Nuclear Newsreel, Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Two former PMs team up to turn Tokyo Governor’s race into referendum on nuclear power. This could turn out to be a significant “off-year” election as two popular former Prime Ministers team up (one running for Governor, the other in support of the candidacy) to explicitly challenge current Prime Minister Abe’s policies on nuclear power in Japan’s most populated region.

New study finds it would take 12 hours to 5+ days to evacuate 18-mile zones around Japanese reactors. For Americans, two important takeaways: 1) Japan has an 18-mile (30 kilometer) emergency evacuation zone–a lesson from Fukushima. The U.S. has learned from neither Fukushima nor Chernobyl that its current 10-mile zones are inadequate to protect the public. 2) There is little reason to believe that it would be any easier to evacuate U.S. areas near reactors any faster than in Japan. NIRS launched a campaign in 2012 to expand emergency evacuation zones and improve emergency planning generally. You can learn more about this–and actions you can take–on NIRS Nuclear 911 site here.

Omnibus spending bill includes $ for failed Yucca Mt radwaste project & unfathomable GOP support for obsolete light bulbs. Republican (and to the best of my knowledge it’s only Republican but I’m happy to correct that if I’m wrong) support for obsolete incandescent lightbulbs is simply beyond my comprehension. Yes, let’s ensure everyone can spend more money than they need to and waste more energy! Because obsolete technology says we can! Sheesh. Come to think of it, I guess that’s the same kind of thinking that leads to support of obsolete nuclear power….Meanwhile, the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) points out that the provision could cost American jobs. U.S. manufacturers are no longer making incandescents since current law, enacted under President Bush in 2007, prohibits their sale. The main effect of this provision, which would prohibit the government from enforcing the law, would be to allow foreign producers of lightbulbs to sell their obsolete products in the U.S.

Russia to build 2 new reactors in Hungary and lend country $10 Billion Euros to do so. Just what Hungary needs: more debt to Russia and two dangerous new reactors at its Paks site, where two aging reactors already operate. But the deal could still be scuttled depending on the results of elections later this year.

German court rules shutdown of Biblis nuclear station was unlawful, utility can now sue for damages. The court didn’t say the reactor must be re-opened, and that is highly unlikely. But it opens the way for the government to have to pay damages to Biblis’ owner, the giant utility RWE, and perhaps some other utilities whose reactors were shutdown in 2011 in the aftermath of Fukushima and adoption of Germany’s plan to go nuclear free. However, the damages are not likely to be huge: unreported here is that this decision only involves a reactor moratorium order over a three month period in 2011 and not the permanent shutdown order. And it doesn’t cover reactors at two sites–Krümmel and Brunsbütte–that weren’t operating at the time

Michael Mariotte



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