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Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - Tuesday 15 March part one | World news |

Japan nuclear crisis and tsunami - Tuesday 15 March part one | World news | | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |

Another explosion at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan Photograph: Abc Tv/EPA
Live coverage continues here.

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NRC chairman proposes timetable for nuclear industry reforms

NRC chairman proposes timetable for nuclear industry reforms | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Washington (CNN) -- The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday the NRC should move quickly on post-Fukushima reforms, saying the commission should draw up proposed changes within 90 days, and the industry should implement them within five years.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko reiterated his belief nuclear power plants in the U.S. are safe and that a Fukushima-type event is unlikely -- a reference to the the triple meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant after an earthquake and tsunami in March.

Last week, an NRC task force completed its 90-day "quick look" at Fukushima, and made 12 recommendations, some of them sweeping in nature. Perhaps most significant, it calls on the NRC to replace a "patchwork" of regulations developed over the years with "a logical, systematic, and coherent" regulatory framework.

It also recommends the commission require power plants to upgrade protections to nuclear reactors and spent-fuel pools to further protect them from earthquakes, floods and fires.
The task force also said the NRC should require nuclear power plants to be better prepared to handle power blackouts and events that affect more than one reactor.

"In light of the task force's work, I see no reason why the commission cannot provide clear direction on each of their recommendations in less than 90 days," Jaczko said. "That is the time the commission gave the task force to do its job, and I believe that is more than enough time for the commission to outline a clear path forward."

Both the NRC and the nuclear industry, he said, should "commit to complete and implement the process of learning and applying the lessons of the Fukushima accident within five years -- by 2016.".

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REM to SIEVERT (Sv) CONVERSIONS FOR DOSE-GARD: | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
What The Physics? | Nuclear News

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Report: Air sample in Tokyo 270 times more contaminated with Cesium-137 than global weapons fallout peak (VIDEO) « ENENEWS.COM

Report: Air sample in Tokyo 270 times more contaminated with Cesium-137 than global weapons fallout peak (VIDEO) « ENENEWS.COM | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Christopher Busby presentation in Japan, July 17, 2011:
Christopher Busby, Scientific secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risks
At 12:15 in

Video streaming by Ustream
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Room for Compromise: The Iranian Nuclear Negotiations | Foreign Policy Digest–Know the world you live in

Room for Compromise: The Iranian Nuclear Negotiations | Foreign Policy Digest–Know the world you live in | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
DEVELOPMENTS[/b]Iran and European Union representatives have engaged in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear enrichment program for the better part of the last decade. Last month, yet another round of talks failed for the same reason previous negotiations fell through: a lack of compromise on both sides. The parties’ unwillingness to make concessions has led to deadlock, as the Iranians insists upon enrichment on Iranian soil and the West demands full suspension. This demand, along with Iran’s sense of isolation due to economic sanctions, has given Iranian hardliners with the political cover to marginalize moderate viewpoints and politicians domestically, which in turn has solidified the deadlock with the Western parties.
BACKGROUND[/b]In 2003, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – the E.U.-3 – launched a diplomatic initiative with Iran to resolve questions about its nuclear program. The parties issued a statement in October 2003, known as the Tehran Declaration, whereby Iran agreed to suspend enrichment, comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (“IAEA”) investigation, and sign an Additional Protocol to its 1974 IAEA safeguards agreement. Meanwhile, the E.U.-3 recognized Iran’s right to civilian nuclear programs under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. After October 2003, Iran continued some enrichment-related activities, but agreed to the Additional Protocol in December 2003, and a more detailed suspension agreement, called the Paris Agreement, in November 2004.
Negotiations abruptly ended the next year, just as progress between Iran and the western parties appeared to gain momentum. In 2005, Hassan Rohani and Javier Solana, then the top negotiators in the nuclear talks between Iran and the E.U.-3, signed an additional agreement under which Iran was granted observer status at the WTO. In return, observers would be granted permission to flash-inspect Iran’s nuclear installations. By implementing the additional protocol, the parties hoped to find a face-saving solution that would satisfy both Iran’s right to nuclear enrichment and western demands for assurances against the diversion of nuclear material. Rohani agreed to the additional protocol in principle, and promised to facilitate its approval in parliament.
The Iranian conservative-led parliament, the Majlis, however, never ratified the additional protocol. One of the primary reasons that Rohani was unable to sell the additional protocol domestically was the unwillingness of the U.S. to make concessions to Iran, while the Europeans were incapable of meeting Iran’s security and diplomatic demands. The unilateral banking sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran and entities that work with Iran are the primary catalysts of Iran’s economic suffering. These sanctions deter companies from dealing with Iran, regardless of the nature of their business. The Europeans could not deliver a credible carrot to outweigh the harm caused by the U.S. sanctions, nor could they negotiate the removal of the financial sanctions that the U.S. has imposed. In addition, the American red line is – and always was – absolutely no enrichment activities, at any level, upon Iranian soil. This is – and always was – unacceptable to Iran.
Losing interest in what the Europeans could offer, Iran resumed nuclear enrichment, and Rohani, after sixteen years as Head of the National Security Council, was replaced with the younger Ali Larijani, a conservative heavyweight. At around the same time, Iran elected Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the outspoken conservative, as president of the Islamic republic. Iran turned its back on talks with the E.U.-3, and instead, turned its political focus to securing its economic interests elsewhere. Iranian newspapers called it a “Shift towards the East,” and fresh talks began with the Indian government regarding a proposed gas pipeline to replace the European market and with the Russians on expanding Iran’s nuclear program, amongst others.
In 2005, Iranian conservatives argued that Iran should resume enrichment because despite years of full suspension, western sanctions continued to target the Iranian economy. The Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, also rejected any talk of suspending the enrichment process. The Iranian government translated this conservative argument into ideological terms, linking defiance of western demands to resisting oppression by the west. The message was carried in fiery speeches by conservative parliamentarians, and was delivered across the country by the leaders of Friday prayers in the provinces, who were chosen by Khamenei himself.
Supporters of the conservative position also attempted to prevent a healthy, public discourse on the matter within Iran. Iranian newspapers were banned from writing about the nuclear program. Anyone critical of the nuclear enrichment policy was branded a traitor and a “western lackey.” As a result, critics could not challenge the government’s policy on grounds of Iranian national interest, or the harm inflicted upon the Iranian people by western sanctions.
The U.S. position, however, remained unchanged. Once Iran resumed enrichment, the case was referred to the U.N. Security Council in New York, where political influence is paramount. The issue was quickly entangled in the complications, intricacies, double standards and partisanship considerations of the Iran-U.S. relationship. Subsequently, the U.N. passed six resolutions on Iran’s nuclear program.While the E.U.-3 and Iran held amicable negotiations between 2003 and 2005, at a time when reformers held power in Iran, a shaky trust between Iran and Europe made a solution to the dispute appear possible. The devil was in the details of how to rewrite the definition of “suspension,” in particular, whether suspension would apply to high-level enrichment and whether Iran would allow a high level of strictly monitored enrichment. In return, the west could hold out a carrot too big to turn down: access to the global economy.
The Europeans appear to have adopted less rigid positions than the United States throughout this period. On June 9, 2011, former British Ambassador to Iran Richard Dalton authored an article, along with five other former ambassadors, to Iran: Paul von Maltzahn of Germany, Steen Hohwü-Christensen of Sweden, Guillaume Metten of Belgium, François Nicoullaud of France and Roberto Toscano of Italy. The piece was published simultaneously both by the Guardian and the L.A. Times. These five European officials – who are also experts on Iran – wrote the following:

“We often hear that Iran’s refusal to negotiate seriously left our countries no other choice but to drag it in 2006 to the security council… In 2005 Iran was ready to discuss an upper limit for the number of its centrifuges and to maintain its rate of enrichment far below the high levels necessary for weapons. Tehran also expressed its readiness to allow intrusive inspections, even in non-declared sites. But at that time Europe and the US wanted to compel Iran to ditch its enrichment programme entirely… Iranians assume that this is still the European and US goal, and that for this reason the Security Council insists on suspension of all Iranian enrichment activities. But the goal of ‘zero centrifuges operating in Iran, permanently or temporarily’ is unrealistic, and has contributed greatly to the present standoff.”

ANALYSIS[/b]What makes or breaks any dealings with Iran is the issue of legitimacy. Legitimacy is a matter of life and death for the Iranian regime. For this reason, the Iranian opposition seeks to undermine the legitimacy of the government by disseminating information on the illegal ways it came to power, and the violent means by which it deals with Iranian citizens. Its fading legitimacy is also why the Iranian government is willing to spend its resources, such as the budget bloated with oil dollars, on handouts to its constituents.
Legitimacy is also at the heart of the standoff between Iran and the west over nuclear enrichment. The Iranian government – and indeed most Iranian people – believes that Iran has a legitimate right to nuclear enrichment. This also strikes a chord with many across the developing world, who share the similar nationalistic sentiments. The fairness of a closed nuclear club based on power relations in existence over half a century ago is evident. Also apparent to the developing world is the double-standard applied by the U.S. toward certain countries – such as Israel and India – that it is willing to tolerate as nuclear powers, and others – such as Pakistan and Iran – that it is not.
Arguably, the U.S.’s double standard towards nuclear players across the Middle East has caused it to lose sight of its national interest in the region. Unlike Iran, the U.S. is not a rigid autocracy that needs to stir nationalist sentiment to achieve legitimacy; its policies can and should shift based on national interest and political developments. U.S. policymakers have claimed that “all options are on the table,” but at least with regards to the Iranian nuclear program, this has not been the case.
The U.S. may consider shifting its policy toward Iran by accepting low-level enrichment activities under the auspices of the IAEA and also adapting its policy toward the region as whole by advocating for a nuclear weapons-free zone across the Middle East. A nuclear weapons-free zone reflects the spirit and letter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and can win both pubic support and the support of most nations in the region, including Iran.—Jason Shams is an American-Iranian who lived for 20 years in Iran, where he worked as a political analyst, journalist, and diplomatic translator and interpreter. He currently resides in Washington, DC.[/i]
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AAMI News Room: July 18, 2011: FDA Issues Alert About Potential Radiation Exposure Risk

AAMI News Room: July 18, 2011: FDA Issues Alert About Potential Radiation Exposure Risk | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety alert about possible radiation exposure from a type of cardiac positronic emission tomography (PET) scan.

The agency says it received reports of two patients who received excessive radiation from a CardioGen-82 PET scan manufactured by Bracco Diagnostics Inc., and is investigating the matter.

“At this time, FDA believes that the risk of harm from this exposure is minimal, although any unnecessary exposure to radiation is undesirable,” a July 16 alert from the agency reads.

The FDA linked the excessive radiation to strontium isotopes that “may have been inadvertently injected into the patients due to a ‘strontium breakthrough’ problem with CardioGen-82.”

The FDA recommends healthcare professionals “should closely follow the required testing and quality control procedures to detect any strontium breakthrough from CardioGen-82.” The agency also says that healthcare professionals should consider an alternative to the CardioGen-82 while the FDA investigates “the root cause of this failure.”

CardioGen-82 PET Scan: Drug Safety Communication - Increased Radiation Exposure

AUDIENCE: [/b]Nuclear Medicine, Radiology, Patients
ISSUE:[/b] FDA notified the public and the medical imaging community about the potential for inadvertent, increased radiation exposure in patients who underwent or will be undergoing cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) scans with rubidium (Rb)-82 chloride injection from CardioGen-82 manufactured by Bracco Diagnostics, Inc.
BACKGROUND:[/b] A CardioGen-82 PET scan is one of a variety of nuclear medicine scans and uses the radioactive drug Rb-82 chloride injection to evaluate the heart. FDA has received reports of two patients who received more radiation than expected from CardioGen-82. The excess radiation was due to strontium isotopes which may have been inadvertently injected into the patients due to a “strontium breakthrough” problem with CardioGen-82.
RECOMMENDATION:[/b] At this time, FDA believes that the risk of harm from this exposure is minimal, although any unnecessary exposure to radiation is undesirable. The estimated amount of excess radiation the two patients received is similar to that other patients may receive with cumulative exposure to certain other types of heart scans. It would take much more radiation to cause any severe adverse health effects in patients.
Healthcare professionals should closely follow the required testing and quality control procedures essential to help detect strontium breakthrough from CardioGen-82. Other types of heart scans provide information very similar to CardioGen-82 and professionals are encouraged to consider these alternatives while FDA completes its investigation of the reported cases of excess radiation exposure.
Patients who have recently had heart scans should talk to their healthcare professional if they have any questions. Patients who are planning to undergo a heart scan should talk to the healthcare professional if they are unsure of the type of planned heart scan and the radiation risks associated with the scan.

FDA is actively investigating the root cause of this failure with CardioGen-82 and will promptly notify the public with updates.
[07/15/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
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India pursues partnership with Canada for nuclear power

India pursues partnership with Canada for nuclear power | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
India is reportedly pursuing a partnership with Canada to sell next-generation CANDU nuclear power stations in new markets. This follows last year’s broad nuclear co-operation agreement signed by both countries.

Indian officials and leading businessmen have recently visited Canada in search of partnerships, says the Canadian Nucear Association.

Montreal-based international engineers SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. emerged late last month as the buyer of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s commercial reactor business.Approval will take some time.

Canada has built 34 CANDU reactors, installed worldwide and mostly in operation, and they provide half Ontario’s electricity. Last year, India promised not to allow a repeat of CANDU technology leaks for a nuclear weapons program.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
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Nuclear Proposals Draw Ire of Industry

Nuclear Proposals Draw Ire of Industry | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |

The nuclear-power industry voiced concerns Wednesday about new regulatory proposals that could require significant upgrades without taking their costs into account.
Associated Press
A worker in the control room of Nebraska's Cooper nuclear power plant.

A dozen major recommendations to improve plant safety were included in a report from a Nuclear Regulatory Commission task force that was created after the March accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex.

The panel also proposed essentially setting aside a 1988 rule that has protected the nuclear-power industry against costly upgrades. The industry has used the rule, which requires benefits to public safety to be balanced against industry costs, to beat back regulatory changes it didn't like.

Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer for the industry's Nuclear Energy Institute, said the proposal to set aside the cost-protection rule amounted to "sweeping change." The NRC "will have to think long and hard," he added, before embarking on such a "major policy shift."
The NRC is expected to discuss the issue Tuesday when it considers the task force's report.
The cost-protection rule was created to shield the nuclear sector after its costs spiraled out of control because of the NRC's reaction to the 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania. Billions of dollars of added costs were imposed on the nuclear-power sector, which the industry said stalled its growth for more than two decades.

The cost-protection rule adopted in 1988 has insulated the industry against major upgrades without proof that human health benefits exceeded those costs. In the calculation, a human life was valued at about $3 million. Critics say the rule undervalues human lives, noting that other federal agencies place a value on a human life of between $5 million and $9 million for the purpose of cost-benefit calculations in other areas.

There was a key exception to the rule: The NRC could impose any requirement without the cost-benefit analysis if the change was needed for "adequate protection." The task force said all of its recommendations should be imposed under the "adequate protection" clause, and that the commission should "redefine what level of protection of the public health is regarded as adequate."

The task force also recommended that nuclear plants be capable of shutting down and remaining in a safe condition for at least three days without power from the outside electrical grid or on-site backup generators. Currently, U.S. plants are required to have four to eight hours of backup battery power if grid power or generators won't work.

The plant at Fukushima Daiichi experienced a total loss of power for many days, leading to damage to nuclear fuel at several reactors, hydrogen explosions and the release of dangerous levels of radiation.

The task force also said that many guidelines—some mandatory, some not—should be codified into a single set of instructions that would be easier for the industry to follow and easier for regulators to enforce.

Nuclear experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists, critics of the NRC, said the task force's recommendations could have been broader, but urged the agency to follow through on the insights from the incident in Japan.

"It's not enough for the NRC to order safety nets," said David Lochbaum, who directs the group's Nuclear Safety Project. "They must ensure that the safety nets are actually installed at the plants."

Write to Rebecca Smith at
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'Colossal blunder' on radioactive cattle feed / Govt officials admit responsibility for foul-up that let tainted beef enter nation's food supply : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)

'Colossal blunder' on radioactive cattle feed / Govt officials admit responsibility for foul-up that let tainted beef enter nation's food supply : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri) | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Officials of the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry have admitted they did not consider the possibility of cattle ingesting straw contaminated by radioactive substances emitted from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

"This is nothing less than a colossal blunder by our ministry. It was beyond our expectations that straw would become a source of radioactive contamination," a ministry official said.
A total of 143 beef cattle suspected of being contaminated with radioactive cesium after ingesting straw that was stored outdoors have been shipped from Fukushima Prefecture and distributed to wholesalers, retailers and consumers in various prefectures.

Livestock farmers and others in the meat industry have attacked the government for its failure to prevent the problem.

On March 19, about one week after the outbreak of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the agriculture ministry issued written instructions regarding livestock feed to farmers via local governments. The documents stipulated that any grass fed to livestock should have been reaped before the accidents at the plant, and stored indoors since the accident.
However, the instructions made no reference to rice straw.

In late April, the ministry set new regulations on livestock feed, stipulating that all feed must contain less than 300 becquerels of radioactive material per kilogram. However, the ministry failed to communicate this order to rice farmers who sell straw to livestock farmers.

Rice straw, which contains very little vitamin A, is unsuitable as a principle nutrition source for livestock. However, feeding it to beef cattle promotes the development of marbled fat, which is favored by many consumers. For this reason, many livestock farmers feed rice straw to cattle for several months prior to the animals being shipped to market.

Rice straw is generally reaped in autumn and then stored in warehouses, to protect it from the winter elements. "So we thought rice straw wouldn't have been affected by radioactive substances [leaked from the plant]," a senior agriculture ministry official said.

However, a man who works in the livestock industry in Fukushima Prefecture said it is "common knowledge" that in areas with little snowfall, some farmers leave straw in the open air in winter to dry.

"If grass is contaminated with radioactive substances, so is straw. Is that so difficult to figure out?" said a 33-year-old owner of a butcher shop in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture.
The butcher used to sell top-grade beef from the Tohoku region at his shop, but since the nuclear accident sells only beef produced in western Japan.

"Until the government takes more effective action against this problem, I'll be scared to sell [Tohoku] beef at my shop," he said.

On April 18, the agriculture ministry ordered livestock farmers near the Fukushima No. 1 plant to have their cattle checked for radioactivity before shipment.

Experts soon voiced concerns about the value of the inspections, pointing out that while they may prevent workers at meat-processing plants from being exposed to radioactive substances, they do not measure the amount of radioactive substances absorbed internally by the cattle.
The checks involved electronically measuring the amount of radioactive material on the surface of the animals' bodies. Shipment is allowed if the detected radioactive emissions are below
100,000 counts per minute. The same amount of radioactive material on a human would require that person to undergo full-body decontamination.

So far, about 12,000 cattle have been subjected to the checks, and all have passed, the agriculture ministry said.

The ministry has asked livestock farmers to report the details of feed and water given to their cattle. But it is known that at least one farmer, who is based in Minami-Soma and shipped cattle contaminated with radioactive substances in excess of the provisional limit, gave an inaccurate report, the ministry said.

The contamination of beef from that farmer's cattle was discovered July 8.
The senior agricultural ministry official said: "We've sought to secure the safety of beef by managing the processes by which livestock farmers raise their animals. However, from the standpoint of protecting consumers, maybe we should have directly checked the safety of the meat."

Some Fukushima prefectural government officials said all cattle from the prefecture should be checked for internal radioactivity. The officials noted that mandatory checks for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, were introduced for all cattle after the disease was detected in Japan in 2001.

However, checking 90 brain tissue samples for mad cow disease takes only about three hours, whereas testing a single animal for internal radioactivity takes about an hour.
Also, germanium semiconductor devices used to conduct radioactivity checks cost 20 million yen each.

The local governments will inspect the safety of all beef and beef cattle if the central government orders them to do so, but they are already busy monitoring the safety of other food products.
The central government plans to restrict shipments of cattle raised in Fukushima Prefecture soon. However, it is estimated that several thousand beef cattle have already been shipped from the prefecture since the nuclear crisis began. Tracking and testing all the meat from those animals would be a difficult task.

"First of all, we need to restrict the shipment of beef, and then reorganize the framework for inspections," an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.
"It would be difficult to inspect all the beef that's already been shipped. The priority is to find out which cattle might have been contaminated by eating rice straw. We do that by inspecting straw and cattle," the official said.

(Jul. 18, 2011)
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Why was Japan so unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear accident?

Why was Japan so unprepared for the Fukushima nuclear accident? | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Many models have been created that have shown the correlation between the probability of an accident, with the state of preparedness in that area. In other words, the more likely an event, the more informed and prepared those in the effected area will be.

In this investigation I will use the probability of the occurrence of two events according to the AND logical gate, to demonstrate one way that the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th was likely underestimated in Japan. The two events may have been considered ‘independent events’ which would have caused their estimated probability of occurrence to be substantially less than a ‘common mode failure’ event.

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reactor safety pros's comment, July 18, 2011 9:22 PM
You are absolutely correct. The probabalistic risk assessment models are wrong. Further, Japan did not consider the full license duration of 40 years in their analyses for initial license application. They only considered 30 years. That additional 10 years made a huge difference in their acceptable model.
Enformable's comment, July 19, 2011 10:04 AM
And they still try to extend the licensing. Thanks for sharing rsp!
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Nuclear News | Lucas Whitefield Hixson

Nuclear News | Lucas Whitefield Hixson | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |

For More Nuclear News Bookmark
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Fukushima residents avoid pools due to radiation fears

Fukushima residents avoid pools due to radiation fears | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
With temperatures rising above 35 degrees nationwide, thousands of people trying to get a respite from the brutal heat descended on swimming pools in many areas of Japan on July 17. The Toshimaen amusement park in Nerima Ward, Tokyo, which is known for its swimming pool attractions, had about 15,000 visitors, a record number for this year.
In stark contrast, in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, about 60 kilometers west of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, there were few people in an outdoor pool at the Koriyama Culture Park on the same day. With residents of the prefecture still fearful of radiation spread from the damaged plant, the park had only 240 visitors, one-eighth of those recorded a year ago.
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Ban welcomes five-party nuclear disarmament meeting

Ban welcomes five-party nuclear disarmament meeting | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
30 June 2011 –
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed a meeting in Paris today of five nuclear non-proliferation treaty States as a unique opportunity to advance nuclear disarmament.
“The Secretary-General welcomes the holding of the second Conference on Confidence Building Measures towards Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Paris today,” his spokesperson said in a statement.
Five nuclear-weapons States party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France – are to discuss transparency, verification, and confidence-building measures, according to media reports.
“The conference provides a unique opportunity for the five nuclear weapon States to engage on the full implementation of the action plans agreed to at the 2010 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, peaceful uses of nuclear energy and on the Middle East,” Mr. Ban said.
“The Secretary-General also looks forward to greater efforts to promote transparency as a confidence building measure,” it said.
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#Radioactive Hay Spreads to Niigata Prefecture | EX-SKF

#Radioactive Hay Spreads to Niigata Prefecture | EX-SKF | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Two cattle farmers in Nagaoka City in Niigata Prefecture bought rice hay for their cows from a seller in Miyagi Prefecture and fed their cows. 24 cows were later sold in Niigata and Tokyo. Now the rice hay has been found to contain 10,500 to 20,600 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium.

Many Japanese thought Niigata was relatively safe from radioactive fallout from Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. Unfortunately there are more than one way to get the fallout, and buying rice hay from Miyagi (not even Fukushima) was one of them.

From Jiji Tsushin (7/18/2011):
新潟県は18日、同県長岡市の畜産農家2戸が保管していた宮城県産稲わらから、国の暫定規制値(1キロ当たり300ベクレル)を超える1万500~2万 600ベクレルの放射性セシウムを検出したと発表した。乾燥する前の水分を含んだ状態に換算すると、規制値の8~15倍に相当する。うち1戸の農家からは 新潟県内と東京都のと畜場に肉牛計24頭が出荷されたことも分かった。これらの農家はいずれも宮城県内の業者から稲わらを購入したという。

Niigata Prefecture announced on July 18 that 10,500 to 20,600 becquerels/kg of radioactive cesium was detected from the rice hay at two cattle farms in Nagaoka City in Niigata. The rice hay was harvested in Miyagi Prefecture. The provisional safety limit for cattle feed is 300 becquerels/kg for cesium. If the rice hay is reconstituted with water, the above numbers are 8 to 15 times the limit of the provisional safety limit. It has been revealed that one of the two farms shipped 24 meat cows in Niigata and Tokyo. Both farms purchased the rice hay from a dealer in Miyagi Prefecture.


Niigata Prefecture has requested the two cattle farms not to ship or move the cows that have been fed with the contaminated rice hay, and started to trace the movement of the cows already shipped. The prefectural government will also test for cesium in the rice hay at other cattle farms in the prefecture who use the rice hay from Miyagi Prefecture.

What The Physics? | Nuclear News

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Physics student awaits espionage trial in Iran -

Physics student awaits espionage trial in Iran - | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
A doctoral student who was detained when he tried to leave his native Iran earlier this year will go on trial tomorrow for charges related to espionage, according to sources close to him.
Kokabee, detained for five months
Omid Kokabee has been detained since late January or February this year when he was attempting to fly from Tehran airport to return to his studies at the University of Texas at Austin, US. Physics Worldunderstands that he is suspected of leaking Iranian scientific information and working with the CIA.

The trial, apparently based on charges of illegal earnings and communicating with a hostile government, is expected to be headed by Iranian justice Abolghasem Salavati.
Harsh sentence possible

"[Salavati] is known for passing harsh sentences to innocent people," says Eugene Chudnovsky of the Committee of Concerned Scientists, an international human rights organization. "It is impossible to predict, but I cannot even rule out the death penalty if the purpose is to scare Iranian students abroad. Iran has conducted a record number of executions this year."

Kokabee, 29, graduated in applied physics and mechanics from the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran in 2005, and went on to receive a master's degree in optics from the University of Barcelona, Spain, last year. During this period he worked for several companies, including Zener Electronics, based in Iran, and National Iranian Oil. In autumn last year he began a PhD at Austin, studying the interaction of lasers with plasmas.

"Being an applied scientist and having a great taste of engineering from my bachelors, my passion is doing technology-based entrepreneurial business and hi-tech start-ups," he writes on his LinkedIn page.

Studying optics and photonics
John Keto, the graduate adviser of Austin's physics department, doesn't understand why Kokabee's area of study would be of interest to the Iranian authorities. "Initially the web was full of wrong information about Omid being a world expert in nuclear physics," he says. "Omid's presence here was much more innocent than all of that. He was simply a new graduate student taking courses, teaching and beginning his PhD in optics and photonics."

Other friends and colleagues speculate as to the real reasons behind Kokabee's arrest. One suspicion is that he has been used as a scapegoat to discourage student participation in Iran's Green movement, which believes that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was unfairly elected to office in the country's 2009 election. According to Keto, the Green movement has used Kokabee's detention to promote its cause. "Perhaps this has further jeopardized his situation there," Keto says. "Omid was not associated with this reform movement, but mainly concentrated on his science and family."

One friend, who wanted to remain anonymous, agrees that Kokabee didn't have much interest in politics: "He was really not a political activist. I shared a room with him for a few years, and he was really not into politics at all. All he cared about was laser physics. I had friends who were into politics, but he was not."

Kokabee is thought to have been apprehended at Tehran airport while awaiting a flight to Dubai to collect a visa from the US embassy. He was supposed to go on to fly to Austin a week later.

Notorious prison
Close friends of Kokabee say he has spent most of the last few months at the Evin prison in north-west Tehran. Evin has become notorious in recent years for the number of academic and political prisoners detained there as part of Iran's crackdown on individuals claimed to be involved in espionage for Western states.

Yesterday the Committee of Concerned Scientists sent an open letter requesting clemency to Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran. Meanwhile, Kokabee's lawyer hopes that pressure from the media and academia will help the student's case.

About the author
Jon Cartwright is a freelance journalist based in Bristol, UK
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Pickering Nuclear Plant Leak 19,000 gallons of water into Lake Ontario Drinking Water Radioactive

Pickering Nuclear Plant Leak 19,000 gallons of water into Lake Ontario Drinking Water Radioactive | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Nuclear plant admits that 73,000 litres of radioactive water was dumped into Lake Ontario, but that it's "no big deal".

Ontario Power Generation has notified Canada's federal nuclear regulator about the release of 73,000 litres of demineralized water into Lake Ontario at the Pickering A nuclear generating station on March 14th.

The leak occurred at 11:30 p.m. ET on Monday at the plant located about 35 kilometres east of Toronto and was caused by a pump seal failure.

"The radiological risk to the environment and people's health is negligible," the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said in a statement.

The nuclear regulator and Environment Canada are monitoring the situation, the statement said.

Andrew Nichols of CBC News reported about the leak on Wednesday afternoon and said he spoke to an Ontario Power Generation spokesperson who told him the risk is minimal but that such leaks are not supposed to occur.

Nichols also spoke to Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition of Nuclear Responsibility.

"In his words, 'What the hell is considered negligible?'" Nichols reported. "[Edwards] is concerned that it's the nuclear industry that is telling you and I and telling the public what is considered to be negligible but he's concerned that we don't have a proper sense of what negligible is," reported Nichols.

Nichols also reported that the leak could be a concern because Lake Ontario is the main source of drinking water for millions of people who live along the lake.

The leak comes as the world is watching Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis, as multiple reactors face cooling system failures and possible meltdowns in the wake of Friday's earthquake and tsunami.

Pickering A is the first of four reactors at the nuclear plant just east of Toronto. It went into service in 1971 and continued to operate safely until 1997, when it was placed in voluntary lay-up as part of what was then Ontario Hydro's nuclear improvement program.

Keep up to date here-

Situation Update No. 1
On 17.03.2011 at 04:10 GMT+2

A nuclear power plant 25 miles east of Toronto leaked 19,000 gallons of water into Lake Ontario, Canadian atomic regulators said Wednesday. The incident happened just before midnight Monday at the Pickering facility, but officials didn't make a statement until Wednesday afternoon, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said. A faulty pump seal was blamed for allowing the leak of demineralized water used to cool the reactors, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission said in a statement. "The radiological risk to the environment and people's health is negligible," the commission said, which would suggest the water had not yet been exposed to the radioactive core. The federal regulator gave no indication why the news wasn't released sooner. The Canadian-built Candu nuclear reactors at Pickering on the shore of Lake Ontario began operating in 1971 and were taken offline for maintenance and upgrades for months in 1997.

Pickering Nuclear Plant Leak 19,000 gallons of water into Lake Ontario Drinking Water Turned Radioactive
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Business as Usual for Nuke Industry as Hitachi-GE Won Negotiating Right with Lithuanian Government for Nuke Plant in the Country | EX-SKF

Business as Usual for Nuke Industry as Hitachi-GE Won Negotiating Right with Lithuanian Government for Nuke Plant in the Country | EX-SKF | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
As the cattle farmers despair over radioactive hay and cattle, and more locations found with very high radiation (hot spots and hot areas), the Japanese government plans to shrink the planned evacuation zone as it pushes a nuclear power plant in Lithuania.

The Hitachi-GE joint venture has won the right to negotiate with the Lithuanian government to build a nuclear power plant in the country, beating Toshiba/Westinghouse. Another successful government-industry joint effort to push super-large "infrastructure" projects in developing countries throughout the world.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano commented on the success of Hitachi-GE during the press conference on July 15 as follows (according to J-Cast News, 7/15/2011):

"Despite the Fukushima accident, the Japanese technology is still highly valued by other countries. It is very positive."

Asked about PM Kan's remark that the nuclear technology is an "uncontrollable technology", Edano said:
"I don't remember the context of his remark, so I cannot comment."
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産総研:東日本大震災関連情報 | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
We have published the results of all measurements from the start.
Full results of radiation measurements at Tsukuba Center

Measurement of radiation dose have been conducted at Tsukuba Central Parking ※ The first plant, April 18 (Monday) or later, will be changed twice during the weekdays at 9 and 16. In addition, continuous measurements of radiation dose that was conducted in the same office, 3rd floor veranda is done and will continue to be published sequentially measured.
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Nuclear workers to use £20m tool

Nuclear workers to use £20m tool | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
A 16-piece tool dubbed the world's most sophisticated Swiss Army knife is to help dismantle the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) in Caithness.
The device cost £20m to design and build and will operate in highly radioactive conditions inside Dounreay's landmark Dome.

Its detachable tool bits cost £100,000 each and weigh between 37-93kg.
They will cut and grab 977 metal rods once used to "breed" plutonium from uranium.
Measuring about 2.5m (8ft) in length, the rods resemble thin sections of scaffolding.
UK government agency, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), has proposed transporting the metal, which is known as breeder material, by train to Sellafield in Cumbria to be reprocessed.
The new 4m (14ft) long device has been moved into position above the DFR's reactor vessel, ready to be lowered into the darkness of the reactor vessel where it will "harvest" the metal rods.
Before this work can start, a liquid metal will have to be drained from the vessel over the next 12 months.
The tool is also being put through a series of "robust" tests and its operators are receiving training.
Once in place, the device will operate in highly radioactive conditions and in a nitrogen atmosphere. Nitrogen prevents any residue of the liquid metal from reacting.
Continue reading the main story
Dounreay factfile

The Dounreay Fast Reactor operated between 1959 and 1977
Two thousand metal rods had surrounded the DFR's core
More than half were removed during the 1980s. However, a number were found to be jammed in place and Dounreay also ran out of storage space for removed rods

Exposure to water or oxygen would cause the metal to catch fire.
Alex Potts, the engineer in charge of the Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) project, said it was too dangerous for people to work inside the reactor vessel.
He said: "The reactor was a one-off design and so is the tool we need to take out the breeder rods.
"It's too toxic in there for anyone to do the job manually - the radiation levels are still very high and the residual traces of liquid metal coolant add to the hazard - so we need a tool capable of doing the job by remote control.
"It's a pretty sophisticated version of a Swiss army knife the team came up with."
Up to three tool bits will be in use at any one time and can be replaced by another three carried in a special tool box without the need to remove the tool itself from the reactor.
The pipe crawler has been among Dounreay's other hi-tech tools
The rest of the tool bits will be stored above the reactor and would be fitted into place during service and maintenance breaks.
Special radiation-proof cameras and spotlights will guide operators working around the clock in a control room 6m (20ft) above the reactor.
The device, designed and built by French firm Framatome, is among the most expensive in the Dounreay "tool box".
Others include a £100,000 pipe crawler, a device described by its operators as a hi-tech worm, which was deployed to probe the condition of a pipeline once used to discharge radioactive effluent from the site.
A van-sized machine has also been retrieving radioactive particles from the seabed near Dounreay.
But project costs have also been cut with the use of household cleaning products in the clean-up of equipment removed from the experimental nuclear power plant.
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Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Raises Concern About Beef Supply

Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Raises Concern About Beef Supply | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Though the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have been months ago, its effects are still being seen throughout the island nation. New concerns have been raised about radiation-infected beef that comes from the areas around the nuclear reactors. Japanese officials are currently addressing the problem and determining its wide spread effects.
Shipments have been halted from the Fukushima region of northeastern Japan as an increasing number of cows have been reported to have eaten rice straw that has high levels of radioactive cesium. The straw was harvested not long after the earthquake in March when the tsunami and earthquake damaged the nuclear power plants. This region was one of the worst hit.None of the tainted meat has arrived in the United States yet, but authorities are actively testing both the meat and the straw. Many cows have been tested, but only 143 have been found to be infected.
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NRC's recommendations will make impact at GE

NRC's recommendations will make impact at GE | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
By Jim Brumm

Published: Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 6:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 6:11 p.m.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Japan Task Force has recommended the U.S. nuclear regulator take a new, tougher approach to safety while praising new reactors that include passive features, saying the new designs would be in line with many of its recommendations.

Citing these features, the report released last week recommended the NRC complete "without delay" design certification activities for Westinghouse's AP1000 reactor and GE Hitachi's Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor.

There was agreement with this recommendation in Castle Hayne where GE Hitachi believes "the ESBWR is ready for final design certification," spokesman Michael Tetuan said Thursday.

Charged with proposing improvements in light of the damage suffered by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors following the earthquake and tsunami in March, the task force suggested a philosophical shift is needed to unify the "patchwork" of existing formal rules and industry guidelines to ensure all are overseen by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Among the 34 recommendations, the task force urged tougher standards for back-up power supplies, back-up water supplies for pools holding plant waste, and improvements in reactors that share the same design as Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant – such as those at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant in Southport.

If adopted, the report could lead to cost increases for operators of the nation's fleet of 104 reactors.

Progress Energy, which operates five reactors, including the two at the Brunswick Nuclear Plant, doesn't "know what the total impact would be, but based on the report, we would have to make some improvements at each of our nuclear plants," spokesman Mike Hughes said, adding, "No additional details available at this point."
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Radioactive decay fuels Earth's inner fires

Radioactive decay fuels Earth's inner fires | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
By Charles Q. Choi
updated 7/17/2011 3:17:27 PM ET

Half of the extraordinary heat of the Earth that erupts on its surface volcanically and drives the titanic motions of the continents is due to radioactivity, scientists find.
This new discovery shows that the planet still retains an extraordinary amount of heat it had from its primordial days.
To better understand the sources of the Earth's heat, scientists studied antineutrinos, elementary particles that, like their neutrino counterparts, only rarely interact with normal matter. Using the Kamioka Liquid-scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) located under a mountain in Japan, they analyzed geoneutrinos — ones emitted by decaying radioactive materials within the Earth — over the course of more than seven years.
The specific amount of energy an antineutrino packs on the rare occasions one does collide with normal matter can tell scientists about what material emitted it in the first place — for instance, radioactive material from within the Earth, as opposed to in nuclear reactors. If one also knows how rarely such an antineutrino interacts with normal matter, one can then estimate how many antineutrinos are being emitted and how much energy they are carrying in total.
The researchers found the decay of radioactive isotopes uranium-238 and thorium-232 together contributed 20 trillion watts to the amount of heat Earth radiates into space, about six times as much power as the United States consumes. U.S. power consumption in 2005 averaged about 3.34 trillion watts.
As huge as this value is, it only represents about half of the total heat leaving the planet. The researchers suggest the remainder of the heat comes from the cooling of the Earth since its birth.
Knowing what the sources of heat from Earth are "is a very important issue in geophysics," researcher Itaru Shimizu, an elementary particle physicist at Tohoku University in Miyagi, Japan, told OurAmazingPlanet.
For instance, the heat from Earth's primordial days is thought to be bound to the planet's core, while the heat from radioactive decay is thought to be distributed in the crust and mantle layers of the planet, greatly influencing currents in the mantle, "which drive plate tectonics and geophysical activity," Shimizu said.
The scientists at the KamLAND Collaboration detailed their findings online July 17 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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Difference between Los Alamos fire and other wild fires can be summed up in a single word: “Radiation” — More firefighters on way to battle blaze « ENENEWS.COM

Difference between Los Alamos fire and other wild fires can be summed up in a single word: “Radiation” — More firefighters on way to battle blaze « ENENEWS.COM | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Firefighters head off to help Los Alamos, Daily Times, July 16, 2011:

Despite the prospect of rough conditions, sleeping in tents and surviving on camp rations, a crew of unfazed Farmington firefighters left for Los Alamos on Friday. [...]
Despite the major difference between the Los Alamos fire and other wild land fires, this crew wasn’t the least bit nervous. [...]

The difference can be summed up in a single word, “radiation,” [...]
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Japan radiation specialists accuses TEPCO of total cover-up regarding radiation exposure of nuclear plant workers

Japan radiation specialists accuses TEPCO of total cover-up regarding radiation exposure of nuclear plant workers | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
(NaturalNews) Reports continue to surface about Japan's tsunami-caused nuclear disaster at the Fukushima complex, and this time Japanese radiation specialists say the plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Company, is engaged in a number of cover-ups and misinformation campaigns.

Regarding TEPCO, Nishio said the company gave broken dosimeters to temporaryworkersand only giving monitors when they are working, despite high levels ofradiationthroughout the entire site. He also accused the company of putting its workers in a gymnasium-type structure to sleep in order to keep them from running away.

"Giving us the truth once is much more important than saying 'hang in there Japan' a million times," he wrote, in response to reports that former Minister for Internal Affairs Haraguchi Kazuhiro has alleged that radiation monitoring station data were three decimal places higher than the figures released to the public. If true, Nishio writes, that constitutes a "national crime" against the Japanese people.

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Radiation dose measured by MEXT and local governments at 1 or 0.5 meter height.

Radiation dose measured by MEXT and local governments at 1 or 0.5 meter height. | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
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