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Beyond Nuclear, while U.S. based, recognizes that the issue of nuclear power, particularly in relation to climate change and reactor expansion, has become an international issue. Multi-national corporations, often with foreign ownership, have taken over every facet of the nuclear fuel chain, from uranium mining to waste disposition. Beyond Nuclear is currently engaged in supportive efforts in a number of different countries.

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Friday
Jan172014

Volunteers Crowdsource Radiation Monitoring to Map Potential Risk on Every Street in Japan

As reported by Democracy Now! on the Pacifica Radio Network:

Safecast is a network of volunteers who came together to map radiation levels throughout Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in 2011. They soon realized radiation readings varied widely, with some areas close to the disaster facing light contamination, depending on wind and geography, while others much further away showed higher readings. Safecast volunteers use Geiger counters and open-source software to measure the radiation, and then post the data online for anyone to access. Broadcasting from Tokyo, we are joined by Pieter Franken, co-founder of Safecast. "The first trip we made into Fukushima, it was an eye-opener. First of all, the radiation levels we encountered were way higher than what we had seen on television," Franken says. "We decided to focus on measuring every single street as our goal in Safecast, so for the last three years we have been doing that, and this month we are passing the 15 millionth location we have measured, and basically every street in Japan has been at least measured once, if not many, many more times."

The atomic reactors that melted down and exploded at Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 were General Electric Mark I Boiling Water Reactors. The U.S. has 23 still-operating Mark Is, as well as 8 more very similarly designed Mark IIs.

Friday
Jan172014

Mayor of Town That Hosted Fukushima Nuclear Plant Says He Was Told: “No Accident Could Ever Happen”

Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of the town of FutabaAmy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! on Pacifica Radio, reports from Tokyo:

'We speak with Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of the town of Futaba where part of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located. The entire town was rendered uninhabitable by the nuclear disaster. We ask him what went through his mind after the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011. "It was a huge surprise, and at the time I was just hoping nothing that had happened at the nuclear power plant. However, unfortunately there was in fact an accident there," Idogawa recalls. He made a decision to evacuate his town before the Japanese government told people to leave. "If I had made that decision even three hours earlier, I would have been able to prevent so many people from being exposed to radiation." For years he encouraged nuclear power development in the area; now he has become a vocal critic. He explains that the government and the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, always told him, "’Don’t worry, Mayor. No accident could ever happen.’ Because this promise was betrayed, this is why I became anti-nuclear." '

On Hiroshima Day, 2010, Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps visited Futaba and Okuma, the host towns of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. As part of a nation-wide speaking tour organized by Green Action of Japan, Kevin met with the vice mayor of Futaba, and the mayor of Okuma. Kevin also spoke to a community meeting of citizens concerned about the risks at the nearby six atomic reactors. They wanted to learn about leaks of radioactivity from high-level radioactive waste storage pools in the U.S. The meetings, event, and speaking tour were part of a last gasp effort to prevent the loading of "Pluthermal" (mixed oxide plutonium, or MOX) nuclear fuel into reactors across Japan. However, just the next month, in September 2010, pluthermal was loaded by Tokyo Electric Power Company into Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3. It was just six months before the nuclear catastrophe began. Unit 3 suffered the largest exlosion of all, after its reactor melted down.

Monday
Dec162013

Port Clinton, OH passes resolution against Canadian Great Lakes radioactive waste dump; bipartisan congressional opposition grows

On Dec. 10, the City of Port Clinton, Ohio passed a resolution opposing OPG's proposed radioactive waste dump targeted at the Great Lakes shoreline. What is very significant about this is that Port Clinton is located within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) of FirstEnergy Nuclear's Davis-Besse atomic reactor, on the Lake Erie shore just east of Toledo. Even "nuclear company towns" like Port Clinton -- which "host" many hundreds of tons of high-level radioactive waste, in "temporary storage" -- are opposed to any proposal to permanently bury radioactive waste on the Great Lakes shore.

In this regard, Port Clinton's resolution is similar to the Town of Ajax's, to the east of Toronto, located immediately adjacent to the 8-reactor Pickering nuclear power plant on the Lake Ontario shore.

Port Clinton's population is just over 6,000, so the number of people represented by resolutions passed at the state, county, town, and village levels in both countries is still around 17.8 million. This, compared to the Town of Kincardine which supposedly has "volunteered" to "host" the dump in Ontario, with a population of only around 11,000, including many Bruce Nuclear Power Plant workers, and other influenced by Bruce Nuclear revenue streams. But in fact, local opposition in and around Kincardine has grown stronger over time.

Tom Henry of the Toledo Blade has published a comprehensive article, "Ohio, Mich. riled over plan to bury radioactive waste: Critics fear dump may contaminate lakes," reporting on Port Clinton's resolution. He reported that a concerned resident of Port Clinton, Victoria Clemons, was instrumental in advocating for passage of the resolution.

Henry also reports that U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) are working on a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to negotiate with his Canadian counterparts to end this proposal. Kaptur, the Ranking Democrat on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water, also indicated she will also take her concerns to the Canadian ambassador. Miller is Chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, and also sits on the Transportation Subcommittees on Hazardous Materials, as well as Water Resources and the Environment.

Kaptur and Miller thus join Michigan's two U.S. Senators, as well as several additional U.S. House Members, in opposing the Great Lakes radioactive waste dump.

In addition, Henry reports that Ohio State Legislators, Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) and Rep. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), intend to introduce a resolution in the Ohio General Assembly early next year opposing the proposed dump.

This is similar to a State of Michigan Senate resolution, introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (Democrat-Taylor) and passed unanimously in spring 2013.

Meanwhile, the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump petition now has 43,864 signatories.

Friday
Oct252013

An excellent letter on the disastrous Hinkley nuclear deal

A letter from Ray Davies, Cymru CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament)

Dear Sir,  

So Mr Cameron and the Tories have sold us short yet again.

1. He claims Hinkley C will create  four thousand jobs. The catch is, under EU law they will  have to recruit in Europe ; so most of the highly skilled workforce will come from France and elsewhere in Europe, not Britain and certainly not Wales. Our workers will mainly  be in Security and probably painting the front gates of Hinkley Point. 

2. When the coalition government failed to find a backer for Hinkley C, we promised France and China that  British taxpayers would guarantee them a price double to what electricity costs at the present moment - a price we will all have to pay.  What idiot would not accept that offer? 

3. In 60 years we have never found a safe method to dispose of the countless thousands of tonnes of highly radioactive waste which threaten our children and future generations; and yet we are going to create more and more. 

4. Nuclear power is the economics of the madhouse.  America has closed four nuclear power stations with more to follow because they are not economic. Germany has vowed  to get rid of every one of their nuclear power stations and invest in renewables; Italy has withdrawn their programme; and France is reducing their dependency on nuclear, because it is expensive as well as dangerous. 

5. The site of Hinkley C is geologically unstable, and a nuclear accident could threaten a catastrophe from the Gower to Somerset. Global warming means rising tide levels around the coast, and fracking in Bridgend is another potential threat which could create mini earthquakes around the nuclear site. The whole of Swansea, Newport and Cardiff would be wiped out by a Fukushima style accident.

6. Germany and the US bought out our car industry. France owns our water and the Severn Bridge. Now China- with its dubious safety record-  is getting in on the act. Will there be anything left of our resources to sell off? 

I and many other environmentalists will be doing our utmost to stop this madness taking place- not for a headline in a newspaper, but for the sake of  our children and grandchildren, and for this beautiful planet which is so fragile.

Yours  faithfully,  

Ray Davies 

Vice-Chair CND Cymru

Monday
Oct212013

UK government fleeces public for China/France nukes deal

Reports Reuters: "Britain signed a deal with France's EDF to build a 16-billion pound ($26-billion) nuclear plant, becoming the first European country to provide state guarantees to help fund a nuclear project.

The Hinkley Point C project in southwest England, the first new European nuclear plant since the Fukushima crisis, is expected to start producing power from 2023 and will receive a guaranteed electricity "strike" price of 92.50 pounds ($150) per megawatt-hour for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate, EDF and the British government said on Monday."

Writes Oliver Tickell in The Ecologist: "Nuclear power brings many casualties. The first of these is the truth. According to the Government, the "deal" announced with EDF and Chinese nuclear companies to build a pair of 1.6GW reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset is an excellent one that will provide the country with safe, low cost and secure electricity. This is a masterpiece of mendacity, and of chutzpah. The deal is a disastrous one for the UK, its taxpayers and energy users. We will be locked into a punitively high electricity price, index-linked, from 2025 until 2060, and the cumulative cost of this one nuclear power station will be well in excess of £100 billion, or around £1 billion per year in today's money.

"The deal is also built on a lie - that nuclear power is not receiving any public subsidy. The "strike price" offered to EDF is a subsidy in all but name. And it's only the beginning of the UK's largesse, which also cover Treasury financing guarantees covering 65% of the construction cost (£10 billion), underwriting of decommissioning costs and waste management liabilities stretching millennia into the future, and limitless insurance against nuclear catastrophes of the kind that struck Fukushima. EDF will only be liable for the first €1.2 billion of costs arising from accident. Fukushima is conservatively estimated to have cost Japan over £300 billion. With free market insurance costs estimated at between €0.14 and €2.36 per kWh produced, the UK Government's insurance represents an additional subsidy worth €3 billion to €60 billion per year." Read the rest of the article.