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Nuclear weapons deal with US renewed in secret, UK confirms via The Guardian

The British government has just published amendments updating a treaty that goes to the heart of the UK’s special relationship with the US.

They relate to the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) first signed in 1958, which, according to the government, enables the UK and the US “nuclear warhead communities to collaborate on all aspects of nuclear deterrence including nuclear warhead design and manufacture”.

One amendment refers to potential threats from “state or non-state actors”. But the amendments are for the most part arcane and their significance cannot be understood in the absence of information which is kept secret.

The MDA does not have to be debated or voted on in parliament, as I have remarked before. Though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.

Yet the matters covered by the treaty, which is renewed only at 10 year intervals, are hugely important. Successive British governments have made clear a proper debate on the issues involved would not be welcome.

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小渕氏辞任:福島避難者「経産相は仮設で1週間は過ごせ」via 毎日新聞

◇「期待してないから失望なし」「期待してた…正直がっかり」

 「大臣になる人は、1週間でいいから仮設住宅で過ごしてほしい」。廃炉作業を担う経済産業省トップ、小渕優子氏の辞任に、福島県内の原発事故の避難者たちは不信を募らせている。

 小渕氏は9月3日の経産相就任時、「原発事故への対応や、被災地の復興にしっかり取り組んでいきたい」と語った。だが、なにもできずに終わった。

 福島市笹谷の仮設住宅。福島第1原発事故の避難区域・浪江町から避難する志賀ヨシエさん(68)は「政治家はカネの問題が多い。でも失望はない。最初から期待していないから」と突き放した。大臣になる前に仮設住宅で過ごせ、と言う。「そうしないと、私たちの苦しみは分からない。危機感を持って汚染水対策や廃炉作業に力を入れないと、時間がいくらあっても足りません」

 同じく浪江町から来た事務職の女性(51)は「小渕さんだけは私たちの苦しみも分かってくれるのでは、と期待していた。正直がっかりした。もう政治家は信じられない」。

もっと読む。

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【出産回復傾向】地道な取り組み継続を(10月20日)via 福島民報

東京電力福島第一原発事故後に落ち込んだ県内での出産の回復傾向が続いている。県内15医療機関の平成25年度の全出産件数は5970件と事故前の水準に戻りつつある。県内外から実家に戻って子どもを産む「里帰り出産」も1050件と大台を超えた。調査を続けている県産婦人科医会は「放射線に対する理解が広がり、妊婦らの不安が和らいだのが要因」とみている。事故後から続く官民を挙げた地道な取り組みの成果といえるだろう。
[...]
東京電力福島第一原発事故後に落ち込んだ県内での出産の回復傾向が続いている。県内15医療機関の平成25年度の全出産件数は5970件と事故前の水準に戻りつつある。県内外から実家に戻って子どもを産む「里帰り出産」も1050件と大台を超えた。調査を続けている県産婦人科医会は「放射線に対する理解が広がり、妊婦らの不安が和らいだのが要因」とみている。事故後から続く官民を挙げた地道な取り組みの成果といえるだろう。

もっと読む。

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4号機使用済み燃料搬出終了へ via 新潟日報モア

破損3体は次回取り出し

福島第1原発4号機の使用済み核燃料プールからの燃料取り出し作業で、東京電力 は20日、使用済み燃料1331体のうち1320体の移送を終了したと発表した。次回作業で破損燃料3体を含む使用済み燃料すべての移送作業が終わり、 プールに残るのはリスクの低い未使用燃料だけとなる。

4号機プールには原発事故の発生前から、「く」の字に曲がった燃料が1体、過去に 放射性物質漏えいが検知された燃料が2体入っていた。次回の作業では、変形した燃料が入るように収納スペースを一部広げた輸送容器で、残る使用済み燃料 11体を一遍に別棟の共用プールに運ぶ。

続きは4号機使用済み燃料搬出終了へ

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In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making via The New York Times

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — When the Tennessee Valley Authority first ordered Watts Bar 2, the nuclear reactor now approaching completion here, demand for electricity was growing at 7 percent a year and coal supplies were uncertain. The mercury, soot and acid rain that coal produced were simply accepted as the way things were, and many of the people who now worry about global warming had not yet been born.

[...]

The agency started Watts Bar as part of a campaign to build 17 reactors, but dropped the project in 1988 after spending about $1.7 billion, when it was supposedly 80 percent complete. In 2007, with electricity demand growing again, the T.V.A. board voted to restart work because, consultants said, it could be finished for $2 billion. But by the end of next year, when commercial operation is now expected, the T.V.A. will have spent more than $4 billion.

[...]

When work resumed in 2007, engineers decided that the mechanical switches in the control room, although they had never been used, were too old. But nobody manufactured mechanical switches of that type anymore, so the T.V.A. sent them back to the manufacturer for reconditioning.

The 500-foot-tall cooling tower, narrow at the middle to create a draft, is intended to handle 410,000 gallons of water a minute. It is still sturdy, but dark and weathered and streaked with yellow-green moss.

Other parts are more modern. The turbines, which convert steam from the reactor to mechanical energy that is turned into electricity, were replaced before they were ever used because newer designs are more efficient and durable.

Not everyone is convinced that finishing the job is a good idea.

The underlying difficulty, according to S. David Freeman, whom President Jimmy Carter appointed to chair the T.V.A. in 1977, and who tried to shut many of the nuclear projects, is that the agency’s executives are “nuke-aholics.”

“They’re addicted to nuclear power,” said Mr. Freeman, the author of a book that argues that renewable energy can meet nearly all electricity needs. He said that when he joined the T.V.A. board, “they were telling me Watts Bar was 90 percent finished, but a few years later it was 84 percent finished.”

Read more at In Tennessee, Time Comes for a Nuclear Plant Four Decades in the Making

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Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades via The New York Times

The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.

Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment.

At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs substantially older than that.

“I don’t know how we would explain to the public that these designs, 90-year-old designs, 100-year-old designs, are still safe to operate,” he said. “Don’t we need more convincing arguments than just ‘We’re managing aging effects’?”

“I mean, will you buy a car that was designed in ’64?” he asked.

[...]

The 100 operating power reactors, most of them completed by the late 1980s, were licensed for 40 years. In that era, new generating stations were expected to replace old ones within a few decades, but that turned out to be wrong for nuclear plants and coal-fired power stations as well. The nuclear industry now describes that 40-year period as an early estimate of the plants’ economic life, not physical viability.

As construction of new reactors tailed off to nearly nothing in the late 1980s, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission established a procedure in 1991 for 20-year license extensions, and it has now granted more than 70. Thus far it has not rejected any applications, although many are still under review.

[...]

Jim Riccio, a nuclear policy analyst at Greenpeace, said: “This isn’t about running reactors until they are 80. It’s amortizing the large capital additions that the industry can’t afford right now.” The reactors, he noted, have been required to buy new hardware after the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011.

“The track record of this industry is a meltdown once a decade,” he said. “We have a concern that running reactors well beyond their economic lifetime and well into embrittlement is not sound.”

Read more at Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades

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原子力賠償条約を了承 自民部会 via 日本経済新聞

(抜粋)

自民党の外交部会・文部科学部会合同会議は20日、原子力発電所事故の国際的な賠償を定めた条約(CSC)の承認案と関連法案を了承した。同条約は原子 力事業者のみが過失の有無に関係なく賠償責任を負う一方、加盟国は原発事故の損害が一定額を超えた場合に拠出金で支援し合うという内容。政府は今国会での 成立を目指す。

全文は原子力賠償条約を了承 自民部会

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France to Build 8 Nuclear Reactors in South Africa via International Business Times

France is set to construct eight nuclear reactors in South Africa after signing a $US50 billion ($A54.10 billion) agreement early this week.

The deal likewise stated skills development, localisation of nuclear technology as well as research and development in South Africa, according to World Nuclear News. South Africa currently has two operating nuclear power plants. Located at Koeberg, these were built by Areva, which will also build the same new eight nuclear reactors. The existing facilities have been operating since the mid-1980s.

South Africa’s long-term plans, contained in its 2010 Integrated Electricity Resource Plan, heavily mentioned nuclear energy as its tool of choice as it works to achieve a sustainable energy mix. The country needs up to 9.6 GWe of new nuclear capacity by 2030 as it works towards modernization. South Africa has allocated at least $81 million early this year to be spent on nuclear research and development.

[...]

In September, the country also signed with Russia a US$50 billion (A$54.1 billion) deal for eight nuclear reactors by 2030. A deal with China of the same nature is also expected to be signed in November, according to Bloomberg. A plan with Japan is also being worked out.

South Africa had stipulated it will sign agreements with other global nuclear vendor countries in order to achieve its goal of 9.6 GWe of new nuclear capacity.

“South Africa today, as never before, is interested in the massive development of nuclear power, which is an important driver for the national economy growth,” Joemat-Pettersson earlier said.

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福島第1で大量貯蔵のトリチウム 泊原発は海に放出 過去25年で計570兆ベクレル via 北海道新聞

東京電力福島第1原発の汚染水に含まれる放射性物質のうち、処理装置で除去できない放射性物質トリチウム(三重水素)について、同原発では地元の反 発を受け膨大な量が現地に貯蔵されているが、北海道電力泊原発(後志管内泊村)など全国の他の原発では、発生した同物質は海に放出されてきた。他の放射性 物質に比べ人体に影響が小さいとして国は一定量の海洋放出を認めているものの、放出量は泊原発で過去25年間で計570兆ベクレル。福島で放出が控えられ る中、専門家の中にはこれまでの大量放出を問題視する声もある。

トリチウムは国内すべての原発で運転中に発生する。北電によると、泊原発では1号機が運転を始めた1989年度以降、毎年トリチウムを日本海に放出して いる。3号機が運転開始した2009年度は30兆ベクレル、11年度は最多の38兆ベクレルを出した。運転停止に伴い12年度は8兆7千億ベクレル、13 年度は5700億ベクレルに減少している。

泊など加圧水型原子炉では、福島第1など沸騰水型と比べてトリチウムが多く出される。このため泊3基が海に放出できる上限(管理基準値)は年間120兆ベクレルに設定され、福島第1の6基の上限、年間22兆ベクレルを大きく上回る。

続きは福島第1で大量貯蔵のトリチウム 泊原発は海に放出 過去25年で計570兆ベクレル

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セシウム濃度が最高値=地下水で26万ベクレル超-福島第1via 時事ドットコム

東京電力は18日までに、福島第1原発2号機東側の港湾近くに設置した観測用井戸で16日に採取した地下水から、1リットル当たり26万4000ベクレルのセシウムが検出されたと発表した。地下水のセシウム濃度で過去最高値。

続きはセシウム濃度が最高値=地下水で26万ベクレル超-福島第1

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