- Under the current International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules and regulations, the maximum level of transparency for nuclear activities would be secured by the implementation of its three arrangements: the Safeguard Agreement, Subsidiary Arrangement Code 3.1 and the Additional Protocol. The world powers negotiating with Iran have a clear understanding that Iran is ready to commit to all three arrangements in a final comprehensive agreement.
- Iran would be cooperative in capping its level of enrichment at 5% for the duration of the final agreement to assure non-diversion toward weaponization. The fissile uranium in nuclear weapons contains enrichment to 85% or more.
- To ensure that Iran’s enrichment activities do not lead to a bomb, Tehran would be willing to synchronize the number of centrifuges or their productivity to its practical needs and convert the product to oxide for a number of years. Iran’s major practical need is to provide fuel for the Bushehr plant in 2021, when its fuel-supply contract with Russia terminates. Practically, out of the current 22,000 centrifuges, Iran would need around 9,000 to 10,000 to provide enough fuel annually for the four fuel elements (out of a total 54 fuel elements) for Bushehr that Russia is contractually required to supply.
- Regarding the heavy water facility at Arak, Iran would be cooperative in placing greater monitoring measures and modifying the reactor to reduce the annual enriched plutonium production capacity of 8-10 kilograms (18-22 pounds) to less than 0.8 kilograms (1.7 pounds). Furthermore, the 0.8kg of material will be 78% fissile, which is too low for the production of nuclear weapons, and the timeline for redesigning and building the reactor will require another five to six years.
- Secularizing the supreme leader’s fatwa banning the production and stockpiling of nuclear and all other weapons of mass destruction would be a strong objective guarantee. Once the fatwa is secularized and operationalized, violation would be a criminal matter for the courts to pursue and punishable by law. Iran’s history makes it hard to dismiss the fatwa. After all, despite an estimated 100,000 deaths from Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran, it was a fatwa issued by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that kept Tehran from retaliating during the Iran-Iraq war.
- Iran has paid a high price for its nuclear program, having endured a barrage of draconian multilateral and unilateral sanctions to date. The sanctions imposed against Iran are far beyond those imposed on North Korea, which does possess nuclear weapons. The fact is that Iran has already paid the price for making a bomb, but neither wants nor has one, a clear indicator of its steadfastness on nonproliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
- If anyone were going to have made the decision to build nuclear weapons, it would have been former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yet, during his eight years in the presidency, the IAEA found no evidence of an Iranian nuclear program geared toward weaponization, and his administration sought to normalize bilateral relations with the United States more than all his predecessors.
I am confident that Iran, the United States and the world powers genuinely seek to reach a deal and that there is no reason to extend the deadline beyond late November. The best strategy is to pursue a broad engagement with Iran to ensure that the decision to pursue a nuclear breakout will never come about. Iran and the United States are already tacitly and indirectly cooperating in the fight against the Islamic State (IS). A nuclear agreement would be a great boost to mutual trust and provide greater options for dealing not only with IS and the Syrian regime but also Afghanistan and Iraq — where both Washington and Tehran support the new governments in Kabul and Baghdad. Rather than focusing onenrichment capacity, Washington should weigh its capacity for relations with Iran. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/11/iran-nuclear-enrichment-uranium-iaea-fatwa-sanctions.html?utm_source=Al-Monitor+Newsletter+%5BEnglish%5D&utm_campaign=a39e197e64-November_5_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-a39e197e64-93115393##ixzz3IKFLTdR3
Ozone-depleting chemical hydrogen chloride found to be on the rise http://www.smh.com.au/environment/ozonedepleting-chemical-hydrogen-chloride-found-to-be-on-the-rise-20141105-11h1hl.html November 6, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald Atmospheric levels of a key ozone-depleting chemical are on the increase but the rise appears to be a symptom of climate change rather than additional sources of the destructive substance, according to international researchers including three from the University of Wollongong.
Investigations were prompted when scientists identified levels of hydrogen chloride had began rising in 2007 – but only in the northern hemisphere – when they should have been falling because of curbs agreed under the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
Hydrogen chloride releases chlorine in the stratosphere, depleting ozone and allowing more ultraviolet radiation to reach the Earth, increasing skin cancer and damaging crops and other species.
Findings based on that satellite observations and model simulations and published in Nature on Thursday rule out any “rogue” source of emissions from undisclosed sources because the abundance of the chemical is falling at other layers of the atmosphere and in the southern hemisphere.
“The overall burden of chlorine is still decreasing,” said David Griffith, director of the University of Wollongong’s Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, and a co-author of the report. “It’s a good news story about ozone.”
It’s not so positive news on the climate change front, however, since the increased abundance of chlorine in the northern hemisphere’s stratosphere is attributed to a slowdown in atmospheric circulation leading to slower mixing at some levels.
Climate change, through increased greenhouse gas emissions, “is changing the way radiation is absorbed in the atmosphere and distributed, which would drive things such as this circulation,” Professor Griffith said.
Although it was beyond the scope of the paper to examine how long the circulation slowdown will last, or other possible consequences, Professor Griffith said the study showed the recovery of the ozone layer wouldbe a slow process, taking decades.
“Our results show that atmospheric variability and perhaps climate change can significantly modify the path towards full recovery,” he said. “It will be a bumpy ride rather than a smooth evolution.”
Professor Griffith said the work also underscored the general success in tackling ozone depletion and a range of chemicals that were phased out in a matter of years in contract to dealing with global warming. For ozone, it was a “problem created by man, problem recognised, solution proposed, solution implemented,” he said. “For climate change, the culprits have been recognised but no-one’s prepared to stop producing [carbon dioxide].”
Why We Will Never Make A Nuclear Fusion Reactor As Good As The Sun, Business Insider, JESSICA ORWIG OCT 17 2014 “…………..combine four hydrogen atoms and you get a burst of energy that can destroy entire islands and did on Nov. 1, 1952. That day the US tested the first hydrogen bomb on the now-nonexistent Pacific island, Elugelab.……… Clean, limitless energy is the real holy grail. Combine that desire with the awesome power we first saw with the< H-bomb, and we’ve been dreaming of a way to harness nuclear fusion of the sun as a source of clean, endless energy.
For about the last 70 years, we’ve slowly developed ways of producing the extreme pressure and heat necessary for nuclear fusion. Today, the most promising methods use containment vessels called tokamaks that can sustain hot plasmas that produce nuclear fusion but require lots of energy and space to function. The other way is using powerful lasers to fuse hydrogen atoms together.
Both of these methods, however, still have a long way to go despite what you might read from the occasional headlines on the latest breakthroughs in new nuclear fusion technology………http://www.businessinsider.com.au/we-will-never-have-sun-like-nuclear-fusion-2014-10
Iraqi Doctors Call Depleted Uranium Use “Genocide” TruthOut 14 October 2014 By Dahr Jamail, | Report Contamination from depleted uranium (DU) munitions is causing sharp rises in congenital birth defects, cancer cases and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq, according to numerous Iraqi doctors.
Iraqi doctors and prominent scientists believe that DU contamination is also connected to the emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs and liver, as well as total immune system collapse. DU contamination may also be connected to the steep rise in leukaemia, renal and anaemia cases, especially among children, being reported throughout many Iraqi governorates.
There has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah during 2004, and Basra during the 1991 US war on Iraq.
It is estimated that the United States used 350 tons of DU munitions in Iraq during the 1991 war, and 1,200 tons during its 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the first Gulf War in 1991, the country’s rate of cancer cases was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the trend continuing.
The actual rate of cancer and other diseases is likely to be much higher than even these figures suggest, due to a lack of adequate documentation, research and reporting of cases. Continue reading
Nuclear power trumps democracy http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2587477/nuclear_power_trumps_democracy.html Donnachadh McCarthy 9th October 2014
The UK’s political mainstream has performed a complete U-Turn in policy on nuclear power, culminating yesterday in the European Commission’s approval of a £15-20 billion subsidy package for the Hinckley C project. Donnachadh McCarthy delves into the nuclear industry’s deep and far-reaching political links.
Why is our democracy failing to tackle the horrific urgency of the climate crisis and the decimation of our eco-systems?
And why are all the main political parties betting the farm on nuclear power in spite of its madhouse economics – and against all their promises to either oppose nuclear power altogether, or to refuse subsidies for it?
In my new book, The Prostitute State – How Britain’s Democracy Has Been Bought, I set out my view that there is a single problem at the root of our nation’s difficulties.
A corporate elite have hijacked the pillars of Britain’s democracy. The production of thought, the dissemination of thought, the implementation of thought and the wealth arising from those thoughts, are now controlled by a tiny, staggeringly rich elite.
As a result the UK is no longer a functioning democracy but has become a ‘Prostitute State’ built on four pillars: a corrupted political system, a prostituted media, a perverted academia and a thieving tax-haven system.
This has disastrously resulted in a flood of wealth from the poor and middle classes to the top 1%. This stolen wealth is built on the destruction of the planet’s ecosystems, which are essential for humanity’s survival.
Nuclear power defeats democracy
The reversal of government policy on nuclear power is a classic example of how the Prostitute State trumps democracy. Betrayed environmental activists must understand that – notwithstanding the noble form of democratic structures – what they are really up against is a corrupt corporate state.
The concept of lobbying is reasonably well known, but few of us understand how far lobbying has penetrated and hijacked the political parties themselves.
For example, most people are perplexed at how the nuclear industry managed to persuade the UK’s previous Labour government to build a fleet of hugely expensive experimental nuclear power stations on land prone to flooding from rising sea levels.
They also struggle to comprehend and why Labour’s shadow energy and climate change minister, Caroline Flint MP, having stated that she would only support nuclear power if built without public subsidies, now supports the £15-20 billion subsidy package for Hinkley C nuclear power station
Labour managed managed this policy U-Turn despite the Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear catastrophes; the failure to find safe waste-disposal sites capable of protecting radioactive waste for over 100,000 years; and insurance companies’ point blank refusal to provide nuclear accident insurance.
It’s the money, stupid
My simple answer is that the nuclear industry has poured millions of pounds year after year into a massive political lobbying campaign.
They bought a whole swathe of senior ex-politicians to work as nuclear lobbyists, spent a fortune on trying to manipulate public opinion through media and advertising, and even funded school trips to their nuclear plants.
As they managed to persuade a Labour government to abandon their 1997 election manifesto commitment to oppose new nuclear power stations, it is crucial to understand how deeply the nuclear lobby is embedded in the Labour party.
My personal belief is that a complex web of financial interests ensured that the Labour government served the nuclear industry – no matter what Labour party members or the British public wanted.
Just consider for example the following list of Labour Party politicians: Continue reading
Thorium Cycle questions and problems http://daryanenergyblog.wordpress.com/ca/part-8-msr-lftr/8-3-thorium-lftr/Questions have also been raised by some nuclear scientists about the Thorium cycle, in particular the proposed one that the LFTR would use. I’m not a nuclear physicist so I’ll merely forward you on to the relevant paper here, and a rebuttal here. The crux of the argument seems to be the proliferation risk (I’ll come back to that one later), the fact that a number of its spend fuel outputs (such as Technetium-99) are “nasty stuff” with a long half life and the fact we’ll still need supplies of Uranium to get Thorium reactors going again whenever we have to turn it off (which will happen at least once a year or so during its annual maintenance shutdown). They also highlight a number of technical issues, which I discussed in the chapter on HTGR’s.
Certainly the fission products from a Thorium reactor are a worry, Technetium-99 has a half life of 220,000 years, uranium-232 produces thallium-208 (a nasty wee gamma emitter), Selenium-79 (another gamma emitter with a 327,000 year half-life), evenThorium-232 is a problem with its half life of 14 Billion years (and while the T-232 isn’t a major worry, all the time during this 14 Billion years it will be decaying and producing stuff that is!).
The UK based NNL (National Nuclear Laboratories) also pour cold water on the idea of Thorium fuelled reactors (see here). While the report is low on detail (they seem to be saying “trust us we’re scientists who work with nuke stuff… and we smoke pipes!”) they do highlight the major time delays it would take to establish and get working a Thorium fuel cycle (10-15 years with existing reactors, 30 with more advanced options), point out that under present market conditions its unlikely to be economically viable and will (as the points above raise) offer only a modest reduction in nuclear wastes.
MIT recently undertook a study of future nuclear fuel supplies. The Thorium cycle barely gets a mention, and even then its usually in relation to Fast Reactor programs (of which the US currently has none) and modifed LWR systems, rather than the MSR.
Obviously, once we exhaust the world’s U-235 stockpiles, LFTR’s and any other Thorium fuelled reactors will cease to function. Indeed long before then the spike in Uranium prices will have rendered MSR’s (and all other nuclear plants) uneconomically viable (of course there’s plenty who’d say that’s already the case!). The LFTR fans usually groan at this point and state that “all we need is a little plutonium”. Now while I’m quite sure that in the fantasy world which the LFTR fans inhabit Plutonium is available in any good hardware store but back in the real world, it’s a little harder to come by! As with the HTGR’s using Thorium (if its possible) would certainly help stretch things out….a bit! But not by nearly as much as the supporters of Thorium reactors would have you believe.
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines published in 2009 define six different types of nuclear waste, each with its own suggested disposal method, determined by how dangerous the waste is to humans and the environment, how much heat it generates, and its reaction to water and temperature.
- “Exempt waste” does not require any protection and is simply disposed of like other rubbish;
- “Very low-level waste”, typically soil and rubble with low levels of radioactivity, is disposed of in landfills;
- “Very short-lived waste” is first shielded and then stored, usually in a purpose-built building, to decay by itself over a few years;
- “Low-level waste” needs a few hundred years to be considered safe and is buried near the surface once it has been encased in concrete or metal and shielded;
- “Intermediate-level waste” needs time but no heat protection, and consists mainly of the cladding and resins used in nuclear plants, and contaminated materials that come from decommissioned nuclear reactors. It is generally covered in concrete or bitumen and buried in the region of 10 to hundreds of metres underground; and
- “High-level waste”, such as spent fuel rods, remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years and generates its own heat. It can be stored on site, as it is at Koeberg or Pelindaba. The United States and Russia vitrify the waste (mix it with glass particles), clad it in concrete, shield it with lead or water and bury it, sometimes kilometres underground, in a process called “deep geological disposal”. – Ansie Vicente http://mg.co.za/article/2014-10-02-nuclear-waste-is-going-nowhere-slowly/
‘New’ reactor types are all nuclear pie in the sky Ecologist Dr Jim Green 2nd October 2014 “………. In any case, Integral Fast Nuclear Reactors (IFRs) are yesterday’s news. Now it’s all about Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). The Energy Green Paper recently released by the Australian government is typical of the small-is-beautiful rhetoric:
“The main development in technology since 2006 has been further work on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). SMRs have the potential to be flexibly deployed, as they are a simpler ‘plug-in’ technology that does not require the same level of operating skills and access to water as traditional, large reactors.”
The rhetoric doesn’t match reality. Interest in SMRs is on the wane. Thus Thomas W. Overton, associate editor of POWER magazine, wrote in a recent article:
“At the graveyard wherein resides the “nuclear renaissance” of the 2000s, a new occupant appears to be moving in: the small modular reactor (SMR). … Over the past year, the SMR industry has been bumping up against an uncomfortable and not-entirely-unpredictable problem: It appears that no one actually wants to buy one.”
Overton notes that in 2013, MidAmerican Energy scuttled plans to build an SMR-based plant in Iowa. This year, Babcock & Wilcox scaled back much of its SMR program and sacked 100 workers in its SMR division. Westinghouse has abandoned its SMR program. As he explains:
“The problem has really been lurking in the idea behind SMRs all along. The reason conventional nuclear plants are built so large is the economies of scale: Big plants can produce power less expensively per kilowatt-hour than smaller ones.
“The SMR concept disdains those economies of scale in favor of others: large-scale standardized manufacturing that will churn out dozens, if not hundreds, of identical plants, each of which would ultimately produce cheaper kilowatt-hours than large one-off designs.
“It’s an attractive idea. But it’s also one that depends on someone building that massive supply chain, since none of it currently exists. … That money would presumably come from customer orders – if there were any. Unfortunately, the SMR “market” doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
“SMRs must compete with cheap natural gas, renewables that continue to decline in cost, and storage options that are rapidly becoming competitive. Worse, those options are available for delivery now, not at the end of a long, uncertain process that still lacks [US Nuclear Regulatory Commission] approval.”
Can’t find customers, can’t find investors
Dr Mark Cooper, Senior Fellow for Economic Analysis at the Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School, notes that two US corporations are pulling out of SMR development because they cannot find customers (Westinghouse) or major investors (Babcock and Wilcox). Cooper points to some economic constraints:
“SMR technology will suffer disproportionately from material cost increases because they use more material per MW of capacity. Higher costs will result from: lost economies of scale; higher operating costs; and higher decommissioning costs. Cost estimates that assume quick design approval and deployment are certain to prove to be wildly optimistic.”
Academics M.V. Ramana and Zia Mian state in their detailed analysis of SMRs:“Proponents of the development and large scale deployment of small modular reactors suggest that this approach to nuclear power technology and fuel cycles can resolve the four key problems facing nuclear power today: costs, safety, waste, and proliferation.
“Nuclear developers and vendors seek to encode as many if not all of these priorities into the designs of their specific nuclear reactor. The technical reality, however, is that each of these priorities can drive the requirements on the reactor design in different, sometimes opposing, directions.
“Of the different major SMR designs under development, it seems none meets all four of these challenges simultaneously. In most, if not all designs, it is likely that addressing one of the four problems will involve choices that make one or more of the other problems worse.”
The future is in … decommissioning
Likewise, Kennette Benedict, Executive Director of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,states: “Without a clear-cut case for their advantages, it seems that small nuclear modular reactors are a solution looking for a problem.
“Of course in the world of digital innovation, this kind of upside-down relationship between solution and problem is pretty normal. Smart phones, Twitter, and high-definition television all began as solutions looking for problems.
“In the realm of nuclear technology, however, the enormous expense required to launch a new model as well as the built-in dangers of nuclear fission require a more straightforward relationship between problem and solution.
“Small modular nuclear reactors may be attractive, but they will not, in themselves, offer satisfactory solutions to the most pressing problems of nuclear energy: high cost, safety, and weapons proliferation.”
And as Westinghouse CEO Danny Roderick said in January: “The problem I have with SMRs is not the technology, it’s not the deployment – it’s that there’s no customers.”
Instead of going for SMRs, IFRs, Pebble Bed Reactors or thorium technologies, Westinghouse is looking to triple the one area where it really does have customers: its decommissioning business. “We see this as a $1 billion-per-year business for us”, Roderick said.
With the world’s fleet of mostly middle-aged reactors inexorably becoming a fleet of mostly ageing, decrepit reactors, Westinghouse is getting ahead of the game.
The writing is on the wall
Some SMR R&D work continues but it all seems to be leading to the conclusions mentioned above. Argentina is ahead of the rest, with construction underway on a 27 MWe reactor – but the cost equates to an astronomical US$15.2 billion per 1,000 MWe. Argentina’s expertise with reactor technology stems from its covert weapons program from the 1960s to the early 1980s…………. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2577637/new_reactor_types_are_all_nuclear_pie_in_the_sky.html
“………Integral Fast Reactors (IFRs) are a case in point. According to the lobbyists they are ready to roll, will be cheap to build and operate, couldn’t be used to feed WMD proliferation, etc. The US and UK governments have been analysing the potential of IFRs.
The UK government found that:
- the facilities have not been industrially demonstrated;
- waste disposal issues remain unresolved and could be further complicated if it is deemed necessary to remove sodium from spent fuel to facilitate disposal; and
- little could be ascertained about cost since General Electric Hitachi refuses to release estimates of capital and operating costs, saying they are “commercially sensitive”.
The US government has also considered the use of IFRs (which it calls Advanced Disposition Reactors – ADR) to manage US plutonium stockpiles and concluded that:
- the ADR approach would be more than twice as expensive as all the other options under consideration;
- it would take 18 years to construct an ADR and associated facilities; and
- the ADR option is associated with “significant technical risk”.
Unsurprisingly, the IFR rhetoric doesn’t match the sober assessments of the UK and US governments. As nuclear engineer Dave Lochbaum from the Union of Concerned
Scientists puts it:
“The IFR looks good on paper. So good, in fact, that we should leave it on paper. For it only gets ugly in moving from blueprint to backyard.”……….http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2577637/new_reactor_types_are_all_nuclear_pie_in_the_sky.html
Japan had a dual use nuclear program. The public program was to develop and provide unlimited energy for the country. But there was also a secret component, an undeclared nuclear weapons program that would allow Japan to amass enough nuclear material and technology to become a major nuclear power on short notice.
That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.
The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports. Continue reading
For Koch, this license to pollute amounts to a perverse, hidden subsidy. The cost is borne by communities in cities like Port Arthur, Texas, where a Koch-owned facility produces as much as 2 billion pounds of petrochemicals every year. In March, Koch signed a consent decree with the Department of Justice requiring it to spend more than $40 million to bring this plant into compliance with the Clean Air Act.
The toxic history of Koch Industries is not limited to physical pollution. It also extends to the company’s business practices, which have been the target of numerous federal investigations, resulting in several indictments and convictions, as well as a whole host of fines and penalties.
And in one of the great ironies of the Obama years, the president’s financial-regulatory reform seems to benefit Koch Industries. The company is expanding its high-flying trading empire precisely as Wall Street banks – facing tough new restrictions, which Koch has largely escaped – are backing away from commodities speculation.
It is often said that the Koch brothers are in the oil business. That’s true as far as it goes – but Koch Industries is not a major oil producer. Instead, the company has woven itself into every nook of the vast industrial web that transforms raw fossil fuels into usable goods. Koch-owned businesses trade, transport, refine and process fossil fuels, moving them across the world and up the value chain until they become things we forgot began with hydrocarbons: fertilizers, Lycra, the innards of our smartphones.
The company controls at least four oil refineries, six ethanol plants, a natural-gas-fired power plant and 4,000 miles of pipeline. Until recently, Koch refined roughly five percent of the oil burned in America (that percentage is down after it shuttered its 85,000-barrel-per-day refinery in North Pole, Alaska, owing, in part, to the discovery that a toxic solvent had leaked from the facility, fouling the town’s groundwater). From the fossil fuels it refines, Koch also produces billions of pounds of petrochemicals, which, in turn, become the feedstock for other Koch businesses. In a journey across Koch Industries, what enters as a barrel of West Texas Intermediate can exit as a Stainmaster carpet.
Koch’s hunger for growth is insatiable: Since 1960, the company brags, the value of Koch Industries has grown 4,200-fold, outpacing the Standard & Poor’s index by nearly 30 times. On average, Koch projects to double its revenue every six years. Koch is now a key player in the fracking boom that’s vaulting the United States past Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer, even as it’s endangering America’s groundwater. In 2012, a Koch subsidiary opened a pipeline capable of carrying 250,000 barrels a day of fracked crude from South Texas to Corpus Christi, where the company owns a refinery complex, and it has announced plans to further expand its Texas pipeline operations. In a recent acquisition, Koch bought Frac-Chem, a top provider of hydraulic fracturing chemicals to drillers. Thanks to the Bush administration’s anti-regulatory agenda – which Koch Industries helped craft – Frac-Chem’s chemical cocktails, injected deep under the nation’s aquifers, are almost entirely exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Koch is also long on the richest – but also the dirtiest and most carbon-polluting – oil deposits in North America: the tar sands of Alberta. The company’s Pine Bend refinery, near St. Paul, Minnesota, processes nearly a quarter of the Canadian bitumen exported to the United States – which, in turn, has created for Koch Industries a lucrative sideline in petcoke exports. Denser, dirtier and cheaper than coal, petcoke is the dregs of tar-sands refining. U.S. coal plants are largely forbidden from burning petcoke, but it can be profitably shipped to countries with lax pollution laws like Mexico and China. One of the firm’s subsidiaries, Koch Carbon, is expanding its Chicago terminal operations to receive up to 11 million tons of petcoke for global export. In June, the EPA noted the facility had violated the Clean Air Act with petcoke particulates that endanger the health of South Side residents. “We dispute that the two elevated readings” behind the EPA notice of violation “are violations of anything,” Koch’s top lawyer, Mark Holden, told Rolling Stone, insisting that Koch Carbon is a good neighbor.
Over the past dozen years, the company has quietly acquired leases for 1.1 million acres of Alberta oil fields, an area larger than Rhode Island. By some estimates, Koch’s direct holdings nearly double ExxonMobil’s and nearly triple Shell’s. In May, Koch Oil Sands Operating LLC of Calgary, Alberta, sought permits to embark on a multi-billiondollar tar-sands-extraction operation. This one site is projected to produce 22 million barrels a year – more than a full day’s supply of U.S. oil………
The Koch family’s lucrative blend of pollution, speculation, law-bending and self-righteousness stretches back to the early 20th century, when Charles’ father first entered the oil business. ……….
in the real world, Koch Industries has used its political might to beat back the very market-based mechanisms – including a cap-and-trade market for carbon pollution – needed to create the ownership rights for pollution that Charles says would improve the functioning of capitalism.
In fact, it appears the very essence of the Koch business model is to exploit breakdowns in the free market. Koch has profited precisely by dumping billions of pounds of pollutants into our waters and skies – essentially for free. It racks up enormous profits from speculative trades lacking economic value that drive up costs for consumers and create risks for our economy.
The Koch brothers get richer as the costs of what Koch destroys are foisted on the rest of us – in the form of ill health, foul water and a climate crisis that threatens life as we know it on this planet. Now nearing 80 – owning a large chunk of the Alberta tar sands and using his billions to transform the modern Republican Party into a protection racket for Koch Industries’ profits – Charles Koch is not about to see the light. Nor does the CEO of one of America’s most toxic firms have any notion of slowing down. He has made it clear that he has no retirement plans: “I’m going to ride my bicycle till I fall off.”
Obama Approves Raising Permissible Levels of Nuclear Radiation in Drinking Water. Civilian Cancer Deaths Expected to Skyrocket http://www.globalresearch.ca/obama-approves-raising-permissible-levels-of-nuclear-radiation-in-drinking-water-civilian-cancer-deaths-expected-to-skyrocket/5331224
Rollback in Nuclear Radiation Cleanup By Global Research News, September 19, 2014 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)
The White House has given final approval for dramatically raising permissible radioactive levels in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents,” such as nuclear power-plant accidents and dirty bombs. The final version, slated for Federal Register publication as soon as today, is a win for the nuclear industry which seeks what its proponents call a “new normal” for radiation exposure among the U.S population, according Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, the radiation guides (called Protective Action Guides or PAGs) allow cleanup many times more lax than anything EPA has ever before accepted. These guides govern evacuations, shelter-in-place orders, food restrictions and other actions following a wide range of “radiological emergencies.” The Obama administration blocked a version of these PAGs from going into effect during its first days in office. The version given approval late last Friday is substantially similar to those proposed under Bush but duck some of the most controversial aspects:
In soil, the PAGs allow long-term public exposure to radiation in amounts as high as 2,000 millirems. This would, in effect, increase a longstanding 1 in 10,000 person cancer rate to a rate of 1 in 23 persons exposed over a 30-year period;
- In water, the PAGs punt on an exact new standard and EPA “continues to seek input on this.” But the thrust of the PAGs is to give on-site authorities much greater “flexibility” in setting aside established limits; and
- Resolves an internal fight inside EPA between nuclear versus public health specialists in favor of the former. The PAGs are the product of Gina McCarthy, the assistant administrator for air and radiation whose nomination to serve as EPA Administrator is taken up this week by the Senate.
- Despite the years-long internal fight, this is the first public official display of these guides. This takes place as Japan grapples with these same issues in the two years following its Fukushima nuclear disaster.
“This is a public health policy only Dr. Strangelove could embrace. If this typifies the environmental leadership we can expect from Ms. McCarthy, then EPA is in for a long, dirty slog,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that the EPA package lacks a cogent rationale, is largely impenetrable and hinges on a series of euphemistic “weasel words.”
“No compelling justification is offered for increasing the cancer deaths of Americans innocently exposed to corporate miscalculations several hundred-fold.”
Reportedly, the PAGs had been approved last fall but their publication was held until after the presidential election. The rationale for timing their release right before McCarthy’s confirmation hearing is unclear.
Since the PAGs guide agency decision-making and do not formally set standards or repeal statutory requirements, such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and Superfund, they will go into full effect following a short public comment period. Nonetheless, the PAGs will likely determine what actions take place on the ground in the days, weeks, months and, in some cases, years following a radiological emergency.
Cargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on?
Thorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists by D. A. Ryan It is interesting how Thorium trolls always complain about ad-hominem comments when such personal attacks are the preferred tactic of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) fans in responding to critics, is the pot calling the kettle black? And why is it you always run up huge blog strings attacking opponents? The (lftr)lady doth protest too much me thinks!
The vast majority of people contributing to LFTR research on these forums are merely cool-aid drinking bloggers, few have any relevant qualifications, nor experience. Even you’re deity Kirk lacks a PhD or indeed any relevant qualification in Nuclear physics. You cannot design a reactor over the internet, nobody will ever give them serious funding, licensing authorities will never sign off on anything and indeed you’re very tactics of trolling any attempt at a critique is precisely the sort of stuff to send sponsors running for the exit.
There are indeed some “real” scientist working on LFTR’s and Thorium research in general (oh! and btw Seaborg’s and Weinberg have been dead for over a decade! Material science has moved on significantly since then, check out chapter 3 of my post below). As an academic, I have access to the scientific literature, and the odd MSR related paper pops up from time to time (indicating that somebody somewhere is doing serious research on the topic…Kirk’s name’s never come up mind!), but the message from all of them is nowhere near as rosy as what you see on these blogs. I am reliably informed by people in the know (those being nuclear scientists with decades of experience in the field) that it would take many decades to get LFTR’s working and given the current level of research at present (concept stage), they cannot be sure that some hard and fast showstopper won’t emerge to kill the idea off in future. While I don’t identify any definite showstoppers in my post, I do note several potential directions from which one could appear.
Like I said, its a blue sky idea that simply may not work, more research (in labs mind!) is needed to answer the many technical questions. Powerpoint and photoshopped images aren’t much use. Hence why I favour focusing on renewable technology which already exists and is cheaper than nuclear energy also.
- $3 billion in funding in SA, got a reference for that? Last I heard the South Africans cancelled all such research and decided to focus on conventional LWR’s.
- The Chinese? They are raiding every bit of science worldwide that’s not bolted to the floor, so hardly a surprise. They are also trying out every possible idea they can. Why? because they are playing catch up with the west. If the idea works, in 30 years time they may have an alternative to western LWR’s (tho if you read my post you’ll see it will likely be a completely different beast to what LFTR bloggers are proposing). If not? well they get a couple of well trained post-graduates out of it and experience working with MS technology (useful for concentrated solar power tech!). Also, the bulk of Chinese thorium research is focused on existing gas cooled reactors, not LFTR’s, that’s more of a side show. Indeed as I recall from Zhang etal (2006) the Chinese HTR-PM (Gas cooled, not a MSR) will initially run on Uranium, tho backward compatibility with Thorium will be engineered into the design.
- My question tho, why is nobody in the Dept of energy worried about all this? Occum’s razor would say its likely because they know something the Chinese don’t (that they’re wasting their time!).
- If the MSR is such a great idea why did it only get 3 provisional’s, 1 observer and no signatories in the 2009 Gen IV report?
Cargo cult….let’s see…unwillingness to accept criticism (tick), form into a clearly defined group (tick), hostility to outsiders (tick), paranoia (tick), assumption that authorities can’t be trusted or are somehow wrong/misinformed (tick), lengthy and committal indoctrination procedures (such as watching preposterously long you-tube videos…tick!), heavy focus on recruitment (tick), promise of some massive pay off at some ill-defined (and easily deferred) future date (tick)….do I need to go on? http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302
Thorium Trolls Hypnotise Environmentalists http://www.joabbess.com/2011/10/26/thorium-trolls-hypnotise-environmentalists/#comment-107302 October 26th, 2011 Kirk Sorensen is apparently a one-man propaganda machine. His personal energy must be immense. He keeps turning up everywhere.
Never since the days of Tesla versus Edison has there been such an energy-related public communications coup.
He is a social media god. He has to be – he’s running an enterprise start-up marketing an unproven energy process.It appears that Bryony Worthington has been scooped up. But then she backed carbon offsetting andCarbon Capture and Storage. Can we ask if her judgment has improved lately ? And Friends of the Earthhave been hypnotised. Or maybe not. George Monbiot was taken in a while back.
From now on, I can predict British environmentalists from every sector of society to call for the development of the Thorium Fuel Cycle – although I think it’s a waste of time and resources, and in my view cannot be scaled up quickly enough to be of any use in dealing with the global energy crisis.
All we have so far is a massive, well-researched sales pitch. And Kirk Sorensen’s done his homework on networking the institutions. In fact, I think that’s all he’s capable of – talk. I sense he is a Master of Spinology.
Miracle energy sources are a never-ending source of humour and despair. Remember cold fusion ? Where’s that now ? Still in a test tube ? Burning seawater ? Are you serious ? Remember Carbon Capture and Storage ? Where’s that now – after all the hype ? And what about algae biodiesel ? Will theflow rates of output fuel ever be high enough ?
The Thorium Fuel Cycle is not all it’s cracked up to be.
The simplest solutions are the best. Ones that already exist and already work. We need to stop hoping for the future and live in the now. We already have all the technology we need to solve climate change and the energy crisis – gas and power. Renewable electricity. And renewable gas.
There has been some discussion about Dr. King’s proposal in newspapers and on the radio, but the dialogue inevitably has two tremendous pieces of the cancer puzzle missing: cause and prevention. In fact, too much cancer information tends to be myopic, neglecting to mention essential elements of the global portrait of cancer etiology. Conventional wisdom about cancer tends to end up promulgating misinformation and misinterpretations, not sound science. Dr. King’s piece, as well the highly publicized bi-annual Stand Up to Cancer celebrity charity telethon, which raises money for cancer treatment, have done nothing to provide more clear information to the public that could help avert this all-too-common but potentially highly preventable scourge that has caused suffering upon and taken the lives of so many of our friends and family.
First and foremost, it is important to emphasize that cancer is NOT heritable. Actor Piece Brosnan proclaimed on the aforementioned telethon that cancer was a “wretched inherited disease.” It certainly is wretched, but is not inherited nor is it really a single disease……..
the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutant genes do not cause cancer; they merely make it more difficult for your cells to repair damage done to your DNA. When your cells are exposed to a cancer-causing agent (i.e., a carcinogen) such as ionizing radiation, certain natural and synthetic compounds, certain viruses, and some endocrine disrupting chemicals, to name a few, they have mechanisms to repair the damage that agent may cause to your DNA. But if the damage is too severe or widespread, or if the cell lacks that mechanism for repair, as in the case of those who have the “breast-cancer genes,” your risk of contracting cancer is increased.
It is basic scientific knowledge that cancer is not inheritable, but in light of the discovery of various genes that confer increased susceptibility to cancer, this fact is not always well understood by the population at large. Only 5-10% of people who contract any type of cancer have any sort of inherited genetic susceptibility. Therefore, the focus on inherited mutant alleles leaves out the majority 90-95% of people suffering from cancer. While it is true that the minority 5-10% who do have these mutant alleles have a much greater risk for disease than the rest of us, they do not have an inherent “predisposition” to cancer. Labeling these genes as “cancer genes” or even “genetic predispositions” is a terrible misnomer. These genes increase susceptibility to cancer when exposed to cancer causing agents……….
More and more we are learning that many of the over 80,000 synthetic chemicals that humans have constructed over the course of the last century or so not only directly cause DNA mutations that lead to cancer, but mimic estrogen in our bodies, which indirectly lead to cancer. These chemicals are in food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the endless industrial products we produce and consume. They are quite often the products and processes of industry, and are not essential to maintain a comfortable life on this planet. In addition, the radiation we receive from sources such as diagnostic exams via x-ray, CT scan, and other radiologic medical procedures are being shown to contribute to excess cancers. For example, the UK Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment recently stated that one out of 2000 people will contract cancer due to abdominal CT scans – otherwise known as an iatrogenic cancer. This may seem a fairly small risk, unless you are that one person who has had an unnecessary CT scan and then is diagnosed with a preventable cancer because of it……
for some reason, this plain and simple fact that exposure to carcinogens can and does lead to cancer is always absent in the medical discussion of cancer. Part of the reason may be that medical practitioners are rarely, if ever, versed in environmental health, so they are not even educated about environmental toxicology and the myriad diseases caused by environmental exposures. But part of the reason is likely political and economic. Real biological causes of cancer seem to be verboten because scientists and scholars who speak these truths are condemned, defamed, and discredited by the powerful industrial public relations machine, which has multi-billions of dollars worth of revenue to protect, as it maintains the businesses and industries that introduce so many of the carcinogenic products in our world.
Another important clarification in discussing cancer is that diagnosis does not equal prevention. In an Orwellian twist of double-speak, health care professionals have delineated different forms of “prevention” and have decided that the diagnosis and screening for cancer is what they deem “secondary prevention.” In truth, diagnosis is not prevention at all and should not be termed as such. …….
When discussing cancer, the lack of conversation about our ubiquitous exposures to carcinogens is highly negligent. ……http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/17/time-to-talk-frankly-about-cancer/
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