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The nuclear industry, climate change, and the concept of ENOUGH – theme for December 2018

To the nuclear industry the concept of ENOUGH is anathema. If you saw their slick advertising film “Pandora’s Promise” you would note that their major theme is endless GROWTH that will perpetually require ENDLESS ENERGY.

The nuclear industry’s shills, and there are many of them, love to portray the anti-nuclear movement as wanting to send people back to living in a “dark ages” style.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Genuine environmentalists want all people to have a life of more light, of reasonable comfort and leisure time, of enough of the good things of this world, rather than of too much.

It’s time that governments, bankers, industry leaders woke up to the reality that the world economy is threatened by growth, by climate change, threatened by the accelerating destruction of this planet’s  air, water, land, and biodiversity. The destroyer is the growing human population and its growing consumption of ever more unnecessary products and unnecessary energy use.

It’s time that people stepped away from endless individualistic  consumption, and towards a reasonable life of more cooperation, of working less hours. It’s time to move from our suicidal consumer culture, to a conserver culture.

 

 

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November 30, 2018 Posted by | Christina's themes | 9 Comments

Global nuclear industry aggressively lobbying climate negotiators

NIRS (accessed) 10th Dec 2018 , The nuclear industry is aggressively lobbying global climate negotiators to promote nuclear power as a solution to the climate crisis. Pro-nuclear organizations are petitioning the United Nations COP24 Global Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland, to write nuclear power into the rulebook that will be used to implement the Paris Climate Treaty.
The Don’t Nuke the Climate Coalition and our allies around the world are in Poland this week to expose the false promises of nuclear power, and work for true, sustainable, environmentally just solutions to global warming: the rapid, just transition to 100% renewable energy. Please support our campaign by signing the petition below. We will present the petition to the COP24 Climate Summit and demand that climate negotiators promote only safe, sustainable, environmentally just, carbon-free, nuclear-free energy sources.
http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5502/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=26593

December 13, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The EU, Canada, New Zealand, and scores of developing countries to strengthen their climate change commitments

Climate change talks result in renewed pledge to cut emissions, EU, Canada, New Zealand and developing countries to keep global warming below 1.5C  Guardian, Fiona HarveyBen Doherty and Jonathan Watts in Katowice,  13 Dec 2018 

The promise, which follows increasingly dire scientific warnings, was the most positive message yet to come from the ongoing talks in Poland.

The announcement came at the end of a day in which the UN secretary general made an impassioned intervention to rescue the talks, which have been distracted by US, Russian and Saudi moves to downgrade scientific advice.

“We’re running out of time,” António Guterres told the plenary. “To waste this opportunity would compromise our last best chance to stop runaway climate change. It would not only be immoral, it would be suicidal.”

The talks have centred on devising a rulebook for implementing the 2015 Paris agreement and raising countries’ level of ambition to counter climate change, but progress has been slow on several key issues and divisions have emerged between four fossil fuel powers – the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – and the rest of the world.

The UN believes China could play a stronger role in the absence of leadership from the US. Sources said Guterres would make a telephone call to Xi to ask for his help in nudging talks forward.

The EU also wants China, which is a key member of the block of 77 developing countries, to step up to ensure that countries all follow the same rules in being transparent over their greenhouse gas emissions.

Campaigners praised the decision by the High Ambition Coalition group of countries, made up of the EU and four other developed countries, including Canada and New Zealand, as well as the large grouping of least developed countries and several other developing nations, to scale up their emissions-cutting efforts in line with a 1.5C temperature rise limit.

Wendel Trio, director of the Climate Action Network Europe, said: “The spirit of Paris is back. The statement will boost greater ambition at the crunch time of these so far underwhelming talks. For the EU this must mean a commitment to significantly increase its 2030 target by 2020, even beyond the 55% reduction some member states and the European parliament are calling for. We call upon the countries that have not signed the statement so far to stop ignoring the science.”

Guterres, in a pointed criticism aimed at the four countries that have been refusing to “welcome” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on 1.5-degree warming, said rejecting climate science was indefensible.

He added: “The IPCC special report is a stark acknowledgment of what the consequences of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees will mean for billions of people around the world, especially those who call small island states home. This is not good news, but we cannot afford to ignore it.”

Frank Bainimarama, the prime minister of Fiji and the outgoing chair of COP23, amplified Guterres’ message. He told delegates they risked going down in history as “the generation that blew it – that sacrificed the health of our world and ultimately betrayed humanity because we didn’t have the courage and foresight to go beyond our short-term individual concerns: craven, irresponsible and selfish”.

The former US vice-president Al Gore told delegates they faced “the single most important moral choice in history of humanity”.

Behind the scenes, delegates said there had been strong progress on finance thanks to a doubling of commitments by Germany and Norway to help poorer nations adapt to climate change and build institutions capable of monitoring emissions. Nicholas Stern, the author of a landmark review on the economics of climate change, praised “the level of ideas and cooperation”.

But others said there were still many disputed brackets in the negotiating text on transparency and other elements of the rulebook……..

“The window for action is closing fast. We need to do more and we need to do it now,” said the document, which would form part of the official statement from this conference. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/12/un-chief-antonio-guterres-attempts-to-revive-flagging-climate-change-talks

 

December 13, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Global nuclear industry’s confidence is wobbling, as China loses enthusiasm for nuclear power

China’s losing its taste for nuclear power. MIT Technology Review, Once nuclear’s strongest booster, China is growing wary about its cost and safety. by Peter Fairley,December 12, 2018

Most beautiful wedding photos taken at a nuclear power plant” might just be the strangest competition ever. But by inviting couples to celebrate their nuptials at the Daya Bay plant in Shenzhen and post the pictures online, China General Nuclear Power (CGN), the country’s largest nuclear power operator, got lots of favorable publicity.

A year later, the honeymoon is over.

For years, as other countries have shied away from nuclear power, China has been its strongest advocate. Of the four reactors that started up worldwide in 2017, three were in China and the fourth was built by Beijing-based China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) in Pakistan. China’s domestic nuclear generation capacity grew by 24% in the first 10 months of 2018.

The country has the capacity to build 10 to 12 nuclear reactors a year. But though reactors begun several years ago are still coming online, the industry has not broken ground on a new plant in China since late 2016, according to a recent World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

Officially China still sees nuclear power as a must-have. But unofficially, the technology is on a death watch. Experts, including some with links to the government, see China’s nuclear sector succumbing to the same problems affecting the West: the technology is too expensive, and the public doesn’t want it.

The 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant shocked Chinese officials and made a strong impression on many Chinese citizens. A government survey in August 2017 found that only 40% of the public supported nuclear power development.

The bigger problem is financial. Reactors built with extra safety features and more robust cooling systems to avoid a Fukushima-like disaster are expensive, while the costs of wind and solar power continue to plummet: they are now 20% cheaper than electricity from new nuclear plants in China, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Moreover, high construction costs make nuclear a risky investment.

And gone are the days when nuclear power was desperately needed to meet China’s soaring demand for electricity. In the early 2000s, power consumption was growing at more than 10% annually as the economy boomed and manufacturing, a heavy user of electricity, expanded rapidly. Over the past few years, as growth has slowed and the economy has diversified, power demand has been growing, on average, at less than 4%.

China’s disenchantment with nuclear power corresponds with an overall decline in nuclear generation elsewhere in the world. Utilities are retiring existing plants and have stopped building new ones. If China, too, gives up on nuclear, it could sound the death knell………

Within days of Fukushima, nuclear reactor construction in China was frozen. When building resumed months later, after a wave of inspections, Beijing insisted that future nuclear power projects adopt more advanced designs with extra safety features.

The damage to public confidence, however, had already been done. In 2013 over a thousand people assembled in Jiangmen, east of Hong Kong, to decry a planned uranium fuel plant. Within days the state-run project was scrapped. In 2016 local officials suspended preliminary work on a site in Lianyungang, in northeastern Jiangsu province, after an uproar caused by revelations that it might host a recycling plant for spent nuclear fuel. In the wake of that protest, China’s State Council amended its draft regulations on nuclear power management, requiring developers to hold public hearings before siting projects…………

Dwindling options
The government has lately said little about nuclear policy. Its official target, last updated in 2016, calls for 58 gigawatts of nuclear generating capacity to be installed by 2020 and for another 30 GW to be under construction. All experts agree China won’t reach its 2020 goal until 2022 or later, and pre-Fukushima projections of 400 GW or more by midcentury now look fanciful. Han says he is betting that after the country builds the 88 GW in its 2020 plan, it will move on to other energy sources. …….

If the Hualong One proves too expensive, China’s lingering nuclear hopes will be pinned to its advanced-reactor program—an effort to develop a new generation of technologies that include high-­temperature gas-cooled reactors, designs cooled with sodium metal or salt, and smaller versions of pressurized-­water reactors. These various designs are meant to be cheaper to build and operate—and much safer—than conventional reactors.

But so far there is little evidence that any of them will solve nuclear’s problems. A sodium-cooled reactor completed near Beijing in 2011 has had familiar technical glitches such as problems in its coolant systems. And the rising cost of a pair of high-­temperature gas-cooled reactors nearing completion at Shandong Province’s Shidao Bay ended plans for a further 18 such reactors at the site.

There’s always the possibility of a breakthrough that would make nuclear safe and cheap enough to compete with renewables and coal. But even China’s nuclear giants are hedging their bets. Both CGN and the state-owned firm funding China’s AP1000 investments rank among the world’s top 10 renewable-power operators……..

 If China’s nuclear ambitions wind down, it may be the nail in the coffin for the technology’s viability elsewhere. https://tinyurl.com/y94tqxpu

December 13, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, China, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Scientists warn about international inaction on climate change

Window is narrowing’: scientists urge action at UN climate talks, Guardian, Jonathan Watts in Katowice, Wed 12 Dec 2018

Gilet jaunes protests cast shadow as concerns raised over backlash against rapid change 
Scientists have laid down the gauntlet for political leaders as the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, wrestles with the challenge of cutting emissions without sparking social tensions like those seen recently in France.The UN climate talks – known as COP24 and the most important since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015 – aim to set a new rulebook for governments to reduce greenhouse gases and to raise ambitions, after warnings of dire consequences if global warming rises more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The climate crisis is already here and the risks are growing, said Hoesung Lee, chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who led a study by thousands of scientists on ways to avoid 1.5C of warming via accelerated transition from fossil fuels.

“The IPCC made a tremendous collective effort to bring you the best scientific knowledge on the subject. We tell you limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but the window is narrowing,” Lee told a plenary on Tuesday. “The scientific community has delivered, now it is up to governments to take action.”

There has been fierce debate about what to do with the study. All but four of the world’s governments want to formally welcome the 1.5C report to spur a more ambitious shift towards renewable energy. However, four oil producing nations – the US, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – said the study should merely be “noted”.

This issue has overshadowed the past few days of the talks in Poland. Saudi Arabia has claimed there are “gaps and uncertainties” in the study. The US held a long-planned event promoting coal, gas, oil and nuclear power.

In a thinly veiled criticism of such tactics, Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister of France and president of the 2015 Paris climate talks, told the plenary that political leaders would play a negative role if they were “not only somnambulists but spoilers”.

He noted that global emissions rose by 2% this year, when they need to decline if warming is to be kept to a less dangerous level.

“Let us be clear, the real world is not on track. We need to do more and to do it faster,” Fabius said. “The IPCC 1.5C report shows the tremendous importance of every half degree and the disastrous consequences of missing that boundary.”……..https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/the-window-is-narrowing-scientists-urge-action-at-un-climate-talks

December 13, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

How France multiplies hazardous nuclear waste.

Reporterre 11th Dec 2018  Claiming to ” recycle ” used nuclear fuel, the reprocessing industry complicates the management of waste by increasing the amount of plutonium and hazardous materials.
Most countries engaged in this dead-end way come out … but not France.
According to the official communication, the reprocessing does not generate
contamination, only ” authorized discharges ” . They are spit by the
chimneys, dumped at the end of a pipe buried in the Channel.
In reality, according to the independent expert Mycle Schneider, ” the plant is
authorized to reject 20,000 times more radioactive rare gases and more than
500 times the amount of liquid tritium that only one of the Flamanville
reactors located 15 km away. ” . It contributes ” almost half to the
radiological impact of all civilian nuclear installations in Europe ” .
https://reporterre.net/Comment-la-France-multiplie-les-dechets-nucleaires-dangereux

December 13, 2018 Posted by | France, Reference, reprocessing, wastes | Leave a comment

Degrading permafrost puts Arctic infrastructure at risk by mid-century


https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181211113030.htm

Date:
December 11, 2018
Source:
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Summary:
Seventy percent of the current infrastructure in the Arctic has a high potential to be affected by thawing permafrost in the next 30 years. Even meeting the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement will not substantially reduce those projected impacts, according to a new study.

Seventy percent of the current infrastructure in the Arctic has a high potential to be affected by thawing permafrost in the next 30 years. Even meeting the climate change targets of the Paris Agreement will not substantially reduce those projected impacts, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

“Much more needs to be done to prepare Alaska and Alaskans for the adverse consequences of coming changes in permafrost and climate,” said Vladimir Romanovsky, a scientist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute who has been monitoring permafrost across Alaska for 25 years.

Permafrost is ground that is frozen year-round for a minimum of two years. When it thaws, it can change from solid earth into mud. In many cases, the ground will slump, leading to destructive failure in any structures erected there.

“These observations have led me to believe that the global warming is not a ‘fake’ but the reality,” Romanovsky said. “And here, in Alaska, we are dealing already and will be dealing even more in the near future with this reality.”

Romanovsky is one of the study’s authors, along with researchers from Finland, Norway, Russia and Michigan. The research is the first to explicitly show the amount of fundamental infrastructure across the Northern Hemisphere that is at risk of structural failure from permafrost thaw caused by climate change.

The paper reports that by 2050, about three-quarters of the population now living on permafrost, about 3.6 million people, will be affected by damage to infrastructure from permafrost thaw. In Alaska, about 340 miles of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline traverses ground where near-surface permafrost may thaw by 2050.

“The results show that most fundamental Arctic infrastructure will be at risk, even if the Paris Agreement target is achieved,” the authors write. However, after 2050, attaining the Paris Agreement goals would make a clear difference in potential damage to infrastructure.

The authors looked at measurements of ground temperature, annual thaw depth and other data to make their projections. They note that because of the uncertainties, the amount of infrastructure at risk from permafrost thaw is probably not much smaller than their estimate, but could be substantially larger.

Damage to industrial facilities such as pipelines could lead to major ecosystem disruption if it results in spills. Energy supplies, national security and general economic activity could be adversely affected as well, the authors write. The Yamal-Nenets region in northwestern Siberia is the source of more than one-third of the European Union’s pipeline imports of natural gas, for example.

Many parts of the Arctic’s infrastructure have relatively short lifespans. Planners and engineers need to know in detail where permafrost is most likely to thaw as they plan for replacements, upgrades and maintenance. This study mapped such areas at a resolution of 0.6 miles, allowing them to target mitigation where it is most needed.

December 13, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

REPLACING NUCLEAR WITH RENEWABLES WOULD SAVE FRANCE $44.5 BILLION

Futurism, 13 Dec 18  The French government just announced a plan to power 95 percent of the country with solar and wind energy by 2060. And by doing so, the government would spend about $44.5 billion (39 billion euros) less than it would if it maintained its current energy infrastructure.

To get there, the government would need to cancel plans to construct 15 new nuclear power plants, and instead replace its aging nuclear reactors with renewable infrastructure over the next several decades, according to a new report published Monday by the French environmental agency.

The report details how France could increase its dependence on solar and wind energy over time, gradually shutting down nuclear power plants to make room for renewables.

But doing so will still be costly: the report suggests that developing these new power plants as well as the necessary infrastructure to support them will cost the government $1.45 trillion (1.28 trillion euros) over the next 42 years. That’s a huge investment, but it’s still much cheaper than maintaining the status quo and replacing the country’s aging nuclear power plants with more modernized reactors…….. https://futurism.com/the-byte/nuclear-plants-renewable-energy-france

 

December 13, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Environmentalists fear that reclassifying some nuclear wastes means abandoning clean-ups

Energy Department Plan to Reclassify Nuclear Waste Worries Environmentalists https://weather.com/science/environment/news/2018-12-10-energy-department-reclassify-nuclear-waster
At a Glance

    • The U.S. Department of Energy wants to reclassify some of the waste that meets highly technical conditions.
    • The agency says the change could save the federal government $40 billion in cleanup costs at nuclear sites across the nation.
    • About 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical wastes are stored in tanks in Washington state.
    • Environmentalists fear a U.S. Department of Energy proposal to reclassify some radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons is simply a way to abandon the cleanup of places like the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.The Trump administration proposal to lower the status of some high-level radioactive waste would make disposal cheaper and easier. Reclassifying the material to low-level could save the agency billions of dollars and decades of work by essentially leaving the material in the ground, critics say.
    • The proposal joins a long list of Trump administration efforts to loosen environmental protections. Just last week, the Environmental Protection Agency acted to ease rules on the sagging U.S. coal industry.Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge, a nuclear watchdog group, said it wants a thorough cleanup of the Washington state nuclear site, which is half the size of Rhode Island. That includes building a national repository somewhere else to bury the waste once it has been stabilized.
  • “The cleanup of the site is really at stake,” Carpenter said about the proposed change.

    He noted that Hanford is located in an environmentally sensitive site adjacent to the Columbia River and susceptible to earthquakes, volcanoes and flooding.

  • Hanford was established by the Manhattan Project in World War II to make plutonium, a key ingredient in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. The plant went on to produce most of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.As a result, the site also contains the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste. The most dangerous is stored in 177 aging underground tanks, some of which have leaked. The tanks hold some 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical wastes waiting to be treated for permanent disposal.Cleanup efforts at Hanford have been underway since the late 1980s and cost about $2 billion a year.

    Current law defines high-level radioactive waste as resulting from processing irradiated nuclear fuel that is highly radioactive. The Energy Department wants to reclassify some of the waste that meets highly technical conditions.

    The agency says the change could save the federal government $40 billion in cleanup costs across the nation’s entire nuclear weapons complex, which includes the Savannah River Plant in South Carolina and Idaho National Laboratory.

  • Environmental groups and the state of Washington, which has a legal commitment with the Energy Department to oversee the Hanford cleanup, said the proposal is a concern.”They see it as a way to get cleanup done faster and less expensively,'” said Alex Smith of the Washington state Department of Ecology.Carpenter said there “is not much point in doing much else if they don’t clean up the high-level waste.”

    At the request of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, the agency extended the public comment period on the proposal to Jan. 9. The agency can make the change without the approval of Congress.

    “No one disputes the difficulty of retrieving and treating high-level waste from Hanford’s aging storage tanks,” Wyden wrote to the DOE. “However, lowering the bar for level of protection of future generations and the environment by changing the definition of what has always been considered high-level waste requiring permanent disposal is a significant change.”

December 13, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Mayor of London has plan to tackle the climate emergency

London mayor unveils plan to tackle ‘climate emergency’https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/dec/11/london-mayor-sadiq-khan-city-climate-emergency, Matthew Taylor,  Sadiq Khan accuses government of dragging its feet and calls for investment to avert catastrophe London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has declared a climate emergency and urged the UK government to do more to avert an ecological breakdown that he says poses an existential threat to future generations.

Speaking as City Hall outlined its new climate change plan, Khan said he was implementing measures to protect people from floods, fires and the political upheaval caused by climate change. He accused central government of “dragging its feet” on dealing with these issues.

“We are in the midst of a climate emergency which poses a threat to our health, our planet and our children and grandchildren’s future,” Khan told the Guardian. “City Hall is doing everything in our power to mitigate the risk in London but the stark reality is that we need urgent government action and funding.”

The acknowledgement of the scale and nature of the ecological crisis by the leader of one of the world’s major cities comes amid growing concern about the impact of climate change. A succession of scientific reports have laid bare the scale of the unfolding disaster, including one from the UN that said there were only 12 years left to avert the most extreme consequences of climate breakdown.

On Sunday 100 academics, philosophers and authors wrote to the Guardian to back a new civil disobedience group – Extinction Rebellion – and called for people around the world to rise up and organise against the “paralysis” of political leaders.

Khan’s intervention follows that of civic leaders in the UK and around the world. Last month Bristol declared a climate emergency and set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, while Manchester said it would become “carbon zero” by 2038. Both are more ambitious than the UK’s national target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050. It follows similar moves by several US cities.

London’s existing plan, unveiled by Khan in May, was for the city to be carbon neutral by 2050. But last week the London Assembly passed a motionsaying that target should be brought forward to 2030 and called on Khan to draw up “a specific emergency plan”.

Caroline Russell from the Green party, who proposed the motion, said it was crucial Khan backed a more radical target and called on the government to give him the appropriate powers and funding.

“Catastrophic climate breakdown might be as little as 12 years away,” she said. “This would have profound impacts on every aspect of our lives in London from flooding and overheating in summers, disruption in our food supply chains as well as in the wider natural world.

“The mayor needs to be at the forefront of this challenge, declaring a climate emergency and an urgent updating of his carbon reduction targets to make London carbon neutral by 2030, decades ahead of his current plans, setting a precedent for other major and world cities.”

Khan said he had already introduced a series of measures to tackle climate breakdown – from investing £500m in low carbon technologies to divesting pension funds from fossil fuels.

But he said a City Hall analysis due to be published on Wednesday showed London would need a huge programme of investment as well as new powers to bring forward its zero-carbon target to 2030. The cash would be used to:

 Retrofit hundreds of thousands of homes and offices to make them more energy efficient.

 Decarbonise the national grid.

 Install low-carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps.

 Move private and public transport away from diesel and petrol, and towards electric.

Khan said: “My message to ministers is clear – stop dragging your feet and gambling with our future and give London and cities across the UK the real powers and funding needed to protect our future generations.”

The Green party welcomed Khan’s move and backed his call for more help from central government. But Russell said there was more that could be done now. “Sadiq should start this mission by cancelling the Silvertown road tunnel and fighting harder against things that will make the climate crisis worse.

“He should call right now for a halt to climate-wrecking aviation expansion, including at Gatwick, and ask his C40 [global green city network] counterparts to join him.”

December 13, 2018 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Maine watchdogs keep close eye on Trump’s bid to change nuclear waste storage rules

December 13, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s “nuclear revival”?Japanese company Hitachi may walk away from Wylfa project

Times 11th Dec 2018 , Doubts over Britain’s planned nuclear revival increased yesterday amid
fears that the Japanese company developing a new plant on Anglesey may be
preparing to scrap the project. Shares in Hitachi rose by as much as 2.9
per cent at one point after Japanese media reported that it was considering
abandoning work on the proposed Wylfa plant because of rising costs.
Hitachi’s board is understood to be holding a quarterly board meeting today
at which the fate of Horizon, the subsidiary developing the £15
billion-plus project, will be discussed.
The company has been in talks with
the British government over financial support for Wylfa and is understood
to want a deal by the middle of next year or else could walk away. TV
Asahi, the Japanese broadcaster, reported that a decision was likely to be
taken by the end of the business year in March.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/b6c04dec-fcbc-11e8-9a88-fa81ced0c139

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Australia’s Environment Ambassador, Patrick Suckling, promotes fossil fuels at UN Climate Summit

December 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Russia may revive its Perimeter” or “Dead Hand” automatic nuclear missile system

Russia’s “Dead Hand” Nuclear Doomsday Weapon is Back, If the United States starts deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will consider adopting a doctrine of a preemptive nuclear strike. National Interest, by Michael Peck, 12 Dec 18, Russia has a knack for developing weapons that—at least on paper—are terrifying: nuclear-powered cruise missiles, robot subs with 100-megaton warheads .Perhaps the most terrifying was a Cold War doomsday system that would automatically launch missiles—without the need for a human to push the button—during a nuclear attack. But the system, known as “Perimeter” or “Dead Hand,” may be back and deadlier than ever

This comes after the Trump administration announced that the United States is withdrawing from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which eliminated the once-massive American and Russian stockpiles of short- and medium-range missiles. Donald Trump alleges that Russia has violated the treaty by developing and deploying new, prohibited cruise missiles.

This has left Moscow furious and fearful that America will once again, as it did during the Cold War, deploy nuclear missiles in Europe. Because of geographic fate, Russia needs ICBMs launched from Russian soil, or launched from submarines, to strike the continental United States. But shorter-range U.S. missiles based in, say, Germany or Poland could reach the Russian heartland.

Viktor Yesin, who commanded Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces in the 1990s, spoke of Perimeter/Dead Hand during an interview last month in the Russian newspaper Zvezda [Google English translation here]. Yesin said that if the United States starts deploying intermediate-range missiles in Europe, Russia will consider adopting a doctrine of a preemptive nuclear strike. ……..

What is unmistakable is that Perimeter is a fear-based solution. Fear of a U.S. first-strike that would decapitate the Russian leadership before it could give the order to retaliate. Fear that a Russian leader might lose his nerve and not give the order.

And if Russia is now discussing Perimeter publicly, that’s reason for the rest of us to worry.

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.  https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russias-dead-hand-nuclear-doomsday-weapon-back-38492

December 13, 2018 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TRUMP WANTS TO RECLASSIFY RADIOACTIVE WASTE FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS TO ‘LOW LEVEL’ SO DISPOSAL IS CHEAPER

December 13, 2018 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Pacific island countries accuse USA of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit

US accused of obstructing talks at UN climate change summit
Vanuatu’s foreign minister says worst offenders on global warming are blocking progress,
Guardian, Ben Doherty in Katowice @bendohertycorro, Wed 12 Dec 2018 

 The United States and other high carbon dioxide-emitting developed countries are deliberately frustrating the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, Vanuatu’s foreign minister has said. His warning came as Pacific and Indian ocean states warned they faced annihilation if a global climate “rule book” could not brokered.In a bruising speech before ministers and heads of state, Vanuatu’s foreign minister, Ralph Regenvanu, singled out the US as he excoriated major CO2-emitting developed countries for deliberately hindering negotiations.

“It pains me deeply to have watched the people of the United States and other developed countries across the globe suffering the devastating impacts of climate-induced tragedies, while their professional negotiators are here at COP24 putting red lines through any mention of loss and damage in the Paris guidelines and square brackets around any possibility for truthfully and accurately reporting progress against humanity’s most existential threat,” he said.

Regenvanu said the countries most responsible for climate change were now frustrating efforts to counter it.

The UN’s climate change talks in Poland have been distracted by a semantic debate over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” the IPCC’s special report warning of dire consequences if global warming rises more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, with a bloc of four oil-producing countries – the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait – insisting the report be only “noted”.

Documents from the conference presidency, seen by the Guardian, indicate the issue of how to acknowledge the report will be returned to later in the week and is likely to further slow progress on negotiating a final outcome. Negotiators said they are growing increasingly pessimistic that talks can be concluded by their deadline on Friday…….

As 193 countries at the climate talks seek to establish a “rule book” on how to implement the commitments made in the Paris agreement three years ago, Regenvanu condemned a two-tier system that exempted high-emissions countries from reductions obligations, saying the world needed “one common rule book, in which rules apply to all”.

The US state department declined to comment on his remarks……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/11/us-accused-of-obstructing-talks-at-un-climate-change-summit

December 13, 2018 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, politics international, USA | Leave a comment