In December 2018, the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) and Green Party of the United States (GPUS) requested the United Nations to take over the crippled nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (Fuku) in Japan.
Letter distributed outside the Victoria Park Plaza, London, 6 December 2018:
Nuclear Industry Association Conference, London 2018
We have come yet again to warn you of your error in pursuing nuclear power, and to turn back before some Toshiba-type catastrophe descends on you. As you no doubt know, Toshiba had to sell off the only money-making venture it had, its memory chip business, for $18 billion US, just to stay afloat after its disastrous dabble in civilian nuclear power. Its subsidiary, Westinghouse, former grandee of the US nuclear business, has lost £7.7 billion (at least) through delays and problems at the 2 nuclear plants it was building in the USA, nearly sinking its parent, Toshiba, who declared losses of £7.3 billion in 2017 alone. This year, “Toshiba recognizes that the economically rational decision is to withdraw from the UK nuclear power plant construction project, [Moorside]” said the company. Please learn from them, before you too sink.
The thing is, a civilian nuclear power plant is not a money-maker without huge fistfuls of taxpayers’ money. Even the ones built 30 years ago and long since paid off are finding that they cannot compete with ever-cheaper wind and solar. 8 have closed in the last 5 years in the US, and more shutdowns are in the works, like Pilgrim in May, 2019. The 2 x 1.6GW reactors being built at Hinkley, near Bristol, could be replaced at half the cost by renewables, according to the UK Solar Association. These renewables could be built in 18 months, not 20 years. And they wouldn’t produce waste which will need to be guarded for 250,000 years. “The Intergenerational Foundation think tank calculated that Britain would pay up to £40bn less for renewable alternatives that would generate the equivalent power to Hinkley over the plant’s planned lifetime.” Guardian, 5 April 2016.
And how about this article from The Independent, 9 May 2016: “Physicist claims Hinkley Point deal means UK taxpayer could get £53bn bill to supply cheap nuclear energy to France.” According to Keith Barnham, emeritus professor of physics, Imperial College London, the total subsidy paid to the planned Hinkley Point nuclear power station by the hardworking British bill payers could reach a staggering £53 billion over its lifetime – and the main beneficiaries will be French. He argues that such is the likely growth of renewables that the UK will not actually need Hinkley’s electricity, so it will be sold abroad. And, he says, the most likely customers are in France, home of energy giant EDF, which is expected to build the plant.
All in all, the public are getting tired of financing these power plants. Even though we were assured they couldn’t possibly ever go wrong, so far they have averaged a meltdown every 10 years. And the argument that they are needed for ‘baseline’ electricity supply is no longer true. Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the company that operates the gas and power transmission networks in the UK and in the northeastern US, believes the idea of large coal-fired or nuclear power stations to be used for baseload power is outdated: “From a consumer’s point of view, the solar on the rooftop is going to be the baseload.” Energy Post EU, 11 September 2015,
So, all in all, nuclear industry, could do better, by helping set up the renewables and storage we need.
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The following letter was handed to delegates and passersby at the WNA (World Nuclear Association) Symposium in London, on September 14th 2017:
We are here in front of your symposium to try and point out the recent changes in the world of energy, and help you avoid wasting time and our money on yesterday’s technology.
The UK energy auction held last Monday resulted in a price of £57.50/MWh for offshore wind, about half the price of two years ago. This puts the £92.50/MWh (index linked, so now over £100) awarded to Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to shame. These low costs of £57.50/MWh are bound to fall further in the near future, making Hinkley look more and more like a disastrous white elephant.
These price reductions in off-shore wind have been achieved by designing bigger turbines, specialised ships and infrastructure for installation of the wind farms, and cheaper finance costs due to increased confidence and interest. Meanwhile, the costs of nuclear only continue to climb.
The 60 year old nuclear industry has only ever known rising costs and growing delays. Increasingly expensive safety measures have flowed from the major meltdowns or accidents that have occurred every 10 years, and the costs and dangers have led to the public not wanting any more nuclear power to be built. Windscale 1957, Three Mile Island 1979, Chernobyl 1986 and now 3 times Fukushima 2011 have exhausted our patience with ‘Health and Safety by trial and error’, with your industry left bleating that now it is safer because it has learnt from the most recent catastrophe. The worst that wind and solar can do is produce too much energy on a sunny day, whereas nuclear can destroy a third of your country if it encounters a mishap. Not to mention saddling dozens of generations with the costs of guarding our waste. Not good.
You are losing the support of the media. The Economist Intelligence Unit said “the trajectory of cheaper renewable technologies is irreversible”. The formerly pro-Hinkley Lib Dems said the breakthrough should prompt a rethink of the government’s energy plans (Vince Cable). Even The Times; “It is also a clear signal that nuclear energy on the scale of Hinkley Point is fast being left behind”.
Even China is turning away from nuclear. Last year it installed 34.5 GW of solar, and a further 24GW of capacity in the first 6 months of this year, as well as 19.3 GW/h of wind. Both the EPR reactors from France and the AP 1000 reactors from Westinghouse are 3 or 4 years behind schedule, and China has not approved further reactors for several years. The recent bankruptcy of Westinghouse has led to the probable cancellation of any further plans for Chinese AP 1000s, and has brought down Westinghouse’s parent company Toshiba, which is now scrambling to sell off its sole money-making possession, its chip business, to stave off its own bankruptcy. Toshiba has announced that it will not attempt any more nuclear construction. The sums just do not add up, and you lot should take notice of Toshiba’s experience.
The flagship french nuclear construction company Areva has also recently gone bankrupt and undergone a forced marriage with the likewise French state-owned EDF. Which itself would be closed tomorrow if not propped up by the state. It seems only state-owned companies can build nuclear power stations anywhere in the world these days. Again, the sums just do not add up, and only a states’ desire for nuclear weapons allows these dinosaurs to lumber forward.
Never mind. GE announced last month that it had just installed 5 GW of wind energy in Brazil. That is 3 of your EPRs. Energy auctions in Germany earlier this year resulted in offshore wind farms being proposed at a strike price of zero euros per MWh. Only one percent of the North Seas’ potential for wind power has so far been used, so we suggest you start looking at how to participate in what promises to be a massive growth area in the future, and ditch your participation in last century’s failed promise of ‘energy too cheap to meter’. Didn’t turn out, but your engineering skills can still usefully serve the human race.
Pamphlet produced by Kick Nuclear, London. https://kicknuclear.com/
please scroll down for Japanese translation:
It is now 6 years since the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, and the Japanese authorities and nuclear industry are still manoeuvring to minimise the effects and marginalise the affected. The work of forgetting Fukushima goes on. Starting with denying for the first three months that they had even had a meltdown, let alone three, lying to the citizens who were trying to get out of the way of the plume, and now continuing with the cruel claim that it is the fear of radiation, the “phobia”, rather than exposure to the radioactivity released during the meltdowns that causes the damage. We watched on our TVs as the plants exploded, but now a few years have slid by and most have moved on, drawn away by other disasters. Meanwhile the radioactivity continues to contaminate the soil, air, water, food and bodies of the Japanese, triggering not just cancers but also strokes and a whole host of other radiogenic illnesses.
The well-respected Physicians for Social Responsibility reported that at least 10,000 cases of cancer will occur in Japan as a result of the meltdown, and laments that the full impact of Fukushima may never be known. This is due to Japan’s failure to immediately and fully track radiation exposures, as well as a “disturbing” lack of testing of the general population for radiation-related health effects such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, endocrine disease, miscarriage, foetal malformations, leukaemia, lymphomas and solid tumours.
Apart from the immediate cancer effects, 130,000 people have had their lives and communities shattered by the evacuations necessitated by the disaster. The village of Katsurao is a good example. Evacuated for five years, the chicken-or-egg nightmare continues even when the former residents want to return to their village. The town’s two factories, which made camera parts, are long gone, set up elsewhere, so there is no work to return to. 50%, yes – one half – of the agricultural land around the village is now stacked 5 metres high with black plastic bags full of radioactive waste from the clean-up and decontamination. So there’s little work in the fields either. Many don’t want to buy produce from there anyway. All the couples with children have gone, so the school closed. They won’t return as there is no school and with no kids the school won’t return.
Moreover, most parents don’t want to bring their kids back to a still-contaminated area, as kids are especially sensitive to radiation, as their cells are dividing more rapidly as they grow. Some older people have returned, saying ‘I want to die in the village where I grew up’. But younger people have found jobs, made friends and grown new ‘roots’, in the areas where they’ve been living for the last five years, so they don’t want to return. So the village is permanently damaged. Less people – less resources like hospitals and shops. Less hospitals and shops – less attractive to return to. It can take hundreds of years for a village or town to evolve; you can’t just remove and scatter its people for five years and then expect it to return to how it was. 10 million 1 square metre black bags of waste now blight the landscape of Fukushima province.
Cost estimates for the catastrophe – cleanup, compensation and decommissioning – have recently doubled, to $190 billion.
The uncertainty about ionising radiation is doing enormous damage, as people cotton on to the lack of honesty from a government firmly in the pocket of the nuclear industry aka the ‘nuclear village’. The worldwide limit for exposure for a citizen to ionising radiation from a nuclear power plant is one millisievert a year. The Japanese government just raised this to twenty millisieverts a year, setting this as the limit up to which land would be declared habitable. Therefore housing subsidies, enabling 6,531 voluntarily evacuated households to live elswehere, will be terminated in March 2017. Yet a worker was just declared eligible for compensation as his leukaemia had been caused by his work in the nuclear industry, mostly at Fukushima, with a total, cumulative dose of 19.8 millisieverts. 19.8 can cause leukaemia, yet 20 a year, every year, for citizens is acceptable. Outrageous.
The ice wall seems to be only partly working; the NRA said it isn’t sufficiently preventing the groundwater from entering the site, where it becomes contaminated. Indeed, the ice wall will only last a few years anyway, until the groundwater erodes the land around it. So Tepco have been told to rely on pumping up the groundwater, and double the number of water storage tanks, rather than rely on the ice wall. The new problem is that Tepco have moved from having 4 cubes (the reactor buildings) full of deadly water to having a much larger ‘bathtub’, containing the 4 cubes, now also full of deadly water. Any future crack in the ice wall, or the rock under it, will mean that this much larger mass of contaminated water will move out into the environment. They say that the lack of water current through the basements means the ‘bathtub’ water won’t be poisoned; but anyone knows that if you drop a few teabags into a still bath the whole bath will be tea-coloured within a few days. It’s called diffusion. The authorities floated the idea of just covering the Fukushima Daiichi site with concrete and leaving it, but public outrage soon made them withdraw that idea.
The Niida river in Minimasoma has been found to have 29,500 Bq/kg of radioactive contamination concentrated in its sediment. To compare, anything with radiation levels above 100 Bq/kg used to be considered to be hazardous nuclear waste. Since the Fukushima meltdowns, this has been raised to 8,000 Bq/kg.
5,000 tons of Fukushima fish and crab was smuggled out to China via Vietnam, relabelled, and sold on. That’s one we know of because they were caught. How many others?
Radioactive Caesium from Fukushima has now crossed the Pacific ocean to reach the shores of Oregon, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
All this downplaying of the damage done, just to continue with the nuclear industry, when wind and solar are now so much cheaper, and utterly safe. Shame.
www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003439790 www.ijpr.org/post/tests-find-lingering-radiation- japan-our-shores#stream/0
we also recommend: http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/
Leaflet by Kick Nuclear: http://www.kicknuclear.com
福島 最新情報 2017年春
「Physicians for Social Responsibility（社会的責任を果たす医師団、PSR）」 の報告書によると、福島の原発事故が原因のがん患者は少なくとも1万人に達する見通しです。しかしPSRは、残念ながらこうした被害の全容が明らかにされることは決してないだろうと嘆いています。その理由は、日本政府が即座に全力で放射線被害を食い止めることを怠ったうえ、放射能の影響で引き起こされかねない心臓発作、心血管・内分泌（ホルモン）疾患、流産、胎児奇形、白血病、リンパ腫、腫瘍について全人口を対象に調べていないことにあります。
twitter: @remembFukushima • facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rememberfukushima311
Tuesday 21 February 2017
Room 116, main building
SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), London WC1H OXG
‘Fukushima: The Silent Voices’, a film by Chiho Sato and Lucas Rue
19:00 – screening, followed by a Q&A with the directors
EXHIBITION & FILM
Thursday 2 March 2017
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL
’20 millisieverts a year’ an exhibition about Fukushima by Lis Fields
Exhibition opening reception:
18:00 – 19:30
screening of ‘Nuclear Japan’ a documentary about Fukushima, by lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai
19:30 – 22:00
Friday 10 March 2017
outside Japanese Embassy, 101 Piccadilly, London W1
17:30 – 19:30
speakers and performers to be announced
MARCH ON PARLIAMENT
Saturday 11 March 2017
assemble outside Japanese Embassy, 101 Piccadilly, London W1
12:00 for start at 12:30
In front of Statue of George, Old Palace Yard opposite Parliament
14:00 – to approx 16:00
PARLIAMENTARY PUBLIC MEETING
RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 15 March 2017
19:00 – 21:00
Committe Room 9, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1
nearest tube station: westminster
please arrive at the Cromwell Green (8) entrance at least 20 minutes early to ensure enough time to pass through security:
The following letter was handed to delegates and passersby at the WNA (World Nuclear Association) Symposium in London, on September 15th 2016:
World Nuclear Association Symposium 2016
We are here to again try to get you up to speed on the current energy market situation.
The verdict is in: solar and wind have won the technology race. As Rainer Baake, Germany’s minister in charge of the Energiewende, points out:
“We have learned how to produce electricity with wind and large-scale solar at the same cost level as new coal or gas generators. The question about the Energiewende is not a question about technology any more. We have them. It is not a question about costs, because these new technologies produce at the same costs as the last ones, as new coal or gas. And, I should point out, they are much cheaper than nuclear. The question now is whether we will be able to reinvent the power system so it can operate efficiently at reasonable cost and security with growing penetration of wind and solar.”
Led by Germany, Europe installed a record amount of renewables last year, and renewables now account for 29% of Europe’s electricity generation. While carbon emissions did not fall substantially last year, they are expected to resume their decline in 2016. Emissions fell by 7.5% in 2014. The trend is clear, irreversible and likely to accelerate.
In China too: wind and solar rose by 21% and 64% respectively in 2015 over 2014. The Chinese are installing one new large wind turbine an hour and an area the size of a football pitch of solar panels every hour as well. The head of their national grid agrees with the head of the UK national grid that the era of central baseload electricity generation is coming to an end, to be replaced by flexible systems in which ever-cheaper renewable generation is balanced by demand-side response, interconnection, storage and rapidly-responding gas-fired units.
All this raises the question whether your Hinkley Point C project would usher in a new era of white-hot technology, or perpetuate the age of the dinosaurs. The agreed strike price of £92.50 MWh, (rising to £120 MWh by the time it operates) is at least double the current wholesale price of electricity, and would lock consumers into this mega-expensive electricity for 35 years. Whereas last month, Dong Energy announced it was going ahead with two 350MW offshore wind farms off Holland at a cost of £61.60 MWh (72.70 Euros). 92 versus 61?
Then there are Hinkley’s other problems: two court cases against it, 7 out of 17 of EDF’s board against it, resignations of the Finance Director and another board member, the French trade unions against it (in an election year), the wrong steel used in it (meaning it might have to be ripped out and started again), the price of the French and Finnish EPRs more than tripling and their finish-dates ever receding, (Flamanville is now 6 years late), the continuing failure to find a long-term safe storage for the waste produced – even after 70 years of your industry, and of course the risk of destroying a third of the country as the result of an accident or terrorist incident. Small wonder even the Conservatives are having a little sit-down-and-think about this. Small wonder the French business newspaper Les Echos has come up with a new name for the EPR: Enormous Problems to Resolve.
The fact is the costs in your industry are constantly rising, while costs for solar, wind and other renewables are constantly falling. You have never built a reactor anywhere without huge chunks of government money. You have had a meltdown on average every ten years, despite promising every time that each one will be the last. You produce very few jobs per billion pounds, (900 permanent jobs at Hinkley for £24 billion) yet solar feed-in-tariffs have been axed to save at most £150 million a year, while destroying 18,700 out of the 32,000 jobs in the solar industry. Germany meanwhile has lost 30,000 jobs by pulling out of nuclear, but created 450,000 jobs in renewables. In short, your numbers don’t add up any more. And while the average life-cycle carbon emissions of your plants are better than coal, they are far worse than all the renewables. Nuclear produces 66g CO2/kWh, solar PV 50g, wind (various configurations) 34g, and solar thermal (800MW, trough) 13g, to give some examples. So the ‘we need nuclear to save the climate’ dog just does not hunt…
Anyway, you’ll get a few more gala dinners out of it all, but enjoy them well, for their days are numbered.
Pamphlet written by Kick Nuclear, London. More info available at: http://www.kicknuclear.com.
Information on the catastrophe at Fukushima available at: http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/