Archive for the ‘Nuclear Energy’ Category

Where is Japan’s Radiation Going?

June 7, 2011 Comments off

Japan’s nuclear agency reported to the IAEA today that the nuclear fuel in three reactors at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant likely melted through the inner containment vessels and not just their cores in the aftermath of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami.

As MoJo’s Kate Sheppard reported earlier today, Japan also more than doubled the estimate of the amount of radioactive materials released from Fukushima—from 370,000 to 770,000 terabecquerels.

Which makes the work of a research cruise just now underway to measure radioactivity in the ocean off Japan even more important.

Source Mother Jones, click here


Fukushima a Ticking Time Bomb with 3,000 Tons of Waste

May 17, 2011 Comments off

Going from bad to worse; the Japanese government has expanded the evacuation zone because they are embracing the reality of the extreme radiation levels in and around Fukushima. Where will 3,000 tons of radioactive waste go? The Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan is tainted, perhaps for decades and beyond.

Correction: Germany and Japan Abandon Nuclear, Now Salem Harbor Will Close by 2014

May 11, 2011 2 comments

CORRECTION MAY 13, 2011: It was reported that Salem Harbor was a nuclear plant in the original post. That is incorrect. It is a coal and oil-fired plant.

Boston Globe reported on May 12th: The owners of the coal- and oil-fired Salem Harbor Power Station announced yesterday they will shutter the plant within three years because environmental regulations and facility upgrades make the plant too costly to operate. Read entire article, click here.

Germany and Japan are abandoning nuclear and now we see the first U.S. nuclear plant will be closed in 2014. In March, Business Week reported, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated the “catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions” has irreversibly marked the start of a new era. Germany is turning to renewables and alternative safer energy resources.

The Guardian UK reported today, is to abandon plans to expand its nuclear power industry and make renewables a key part of its energy policy, the prime minister, Naoto Kan, said as the country marked two months since the tsunami disaster.

As workers continued efforts to stabilise the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Kan said he would “start from scratch” a policy that initially envisaged nuclear making up more than 50% of Japan’s energy needs by 2030.

Japan, whose 54 nuclear reactors provide 30% of its electricity, had planned to build at least 14 new reactors over the next 20 years, but policymakers accept that will be impossible in light of the Fukushima crisis.

Read entire article, click here

Greenpeace reported today: Salem Harbor Generating Station to close by 2014.

Yesterday’s Independent System Operator (ISO) proposal on upgrades to the transmission system removes any impediment to shutting down Salem Harbor Generating Station.

The closure of this plant will be the culmination of years of work by local citizens and organizations like SalemSafe, Healthlink, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and the Conservation Law Foundation.

“The ISO analysis is consistent with the view of the plant owners and the public that the life of this polluting dirty coal plant is over. It is time to move forward with clean sustainable technology and efficiency. The sooner our money is spent on the future rather than the past, the better for our wallets as well as our health,” says Jane Bright, HealthLink.

The impending shut down of Salem Harbor Generating Station is a symbol of things to come; all across the country, economic conditions, citizen activism that springs from health concerns, and common-sense pollution regulations are changing America’s energy landscape.

“Yesterday’s ISO proposal on Salem Harbor Generating Station represents the very real victory of people over dirty energy interests. Residents of the North Shore will no longer have this menace in their community threatening our public health and our environment,” said David Lands, Greenpeace’s Massachusetts-based Organizer.

Read entire article, click here

Alabama Nuclear Plant Shuts Down Due to Storms Ferocity

April 30, 2011 Comments off

I wrote a piece on March 16th that has received thousands of hits about how the Fukushima nuclear facility in Japan was essentially a power failure. I wrote that we could see a similar situation here in the U.S. if we had a severe weather event, solar event, natural disaster, or man-made disaster. Nuclear power plants produce power, BUT they depend on external power to keep them running properly: to keep their reactors cool, fuel rods cool, and their spent fuel rods cool.

Wednesday’s extreme weather events across the southeastern United States, with close to 200 tornadoes touching down in several states, resulted in wiping whole towns off the map.

Times Free Press reports: TVA safely shut down its Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama with emergency backup power this week, but power outages across the Tennessee Valley still left the utility without enough emergency sirens to warn nearby residents of potential safety problems at both Browns Ferry in Alabama and the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant near Soddy-Daisy.


Read entire article, click here

Japan: Fukushima Radiation at All Time High

April 28, 2011 Comments off

April 27 (Bloomberg) — Radiation readings at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station rose to the highest since an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems, impeding efforts to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl.


Read entire article, click here

Categories: Nuclear Energy

Japan Fukushima Update: Unit 4 Not So Good; High Levels of Cesium 134/137

April 14, 2011 Comments off

I was watching a Bloomberg report this morning and a financial analysts was saying there are no protests in Japan due to the Fukushima crisis. I almost fell out of my chair. I actually had to go to The Voice of Russia to get this:

Some 15,000 Tokyo residents have taken to the streets to protest against the use of nuclear power. The rally chanted “No to nuclear bombs! No more Fukushima!” to the sounds of rock music and reggae, according to the Kiodo news agency.

A major earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan on March 11th, disabling the cooling systems at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant. Several ensuing radioactive leaks forced the authorities to evacuate people from the 20-kilometer zone around the station.

Later, radioactive elements were found in the air, sea and drinking water, as well as food products in a number of Japanese regions.


UPDATE, 11:30 am, Thursday, April 14, 2011. The fuel pool at Unit 4 apparently has experienced an inadvertent criticality at some point in the past month. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) has confirmed that some fuel rods in the pool are damaged. A 400 milliliter water sampling from the pool taken Tuesday found elevated levels (as much as 100,000 times above normal) of Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137. As nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson of Fairewind Associates points out, there should be no Iodine-131 detected at all. All of the fuel from Unit 4 had been removed from the core and placed in the pool well before the March 11 accident. With a half-life of 8 days, the likely way Iodine-131 would be detected in this water would be if there had been a criticality—which given the severe damage to the pool is more than just conjecture. Tepco, however, suggests the readings may be caused by radioactive rubble in the pool or radioactive rainwater coming into the pool.

Tepco says it so far has pumped out 700 tons of highly radioactive water from a trench to a condenser; but with 60,000 tons of this water across three reactors, that’s a proverbial drop in the bucket.

The Japanese Atomic Industrial Forum reports that the nitrogen injection into the containment of Unit 1, intended to reduce the possibility of another hydrogen explosion, appears not to be working. Pressure is not rising in the containment, indicating that the nitrogen is leaking back out.

Samples taken by ARCO, an independent French radiation laboratory, of soil and water in several communities outside the official evacuation zone, show very high levels of radioactive Iodine and Cesium as far away as Fukushima itself (about 60 km, or 36 miles, away).

Note to readers in Hawaii: U.S. EPA measurements from Hilo show elevated levels of Iodine-131 and Cesium-137 in milk samples taken earlier this week (19 picocuries/liter of Cesium-137 and 18 picocuries/liter of Iodine-131 vs “acceptable” level of 3 picocuries/liter). This is of concern for people who may drink local milk, or eat local cheeses and meat from local livestock.

Source: NIRS go there now, click here


Japan Nuclear Disaster Is Worse Than Chernobyl

April 12, 2011 Comments off

In one month we have seen multiple explosions, massive radiation leakage into the Pacific Ocean, radiation levels 100,000 times normal, and poisoning of the the surrounding soil, milk, produce, and water from the Fukushima Nuclear power plant located in Northern Japan. All the while the Japanese government has orchestrated news releases heavily filtered in their assessment of the situation so as to minimize what has become a situation WORSE than Chernobyl!

I urge my readers to be proactive in soliciting their state governments on shutting down nuclear power plants. If we experience a prolonged power failure of fours hours or more due to hurricanes, solar storms, earthquakes, tsunamis, extreme heatwaves, tornados, or other weather event, we will likely see the same cascading of events we have been witnessing at the Fukushima power plant. And experts have stated Japan was the best prepared for a large earthquake. We are not even close here in the U.S.

Democracy Now reports: Japan has raised the severity rating of its nuclear crisis from 5 to 7, the highest level, matching the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. We go to Tokyo for an update from Thomas Breuer, head of the Climate and Energy Unit for Greenpeace Germany and part of a field of radiation monitors in Japan. He notes that unlike Chernobyl, the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is in a densely populated area. “We warned the government that there are a lot of cities and villages outside the 20-kilometers evacuation zone where the radiation levels are so high that people need urgently to be evacuated, especially children and pregnant women, because they are the most vulnerable part of the population to radiation,” says Breuer.

Listen to the interview, click here

Related: Path to Well-Being (our sister site) – When the Big One Hits: Diablo Plume Effect on Central Valley


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