Archive for ‘Energy’

May 30, 2011

Germany makes no move to halt its imports of nuclear energy from France, but will stop its own nuclear energy production in 2022

[Tim Salinger, Germany Nuclear Power Contributor]

EUOBSERVER: In a politically savvy move made breathtaking by its boldness, in the wake of popular widespread opposition to nuclear energy in the country following the Fukushima disaster, the German government has announced that it will stop all its nuclear energy production by 2022.

However, its bordering neighbour, France, which meets 78% of its own energy needs via nuclear energy production and  is the world’s leader in nuclear energy production is set to export significant amounts of energy to its neighbour, Germany, as a result of the German moratorium on nuclear power.

Germany as the world’s fifth largest energy consumer imported two-thirds of its primary energy needs in 2002 of which around 12% was from France.  As Germany’s nuclear power program has slowed down, its imports of energy have steadily risen and it is expected that in by the time of Germany’s total discontinuation of nuclear energy production, it will be importing more than 25% of its energy needs from a nuclear productive France.

As France with it 59 nuclear power plants borders Germany, any nuclear disaster in France would impact the German people in the same way as any nuclear plant disaster on German soil. Therefore, wouldn’t it be a good idea to get France to stop its nuclear energy production as well?  Hmmmnnnn….

May 26, 2011

Earthquake of magnitude 5.9 shakes Fukushima region on May 24th 2011

[Sumi Aleksander, Japan News Contributor]

USGS: On Tuesday 24th May 2011, an earthquake of 5.9 magnitude struck the Honshu region which encapsulates the troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. No tsunami, or damage reports have been made.

The Honshu region is a notoriously unstable part of Japan and practically each day earthquakes at M4 to 6 strike the area.

An anonymous source at the UN has disclosed that it is looking into the Fukushima plant disaster to decide whether Japan was negligent in building the a nuclear plant in such an unstable part of the country and in that respect whether it should be made to compensate all countries that are now affected from serious radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster that struck the plant.

May 22, 2011

The world did not end as predicted, but Fukushima rocks with M5.8 earthquake today 22nd May 2011

[Paola Estrada, Japan News Contributor]

USGS: Japan’s Fukushima district was one of the areas affected by today’s M5.8 earthquake that struck Japan’s Honshu region. The Honshu region is a notoriously geologically unstable part of the world, with M5 earthquakes striking the area on a more, or less daily basis.

No damage, or tsunami report has yet been made. In the meantime, the situation at the plant is much worse than when disaster struck some weeks ago as a result of a massive earthquake and tsunami.

The plant operators currently have no plan to curtail the melting down of one, or more of the plant’s reactors and currently, deadly amount of radioactive substances continue to spew into the sea and environment with serious pollution being experienced in parts of the country as far away as Tokyo where drinking water and milk have been found to be heavily contaminated with radioactive particles.

In addition, much of the world now and the Pacific ocean is experiencing  worrying radioactive contamination from the damaged reactors.

May 18, 2011

European Union Commissioners passed secret emergency law to increase radiation contamination in food to 20 times higher than before

[BRUSSELS: Becky Griffiths, Food Safety Contributor]

On 27th March, the European Union Commissioners secretly implemented Emergency Ordinance 297/2011 which upped the amount of permitted radioactive contamination in food to more that 20 times higher than the previous standard.

Such laws are designed to prevent food shortages in Europe during nuclear emergency situations.  However, this one was directed towards Japan to aid its food export trade which has been severely damaged by the Fukushima disaster which has resulted in high levels of radioactive contamination in most of Japan which now has spread worldwide.

Before the secret law was implemented, a maximum of 600 becquerels of radioactivity (cesium 134 and cesium 137) per kilogram had been permitted.  However, the law had permitted food supplies from Japan recording more than 12,500 becquerels per kilogram to be safe for importation and consumption in Europe.  Emergency Ordinance 297/2011 is still in force.

It was the valiant effort of the European foreign news agencies like Kopp Online and Xander News which had alerted the public to the Commissioners’ secret “emergency” law which had gone ahead without informing members of the public and which had not been directed towards the safety of Europeans, but for the convenience of a sovereign foreign power.

Due to the anger emanating from ordinary people living in Europe over the secret law when there appeared to be no threat to food in Europe from the Fukushima disaster and following intense lobbying from consumer safety groups, such as Food Watch, the European Commission has revised its policy and is now applying more stringent limits:-

Friday, 8 April 2011:  most foods from Japan cesium values ​​are allowed up to 500 becquerels per kilogram down from the Emergency Ordinance’s 600 to 12,500 becquerels per kilogram;

Update 14th April 2011:  Commissioners announce the radiation limits again to be moved downward – see implementing Regulation 351/2011 and Annex.

In the meantime, the US Department of Energy has recently reported that the radioactive contamination situation in Japan is severe and getting worse. Over 800 square kilometers of the area surrounding the Fukushima plant is now heavily contaminated with cesium and deadly plutonium. The Pacific ocean is also seriously contaminated and high radioactive readings have been reported in food and water in France, other European countries, China and the USA.  Read more…..

Related articles

May 4, 2011

Chernobyl revisited – Russia calls for new nuclear safety rules worldwide

[Valentin Pleschuk, Russia News Contributor]

BBC News: Following the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has called upon the international community to adopt a new set of international nuclear safety rules.

For the first time since 1986 when the disaster broke out, a Russian leader actually visited the devastated and highly contaminated area. The commemoration ceremony at the foot of the crippled plant was also attended by the president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovich.

The proposal came amid massive protests in Germany, France and a number of eastern European states against the use of nuclear power in the context of the worldwide radiation spread threat from the now infamous Fukushima plant.

Today, I sent proposals to [world] leaders… aimed at guaranteeing the necessary development of nuclear energy in the world while preventing at the same time catastrophic global consequences [of accidents]…..in order for such tragedies never to be repeated we must all be honest, we must provide absolutely exact information about what is going on.”” Mr Medvedev said. 

Although the full content of the proposals is unknown, one of the conditions of the programme, accentuated by Mr. Medvedev publicly, is enhanced openness and speedy information exchange between world governments and the population, as well as between countries’ governments themselves.

The ceremony was held in absence of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus which was most grievously affected by the Chernobyl disaster, after being suggested as an unwelcome guest at the Chernobyl conference, by the president of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.

April 30, 2011

Two hundred and thirty nine earthquakes struck the world today with most intense (M4-M6) in Japan and South America

[Edwin Crowel, Natural Disaster Contributor]

According to the US Geological Survey, two hundred and thirty nine earthquakes shook the world on Saturday 30th April 2011.

The most intense of them, between M4 and M6 – indicated in blue on the picture, struck Japan, the Pacific area, the USA and South America. No tsunamis, or damage reports have yet been made.

Earthquake in Japan

In the past few days, Japan was struck by more than 12 earthquakes at intensity M4-M5. Most occurred in proximity of the Fukushima prefecture. The area, and Japan in particular are notoriously unstable parts of the world for earthquakes which strike on more, or less, a daily basis – some earthquakes being more intense than others.

Analysts are commenting that having regard to Japan’s geological instability, it was a supreme act of recklessness for the nuclear facility in Fukushima with its known vulnerabilities to this kind of natural disaster, to have ever been commissioned.

April 28, 2011

For ‘rocking’ Japan, its business as usual as 7 earthquakes at M4.4 to M5.8 strike in the past two days

[Jana Tinaki, Earthquake Japan Contributor]

The US Geological Survey reports that the following earthquakes struck Japan over the past two days. No damage, or Tsunami has been reported.

In the preceding Easter holiday weekend, Japan had been struck by not less than 9 earthquakes of the same magnitude.

MAG     UTC DATE-TIME          LAT          LON          DEPTH    REGION

4.6     2011/04/28 14:04:41        37.237     142.658      30.4       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.8     2011/04/28 09:27:48        37.492     141.652      48.9       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/28 01:44:46        38.663     141.789      35.8       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/28 00:02:25        36.787     142.501      34.1       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.1     2011/04/27 21:45:03        38.170     141.778      53.3       NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
5.1     2011/04/27 21:42:50        36.738     142.685      31.9       OFF THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU
4.9     2011/04/27 16:03:29        26.685     143.680      10.0       BONIN ISLANDS

April 27, 2011

Japan is heaving as nine M4 – M5 earthquakes strike over the easter holiday weekend

[John Goldman, Natural Disaster News Contributor]

By all accounts, it would seem that Japan is the unsafest place in the world for any nuclear facility as according to the United States Geological Survey, not less than 9 earthquakes at M4 to M5 struck it over the bank holiday weekend.

Earthquakes off the East coast of Honshu (116 km north east of Fukushima)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 18:03:28 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 04:03:28 AM at epicenterDepth: 37.50 km (23.30 mi)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 16:02:07 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 02:02:07 AM at epicenter
Depth: 35.00 km (21.75 mi)0

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 15:58:57 UTC
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 01:58:57 AM at epicenter
Depth: 10.00 km (6.21 mi)

M4.6

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:26:54 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 09:26:54 PM at epicenter
Depth: 54.60 km (33.93 mi)

M5.0

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:12:00 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 09:12:00 PM at epicenter
Depth: 51.70 km (32.12 mi)

M4.9

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 10:03:04 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 08:03:04 PM at epicenter
Depth: 20.40 km (12.68 mi)

M4.9

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 04:01:52 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 01:01:52 PM at epicenter
Depth: 34.90 km (21.69 mi)

Earthquake in Hokkaido, (823 km from Fukushima)

M 4.8

Monday, April 25, 2011 23:26:34 UTC
Tuesday, April 26, 2011 08:26:34 AM at epicenter
Depth: 61.70 km (38.34 mi)[Japan News Contributor]

April 25, 2011

Should we go bananas about Fukushima?

[Joshua Kimoto, Japan News Contributor]

The New York Times: Since Fukushima, many of us have become more and more concerned about radioactive elements in our food.  As a result, New York Times spoke to scientists about radiation and food safety with surprising results.

It seems that every day we take in radioactive materials from all our food – from water, milk, through to fruit.  As far as fruit is concerned, it seems that the humble banana is the most potent source of radioactive contamination for our bodies.

The banana contains the more radioactive potassium than can be found in any other fruit. This substance after ingestion, stays in our bodies more or less permanently and irradiates them constantly.  Brazil nuts too, have radium which, according to scientists, is ‘off the wall’.

But should we eat food contaminated with radioactive iodine and cesium, like that contaminated by the Fukushima plant ongoing catastrophe? Scientists are saying that we should steer clear of them although there may not be much risk from food not heavily contaminated.

So, next time you reach for your daily banana, or have the urge to munch your favourite nuts, have a Geiger counter handy and check out the ‘heat’. If the banana reads ‘hot’, you know what to do!

April 20, 2011

And finally, good news for Japan as Fukushima decontamination starts

[Sikura Kimoto, Japan News Contributor]

RT.com: It seems that the Fukushima crisis has somewhat abated as decontamination works have now been started at the hugely compromised plant.

At the moment, viciously toxic water at the basement of the plant is being moved to a recycling facility as fast as possible in order to avoid sea pollution and to enable the operator to close the whole complex down.

If the operation is successful (and the pumping works are expected to end  in around a month, as up to 67,500 tons of radioactive water have built up inside the buildings) workers will be able to enter the plant and restore the cooling systems. If cooling is not put back, a total meltdown will occur.

On Monday, the latest  robot-taken pictures and radiation measurements  inside the buildings were disclosed to the public. Levels at reactors 1 and 3 were still dangerously high – 50 milisieverts per hour (when the safe limit is an annual equivalent).

However, the plant operators, TEPCO, still has not abandoned hopes to find some less dangerous places within the  buildings.  It promises that as soon as its technicians are able to safely enter the plant,  new cooling facilities will be set up and reactors 1,3, and 4 will get covered in concrete so to achieve ‘cold shutdown‘ of the plant in nine months.

The Chairman of TEPCO, Tsunehisa Katsumata, as well as its president, Masataka Shimizu, have announced that because of the disaster they are likely to quit. However, there are likely to be criminal investigations of the plant operators over the incident, analysts are saying.