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Oct. 28, 2017: Atomic Age IV Symposium

This event will take place at the University of Chicago’s Social Sciences Research Building (1126 E. 59th St.) in Room 122 and is FREE and open to the public.

While attendance is FREE, registration is REQUIRED.  To register, please click here.

 

This day-long symposium will focus on the human and social impact of the atomic age and most particularly the Fukushima nuclear disaster, focusing on the wildlife of the Fukushima region and the biological sciences. The program will feature a screening of two episodes of the documentary series entitled, “Fukushima: A Record of Living Things,” and discussions featuring:

-Mr. Masanori Iwasaki, Film Director, Fukushima: Ikimono no kiroku (Fukushima: A Record of Living Things)

-Mr. Shin-ichi Hayama, Professor, Wildlife Animal Medicine, Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University

-Robert (Bo) Jacobs, Professor, Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City University

-Martha McClintock, David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor Emerita in Psychology, University of Chicago and Founding Director, Institute for Mind and Biology

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Faulty Areva fuel rods sent to nuclear reactors, Swiss plant closed via Reuters

PARIS/ZURICH, Nov 17 (Reuters) – French nuclear group Areva delivered defective fuel rods for nuclear reactors but said on Friday that there was no safety risk.

Swiss media, however, reported that a Swiss nuclear plant was closed due to problems with the rods.

Areva said in a statement that following the discovery of a leaking fuel rod at its Paimboeuf, France, zirconium-tube manufacturing plant, tests had showed that some fuel rods which should have been rejected were delivered to utilities companies.

Fuel rods which already have been loaded in reactors can continue operating without impairing plant safety and none of the affected rods have caused leaks, Areva said.

An Areva spokesman said that utilities operating the faulty tubes had been informed but declined say to which companies were involved, citing “industrial confidentiality”.

He declined to say whether French utility EDF, Areva’s main customer, had received faulty rods. EDF has had to close several reactors in the past two years due to manufacturing problems at Areva foundry Creusot Forge.

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New finding: nuke blast crippled Chernobyl via Cosmos

The Chernobyl 4 reactor was destroyed by a nuclear explosion, not a steam one, according to research published in the journal Nuclear Technology.

The reactor, 130 kilometres of Kiev, Ukraine, exploded in on April 25, 1986, killing 30 people, and inducing acute radiation poisoning in 134. Today, encased in thick concrete, it stands at the centre of a 2600 square-kilometre exclusion zone.

Investigations into the causes of the reactor failure concluded that the cause was a steam explosion. This remains the accepted explanation, and is sometimes deployed to bolster the case put by the power industry that no reactor has ever experienced a nuclear explosion.

Now, analysis by researchers from the Swedish Defence Research Agency, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, and Stockholm University contradicts the standard explanation.

The team, led by Lars-Erik De Geer, concludes that the first of two explosions reported by eyewitnesses was in fact a nuclear one – or rather, a very rapid series of nuclear ones – followed three seconds later by a secondary steam explosion.

The nuclear explosions, the researchers conclude, sent a jet of debris very high into the sky. The steam explosion immediately afterwards ruptured the reactor and sent still more debris into the atmosphere, but at lower altitudes.

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/上 タンクぎっしり830基 第1原発、増え続ける汚染水処理水 via 毎日新聞

福島第1原発(福島県)の敷地内には汚染水の処理水が入ったタンク約830基が所狭しと並んでいた。同原発は約350万平方メートルと全国有数の広さだが、東京電力の担当者は「あと3、4年で敷地がいっぱいになる」と説明する。事故から6年半以上経過したが、抜本的な解決策が見つかっていない課題は多い。10月下旬に原発立地自治体の毎日新聞記者らが対象の視察に参加した。福島の現状を報告する。【根岸愛実】

 福島第1原発の廃炉作業には30~40年間必要とされる。特に事故で溶け落ちた核燃料「燃料デブリ」の取り扱いを巡ってはこれまでスケジュールが先延ばしされるなどしている。

 敷地内には、原発建屋に流入した地下水からセシウムなどの放射性物質を除去する処理装置が置かれ、東電によると、処理量は1日約360トン。規制基準上は希釈して海に流せる数値の範囲内だが風評被害を懸念し、敷地内に保管している。

 東電は地下水流入を抑える凍土壁を作るなどしているが汚染水は増え続けている。9月21日現在で約81万トンの処理済の汚染水がタンクに保管されている。

原子炉建屋周辺は今も放射線量が高く、数人の作業員が防護服を着て作業する姿が見えた。東電によると、なるべく放射線を浴びないよう少人数が交代で作業しているという。

 福島第1原発から南に約12キロの沿岸には福島第2原発が立地する。東日本大震災では四つの外部電源のうち三つが津波で浸水したが、一つが残ったため、復旧させた海水ポンプを動かすなどして重大事故を免れた。

[…]

東電の担当者は、福島第1原発の廃炉について「先も見えない作業」と話す。住民の帰還ができるようになった周辺自治体もあるが、第1原発が立地する双葉町や大熊町などは「帰還困難区域」のままだ。原発事故の影響はいまだ続いている。=次回は19日掲載

 

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「原発ゼロ都市宣言を」市民団体 さようなら原発熱海の会 via 伊豆新聞

■961人分署名添え市、議会に提出

熱海市に「原発ゼロ都市宣言」を求めて署名活動に取り組む市民団体「さようなら原発熱海の会」(遠山碧代表)は15日、新たに集めた961人分の署名を添えて同市に陳情書を提出した。市議会にも「原発のない日本を願う請願」を行った。

陳情は3回目で、今追加分を含めた署名は計7830人分となった。陳情書では「東海地震などが発生すれば、震源域の真上に位置する浜岡原発が大災害をもたらすことは明らか。熱海の農林水産資源も大打撃を受け、観光産業は成り立たなくなる。再稼働は認められない」と主張。市には熱海を原発の脅威から守るために「原発ゼロ都市宣言」を行うよう求めた。遠山代表ら会員5人が市役所に森本要副市長を訪ね、陳情書を手渡した。

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Nuclear safety board warns of trouble ahead at Hanford, but could lose role under Trump via The Seattle Times

Nuclear safety board report finds serious problems persist with a massive facility to help treat Hanford’s chemical and radioactive wastes. The report comes as the Trump administration considers a proposal to downsize or do away with the independent oversight board.

An unfinished $16.8 billion complex to treat chemical and radioactive waste at the Hanford site in Central Washington continues to suffer design problems that risk explosions and radioactive releases from unintended nuclear reactions, according to a Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report.

The board’s findings are at odds with a much more optimistic assessment offered by the U.S. Energy Department of the efforts to treat the toxic leftovers of decades of atomic weapons production. In a written statement last February, the Energy Department declared that major issues previously identified by the safety board had been “resolved,” and found that design work could resume on what the department calls a critical pretreatment plant needed to process highly radioactive waste.

The latest report is more sobering news for a project first conceived more than two decades ago that has suffered from huge increases in costs and repeated delays amid safety concerns.

The report’s release comes at a difficult time for the board. The Trump administration is considering a proposal to downsize or abolish the board, which for nearly 30 years has provided independent oversight of defense nuclear sites across the country. The board’s backers say this report — challenging Energy Department assumptions — is more evidence of its vital review role.

[…]

The board has been deeply involved in watchdogging the development of Hanford’s waste-treatment complex, the largest of its kind in the world, which broke ground in 2002 on 65 acres of the nuclear reservation. The goal is to transform some 56 million gallons of chemical and radioactive waste into glass rods that can be safely put into long-term storage. The process requires a hugely complex engineering effort due — in part — to the wide range of waste materials currently stored in 177 underground tanks, more than a third of which have leaked over the years.

But safety concerns, including those cited in the latest board report, have plagued the pretreatment facility for years even as billions of dollars have been budgeted for engineering, labor, equipment and other costs.

[…]

During World War II, Hanford was claimed by the federal government as a secret site for producing plutonium that was used in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. Nine reactors would eventually operate at Hanford, with the last one shut down in 1987.

The pretreatment plant — the size of nearly four football fields — has long been designated as a key part of the cleanup operations. It will have the ability to concentrate, then filter out solid high-level radioactive waste that is some of the most challenging material stored in the tanks.

When completed, the pretreatment plant is designed to contain more than 100 miles of piping and four huge stainless-steel tanks — each able to hold 375,000 gallons of waste — that will sit behind steel-laced concrete walls that workers cannot access.

The project is being run by Bechtel National, the lead contractor. By 2010, whistleblowers and the federal safety board had raised concerns over the risks of explosions from the buildup of hydrogen gas in the pipes and the potential for radioactive releases from unintended nuclear chain reactions, known as criticality hazards.

[…]

The board has no regulatory powers to require the Energy Department to take action. But its reports are made public and the Energy Department is required to respond to the panel’s formal recommendations.

The board also has provided an important forum for whistleblowers when they found that Energy Department and contractors ignored their concerns.

In 2011, the board — in response to whistleblower allegations — released a harsh assessment of a “failed safety culture” at the Hanford waste-treatment complex. The board found that technical objections were “discouraged, if not opposed or rejected without review.” This had a “substantial probability” of jeopardizing the project mission, the report found.

Read more at Nuclear safety board warns of trouble ahead at Hanford, but could lose role under Trump 

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自民 石破元幹事長 核兵器製造技術は抑止力に via NHK News Web

自民党の石破元幹事長は東京都内で講演し、「日本は核兵器を造るつもりは全くない」と述べる一方で、核兵器を製造できる技術を持つことは抑止力につながるという考えを示しました。

この中で、石破元幹事長は、原子力政策について、「原発は限りなく縮小すべきだが、無くすべきだとは思っていない。

(略)

そのうえで、石破氏は「日本は核兵器を造るつもりは全くないが、いざとなったら造れるということがどれだけ抑止力になっているか、よく認識したほうがよい」と述べ、核兵器を製造できる技術を持つことは抑止力につながるという考えを示しました。

一方、石破氏は、広島と長崎への原爆投下について、「『本土決戦になる事態は絶対に避けなければならず、そのためには原爆を落とすしかなかった』というのがアメリカの公式な説明で、今でもそうだ。間違ってはいないが、原爆を落とした理由はそれだけではないと思う。ソ連が参戦する前に日本を降伏させなければという理由もあるだろうし、『原爆を持っているアメリカに逆らうな』と見せる必要があったと思う」と述べました。

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浜岡原発建屋内で発煙…放射能漏れ・けが人なし via Yomiuri Online

18日午前10時頃、中部電力浜岡原子力発電所(静岡県御前崎市)5号機のタービン建屋内で、金属粉を集める「集じん機」のフィルターから煙が出ているのを協力会社の作業員が発見した。

 作業員が消火活動を行い、約1時間10分後に消防が鎮火を確認した。放射能漏れはなく、けが人もなかった。

 中部電力によると、建屋内で使用済み核燃料を入れる金属製のかごを切断する作業を行っていた。

続きは浜岡原発建屋内で発煙…放射能漏れ・けが人なし

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「通園・通学」24%どまり 福島・川俣町の山木屋地区 教委調査 via 日本経済新聞

 東京電力福島第1原子力発電所事故に伴う避難指示が3月に解除された福島県川俣町山木屋地区について、同町の教育委員会は同地区で2018年4月に開校する小中一貫校と幼稚園の通学意向調査をまとめた。回答した57人のうち「通園・通学する」と答えたのは24.6%にとどまった。

(略)。

57人のうち、14人が「通園・通学する」と回答。「通園・通学しない」は37人(64.9%)、「まだ決めていない」は6人(10.5%)だった。「通園・通学する」と答えた14人の内訳は現在の中学2年が7人、中学1年が2人、小学5年が5人。小学6年と4年生以下はいなかった。

山木屋地区の小中学校は現在、同町内の避難指示が出なかった地域の小中学校に間借りし、計30人が通っている。

全文は「通園・通学」24%どまり 福島・川俣町の山木屋地区 教委調査 

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熊本)水俣を知り福島を考える 会津の高校生が水俣訪問 via 朝日新聞

福島県立会津高校の生徒たちが17日、研修で熊本県水俣市水俣病資料館などを訪れた。原発事故後の福島を訪れた語り部の講話に聴き入り、「福島と水俣とのつながり」に思いを巡らせた。

研修は東日本大震災福島第一原発事故後の地域課題に向き合う人材を育成する福島県の事業の一環で、同校の2年生13人が参加。水俣病資料館では、日々多くの薬を飲んで苦しみに耐える患者の現状などについて説明を受けた後、語り部の会会長の緒方正実さん(59)の講話を聴いた。

(略)

「水俣と福島の問題はつながっている。豊かな暮らしを求めようとするなかで起こされた、どちらも失敗」「目を背けず事実と向き合い、正直に生きることを忘れないで」と生徒たちに語りかけた。

全文は熊本)水俣を知り福島を考える 会津の高校生が水俣訪問

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GE faces federal lawsuit over Fukushima nuclear disaster via Boston Business Journal

General Electric Co., the Boston-based conglomerate, is facing a federal lawsuit over its role in the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.

The class-action lawsuit against GE was filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group that includes residents, medical clinics and companies operating in the area affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the largest disaster of its kind in the world.

“GE designed and largely constructed the the entire failed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant at the center of the dispute,” the lawsuit claims, “and for many years, directly or indirectly through its affiliates, was responsible for the maintenance of the (plant). To this day, GE has paid literally nothing toward the massive economic and business destruction its actions and failings have caused.”

The lawsuit states the seeds of the Fukushima disaster were planted in the 1960s when GE made a “risky bet to dominate the commercial nuclear power industry. In so doing, GE misrepresented the safety of its nuclear reactor, the lawsuit claims “so it could generate sales and earn profits surrounding the possibilities of nuclear power.”

The plaintiffs in the case say they are representing 150,000 Japanese citizens and hundreds of businesses.

The nuclear disaster, triggered by a major earthquake and a deadly tsunami, caused an estimated $200 billion in cleanup costs, the lawsuit states.

ABC reported in 2011 that three GE scientists had quit 35 years before because they believed that the design of the reactor was so flawed that it could lead to an accident.

Continue reading at GE faces federal lawsuit over Fukushima nuclear disaster

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