Ever since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began on March 11, 2011, Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture" television news program has featured Beyond Nuclear staff on a regular, ongoing basis to provide updates and analysis of the situation in Japan, and its implications for the U.S. On December 27th, Thom interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on the recent return to political power of the pro-nuclear Liberal Democratic Party, which (during its previous reign from 1955-2009) oversaw the establishment of the collusion between government, regulator, and industry, which Japan's own parliament reported was the root cause of the triple reactor meltdown. Thom and Kevin also discussed the potential risk that vast amounts of flotsam and jetsam from the Japanese tsunami, now arriving on the west coast of North America, could be radioactive.
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.
This tremendous good news just came in from Dr. Gordon Edwards, chair of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and co-chair of the Great Lakes United Nuclear-Free/Green Energy Task Force:
28 December: The Nuclear Age in Quebec is Over!
Join us, in Montréal, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon
On this occasion, Sonomi and her two children-- refugees from Fukushima, Japan -- will be our special guests.
P.S. Québec will be truly out of the nuclear age only when we achieve a permanent moratorium on uranium mining, as has been done in two other provinces -- Nova Scotia and British Columbia!
(Nuclear utility Hydro-Quebec announced Gentilly-2's permanent shutdown, to occur tomorrow, last October. Gentilly-2 is a CANDU atomic reactor which has operated since 1982. The Quebec public will now avoid the wate, and risk, of billions in refurbishment costs, which Hydro-Quebec had hoped to foist upon them, in a bid to operate Gentilly-2 for 20 more years. However, decommissioning costs will now begin.)
CBC has reported on this story. The article reports:
"...Environmental groups applauded the government's decision to shut down the plant...Michel Fugère, spokesman for the Mauricie's Green Movement, said the closure is a 'great gift' and represents 'a big day' for all Quebecers.
He pointed out that several polls suggested more than 60 per cent of the population in Quebec's Mauricie region supported the plant's closure..."
(Note that the article's report that dismantlement of the reactor would take place over the next 18 months is inaccurate. Only preliminary decommissioning activities will take place in the next year and a half; full dismantlement will take decades.)
From Reuters: French nuclear power engineering giant Areva is planning to set up an offshore wind turbine factory in the east of Scotland, which could create 750 jobs, the group said on Monday.
Areva plans to invest "several 10s of million euros", Chief Executive Luc Oursel said at a news conference, and the plant for Areva's 5 megawatt turbines should be up and running in 2015 or 2016, he said.
"Areva has chosen to locate its future facility in east Scotland to optimise logistics costs for UK projects and to benefit from a growing cluster of offshore supply chain businesses in the area," Areva said in a statement earlier.
A memorandum of understanding was signed by Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond during a visit to Paris, the state-owned group said.
The Scottish site, which has yet to be identified, will be Areva's third European site for offshore turbines, alongside a future plant in Le Havre in northern France and Germany's existing Bremerhaven factory.
The New York Times has reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has admitted it neglected to make needed safety upgrades at its now-destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in order to avoid anti-nuclear protests, lawsuits, and calls for shutting down the reactors.
The article reports:
In the report, Tepco said that before the accident it had been afraid to consider the risk of such a large tsunami, fearing admissions of risk could result in public pressure to shut plants down.
“There were concerns that if new countermeasures against severe accidents were installed, concern would spread in host communities that the current plants had safety problems,” the report said.
The article also reports that Tepco's own engineers had warned about tsunami risks even worse than those that hit Fukushima Daiichi on March 11, 2011.
As reported by The Japan Daily Press, Shunichi Tanaka, the chair of Japan’s newly formed Nuclear Regulation Authority, has said that no further atomic reactor restarts will be allowed in Japan until mandatory safety and security regulations are finalized in mid 2013. Tanaka is also ordering seismic studies at Oi, where two atomic reactors were allowed to restart in June 2012 after a hasty rubberstamped approval by NISA (Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency) shortly before the discredited agency was dissolved.