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Fukushima radiation damages rice genome via The Ecologist

A study in the American Genetic Association’s Journal of Heredity examines the detailed genetic alterations of the all-important young rice plant when exposed to low-level radiation – that emitted by the Fukushima nuclear plant a year after the disaster.

Previous experiments had provided evidence of “ultralow-level gamma radiation triggering changes at the molecular level in the multi-layered defence / stress-related biological processes in rice leaves”.

The Fukushima disaster presented an opportunity to confirm these findings outside the laboratory. This was especially important since the ultralow dose of radiation the researchers desired to study could not feasibly be replicated in a lab setting.

The result? Multiple modes of cellular response were observed, ranging from the triggering of DNA repair mechanisms, to oxidative stress, often culminating in cell death.
Crucially, there was no direct contact between the studied seedlings and the contaminated soil so as to witness only the effect of radiation still present in the atmosphere. The exposed plants received a dose of radiation eighty to one hundred times greater than background.

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Photographer Risked Radiation to Shoot Soviet Testing Sites via artnet news

Israeli-born, London-based photographer Nadav Kander, takes us into the desolate world of post-Soviet missile and nuclear testing sites—secret landscapes which are still closed to outsiders—in his new photographic series, “Dust.”

Armed with his camera, Kander, who wore white overalls and a Geiger counter on his belt to measure radiation, captured the abandoned dwellings in two areas. The first, in northeastern Kazakhstan, was the town Kurchatov and the nearby former nuclear testing site Polygon. Unbeknownst to the public, Russians detonated hundreds of atomic bombs at Polygon between 1948 until the end of its program in 1989, reports the New York Times. Kander was arrested twice when he visited the area, and has thus relinquished plans to visit a third time. The second city Kander visited, Priozersk, was used as a long-distance missile testing ground during the Cold War.

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The BBC, Friends of the Earth and nuclear power via The Ecologist

At first it looked like a journalistic coup, writes Neil Crumpton – the BBC’s ‘scoop’ that FOE was no longer opposed to nuclear power. Except that FOE remains firmly anti-nuclear as it has been for decades. The spotlight must now be turned on the BBC itself, and its little-known but shocking links to the nuclear industry.

The analysis was way from accurate according to FOE – but the top-line message remembered by busy listeners and readers means damage will have been done – and at a critical time in terms of the impending EC nuclear state-aid and Hinkley C investment decisions, which have global implications.

What Friends of the Earth are really saying

FOE is saying, after refreshing their policy in 2013, that the high cost and long build-times of new nuclear reactors are currently more dominant concerns to them compared to nuclear accidents.

That concern reflects the vital fact that the £10s or even £100s of billions the Government is preparing to sink into nuclear power is money that will not go into the real answers – renewables and energy conservation. Worse, they will cause energy market distortions that will further undermine renewables.


It’s also important to realise that as a solution to climate change, nuclear power is currently a ‘bit player’ producing just 2.6% of global energy: 2,600 TWh/y out of a global final energy demand around 100,000 TWh/y.

Nor does it offer significant opportunities for growth. The WNA optimistically estimates a nuclear capacity of 400GW – 640 GW by 2035. Taking a figure of 540 GW, that would generate around 4,000 TWh/y in 2035 of a projected global energy demand of 140,000 TWh/y -  just 2.9%.

Nuclear would be hard pushed to ever supply beyond 5% of future energy demand unless fast reactors – the great hope of George Monbiot, Mark Lynas, Baroness Worthington and some others – were ever proven at utility scale.

And that’s highly improbable, given the wasted billions invested in the technology, and decades of failure to deliver an economically viable solution. So nuclear power is hardly a crucial or key technology, as ministers keep arguing.

The other issues remain – and they are of critical importance

The increasing concern in the core issue of climate distraction does not mean that any other issues have materially reduced, the crumbling storage ponds etc at Sellafield are still a clear and present danger, probably more so year on year.


Oddly and alarmingly such major security issues have not featured in most environmental, political or public debate. Yet, the UK is on the brink of being in the forefront of rescuing a dangerous, dodgy and discredited nuclear industry from an investment abyss and placing it centre-stage of a low-carbon energy global policy.

Hitachi is even considering moving its HQ from a contaminated Japan to a lucrative London. The Government is essentially promoting the spread of nuclear technology, materials and expertise around the world, where a few kilos of plutonium or U233 (from thorium reactors) can make a bomb that can change that world.


Is the BBC unbiased on nuclear power?

The article is replete with other outrageous twists. There is something alarming when any journalist writes an article like this. It is more alarming that the BBC environment analyst is doing this.

Perhaps it is not surprising given that two BBC Trust figureheads of this world-respected media organisation are paid advisers to EdF: acting chair Diane Coyle and ex Chair Lord Patten; moreover Coyle is married to the BBC’s technology correspondent.

Is it possible that the BBC Trust’s links to EdF have effects down the ranks of the organisation and permeate the minds of journalists without a word being spoken – a silent, almost subconscious influence?

The Trust can say all it likes about having “no control over editorial content” – but it does not need control. Trust members also adjudicate editorial complaints so one could question the time and effort in complaining about Harrabin’s article.

Regardless of any possible influence on any journalists it is remakable that BBC Trust members can receive money from such corporate interests – and even advise them on how to use the UK media to clinch one of the biggest multi-billion pound deals in British history.

Why won’t the BBC report on the real nuclear stories?


On the morning of the WNA’s conference in London the BBC should have reported relevant real issues such as AREVA’s credit-negative rating (reported on Reuters) or the month’s long safety shut-downs at EdF’s Heysham and Hartlepool nuclear reactors which could lead to capacity-crunches and Grid distortions this winter.

Drumming up stories which imply that one of the main anti-nuclear campaign organisations has made some big policy shift on the quiet is far below what the BBC and Britain was or should be about.

The BBC should refresh its policy on corporate links and the Government should re-evaluate the costs of a new-build nuclear programme. These include significant, perhaps incalcuable, national and global security risks for many future generations in the UK and globally.


Read the whole article at The BBC, Friends of the Earth and nuclear power

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スコットランドの独立問う住民投票、育児や原発政策も焦点に 日本と比べるとどう違う?via The Huffington Post





scotland energy mix
















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The People’s Climate March: Meet the Next Movement of Movements via Naomi

The most important climate gathering next week will not be happening at the UN, but in the streets: thousands upon thousands of us will be sounding the climate alarm, literally, at the historic People’s Climate March on September 21. While the decision was made not to have speeches during the march, at 12:58pm there will be two minutes of silence followed by the unleashing of a chorus of magnificent sound—part of what organizers are describing as a global call for climate justice—complete with church bells and some 32 marching bands. (Bring your noisemakers!)

The sounding of the climate alarm is an important metaphor: it reminds us, as I write in my book, that “politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to declare a crisis. Mass movements of regular people can declare one too.”

And many of the people making the noise are already showing us the path forward, the real exits from the crisis. They are, for example, the daring activists saying “No!” to new carbon frontiers around the world—heroic denizens of a global, roving conflict zone known as Blockadia, waging nonviolent resistance to fossil fuel expansion plans and putting their bodies on the line from East Texas to the Niger Delta, to Northern Greece.

And they are the frontline communities most directly impacted by extraction and climate change, who are also pioneering some of the most exciting models for making a “just transition” away from fossil fuels. (Like solar co-ops in Richmond, California, where workers have been living under the shadow of the local, notoriously dirty Chevron oil refinery; or a Navajo proposal to convert abandoned mining land on their reservation into solar arrays that could power their communities and urban centers beyond; or the idea that we could compensate Indigenous groups for protecting the carbon buried under their ancestral forests or sequestered in the trees, instead of kicking them out in order to safely market forest “offsets” to polluting corporations.)

They are also the dogged young campaigners of the fossil fuel divestment movement, which has swept across hundreds of campuses, cities, states, charitable foundations, and religious institutions with startling speed. This is just the first stage of a growing effort to delegitimize the profits of the fossil fuel industry, and – most excitingly – to figure out how to redirect those resources in the service of real climate solutions.
The thing is: capitalism is kind of stupid. The big brains on Wall Street all know climate change is real. They go on about “stranded assets” and “carbon bubbles” and climate change creating an atmosphere of “risky business.” But even knowing all these medium and long term risks to their very survival, they still can’t resist the short term profits that flow from cooking the planet. As I explore in my book, former NY mayor Michael Bloomberg himself – perhaps the most climate conscious billionaire going — invests his personal fortune in a fund specializing in oil and gas assets.

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Groups appeal Utah court’s ruling in favor of 3,000-MW nuclear project via SNL

Utah environmental groups are trying again to block a developer’s attempt to secure water rights for a potential 3,000-MW nuclear plant on the Green River.

While Blue Castle Holdings Inc., the developer led by a former Utah state lawmaker, recently said the project is moving forward with the selection of the Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC AP1000 as the reactor technology, the groups are arguing that the project has made little progress and should not be allowed to lease water for the site.

The legal action is an appeal of a state court decision. In a trial held in that case, Blue Castle revealed that it had raised less than $20 million. Since this amount falls far shy of the $20 billion needed to build the proposed two reactors, the water rights amounts to unlawful speculation on the part of Blue Castle, the groups alleged.


But the river has more than 4 million acre-feet of water, Wright said. He also argued that the amount of money raised by Blue Castle is irrelevant to the case. “Nothing in the law, federal or state, requires we have $20 billion in the bank to start this process,” he said.

The lawsuit also claims that the stretch of the river that would be affected by the plant is particularly sensitive because it is home to four native endangered species of fish that are already threatened by lower river flows due to drought. But Wright said that it is the introduction of invasive, nonnative fish that has created the endangered status, and the plant would not worsen the problem.

Blue Castle has said the next step in the development of the plant is to apply for an early site permit with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The groups claim that a search of federal records shows the company has had no formal communication with the NRC since 2011. The early site permit application will not be submitted until 2016, according to Blue Castle.

Read more at  Groups appeal Utah court’s ruling in favor of 3,000-MW nuclear project

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Finnish government conditionally approves nuclear plant, Greens quit via Reuters

(Reuters) – The Finnish government has decided to conditionally back an updated application from Finnish-Russian group Fennovoima to build a nuclear reactor in the north of the country, prompting the Greens to quit the administration.

The permit for the 1,200 megawatt plant still has to pass a parliament vote, but that is seen as likely since most parliamentarians in the four biggest parties are expected to support the project.

Fennovoima won a general go-ahead for the plant in 2010, but changes in the planned reactor’s size and supplier required a renewed approval.

The Green party will resign from the coalition, party leader and environmental minister Ville Niinisto told reporters. The departure of the Green party’s 10 MPs would leave the ruling coalition with a slim parliament majority, having 102 MPs against the opposition’s 98.


The Fennovoima plant, owned by Russia’s Rosatom and about 40 Finnish companies such as steel firm Outokumpu, is scheduled to start operating in 2024.

However, the government said Fennovoima must boost its Finnish ownership by next summer to at least 60 percent. Currently, Finnish owners have committed to a stake of 52 percent, while Rosatom has a stake of 34 percent.

Several investors have pulled out of the project costing between 4 billion euros (£3.1 billion) and 6 billion, and the Ukraine crisis has further complicated the search for new funding.

Read more at Finnish government conditionally approves nuclear plant, Greens quit



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東電の隠ぺい体質と自民党の姿勢 via 菅直人Official Blog





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大洗の高温ガス炉 再開へ 「原発依存低減」に逆行 via 東京新聞

政府は十八日、東京電力福島第一原発事故の影響で運転を中止している新型原子炉の一つの高温ガス炉「高温工学 試験研究炉」(HTTR、茨城県大洗町)について、運営主体の日本原子力研究開発機構(原子力機構)が十一月に、新規制基準に基づく研究再開のための審査 を原子力規制委員会に申請する見通しだと明らかにした。世耕弘成官房副長官が十八日午前の記者会見で述べた。安倍政権は原発依存度をできるだけ下げる方針 を掲げるが、逆行する動きとなった。

 世耕氏は、高温ガス炉について「安全性、経済性に優れているとされ、早期の運転再開が必要だと認識している」と述べた。政府が四月に閣議決定した エネルギー基本計画は「原発への依存度を可能な限り引き下げる」とする一方、高温ガス炉の研究開発を推進するとも明記している。

 世耕氏は、HTTRの運転再開や安全性の実証試験のため、文部科学省が来年度政府予算で十六億円を概算要求していると説明した。HTTRは一九九 一年に着工し、九八年に核分裂反応が持続して起こる「臨界」を達成した。しかし、二〇一一年三月の震災を受け、運転を停止したままになっている。



 高温ガス炉 現在の原発は炉内に水を循環させて燃料を冷やすのに対し、ヘリウムガスを循環させて燃料を冷やし、熱を取り出して発電する原子炉。現 在の原発で発生する水蒸気の温度は約300度だが、ヘリウムガスは約1000度の高温になる。このため高い効率でタービンを回して発電できるとされる。原 子炉で水素爆発が起こりにくい一方、扱う温度が高いので材料の耐久性など技術的に難しい点も多い。

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福島の今、映像で紹介 ポレポレ東中野など via 朝日新聞

 福島をテーマにしたドキュメンタリーなどを紹介する「福島映像祭」が20~26日、東京都中野区の「ポレポレ東中野」(03・3371・0088)と「Space&Cafe ポレポレ坐」(03・3227・1405)で開かれる。原発事故後の動物たちを追った作品や、福島県南相馬市原町区の住人を描いたドキュメンタリーなど13本。福島の住人が撮影した3作品も紹介し、制作者から思いを聞く。

続きは福島の今、映像で紹介 ポレポレ東中野など

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