Do children worldwide suffer from atomic power? Absolutely. Join CCTV host Margaret Harrington, and from Fairewinds Energy Education: President Maggie Gundersen, Program Administrator Caroline Phillips, and Board Director Chiho Kaneko, for Part 2 of their discussion on the health risks to children around the world from operating atomic power reactors and their burgeoning waste. Highly radioactive waste from the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi has been left for “interim storage” in a schoolyard, Japan’s Environment Ministry has approved the use of radiated soil to be recycled for use under paved roads, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced new radiation limits for the public that are at least 25 times higher than current exposure limits. Learn more by watching this episode of Nuclear Free Future as the women of Fairewinds lend their voices to protect the children.
Japan’s Environment Ministry panel has approved the recycling of radioactive soil from the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi as mentioned by Fairewinds Board Director Chiho Kaneko during Children Suffer Nuclear Impact Worldwide Part 2 of CCTV host Margaret Harrington’s show Nuclear Free Future. This highly scrutinized decision comes as a shock to the Japanese people who are aware that this decision was made despite presentations by groups to the Environment Ministry that show it will take up to at least 170-years for the soil’s radiation levels to reach legal safety standards. The radioactive soil will be used in mounds beneath road pavements. The Environment Ministry believes that the concrete covering the mounds will shield the public from radiation however, even if that is true, safety assessments show that the radioactive mounds would only be durable for 70-years. What plan does the Japanese government have for the management of the dispersed radioactive soil during the remaining 100-years of its 170-years of radioactivity?
It’s official! An 800-megawatt solar plant that will produce electricity at an average cost of 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour, which is substantially below what coal-fired power plants charge, is under construction in Dubai. According to Forbes, “This rock-bottom price offered by the developers doesn’t benefit from any obvious subsidies and is the lowest price offered by any solar plant in the world.” contributor Mark Clifford writes that traditionally, coal is the cheapest energy source for countries trying to build big power generating stations. Coal is also the single biggest contributor to carbon emissions. As the fight against global warming ensues, so does the debate over which energy source will lead the way towards a carbon zero tomorrow. Self-proclaimed environmentalists like Dr. James Hansen and Mike Schellenberger would have us believe that carbon neutrality relies upon nuclear energy, however, solar energy technology continues to advance at an increasingly advanced rate. The Dubai solar project, known as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, is based on conventional photovoltaic (PV) technology using PV panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity and as noted by Mark Clifford, “suggest(s) that there is a lot of potential in the tried-and-true PV panel model.” Dubai’s solar park not only proves that solar energy is an economically viable, advancing technology but that it also fulfills the necessary timeline goals set by the Paris Climate Conference. The park aims to achieve a total of 5000 megawatts of solar energy by 2030. Known globally for its fossil fuel reserves, it comes as somewhat of a surprise that Dubai is now competing to become the lowest carbon emitting city in the world with its Clean Energy Strategy 2050 targets of 25% clean energy by 2030 and 75% by 2050.
FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant Still Offline After Unexpected Shutdown
FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant unexpectedly shut down during the last week of June due to a power supply loss in one of its pumps. National Public Radio (NPR) News source WRVO Public Media reported that the power supply loss was related to a malfunction of one of the plant's oil tanks that caused an estimated 20 to 30 gallons of non-radioactive lubrication oil to spill into Lake Ontario. A massive oil leak at an atomic power plant assumes a degree of skepticism as to the thoroughness of the plant’s oversight, especially when it originates from an energy source that its owners tout as “clean energy.”
“FitzPatrick is an incredibly well run facility,” Entergy spokesperson Jerry Nappi said following the unscheduled shutdown, although he could not provide a timeline for when the atomic reactor would return to operation.
Former Ontario Energy Minister, George Smithermann, urged Toronto city council members to call for the shutdown of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. In this videotaped statement, Smithermann calls Pickering badly outdated technology citing its weak radioactive containment systems.
Learn more about the issue and check out Fairewinds Associates’ Relicensing Analyses of the Continued Operation of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station released during 2013 and listen to the Fairewinds Energy Education podcast "Nuclear Contamination Knows No Borders" featuring Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen and Dr. Gordon Edwards, President of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new radiation limits for the public that are at least 25 times higher than current human exposure limits. These new guidelines would substantially increase the amount of radiation people can ingest the days and years following an atomic disaster, according to the Santa Fe paper The New Mexican. The EPA’s new criteria was announced early in June and is open for public comment until July 25. Opponents of the EPA’s new proposal include EPA scientists, who worry that the new limits would jeopardize public health. If allowed to stand, the EPA’s radical new radiation limits would allow individual radiation exposures equivalent to 250 chest X-rays each year without consent or medical necessity. The EPA’s expanded radiation exposure to humans poses a significant threat to the citizens of New Mexico, according to journalist Rebecca Moss. New Mexico is already home to two nuclear weapons research laboratories and the nation’s only permanent underground repository for radioactive waste, all of which are near vulnerable underground aquifers.
Fairewinds in the News:
Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen was interviewed by Michael Desmond, Editor-in-Chief of MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) Magazine. The conversation focused on what nuclear catastrophes like the meltdown at Three Mile Island and at Fukushima Daiichi reveal about human nature’s tendency to underestimate warning signs and interpret cautionary indicators with dangerous optimism. Mr. Gundersen explains how plant operators at both TMI and at Fukushima Daiichi relied on instruments that falsely indicated “that there was a lot of water in the nuclear reactor, when in fact there was none.” He continues,
“Every reading that was true and really bad, they thought of as erroneous. Every reading that was erroneous but really good, they relied upon. That’s a trend that I always see in emergency response. Operators want to believe the instruments that lead them to the conclusion they want to get to.”