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Nuclear Waste Is Allowed Above Ground Indefinitely via The New York Times

As the country struggles to find a place to bury spent nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided that nuclear waste from power plants can be stored above ground in containers that can be maintained and guarded indefinitely.

The decision, in a unanimous vote of the commission on Tuesday, means that new nuclear plants can be built and old ones can expand their operations despite the lack of a long-term plan for disposing of the waste.

The chairwoman of the commission, who voted with the majority but dissented on certain aspects, said Friday that the vote risked allowing Congress to ignore the long-term problem.

“If you make the assumption that there will be some kind of institution that will exist, like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, that will assure material stays safe for hundreds or thousands of years, there’s not much impetus for Congress to want to deal with this issue,” the chairwoman, Allison M. Macfarlane, said Friday. “Personally, I think that we can’t say with any certainty what the future will look like. We’re pretty damned poor at predicting the future.”

[...]

The commission approved a generic environmental impact statement, under which nuclear activities can continue, but did not address the impact to the environment if the stored nuclear waste were abandoned, which would leave it vulnerable to attack or allow the containers to break down.

Ms. Macfarlane said it was wrong to predict institutional control indefinitely. “Best not to say anything about something so uncertain,” she said, “and just to work with what we can know for sure.”

For decades the commission has allowed nuclear plants to operate under what it called its waste confidence rule, which said that although there was no repository, there would most likely be one by the time it was needed, and in the interim, the storage of the highly radioactive waste in spent fuel pools or in dry casks would suffice. But in June 2012, a court ruled that the commission had not done its homework in studying whether the waste could be stored on an interim basis. As a result, the commission froze much of its licensing activity two years ago.

On Tuesday, however, the commission approved a finding by its staff that waste could be stored — as opposed to disposed of — indefinitely. The vote was 4-0.

[...]

In coming years the agency will need to reconfigure its staff to handle a different problem: an increased number of plants shutting down and entering the decommissioning process, Ms. MacFarlane said. And, she said, the commission needs to rewrite its rules for decommissioning plants. For example, she said, once the nuclear fuel has been removed from a reactor core, the security requirements at the plants should probably be relaxed because the risk is reduced.

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原発作業員 待遇改善求め東電を初提訴へ via NHK News Web

福島第一原子力発電所で事故対応の工事などに携わっている作業員たちが、待遇が被ばくの危険を伴う業務に見合っていないと主張して、東京電力などに改善を求める訴えを起こすことになりました。
廃炉に向けて長期的な人員の確保が課題になるなか、現場の作業員の待遇について東京電力の責任が初めて司法の場で争われることになります。

訴えを起こすのは、福島第一原発で事故対応の工事に当たっている下請け企業の従業員の男性ら4人です。
男 性らは放射能に汚染された水をためるタンクの配管工事などに携わってきましたが、賃金などの待遇が被ばくの危険を伴う業務に見合っていないと主張して、東 京電力などに1人当たりおよそ1000万円の支払いを求める訴えを、今月3日に福島地方裁判所いわき支部に起こすことを決めました。
現場の作業員の待遇を巡って、東京電力は去年11月、元請け企業に支払う人件費を日額で1万円増やす対策を発表しましたが、下請け企業で働く男性らの賃金は今も変わっていないということです。
廃炉に向けた作業には1日当たり3000人から6000人の作業員が必要とされ、長期的な人員の確保に向けて待遇の改善が大きな課題となるなかで、東京電力の責任が初めて司法の場で争われることになります。

作業員「言いたいことが言える環境に」

訴えを起こすことを決めた30代の作業員の男性は、「汚染水を入れる配管の交換などをすると被ばく量が1か月で4ミリシーベルトを超え る時もあり、将来、病気にならないか不安だ。待遇に不満があっても勤め先の会社から仕事をもらえなくなると思い、これまでは主張できなかった。裁判をきっ かけに作業員が言いたいことが言える環境にしたい」と話しています。

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中間貯蔵施設受け入れ首相に伝える 福島知事が面会 via 朝日新聞

東京電力福島第一原発事故に伴う除染で出た福島県内の汚染土などを保管する中間貯蔵施設をめぐり、佐藤雄平県知事は1日午後、首相官邸で安倍晋三首相と会い、同県大熊、双葉2町での建設を受け入れる考えを伝えた。その上で搬入開始から30年以内に汚染土を県外で最終処分することの法制化などを強く求めた。

佐藤知事は「地元に大きな負担を強いるが、県の一日も早い環境回復と復興実現のため、苦渋の決断をした」と述べた。安倍首相は「苦渋の決断と十分認識している。皆さんと一丸となって福島の復興に全力を尽くしたい」と応じた。

佐藤知事は同日午前に福島市内で石原伸晃環境相と根本匠復 興相に建設受け入れの方針を伝えた。ただ、その際に「搬入を受け入れるかどうかは別の判断だ」と指摘。①30年以内に汚染土を県外で最終処分する法案の成 立②総額3010億円の交付金の予算化③搬入ルートの維持管理や周辺対策の明確化④施設と輸送の安全性の確保⑤政府が県と大熊、双葉2町との間で安全協定 を結ぶ――の5点が確認できて初めて搬入を認める考えを示した。石原環境相は「国としてしっかり対応する」と答えた。

政府は来年1月の搬入開始を目標としている。

続きは中間貯蔵施設受け入れ首相に伝える 福島知事が面会

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Fukushima governor gives go-ahead for intermediate storage facility for radioactive debris via Asahi Shimbun

FUKUSHIMA–Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato said on Aug. 30 that his prefecture will accept the central government’s plan to construct an intermediate storage facility in Okuma and Futaba for radioactive debris from cleanup work due to the nuclear disaster.

He made the announcement after meeting here with mayors of the two towns that are jointly hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“I made a painful decision. I decided to accept the construction,” Sato told reporters after the meeting.

[...]
When the facility is completed, radioactive soil and debris, which have been temporarily placed in various parts of the prefecture at present, will be transported there. This will allow the decontamination efforts to be accelerated, since local opposition to temporary storage sites has impeded the buildup of the contaminated materials.

However, of the more than 2,000 landowners who will be contacted in regards to the storage facility, some are reluctant to sell or lease their land. Therefore, the focus from now is whether they will accept the government’s offers.

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原発避難者へ初の復興住宅 福島市 via 朝日新聞

東京電力福島第一原発事故で全村避難中の飯舘村民のための復興公営住宅が福島市飯野町に完成し、31日に落成式があった。復興庁によると、原発事故避難者の復興公営住宅は初めて。

 「飯野町団地」は木造2階建て住宅23戸で、高校生以下の子を持つ「子育て世代」が対象。総事業費9億3378万円のうち、7億4570万円は国の交付金をあてる。すでに16世帯65人の入居が決まっている。
[...]
居住制限区域の飯樋町地区から福島市吉倉の借り上げ住宅に避難している会社員佐藤隆一さん(38)は、妻と小中学生の娘3人とともに団地に移り住む。いまよりも部屋が一つ増え、村立小中への通学時間も半分以下になるという。佐藤さんは「不安もあるが、楽しみ。子どもと安心して暮らせると思う」と話した。

もっと読む。

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Fukushima fallout: Resentment towards evacuees grows in nearby Japanese city via Reuters

(Reuters) – Like many of her neighbours, Satomi Inokoshi worries that her gritty hometown is being spoiled by the newcomers and the money that have rolled into Iwaki since the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost three and a half years ago.

“Iwaki is changing – and not for the good,” said Inokoshi, 55, who echoes a sentiment widely heard in this town of almost 300,000 where the economic boom that followed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl has brought its own disruption.

Property prices in Iwaki, about 60 km (36 miles) south of the wrecked nuclear plant, have jumped as evacuees forced from homes in more heavily contaminated areas snatch up apartments and land. Hundreds of workers, who have arrived to work in the nuclear clean-up, crowd downtown hotels.

But long-time residents have also come to resent evacuees and the government compensation that has made the newcomers relatively rich in a blue-collar town built on coal mining and access to a nearby port. Locals have stopped coming to the entertainment district where Inokoshi runs a bar, she says, scared off by the nuclear workers and their rowdy reputation.

“The situation around Iwaki is unsettled and unruly,” said Ryosuke Takaki, a professor of sociology at Iwaki Meisei University, who has studied the town’s developing divide. “There are many people who have evacuated to Iwaki, and there are all kinds of incidents caused by friction.”

[...]

Many established residents in Iwaki complain government payouts to the newcomers have been frittered away on luxury cars and villas, locally dubbed “disaster relief mansions.”

“The food the evacuees eat and the clothes they wear are different,” said Hiroshi Watahiki, 56, a chiropractor in Iwaki. “They can afford it from their compensation funds. They have time and money to go gambling since they’re not working.”

A poll in January by Takaki showed residents had conflicting feelings about the evacuees. More than half of those surveyed expressed sympathy for them, but 67 percent also said they “feel envious of their compensation.”

The tensions are unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

The government is planning to build 3,700 permanent apartments to replace the temporary units for evacuees, most of them in Iwaki. The first 1,600 apartments, however, are nine months behind schedule and will not be ready until 2017, officials say.

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鹿児島・川内原発の再稼働反対訴え 住民や海外参加者約1800人気勢 via 西日本新聞

九州電力川内原子力発電所(鹿児島県薩摩川内市)の再稼働反対を訴える集会が31日、同市のJR川内駅前で開かれ、韓国や台湾からの参加者も含む約1800人(主催者発表)が気勢を上げた。

九州の市民でつくる「原発いらない!九州実行委員会」が主催。今後、再稼働に向けた手続きが市議会の審議など地元中心になるため、薩摩川内市民の反対世論を喚起しようと大規模集会を計画した。

参加者は次々に舞台に上がり「再稼働は世界に恥ずべき行為」などと主張。川内原発建設反対連絡協議会の鳥原良子会長(65)=同市=は「政府は地元の意見を聞くと言っている。今こそ地元住民自身がこの街を守るときだ」と市民に再稼働に反対するよう求めた。

目抜き通り約1キロをデモ行進。住宅を回り、岩切秀雄市長や市議に再稼働不同意を求めるはがきを出すよう呼び掛ける運動もした。

続きは鹿児島・川内原発の再稼働反対訴え 住民や海外参加者約1800人気勢

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Newly declassified documents reveal how U.S. agreed to Israel’s nuclear program via Haaretz

Documents reveal contacts between Washington and Jerusalem in late 1960s, when some Americans believed the nuclear option would not deter Arab leaders but would trigger an atom bomb race.

The Obama administration this week declassified papers, after 45 years of top-secret status, documenting contacts between Jerusalem and Washington over American agreement to the existence of an Israeli nuclear option. The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), which is in charge of approving declassification, had for decades consistently refused to declassify these secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.

The documents outline how the American administration worked ahead of the meeting between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir at the White House in September 1969, as officials came to terms with a three-part Israeli refusal – to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty; to agree to American inspection of the Dimona nuclear facility; and to condition delivery of fighter jets on Israel’s agreement to give up nuclear weaponry in exchange for strategic ground-to-ground Jericho missiles “capable of reaching the Arab capitals” although “not all the Arab capitals.”

The officials – cabinet secretaries and senior advisers who wrote the documents – withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state.

In fact, according to the American documents, the Nixon administration defined a double threshold for Israel’s move from a “technical option” to a “possessor” of nuclear weapons.

[...]

Newly declassified documents reveal how U.S. agreed to Israel’s nuclear program

Documents reveal contacts between Washington and Jerusalem in late 1960s, when some Americans believed the nuclear option would not deter Arab leaders but would trigger an atom bomb race.

By | Aug. 30, 2014 | 8:48 PM | 15
Israeli PM Golda Meir meets U.S. President Richard Nixon in Washington.

Israeli PM Golda Meir meets U.S. President Richard Nixon in Washington, March 1, 1973. Also in the photo: Yitzhak Rabin, Henry Kissinger and Simcha Dimitz. Photo by AP
AP

Richard Nixon (not Bibi), March 15, 1973. Photo by AP
Moshe Milner / GPO

Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1972. Photo by Moshe Milner / GPO

The Obama administration this week declassified papers, after 45 years of top-secret status, documenting contacts between Jerusalem and Washington over American agreement to the existence of an Israeli nuclear option. The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), which is in charge of approving declassification, had for decades consistently refused to declassify these secrets of the Israeli nuclear program.

The documents outline how the American administration worked ahead of the meeting between President Richard Nixon and Prime Minister Golda Meir at the White House in September 1969, as officials came to terms with a three-part Israeli refusal – to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty; to agree to American inspection of the Dimona nuclear facility; and to condition delivery of fighter jets on Israel’s agreement to give up nuclear weaponry in exchange for strategic ground-to-ground Jericho missiles “capable of reaching the Arab capitals” although “not all the Arab capitals.”

The officials – cabinet secretaries and senior advisers who wrote the documents – withdrew step after step from an ambitious plan to block Israeli nuclearization, until they finally acceded, in internal correspondence – the content of the conversation between Nixon and Meir is still classified – to recognition of Israel as a threshold nuclear state.

In fact, according to the American documents, the Nixon administration defined a double threshold for Israel’s move from a “technical option” to a “possessor” of nuclear weapons.

The first threshold was the possession of “the components of nuclear weapons that will explode,” and making them a part of the Israel Defense Forces operational inventory.

The second threshold was public confirmation of suspicions internationally, and in Arab countries in particular, of the existence of nuclear weapons in Israel, by means of testing and “making public the fact of the possession of nuclear weapons.”

Officials under Nixon proposed to him, on the eve of his conversation with Meir, to show restraint with regard to the Israeli nuclear program, and to abandon efforts to get Israel to cease acquiring 500-kilometer-range missiles with one-ton warheads developed in the Marcel Dassault factory in France, if it could reach an agreement with Israel on these points.

Origins of nuclear ambiguity

Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity – which for the sake of deterrence does not categorically deny some nuclear ability but insists on using the term “option” – appears, according to the newly released documents, as an outcome of the Nixon-Meir understandings, no less than as an original Israeli maneuver.

The decision to release the documents was made in March, but was mentioned alongside the declassification of other materials less than a week ago in ISCAP, which is headed by a representative of the president and whose members are officials in the Department of State, Department of Defense and Department of Justice, as well as the intelligence administration and the National Archive, where the documents are stored.

The declassified material deals only with events in 1968 and 1969, the end of the terms of President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, and the beginning of the Nixon-Meir era. However, it contains many contemporary lessons. Among these are the decisive nature of personal relations between a president like Obama and a prime minister like Benjamin Netanyahu; the relationship between the diplomatic process of “land for peace,” American guarantees of Israeli security in peace time, supplies of weapons to Israel and Israel’s nuclear status; and the ability of a country like Iran to move ahead gradually toward nuclear weapons and remain on the threshold of military nuclear weapons.

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In the material declassified this week, one document was written by senior officials in the Nixon administration in a working group led by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, exploring the nature of the Israeli nuclear weapons program known as “NSSM 40.” The existence of the document and its heading were known, but the content had so far been kept secret.

The document was circulated to a select group, including Secretary of State William P. Rogers, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and CIA director Richard Helms, and with the knowledge of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Earle Wheeler. In it, Nixon directed Kissinger to put together a panel of experts, headed by Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco.

The experts were asked to submit their intelligence evaluations as to the extent of Israel’s progress toward nuclear weapons and to present policy alternatives toward Israel under these circumstances, considering that the administration was bound to the pledge of the Johnson administration to provide Israel with 50 Phantom jets, the diplomatic process underway through Rogers, and the aspiration to achieve, within the year, global nonproliferation – all while, simultaneously, Israel was facing off against Egypt on the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition.

The most fascinating parts of the 107 pages discuss internal disagreements in the American administration over how to approach Israel – pressure or persuasion, as Sisco’s assistant, Rodger Davies, put it in the draft of the Department of State document. Davies also formulated a scenario of dialogue and confrontation with Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Yitzhak Rabin, the IDF chief of staff during the Six-Day War, who continued to sign his name using his military rank of Lieutenant General.

The documents are an intriguing illustration of organizational politics. Unexpectedly, the Department of State’s approach was softer. It opposed threats and sanctions because of the fear of obstructing Rogers’ diplomatic moves if Israel hardened its line. “If we choose to use the maximum option on the nuclear issue, we may not have the necessary leverage left for helping along the peace negotiations,” Davies wrote.

The two branches of the Pentagon – the civilian branch headed by Laird, his deputy David Packard (a partner in the computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard, who objected to a previous sale of a super-computer manufactured by Control Data to Israel, lest it be used for the nuclear program) and their policy advisers; and the military branch headed by Gen. Wheeler – were more belligerent. Laird fully accepted the recommendation of the deputy secretary of defense in the outgoing Johnson administration, Paul Warnke, to use supplying the Phantoms to leverage far-reaching concessions from Israel on the nuclear issue.

Packard’s opposite number in the Department of State – Rogers’ deputy, Elliot Richardson – was Packard’s ideological ally in reservations regarding Israel. However, Sisco’s appointment, rather than an official from the strategic section of the Department of State, which agreed with the Pentagon, steered the recommendations of the officials toward a softer stance on Israel.

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がれき撤去中、金属台も落下 福島第一原発3号機 via 朝日新聞

東京電力福島第一原発3号機の原子炉建屋上部のがれき撤去作業中に、機器の一部を使用済み燃料プールに落とした問題で、東電は30日、機器を据え付けていた台も一緒に落ちていたと発表した。

(略)

東電によると、一緒に落ちたのは、金属製の「架台」で、重さは約170キロ(縦2メートル、横1メートル、奥行き0・4メートル)。燃料交換機を 動かす「操作卓」(重さ400キロ)と一緒に29日に落ちたとみられる。水中カメラで確認した。プール内に566本の燃料集合体があり、落下場所の下には 2本あるとしていたが、10本程度と確認された。

全文はがれき撤去中、金属台も落下 福島第一原発3号機

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Tribal reps air concerns over proposed nuclear plant via Moab Sun News

Tribal representatives from the Colorado River Indian
Tribes (CRIT), as well as from the Ute and Goshute tribes,
expressed their concerns about a proposed nuclear power
plant near Green River at a public meeting that took place
at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC) on
Monday, August 18.

[...]
“I have concerns about this,” CRIT council representative
Johnny Hill said. “Our water is very precious. It’s more
precious than gold. This is our agriculture, our income,
our beef, our chicken, our food.”
[...]
Forrest Cuch, a Ute Indian from the Uintah Basin, said he came down, “to join my native brothers and
sisters to oppose the nuclear power plant.”
Cuch said that he has already seen too much destruction from the oil and gas industry in the Uintah
Basin, and that the risk for catastrophe with a nuclear power plant is too high.
“They had the ocean in Fukishima,” he said. “Imagine polluting the Colorado River.”
[...]
Forrest Cuch, a Ute Indian from the Uintah Basin, said he came down, “to join my native brothers and
sisters to oppose the nuclear power plant.”
Cuch said that he has already seen too much destruction from the oil and gas industry in the Uintah
Basin, and that the risk for catastrophe with a nuclear power plant is too high.
“They had the ocean in Fukishima,” he said. “Imagine polluting the Colorado River.”
Proponents of the project say that it will be an economic boon to Emery County, and that water use by the
plant will be negligible.
[...]
“I am 100-percent in favor of a nuclear power plant in Green River,” Emery County commissioner J.R.
Nelson said. “I’m convinced these (tribal) elders want to preserve their lifestyle without accepting
change.”
[...]
Blue Castle Holding still has other hurdles to cross. The Nuclear Regulatory commission hasn’t issued a
permit for a new nuclear power plant since 1977. In addition, permitting the project could cost up to $200
million, and construction could cost as much as $18 billion. The company has already spent $17.5
million in initial studies.
“This is so ‘pie in the sky,’ it’s frustrating,” Fields said. “When you go to Green River and you see people
putting all their marbles in this basket instead of focusing on more viable economic development
projects, it’s like buying a lottery ticket.”

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