Some Dreams Die Hard: Japan’s Fast Breeder Reactor Program

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

The 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that effectively destroyed Tokyo Electric Power Company’s six-reactor Fukushima Daichi complex have claimed another victim, Japan’s fast breeder reactor program.

Fukushima’s effect on Japan’s atomic energy program has not had the consequences of a nuclear blast, but more the relentless drip of acid rain, slowly eroding public confidence in the country’s nuclear power industry, which last month saw 49 of the country’s 54 nuclear power plant (NPP) reactors idled. The figure is hardly insignificant, as the nuclear power plants (NPPS) collectively generated more than 47,000 megawatts, nearly 30 percent of the country’s electrical needs.

Now another nail has apparently been driven into Japan’s civilian nuclear future.

On 23 February a Japan Atomic Energy Commission panel of experts reviewing Japan’s nuclear fuel cycle production policy in the wake of the Fukushima debacle, while acknowledging that a fuel cycle involving a fast-breeder reactor has some advantages, concluded that for Japan it cannot be considered as a realistic option for the next two to three decades due to technological considerations.

The review is effectively a death sentence for Japan’s Monju troubled $12 billion experimental fast-breeder reactor in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, intended to reprocess spent nuclear reactor fuel to produce plutonium that can subsequently be recycled and reused to generate electricity. Japan had high hopes that the fast-breeder reactor program could close the loop on its nuclear fuel cycle, allowing it to reuse, recycle and produce fresh fuel for its 54 reactors. The subcommittee’s report effectively ends Japan’s hopes of using nuclear fuel on a near-endless cycle.

The Japan Atomic Energy Commission subcommittee commented in a draft document summarizing its discussions that the country’s best option during the next 20-30 years instead of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel would be instead to recycle plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) reactor fuel. The subcommittee recommended that spent nuclear fuel be treated in the “once-through” cycle, where after it is burned in a nuclear reactor the spent fuel is buried after being used in nuclear reactors just one time rather than recycled.

The subcommittee members’ viewpoints were varied, not unanimous, as Chairman Tatsujiro Suzuki told reporters that he believed that fast-breeder reactors have “extremely advantageous characteristics from a long-term viewpoint.” According to the subcommittee’s report, the “once-through” cycle has high economic efficiency, while MOX recycling has high efficiency of uranium use.

Given Japanese public opinion sensitivity about nuclear power in light of Fukushima, every aspect of Japan’s civilian nuclear power program is more closely scrutinized than in the past, and the Monju fast-breeder reactor has had its share of problems. Construction started on the sodium-cooled, MOX-fuelled Monju fast-breeder reactor in 1986, with the reactor going critical in April 1994, but shortly after coming online the facility suffered a severe fire. Japanese officials subsequently attempted to cover up the accident, with the result that the Monju fast-breeder reactor was kept offline until 6 May 2010.

Exemplifying its problems, as of June 2011, the Monju fast-breeder reactor has only generated electricity for one hour since going critical in 1984.

Adding to the irony, Fukui Prefecture is Japan’s most pro-nuclear province, housing 14 nuclear reactors. Fukushima Prefecture held a distant second place with 10 reactors. But Monju’s effective mothballing ends Tokyo’s vision of using fast-breeder reactors to produce more nuclear fuel than they burn, allowing for a cycle in which new nuclear fuel is created by the fast-breeder reactor, extracted, reprocessed and used anew by other NPPs.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency fast-breeder program Director General Satoru Kondo commented, “It was supposed to be the dream reactor, powering Japan for 100 or 200 years. I never thought it would take this long.”

But dreams remain exactly that – dreams, with the effective loss of Monju, Japan’s nuclear power industry is back to square one after more than two decades and $12 billion invested – importing nuclear fuel for its increasing contentious nuclear power generation program.

So, Japan’s NPP program, for which Monju was hoped nearly to eliminate costly uranium imports, is, like Japan’s other, more conventional sources of power generation, yet one source of hard currency expenditure.

Dreams die hard, some more and expensively so than others.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Another-Fukushima-Casualty-Japans-Fast-Breeder-Reactor-Program.html

By: John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com


Obama Abdicates Iran “Trigger”–Now in Hands of Netanyahu

By: Jeffrey Klein

The White House meeting today, between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama, may be their last before Israel decides to unilaterally launch a military strike against Iran’s feared nuclear facilities–before its’ “window of opportunity” would be closed forever.

President Obama assured Netanyahu that the United States “will always have Israel’s back” even while pursuing a “window that allows for a diplomatic resolution.” And shared that … “When I say all options are on the table–I mean it. Having said that, I know both the prime minister and I prefer to solve this diplomatically,” according to a FOXNews article this afternoon.

Although Netanyahu acknowledged his gratitude–he made his position crystal clear by saying that Israel will be the “master of its fate.”

“Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat–[the] sovereign right to make its own decisions. I believe that’s why you appreciate, Mr. President … that’s the very purpose of the Jewish state: to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny,” Netanyahu said.

The problem for Israel is that its non-nuclear weapons systems would become ineffective the moment after Iran moved its nuclear manufacturing elements into hardened subterranean facilities–after that the Jewish state would be totally dependent upon Barack Obama’s judgment for the protection of their country.

And, Benjamin Netanyahu has no greater trust in Obama’s foreign policy judgment than most everyone here in the U.S.–particularly in view of the forces that are publicly squaring off against Israel.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, an Obama appointee, recently stated that “the Iranian regime is a rational actor and it’s for that reason, I think, that we think the current path on Iran is the most prudent path at this point,” according to a February 22, 2012 Virtual Jerusalem article.

That is a scary conclusion given that for decades Iran has publicly threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

If that language is not unsettling enough, having Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov warn Israel not to attack Iran over its nuclear program is down right onerous.

“Of course any possible military scenario against Iran will be catastrophic for the region and for the whole system of international relations. Therefore, I hope Israel understands all [of] these consequences … and they should also consider the consequences of such action for themselves,” Gatilov said at a news conference.

U.K. Foreign Minister Douglas Hague claimed, from a very safe distance, that … “I don’t think a wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran … the … world should be giving a real chance to the … very serious economic sanctions and … the readiness to negotiate with Iran.”

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also facing reelection now, said earlier this month that “the solution is never military.”

If the United States had used these criteria for decision making during World War II, all of Europe and Russia would be speaking German now.

Finally, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano, said recently [that] … “The agency continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program,” as he acknowledged failure in his latest attempt to probe such suspicions, while listing recent atomic advances by Iran.

Regardless of the Russian sabre-rattling and benign neglect of China, I suggest that they are really the “rational actors” in this theatre, not Iran, because they have bright futures that are largely, and ironically, tied to their commerce with the United States and Europe.

The fact of the matter is that the longer President Obama waits to lay out “red-lines” for Iran–the more likely it is that unilateral military actions by Prime Minister Netanyahu will force the hand of the U.S. into the immediate implementation of a defense shield for Israel.

Perhaps Barack Obama wants to vote “present” this time too, and abdicate the Iran “trigger” to Netanyahu–who would like to see a freeze of the troubling “Arab Spring,” as well.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Jeffrey Klein


Is The Economy Improving?

By: AJ
Hat Tip: Mark Levin

The President and his media are telling us that the economy is improving and their propaganda machine is in overdrive. Here is an AP survey that’s hot off the presses, “More Optimism about US Jobs and Economy.”

AP surveyed twenty-four economists, not the general public. Although the headline will influence the slumbering masses and provide a talking point to benefit the Obama administration, all we need to do is ask tax-paying Americans a few important questions.

What is your wallet telling you? Have energy prices skyrocketed or decreased? Have food prices risen or declined? Are other necessities more expensive or less expensive than they were a few years ago? Did healthcare premiums go up or down?

Truth is brought to light in an excellent article which notes the good news, but also provides economic facts that the propaganda media will not reveal:

“At the moment things are relatively stable. Some economic statistics are improving slightly and some continue to get even worse. However, it is very important to keep in mind that one of the biggest reasons why things have stabilized is because the federal government is pumping more than a trillion dollars a year into the economy that it does not have. The Obama administration is engaging in a debt binge unlike anything America has ever seen before, and yet many economic indicators are still in decline…

… you are bound to run into family and friends that will repeat to you the nonsense that they are hearing on the television about how the economy is recovering.

When they try to convince you that the economy is getting better, ask them these questions….

If the economy is getting better, then why did new home sales in the United States hit a brand new all-time record low during 2011?

If the economy is getting better, then why are there 6 million less jobs in America today than there were before the recession started?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the average duration of unemployment in this country close to an all-time record high?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of homeless female veterans more than doubled?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of Americans on food stamps increased by 3 million since this time last year and by more than 14 million since Barack Obama entered the White House?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of children living in poverty in America risen for four years in a row?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the percentage of Americans living in “extreme poverty” at an all-time high?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the Federal Housing Administration on the verge of a financial collapse?

If the economy is getting better, then why do only 23 percent of American companies plan to hire more employees in 2012?

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of self-employed Americans fallen by more than 2 million since 2006?

If the economy is getting better, then why did an all-time record low percentage of U.S. teens have a job last summer?

If the economy is getting better, then why does median household income keep declining? Overall, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% since December 2007 once you account for inflation.

If the economy is getting better, then why has the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by 10 million since 2006?

If the economy is getting better, then why is the average age of a vehicle in America now sitting at an all-time high?

If the economy is getting better, then why are 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida currently sitting vacant?

If the economy is getting better, then why are 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 living with their parents?

If the economy is getting better, then why does the number of “long-term unemployed workers” stay so high?

When Barack Obama first took office, the number of “long-term unemployed workers” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

But there is some good news.

When Barack Obama first took office, an ounce of gold was going for about $850. Today, the price of an ounce of gold is over $1700.

The era of great prosperity that America has enjoyed for so long is coming to an end.

In fact, our long-term economic decline is about to accelerate.

So enjoy this “bubble of hope” while you can, because it won’t last long.

As I have written about previously, many are warning that Europe is on the verge of a nightmarish financial crisis that could potentially plunge us into a global recession even worse than 2008.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.”

Are you prepared?


Trevor Loudon’s New Jersey Events

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

Trevor Loudon will be speaking at five meetings in New Jersey in the next few days. Hope you can make it!

March 6, 2012

Bayshore Tea Party

Bayshore Tea Party Headquarters

275 Route 35 North, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Contact is Barbara Gonzalez


[email protected]

March 7, 2012

Somerset County Tea Party Organization

Community Christian Chapel

211 Route 206

Hillsborough, NJ

Contact is George Hathaway


[email protected]

March 8, 2012

Ocean County Citizens for Freedom

178 Washington Street

Toms River, NJ 08753

Contact is Connie Sherwood


[email protected]

March 13, 2012

West Bergen Tea Party

Larkin House

380 Godwin Ave

Wyckoff, NJ

Contact is Susan Winton


[email protected]

March 14, 2012

West Jersey Tea Party

Braddock’s Tavern

Medford, NJ 08055

Contact is Bill Haney


[email protected]

Looking forward to meeting more New Jersey patriots!!!