And more. . .

We begin with the Express Tribune and a Pakistani vaccination crisis:

Sehat ka Ittehad struggles as WHO recommends extension of restrictions

There has been no documented international spread of the poliovirus since March 2014 – with the exception of “one new exportation from Pakistan into Afghanistan documented after 13 November 2014″.

The fourth meeting of the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee announced the spread of polio still constitutes a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. The committee has recommended extending the “temporary recommendations” for another three months. Among others, these include declaring a national public health emergency, restricting departure of any residents from the country if they lack an international certification of vaccination and maintaining these measures till the country has stopped exporting polio. The WHO statement is available on their website.

Hours after the WHO pointed to Pakistan as the only country still spreading the preventable, crippling virus. Sehat ka Ittehad’s recent drive came to a close and left at least 33,601 children unvaccinated, but not without efforts to the contrary.

And closer to home for esnl, a deadly hospital-based outbreak spreads, via the Guardian:

Cedars-Sinai hospital in LA investigates outbreak of deadly ‘superbug’

Hospital says four patients have been infected with bacteria from a contaminated medical scope, and 67 other people may have been exposed

The Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles announced a possible “superbug” outbreak linked to gastrointestinal devices, the second hospital in a month to link the potentially deadly germs to devices called duodenoscopes.

The bug, called carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE), is a bacteria resistant to some of medicine’s strongest antibiotics. The duodenoscope is a difficult-to-clean, complex flexible tube inserted through the throat of patients to check for issues in the upper intestines.

Cedars-Sinai hospital officials linked four transmissions of CRE to duodenoscopes. The hospital sent letters and home-testing kits to 71 more patients who may have been exposed between August 2014 and February 2015, “out of an abundance of caution”.

From the Associated Press, regulatory failure:

Maker of device in ‘superbug’ outbreak lacked FDA clearance

The manufacturer of a medical instrument at the center of a recent “superbug” outbreak in Los Angeles did not receive federal clearance to sell an updated version the device, according to officials from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA confirmed that Olympus Corp. did not seek agency clearance for the redesign of its specialized endoscope, which it began selling in 2010. FDA clearance is required for all substantive updates to medical devices sold in the U.S.

Despite the lack of clearance, the FDA said doctors should continue using the device because it’s not clear that a federal review would have prevented the recent infections in patients.

From National Geographic, a story we’ve been covering since our earliest posts:

Chemical Exposure Linked to Billions in Health Care Costs

Researchers conclude they are 99 percent certain that hormone-altering chemicals are linked to attention problems, diabetes, other health problems.

Exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals is likely leading to an increased risk of serious health problems costing at least $175 billion (U.S.) per year in Europe alone, according to a study published Thursday.

Chemicals that can mimic or block estrogen or other hormones are commonly found in thousands of products around the world, including plastics, pesticides, furniture, and cosmetics.

The new research estimated health care costs in Europe, where policymakers are debating whether to enact the world’s first regulations targeting endocrine disruptors. The European Union’s controversial strategy, if approved, would have a profound effect on industries and consumer products worldwide.

Linda Birnbaum, the leading environmental health official in the U.S. government, called the new findings, which include four published papers, “a wake-up call” for policymakers and health experts.

From Newsweek, one of those chemicals and twisted regulatory semantics:

BPA Is Fine, If You Ignore Most Studies About It

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is either a harmless chemical that’s great for making plastic or one of modern society’s more dangerous problems. Depends whom you ask.

BPA is in many types of plastics and the epoxy resins that line most aluminum cans, as well as thermal papers like receipts. It is an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen, a hormone especially important in sexual development, and the fact that it’s all over the place worries many people. Newsweek spoke with about 20 scientists, leaders in the field of BPA research, and the majority say it is likely (though not certain) that the chemical plays a role in a litany of health concerns: obesity, diabetes, problems with fertility and reproductive organs, susceptibility to various cancers and cognitive/behavioral deficits like ADHD.

“There’s too much data consistent across studies…time and time again…to ignore it and suggest BPA has no effect on humans,” says Gail Prins, a physiologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

But the plastic industry, researchers it funds and, most important, many regulatory agencies—including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)—say BPA is safe for humans at the levels people are exposed to.

From VICE News, and not so surprising for students of history:

Deforestation May Be Helping to Spread the Plague in Africa

The destruction of forests is known to cause the release of massive amounts of greenhouse gases, destroy critical wildlife habitat, and increase soil erosion, which can lead to deadly floods and landslides.

But converting forests to farmland can also increase the spread of the plague, according to researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).

“It pops up every other year or so, and the number of cases per year is quite variable and it’s also poorly reported,” Hillary Young, an ecologist at UCSB, who led the study, told VICE News. “So we don’t have a good sense of the number of cases per year in the region.”

Madagascar’s complex climate woes, via IRIN:

Disaster-prone Madagascar battles flooding and drought

Authorities in Madagascar are struggling to respond to increasingly severe flooding in the central highlands region of the country that includes the capital, Antananarivo, in addition to a prolonged drought in the south.

The latest round of flooding, which started when three rivers that cross Antananarivo – the Sisaony, Ikopa and Imamba – burst their banks during a storm on 24 February, has left 19 people dead and an estimated 36,000 displaced, according to the National Office for the Management of Risks and Catastrophes (BNRGC in French). A further 40,000 people were displaced in 13 other districts.

On Wednesday, BNRGC issued a new alert warning that a low-pressure system just off the island’s west coast was expected to bring more torrential rainfall to the central highlands region. Several neighbourhoods in Antananarivo remain braced for further flooding and landslides over the coming days.

Getting bad air off their chest, via the Los Angeles Times:

Cleaner air is linked to stronger lungs in Southern California children

Cleaner air has for the first time been linked to bigger and stronger lungs among school-age children, according to findings released Wednesday from a two-decade study in Southern California.

The research by USC scientists, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the region’s steep decline in air pollution since the mid-1990s is strongly associated with “statistically and clinically significant improvements” in children’s lung function and growth.

The analysis, which studied more than 2,000 children in five cities over the years, provides the strongest evidence yet that years of government regulations to reduce air pollution in California and across the nation are paying off with measurable improvements in children’s health.

The accompanying graphic tells the story:

From the Associated Press, and we wonder just how safe those “small” levels are over time?:

FDA study finds little evidence of antibiotics in milk

In an encouraging development for consumers worried about antibiotics in their milk, a new Food and Drug Administration study showed little evidence of drug contamination after surveying almost 2,000 dairy farms.

In response to concerns, the agency in 2012 took samples of raw milk from the farms and tested them for 31 drugs, almost all of them antibiotics. Results released by the agency Thursday show that less than 1 percent of the total samples showed illegal drug residue.

Antibiotics and other drugs can end up in milk when they are used on dairy cows to keep them healthy. Small levels of drugs are allowed in milk, but residues that go beyond certain thresholds are illegal.

Some delightful news for bees, via DutchNews.nl:

Amsterdam bee population is booming

Amsterdam bee population is booming Society March 5, 2015 Honey comb and a bee workingBee populations may be in trouble elsewhere but in Amsterdam there are now 61 different bee species, up from 51 in 2000, according to new research.

The most common bee in the city is the common furrow (Lasioglossum calceatum) while the hairy-footed flower bee, which was very rare in 2000, now lives in abundance in the city’s Vondel park, the research shows.

The research was commissioned by the city council. Bee expert and researcher told the Parool the city council should be extremely pleased the city has such committed people managing its green spaces. ‘The city can thank their expertise for the increase,’ he said.

Ten years ago the city council took a new, environmentally-friendly approach to its green areas and roadside verges. It no longer uses pesticides and wild flowers have been sown in many places. Specific bee friendly projects have also been set up.

After the jump, Brits sign a Mexican dirty energy deal, an oil company settles a cleanup complaint in Peru, Britain’s central bank sounds a fossil fuel alert, Oklahoma scientists play Big Oil’s music, Feds find the Arctic oil they want drilled will most likely lead to a major oil spill, allegations industry corrupted Europe’s clean air laws, separating fossil fueled climate change from oceanic changes, flooding predicted to triple in 15 years, a new African environmental alliance announced, Brazilian peasants seize a paper plant over plans to plan GMO trees, Arctic Sea ice thinning accelerates, on to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with more radioactive leaks, local communities protests TEPCO’s concealing of a major leak for ten months, another radioactive fuel removal planned, evacuees plagued with blood clots, the governor calls for extending reconstruction programs, Japanese tourism recovers from Fukushimaphobia, nearby factories suffer from major labor shortages, regulators find major flaws in plans for the restart of another Japanese nuke plant shut down after the earthquake that shattered Fukushima, a lawsuit challenges plans for a new British nuke plant, and, finally, fears over new Nuclear plants in a Pakistani seismic hot spot. . .

From the Guardian, allegations of dirty dealing:

UK trade deal finances ‘dirty energy’ projects in Mexico, says Greenpeace

Credit scheme through UK Export Finance (UKEF) runs against government commitments to fighting climate change, say activists

The UK government has become embroiled in a row over financial support for fossil fuel companies after announcing a $1bn (£660m) funding package involving Pemex, the Mexican state oil group.

Greenpeace said the move to provide credit for “dirty” energy projects under the UK Export Finance (UKEF) scheme flew counter to the government’s commitments to fighting climate change.

The Tories and Lib Dems pledged in 2010 that export finance would be used to champion British companies that developed and exported innovative green technologies around the world, “instead of supporting investment in dirty fossil fuel energy production”.

“The truth is that the ‘greenest government ever’ has spent the last five years bankrolling some of the dirtiest energy developments on the planet, from Russian coal mining to the Saudi oil industry,” said Lawrence Carter, a Greenpeace UK energy campaigner.

From Fox News Latino, an oil company settles a cleanup complaint in Peru:

U.S. oil firm Oxy reaches settlement with Peruvian Indians

U.S. oil company Occidental Petroleum, or Oxy, has agreed to compensate five Peruvian Amazon Indian communities for damage resulting from oil production activity.

Leaders of the Achuar people from the Corrientes River basin, located in the remote northern jungle region of Loreto, and representatives of their legal team who brought their case in the United States made the announcement Thursday at a press conference in Lima.

“The parties are pleased to confirm a mutual settlement of the claims in the litigation,” EarthRights International, or ERI, said, citing a statement by indigenous Achuar plaintiffs.

From the Guardian, Britain’s central bank sounds a fossil fuel alert:

Bank of England warns of huge financial risk from fossil fuel investments

Global action on climate change could cause insurers’ investments in fossil fuels to take a huge hit, says bank’s prudential regulation authority

Insurance companies could suffer a “huge hit” if their investments in fossil fuel companies are rendered worthless by action on climate change, the Bank of England warned on Tuesday.

“One live risk right now is of insurers investing in assets that could be left ‘stranded’ by policy changes which limit the use of fossil fuels,” said Paul Fisher, deputy head of the bank’s prudential regulation authority (PRA) that supervises banks and insurers and is tasked with avoiding systemic risks to the economy.

“As the world increasingly limits carbon emissions, and moves to alternative energy sources, investments in fossil fuels – a growing financial market in recent decades – may take a huge hit,” Fisher told an insurance conference. He said there “are already a few specific examples of this having happened”, but did not name them, and added that it was clear his concerns had yet to “permeate” the sector.

From Grist, Oklahoma scientists play Big Oil’s music:

Oklahoma scientists pressured to downplay link between earthquakes and fracking

Oklahoma has been experiencing an earthquake boom in recent years. In 2014, the state had 585 quakes of at least magnitude 3. Up through 2008, it averaged only three quakes of that strength each year. Something odd is happening.

But scientists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey have downplayed a possible connection between increasing fracking in the state and the increasing number of tremors. Even as other states (Ohio, for example) quickly put two and two together and shut down some drilling operations that were to blame, OGS scientists said that more research was needed before their state took similar steps.

Now, though, emails obtained by EnergyWire reporter Mike Soraghan reveal that the University of Oklahoma and its oil industry funders were putting pressure on OGS scientists to downplay the connection between earthquakes and the injection of fracking wastewater underground. In 2013, a preliminary OGS report noted possible correlation between the two, and OGS signed on to a statement by the U.S. Geological Survey that also noted such linkages. Soon after, OGS’s seismologist, Austin Holland, was summoned to meetings with the president of the university, where OGS is housed, and with executives of oil company Continental Resources. Continental CEO Harold Hamm was a major university funder, while the university president David Boren serves on Continental’s board, for which he earned $272,700 in cash and stock in 2013.

Feds find the Arctic oil they want drilled will most likely lead to a major oil spill, via the Pacific Standard:

The Department of the Interior says there’s a 75 percent chance of a major oil spill in the Arctic—and it’s willing to take that chance

The Department of the Interior reported recently that drilling in the remote Chukchi Sea in the Arctic would likely cause a major oil spill, which could kill polar bears and ringed seal pups, as well as threaten populations of loons, Pacific brant, murres, puffins, and bowhead whales. There would probably also be hundreds of additional smaller oil spills. Therefore, the department concluded, we ought to go forward with drilling.

There are no typos in that paragraph. No words are missing. The Department of the Interior thinks a 75 percent chance of a major spill—one of more than 1,000 barrels of oil—that would threaten the very existence of multiple species represents a “reasonable balance” between environmental and energy demands.

The report was the department’s third swing at a complete environmental-impact statement for drilling in the Chukchi. In 2008, the Bush administration sold drilling rights there to Royal Dutch Shell. Since then, the Department of the Interior has written two shoddy environmental assessments that have been rejected twice by federal courts following legal challenges by environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Allegations industry corrupted Europe’s clean air laws, via the Guardian:

Industry lobbyists weakened Europe’s air pollution rules, say Greenpeace

Governments, including the UK, are allowing energy industry representatives to help draw up Europe’s air quality limits resulting in proposed standards on coal plant emissions that are weaker than China’s, claim the campaign group

New limits on air pollution in Europe have been watered down because governments are allowing some of the worst polluters to help draw up the rules, according to a Greenpeace investigation.

The Guardian has also learned that despite UK claims to the contrary, energy industry representatives repeatedly and forcefully pushed for weaker pollution limits at meetings in Brussels.

As a result of ongoing lobbying, the proposed European Union standards on toxic emissions from coal plants will be less strict than in China, the green campaign group said.

Separating fossil fuel climate change from oceanic changes, via the Guardian:

The oceans may be lulling us into a false sense of climate security

Ocean cycles have slowed the warming of global surface temperatures, but only temporarily

A paper published last week in Science casts more light on oceans and how they may have contributed to a false sense of security about what we face in the future. The paper, coauthored by Byron Steinman, Michael Mann, and Sonya Miller, approached the problem in a new way that connected real-world observations with state-of-the-art climate models. What the authors find casts severe doubt on other work which had oversold the role of natural climate’s ability to halt global warming for the next 15 years. Instead, by correcting others’ errors, the new paper shows that things may be worse than we thought.

First, some definitions. The authors of this paper, in particular Michael Mann, are well known in the scientific community for researching various natural climate processes that recur periodically. These processes are often called oscillations and they are key components to short-term climatic fluctuations. The two oscillations focused on in this paper are the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

The AMO is a cyclical variation in North Atlantic temperatures that lasts for 50–70 years. On the other hand, the PDO can actually be thought of as a short (16–20 year process) and a longer (50–70 year) process. Currently, the oceans are characterized by a slightly positive AMO and a more negative PDO. A recent publication discusses the role of the PDO and the continued warming of the planet, readers can go there for a basic description.

Floods ahoy, via BBC News:

Global flood toll to triple by 2030

The number of people affected by river flooding worldwide could nearly triple in the next 15 years, analysis shows. Climate change and population growth are driving the increase, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).

In the UK, about 76,000 people a year could be at risk of being affected by flooding if defences aren’t improved, it says.The yearly cost of damage to urban areas could reach more than £1bn.

The centre says this is the first public analysis of all world data on current and future river-flood risks.

From StarAfrica, a new African environmental alliance announced:

Kenya: African network for women leaders on environment launched

Women ministers and leaders from Africa meeting at the Africa Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN) launched a new network, Thursday, that aims at enhancing representation and involvement of women in decision-making in areas related to the environment and sustainable development continent wide.

The newly established African Network of Women Ministers and Leaders for the Environment will lead the development of an AMCEN policy on gender and the environment designed to mainstream gender and environment considerations into development planning, legislation, and financial policies at the regional, national and community levels.

The network is co-chaired by Madame Zanou Armande, Director of Environmental Law, Ministry of Environment, Benin and Madame Hadijatou Jallow, Executive Director, Environment Protection Agency, Sierra Leone.

Brazilian peasants seize a paper plant over plans to plan GMO trees, via Fox News Latino:

Landless Movement occupies Brazil paper mill

About 1,000 women from Brazil’s Landless Movement, or MST, on Thursday occupied the scientific research center of a paper company to protest the possible introduction of genetically modified eucalyptus trees in the South American country.

The MST said in a communique that its activists invaded the facilities of FuturaGene Brasil Tecnologia, a company owned by Suzano Papel y Celulosa where genetic modification research is conducted to improve the paper mill’s productivity.

According to MST, the action undertaken in Itapetininga, a town in Sao Paulo state, was part of the National Day of Struggle by Peasant Women and is aimed at alerting the public about what it says are the dangers of planting genetically modified eucalyptus trees in Brazil.

Arctic Sea ice thinning accelerates, via the Guardian:

Arctic sea ice is getting thinner faster than expected

Study combining disparate data for first time finds sea ice thickness down 65% since 1975 because of global warming, reports Climate Central

While the steady disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic has been one of the hallmark effects of global warming, research shows it is not only covering less of the planet, but it’s also getting significantly thinner. That makes it more susceptible to melting, potentially altering local ecosystems, shipping routes and ocean and atmospheric patterns.

New data compiled from a range of sources – from Navy submarines to satellites – suggests that thinning is happening much faster than models have estimated, according to a study aiming to link those disparate data sources for the first time. University of Washington researchers Ron Lindsay and Axel Schweiger calculated that in the central part of the Arctic Ocean basin, sea ice has thinned by 65% since 1975. During September, when the ice reaches its annual minimum, ice thickness is down by a stunning 85%.

The information is key in determining when parts of the Arctic may become ice-free for at least part of the year in the coming century.

On to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with more radioactive leaks, via NHK WORLD:

Fukushima plant ditch water found radioactive

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has found relatively high levels of radioactivity in water collected from a ditch in the upper part of a drainage channel at the complex.

Tokyo Electric Power Company says its workers discovered that the water collected on Tuesday contained 1,900 becquerels per liter of beta-particle-emitting substances. The utility’s officials suspect water from the ditch spilled into the sea through the drainage channel.

The ditch runs near a tank storing highly radioactive water. TEPCO workers have checked the tank, but found no evidence of a leak. But they are still investigating the possibility of a leak of contaminated water from the tank to the ditch. Last month, the density of radioactive substances in the lower portion of the drainage channel briefly soared to more than 10 times the normal figure.

Reasonable anger, via Jiji Press:

Fukushima Towns Protest against TEPCO over Water Leaks

The council of four municipalities hosting Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear power plants lodged a protest against TEPCO on Thursday for its failure to promptly disclose leaks of contaminated rainwater into the sea.

Visiting TEPCO’s headquarters in Tokyo, representatives of the council handed in a letter of protest to TEPCO President Naomi Hirose.

The letter said that reconstruction efforts are premised on ensuring the safety of nuclear plants and that the council strongly protests TEPCO’s untrustworthy actions.

TEPCO learned in April 2014 that rainwater contaminated with radioactive substances such as cesium had leaked into the Pacific Ocean through a drainage ditch connected to a reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which was damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. But the company did not disclose this information until recently.

Another major risky operation planned, via SimplyInfo:

Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 Fuel Removal To Start Within Year

TEPCO told Yomiuri Shimbun that they expect to begin removing spent fuel at the unit 3 reactor within the 2015 fiscal year. Work to remove the damaged fuel handling crane has been delayed until April due to the complexity of the task.

TEPCO will need to install a cover building vaguely similar to the one installed on unit 4. The building for unit 3 will have to work around existing structural and technical challenges unique to that building.

From the Asahi Shimbun, evacuees plagued with blood clots:

FOUR YEARS AFTER: Blood problems continue to plague residents at temporary housing

Cases of blood clots among evacuees living in temporary housing units in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures have risen significantly in the past four years, research shows.

Local doctors and a team from Niigata University have been examining the health of evacuees who lost their homes in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The researchers include Shinsaku Ueda, a doctor at the Japanese Red Cross Ishinomaki Hospital, Kazuhiro Sasaki, a doctor at the Morioka Municipal Hospital, and Kazuhiko Hanzawa, a lecturer at Niigata University’s School of Medicine.

Diagnoses via ultrasound made shortly after the disaster in the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, revealed that 7.1 percent of evacuees had blood clots in veins in their calves. The rate continued to rise for those who subsequently moved into temporary housing, hitting 18.4 percent in 2014.

From Jiji Press, the governor calls for extending reconstruction programs:

4 Years On: Fukushima Calls for Extending Intensive Reconstruction Period

Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori reiterated his calls for extending an intensive reconstruction period set to end in March 2016, as some 120,000 people still live as evacuees four years after Japan’s worst nuclear accident in the northeastern Japan prefecture.

“In a sense, reconstruction in Fukushima has just begun,” Uchibori said in an interview ahead of the fourth anniversary of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was crippled by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The prefectural government will estimate financial resources necessary for reconstruction, he said, adding that “the intensive reconstruction period will end when overall reconstruction is completed.”

A Fukushimaphobia recovery, via the Japan Times:

Fukushima fears no longer a drag on tourism

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster laid waste to Japan’s tourism industry even as it left the Tohoku coastline in ruins, killed thousands and sparked the worst nuclear crisis in a generation.

But four years later, tourism is bouncing back, shattering expectations on visitor numbers largely owing to the weak yen and fading fears about the fallout from Fukushima No. 1.

Worries about radiation sent the number of visitors coming to Japan into a steep dive and the thought of attracting new tourists seemed an impossible goal in the days and weeks after the catastrophe struck.

Nearby factories suffer from major labor shortages, via the Japan Times:

Workers still scarce at factories in village near Fukushima No. 1

A labor shortage has been plaguing new factories in areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Thanks to efforts by the central and prefectural governments to create jobs to prepare for the return of locals who evacuated because of the nuclear crisis, businesses opened factories in the village of Kawauchi, close to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s shattered facility.

But the factories are suffering from a lack of workers due chiefly to delays in the return of evacuees, especially young people. In addition, some workers quit after finding themselves unsuited for the new jobs.

And regulators find major flaws in plans for the restart of another Japanese nuke plant shut down after the earthquake that shattered Fukushima, via the Mainichi:

Nuclear regulator says preventive measures lacking for Monju fast-breeder reactor

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said on March 4 that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) had not taken sufficient measures to prevent its Monju fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture from experiencing trouble.

In May 2013, the NRA issued an order to effectively halt the operation of the Monju fast-breeder reactor because JAEA failed to inspect a huge number of reactor components. JAEA, the operator of the reactor, then submitted reports seeking the lifting of the order. In response to JAEA’s reports, the NRA said on March 4, “Preventative measures have not been fully taken.” It now has become difficult for the NRA to lift the order by the end of this year because the nuclear regulatory agency, the NRA’s secretariat, says the Monju reactor should go through at least three quarterly inspections to have the ban lifted.

It came to light in November 2012 that JAEA had failed to conduct inspections on nearly 10,000 components. In May 2013, the NRA ordered JAEA to suspend preparatory work for restarting the reactor until it rebuilds a maintenance and management system for the facility. In December 2014, JAEA submitted three reports in a bid to have the order lifted, but it was subsequently found to have erred in tallying the number of components it had yet to inspect. JAEA then amended and resubmitted some of the documents in February this year.

At the NRA’s regular meeting on March 4, the nuclear regulatory agency revealed that it had instructed JAEA to recheck 4,967 components the operator had put off inspecting on the grounds that they “do not affect the reactor facility.” Regarding the errors in tallying the number of inspected components, the agency also said that it had instructed JAEA to “verify the fundamental cause and take necessary measures.”

TheLocal.de covers nuclear litigation in Europe:

Energy firm sues EU over Brit nuclear plant

Renewable energy provider Greenpeace Energy plans to sue the European Commission over its decision last year to allow the UK to build a new nuclear reactor.

The Hamburg company says that the huge subsidies involved in the UK project will upset German energy markets and harm small renewable energy providers, and argues that the  the European Commission (EC) should not have given the project the go ahead because the subsidies would distort competition.

Silvia Brugger, director of the Climate and Energy Programme at the Heinrich-Böll Foundation – closely linked to Germany’s Green party – told The Local that the lawsuit is “justified” and an “important signal,” and denied that a favourable ruling would threaten Germany’s subsidy programme for renewable energy.

“[This process] should expose the full costs of nuclear energy and conversely highlight the competitive advantages of renewable energy,” said Brugger.

And, finally, fears over new Nuclear plants in a Pakistani seismic hot spot, via the Washington Post:

Outcry and fear as Pakistan builds new nuclear reactors in dangerous Karachi

World leaders have fretted for years that terrorists may try to steal one of Pakistan’s nuclear bombs and detonate it in a foreign country. But some Karachi residents say the real nuclear nightmare is unfolding here in Pakistan’s largest and most volatile city.

On the edge of Karachi, on an earthquake-prone seafront vulnerable to tsunamis and not far from where al-Qaeda militants nearly hijacked a Pakistan navy vessel last fall, China is supplying two large nuclear reactors for energy-starved Pakistan.

The new plants, utilizing a cutting-edge design not yet in use anywhere in the world, will each supply 1,100 megawatts to Pakistan’s national energy grid. The reactors are being built next to a much smaller 1970s-era reactor located on a popular beach where fishermen still make wooden boats by hand.

But the new ACP-1000 reactors will also stand less than 20 miles from downtown Karachi, a dense and rapidly growing metropolis of about 20 million residents.

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