Monthly Archives: February 2016

No bliss in this ignorance: the great Fukushima nuclear cover-up

Extracts from “The Ecologist”
Linda Pentz Gunter  20th February 2016

The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe’, the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation.

Dr. Tetsunari Iida is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) in Japan.
As such, one might have expected a recent presentation he gave in the UK within the hallowed halls of the House of Commons, to have focused on Japan’s capacity to replace the electricity once generated by its now mainly shuttered nuclear power plants, with renewable energy…..
A trial for Tepco like post-war Tokyo Trials
The media may have played the willing government handmaiden in reassuring the public with falsehoods, but in July 2012, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission concluded that the disaster was really no accident but man-made. It came about, the researchers said, as a result of “collusion” between the government, regulators and the nuclear industry, in this case, Tepco.
“There should be a Tepco trial like the post-war Tokyo Trials”, Iida said, referring to the post World War II war crimes trial in which 28 Japanese were tried, seven of whom were subsequently executed by hanging.
Normalizing radiation, a policy and now a practice
Of course radiological decontamination is not that easy. Nor is it reliable. It is more likepushing contamination from one spot to the next”, as independent nuclear expert, Mycle Schneider describes it. And radiation does not remain obediently in one place, either.
“The mountains and forests that cannot even be vaguely decontaminated, will serve as a permanent source of new contamination, each rainfall washing out radiation and bringing it down from the mountains to the flat lands”, Schneider explained. Birds move around. Animals eat and excrete radioactive plant life. Radiation gets swept out to sea. It is a cycle with no end.
The nuclear industry did not tell the public the truth
The confusion surrounding evacuation was so profound that, as Zhang et al. noted in a September 11, 2014 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public HealthUnclear evacuation instructions caused numerous residents to flee to the northwestern zone where radiation levels were even higher.”
All par for the course, said Iida. “I must emphasize, the people in the nuclear industry did not tell the public the truth and keep us informed.”
The great repatriation lie
All of this set the perfect stage for the Great Repatriation Lie. “It’s the big cover-up,” Iida told his Westminster audience. “People are being told it’s quite safe to have a little [radiation] exposure.”
Indeed, at a recent conferences of prefectural governors, young people in particular were urged to return to Fukushima. “If you come to live with us in Fukushima and work there, that will facilitate its post-disaster reconstruction and help you lead a meaningful life”,said Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori.
Young people in Japan, however, appear not to be cooperating. Where evacuees are returning, the majority are senior citizens, who have less to lose from a health perspectiveand are more traditionally tied to the land and their ancestral burial grounds.
Radioactive areas are hardest hit economically
Late last year, the Asahi Shimbun looked at tax revenues in the 42 municipalities affected by the triple 2011 disasters of earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima meltdowns.
Unsurprisingly, the areas hardest hit by radiological contamination had suffered the biggest economic blows. Those areas free from radioactive fallout could simply rebuild after the tsunami and earthquake, and had consequently recovered economically, some even to better than pre-3/11 levels.
On the other end of the scale, Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, marked the biggest decreasing rate – 72.9 percent – in tax revenues for fiscal 2014″, the Asahi Shimbunreported“All residents of the town near the crippled nuclear plant remain in evacuation. Although tax payments from companies increased from decontamination work and other public works projects, income taxes paid by residents and fixed asset taxes have declined.”

[Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear, a Takoma Park, MD environmental advocacy group.]



BREAKING! South Australia just broke news it is considering building a waste dump for Asia’s spent nuke fuel rods!!

Just in and released on normal news channels as if it was par for the course…..


Nuclear winner: The case for South Australia storing nuclear waste

Arguments in favour of nuclear waste storage in South Australia should not be so easily dismissed. There are valid economic and moral arguments made in the Royal Commission’s interim report, writes Mike Steketee.

It may be the ultimate NIMBY proposal: Australia taking the world’s nuclear waste, or at least a good chunk of it, and burying it deep in the South Australian outback.

Surely you would have to be out of your mind, as a government or a voter, to volunteer for such a project?

Would you feel better if we were paid for it? How about $5 billion a year over 30 years and $2 billion a year for the following 40 years? They are the figures mentioned in the “tentative findings” issued this week by South Australia’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission headed by former governor Kevin Scarce.

Many would respond that no amount of money would be worth it. But as well as the economic case outlined in the report, there is a moral argument, which goes like this. We have the world’s largest known uranium resources and are the world’s third largest producer (after Kazakhstan and Canada) of uranium for nuclear reactors (but hopefully not for nuclear weapons, although the strict safeguards on which we insist are no guarantee).

The waste from nuclear fuel from our uranium, together with that from other producers, is piling up around the world in temporary storages. Some of it is very long-lived and very dangerous.

If reprocessed, it can be turned into nuclear weapons. A less complex option is to use radioactive material to make a dirty bomb. In the age of terrorism, that is a real concern.

So far not a single country has built a permanent facility to safely dispose of the waste, although two – Sweden and Finland – have ones underway. Australia has some of the most stable geological formations in the world in outback South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

That is, the earth has not moved in these regions for millions of years. They are arid and flat, meaning there also has been no groundwater movement. And they are very sparsely populated.

You can argue that countries that opt for nuclear power should bear the responsibility for dealing with the consequences, including waste. Like earthquake-prone Japan? Or Pakistan, where terrorists run riot? The nuclear waste lying around in temporary facilities is a threat to the world, including Australia.

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South Australia ponders nuclear waste options

The initial findings of a royal commission into the merits of South Australia becoming a hub for uranium mining and waste storage raised as many questions as they answered.

Adjusting his luminous orange tie, royal commissioner Kevin Scarce took a deep breath and stepped up to the podium. Framed by the enormous pipe organ that looms over the marble-pillared auditorium of Adelaide Town Hall, the 63-year-old former South Australian governor was on stage to preach the Good News, but as he was no doubt well aware, the 500-odd congregation assembled below were of decidedly mixed faith.

“I know this is an emotive issue for many people,” he said, “but I ask that we respect one another.”

Just how ambitious that request was became clear when Scarce put forward a premise even more audacious than his necktie – that South Australia’s seemingly hopeless descent into economic oblivion could be reversed by importing 138,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste from all over the world, reaping $445 billion in profits over 120 years.

Cue the incredulous guffaws, the cries of indignation, and the gradual tightening of Scarce’s jaw. It was going to be a long week.

The initial findings of the royal commission indicate that for an outlay of $145 billion, South Australia could set itself up to take 13 per cent of the world’s high-level nuclear waste.
Monday night in Adelaide was just the first of four presentations of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission’s initial findings, a whistlestop tour of South Australia that culminated on Thursday in Mount Gambier.

The royal commission’s brief was to examine the feasibility of South Australia mining more uranium, processing it, using it for nuclear energy and then storing the waste – turning the state into a value-adding, vertically integrated hub of radioactivity.

The initial findings, based on interviews with 128 witnesses and more than 250 submissions, will be out for public comment for a five-week period before informing a final report due on May 6.

What the royal commission’s expert panel determined was that there is potential to expand mining, but little scope for processing in an already oversupplied market, and insufficient electricity demand in South Australia for nuclear energy at present.

Where an opportunity was identified, however, was within the casks of hazardous nuclear waste accumulating in the temporary storage sites of countries where nuclear power is up and running.

Scarce pointed to Finland and Sweden, where massive underground storage facilities are set to hold the respective country’s radioactive leftovers.

“South Australia offers a unique combination of attributes well suited to being able to do this safely,” he said.

“Stable geology, relatively low levels of seismic activity across large parts of the state, the arid environment, a stable economic and political structure, and pre-existing sophisticated frameworks for securing long-term agreements.”

The only thing lacking is the high-level radioactive material to store in the first place – domestically, Australia produces low- and mid-level waste mostly related to nuclear medicine, for which the federal government is seeking a storage site in a separate process.

The initial findings of the royal commission indicate that for an outlay of $145 billion, South Australia could set itself up to take 13 per cent of the world’s high-level nuclear waste, generating 1500 jobs during a construction period of 25 years and a further 600 jobs in operation.

By offering a waste storage solution, the initial findings indicated South Australia could potentially find more customers for its uranium via fuel-leasing mechanisms – a kind of yellowcake rental service, where countries take Australian uranium and as part of the deal Australia manages the spent fuel.

Scandinavia did not just serve as a model for how to store the waste, but also in how to make money out of it.

Just as Norway established a lucrative sovereign wealth fund from its oil resources, the royal commission has proposed a similar scheme that grows out of the profits to be gleaned from becoming a global nuclear repository.

Scarce urged attendees in Adelaide to contemplate the state’s future, but when question time arrived, the locals appeared to be thinking further ahead than he had in mind.

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#NuclearCommissionSAust Ethics – an oxymoron – theme for this week

ethics-nuclearThere’ s nothing ethical about pleasing a few greedy entrepreneurs that think they can make a fortune out of introducing Small Nuclear Reactors to Australia – as the follow-up to South Australia taking in global radioactive trash.

There’s nothing ethical about the lie that taking in global radioactive trash will solve South Australia’s unemployment problem .

There’s nothing ethical about planning to saddle South Australia with the biggest white elephant and stranded asset in human history. A radioactive trash dump makes no money. (That’s why no other country wants to do this)

I could imagine one scenario in which taking in radioactive trash might be ethical. Imagine if one country – for example, Japan, decided to completely shut down all nuclear activities, and had trouble organising a waste repository. A global good citizen, such as Australia, might help them out in this.

But there’s no global citizenship in the Royal Commission plan. It’s not only about greed: it’s also about keeping the toxic global nuclear industry going, at a time when it is pretty much in terminal decline.

February 20, 2016 Posted by Christina MacPherson |

Next steps in the push for South Australia as world’s nuclear toilet
scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINFriends of the Earth 20 Feb 16 The ‘Tentative Findings’ report is posted at: [link to]

The deadline for written submissions responding to the interim report is March 18 (see the Royal Commission website for details).

The final report will be published in May 2016. [link to]

9 News 19 Feb 16 The report is due on May 6 and the state government will not make any decisions before the end of the year.

That could include putting the issue to a referendum at the next state election, due in 2018

February 20, 2016 Posted by Christina MacPherson |

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This is the fastest i’ve ever seen them release news like this as if they have already decided…..
It’s life as we know it, but only just. 

Japanese government to ease radioactive waste rules


TOKYO – Japan’s Environment Ministry has formulated draft rules allowing local governments to store designated waste contaminated with radioactive substances from the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant at separate locations under certain criteria.

 Debate on how to dispose of such waste was at a standstill, but the draft rules are expected to move the issue a step forward. The rules also allow local governments to lift designations on radioactive waste at their own discretion, if radioactive levels drop below government standards.

 According to the draft rules, the government will maintain its basic policy that Tochigi, Chiba, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Gunma prefectures, which have huge amounts of designated waste, should consolidate and store the waste at one location within each prefecture. But the rules will also allow designated waste in which the density level of radioactive substances has dropped, or is expected to drop in the near future, to be stored at separate locations, depending on conditions.

 The draft rules also stipulate that the Environment Ministry and local governments will jointly deliberate on whether to lift the designation on waste in which the level of radioactivity has fallen below the standards. They also say the costs of disposing of waste that has been removed from the category of designated waste will be covered by the central government.

 At present, 12 prefectures, including Fukushima, Tochigi and Chiba, hold a total of 170,000 tons of designated waste.

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