Nuke fallout & the industry grinds on

A couple of interesting items landed in the PnP mailbox this weekend.

Further to the Fukushima fallout comes this story of radioactive tuna.

Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

 

But you won’t hear about that in the msm, even though it was expected a year ago.

Less than two weeks after the tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster, Michael Kane, an investigative journalist, reported, “In the wake of the continuing nuclear tragedy in Japan, the United States government is still moving quickly to increase the amounts of radiation the population can “safely” absorb by raising the safe zone for exposure to levels designed to protect the government and nuclear industry more than human life.”

The radiation has absolutely reached the shores of North America.  Water samples from across the continent have tested positive for unsafe levels of radioactivity.  The levels exceeded federal drinking water thresholds, known as maximum contaminant levels, or MCL, by as much as 181 times.”This means that the complete ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean is now poisoned with radiation and we aren’t being warned.

 

And still, the deadly nuke industry carries on.

Candu Energy is hopeful about selling Canada’s first nuclear reactors in years after Romanian and Chinese state-owned companies signed a letter of intent to invest in and develop two reactors in Romania.

The subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin (TSX:T.SNC, Stock Forum) said Wednesday that the new units would be built on the Cernavoda site where initial construction was halted in the early 1990s.

Some Poetry & Some Politics

I was pleased to find some political poetry, specifically about Fukushima today.  It’s fitting for this blog, anyway.  An excerpt:

 

Fukushima Man

by Jon Rappoport

So there I was
in one of those giant discount stores
trying on a new pair of pants in the dressing room

a cool neutral voice said
“changing your underwear is politics
and by the way when was the last time
you cut your toenails
wearing or not wearing a watch is politics
that mole near your left knee is political
the calcium deposit on your right ankle is political
the way you look at yourself in the mirror is political
those three years of your life in the 60s we can’t account for
are political”

The curtain brushed aside and a tall naked woman walked in
she ran a black instrument over the new pants
-a loud buzz-
“they’re radioactive,” she said “testicular cancer in three months
try the pink drawstring sweat pants instead”
she withdrew

the neutral voice picked up…
“you’re a month late on your appointment for a dental cleaning
you haven’t changed your oil in a year
your health plan will be canceled next week”

Read the full poem.

 

I can only imagine the fear people living in Japan might feel as a result of the Fukushima disaster.  No one can be happy about the dangers of removing the fuel rods, either.  The second in Reactor 4 pool will be removed today.  No one’s really talking about it. And no one’s really talking about the disaster and the plume that’s making its way to North America.  There seems to be a media blackout. Perhaps, now that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is there, we’ll hear more.

A team of 19 experts from the IAEA and other bodies will tour the plant on Wednesday and evaluate Tepco’s fuel extraction process at the No. 4 reactor and its handling of contaminated water. It concludes its review on Dec 4.

“They must look into Tepco’s overall management of the site,” Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba’ nuclear engineer and critic of Tepco. “They shouldn’t just look at each little issue. They should look at the organizational challenges at Tepco that have created the recent string of incidents.”

I hope we hear more about creating a nuclear-free world where disasters such as this can never take place.  Going with alternative energy sources would be a wise start.

Renewable energy could change the energy business. While some large-scale organizations will always be part of the energy industry, we are seeing the start of decentralized, distributed generation of energy. Although the conventional wisdom tells us that solar power, battery technology, and smart grids are far in the future, we are only a breakthrough or two away from a new age of decentralized energy technology. While none of us can predict the future, and technological breakthroughs cannot be assumed, the risk of nuclear power is not difficult to predict.

The price of solar energy continues to come down, as the number of solar cells continues to grow. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology have the potential to shrink the size of these cells, making it possible to imagine smaller, more inexpensive installations of solar arrays. While some of the discussion of solar technology imagines utility-scale centralized power stations, my own view is that improved solar cells coupled with improved battery technology makes it possible to imagine a far more decentralized approach to energy generation.

Let’s do it, ok?

Uranium Industry’s Impact on Community & Safety

From the Media Co-op, Uranium’s Chilling Effects

Not only is Dale Smith a soft-spoken fisherman and wild rice grower, he is also a dedicated community activist who is taking two of the world’s largest uranium mining companies to court. Smith recently filed a lawsuit together with 38 people and organizations to fight back against a $200 million agreement that he says will effectively muzzle opposition to future uranium mines.

“What I’m seeing and experiencing now is that there’s a silencing,” Smith, a lifelong Métis resident of the northern village of Pinehouse, told The Dominion. “I don’t think people really truly understand the significance of what happened to my community.”

The uranium industry is rapidly expanding its sphere of control in northern Saskatchewan, and the impacts of its widening footprint aren’t limited to the lands and waters. Residents of affected communities are speaking out against an increasing corporate influence that is altering local governance and diminishing opportunities for critical public participation.

Pinehouse residents became very active when the threat of the community becoming a nuclear waste disposal site became real.  The Committee for Future Generations worked hard to involve citizens and the greater public in their struggle to exclude Pinehouse from the list of possible locations.  And they succeeded. But the Town of Creighton saw the matter in a different light and welcomed the possibility of more jobs in the area.  It is on the shortlist.

Regardless where the Nuclear Waste Management Organization decides to dump the waste the question remains, can it be done safely over the course of the waste’s lifetime, which far surpasses the life of any one generation of humans.

From the Committee for Future Generation’s research files regarding the hazards of Nuclear Waste:

Hazards of Nuclear Waste

http://nuclear-news.net/2013/04/05/internal-radiation-emitters-cesium-and-iodine-far-more-dangerous-than-external-exposure/

http://www.llrc.org/health/healthframes.ht

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UovlbzFTBXE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbnyjW6OC7I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=omXT5slKHGs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pjidsOytZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJZkz318tjI&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLCE16FC12321E2E4E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hv73MfgZWdg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saozSVjPmOE&feature=fvwrel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdqmDvvepvE&feature=relmfu

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnouqSKZP1w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb5HItRpDY8&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL57399D593043DFA2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omXT5slKHGs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPydmupt38U&feature=related

#Nuclear Obfuscation?

West coast people might be wondering about this horrible headline from Counterpunch:
A Global Threat

Fukushima Fallout Damaged the Thyroids of California Babies

by CHRIS BUSBY

A new study of the effects of tiny quantities of radioactive fallout from Fukushima on the health of babies born in California shows a significant excess of hypothyroidism caused by the radioactive contamination travelling 5,000 miles across the Pacific. The article will be published next week in the peer-reviewed journal Open Journal of Pediatrics.

 

Counter that with this and one can see how people might be torn:

Ontario nuclear reactor shutdown triggers medical isotope shortage

HELEN BRANSWELL

TORONTO — The Canadian Press

An unplanned shutdown of the aging Chalk River nuclear reactor has the country on the verge of a major shortage of medical isotopes, the president of the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine said Friday.

Dr. Norman Laurin said the forced shutdown of production at the Chalk River facility comes at a time when two of the world’s three other major producers of medical isotopes are also out of operation.

 

The Doctor incorrectly identifies the problem as being the shutdowns.  A thorough reading of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility’s documents suggests that the  larger problem is AECL.  Before nuclear fission was discovered, there were other ways to make the radioisotopes necessary for imaging.

…radio-isotopes have been used in nuclear medicine, industry and scientific research, for a very long time, starting around 1900 — half a century before the first nuclear reactors were built.

At first, the radio-isotopes utilized were naturally-occurring ones such as radium-226, radium-224, radon-222, polonium-210, tritium (hydrogen-3), carbon-14, et cetera. Even today, “radium needles” and “radon seeds” are used to shrink cancerous tumours, and polonium-210 is used in industrial devices to eliminate static electricity. These naturally occurring radioactive substances have nothing to do with the operation of nuclear reactors.

Later, in the 1940s, when the first particle accelerators were built (beginning with the cyclotron of Ernest Lawrence in California) a host of artificial radio-isotopes became available — produced not by the fissioning of uranium, not by neutron bombardment inside a nuclear reactor, but simply by colliding a beam of accelerated subatomic particles with various target materials.

And as Politics’n’Poetry has discussed in the past, other new, non-nuclear ways have since been developed.  But the  nuclear industry’s stranglehold on the market prevails.

Politics’n’Poetry has discussed the Chalk River facility in the past.  Visitors may want to refresh their memories regarding it.  Of particular interest is the paper presented  by Dr. Gordon Edwards to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the body that licenses reactors.  Have these been addressed?  Ask your MP.

It seems there’s a shortage of isotopes every time the aging facility has to shut down.  Isn’t it time to invest in alternatives?

 

Viewer Beware!

A pro-nuke video featuring “former” anti-nuclear activists is making the rounds.

Pittsylvania Co., VA– Two local groups aimed at bringing uranium mining to Pittsylvania County will be showing a movie this weekend to inform the public of its benefits.

Read about it here.

PANDORA’S PROMISE asks whether the one technology we fear most could save our planet from a climate catastrophe, while providing the energy needed to lift billions of people in the developing world out of poverty. In his controversial new film, Stone tells the intensely personal stories of environmentalists and energy experts who have undergone a radical conversion from being fiercely anti to strongly pro-nuclear energy, risking their careers and reputations in the process. Stone exposes this controversy within the environmental movement head-on with stories of defection by heavy weights including Stewart Brand, Richard Rhodes, Gwyneth Cravens, Mark Lynas and Michael Shellenberger. Undaunted and fearlessly independent, PANDORA’S PROMISE is a landmark work that is forever changing the conversation about the myths and science behind this deeply emotional and polarizing issue.

Pro-nuke film reviewers love it.

Bored by the tranche of lefty-liberal journalistic documentaries which attempt to uncover the manifold ills of the modern world and bring sickening tyrants to justice? If so, Robert Stone’s Pandora’s Promise could be the documentary you. It’s not a film which tells us something we already know from reading the newspapers in an emotive and informative way, it’s a film which dares to challenge ingrained perceptions and offers radical new perspectives on a taboo subject.

Others do not.  Beyond Nuclear published a report in direct response to the film.

Pandora’s Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film’s premise and early claim that it features “a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists” who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques. We have also published a definitive report – Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda – and a two-page synopsis. These documents address virtually all of the myths, lies and omissions typically found in pro-nuclear rhetoric and are intended to address these long after Pandora’s Promise fades into deserved oblivion.

The good news is that when CNN aired it, few watched.

CNN’s airing last night of the documentary Pandora’s Promise delivered a wet 345,000 total viewers in its 9-11 PM time slot and just 145,000 among adults 25-54. The heavily promoted Robert Stone-directed film was way, way down from the 1.36 million that CNN Films’ Blackfish drew in total viewers in the same slot two weeks beforehand.

It seems folks are more interested in films about killer whales than pro-nuclear propaganda.  Thank goodness!

May the film fade into obscurity…

Japan’s ex-PM Koizumi urges Prime Minister Abe to abandon nuclear power

From Reuters

Japan’s ex-PM Koizumi urges Prime
Minister Abe to abandon nuclear power
 
by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Edited Robert Birsel
Reuters News Agency, Tue, Nov 12 2013

Nov 12 (Reuters) – Former Japanese premier Junichiro Koizumi on Tuesday urged his old deputy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to abandon nuclear power, adding to pressure on the government to re-consider its position on unpopular atomic energy.

Koizumi was one of Japan’s most popular prime ministers before he stepped down in 2006 and his comments carry influence among the general public and within the ruling bloc, led by his old Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Nuclear power has been contentious since a power plant in the Fukushima region north of Tokyo was hit by a big earthquake and tsunami in 2011, triggering explosions, meltdowns and the world’s worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

“If the LDP decided on abandoning nuclear power, all the parties would be for the policy as the opposition is already supporting it,” Koizumi told a news conference.

“What a magnificent and fantastic project it would be. He can get to use his power to utilise nature as resources. There are no other prime ministers who are as lucky as he is.”

Koizumi supported nuclear power when he was prime minister and his calls in recent months for the country to give it up are a headache for the government.

Abe aims to reduce nuclear power as much as possible but believes it would be irresponsible to give it up straight away because that would threaten a stable power supply.

Koizumi said if money used to build nuclear plants was spent on renewable energy, it would spur a range of technological development.

More than two and a half years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co, is struggling to stop radiation leaks.

Koizumi said Abe could determine Japan’s position on the issue.

“Even within the LDP, there are quite a few lawmakers who at heart are leaning towards the zero-nuclear policy. A prime minister’s power is enormous. If he proposed the zero-nuclear policy, no objections would emerge.”

Asked about Koizumi’s call, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated the government intended stick to its policy of gradually reducing nuclear power’s ratio in the country’s energy mix.

“The government believes it is extremely important to administer its energy policy in a responsible manner,” Suga said.

Abe has been riding high in opinion polls due to the success of his economic policy. But energy policy could prove to be his Achilles’ heel as a survey by the Asahi Shimbun daily showed on Tuesday that 60 percent of those polled supported Koizumi’s zero-nuclear proposal. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Quebec to shut down its only nuclear reactor

YAAAAAAY!!!

Quebec to shut down its only nuclear reactor

Quebec’s new government has confirmed it won’t proceed with the multibillion-dollar refurbishment of the province’s lone nuclear reactor and will instead shut it down.

A spokesman for incoming premier Pauline Marois gave the confirmation Tuesday, one day after the first public screening of a new film on the reactor that raises questions about its safety for people living nearby.

The government of outgoing Premier Jean Charest decided in 2008 to rebuild the Gentilly-2 nuclear plant at a cost of about $2 billion, but stopped work after the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011.

The PQ has committed since 2009 to close the generating station, which is located in Bécancour, Que., across the St. Lawrence River from Trois-Rivières.

Full story