Tag: nuclear waste

Fukushima update: spring 2017

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[1] 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[2].  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[3].

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[4]. Shame.

[1]www.psr.org/resources/fukushima-report-2016.html

[2]www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003439790 [3]www.ijpr.org/post/tests-find-lingering-radiation- japan-our-shores#stream/0

[4]www.cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar- power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/

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

福島第一原子力発電所で原子炉3基が炉心溶融(メルトダウン)を起こしてから6年が過ぎました。日本政府や原発業界はいまだに被害を小さくみせかけようとし、被害を受けた方々と真剣に向き合っていません。福島を忘れようとする取り組みが続いています。事故後3か月間にわたりメルトダウンが起きていることを全く認めなかっただけでなく、プルーム(放射線物質の雲状のかたまり)を避けようとする住民に正しい情報を提供せず、「メルトダウンで放出された有害な放射性物質にさらされていることではなく、放射能を不安に思う『心理』が問題だ」という聞くに堪えないひどい主張が今も続いています。海外のテレビでも原子炉の爆発する様子が映し出されましたが、もう数年が経過し、他の災害にも対処しなければならない中、多くの関心が他へ移りつつあります。その間も引き続き放射性物質は土壌、大気、水、食品、人々の体に取り込まれ、がんだけでなく心臓発作など、放射能が原因となるさまざまな疾患を引き起こしています。

「Physicians for Social Responsibility(社会的責任を果たす医師団、PSR)」 の報告書[1]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。

がんなどの発症という被害に加え、放射能汚染から避難するために13万人の方々が住み慣れた土地を追われ、故郷も荒廃しました。葛尾村はその一例です。避難指示が5年ぶりに解除されましたが、戻りたい住民がいても、人口の回復が先か、インフラの再整備が先か分からない悪夢は終わりません。カメラの部品を作っていた2つの工場はとっくに別の場所へ移転したため、前の仕事はありません。農地は半分もが5メートルの高さに積み上がったビニール袋(フレコンバッグ)に覆われています。各フレコンバッグには除染作業で集められた放射性廃棄物が目いっぱい詰め込まれています。つまり、農地を耕すこともほとんどできません。わざわざこの土地で育った作物を買いたいという人も多くありません。子どものいる夫婦は去っていったため、学校も閉鎖されました。学校がなければ子どもは戻りませんし、子どもが戻らなければ学校が再開されることもありません。親の多くは、細胞分裂が活発で放射能の影響を受けやすい子どもを、まだ汚染されている地域に戻そうとは思いません。お年寄りは「育った村で息を引きとりたい」と戻ってくる場合もあります。しかし過去5年間に移り住んだ土地で仕事を見つけ、人間関係を築いた若者は戻ろうとしません。村はもう取り返しのつかない被害を受けてしまったのです。住人が少なくなれば、病院や商店などのインフラも乏しくなります。それが一層、人々の帰還を難しくします。1つの村や町が発展するには何百年もかかることがあります。住民を5年もの間ちりぢりにしておいて、元通りに戻ってこいというわけにはいきません。1立法メートルの黒いフレコンバッグが1千万個、福島県の農村地帯を覆っています。福島原発事故の処理にかかる費用の見積もりは最近になってこれまでの2倍に引き上げられ、除染、賠償、廃炉を含めて21兆5000億円に上るとみられています。

「原子力村」に深く取り込まれた政府には誠実さのかけらもなく、電離放射線被害をめぐる先行き不透明感は悪影響を及ぼしています。世界的に、そして日本でも少し前までは、一般市民の被ばく線量が年間1ミリシーベルト(mSv)までと定められてきました。日本政府は基準値を年間20mSvへ引き上げ、ここまでの放射線量の地域であれば居住可能と宣言し、自主避難者のうち6531世帯に対する公的な住宅支援を2017年3月で打ち切ります。[2]しかし、福島原発などで就業した後に白血病を発症して労災が最近認定された原発作業員の累積被ばく量は19.8mSvでした。この数値で白血病が発症するにもかかわらず、一般市民が毎年20mSvの被ばくを許されるなど言語道断です。

凍土壁は部分的にしか機能していません。原子力規制委員会は、凍土壁で十分に地下水の侵入を食い止められていないと指摘しています。福島第一原発の敷地内に入り込んだ地下水は放射能で汚染されていきます。凍土壁はそもそも、地下の汚染水がその回りの土地を浸食して流れ出すまでの数年しか役割を果たせないと考えられています。そのため東京電力は、凍土壁に頼らずに地下水をくみ上げ、貯水タンクを倍に増やすことが求められています。東電にとっての新たな問題は、致死的に汚染された水が4つの原子炉建屋にたまっていた状態から、4つの建屋が入った巨大な「浴槽」にやはり致死的に危険な汚染水がたまっている状態へ変わったことです。凍土壁やその下の地盤に割れ目が生じれば、さらに大量の汚染水が環境中に流れ出すでしょう。『浴槽』内では「地下水に流れがないため汚染されない」という嘘もまかり通っています。しかし皆さん、浴槽の中にティーバッグをいくつか入れて数日も経過すれば、水が全て茶色に染まることはご存じでしょう。拡散という現象です。日本政府は福島第一原発をコンクリートで覆ってそのままにするという案を検討していましたが、世論の大きな反発に遭って撤回しました。

南相馬を流れる新田川の堆積物では1キログラム当たり2万9500ベクレル(Bq/kg)もの放射線量が確認されています。ちなみに、かつては100Bq/kgを超えると放射性廃棄物と定義されていました。福島の原発事故後は放射性廃棄物の基準値が8000Bq/kgに引き上げられました。

福島沖で捕獲された5000トンの魚やカニが中国経由でベトナムへ隠れて輸出され、不正確な表示で売られています。これは逮捕されて発覚した事例ですが、公になっていない事例はどれだけあることでしょうか。

ウッズホール海洋研究所によれば[3]、福島から流れてきた放射性セシウムが太平洋を渡り、今やオレゴン州沖で観測されています。

被害を低く見せかける数々の取り組みは、原発業界を存続させるためです。風力や太陽光による安全な発電がどんどん安くなっている[4]のに、恥ずかしいことです。

[1] www.psr.org/resources/fukushima-report-2016.htm

[2] www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/003439790

[3] www.ijpr.org/post/tests-find-lingering-radiation-japan-our-shores#stream/0

[4] www.cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas

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Kick Nuclear Supports ‘Stop Moorside’ Demonstration outside of Whitehaven Civic Hall on Saturday May 16th, 2015

Kick Nuclear wish to express their support for Radiation Free Lakeland in their objections to plans for building a new nuclear power station at Moorside.

The plans are for three very large nuclear reactors with a combined capacity of 3,400MW of energy to be built at the site. The present joint owners of the project are 60% the Japanese company Toshiba and 40% the French one, GDF Suez (renamed “Engie” last month) and the reactors they intend to build are AP1000 pressurised water reactors, which are also designed and built by Toshiba,.

We wish to put four objections to these plans:

1) Many studies have shown that nuclear reactors leak radiation into the surrounding ground and air and cause a rise in radiation-linked disease such as leukaemia in children living in the surrounding area.

See:-

http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/childhood-leukemias-near-nuclear-power-st…

2) The Sellafield area is already the most polluted area in the British Isles in terms of radioactivity and the aim should be to get rid of all the radioactive pollution in the area and not add to it.

3) When things go wrong with nuclear reactors, as at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the consequences can be catastrophic. We should not take that risk.

4) Nuclear reactors produce large amounts of nuclear waste containing many radioactive substances some of which have half-lives lasting tens of thousands of years. We should not leave such a legacy for future generations to have to deal with and suffer the health effect of.

on ‘Nonviolence and Nuclear Power’

Introduction to London Nonviolence Discussion Group meeting on “Nonviolence and Nuclear Power” that took place at Housmans, London on 9/6/15

In spite of the title I’ve been given I will talk about violence and nuclear power, since I think I am clearer about what violence is. I will leave the question of non-violence in relation to nuclear power to be dealt with in discussion.

At the top end of violence lies “premeditated murder”. An example might be my buying a gun with the aim of killing a particular person with it and carrying out that intention.

Since the decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki was made in advance with the knowledge that many people would die as a result of the bombing, that would seem to serve as an example of premediated mass murder. That it was carried out during a war and that the aim was not to kill anybody in particular does not to my mind make it any less mass murder.

When we come to nuclear power, I also think a case for premeditated murder at least with the knowledge we have now. Earlier on in the nuclear age it could be that said the detrimental health effects to those in the vicinity of nuclear power stations were not known or suspected. However in recent times, to take one example, study after study has shown that the incidence of childhood leukaemia among children living within a certain distance from nuclear power stations is much greater (to the extent of 37% within 50kms of almost all NPPs in the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland according to a summation of studies into the incidence made by Ian Fairlie and published in 2014) than among the general population in the area lying outside that. In these circumstances it is extremely probable that the presence of the nuclear power stations causes this increase But this means that those continuing to operate nuclear power stations in the knowledge that this is the case are doing so with the knowledge that this operation will result in injury and presumably premature deaths of a certain proportion of children in the vicinity, so how is this any less the premeditated causing of injury and death to those children affected than in the deliberate shooting case? Or, in the latter case, making those responsible guilty of premeditated murder?

It is not sufficient defence against these charges for those responsible for the operation of the power stations continuing to say they disbelieve the statistics or think some other factor than the operation of the power stations caused the increase in cases. Unless and until it can be shown that there is some other explanation for the increased cases of leukaemia, then on the precautionary principle this evidence should lead to the closure of the power stations.

An analogy would be with the case of smoking. For a long time there seemed to be some evidence that smoking was harmful to health but this was disputed. The precautionary principle would dictate that people should give up smoking in case the evidence was correct, until it was disproved.

One sort of argument that might be thought to justify continuing to run nuclear power stations even though they produced this toll of injuries and death would be that the good that they produced for society outweighed the harm they produced.

This may not seem a very strong sort of argument when there seem alternative ways to that of nuclear power of producing the heat and light, manufacture and transport of goods which are so necessary for the survival and wellbeing of individuals and societies.

However, if we take another analogy – that of coal-mining – perhaps the kind of justification involved becomes clearer. For a long time before the nuclear age, we relied on coal to produce energy for the above purposes. Coal was produced by coal mining which caused death and injury to many thousands of miners. However these deaths and injuries were not generally seen as sufficient reason for stopping coal mining; so it must have been thought that the good produced by coal was thought to outweigh the harm to miners coal mining involved. (It might have helped it’s true that those affected, miners, were generally seen as a separate and indeed inferior kind of human being.)

A similar defence is sometimes put forward for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – that the bombings ended the war and thus saved thousands of lives. This is often put in racist terms, that the bombings saved thousands of Allied lives with the implication that the ultimately hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives caused by the bombings didn’t count and nor did any Japanese lives saved by the bombing. In any case there’s something dubious in justifying actual enormous death and destruction now on the possible good that might be achieved in the future.

How else my nuclear power stations be seen as violent? I will make some suggestions.

  • In general countries interested in having nuclear weapons have seen building nuclear power stations as a way to acquiring them. Fuel for nuclear power stations needs enrichment of their radioactive isotope concentration, which is done by means of centrifuges. All that has to be done to produce material for atom bombs is to enrich the uranium much more by the same process. Also the uranium fuel rods in operation in the power station become a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides and this plutonium, which does not occur naturally, is required in thermonuclear devices. So nuclear power at least gives the means of producing atom bombs fairly easily and also make possible the production of thermonuclear bombs.

Are nuclear bombs violent in themselves, however, if they are not used?   I would say so, because the whole point of having them is surely to threaten that they would be used in certain circumstances and surely to threaten mass murder is itself a violent act whether or not this threat is ever carried out.

  • NPSs bequeath waste which will remain highly radioactive for many tens of thousands of years to future generations and will thus threaten them with injury and death through the escape of radiation.
  • The mining of the uranium ore required to fuel nuclear power stations involve the despoiling of the habitat of indigenous inhabitants and animals and death and injury to miners.
  • In spite of nuclear power stations not producing much CO2 in operation the whole operation of producing nuclear power requires many processes that produce a great deal of CO2 (from mining, refining, transport, fuel enrichment, building of power stations, their dismantling, building and maintenance of storage facilities for nuclear waste) and thus add to global warming with the threat it poses for human and animal life on this planet. (That many of these CO2-producing processes take place in foreign countries or even in future eras at most partly shifts the threat abroad or to the future.)

So the question I will leave with you to answer is how we get rid of nuclear power stations non-violently?

David Polden, June 2015

http://www.housmans.com

Statement to the Nuclear Energy in the UK conference – March 2015

Kick Nuclear Statement to the Nuclear energy in the UK: priorities for new build, funding and developing the supply chain conference, which was held on tuesday 3rd March 2015 at the Royal Society.

‘Nuclear Energy in the UK’ conference, March 2015.

We are here today at your nuclear industry conference to again try to bring a little realism to your deliberations. Wind, wave and solar are cheaper, cleaner, lower carbon and therefore loved more by everyone outside the nuclear power industry, and we are here to urge you to stop flogging your nuke horse, because it is dead.

Solar power costs have dropped 99% since 1977, 60% since 2011. And that decrease is not slowing down. On-shore wind has now dropped well below the strike price offered to the doomed Hinkley Point power station, and off-shore wind is getting close. In last week’s UK renewable energy auction, both on-shore wind and solar came in at around £80 MWh, cheaper than the £92.50 MWh offered to Hinkley Point nuclear power station. And Hinkley’s subsidy is linked to inflation for 35 years, by which time it will be worth around £320 MWh, according to calculations by the very-unimpressed Austrian government, who have taken the whole subsidy to court.

The truth is that nowhere, ever, has your industry built a nuclear reactor without a huge slab of government money. And if the true costs of both insuring against meltdown and disposing of the waste and the plant when eventually retired were included, your industry would be shown to be several times more expensive that the alternatives. If the cost of insurance, currently paid by government as another hidden subsidy, were included, the strike price of nuclear would rise to over £200 MWh. And the unreliability of nuclear power carries its own costs, as the National Grid has to have 1,800 MW of backup power on standby for when one of the 1,600 MW Hinkley reactors suddenly goes down, due to a swarm of jellyfish, (as in Torness recently), or other engineering problem. And these costs are spread across all sources, which means that wind and solar have to pay these costs so as to keep down the apparent cost of nuclear.

And why cling to an industry that has no plan for dealing with its own waste? The WIPP plant in New Mexico is a dedicated geological disposal facility built to hold waste for 10,000 years. It lasted 15 years before suffering a series of fires and explosions in barrels holding waste, caused by mixing of nitrate salts, lead gloves, cellulose based kitty litter, and improper (ie. fraudulent) labelling of contents. The explosions led to plutonium and other radioactive substances being ‘puffed’ up out of the ground, and drifting off to the nearest centre of human population, Carlsbad. Of course, nuclear industry supporters immediately chorused that the quantities were safe, were insignificant. But they always do, in spite of numerous scientific studies showing that there is no safe, lower limit of radiation exposure.

The following statement was printed as a leaflet and handed out to attendees of the Nuclear Energy In The UK conference in London, March 2015

We don’t understand how the nuclear industry can keep doing this to it’s own children; have they convinced themselves that ‘a little radiation is good for you’? Swallowed their own propaganda on ‘hormesis’?

Of course, the real killer for your industry is the fact, the fact, that you have a meltdown every seven years. Windscale, Three Mile Island, Tschernobyl, now triple Fukushimas; yet your industry continues to demand that we trust you to do better in the future, and that you’re really sorry and will try and avoid the corner-cutting, risk-taking, regulatory capture and bad practices that led to the last meltdown. Health and Safety by trial and error, where you get to keep the profits and we get to keep the cancer. If you had manfully fronted your disaster at Fukushima and actually admitted it was a catastrophe and that it would take serious money to deal with, ($500 billion), then you might have retained some respect for your scientific honesty and technological competence. But the main focus after Fukushima has only been restarting Japan’s other 48 nuclear plants, and so the population have been told to absorb in place, eat Fukushima food to help the zone recover, smile a lot and have a positive attitude, while half the medical community have accepted instructions to calm patient worries by denying any link to radiation for their complaints. While 400 tons of radioactive water a day continue to gush into the Pacific. ‘It’s OK, the Pacific is quite large’, your industry argues, having sworn blind since the 50’s that you would never unleash any radionuclides into the environment.

So use your technical knowledge of atoms and electrons to join us in solving the world’s energy needs in a safe, sustainable way, as urged by the Prime Minister of Japan during the Fukushima meltdowns, Mr Kan. He called nuclear ‘an unsafe and expensive technology that is not compatible with life on this planet.’

message to the Nuclear Industry Forum, London, June 23-24, 2015

The following message was printed as a flyer and handed out to attendees of the forum as they arrived as well as to passersby on the morning of June 23, 2015:

Nuclear Industry Forum 2015

We are here this morning to again advise you of the error of your ways. Civilian nuclear power was only ever a fig leaf for nuclear bomb making, and civilian nuclear power is no longer either cheap, needed or acceptable.

Don’t just take our word for it. The world’s major investment banks no longer back nuclear. This week, UBS released a report saying that within a decade, solar power will provide 10% of the world’s electricity supply, and that its growth rate will only continue to accelerate, beating coal and nuclear as the world’s default energy technology. “We believe the financial community and most industry experts largely underestimate the global solar capacity growth, as falling costs, supportive regulation and the opening up of new solar markets seem to go largely unnoticed.”

Or as Goldman Sachs put it last year, declining prices of solar plus storage mean that by 2033 homeowners will no longer need to be connected to the grid at all. “Power companies planning large reactors or continued operation of expensive old reactors will be in trouble in this new marketplace.” Boosting the prices charged for nuclear-generated electricity to protect these ageing monsters will only speed up defection from the grid.

Deutsche Bank went even further, predicting that within two years roof-top solar will reach grid parity in all 50 states in the US. US rooftop solar installation will, they say, rise from 8 GW this year to 16 GW in 2016. And this growth will only accelerate.

The real problem for your industry is that the costs of renewables are dropping rapidly, while the cost of nuclear is constantly rising. The crossover point, grid parity, was reached for the sunniest states in the US last year, and is even projected to reach the English Midlands within a year or two. Storage of the energy produced by renewables is the one remaining issue, but in principle it’s not difficult. Pump the water up the hill when energy is produced; let it run back down the hill through generators when you need it. And the announcement by Tesla of Powerwall batteries of 7 kWh capacity for $3500 is another nail in your industry’s coffin. You always played up the difficulties of storing electricity overnight, while downplaying the difficulties of storing your deadly waste for 100,000 years. Well, looks like that one is over for you..

Meanwhile, the ‘new’ French reactor, the EPR, is running into more problems every month. The flagship EPR reactor that Areva is building in Finland is 9 years late and has risen from €3.2 billion to €8.5 billion, which has led to the cancellation of a planned 2nd EPR on the site, (Olkiluoto 4), and a €10 billion court case between Areva and the Finnish power company. The reactor pressure vessel for the equally late and over-budget EPR in France has now been found to be made of steel with too much carbon in it, reducing its toughness, meaning any cracks that start will spread rapidly. And you’ve already welded on all the connections, so replacing the RPV will be horrendously expensive and time consuming. I doubt if the Chinese, who you also have delivered two similarly manufactured EPR RPVs to, are very impressed. Which, since you can’t build your desired EPR in Hinkley Point, near Bristol, without them, is quite serious. Even the massive dollop of English taxpayers cash offered the project, (twice the current price of electricity, index linked for 35 years) is on its own not enough for this cash-hungry dream project. One nuclear engineer (Tony Roulstone, Cambridge University) has described the EPR as too complex to actually build, “unconstructable”. Areva posted a loss of €4.83 billion in 2014, while its market capitalisation is around €3.29 billion. So the French Government has got EDF to take it over to spread the losses around. Ultimately, it’s the French taxpayer on the hook. But then you have never, anywhere, built a nuclear reactor without massive chunks of government money, have you? Adding to your woes, Le Monde reported a study showing that powering France from 100% renewables by 2050 would cost about the same as a mix including 50% nuclear, 40% renewables. (11.9 cents kWh versus 11.7 cents kWh).

5 of your ageing nuclear power stations got closed down on economic grounds in the USA last year. You have 388 operating reactors world-wide, 50 fewer than 2002. You produced 10.8% of the world’s electricity in 2013, down from 17.6% in 1996. An industry in decline. And still no solution in sight for your achilles heel, where to hide the waste. Waste that solar, wind and tidal power don’t produce. Japan added 10 GW of solar power during 2014, and Fukushima has moved the Japanese population from 30% opposing nuclear to 70% opposing nuclear. It is hard for you lot to compete with an alternative that is cleaner, safer and now cheaper. Bad luck.

And Fukushima continues to leak 400 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific every day, as it has for over 4 years now. And your industry has no idea how to stop it; it just knows how to contain the political fallout, not the real fallout that results from your deathtraps having a bad day. Windscale, Three Mile Island, Tschernobyl, Fukushima; each of your little ‘whoops’ events is worse that the last. Not just shot yourselves in the foot; you’ve blown your feet off.

So sorry!!

Produced by Kick Nuclear, London.