Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Postby Oscar » Mon Mar 13, 2023 2:33 pm

Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

[ https://www.nationalobserver.com/2023/0 ... ear-domain ]

By Gordon Edwards & Susan O’Donnell | Opinion | March 13th 2023

This month marks the 12th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, when three nuclear reactors in Japan suffered catastrophic meltdowns.

A tsunami knocked out the reactors' cooling systems. The plant was shut down, but radioactivity sent temperatures soaring past the melting point of steel.

Radioactive gases mingled with superheated steam and explosive hydrogen gas, which detonated, spreading radioactive contamination over a vast area; 120,000 people were evacuated and 30,000 are still unable to go home.

Radioactively contaminated water from the stricken reactors has accumulated in 1,000 gigantic steel tanks, and despite objections from China, Korea and local fishers, Japan plans to dump it into the Pacific Ocean soon.

What caused this catastrophe? Most people blame the tsunami. The commission of investigation in Japan concluded otherwise. In its report to the National Diet, the commission found the root cause was a lack of good governance.

The accident “was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO [the nuclear company], and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made.’ We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions…”

The commission chairman wrote: “What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster 'made in Japan.' Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity... Nuclear power became an unstoppable force, immune to scrutiny by civil society. Its regulation was entrusted to the same government bureaucracy responsible for its promotion.”

Canada has not heeded these warnings. After Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, his government did away with environmental assessments for any new reactors below a certain size, thus eliminating scrutiny by civil society. This leaves all decision-making in the hands of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) — an agency previously identified by an expert review panel as a captured regulator.

The CNSC, mandated to protect the public and the environment, lobbied government to abolish full impact assessments for most “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs).

Back in 2011, in the midst of the media frenzy about the triple meltdown, Canadians were testifying at federal environmental assessment hearings for up to four large nuclear reactors to be built by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at Darlington, about 50 kilometres east of Toronto’s edge. The Fukushima disaster was cited repeatedly as a warning.

This month marks the 12th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, when three nuclear reactors in Japan suffered catastrophic meltdowns.

The panel approved OPG’s plan, but the Ontario government was thunderstruck by the price tag, reputed to be over $14 billion per unit, and cancelled the project.

Now OPG wants to build a smaller reactor at the Darlington site. Since a full impact assessment has been ruled out, CNSC is using the report from 12 years ago as the basis for public interventions. The reactor now proposed (the BWRX-300) has no similarity to any of the reactors that were under consideration then or to any operating today in Canada. Ironically, it is a “miniaturized” version of those that melted down at Fukushima.

CNSC is legally linked to the minister of Natural Resources, who is also tasked with promoting the nuclear industry at home and abroad. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warns that regulators must be independent of any agency promoting the industry.

One day after Canada's Infrastructure Bank gave OPG a $970-million “low-interest loan” to develop the BWRX-300 at Darlington, the minister boasted to a Washington audience that it would soon become Canada’s first commercial SMNR.

CNSC president Rumina Velshi lauded the speed at which the licensing is proceeding, saying that Canada would be the first western country to approve an SMNR built for the grid.

CNSC is at least two years from approving the reactor. Nevertheless, OPG held a ground-breaking ceremony at Darlington in December. The licence to construct seems a foregone conclusion. When asked, CNSC freely admitted that from the day of its inception, it has never refused to grant a licence for any major nuclear facility.

Government, regulator and industry are already on board. Collusion? Or just co-operation?

- -

Gordon Edwards is president and co-founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a not-for-profit corporation established in 1975. He is a retired professor of mathematics and science at Vanier College in Montreal.


Susan O’Donnell is an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University and a member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick.
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Re: Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Postby Oscar » Fri Aug 25, 2023 10:38 am

WATCH: "Fukushima dumping controversy: Release of treated radioactive water begins"

[ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByFHADqt_KU ] August 23, 2023

The controversial release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan has just begun.

The dumping in the Pacific Ocean comes 12 years after the earthquake and tsunami which destroyed nuclear reactors there.

The Japanese government and the UN’s nuclear watchdog say it’s safe to release more than a million tonnes of cooling water.

But Japanese fishermen as well as China and some Pacific Island nations all disagree.

Al Jazeera’s Hanako Montgomery is live in Fukushima for the latest updates.
Chung Guang Yeah is a Professor at the Institute of Nuclear Engineering and System Science - at National Tsing Hua University.
He joins us live from Hsinchu in Taiwan
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Re: Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Postby Oscar » Fri Aug 25, 2023 11:04 am

"Expert Panel Recommends a Radical Reduction in Permissible Levels of Tritium in Drinking water"

by Dr. Gordon Edwards, President, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

[ http://www.ccnr.org/GE_ODWAC_2009_e.pdf ]
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Re: Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Postby Oscar » Fri Aug 25, 2023 11:09 am

THE TRITIUM TRAIL

[ http://www.ccnr.org/Tritium_Trail.pdf ]

This fact sheet was prepared by the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (http://www.ccnr.org) and
Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County, November 2006


The tritium trail starts with CANDU reactors. When non-radioactive heavy water is irradiated, radioactive tritium is created. Tritium is a serious workplace hazard. It is a radioactive form of hydrogen – and the principal pollutant from CANDU power plants.

To reduce the CANDU workplace hazard, Ontario Power Generation trucks its tritiumcontaminated heavy water to a special facility: the Darlington Tritium Removal Facility.

The tritium facility began operating in 1990. Efforts were made to defray the cost by selling the tritium. This was controversial, since the main use for tritium worldwide (more than 90 % of the total) is as a nuclear explosive material in weapons programs.

On the open market, tritium is valued at about $25,000 (U.S.) per gram. On average, each nuclear weapon uses about 4 grams or $100,000 worth of tritium.

Since it began operating, the Darlington Tritium Removal Facility has produced about 2 kilograms per year, or 30 kilos of tritium altogether – enough for 7,500 nuclear weapons.

From Darlington, the tritium is shipped to AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories. AECL is equipped to handle large amounts of tritium; it re-packages the tritium into smaller containers and ships them to processors such as SRB Technologies in Pembroke.

SRB regularly receives 2.5-g tritium consignments from AECL. It fills tubes with tritium and exports glow-in-the dark tritium-containing products all around the world.

SRB’s U.S. (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) and U.K. (Slough, Berkshire) affiliates, which no longer carry out tritium-processing operations, are major destinations. The shipments are trucked from Pembroke to Ottawa and flown from the Ottawa airport.

SRB imports tritium-filled devices from other countries for tritium reclamation. In 1994-1995 the U.S. Dept of Energy transferred hundreds of grams of waste tritium to Pembroke from weapons facilities. No permits or shipping documents accompanied these transfers.

SRB has a permit to import tritium from a top secret nuclear weapons facility in Russia, PA Mayak. A recent import permit, obtained through Access to Information, allows SRB to import up to 1.03 kg of waste tritium from China (copies available).

Crushed glass wastes from SRB’s reclamation activities are highly radioactive and contain large amounts of tritium. SRB ships these wastes to AECL’s Chalk River Labs.

In 2000-2005 SRB discharged more than 150 grams of tritium from its stacks during tube-filling and reclamation operations. At $25,000 US per gram (Darlington price), this represents a spill of $3,750,000 worth of tritium into the local environment.

SRB also discharges waste tritium into the Pembroke sewer from where it enters the Ottawa River and the drinking water of downstream communities including Ottawa.
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The Ugly Tale of Fukushima's Nuclear Domain . . . .

Postby Oscar » Fri Aug 25, 2023 11:22 am

A River is Not a Radioactive Sewer

[ http://www.ccnr.org/radioactive_sewer_2023.pdf ]

Dr. Gordon Edwards, Media conference presentation, New York State, August 23 2023,

Re: Plans to dump radioactive wastewater into the Hudson River

In 2017, I was invited to give a talk on the shores of the Hudson River. At that time, I began by saying “The age of nuclear power is winding down, but the age of nuclear waste is just beginning.”

Well, here we are. Welcome to the brave new world of human-made radioactive waste. It is a toxic legacy that will last for a hundred thousand years and more, because no one knows how to turn off radioactivity. The only thing we can do is
keep it out of the environment. Keep it out of the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. . . .

MORE . . .
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