Government officials in Malawi are upset about the situation. “I am very shocked with the situation I have seen after monitoring the mine here and all my questions to the Paladin boss have not been answered satisfactory”
Meanwhile international experts are starting to question the benefits of the Kayelekera mine
Australian Uranium Mining Company Accused of Contaminating Lake Malawi By Mayu Chang……Global Research, January 29, 2015 CorpWatch Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 million people in three countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The company began uranium mining operations in Malawi in 2009 although it suspended operations last year after ore prices fell.
“It is rumored that Paladin secretly have started discharging the so called purified water. Reports from the Beach Village Chairman indicates that this started in late November,” wrote Rafiq Hajat of Malawi’s Institute for Policy Interaction on Facebook. “[At] a radius of 35 km from the Boma, you will be shocked to see fish of different species dead with some communities along the lakeshore collecting [the fish].”……………“Uranium is radioactive and that with open-pit mining, like the one to be conducted at Kayelekera, the soil drains into rivers and contaminates the water,” Titus Mvalo, a lawyer representing several civil society organizations in Malawi, told Inter Press Service in 2007. “When humans drink the water, it damages kidneys and causes cancer.”
At the time, the activist groups warned that the mine would pose a threat to Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest freshwater lake, which is a major source of drinking water and fish for the country. Christopher Mwambene, the executive director of Coordination Union for Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), a Blantyre-based environmental NGO, estimated that catch from the lake provides 20 percent of the protein requirement for Malawi’s population.
Perhaps even more damning was the assertion that Paladin was planning to use lower standards to build the Kayelekera mine. “Paladin are certainly not meeting Australian standards and they would not get approval in Australia if they were to present the same EIS here.” Dr. Gavin Mudd, an environmental engineering professor at Monash University in Melbourne, told ABC television news in 2007.
Mudd says that uranium tailings (waste) are typically stored under the water table in Australia and Canada, to reduce the risk of contamination. In Malawi, however, Paladin chose to store the tailings above ground behind a specially contructed dam.
“What Paladin is proposing for Kayelekera is it will depend on what happens with the rainfall and climate, but every few years or so allowing the excess build-up of water to be discharged into the local river system and local water resources,” Mudd added.
“This dam is in a catchment area of the stream,” Reinford Mwangonde, the executive director of Citizens for Justice, an NGO in Malawi, told ABC at the time. “The stream runs into Lake Malawi. A number of people in the community depend on that river for domestic water purposes.”
Mudd’s predictions appear to have come true. On January 5, a heavy storm caused the liner in a Kayelekera run-off tank to rupture, releasing up to 500 cubic meters of waste…………….
Government officials in Malawi are upset about the situation. “I am very shocked with the situation I have seen after monitoring the mine here and all my questions to the Paladin boss have not been answered satisfactory,” Alex Major, the deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee told a local town hall meeting on January 10.
Meanwhile international experts are starting to question the benefits of the Kayelekera mine. After visiting the country last July, Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, came out against the project. “The criticism is the deals could have been much more equitable, and could have allowed Malawi to use its resources better for the benefit of the population,” he told ABC television news in Australia.
In any case, today Malawi is no longer benefiting financially from Paladin’s operations. ……..
Experts says that the ultimate costs of the Kayelekera mine could be very high. “Uranium mining is associated with high environmental impacts and human health risks’” Fleur Scheele, then researcher at the World Information Service on Energy (WISE), an Amsterdam-based anti-nuclear organization, and author of a report on uranium mining in Africa published in 2011. “The costs of rehabilitation of the mining area are often many times higher than the total revenues derived during the mine’s entire lifetime.”http://www.globalresearch.ca/australian-uranium-mining-company-accused-of-contaminating-lake-malawi/5428142
B.C.’s citizen scientists on alert for radiation from Japan, Vancouver Sun BY AMY SMART, TIMES COLONIST JANUARY 25, 2015 Since October, citizen scientists have been dipping buckets into the waters of B.C.’s coast, looking for fallout from the 2011 nuclear meltdown in Japan.
At the centre of the search are two man-made isotopes, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, which act as “fingerprints” for radiation specific to the Japan disaster. Both isotopes were released when the reactors failed in the aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami, just as they were during nuclear testing in the mid-20th century.
While Cesium-137 has a half-life — the time it takes for the radioactivity to fall to half its original value — of 30 years, Cesium-134’s is only two years. That means that if Cesium-134 is found in a sample, scientists can be certain it came from Fukushima.
“It’s been sufficiently long since atmospheric weapons testing last century or the Chernobyl disaster that we don’t see traces of [Cesium-134 from those sources] anymore,” said University of Victoria ocean chemist Jay Cullen. “So if we detect it in seawater or an organism, then we know that sample has been affected by Fukushima.”
The radiation is as close as 100 kilometres, with levels expected to peak over the next two years. But so far, members of the InFORM Network — citizen scientists, and representatives from academia, government and non-governmental organizations — haven’t found anything in seawater samples collected by volunteers at 14 coastal locations.
“The models of ocean circulation that the physical oceanographers have put together suggest that we are going to see it along the coast and we can expect it to arrive over the next couple of years, the heart of that contaminated plume,” said Cullen, who leads the network.
InFORM is also monitoring marine life, which can absorb radiation. The first results, from sockeye salmon and steelhead trout selected for their known migration paths, showed traces of Cesium-137, but no Cesium-134……….
John Smith, a senior research scientist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, agrees that the health risks are likely to be “extremely low.” At its peak, the radiation in the plume is expected to be three to five becquerels per cubic metre of water. Canadian guidelines for safe drinking water impose a limit of 10,000 becquerels per cubic metre, he said.
For Smith, who began monitoring the plume’s spread in 2011, it provides a “dye test” for testing theories about ocean currents. The results will have implications for all kinds of models, including understandings of climate change, he said.
“This was a unique oceanographic event in that a large quantity of radioactivity was deposited into the ocean off Japan at a given moment in time and at a given location. It was a tremendous disaster. But it has provided an oceanographic tracer for currents that has never occurred before.”…….. www.vancouversun.com/health/citizen+scientists+alert+radiation+from+Japan/10758982/story.html
INDIA BUILDS SOLAR PLANTS ATOP CANALS TO SAVE LAND, WATER. https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2015/01/25/india-builds-solar-plants-atop-canals-to-save-land-water/As India moves to ramp up investment in solar power, it is exploring innovative places to install solar plants, including across the top of canals.
Last weekend, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon inaugurated a new “canal-top” solar energy plant in Vadodara district in India’s western state of Gujarat. “I saw more than glittering panels – I saw the future of India and the future of our world,” said Ban. “I saw India’s bright creativity, ingenuity and cutting-edge technology.”
Experts identify two major advantages in building solar plants atop canals: efficient and cheap land use, and reduced water evaporation from the channels underneath. business-standard.com
Controversy Surrounds Proposed Increase in Radioactive Waste Limits, KX News, Jan 23, 2015 By Ben Smith, Reporter A controversial proposal could allow state disposal sites to accept oil-waste with higher levels of radiation.
Freelance journalist Darrell Dorgan has seen three oil booms in North Dakota–he says a problem in all three has been the radioactive byproducts of oil production.
“The bottom line is that the state health department doesn’t know how much radioactive waste is generated in North Dakota either.” he says
Recently the Health Department held hearings about a proposal that would change the law, allow North Dakota landfills to accept waste ten-times more radioactive than the current standard………People like Dorgan would prefer to avoid the change all together..and make people’s health a priority over profits.
“It’s time just to halt this, take a deep breath, enforce the laws that are on the books to keep it at 5 Picocuries. Don’t ask me to increase it to 50 if you can’t keep track of 5.” he says
The State Health Department is accepting written comments on the proposal up until February 6th. http://www.kxnet.com/story/27919618/controversy-surrounds-proposed-increase-in-radioactive-waste-limits
22-Jan-2015 Source Newsroom: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Newswise — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory are trying to find out why uranium persists in groundwater at former uranium ore processing sites despite remediation of contaminated surface materials two decades ago. They think buried organic material may be at fault, storing toxic uranium at levels that continue to pose risks to human health and the environment, and hope their study will pave the way for better long-term site management and protection of the public and environment.
The contaminated sites, on floodplains in the upper Colorado River basin, operated from the 1940s to the 1970s to produce “yellowcake,” a precursor of uranium fuel used in nuclear power plants and weapons. In the 1990s, site surfaces were cleaned up, and remaining uranium in the ground was expected to flush out over time due to natural groundwater flow across the sites.
Schumer calls on agency to move ahead with steps toward nuclear cleanup Nassau LONG ISLAND Newsday January 19, 2015 By EMILY C. DOOLEY email@example.com Investigating contamination at a former Sylvania Corning plant in Hicksville that processed uranium and thorium for nuclear fuel rods has stalled and Sen. Charles Schumer called yesterday on the Army Corps of Engineers to speed up the process.
He also pledged to fight for increased funding for the Army Corps program, which was created in 1974 to clean up contaminants from the nation’s early…[registered readers only] http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/schumer-calls-on-agency-to-move-ahead-with-steps-toward-nuclear-cleanup-1.9823499
Critics: Turkey Point Sucking Us Dry MIAMI (CBSMiami) Gary Nelson, 13 Jan 15 – The Turkey Point nuclear power plant was busy splitting atoms by Biscayne Bay Wednesday, and just down the street a Nuclear Regulatory Commission appeals Board was hearing a challenge to the cooling system at Turkey point.
Water to cool the nuclear reactors is hot, as hot as 104 degrees at times. The nuclear regulatory commission has granted FPL a waiver, allowing the water to be hotter then regulations would normally allow.
Still, to keep the water even at the 104 degree limit, FPL has been allowed to pull as much as 100 million gallons of water a day from Everglades canals to cool the plant’s overheated cooling water.
Opponents say FPL, already sucking water from the aquifer-and now canals-is threatening environmental ruin. Click here to watch Gary Nelson’s report.
“The waters going to get more saline, it’s going to get denser, and it’s going to sink, and it’s going to further displace freshwater,” said Mayor Phillip Stoddard of South Miami. “It will mess up the Everglades and threaten the drinking water supply for Florida Keys residence.”
Miami-Dade farmer Mike Hatcher is among those battling FPL’s increased thirst. “It’s the water that we drink, it’s the water that I and my fellow farmers use to grow the crops,” Hatcher said. “It’s the water that we use for recreation.”……
Barry White of the group Citizens Allied for Safe Energy, said citizens have reason to be worried. “Eventually, they’ll pay for it in higher water bills and in the quality of life here,” White said. “There is not enough water and land to support so much.”
It is considered unlikely that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s appeals panel will overturn the agencies earlier decision. In any event, opponents vow to fight on. A decision from the panel is expected within a few weeks. http://miami.cbslocal.com/2015/01/14/critics-turkey-point-sucking-us-dry/
Blind Faith: The Nuclear History of Port Hope, Ontario http://www.mintpressnews.com/MyMPN/author/driches/ January 15, 2015 By Dennis Riches
Radiation is invisible, and it has always been imbued with a diverse range of magical powers in science fiction. Ironically, in a very real sense, radiation does make people invisible. Once groups of people have become victims of a radiological contamination, they are, in addition to being poisoned (or being traumatized by the possibility that they have been poisoned), marginalized and forgotten. Their traditions and communities are fragmented, and they are shamed into concealing their trauma. When contamination occurs, there is a strong impulse even among many victims to not admit that they have been harmed, for they know the fate that awaits them if they do.
Thus it is that hibakusha (the Japanese word for radiation victims) become invisible. When a new group of people become victims, such as in Fukushima in 2011, they feel that they have experienced a unique new kind of horror. For them, for their generation, it is new, but for those who know the historical record, it is a familiar replay of an old story. The people of Fukushima should know by now that they are bit players who have been handed down a tattered script from the past.
A case in point is “Blind Faith,” the superb 1981 book by journalist Penny Sanger, about the small irradiated Canadian town of Port Hope on the shores of Lake Ontario. In the 1970s, it faced (and more often failed to face) the toxic legacy of processing first radium, then uranium for nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.
Lethal lake in Russia could kill you http://www.aol.com/article/2015/01/16/lethal-lake-in-russia-could-kill-you/21131073/ It’s being called the most polluted spot on the planet. While Russia’s Lake Karachay might look pretty in a painting that’s as close as you ever want to get to it.
In 1990, the US organization “Natural Resources Defense Council” got their hands on a formerly secret soviet publication that revealed quote “astronomically” high radioactive pollution.
The lake sits in western Russia near the border of Kazakhstan. Nearby is Mayak, formerly known as Chelyabinsk one of the country’s largest nuclear production sites.
The reports say for years Chelyabinsk dumped about 120 million curies of radioactive waste to give you an idea of how much that is — it’s two and a half times the amount of radiation released in Chernobyl.
Add on top of that the Kyshtym nuclear disaster in 1957 said to be on of the world’s worst ever, a drought and strong winds blowing radioactive waste around.
The NRDC said that sitting on the lake’s shores for just an hour would be long enough to kill you!
The Marshall Islands’ latest nuclear test – Marshall Islanders are well-acquainted with the horrors of the nuclear arms industry. Belen Fernandez, Aljazeera, 18 Jan 15
The list of accused is as follows: the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Israel. Israel has made the cut despite fervently denying possession of a nuclear arsenal.
The spectacle is unfolding at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the main judicial organ of the United Nations. A recent New York Times article on the Marshall Islands’ “near-Quixotic venture” quotes Phon van den Biesen, head of the country’s legal team, on the ultimate aim of the effort: “All the nuclear weapons states are modernising their arsenals instead of negotiating [to disarm], and we want the court to rule on this.”……….
The diminutive nation happens to be the site of no fewer than 67 US nuclear bomb tests in the 1940s and 50s, during an almost 40-year period in which the US administered the Islands under a UN trusteeship. As Greenpeace notes, one of these tests involved a bomb 1,000 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
Such machinations have predictably resulted in thorough environmental contamination and continuing health complications for the local population, ranging from radiogenic cancers to babies born without bones.
As Marshallese nuclear survivor Lemeyo Abon told the UN Human Rights Council in 2012: “After the [US] testing programme we’ve had to create new words to describe the creatures we give birth to.”
Lexical fallout aside, other US contributions to Marshallese culture include the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll, which continues to generate revenue for US corporations.
The widespread territorial displacement necessitated by the previous era of fanatical nuclear testing meanwhile highlights the irony of Marshallese government support for the US-funded entity that displaces and otherwise oppresses Palestinians……….. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/01/marshall-islands-latest-nuclear-201511352947395615.html
US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet Project
Censored October 2, 2010 The US military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported. In spite of the evidence, the environmental impact of the US military goes largely unaddressed by environmental organizations and was not the focus of any discussions or proposed restrictions at the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. This impact includes uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil. Continue reading
the beginning of the Anthropocene could be considered to be drawn at the moment of detonation of the world’s first nuclear test: on July 16th 1945. The beginning of the nuclear age, it marks the historic turning point when humans first accessed an enormous new energy source — and is also a time level that can be effectively tracked within geological strata, using a variety of geological clues
Did the Anthropocene begin with the nuclear age?, Science Daily January 15, 2015 Source:University of Leicester
….. the Anthropocene, a new epoch in Earth history proposed by the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen just 15 years ago. Since then the idea has spread widely through both the sciences and humanities.
But if the Anthropocene is to be a geological epoch — when should it begin?……..
Now, members of the international working group formally analysing the Anthropocene suggest that the key turning point happened in the mid-twentieth century. This was when humans did not just leave traces of their actions, but began to alter the whole Earth system…….
It included the start, too, of the nuclear age, when artificial radionuclides were scattered across the Earth, from the poles to the Equator, to be leave a detectable signal in modern strata virtually everywhere.
The proposal, signed up to by 26 members of the working group, including lead author Dr Jan Zalasiewicz, who also chairs the working group, and Professor Mark Williams, both of the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology, is that the beginning of the Anthropocene could be considered to be drawn at the moment of detonation of the world’s first nuclear test: on July 16th 1945. The beginning of the nuclear age, it marks the historic turning point when humans first accessed an enormous new energy source — and is also a time level that can be effectively tracked within geological strata, using a variety of geological clues……… http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150115083044.htm
Government earmarks 4.5 billion Kč to remove uranium mining damage in Stráž, Prague Post, Stráž pod Ralskem, North Bohemia, Jan 9 (ČTK) — The Czech government will earmark 4.5 billion Kč for 2015 to 2017 to remove damage caused by the environmentally unfriendly method of uranium mining in Stráž pod Ralskem, Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek told journalists. The process is estimated to cost about 50 billion Kč and last until 2037.
Uranium mining took place in Stráž pod Ralskem between 1967 and 1996 having contaminated over 370 million cubic meters of underground water with four million chemicals on an area of 27 square kilometers.
The contaminant content is 50 grams per liter, but it should be seven grams per liter, said Tomáš Rychtařík, the head of the state-run company Diamo that is in charge of land reclamation.
The land reclamation process began in 1996, its costs at around 20 billion Kč so far.
Mládek said the government is not considering resumption of uranium mining in the said area.
The Cabinet is mulling mining activity in Brzkov in southern Moravia, where it is possible to get over 3,000 tons of uranium. At present any activity would be loss-making and so the cabinet will leave a decision on the issue to a government to emerge from the next parliamentary election……….. http://praguepost.com/czech-news/43739-uranium-mine-area-being-reclaimed#ixzz3OfwXa2G2
Radiation found in food 80 miles across the border from Cumbrian nuclear-plant Sellafield Daily record, Jan 07, 2015 By Jennifer Hyland
NUCLEAR waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast radioactive. RADIATION has been found in food 80 miles across the border from a Cumbrian nuclear-plant a report has revealed.
Nuclear waste released from the Cumbrian reprocessing site has made fish and shellfish caught off the Dumfriesshire coast slightly radioactive.
And fish-fans in Dumfriesshire have the highest exposure to nuclear radiation of anyone north of the Border.
Despite Sellafield nuclear station being situated 80 miles away, the new report reveals that the nuclear power station is still having an impact on Scotland, reports the Daily Mail. And although the levels are within safe EU limits, Sellafield and Scottish nuclear power stations have infiltrated the food chain here.
Traces of radiation were found in fruit, potatoes and vegetables near to Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness, in the far north-east of Scotland .
Whilst in Chapelcross, in Dumfriesshire, nuclear radiation has made its way into the milk.
Where as at Faslane, near Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, the destination of Britain’s nuclear submarines where liquid radioactive waste is discharged into the Gareloch,
beef has been revealed to contain a small amount of radiation……..
- The unborn children of pregnant women living within 550 yards of the Hunterston B site, in North Ayrshire – one of Scotland’s two working nuclear power stations -would received the highest dose there.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “There is no safe level of radiation. Nuclear technology… poses an ongoing threat to public health.”………http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/health/radiation-found-food-80-miles-4931653
New regs for Monday: Nuclear power plants, gas pipelines, endangered species The Hill, By Tim Devaney – 01/09/15 Monday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new energy conservation standards, protections for endangered and threatened species, safeguards for nuclear power plants and rules for interstate natural gas pipelines.
Here’s what is happening:
Efficiency: The Department of Energy is delaying a review of the energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial fans and blowers.
The Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy last month released a provisional analysis estimating the energy savings and economic impact that would result from new energy conservation standards for industrial fans and blowers. While the agency did not propose efficiency rules at the time, it noted this review could lead to future rulemaking.
But the Energy Department said Friday it is extending the comment period through Feb. 25 to give stakeholders more time to consider the potential changes.
Gas: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is delaying new rules for interstate natural gas pipelines and public utilities……..
Endangered: The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is delaying new protections for dozens of endangered species……….
Nuclear: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering new safeguards at nuclear power plants.
The NRC announced Friday it will review a petition that requests the agency check to the structure of nuclear power plants for concrete degradation. The petitioner suggests better identification techniques.
The public has 75 days to comment. http://thehill.com/regulation/229010-new-regs-for-monday-nuclear-power-plants-gas-pipelines-endangered-species
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