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Bexar County tries to avoid nuclear waste shipments via mySA

Bexar County commissioners are no fans of nuclear waste being shipped through their county.

At their Tuesday meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a resolution opposing shipments of thousands of pounds of spent nuclear fuel rods from more than 62 sites across the U.S. to a waste site in West Texas.

“With our history of derailments and lack of infrastructure support, it’s not ready for prime time,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert said. “It’s just too risky.”

If approved for storage by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a site in Andrews County on the Texas-New Mexico line owned by Waste Control Specialists could also become the home to potentially more dangerous fuel rods, starting in 2021.

[…]

For details on how nuclear material is transported, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s ties to the waste site and information on on how to weigh in, visit ExpressNews.com.

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伊方原発、山口でも仮処分申請へ 運転差し止め求め via 東京新聞

 四国電力伊方原発(愛媛県伊方町)3号機の運転差し止めを求め、山口県の住民3人が3月上旬、山口地裁岩国支部に仮処分を申し立てることが22日までに、関係者への取材で分かった。年内の提訴も目指す。伊方原発を巡っては既に広島、松山、大分の3地裁で仮処分申請と訴訟があり、山口で4カ所目となる。

弁護団によると、3人は山口県南東部で伊方原発の50キロ圏内の地域に暮らす。伊方原発付近には中央構造線断層帯が通り、南海トラフ巨大地震の被害を受けるリスクも高いと訴える。また事故が発生すれば周防灘が汚染され、漁業が立ちゆかなくなると主張する方針。

 

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福島事故前に後戻りvia 中日新聞

[…]

二〇一三年に始まった3、4号機の審査で関電は、規制委の指摘で想定する地震の強さを繰り返し引き上げた。二つの断層の連動から三連動へ。断層の深さも厳しく見積もるように求められ、揺れの強さは建設当初の想定の二倍以上になった。

 それでもなお、計算式の抱える過小評価を指摘したのが、規制委の委員長代理として想定の引き上げを求め、一四年に退いた島崎邦彦東大名誉教授だった。熊本地震の事例から、関電や規制委が認める計算方法に問題があることを訴えた。

 だが、規制委は結局、島崎氏が提案した計算方法にも疑問があり、現時点でほかに妥当な方法がないとの理由で、想定を見直さなかった。この論理は「どこかで割り切るしかない」という福島の事故前の規制当局と似ている。

 東日本大震災後、繰り返し「想定外」という言葉が使われた。あの巨大地震や津波を予想できなかった専門家は、代々受け継いできた土地と営みを奪われた人たちの姿に、科学で分かることの限界を痛感したのではなかったか。もし自分が近くに住んでいたら「現時点でよく分からないから仕方ない」で済むだろうか。今回の結論には、その視点が欠けている。

 

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Radiation surveillance detects iodine leak in Europe via Euractiv

Nobody knows who released the substance, but radioactive iodine has been detected across Europe in recent weeks. EURACTIV’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

The technicians of Europe’s informal network of radioactivity surveillance experts, the Ring of Five, were the only ones to notice the spike in radiation levels. In the second week of January, the alert sounded in the north of Norway, with traces of iodine 131 detected in the air.

Other observations followed in Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and France, according to the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).

In France, levels of iodine-131 did not exceed 0.31 microbecquerel per cubic meter of air (μBq / m3), according to the IRSN, a thousand times less than the levels recorded following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Iodine-131 is a radionuclide with a half-life of just over 8 days. So for it to have been detected, it must have been released shortly before. The source of the substance is still unknown.

[…]

The type of radioactive pollution means nuclear power stations can be struck off the list of possible suspects.

“We have only detected iodine. If there had been an accident, like the ones in Fukushima or Chernobyl, we would have had leaks of other substances, like caesium,” Gariel said.

Among the theories considered most likely is that a manufacturer of medical radio-isotopes, probably in Eastern Europe, suffered a leak. This incident closely resembles an episode from 2011, when the Budapest isotopes institute released – legally and harmlessly – an amount of radioactive iodine into the environment.

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LETTER: A link between cancer rates and nuclear plants? via The Mercury

Since the two nuclear reactors at Limerick began operating in the 1980s, the question of whether toxic radiation releases affected local cancer rates has persisted.

The latest official statistics raise a red flag: among children and young adults, who are more vulnerable to radiation, cancer rates are rising — especially cancers of the thyroid, which is most sensitive to radiation.

A disastrous meltdown, like those at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, has always been possible at Limerick. But toxic radioactivity routinely generated is steadily released into local air and water. People living nearby drink, eat and breathe these chemicals on a daily basis.

A study from the early 2000s found high average levels of Strontium-90 in over 100 local baby teeth. This chemical, only created in atomic bomb explosions and nuclear reactor operations, is deposited in bone and teeth. Levels in teeth of children living near Limerick were 50 percent higher than in areas far from nuclear plants; and those results were published in medical journal articles.

The childhood cancer rate in the Pottstown area was 93 percent above the rest of the region in the late 1990s and early 2000s. While multiple factors can cause children to develop cancer, public health officials failed to document any.

Now that the Limerick nuclear reactors are aging, their parts are corroding and more likely to routinely leak radiation. A review of current local cancer rates in young people is in order.

In the most recent four-year period (2011-2014), a total of 430 cancer cases were diagnosed in Montgomery County residents under age 30, a jump from the 338 cases in the four years prior. The rate increase of 27 percent was significantly larger than the 5 percent rise for the rest of Pennsylvania.

Thyroid cancer is probably the most radiosensitive of all cancers. High rates of this cancer have been found in survivors of the atom bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Baby Boomers exposed to above-ground bomb test fallout in the 1950s and 1960s; persons living near Chernobyl during the 1986 meltdown; and children living near Fukushima after the 2011 meltdown.

The reason thyroid cancer is sensitive to radiation? Another of the 100-plus chemicals released from reactors is iodine-131 (I-131), tiny radioactive metal particles that seek out the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck. I-131 kills or damages healthy cells, which can lead to cancer. Since 1991, U.S. thyroid cancer cases diagnosed annually soared from 12,000 to 64,000.

New thyroid cancer cases in persons under 30-years-old rose from 40 to 79 in Montgomery County during the most recent two four-year periods, a 97 percent increase. The increase for the rest of Pennsylvania is just 9 percent. The county rate is well above the state.

Thyroid cancer is not caused by working in coal mines. It is not caused by smoking. It is not caused by drinking alcohol. It is not caused by eating processed foods. The Mayo Clinic lists just three risk factors for the disease; being female (not a cause); inherited defective genes (not a cause); and radiation exposure — the only known cause.

Continue reading at LETTER: A link between cancer rates and nuclear plants? 

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This underground nuclear bunker city provides shelter to a million people via Daily Pakistan

BEIJING – Over a million people are living in Beijing’s underground bunker metropolis which was designed to protect the city from a nuclear fallout.

In the late ’60s and ‘70s, anticipating the devastation of a Cold War-nuclear fallout, Chairman Mao ordered Chinese cities to build apartments with bomb shelters capable of withstanding the blast of a nuclear bomb.

In Beijing alone, roughly 10,000 bunkers were promptly constructed and when the nuclear threat never materialized, migrant workers and students were ushered into them to live.

Italian photographer Antonio Faccilongo, who went undercover to take the revealing snaps, says she met 150 people, and that only 50 gave permission for their pictures to be published.

[…]

And with limited access to public, affordable housing, nuclear bunkers are one of the few feasible options for migrant workers.

Many of the residents are aspiring youth who believe that underground dwelling is just a transitional phase of their life until they gain the financial means for a room with windows and sunlight.

However, amid the current strained relations between China and western powers, these bunkers provide a sense of security to the people in capital Beijing in case of a nuclear threat.

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福島事故前に後戻り via 中日新聞

 【解説】 想定する地震の揺れを過小評価しているとの指摘がある中、原子力規制委員会は関西電力大飯原発3、4号機が新規制基準を満たすとの審査書案を了承した。疑問を残したままの結論は、規制当局の姿勢が福島第一原発事故前に後戻りした印象を拭えない。

 二〇一三年に始まった3、4号機の審査で関電は、規制委の指摘で想定する地震の強さを繰り返し引き上げた。二つの断層の連動から三連動へ。断層の深さも厳しく見積もるように求められ、揺れの強さは建設当初の想定の二倍以上になった。

 それでもなお、計算式の抱える過小評価を指摘したのが、規制委の委員長代理として想定の引き上げを求め、一四年に退いた島崎邦彦東大名誉教授だった。熊本地震の事例から、関電や規制委が認める計算方法に問題があることを訴えた。

 だが、規制委は結局、島崎氏が提案した計算方法にも疑問があり、現時点でほかに妥当な方法がないとの理由で、想定を見直さなかった。この論理は「どこかで割り切るしかない」という福島の事故前の規制当局と似ている。

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川内原発1号機 鹿児島知事が運転容認 via 毎日新聞

鹿児島県の三反園訓(みたぞの・さとし)知事は22日の県議会で、九州電力川内(せんだい)原発1号機(同県薩摩川内市)について「現状では強い対応を取る必要はないと判断している」と述べ、運転を容認する考えを初めて表明した。定期検査で停止していた1号機が昨年12月に運転再開した際、知事は「専門家委員会の議論を踏まえて判断する」として判断を先送りしていたが、運転を事実上追認した。
 
川内原発の安全性などを議論する県の専門委はこれまでに2回会合を開き、地震後に九電が1号機で実施した特別点検の結果などを検証。「地震の影響はなかった」とする意見書を今月16日、県に提出した。これを受けた対応について代表質問で長田(おさだ)康秀議員(自民)から聞かれ、答えた。そのうえで知事は「(今後の専門委の議論で)問題あるということになれば強い対応を取ることに変わりありません」と付け加えた。
 
(略)
 
三反園知事は昨年7月の知事選で「脱原発」を掲げて初当選し、8、9月には2度にわたり川内原発の即時一時停止と再点検を九電に要請。九電はいずれも拒否する一方で、熊本地震の影響の有無を調べる特別点検は実施した。【杣谷健太、遠山和宏】

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Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees ‘pressured’ to return to contaminated homes, says Greenpeace via Deutsche Welle

[…]

Residents from the Japanese ghost village of Iitate will be allowed to return to their former homes at the end of March – the first time since they were forced to flee the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011. That’s the date the Japanese government has set to lift evacuation orders.

But according to environmental organization Greenpeace, it’s uncertain whether many will want to. Greenpeace says tests it has carried out on homes in Iitate show that despite decontamination, radiation levels are still dangerously high – but that’s not stopping the Japanese governmenment from pressuring evacuees from returning, under threat of losing financial support.

Those who refuse to go back to their former homes, and are dependent on the Japanese government’s financial help, are faced with a dilemma. After a year from when an area is declared safe again to live in, evacuated residents will see their compensation payments terminated by the government.

Radiation ‘comparable with Chernobyl’

The nuclear disaster led to more than 160,000 people being evacuated and displaced from their homes. Of these, many tens of thousands are still living in temporary accommodation six years on.

The village of Iitate, lying northwest of the destroyed reactors at Fukushima Daiichi power plantand from which 6,000 citizens had to be evacuated, was one of the most heavily contaminated following the nuclear disaster.

Around 75 per cent of Iitate is mountainous forest, an integral part of residents’ lives before the nuclear accident.

But according to Greenpeace’s report, published on Tuesday, radiation levels in these woods are “comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation.”

Put another way, Greenpeace said that in 2017, there clearly remains a radiological emergency within Iitate – defining emergency thus: “If these radiation levels were measured in a nuclear facility, not Iitate, prompt action would be required by the authorities to mitigate serious adverse consequences for human health and safety, property or the environment.”

The environmental organization says decontamination efforts have primarily focused on the areas immediately around peoples’ homes, in agricultural fields and in 20-meter strips along public roads.

But these efforts ended up generating millions of tons of nuclear waste – these now lie at thousands of locations across the prefecture, but they haven’t reduced the level of radiation in Iitate “to levels that are safe,” says Greenpeace.

‘Normalizing’ nuclear disaster?

The organization has accused the Japanese government of trying “to normalize a nuclear disaster, creating the myth that just years after the widespread radioactive contamination caused by the nuclear accident of 11 March 2011, people’s lives and communities can be restored and reclaimed.

“By doing so, it hopes, over time, to overcome public resistance to nuclear power.”

Greenpeace also lambasted the government for leaving unanswered what it calls a critical question for those trying to decide whether to return or not: what radiation dose will they be subjected to, not just in one year but over decades or a lifetime?

[…]

Heinz Smital, nuclear physicist and radiation expert at Greenpeace Germany, and part of the team taking measurements at Iitate, told DW the residents were faced with a very difficult situation.

“If you decide to live elsewhere [and not return to Iitate], then you don’t have money, you’re sometimes not welcomed in another area so you are forced to leave, because people say, ‘you’re not going back but you could go back,'” he said. “But for people who go back, they have contaminated land, so how can they use the fields for agriculture?”

[…]

 

 

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Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe? via The Nation

Robert Hunziker – Year over year, ever since 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown grows worse and worse, an ugly testimonial to the inherent danger of generating electricity via nuclear fission, which produces isotopes, some of the most deadly poisonous elements on the face of the planet.

Fukushima Diiachi has been, and remains, one of the world’s largest experiments, i.e., what to do when all hell breaks lose aka The China Syndrome. “Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. It is not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioactivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology to remove the melted fuel,” (Emi Urabe, Fukushima Fuel-Removal Quest Leaves Trail of Dead Robots, The Japan Times, Feb. 17, 2017).

As it happens, “”inventing technology” is experimental stage stuff. Still, there are several knowledgeable sources that believe the corium, or melted core, will never be recovered. Then what?

According to a recent article, “Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi,” d/d Feb. 11, 2017 by Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: The Fukushima nuclear facility is a global threat on level of a major catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the Abe administration dresses up Fukushima Prefecture for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, necessitating a big fat question: Who in their right mind would hold Olympics in the neighborhood of three out-of-control nuclear meltdowns that could get worse, worse, and still worse? After all, that’s the pattern over the past 5 years; it gets worse and worse. Dismally, nobody can possibly know how much worse by 2020. Not knowing is the main concern about holding Olympics in the backyard of a nuclear disaster zone, especially as nobody knows what’s happening. Nevertheless and resolutely, according to PM Abe and the IOC, the games go on.

[…]

Although Fukushima’s similar to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in some respects, where 1,000 square miles has been permanently sealed off, Fukushima’s different, as the Abe administration is already repopulating portions of Fukushima. If they don’t repopulate, how can the Olympics be held with food served from Fukushima and including events like baseball held in Fukushima Prefecture?

Without question, an old saw – what goes around comes around – rings true when it comes to radiation, and it should admonish (but it doesn’t phase ‘em) strident nuclear proponents, claiming Fukushima is an example of how safe nuclear power is “because there are so few, if any, deaths” (not true). As Chernobyl clearly demonstrates: Over time, radiation cumulates in bodily organs. For a real life example of how radiation devastates human bodies, consider this fact: 453,391 children with bodies ravaged, none born at the time of the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, today receive special healthcare because of Chernobyl radiation-related medical problems like cancer, digestive, respiratory, musculoskeletal, eye disease, blood disease, congenital malformation, and genetic abnormalities. Their parents were children in the Chernobyl zone in 1986 (Source: Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, USA Today, April 17, 2016).

Making matters worse yet, Fukushima Diiachi sets smack dab in the middle of earthquake country, which defines the boundaries of Japan. In that regard, according to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: “The problem of Unit 2… If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question,” (Shuzo Takemoto, Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, February 11, 2017).

[…]

 

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