Beyond Nuclear’s Paul and Linda Gunter recently returned from England where they met with and briefed UK nuclear experts and spoke to activist groups. The UK government is eager to build 10 new reactorsat sites now owned by French electricity giant, Électricité de France (EdF), which is endeavoring to score a “strike price” from the UK government. The deal, tantamount to a subsidy, would provide the EdF with a guaranteed price at which the UK would buy electricity. Talks are going slowly and there are indications that the Chinese may invest in the first of EdF's proposed new reactors - two Evolutionary Power Reactors at Hinkley Point, Somerset. Paul and Linda spoke in Somerset (Stop Hinkley) and Suffolk (Shut Sizewell, pictured left) - where EdF is also hoping to build an EPR - and met with academics and activists. They also attended a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rally outside the 7 gates of the Aldermaston nuclear weapons complex where Linda spoke. Read more about the visit on our UK page.
"Most of the people who live in the villages around the Zone have diseases caused by radiation. Most of them are old, and their level of mortality is really high." So writes photographer, Arthur Bondar, based in Kiev, Ukraine, who started to visit Chernobyl in 2008, and has returned frequently in the past five years to photograph the villages and the people living near the exclusion zone. He found intense suffering and a resignation to the inevitable fate of living in a highly radioactive area. Read more and view Bondar's photos.
A court in Sendai, Japan, has ruled that the city of Koriyama has no legal obligation to evacuate its children even though it acknowledged that radiation levels in the Fukushima prefecture city exceed levels deemed safe prior to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdowns. The decision leaves families burdened with the expense of self-evacuating. A lawyer for the Koriyma parents and activists who brought the suit declared the decision unfairly victimizes children who had "absolutely no responsibility" for the nuclear disaster. Children who should be enjoying carefree childhoods are now instead subjected to the fears and realities of radiation exposure and the possibility of cancer manifesting later in life (see picture). The ruling can be appealed. Koriyama is located about 40 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Read more.
A commentary on this decision by Noam Chomsky: "It is deeply disturbing to learn that the courts have blocked efforts to evacuate children from the Fukushima site, though acknowledging the health risks. Nothing tells us more about the moral level of a society than how it treats the most vulnerable, in this case its most precious possession, its children. I hope and trust that this grim decision will be reversed."
And please sign the petition. The Sendai High Court is expected to make its judgment on the appeal for the collective evacuation trial, very soon. The judgment on the evacuation trial for saving children from dangerous exposure will affect not only the lives of the children, who are plaintiffs, but also those of Japanese children as a whole. And it will decide the shape of future Japan.
From CNS: Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Wednesday blasted a preliminary finding by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff that restarting a unit at the idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (near San Diego, CA) would not present significant safety hazards.
Officials with Southern California Edison, the plant's majority owner and operator, have asked for permission to operate the plant's Unit 2 reactor at 70 percent beginning June 1. The utility wants to run the unit at partial power for five months, then shut it down for an inspection of steam pressure tubes.
Boxer and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass, sent a letter to the NRC this week demanding that a comprehensive investigation of the plant be completed before any units are permitted to operate. They also said full public hearings should be held before a decision is made.
"The NRC staff proposal, which could pave the way for the restart of the San Onofre nuclear power plant before the investigation of the crippled plant are completed, is dangerous and premature," Boxer said in response to the commission staff's preliminary finding. "It makes absolutely no sense to even consider taking any steps to reopen San Onofre until these investigations look at every aspect of reopening the plant, given the failure of the tubes that carry radioactive water.
"In addition, the damaged plant is located in an area at risk of earthquake and tsunami," she said. "With 8 million people living within 50 miles of this plant, the staff proposal is beyond irresponsible." Read more.