No leukaemia cluster? That’s just not true. COMARE’s 14th report was produced partially in response to the German KiKK study published in 2008 which found that children are more likely to contract leukaemia the closer they live to a nuclear plant. Many people in Caithness are all too aware of COMAREs work since it published its second report in 1988 on the incidence of leukaemia in young people living near Dounreay. My own experience is that in the years since its publication, the 1988 report has been widely misrepresented by people (often the general public in Caithness) claiming that the report found there was no leukaemia cluster around Dounreay and that if there were a leukaemia cluster in Caithness, it wasnt anything to do with Dounreay. Neither of these statements is true. COMARE says: We found evidence of an increased incidence of leukaemia in young people in the area and although the conventional dose and risk estimates suggested that radioactive discharges could not be responsible, we noted that the raised incidence of leukaemia at both Sellafield and Dounreay tended to support the hypothesis that some feature of these two plants led to an increased risk of leukaemia in young people living in the surrounding area. The report also considered other possible explanations and recommended further investigations. What conclusions would be drawn about the findings of this Mays report into childhood leukaemia around nuclear plants. The plants that have been included in the study are only power reactors, not experimental or reprocessing sites such as Calder Hall, Sellafield, Winfrith, Dounreay, etc. These exclusions have dismayed anti-nuclear campaigners and sparked accusations of COMARE cherry-picking data, amongst other things.
John O Groat Journal 1st June 2011 more >>
In political terms, nuclear power has always been a war on the people, starting with the Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, going on to the Marshall Islanders, ranchers and kindred inhabitants of test sites across the West, Native Americans, poor Latinos and African Americans (the usual involuntary neighbours of waste dumps), people in the path of accidents or deliberate secret experiments, and most recently Fukushima. Not the executives of the Tokyo Electric Power Company. They are in Tokyo or heading further south. It is worker heroeswho know perfectly well they are doomed. It is the Board of tepco that should be sent to the front lines.
New Left Review March/April 2011 more >>
Letter: I usually identify enthusiastically with Anne Johnstones views on social and political matters but Im afraid that, for once, I find myself in total disagreement with her conclusion on the need for nuclear power. To explain why, let me quote a passage from The Limits To Growth: The 30-year Update, the highly authoritative 2004 follow-up to the groundbreaking 1972 Club of Rome Limits To Growth report: No nation has solved the problem of nuclear wastes. In nature such wastes are hazardous to all forms of life, both by outright toxicity and mutagenicity Nature has no way of rendering them harmless As by-products of nuclear power production they are accumulating steadily, stored underground or in water pools within the containment vessels of nuclear reactors [cf Fukushima] in the hope that some day the technical and institutional creativity of humank ind will come up with some place to put them. Anne Johnstone may wish to believe that much can be learned from lessons such as Fukushima and Chernobyl but I see no evidence yet that our technical and institutional creativity can produce a solution to an intrinsically insoluble problem. In such circumstances, I believe it is completely immoral to pursue an electricity production path that holds such potential dangers for the future wellbeing of life on our planet.
Herald 4th June 2011 more >>
Letter: I was delighted to read Anne Johnstones article on the inevitable need to include nuclear generation in our future energy mix. My concern is that our government has fallen victim to its own green energy propaganda.The prospect of future blackouts or being subjected to hiked fuel prices for imported energy are not appealing and will have an impact on all Scots. Future energy provision must be reviewed if we are to enjoy energy security. The apparently all-consuming bun fight over the Supreme Court issue will impact on a tiny minority of Scots. The status quo in this case is tolerable. Let us hope Alex Salmond is able to grasp the need for balanced energy provision before it is too late for us all.
Herald 4th June 2011 more >>
In the aftermath of Japan’s crisis at Fukushima, public opinion has turned even more sharply away from nuclear power. But many of the concerns about nuclear “dangers” are misdirected – tending to ignore the system behind the construction and maintenance of atomic power plants. The main danger from nuclear power stations results from the wilful cutting of corners by private companies building them – to get the contract by under-quoting and then catching up to make a profit. The Tokyo Electric Power Company which maintained the Fukushima nuclear plant had a notoriously bad record before the accident.
Morning Star 3rd June 2011 more >>
Uranium Mining interactive picture book.
Slide Share 1st June 2011 more >>
Just as India ramps up its existing nuclear reactor fleet, opposition from several quarters to uranium mines is set to undo the country’s big atomic energy plans.
Mineweb 3rd June 2011 more >>
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is still aiming to reach its goal of doubling its global nuclear power-related orders by 2014. The company’s US subsidiary has announced plans for a new engineering centre in Charlotte, North Carolina.
World Nuclear News 3rd June 2011 more >>
For the teachers, parents and environmental campaigners gathered at Broad Bean Nursery School the results were chilling. As they walked around the small playground with their eyes on the flickering dosimeters, the numbers ticked ever higher. Highest of all was the spot where the gutter emptied water into the drain below. Close behind were the bushes. But there were sickeningly high readings from the wooden playthings in the schoolyard. It is hard to imagine a more nightmarish discovery: a nursery school with radioactive swings. Despite being well outside the 12-mile (20km) evacuation zone around the Fukushima nuclear plant, schools such as Broad Bean are contaminated with radiation far above the limits normally regarded as safe. Pupils are required to change into their uniforms at school and travel home in hats, paper masks and outer cloth es carefully washed to cleanse them of radioactive particles. Parents have moved ten thousand children to less contaminated schools or out of the region altogether, but most remain.
Times 4th June 2011 more >>
The Japanese Government has refused funds to monitor the 1,800 workers at the crisis-stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, according to the doctor monitoring their health. Professor Takeshi Tanigawa, who has spent his career studying nuclear workers health, says that, apart from the long-term effects of radiation exposure, the employees of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) are at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder from their experiences since the earthquake and tsunami on March 11. They were expecting certain death when the earthquake struck, and then the tsunami. The fear they were exposed to is out of the ordinary, and this will have prolonged implications for their health, he said. But his proposals for a long-term study of the workers have been refused by the Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry. They told me to go to private funding institutions, he said.
Times 4th June 2011 more >>
The Japanese government has banned shipments of green tea leaves in four regions after high levels of radioactive caesium were found.
Telegraph 3rd June 2011 more >>
The operator of the stricken Japanese nuclear power plant said on Friday that more radioactive water could begin spilling into the sea later this month if there is a glitch in setting up a new decontamination system. Tokyo Electric Power Co also said that two workers may have been exposed to radiation at more than twice the limit set by the government, the most serious case so far of exposure among hundreds of workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Nearly 110,000 tonnes of highly radioactive water — enough to fill about 40 Olympic-size swimming pools — are stored at the plant, the utility said in a report to Japan’s nuclear regulator presented on Friday.
Reuters 3rd June 2011 more >>
At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, nothing is more problematic right now than the contaminated water that covers the basement floors, leaks into the environment and endangers any worker who goes near it. After dousing its reactors for two and a half months in jury-rigged cooling efforts following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. must deal with the severe side-effects of that strategy by removing at least 15 million gallons of water enough to fill the first five floors of the Empire State Building.
Washington Post 3rd June 2011 more >>
Tanks for storing radioactive water were on their way Saturday to the crippled nuclear power plant in northeastern Japan where reactor cores melted after the massive earthquake and tsunami. The new tanks should help prevent further environmental damage in the evacuated area around the Fukushima Daiichi plant by providing a secure place to store the contaminated water being used to cool the reactors as workers continue their battle to bring them under control. Radioactive water has been leaking from the plant since it was struck by the March 11 disasters, with tons having already flushed into the sea and more continuing to pool across the complex.
Japan Times 4th June 2011 more >>
On June 1, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a preliminary report on the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The report is a whitewash, exonerating the Tokyo Electrical Power Company (TEPCO) and the Japanese government of blame. Its bland language is an attempt to suppress discussion and protect the nuclear industry from scrutiny.
World Socialist Web 4th June 2011 more >>
More than 180 organizations and small businesses representing millions of Americans are urging members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to reject President Barack Obama’s request for $36 billion more for the U.S. Title 17 nuclear loan program, and instead to end the program entirely.
ENS 2nd June 2011 more >>
The knock-on effects of the nuclear phase out. A Q&A.
Nature 3rd June 2011 more >>
Why did Germans in particular react in this way? It is worth looking more closely at the unspoken assumptions, at what remains hidden under the veil of political rhetoric, at the foundations of German political culture. What is astonishing is that Merkels initial plan not to phase out nuclear energy ran counter to the wishes of more than two-thirds or even three-quarters of the German population. The strength of the Green Party (who are now the lead party in a coalition government with the social democrats) in the most recent state elections in the rather conservative and rural south-western state of Baden-Württemberg, home of German small businesses, Mercedes, Porsche and Bosch as well as a few nuclear power stations, illustrates this point. For many Germans, the disaster in Japan conjured up images of technology that were connected to an interpretation of modern life as inherently catastrophic. This is an experience unlikely to be replicated elsewhere, as it is tightly sutured to Germanys violent twentieth-century history, and it is one of the foundation stones on which German environmentalism rests.
Open Democracy 3rd June 2011 more >>
An RAF veteran who took part in nuclear tests in the 1950s died from cancer weeks before judges were due to rule whether he could claim compensation for exposure to radiation.
Sheffield Star 3rd June 2011 more >>
Britain has underestimated the potential of solar energy and the government needs to reappraise the technology because of rapidly falling costs, according to energy and climate minister Greg Barker. “Historically, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has underestimated the contribution that solar can make,” he said. “But solar is now going through an extraordinary stage of development it’s capable of scaling up and competing with the big boys. It’s not just for enthusiasts. It has potential to be a significant source of energy.” Barker’s comments were made in response to a report issued today by the Solar Trade Association (STA), which claims the government and its advisers have underestimated the benefits and overestimated the costs of solar energy. Despite these statements, Barker plans to press ahead with plans to slash the subsidy given to large-scale solar installations via the feed-in tariff scheme (Fits) a move that the STA chairman, Howard Johns, claims could “decapitate” or even “destroy” Britain’s fledgling solar industry.
Guardian 3rd June 2011 more >>