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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











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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








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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






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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





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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





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





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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