Category Archives: Uncategorized

NHK Japan Special Fukushima – Radioactive Forest via Japan Focus, Cornell University USA.

Japan Focus: ”
Radioactive Forest, Radioactive Wild Life:
Fukushima and the Lessons of Chernobyl

We are providing a special bonus for Asia-Pacific Journal subscribers.

The following NHK Documentary provides a riveting visual perspective on the transformation of the Fukushima region, 230 kilometers North of Tokyo in the wake of the 3.11 triple disaster. Earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant laid waste to the region which remains a wasteland to this day.

Wild animals are roaming the streets in a town evacuated since the Fukushima natural disaster. They seem intent on taking over the disaster community.

Are the flora and fauna in the forests suffering radioactive contamination? The film does not offer conclusive evidence, but it provides graphic presentation of the massive and continuing disaster facing Fukushima in light of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Forests remain contaminated by radioactive particles. Wildlife including wild boars and raccoons run rampant through the waste abandoned following evacuation of humans. Radiation doses show continued high levels of contamination.

Many questions remain about the long-term impact of the disaster. In particular, the documentary finds that scientists can’t (or can’t yet) conclude that radiation is the cause of abnormalities in Fukushima, or what the effects will be on future generations.

But they document graphically, with abundant scientific and technological evidence, the nature of the impact on land, wildlife, humans and society, and the immense and ever increasing financial costs of government efforts to respond. end quote. Source: Japan Focus Newsletter, Cornell University, USA, 31 December 2016.

A Dissociated State: The Exclusion of Aboriginal People by South Australian Authorities

An Australian government document described the exclusion of Aboriginal Australians and Nuclear Test Participants from official health considerations are follows:
“Two population groups are excluded from the (Exposure Dose) calculations. They are the Aboriginals living away from population centres and the personnel involved directly in nuclear test activities. Otherwise, the total population is represented in the estimated radiation doses.” [1]
In other words, those most affected were excluded.

The Howard government originally promised to include Aboriginal people and
Pastoralists in the nuclear test health study announced in 1999. The responsible minister,Bruce Scott, MP, stated: “I have announced the compilation of a nominal roll of exservice personnel involved in the testing and also civilians, aborigines and pastoralists, for whom information is available. This nominal roll will be used to conduct mortality and cancer incidence studies of Australians involved in the UK nuclear tests. This will
enable the Government to determine if current compensation and assessment
arrangements are sufficient.” [2]

In March 2006 the then responsible minister, Mr Bruce Billson, MP, emailed me as
follows: “Indigenous Australians were excluded from the study because there is no available list of Indigenous Australians who were present in the areas of the tests at the time. In the 1950s and 1960s the indigenous population was not counted in the census and there were no records kept of Indigenous Australians who lived in the test areas.” [3]

This exclusive act is abhorrent and disgusting. The authorities did not want to know in the 1950s. And today Ministers of the Crown justify an exclusion from study on the grounds of lack of knowledge. Rather, admitted ignorance is a call to study to any enlightened mind.
So again, the obvious signs of external contact with Beta emitters – residual Beta radiation burn damage – has been ignored, along with the incipient internal dose, as recently as 2006.
The beta burns carried by Australians date from 1952 to 1957. Every official instrument created to examine the impact of the atomic tests has failed to admit the evidence these beta burns present. For they represent both as proof of suffering and as technical biological markers of external dose received. The skin lesions can be read as a form of dose marker from which actual external dose can be determined. [4]

What did the Australian Government find and conclude about the state of health of those who were included in the health survey?

In regard to Australia’s Nuclear Veterans, the “Mortality and Cancer
Incidence Main Findings” document of the “Australian Participants in British
Nuclear Tests in Australia Study”, Department of Veterans Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia, June 2006, states the following:

“The cancer incidence study showed an overall increase in the number of
cancers in test participants, similar to that found in the mortality study. The
number of cancer cases found among participants was 2456, which was 23%
higher than expected. A significant increase in both the number of deaths and
the number of cases was found for (figures in brackets show increase in
mortality and incidence):
• all cancers (18% and 23%)
• cancers of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx (50% and 41%)
• lung cancer (20% and 28%)
• colorectal cancer (24% and 16%)
prostate • cancer (26% and 22%).
The number of cancer cases (but not the number of deaths) was also
significantly greater in test participants for the following cancers (figures in
brackets show increase in incidence):
• oesophageal cancer (48%)
• melanoma (40%)
• all leukaemias (43%)
all leukaemia’s except chronic lymphatic leukaemia (61%).
Other findings included:
• of the 26 mesothelioma cases in test participants, 16 occurred in RAN
personnel, which was nearly three times the number expected
in RAAF personnel, there was nearly double the expected number of deaths
from melanoma, and cases of melanoma were increased by two–thirds.
The increases in cancer rates do not appear to have been caused by
exposure to radiation.”

Most people can see a self serving statement when they see one.

Suspected Beta Radiation Burns in the Australian Outback
In 1953 the late Kukkika was a young girl, living in South Australia’s northern
areas. October of that year saw the first British bomb test series in South Australia take place at Emu Field, a large clay-pan in the northern part of the state.

Over a period of many years working in the northern parts of Southern Australia, Sister Michele Madigan came to know Kukkika.
Kukkika told Michele that one night during the time of the bombs, she had gone to sleep on the ground. The next day she woke up unwell; her skin was scarred white and painful.
Kukkika with sound reason believed that the ground upon which she and her people had camped had been contaminated by fallout from atomic bomb tests.

The photographs taken by Michele show severe de-pigmentation of Kukkika’s skin.
Kukkika suffered this disfigurement for over fifty years with no aid or acknowledgement from successive governments
I believe the suffering of Kukkika was caused by beta radiation burns. The photographs accord with those taken of people who suffered similar injuries in the Pacific as a result of US nuclear weapons tests. The US has acknowledged this. Kukkika was not the only Australian to suffer in this manner. Many people have, and do so still.

Lallie Lennon was an adult when the smoke from one of the Emu Field bombs engulfed her and her son Bruce. The tent in which her two daughters slept was also engulfed by the thick, heavy, twin coloured smoke.
Lallie and Bruce suffered sickness and painful skin. Lallie also suffered a loss of skin colour, the affected areas turning white.

The symptoms have lasted ever since. At the time her suffering first started, doctors refused to give a diagnosis.

Lallie was interviewed in the film “Backs to the Blast”, made in the 1981 by Harry Bardwell. In the film she is asked why her skin is scarred and white in the affected places. Lallie tells her story on film. [5]

Many other Australian Aboriginal people have suffered the same skin condition from the bomb smoke. People were blinded and some people died.

When I saw Harry Bardwell’s film, and saw and heard Lallie speak, I could not
understand why no-one had told her condition is called Beta Radiation Burn.
That was a little while ago now. The government says Australian Aborigines got sick because they were scared of the bomb smoke that engulfed them. Maybe. But that is a stupid answer to the questions. While did Yami go blind? Why were Kukkika and Lallie burnt white? Fear cannot do that. It takes a Special Weapon.
Lallie has spoken long and strong about all this. Lallie has written a book entitled “Maralinga Dust”. [6]
Yami Lester has also told his story in his book. [7]
Jessie Lennon wrote a book. [8]
Some people in Australia remember these things. Many others who wanted nuclear activities to expand claim that South Australia’s Aboriginal People have been given too much consideration. I have more to say on the repeated exclusion of Aboriginal People from the consideration of governments and from full participation in the life of South Australia.

Sources
Repeated Exclusion
[1] Wise, K.N., Moroney, J.R., “Public Health Impact of Fallout from British Nuclear
Weapons Tests in Australia, 1952 – 1957, Australian Radiation Laboratory,
Commonwealth of Australia, ARL/TR 105, ISSN 0 157-1400, May 1992, (reprint) pp. 2.

[2] “Commonwealth of Australia Parliamentary Debates HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES Official Hansard, TUESDAY, 10 AUGUST 1999, THIRTY
NINTH PARLIAMENT FIRST SESSION—FOURTH PERIOD, CANBERRA”

[3] The Hon Bruce Billson MP, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister Assisting the
Minister for Defence, Federal Member for Dunkley, email to Mr Paul Langley, March
2006.

[4] IAEA publication “Diagnosis and Treatment of Local Radiation Injuries, Module
XIII”. This is available at :
http://www.pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/eprmedt/Day_3/Day_3-10.pps [5]

[5] Film Title: Backs to the blast [videorecording] : an Australian nuclear story /
production and direction, Harry Bardwell. Other Creators: Bardwell, Harry. Published:
Adelaide : Composite Films [for] Australian Film Commission, Creative Development
Branch, c1981. Physical Description: 1 videocassette (VHS) (50 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/2 in.
Subjects Uranium mines and mining. Uranium industry — South Australia. Radioactivewaste sites — South Australia. Nuclear weapons — South Australia — Testing. Summary:
A documentary history of the uranium and nuclear industry in South Australia from 1910 to 1980. Incorporates a mass of rare archival footage and contemporary interviews with workers, scientists and politicians, presenting an analysis of the effects of uranium and its
products. Provides a detailed examination of the uranium mine at Radium Hill, the uranium oxide refinery at Port Pirie and the British atomic weapons test site at Maralinga.
Credits: Photography, Gus Howard, Philip Bull ; film editor, Andrew Prowse ; narrator,
Martin Vaughan. Notes: Issued also as motion picture. Language: English. Dewey
Number 363.1/79/0994. Libraries Australia ID 5346898. ” National Library of Australia.

[6] Maralinga dust / Lallie Lennon
Lennon, Lallie Kantjuringa Local call number: B P957.37/W1 Principal Author: Lennon, Lallie Kantjuringa Title: Maralinga dust / Lallie Lennon Source: Women of the centre /edited by Adele Pring Apollo Bay, Vic.; Pascoe , 1990; p. 88-98; ill., map, port. Imprint:
1990 Annotation: Personal observation of effects of Maralinga testing on health of her family Collection: Print – Book Analytics Topical: Defence – Missile and weapons testing – Nuclear weapons Topical: Family Topical: Health – Gastrointestinal system Topical:
Health – Skin physiology and disease Place: Maralinga (Far West SA SH52-12) The
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Mura Library
Catalogue

[7] Lester, Yami & Institute for Aboriginal Development (Alice Springs, N.T.) 1993, Yami : the autobiography of Yami Lester, Institute for Aboriginal Development, Alice Springs
[8] Lennon, Jessie and Madigan, Michele I’m the one that know this country! (Revised ed). Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, 2011.

Letter seeking Radiological Monitoring Data to Minister Ian Hunter

Hon. Ian Hunter, MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Minister for Water and the River Murray
Minister for Climate Change

GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001

Minister Hunter,

I continue to seek the radiological monitoring data for South Australian drinking water storages for the period 1956 to 1963.

Previous requests for this information have resulted in the following State Government and agency reply documents as follows:

Letter 08/127/255, 3.2.1995, Jill Fitch, Radiation Protection Branch, South Australian Health Commission.

Letter MFI00876, 1/11/95, David Abbott, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Mr John Olsen, Minister for Industry, Manufacturing, Small Business & Regional Development, Minister for Infrastructure.

Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages.

Letter MFB 1195, BCN/AK15, 19/5/96, The Hon. John Olsen, FNIA, MP

Letter MFI 00876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive.

All of the preceeding documents conveyed that the information I sought did not exist.

I refer also to the following documents addressed to me by the then Minister for Environment and Conservation, Mr. John Hill:

03EC2212 dated 11 June 2003
03EC2951 dated 19 June 2003

Copies of these two letters are attached as enclosures herewith.

On 11 June 2003 Minister Hill advised me that in relation to my request for this information that:

“Your letter refers to a Freedom of Information application lodged by Dr Cross in January 2002. You should note that this application was submitted before the election of a Labor Government in South Australia in March 2002. At that time, the secrecy provisions of the Act prevented the release of the information requested by Dr. Cross. …..This government was elected to office with a commitment to do whatever is reasonable and appropriate to ensure there are no impediments to the public availability of information……” The then Minister then confirmed the election promise to specifically to change the “secrecy” provisions of section 19 of the Radiation Protection and Control Act, 1982.
This was done, the Minister informed me, on 5 December 2002.

I note that the State Government’s formal documents addressed to Dr Cross regarding the rejection of the Cross FOI Application and the of the rejection of the subsequent appeal both confirm that the documents do indeed exist.

This is in stark contrast to the State government documents addressed to me dated 3.2.1995, 1.11.1995, 19.5.1996 all advise me via Fitch, Abbott and Olsen that the documents I sought and still seek did not exist. In this regard Mr Olsen SA Water to supply me with documents for a later period which did and do exist. Letters Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive (with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages from 1964 to 1995), and Letter MFI 00876, SA Water Corp 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive confirm that with the supply of the documents covering the data from 1964 I now had all documents which exist. As helpful as the documents are to me, these documents had previously been supplied to Dr. Helen Caldicott during the period of the 1970s. She did not have an easy time obtaining the documents, as I recall from listening Bazz and Pilko on breakfast radio at the time. I have no association with Dr. Caldicott just in case that helps my case in any way.

I refer also to the letter to me from then Minister Hill dated 19 June 2003. In this letter the State labor Government advises me that “Your matter is receiving attention and a response will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.” The letter is signed by Carolyne Lee, Office Manager for the Minister for Environment and Conservation.

How much longer will the State Government be in providing me with an answer to my requests? Can I see the documents which record the readings from the radiological monitoring of SA drinking water storages fom 1956 until 1963?

I point out that the documents began to exist from 1956. They still exist. The alleged will of the government is to possess a spirit of openness and democracy in regards to the information it holds in trust for the people in South Australia. I have yet to see any evidence of this spirit of openness in this matter.

I would appreciate action in this matter. I have been quite patient in this matter. I know how slowly the wheels of government move. As all South Australians do. I beg therefore, in the old fashioned some sign that the state can handle the truth in a spirit of openness worthy of a body which purports to represent the will of the people, and which was elected on the basis of that promise of openness and democracy.

I note today the Citizens’ Jury 2, formed by the Premier of South Australia to consider specific matters has delivered its verdict to the State Government and people of South Australia. I note the reaction of the nuclear industry and experts to that verdict. I note that lack of trust in government is a major stumbling block in the view of the People’s Jury. The findings of the citizens’ jury present no difficulty when compared to my experience in obtaining the information I have sought since I was a young in the 1990s. I am now quite. It is 2016.

I find it highly lamentable and deplorable that the State Government has expressed views which convey the judgement that the people of South Australia are ill informed on matters of nuclear undertakings and the effects of them.

That such judgements are passed by politicians who have, from the 1950s until the present day, repeatedly refused to be open and honest with the people of SA. And who, it seems to me, have the goal of keeping the people of this state of Australia in a goldfish bowl of the very ignorance we are accused of.
If is also interesting to note that an alleged ignoramus like me is told documents do not exist, whereas a Doctor of science, such as Dr. Cross, is told that he cannot see the documents because they do, in fact exist. This information is in the public interest. Why are the people of the State being denied access to it?

Yours Sincerely,

Paul Langley

Radilogical Safety NCO,
Storeman, technical clerk,
RADIAC Centre,
RAEME, Australian Army
Retired.

I ask the readers of my blog to consider writing to Minister Hunt asking for the Radiological Monitoring Data for South Australian Drinking Water Storages for the period 1956 to 1963. If English is not your first language, please write to the Minister in your first language. I ask also that you consider writing to the Minister via snail mail and not emailing the Minister. I ask most firmly that your letters, if you decide to write one, remain formal and polite. Irony is encouraged. Mention of the Dead Parrot Routine would probably be frowned upon by authorities, as perfect a fit as it is.

Thank you for your help.

How Does the SA Government Handle the Nuclear Truth?

Hon. Ian Hunter, MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
Minister for Water and the River Murray
Minister for Climate Change
GPO Box 1047
Adelaide SA 5001

8 NOV 2016

Minister Hunter,

I continue to seek the radiological monitoring data for South Australian drinking water storages for the period 1956 to 1963.

Previous requests for this information have resulted in the following State Government and agency reply documents as follows:
Letter 08/127/255, 3.2.1995, Jill Fitch, Radiation Protection Branch, South Australian Health Commission.

Letter MFI00876, 1/11/95, David Abbott, Chief Administrative Officer, Office of Mr John Olsen, Minister for Industry, Manufacturing, Small Business & Regional Development, Minister for Infrastructure.

Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages.

Letter MFB 1195, BCN/AK15, 19/5/96, The Hon. John Olsen, FNIA, MP

Letter MFI 00876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive.

All of the preceding documents conveyed that the information I sought did not exist.
I refer also to the following documents addressed to me by the then Minister for Environment and Conservation, Mr. John Hill:

03EC2212 dated 11 June 2003

03EC2951 dated 19 June 2003

On 11 June 2003 Minister Hill advised me that in relation to my request for this information that:
“Your letter refers to a Freedom of Information application lodged by Dr Cross in January 2002. You should note that this application was submitted before the election of a Labor Government in South Australia in March 2002. At that time, the secrecy provisions of the Act prevented the release of the information requested by Dr. Cross. …..This government was elected to office with a commitment to do whatever is reasonable and appropriate to ensure there are no impediments to the public availability of information……” The then Minister then confirmed the election promise to specifically to change the “secrecy” provisions of section 19 of the Radiation Protection and Control Act, 1982.
This was done, the Minister informed me, on 5 December 2002.

I note that the State Government’s formal documents addressed to Dr Cross regarding the rejection of the Cross FOI Application and the of the rejection of the subsequent appeal both confirm that the documents do indeed exist.

This is in stark contrast to the State government documents addressed to me dated 3.2.1995, 1.11.1995, 19.5.1996 all advise me via Fitch, Abbott and Olsen that the documents I sought and still seek did not exist. In this regard Mr Olsen SA Water to supply me with documents for a later period which did and do exist. Letters Letter MFI, 100876, SA Water 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive (with enclosures: Data sheets of radiological monitoring of SA Water storages from 1964 to 1995), and Letter MFI 00876, SA Water Corp 10713/95, E.J. Phipps, Chief Executive confirm that with the supply of the documents covering the data from 1964 I now had all documents which exist.

I refer also to the letter to me from then Minister Hill dated 19 June 2003. In this letter the State Labor Government advises me that “Your matter is receiving attention and a response will be forwarded to you as soon as possible.” The letter is signed by Carolyne Lee, Office Manager for the Minister for Environment and Conservation.

How much longer will the State Government be in providing me with an answer to my requests? Can I see the documents that record the readings from the radiological monitoring of SA drinking water storages from 1956 until 1963 please?

I have been quite patient in this matter. I know how slowly the wheels of government move. As all South Australians do. I beg therefore, some sign that the State government can handle the truth in a spirit of openness worthy of a body which attempts to represent the will of the people, and which was elected on the basis of that promise of openness and democracy in public administration.

I find it highly lamentable and deplorable that the State Government has expressed views that convey the judgement, made by the current Premier recently, that the people of South Australia are ill informed on matters relating to nuclear undertakings and their consequences.

My experience provides much to contemplate in precisely these matters. I appreciate your eventual determination in relation to my request for the information I have been seeking from successive SA governments. I do not understand why it is taking what I perceive to be a very long time.

Yours Sincerely,

Paul Langley

Post by tracked package with signature on delivery and delivery confirmation notice on 8 Nov 2016

Let’s see how many years this takes.

Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical survey. Benjamin K. Sovacool

Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power: A critical survey

Benjamin K. Sovacool
Energy Governance Program, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 259772, Singapore (as of 2016: Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, United Kingdom)

Received 25 February 2008, Accepted 21 April 2008, Available online 2 June 2008

link to original abstract: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421508001997

Abstract

This article screens 103 lifecycle studies of greenhouse gas-equivalent emissions for nuclear power plants to identify a subset of the most current, original, and transparent studies.

It begins by briefly detailing the separate components of the nuclear fuel cycle before explaining the methodology of the survey and exploring the variance of lifecycle estimates. It calculates that while the range of emissions for nuclear energy over the lifetime of a plant, reported from qualified studies examined, is from 1.4 g of carbon dioxide equivalent per kWh (g CO2e/kWh) to 288 g CO2e/kWh, the mean value is 66 g CO2e/kWh. The article then explains some of the factors responsible for the disparity in lifecycle estimates, in particular identifying errors in both the lowest estimates (not comprehensive) and the highest estimates (failure to consider co-products). It should be noted that nuclear power is not directly emitting greenhouse gas emissions, but rather that lifecycle emissions occur through plant construction, operation, uranium mining and milling, and plant decommissioning.

Reassessing the safety of nuclear power. Wheatley et.al.

source link http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615301067

Creative Commons license.

Volume 15, May 2016, Pages 96–100

Reassessing the safety of nuclear power

 

Abstract

We summarize the results of a recent statistical analysis of 216 nuclear energy accidents and incidents (events). The dataset is twice as large as the previous best available. We employ cost in US dollars as a severity measure to facilitate the comparison of different types and sizes of events, a method more complete and consistent that the industry-standard approach. Despite significant reforms following past disasters, we estimate that, with 388 reactors in operation, there is a 50% chance that a Fukushima event (or more costly) occurs every 60–150 years. We also find that the average cost of events per year is around the cost of the construction of a new plant. This dire outlook necessitates post-Fukushima reforms that will truly minimize extreme nuclear power risks. Nuclear power accidents are decreasing in frequency, but increasing in severity.

1. Introduction

It has been more than four years since an earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan resulting in repeated fires and three reported core meltdowns. At the latest count, the accident had caused $166 billion in damages1[1] and at least 573 immediate deaths from the evacuation, along with hundreds of future deaths related to cancer anticipated to occur [2]. Somewhat sweeping industry reforms were called for, and public acceptance of the technology plummeted [3]. Supporters of nuclear power were quick to point out that a complete phase out would complicate efforts at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector [4] and could lead to cumulative global losses in global gross domestic product [5].

The March 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident is a poignant reminder that disasters of enormous consequences can occur in the nuclear industry. But how often and with what severity? These two questions constitute the core of sound risk management, which requires identifying and quantifying such potential losses and their frequencies. For most natural and human-made catastrophes such as earthquakes, meteorites, avalanches, mountain collapses, forest fires, hurricanes, epidemics, health care costs, war sizes, terrorist intensities, cyber risks, dam failures, industrial disasters, and so on, plentiful historical data has allowed scientists and engineers to determine the distributions of losses.

The admittedly favorable situation of a paucity of nuclear accidents, combined with scantly available public historical data, has prevented any such statistical analysis. Nuclear engineers have thus resorted to the classification of hypothetical accident scenarios deemed credible and of their potential consequences. The common industry approach to assessing nuclear accident risk depends on a technique known as probabilistic safety analysis (PSA), which assigns probabilities and damage values to particular failure scenarios. Nonetheless, such techniques are known to poorly predict events and to under-appreciate incidents that cascade into failures [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11] and [12].

Similarly, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) provides the INES (International Nuclear Event Scale) to communicate the severity of nuclear accidents on a progressive discrete scale of 1 (anomaly) to 7 (major accident), meant to correspond to the amount of radiation released by order of magnitude. Yet its approach has been critiqued for offering relatively crude scores, for reporting only a fraction of known events, for not being transparent in its methodology, and for being more of a public relations tool (propaganda) than a meaningful metric [9] and [13]. For instance, there are about 12,000 events reported by French operators every year, of which 600–800 are classified annually as “significant for nuclear safety,” yet little to none of these show up on the INES database, and such unreported events occur at just 15% of the currently operating world nuclear fleet [14].

In this study, we summarize the results of a statistical analysis of a dataset of 216 events (incidents and accidents) occurring in nuclear energy systems [15], a dataset that is twice as large as any of the previous best ones available in the scientific literature [8,16], but we refrain from using the INES data directly. Instead, we use the estimated cost in USD (US dollars) as the common metric that allows one to compare often very different types of events across the nuclear fuel cycle. This dataset has more than three times the number of accidents compared with studies using solely the INES data, providing a much better basis for statistical analysis and inference, and a better comparative tool for reassessing the safety of nuclear power. Following Chernobyl, several authors proposed utilizing a monetary value of damage severity to make events comparable, and use a rate measure normalized by the number of reactor operating years to consider frequency [17], [18] and [19]. This is what we have done here, but extending the range of analysis well beyond 1986 to include Fukushima and other nuclear events leading up until the end of 2014. The dataset has been published online2, where the public is encouraged to review and recommend additions and modifications with the intention of continually expanding and improving the quality of the data.
2. Methods

There are many ways to quantify the risk of accidents in nuclear energy systems. The Farmer curve is one of the standard tools of nuclear risk assessment, with the risk defined as “probability × consequences” [20]. Typical Farmer plots display the annual frequency of fatalities or of property damage from human made sources of risk. Remarkably, the nuclear risks reported in Farmer plots are fundamentally different from all previously mentioned risks, in that the distributions for nuclear event losses are always thin-tailed and Gaussian-like, presenting a downward concave shape in the standard log–log representation.

The appearance of the Soviet Union’s Chernobyl accident in 1986 and of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, after the tsunami on 11 March, 2011, seem at odds with the statistics implied by the Farmer curves. Actually, following the Chernobyl accident, Hsu [17] and Sengor [18] and [19] suggested a different approach, based on the reasoning that the number of fatalities is an incomplete, if not misleading, metric for measuring nuclear losses given the difficulties in assessing long term real mortality in addition to early morbidity and mortality. Indeed, this metric misses many other dimensions and also prevents quantitative comparisons. Hsu in particular made the point that the statistical analysis of earthquake risks, for instance, would have missed the fundamental Gutenberg–Richter magnitude–frequency law [21] if seismologists had focused on only the few large earthquakes. By considering a range of event sizes above which the data is known to be sufficiently complete, or at least representative, one can identify possible statistical regularities that are relevant to the largest events.

Here, we analyze the distribution of losses resulting from all possible types of nuclear events from 1952 to 2014. To be consistent with both the INES, as well as earlier peer-reviewed studies [8] and [9], we assessed events across the entire nuclear fuel cycle—that is, not only at nuclear reactors and power plants but also at uranium mills, fuel enrichment facilities, reprocessing stations, and nuclear waste repositories. In addition to maintaining consistency, this inclusion of non-reactor events is also necessary to trace the full impact of nuclear power technology on society as well as to account for the fact that many sites prone to accidents concentrate multiple elements of the fuel cycle in one location.3 Searching historical archives, public utility commission filings, regulatory reports, and other sources explained in SM1, we created a unique dataset of 216 nuclear events, with 104 of these events having at least $20 million in inflation-adjusted cost.4 In addition, whenever events had the same dependent cause, such as Fukushima, we treated them as a single occurrence. As it is important to evaluate the number of accidents relative to the number of reactors in operation, we have normalized our assessment to operational reactor data from the IAEA [22].

To be fair, a few caveats and limitations deserve mentioning. In this study, we focus only on damage and loss of life from nuclear accidents, and not other externalities such as lung cancer risks from coal mining or particulate pollution from petroleum-fuelled automobiles. Consequently, our study details the risks present from continuing to operate existing reactors, it does not assess the risks from not operating them (such as greater reliance on fossil fuels) [4]. Also, as is typically the case in data such as this, there is an event severity level below which events are less frequently reported, or even noticed—making our analysis conservative because of incomplete data. We base our analysis on the current reactor fleet, heavily tilted towards older light water reactors (often called “Generation II” technology), not state-of-the-art designs such as the European Pressurized Reactor or “paper” units at the conceptual stage such as small modular reactors, primarily because there is insufficient operating experience for their statistical analysis, but also since the adoption of these designs is uncertain. Our characterization of the current risk level, and its use for forecasting, presumes that 388 reactors remain in operation, and does not include any potential improvements in response to Fukushima. Any significant nuclear renaissance or massive build-out would alter our characterization, as would any massive phase-out. Lastly, we limit our assessment to nuclear generated electricity and its fuel cycle, and thus exclude risks posed by nuclear explosives and nuclear weapons, except for those facilities (such as reprocessing spent fuel) that are dual use.
3. Results and discussion

We quantify four identifiable dimensions of risk: (i) historical frequency of accidents, (ii) historical costs, (iii) the presence of so-called “dragon kings” and extreme events, and (iv) expected future costs.

In terms of frequency, panel (I) of Fig. 1 plots the number of events with at least $20 million in damage (and standard errors) per reactor per year, calculated on 5 year windows spanning 1960 to 2014. The main message here is that the rate of events has dropped substantially since the 1960s, and may have stabilized since the late 1980s. In panel (II) of Fig. 1 the rate of events is calculated running away from the Chernobyl accident in both directions. From here it is clear there was a significant decline in event frequency after the Chernobyl accident, and the rate of events since that drop has been roughly stable, indicating that Chernobyl was a catalyst for change that decreased the rate of events, but not necessarily the size of each event. Rate estimates for 2014 remain in a conservative range of 0.0025–0.0035, or 1–1.4 events per year over the entire nuclear fleet. The methodology used here is described in SM2.

In terms of historical severity, panel (III) of Fig. 1 plots both cost and the Nuclear Accident Magnitude Scale (NAMS) [9] according to a complementary cumulative distribution function (CCDF) described in SM3. As the figure demonstrates, the damage CCDFs corresponding to the periods of before and after the Three Mile Island (TMI) major accident of 1979 are different. It is most plausible that this change was a reaction to TMI, which involved both improving safety standards as well as reporting more events.

We also find that the heavy tailed Pareto distributions are insufficient to account for the extreme empirical tails in the sense that a few exceptional events are “outliers”, or better said, are dragon-kings, revealing the existence of transient amplification mechanisms. Such dragon-kings are found to “coexist with power laws in the distributions of event sizes under a broad range of conditions in a large variety of systems” [23]. As described in SM4, the presence of dragon-kings provides a diagnostic for the existence of causal factors behind accidents not apparent from the main Pareto model used for the distribution. The dragon-kings are shown with X marks in panel (III) of Fig. 1. The main point here is that post-TMI moderate severity events are suppressed but extreme events escalate to the extent that statistically significant dragon-kings emerge in both NAMS and damage, exhibiting a runaway disaster regime.

Next, bringing together models for rates and magnitudes, we quantify the current risk level for the existing nuclear fleet, which may be used as a status-quo characterization of the future risk level using the methods described in SM5. Presuming a low rate λ = 0.002, and without considering the effect of dragon-kings, the 0.99 quantile is $54.3 billion, almost five times the estimated damage from Three Mile Island. Presuming the moderate rate λ = 0.003, with the dragon-king effect, this quantile is $331.6 billion, which is almost double the estimated damage of Fukushima. In other words, there is a 1% probability each year that an accident occurs that leads to a loss of at least $331.6 billion. Such large numbers do not appear to be taken into account in standard calculations on the economics of nuclear power [24]. Moreover, according to our analysis, with 388 reactors in operation, there is a 50% probability of a Fukushima-like event (or more costly) every 60–150 years, and a Three Mile Island event (or more costly) every 10–20 years.

Finally, panel (IV) of Fig. 1 compares our estimated costs with INES scores, indicating inconsistencies where events deviate from the exponential growth in cost qualified by the line in the logarithmic scale. The multitude of dots above or below the INES scale strongly suggest it fails to adequately capture the magnitude of events. For instance, Fukushima (the largest event) would need to have an INES score of 10.6 to be consistent. Further, there is considerable uncertainty in the INES scores as evidenced by the overlapping costs.
4. Six conclusions and policy implications

Our study reveals six important conclusions about the risks of nuclear power. First, concerning event frequency, our analysis shows that the rate of civil nuclear accidents over time since 1952 decreased significantly from the 1970s, reaching what appears to be a stable level of around 0.003 events per plant per year. In this sense, nuclear power is getting safer, although this improvement could be offset by the construction and operation of many new facilities. We find concrete evidence of a history of learning from previous accidents within the industry, especially the significant reduction in event frequency after the Chernobyl accident in 1986, and a suppression of moderately large cost events after TMI.

Second, however, is that these past reforms, rather than minimizing risk, have apparently spawned the prevalence of dragon kings and accidents with major costs. Chernobyl and Fukushima are both such dragon kings, as they together represent 84 percent of the total damage in our dataset. The morphology of nuclear accident risk has altered from more frequent, less costly events to less frequent, more costly events.

Third, existing databases are woefully incomplete when it comes to the reporting of nuclear incidents and accidents. For instance, only half of the events in our database have INES scores, and thousands upon thousands of small events – but with the potential to cascade into larger ones – remain unreported. As the authors of [14] concluded, “many nuclear safety related events occur year after year, all over the world, in all types of nuclear plants and in all reactor designs and that there are very serious events that go either entirely unnoticed by the broader public or remain significantly under-evaluated when it comes to their potential risk.” A fully transparent, centralized source of reliable data on nuclear accidents is needed; one that enables planners, investors, and even nuclear regulators to better comprehend, and then weigh, nuclear risks. Such full disclosure will need to be balanced with the legitimate security concerns of the nuclear industry and the need to avoid promoting a culture of panic and hysteria.

Fourth, apart from being incomplete, industry standard tools such as the INES scale of the IAEA are inadequate and inconsistent at identifying and projecting nuclear accident risk, especially related to dragon kings. For the costs to be consistent with the INES scores, the Fukushima disaster would need to be between an INES level of 10 and 11, rather than the maximum level of 7. To use an analogy, the INES scale is like the antiquated Mercalli scale for earthquake magnitudes, which was replaced by the continuous physically-based Richter scale. Instead of INES, we recommend the use of continuous scales genuinely based on relevant physical variables (radiation emission as in NAMS) and/or economic metrics (dollar costs as proposed here) and that these scales be publicly disclosed for as many events as possible, including all of those in our database.

Fifth, we need to better understand “near misses,” “false negatives,” “minor mishaps,” and “residual risk” [14]. Our study has focused only on “extreme risk,” that is, accidents that precipitated at least $20 million in damages, but an entire class of narrow escapes exist, unplanned or unanticipated events and warnings that never resulted in damage [25] and [26]. In the European Union, for example, legislation called the Seveso directive5 has emphasized, since 1982, the importance of near-misses for hazardous accidents on land, especially in the oil and gas industry. A similar directive ought to be considered for the nuclear industry, and it requires a complete data set of both small and large events to properly quantify the frequency with which small events escalate into larger ones.

Sixth, future frequency and severity of accidents are perhaps unacceptably high. While the nuclear industry can be characterized by an impressive improvement in incident prevention and safety procedures, our thorough analysis of this new data shows that, when a nuclear event of at least $20 million in damage occurs, the probability that it transforms into a catastrophe with damage larger than one billion dollars is almost ten percent. Under the status quo, we project at least one Fukushima-scale dragon king (or larger) accident with 50% probability every 60–150 years. And, more common but still expensive events of about $20 million will occur with a frequency of about one per year—making accidents a relatively routine part of nuclear power’s future.

In conclusion, although the frequency of events per reactor has become less common, the relative frequency with which events cascade into “dragon king” extremes is large enough that, when multiplied by severity, the aggregate risk to society is still very high. To effectively reduce this risk, the possibility of Chernobyl and Fukushima sized events needs to be better anticipated and then more effectively managed.
Acknowledgments

To solicit as much critical feedback as possible, we posted a working paper using a different methodology and dataset on this topic in April, 2015 available here http://arxiv.org/abs/1504.02380. The working paper does not replicate the data presented in this study, although it does host publicly our dataset so that readers and others can continually improve the robustness and completeness of its contents. We also thank seven anonymous reviewers for extremely helpful comments on earlier versions of this draft, as well as colleagues MV Ramana from Princeton University, Per Peterson from the University of California Berkeley, Mycle Schenider from the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, Mark Cooper and Peter Bradford from Vermont Law School, and Andy Stirling and Gordon MacKerron from the University of Sussex. Despite their input, the findings and conclusions in this study derive only from the authors.

Appendix A. Supplementary data

The following are Supplementary data to this article:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/MiamiMultiMediaURL/1-s2.0-S2214629615301067/1-s2.0-S2214629615301067-mmc1.pdf/305759/html/S2214629615301067/2c5b512c8bd5133fa5b4c1c822a368c7/mmc1.pdf

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One of the authors of this paper is an editor for Energy Research & Social Science. They were not involved in managing the peer review process for this article.

Corresponding author. Fax +45 3032 4303.

1

Updated to US$2013 and adjusted to monetize human fatalities. Originally reported as $150 billion in $2010 damages.

2

See https://tasmania.ethz.ch/index.php/Nuclear_events_database.

3

Sellafield in the United Kingdom, for instance, is home to commercial reactors, research reactors, waste repositories, and reprocessing facilities and Fukushima Daichi in Japan was home to commercial reactors and waste repositories.

4

The analysis here is focused on events with at least $20 million USD in damage. These events are more visible and thus the dataset is more likely to be complete above this threshold. Therefore statistics on this subset will be more reliable than when considering smaller events. Further, these large events are most relevant as they drive the total risk level. For instance, the ten most costly events contribute approximately 94% of total costs to date.

5

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/seveso/.

Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

 

NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE, 2016 : Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, PHASE 2…..

Source Link: https://www.nap.edu/read/21874/chapter/1

LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE
Fukushima Nuclear Accident
FOR IMPROVING SAFETY AND SECURITY OF
U.S. Nuclear Plants

PHASE 2

Committee on Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident
for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board
Division on Earth and Life Studies

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
http://www.nap.edu

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-38888-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-38888-0
Digital Object Identifier: 10.17226/21874

The following is extracted from the Summary of Findings:

TASK 2: LESSONS LEARNED FOR SPENT FUEL STORAGE5

“Spent fuel was stored in eight locations at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on March 11, 2011: in spent fuel pools in each of the six reactor units (Units 1-6), in a common spent fuel pool, and in a dry cask storage facility. The present report focuses on spent fuel storage in the Unit 1-4 pools because these units sustained severe damage as a result of the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami.

The committee finds (Finding 2.1) that the spent fuel storage facilities (pools and dry casks) at the Fukushima Daiichi plant maintained their containment functions during and after the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami. However, the loss of power, spent fuel pool cooling systems, and water level- and temperature-monitoring instrumentation in Units 1-4 and hydrogen explosions in Units 1, 3, and 4 hindered efforts by plant operators to monitor conditions in the pools and restore critical pool-cooling functions. Plant operators had not planned for or been trained to respond to the conditions that existed in the Unit 1-4 spent fuel pools after the earthquake and tsunami. Nevertheless, they successfully improvised ways to monitor and cool the pools using helicopters, fire trucks, water cannons, concrete pump trucks, and ad hoc connections to installed cooling systems. These improvised actions were essential for preventing damage to the stored spent fuel and the consequent release of radioactive materials to the environment. The committee recommends (Recommendation 2.1) that the U.S. nuclear industry and its regulator give additional attention (described in Chapter 2) to improving the ability of plant operators to monitor real-time conditions in spent fuel pools and maintain adequate cooling of stored spent fuel during severe accidents and terrorist attacks.

The spent fuel pool in Unit 4 was of particular concern because it had a high decay-heat load. The committee used a steady-state energy-balance model to provide insights on water levels in the Unit 4 pool during the first 2 months of the accident (i.e., between March 11 and May 12, 2011). This model suggests that water levels in the Unit 4 pool declined to less than 2 m (about 6 ft) above the tops of the spent fuel racks by mid-April 2011. The model also suggests that pool water levels would have dropped below the top of active fuel6 had there not been leakage of water into the pool from the reactor well and dryer/separator pit through the separating gates. This water leakage was accidental; it was also fortuitous because it likely prevented pool water levels from reaching the tops of the fuel racks. The events in the Unit 4 pool show that gate leakage can be an important pathway for water addition or loss from some spent fuel pools and that reactor outage configuration can affect pool storage risks.

The events in Unit 4 pool have important implications for accident response actions. As water levels decrease below about 1 m above the top of the fuel racks, radiation levels on the refueling deck and surrounding areas will increase substantially, limiting personnel access. Moreover, once water levels reach approximately 50 percent of the fuel assembly height, the tops of the rods will begin to degrade, changing the fuel geometry and increasing the potential for large radioactive material releases into the environment.
end quote. emphasis added.

Other than that, there was absolutely nothing to worry about and anyone who disagrees is a radiophobe. For the nuclear industry and nuclear authorities have always known precisely what it has been doing and no one is able, in its view, to question those authorities rationally. They say.

Key words and terms:

Comparison with press and other technical records of the state of SFP 4:
Pivotal events occurred on 14, 15 March 2011 and the Japanese government, the IAEA and disaster response measure changes on those days all confirm that these pivotal events did indeed occur. These events are recorded by the following official, qualified and press sources:

Questions to be put to Mr Shepherd, author, Caltech: