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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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TEPCO neglected anti-flood measures at Fukushima plant despite knowing risk

TEPCO neglected anti-flood measures at Fukushima plant despite knowing risk

A room housing an emergency power system at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had been submerged due to a pipe leak 20 years ago, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) revealed Dec. 29.

The utility's latest revelations indicate that the company had failed to institute measures against flooding despite knowledge that it was possible.

According to TEPCO, the incident took place on Oct. 30, 1991, when seawater used as reactor coolant leaked from a pipe inside the turbine building of the plant's No. 1 reactor. Although the emergency power system room was flooded, the power supply was not cut. The reactor, however, was stopped for the day.

Both the emergency power room and pipe were located on the basement floor of the building. The corroded pipe leaked water at a rate of 20 cubic meters per hour, which penetrated the room with the reactor's emergency power system through the door and holes for cables. Of the two power sources, one was completely submerged, but its drive mechanism remained unaffected...


World Meteorological Organization Report Says 2nd Explosion of Reactor 3 on March 15

World Meteorological Organization Report Says 2nd Explosion of Reactor 3 on March 15

The report was written by RSMC Beijing.

RSMC stands for "Regional Specialized Meteorological Center", and there are 8 of them around the globe. The RSMCs operate under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and are "prepared at all times to provide highly specialized computer-based simulations that predict the long-range movement of air-borne radioactivity". (For more, see the page on RSMCs at WMO.)

The particular report, titled "Summary Report of RSMC Beijing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident Emergency Response" (CBS/CG-NERA/Doc. 5.4 ), which you can download here (Word file), was presented at CBS Expert Team on Nuclear Emergency Response Activities in Vienna, Austria, held from October 31 to November 4, 2011. In it, on page 8, RSMC Beijing says:
On 15 March, an explosion was heard in Unit 2 and damaged the pressure-suppression system, causing the leaks of radioactive cooling water. Shortly afterward, Unit 4 was damaged by an explosion and a large amount of radioactive materials was released into the atmosphere. At 11:00 (Japan Standard Time) JST on 15 March, Unit 3 explored again. At that time, due to the easterly winds and precipitation in and around Fukushima, the surrounding areas including Tokyo, Nagano, Sendai and other places detected high radiation, which matched well with the simulation results.

In the text, "explored" is clearly "exploded". TEPCO lists only one explosive event for Reactor 3, and that's on March 14 at 11:01AM. Where did RSMC Beijing get that data that Reactor 3 exploded twice? Looking at the pages 2 and 10 of the report, the request from IAEA for data on the Fukushima accident went out to RSMC Obninsk (Russia), RSMC Tokyo (Japan) and RSMC in other Asian Countries but RSMC Beijing has been in charge of compiling joint statements.

From Page 2:
In 2011, RSMC Beijing for EER is the chief RSMC in RAII, which is in charge of organizing the emergency response activities among RSMC Beijing, RSMC Tokyo and RSMC Obninsk and composition of the joint statements of RAII.

In other words, the mention of the 2nd explosion in Reactor 3 on March 15 must have been made after consulting with RSMC Tokyo. (EER stands for "Environmental Emergency Response"; RAII refers to Asia.)...


China: Confrontation Over Coal Plant Enters 3rd Day

China: Confrontation Over Coal Plant Enters 3rd Day
Published: December 22, 2011

Police officers and protesters concerned about environmental pollution from a planned coal-fired power plant confronted each other for a third day in Haimen, Guangdong Province. The protests began Tuesday when thousands of people blocked an expressway to demand the local government cancel plans to build the plant. The police fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd, according to a local resident reached by telephone. Chinese news organizations reported that officials said they would suspend the project. But on Thursday, police officers armed with tear gas guns sealed off the highway as a group of protesters faced them. Some news agencies reported that there were some arrests. Haimen is 90 miles from Wukan, a fishing village that evicted Communist Party officials and the police over a land dispute. Leaders there announced Wednesday they were halting their protest.

Video: 30,000 Chinese Occupy Coal Plants


Gov't request for nuclear storage facility site sends shockwaves through Fukushima

Gov't request for nuclear storage facility site sends shockwaves through Fukushima

The government's request that an interim facility to store soil and other waste contaminated with radiation be built somewhere in Futaba county near the crippled nuclear power plant sent ripples of concern through local governments and residents in Fukushima Prefecture.

...Some local residents, particularly those people who want to return to their homes in areas near the nuclear power station, are worried that such a storage facility could stay there permanently. But those residents who have given up hope of returning to their homes have tended to accept the government request.

At the meeting with Hosono in Fukushima city on Dec. 28, Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe said, "I will take the proposal seriously and consider it." Katsurao Mayor Masahide Matsumoto said, "We have no option but to accept it because it is needed." Some local residents are paying attention to the fact that there will be no places to dispose of such waste unless the interim storage facility is built, while hoping that new jobs will be created for the construction of the facility.

Nevertheless local leaders and residents are faced with a dilemma. In order for residents to return to their homes, it is necessary to decontaminate their municipalities, but the interim storage facility could hamper residents' efforts to go back to their homes. Namie Mayor Tamotsu Baba said, "Residents will not be able to return because the negative image is so strong." Kawauchi Mayor Yuko Endo voiced concern about the possibility that the interim storage facility could be used permanently. "We want the government to legally guarantee (that the facility will be used only for 30 years)."


Great example of the local economic benefits of nuclear power...

Japanese editorial opines on impact of added "social costs"

Gov't should promote renewable energy as myth of nuclear power's cheapness shattered

"The cost of nuclear power generation is cheap" -- we have repeatedly heard such a line as part of the reasoning for promoting nuclear energy. The myth of the cheapness of nuclear power generation collapsed following the catastrophe at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.

A government panel set up in the wake of the nuclear disaster estimates that the cost of nuclear power generation now stands at a minimum of 8.9 yen per kilowatt hour -- 1.5 times higher than the figure presented by utilities and the government before the disaster. If the costs for decontaminating areas affected by radioactive materials, decommissioning the damaged reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and compensating for damages emanating from the nuclear crisis soar further, the cost of nuclear power generation would be even higher.

Considering the fact that the costs of coal-fired power generation and liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fueled power generation stand at somewhere near 10 yen per kilowatt hour, respectively, the superiority that nuclear power generation had enjoyed in terms of "cost performance" can be said to have been shattered.

Even wind power generation and geothermal power generation could rival with nuclear power generation in terms of cost performance depending on conditions, while the cost of solar power generation is likely to become cheaper in 20 years time. The government should take this opportunity to proceed with full-scale measures to invest in and promote renewable energy sources, which had previously been shunned for their "high costs."

What makes...


Nuclear Power Play: Ambition, Betrayal And The 'Ugly Underbelly' Of Energy Regulation

Ryan Grim reports on the way the current feud among the Commissioners at the NRC is grounded in documented industry tactics.

Nuclear Power Play: Ambition, Betrayal And The 'Ugly Underbelly' Of Energy Regulation

...For Washington's tight nuclear policy circle, where scientifically trained political operatives move back and forth between the industry, the NRC, the Department of Energy and key congressional committees, it's déjà vu. Interviews with several senior officials who worked on nuclear energy policy in the 1990s reveal that at least two of those operatives -- both with strong ties to the nuclear industry -- were closely involved in the ouster of an earlier reformist regulator and are now involved in the current drama.

What's unfolding at the NRC is a textbook example of a little-discussed corporate tactic that is employed against public officials in extreme situations. Observers of the way Washington works tend to describe the corruption of the political system and the people within it in terms of action and reward: Do what industry wants, and benefit both professionally and personally. But when carrots aren't enough, corporations have sticks to swing, too.

...The Clinton administration's skepticism of nuclear power -- driven in large part by then-Vice President Al Gore -- reached its fullest and earliest expression in 1994 with the installment of Terry Lash at the top of the Department of Energy's nuclear energy program.

Lash was a former staff scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental group, and his appointment rankled nuclear industry insiders and their Republican supporters on the Hill. It wasn't long, say energy policy staffers involved at the time, before Lash's critics began seeking ways to undermine his position inside the department.

They got their chance ...


Closer to home this is the way one nuclear supporter posting online sees it:
"I've taken on the real anti-nuke and renewable powerhouses. We're beating back the ones at DOE. Thanks to the Solyndra scandal we got DOE's chief "greenie" Jonathan Silver to resign. If the Congress keeps the pressure on, then we have a shot at clearing out the "renewables rats" that have infested DOE.

If we can clear them out, we can shutdown the subsidies to the so-called "greenie" "solutions". We won't be wasting any more of the taxpayers money on "greenie" solutions that are going nowhere.

If we can kill their subsidies for a year or two, they'll die on the vine."

Fukushima nuclear disaster firm asks for extra £6bn to compensate victims

Fukushima nuclear disaster firm asks for extra £6bn to compensate victims
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 December 2011 11.57 EST

Tokyo Electric Power Co – the vast Japanese energy business that owns and operated the Fukushima nuclear power plant – has asked a government-backed bailout body for an additional £6bn to help compensate victims of the nuclear crisis that followed the March tsunami.

Japan's biggest utility, known as Tepco, faces costs of trillions of yen for compensation and cleanup, and the Japanese government agreed only two months ago to provide £7bn through a bailout fund.

But yesterday, In a statement, Tepco said: "We have reviewed the estimated sum of compensation after the committee addressing compensation disputes decided on additional measures to compensate victims who voluntarily evacuated."

Tepco was told by an advisory panel in October it can expect to face bills for about ¥4.5tn (£37bn) in compensation in the first two years after the crisis, triggered by the earthquake and tsunami.

The March disaster...


Here is the question: since the government is obviously on the hook for that 37 billion pounds ($57B) , and since they are facing hard economic times like all other countries, can they be trusted to deal with the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in a fair and just manner?

How well do you think the process worked for the comparatively much smaller BP/DeepWater Horizon open gusher?

Taking these two incidents - Fukushima and BP/DeepWater - into consideration how would a large scale meltdown in the vicinity of a major US metropolitan area be handled?

South Australia is the hub of uranium mining in AU.

Australia has uranium deposits of world significance

...The most significant deposits are in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.

Uranium companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year searching for new deposits and more accurately measuring the quality and size of deposits that have already been identified.

...Mining is currently limited to South Australia, Western Australia (where the first mine is expected to be operating by 2014) and the Northern Territory.

The Olympic Dam deposit in South Australia is the single largest deposit in the world...


The Australian Uranium Association's website specifically touts Brooks as their "nuclear expert" to spin Japan's nuclear meltdowns:

Useful links for information about the nuclear reactor situation in Japan

Journalists may find the following websites to be useful sources of information concerning the situation with nuclear reactors in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami.

The World Nuclear Association: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/

International Atomic Energy Agency: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/tsunamiupdate01.html

Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI): http://www.meti.go.jp/english/

Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA): http://www.nisa.meti.go.jp/english/index.html

Brave New Climate, the blogsite of nuclear energy expert Professor Barry Brook:

The World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/hac/en/index.html


...Australia has 38 per cent of the world’s low-cost reserves of uranium with most in a small number of deposits. Olympic Dam is the largest deposit in the world and contains approximately 70 per cent of Australia’s known reserves.

...In 2005, Australia’s uranium oxide exports earned $573 million with a record production of over 12 000 tonnes. Those exports are enough to generate more than twice Australia’s current annual electricity demand. Exports are forecast to increase strongly both from rising prices and rising production, reaching over 20 000 tonnes by 2014–2015.

Australia will increase production over the medium and longer term by expanding existing mines. Each of the three operational mines (Olympic Dam, Ranger and Beverley) can expand production or extend their lives through the discovery of further reserves on already approved mine leases. Many smaller known deposits could be developed relatively quickly, but are currently not accessible under state or territory government policy.

...Australia’s exports of uranium oxide of $573 million in 2005 could be transformed into a further $1.8 billion in value after conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication. However, challenges associated with the required investment levels and access to enrichment technology are very significant.

Commonwealth of Australia 2006, Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy — Opportunities for Australia?,
Report to the Prime Minister by the Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review Taskforce, December 2006

How did he get that post? He isn't a climatologist

And his Climate Change Chair is funded by the State government - an entity known to be far more interested in (uranium) mining than climate change.

Paydirt 2009 Uranium Conference
...Manufacturers, academics, and analysts all seem to agree that the long term fundamentals for uranium prices are compelling. Francisco Tarin, Purchasing Manager at Enusa, a Spanish joint-venture nuclear fuel rod producer, recently said in an interview, “If it goes up to $50 or $60, that would be reasonable because we have seen much higher prices in recent years and the industry could withstand them.” University of Adelaide professor Barry Brook noted that “should the contributing factors be as acute as predicted, the continuing surge in demand for uranium would be extended by a further 20 years.” His bullish outlook at the Paydirt 2010 Australian Uranium Conference was predicated on his forecasts that rising electricity demand and declining fossil fuel dependence will lead to a global demand for mined uranium resulting in price appreciation of at least four times current valuations. Chinese nuclear analyst at Nomura investment bank, Elaine Wu suggested that, “Uranium is going to be the key focus for China because China is not endowed with a lot of uranium resources. Currently even at 8 gigawatt capacity, China has to import about half of its uranium needs.”


That is flatly contradicted by MIT and other specialists in nuclear energy.

Selling the expansion of a uranium mine in his home state:

Downplaying concerns about effect of Fukushima on uranium demand:
Company Announcement: Climate Change Head Says Japan Nuclear Incident Has Not Killed One Member Of Public But Will Fuel Useful Debate
"Attached please find a press release on: A pro-nuclear advocate says the serious problems faced by the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant has not killed one member of the public, but has generated a new basis on which much wider debate in Australia and overseas can now take place.

Addressing a specially arranged Japan nuclear issues session this afternoon on the first day of the Paydirt 2011 Uranium Conference in Adelaide, Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change, University of Adelaide, Professor Barry Brook, said although Fukushima has emerged as a serious Level 5 accident on the international nuclear event scale, it was wrong to call it an ‘accident’ as it was in all effect, an act of God."


Featured speaker at "Paydirt's 2012 Uranium Conference"


Apparently you can't be bothered to consider the totality of an argument.

I twice gave you links demonstrating the same problem in France, Finland, and China. It is a negative learning curve. Every facility they build reveals problems that have to be addressed and that create more problems. It is the complexity of the system. You've said it yourself - attempts to make it more safe result in compounding problems. That isn't a regulatory issue that is a problem related to the fundamentally *unsafe* nature of the the technology at its most basic configuration,

Each project is a learning experience. Compare it to automobiles, TVs or computers in their early days of development. What was the learning curve yielding when in the world less than 1000 of each of those pieces of technology had been built?

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