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Green New Deal & Climate Change: NUKES ARE NOT THE ANSWER! Fairewinds’ Gundersen w/the Science, NEIS’s Snyder w/the Languaging Tricks NH #399 via Nuclear Hotseat

 
This Week’s Featured Interviews: 
  • Are nukes “carbon-free” and can they actually help turn around global warming?  Arnie Gundersen — Chief Engineer at Fairewinds Energy Education, as well as a former licensed nuclear reactor operator and whistleblower — rips that nuclear industry propaganda campaign to shreds. 
  • Green New Deal languaging analyzed for hidden pro-nuclear landmines by Gail Snyder, Board Chair of Chicago-based Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS).

A reminder that I’m requesting support to help me attend the TMI/40 events at the end of March for the 40th anniversary commemoration.  Please, to donate what you can – CLICK HERE.  And thank you! – Libbe.

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Kyushu Electric to scrap No. 2 reactor at Genkai nuclear plant due to cost of safety upgrades at aging site via The Japan Times

[…]

The utility abandoned a plan to restart the unit, which has an output of 559 megawatts, in the face of the huge costs involved in enhancing the safety of the reactor that is already near the end of its 40-year operating life.

The firm also took into account that it is unable to secure land to build a counterterrorism facility, which is required under Japan’s new nuclear safety rules.

Kyushu Electric President Kazuhiro Ikebe met Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi Wednesday to notify him of the decision.

“Even if the plant is decommissioned, it doesn’t mean the nuclear fuel or radioactive materials will disappear immediately,” Yamaguchi said. “We hope you will be absolutely sure about securing safety.”

The move had been a focus of attention as the firm needed to apply to extend the unit’s operations by March 2020, a year before it would reach its operating limit.

The reactor, which started operating in March 1981, has been idled since a routine checkup shortly before the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster that triggered the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

[…]

Kyushu Electric restarted the newer Nos. 3 and 4 reactors, which each have an output of 1,180 megawatts, in 2018, after securing approval under the stricter safety rules introduced in the wake of the core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

Aside from the reactors at the Fukushima plant, decommissioning of 10 reactors at seven plants in Japan has already been decided since the Nuclear Regulation Authority introduced the new rules. Genkai’s No. 2 unit will be the 11th such reactor.

There have been a number of operational problems at the Genkai power plant. In May last year, pumps installed to control the circulation of cooling water at the No. 4 unit suffered malfunctions, following a steam leak from a pipe at the No. 3 reactor just a week after it was reactivated in March.

Some local residents have sought to stop operation of the Nos. 3 and 4 units with a temporary injunction, with doubts about the safety measures taken and citing the risk of volcanic eruptions in the region. Their case is pending at the Fukuoka High Court.

[…]

Read more.

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The Atomic Soldiers via The New York Times

By Morgan Knibbe

Feb. 12, 2019

I’ve always been fascinated by nuclear weapons and the self-destructive tendencies of mankind. So when I found declassified United States Civil Defense footage of soldiers maneuvering in the glare of a mushroom cloud, I wanted to learn more about their stories.

I discovered that as many as 400,000 American soldiers and sailors observed nuclear explosions just a few miles from ground zero in more than 200 atmospheric tests conducted between 1946 and 1962. […]I was baffled by the lack of recorded testimonies available, but I found a few firsthand accounts of the soldiers’ experiences. Many of them said they’d been positioned much closer to the point of detonation than in the footage I’d seen.

With so little information available and the number of remaining veterans dwindling rapidly, I wanted to prevent these stories from disappearing. I decided to interview some of them as research for a fiction film on the topic and wound up making this documentary in the process. I traveled across the United States to record the veterans’ accounts on camera.

Connecting with them wasn’t easy. Most of the veterans had either passed away or didn’t use email or mobile phones. Because of secrecy agreements they had signed, some of them were hesitant to talk about their experiences. My nationality also raised suspicion: Why was a 25-year-old Dutchman prying into their nation’s secret military past? After the soldiers realized my intention was to give them a voice, they finally opened up to me.

Getting to know these men was an experience I will never forget. I realized that my own generation seems to have become numb to what nuclear war could do to humanity. The accounts of the atomic soldiers can help us understand that horror.

 

Read more and watch video.

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Study: No leaking radiation from Alaska island nuclear site via WJLA

The latest round of testing on Alaska’s remote Amchitka Island found no radioactive material has leaked from locations where the federal government conducted underground nuclear tests there decades ago, a federal official said Tuesday.

Environmental samples tested in 2016 show no subsurface migration of radioactive material, said Jason Nguyen with the U.S. Department of Energy. Samples tested in 2011 also showed no “excessive risk” was found, he said. The department funds sample testing conducted on the island every five years.

[…]

Nguyen, the department’s site manager for Amchitka work, also said a 2014 earthquake with a magnitude 7.9 damaged the caps of three drilling mud pits on the now-uninhabited island. But he said none of the diesel-fuel filled mud was exposed. The damage has not yet been repaired.

Three nuclear tests were conducted between 1965 and 1971 on Amchitka, located in the Aleutian Islands chain 1,340 miles southwest of Anchorage. The island was occupied by Aleuts for thousands of years. But they were long gone by the time the U.S. military built a base there during World War II as a strategic defense post, said Bruce Wright, the science adviser for the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, a tribal organization for Alaska’s Aleuts including those on the closest occupied location, Adak Island, 200 miles east of Amchitka. Wright was among the speakers at Tuesday’s gathering.

[…]

The 2011 sampling report said tests indicated that seafood harvested near the now-unoccupied island is safe to eat. The report also said radioactive material from the nuclear tests has remained in the subsurface of each blast location, with the exception of small concentrations of radioactive material detected in several places in subsurface water after the first nuclear test.

The first of the nuclear blasts, dubbed Long Shot, was launched in 1965 with a goal of improving detections of underground nuclear explosions. The second test, called Milrow, was conducted in 1969 to assess detonations of much larger bombs.

The final blast, called Cannikin, the largest underground nuclear test in U.S. history, was launched in 1971 as a weapons-related test. That detonation lifted the ground 20 feet and was equal to the 400 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to information on the National Park Service website. Between 700 and 2,000 sea otters were killed by pressure changes caused by the explosion.

[…]

Radiation-related cancers were far more common among scores of people who worked on Amchitka than among the general population, according to health screenings done through a federal government program. The program compensated hundreds of workers for medical costs.

Others, like Hayden McClure of Palmer, Alaska, received no compensation because he worked there many years after the nuclear blasts. The 71-year-old retired heavy equipment operator is convinced his blood cancer, lymph disease, bone lesions and other health problems stemmed from the 75 days he spend digging trenches on the island in 1988. A fellow worker developed leukemia and died the following year, he said.

“I didn’t have any medical problems until I went there,” he said of his time on Amchitka.

Read more at Study: No leaking radiation from Alaska island nuclear site

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Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035 via Channel News Asia

MADRID: Spain aims to close all seven of its nuclear plants between 2025 and 2035 as part of plans to generate all the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2050.

Energy Minister Teresa Ribera announced the move on Tuesday (Feb 12), just as the Socialist government gears up to call an early national election in anticipation of losing a budget vote.

Overhauling Spain’s energy system, which generated 40 per cent of its mainland electricity from renewable sources in 2018, will require investment of 235 billion euros (US$266 billion) between 2021 and 2030, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month.

[…]

Phasing out nuclear power, which accounts for a little over 20 per cent of mainland Spain’s electricity, was a campaign pledge for the governing Socialists, who took office last summer after toppling their conservative predecessors in a confidence vote.

Spain’s nuclear plants, which started operating between 1983 and 1988, are owned by Iberdrola, Italian-owned Endesa, Naturgy and Portugal’s EDP.

Read more at Spain plans to close all nuclear plants by 2035 

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福島第1原発ルポ 廃炉へ「まだスタート地点」via 神戸新聞

東日本大震災から8年を前に、日本記者クラブ取材団の一員として東京電力福島第1原発などを訪れた。史上最悪レベルの原子力事故を起こした現場は除染作業が進み、敷地内の96%が一般作業服で活動できるようになっていた。一方で、汚染水や廃棄物は増え続け、原子炉格納容器内に溶け落ちた核燃料(デブリ)は残ったまま。廃炉作業の先行きはまだ見通せていない。(今福寛子)

(略)

■次々鳴る線量計

視察のコースでもある高台は、除染の成果で昨年11月からマスクなしで見学できるようになった。そもそもこの日の装備は軽装で、ヘルメットに簡易なベスト、長靴、マスクと手袋、眼鏡だけ。すれ違う作業員も全面マスク、防護服姿の人は見当たらなかった。

「ピッ」「ピッ」。取材を始め5分ほどで、周囲の線量計が次々に鳴り始めた。20マイクロシーベルトに上がると、音が出る。歯のエックス線撮影1回で10マイクロシーベルト程度といい、頭では心配ないと理解しているが、思わず体がこわばった。

今回見学した中で最も放射線量が高かったのは、2号機と3号機の間の通路。3号機の上部はがれきが撤去されたが、横から見上げると水素爆発で破壊された当時のまま。コンクリートはボロボロに崩れ鉄筋がむき出しに。建屋の壁は放射性物質の飛散防止剤がまかれ、緑色に染まっていた。

使用済み核燃料プールから放射線が漏れている影響で、3号機に近づくと線量計の数字が一気に上がり毎時約350マイクロシーベルトを計測。5分ほどで慌ただしくバスに戻った。

■立ち並ぶタンク

もともと緑豊かだった敷地内は放射性物質が舞い散らないよう木を伐採して舗装し、至る所に汚染水の巨大タンクが立ち並ぶ。高さ約10メートル、約1200トンを貯蔵できるタンクは1週間から10日で満杯になる。東電の計画では2020年末までに137万トン分を製作する予定。限られた敷地の中でこれからも増え続ける。

軽装備で作業できるエリアが広がり、食堂やコンビニが入る大型休憩所の整備など作業員の労働環境は格段に改善されたという。ただ、1~3号機内の放射線量はいまだ高く、デブリ取り出しの方法は模索中。廃炉の目標は2040~50年としているが、東電の担当者は「まだスタート地点に立ったところ」と説明。道のりの困難さをうかがわせた。

全文は福島第1原発ルポ 廃炉へ「まだスタート地点」

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TEPCO begins probe to make 1st contact with nuke debris at Fukushima plant via The Mainichi

TOKYO — A probe to make the first contact with nuclear fuel debris inside the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima started on Feb. 13, the plant’s operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said.

The examination using a remotely operated device, which began shortly after 7 a.m., will try to hold and lift the debris and check its status on the floor of the reactor’s containment vessel. The device has two roughly 3-centimeter-long “fingers” — capable of holding an object up to 2 kilograms in weight — attached to its 30-centimeter-long, camera-mounted tip. The equipment was placed inside the vessel via a pipe that can be expanded from 11 meters to 15 meters in length. The debris will remain inside the reactor throughout the test.

[…]

The damaged reactors released a massive amount of radioactive materials into the air, forcing hundreds of thousands of nearby residents to flee their homes.

(Japanese original by Toshiyuki Suzuki, Science & Environment News Department)

Read more at TEPCO begins probe to make 1st contact with nuke debris at Fukushima plant

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福島原発、2号機のデブリ接触調査始まる via 毎日新聞

東京電力は13日午前、福島第1原発事故で炉心溶融(メルトダウン)した2号機で、溶融燃料(燃料デブリ)に直接触れることを試みる初の「接触調査」を始めた。

調査はこの日のみの予定で、午前7時過ぎから原子炉格納容器内に特殊な機器を入れる作業を開始。計画では、作業用配管を通じて伸縮式パイプ(全長約11~15メートル)を挿入し、カメラを取り付けた先端部分(長さ約30センチ)をデブリがある底部まで到達させる。

 この部分には最大2キロまで持ち上げられる2本の「指」(長さ約3センチ)のような部品があり、デブリをつかんだり持ち上げたりして性状を確認する。遠隔で操作し、デブリは移動可能でも炉外には持ち出さない。

(略)

2021年にも本格的に取り出しを始める。【鈴木理之】

全文は福島原発、2号機のデブリ接触調査始まる

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反対表明の那珂市長退任=東海第2原発再稼働で-茨城 via Jiji.com

茨城県那珂市の海野徹市長が12日、任期満了に伴い退任した。海野氏は昨年10月、日本原子力発電東海第2原発(東海村)の再稼働に周辺自治体で初めて反対を表明した。

(略)

また、同原発の再稼働については「経年劣化による内部損傷などが懸念され、市民の命を守るという大義が損なわれる。今後も市民の意思を把握することに全力を尽くしてほしい」と述べた。

全文は反対表明の那珂市長退任=東海第2原発再稼働で-茨城

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応募低調な福島の五輪ボランティア 県が追加説明会 via Iza

 2020年東京五輪・パラリンピックを支える都市ボランティアの応募について福島県は12日、目標の4割程度しか集まっていない現状を受け、追加の説明会を18日と19日に開催すると発表した。内堀雅雄知事は「五輪に直接、関わるいい機会。多くの方に応募していただきたい」と参加を呼びかけている。

都市ボランティアは会場周辺で来場者の案内などに当たる。福島県は聖火リレーの出発地となるほか、ソフトボールと野球会場の県営あづま球場(福島市)が五輪最初の競技開催地に予定されるなど「復興五輪」の象徴として期待されている。ところが都市ボランティアの応募状況は低調で、「2月末で1500人」との目標に対し、12日現在の応募者数は623人と半数に満たない状況だ。

(略)

県は昨年12月から11回にわたって説明会を開いてきた。特にあづま球場を抱える福島市から多くの応募者を確保したい考えで、内堀知事は12日の定例会見で「(東日本大震災後の内外からの支援に対する)感謝や復興に進む福島の姿を伝える貴重な機会だ」と改めて参加の意義を強調した。

全文は応募低調な福島の五輪ボランティア 県が追加説明会

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