Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

As Costs of Disaster Keep Rising, State Ownership of Tepco Continues

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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Tokyo says Tepco may stay nationalized to deal with massive cost of nuclear disaster

Faced with massive ongoing costs stemming from the 2011 nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. may remain under state control longer than initially planned, the government said Monday.

Under the current plan, the utility would gradually reduce government involvement in its management from April.

However, at a key panel meeting the government proposed a revised option in light of the huge compensation and decommissioning expenses that are involved.

The government leads the business operations of the utility, known as Tepco, acquiring 50.1 percent of its voting rights through the state-backed Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp.

Some ministry bureaucrats have also been dispatched to the utility.

It is understood the state-backed body will assess efforts to reform the company in late March and make a decision on whether to reduce state…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NRA blasts Tokai nuclear facility ahead of dismantling plan

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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The Tokai spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Tokai, a village in Ibaraki Prefecture

TOKAI, Ibaraki Prefecture–Drums of nuclear waste are stacked in disarray within a storage pool containing unidentified floating objects. Wires in the pool are feared entangled, and containers are believed corroded, possibly leaking radioactive substances. And highly toxic liquid waste remains untreated in a potentially explosive state.

After years of apparent mismanagement, the Tokai spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant is a jumbled mess, as the operator, Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), prepares for the Herculean task of shutting down the facility.

The circumstances at the plant in this village northeast of Tokyo has raised concerns about the JAEA’s ability to dismantle it.

A situation far from appropriate has been allowed to continue at the plant,” said an official of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, the nation’s nuclear watchdog. “Not only the JAEA, but also the former Science…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima reactor N° 3 briefly loses cooling during inspection

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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TOKYO — One of the melted reactors at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant had a temporary loss of cooling Monday when a worker accidentally bumped a switch while passing through a narrow isle of switch panels during an inspection and turned off the pumping system.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said cooling for the No. 3 reactor, one of the three that melted following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, was out for nearly an hour before a backup pump kicked in.

The reactor had enough water left inside and there was no temperature increase or radiation leak from the incident, TEPCO spokesman Yuichi Okamura said at a news conference.

Even though there was no radiation leak or overheating of the core, or any injuries, the incident was a reminder that Fukushima’s decommissioning work is running on a very fragile system.

The plant was largely running on makeshift…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nitrogen pollution: the forgotten element of climate change

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  Living downstream from an active farm, I have witnessed the deadly impact of nitrogen fertilizer runoff first hand (more here). The authors of the article below point out that global warming will increase the need for nitrogen fertilizer which itself fuels global warming–giving us another nasty positive feedback loop. Increasing nitrogen use in food production gives us another reason to focus on family planning and population reduction while we might still control the process.

“While carbon pollution gets all the headlines for its role in climate change, nitrogen pollution is arguably a more challenging problem. Somehow we need to grow more food to feed an expanding population while minimising the problems associated with nitrogen fertiliser use.

“In Europe alone, the environmental and human health costs of nitrogen pollution are estimated to be 70 to 320 billion euros per year.

Food & Agriculture – Green beans: why pulses…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s voluntary evacuees

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

gc3a8ghkl.jpgA citizens’ group supporting the people in Fukushima Prefecture who have fled from their homes in the wake of the March 2011 nuclear disaster has submitted a petition to the Diet with nearly 200,000 signatures asking for the continuation of public housing assistance for the evacuees. The prefectural government announced last year that it plans at the end of next March to terminate the assistance for people who voluntarily left their homes. However, most such evacuees have yet to find new residences.

Halting the housing assistance will place a heavy financial burden on low-income evacuees. Fears also persist over the radioactive contamination in the areas where they lived before the nuclear crisis. Not only the prefecture but the national government, which pays for a large portion of the assistance, should rethink the decision.

As of July, some 89,000 Fukushima people continued to live away from their homes — 48,000 inside…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Climate change hurting small farmers #auspol

jpratt27

By Agnes Kalibata

Rising temparatures, crop failure, loss of livelihoods and destitution in millions of households impact smallholder farmers across Africa’s agro-ecological landscapes.


To illustrate the unfolding crisis, let us consider the case of Malawi, one of the few countries to have achieved a fair deal of agricultural success but is now facing the worst drought in over three decades.

As is the case with many countries in southern Africa, Malawi has experienced widespread crop failures due to a devastatingly strong El Niño.


The country witnessed late on-set of rains, erratic rainfall, floods and prolonged dry spells. As a result, the production of maize is estimated at just over 2.5 million tonnes in 2016.
This is 16 per cent lower than the reduced harvest in 2015 and 34 percent below the previous five year average, leaving 39 percent of the population dependent on national and international food aid to survive.

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Silent Voices”: what is really to be living within the Fukushima disaster

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

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This Sunday, December 4th, 2016, I was invited to the premiere of a documentary film, produced by a couple, Lucas Rue, the french husband, and his Japanese wife Chiho Sato, from Fukushima.

Their documentary film titled “Les voies silencieuses” (The silent voices) in my humble opinion is definitely the best documentary film I have seen about the Fukushima catastrophe.

First because this documentary was made, written, directed by someone who is native of Fukushima. Only a person from Fukushima could penetrate in such manner the social fabric of the Fukushima people, to bring out the inner perspective of what the Fukushima people are living right now. An outsider, Japanese not from Fukushima or a foreigner could never penetrate the intimacy, the reserve of the people in such manner that Chiho Sato did.

Second, this film exposes very well the left unsaid things and the paradoxes in which the…

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December 6, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To promote mining (especially uranium) Australian government trashed the reputation of Aboriginal people

Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory

And even in 2009 when the CEO of the Australian Crime Commission, John Lawler, reported that his investigation had shown there were no organised paedophile rings operating in the NT, no formal apology was ever made to the Aboriginal men and their families who were brutally shamed by the false claims.

text-from-the-archivesSixth Anniversary of the Northern Territory Intervention – Striking the Wrong Note Lateral Love Australia‘concerned Australians’ Michele Harris, 21 June 13 Aboriginal advocate Olga Havnen, in her Lowitja O’Donoghue oration has asked a critical question. She asks what has been the psychological impact of the Intervention on Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. It is surprising that so little attention has been given to this critical, yet in some ways tenuous, link before now.

Even before the Intervention began in June 2007, government had long planned a new approach to the ‘management’ of Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It was no longer part of government thinking that self-determination and Aboriginal control over land could be allowed to continue. These were the Whitlam notions of 1975 and they were no longer acceptable.

Early inklings of change occurred in 2004 with the management of grants being transferred from communities to Government’s newly established Indigenous Co-ordination Centres. More ominous were the Amendments of 2006 to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the memoranda of agreements that followed. Government had made it clear that it wished to re-engage itself more directly in the control of community land through leasing options as well as to open up Aboriginal land for development and mining purposes.

The plan was to empty the homelands, and this has not changed. However, it was recognised that achieving this would be politically fraught – it would need to be accomplished in a manner that would not off-side mainstream Australia. Removing Aboriginal people from their land and taking control over their communities would need to be presented in a way that Australians would believe it to be to Aboriginal advantage, whatever the tactics.

So began the campaign to discredit the people and to publicly stigmatise Aboriginal men of the Northern Territory. Continue reading

December 5, 2016 Posted by | aboriginal issues, history, reference | Leave a comment

Finkel review of the National Electricity Market – an opportunity to learn from Germany

The terms of reference for the Finkel review recognise the need to integrate energy and climate policy in Australia.

What can Australia learn from Germany’s remarkable energy transition?, https://theconversation.com/what-can-australia-learn-from-germanys-remarkable-energy-transition-69648 The Conversation, December 5, 2016 The Australian government is reviewing our electricity market to make sure it can provide secure and reliable power in a rapidly changing world. Faced with the rise of renewable energy and limits on carbon pollution, The Conversation has asked experts what kind of future awaits the grid.


The Finkel review of the National Electricity Market is an opportunity to consider how Australia can transition its electricity system to be less carbon-intensive.

Germany’s energy transition is often held up as an incredible success story. Starting from a sector relying predominantly on fossil fuels and nuclear energy in the 1990s, renewable energy now provides about 30% of Germany’s electricity.

Germany is on track to achieve its 80% renewable target by 2050. This transformation has been the result of a range of policy measures.

The depth and breadth of these legal and regulatory reforms can provide valuable lessons for Australia. Continue reading

December 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, politics | Leave a comment

For Belarus, the tragedy of Chernobyl is not over, but just beginning

Exiled scientist: ‘Chernobyl is not finished, it has only just begun’ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/04/17/nuclear-exile-chernobyl-30th-anniversary/82896510/ YURY BANDAZHEVSKY DETAILED CHERNOBYL’S DEVASTATING IMPACT ON PEOPLE’S HEALTH, PARTICULARLY THAT OF CHILDREN, IN BELARUS. NOW HE LIVES IN EXILE WHILE THE GOVERNMENT INSISTS “EVERYTHING’S OK.”

Chernobyl through the eyes of an artist

Kim Hjelmgaard , USA TODAY Yury Bandazhevsky, 59, was the first scientist in Belarus to establish an institute to study Chernobyl’s impact on people’s health, particularly children, near the city of Gomel, about 120 miles over the border from Ukraine. He was arrested in Belarus in 1999 and sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly taking bribes from parents trying to get their children admitted to his Gomel State Medical Institute. He denied the charges.

The National Academy of Sciences and Amnesty International say he was detained for his outspoken criticism of Belarus’ public health policies following the nuclear disaster. He was released in 2005 and given French citizenship, after rights groups took up his case along with the European Union, Britain, France and Germany. He now runs a medical and rehabilitation center outside Kiev dedicated to studying and caring for Chernobyl’s victims.

Here are his words, edited and condensed for clarity: 

KIEV, Ukraine — If you were told that a lot is already known in Ukraine and Belarus about what Chernobyl has done to these countries, than I can tell you that you are wrong. How can I put it? It is only after 30 years that we are starting to see the real impact. We can say for sure that Belarus was affected more. There was more radioactive fallout there. The doses the general population received were huge. My students and colleagues and I observed it when I arrived in Gomel in 1990 to organize the medical institute (now a university).

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At the first, we were observing the effects of the large doses because Gomel was located in the epicenter of this high level of contamination. Then we started to look at the accumulation of radioactive elements in internal organs at lower doses, children’s in particular. We were already seeing a complex pathology affecting the endocrine system (which produces hormones), the cardiovascular system and almost all the internal organs. This was work that had never been done in Belarus and has not been done since.

When I arrived in Ukraine in 2009, I did not find any serious objective source of information about the state of health of the children and people in the Ivankiv and Polesskiy regions (two areas that neighbor Chernobyl). There was no interest. We have now examined about 4,000 second-generation children and most of them have serious problems with their cardiovascular systems. I was starting to see the same thing in Belarus before I left. I am especially disturbed by irregularities I see in teenagers, in particular boys ages 12-17.

Several million people in Ukraine live on land contaminated by radiation, so we need to evaluate a very large number of people. But there are no such projects. You have to live among the people here to truly understand what is happening, because the problem is very complicated. I have even tried to send interested people to the cemetery in Ivankiv so they can see for themselves how many graves are there — many who died at a very young age. None of this is in the official statistics.

I don’t have any objective information about what is happening now with the health of children in Belarus. Everything is closed. The government says, ‘Everything’s OK, everything’s OK.’ But I get telephone calls from people in Gomel and they tell me that many of the children we were observing before I left have died. They were of different ages: 6, 12, 14. I will never forget appearing on television in Belarus with the president (Alexander Lukashenko). I was saying we were seeing very serious problems in children because of radiation, while he was saying ‘Everything’s OK.’ But I can’t touch this, because I can’t go there, or work there.

For me, the problem of Chernobyl is not finished, it has only just begun.

I am very much afraid that in one or two generations from now, the (descendants) of the population of Belarus and Ukraine that were affected by Chernobyl will vanish. I am afraid of that very much. I don’t want my countrymen to perish. It’s possible that help from the international community to understand what is going on is needed now, just as much as it was immediately after the accident.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Australian Labor govt clings to its nuclear waste dream

Weatherill,-Jay-wastesNuclear roadblock warning but door still open, says Tom Kenyon http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-roadblock-warning-but-door-still-open-says-tom-kenyon/news-story/e19a89bfb94a87bbe14d2a18d082da0a Adam Langenberg, Political reporter, The Advertiser November 15, 2016 A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN high level nuclear facility looks further off into the distant future after one of its most strident backers outlined a series of roadblocks before a statewide referendum could be held.
One of the first backers of a high level facility, Mr Kenyon told the Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle the plan was not dead, but said a referendum would be “quite a long time away” due to the bulk of information required.

“I think if you go to a population with a vague question, should we have a nuclear waste facility in SA, to be honest I think the result of that referendum would be not much better than what we saw from the Citizens Jury,” Mr Kenyon said.

“If it was ever going to happen firstly it would need bipartisan support to at least continue those investigations and continue discussions.

Then you would need to have quite a lot of information, and I would suspect you would need to know how much you were going to get paid and how much it was going to cost you to store and to know that you almost certainly need to know a site and you would need to have most likely an agreement of a community around a site.”

Asked if the Government could expect support of the Parliament to continue those discussions, Mr Kenyon responded “not at the moment”.

Liberal Treasury spokesman Rob Lucas, the first opposition MP to publicly air concerns about the proposal, told the conference the economic risks were “too great”.

   He also criticised Mr Weatherill’s decision to ever put the proposal before a Citizens Jury.

“I always thought it was a naive and ill informed view that you would ever get majority support, whether it be from a Citizens Jury or any other process.

“Frankly if you were going to take on this particular challenge it was going to be an issue of leadership where ultimately the government of the day and the Parliament would have to say, we think it’s in the best interests of South Australia and even though there’s a majority view against it; we’re prepared to support it in terms of the public interest.” http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/nuclear-roadblock-warning-but-door-still-open-says-tom-kenyon/news-story/e19a89bfb94a87bbe14d2a18d082da0a

December 5, 2016 Posted by | politics, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

Australia’s dangerous uranium deal with India

India-uranium1Papering the cracks: Australia’s dangerous uranium deal with India https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/papering-the-cracks-australias-dangerous-uranium-deal-with-india,9803   5 December 2016, Thanks to new legislation, Australian uranium mining corporations are now free to be irresponsible without fear of legal recourse. Dave Sweeney reports.

LATE ON THE LAST NIGHT of the last sitting of Federal Parliament for season 2017, Australia’s two major parties passed a new law that is civil by name, but it is desperately uncivil in nature.

The Indian Civil Nuclear Transfers Act exists to provide certainty to Australian uranium producers who want to sell the controversial product to India.

In 2015, a detailed investigation by the Federal Parliament’s treaties committee found there were serious and unresolved nuclear safety, security and governance issues with the proposed sales plan. It also found a high level of legal uncertainty.

Expert witnesses, including Australian National University professor of international law Don Rothwell and former senior Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office (ASNO) director general John Carlson, also highlighted that the plan was in conflict with both Australian domestic law and existing international treaty provisions, most notably the South Pacific Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty…….

So Australian uranium miners, who supplied the product that directly fuelled Fukushima, are now legally covered from any challenge over a highly contested plan to sell to India.

This move highlights the extent and the risks of the Coalition Government’s preoccupation with ending civil society access to legal recourse. Further, fast-tracking legal favours to provide industry certainty simply highlights how profoundly uncertain this industry is.

Following Fukushima, the global uranium market has crashed, as has the value of uranium stocks. Uranium operations are on hold; extended care and maintenance are well behind planning schedules and prices, profits and employment numbers have gone south.

IBIS Worlds March 2015 market report said only 987 people are employed in Australia’s uranium industry. Few jobs and dollars, considerable damage at home and escalating risk abroad.

The fragile economics of the uranium sector make it understandable that the industry is pushing for every potential market but fail to explain why our Federal Government is so intent on trying to pick winners with a sector that is clearly losing. Sadly and unreasonably, the India uranium deal has become seen as a litmus test for bilateral relations.

Talk of a massive surge in exports is fanciful, and promoting Australian uranium as the answer to Indian energy poverty is more convenient than credible. Political proponents of the trade are driven less by substance than style — the symbolism of Australia and India on the same page and open for business.

In a telling reference, the recent review of the new law highlighted the importance of the ‘foreign policy backdrop to Australia’s nuclear trade with India‘.

Sending political signals through trade is not unusual, but to do so by ignoring substantive warning signals is unwise. When those warnings and that trade relate to nuclear materials, it is deeply irresponsible.

Buttressing flawed trade deals with bolt-on legislative exemptions is poor policy and practice, and while all trades have trade-offs, this one risks far too much.

December 5, 2016 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian uranium mining companies going down the gurgler?

burial.uranium-industryWriting on the wall for Paladin Energy Ltd, The Motley Fool,  Mike King – December 1, 2016 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) faces the prospect of being unable to repay US$212 million due in April 2017 and being forced into liquidation.

The troubled company has seen its share price slump more than 65% this year alone. The planned sale of 24% of its Langer Heinrich Mine (LHM) to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings (COUH) for US$175 million appears unlikely to complete before the end of 2016. Now Paladin has been forced to consider other ‘contingencies’ to repay the 2017 convertible bonds.

Not only that but Paladin also needs to raise working capital as it struggles to generate positive cash flow with uranium prices trading under US$20 per pound – the lowest prices in more than 12 years. As Paladin admits, that’s a level that no producer in the world can sustainably break even, and most producers are experiencing negative cash flows.

That’s a long way away from Paladin’s all-in cash expenditure of extracting uranium of US$38.75 per pound (lb). Even the company’s C1 cash costs of US$25.88/lb are well above the spot price of uranium. Paladin is forecasting all-in costs of around US$30/lb for the 2017 financial year, but it’s clear that even at that level, the company is going backwards.

Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX: ERA), majority owned by Rio Tinto Limited(ASX: RIO) faces a similar prospect to Paladin and is likely to shut up shop in 2021, once it has finished processing stockpiles at its Ranger uranium mine.

The problem for uranium miners around the world is that since the Fukushima nuclear incident in 2011, uranium prices have steadily fallen from above US$60/lb to its current price under US$20/lb……

Paladin faces the prospect of sinking into administration unless it can find a white knight willing to take a minority stake in its mine – or make an outright bid for the whole company.

That appears highly unlikely.  http://www.fool.com.au/2016/12/01/writing-on-the-wall-for-paladin-energy-ltd/

 

 

December 5, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Toro Energy, uranium miner, CEO Vanessa Guthrie chucks away the poisoned uranium chalice

Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3Toro Energy rings in the changes at the top as Dr Vanessa Guthrie departs http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/169921/toro-energy-rings-in-the-changes-at-the-top-as-dr-vanessa-guthrie-departs-169921.html

 05 Dec 2016 Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) has outlined this morning that long-serving managing director, Dr Vanessa Guthrie, will depart the company immediately. Toro’s flagship asset is the Wiluna Uranium Project.

The Centipede and Lake Way deposits being the first Western Australian uranium deposits to secure state and federal government environmental approvals and agreement with the Traditional Owners, the Wiluna People.

Toro Energy Ltd valued at A$0.07 per share by broker   [Doesn’t sound too good, does it?]01 Sep 2016 Dundee Capital Markets noted: “We recommend Toro Energy as a NEUTRAL and maintain our target price at A$0.07, based on a 0.8x multiple applied to our 10% DCF estimate.”…..http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au/companies/news/165280/toro-energy-ltd-valued-at-a007-per-share-by-broker-70782.html

December 5, 2016 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Indigenous peoples lead the climate movement

‘Lock the Gate’ campaign opposing fracking in Gippsland and NSW, between farmers, environmentalists and Indigenous custodians.

Anti-racist solidarities are changing before our eyes at the #NODAPL Standing Rock protest camp. Race formations are morphing into global Indigenous resistance networks.

the resistance by those first and worst impacted – Indigenous peoples – has placed them on the front line, from where we must credit them as leading this struggle on behalf of the living.

We owe them, yet again.

indigenous

The Climate Movement Is Indigenous-led https://newmatilda.com/2016/12/02/the-climate-movement-is-indigenous-led/By  on December 2, 2016  Dr Liz Conor pays tribute to the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and Indigenous people the world over who are leading the fight for climate action.

In 1923, Iroquois chief Deskaheh travelled to Geneva to present the grievances of his Six Nations people. Although he was officially ignored, he brought about two seismic shifts on the world stage: He appealed to them as the representative of a sovereign domestic state, and in doing so he forged a shared global identification for all native peoples – Indigenous. Continue reading

December 4, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment