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IAEA HAS A TENTATIVE REPORT FOR ITS 2012 FULL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

30 Aug 2012

ACCORDING TO THE INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) “Nuclear Yardogs”- important progress has been made towards strengthening global nuclear safety after Japan’s Fukushima tragedy last year.  The Greenpeace Intl. Environmental org strongly disputes this.  The IAEA report on the plan’s implementation (thus far) will be presented to the IAEA General Conference of the more than 150 member states, on 17-21 Sept. 2012, to be hosted in Vienna, Austria (beautiful city, beautiful time of year, beautiful people – mostly energy Industry barons, one and all).  THESE FOLKS SHURE KNOW HOW TO MIX WORK AND PLEASURE!  

GREENPEACE IS HIGHLY DISAPPOINTED WITH PLAN. Greenpeace (which opposes nuclear energy), said there had been “no real progress”.  Last year Greenpeace criticized the IAEA for its initial handling of the Fukushima disaster, with media and IAEA Vienna-based diplomats saying it was slow to give information in the early days of the crisis.  Greenpeace however, is still dissatisfied with the entire IAEA system for regulating the nuclear industry saying:  “a few touch-ups here and there are not enough”; They added: The Fukushima incident has spurred a rethink about nuclear energy worldwide, and calls for more concerted action, including beefed-up international safety checks of NPPs. Aslihan Tumer of Greenpeace International’s nuclear campaign, said pointedly: “The IAEA’s action plan(still) does not address any of the real lessons of Fukushima,”

IAEA CLAIMS: “Since the adoption of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety(in 2011), significant progress has been made in several key areas…improvements in emergency preparedness and response capabilities…there has been progress in areas including assessments of “safety vulnerabilities” of atomic plants, and strengthened peer reviews…These, and other measures, have contributed to “the enhancement of the global nuclear safety framework”…Significant progress has also been made in reviewing the agency’s safety standards which continue to be widely applied by regulators, operators and the nuclear industry in general.” it added: “But continued efforts need to be made to ensure more effective communication to the public if there is a radiological or nuclear emergency” The IAEA made the assessment in a report prepared for its upcoming Sep 17-21, 2012 annual meeting of IAEA member states, which endorsed a safety action plan by consensus last Sept 2011, despite criticism that it did not go far enough. The nine (9) page report may be found at www.iaea.org

IAEA’s TASK of reaching a consensus, and willingness to collaborate among its 150 member nations is difficult indeed.  Only last year, the IAEA plan exposed differences between states seeking more international commitments while others wanted safety to remain an issue strictly for national authorities.  Additionally, the IAEA report, approved six months after the Fukushima triple melt-down, was criticized by some nations for not advocating more mandatory measures, and outlining only voluntary steps intended to help prevent a repeat of such a crisis event anywhere in the world.  It also called on countries to promptly carry out assessments of their nuclear power plants, and their vulnerabilities to extreme natural hazards, as well as steps to strengthen emergency preparedness, and rapid dissemination of safety information.  IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano said of this year’s proposed report: safety has improved, but much remains to be done” – (THAT’S FOR DAMN SURE!).

SOME IMPORTANT IAEA MEMBER NATIONS WANT “MORE” INTERNATIONAL CONTROLS. One group of nations – including Germany and France – voiced disappointment about the safety action plan for not including stricter measures.

OTHER KEY NATIONS WANT “LESS” INTERNATIONAL CONTROL like the USA, India and China which stress the responsibility of national authorities.  That is why the USA’s NRC is “hog-tied and impotent”- In all probability India, and China have the same way to do, or not do, as they wish – No matter what; and, they like it that way,

IN JAPAN, in Aug 2012, a government-appointed inquiry raised doubt about whether other NPPs in Japan were prepared for massive disasters.

IN BELGIUM, their nuclear regulator said it had halted construction at one of the reactors of a nuclear plant until at least the end of Aug 2012 to carry out an investigation into suspected cracks found in a core tank.

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OUR TAKE,

Folks, these are “games important people play”, and worldwide Nuclear Safety is not a game at all.  Problem is: everyone (every nation) wants to “fly their own kite”, and to be free to do, and not do, anything they want to help their Nuclear Industry prosper at the expense of the safety of people all over the world.  If Fukushima has thought us anything, it is that the world is a very small place when it comes to radioactive poisoning of land, sea, and air; That means that: EVERY NATION WITH NPPs HAS A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY TO HUMANITY AT LARGE.  IAEA has a long way to go to truly improve Nuclear Safety.

We think the reason IAEA is releasing this “sneak preview” of its 2012 Report, is just one more way to seek worldwide approval, and lend legitimacy to their organization of Energy Barons. ( by the way, They are not a part of the UN).  Frankly, we think they are not “nuclear watchdogs” (as they would have us believe), but rather, “Nuclear yardogs” protecting the huge worldwide NPP investments of an industry that has lost its legitimacy/credibility, and is clearly now on a retrenchment mode.

This post is a sequel to: IAEA ELECTS 16 NEW BOARD MEMBERS, AND ANNOUNCES ITS UPCOMING VISIT TO JAPAN, dated 24 Sep 2011 @ http://energymaters.com/?p=324 – Interesting reading!
Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

August 30, 2012 at 1:19 AM Comments (5)

INDIAS NUCLEAR REGULATORY BOARD (THEIR NRC) NEEDS EMPOWERMENT

29 Aug 2012

INDIA’S NATIONAL AUDITOR’S REPORT ON NUCLEAR SAFETY has raised concerns about a weak regulatory body: India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB).  In its performance audit, the “Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)” warned of a Fukushima or Chernobyl-like disaster if the nuclear safety issue is not addressed by the government. The AERB supervises safety issues at India’s 22 running nuclear plants; and yet, has never been empowered to make rules, enforce compliance or impose substantive sanctions in cases of nuclear safety oversight; at best, can only impose a maximum fine of Rs. 500 as a deterrent in such cases. The auditor’s report added that without a legal status, the AERB has neither the authority for framing or revising rules relating to nuclear and radiation safety, nor to decide on the quantum of penalties – leave alone imposing them.  (True enough, but he is scarcely in a position to change things – not enough political clout).

AERB CONTINUES TO BE AN AUTHORITY SUBORDINATE. Technically, the AERB was constituted through an executive order in 1983; so, it reports to the Chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The report says: “The legal status of the AERB continues to be that of an authority subordinate”… there is an urgent need for the government to bolster the status of AERB if it is to qualify as an “independent regulator” in a sector (Nuclear Power Plant -NPP Industry) which is likely to become increasingly important in meeting the country’s energy needs.  “Independence for regulatory bodies” has been granted in a several countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Pakistan and the USA? (YEAH, BUT THEY ARE AS POWERLESS AS THE USA’S NRC (Ref: USA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION STILL HOG-TIED AND IMPOTENT – PART 3.  http://energymaters.com/?p=522 )  THE NUCLEAR CARTEL WANTS TO PROVIDE THE APPEARANCE OF OVERSIGHT IN THEIR ACTIVITIES, WHILE THEY MAINTAIN ABSOLUTE CONTROL (Just read my next article about the IAEA meeting).

INDIA’S AERB IS LAGGING. The auditor also castigated the AERB for failing to complete a safety policy for the country, even after three decades of its existence. “Out of the 168 standards, codes and guides identified by AERB for development under various thematic areas, 27 safety documents still remained to be developed…”

NO DECOMMISSIONING PLAN YET Even after 13 years from the issue of the “Safety Manual by AERB”, none of the nuclear power plants in India, including those operating for 30 years, and those which had been shut down, had any decommissioning plan.  Problem is: the legislative framework for decommissioning of nuclear power plants has never been legislated (approved by government); hence, the AERB is not empowered to prescribe codes, guides and safety manuals about decommissioning, even though the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had recognized the need for it. (TO OUR KNOWLEDGE ONLY THE USA’S NRC HAS EVER DRAFTED A PROPOSED “NPP DECOMMISSIONING PLAN” BUT IT WAS NEVER INSTITIONALIZED OR COMPLIED WITH –WEAK AS IT IS) (Ref: NUKE DECOMMISSIONING (SHUT-DOWN AND REMOVAL) – HIDDEN COST OF NUCLEAR POWER http://energymaters.com/?p=559 ) This DECOMMISSIONING PLAN is a good document that never saw the light of day.  We know why, don’t we? Well… because it touches on nuclear waste disposal (a taboo subject worldwide), and non-compliance by the American Nuke fleet, among others.

INDIAN NUKE SITE DEFICIENCY POINTED OUT.  The report said off-site emergency exercises highlighted the need for preparedness to deal with situations involving radiological effects from a nuclear power plant which may extend to public areas; For instance:  It was found that the approach road to the plant site of Tarapur Atomic Power Station was highly congested, which would pose serious problems in dealing with any future emergency. (YES – THAT WAS ONE OF THE LESSONS OF FUKUSHIMA).

Thanks to: NDTV (India) – 23 Aug 2012

OUR VIEW AND COMMENTS

CAG’S COMMENTS ARE WELL TAKEN, BUT… India’s Comptroller and Auditor General (SAY who?) felt a need to criticize the Indian nuclear industry.  We have no way to know who tasked him, or what special qualifications he may have.  Perhaps he has come to recognize the need to provide legitimization for his regime, by pointing out the self-evident need to strengthen and legalize the AERB. We believe that higher circles of Indian government, are finally recognizing that the nuclear Industry is not at all popular in India; so, to retain a semblance of legitimacy, they feel pressured to consider greater nuclear Industry scrutiny and control (even if only in lip service); However, the recent events at Kudankulam NPP (Ref: IN INDIA, ANTI-NUKE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST A SIX NUKE “ENERGY PARK”http://energymaters.com/?p=283),  and other proposed Nuke sites have made it plain/evident to those in government, that being pro-nuclear, is tantamount to political suicide at the upcoming elections.  Indian Politicians who are heavily vested in new NPP’s are really in a quandary, and probably expecting a golden parachute for “taking the heat”  (Ref:  INDIA AT A LOSS IN HOW BEST TO HANDLE PEOPLE’S REJECTION OF NUCLEAR PLANTS http://energymaters.com/?p=748 ).

PLEASE NOTE INDIA’S AUDITOR’S (CAG) NAME WAS NOT EVEN MENTIONED as demonstration of governmental control over the Indian press. We grant that the CAG showed ignorance of the “Lessons of Fukushima”; but then, with a press like India’s how could he get educated about the lessons? , or anything else going on in India’s government ambitious NPP plans; Even to the chagrin of most Indian people who evidently know, and wholly reject additional NPP building in India. THOSE IN GOVERNMENT, WHO DO NOT KNOW/AND UNDERSTAND THAT… JUST DO NOT WANT TO KNOW!

REGRETABLY, THE BOTTOM LINE IN INDIA’S NUCLEAR NON-POLICY IS: India’s federal government introduced a “Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (Bill)”, which sought to provide statutory status to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC – AERB’s boss), in Parliament last year (2011); HOWEVER: THE BILL WAS TABLED (SET-ASIDE WITHOUT CONSIDERATION) IN INDIAN PARLIAMENT ON 22 Aug 2012.  (SIGH !) As New Yorkers are fond of saying: Forget abouut it!

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

August 29, 2012 at 3:33 AM Comments (11)

SENDAI TRASH-BERG EXPECTED TO HIT USA NW COAST NEXT NOV 2012

07 AUG 2012

FIVE USA STATES ARE GREATLY THREATENED. They are expecting a huge tsunami debris (flotsam) mass – about 40,000 tons,to arrive on the USA N.W. coast between October 2012 and Feb 2013.  Representatives from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii, will attend a three-day workshop in the USA about 03 Aug 2012.  The meetings were attended by representatives of the “Japan Environmental Action Network”, a non-governmental organization (NGO) concerned with marine debris, and experts from the USA NGO “Ocean Conservancy”, as well as state coastal clean-up coordinators.

ISSUES DISCUSSED :  The extent and range of the anticipated damage caused by the flotsam, on flora and fauna of the USA coastal regions involved, as well as the logistics of removal /disposal of hazardous and large items, such as the dock from the port of Aomori that washed up in Oregon in Jun 2012, after being torn away by the Sendai Japan Mar 2011 tsunami. Nicholas Mallos of the USA Ocean Conservancy NGO, and marine debris specialist, says the debris problem is still small; so now, is the perfect time to develop a collaborative/coordinated plan.  Mallos will join the Japanese 5 “Gyres/ Algalita Marine Research Institute”. In Japan, the Kyodo news agency says the discussions will help pinpoint the needs of affected areas so that the Japanese “Ministry of Environment” can decide how to help via the Japanese environmental network. (REALLY ? THEY CAN’T EVEN HELP THEMSELVES).

Thanks to: ABC Radio Australia for their continuing story on this subject 0n 05 Aug 2012.

OUR ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

This is a huge story barely covered in depth by mainstream media; but then, we have learned to expect only news beneficial to Business and Industry.  It is huge because of the impact that can be anticipated to our N.W. Coastal states’ flora and fauna. Huge Kelp beds about 300’ deep, and home for many fish and mammals such as sea-lions, seals, and thousands of sea-otters that make it their permanent floating home. Smaller fish make it their reproductive grounds, and will no longer grow to roam the seas and become big fish (many of them commercial fish).  Come to think of it, Kelp (seaweed if you will) is also a much needed industrial good.

MARINE TRASH EXPERT NICHOLAS MALLOS SAYS:  “This is very much an exploratory expedition. We know a lot of debris was swept out into the ocean during the tsunami last March, but what we don’t know is what’s still afloat. What we find on this voyage will provide a snapshot of what might show up on our shores. More importantly, this will give us an unparalleled opportunity to examine how ocean trash moves and changes over time. The tsunami event provides a baseline for our research that we don’t often have: We know precisely when the tsunami debris entered the ocean environment, so what happens to it over the next several years will teach us a lot about the dynamics of marine debris… I will also be keeping an eye out for wildlife like sea turtles, sharks, marine mammals and seabirds while on the voyage. For any wildlife sightings, I’ll be documenting locations using GPS and distance from the vessel as well as noting proximity to any marine debris”. For his website see link below:

http://www.oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marine-debris/scientist-at-sea.html

SCIENTIFIC CURIOSITY– PRIMARY DRIVE of Mallos, but what is needed is the political will and empowerment to tackle a huge problem with huge resources to prevent a catastrophe in our NW coast.

WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE JAPANESE? They probably regret the loss of the nearly 20,000 Japanese Sendai coast residents who were taken by the tsunami, and subsequent outwash, which took houses, ports, people, and all, out to sea.  In my opinion Japanese participants to the meeting are keenly interested in finding, and identifying human remains for return to Japan.  Understandable, but no help to West coast residents afflicted by the trash-berg.

RADIOACTIVE FLOTSAM ? Strange is it not? No one mentions the high probability that the debris mass is radioactive, after all it has floated in the sea for 17 months directly in the same path as the Fukushima radioactive plume ( which even now continues to spew perdition into Japan’s eastern coast and beyond). I find it very disturbing that with all the imponderables of this trash-berg headed directly for the USA, I am not aware of any reports concerning its content, radioactivity level, or any other pertinent information.  Where is the mighty USA government with all its sniffing devices?  Don’t they care, or do they, like the Japanese, prefer to keep us in the dark about threatening news.  Is it really more important to our citizens to study Mars? It may be, but those who will be affected may not agree with the priorities. If a duplicate of the “Curiosity Mars rover scientific package” exists (it may) it would be put to very good use investigating “conditions for life” on the TRASH- BERG, and its environs.

WHY NO FISHERY OR KELP INDUSTRY INVITED TO THE MEETINGS?  Perhaps because it would invite public awareness, and pose questions they would rather not try to answer.  That is not being responsible, or responsive to the USA citizenry.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

August 7, 2012 at 1:38 AM Comments (7)