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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Cyclone Pam – forerunner to more climate disaster for Vanuatu and the world

the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind

climate-changeDeveloped nations have sown the wind, Vanuatu has reaped the whirlwind, Guardian, 19 Mar 15  Andrew Simms As emissions alter weather patterns, island nations are the bellwethers that show what our future will be if we fail to tackle climate change……..joint work in 2011 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the US and the UK’s Met Office concluded that a Texas heatwave was 20 times more likely to be caused by climate change than by natural weather variation. A winter warm spell in Britain the same year was 62 times more likely than in the 1960s. The Met Office’s Hadley Centre now confidently states that it “can identify any changed risk of such events”.

In time, more analysis will be done on Cyclone Pam, but Lonsdale’s personal experience and gut reaction fits a pattern of expectations described in the most recent and most comprehensive collation of science on extreme events in theIPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. It concluded that: “The frequency of the most intense storms will more likely than not increase in some basins. More extreme precipitation near the centres of tropical cyclones making landfall is projected in North and Central America, east Africa, west, east, south and southeast Asia as well as in Australia and many Pacific islands.”

So, while the present is pretty bad for Vanuatu, in a warming world the future looks set to worsen. For this island nation, that is bitterly ironic. . Vanuatu is an archipelago in the western Pacific, famous for having no regular military. When it topped the index in 2006 its ecological footprint per person was no higher than those in non-industrialised countries like Mali and Swaziland, life expectancy matched that in Turkey, and life satisfaction levels were considered as high as New Zealand’s. It is democratic, rich in natural wealth but, being remote, exports little, avoiding the scramble of competing in global markets. It is also hugely culturally diverse with more than 100 languages spoken across its islands.

Small island states tend to do very well in the index topped by Vanuatu. Over countless generations and in the face of geographical isolation, many Pacific islands developed more cooperative economies and highly resilient farming methods. In a warming world they are bellwethers, and carry lessons for us all. If climate change renders small island states unliveable, the international community will sooner or later have to learn to accept and support environmental refugees. Though this would be tragic, remote island populations can, at least, relocate. However, blue island-planet populations cannot.

We will seal our own fate if we fail to learn to share and live within our overall environmental thresholds. There is a long way to go. The World Bank recently tweeted that climate change exacerbates the risk of already costly disasters. It’s a shame then, that as recently as 2012-13 the World Bank Group increased lending to $2.7bn for fossil fuel projects, including toward new oil and gas exploration.

It’s one more reason why the Guardian’s campaign for divestment from fossil fuels is so important. If you haven’t signed it already, do so for Vanuatu. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/mar/19/developed-nations-sow-wind-vanuatu-reaps-whirlwind

March 20, 2015 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

South Carolina – problem of nuclear wastes at coal plant

Nuclear waste, arsenic at SC coal plant raise concern BY SAMMY FRETWELL sfretwell@thestate.com March 7, 2015 HARTSVILLE, SC — Just a few hundred yards from Lake Robinson lies an old waste pond that, until this year, was among the least of Duke Energy’s worries in the Carolinas……..documents that have surfaced recently show the unlined 55-acre basin has leaked arsenic – and it has the unusual legacy of being a dump site for low-level nuclear waste. Both findings are producing new questions about how to cleanse the mess at Duke Energy’s H.B. Robinson power station……..

in the 1980s, at least 69,000 cubic meters of radiation-tinged sediment wound up in the coal ash pond from the nuclear plant, a rare occurrence because most power plants don’t include both coal-and nuclear-fired units.

State regulators in South Carolina said they knew of no other power plant site where atomic waste wound up in a coal ash pond. A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Atlanta said the practice is rare…….http://www.thestate.com/2015/03/07/4031773_nuclear-waste-arsenic-at-sc-coal.html?rh=1

 

March 16, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Asian and Pacific green Parties unite in aim for nuclear free region

Asia-Pacific-green-federatiGreen Parties call for a nuclear free region on anniversary of Fukushima, Global Greens  10 March, 2015 “……The Green Parties of the Asia Pacific region offer our sincere condolences for the tragedy suffered, and our solidarity with the people and Green Party of Japan.

We use this anniversary to remind the Governments of the world, that it is the responsibility of all nations to ensure the safety of our planet.

There is no doubt, the suffering for the Japanese people has been immense, especially for those living in and around Fukushima, and it is not yet over. The world has already witnessed suffering following nuclear disasters in Chernobyl (Ukraine), Khystym (Russia), Sellafield (United Kingdom), and Three Mile Island (USA). However, there are currently 71 new nuclear plants under construction around the world, the majority of which are in the Asia Pacific region (China 26, Taiwan 2, India 6, Japan 2, Pakistan 2, South Korea 5). (3)

It is time we fully committed to a nuclear-free world.

text-relevantWhether your country is listed as one of these constructing further nuclear plants or not, we are all implicated in the nuclear supply chain – through uranium mining, refining, power generation, radioactive waste, nuclear weapons, or through complicity by not discouraging the practice of our trading partners.

global-greensGreen Parties around the globe oppose the expansion of nuclear power and are working to rapidly phase it out.  Nuclear energy is not the emissions-free solution that the world needs to address climate change, in fact, it is a net producer of greenhouse gases.(4)

As we have seen with Fukushima, the human and planetary costs are too high, and when examining the nuclear supply chain, it is simply ineffective at reducing emissions.

We need to stay focused on transitioning to clean renewable energy sources – these are not only safer, but offer a more equitable solution. We can achieve economic development with genuine quality of life through a sustainable smart green economy. Examples of this kind of development include community-based, co-operative, renewable energy operations complemented by reduced energy consumption through electricity saving government policies.

At this critical moment, we ask the people Asia Pacific to call on their governments to:

  1. Commit to a nuclear-free world.
  2. Move to clean equitable renewable energy solutions for your country
  3. Provide democratic process in citizens’ referenda on nuclear power.
  4. Ensure information transparency, participatory democracy, social and environmental justice for residents living near power plants and nuclear waste fields.
  5. Prioritise in decision-making the wellbeing of our planet and future generations.

Signatories:

The Asia-Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) Coordination Committee

The APGF’s members are:

March 14, 2015 Posted by | ASIA, AUSTRALIA, New Zealand, politics international | Leave a comment

Threats for oil drillers and others, in the Arctic’s submerged radioactive trash from Russia

The Norwegian government has spent more than $126 million on Russian nuclear safety projects in the last two decades, according to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.

The 17,000 dumped containers are also a potential disaster, creating a minefield for oil companies looking to drill in the area, particularly because the exact locations of most of the containers are unknown.

The Soviet Union Dumped A Bunch of Nuclear Submarines, Reactors, and Containers into the Ocean https://news.vice.com/article/the-soviet-union-dumped-thousands-of-nuclear-submarines-reactors-and-containers-into-the-ocean By Laura Dattaro February 21, 2015 The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine remains one of the worst nuclear incidents in history and highlighted the risks of generating power by splitting atoms. But it’s not the only nuclear waste the Soviet Union left behind. Scattered across the ocean floor in the cold waters of the Arctic are nuclear submarines and reactors dumped by the Soviets up until the early 1990s.

submarines-sunk-in-Arctic

Now, as energy companies are seeking to drill in those same waters, the Russian government has shown an interest in cleaning up its nuclear waste. But after decades of sitting on the ocean floor, some of the most dangerous pieces may be too unstable to remove, leaving the potential for radioactive material to leak, which could disrupt commercial fisheries and destroy aquatic ecosystems.

“Taking reactors and cutting out the bottom of your ships and letting them sink to the bottom is about as irresponsible as you can get when it comes to radioactive waste,” Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace, told VICE News. “We’ve had some weird [behavior] in this country where we haven’t been all that great with it but nothing that rose to the level of what the Soviets had done.” Continue reading

February 21, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia’s sunken nuclear submarines pose danger in the Arctic

Discarded Russian submarines could cause a nuclear disaster in the Arctic JEREMY BENDER Business Insider, 14 Feb 15 The Arctic could become a site of future turmoil, and not just because of the emerging geopolitical tensions and militarization in the region.

Beyond concerns of a frozen conflict in the icy north, there is the additional fear that the Barents and Kara Seas could become the location of a slow-motion nuclear disaster. Until 1991 the Soviet Union used the seas as a junkyard where it would dispose of its nuclear waste.

Accordingto the Bellona Foundation, citing theNorwegian Radiation Protection Authorities (NRPA), the Soviet Union dumped “19 ships containing radioactive waste; 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radioactively contaminated heavy machinery; 17,000 containers of radioactive waste,” and three nuclear submarines in the seas.

Disposing of nuclear waste and spent reactors at sea was actually a common practice around the world until the early 1970s. But the Soviet Union dumped a significant amount of material into bodies of water that were sometimes not that far from neighbouring countries.

Three scuttled nuclear submarines are the most dangerous of the disposals for the overall safety of the region — the K-27, the K-278, and the K-159, according to The Moscow Times. Of those, the K-27 is the one most likely to cause a Chernobyl-like event in which the casings of the reactors fail and dangerous amounts of radiation escape into the environment.

submarines-sunk-in-Arctic

The K-27 is particularly risky, the BBC reports, due to its unique design. The submarine, which was launched in 1962, was experimentally developed with two previously untested liquid-metal cooled reactors. Soon after deployment the submarine began emitting high levels of radiation, poisoning its crew.

In 1981, the Soviet Union sunk the submarine in the Kara Sea. But the sub was scuttled at a depth of only 99 feet (30 meters), significantly below international guidelines………

“K-159 represents the biggest potential for emission, considering the levels of radioactivity in the reactors, compared with other dumped or sunken objects in the Kara Sea with spent nuclear fuel or radioactive waste,” Ingar Amundsen, the head of the NRPAtoldthe Barents Observer…….. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/potential-chernobyl-like-disaster-in-arctic-2015-2

February 14, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Forgotten Pacific Island nuclear bomb atrocities – example Kalama Island and Sand Island

atomic-bomb-A

As with all Pacific nuclear test sites, the end of nuclear testing has not ended the nuclear hazard for the peoples of the Pacific. The US government must take responsibility for the full clean up of Johnston Atoll.

Cleaning up Johnston Atoll, Nautilus Institute, Nic Maclellan, 25 November 2005 

From the beginning of the nuclear age, the peoples of the Pacific islands have borne the brunt of nuclear weapons testing by France, Britain and the United States. Seeking “empty” spaces, the Western powers chose to conduct Cold War programs of nuclear testing in the Pacific. Between 1946-1996, over 315 atmospheric and underground nuclear tests were conducted at ten different sites in the desert of Australia and the islands of the central and south Pacific. The nuclear powers showed little concern for the health and well-being of nearby island communities, and those civilian and military personnel who staffed the test sites.

Between 1946 and 1958, the US military conducted 67 nuclear tests at Bikini and Enewetak Atolls in the Marshall Islands. Less well known are the US nuclear tests on Johnston Atoll in 1962.

Johnston Atoll is located between the Marshall Islands and Hawai’i, and is known to the Kanaka Maoli people as Kalama Island. The island was claimed for the Kingdom of Hawai’i in July 1858, with the support of King Kamehameha.

With the US take-over in Hawai’i in 1898, Johnston effectively became a US possession, even though the Territory of Hawai’i continued to claim jurisdiction over Kalama Island and Sand Island (which made up the atoll) into the twentieth century. Continue reading

February 12, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Marshall Islands loses nuclear lawsuit against USA

9 February 2015,

The United States has dismissed a nuclear disarmament lawsuit brought about by Marshall Islands. Last month, the case was tentatively dismissed, but a decision last week has ruled the case had no grounds and any action by the courts would violate the “separation of powers” doctrine.

Meanwhile, the court battle to get a naturalised Marshall Islands citizen onto the ballot for the US elections in November will make its way to the High Court next week.

Editor of the Marshall Islands Journal Giff Johnson says the fight for nuclear disarmament may not be over in the US just yet.

Presenter: Richard Ewart

Speaker: Giff Johnson, Editor, Marshall Islands Journal

February 11, 2015 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

New Zealand steadfastly maintains its Nuclear Ban

“There is only one thing more dangerous than being attacked by nuclear weapons and that is being protected by them.”

text-relevantNEW ZEALAND ROBUSTLY DEFENDS NUCLEAR BAN Eurasia Review  FEBRUARY 1, 2015 BY NEENA BHANDARI The small Pacific island country of New Zealand has punched above its weight in the international disarmament debate. For nearly three decades it has pursued an active nuclear free policy, banning entry of US warships carrying nuclear weapons or propelled by nuclear power into its ports despite being part of the ANZUS Treaty.

N.Zealand

NZ, along with the United States (US) and Australia, was amongst the three original signatory governments to the ANZUS treaty, a trilateral framework for security arrangements and cooperation, which was concluded in 1951.

From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, New Zealand opposed French nuclear tests in the Pacific. In 1983, the visit of the nuclear-powered frigate USS Texas sparked protests. Ordinary people spurred an anti-nuclear movement, which reached its peak in the mid-1980s and shaped NZ’s foreign policy and identity as a nation.

“It was an extremely broad campaign, which included professionals, neighbourhood groups, students, religious, non-religious, young and old. In many ways, it was the diversity and the non-hierarchical nature of the movement that was part of its appeal and strength. At one point there were over 300 local activist groups across the country,” says Marie Leadbeater, the author of `Peace, Power and Politics: How New Zealand became nuclear free

The defining moment came in July 1985 with the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, which had been involved in protests over French nuclear testing. Continue reading

February 4, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fiji nuclear veterans wait for British compensation: British govt waits for them all to die off

Nuclear test veterans: Britain urged to compensate Fijians over 1950s Christmas Island tests http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-02-03/nuclear-test-veterans-britain-urged-to-compensate-fijians-over-1950s-christmas-island-tests/1411869  Fijian veterans of British nuclear tests in the Pacific are hoping the British government will finally offer them help after the Fijian government offered compensation payments. Fiji’s prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, announced his government would provide about $A6,000 payments to 24 surviving Fijian soldiers who were on Christmas Island (now Kiribati), during British nuclear tests in the late 1950s.

“Fiji is not prepared to wait for Britain to do the right thing,” he said.

“We owe it to these men to help them now, not wait for the British politicians and bureaucrats.

“I have this great honour to award these survivors a modest token of what we can afford in Fiji to finally acknowledge the great injustice that was done to them almost six decades ago.”

The prime minister said his government had to step in because too many men had gone to their grave without justice.

“We need to erase this blight on our history,” he said.

“We need to lift the burden on our collective conscience.”

One of the veterans who will receive the payments is 78-year-old Paul Ah Poy.

He was a 21-year-old sailor attached to the Royal British Marines when he saw his first nuclear explosion on Christmas Island just kilometres from where he stood on a beach.

“They tell us ‘look, face west’, we face west, and [they] tell you to close your eyes, you don’t open your eyes because we’ll melt,” he said.

“We were all scared, they tell us ‘stop squirming’. But I couldn’t keep still.”

Mr Ah Poy spent two years on Christmas Island (Kiribati) and witnessed seven nuclear explosions altogether.

He told Pacific Beat it was not long before he noticed the impact on his health.

“[A] few months later my hair started to come off,” he said.

“My gums started to bleed and sometimes I would almost black out.

“I though that was part of growing up until when we got together and start exchanging stories.”

Long-lasting effects

Mr Ah Poy said the effect of his radiation poisoning exposure had been passed on to his two sons, who are unable to have children.

He and other nuclear test veterans have been campaigning for decades to have the British government pay them compensation.

They made several attempts at suing the government but Britain’s statute of limitations thwarted their legal action.

Nic Maclellan is co-author of book on the Fijian nuclear veterans called Kirisimasi.

He said Britain failed to follow in the footsteps of France and the United States, which had passed legislation to recognise there were hazards for personnel at the test sites.

“It’s Britain however, that consistently refuses to recognise people who are affected in Australia, from the British test between 1952 and 1957 and the subsequent … hydrogen bomb tests conducted in the Christmas Island, in what’s today Kiribati.”

Test veteran Paul Ah Poy said while he was grateful for the payments from the Fijian government, the amount was insufficient to address health problems.

He said he would use the money to help fund his son’s university education and pay his bills.

He remained hopeful, however, the British government would follow the Fijian government’s lead.

“I just hope they might give us something while we’re still alive,” he said.

“It will really help us at this time of our life.”

February 4, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fiji nuclear test veterans to be compensated by government

Fiji compensates nuke-test soldiers  Asia Pacific Editor Melbourne THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 30, 2015  FIJI will give $1.83 million today to the survivors among 70 soldiers exposed to radiation during British nuclear tests and to direct dependants of those who have died.

The servicemen sent to witness Operation Grapple on Christmas Island in 1958 were led by chief petty officer Ratu Inoke Bainimarama, the late father of prime minister and former military commander Frank Bainimarama, who will hand out cheques for $6300 to each of the 23 soldiers still alive. Dependants of the others will receive the same amount………..

The Fiji veterans are persisting with a legal case against the British government. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/fiji-compensates-nuke-test-soldiers/story-e6frg6so-1227201434006?nk=12eb6391f5cbbe65f220fb12fca19ba4

January 30, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Case against nuclear powers unfolds at the International Court of Justice in The Hague,

justiceThe Marshall Islands’ latest nuclear test – Marshall Islanders are well-acquainted with the horrors of the nuclear arms industry. , Aljazeera, 18 Jan 15 

The Marshall Islands – a country of about 70,000 people located in the Pacific Ocean – is taking the world’s nine nuclear powers to court for allegedly violating international obligations to work towards nuclear disarmament.

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

 

January 19, 2015 Posted by | environment, Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Renewable energy with battery system transformed electricity system of Caribbean island Bonaire

renewable-energy-picture Caribbean Island Ditching Diesel In Favor Of Renewable Energy Clean Technica January 9th, 2015 by   Originally published on RMI Outlet.By Kaitlyn Bunker

Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference………

the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Bonaire’s Electricity System Transformation

The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40–45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind………http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/09/caribbean-island-ditching-diesel-favor-renewable-energy/

January 10, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

New solar farms for Pacific Island countries

masdar-solar-wind-projectsMore Solar For Pacific Island Nationshttp://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/pacific-solar-masdar-em4624/ December 31, 2014 Energy Matters

Construction has commenced on four new solar farms in the Pacific island countries of Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; financed under the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development’s US$50 million UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.

The solar power projects will collectively have 1.8 megawatts capacity and their output will translate to fuel savings worth US$2 million per year. Many island nations in the Pacific rely primarily on diesel imports for electricity generation. It’s expensive, carbon intensive and creates dependence on external suppliers for what is a critical service.

Pacific Island nations can spend 10 percent of GDP or more on petroleum imports, so renewables can also free up government budgets for infrastructure investments

Completion of the solar farms is expected by the second half of 2015.

The projects will be constructed by Masdar, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Government-owned Mubadala Development Company.

“Access to clean energy is a pathway toward economic and social development,” said Dr. Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar. “For Pacific islands, which rely on imported fuel for electricity generation, renewable energy provides a viable alternative. In fact, wind and solar power projects deliver immediate savings, while underpinning long-term energy security.”

Masdar has already been active in the region; building the La’a Lahi ‘Big Sun’ 512kW solar farm in Tonga and Samoa’s first wind farm, which was commissioned in August this year. Both of these projects were also financed through the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund.

The 550kW wind farm in Samoa is located on the island of Upolu; which is home to nearly 75 percent of the population. The cyclone-proof facility will generate 1,500 MWh of power per year

The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund was launched in March last year and has so far helped fund 2.8 megawatts of renewable energy capacity across six countries in the region.

“The UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund demonstrates the tangible benefits that renewable energy offers all developing countries,” said His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. “Today, renewables are cost-effective and offer real solutions for growth across the Pacific.”

Source

January 5, 2015 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

2015 court hearings- Marshall Islands versus the world’s nuclear arsenals

Bikini-Atoll-bombA Former Ground Zero Goes to Court Against the World’s Nuclear Arsenals NYT, By DEC. 27, 2014 THE HAGUE — Tony de Brum was 9 years old in 1954 when he saw the sky light up and heard the terrifying rumbles of “Castle Bravo.” It was the most powerful of 67 nuclear tests detonated by the United States in the Marshall Islands, the remote Pacific atolls he calls home.

Six decades later, with Mr. de Brum now his country’s foreign minister, the memory of those thundering skies has driven him to a near-Quixotic venture: His tiny country is hauling the world’s eight declared nuclear powers and Israel before the International Court of Justice. He wants the court to order the start of long-promised talks for a convention to ban atomic arsenals, much like the treaties that already prohibit chemical, biological and other weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. de Brum says the initiative is not about seeking redress for the enduring contamination and the waves of illness and birth defects attributed to radiation. Rather, by turning to the world’s highest tribunal, a civil court that addresses disputes between nations, he wants to use his own land’s painful history to rekindle global concern about the nuclear arms race………

In its first written arguments, presented to the court this month, the Marshall Islands contended that the nuclear powers had violated their legal obligation to disarm. Specifically, the arguments said, by joining the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, five countries — the United States, RussiaBritainFrance and China — undertook to end the arms race “at an early date” and to negotiate a treaty on “complete disarmament.”

Three other nuclear nations that did not agree to the treaty — IndiaIsraeland Pakistan — and a fourth that withdrew from it — North Korea — are required to disarm under customary international law, the Marshall Islands’ case claims. The existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is universally assumed, but Israel has not acknowledged having them.

“All the nuclear weapons states are modernizing their arsenals instead of negotiating, and we want the court to rule on this,” said Phon van den Biesen, the leader of the islands’ legal team, who first asked the court to hear the case in April…….. Continue reading

December 29, 2014 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Solar panels installed in a big way in Philippines business centres

Businessmen tap the power of the sun, Manila Standard, By Alena Mae S. Flores | Dec. 20, 2014 Solar technology is now shining in the Philippines, as some businessmen began to install solar panels on rooftops of schools, office buildings and even shopping malls, seven years after the passage of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Law. This year alone, the industry saw a significant number of solar rooftop projects installed, a feat that has not been immediately felt after the passage of the law, which promotes the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and mini-hydro projects.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla expects renewable energy projects including solar rooftop installations to pick up next year, heralding the golden age of renewable energy in the country. Petilla says solar rooftop capacity will continue to increase in 2015, amid the strong interest from schools, commercial and industrial projects and even government offices.

world'slargest-solar-mall

“You can never tell how many institutions are going to be included because it depends on the size of each project. Because of so many interests for solar technology at the moment, some of them are already moving on their own even without our initiative,” Petilla says.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines estimates the potential market for solar rooftop projects at $450 million yearly, based on 50,000 households or a tenth of the half a million constructions yearly, with average solar panel installations of 2 kilowatts each.

Solar rooftop installations are expected to  reach 2.5 megawatts by end-2014, as more homeowners and enterprises realize the opportunities to save money and mitigate climate change by harnessing sunlight to power homes and offices.

ECCP says with the continued drop in system prices, solar energy is approaching grid parity, opening the way for more solar rooftop installations.

“Vast installation of solar panels on rooftops of households, commercial buildings and industrial facilities could help safeguard the country’s energy security over the long term. Rooftop solar panels could be a viable solution for the Philippines given its high solar irradiation level,” ECCP says.

The Philippine Solar Power Alliance earlier estimated that the country has an untapped solar rooftop potential of about 300 MW.

One company, Propmech Corp., recently installed a solar-rooftop project at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila that will enable the school to save as much as 20 percent in electricity cost.

“We are prioritizing schools for solar projects because of the reason they more open to the public than private companies, other institutions can freely go to them to learn about solar panels,” Petilla says.

St. Scholastica’s joins the rank of other schools such as Manuel L. Quezon University, Mapua Institute of Technology and La Consolaction College-Manila, in utilizing renewable energy.

St. Scholastica’s St. Cecilla’s Hall has been turned into a 96-kilowatt solar power plant that can generate 38.88 percent of the hall’s daily energy needs.  The amount will greatly reduce St. Scholastica’s monthly electricity expenses…………….

Solar applications have also long been used as off-grid solutions in rural and remote areas in the country.

Solar systems can also power basic necessities such as lighting, water pumping, communications and a variety of livelihood activities that immediately improve the lives of Filipinos in areas where electricity from the grid is not readily available. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/12/20/businessmen-tap-the-power-of-the-sun/

December 22, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Philippines | Leave a comment

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