michigan's shoreline, and all of them store their spent fuel onsite, less than one mile from the water.

An auditorium at Illinois Institute of Technology’s main Chicago campus was hosting a capstone presentation to round out Nuclear Science Day on Wednesday. The topic: Shaping the Future of U.S. Nuclear Energy.

Total attendance in the hall for Jeff Terry’s 2 p.m. lecture: roughly 12 people. But in this era of virtual gatherings, Terry later indicated that some 39 classrooms were online for his webinar.

Terry, an IIT physicist and former head of the school's health physics program, began by addressing the issue of dwindling scientific ranks in America.

“I think that having people better educated is better for modern society. And hopefully they could use some of that knowledge to make better choices,” Terry said. MORE

French study finds childhood leukemia doubled around nuclear plants

sick childA major epidemiological study just published in the January 2012 edition of The International Journal of Cancer indicates there is “a possible excess risk” of acute leukemia among children living in close vicinity to French nuclear power plants (NPP). The study called for an “investigation for potential risk factors related to the vicinity of NPP, and collaborative analysis of multisite studies conducted in various countries.”

The study found a doubling of occurrence of childhood leukemia between the years of 2002-2007 among children under 5 years living within 5 km of nuclear plants – similar to the findings of the German 2008 study by the Cancer Registry in Mainz which found an association between the nearness of residence to nuclear power plants and the risk of childhood leukemia.

The epidemiological study was conducted by a team from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) and the National Register of hematological diseases of children in Villejuif. The results marked a surprising and encouraging change at IRSN which had endeavored to discredit earlier French epidemiological studies that had shown an impact of nuclear facilities on health.HERE


red dotCancer Risk To Young Children Near Fukushima Daiichi Underestimated


UK Ministers 'misled MPs over need for nuclear power stations'

Cross-party report says government misrepresented findings on future electricity demand, and ignored case against nuclear

stop nuclear generationMinisters misled parliament over the need to build a new fleet of nuclear power stations, distorting evidence and presenting to MPs a false summary of the analysis they had commissioned, a group of MPs and experts alleged in a report published on Tuesday.

If MPs had been presented with an accurate picture of the evidence for and against new reactors, the government's plans might have been challenged, according to the report. Both the previous Labour government and the current coalition overstated the evidence that new nuclear power was needed, it also alleged.

Building new nuclear power stations is highly controversial, as polls consistently show a substantial minority opposing them. But many people, including some environmental campaigners, have been persuaded towards supporting nuclear by the argument that they would help the UK generate power without carbon dioxide emissions.MORE

Japan losing hope for its pricey ‘dream reactor’

fast-breeder reactorTSURUGA, Japan—Japan’s long and expensive pursuit of a super-efficient nuclear reactor—a model once touted as the key to its energy future—now teeters on the brink of failure amid new government concerns about its runaway costs.

The four-decade project to develop a so-called fast-breeder reactor has consumed more than $13 billion in funding, so far producing only accidents, controversies and a single hour of electricity. The government last month decided on sharp budget cuts for the project, and one top nuclear official in November raised the possibility of scrapping the plan.

But a move to shut down the fast-breeder reactor project would deliver yet another blow to Japan’s nuclear program—already reeling from a major accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant—because it would all but eliminate the long-held Japanese vision of using its nuclear fuel on a near-endless cycle.

In theory, the fast-breeder reactor can run on the reprocessed uranium and plutonium that conventional light-water reactors give off as a byproduct. The fast-breeders also produce more fuel than they use, allowing for a cycle in which fuel is created by the reactor, harvested from the reactor, and then reprocessed and used anew. With its fast-breeders, Japan could solve its costly resource-scarcity problem, which necessitates fuel imports from across the world. MORE


Fukushima’s No-Entry Zone

The radioactive zone created by last year’s nuclear plant meltdown is an environmental disaster—one that has received surprisingly little attention in the press

At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, a fire burned at Reactor No. 3 after the reactor building was destroyed by an explosion.Why is it that trivial news stories (for example, reports on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress) often receive disproportionate coverage, while important news stories are sometimes neglected?

Here’s my vote for the most neglected news story of 2011: the radioactive contamination of hundreds of square miles of land around the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. Although most news outlets have reported some details of this story, I think it deserves much more attention than it has received.

This radioactive contamination is heart-rending, and its effects will be felt for decades—possibly centuries. The contamination is due to engineering hubris, and most nuclear engineers show few signs of having learned any lessons from the disaster. Considering the fact that a similar disaster occurred at Chernobyl in 1986, it seems entirely probable that other areas of our planet will suffer radioactive contamination in the future.

According to the Japanese environment ministry, the contaminated area—usually referred to as the “exclusion zone” or the “no-entry zone”—measures 930 square miles, an area almost as large as the state of Rhode Island. MORE

Dr. Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, overview of Uranium Mining


red dotPlan to bury nuclear waste at Chalk River inches forward


Nuclear Aftershocks

cbc logoMonday, January 30, 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBC News Network—after this TV screening, the film will be available to watch online for 30 days.

Could a Fukushima-style nuclear disaster happen here in North America? How safe is our nuclear power industry? Nuclear Aftershocks travels to three continents to explore the revived debate about the safety of nuclear power and the options for alternative energy sources.


video Democracy Now: "The Atomic States of America": Exploring a Nation’s Struggle with Nuclear Power (25:35)


Order FREE copies of Don’t Let Nuclear Projects Blow Our Electricity Bills through the Roof! 

They contain postcards to Energy Minister Bentley. Distribute to your friends and neighbours. TO ORDER

Complaint about nuclear subsidies may prevent new reactor builds

gavelA formal complaint about subsidies for nuclear power has been sent to the European Commission which, if upheld, would make it unlikely that any new nuclear power stations will be built in the EU.

The complaint has been prepared by lawyers for the UK-based Energy Fair group, with several other environmental groups, and may be followed by legal action to reduce or remove subsidies for nuclear power.

One of the largest subsidies listed by the German legal firm BBH, is the cap on liabilities for nuclear accidents which nuclear power developers have negotiated with governments.

Lawyer Dorte Fouquet described EU energy policy as being based on a level playing field for an open market. "The commission has repeatedly underlined that distortion of the market is to a large extent caused by subsidies to the incumbents in the energy sector," she said. MORE



Do you support nukes?

nuclear power stationIn the next couple of years we are going to have to make some big decisions in Ontario about nuclear energy.

In late 2011 the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) released its report on nuclear energy's business case (or rather lack there of) to kick start the discussion and to point out the myths being propagated about green energy.

Soon after its release OSEA was invited to take part in the Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World in Japan. The conference was mind blowing and left us with a strong desire to share what we have learned. Please read on and ask yourself, "Do you support nukes?" MORE

Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout

Impact Seen As Roughly Comparable to Radiation-Related Deaths After Chernobyl; Infants Are Hardest Hit, With Continuing Research Showing Even Higher Possible Death Count.

The largest increase in reported deaths was in infants under one.An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services.

This is the first peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal documenting the health hazards of Fukushima.Authors Joseph Mangano and Janette Sherman note that their estimate of 14,000 excess U.S. deaths in the 14 weeks after the Fukushima meltdowns is comparable to the 16,500 excess deaths in the 17 weeks after the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986.

The rise in reported deaths after Fukushima was largest among U.S. infants under age one. The 2010-2011 increase for infant deaths in the spring was 1.8 percent, compared to a decrease of 8.37 percent in the preceding 14 weeks.MORE


“We suspect we’re going to see more cancers, decreased fetal viability, decreased fertility, increased metabolic defects—and we expect them to be generational”—Dr. Dale Dewar, ED of Canadian ENGO Physicians for Global Survival, speaking about the effects of radiation on sea life as a result of Fukushima

CANADA: Radioactive iodine in rainwater: Public was in the dark

no nuclear energy logoAfter the Fukushima nuclear accident, Canadian health officials assured a nervous public that virtually no radioactive fallout had drifted to Canada.

But last March, a Health Canada monitoring station in Calgary detected an average of 8.18 becquerels per litre of radioactive iodine (an isotope released by the nuclear accident) in rainwater, the data shows.

The level easily exceeded the Canadian guideline of six becquerels of iodine per litre for drinking water, acknowledged Eric Pellerin, chief of Health Canada's radiation-surveillance division.

"It's above the recommended level (for drinking water)," he said in an interview. "At any time you sample it, it should not exceed the guideline." Canadian authorities didn't disclose the high radiation reading at the time. MORE


red dotControversial nuclear shipping plan remains on hold

red dot$1.28B for Port Hope radioactive cleanup

red dotChalk River’s toxic legacy



red dotAbolish Nuclear Plants Immediately - The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan recently published this call out


action alert

Don't let nuclear projects blow our electricity bills through the roof—new leaflet from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance



NTI Launches Nuclear Materials Security Index

Global Priorities for Security Needed
All Governments Can Do More

y Index logoWASHINGTON, D.C—The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) today released a first-of-its-kind, public baseline assessment of the status of nuclear materials security conditions in 176 countries. The NTI Nuclear Materials Security Index underscores that there is no global consensus about what steps matter most to secure some of the world's most dangerous materials against theft and recommends actions to hold countries accountable, increase transparency and benchmark progress. Watch a replay of the NTI Index launch press conference.

Released ahead of the March 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, the NTI Index examines nuclear materials security conditions in 32 countries with one kilogram or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials, as well as in 144 additional states that have less than one kilogram of this material, or none, but could be used as safe havens, staging grounds or transit points for illicit nuclear activities.MORE


red dotSubscribe to NTI's Global Security Newswire to receive daily news updates about nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, terrorism and related issues.

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 1

At the request of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), the National Academy of Sciences is carrying out an assessment of cancer risks in populations living near USNRC-licensed nuclear facilities. This assessment will be carried out in two consecutive phases. A Phase 1 scoping study will identify scientifically sound approaches for carrying out an epidemiological study of cancer risks. This scoping study will begin on September 1, 2010, and will last for 15 months. The result of this Phase 1 study will be used to inform the design of the cancer risk assessment, which will be carried out in a future Phase 2 study.


Your Comments Needed on Cancer Risk Study

Important cancer risk study needs YOUR input!

Phase one of the NRC-commissioned National Academy of Sciences investigation into cancer risks around NRC licensed facilities is almost complete. We are asking you to comment before the February 2012 report release date. Beyond Nuclear has already provided comments highlighting the vulnerability of children and our gene pool to radiation exposure. Plus, a major epidemiological study published in the January 2012 edition of The International Journal of Cancer indicates there is “a possible excess risk” of acute leukemia and a doubling of incidences among children living in close vicinity to French nuclear power facilities. MORE



Fukushima to test milk from 10,000 mothers

Japanese mother breast feedingFUKUSHIMA—The breast milk of about 10,000 mothers residing in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, will be tested for radioactive contamination, prefectural officials said Thursday.

Details of the test, which is available to any mother, have yet to worked out, including how and when it will be given. The cost, likely about ¥50,000 per person, is expected to be covered by a fund earmarked for managing Fukushima residents' health amid the ongoing nuclear crisis.

The prefecture reportedly plans to secure a total of ¥560 million for the test project.

Many breast-feeding mothers have expressed concern that their milk is contaminated by radioactive materials released into the air and sea by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant since it was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. MORE


Japan makes new rules for nuclear plants

40-year-old Japanese Monju nuclear reactorOKYO (AP)—Japan says it will soon require atomic reactors to be shut down after 40 years of use to improve safety following the nuclear crisis set off by last year's tsunami.

Concern about aging reactors has been growing because the three units at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan that went into meltdown following the tsunami in March were built starting in 1967. Among other reactors at least 40 years old are those at the Tsuruga and Mihama plants in central Japan, which were built starting in 1970.

Many more of the 54 reactors in Japan will reach the 40-year mark in the near future, though some were built only a few years ago.

The government said Friday that it plans to introduce legislation in the coming months to require reactors to stop running after 40 years. Japanese media reported that the law may include loopholes to allow some old nuclear reactors to keep running if their safety is confirmed with tests. MORE


red dotJapan's nuclear phaseout could cause severe power shortages.

red dotJapan Plans Age Limits, Tougher Tests for Nuclear Plants

red dotIran Says Will Never Gives Up Its Nuclear Activities

red dotNuclear Power Corp to allay fears about nuclear power

Strategic Review Suggests Potential New U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cuts

Obama announces review of defence spendingThe United States might have opportunities to achieve additional nuclear arsenal cuts without undermining its strategic deterrent, the Obama administration said in a defense planning document issued on Thursday (see GSN, Dec. 16, 2011).

"As long as nuclear weapons remain in existence, the United States will maintain a safe, secure, and effective arsenal. We will field nuclear forces that can under any circumstances confront an adversary with the prospect of unacceptable damage, both to deter potential adversaries and to assure U.S. allies and other security partners that they can count on America's security commitments," the defense strategic guidance states. "It is possible that our deterrence goals can be achieved with a smaller nuclear force, which would reduce the number of nuclear weapons in our inventory as well as their role in U.S. national security strategy" (U.S. Defense Department release, Jan. 5).

The document, released by President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at a Pentagon press briefing, calls for an increased U.S. armed forces focus on Asia and the withdrawal of some military personnel from Europe, Reuters reported. The paper, which addresses spending plans only in general terms, was published amid efforts to reduce defense spending by no less than $450 billion over the next 10 years. MORE


Japan PM vows to bring rebirth of Fukushima

Prime Minister Yoshihiko NodaJapan's prime minister pledged Wednesday in his traditional new year's press conference to bring "rebirth" to the area around the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said authorities would work to decontaminate the region from radioactive fallout, while ensuring compensation and health checks for those affected by the disaster.

"These three pillars will bring the rebirth of Fukushima," he said. Noda gave no timeframe, and government officials have said it may be years or even decades before many of the 100,000 residents displaced by the disaster can return. MORE


red dotAs radiation fears persist, ties unravel in society.

Japanese Don't Want a Nuclear Future: The Ticker

Only six of the 54 reactors are operating

60,000 people demonstrate against nuclear in JapanThere's nothing like an earthquake to ring in the New Year. That thought crossed the minds of many Tokyoites on Jan. 1 as a magnitude 7.0 trembler shook us out of our holiday slumber.

Really, if there's any developed nation that was glad to see 2011 end, it was Japan. The radiation crisis caused by the March earthquake and tsunami was but the biggest news in a year that included deepening deflation, credit downgrades, the resignation of a fifth prime minister in as many years and an Olympus Corp. scandal that spooked investors the world over.

As the ground shook on the opening day of 2012, the immediate concern was the nuclear facilities at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s plants in Fukushima. Thankfully, the quake didn't cause fresh damage -- this time.

But what about next time? In a June Asahi newspaper poll, 74 percent favored Japan over time decommissioning all 54 reactors. Actions by the government, reinforced by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's press conference today, suggest the opposite is afoot. Japanese want a nuclear-free future, and yet the government is back to coddling the power industry.

Why the disconnect? Japan's nuclear-industrial complex is every bit as powerful as the nexus of business and the military in the U.S. There's just too much money involved, and Japan's "nuclear village" is circling the wagons. The moment Noda's predecessor, Naoto Kan, announced plans to rein in the industry's incestuous ties with government bureaucrats, his premiership was over. MORE


red dotThe Fukushima Effect Continues: French Nuclear Builder AREVA Announces Losses...

red dotEDF CEO rules out nuclear plant closures-paper

red dotSolar power outshines nuclear power: Study



Fukushima nuclear cleanup could take 30 years

When the magnitude-9.3 earthquake hit Japan on March 11, it set off a nuclear disaster that will leave Japan suffering for decades from the consequences of meltdowns and radiation exposure.

Japan's nuclear disaster is far from overMarch's magnitude 9.3-earthquake was as strong as hundreds of thousands of the explosions caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. It triggered a tsunami that covered 470 square kilometers (181 square miles) with rubble and water, while more than 19,000 people died in the flooding or are still missing. Water levels were as high as 16 meters (52 feet)—as high as a four story building.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, one of the biggest nuclear power plants in Japan and only 240 km northeast of Tokyo, was not built for this kind of catastrophe. The reactor's walls were only designed to sustain tsunami waves of 5.7 meters. When the 13-meter wave hit the plant, it was completely flooded.  

Nuclear fission after the plant's cooling system went down

Even a late scramble could not stop the catastrophe. Since emergency power supplies were flooded and seawater pumps were destroyed, the plant's cooling technology failed. In the aftermath of the earthquake, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) was not able to reactivate the cooling systems. To compound matters, the surrounding streets were impassable and the necessary equipment could not reach Fukushima fast enough. MORE


red dotTough Road Ahead for Nuclear Power

red dotRussia: Fire on Nuclear Submarine Finally Extinguished



Canada quietly shipping bomb-grade uranium to U.S., ‘secret' federal memo says

nuclear waste storageMONTREAL—Weapons-grade uranium is quietly being transported within Canada, and into the United States, in shipments the country's nuclear watchdog wants to keep cloaked in secrecy.

A confidential federal memo obtained through the Access to Information Act says at least one payload of spent, U.S.-origin highly enriched uranium fuel has already been moved stateside under a new Canada-U.S. deal.

The shipments stem from the highly publicized agreement signed last year by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama, amid fears that nuclear-bomb-making material could fall into the hands of terrorists.

The Canadian stash gradually being shipped from Chalk River, Ont., contains hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium—large enough to make several Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs. But even as the radioactive freight travels toward the U.S. border, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has no plans to hold public hearings or disclose which communities lie along the delivery route. MORE

audioNPR:As Nuclear Plants Age, No Easy Energy Solutions

No nuclear power plants have been built in this country since the accident at Three Mile Island more than 30 years ago. The old reactors continue to provide 20 percent of our electrical power, but many of them will start to come offline in the next 10 years or so.

Given the time it takes to construct any kind of power plant, decisions have to be made soon about how we replace one-fifth of our electrical power and add the additional capacity we're going to need. There are no easy answers or single solutions, and the issues are enormous: politics, economics, climate change, national security, the balance of trade, jobs. So how do we replace all that electricity? HERE

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant reacts to Japan's Fukushima disaster

diablo canyon nuclear power plantOn March 11, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan. The powerful quake coupled with a large tsunami that followed overwhelmed the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, crippling four of its six reactors, causing radiation releases and leading to the evacuation of 80,000 people near the plant

The accident left many residents of San Luis Obispo County wondering whether a similar accident would be possible at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, located along California's earthquake-prone Central Coast.

It also greatly intensified calls for PG&E to suspend plans to renew the plant's two operating licenses until a thorough seismic investigation of the earthquake faults around the plant is completed.In June, the utility and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission bowed to the pressure, and the relicensing request was suspended, pending completion of the seismic studies.

Now, December 2015 is the earliest Diablo Canyon could be relicensed.Similarly, the state Public Utilities Commission has closed a request by PG&E to recoup $85 million from ratepayers to pay for relicensing. “We can now focus on making sure the seismic studies are well designed and independently peer-reviewed at every step of the way,” said Rochelle Becker of the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, which urged the Public Utilities Commission to close the request rather than just suspend it.MORE

Report: U.S. nuclear renaissance unlikely after Fukushima

fukashima ruined shellA new study released Wednesday said that the regulatory fallout from the Fukushima power plant disaster in Japan in March will short-circuit the U.S. nuclear renaissance of new power plant construction.

The report, "Nuclear Safety and Nuclear Economics," was written and presented by Mark Cooper, a frequent critic of the nuclear power industry. The report can be found here. Cooper is a senior fellow for economic analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at the Vermont Law School.

Cooper said that past nuclear disasters, such as the one at the Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania in 1979, have tended to greatly raise regulatory barriers and have also severely multiplied the cost of reactor construction. After Three Mile Island, for example, the report said, the cost of nuclear power plant construction doubled in most cases and trebled or quadrupled in some rare instances.

"This is an important moment to compare what is really likely to happen over the next 10 years with the industry's expectations" of a nuclear renaissance, said Peter Bradford, an adjunct professor specializing in nuclear power and public policy at the Vermont Law School and a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member. "When that comparison is performed properly, it becomes clear that we are witnessing not a revival but a collapse in expectations for new reactor construction," Bradford added. MORE

Report assails Japan's response to nuclear failure

Black smoke rise from the third reactor building of TEPCO's No.1 Fukushima nuclear power plant in March. TEPCO Tuesday asked for an extra $8.5 bln in aid from a government-backed fund to help it compensate families affected by the Fukushima nuclear crisis.Japan's response to the nuclear crisis that followed the March 11 tsunami was riddled with problems, including an erroneous assumption that an emergency cooling system was working and a delay in disclosing dangerous radiation leaks, a report said Monday.

The picture of harried and bumbling workers and government officials scrambling to respond to the problems at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was depicted in the report detailing a government inquiry.

The 507-page interim report, compiled by interviewing more than 400 people, including officials and utility workers, found authorities had underestimated tsunami risks, assuming the highest wave would be 20 feet. The tsunami hit at more than double those levels.

red dotJapan may put nuclear power firm under state control

Japan's government on Tuesday floated the idea of putting the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant under temporary state control, as it asked for $8.9 billion more in compensation aid.

red dotGov't starring in own show to bring Fukushima nuclear crisis 'under control'

red dotLEAD: Nuclear energy on agenda at Japan premier's India visit


You Could Even Say It Glows: NRC Votes to Fast-Track a More Dangerous Nuclear Future

In a news dump that came a day early (because who really wants to dump on Christmas-Eve Eve?), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a pair of moves Thursday that could have significant consequences for America's nuclear industry–and all the people who have to live with it.

First, the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor design got the big thumbs up:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission unanimously approved a radical new reactor design on Thursday, clearing away a major obstacle for two utilities to begin construction on projects in South Carolina and Georgia.

Whoa–let's stop it there for a sec....A “radical new reactor design?” Somebody's being a good little scribe this Christmas. As previously discussed, there is nothing radical about the AP1000–it's a tweak on the generations-old pressurized water reactor design that theoretically would allow the core to avoid a meltdown in the event of a total loss of AC power.

Well, for 72 hours, anyway. After that, the manufacturer–in reality the Japanese owner of Westinghouse, Toshiba–says something about it taking only “minimal operator effort” to avert disaster. Keep in mind that the AP1000 was designed well before the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that started the ongoing Fukushima disaster, but this approval, of course, comes well after. MORE


red dotApproval of Reactor Design Clears Path for New Plants


After Fukushima: A Changing Climate For Nuclear

Gregory JaczkoThis year has something unpleasant in common with the years 1979 and 1986. In 1979, a nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania melted down. In 1986, the Soviet reactor at Chernobyl blew up and burned.

This year's meltdown occurred in Fukushima in Japan, and nuclear power isn't likely to be the same as a result.

Nuclear power had enjoyed 25 years of relative quiet, but the Fukushima accident reminded people that despite improvements in safety, nuclear plants could still go horribly wrong.

For some, though, nothing has changed much. "We don't see Fukushima as having a significant impact on the U.S. industry," says Scott Peterson, vice president of the industry's Nuclear Energy Institute. "The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was renewing 10 licenses for U.S. plants, extending them 20 years in operation. We were continuing to move forward in examining new reactor designs."

And after studying what happened at Fukushima, the NRC deemed America's reactors safe. However, the NRC has demanded some safety upgrades. Peterson says those aren't showstoppers for building new plants. But the accident ignited a feud at the NRC. Four of the five commissioners wrote the White House complaining that their chairman, Gregory Jaczko, ignored them during the first days of the accident. And they said he bullied them during the safety review. MORE


red dotJapan nuclear disaster panel faults preparation, communication

red dotMajor Milestones Passed At The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

red dotNew nuclear plants face public backlash

red dotLong road back for Fukushima city hit by twin disasters.

red dotA Pandora's Box in the Middle East

“Anyone who is thinking of attacking Iran should be prepared for powerful blows and iron fists.” So declared Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Nov. 10, speaking in response to reports that Israel may strike Iran's nuclear plants. But the risk of tit-for-tat attacks raises a specter few seem to recognize: the first radiological war in history. MORE


In Japan, Radiation Fears Reshape Lives

Japanese shoppers remain concerned about radiation levels in food following the country's nuclear accident in March. Shoppers are shown here in a Tokyo supermarket.Nine months after Japan's nuclear accident, life in Tokyo seems to have snapped back to normal, with a vengeance. The talk shows are back to their usual mindless trivia about pop stars and baseball contracts. The date of the tsunami and nuclear accident, March 11—known here as just 3/11—has faded into the background.

But while the horror has receded, for many of us, particularly women with families, things will never be the same.

There's no getting past the fact that the nuclear accident dumped radioactive particles into the atmosphere, soil and sea.

While Fukushima Prefecture in the northeast was hardest hit, radiation "hot spots" keep turning up in neighborhoods far from the accident. The latest was at a school, minutes from where I live in Tokyo.

What's more, figuring out what's "safe" to consume has become all but impossible. MORE


Dec 28, 2011: Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant now more stable


Nuclear sub narrowly avoids collision with freighter off B.C. coast: report

nuclear_subVICTORIA—The quick action of a freighter captain averted a collision with an American nuclear-powered submarine just off the B.C. coast in October, according to a U.S. publication.

Navy Times, an independent publication that focuses on naval news, reported on its website that the two vessels came within 800 metres of each other in the Oct. 12 incident in the Juan de Fuca Strait, which separates B.C. and Washington state.

The USS Kentucky ballistic-missile submarine's commanding officer, Cmdr. Joseph Nosse, had ordered a change of course, but the periscope wasn't checked to see if the way was clear, Navy Times said.

It wasn't until the sub— invisible on the surface except for its periscope—was contacted by another vessel that crew discovered a merchant ship, Totem Ocean's MV Midnight Sun, was blocking their way. MORE


Nuclear sub narrowly avoided collision in Strait of Juan de Fuca, newspaper...

Nuclear fears dominate talks between Japan and China

china_japanBEIJING: The Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda, held talks with China's leaders yesterday during a visit to Beijing dominated by concerns over nuclear-armed North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il.

China is North Korea's closest ally and Mr Noda has said protecting the stability of the Korean Peninsula is in the ''interest'' of the two regional powers.

Ties between the two nations have been dogged by economic and territorial disputes and Japan has repeatedly raised concerns over China's widening naval reach and growing assertiveness in the Pacific Ocean.

But Kim's death has shifted the agenda to worries about North Korea, where his untested son Kim Jong-un appears to be taking the reins of power. Analysts say China holds the key to handling North Korea, where Japan has few ties overall and fewer still to Kim's son. MORE

ENTER Ontario Clean Air Alliance's Bruce Rebuild Cost Contest

Guess the cost of the Bruce A Nuclear rebuild and win $100 cash! Deadline for entries is Feb. 29, 2012.

dollarThe cost of rebuilding aging reactors at the Bruce Nuclear Station is just going up and up. Originally forecast to cost $2.75 billion, the project is now projected to cost at least $4.8 billion. Of course, there is nothing new about nuclear projects in Ontario running massively over budget. Every nuclear project in the province's history has been finished behind schedule and over budget. The question is, just how over budget will the Bruce A retrofit really be? Your guess is as good as Ontario's electricity planners, who have never accurately forecast the cost of a nuclear project or the need for the power they would produce. So take a guess. The person with the closest estimate will win a $100 cash prize to help cover the cost of rising electricity bills due to out-of-control nuclear spending.

Deadline for entries is Feb. 29, 2012. One entry per person. In the event of a tie, earliest entry wins.

What do you estimate the final cost will be of the Bruce Nuclear Station retrofit?

To enter the contest, go to and fill out the form with your estimate. One entry per person. Enter now!

Fukushima - Could it Have a China Syndrome? Arnie Gundersen 12/14/11

Fairewinds' Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses whether the accidents at Fukushima were a meltdown, a melt-through, or a China Syndrome. Whatever the accidents are named, thousands of tons of water contaminated with plutonium, uranium, and other very toxic radioactive isotopes are flooding the site, the surrounding water table, and the ocean.

So the good news is I do not think a China Syndrome can happen. I do not think this core can keep melting into the bottom of the earth. And I do not think there will be a steam explosion either. That is the good news.

Here is the bad news. That nuclear core is in direct contact with tons of water. And that containment, while not leaking down, is leaking out the sides. That contaminated water is going into every other building on site. And there is literally thousands and thousands of tons of water in other buildings. That water contains radioactive cesium, radioactive strontium, and it also contains nuclear fuel. There will be uranium in that water and plutonium in that water as well. We know for sure that that water is leaking into the ground water and into the Pacific Ocean. So while it is important to know that we are not going to release the nuclear core directly into the center of the earth, the problem is not over. And as a matter of fact, the problem will last for tens, perhaps even as long as 30 years because this contaminated water is in the basements of all the buildings on site. And not only does it contain cesium (that hangs around for 300 years), strontium (hangs around for 300 years), but it also contains plutonium and uranium and they have half lives of tens of thousands of years. MORE


red dotVideo transcript

red dot'Absolutely no progress being made' at Fukushima nuke plant, undercover reporter says

red dotDr. HELEN CALDICOTT—After Fukushima: Enough Is Enough


Hundreds of trillions of becquerels of radioactive strontium leaked into sea

Strontium easily accumulates in creatures, even if its concentration level is lowAt least 462 trillion becquerels of radioactive strontium have leaked to the Pacific Ocean since the March disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, making it one of the world's most severe such cases of marine pollution, according to calculations by The Asahi Shimbun.

The Fisheries Agency is doing its own sampling survey to assess the accumulation of radioactive materials in marine life.

The newspaper based its calculations on data released by the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., and other sources.

With regard to leakages of radioactive-contaminated water from the No. 2 and No. 3 reactor buildings in April and May, respectively, The Asahi Shimbun relied on two sets of figures.

One was the volume of water that leaked from each reactor building. The other concerned the concentration of radioactive strontium in water that accumulated in each reactor building.

By multiplying the volume of leaked water by the concentration of radioactive strontium, the newspaper calculated the total amount of strontium that leaked from the two reactors. MORE


red dotJapan Says Nuclear Power Cost May Be 50% Higher Than Estimated

Canada's earliest nuclear projects will haunt landscape for centuries

Aerial view of the Atomic Energy plant in Chalk River.CHALK RIVER, Ont.—At 3:07 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 12, 1952, the National Research Experimental nuclear reactor, then the most powerful research reactor on Earth, raced out of control, rapidly overheated and then exploded, destroying the reactor core and spewing radioactive gases and debris into the atmosphere.

No one was hurt in the world's first major nuclear accident, but it took hundreds of military personnel months to clean up the partial meltdown.

A flatbed truck used to haul the intensely radioactive core to a nearby burial site was manned by a relay team of drivers, each spending just a few minutes behind the wheel before running away to make room for the next driver, to limit their exposure to lethal radiation.

A portion of the road was buried as radioactive waste. Thousands of litres of radiotoxic water and other contaminated reactor wreckage were put in sandy trenches.

Refuse from that day remains, 59 years later; part of an immense toxic legacy handed down from decades of pioneering research and technological achievement in atomic science and nuclear medicine at Chalk River Laboratories (CRL). MORE


red dotAtomic Wasteland series: Why Canada's nuclear cleanup will cost billions and take decades


Alternative Possibilities in Nuclear Power

radiation hazardEcoGeeK is starting a series of articles over the next couple weeks to look at some of the alternative technologies available or under study in nuclear power.  In general, nuclear power is a pretty divisive issue, and doubly so among EcoGeeks, but so far the comments in the discussion threads have been mostly moderate and reasonable.  We are not doing this to come down on either side of the question, but simply to look at some of the technologies.  Whether the tradeoffs and costs are worth the benefits that any of these technologies would provide is a separate question.

red dotAlternative Nuclear Power: Pebble Bed Reactor


Saugeen Shores Nuclear Waste Site: Permanent Dump Idea Sparks Unease In Southern Ontario Community

Saugeen ShoresTORONTO—A community on the shores of Lake Huron has cracked open the door to southern Ontario's becoming the permanent storage site for Canada's spent, but still dangerously radioactive, nuclear fuel.

Until now, only nine communities in remote areas of northern Saskatchewan and northern Ontario were in the running to host the $24-billion project for a mammoth underground facility.

Now, to the consternation of some, one of southern Ontario's premier tourist destinations is on the radar, although how it got there is already the subject of dispute.

The municipality of Saugeen Shores, which includes the picturesque lakeside towns of Port Elgin and Southampton about three hours west of Toronto, is showing interest in becoming home to the waste site. MORE

Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup

Workers replaced soil as part of a decontamination effort at Soma agricultural high school in Fukushima. FUTABA, Japan—Futaba is a modern-day ghost town —not a boomtown gone bust, not even entirely a victim of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that leveled other parts of Japan's northeast coast.

Its traditional wooden homes have begun to sag and collapse since they were abandoned in March by residents fleeing the nuclear plant on the edge of town that began spiraling toward disaster. Roofs possibly damaged by the earth's shaking have let rain seep in, starting the rot that is eating at the houses from the inside.

The roadway arch at the entrance to the empty town almost seems a taunt. It reads:

Nuclear energy: a correct understanding brings a prosperous lifestyle.”

Those who fled Futaba are among the nearly 90,000 people evacuated from a 12-mile zone around the Fukushima Daiichi plant and another area to the northwest contaminated when a plume from the plant scattered radioactive cesium and iodine. Now, Japan is drawing up plans for a cleanup that is both monumental and unprecedented, in the hopes that those displaced can go home. MORE

Nuclear Power Goes Rogue

Post-Fukushima, the market for nuclear power is changing latitudes. Here's what's at stake.

no nuclear--no thanksThis spring, Germany permanently shut down eight of its reactors and pledged to shutter the rest by 2022. Shortly thereafter, the Italians voted overwhelmingly to keep their country nonnuclear. Switzerland and Spain followed suit, banning the construction of any new reactors. Then Japan's prime minister killed his country's plans to expand its reactor fleet, pledging to reduce Japan's reliance on nuclear power dramatically. Taiwan's president did the same. Now Mexico is sidelining construction of 10 reactors in favor of developing natural-gas-fired plants, and Belgium is toying with phasing its nuclear plants out, perhaps as early as 2015. Even the most pro-nuclear of states have experienced post-Fukushima reactions that have jilted their plans MORE


red dotOpposition to Nuclear Energy Grows: Global Poll

red dotFukushima fallout: time to quit nuclear power altogether

red dotNuclear Genocide in Canada


More Radioactive Water Leaks at Japanese Plant

radioactive seawater plume from Fukashima in the Pacific Ocean

TOKYO—At least 45 tons of highly radioactive water have leaked from a purification facility at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, and some of it may have reached the Pacific Ocean, the plant's operator said Sunday.

Nearly nine months after Fukushima Daiichi was ravaged by an earthquake and tsunami, the plant continues to pose a major environmental threat. Before the latest leak, the Fukushima accident had been responsible for the largest single release of radioactivity into the ocean, threatening wildlife and fisheries in the region, experts have said.

The new radioactive water leak called into question the progress that the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, appeared to have made in bringing its reactors under control. The company, known as Tepco, has said that it hopes to bring the plant to a stable state known as a cold shutdown by the end of the year. MORE

Reactor Core Melted Fully, Japan Says

Fuel Breached Vessel Floor, Operator Says, In Its Gravest Fukushima Status Report

nuclear symbolTOKYO—Japan's tsunami-stricken nuclear-power complex came closer to a catastrophic meltdown than previously indicated by its operator—who on Wednesday described how one reactor's molten nuclear core likely burned through its primary containment chamber and then ate as far as three-quarters of the way through the concrete in a secondary vessel.

The assessment—offered by Japan's government and Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex—marked Japan's most sobering reckoning to date of the nuclear disaster sparked by the country's March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Nuclear pollution of sea from Fukushima was world's biggest

France's nuclear monitor said on Thursday that the amount of caesium 137 that leaked into the Pacific from the Fukushima disaster was the greatest single nuclear contamination of the sea ever seen.

PARIS - France's nuclear monitor said on Thursday that the amount of caesium 137 that leaked into the Pacific from the Fukushima disaster was the greatest single nuclear contamination of the sea ever seen. But, confirming previous assessments, it said caesium levels had been hugely diluted by ocean currents and, except for near-shore species, posed no discernible threat.

From March 21 to mid-July, 27.1 peta becquerels of caesium 137 entered the sea, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said.One peta becquerel is a million billion bequerels, or 10 to the power of 15. Of the total, 82 percent entered the sea before April 8, through water that was pumped into the Fukushima's damaged reactor units in a bid to cool them down, it said.

"This is the biggest single outflow of man-made radionuclides to the marine environment ever observed," the agency said in a press release. MORE


Nearly a tenth of Japan contaminated

Almost eight per cent of Japan's land area has been covered by radioactive caesium from the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.Japan's Science Ministry says nearly 10 per cent of the country's land has been contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

It says more than 30,000km2,or eight per cent of the country's land area, has been blanketed by radioactive caesium.

The Ministry says most of the contamination was caused by four large plumes of radiation spewed out by the Fukushima nuclear plant in the first two weeks after meltdowns after the March earthquake and tsunami. MORE



red dotFukushima updates here

red dotaudioDr. Helen Caldicott in conversation Arnie Gundersen

about the ongoing situation at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan. 60 min. audio interview

German protesters target nuclear train—1,300 arrested

More than 1300 protesters were arrested as police tried to clear the way for a train carrying nuclear waste from France to continue its journey. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

The convoy taking the German waste on a 1200km journey from a reprocessing centre in northwestern France to a storage facility in northern Germany was stopped for 18 hours, including overnight, amid mass demonstrations.

Thousands of activists swarmed the tracks along the route near the train's final destination in Dannenberg and boasted that the odyssey's duration had now topped the 92-hour record set during a shipment one year ago.

Police said on they detained about 1300 people, including some who had chained themselves to the railway, requiring tricky and time-consuming operations to free them before the train could slowly rumble on. MORE

A New Urgency to the Problem of Storing Nuclear Waste

nuclear waste containersAUSTIN, TEXAS—The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, earlier this year caused many countries to rethink their appetite for nuclear power. It is also, in subtler ways, altering the fraught discussion of what to do with nuclear plants' wastes.

A prime example is Germany, which decided to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022 after the partial reactor meltdowns at Fukushima. That decision is making it easier for Germans to have a calm and focused discussion about a permanent disposal site for the plants' wastes, analysts say.

Previously, opponents of nuclear power worried that backing a permanent solution for the wastes would make it easier for nuclear power plants to continue to exist, according to Michael Sailer, the chief executive at the Öko-Institut in Berlin, a research and consulting group focused on sustainability. MORE

Nuclear plans threaten UK's part in renewables revolution, expert warns

Prof John Schellnhuber says UK is not fit to take part in 'third industrial revolution' of switch to clean energy

There is no shelter under this nuclear umbrella"...In an interview with the Guardian, Schellnhuber, who heads the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said the cost of transforming the infrastructure to run the world on renewable energy was roughly the same as current subsidies for carbon fuels. "The money is absolutely available," he said.

"He added that, while up-front investment was needed to create the clean infrastructure, it would be much cheaper to run in the long term. "Renewables are by definition inexhaustable, so do not lead to the piling up of debts. They are also evenly spread: the wind is blowing almost everywhere, the sun is shining almost everywhere. In the end renewables are the quintessential democratic energy source," he said...." MORE

Economic Impacts of a Nuclear Accident in Ontario Horrendous

Darlinton nuclear reactorGreenpeace has released a report on the potential economic impacts of a nuclear accident at the Darlington or Pickering nuclear stations in Ontario. Greenpeace commissioned the Centre for Spatial Economics to produce the report titled: "Economic Impacts of a Nuclear Accident at the Pickering or Darlington Nuclear Stations."

The report estimates the economic loses if a nuclear accident forced the evacuation of a 20 kilometre area around the Darlington and Pickering nuclear stations.

The economic impacts of a nuclear accident at Pickering and Darlington stations could exceed by hundreds of billions of dollars the level of compensation available to victims.

Thus, in the event of a nuclear accident victims would be forced to pay the clean up costs either directly or through their taxes. MORE

Download the report: Economic Impacts of a Nuclear Accident at the Pickering or Darlington Nuclear Stations

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