Archive for the ‘Nuclear Crisis’ Category

More Nuclear Power is NOT the Answer to the Climate Crisis

September 14, 2014

Petition published by Tom Hayden on Sep 04, 2014
147 Signatures 

Target: Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
Region: GLOBAL

Petition Background (Preamble):

We believe that expanding the role of nuclear power may threaten the planet as surely as the global warming you seek to mitigate.

Fukushima alone demonstrates the risks of nuclear meltdowns even in a society based on science and advanced technology. The one hundreds plants in our country are terrorist targets.

There are no solutions in sight to nuclear waste disposal. The timelines for bringing new nuclear plants online exceed the UN’s call for rapid decarbonization. The estimated costs are staggering.

Petition:

We urge you to revise the recommendations of the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network to remove its advocacy of nuclear fission as a “solution” to the climate crisis. The accelerated development of nuclear power plants would only increase the course we are on to planetary catastrophe.

We urge you to develop an analytic model that includes the decommissioning of current nuclear plants as part of a transition to a future based on conservation, efficiency and renewable energy.

The More Nuclear Power is NOT the Answer to the Climate Crisispetition to Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network was written by Tom Hayden and is in the category Environment at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: , , , , , , ,

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Late Fukushima manager flagged risks of big nuclear plants

September 12, 2014

TOKYO —

The late manager of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant questioned the safety of large nuclear facilities, documents showed on Thursday, potentially affecting the debate over the restart of the world’s biggest nuclear power station.

Masao Yoshida, who led the emergency response at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi plant after the March 2011 nuclear disaster, told investigators five months later that facilities with six or seven reactors were difficult to operate and had inherent safety risks, according to transcripts released by the government.

His comments have implications for the debate over the world’s biggest power station, Kashiwazaki Kariwa, TEPCO’s only hope of reviving idled reactors as it faces a decades-long cleanup of Fukushima.

They also come a day after the Nuclear Regulation Authority said Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant in southwestern Japan had met safety requirements needed to restart, the first step to reopening the industry.

“When you’re talking about demerits, most other plants have four (reactors) at one site. I’ve always disliked dense location (of nuclear reactors),” Yoshida told investigators.

Yoshida cited Kashiwazaki Kariwa, a seven-reactor site in Niigata Prefecture, also run by TEPCO. The utility has struggled to win local support to restart that plant while it embarks on the decades-long shutdown of the Fukushima facility and faces the almost-certain closure of its nearby sister plant.

Yoshida, who died of cancer last year, was seen as a national hero for his decisive action and lack of regard for his personal safety after a massive earthquake and tsunami set off nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima.

The interview was contained in a release of hundreds of pages in transcripts of interviews, including with then-Prime Minister Naoto Kan, conducted in an investigation of the handling of the disaster.

The government has been under pressure to release the transcripts.

Yoshida said there had been “chaos” at the Kashiwazaki Kariwa site after a previous earthquake in northern Japan and added that grouping numerous nuclear reactors together made it far more difficult to operate.

“I thought it wasn’t very good from a risk-diversification standpoint, but (TEPCO) had already built this (Fukushima Daiichi) and Kashiwazaki, so I had to work within that (system),” he said.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2014.

DIABLO CANYON arcticle at EcoWatch

September 8, 2014

re-sending link to DIABLO CANYON arcticle at EcoWatch

A number of you have written to say the link to the EcoWatch article on Diablo Canyon did not work from my last letter to you.

Here it is again:

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/06/california-fukushima-diablo-nuclear/

For many of you, it did work.

But if it doesn’t work for you this time, please go to www.EcoWatch.com and click on my picture.

Sorry for any inconvenience.

We WILL shut these nukes….

See you in Solartopia….Harvey W.

SHUT CALIFORNIA’S FUKUSHIMA: DIABLO MUST GO! by Harvey Wasserman

September 6, 2014

Hello Everyone.

The situation at Diablo Canyon, California, is increasingly critical.

I will be starting a new petition within two weeks.

In the meantime, please read this article now posted at EcoWatch.  You might also listen to the radio show linked at the end of the piece.

I believe we can shut Diablo soon.  I hope and pray we can do it before the next quake.

Thank you so much for your time and commitment.

No Nukes/4 Solartopia…HarveyW

Here’s the link to the EcoWatch article:

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/06/california-fukushima-diablo-nuclear/

Major Earthquake Vulnerabilities at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Facilities

August 29, 2014

KARL GROSSMAN
NATIONOFCHANGE / NEWS ANALYSIS
Published: Wednesday 27 August 2014
Diablo Canyon nuclear plant is amid a webwork of earthquake faults. Should we be concerned of the great unknown?

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As aftershocks of the 6.0 Napa earthquake that occurred in California continued, the Associated Press this week revealed a secret government report pointing to major earthquake vulnerabilities at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plants which are a little more than 200 miles away and sitting amid a webwork of earthquake faults.

It’s apparent to any visitor to the stretch of California where the two Diablo Canyon plants are sited that it is geologically hot. A major tourist feature of the area: hot spas. “Welcome to the Avila Hot Springs,” declares the website of one, noting how “historic Avila Hot Springs” was “discovered in 1907 by at the time unlucky oil drillers and established” as a “popular visitor-serving natural artesian mineral hot springs.” www.avilahotsprings.com

Nevertheless, Pacific Gas & Electric had no problem in 1965 picking the area along the California coast, north of Avila Beach, as a location for two nuclear plants.

It was known that the San Andreas Fault was inland 45 miles away. Then, in 1971, with construction underway, oil company geologists discovered another earthquake fault, the Hosgri Fault, just three miles out in the Pacific from the plant site and linked to the San Andreas Fault.

In 2008 yet another fault was discovered, the Shoreline Fault­but 650 yards from the Diablo Canyon plants.

The Shoreline Fault, and concerns about the vulnerability of nuclear plants to earthquakes in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster, are integral to a 42-page report written by Dr. Michael Peck, for five years the lead inspector on-site for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at Diablo Canyon.

Peck’s report was obtained by the Associated Press, which has done excellent journalism in recent years investigating the dangers of nuclear power, and the AP issued a story Monday on the report.

In the report http://libcloud.s3.amazonaws.com/93/5a/8/4821/Diablo_Canyon_Seismic_DPO.pdf

Peck writes: “The new seismic information resulted in a condition outside of the bounds of the existing Diablo Canyon design basis and safety analysis. Continued reactor operation outside the bounds of the NRC approved safety analyses challenges the presumption of nuclear safety.”

He also states: “The Shoreline [Fault] Scenario results in SSC [acronym in the nuclear field for Structures, Systems and Components] seismic stress beyond the plant SSE [Safe Shutdown Earthquake] qualification basis. Exposure to higher levels of stress results in an increase[d] likelihood of a malfunction of SSCs. The change also increases the likelihood of a malfunction of SSCs important to safety…”

Peck notes that the “prevailing” NRC “staff view” is that “potential ground motions from the Shoreline fault are at or below those levels for which the plant was previously evaluated and demonstrated to have a ‘reasonable assurance of safety.’”

He disagrees and says that the NRC staff “also failed to address the Los Osos and San Luis Bay faults,” faults that the Shoreline Fault are seen as potentially interacting with, and that “new seismic information” concludes that “these faults were also capable of producing ground motions”

Also, he says: “The prevailing staff view that ‘operability’ may be demonstrated independent of existing facility design basis and safety analyses requirements establishes a new industry precedent. Power reactor licensees may apply this precedent to other nonconforming and unanalyzed conditions.”

“What’s striking about Peck’s analysis,” says the AP story, “is that it comes from within the NRC itself, and gives a rare look at a dispute within the agency. At issue are whether the plant’s mechanical guts could survive a big jolt, and what yardsticks should be used to measure the ability of the equipment to withstand the potentially strong vibrations that could result.”    http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/ap-exclusive-expert-calls-diablo-canyon-shutdown/ng8Tj/

The AP story also says, “Environmentalists have long depicted Diablo Canyon­the state’s last nuclear plant after the 2013 closure of the San Onofre reactors in Southern California­as a nuclear catastrophe in waiting. In many ways, the history of the plant, located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco…and within 50 miles of 500,000 people, has been a costly fight against nature, involving questions and repairs connected to its design and structural strength.”

Calling the Peck report “explosive,” the environmental group Friends of the Earth this week described it as having been “kept secret for a year.”

Said Damon Moglen, senior strategy advisor at Friends of the Earth: “Inspector Peck is the canary in the coal mine, warning us of a possible catastrophe at Diablo Canyon before it’s too late. We agree with him that Diablo Canyon is vulnerable to earthquakes and must be shut down immediately.”

Moglen said: “Given the overwhelming risk of earthquakes, federal and state authorities would never allow nuclear reactors on this site now. Are PG&E and the NRC putting the industry’s profits before the health and safety of millions of Californians.”

“Rather than the NRC keeping this a secret,” Moglen went on, “there must be a thorough investigation with public hearings to determine whether these reactors can operate safely.”

Peck is still with the NRC, a trainer at its Technical Training Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Michael Mariotte, president of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, commented Monday that in “plain English” what Peck’s report acknowledges is: “The NRC does not know whether Diablo Canyon could survive an earthquake, within the realm of the possible, at any of the faults around Diablo Canyon. And the reactors should shut down until the NRC does know one way or the other. Of course, if the reactors cannot survive a postulated earthquake, the obvious conclusion is that they must close permanently. The question is whether the NRC will ever act on Peck’s recommendation or whether the agency will continue to sit on it until after the next earthquake.”

Mariotte also says: “The irony is that this should have been the big news a year ago; Peck wrote his recommendation­in the form of a formal Differing Professional Opionion­in July 2013. And the NRC still hasn’t taken action or even responded to it.”

In his report Peck also states that the NRC is supposed to be committed to a “standard of safety” and “safety means avoiding undue risk or providing reasonable assurance of adequate protection for the public.”

Meanwhile, PG&E has not only been insisting that its Diablo Canyon plants are safe, despite the earthquake threat, but has filed with the NRC to extend the 40 year licenses given for their operations  another 20 years­to 2044 for Diablo Canyon 1 and to 2045 for Diablo Canyon 2.

An analysis done in 1982 by Sandia National Laboratories for the NRC, titled “Calculations for Reactor Accident Consequences 2,” evaluated the impacts of a meltdown with “breach of containment” at every nuclear plant in the U.S.­what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plants as a result of an earthquake. For the Diablo Canyon nuclear plants, it projected 10,000 “peak early fatalities” for each of the plants and $155 billion in property damages for Diablo Canyon 1 and $158 billion for Diablo Canyon 2­in 1980 dollars.

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ABOUT KARL GROSSMAN

 

Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury, is the author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and host of TV programs including “The Push to Revive Nuclear Power” and “Chernobyl: A Million Casualties” (www.envirovideo.com).

Why National Security Has Nothing to Do With Security

August 5, 2014

A photograph of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. (photo: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)
A photograph of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. (photo: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum)

By Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch

05 August 14

 

f some extraterrestrial species were compiling a history of Homo sapiens, they might well break their calendar into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era).  The latter era, of course, opened on August 6, 1945, the first day of the countdown to what may be the inglorious end of this strange species, which attained the intelligence to discover the effective means to destroy itself, but — so the evidence suggests — not the moral and intellectual capacity to control its worst instincts.

Day one of the NWE was marked by the “success” of Little Boy, a simple atomic bomb.  On day four, Nagasaki experienced the technological triumph of Fat Man, a more sophisticated design.  Five days later came what the official Air Force history calls the “grand finale,” a 1,000-plane raid — no mean logistical achievement — attacking Japan’s cities and killing many thousands of people, with leaflets falling among the bombs reading “Japan has surrendered.” Truman announced that surrender before the last B-29 returned to its base.

Those were the auspicious opening days of the NWE.  As we now enter its 70th year, we should be contemplating with wonder that we have survived.  We can only guess how many years remain.

Some reflections on these grim prospects were offered by General Lee Butler, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), which controls nuclear weapons and strategy.  Twenty years ago, he wrote that we had so far survived the NWE “by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion.”

Reflecting on his long career in developing nuclear weapons strategies and organizing the forces to implement them efficiently, he described himself ruefully as having been “among the most avid of these keepers of the faith in nuclear weapons.” But, he continued, he had come to realize that it was now his “burden to declare with all of the conviction I can muster that in my judgment they served us extremely ill.” And he asked, “By what authority do succeeding generations of leaders in the nuclear-weapons states usurp the power to dictate the odds of continued life on our planet? Most urgently, why does such breathtaking audacity persist at a moment when we should stand trembling in the face of our folly and united in our commitment to abolish its most deadly manifestations?”

He termed the U.S. strategic plan of 1960 that called for an automated all-out strike on the Communist world “the single most absurd and irresponsible document I have ever reviewed in my life.” Its Soviet counterpart was probably even more insane.  But it is important to bear in mind that there are competitors, not least among them the easy acceptance of extraordinary threats to survival.

Survival in the Early Cold War Years

According to received doctrine in scholarship and general intellectual discourse, the prime goal of state policy is “national security.”   There is ample evidence, however, that the doctrine of national security does not encompass the security of the population.  The record reveals that, for instance, the threat of instant destruction by nuclear weapons has not ranked high among the concerns of planners.  That much was demonstrated early on, and remains true to the present moment.

In the early days of the NWE, the U.S. was overwhelmingly powerful and enjoyed remarkable security: it controlled the hemisphere, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and the opposite sides of those oceans as well.  Long before World War II, it had already become by far the richest country in the world, with incomparable advantages.  Its economy boomed during the war, while other industrial societies were devastated or severely weakened.  By the opening of the new era, the U.S. possessed about half of total world wealth and an even greater percentage of its manufacturing capacity.

There was, however, a potential threat: intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.  That threat was discussed in the standard scholarly study of nuclear policies, carried out with access to high-level sources — Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years by McGeorge Bundy, national security adviser during the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies.

Bundy wrote that “the timely development of ballistic missiles during the Eisenhower administration is one of the best achievements of those eight years.  Yet it is well to begin with a recognition that both the United States and the Soviet Union might be in much less nuclear danger today if [those] missiles had never been developed.” He then added an instructive comment: “I am aware of no serious contemporary proposal, in or out of either government, that ballistic missiles should somehow be banned by agreement.”  In short, there was apparently no thought of trying to prevent the sole serious threat to the U.S., the threat of utter destruction in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union.

Could that threat have been taken off the table?  We cannot, of course, be sure, but it was hardly inconceivable.  The Russians, far behind in industrial development and technological sophistication, were in a far more threatening environment.  Hence, they were significantly more vulnerable to such weapons systems than the U.S.  There might have been opportunities to explore these possibilities, but in the extraordinary hysteria of the day they could hardly have even been perceived.  And that hysteria was indeed extraordinary.  An examination of the rhetoric of central official documents of that moment like National Security Council Paper NSC-68 remains quite shocking, even discounting Secretary of State Dean Acheson’s injunction that it is necessary to be “clearer than truth.”

One indication of possible opportunities to blunt the threat was a remarkable proposal by Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin in 1952, offering to allow Germany to be unified with free elections on the condition that it would not then join a hostile military alliance.  That was hardly an extreme condition in light of the history of the past half-century during which Germany alone had practically destroyed Russia twice, exacting a terrible toll.

Stalin’s proposal was taken seriously by the respected political commentator James Warburg, but otherwise mostly ignored or ridiculed at the time.  Recent scholarship has begun to take a different view.  The bitterly anti-Communist Soviet scholar Adam Ulam has taken the status of Stalin’s proposal to be an “unresolved mystery.” Washington “wasted little effort in flatly rejecting Moscow’s initiative,” he has written, on grounds that “were embarrassingly unconvincing.” The political, scholarly, and general intellectual failure left open “the basic question,” Ulam added: “Was Stalin genuinely ready to sacrifice the newly created German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the altar of real democracy,” with consequences for world peace and for American security that could have been enormous?

Reviewing recent research in Soviet archives, one of the most respected Cold War scholars, Melvyn Leffler, has observed that many scholars were surprised to discover “[Lavrenti] Beria — the sinister, brutal head of the [Russian] secret police — propos[ed] that the Kremlin offer the West a deal on the unification and neutralization of Germany,” agreeing “to sacrifice the East German communist regime to reduce East-West tensions” and improve internal political and economic conditions in Russia — opportunities that were squandered in favor of securing German participation in NATO.

Under the circumstances, it is not impossible that agreements might then have been reached that would have protected the security of the American population from the gravest threat on the horizon.  But that possibility apparently was not considered, a striking indication of how slight a role authentic security plays in state policy.

The Cuban Missile Crisis and Beyond

That conclusion was underscored repeatedly in the years that followed.  When Nikita Khrushchev took control in Russia in 1953 after Stalin’s death, he recognized that the USSR could not compete militarily with the U.S., the richest and most powerful country in history, with incomparable advantages.  If it ever hoped to escape its economic backwardness and the devastating effect of the last world war, it would need to reverse the arms race.

Accordingly, Khrushchev proposed sharp mutual reductions in offensive weapons.  The incoming Kennedy administration considered the offer and rejected it, instead turning to rapid military expansion, even though it was already far in the lead.  The late Kenneth Waltz, supported by other strategic analysts with close connections to U.S. intelligence, wrote then that the Kennedy administration “undertook the largest strategic and conventional peace-time military build-up the world has yet seen… even as Khrushchev was trying at once to carry through a major reduction in the conventional forces and to follow a strategy of minimum deterrence, and we did so even though the balance of strategic weapons greatly favored the United States.” Again, harming national security while enhancing state power.

U.S. intelligence verified that huge cuts had indeed been made in active Soviet military forces, both in terms of aircraft and manpower.  In 1963, Khrushchev again called for new reductions.  As a gesture, he withdrew troops from East Germany and called on Washington to reciprocate.  That call, too, was rejected. William Kaufmann, a former top Pentagon aide and leading analyst of security issues, described the U.S. failure to respond to Khrushchev’s initiatives as, in career terms, “the one regret I have.”

The Soviet reaction to the U.S. build-up of those years was to place nuclear missiles in Cuba in October 1962 to try to redress the balance at least slightly.  The move was also motivated in part by Kennedy’s terrorist campaign against Fidel Castro’s Cuba, which was scheduled to lead to invasion that very month, as Russia and Cuba may have known.  The ensuing “missile crisis” was “the most dangerous moment in history,” in the words of historian Arthur Schlesinger, Kennedy’s adviser and confidant.

As the crisis peaked in late October, Kennedy received a secret letter from Khrushchev offering to end it by simultaneous public withdrawal of Russian missiles from Cuba and U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey.  The latter were obsolete missiles, already ordered withdrawn by the Kennedy administration because they were being replaced by far more lethal Polaris submarines to be stationed in the Mediterranean.

Kennedy’s subjective estimate at that moment was that if he refused the Soviet premier’s offer, there was a 33% to 50% probability of nuclear war — a war that, as President Eisenhower had warned, would have destroyed the northern hemisphere.  Kennedy nonetheless refused Khrushchev’s proposal for public withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba and Turkey; only the withdrawal from Cuba could be public, so as to protect the U.S. right to place missiles on Russia’s borders or anywhere else it chose.

It is hard to think of a more horrendous decision in history — and for this, he is still highly praised for his cool courage and statesmanship.

Ten years later, in the last days of the 1973 Israel-Arab war, Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser to President Nixon, called a nuclear alert.  The purpose was to warn the Russians not to interfere with his delicate diplomatic maneuvers designed to ensure an Israeli victory, but of a limited sort so that the U.S. would still be in control of the region unilaterally.  And the maneuvers were indeed delicate.  The U.S. and Russia had jointly imposed a cease-fire, but Kissinger secretly informed the Israelis that they could ignore it.  Hence the need for the nuclear alert to frighten the Russians away.  The security of Americans had its usual status.

Ten years later, the Reagan administration launched operations to probe Russian air defenses by simulating air and naval attacks and a high-level nuclear alert that the Russians were intended to detect.  These actions were undertaken at a very tense moment.  Washington was deploying Pershing II strategic missiles in Europe with a five-minute flight time to Moscow.  President Reagan had also announced the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”) program, which the Russians understood to be effectively a first-strike weapon, a standard interpretation of missile defense on all sides.  And other tensions were rising.

Naturally, these actions caused great alarm in Russia, which, unlike the U.S., was quite vulnerable and had repeatedly been invaded and virtually destroyed. That led to a major war scare in 1983.   Newly released archives reveal that the danger was even more severe than historians had previously assumed.  A CIA study entitled “The War Scare Was for Real” concluded that U.S. intelligence may have underestimated Russian concerns and the threat of a Russian preventative nuclear strike.  The exercises “almost became a prelude to a preventative nuclear strike,” according to an account in the Journal of Strategic Studies.

It was even more dangerous than that, as we learned last September, when the BBC reported that right in the midst of these world-threatening developments, Russia’s early-warning systems detected an incoming missile strike from the United States, sending its nuclear system onto the highest-level alert.  The protocol for the Soviet military was to retaliate with a nuclear attack of its own.  Fortunately, the officer on duty, Stanislav Petrov, decided to disobey orders and not report the warnings to his superiors.  He received an official reprimand.  And thanks to his dereliction of duty, we’re still alive to talk about it.

The security of the population was no more a high priority for Reagan administration planners than for their predecessors.  And so it continues to the present, even putting aside the numerous near-catastrophic nuclear accidents that occurred over the years, many reviewed in Eric Schlosser’s chilling study Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. In other words, it is hard to contest General Butler’s conclusions.

Survival in the Post-Cold War Era

The record of post-Cold War actions and doctrines is hardly reassuring either.   Every self-respecting president has to have a doctrine.  The Clinton Doctrine was encapsulated in the slogan “multilateral when we can, unilateral when we must.” In congressional testimony, the phrase “when we must” was explained more fully: the U.S. is entitled to resort to “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.” Meanwhile, STRATCOM in the Clinton era produced an important study entitled “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence,” issued well after the Soviet Union had collapsed and Clinton was extending President George H.W. Bush’s program of expanding NATO to the east in violation of promises to Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev — with reverberations to the present.

That STRATCOM study was concerned with “the role of nuclear weapons in the post-Cold War era.” A central conclusion: that the U.S. must maintain the right to launch a first strike, even against non-nuclear states.  Furthermore, nuclear weapons must always be at the ready because they “cast a shadow over any crisis or conflict.” They were, that is, constantly being used, just as you’re using a gun if you aim but don’t fire one while robbing a store (a point that Daniel Ellsberg has repeatedly stressed).  STRATCOM went on to advise that “planners should not be too rational about determining… what the opponent values the most.”  Everything should simply be targeted. “[I]t hurts to portray ourselves as too fully rational and cool-headed… That the U.S. may become irrational and vindictive if its vital interests are attacked should be a part of the national persona we project.” It is “beneficial [for our strategic posture] if some elements may appear to be potentially ‘out of control,’” thus posing a constant threat of nuclear attack — a severe violation of the U.N. Charter, if anyone cares.

Not much here about the noble goals constantly proclaimed — or for that matter the obligation under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to make “good faith” efforts to eliminate this scourge of the earth.  What resounds, rather, is an adaptation of Hilaire Belloc’s famous couplet about the Maxim gun (to quote the great African historian Chinweizu):

“Whatever happens, we have got,

The Atom Bomb, and they have not.”

After Clinton came, of course, George W. Bush, whose broad endorsement of preventative war easily encompassed Japan’s attack in December 1941 on military bases in two U.S. overseas possessions, at a time when Japanese militarists were well aware that B-17 Flying Fortresses were being rushed off assembly lines and deployed to those bases with the intent “to burn out the industrial heart of the Empire with fire-bomb attacks on the teeming bamboo ant heaps of Honshu and Kyushu.” That was how the prewar plans were described by their architect, Air Force General Claire Chennault, with the enthusiastic approval of President Franklin Roosevelt, Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall.

Then comes Barack Obama, with pleasant words about working to abolish nuclear weapons — combined with plans to spend $1 trillion on the U.S. nuclear arsenal in the next 30 years, a percentage of the military budget “comparable to spending for procurement of new strategic systems in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan,” according to a study by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

Obama has also not hesitated to play with fire for political gain.  Take for example the capture and assassination of Osama bin Laden by Navy SEALs. Obama brought it up with pride in an important speech on national security in May 2013.  It was widely covered, but one crucial paragraph was ignored.

Obama hailed the operation but added that it could not be the norm.  The reason, he said, was that the risks “were immense.” The SEALs might have been “embroiled in an extended firefight.”  Even though, by luck, that didn’t happen, “the cost to our relationship with Pakistan and the backlash among the Pakistani public over encroachment on their territory was… severe.”

Let us now add a few details. The SEALs were ordered to fight their way out if apprehended.  They would not have been left to their fate if “embroiled in an extended firefight.”  The full force of the U.S. military would have been used to extricate them.  Pakistan has a powerful, well-trained military, highly protective of state sovereignty.  It also has nuclear weapons, and Pakistani specialists are concerned about the possible penetration of their nuclear security system by jihadi elements.  It is also no secret that the population has been embittered and radicalized by Washington’s drone terror campaign and other policies.

While the SEALs were still in the bin Laden compound, Pakistani Chief of Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was informed of the raid and ordered the military “to confront any unidentified aircraft,” which he assumed would be from India.  Meanwhile in Kabul, U.S. war commander General David Petraeus ordered “warplanes to respond” if the Pakistanis “scrambled their fighter jets.” As Obama said, by luck the worst didn’t happen, though it could have been quite ugly.  But the risks were faced without noticeable concern.  Or subsequent comment.

As General Butler observed, it is a near miracle that we have escaped destruction so far, and the longer we tempt fate, the less likely it is that we can hope for divine intervention to perpetuate the miracle.

 

More Radiation Exposure Won’t Hurt You, Says U.S. EPA

August 4, 2014

Three Mile Island. (photo: Joel Spangler/Business Insider)
Three Mile Island. (photo: Joel Spangler/Business Insider)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

03 August 14

<p

> “Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” means what?
he Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States is a full blown oxymoron when it comes to protecting U.S. residents from the danger of increased exposure to ionizing radiation. That’s the kind of radiation that comes from natural sources like Uranium and the sun, as well as unnatural sources like uranium mines, nuclear weapons, and nuclear power plants (even when they haven’t melted down like Fukushima). The EPA is presently considering allowing everyone in the U.S. to be exposed to higher levels of ionizing radiation.

In 1977, the EPA established levels of radiation exposure “considered safe” for people by federal rule (in bureaucratese, “the regulation at 40 CFR part 190”). In the language of the rule, the 1977 safety standards were: “The standards [that] specify the levels below which normal operations of the uranium fuel cycle are determined to be environmentally acceptable.” In common parlance, this became the level “considered safe,” even though that’s very different from “environmentally acceptable.” Acceptable by whom? The environment has no vote.

The phrase “considered safe” is key to the issue, since there is no “actually safe” level of radiation exposure. The planet was once naturally radioactive and lifeless. Life emerged only after Earth’s radiation levels decayed to the point where life became possible, in spite of a continuing level of natural “background radiation.” The reality is that there is no “safe” level of radiation exposure.

In January 2014, the EPA issued a very long proposal (in bureaucratese, an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking”) to consider raising the “safe” radiation levels established in 1977. According to the EPA, the proposal “does not propose revisions to the current regulation, but is being issued only to collect information to support EPA’s review.” The public comment period on the EPA proposal ­– titled “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” – has been extended to August 4, 2014.

Comments from the public may be submitted online at regulations.gov, by email via a-and-r-docket@epa.gov, as well as by hand, fax, or U.S. mail, all listed on-site.

Is the EPA actually immersed in a protection racket?

The studied ambiguity of the proposal’s title – “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” – goes to the heart of the issue: who or what is really being protected, nuclear power operations?

Quite aware that it is perceived by some as placing the desires of the nuclear power industry above the safety needs of the population, the EPA begins its proposal for changing radiation limits with this defensive and apparently contradictory passage:

This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is being published to inform stakeholders, including federal and state entities, the nuclear industry, the public and any interested groups, that the Agency is reviewing the existing standards to determine how the regulation at 40 CFR part 190 should be updated and soliciting input on changes (if any) that should be made.
This action is not meant to be construed as an advocacy position either for or against nuclear power. [emphasis added]

EPA wants to ensure that environmental protection standards are adequate for the foreseeable future for nuclear fuel cycle facilities.

As far as the EPA is concerned, the uranium fuel cycle does not include uranium mining, despite the serious environmental danger that process entails. Once the environmental and human degradation from uranium mining has been done, the EPA begins regulating environmental protection from nuclear fuel cycle facilities, beginning with milling and ending with storage or reprocessing facilities for nuclear waste.

According to the agency itself, “EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. EPA sets limits on the amount of radiation that can be released into the environment.”

Radiation exposure is chronic, cumulative, and unhealthy

Given the pre-existing radiation load on the environment from natural sources, it’s not clear that there is any amount of radiation that can be released into the environment with safety. The EPA pretty much evades that question, since the straightforward answer for human health is: no amount. Besides, the semi-captured protection agency is just as much engaged in protecting economic health for certain industries as it is in protecting human health. This leads it to making formulations that manage to acknowledge human reality without actually supporting it:

The Agency establishes certain generally applicable environmental standards to protect human health and the environment from radioactive materials.

These radioactive materials emit ionizing radiation, which can damage living tissue and cause cancer.

The EPA’s 1977 rules were promulgated in an era of optimism about the expansion of nuclear power in the U.S. Even the EPA was predicting 300 operating reactors within 20 years. In 1973, President Nixon had predicted 1,000 reactors by 2000.

In 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident happened, during which the reactor core partially melted down. The number of operating nuclear power plants has never risen much above 100 since then. The nuclear industry wants a relaxation of limits on radiation releases to stimulate new plant construction.

Lower radiation levels provide more environmental protection

Environmental organizations like the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) are urging the EPA to lower radiation release standards, to “protect more, not less.” According to NIRS, regulation of nuclear power has a sorry history:

Nuclear power operations that release radioactivity have been given an enormous “free pass” to expose communities (and the biosphere) to levels of radiation that are too high. When converted to RISK of cancer, the current regulation allows harm 2000 times higher than the EPA’s stated goal of allowing only 1 cancer in a million from licensed activities. Even using EPA’s more lax allowable risk level of 1 in 10,000 current EPA radiation regulations allow 20 times higher than that.

Nuclear proponents have long argued that there are “safe” levels of radiation, or even that some radiation exposure is good for you. What “safe” actually means in this context is that there are low levels of radiation that will take a long time to cause harm (cancer, genetic damage) and that in the meantime the odds are close to 100% that you will die from some other cause.

In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences addressed “safe” levels of radiation and concluded that there are none in any scientifically meaningful sense.

Humans are exposed to a basic, damaging level of ionizing radiation from multiple sources from gestation till death. This natural background radiation is at a relatively low level, but the risk from radiation is cumulative. Every additional exposure above background radiation adds to the risk. Some of these risks, like radiation treatment to ward off cancer, are widely accepted as reasonable trade-offs. The reasonableness of greater exposure from the nuclear fuel cycle and the uncontrolled growth of nuclear waste is not such an obviously beneficial trade-off.


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.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, a lesson in manipulation of the truth.

July 24, 2014
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Sci Tech 7/23/2014 at 11:57:33

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opednews.com

Image courtesy of TBS News bird

A recent court ruling in Japan, Fukui District Court’s landmark ruling on May 21, has brought into question the justification for taking the risks associated with nuclear power.

The ruling states that the risks of earthquake-safety planning concerning nuclear reactors are impossible to measure because the science of earthquake prediction today is not able to allow for the risk of damage to nuclear power plants.

As we can see by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, these risks are and have been seriously underestimated. Even so, the Japanese nuclear corporations are still trying to claim that they can allow for any possible future disaster.

Risk assessment is a core part of any project and it takes into account the profit and other benefits of having a nuclear plant and this is balanced against the social, health and environmental issues.

For a corporation the profit element is the most important as the corporations need to be able to show profits to their shareholders whilst local community and other interested NGOs would normally voice the issues and risks from a social, health and environmental point of view.

Court ruling puts a spanner in the works

AJW.ASAHI.COM reported these facts on the May 21, 2014;

“…An anti-nuclear citizens’ network has translated a Japanese court’s ruling blocking the restarts of two reactors into English, Korean and Chinese to spread the ‘universal values’ of the judgment.

“Part of the translated ruling says: ‘this court considers national wealth to be the rich land and the people’s livelihoods that have taken root there, and that being unable to recover these is the true loss of national wealth.

“…The ruling also says, ‘the operation of nuclear power plants as one means of producing electricity is legally associated with freedom of economic activity and has a lower ranking in the Constitution than the central tenet of personal rights.

“…Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai, who heads a network of plaintiff groups demanding the abolishment of nuclear energy, said it is ‘extremely rare’ for a Japanese court ruling other than in patent cases to be translated into foreign languages.

“The ruling has resonated with people around the world because it declared universal values by placing priority on the lives of people over the merits of nuclear energy, Kawai said….”

“English translation of the epoch-making Japanese court verdict issuing an injunction against restart of Japan’s nuclear power plants Ohi Units 3 and 4.

“On May 21, 2014, the Fukui District Court in Japan issued a scathing indictment against restart of the Ohi Nuclear Power Plant owned and operated by the second largest electric utility in Japan.
The injunction against the plant is epoch-making because it addresses generic issues applicable to nuclear power plants worldwide.”

English translation of summary now available.

Translation: Greenpeace / Cooperation: Green Action

https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/fukui-urteil-03072014_0.pdf

Kyushu Electric Power fights back regardless

Kyushu Electric power has recently managed to get a ruling from the NRA to restart 2 of its 4 nuclear-reactor units. However, there are some problems with this ruling aside from the Ohi nuclear plant ruling mentioned above.

There are problems with the safety of this nuclear site such as the evacuation plan for the 30,000 residents, in the case of a nuclear incident.

“The (evacuation) plan itself is very sloppy, just slotting bits and pieces into a manual without giving any consideration to the special features of the area,” said Zenyu Niga.

http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/30/us-japan-nuclear-evacuation-idINKBN0F513N20140630

The volcanic issue ignored

Also, aside from earthquake threats there is an issue with volcanoes with this nuclear plant. In fact there was a large eruption in 2013 at a local volcano reported here;

http://nuclear-news.net/2013/05/30/5302013-volcano-sakurajima-erupts-large-eruption-of-lavaash-in-south-japan/

Apart from a number of calderas, Sakurajima, an active volcano, is just 50 Km away and a scientist said, “No-one believes that volcanic risks have been adequately discussed,” said Setsuya Nakada, a professor of volcanology at the University of Tokyo, who advised officials when they were forming regulatory guidelines for monitoring volcanoes.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/04/us-japan-nuclear-volcano-idUSKBN0EE2BF20140604

Image courtesy of Christina mac Phearson

The manipulation of safety agencies who wish to ignore the court ruling

Kunihiko Shimazaki, who was one of the members of the post-Fukushima formed NRA that was supposed to oversee a new safety regime, was recently replaced. An executive of the Kyushu Electric Power Co said that “Shimazaki made us suffer,” and on “May 14, executives of the Kansai Economic Federation and Kyushu Economic Federation met with Katsuhiko Ikeda, the NRA secretary-general.”

Then “Yasuhisa Shiozaki, the deputy policy chief, openly criticised Shimazaki when he said, “While it is acceptable to have seismologists on the NRA, the same cannot be said for someone who knows absolutely nothing about nuclear energy.”

These three quotes were reported here:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/politics/AJ201405280023

Shimazaki was then replaced, leaving the NRA without a seismology expert for at least the next 5 years.

A financial problem exists

Concerning the issue of profitability Moodys of Japan KK reported that even if the Kyushu Sendai plant did start the 2 reactors, “The current tariff, implemented in May last year, is based on four of the company’s nuclear power plants being operational — so even if two reactors are restarted Kyushu will still not be able to return to profitability,” Kazusada Hirose, vice president of Moody’s Japan K.K.

Full article here:

http://interfaxenergy.com/gasdaily/article/11395/kyushus-nuclear-restart-is-not-enough

Social, environmental and economic manipulation.

Half the population of the local town have voted to reject the local plant even though there is no alternative funding for other infrastructure to stimulate business unconnected to the nuclear industry. A video from an independent media company shows this clearly and shows how the nuclear company uses money to buy its way. That short video can be seen here (Reporting by Hitomi Yagi from TBS News Bird):

http://nuclear-news.net/2014/07/17/secai-nuclear-plant-with-five-active-volcanoes-deemed-safe-and-a-problem-with-fish-die-offs/

In the video, we see that there are many social and economic impacts caused by the nuclear plant, such as the possible loss of fishing grounds if another reactor is to be built on reclaimed land and how bribes to fishermen with compensation payments are used to achieve this. We also see the desperation of business needing customers because no other infrastructure projects have been put in place these last 3 years or so resulting in economic hardship and the local community being split apart.

Image courtesy of TBS News Bird

There is even a statement from a local in the video mentioned above, that increasing amount of “fish have been dying for the last five years” and we see some evidence of that, I wonder if that is why the fishermen are so ready to accept the compensation for the loss of their fishing grounds?

Summary

It is obvious that local government, national government and nuclear industry has contrived to fully manipulate the situation in this and other areas to the benefit of the nuclear industry and to the detriment of peoples safety, financial security and to the quality of the environment. It is obvious that the Sendai Kyushu reactor will be opened no matter the dangers involved.

(Article changed on July 24, 2014 at 01:41)

Full article here;

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201405210079

The Green Action Japan website has this to say:

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I have been researching the issues concerning the nuclear industry and associated social impacts since the nuclear disaster in the Fukushima prefecture in Japan in march 2011. my interests in this field cover the technical aspects concerning (more…)

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‘Puzzling’ quake hits next to NYC-area nuclear plant

July 9, 2014

ENENews


Newly released data shows 4,000% more radioactive material in Fukushima groundwater than Tepco claimed — 39 billion Bq/m³ in sample from shoreline… after going through filtration process — Results not made public until almost a year later (VIDEO)

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 04:28 PM PDT

‘Puzzling’ quake hits next to NYC-area nuclear plant — “Not along any known fault lines” — Many reports of ‘loud boom’ echoing through area — Residents ‘startled into streets’ — Professor: “They tend to come in bursts… I’m concerned, let’s put it that way… Significant hazard… We don’t understand why these occur” (AUDIO)

Posted: 08 Jul 2014 08:25 AM PDT

NBC stations reveal nuclear workers suffering severe brain damage, dementia — Toxic waste raining down from sky, …, teeth falling out

June 7, 2014

ENENews


NBC stations reveal nuclear workers suffering severe brain damage, dementia — Toxic waste raining down from sky, wore baseball caps for protection — Brains being eaten away, teeth falling out — Workers raising safety issues framed using false evidence, fired — Gov’t not allowed in to investigate (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 02:30 PM PDT

Japan TV: Gov’t officials discover nuclear material flowing into ground at Fukushima; Releases thought to be ongoing for months — Expert: “No end” to problems with radioactive waste at plant; Public does not trust what they are being told (VIDEO)

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 08:17 AM PDT


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