Nuclear Power news

It’s too late to save our world, so enjoy the spectacle of doom

Guardian: In the middle of a week of record temperatures, as if unaware of the irony, the business community celebrated the consolidation of its attempts to force the government’s hand to agree to a third filth-generating runway at Heathrow, tipping all species on Earth towards extinction. Everything will die soon, except for cockroaches, and Glastonbury favourite the Fall, who will survive even a nuclear holocaust, though they will still refuse to play their 80s chart hits. In Norfolk on Thursday, the...

White House goes quiet on role of nuclear power in Brazil climate deal

Washington Examiner: A new nuclear energy deal between the U.S. and Brazil got lost in the shuffle this week, as the White House sought instead to play up a pledge between the two countries to increase renewable energy. Nevertheless, the two countries did also agree to collaborate on nuclear energy development as part of a broad plan to address global warming agreed to earlier this week in Washington. The new agreement between the two nations comes as nations prepare for international negotiations on climate change...

Berlin says utilities can't dodge responsibility for nuclear waste

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Friday that if the provisions by utilities for shutting down nuclear power plants were not sufficient, the government needed to discuss asking the companies to make further payments.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan power group aims for 35 percent CO2 emissions cut by 2030: Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's major power firms are seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third by 2030 compared with 2013 levels by relying on nuclear power, the Nikkei business daily reported.

Read more [Reuters]

Pew survey: Most young Americans oppose offshore drilling, nuclear power

Associated Press: Age divides Americans on science issues just as much as political ideology, a new analysis of recent polling shows. There are dramatic generation gaps in opinions on global warming, offshore drilling, nuclear power, childhood vaccines, gene modification to reduce a baby’s disease risk, untested medicine use, lab tests on animals, and evolution, according to the Pew Research Center. Pew analyzed 22 different science issues in a survey of 2,002 people nationwide last August and a few later polls...

Joni Mitchell: A tribute to the artist

On 31 March, 2015, Joni Mitchell – who helped launch Greenpeace with a 1970 benefit concert, and emerged as one of the greatest songwriters and performers of the last 50 years – experienced a brain aneurysm. Friends found her unconscious at her home in Los Angeles. She regained consciousness in the ambulance and entered intensive care at UCLA Medical Center. She was alert and communicating before and after treatment.

"Joni is a strong-willed woman," her friend Leslie Morris said, "and is nowhere near giving up the fight." The public may send messages to Mitchell at We Love You, Joni!. Joni is now at home in Los Angeles and undergoing daily therapies. Although her condition is serious, a recovery is expected.

Vulnerable young artist

I first heard Joni Mitchell's music in the summer of 1969, when Stephen Stills introduced her at the Big Sur Folk Festival in California. A year later, I saw her at the Isle of Wight festival in England, with some 600,000 other music fans drawn by stars of 1960s music: The Doors, The Who, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell.

By Saturday, when Mitchell played, fans outside the fence – who could not afford the £3 (about £30 or €40 today) weekend ticket – had grown restless. They stormed the corrugated iron barriers and broke through, as Mitchell sang her new song "Woodstock … we are stardust, we are golden…"

Joni Mitchell, Isle of Wight Pop Festival Britain, 1970. © Brian Moody/Rex

A young man rushed onto the stage shouting that the festival should be free. A visibly shaken Mitchell – 26, and just beginning her career – stopped her performance. "Look, I've got feelings, too," she pleaded in a trembling voice. "It's very difficult to lay something down before an audience like this. Please be respectful." The vulnerable young artist broke down into tears and left the stage, but returned to perform her current radio hit, "Big Yellow Taxi," singing, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." She then left the stage, weeping in her manager's arms. The scene felt heartbreaking.

A year later, Mitchell headlined the concert in Vancouver, Canada that launched Greenpeace.

Canadian Prairie Girl

Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson, on 7 November, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, where her Norwegian father instructed young World War II pilots at the Canadian airbase. Her Scots/Irish mother inspired a love for literature, her father urged her to study piano, and she taught herself guitar from a Pete Seeger instructional record.

Joni Mitchell youth in Saskatoon, Canada. ©

Polio struck her at the age of nine, and in the hospital, she performed songs for other patients. She recovered, but the polio limited her dexterity, and she found normal guitar fingerings difficult. She devised alternative tunings to make complex chords easier to play. By 1961, she was performing in Saskatchewan nightclubs and attending art school. In 1962, Joni played her first paid gig at the Louis Riel folk/jazz club in Saskatoon.

In 1964, at the age of 20, she left home to become a folk singer in Toronto, and wrote her first song, "Day After Day," on the train ride east. She became a well-loved phenomenon in Toronto clubs, met Michigan folk-singer Chuck Mitchell, married him, and began touring with him in Michigan, at the Rathskeller in Detroit and the The Folk Cellar in Port Huron. She appeared on the CBC folk music show, "Let's Sing Out."

By 1967, her marriage had dissolved, and Joni moved to New York City, performing as a solo artist at Cafe Au Go Go, the Gaslight, and other clubs. She learned more sophisticated guitar tunings from American musician Eric Andersen, and other artists began performing and recording Joni's songs. Tom Rush recorded "Urge For Going," Buffy Sainte-Marie covered "The Circle Game," and Judy Collins had a top ten hit with "Both Sides Now."

Joni Mitchell became known for her wide-ranging contralto voice; her use of modal, chromatic, and pedal tone harmonies; exotic guitar tunings; and extraordinary, lyrical songs. Throughout her career, Mitchell wrote songs in over fifty different guitar tunings that supported her unique harmonies.

As Mitchell's fame spread, Joan Baez attended her show in New York, and at a Florida club, she met David Crosby, who invited her to Los Angeles and convinced Reprise Records to record her first album, Song to a Seagull, produced by Crosby, with Stephen Stills, playing bass.

A year later, in 1969, she released her second album, Clouds, which earned her first Grammy Award. The collection includes hit songs "Chelsea Morning" and "Both Sides Now," the haunting chromatic "Songs to Aging Children Come," and the anti-Vietnam-War anthem "The Fiddle and the Drum." Later that year, she sang harmony vocals on David Crosby's first solo album and on James Taylor's inaugural album, Mud Slide Slim. She would help launch Taylor's career at the Greenpeace concert.

Stop the bombs

In Vancouver, Canada, in June 1970, the fledgling Greenpeace organization made plans to sail a boat into the US nuclear test zone in the Aleutian Islands. To raise money, co-founder Irving Stowe decided to stage a benefit concert, and wrote a letter to Joan Baez. Although Baez could not attend, she sent a check for $1,000, recommended he call Joni Mitchell and stalwart anti-war activist Phil Ochs, and gave Stowe their phone numbers. Both agreed to perform, and the date was set for 16 October, 1970 at the Vancouver Coliseum.

A week before the concert, Mitchell phoned Stowe at his home and asked if she could bring a guest. Stowe covered the phone and whispered to his family, "She wants to bring James Taylor. Who's James Taylor?" His fourteen year-old daughter Barbara thought he meant James Brown. "He's that black blues singer!" she said. Stowe nodded, and spoke into the phone, "Yeah, sure. Bring him."

The next day, they visited a record store and discovered that James Taylor had just released his second album, Sweet Baby James, already at the top of the charts, with hit song "Fire and Rain." The local producer added British Columbia band Chilliwack, with a hit single of their own, "Lydia Purple." There was no public advance notice of the mystery guest, James Taylor, but tickets sold out quickly.

Phil Ochs, opened the show and spoke directly to the raison d'etre of the evening with his song "I Ain't Marchin' Anymore." Chilliwack got the crowd into a rock-'n'-roll frenzy. James Taylor stunned the crowd with his cryptic "Carolina On My Mind" and "Fire and Rain." Joni Mitchell appeared visibly nervous, still uncertain about her headline status, but her popular songs "Chelsea Morning" and "Big Yellow Taxi" brought shrieks of joy from the audience. James Taylor joined her for an encore, singing Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Irving Stowe raising the peace sign and delivered flowers to Mitchell on stage. After expenses, the event netted $17,000. This money, and the attention from the concert, lifted the nascent Greenpeace to a new stature. Attendance at the meetings swelled, and money poured in.

Joni Mitchell, Amchitka benefit, 1970. © George Diack, Vancouver Sun

In 1973, after the first two Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigns, Joni Mitchell returned to Vancouver and appeared at an opening of her photographs, with Graham Nash, at the Gallery of Photography in North Vancouver. Greenpeace was still a modest group, planning the first whale campaign. We told Mitchell about our plans, and she promised to help if she could. Three years later, in 1976, after two successful whale campaigns confronting Russian whalers, Joni appeared at the "California Celebrates the Whale" benefit concert in Sacramento, with legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, and world music percussionist Bobbye Hall, signalling a new direction in her extraordinary musical career.

Beyond folk-rock

At the time of the Sacramento whale concert, Mitchell was recording the spectacular Hejira album with Pastorius on bass and Hall on percussion. The innovative artist was blazing a new musical trail, inspired by classical and chamber jazz and rock-inspired jazz-fusion, driven with Latin and African rhythms.

She had recently released three jazz-inspired albums. For the Roses included Hall on percussion, Tom Scott from the jazz-fusion band L.A. Express on woodwinds and reeds, and Wilton Felder from Jazz Crusaders on bass. Some of these same musicians played on Court and Spark, with rock musicians David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Robbie Robertson, plus famed flamenco and bolero guitarist José Feliciano. The album sold over 2 million copies, earned "Best Album of the Year" from Village Voice, reached #1 on the Cashbox Album Charts, and won her second Grammy Award. The following album, Hissing of Summer Lawns, released in 1975, featured jazz pianist/percussionist Victor Feldman on congas and vibes, with John Guerin on the new Moog synthesizer.

Joni toured with L.A. Express, and released a live double album from their shows at the Los Angeles Universal Amphitheater. The eighteen songs included jazz-influenced re-workings of her popular hits, "Big Yellow Taxi," "Woodstock," "Carey," and "Both Sides Now."

She appear on the Bob Dylan Rolling Thunder Review with Joan Baez, and then in 1976 performed at the Band's famous The Last Waltz concert, singing a version of "Coyote" in an unusual C9 tuning with extended chords, pushing the musicians, and raising the energy of the star-studded event.

Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Rolling Thunder tour. © AP 1975

In 1977, Mitchell released the spacey, improvisational, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, again mixing rock forms with jazz, accompanied by Pastorius, legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and percussionists Manolo Badrena and Alex Acuña.

Upon hearing this recent work, jazz legend Charles Mingus (right, photo by Sue Mingus, 1978.) asked Mitchell to work with him. Mingus died during the recordings, but Mitchell completed the album, Mingus, released in June 1979, which rose to #17 on Billboard album charts. She then toured the Mingus material, accompanied by Pastorius, Shorter, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Herbie Hancock, and percussionists Peter Erskine, Don Alias, and Emil Richards. The tour included a duet with the Persuasions on Motown classic, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?".

In 1982, Joni married Larry Klein, bassist on the album Wild Things Run Fast, who co-produced five albums with her and won Grammys for his work on Turbulent Indigo (1994) and Both Sides Now (2000). In 1983, they toured Japan, Australia, Ireland, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, and the US, producing the live video/DVD, Refuge of the Roads. Mitchell and Klein divorced in 1994, after 12 years of marriage, but continued to work together musically.

I last saw Joni in Vancouver, in 1998, when she toured with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, a stunning show by perhaps the three greatest songwriters of the rock era. Mitchell played with a jazz-based band, including Klein, sang "Black Crow" and "Amelia" from Hejira, an adaptation of the William Butler Yeats poem "The Second Coming," and performed an encore of "Big Yellow Taxi" (with a Dylan impersonation) and "Woodstock." The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Mitchell in 1997. In 2005, she released Songs of a Prairie Girl, a compilation of her songs that referenced Saskatchewan, and in 2007 she released her last studio album, Shine, with James Taylor playing guitar on the title track.

As of this writing, she remains at home in Los Angeles. She is not yet walking, but appears to be improving daily. Since her hospitalization, musical performers around the world have offered tributes to Joni Mitchell, one of the seminal musicians of our age, and an enduring advocate for the natural world.

Rex Weyler is an author, journalist and co-founder of Greenpeace International.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

California greenhouse gas emissions fall - but not by much

San Francisco Chronicle: Despite California’s many efforts to fight global warming, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2012, as a nuclear power plant shut down and the drought hit hydroelectric dams hard. But the increase, it turns out, didn’t last. Data released by the state on Tuesday show that California’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases started falling again in 2013. The drop wasn’t much, just 0.3 percent. The state’s economy still pumped almost 460 million metric tons of greenhouse...

French nuclear waste will triple after decommissioning: agency

PARIS (Reuters) - The amount of nuclear waste stored in France will triple once all its nuclear installations have been decommissioned, which will boost the need for storage facilities, French nuclear waste agency Andra said.

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Why French are losing enthusiasm for nuclear

ClimateWire: The host nation for this year's climate talks is pumping the brakes on one of its most successful ways of controlling carbon. France, one of the world's leaders in low-emissions nuclear energy production, may soon diverge from the path that brought it there. The French get more than three-quarters of their electricity from nuclear power, the largest share of any country in the world. This atomic largesse from its 58 reactors -- second only to the United States' 100 reactors -- has made France...

Germany’s Energy Revolution goes from strength to strength as the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor closes

One less nuclear reactor threat to the people of Europe with the early closure of the Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor.

Germany's 33 year-old Grafenrheinfeld nuclear reactor will be shut down permanently on June 27th as the country's phase out of nuclear power continues. It's the first reactor to close since Germany passed its Atomic Energy Act in July 2011 which requires the closure of all commercial nuclear reactors by the end of 2022.

The reactor is being shutdown seven months early as the disastrous economics of nuclear power and Germany's drive for clean and sustainable energy have made it impossible for its owner E.ON to operate the reactor and make a profit.

E.ON and other large nuclear utilities only have themselves to blame. They failed to anticipate the growth of renewable energy and so they failed to invest in it. At the same time, electricity prices have fallen making their nuclear power plants even less profitable.

That said, even E.ON is waking up to the new energy future of Germany. "The transformation of Europe's energy system continues to offer us attractive growth opportunities in renewables and distributed energy," said the company in a report from March this year.

But what are the implications of the closure of Grafenrheinfeld? Won't it leave an energy gap?

In short: no.

Since 1981, Grafenrheinfeld reactor was the cornerstone of electricity production in Bavaria but that was before the renewables revolution. Now its closure will be barely noticed. There will be no blackouts and the security of supply is guaranteed.

The simple explanation is that over the last 15 years Germany has embraced renewables. The share of renewable energy in electricity generation grew from six percent in 2000 to around 27 percent in 2014, spread across wind, solar, and bioenergy. Germany is a major net exporter of electricity, reaching record levels in 2013 and 2014.

"This is going smoothly... No one, no company, no private citizen will feel that the reactor power is off the grid," says Bavarian Economy and Energy Minister Ilse Aigner.

So what's next? It's clear that Germany doesn't need nuclear power and that renewables are more than up to the job of leading the country into a future of sustainable, safe electricity.

But the job isn't finished. At current growth rates, Germany is likely to reach its target of 35 percent by 2020 for renewable electricity. However, the overall share of renewable energy generation remains quite low at 11 percent because the power industry is being left to its own devices.

Germany will probably not reach its target of 20 percent of its total energy provision being renewable by the end of this decade without further government support.

So while it is excellent news from Grafenrheinfeld, there is still much to do. In the mean time, with the closure of this reactor, we see the victory of renewables over nuclear power. Germany is leading the way globally to the safe, clean energy future. The rest of the world needs to follow.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

U.S. appeals court backs claim under state law in Rocky Flats saga

DENVER (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday a decades-old pollution case over nuclear weapons production in Colorado should be sent back to the district court which in 2006 ordered companies that ran the facility to pay damages of $353 million.

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U.S. appeals court backs claim under state law in Rocky Flats saga

DENVER (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday a decades-old pollution case over nuclear weapons production in Colorado should be sent back to the district court which in 2006 ordered companies that ran the facility to pay damages of $353 million.

Read more [Reuters]

Aging Nuclear Power Plant Must Close Before It Closes Us

EcoWatch: We must face facts regarding the Indian Point nuclear plant. It’s infrastructure is aging, its safety is dubious and most everyone knows it. What many people don’t know is that it can be replaced at little cost to ratepayers—and energy technologies taking its place would create new economic opportunities for New York. Indian Point—just 38 miles north of New York City—is vulnerable to terrorism, has 2,000 tons of radioactive waste packed into leaking pools and relies on an unworkable evacuation plan....

Then & Now: Launching a "Mind Bomb" to save the Arctic

Staring out at the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, I feel a sense of past and present colliding. Forty-four years ago in these same waters off Canada's west coast, my father Robert Hunter and a group of Greenpeace co-founders sailed to stop nuclear testing on the Alaskan island of Amchitka. Today, we have just taken a similar passage on the west coast to disrupt Shell's plans for drilling in the Arctic this year.

For me, staring back at the same waves my father once encountered reminds me that we live a common story. While these events are separated by time, they are essentially the same struggle. For these are the defining issues of our eras and we are the dreamers that believe we can change them.

Greenpeace was founded by dreamers. People who believed they could turn the tides of history against a great sense of impossibility. They had a vision for what could be, and sparked that same imagination in others. They did this through what my father called "Mind Bombs" – an idea that our greatest tool for revolution is our own consciousness. If we can flip the switch mentally, society and the world at large can be moved.

In this fight to save the Arctic, we need "Mind Bombs" now more than ever.

First voyage with Greenpeace co-founders and Robert Hunter giving a revolutionary fist in the air (top, left).

Nuclear Bomb Vs. Climate Bomb

For the early Greenpeace co-founders in 1971, it seemed an impossible mission to stop Richard Nixon's nuclear test blast off an island called Amchitka. During the post Cold-War era where highly vested political and economic interests spurred the US into nuclear arms proliferation – at any costs. The blast was to hit a vulnerable ecosystem of Amchitka island, making this small island a symbol for a nuclear apocalypse. For the youth generation of the 1970's, protecting it meant saving the world.

Today's fight resembles that very first Greenpeace campaign, but with seemingly more impossible odds. In less than a few weeks, Shell wants to launch another kind of bomb - a "climate bomb" - by beginning to drill for oil in the newly ice-free parts of the Alaskan Arctic. But unlike any other place on Earth, the Arctic is a cooling system for our Earth's atmosphere. With upwards of 30-50% of sea ice gone, it's a place that is already in danger. Recklessly exploiting this region would seal our fate with runaway climate change. The Arctic is the symbol of our generation, because literally and metaphorically it is our tipping point on climate change.

So this year we have tried to disrupt Shell's plans at every turn. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, six brave volunteers scaled Shell's oil rig to shine a spotlight on their drilling plans. Hundreds of Kayaktivists blocked and protested the drilling rig for nearly a month. Recently, 16 activists were arrested trying to intervene as their vessels headed north. A First Nations delegation and Greenpeace team helped spread resistance along Canada's west coast, building a powerful allied movement. While just a few days ago, we took another action…

Last Wednesday I joined a team of Greenpeace and First Nations activists to confront Shell's oil rig, the Polar Pioneer as it headed north to Alaska. We felt small and tiny on our inflatable boats compared to the 300-foot-tall drilling rig attached to two massive tug boats. But the power of the moment was overwhelming, as Indigenous artists Audrey Siegl stood boldly and firmly face-to-face with Shell's machinery. Meanwhile, two swimmers, Victor Acton Pickering (from Fiji) and Mark Worthing (Canadian), swam directly in the path of the oncoming vessels. This was a #MindBomb moment.

But this wouldn't be the end of our story…

Emily on an inflatable boat with the action team, heading out to confront Shell's Arctic drilling rig the Polar Pioneer. © Emily Hunter

A Mind Bomb

In 1971 the first Greenpeace activists did not get to the blast in time, despite their best efforts. The Coast Guard stopped them before they could get to Amchitka, as they had illegally entered US waters and had to turn back. For us here today on the Esperanza, our action will not stop Shell. One action at one time cannot stop their machine. We know this reality.

But like the lessons of the past show, small groups of people taking action can help spark an idea. That idea can become far more powerful than anything we can do alone. It can become the #MindBomb switch in consciousness. It can galvanize more of us in this fight and it can transform the world. It is what helped to eventually end US underground nuclear testing after that first campaign. It launched Greenpeace into existence.

Today, the seeds of another #MindBomb grows in the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world. It is an idea that challenges an old story: that fossil fuels are somehow inevitable and oil companies are somehow invincible; a story we have too often been conditioned to believe is true. Instead, we replace it with a far more powerful idea: that companies like Shell are relics of the past and we must transition to renewable energy. We must put our concerns for people and the planet before profit.

First Nations activist Audrey Siegl stood boldly to confront Shell's drilling rig the Polar Pioneer.

We've seen this idea take hold with a student movement that is pushing to divest (the opposite of invest) billions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry. Pope Francis recently ordered a decree on faith that gives guidance on responding to scientific warnings on climate change. Economically, we see more energy being produced by renewable power than coal, natural gas, and oil combined. And just last week the G7 summit agreed to make fossil fuels a thing of the past by the end of this century.

The #MindBomb is the tool that makes the world change. It was the consciousness switch that ultimately stopped the US nuclear testing in the 1970's. It will be our tool to ultimately win this fight against Arctic drilling as well.

Staring out at these waves in the Pacific Ocean, I know in my heart that the story of my father's time and the story of our time is only separated by that – time. Our struggles and our tools for revolution remain the same. An idea can change the world – but it is up to us to make it true.

To the dreamers in all of us making our dreams true!

Emily Hunter is a Digital Mobilizer for Greenpeace Canada.

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Cold War Resurgent: US Nukes Could Soon Return to Europe

Washington is once again talking about stationing nuclear warheads in Europe. Russia, too, is turning up the rhetoric. Europeans are concerned about becoming caught in the middle of a new Cold War. By SPIEGEL Staff
Read more [Spiegel Online]

Cold War Resurgent: US Nukes Could Soon Return to Europe

Washington is once again talking about stationing nuclear warheads in Europe. Russia, too, is turning up the rhetoric. Europeans are concerned about becoming caught in the middle of a new Cold War. By SPIEGEL Staff
Read more [Spiegel Online]

German govt clashes with Bavaria over nuclear storage site plan

Reuters: The German government presented a plan on Friday for four interim storage sites to host nuclear waste now piled up at plants in France and Britain, but the move drew criticism from Bavaria, which wants none of the material. After Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany decided to shut all of its nuclear plants by 2022, but still has to work out how to handle tonnes of highly radioactive waste. Original plans to turn an interim nuclear waste storage site in salt formations in Lower Saxony's...

German govt clashes with Bavaria over nuclear storage site plan

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government presented a plan on Friday for four interim storage sites to host nuclear waste now piled up at plants in France and Britain, but the move drew criticism from Bavaria, which wants none of the material.

Read more [Reuters]

Moment of truth nears for nuclear waste time bomb

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - More than half a century after the world's first commercial nuclear plant went into operation in the United States, the industry may finally be nearing a way to store radioactive waste underground permanently.

Read more [Reuters]

Dozens of U.S. companies bet on nuclear power revolution: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's top arms provider and firms partly funded by Silicon Valley billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Allen are among dozens of companies collectively betting more than $1.3 billion that a new wave of nuclear power can be a force to fight climate change.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan to speed up return of Fukushima area evacuees

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to revoke evacuation orders for most people forced from their homes by the Fukushima nuclear disaster within two years as part of a plan to cut compensation payouts and speed up reconstruction, the government said on Friday.

Read more [Reuters]

South Korea needs new facility for spent nuclear fuel: advisory group

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea should build a new temporary facility to store spent nuclear fuel from 2030 and consider permanent underground storage from the middle of the century, a government advisory body said on Thursday.

Read more [Reuters]

Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth

Guardian: A record amount of solar power was added to the world’s grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000. Around 40GW of solar power was installed last year, meaning there is now a total of 178GW to meet world electricity demand, prompting renewable energy associations to claim that a tipping point has been reached that will allow rapid acceleration of the technology. “For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and...

Three fronts in war against antibiotic resistance

SciDevNet: What would you do with US$10 billion? Buy a tropical island and live the high life? Or use it to make the world a better place? Surely, that's enough money to make a difference. Think again. From a global viewpoint, US$10 billion is not much money. It's about the price of a large nuclear power station. It's the amount the International Monetary Fund paid out in March 2015 to bail out Ukraine's banks. It's what member states of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change collectively put every...

Four years from nuclear disaster, Fukushima workers get own rest area

Reuters: Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, has opened a rest area and canteen for cleanup workers, more than four years after the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. The center, on the western edge of the power station, opened on Sunday, replacing pre-fabricated facilities used by workers since an earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns on March 11, 2011, forcing more than 160,000 residents to flee from nearby towns. It will...

Four years on from nuclear disaster, Fukushima workers get own rest area

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant, has opened a rest area and canteen for cleanup workers, more than four years after the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

Read more [Reuters]

Japan's emissions target, relying on nuclear, seen as unrealistic

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan has set an emissions target to be presented to November's climate summit that critics say is unambitious compared to those of other leading countries and unrealistic because it depends on restoring its nuclear industry in the face of public hostility.

Read more [Reuters]

Merkel under pressure on coal ahead of G7 climate push

Agence France Presse: Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to send a robust message on climate change from a G7 summit this weekend but may be undermined by Germany's own heavy dependence on coal. Europe's top economy sees itself as a pioneer among industrialised nations for its "energy transformation" pushing the development of renewables while phasing out nuclear power. However the ambitious drive, prompted by Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, has extended its reliance on coal, particularly the country's...

Japan's first reactor restart delayed to August: Kyushu Electric

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Kyushu Electric Power said on Tuesday it has delayed the restart of its Sendai nuclear plant in southwestern Japan, the first to be brought back into service under new rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Read more [Reuters]

How do you #getupand change the world? Like this:

What does it take to make the global shift away from dirty energy sources, like coal, oil, gas and nuclear? How do we ensure the protection of our precious ecosystems, like our forests and our oceans?

We know that clean, renewable energy, like wind and solar are the only way forward. How do we get there?

It starts with us.

Too many politicians are either unwilling, too slow to act, or just get in the way. You can rest assured that the businesses that are plundering our oceans and forests for profit won’t change their tune. You also know that conglomerates that are desperately driving forward their old-fashioned energy sources are not going sacrifice profit for energy independence.

Progress doesn’t start with them. It ends with them.

Each one of us has the courage to drive innovation and creativity forward despite the obstacles put in our path by people who are satisfied with the growing threats to our health and our Earth's climate.

This past weekend saw the first Global day of Action. It showcased the solidarity of millions of diverse people across the globe who have the courage to stand against unsustainable energies and threatened ecosystems. It was also a celebration of the easy, available and immediate solution: clean, renewable energy.

In Belgium people like you and me took a stand against nuclear.

In Jordan they know that renewable energy, like wind and solar, are the only way forward.

They know it in Spain too, where they threw pillows in the air reading "Get Up And Ask For Renewables Now".

In Israel, hundreds of football fans and volunteers raised awareness of the Ofer family's dangerous oil interests.

In Indonesia they asked President Jokowi to listen to the people and “Stop Dirty Energy”.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of ways people around the world are standing for what they believe in. And they are not alone. All you have to do is look around you.

This is just the beginning. There are two more days of action leading up to the Paris climate talks. They are on September 26th and November 29th.

Where will you be when we make our voices heard again?

Watch this space to find out.

Arin de Hoog is a content editor with Greenpeace International

Read more [Greenpeace international]

Greenpeace releases confidential IAEA Fukushima-Daiichi accident report

The International Atomic Energy Agency report fails to accurately reflect the scale and consequences of the Fukushima disaster.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors meets on June the 8th to discuss its confidential Fukushima-Daiichi Accident Summary Report. The report describes itself as 'an assessment of the causes and consequences of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan that began on 11 March 2011.'

Greenpeace has received a copy of the report and we made it public last week. We've also conducted an initial analysis of the report and our findings are not good.

Yukiya Amano, the IAEA Director General says the report is 'an authoritative, factual and balanced assessment, addressing the causes and consequences of the accident, as well as lessons learned.'

Yet our experts find it to be full of inaccuracies, uncertainties, and that it fails to address several highly important issues. We've sent our findings to Mr Amano.

Here are some examples.

  • The IAEA admits that radiation monitoring was not working properly in the days immediately after the Fukushima disaster began.
  • Despite this uncertainty, the report downplays the health risks to the disaster's many victims.
  • This means that the estimates of the levels of radiation the people of Fukushima were exposed to cannot be trusted.
  • The IAEA's analysis of the new safety regulations in Japan are superficial at best, and they offer no evidence in the report that the Japanese nuclear industry is operating to the global highest standards of nuclear safety.
  • The reality is that there are major flaws in nuclear regulation in Japan with seismic and other threats to nuclear plants safety ignored or underestimated.
  • The report dismisses the environmental impact of the disaster on animal life despite scientific investigations finding measurable effects on the region's fauna.
  • The report fails to acknowledge the uncertainties that still surround the causes of the disaster. Much of the critical systems inside the reactors that melted down have not yet been inspected.

These are just some of our initial findings. There are more to come.

(You can read our full analysis of the report here. The five part IAEA report is here: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five.)

So we see, as we saw in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the IAEA trying to create a narrative that minimizes the health and environmental impacts of Fukushima, while emphasising that lessons are being learned, including in making nuclear safety regulation more effective.

In short, the IAEA is moving to protect the nuclear industry instead of the people whose lives have been destroyed by the Fukushima disaster and those who may be affected by future nuclear accidents.

This is not a surprise, a central role of the IAEA is to promote the global expansion of nuclear power. The fact that all commercial nuclear reactors in Japan – 43 in total – remain shutdown is a direct challenge to the IAEA's mission. That is the context in which the IAEA report must be seen.

After four years, the disaster in Fukushima is still unfolding and will take many decades to address. If the work to clean up the massive damage done is to be carried out effectively and future accidents avoided as much as possible, the IAEA must demonstrate that it can change the way it operates and quickly.

The IAEA at present serves only the interests of the nuclear industry and its drive for profit at the expense of the people who have pay the ultimate price for nuclear power's failures.

Greenpeace is calling on Mr Amano and the IAEA to suspend their consideration of the report's findings. An open and transparent process must be established that considers the views of the people of Japan, as well as independent scientists. We stand ready to meet with representatives of the IAEA to discuss our serious concerns.

Justin McKeating is a nuclear blogger for Greenpeace International, based in the UK.

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