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What If the Biggest Solar Storm on Record Happened Today?
Repeat of 1859 Carrington Event would devastate modern world, experts say.
Richard A. Lovett
Published March 2, 2011
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Solar flare could unleash nuclear holocaust across planet Earth, forcing hundreds of nuclear power plants into total meltdowns
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com
The dispersal model is ASR’s Pol3DD. The model is forced by hydrodynamic data from theHYCOM/NCODA system which provides on a weekly basis, daily oceanic current in the world ocean. The resolution in this part of the Pacific Ocean is around 8km x 8km cells. We are treating only the sea surface currents. Particles in the model are continuously released near the Fukushima Daiichi power plant since March 11th. The dispersal model keeps a trace of their visits in the model cells. The results here are expressed in number of visit per surface area of material which has been in contact at least once with the highly concentrated radioactive water.
Cesium in Pacific likely to flow back to Japan in 20-30 years
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Radioactive cesium that was released into the ocean in the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant is likely to flow back to Japan’s coast in 20 to 30 years after circulating in the northern Pacific Ocean in a clockwise pattern, researchers said Wednesday.
Researchers at the government’s Meteorological Research Institute and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry disclosed the findings at a meeting of the Geochemical Society of Japan, an academic association, in Sapporo.
The researchers estimated that the amount of radioactive cesium-137 that was directly released into the sea came to 3,500 terabecquerels over the period from March to the end of May, while estimating that roughly 10,000 terabecquerels fell into the ocean after it was released into the air.
One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels. Cesium-137, which has a relatively long half life of about 30 years, can accumulate in the muscles once it is in the body and can cause cancer.
A total of 13,500 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium-137 is slightly more than 10 percent of that of the residual substance left in the northern Pacific after previous nuclear tests, according to the researchers.
The researchers, including chief researcher Michio Aoyama of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s research institute, analyzed how the radioactive material dispersed in the sea during the latest accident, using data on radioactive materials detected after the nuclear tests.
According to the analysis, the cesium is expected to first disperse eastward into the northern Pacific from the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, via relatively shallow waters about 200 meters deep or less.
The cesium will then be carried southwestward from the eastern side of the International Date Line at a depth of 400 meters before some of it returns to the Japanese coast carried northward by the Japan Current from around the Philippines.
The analysis showed that some of the cesium will flow into the Indian Ocean from near the Philippines, and in another 40 years will reach the Atlantic, while some will turn westward south of the equator after reaching the eastern end of the Pacific and crossing the equator.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the crisis-hit plant, said about 1,000 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium had leaked into the sea from cracks at the plant.
The researchers’ estimate, which was calculated using the density of cesium detected in seawater, is more than triple that.
“To get a complete picture of cesium-137 released in the accident, we need highly precise measurements across the Pacific,” Aoyama said before Wednesday’s meeting.
(Mainichi Japan) September 14, 2011
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Nation could get 43% of power from renewable energy by ’20, report says
OSAKA — Japan could phase out nuclear power by the end of next year and generate 43 percent of its electricity by 2020 from renewable energy, according to a report compiled by Greenpeace International and the Tokyo-based Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies.
To meet these goals, Greenpeace and ISEP called on Japan to reduce electricity demand by 1.7 percent a year on average between now and 2020. Other proposals are to use more liquid natural gas, which releases less emissions than coal or oil-fired plants.
The report, released Monday, calls for emphasizing two renewable energy sources for power generation. This includes official policies to increase the average annual wind power market from about 220 megawatts in 2010 to around 6,000 megawatts by 2020, and increasing the solar photovoltaic (PV) market from 990 megawatts in 2010 to 6,700 megawatts by 2020.
The report predicts clean energy sector jobs could triple by 2015, reaching 326,000, compared with projections of 81,500 for a business-as-usual approach. Of these new jobs, about 144,000 are expected to be created in the solar PV industry.
“With only 11 out of 54 reactors online at the height of summer and little impact to daily life, Japan has already proven that by conserving energy it does not need nuclear power. Our plan is ambitious, but this is exactly what Japan needs: ambitious solutions that provide jobs, energy independence, and ensure a safe, clean and sustainable future,” said Hisayo Takada, Greenpeace Japan’s climate and energy campaigner.
For the plan to become reality, Greenpeace and ISEP have drawn up a list of actions the central government needs to take.
This includes an effective feed-in tariff program.
Hydrogen dissolved from water exploded at Fukushima nuclear reactor: experts
The No. 4 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant exploded four days after the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami, and experts believe the explosion occurred partly because huge amounts of hydrogen were produced in the process of water being dissolved by radiation in a boiling spent nuclear fuel pool.
A group of researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency made an analysis of the hydrogen explosion at the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima nuclear power station. The finding will be announced at the Atomic Energy Society of Japan meeting in Kitakyushu that kicks off on Sept. 19. Radiation dissolves water into hydrogen and other elements.
When the explosion occurred, there were 1,535 fuel rods in the fuel pool of the No. 4 reactor, the largest number among the No. 1 to 4 reactors. When the Great East Japan Earthquake struck, the No. 4 reactor was suspended for regular inspections, but it lost power supply to the tsunami. The explosion occurred at the reactor on March 15, four days after the quake-triggered tsunami, because it lost cooling functions.
In reference to the No. 1 and 3 reactors where hydrogen explosions occurred, hydrogen is believed to have been produced from damaged fuel rods in the reactors. But there was no serious damage to the fuel rods in the No. 4 reactor. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear complex, assumes that hydrogen entered the No. 4 reactor from the No. 3 reactor through a common exhaust pipe and exploded.
Nevertheless, the team of experts noted the fact that there was a gap of about 20 hours between the explosions at the No. 3 and 4 reactors and came to suspect that there could be other factors involved. When radiation was applied to water in flasks in three stages — water at room temperature, at 97 degrees Celsius, and at the boiling point — the amount of hydrogen produced at 97 degrees Celsius was 1.5 times larger than that at room temperature and 100 times that at boiling point.
Hydrogen can explode when its concentration in air surpasses 4 percent. Steam that was stuck to the upper parts of the reactor building became water again when it cooled down, but the hydrogen is believed to have remained in gas form and increased its concentration in the air.
“In addition to the hydrogen entering from the No. 3 reactor, water was probably dissolved into hydrogen by radiation. We want to verify whether it will occur in an environment in sizes equal to those of the reactor building or the spent nuclear fuel pool,” said Yosuke Katsumura, professor of radiation chemistry at the University of Tokyo.
(Mainichi Japan) September 14, 2011
Edano’s comeback ruffles feathers in industry ministry, power industry
Yukio Edano at a news conference after he was appointed as industry minister on Sept. 12 (The Asahi Shimbun)
The appointment of Yukio Edano as new industry minister has not gone down well with the ministry he now heads, or the electric power industry.
In his old job as chief Cabinet secretary, Edano was the government’s spokesman in dealing with questions about the disaster at the quake-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
In that position, he supported Naoto Kan, then prime minister, on lessening Japan’s dependence on nuclear power generation.
Immediately prior to a Sept. 12 news conference to announce his new post, a senior official asked Edano if he needed to be briefed on energy policy by bureaucrats in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
Edano replied, “I don’t need it as I know almost everything (about energy policies).”
As it happened, Edano knew beforehand precisely what the government wanted him to say.
In his previous position as the government’s public face, Edano appeared on television numerous times to explain developments at the crippled reactor.
According to his supporters, Edano is actually well-versed in energy issues and fully realizes the intentions of the industry ministry and the electric power industry.
Along with Kan, Edano promoted not only review of the government’s energy programs but also its policies to transform Japan into a country that does not rely on nuclear power to generate electricity.
On the issue of compensation to be paid by Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima plant, Edano insisted that financial institutions should voluntarily waive their credits to TEPCO. This put him into sharp conflict with Kaoru Yosano, then state minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy.
As for conditions to restart nuclear reactors shut down for safety checks, Edano worked for the introduction of two-stage stress tests that Kan had pushed for.
Like Kan, Edano has a strong distrust of the industry ministry and the electric power industry.
For this reason, he is expected to follow Kan’s lead on energy policy.
A key issue that is now attracting attention is whether Edano can dissolve what is known as the “nuclear power village.” Under this cozy arrangement, electric power utilities and bureaucrats with vested interests work closely to promote nuclear power generation.
As for the idea of splitting electric power companies into separate divisions, each responsible for power generation and transmission, Edano said in the Sept. 12 news conference, “I will tackle this issue from scratch.”
An industry ministry official labeled Edano a “leftist,” on grounds that he takes a strict stance against big companies.
“There is a strong possibility that he will promote the division of electric power companies (into two separate entities),” the official said.
The electric power industry also doesn’t trust Edano.
“Appointing him industry minister is the worst possible choice for the electric power industry,” said a person with close ties to the industry.
With Edano in charge of the industry ministry, there are fears that he will move swiftly to drastically change the current regional monopolies held by electric power companies.
Edano has also taken a negative position against planned increases in electricity bills as part of TEPCO’s compensation package, saying, “Efforts by the company (to streamline itself) are an (indispensable) prerequisite.”
An executive of a leading bank said that if taxpayers are shouldered with the added burden of higher electricity bills, “Edano may tell the banks that they, too, should bear (part of the cost).”
Edano will also be responsible for helping to decide whether Japan should participate in negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership, which aims for freer trade. In this respect, Edano is more upbeat about this than his predecessor, Yoshio Hachiro.
But even on this point, business leaders are cautious because of Edano’s stance with regard to electric power companies.
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), said with irony at a Sept. 12 news conference, “I want Edano to devote more study to economic matters.”