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Monday
Jun132011

Berlusconi concedes "no nukes" in Italy with strong referendum turnout

Italy's Premier Silvio Berlusconi conceded Monday that the referendum to shutdown his plan for a nuclear energy revival is "probably" going to win. As of Sunday night, 41% of Italy's voting population had turned out with voting continuing into Monday projected to exceed 51% to make the "no nukes" vote binding.

Sunday
Jun122011

Tokyo streets blocked by thousands of anti-nuclear marchers on 3 month commemoration of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe

An anti-nuclear demonstrator holds a portrait of outgoing Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu with a slogan, "Don't spread radioactivity to western Japan," during a demonstration in Tokyo on Saturday, June 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)The Mainichi Daily News has reported on Saturday's mass protests in Tokyo against nuclear power, in which many thousands blocked city streets. Entire families, including toddlers and even dogs wearing signs, took part, calling for a phase out of nuclear power in Japan. The Mainichi Daily News also reported about a solidarity action in New York City -- organized by Japanese expats -- commemorating the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe three month mark by warning that it can also happen here, as at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The New York Times reported that, for many in Tokyo, it was their first protest ever in a country renowned for its conformity and obedience to authority. The Times reported:

“I’m here for my children,” said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. “We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean.” Her daughter wore a sign that said “Please let me play outside again.”

Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. “I want to tell people that I’m just so worried about the soil, about the water,” he said. “I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other.”

“It’s insane,” he added.

Sunday
Jun122011

"China syndrome," or not quite yet, at Fukushima Daiichi?

The London Telegraph doesn't go as far as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (see post below): the Telegraph reports that molten nuclear fuel has burned through reactor pressure vessels (presumably at Units 1, 2, and 3), but not yet through primary containment structures. It reports that the molten nuclear fuel has "merely" pooled on the steel floor of the primary containment structures, but desperate efforts to cool the molten fuel have stabilized the situation there for now, preventing further melt-throughs. However, the article does admit the obvious: at least a portion of the massive amounts of cooling water inundating the reactor units is leaking out into the exterior reactor buildings, and even into the outside environment, revealing escape pathways out of containment that already allow catastrophic radioactive contamination to reach the soil and sea. But the motherlode of catastrophic radioactivity, this Telegraph article implies, still resides within the molten fuel on the primary containment structures' floors.

Saturday
Jun112011

Support the Beyond Nuclear Petition to NRC to suspend operation of 23 Fukushima-style reactors in the United States

Become a co-petitioner to NRC and support the Beyond Nuclear call for the suspension of the 23 Fukushima-style reactors operating in the United States.

Co-petition with Beyond Nuclear's April 13, 2011 call upon NRC to suspend the operation of the 23 GE Mark I Boiling Water Reactors in the US and:

1) Convene public meetings in each of the Mark I Emergency Planning Zones to take public comment for incorporation into President Obama's charted review by NRC on the wisdom of continued operation of the dangerous Fukushima-style nuclear reactors here in the US;

2) Revoke a 1989 approval of an experimental venting system installed on the deeply flawed US Mark I reactor containment system as was also installed on the Fukushima nuclear power plants and failed to prevent the meltdowns of the three Japanese reactors operating at the time of the earthquake and tsunmai. Ask NRC to require all US Mark I operators to submit a license amendment request for any further modifications to the weak containment design in a process that is accorded full public hearing rights and;

3) Require Mark I operators to install emergency backup power to assure cooling of hundreds of tons of radioactive waste in storage pools located on top of each reactor builidng outside of containment in the event of loss of offsite power. NRC should further require operators to offload high-level radioactive waste (irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies) from these vulnerable densely packed storage pools to hardened onsite storage in dry casks.

Note: The Beyond Nuclear petition was amended with the US NRC on June 8, 2011 to include Brunswick Units 1 & 2 (NC). The April 13 petition identified that the Brunswick Mark I containment structures were not identical to the other 21 US Mark I units, but subsequently identified to have installed the same controversial venting system. Therefore, the two Brunswick units have been added to the call for a suspension of operations for a total of twenty-three (23).

Saturday
Jun112011

Aileen Mioko Smith & Robert Alvarez discuss the latest from Fukushima and implications for U.S. on Democracy Now!

Aileen Mioko Smith hosted Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps in Japan last August, including a visit to Fukushima DaiichiToday Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez at Democracy Now! interviewed Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Japan, and Robert Alvarez of the Institute for Policy Studies. The 30 minute long discussion focused on the health impacts of radioactivity exposures to thousands of Fukushima Daiichi workers, as well as countless numbers of residents downwind and downstream, especially pregnant women and children. Alvarez pointed out that Fukushima-style reactors in the U.S., such as Vermont Yankee, contain several times more high-level radioactive waste in its storage pool than all four wrecked reactors at Fukushima put together.