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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Massachusetts snowstorm causes Pilgrim nuclear station to be shut down

ENTERGY’S PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IS SHUT AS SNOWSTORM ENVELOPS MASSACHUSETTS, Jim Ostroff, james.ostroff@platts.com Washington (Platts)–8 Feb 2016   Operators at Entergy’s 728-MW Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, Massachusetts, shut the unit early Monday morning as a precautionary measure, while a snowstorm swept through the state, a plant spokesman said.

Pilgrim spokesman Patrick O’Brien said operators began to reduce the unit’s power from 100% at 9 pm EST (0200 GMT) Sunday, noting the “weather might be an issue, with loss of power” possible. Pilgrim shut automatically in January 2015 and in February 2014 during snowstorms when offsite power, provided by a local utility, was interrupted.

The unit was operating at 12% of capacity just prior to being shut, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s daily reactor status report Monday.

O’Brien declined to estimate when Pilgrim will restart and return to 100% capacity, saying this information “is market sensitive.”…(subscibers only ) http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/washington/entergys-pilgrim-nuclear-power-plant-is-shut-21901806?hootpostid=28068bc08898fb813f66296f084ba47f

February 10, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The growing climate problem of data farms’ consumption of energy

the only long-term solution to the energy problem will have to involve significant cuts to our internet use at some point in the future. This could be through some kind of tax or charge on data use – for example, imposing a fee for uploading photographs on to Facebook – or even a straightforward rationing of activity

data farm

Global warming: Data centres to consume three times as much energy in next decade, experts warn 416.2 terawatt hours of electricity world’s data centres used last year was far higher than UK’s total consumption,The Independent  Tom Bawden Environment Editor @BawdenTom 24 January 2016 The amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres – the repositories for billions of gigabytes of information – will treble in the next decade, putting an enormous strain on energy supplies and dealing a hefty blow to efforts to contain global warming, experts say. 

Whether you’re “liking” something on Facebook, streaming the latest Tarantino movie or posting an instagram from the pub, every internet activity involves huge amounts of data that needs to be stored somewhere. And as the “internet of everything” brings innovations such as driverless cars and high-definition video watches ever closer, the vast network of data centres that have sprung up in the past decade will spread.

This wouldn’t be a problem if these facilities – which range from a small room with a few servers to vast 150,000 square metre “farms” – didn’t consume such enormous amounts of energy.

  • Already, data centres have mushroomed from virtually nothing 10 years ago to consuming about 3 per cent of the global electricity supply and accounting for about 2 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. That gives it the same carbon footprint as the airline industry.
  • To put the size of this consumption into even sharper relief – the 416.2 terawatt hours of electricity the world’s data centres used last year was significantly higher than the UK’s total consumption of about 300 terawatt hours.Massive as data centre energy use may already be, this is nothing to what lies in store, analysts warn. Ian Bitterlin, Britain’s foremost data centre expert and a visiting professor at the University of Leeds, says the amount of energy used by data centres is doubling every four years – despite the innovations in hardware that massively increase their capacity to store data. As a result, analysts forecast that data centres will consume roughly treble the amount of electricity in the next decade.

    One way to curb their carbon footprint is to increase the amount of renewable energy they use – a development that is already under way but has much, much further to go to offset the exponential growth in internet traffic, experts say. Even if the industry were able to shift to 100 per cent renewable electricity, the volume of energy they would need would put intolerable pressure on the world’s power systems.

  • “If we carry on going the way we have been it would become unsustainable – this level of data centre growth is not sustainable beyond the next 10 to 15 years. The question is, what are we going to do about it?” says Professor Bitterlin.He points to a study focused on Japan which suggests that its data centres would consume its entire electricity supply by 2030 if growth continues at today’s rate.

    “We need to be more responsible about what we use the internet for … Data centres aren’t the culprits – it’s driven by social media and mobile phones. It’s films, pornography, gambling, dating, shopping – anything that involves images. It’s a great example of the Jevons paradox – the easier you make it to consume the product the greater the consumption will be.”

  • Unless there is some kind of game-changing breakthrough on data storage – such as the development of a far-superior alternative to silicon – the world’s internet use is eventually going to have to be significantly rationed. Professor Bitterlin added that a form of carbon known as graphene could potentially revolutionise data storage.But even with a revolution in data storage capacity, he believes the only long-term solution to the energy problem will have to involve significant cuts to our internet use at some point in the future. This could be through some kind of tax or charge on data use – for example, imposing a fee for uploading photographs on to Facebook – or even a straightforward rationing of activity; but he acknowledges that these kind of moves would probably be “political suicide”. Other measures – such as switching from colour to black and white photographs – could also go a long way to reducing data consumption.

    Governments across the world, including the UK, are starting to wake up to the data centre problem at the same time as they encourage the roll-out of data-hungry broadband networks to ever remoter locations. The roll-out is primarily designed to help small businesses, but the bulk of the faster internet access is enjoyed by consumers. And some internet companies – such as Facebook, Google and Apple – are leading efforts to be more environmentally responsible. The measures being taken include housing data centres in cold climates – which dramatically reduces the energy needed to cool the facilities – with a ready supply of renewable energy. …..http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/global-warming-data-centres-to-consume-three-times-as-much-energy-in-next-decade-experts-warn-a6830086.html

January 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY | 1 Comment

Global warming is happening fast in the world’s oceans

climate-changeWorld’s oceans warming at increasingly faster rate, new study finds
Ocean water has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels,
Guardian, , 19 Jan 16,  The world’s oceans are warming at a quickening rate, with the past 20 years accounting for half of the increase in ocean heat content that has occurred since pre-industrial times, a new study has found.

US scientists discovered that much of the extra heat in the ocean is buried deep underwater, with 35% of the additional warmth found at depths below 700 meters. This means far more heat is present in the far reaches of the ocean than 20 years ago, when it contained just 20% of the extra heat produced from the release of greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution.

The paper, published in Nature Climate Change, sheds further light on the vast quantities of heat being absorbed by the world’s oceans.

Ocean water, which has a much higher heat capacity than air, has absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat and nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide generated by human consumption of fossil fuels. The vast Southern Ocean sucked up 1.2bn tonnes of carbon in 2011 alone – which is roughly equivalent to the European Union’s annual carbon output…….

As the oceans warm, storm intensity increases and aquatic species are forced from their traditional ranges. Absorption of carbon dioxide has also made the oceans 30% more acidic, which is when the pH of the water drops, making it harder for creatures such as coral, oysters and mussels to form the shells and structures that sustain them.

Scientists have already declared that a third global coral bleaching event is currently underway, where corals whiten and die off due to extreme heat. An analysis of more than 620 studies last year found that the food chains of the world’s oceans are at risk of collapse due to climate change, overfishing and localized pollution. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/18/world-oceans-warming-faster-rate-new-study-fossil-fuels

January 19, 2016 Posted by | climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Renewable energy can dramatically cut emissions – International Renewable Energy Agency

Some of those changes are already underway. Global clean energy investment attracted a record $329bn last year, according to a report released on Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report noted the rise in clean energy investment came despite the drop in oil prices.

sun-power
Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within logo-IRENAreach http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/16/rapid-switch-to-renewable-energy-can-put-paris-climate-goals-within-reach

Increasing renewables to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C, says International Renewable Energy AgencyGuardian, , 16 Jan 16

Countries can deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate change agreement by rapid scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030, an international energy gathering will be told on Saturday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) meeting in Abu Dhabi – the first major global gathering since Paris – is seen as an important test of countries’ readiness to put those plans into action.

Nearly 200 countries agreed to keep warming below 2C, and work towards a 1.5C limit, during the Paris climate negotiations last month. Some 187 put forward plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Now comes the hard part, government officials admit: making good on those promises by translating emissions cutting targets into policies, and expanding access to clean energy technologies.

Irena said those goals were within reach – if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiencycould make up the rest.

“The Paris agreement set a long-term vision for the deep reduction of global emissions and the need to decarbonise the energy sector,” Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general said in a prepared statement. “The Irena assembly must now take the next steps and establish a blueprint for action to meet our climate goals and set the world on a path to a sustainable energy future.”

In an effort to spur countries to action, an Irena report released on Saturday found doubling the share of renewables by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or about $1.3tn, and provide jobs for more than 24 million in the renewable sector.

The United Nations climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has said repeatedly she was looking to the Paris agreement to send a clear signal to the business community of a shift away from a fossil-fuel driven economy.

Some of those changes are already underway. Global clean energy investment attracted a record $329bn last year, according to a report released on Thursday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report noted the rise in clean energy investment came despite the drop in oil prices.

Irena officials said they hoped that the Paris climate accord would add momentum to the shift.

“We are not seeing climate change action as a cost, but starting to see it in terms of opportunities,” said Angela Kallhauge, Irena’s climate change officer.

January 18, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | Leave a comment

James Hansen is so wrong about “new nuclear” as saviour of the world’s climate

No 2 NuclearPower No 81 January 2016  “……NASA scientist James Hansen headed Paris to berate climate campaigners for failing to support nuclear power. Hansen ignores renewables and energy efficiency, setting up a false choice between fossil fuels and nuclear. (3) Writing in The Guardian (with Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira and Tom Wigley) he says he has “become so concerned about humanity’s slow response to the climate challenge” that he “must clearly set out what we see as the only viable path forward”. He doesn’t just want more nuclear power stations, but he wants next-generation nuclear power stations fuelled with weapons-useable plutonium, extracted from spent fuel in reprocessing plants. (4)
New reactor types In his book, Storms of my Grandchildren, Hansen says the problem with conventional reactors is the nuclear waste – particularly the transuranic actinides which have a lifetime of about ten thousand years. And conventional thermal reactors extract less than 1% of the energy in the original uranium. But trying to “transmute” these long-lived radionuclides into elements that have shorter lifetimes requires an elaborate strategy involving the reprocessing of spent fuel, multiple rounds of special fuel fabrication, and irradiation in fast reactors all of which would cause large quantities of radionuclides to get released into the environment. Six decades of global experience with breeder reactors has shown that they are very problematic, much more so than nuclear power in general. So any strategy based on rapid construction of these untested No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.81, January 2016 3 technologies is very likely to suffer from setbacks. There is simply not enough time for us to go down these blind alleys. (5) ……..
climate-change-lie
Writing on the Climate Progress website, Joe Romm who was acting US assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy in 1997, also points out that Hansen et al’s 115 reactors per year is far beyond what the world ever sustained during the nuclear heyday of the 1970s, and far beyond what the overwhelming majority of energy experts, including those sympathetic to the industry, think is plausible. He says Hansen ignores the fact that the nuclear power industry has essentially priced itself out of the market for new power plants and seems unable to avoid massive delays and cost overruns. Romm asks why do such smart people advance such an indefensibly absurd scenario? Because when you drop the numbers to more plausible (but still highly optimistic) levels, such as imagined by the IEA and NEA, you immediately realize that nuclear power isn’t going to be a major player in the fight to avoid catastrophic warming. (7) …….
renew-world-1Stanford University engineering professor, Mark Z. Jacobson’s response to Hansen points out that it takes around 10-19 years from the start of planning for new reactors to the start of operation compared with 2-5 years for wind or solar. Nuclear is just too slow to help solve climate problems. (8) Bill Gates also made a lot of headlines with his “Breakthrough Energy Coalition” fund to come up with new energy solutions, including “advanced” nuclear reactors. It’s not that innovation isn’t welcome, but what the climate really needs right now is the large-scale deployment of existing technologies which, according to investment bank Goldman Sachs, are already cost-effective and climate-effective. The problem is, an Apollo-style push for what Gates has called “Energy Miracles” is not only a misguided strategy for mitigating climate change, it could also distract funders with the enticing idea that invention is going to rescue us from climate change. They really should be distributing funds to empower communities, and incentivize the massive deployment of energy efficiency and existing renewable technology now rather waiting for miracles which might never happen, or will happen too late to make a difference. (9)  ……http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo81.pdf

January 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Nuclear Industry goes into Climate Overdrive

cartoon-climate-conNo 2 NuclearPower No 81 January 2016  “…….. We are now in the midst of a fight between the past and the future”. Former Australian Greens’ Senator Christine Milne The nuclear industry and its champions went into overdrive during the Paris Climate Conference. Was it a last-ditch effort to convince us all that nuclear power is an important part of the answer to the climate crisis? It all seemed a bit desperate with blatant attacks (1) on those who envisage a future based on renewables and no nuclear.
Nuclear Engineering International reported that the nuclear industry achieved precisely nothing in Paris, (2) but pro-nuclear champions were trying to promulgate three myths. Firstly that there are potentially new reactor types which could help solve the waste problem and the climate crisis given a little bit of extra research and development; secondly that we need nuclear to provide baseload, low carbon electricity; and thirdly that renewables can only provide a proportion of our electricity because of its intermittent nature.
But the truth is that nuclear power is a dangerous distraction from what we really need to be doing to tackle climate change. Every pound spent on nuclear power could have been spent more effectively, making greater reductions in carbon emissions, if it had been spent on energy efficiency or renewables. So spending on nuclear will actually damage our efforts to tackle climate change. And fortunately the concept of a world powered 100% by clean renewable energy is no longer seen as a pipedream but as a necessary and, more importantly, achievable goal at every level–from individuals to large corporations, and from small communities to large cities……… http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo81.pdf

January 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

World needs a global carbon tax, says aluminium billionaire

Almost every Australian mining company believes that a carbon tax in some form or another is necessary to provide the certainty required for investment. But Mr Deripaska’s call for a $US15-a-tonne tax represents a bold call in comparison

Rusal’s Deripaska calls for worldwide carbon tax THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 13, 2016 Barry Fitzgerald Resources Editor Melbourne

Billionaire Russian aluminium king Oleg Deripaska has slammed the lack of action after the Paris climate summit, saying the world needs to act now on introducing a carbon tax to curb emissions and fund the rise of renewables.

Writing exclusively in The Australian, Mr Deripaska, president of the world’s biggest aluminium group Rusal, says the outcome of the Paris summit late last year was nothing more than an agreement for 196 countries to “kick the can down the road a few decades’’……..

He says that without immediate action on a carbon tax, the ­losers from the Paris Summit are “those of us who breathe the air, drink the water, and wish for the safe and healthy environment our children and grandchildren deserve”.

………….“It is now incumbent on global governments, corporations and citizens to bring action to the words of Paris,’’ Mr Deripaska adds. He has suggested a carbon tax starting off at $US15 a tonne, increasing over time.

  • “Such a tax would constitute a clear pricing mechanism and signal to the global market, providing a powerful disincentive to carbon producers and consumers,’’ Mr Deripaska says.He suggests one-third of the revenue raised could be used to “unleash an unprecedented wave of R&D investment in energy-­efficient and lower carbon emissions energy sources’’……….
  • A carbon tax is no stranger to either Australian government or industry, with the first proposal coming from the Hawke-Keating government in 1991 in a secret cabinet proposal sponsored by treasurer Keating. Industry reacted savagely against the proposal when the news was leaked via the media and the idea was shut down.The Howard government picked up the ball with its Renewable Energy Target in November 1997. It was a forerunner of the emissions trading system proposed by the Rudd government, which ended in Kevin Rudd’s eventual ousting on the back of Tony Abbott’s relentless campaign against the introduction of any carbon tax or emissions trading.

    Mr Rudd’s successor Julia Gillard introduced the carbon tax in July 2012 that ended in her defeat as prime minister, and the tax was repealed by the newly elected Abbott government in July 2014.

    Almost every Australian mining company believes that a carbon tax in some form or another is necessary to provide the certainty required for investment. But Mr Deripaska’s call for a $US15-a-tonne tax represents a bold call in comparison……. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/rusals-deripaska-calls-for-worldwide-carbon-tax/news-story/651eabfd65e51841b6b9899fd895f444

January 13, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Refuting James Hansen’s claims about nuclear power and climate change

The nuclear power industry has essentially priced itself out of the market for new power plants because of its 1) negative learning curve and 2) inability to avoid massive delays and cost overruns in market economies. This is doubly problematic because the competition — renewable power, electricity storage, and energy efficiency — have seen steady, stunning price drops for a long time.

the IEA and many others have concluded that new renewable energy will play a far bigger role in the transition.

text irrelevantWhy James Hansen Is Wrong About Nuclear Power, Climate Progress BY JOE ROMM JAN 7, 2016 CLIMATOLOGIST JAMES HANSEN ARGUED LAST MONTH, “NUCLEAR POWER PAVES THE ONLY VIABLE PATH FORWARD ON CLIMATE CHANGE.” HE IS WRONG.

As the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and International Energy Agency (IEA) explained in a major report last year, in the best-case scenario, nuclear power can play a modest, but important, role in avoiding catastrophic global warming if it can solve its various nagging problems — particularly high construction cost — without sacrificing safety.

Hansen and a handful of other climate scientists I also greatly respect — Ken Caldeira, Tom Wigley, and Kerry Emanuel — present a mostly handwaving argument in which new nuclear power achieves and sustains an unprecedented growth rate for decades. The one quantitative “illustrative scenario” they propose — “a total requirement of 115 reactors per year to 2050 to entirely decarbonise the global electricity system” — is far beyond what the world ever sustained during the nuclear heyday of the 1970s, and far beyond what the overwhelming majority of energy experts, including those sympathetic to the industry, think is plausible.

They ignore the core issues: Continue reading

January 7, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Cruel nuclear winter, deadly famine from one “small” nuclear war

One small atomic war could trigger cruel nuclear winters and global famine http://www.techinsider.io/nuclear-explosions-earth-atmosphere-temperature-2016-1   7 Jan 16

North Korea’s fourth test of a nuclear weapon — whether it was a hydrogen bomb or not — calls attention to a well-known but sobering fact: There are a terrifying number of nuclear weapons in the arsenals of major powers around the world.

But worse, unprecedented and widespread devastation doesn’t require the unlikely scenario of all those powers unleashing all the firepower at once, according to a recent study published in an American Geophysical Union journal.

Nuclear-Winter

In fact, that study found that a “limited, regional nuclear war” using 100 “small nuclear weapons” — the size of the bomb dropped at Hiroshima — could cause a nuclear winter that would last decades. Continue reading

January 7, 2016 Posted by | climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The nuclear lobby failed its goal for Paris climate agreement

cartoon-climate-conParis Fails to Revive the Nuclear Dream, Ecowatch  Paul Brown, logo Paris climate1Climate News Network | December 31, 2015 In Paris, in early December, the advocates of nuclear power made yet another appeal to world leaders to adopt their technology as central to saving the planet from dangerous climate change.

Yet analysis of the plans of 195 governments that signed up to the Paris agreement, each with their own individual schemes on how to reduce national carbon emissions, show that nearly all of them exclude nuclear power.

Only a few big players—China, Russia, India, South Korea and the United Kingdom—still want an extensive program of new–build reactors.

To try to understand why this is so the U.S.-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists asked eight experts in the field to look at the future of nuclear power in the context of climate change.

One believed that large-scale new-build nuclear power “could and should” be used to combat climate change and another thought nuclear could play a role, although a small one. The rest thought new nuclear stations were too expensive, too slow to construct and had too many inherent disadvantages to compete with renewables.

Industry in Distress

Amory Lovins, co-founder and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, produced a devastating analysis saying that the slow-motion decline of the nuclear industry was simply down to the lack of a business case.

The average nuclear reactor, he wrote, was now 29 years old and the percentage of global electricity generated continued to fall from a peak of 17.6 percent in 1996 to 10.8 percent in 2014. “Financial distress stalks the industry,” wrote Lovins.

Lovins says nuclear power now costs several times more than wind or solar energy and is so far behind in cost and building time that it could never catch up.

The full details of what he and other experts said are on the Bulletin’s site, with some of their comments below……..

M.V. Ramana, of the Nuclear Futures Laboratory and the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University, was dismissive. “There are still some who hope that nuclear power will magically undergo a massive expansion within a relatively short period of time.”

”The evidence so far suggests that this is a false hope, one that is best abandoned if we are to deal with climate change with the seriousness the problem demands.”

Peter Bradford, adjunct professor at Vermont Law School and former Nuclear Regulatory Commission member, agreed: “Climate change, so urgent and so seemingly intractable, has become the last refuge of nuclear charlatans throughout the Western world.”

He said James Hansen, perhaps the most visible of the climate scientists who advocate heavy reliance on breeder or other innovative reactor designs, did so without paying any attention to their track record of long and costly failure…… http://ecowatch.com/2015/12/31/paris-fails-nuclear-dream/

December 31, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Danger of moving plutonium from Dounreay to Sellafield after major flooding in Cumbria

Dounreay-nuclear-power-st-0Concerns over moving of Dounreay material by rail after flooding 14 December 2015 by David Kerr A campaign group has raised new concerns about the movement of waste materials from Dounreay by rail after major flooding in Cumbria.

Spent “exotic fuels” are being moved from the Caithness site to Sellafield in the north of England by rail, as part of the decommissioning process.

The first of a series of loads of unirradiated plutonium fuel from Dounreay’s Prototype Fast Reactor arrived at Sellafield last Monday.

Around 13 tonnes is due to be moved between the north of Scotland and Sellafield over the next few years……

Core spokesman Martin Forwood said: “It beggars belief that the decision to risk the plutonium fuel transport was taken despite the widely-trailed storm evidence and rail warnings.

“We condemn the perverse decision as being dangerously irresponsible and as a blatant breach of the stringent safety and security rules required for such transports.

“Those responsible have shown a level of incompetence that verges on criminal and should be weeded out, so that public and rail safety is not similarly endangered again.

“If any public confidence at all in such transports is to be salvaged, answers on the decisionmaking process must be given and lessons learned.”

The unirradiated plutonium is the latest fuel to be removed from Dounreay as part of a decommisioning program which started in 2001 when the site was closed. ………..https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/778884/concerns-raised-by-campaigners-over-moving-dounreay-material-by-rail-after-flooding/

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December 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Russia to dump nuclear waste in melting permafrost in Arkhangelsk Region

permafrost thawing eastern-siberia-lgApproves radioactive waste disposal in melting permafrost December 22, 2015 http://thebarentsobserver.com/ecology/2015/12/approves-radioactive-waste-disposal-melting-permafrost

On Monday, the Government of Arkhangelsk Region sent an order to Russia’s national operator for radioactive waste management with the approval to locate a repository for low- and medium level radioactive waste on the south-western part of the southern island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago.

Novaya Zemlya is geographically part of Arkhangelsk Oblast.

The repository will receive radioactive waste that already are in temporary storages in north-western Russia, including the large quantities stored at the naval yards in Severodvinsk on the coast of the White Sea, reports Nuclear.ru

The repository will be underground, but near the surface. Novaya Zemlya, like most other places in the High Arctic has permafrost in the ground. With climate changes, scientists fears the top layers of the permafrost could melt. That worries nuclear safety experts.

“It is important to consider the melting permafrost when studying risk-assessments for a radioactive waste repository on Novaya Zemlya,” says Nils Bøhmer, Nuclear Physicists with the Bellona Foundation in Norway.

He says the melting permafrost makes it highly uncertain for how long such waste can be protected.

Low- and medium level waste must be kept safe for hundreds of years according to Russian standards, reports Polit.ru that wrote about the Novaya Zemlya plans on Monday.

Bøhmer says it would be a much better alternative to establish a final repository for low- and medium level radioactive waste on the Kola Peninsula where the rocks are way more stable.

“In addition, it is safer to establish a repository where most of the waste already are located. Sea transport across the Barents Sea to Novaya Zemlya is a risky business in itself,” Bøhmer argues.

Novaya Zemlya was one of ten different sites in Northwest-Russia studied over the last couple of years to see if it is suited to be repository. Sites on the coast of the Kola Peninsula were also studied.

 

December 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Indonesian govt taking action over over deadly forest fires

climate-changeIndonesia takes unprecedented move to punish firms over deadly forest fires, ABC News, 22 Dec 15 

Indonesia has announced it is punishing more than 20 companies for starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people.

Three companies have been shut down permanently after having their licences revoked over their role in the blazes that choked vast expanses of South-East Asia with acrid haze and cost Indonesia $16 billion.

It is the first time the Government has revoked company licences over forest fires, an annual occurrence caused by slash-and-burn land clearance.

Indonesia smoke 15

The Environment Ministry also froze the operations of 14 companies and said they face closure if they do not meet the Government’s demands over fire prevention.

Several other companies have been given a strong warning and will be put under close supervision……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-22/indonesia-punishes-firms-over-deadly-forest-fires/7049190

December 23, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Paris climate agreement – countries see that their national interest is served by the common good

flag-UN-largeIn Paris, the United Nations showed its ability to deliver hope and  healing to the logo Paris climate1world, The Age, December 20, 2015 Ban Ki-moon

The Paris agreement is a health insurance policy for the planet. Seventy years ago, the United Nations was created from the ashes of World War II. Seven decades later, in Paris, nations united in the face of another threat – the threat to life as we know it due to a rapidly warming planet.

Governments have ushered in a new era of global co-operation on climate change – one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. In doing so, they have significantly advanced efforts to uphold our charter mandate to “save succeeding generations”.

The Paris agreement is a triumph for people, the environment, and for multilateralism. It is a health insurance policy for the planet. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb their emissions, strengthen resilience and act internationally and domestically to tackle climate change.

Together, countries have agreed that, in minimising risks of climate change, the national interest is best served by pursuing the common good. It is an example we could gainfully follow across the political agenda……

The Paris agreement delivered on all the key points I called for. Markets now have the clear signal they need to scale up investments that will generate low-emissions, climate-resilient development.

All countries have agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees and, given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees. This is especially important for the nations of Africa, small island developing states and least developed countries.

In Paris, countries agreed on a long-term goal to cap global greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible in the second half of the century. One hundred and eighty-eight countries have now submitted their intended nationally determined contributions, which show what they are prepared to do to reduce emissions and build climate resilience.

These national targets have already significantly bent the emissions curve downwards. But, collectively, they still leave us with an unacceptably dangerous 3 degrees temperature rise. That is why countries in Paris pledged that they will review their national climate plans every five years, beginning in 2018. This will allow them to increase ambition in line with what science demands.

The Paris agreement also ensures sufficient, balanced adaptation and mitigation support for developing countries, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. And it will help to scale up global efforts to minimise loss and damage from climate change.

Governments have agreed to binding, robust, transparent rules of the road to ensure that all countries do what they have said they would do. Developed countries have agreed to lead in mobilising finance and to scale up technology support and capacity building. And developing countries have assumed increasing responsibility to address climate change in line with their capabilities……

Now, with the Paris agreement in place, our thoughts must immediately turn to implementation. By addressing climate change we are advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Paris agreement has positive implications for all the sustainable development goals. We are poised to enter a new era of opportunity.

As governments, business and civil society begin the mammoth project of tackling climate change and realising the sustainable development goals, the UN will assist member states and society at large at every stage. As a first step in implementing the Paris agreement, I will convene a high-level signing ceremony in New York, on April 22 next year.

I will invite world leaders to come to help keep and increase momentum. By working together, we can achieve our shared objective to end poverty, strengthen peace, and ensure a life of dignity and opportunity for all.

Ban Ki-moon is Secretary-General of the United Nations. http://www.theage.com.au/comment/united-nations-has-proven-its-ability-to-deliver-hope-and-healing-to-the-world-20151220-glrslx.html#ixzz3uvsOVMH3

December 21, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The new climate denialism – that renewable energy “doesn’t work”

mythmaker nuclearThere is a new form of climate denialism to look out for – so don’t celebrate yet, Guardian, Naomi Oreskes, 17 Dec 15   At the exact moment in which we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel, we’re being told that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

fter the signing of a historic climate pact in Paris, we might now hope that the merchants of doubt – who for two decades have denied the science and dismissed the threat – are officially irrelevant.

But not so fast. There is also a new, strange form of denial that has appeared on the landscape of late, one that says that renewable sources can’t meet our energy needs.

Oddly, some of these voices include climate scientists, who insist that we must now turn to wholesale expansion of nuclear power. Just this past week, as negotiators were closing in on the Paris agreement, four climate scientists held an off-site session insisting that the only way we can solve the coupled climate/energy problem is with a massive and immediate expansion of nuclear power. More than that, they are blaming environmentalists, suggesting that the opposition to nuclear power stands between all of us and a two-degree world.

That would have troubling consequences for climate change if it were true, but it is not. Numerous high quality studies, including one recently published by Mark Jacobson of Stanford University, show that this isn’t so. We can transition to a decarbonized economy without expanded nuclear power, by focusing on wind, water and solar, coupled with grid integration, energy efficiency and demand management. In fact, our best studies show that we can do it faster, and more cheaply.

The reason is simple: experience shows that nuclear power is slow to build, expensive to run and carries the spectre of catastrophic risk. It requires technical expertise and organization that is lacking in many parts of the developing world (and in some part of the developed world as well). As one of my scientific colleagues once put it, nuclear power is an extraordinarily elaborate and expensive way to boil water.

The only country in the world that has ever produced the lion’s share of its electricity from nuclear is France, and they’ve done it in a fully nationalized industry – a model that is unlikely to be transferable to the US, particularly in our current political climate.

Even in the US, where nuclear power is generated in the private sector, it has been hugely subsidized by the federal government, which invested billions in its development in order to prove that the destructive power unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be put to good use. The government also indemnified the industry from accidents, and took on the task of waste disposal – a task it has yet to complete.

 We also have to pay attention to the problem of continued fossil fuel development. Climate activists have focused attention on divestment as a means to remind the world that continued investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure is inconsistent with the decarbonized economy that we need…….

we probably won’t get very far if the alternatives to fossil fuel – such as renewable energy – are disparaged by a new generation of myths. If we want to see real solutions implemented, we need to be on the lookout for this new form of denial……The key to decarbonizing our economy is to build a new energy system that does not rely on carbon-based fuels. Scientific studies show that that can be done, it can be done soon and it does not require nuclear power. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/16/new-form-climate-denialism-dont-celebrate-yet-cop-21

December 18, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

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