26 April 2011

New Nukes

Roland Kupers – visiting fellow at Oxford University and a former executive at Royal Dutch Shell: The evidence of the link between carbon reduction, economic growth, and job creation is mounting. In the past six months, studies by the United Nations Environment Program and Johns Hopkins University, as well as “A new growth path for Europe,” a blueprint proposed by six leading European universities, all project the creation of millions of job before 2020. Notably, these are not just “Green Jobs”; they are “Green Growth jobs” across all industrial and services sectors. What we are witnessing is a watershed in the debate on greenhouse-gas emissions. A low-carbon growth path requires neither coal nor new nuclear power. The way forward is to pursue more ambitious and consistent climate and energy policies that drive the massive deployment of renewables; install new load-balancing electricity grids; and ensure large-scale adoption of energy-efficiency measures. This agenda promises to boost investments, stimulate economic growth, and create jobs while increasing competitiveness and energy security. In both economic and ethical terms, nuclear power merits no role.

Project Syndicate 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Karl Grossman: With the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plants in Japan, some people ask: can nuclear power be made safe? The answer is no. Nuclear power can never be made safe. Instead we must fully implement the use of safe, clean, renewable energy technologies like solar, wind (now the fastest growing energy source and cheaper than nuclear) and geothermal and all the rest which, major studies have concluded, can provide all the energy the world needs energy without lethal radioactivity, energy we can live with.

Counter Punch 25th April 2011 more >>

Chernobyl

The health effects of Chernobyl, 25 years after the reactor catastrophe.

IPPNW 26th April 2011 more >>

More than a 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters gathered on the French-German border on Sunday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Euro News 25th April 2011 more >>

Telegraph 25th April 2011 more >>

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine will today mark a the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, as Japan struggles to recover from its own atomic crisis.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

On the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, a Comment and Editorial published Online First by Lancet Oncology describes the known health consequences of this event. The authors point out that there were many obstacles in studying the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident and that the Fukushima incident might offer a new, albeit sad, opportunity to more accurately study the health consequences of a major nuclear power plant accident. The authors attribute this to the greater scientific expertise in Japan, as well as the greater economic and political stability. The Comment is by Dr Kirsten B Moysich and Dr Philip McCarthy, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA, and Dr Per Hall, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden – who have contributed to numerous scholarly articles on this topic, including the first major United Nations Report into the effects of the Chernobyl accident in 2000.

Medical News Today 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty five years since the world’s worst nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station, the surrounding settlements are still ghost towns, with thousands of houses abandoned and left to fall into ruin. Ukraine is today preparing to mark a quarter of a century since the disaster, which endangered hundreds of thousands of lives and contaminated pristine forests and farmland with deadly radiation. The blast on April 26, 1986, spewed a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in the most heavily hit areas in Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.

Daily Mail 25th April 2011 more >>

TODAY’S 25th anniversary of the disaster at Chernobyl finds the world engaged in a new debate about the safety of nuclear power following the damage done by the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Both are now classified on the highest scale of such accidents. Despite the undoubted progress made in design and safety standards, trust in the industry still lags behind its technological development because endemic secrecy, powerful lobbies and disputed statistics remain characteristic of its public profile. Chernobyl put these on the map and they are still there.

Irish Times 26th April 2011 more >>

For 25 years, the children of Chernobyl have suffered sickness, disability and death. Instances of genetic abnormalities, birth deformities, cancers and suppressed immune systems, allergies, water on the brain, asthma, blood vessel damage, pancreatic diabetes and heart defects increased after the accident. The Belarus government and the nuclear industry are reluctant to attribute this to radiation. The Chernobyl Children’s Project observed that “it is possible for scientists to insist that there is no proof that radiation has affected the rate and severity of any illnesses because in recent years there have been no serious studies to settle the matter one way or another.” Why? Nuclear accidents are an occupational hazard for the industry. In England, operator liability is limited by the Paris and Vienna Conventions which cap liability of reactor operators at a minuscule fraction of the likely cost of a significant nuclear accident.

Morning Star 25th April 2011 more >>

The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is prompting much debate about the future of the industry. Safety is very much in focus as Japan deals with the problems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, in the aftermath of the tsunami. Asia’s emerging economies have plans to invest billions of dollars in nuclear power to fuel their fast growing countries.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Ukraine is marking the 25th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident – at the Chernobyl power plant. An explosion at one of the plant’s reactors sent a plume of radiation across Europe and killed at least 30 people in its immediate aftermath. A disputed number of others died later from radiation-related illnesses. The anniversary comes amid renewed global protest over nuclear power and as Japan struggles to contain radiation leaks at its crippled Fukushima plant.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

A consortium of Ukrainian and international scientists is making an urgent call for a $13.5m (£8.28m) programme to prevent potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl’s ruined nuclear power plant. The fear is that fires in the zone could release clouds of radioactive particles that are, at the moment, locked up in trees, held mainly in the needles and bark of Scots pines. The consortium says an automated fire detection and monitoring system and new firefighting and forestry equipment are needed to guarantee safe management of Chernobyl’s forests.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The long-term health effects of Chernobyl remain unclear 25 years after the most serious nuclear accident in history, according to a former World Health Organisation (WHO) official. A full assessment of the public health impact has been thwarted by poorly co-ordinated research on residents in areas close to the plant, and should be carried out with funding from the European commission, said Keith Baverstock, a former health and radiation adviser to the WHO. He said research had been frustrated by pro- and anti-nuclear lobby groups who had turned the debate over health risks into a battleground. Crucial lessons on how to respond to nuclear emergencies and quell public anxiety had been missed by governments and aut horities such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In an editorial in the British Medical Journal to mark the anniversary of the disaster, Baverstock calls for comprehensive research into cancers, birth defects and other health problems among 600,000 people in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

The control room where Soviet atomic staff fought a losing battle to prevent a nuclear disaster is quiet and cold as a tomb. Even through a face mask, anti-radiation suit and large industrial boots one feels a deep chill plus rubble underfoot. The size of the space is hard to fathom. It is pitch black until suddenly illuminated by the flash on my camera. In the burst of light a huge V-shaped console desk looms battleship grey in the distance, its top pock-marked with dozens of tiny holes. It is easy to imagine that a fireball swept through the nerve centre of the Chernobyl power plant’s reactor No 4 on theday of the world’s worst atomic accident, 25 years ago. In fact the instrument panel was not stripped of plastic switches by fire; rather more mundanely it has been raided by souvenir-hunters among the decommissioning staff.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Nuclear Accidents

The nuclear crisis in Japan has revived fears over the safety of nuclear power and the potential danger posed to public health when things go wrong. There have been a number of serious nuclear incidents since the 1950s. Here are details of the most serious.

BBC 26th April 2011 more >>

Terror

One of the terrorist group’s most senior figures warned that al-Qaeda had obtained and hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe that would be detonated if Osama bin Laden was killed or captured. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the al-Qaeda mastermind currently facing trial in America over the 9/11 atrocities, was involved in a range of plans including attacks on US nuclear plants and a “nuclear hellstorm” plot in America.

Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Channel 4 News 25th April 2011 more >>

Scotland

Scotland could generate more than 100% of its power from renewable sources such as wave and tidal generators by 2020, the Scottish Greens have said. Launching their national energy policy, the Greens have asked for public support in ending “risky” nuclear and “dirty” coal power in favour of renewables. The Greens’ plans would see the country export surplus power to other parts of the UK, while also empowering Scottish Water and local authorities to develop renewable capacity in the public sector and to reduce their dependence on central funding.

STV 25th April 2011 more >>

Twenty-five years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster, a leading environmental group has said it is unlikely any new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Restrictions on Scottish sheep were finally lifted last year, but they are still in place for some livestock in Cumbria and Wales. In Scotland, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Greens have also ruled out building new reactors. However, the Conservatives and Labour say they will not rule out building new nuclear power stations entirely although, like the other parties, they have made a commitment to sourcing most of the country’s energy from renewable sources, meaning there would be little demand for nuclear energy. This year WWF Scotland published a report which showed all of the world’s energy needs could be provided from renewable sources by 2050 and charity director Dr Richard Dixon said he believes it is extremely unlikely new reactors will ever be built in Scotland. Even if a pro-nuclear government is elected Scotland’s nuclear dream is over. Even the enthusiasts secretly know that there is now virtually no chance of new reactors ever being built in Scotland. “Scotland’s politicians should be working together to prevent the UK coalition government’s total zeal for nuclear reactors in England damaging investment in renewables here.”

Dundee Courier 26th April 2011 more >>

WWF Scotland Press Release 26th April 2011 more >>

Hinkley

Nuclear power bosses are under fire after claiming most people believe a £20 million community fund is appropriate compensation for living with the proposed Hinkley C nuclear power station. French power giant EDF Energy commissioned a telephone poll of 1,004 people living in Sedgemoor, Taunton Deane and West Somerset. It asked whether the fund, increased from £1 million earlier this year following consultation, was “about right”, “too big” or “too small”. A total of 54 per cent of people responding said it was about right, with 17 per cent saying it was too small and nine per cent saying it was too big. Twenty per cent said they did not know whether the fund was adequate, or had no opinion. Kerry Rickards, chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council which is leading the civic fight for a much bigger fund, said people were not given enough information to judge whether the sum was fair compensation for hosting the power plant for 60 years, and its waste fuel for up to 100 years.

This is Somerset 25th April 2011 more >>

Sellafield

BEAUTY spots in the Lake District and north Lancashire could be scarred by giant pylons needed to transfer electricity from a new generation of low carbon power plants. High-voltage cables are needed by 2020 to connect nuclear power stations, such as Sellafield and Heysham, and offshore windfarms to the national grid.

Westmorland Gazette 25th April 2011 more >>

Wylfa

A GREEN group has demanded Labour and Plaid Cymru reverse their support for a nuclear power plant in Wales on the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. In a letter seen exclusively by the Western Mail, Friends of the Earth Cymru urged Carwyn Jones and Ieuan Wyn Jones to reverse their controversial backing for the Wylfa B nuclear station on Anglesey ahead of the Assembly poll on May 5. The group also labelled the leaders’ support for the plant – in opposition to the Assembly Government – as “extremely disappointing and bizarre” and claimed that Mr Wyn Jones was “going against the policies of the party he leads”.

Western Mail 26th April 2011 more >>

Sizewell

Images from the anti-nuclear camp 22nd-25th April 2011.

Picasa 25th April 2011 more >>

Japan

Letter Steuart Campbell: Japanese authorities have over-reacted and are needlessly forcing people to leave an area which, although suffering from raised radiation levels, is quite safe to occupy. More damage will be done by the evacuation itself, which will produce its own health effects.

Scotsman 26th April 2011 more >>

Japanese activists are alarmed about a government decision to allow children in Fukushima Prefecture to attend schools where radiation readings indicate they could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year (2 rems/year) 20 times the U.S. allowable standard for the public. This decision appears not to be based on risk (and children are more susceptible to radiation than adults), since the government also is relocating people in five villages outside the previous evacuation zone because people in them could be exposed to 20 MilliSieverts/year. Rather, the decision appears to be based on the reality that many schools in Fukushima Prefecture are experiencing high levels of contamination, and the government apparently does not want to require children to go to schools further away, nor further expand the exclusion zone.

NIRS 25th April 2011 more >>

A group of 87 nongovernmental organizations in Japan reiterated calls to achieve ‘‘a nuclear-free society’’ on Tuesday, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, at a time when a nuclear crisis is continuing in Japan at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. ‘‘We will launch a large national action’’ seeking the permanent closure of the Fukushima Daiichi and neighboring Daini plants, cancellations of the nuclear fuel recycle program and new reactor construction plans as well as shutdowns of aging reactors, the NGOs said in their joint statement.

Japan Times 26th April 2011 more >>

Atsushi Kasai, a former senior researcher with the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, says Fukushima crisis is more serious than Chernobyl. “It’s graver than Chernobyl in that no one can predict how the situation will develop.”

Mainichi Daily 25th April 2011 more >>

UPI 25th April 2011 more >>

The Nuclear Safety Commission said Monday that it will start issuing forecasts of how airborne radioactive material may be spreading out by the hour from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. Starting Tuesday, the commission’s Web site will show hour-by-hour data from SPEEDI, a system that analyzes and predicts dispersal of radioactive material in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Nikkei 26th April 2011 more >>

The core of unit 4 had been placed in the reactor’s spent fuel pool as part of routine maintenance prior to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. However, the reactor building and cooling pool were damaged by a hydrogen explosion. The state of the core, which became exposed and heated up, is unclear. Last Friday, TEPCO had to inject 200 tonnes of water in a bid to bring down the temperature of the pool which was nearing boiling point. At the same time, engineers were concerned that the weight of the extra water might further damage the building. The problems associated with units 1, 2 and 3 are more complex. Last week, robots sent into the reactor buildings recorded radiation levels of up to 57 millisieverts an hour in unit 1 and 49 millisieverts an hour in unit 3. Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), told the press that these levels were too high to allow workers to enter. Japan has set an annual exposure limit at 250 millisieverts, raised from 100 at the beginning of the crisis. Attempts by a robot to enter the building of unit 2, where radiations levels are believed to be higher, were hampered by steam which fogged its camera. The steam is being produced by water fed by emergency lines into the reactor’s hot core.

World Socialist Web 26th April 2011 more >>

Despite increased injections of cooling water, the water temperature is rising in a spent fuel pool at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s Pacific coast. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, says it will inject 210 tons of water into the Number 4 spent fuel pool on Monday, after finding on Sunday night that the temperature in the pool had risen to 81 degrees Celsius. The Number 4 spent fuel pool stores 1,535 nuclear fuel rods, the most at the nuclear complex. TEPCO engineers are trying to balance the amount of water needed to keep the nuclear fuel covered with the structural integrity of the reactor containment building. On Friday, TEPCO found that the temperature in the Number 4 spent fuel pool had reached 91 degrees, so it began injecting two to three times the amount of water as before. TEPCO says the pool’s water temperature dropped to 66 degrees on Saturday after water was injected, but is now rising again.

ENS 25th April 2011 more >>

The government’s nuclear agency said Tuesday that water may be leaking from the No. 1 reactor container of the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and that remote-controlled robots are expected to check the situation inside the reactor building.

Kyodo News 26th April 2011 more >>

More than 200 farmers brought two cows to Tokyo where they protested to demand compensation for products contaminated by radiation spewing from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant. The farmers from north-eastern Japan wore green bandanas and held signs saying “Nuclear disaster is human disaster” and “Stop nuclear energy” outside the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the plant damaged in the March 11 tsunami.

Irish Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

About 5,000 citizens rallied against nuclear power in Shibuya on April 24, reflecting the increasing concerns about the energy source following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident. Many of the demonstrators said they participated in a demonstration for the first time, as they urged the government to switch from nuclear power to natural and renewable energy sources.

Asahi 26th April 2011 more >>

Iran

Iran has been hit by a second computer virus, a senior military official has said. He suggested it was part of a concerted campaign to undermine the country’s disputed nuclear programme.

Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of an Iranian military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said experts discovered the “espionage virus” which he called “Stars”.

Belfast Telegraph 26th April 2011 more >>

Guardian 25th April 2011 more >>

Renewables

Business leaders are to accuse ministers of failing to lay the groundwork fast enough for the raft of urgently needed low-carbon projects that are vital if Britain is to plug the widening gap between its energy requirements and its fast dwindling sources of power. The CBI employers’ group is urging the government to set out long-term, business-friendly guidelines that will give companies the confidence to invest in green energy infrastructure projects.

Guardian 26th April 2011 more >>

Independent 26th April 2011 more >>

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Published: 26 April 2011
Last updated: 17 October 2012