Tag Archives: tsunami

Weekend Round-Up of Disaster and Disorder

14 Aug

Oil leak in North Sea confirmed by Shell

Oil giant Shell was accused of being secretive on Friday over an oil leak from one of its platforms in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. Shell publicly reported the spill on Friday night, though it is understood that the company was alerted to a “light sheen” of oil on the surface of the water on Wednesday.

The company last night said it had “considerably reduced” the amount of oil leaking from the Gannet Alpha platform about 112 miles east of Aberdeen—but maintained a stony silence over how much was still escaping and how much had already escaped.  Read more about the spill here

Nigeria oil spills have created ecological disaster, Shell again at the forefront

After half a century of oil spills, Nigeria’s troubled Niger Delta is one of the most polluted places on Earth, and it could take $1 billion and 30 years to clean up the mess, according to a UN report released Thursday. Pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed,” the report says. Some areas that seemed unaffected on the surface are severely contaminated underground and need urgent action to protect the health of fishing and farming communities, it says. The report puts pressure on Shell Petroleum Development Co., the major operator during the period, which has had a bitter relationship with communities. It produces about 40% of Nigeria’s oil in a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.  Read more here

China orders petrochemical plant shutdown after protests

Chinese authorities have ordered a petrochemical plant to shut down immediately after tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of a nearby city, demanding the factory be relocated.

The demonstration in Dalian – one of the biggest in a series of recent Nimby rallies against potential polluters in China – was sparked by the news last week that a protective dike around the Fujia factory, in the Jinzhou industrial complex, had been breached by rain and high waves as typhoon Muifa approached.

In a rare concession the local Communist party chief, Tang Jun, and Dalian’s mayor, Li Wancai, promised to move the project out of the city, Xinhua reported.

The protesters demanded a clear timetable for moving the plant, with some refusing to leave until a plan was in place, the state-run news agency said.  Read more here

Another Worker dies at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

14 May

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances. (AFP/HO/TEPCO via Jiji Press)

By Mandie Sami, wires

A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has died.

It brings the total number of deaths at the complex to three since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March.

The man, aged in his 60s, started working at the plant on Friday.

Taichi Okazaki, a spokesman for plant owner TEPCO, says the man was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday – far below the company’s safety threshold of 5 millisieverts.

Mr Okazaki says the cause of his death is not known.

“No radioactive substances were detected on the worker,” Mr Okazaki said. There were no signs of injury on the dead man.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, was carrying chainsaws with another worker inside a facility to treat contaminated water being released from the plant’s crippled reactors.

He fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6.00 am on Saturday (local time) and was brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious. He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to prime minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party politician, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” he told a news conference.

The March quake and tsunami triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the sea, prompting Mr Kan to review Japan’s nuclear-leaning energy policy from scratch.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the Fukushima plant under control. Two TEPCO employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.

The most recent death comes as the operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant completes a total shutdown of the facility.

Mr Kan called for the closure last week to avoid a repeat of the disaster at the Fukushima plant, where engineers are still struggling to bring it under control.

Despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Mr Kan is expected to announce that the country will keep using nuclear power at a G8 summit in France later this month.

Japan to Release Radioactive Water into the Sea from Fukushima Nuclear Plant

4 Apr

Cross posted from NDT Television

On Monday, Tokyo Electric Power said it will release more than ten thousand tons of contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

The water will be released into the sea to free up more storage space for water that has much higher levels of radioactivity.

The water to be released is about one hundred times more radioactive than legal limits.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary says there is no other choice.

[Yukio Edano, Chief Cabinet Secretary]:
“We came to this conclusion because even though it is water containing radioactive particles, it is inevitable that we release it in to the sea.”

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says the decision was taken because it was not harmful to humans and done in order to avert an even bigger danger.

[Hidehiko Nishiyama, Nuclear & Industrial Safety Agcy.]:
“As it is not harmful to people’s health and as it is necessary to avert an even bigger danger, we decided it was inevitable.”

Japanese engineers have been scrambling to prevent a meltdown since an earthquake and tsunami on March 11.

200,000 in Germany protest nuclear power

26 Mar

Anti nuclear demonstrators march in Cologne, western Germany Saturday March 26, 2011 to protest against nuclear power. Poster in front reads: Fukushima warns: Pull the Plug on all Nuclear Power Plants. White banner behind reads : 'Solidarity with the people in Japan'. Some 200,000 people turned out in Germany's largest cities on Saturday to protest against the use of nuclear power in the wake of Japan's Fukushima reactor disaster, police and organizers said. In Berlin alone more than 100,000 took to the capital's streets to urge Germany's leaders to immediately abolish nuclear energy, police spokesman Jens Berger said. Organizers said some 210,000 people marched at the rallies in the countries four largest cities. "We can no longer afford bearing the risk of a nuclear catastrophe," Germany's environmental lobby group BUND said. (AP Photo/dapd/Roberto Pfeil)



Read the rest of the article here.

Thousands Protest in Taiwan Against New Nuclear Plant

20 Mar


Taipei, March 20 (CNA) Environmental activists and opposition political figures staged a protest in Taipei Sunday against the government’s plan to continue the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant project, as Japan battled to bring its quake-damaged nuclear plants under control.

Dozens of environmental groups also called on the government to suspend plans to extend the life of Taiwan’s first, second, and third nuclear plants, and urged that safety checks be conducted at all the plants.

The protesters urged the government to reinforce the nuclear plants’ resistance to earthquakes. The power plants are designed to withstand earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Furthermore, the government should immediately halt construction of the fourth nuclear plant, as it is located in a quake and tsunami-prone area, the protesters said.

Former Premier Su Tseng-chang, who declared his intention Sunday to seek the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential nomination, was among the demonstrators. He called for an end to the extended life of the three plants in operation.

Another former premier, Frank Hsieh, also of the DPP, said at the protest that when an advanced country like Japan could face such a serious nuclear crisis, it was only a matter of time before Taiwan would have to cope with a similar kind of danger.

A spokesperson for DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said that Tsai was not at the protest because she had other commitments in southern Taiwan but shared the views of her party colleagues.

Tsai was of the view that the allocations for the development of alternative energy should be increased, and she would be presenting her energy policy soon, the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Annette Lu said Taiwan residents should push for an immediate halt to the construction on the fourth nuclear power plant, and she joined the call for an overall safety check on all nuclear power plants in Taiwan.

DPP legislator Pan Meng-An told reporters that if the government refused to suspend work on the fourth nuclear power plant for safety checks, the DPP would refuse to review the budget of the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), builder and owner of the plant, when it came up in the legislature on March 24.

Taiwan currently operates three nuclear power plants, with No.1 and 2 located in northern Taiwan’s New Taipei City, the largest city in Taiwan in terms of population, and No.3 in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan.

A fourth nuclear power plant is under construction in Kungliao on the northeast coast, also in New Taipei City. It is scheduled to begin commercial operations at the end of next the year. (By Sophia Yeh, Justin Su, Lin Szu-yu, Angela Tsai, Kuan Jui-pin and Ann Chen)

Japan Disaster Causes Venezuela to Halt New Nuclear Power Plant Construction

19 Mar


CARACAS, March 15 (Reuters) – Venezuela is suspending development of a nuclear power program following the catastrophe at a nuclear complex in Japan, President Hugo Chavez said on Tuesday.

The South American country had hoped that a planned Russian-built nuclear power plant would provide 4,000 megawatts (MW) and be ready in about a decade.

But Chavez said events in Japan after last Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the tsunami that followed it showed the risks associated with nuclear power were too great.

“For now, I have ordered the freezing of the plans we have been developing … for a peaceful nuclear program,” he said during a televised meeting with Chinese investors.

“I do not have the least doubt that this (the potential for a nuclear catastrophe in Japan) is going to alter in a very strong way the plans to develop nuclear energy in the world.”

Japan is racing to avert a new disaster after a fire broke out at a nuclear plant and sent low levels of radiation wafting into Tokyo, prompting some people to flee the capital and triggering growing international alarm.

Venezuela signed a deal with Russia last October that moved Chavez’s socialist government a step closer to its longtime goal of developing nuclear power like Brazil and Argentina.

But some experts were skeptical at the time about whether Venezuela would go through with the project, or even needed it given the OPEC member’s vast oil and gas reserves, plus solar, hydroelectric and wind energy possibilities. (Writing by Daniel Wallis, Editing by Jackie Frank)

Radioactivity Found in Japanese Farms, Spinach, Milk, Near Nuclear Meltdown

19 Mar


Japan’s top spokesman said Saturday that elevated levels of radiation have been found in milk and spinach near the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima prefecture.

The government has worked hard to play down rising fears. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told a news conference that although radiation levels exceeded government safety standards, the tested food does not pose an immediate health risk. It is the first time radiation has been detected in food since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami unleashed the nuclear crisis.

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