News Roundup July 23, 2012

News Roundup July 23, 2012 (art work by Yoshitomo Nara)

Another report on the Fukushima disaster is out. This one blames TEPCO and the Japanese government.
“The fundamental problem lies in the fact that utilities, including TEPCO, and the government have failed to see the danger as reality as they were bound by a myth of nuclear safety and the notion that severe accidents do not happen at nuclear plants in our country, said the 450-page report.”
The report includes some revelations such as TEPCO’s problem determining if it was the plant manager’s job to instruct workers to inject seawater into the melting reactors.

A former GE inspector who outed a previous TEPCO attempt to cover up evidence of degraded equipment at the plant tells that dose faking is even more widespread than just TEPCO. At one plant he was requested to wear a lead vest over his dosimeter to fake his exposure record.

More revelations out of the Diet report showed a large number of workers at the plant were never briefed on the radiation exposure risks and many lacked a dosimeter to record their doses.

Workers at Daiichi are citing very stressful working conditions, fist fights, worries about falling concrete and their own health problems.

The contractor involved in the radiation dose faking scandal at Fukushima Daiichi is a TEPCO subsidiary.

Cattle compost in Fukushima prefecture was found to have 400 bq/kg of cesium. No word on how potentially contaminated the cows are.

Lettuce in Gunma Prefecture was found to have 7 bq/kg of cesium in it.

Researchers found that bird populations in Fukushima are declining with steeper declines the higher the radiation is in an area.

A German radiation research agency has disputed Japan’s claim that the radiation doses to children’s thyroids were low, calling it “Simply Wrong”.

The Japanese government is still working out compensation payment guidelines, they hope to fully reimburse those who can never return home but most remain with little but a token payment as they struggle to get by without jobs and community.

An expat architect living in Japan built a community house for evacuees. The purpose to give the people somewhere to reconnect since the nuclear disaster has ripped communities apart.

Another nuclear plant employee was discovered holding a slot at a public meeting intended to allow the general public to give their views on Japan’s future nuclear power use.  Chugoku electric was caught trying to insert an employee into a public meeting to shill for the company.

Japan’s largest labor group has drafted a plan that would see the end of nuclear power in Japan.

The Shika nuclear plant is thought to be sitting on an active fault, adding this to the growing list of plants that may be in violation of the law.

US Nuclear News:

The Duke-Progress Energy merger intended to save customers money may end up saddling them with billions in costs to fix Progress Energy’s nuclear fleet including the Crystal River nuclear plant majorly damaged by some DIY work gone wrong.

There was another fire at Browns Ferry nuclear plant earlier in July but it took the utility months before they admitted it publicly.

San Onofre nuclear plant could be closed down into 2014, local government is planning for this long term change in energy supply.

The NRC rejected a plan to fix the rebar problem in the construction of the new Vogtle nuclear plant.  The utility building the new reactor at Vogtle has said they will likely decide to not seek US government loan guarantees for the construction of the project that has been plagued by setbacks.

Concerns about contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster showing up in Pacific fish in the US & Canada are growing.

The Alaska governor is now asking for disaster aid after returning salmon numbers dwindle causing small harvests. The Alaska variety of Chinook salmon migrate out to the Russian peninsula known to have been contaminated from Daichii within a month of the disaster. A direct connection has not been made yet.

Researchers have predicted that radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster will hit US shores of the Pacific within 5 years of the accident.

Looking Forward:

A large scale vertical urban wind turbine that is bat & bird friendly has been developed by Keele University in the UK.
A group in Mali has created a solar powered portable streetlight made out of recycled bike parts.
An article discussing Germany’s energy turn cites a farmer who is bringing in $280,000 a year by putting solar panels on his farm buildings.
Offshore wind in the EU has doubled in the first half of 2012 compared to 2011

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