Tag Archives: nuclear power

Japanse celebrate shut-down of last nuclear power plant

Thousands March as Japan Shuts off Nuclear Power

By YURI KAGEYAMA AP Business Writer

TOKYO May 5, 2012 (AP)

Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 50 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.

Japan was without electricity from nuclear power for the first time in four decades when the reactor at Tomari nuclear plant on the northern island of Hokkaido went offline for mandatory routine maintenance.


Ed Asner–The insanity of Florida’s proposed nuclear plant

This video featuring Ed Asner makes some powerful arguments against the proposed new nuclear power plant in Florida.

One need not argue the pros and cons of nuclear power. If we take away government subsidies and guarantees, the free market will kill nuclear power automatically.

Lessons from Fukushima still not learned?

This message came from Russell Lowes, a contact in Tucson who has considerable knowledge and expertise in nuclear power.

Remembering 3/11; six months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Posted by: Russell Lowes, Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:56 am (PDT)

Today is the 6-month point since Fukushima Daiichi started to melt down, becoming the largest nuclear disaster in history, surpassing Chernobyl in radioactive emissions.

Good and not-so-good news have been streaming in since then. On the positive side, Germany, one of the world’s largest economies, keeps on track with its renewed goal of phasing out its reactors. They are actively replacing them with wind and solar power, and improvements in energy savings through increased efficiency. Their solar energy has now surpassed their hydro/dam energy output.

(See http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2011/09/germany-sets-new-renewable-energy-record-in-2011)

China is ramping up its wind and solar commitment to replace some of its coal and nuclear plants. (See http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/31/idUS414014174720110831)

Many other countries are re-thinking their energy options. Portugal has reached about 50% renewable energy in about a decade of judicious commitment so far. This investment will be one of the actions that will bring Portugal out of its economic slump.

Amidst this, our U.S. President and much of our political infrastructure, has become more entrenched in the U.S. commitment to nuclear energy. For every dollar the U.S. puts into this failed outdated technology, we will only get 4 kilowatt-hours of electricity (kWhe). This misspent dollar, if invested wisely instead, will yield about 7 kWhe of wind power or 33 (!) kWhe of energy savings through efficiency improvements. Energy saved negates the need to produce energy.

President Obama and many of our Congressmen/women also are promoting use of coal and natural gas fracturing (fracking) energy. The costs of these options are also much higher than a wise blend of renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements.

The article below is on engaging the lessons to be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi. These three outstanding citizens are pointing out how America is NOT yet learning from the tragedy in Japan.

Say yes to renewables and energy savings through efficiency,

No nukes, no coal, no fracking, no kidding,




Trio of Experts Outline Eight Key Concerns: Ongoing Health Woes in Japan, Unaddressed Design Flaws and Inadequate U.S. Regulatory Response Seen As Troubling.

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 8, 2011


Regulatory, scientific and health experts agree: The “3/11” Fukushima reactor disaster is still ongoing six month later … and some major lessons are in danger of going unheeded.

Sunday marks the six-month anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear reactor crisis. In anticipation of that milestone, three leading U.S. experts held a news conference today to outline both what is now known in the wake of the and where things stand for the nuclear power industry in the United States.

The news event speakers were:

— Peter Bradford, former member of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, former chair of the New York and Maine utility regulatory commissions, and currently adjunct professor at Vermont Law School on “Nuclear Power and Public Policy”;

— Edwin Lyman, Ph.D., senior scientist, Global Security Program, Union of Concerned Scientists; and

— Dr. Andrew Kanter, national board president elect (2012), Physicians for Social Responsibility, and director of Medical Informatics/Health Info Services, Millennium Villages Project, Earth Institute, Columbia University.

The following eight concerns and lessons were among those outlined by the speakers:

1. The U.S. regulatory response since Fukushima has been inadequate. “Six months after Fukushima, it seems clear that the U.S. is not going to undertake the type of fundamental, no-holds-barred look at its nuclear regulatory practices that followed the much less serious accident at Three Mile Island some 30 years ago.” – Peter Bradford

2. America should avoid post-9/11 mistakes in tightening reactor safety standards. “In responding to Fukushima by issuing orders, the NRC should not make the same mistakes as it did following 9/11, when industry stonewalling delayed implementation of critical security measures for many years. Even today, some post 9/11 security upgrades have not been completed at numerous plants … The worldwide response to the Three Mile Island accident was clearly inadequate to prevent even worse events from occurring. The U.S. must respond to Fukushima in a much more comprehensive way or it may soon face an accident even worse than Fukushima.” – Edwin Lyman

3. Overall Japanese health dangers are getting short shrift. “The last six months have shown a continued pattern of secrecy, cover-up, and minimization …. (The) news media and some so-called authorities have repeated the false information that doses under 100 mSv (millisieverts) have no health effects. All radiation doses have some effect, particularly when large populations are exposed. The Japanese government’s decision to increase the maximum allowed dose for citizens of Fukushima (including children) from 1 mSv per year to 20 mSv, the equivalent of 200 chest x-rays or the maximum many countries allow for nuclear workers … is unacceptable and remains in place despite vehement public and international pressure.” — Dr. Andrew Kanter

4. In particular, the impact on the health of Japanese children is being glossed over. “Children are at least three-to-four times more susceptible to radiation than are adults. There are about 350,000 children under 18 in Fukushima Prefecture. If each of these children were exposed to the 20 mSv maximum over two consecutive years, the National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report would predict 2,500 additional cancer deaths… The upshot is that there is no safe dose of radiation and exposing non-consenting people, especially children, to these increased health risks is medically unacceptable. The Japanese government is not adequately monitoring radiation contamination of soil, food, water, and air and is not providing the parents with sufficient information to protect their children.” — Dr. Andrew Kanter

5. The U.S. was warned of Fukushima-style problems but failed to act … and is still failing to do so. “U.S. reactors have some of the shortcomings of the Fukushima plants. Furthermore, citizen groups and scientists had tried to call one of these – spent fuel pool vulnerability — to Nuclear Regulatory Commission attention during the last decade. The NRC dismissed these efforts, with one commissioner even ordering the staff to do a review designed to discredit the concerns. The NRC reviews of Fukushima to date are all well and good, but the Commission and the Congress need to face up to the deeper lessons of Fukushima as well. When mishaps occur at nuclear power plants, the NRC requires a “root cause analysis” that gets at the underlying causes as well as the immediate technical problems. Without a root cause analysis of its own failure to heed the now validated warnings about spent fuel pools, the NRC may patch the technical problems revealed by Fukushima, but it won’t fix the underlying shortcomings that allow defects to persist until catastrophic events rather than regulatory vigilance force the nuclear industry and the public to face up to them.” – Peter Bradford

6. Emergency planning zones in the U.S. must be expanded. “The NRC Task Force report got some things right but others wrong. In contrast to the Task Force conclusions, we believe that emergency planning zones should be expanded, certain hydrogen control measures should be immediately enforced and spent fuel transfer to dry casks should be accelerated. Also, the safety margins of new reactors need to be reassessed.” — Edwin Lyman

7. The recent East Coast earthquake should spur more NRC safety analysis. “The earthquake near the North Anna nuclear plant, which reportedly exceeded the plant’s seismic design basis, reinforces the urgency of the NRC Fukushima task force’s recommendation that all plants immediately be reviewed for their vulnerability to seismic and flooding hazards based on the best available information today.” – Edwin Lyman

8. Fukushima is turning out to be much worse than Chernobyl. “Although the Chernobyl reactor explosion was devastating, scattering the majority of its nuclear core across a wide swath of Europe, the Fukushima accident involved three reactors, which underwent meltdowns (or melt-throughs) and four spent-fuel pools that suffered damage. It will take years to measure the total release of radioactive materials into the environment from Fukushima, but we already know that that the immediate releases are now estimated as being twice as high as originally admitted. Some authoritative sources, using releases of radioactive Xenon as a marker, show that the amount of Fukushima Daiichi radioactive fuel that has been damaged/released could be several times that of the Chernobyl release. Another estimate has the equivalent of 168 Hiroshima bomb’s worth of Cesium have been released onto Japan.” – Dr. Andrew Kanter

MEDIA CONTACT: Ailis Aaron Wolf, +1 (703) 276-3265 or aawolf@hastingsgroup.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of a related news event will be available on the Web at http://www.nuclearbailout.org as of 3 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT on September 8, 2011.

What will it take to persuade us that nuclear power is NOT a safe option?

How many nuclear catastrophes, how many more radiation deaths, how many more cases of cancer, how much more territory made unlivable ? Investigative reporter Greg Palast know what he’s talking about, Please pay attention. –t.h.g.

The no-BS info on Japan’s disastrous nuclear operators

by Greg Palast
New York – March 14, 2011

I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations.

I don’t know the law in Japan, so I can’t tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.

But what will Obama plead?  The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas — by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners.  As if the Gulf hasn’t suffered enough.

Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven’t heard on CNN:

The failure of emergency systems at Japan’s nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.

Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called “SQ” or “Seismic Qualification.”  That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.

The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie.  The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York.  Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from ‘failed’ to ‘passed.’

The company that put in the false safety report?  Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction which will work with Tokyo Electric to build the Texas plant, Lord help us.

There’s more.

Last night I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps.

These safety back-up systems are the ‘EDGs’ in nuke-speak: Emergency Diesel Generators.  That they didn’t work in an emergency is like a fire department telling us they couldn’t save a building because “it was on fire.”

What dim bulbs designed this system?  One of the reactors dancing with death at Fukushima Station 1 was built by Toshiba.  Toshiba was also an architect of the emergency diesel system.

Now be afraid. Obama’s $4 billion bail-out-in-the-making is called the South Texas Project.  It’s been sold as a red-white-and-blue way to make power domestically with a reactor from Westinghouse, a great American brand.  However, the reactor will be made substantially in Japan by the company that bought the US brand name, Westinghouse — Toshiba.

I once had a Toshiba computer.  I only had to send it in once for warranty work.  However, it’s kind of hard to mail back a reactor with the warranty slip inside the box if the fuel rods are melted and sinking halfway to the earth’s core.

TEPCO and Toshiba don’t know what my son learned in 8th grade science class: tsunamis follow Pacific Rim earthquakes. So these companies are real stupid, eh?  Maybe.  More likely is that the diesels and related systems wouldn’t have worked on a fine, dry afternoon.

Back in the day, when we checked the emergency back-up diesels in America, a mind-blowing number flunked.  At the New York nuke, for example, the builders swore under oath that their three diesel engines were ready for an emergency. They’d been tested.  The tests were faked, the diesels run for just a short time at low speed.  When the diesels were put through a real test under emergency-like conditions, the crankshaft on the first one snapped in about an hour, then the second and third.  We nicknamed the diesels, “Snap, Crackle and Pop.”

(Note:  Moments after I wrote that sentence, word came that two of three diesels failed at the Tokai Station as well.)

In the US, we supposedly fixed our diesels after much complaining by the industry. But in Japan, no one tells Tokyo Electric to do anything the Emperor of Electricity doesn’t want to do.

I get lots of confidential notes from nuclear industry insiders.  One engineer, a big name in the field, is especially concerned that Obama waved the come-hither check to Toshiba and Tokyo Electric to lure them to America.  The US has a long history of whistleblowers willing to put themselves on the line to save the public. In our racketeering case in New York, the government only found out about the seismic test fraud because two courageous engineers, Gordon Dick and John Daly, gave our team the documentary evidence.

In Japan, it’s simply not done.  The culture does not allow the salary-men, who work all their their lives for one company, to drop the dime.

Not that US law is a wondrous shield:  both engineers in the New York case were fired and blacklisted by the industry.  Nevertheless, the government (local, state, federal) brought civil racketeering charges against the builders. The jury didn’t buy the corporation’s excuses and, in the end, the plant was, thankfully, dismantled.

Am I on some kind of xenophobic anti-Nippon crusade?  No.  In fact, I’m far more frightened by the American operators in the South Texas nuclear project, especially Shaw. Stone & Webster, now the Shaw nuclear division, was also the firm that conspired to fake the EDG tests in New York. (The company’s other exploits have been exposed by their former consultant, John Perkins, in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
If the planet wants to shiver, consider this:  Toshiba and Shaw have recently signed a deal to become world-wide partners in the construction of nuclear stations.

The other characters involved at the South Texas Plant that Obama is backing should also give you the willies.  But as I’m in the middle of investigating the American partners, I’ll save that for another day.

So, if we turned to America’s own nuclear contractors, would we be safe?  Well, two of the melting Japanese reactors, including the one whose building blew sky high, were built by General Electric of the Good Old US of A.

After Texas, you’re next.  The Obama Administration is planning a total of $56 billion in loans for nuclear reactors all over America.

And now, the homicides:

CNN is only interested in body counts, how many workers burnt by radiation, swept away or lost in the explosion.  These plants are now releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the statements that the “levels are not dangerous.”  These are the same people who said these meltdowns could never happen.  Over years, not days, there may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from cancers induced by this radiation.

In my New York investigation, I had the unhappy job of totaling up post-meltdown “morbidity” rates for the county government.   It would be irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will occur from these releases without further information; but it is just plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases are not dangerous.  Indeed, the fact that residents near the Japanese nuclear plants were not issued iodine pills to keep at the ready shows TEPCO doesn’t care who lives and who dies whether in Japan or the USA. The carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.

Heaven help us. Because Obama won’t.