Russian nuclear bomber planes fly off west coast of Ireland as British Typhoon fighters scrambled, Irish Independent Brian O’Reilly and Philip Ryan 30/01/2015 RUSSIAN bomber planes capable of carrying nuclear weapons flew past the west coast of Ireland on Wednesday – forcing Britain to scramble Typhoon fighter jets in response. A diplomatic incident was sparked when Russian Tu-95 ‘Bear’ bomber planes flew past the west coast of Ireland and into the English Channel before turning and going back the same way.
It was reported that the heavily armed aircraft were flying without their transponders – meaning they were invisible to commercial airlines.
Britain scrambled its fighter jets in response – as Ireland is considered to be within its ‘area of interest’ for defence.
The Russian Embassy in Ireland issued a robust defence of the country’s decision to fly bomber jets near Irish airspace.
However the Department of Defence said while the Russian aircraft did not enter Irish sovereign airspace at any time, such non-notified and non-controlled flight activity is not acceptable.
“The Irish authorities will discuss with their UK counterparts how best to seek to resolve this through the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” it said……http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/russian-nuclear-bomber-planes-fly-off-west-coast-of-ireland-as-british-typhoon-fighters-scrambled-30949988.html
Nuclear safety push to be softened after U.S. objections BY SHADIA NASRALLA VIENNA Fri Jan 30, 2015 (Reuters) - The United States looks set to succeed in watering down a proposal for tougher legal standards aimed at boosting global nuclear safety, according to senior diplomats.
Diplomatic wrangling will come to a head at a 77-nation meeting in Vienna next month that threatens to expose divisions over required safety standards and the cost of meeting them, four years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Switzerland has put forward a proposal to amend the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), arguing stricter standards could help avoid a repeat of Fukushima, where an earthquake and tsunami sparked triple nuclear meltdowns, forced more than 160,000 people to flee nearby towns and contaminated water, food and air.
“If the convention is already perfect, why did Fukushima happen?” said one senior diplomat involved in the matter.
But Russia and the United States have opposed such a change, the diplomats say. A reform of the CNS would increase industry costs, as existing nuclear plants, especially older ones, would have to be refitted. The United Nations atomic watchdog says there are 439 nuclear power reactors currently in operation globally, with 69 under construction.
Mark Hibbs, proliferation expert at the Carnegie Endowment think-tank, said those in favor of the amendment argue their opponents are motivated by protecting the nuclear industry and electric utility companies……..
“I think the United States government is afraid of any principle that would even suggest that current reactors need to be retrofitted to meet modern standards,” said Edwin Lyman of the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists.
“We have many plants (that face) hazards far greater than those they were originally designed to withstand decades ago… A declaration… would allow signatories to avoid even the obligation to discuss the matter in their reports.”…….. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/30/us-nuclear-safety-idUSKBN0L31KO20150130
The autopsy on the body of poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has been described as one of the most dangerous ever undertaken, on day two of an inquiry into his death. Mr Litvinenko died in a London hospital on November 23, 2006, three weeks after drinking tea infused with deadly polonium-210 at a luxury hotel in the city’s Mayfair district.
The London inquiry was told “an inspired hunch” by police led them to bring in atomic scientists, who found Mr Litvinenko tested positive for alpha radiation poisoning two days before he died.
Lead pathologist Nathaniel Cary said without that finding, the cause of death would not have been discovered in a post-mortem.
He added he was unaware of any other case of someone being poisoned with alpha radiation in Britain, and probably the world.
“It has been described as the most dangerous post-mortem examination ever undertaken in the Western world and I think that is probably right,” he told the inquiry.
Those involved had needed to wear two white protective suits with specialised hoods fed with filtered air……….The British government long opposed the public inquiry but agreed last year amid worsening relations with Moscow.
The inquiry is expected to last two months. http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-01-29/alexander-litvinenko-inquiry-postmortem-on-poisoned-former-kgb-spy-one-of-most-dangerous-ever/1410551
Austria is 100 percent nuclear-free, Renewables International, 27 Jan 15 On 1 January 2015, Austria’s “ban” on imports of nuclear power went into effect as planned. The event has gone as unreported in the English-speaking world as was the original announcement.
On Twitter this morning, Stephen Tindale asked me a good question – did Austria go ahead with its “ban” on imports of nuclear power? The Austrians are easily the fiercest opponents of nuclear in the EU. In 1978 – a year before Three Mile Island – they voted in a referendum to prevent the country’s first nuclear plant from being switched on; construction had been completed. And this month, Austria also filed suit with the EU against British plans to provide special financial incentives for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley.
Now, the country is 100 percent nuclear free even in terms of imports. Because there were no reports on the event at all, I contacted the press spokesperson at Verbund, Austria’s largest utility and got the following response (my translation of the German):
Starting in 2015, there is an obligation in Austria to demonstrate the origin of electricity. The sale of the ENTSOE mix, which theoretically includes a share of nuclear power, is no longer possible. We therefore also only offer our industry customers electricity with a certificate of origin (which then does not even theoretically contain any nuclear power).
As I explained in my previous report, the Austrians have also gone about the matter in a way that will make it difficult for Brussels to file suit. Essentially, the government merely requires proof of origin. The utilities then voluntarily agreed not to purchase any nuclear power; they are not forced to by law, but are merely responding to market demand. It will be hard for the EU to get a foothold against this setup. …… (Craig Morris / @PPchef) http://www.renewablesinternational.net/austria-is-100-percent-nuclear-free/150/537/85017/
Hinkley Point nuclear deal faces fresh delay, Ft.com Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent January 28, 2015 The UK’s parliamentary watchdog has abandoned plans to scrutinise the Hinkley Point C nuclear project after predicting that a deal over state support would not be struck before May’s general election ……
The Commons public accounts committee has given up any hope of examining the contract before the election, according to Margaret Hodge, who chairs the group of MPs that scrutinises public spending……..
Tim Yeo, who chairs the energy committee, said any more delays to the scheme would be “extremely worrying” for long term supporters of nuclear power in the UK. “It will be disappointing if it slips to after the election. We do not need yet another element of doubt,” he said……….
In the deal struck with the government, EDF is due to get £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years.
But concern is growing over whether this offers good value for money for taxpayers, given the recent slump in oil prices………
Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, recently pressed Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the Treasury permanent secretary, during a hearing of the public affairs committee. “You have agreed to a contract, in this time of falling fuel prices . . . to guarantee a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, which is twice the present going rate for electricity,” he said. “Is this sensible planning?”
Sir Nicholas accepted these were “good questions” and said he would report back to the committee.
Litvinenko: Images Of Radiation Trail Revealed, Sky News, 27 Jan 15 Newly released evidence shows the radiation trail left across London by the men suspected of poisoning the ex-Russian spy. (PHOTOS) Images released as part of the public inquiry into the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London have laid bare the high levels of radiation found in the hotel rooms of his suspected killers.
They also reveal “very high” radiation in the locations where they met Mr Litvinenko, including on the teapot which was allegedly used to poison him in London’s Millennium Hotel……….
The images, compiled by the Metropolitan Police, were made public on the opening day of the hearing by counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC.
He told the inquiry Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.……… “Scientific evidence will show very high levels of alpha radiation in all three parts of his accommodation, and especially in the bathroom,” Mr Tam said. He told the hearing the traces of radiation found in “large numbers of places across London” had put “many thousands” at risk.
The inquiry heard that Mr Litvinenko explicitly implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin in his killing in the days leading up to his death.
In an impassioned opening statement, Ben Emmerson QC, representing the Litvinenko family, said Mr Putin’s connection to the killing would be unveiled.
“When all of the open and closed evidence is considered together, Mr Litvinenko’s dying declaration will be borne as true, that the trail of polonium traces lead not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin and Mr Putin should be unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state,” he said.
“Mr Litvinenko had to be eliminated not because he was an enemy of the Russian state itself and certainly not because he was an enemy of the Russian people but because he had made an enemy of the close knit group of criminals who surrounded and still surround Vladimir Putin and keep his corrupt regime in power.”http://news.sky.com/story/1416159/litvinenko-images-of-radiation-trail-revealed
January 28th, 2015
Study: Global consequences from Fukushima-like nuclear disaster; Many nations at risk of ‘great exposure’ — Transport of hot particles to US was especially effective during worst releases after reactor explosions — Radioactivity confined ‘close to surface’ due to seasonal factors
T. Christoudias and Y. Proestos of The Cyprus Institute, J. Lelieveld of Max Planck Institute of Chemistry (Germany), Dec 12, 2014 (emphasis added):
- We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents… We present an overview of global risks… [These] risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter [Fukushima crisis began with 10 days left in winter].
- The model setup was evaluated… using emission estimates from… Fukushima
- The risk posed from nuclear power plant accidents is not limited to the national or even regional level, but can assume global dimensions. Many nations may be subjected to great exposure after severe accidents.
- Our model shows increased surface-level concentrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere during the boreal winter months compared to the summer… Not only the expected risk magnitude is higher, but the geographical extent of the high concentrations of transported radionuclides is more pronounced towards the north… Horizontal advection [i.e. transfer] is more efficient in winter due to relatively stronger winds, and the concentrations are highest near the surface [and] surface level concentrations in the summer tend to be more localized in the emission region.
- Our results illustrate that accidents… could have significant trans-boundary consequences. The risk estimate [shows] increased surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter and a larger geographical extent towards the north and the east… This is related to the relatively shallow boundary layer in winter that confines the emitted radioactivity to the lowest part of the atmosphere close to the surface…It is the view of the authors that it is imperative to assess the risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from potential NPP accidents [for] emergency response planning on national and international levels.
JAMSTEC, Univ. of Tokyo, etc.: We show a numerical simulation for the long-range transport from the [Fukushima] plant to the US… Large-scale updraft [over] Japan from March 14 to 15 was found effective in lifting the particles [to the] jet stream that could carry the particles across the Pacific within 3 to 4 days [See study: On Mar. 15, Fukushima reactors emitted 100 quadrillion Bq of cesium into air — This one day was equal to total lifetime release from Chernobyl]… Some of the particles [had a] long-range atmospheric transport over — 10,000 km within 3 to 4 days… [R]adioactive materials were detected in that period over the east and west coasts of the U.S… In order for the particles to be transported with the jet stream, they must be lifted up from the surface boundary layer to the mid- or upper troposphere. Large-scale updraft was indeed observed… on March 14 through 15… [T]he westerlies in mid-March were thus particularly effective in the trans-Pacific transport of the radioactive materials…
Poisoning of ex-KGB spy ‘nuclear terrorism,’ U.K. inquiry told The Star.com 27 Jan 15 Evidence suggested Litvinenko had ingested the highly radioactive isotope polonium-210 in mid-October 2006 and again two weeks later. By: Jill Lawless Associated Press, Published on Tue Jan 27 2015
LONDON — Former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium not once but twice, a British judge was told Tuesday, as an inquiry opened into the slaying one lawyer called an act of nuclear terrorism ordered by Moscow.
Ben Emmerson, attorney for Litvinenko’s widow, said the KGB spy turned Kremlin critic was the victim of an “assassination by agents of the Russian state.”
He said the 2006 killing “was an act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of a major city which put the lives of numerous other members of the public at risk.” Litvinenko, who had become a Britain-based critic of the Kremlin, fell violently ill on Nov. 1, 2006 after drinking tea with two Russian men at a London hotel. He died three weeks later, aged 43, of “acute radiation syndrome.”
Litvinenko’s extraordinary killing — and his deathbed statement that he was poisoned on orders from President Vladimir Putin — soured Russian-British relations for years. Judge Robert Owen, who is overseeing the inquiry, said the issues raised by the death “are of the utmost gravity.”
No one has ever stood trial for Litvinenko’s killing. Britain and the dead man’s family have accused Russia of involvement. Moscow denies the claim, and has refused to extradite the two men identified by Britain as the prime suspects………http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/01/27/former-russian-spy-alexander-litvinenko-poisoned-twice-inquiry-told.html
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin is overseeing the modernization of Russia’s nuclear weapons capabilities and during a talk show on the state-run Rossiya 1 television channel boasted that Russia had managed to develop a new technological breakthrough which will somehow overcome any U.S. missile defense system.
Germany’s Constitutional Court will hear nuclear utilities’ complaints about early nuclear shutdowns
German court to decide on nuclear exit complaints this year Tuesday, January 27, 2015 CSTDUESSELDORF/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s highest court aims to decide this year on complaints filed by the country’s biggest utilities against a decision to shut down its nuclear plants earlier than initially planned, a court spokesman said on Tuesday.
E.ON , RWE and Vattenfall [VATN.UL] filed complaints with the Constitutional Court after the government imposed a stricter closure timetable in 2011 as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan……..
The court will not decide on individual damages claims – estimated to total at least 15 billion euros ($17 billion) – but its decision could provide the legal basis for such motions should it rule the government’s decision is illegal.
The court spokesman said he could not be more precise about the timing of the ruling, adding it still needed to be decided whether a hearing would take place.
RWE, Germany’s second-biggest utility, said it expects a ruling in the second half of the year.
The complaints are part of a number of legal steps being pursued by RWE and its peers over Germany’s nuclear policy, including a nuclear fuel tax and the immediate three-month shutdown of all of its nuclear power stations following the Fukushima disaster.
($1 = 0.8787 euros)
(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff and Christoph Steitz; Editing by Maria Sheahan and John Stonestreet) http://kfgo.com/news/articles/2015/jan/27/german-court-to-decide-on-nuclear-exit-complaints-in-2015/
Ill-founded hope The belief was always that science would find some way of neutralising the dangerous radioactivity, and then it could be buried as simply as any other rubbish. This hope has proved to be ill-founded.
The British government promised four years ago it would not build any more nuclear power stations until it had found a solution to this 50-year-old problem. But it has abandoned the promise
Still No Solution to Storage of High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/25/no-solution-radioactive-nuclear-waste/ Paul Brown, Climate News Network | January 25, 2015 A private consortium formed to deal with Europe’s most difficult nuclear waste at a site in Britain’s beautiful Lake District has been sacked by the British government because not sufficient progress has been made in making it safe.
It is the latest setback for an industry that claims nuclear power is the low-carbon answer toclimate change, but has not yet found a safe resting place for radioactive rubbish it creates when nuclear fuel and machinery reaches the end of its life.
Dealing with the waste stored at this one site at Sellafield—the largest of a dozen nuclear sites in Britain—already costs the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year, and it is expected to be at least as much as this every year for half a century.
Hundreds of people are employed to prevent the radioactivity leaking or overheating to cause a nuclear disaster, and the cost of dealing with the waste at this site alone has already risen to £70 billion.
Dangerous to humans
This extraordinary legacy of dangerous radioactive waste is present in every country that has adopted nuclear power as a form of electricity production, as well as those with nuclear weapons. No country has yet solved the problem of how to deal with waste that remains dangerous to humans for thousands of years. Continue reading
The Inconvenience of a Geothermic Energy Source Under France’s Nuke Waste Dump http://nf2045.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/the-inconvenience-of-geothermic-energy.html
The French weekly newspaper Le Canard enchaîné provides aggressive and biting coverage of the nuclear establishment in a way that mainstream media refrain from doing. Le Canard has been in print since 1915, except for a period during the German occupation when it was forced to close. The journal had a moment of international fame in September 2013 when it ran satirical cartoons about Tokyo being awarded the 2020 Olympics in spite of Japan’s troubles containing its nuclear catastrophe.
Unfortunately for readers who would like easy access to its reporting,Le Canard has stuck to its policy of being print-only……..
A huge pocket of warm water exists beneath what is supposed to be France’s largest nuclear garbage pit, located near the town Bure. This site is destined to store, for at least 100,000 years, the most dangerous high-level waste that has accumulated since France built its first reactor. 125 meters tall, 30 kilometers wide and dozens of kilometers long, this reserve of warm water could sooner or later be used to produce heat or energy. The water is a comfortable 66 degrees, but it is found at a depth of 1,800 meters, while the nuclear waste is to be buried above it at a depth of 500 meters.
On January 5, 2015, the agency for the management of radioactive waste (ANDRA) will find itself on trial in high court in Nanterre for having divulged false information concerning the supposed absence of concern about significant underground water tables at the site in Bure. The citizen groups Sortir du nucléaireand Stop Bure 55, and Mirabel Lorraine Nature Environnement have brought the charges.
Some background: Continue reading
Nuclear clean-up has been a toxic waste of public money MARK LEFTLY The Independent 23 JANUARY 2015 WESTMINSTER OUTLOOK A HAPLESS CONSORTIUM LED BY URS (NOW PART OF US RIVAL AECOM) WAS FINALLY AXED FROM LEADING THE CLEAN-UP OF CUMBRIA’S SELLAFIELD LAST WEEK.
Over-budget and behind schedule on numerous projects on what is, admittedly, one of the most hazardous nuclear detoxifications in history, this consortium had been remarkably fortunate to see its contract renewed in 2013. After it had regained its contract, Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) even apologised to MPs for its dismal performance…..
At a price tag of nearly £80bn, the Sellafield deal is one of the most significant commercialisations of what, historically, would have been public sector work. Davey, who I think has otherwise emerged from Coalition as a quietly formidable secretary of state, must ask himself why he did not block the contract extension in 2013.
It was a poor call from a minister who has otherwise earned the compliment of being a safe pair of hands. While he should be congratulated for finally getting this right, the GMB is equally correct that NMP should not stay in place any longer.
Time, on this project in particular, is money – and we cannot allow taxpayer funds to be mishandled for another 15 months. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/mark-leftly-nuclear-cleanup-has-been-a-toxic-waste-of-public-money-9997054.html
Britain to take nuclear plant share for national security, Economic Times, By AFP | 23 Jan, 2015,LONDON: Britain will have a “special share” in the French-led new Hinkley Pointnuclear power plant consortium to safeguard national security, British energy officials told a parliamentary hearing this week.
The Chinese firms, CGN and CNNC, are expected to get a stake of between 30 and 40 percent. ……..
The Hinkley Point contract is worth £16 billion. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/britain-to-take-nuclear-plant-share-for-national-security/articleshow/45996556.cms
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