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SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) has confirmed that its shipping unit has added a "radiation clause" to its contracts since last month, to give its vessels more operational flexibility when approaching Japanese ports.
After the Fukushima nuclear plant in northeastern Japan was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, vessel owners including BP Shipping Ltd. have required charterers to accept radiation risk and diversion clauses in contracts for Japan-related voyages, shipbrokers and traders said.
The clauses generally allow shipping lines to divert vessels from scheduled destinations at their own discretion if they consider radiation levels too high. Charterers could also be required to pay compensation for any radiation-related damage to the vessels.
SEOUL, April 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea needs to strengthen its nuclear reactor safety protocol to ensure there are no problems with its atomic power production, the commerce minister said Monday.
The remarks come amid growing concern over the safety of atomic energy after the disastrous earthquake in Japan damaged reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, prompting radiation leaks.
"There is a need to pay close attention to emergency training programs and make certain that backup safety systems are in place and can cope with unexpected developments," Knowledge Economy Minister Choi Joong-kyung said during a visit to the Yeonggwang nuclear power station on the country's west coast.
TOKYO (kyodo) -- A number of opponents of nuclear power plants won seats in the assemblies of host municipalities in Sunday's nationwide local elections in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex, including one candidate who drew the largest number of votes in his town.
(Mainichi Japan) April 25, 2011
TOKYO — Japan launched a massive search with 25,000 troops scouring its tsunami-ravaged northeast coast for thousands of bodies still missing more than six weeks after the disaster struck.
Local officials meanwhile entered the 20-kilometre (12-mile) no-go zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant to assess whether the thousands of cattle and other livestock abandoned in the no-man's-land must be culled.
Radiation has leaked into the air, soil and ocean from the plant, leading to bans on some regional farm produce -- the latest on shiitake mushrooms from a nearby town that were found to have radiation levels twice the legal limit.
Alarmed by possible radiation contamination due to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis, a growing number of countries have slapped restrictions on imports of Japan's farm produce and industrial goods.
This is extremely regrettable.
The government and the nuclear plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., must swiftly provide accurate information on this matter to prevent untrue and harmful rumors from spreading further around the world. If other nations impose excessive regulations on Japanese goods, the government should take steps to have them rectified or rescinded.
About 30 countries and territories, including China and South Korea, have halted or restricted imports of agricultural produce grown in the vicinity of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Some nations in the Middle East have even suspended imports of foodstuffs from every corner of Japan.
Cheri Deatsch, 43, is always rescuing pets, whether she's at home in the Garden District or traveling to the site of the world's latest disaster.
With a nonprofit called Kinship Circle, which specializes in animal disaster rescue, Deatsch has in recent months saved critters after catastrophic mudslides and flash floods in Brazil, earthquakes in Chile and the tsunami-earthquake in Japan, where she worked inside the exclusion zone surrounding the radiation-spewing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Atmospheric radiation leak underestimated
Data released by the government indicates radioactive material was leaking into the atmosphere from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in early April in greater quantities than previously estimated.
Radioactive material was being released into the atmosphere from the plant at an estimated rate of 154 terabecquerels per day
...previously estimated radiation leakage on April 5 at "less than 1 terabecquerel per hour."
On April 17, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in its plan for stabilization of the crippled reactors it would not start to get radiation leakage under control until the plan's fourth month of implementation. This would mean 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances would be released into the atmosphere from the plant during the coming three months, according to simple calculations based on the estimated emission rate as of April 5.
Emissions in that three-month period alone would therefore exceed the level necessary for a Level 6 severity rating on the INES, the globally accepted measure for evaluating nuclear accidents.
The commission, however, said the figures were estimates only, "with a considerable margin of error."
Gov't endorses TEPCO's estimates on radioactive leak into sea
ISNA - Tehran
Service: Foreign Policy
TEHRAN (ISNA)-Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan thanked Iran for sending humanitarian aid to the country following deadly Tsunami.
Use of Fukushima park restricted over high radiation levels
A sign advises visitors not to stay for more than an hour a day in this park in Fukushima City on April 25, 2011, due to high radiation levels resulting from the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The sand pit is covered by a blue sheet to prevent children from playing there. (Kyodo)
TEPCO says the pool's water temperature dropped to 66 degrees on Saturday after water was injected, but started to rise again, to 81 degrees.
The operator says the water level in the pool was 2.5 meters lower than normal after 165 tons of water were injected on Sunday. It is carefully monitoring the water level and temperature to avoid further troubles.
The Number 4 spent fuel pool stores 1,535 fuel rods, the most at the nuclear
Anti-nuclear protests were to be held along the Franco-German border Monday, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and after Japan's nuclear accident at Fukushima.
Several Easter Monday protests were to take place on bridges over the Rhine in or around Strasbourg, including the main demonstration on the Pont de l'Europe that runs between the eastern French city and Kehl in Germany.
Activists are marking the world's worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl in the Ukraine on April 26, 1986 as well as Japan's nuclear accident at Fukushima and demanding the closure of France's oldest nuclear power station at Fessenheim.
"A Russian nuclear scientist who took part in emergency responses to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster finds one thing in common between what Japanese and former Soviet Union authorities used to say -- their nuclear power plants were absolutely safe....
For me what happened in the first week (after the accident at the Fukushima plant) was like a book for students. In this case there was nothing new," said Asmolov. "All that happened in Fukushima was ... completely predictable."
Although Asmolov and other experts visited Japan following the Fukushima accident to give advice to Japanese authorities, they wouldn't listen until several days later. This reminded him of his experiences during the former Soviet Union days. Before the Chernobyl disaster, Asmolov had advised the then Soviet Union energy minister that they needed to conduct further research to prepare for major accidents at nuclear power plants, but his proposal was turned down. "In 1984, I came to the minister to propose a serious accident research program. The response from the minister was very simple; our nuclear plant is Soviet, absolutely safe. Japan's attitude was the same. Our Japanese plants are safe, because we are Japanese.
"The decision making must be done close to the facility. It is impossible to manage the crisis from the office of the prime minister," he said.
As we are painfully learning once again, nuclear accidents respect no borders. They pose a direct threat to human health and the environment. They cause economic disruptions affecting everything from agricultural production to trade and global services.
This is a moment for deep reflection, a time for a real global debate. To many, nuclear energy looks to be a clean and logical choice in an era of increasing resource scarcity. Yet the record requires us to ask: have we correctly calculated its risks and costs? Are we doing all we can to keep the world’s people safe?
Because the consequences are catastrophic, safety must be paramount. Because the impact is transnational, these issues must be debated globally.
That is why, visiting Ukraine for the 25th anniversary of the disaster, I put forward a five-point strategy to improve nuclear safety for our future:
•First, it is time for a top to bottom review of current safety standards, both at the national and international levels.
•Second, we need to strengthen the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency on nuclear safety.
•Third, we must put a sharper focus on the new nexus between natural disasters and nuclear safety. Climate change means more incidents of freak and increasingly severe weather. With the number of nuclear facilities set to increase substantially over the coming decades, our vulnerability will grow.
•Fourth, we must undertake a new cost-benefit analysis of nuclear energy, factoring in the costs of disaster preparedness and prevention as well as cleanup when things go wrong.
•Fifth and finally, we need to build a stronger connection between nuclear safety and nuclear security. At a time when terrorists seek nuclear materials, we can say with confidence that a nuclear plant that is safer for its community is also more secure for the world.
The main lesson of the nuclear disasters at Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima last month is that authorities must tell the truth about the situation, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Monday.
"I think that our modern states must see the main lesson of what happened at Chernobyl and the most recent Japanese tragedy as the necessity to tell people the truth," Medvedev told a meeting in the Kremlin.
KIEV — The world on Tuesday marks a quarter century since the world's worst nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine, haunted by fears over the safety of atomic energy after the Japan earthquake.
In the early hours of April 26, 1986, workers at the Chernobyl atomic power station were carrying out a test on reactor four when operating errors and design flaws sparked successive explosions.
The radioactive debris landed around the reactor, creating an apocalyptic scene in the surrounding area, while material also blew into the neighbouring Soviet republics of Belarus and Russia and further into western Europe.
Two workers were killed by the explosion and 28 other rescuers and staff died of radiation exposure in the next months. Tens of thousands needed to be evacuated and fears remain of the scale of damage to people's health.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev annonced he will make a landmark visit to Chernobyl on Tuesday to take part in the memorial ceremonies, where he is expected to be joined by his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych.