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Opposition Grows to Reviving Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant via Associated Press (Reader Supported News)

Michael R. Blood

[…]

Last month, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom raised the possibility that the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant — which sits on a coastal bluff halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles — could keep running beyond a scheduled closing by 2025. His office said the governor is in favor of “keeping all options on the table to ensure we have a reliable (electricity) grid.”

In a letter to Newsom, groups that included San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, the Oregon Conservancy Foundation, the Snake River Alliance and the Ohio Nuclear Free Network said the plant is old, unsafe and too close to earthquake faults that pose a threat to the twin reactors.

“Your suggestion to extend the operational life of the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility is an outrage,” they wrote. “Diablo Canyon is dangerous, dirty and expensive. It must retire as planned.”

The Democratic governor has no direct authority over the operating license for the plant. He floated the idea that owner Pacific Gas … Electric could seek a share of $6 billion in federal funding the Biden administration established to rescue nuclear plants at risk of closing.

PG&E, which in 2016 decided to shutter the plant by 2025, did not directly address Newsom’s suggestion at the time or say whether the company would consider seeking federal dollars to remain open beyond the scheduled closing.

PG&E announced the closing plan in 2016 as part of a deal with environmentalists and union workers, citing a “recognition that California’s new energy policies will significantly reduce the need for Diablo Canyon’s electricity output.” But Newsom’s suggestion highlights that the thinking has shifted, as the state looks for reliable power sources amid a changing global climate as California gradually shifts to solar, wind and other renewables.

Recently, state officials warned that extended drought, extreme heat and wildfires — paired with supply chain and regulatory issues hampering the solar industry — will create challenges for energy reliability this summer and into coming years.

The environmental groups argued that continuing to operate the plant beyond its scheduled closing would generate hundreds of tons of highly radioactive waste, with no permanent storage site for it. And they said state, by its own account, is lining up enough wind, solar and other renewables to replace Diablo’s electricity.

They also questioned whether any federal funds would be enough to unravel the complex deal to close Diablo Canyon, which is regulated by state and federal agencies.

Issues in play at Diablo Canyon range from a long-running debate over the ability of structures to withstand earthquakes — one fault runs 650 yards (594 meters) from the reactors — to the possibility PG&E might be ordered by state regulators to spend potentially billions of dollars to modify or replace the plant’s cooling system, which sucks up ocean water and has been blamed for killing fish and other marine life.

Newsom continues to support closure of the plant “in the long term” as the state moves to renewable energy.

There are 55 commercial nuclear power plants with 93 nuclear reactors in 28 U.S. states. Nuclear power provides about 20% of electricity in the U.S., or about half the nation’s carbon-free energy.

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原発避難4訴訟が結審 最高裁、夏前にも統一判断へ 避難者「痛み、放置せず判断を」 via 東京新聞

[…]

 弁論で原告側は、防潮堤の設置は長い年月と数百億円の費用がかかる一方、建屋の水密化工事は1億円未満で1年以内に完了すると指摘。「防潮堤の設置と建屋の水密化を講じていれば、津波の影響は相当程度軽減され、事故は起きなかった」と主張した。 一方、国側は「想定とは違う津波で、仮に防潮堤を設置しても防ぐことは不可能だったし、原子炉施設の水密化で対処する手法は当時確立していなかった」と反論した。 愛媛訴訟は、福島県から愛媛県に避難した10世帯25人が2015年までに提訴。19年に松山地裁、21年に高松高裁がいずれも国と東電の責任を認めた。東電に対して賠償金約4600万円の支払いを命じた高松高裁判決は、今年3月に確定している。

◆「原発事故を起こした社会の誤りを正さないと」

 意見陳述で福島県南相馬市から愛媛県に避難した原告の渡部寛志さん(43)は、「人の痛みを放置させない判断を」と声を振り絞り、国の責任を認める判断を求めた。 「普通に高校に行って、普通に大学にいけたんじゃないか」(22歳男子大学生)「両親は離婚せず、お父さんと遊びに行ったり、反抗したりできたんだろうな」(高校2年の女子生徒)―。渡部さんは、他の原告たちの「もしも原発事故がなかったら」の声を紹介。「あの暮らしを返せとどんなに望んでも取り返せない」と声を震わせて被害を訴えながら、「国の責任を認めた判決を得て、原発事故を起こした社会の誤りを正さないといけない」と強調した。 弁論後の記者会見で、原発被害者訴訟原告団全国連絡会は、判決で国の責任が認められた場合に政府や与党に求める「救済に関する共同要求」を報道陣に公開した。要求は賠償額の見直しや汚染水の海洋放出の撤回など9項目。馬奈木まなぎ厳太郎いずたろう弁護士は「例え勝訴してもそれで終わりではない。救済策が実現されるよう、判決後すぐに行動していく」と語った。(小沢慧一)【関連記事】原発避難者側、国の責任あらためて主張 群馬訴訟、最高裁で弁論 夏にも統一判断

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近づく海底トンネル着工 規制委が処理水の海洋放出計画を事実上認可 東電福島第一原発 via 東京新聞

原子力規制委員会は18日の定例会合で、東京電力が申請した福島第一原発の汚染水を浄化処理した後の水を海洋放出する実施計画について、安全性に問題はなく原子炉等規制法や政府方針の要求を満たしているとした審査書案を了承した。6月17日まで1カ月間の意見公募(パブリックコメント)をした後、7月中にも認可する。

実施計画は、設備の設計や放出方法、放出後の環境や人への影響などを盛り込んだ。規制委は申請があった昨年12月以降、13回の審査会合を重ね、計画内容に大きな変更はないまま認めた。 処理水を沖合1キロに放出する主要設備の海底トンネルの工事を始めるには、規制委の認可後に原発が立地する福島県と大熊、双葉両町の事前了解が必要。東電は着工を当初6月からと計画したが、7月以降にずれ込むことが確実となった。

[…]

東電は一部工事は事前了解の対象外とし、昨年12月に放出する水を一時的にためる立て坑の掘削を開始。今月5日には放出口を設けるため海底の掘削も始めた。海底トンネルを掘る機械「シールドマシン」も発進場所の立て坑底部に設置済みで、いつでも着工できる態勢を整えている。 事前了解について、大熊町の吉田淳町長は16日、報道各社の取材に「判断時期は決めていない。技術的な問題を判断するもので、放出して良いか悪いかについての答えを含むものではない」と述べた。 東電と政府は2015年、福島県漁連に「理解なしにいかなる処分(海洋放出)もしない」と約束しており、実際に放出できるかは不透明だ。

[…]

 東電の計画では、浄化処理後も主に放射性物質トリチウムが残る水を大量の海水で薄め、トリチウム濃度を国の排出基準の40分の1未満にして放出する。開始時期は「23年春ごろ」としているが、東電は根拠とした保管タンクの満杯時期を「23年秋ごろ」に見直したことを4月末に公表した。(小野沢健太)

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原爆の遺伝的影響「将来世代まで、許せない」 被爆2世の開さん via 朝日新聞

田井中雅人

長崎県被爆二世の会は、長崎市内で「被爆二世の体験を聞く会」を開き、全国被爆二世団体連絡協議会元会長、開(ひらき)彰人さん(72)=諫早市=が証言した。開さんは「(原爆の)遺伝的影響を明らかにしてほしい気持ちと、してほしくない気持ちが同居している」と複雑な胸の内を語った。

 聞く会は15日にあり、約20人が聞いた。開さんの祖母、母、2人の兄は爆心地から約4キロ離れた長与町の自宅で被爆。家具や窓が壊れてめちゃくちゃになり、母は翌日から行方不明者を捜して爆心地近くに入ったという。

 戦後生まれの2歳年上の兄は45歳の時に職場で会議中に突然倒れ、のちに死亡。自身も結核や心臓病大腸がんなどの病気を患った。長女の左腕にも障害があるが、医師は「原爆による遺伝的影響については、わからない」としている。

続きは原爆の遺伝的影響「将来世代まで、許せない」 被爆2世の開さん

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US atomic bombs back in Britain? via Beyond Nuclear International

Move puts UK on front line in a NATO/Russia war

By Kate Hudson

News that US nuclear weapons may already be back in Britain, at RAF/USAF Lakenheath in East Anglia, makes Britain once again a forward nuclear base for the US in Europe.

110 US/NATO free-fall B61 nuclear bombs were removed from Lakenheath in 2008, following sustained protest at the base by CND and the Lakenheath Action Group. US nuclear bombs had been located there since 1954. 

Their return – assigned to NATO – will increase global tensions and put Britain on the front line in a NATO/Russia war. B61s have continued to be sited in five other countries across Europe – Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Turkey – in spite of strong opposition within some of the ‘host’ countries.

Now the UK has been added to the US’s list of European sites in line for infrastructure investment for storing ‘special weapons within secure sites and facilities’. Special weapons mean nuclear weapons and this is happening in the context of increasing tension with Russia and the current escalating war.

Since the weapons were removed in 2008, the empty storage vaults for the weapons have been on ‘caretaker’ status, but reports of nuclear exercises at Lakenheath increase the likelihood that nuclear weapons are back, or on their way; the base currently hosts F-15E fighter-bombers with nuclear capability but these are being replaced by the new nuclear- capable F-35A Lightning. The first of these new fighter- bombers arrived in December 2021.

Within the next year US/NATO nuclear bases in Europe will also receive the new B61-12 guided nuclear bomb which is entering full-scale production in the US.

The return of US nuclear weapons to Britain and the upgrading of its nuclear weapons across Europe constitutes a further undermining of prospects for peace in Europe and beyond.

The US is the only country to locate its nuclear weapons outside its own borders and this major increase in NATO’s capacity to wage nuclear war in Europe is dangerously destabilising.

Whether they have already been returned to Britain, or their delivery is still in preparation, this is a huge challenge for the peace movement and we will do everything we can to prevent these weapons being sited here. 

[…]

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原発事故被曝で「子孫に遺伝的影響」4割が誤解…環境省全国調査 via 読売新聞

東京電力福島第一原子力発電所事故で 被曝ひばく した人について、子孫に遺伝的な影響が起こる可能性があると誤解している人が約4割に上ることが、環境省が初めて実施した全国調査でわかった。同省は福島県民への差別や偏見につながる恐れがあるとして、改めて情報発信に力を入れている。

被曝による遺伝的な影響を巡っては、長崎、広島原爆の被爆者調査で遺伝病増加などの事実は確認されていない。また、放射線による人体や環境への影響を評価する国際機関「原子放射線の影響に関する国連科学委員会」は昨年、福島原発事故で「遺伝的影響はみられない」とする報告書をまとめている。

[…]

 同省は「結婚や妊娠などで差別や偏見につながる可能性がある」とし、専用サイトを設け、大学生らが被曝などの知識を学ぶイベントを主催。正しい情報を広める活動に取り組んでいる。

全文は 原発事故被曝で「子孫に遺伝的影響」4割が誤解…環境省全国調査

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EDITORIAL: Payouts for nuclear disaster in urgent need of revamp via The Asahi Shimbun

The government’s committee overseeing compensation for victims of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has begun considering whether existing guidelines for payouts should be revised upward.

Established in the aftermath of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the guidelines have long been denounced as woefully inadequate in light of the impact of the unprecedented accident. The committee’s decision comes far too late. Many victims are now advanced in years and there is no time to waste in revamping the guidelines.

The criteria for amounts to be paid out were drawn up in August 2011 by the government’s Dispute Reconciliation Committee for Nuclear Damage Compensation as “interim guidelines.” To expedite payments, the panel set general rules concerning eligibility based on categories of damages.

The guidelines, last reviewed in December 2013, are supposed to indicate minimum amounts of compensation for different types of damages. The utility is supposed to determine the actual sums to be paid after considering the special circumstances of individual victims.

Thirty or so group lawsuits have been filed by victims asserting that estimates of damages based on this method were insufficient. The plaintiffs are also seeking to hold the government liable for damages.

More than 10,000 people are involved in these legal actions. A series of rulings by district and high courts since 2017 granted higher damages to the plaintiffs than the estimates based on the guidelines. Seven of the rulings against plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. were finalized by the Supreme Court this spring.

The cases deal with different issues. Some supported the argument that all plaintiffs in a certain area should be compensated for mental stress due to their “loss of homes,” meaning they were deprived of their livelihoods and community life. These rulings represent judicial recognition of certain kinds of damages common to many local residents that are not covered by the guidelines. The guidelines should at least be changed to address these issues. Fukushima Prefecture and other local administrative authorities have urged the central government to review the criteria based on the court decisions.

In a belated move, the committee decided to analyze the rulings and identify types of damages not covered by the guidelines. This is a necessary process, but more needs to be done. The panel should confront the diverse and complicated realities resulting from years of living in forced evacuation.

[…]

This problem is an acid test for TEPCO’s commitment to supporting victims of the disaster. The company has consistently refused to pay compensation beyond the amounts based on the guidelines in both class action lawsuits and in mediations by a government dispute-settlement body. It has apparently decided to wait for the committee’s decision. As the company responsible for the disastrous accident, TEPCO’s stance toward the issue raises serious doubt about its awareness of its obligation to make genuine efforts to provide relief to victims.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which is effectively the primary shareholder of the utility under state control, must instruct the company to address the problem with sincerity.

[…]

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Two Southwest tribes raise concerns over uranium storage via High Country News

Tribal communities in Arizona and Utah face environmental problems connected to the same radioactive resource: uranium.

In White Mesa, Utah, at America’s last uranium mill, a pool of toxic waste is emitting dangerous amounts of radon to the surrounding communities, among them the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. This isn’t news: In November 2021, High Country News reported on the improperly stored waste and its impacts on the community, and in December — thanks to EcoFlight’s aerial photography and a proactive tribal government — the Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice to Energy Fuels Resources, ordering it to address the issue. Five months later, however, the improper storage practices persist. 

In March, follow-up aerial shots from EcoFlight revealed a noticeable difference between the photograph taken in August 2021; the tailings cells, which consist of radioactive waste typically submerged in liquid from the uranium processing, have since decreased even further, increasing the amount of exposed toxic compounds. The visual evidence arrived two months after EPA representatives visited the site on Jan. 13. At the time, it was estimated that 60% of Cell 4B was uncovered. In a March letter from the EPA, the agency reported that Energy Fuels’ explanation of this decline is due to water conservation practices and extracting vanadium from the liquid, a rare earth mineral, for profit.

[…]

Complicating matters is the possibility that the Biden administration’s Department of Energy will establish a strategic uranium reserve, which would increase the domestic stockpile of uranium — but at a cost. Uranium mines would be able to begin operating and funnel ore to the White Mesa mill for processing. According to Amber Reimondo, the energy policy director at the Grand Canyon Trust, it doesn’t immediately pose problems for White Mesa residents, but might present long-term ecological and community health problems. Reimondo doesn’t believe it makes sense for uranium mines in the U.S. to begin extraction when the quality of the uranium here is lower, and it’s more expensive than it would be coming from countries like Australia or Canada.

[…]

In an Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in late March, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., voiced his support for prioritizing domestic mineral supply chains to curb U.S. reliance on Russian minerals, including uranium. “They don’t understand that human life, water and animal life is so important here,” Tilousi said.

“They don’t understand that human life, water and animal life is so important here.”

Meanwhile, Clow’s department has secured a small grant from the EPA that will enable the tribe to find a qualified candidate to design an epidemiological study of the direct and indirect health effects the White Mesa Mill has had on local residents, as well as its environmental impacts on the land. The study will look at the impacts of living in close proximity to the mine; for example, it will calculate the economic cost to community members who have to purchase bottled water because the local water supply is undrinkable. It will also examine how Native residents are affected when they are forced to cease traditional activities, such as picking plants for medicine.

Ultimately, the community will end up having to bear the costs of far-off industries, both nationally and globally, whether the nuclear waste comes from countries like Japan and Estonia or from nuclear power plants on the East Coast. “The initial mass and impact on the environment and public health are here,” in the West, Clow said. “And then the end impact is here” — also in the West.

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EU大統領が広島訪問 via Kyodo

ロシアの核「世界に脅威」と批判

 欧州連合(EU)のミシェル大統領は13日、被爆地の広島市を訪れ、声明を発表。ウクライナに侵攻したロシアが「許し難いことに核兵器の使用に言及している」と非難。北朝鮮も「違法で挑発的なミサイル実験を繰り返している」として「世界の安全保障の脅威となっている」と批判した。

 ミシェル氏は原爆資料館を視察後、記者団に「この場所と長崎で起きた苦しみは今も続いている。大量破壊兵器の廃絶は急務だ」と述べ、核軍縮への決意を表明した。

(略)

ミシェル氏は、原爆投下前後の街の様子を再現したCG投影装置を眺め、説明に真剣な様子で耳を傾けていた。

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Poisoned legacy: why the future of power can’t be nuclear via The Guardian

By Serhii Plokhy

[…]

In the meantime, we obviously have an existing nuclear industry, and the solution is not to run away in panic, but to take good care of the facilities that already dot our countryside. We must not abandon the industry to its current state of economic hardship, as that would only mean inviting the next accident sooner rather than later. We should improve the safety of existing nuclear reactors by creating new standards to protect them not only from the natural disasters but also from man-made ones such as war.


The Windscale piles were shut down in the autumn of 1957. That was not the end, but rather the beginning of a process that took decades to complete. Shutting down a nuclear facility is no easy task: since Wigner energy remained in the graphite of the piles, they needed constant monitoring. For decades, technology and equipment required for the proper decontamination of the site were lacking, and it was not until 1999 that work began on removing the highly contaminated parts of the reactor, along with the remaining 15 tonnes of fuel, from the damaged area of Pile No 1. The Windscale piles entered the new millennium without fuel but with their deteriorating stacks still reaching dangerously into the sky. While the chimney of Pile No 2 was partly dismantled in 2001, work on demolishing No 1 only began three years ago.

Those stark concrete piles lasted from the beginning of the cold war to the brink of a new one. But as uncanny as the other parallels may seem, this time we do not need to plunge headlong into a nuclear future.

On 10 October 1957, Harold Macmillan sent a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower. The question he asked his US counterpart was: “What are we going to do about these Russians?” The launch of the Sputnik satellite six days earlier had carried with it the threat that Soviet military technology would eclipse that of the west. The prime minister was hoping to boost British nuclear capabilities, and was desperate for US cooperation.

On that same day, however, the UK’s most advanced nuclear project went up in flames – putting the knowledge and bravery of its best scientists to the test, and threatening England’s peaceful countryside with a radiological disaster.

Britain’s first atomic establishment had been hurriedly put together after the second world war. It had turned the small village of Seascale, on the Cumbrian coast, into one of Britain’s most highly educated places, brimming with nuclear scientists and engineers. At the centre of this rarified new world were two buildings: Windscale piles No 1 and No 2. They were Britain’s first nuclear reactors, on a campus that for decades afterwards would be used to produce energy for the grid, but their primary purpose was to produce the material for a British bomb.

One atomic energy official would later refer to the piles as “monuments to our initial ignorance”, and it was ignorance about one particular nuclear phenomenon that almost led to disaster. “Wigner energy” is the energy that accumulates in the graphite blocks that make up the main body of the reactor while the fission reaction is taking place. If it’s not released in time, the energy can build up to such an extent that it ignites the graphite. Periodically, a special operation called “annealing” has to be undertaken in order to release the excess energy.

Macmillan wanted Windscale to produce more plutonium and tritium for a hydrogen bomb as quickly as possible. But annealing required stopping the reactor. The Windscale Technical Evaluation Committee decided it would be safe to do it less often. Managers had scheduled the annealing of Pile No 1 for early October 1957, but it was long overdue.

It began at 11.45am on 7 October, under the supervision of physicist Ian Robertson. Everything seemed to go according to plan, and after a long day Robertson went home to get some sleep. He felt unwell. The whole village was feeling the impact of a global flu pandemic – a virus that combined strains of avian and human influenza that had emerged from Guizhou, China, the previous year. Many of Robertson’s colleagues and their families had fallen ill. But no attempts were made to quarantine, and people had continued to show up for work. After spending a few hours at home, Robertson was back at the pile for 9am the following day. It must have seemed as if the flu had not only infected Robertson but the reactor as well. The temperature in the pile was not behaving as predicted and it was a challenge to keep things stable. The oOperators managed to maintain control for the rest of the day and night, but on 9 October the temperature began to rise again. As the situation became critical, no one could tell what was going on inside the pile.

“Someone suggested that we actually have a look at the reactor itself,” Arthur Wilson, then a 32-year-old instrument technician, later recalled. “We thought: ‘What the hell.’ I opened the gag-port and there it was – a fire at the face of the reactor.” Normally it was dark, but now the channels were glowing bright red from the soaring temperature. “I can’t say I thought a lot about it at the time, there was so much to do,” continued Wilson. “I didn’t think ‘Hurrah, I’ve found it.’ I rather thought, ‘Oh dear, now we are in a pickle.’”

[…]

What the Russian takeover of these nuclear facilities exposed is a hazard inherent in all nuclear power. In order for this method of producing electricity to be safe, everything else in society has to be functioning perfectly. Warfare, economic collapse, climate change itself – all of these increasingly real risks make nuclear sites potentially perilous places. Even without them, the dangers of atomic fission remain, and we must ask ourselves: are they really worth the cost?

[…]

If what we bury today in the New Mexico desert – the waste created by our nuclear ambitions – is so repulsive to us, why do we pass it on to others to deal with?


This leaves us with the obvious question: if nuclear power is not a safe option for the future, what should we do about the growing need for energy and the demands imposed on us by the climate crisis? It’s true that renewables cannot fill the gap left by Russian supply overnight, but surely new investments should go not into the improvement of outdated 20th-century technologies, but instead into the energy technologies of the 21st century. Although coal and oil between them still account for 60% of global electricity generation, renewable sources – which include hydroelectric, biogas, wind and solar – now account for nearly 29% and are growing. This share can be boosted: new research should be encouraged, grid infrastructure should be built up, and storage capacity increased. Billions that would otherwise go to new nuclear infrastructure, with all the attendant costs of cleanup that continue for decades and beyond, should be pumped instead into clean energy.

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