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Atomic bombing of Nagasaki remembered

Nagasaki-churchNagasaki commemorates 68th anniversary of atomic bombing,Global Post 8 Aug 13 Nagasaki began marking the 68th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing Friday, with Mayor Tomihisa Taue expected to urge the government later in the day to take leadership as the world’s only atomic bombed country and realize the quick elimination of nuclear weapons.

In his peace declaration at the memorial event, at which representatives of 44 countries will attend, Taue plans to criticize Tokyo’s recent failure to sign an international statement rejecting any use of nuclear weapons as well as its deal with India to restart talks on nuclear energy cooperation.

Nuclear-armed India is set to send a representative to the event for the first time, while all five nuclear powers — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are set to be represented, along with de facto nuclear power Israel that is not a signatory, according to the city office.

U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos who became the first U.S. ambassador to attend Hiroshima’s memorial ceremony in 2010, is to attend the Nagasaki ceremony for the second time.

Taue is also expected to call on the United States and Russia to drastically reduce their nuclear arsenals while urging the Japanese government to enact its three non-nuclear principles of not producing, possessing or allowing nuclear weapons on Japanese territory into law and provide better support for aging atomic bomb survivors……. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/kyodo-news-

August 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki message: abolish nuclear weapons

Message from Hiroshima: Abolish nuclear weapons http://peoplesworld.org/message-from-hiroshima-abolish-nuclear-weapons/  by: JOELLE FISHMAN August 7 2014 NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Matsui Kazumi, Mayor of the City of Hiroshima, Japan, witnessed all of his school mates die when the atom bomb was dropped on his populous city 69 years ago on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 am.  That horror lives with him today, and shaped the Peace Declaration he delivered this year to cities across the world.

Standing on the New Haven Green, the City of New Haven’s Peace Commission annual vigil heard  his declaration along with a proclamation from this city’s Mayor Toni Harp calling for the United States to “lead by example in the area of nuclear weapons reductions so we can work towards President Obama’s goal of controlling nuclear weapons proliferation and abolishing nuclear weapons.”

Hiroshima-Never-Again

A United Nations Peace Messenger City, New Haven is also hosting films and a library exhibit to raise awareness of the extreme danger that nuclear weapons pose to the planet.  Toward the goal of a nuclear-free world by 2020, the United Nations has declared September 26 as International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.  This mobilization comes just one week after the September 21 People’s Climate March which is expected to draw up to a million participants on the eve of a UN conference on global warming.

The reality of the economic, human and environmental cost of nuclear weapons which sap national resources needed by cities and towns and could obliterate all life, led to a ballot referendum in New Haven where 80 percent of voters called for abolition of nuclear weapons.

Al Marder, chair of the Peace Commission, said peace forces are now calling on the United States to send a delegation to the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons to be convened by the United Nations  in Vienna, Austria on December 8 “and take part in the discussions of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear disaster and finally negotiate a ban and total abolition of nuclear weapons.”

In the Hiroshima Peace Declaration, Mayor Kazumi said, “Each one of us will help determine the future of the human family.  Please put yourself in the place of the Hibakusha (survivors of the A-bomb).  Imagine their experiences, including that day from the depths of hell, actually happening to you or someone in your family. To make sure the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happen a third time, let’s all communicate, think and act together with the Hibakusha for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons and without war.”

Recalling that Japan is the only nation to have been A-bombed, he said that “precisely because our security situation is increasingly severe, our government should accept the full weight of the fact that we have avoided war for 69 years thanks to the noble pacifism of the Japanese Constitution.”

That section of the Constitution, Article 9, which eliminated armed forces is now being re-interpreted by the current government.  In response, a Global Article 9 Campaign has been initiated featuring a Japanese initiated international petition.

August 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Tepco under-reported Fukushima release of plutonium – by 200 times!

exclamation-PuNew report estimates 278 trillion Bq of plutonium released from Fukushima reactors — Over 200 times higher than amount reported by Tepco — “Highly radiotoxic when incorporated into human body” as it decays http://enenews.com/new-report-estimates-278-trillion-bq-of-plutonium-released-from-fukushima-reactors-over-200-times-higher-than-amount-reported-by-tepco?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Evaluation of the Fukushima Accident Source Term through the fast running code RASCAL 4.2(pdf),ENEA Bologna Research Centre, May 23, 2014: This Report presents the results of the application of the fast-running US-NRC direct code RASCAL 4.2 to the estimation of the Fukushima Source Term. […] it is plausible that the ventings that TEPCO announced during the accident as being conducted from the wetwell were, as a matter of fact and because of the degraded conditions of the plants, conducted actually from the drywell. […] wetwell properties imply releases which can be several oder of magnitudes lower than those from the drywell […] it can clearly be seen that the most probable path is the combination of Drywell+Direct option […] the true venting path, i.e. from Drywell instead of from Wetwell, is an extremely important issue. […] in several instances when TEPCO tried to operate venting, in order to release pressure outside the building through the stack, it proved impossible […] there are many indications that probably the radioactive material escaped from the drywell; this may have occurred without TEPCO’s immediate knowledge and because of several factors; for example: structural damages to the pipings connecting drywell to torus room (vent piping bellows), due either to the earthquake, and/or to the too violent pressure and temperature increase in the D/W; leakages through the top head manhole, the top head flange, the piping penetrations, the electrical wiring penetrations, the personal airlocks, the S/C manholes, the machine hatches, etc. […] The value of 1%/h was chosen by ENEA because of the possible highly damaged conditions of the Fukushima NPPs due to the BDB [Beyond Design Basis] earthquake.

> Table 7. Cumulative Source Term (Bq) TEPCO MELCOR

  • Pu-241 Total = 1.2E+12 (1,200,000,000,000 Bq)

> Table 7. Cumulative Source Term (Bq) ENEA RASCAL 4.2

  • Pu-241 Unit 1 = 6.52E+13 (65,200,000,000,000 Bq)
  • Pu-241 Unit 2 = 1.86E+14 (186,000,000,000,000 Bq)
  • Pu-241 Unit 3 = 2.67E+13 (26,700,000,000,000 Bq)
  • Pu-241 Total = 2.78E+14 (278,000,000,000,000 Bq)

Environmental Science & Technology (American Chemical Society), July 11, 2014: [S]tandard alpha spectrometry techniques […] are not able […] to measure 241Pu.

Boreal Environment Research (pdf), Feb. 28, 2014: The 241Pu isotope was introduced into the environment from […] accidents that released nuclear reactor fuel, such as […] the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe. As compared with other Pu isotopes in the environment that are alpha-emitting and long-lived, 241Pu is a short-lived isotope with a half-life of 14.35 years […] 241Pu decays to the alpha emitter 241Am, that has a much longer half-life (432.2 years) and is highly radiotoxic when it is incorporated into either the human or animal body. […] The 241Pu isotope has been studied less extensively than the α-emitting Pu isotopes for several reasons. Activity concentration of 241Pu cannot be determined from the same alpha spectrum as the Pu isotopes 238, 239, and 240, and extra effort is needed in order to analyze 241Pu concentration of a sample. Actually, 241Pu emits alpha particles, but they have so low probability (0.002%) that 241Pu cannot be measured directly by α-spectrometry […]

See also: Japan TV: Radiation release during ‘venting’ was up to 500 times larger than thought for Fukushima reactor — Surprising surge in radioactivity before explosions (VIDEO)

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Red Cross calls for nuclear disarmament – plans for Humanitarian Conference in December

red-cross-and-red-crescentRemembering Hiroshima: Nuclear disarmament is a humanitarian imperative  International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva  06-08-2014 Statement Geneva (IFRC/ICRC) – The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s involvement in the nuclear debate dates back to the moment the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. On 6 August, 1945, at 8.15am, there was a flash of light over the city and in an instant, tens of thousands of people were dead, hospitals and health centres were incinerated and the city was left in ruins.

But in the midst of this appalling devastation, one hospital survived. The Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital – which miraculously escaped complete destruction despite its closeness to the epicentre of the blast – began to fill with casualties. Yet, most equipment and medicine had been destroyed or was unusable, and many of its doctors and nurses had been killed or injured. But there was dedication, and there was help to come. Dr. Marcel Junod of the International Committee of the Red Cross heard of the devastation and became the first non-Japanese doctor to assess the event. His reports are a chilling account of what occurs in the aftermath of a nuclear detonation.

The issue of nuclear weapons has remained a serious concern of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for the past 69 years.

The issue of nuclear weapons has remained a serious concern of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for the past 69 years. We voiced our concern about the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons after their use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As a result, in 1948 the 17th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement adopted a resolution calling for the prohibition of atomic weapons. This was followed by a resolution of the 18th International Conference in 1952. Later resolutions also urged the prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction.  ……..

States will continue to consider the consequences of nuclear weapons at the Third Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons being hosted by the Government of Austria in December. The 2015 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will also be an important moment for States to consider the discussions of the Oslo, Nayarit and Vienna meetings and to reflect on how best to advance nuclear disarmament. We hope that the States in these fora will take into account the Movement’s views on nuclear weapons and our calls for greater action in this area. The 2015 Council of Delegates and the International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent will also be an opportunity to take stock of the Movement’s activities on this subject.

In closing, we believe that the coming year is a pivotal time in the discussions about nuclear weapons. We urge international and non-governmental organizations as well as the components of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to redouble their efforts to raise awareness of the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. We also urge all States to recognize that nuclear disarmament is a humanitarian imperative and to reflect on how to make significant progress towards a world without nuclear weapons.

Humanity has been fortunate that nuclear weapons have not been used since those tragic days in August 1945 and we must do all that we can to make sure that instances such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki never happen again.

Tadateru Konoe,

President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Peter Maurer,
President, International Committee of the Red Cross    
http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/statement/2014/08-06-japan-hiroshima-atomic-bomb.htm

August 8, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Melted nuclear fuel cores leaking radiation directly into groundwater at Fukushima

exclamation-SmOfficial: “Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed” at Fukushima — Scientist: Our tests show contamination isn’t going away… reactors are leaking out into ocean… there’s still a problem — PBS: Plume of water tainted with radiation is reaching to other side of Pacific (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/official-fuel-exposed-fukushima-scientist-tests-show-contamination-going-away-reactors-leaking-ocean-problem-pbs-plume-water-tainted-radiation-reaching-other-side-pacific-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

PBS NewsHour’s ‘Return to Fukushima’, Aug 6, 2014: NewsHour science correspondent Miles O’Brien […] has traveled to Fukushima three times and six times entered the exclusion zone, which he described as a “post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in time.” We’ve stitched his latest reports together into this documentary-length video. They include his tour of the hazardous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and a look at the health of marine life off the coast of Japan […] Plus, a never-before-seen exclusive tour of Fukushima Daini, Daiichi’s sister plant, which narrowly escaped the same fate.

  • 3:30 in – Miles O’Brien, PBS: 3 of [Fukushima Daiich’s] cores are now melted down, still steaming hot, their steel containment structures breached. Engineers believe some of the nuclear fuel has melted right through the steel containment vessels on to a concrete basement floor, where it is exposed to groundwater. […] Each and every day, about 100,000 gallons of fresh groundwater seeps into the basements of the plant, where it becomes contaminated with a witch’s brew of radionuclide. […] No one disputes the plant is steadily leaking radiation-tainted water into the sea.
  • 14:00 in – O’Brien: [Naohiro Masuda, leader of Fukushima Daiichi’s decommissioning company and head of Fukushima Daiini during 3/11] explained where the melted nuclear fuel has gone.
  • 14:05 in — Masuda: Unfortunately, the fuel itself is exposed.
  • 14:10 in — O’Brien: Melted through?
  • 14:15 in — Masuda: Melted through the pressure vessel, and coming down to this room and it goes down to the floor.
  • 17:30 in — Crystal Breier, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: This is Fukushima water, this is from our cruise this past September. We found there’s still contamination. […] It’s been persistent, it hasn’t gone away. It’s indicating that the reactors are leaking out more cesium — and there is still a problem.
  • 18:15 in – O’Brien: The plume of water tainted with radiation from Fukushima is only now reaching the other side of the Pacific. This has prompted an online tsunami of pseudoscience, blog rumors and wild accusations […]
  • 32:45 in – O’Brien: Of course local health officials have been following the evacuees in the Fukushima region and they say there have been more than 1,600 deaths attributed to stress. In the end, perhaps the biggest risk associated with nuclear energy might very well be the fear of nuclear energy. Thanks for watching.
  • Watch the PBS broadcast here

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Toxicity of planned wastes raises anxiety about Lake Huron nuclear dump scheme

Lake Huron nuclear dump scheme in trouble Hamilton Spectator by  Thomas Walkom 7 Aug 14, Ontario’s plan to bury nuclear waste beside Lake Huron is running into heavy weather.

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-O

Ontario Power Generation, the Crown corporation behind the proposed dump site for low and intermediate level radioactive waste, has publicly acknowledged that its long-term safety plans are based, in part, on new technologies that have not yet been invented.

As the Star’s John Spears reported this week, that explanation hasn’t endeared itself to the small but politically important aboriginal communities near the proposed Kincardine dump site.

In a brief to the federal review panel that will eventually rule on the plan, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation reminds OPG of its assurance that no nuclear waste dump will be built without aboriginal consent

Will that consent be given? The first nation doesn’t say. But in its brief, it does express profound unease with what it calls OPG’s vague and open-ended scheme.

Plans for this so-called deep geological repository at Kincardine have been in the works since 2005.

Initially, the proposed dump was supposed to house waste such as the rubber gloves used by nuclear workers — items with relatively low levels of radioactivity.

Right now, nuclear waste from Ontario atomic power generating plants is stored on the surface.

But once federal hearings started last fall, OPG changed tack. It announced it wanted to double the size of the underground dump to roughly 400,000 cubic metres in order to accommodate waste that will be produced when the province’s existing nuclear plants are taken apart.

This so-called decommissioning waste, which includes components such as pressure tubes (but not nuclear fuel), will remain highly radioactive for thousands of years.

Critics cried foul. The three-member federal panel hearing the proposal ordered OPG to better explain how it would handle this more difficult waste.

It also told the Crown utility to look into why a similar U.S. nuclear waste facility near Carlsbad New Mexico — cited by dump proponents as a model — suffered two accidents in February……….http://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/4737032-lake-huron-nuclear-dump-scheme-in-trouble/

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Canada, wastes | 1 Comment

Dr Helen Caldicott exposes the fallacies of the push for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

SMRs-mirageSmall Modular Reactors Huffington Post, Dr   08/07/2014   Now that the “nuclear renaissance” is dead following the Fukushima catastrophe, when one sixth of the world’s nuclear reactors closed, the nuclear corporations — Toshiba, Nu-Scale, Babcock and Wilcox, GE Hitachi, General Atomics, and the Tennessee Valley Authority — will not accept defeat.

Their new strategy is to develop small modular reactors (SMRs), allegedly free of the dangers inherent in large reactors: safety issues, high cost, proliferation risks and radioactive waste.

But these claims are fallacious, for the reasons outlined below.

Basically, there are three types of SMRs, which generate less than 300 megawatts of electricity compared with current 1,000-megawatt reactors.

1. Light-water reactors

These will be smaller versions of present-day pressurized water reactors, using water as the moderator and coolant, but with the same attendant problems as Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Built underground, they will be difficult to access in the event of an accident or malfunction.

Because they’re mass-produced (turnkey production), large numbers must be sold yearly to make a profit. This is an unlikely prospect, because major markets — China and India — will not buy U.S. reactors when they can make their own.

If safety problems arise, they all must be shut down, which will interfere substantially with electricity supply.

SMRs will be expensive because the cost per unit capacity increases with a decrease in reactor size. Billions of dollars of government subsidies will be required because Wall Street is allergic to nuclear power. To alleviate costs, it is suggested that safety rules be relaxed, including reducing security requirements, and reducing the 10-mile emergency planning zone to 1,000 feet.

2. Non-light-water designs

These include high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs) or pebble-bed reactors. Five billion tiny fuel kernels consisting of high-enriched uranium or plutonium will be encased in tennis-ball-sized graphite spheres that must be made without cracks or imperfections — or they could lead to an accident. A total of 450,000 such spheres will slowly and continuously be released from a fuel silo, passing through the reactor core, and then recirculated 10 times. These reactors will be cooled by helium gas operating at high very temperatures (900 degrees C).

A reactor complex consisting of four HTGR modules will be located underground, to be run by just two operators in a central control room. Claims are that HTGRs will be so safe that a containment building will be unnecessary and operators can even leave the site (“walk-away-safe” reactors).

However, should temperatures unexpectedly exceed 1,600 degrees C, the carbon coating will release dangerous radioactive isotopes into the helium gas, and at 2,000 degrees C the carbon would ignite, creating a fierce, Chernobyl-type graphite fire.

If a crack develops in the piping or building, radioactive helium would escape, and air would rush in, also igniting the graphite.

Although HTGRs produce small amounts of low-level waste, they create larger volumes of high-level waste than conventional reactors.

Despite these obvious safety problems, and despite the fact that South Africa has abandoned plans for HTGRs, the U.S. Department of Energy has unwisely chosen the HTGR as the “next-generation nuclear plant.”

3. Liquid-metal fast reactors (PRISM)

It is claimed by proponents that fast reactors will be safe, economically competitive, proliferation-resistant, and sustainable.

They are fueled by plutonium or highly enriched uranium and cooled by either liquid sodium or a lead-bismuth molten coolant. Liquid sodium burns or explodes when exposed to air or water, and lead-bismuth is extremely corrosive, producing very volatile radioactive elements when irradiated.

Should a crack occur in the reactor complex, liquid sodium would escape, burning or exploding. Without coolant, the plutonium fuel could reach critical mass, triggering a massive nuclear explosion, scattering plutonium to the four winds. One millionth of a gram of plutonium induces cancer, and it lasts for 500,000 years. Extraordinarily, they claim that fast reactors will be so safe that they will require no emergency sirens, and that emergency planning zones can be decreased from 10 miles to 1,300 feet.

There are two types of fast reactors: a simple, plutonium-fueled reactor and a “breeder,” in which the plutonium-reactor core is surrounded by a blanket of uranium 238, which captures neutrons and converts to plutonium.

The plutonium fuel, obtained from spent reactor fuel, will be fissioned and converted to shorter-lived isotopes, cesium and strontium, which last 600 years instead of 500,000. The industry claims that this process, called “transmutation,” is an excellent way to get rid of plutonium waste. But this is fallacious, because only 10 percent fissions, leaving 90 percent of the plutonium for bomb making, etc.

Nuclear-Wizards

Then there’s construction. Three small plutonium fast reactors will be grouped together to form a module, and three of these modules will be buried underground. All nine reactors will then be connected to a fully automated central control room operated by only three operators. Potentially, then, one operator could face a catastrophic situation triggered by loss of off-site power to one unit at full power, another shut down for refueling and one in startup mode. There are to be no emergency core cooling systems.

Fast reactors require a massive infrastructure, including a reprocessing plant to dissolve radioactive waste fuel rods in nitric acid, chemically removing the plutonium, and a fuel fabrication facility to create new fuel rods. A total of 15 to 25 tons of plutonium are required to operate a fuel cycle at a fast reactor, and just five pounds is fuel for a nuclear weapon.

Thus fast reactors and breeders will provide extraordinary long-term medical dangers and the perfect situation for nuclear-weapons proliferation. Despite this, the industry plans to market them to many countries.

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Reference, reprocessing, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Report highlights rapid increase in solar energy systems

sunSolar System Installations Increasing Fast   Clean Technica August 4th, 2014 by   Originally published on Worldwatch Institute.

New analysis by the Worldwatch Institute examines global trends in the solar power sector

Washington, D.C.—The year 2013 saw record-breaking growth for solar electricity generation as the photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) markets continued to grow. With over 39 gigawatts installed worldwide, the PV solar market represented one-third of all newly-added renewable energy capacity, write Worldwatch’s Max Lander and Climate and Energy Intern Xiangyu Wu in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).

Solar PV installations nearly matched those of hydropower and, for the first time, outpaced wind additions. Even though photovoltaic systems continue to dwarf CSP capacity, the CSP market also had another year of impressive growth. By the end of 2013, a total of 19 countries had CSP plants installed or under construction.

Consumption of power from PV and CSP plants increased by 30 percent globally in 2013 to reach 124.8 terawatt-hours. Europe accounted for the majority of global solar power consumption (67 percent), followed by Asia (23.9 percent) and North America (8.1 percent). Worldwide, solar consumption equalled 0.5 percent of electricity generation from all sources……….

Country Highlights from the Report:

  • China installed 12.9 gigawatts of PV, the most ever installed in one year by any country. The country’s momentous expansion was fueled largely by its feed-in tariff (FIT) program, which supports large, grid-connected utility-scale projects as well as distributed generation projects. However, grid connections are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of China’s PV deployment.
  • Europe installed close to 11 GW of PV. This represented the second annual decline in installations after peaking at 22.3 GW in 2011. In Germany, a reduction of FIT rates and an increase in regulations for utility-scale projects contributed to the fall in installations.
  • North America added 5.2 GW of PV. The United States installed the third most PV worldwide, with 4.8 GW.
  • In Central and South America, solar development has been sluggish. Despite power consumption more than doubling in 2013, the region still accounts for a small fraction of the world’s solar power.
  • The Middle East and Africa had little PV activity, with the exception of Israel and South Africa, which added 420 MW and 75 MW, respectively. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/04/solar-system-installations-increase-significantly/

August 8, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Uranium exposure and skin cancer

uranium-oreStudy may help explain link between uranium exposure and skin cancer http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-08-link-uranium-exposure-skin-cancer.html   After years of delving deep into DNA and researching ways in which metal damage may lead to cancer, a team of researchers is taking a step back to look at the surface where one answer may have been all along. The varying health risks from exposure to natural uranium are well established, but Diane Stearns, professor of biochemistry at Northern Arizona University, and her team have been trying to determine if there is a link between uranium exposure and skin , stating that skin may have been overlooked in the past.

In a recent article published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, the NAU team shared results from a study that explored photoactivation of uranium as a means to increase its toxicity and ability to damage DNA.

“Our hypothesis is that if uranium is photoactivated by UV radiation it could be more harmful to skin than either exposure alone,” Stearns said.

Through the study, the team found that once uranium was present in the skin, exposure to UV radiation or sunlight could be chemically toxic and lead to cancerous lesions. The team members recommend that future risk assessments regarding cancer caused by uranium exposure include the possibility of photoactivation in skin.

They also propose that photoactivated uranium exposure could be even more harmful in cells that can’t repair the damage on their own. Stearns explained such cases are found in individuals with Xeroderma Pigmentosum or XP, a disease that causes extreme sensitivity to sunlight.

Through research into the XP cell lines, the team discovered regional relevance for the study. The disease is prevalent on the Navajo Nation, a site of historically high levels of and processing in the Southwest. The 2012 documentary Sun Kissed further piqued the researchers’ curiosity. The film cites the incidence of XP in the general population as one in 1 million, yet cases increase significantly to one in 30,000 in the Navajo population.

Stearns believes there may be implications that should be taken into consideration for a population like the Navajo community with carriers of XP mutations and relatively high exposure to uranium and the sun.

“We just want to make people aware that uranium exposure could contribute to  and could also be exacerbating XP,” Stearns said.

Stearns said as she looks to the future, she hopes to fine-tune her understanding of the photoactivation mechanism and how it is damaging DNA. “We have predicted the link but now we would like to study it step by step to establish an even stronger connection.”

Together with her Navajo students at NAU, she also hopes to determine whether the old uranium mines might explain the increase in cancer and what is being called a sudden emergence of XP on the Navajo Nation.

“I’ve had several Navajo students come to me because they found out I was doing uranium research and they had a relative who died of cancer and always wondered if it was uranium,” Stearns said. “It’s been a really personal way for them to see the value in scientific research because it can directly relate to their community.”

August 8, 2014 Posted by | health, indigenous issues, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

Independent Scotland would scrap Trident nuclear deterrent, save tax-payers £billions

flag-ScotlandTrident nuclear deterrent would be scrapped by an independent Scotland Rt August 07, 2014 Scottish voters face the choice between a multibillion-pound tax bill to fund a new generation of nuclear weapons, or the chance to completely disarm in an independent Scotland.

Veterans Minister Keith Brown warned Scottish taxpayers could face an almighty burden if the UK Government decides to renew the program in 2016. In a move that could garner greater support for Scottish independence, the Scottish government set out plans to remove Trident from Scotland if September’s referendum secures a ‘Yes’ vote.

Speaking during a debate at Holyrood, Brown said the decision on renewal “appears to have already been made,” with the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Labour backing the retention of Trident. He also said the cost of renewal will also have implications for the UK’s conventional defense forces.

“The Scottish Government position is that Trident should be removed from an independent Scotland by 2020 – before we are hit with a share of the further £100 billion in lifetime costs, at 2012 prices, which are estimated for its replacement,” he said.

“We will also propose a constitutional prohibition on nuclear weapons being based in Scotland, ensuring they would never return.”

The Trident Commission reports that taxpayers will be spending nearly £4 billion a year on nuclear weapons at 2012 prices, when spending reaches its peak in the next decade. This is the equivalent of almost one third of the entire current defense budget. The costs would impact on other defense spending, such as helicopter support and equipment for troops.

“That is money which could and will be far better spent on other priorities – something underlined by statistics showing one million people in Scotland are living in relative poverty,” added Brown……..http://rt.com/uk/178692-trident-scrapped-independent-scotland/

August 8, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Secret Ontario meetings on nuclear waste plan broke the law

secret-agent-SmClosed-door nuclear meetings broke the law in Bruce County  The Star.com  7 Aug 14 Closed-door meetings to talk about a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine broke the Municipal Act, says an official investigator By:  Business reporter,

Bruce County council violated the Municipal Act by holding a string of closed-door meetings to talk about a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine, an official investigator says……… it’s not certain what was said in the sessions held from 2009 to 2012, because no official minutes were taken.

Unofficial notes were taken at eight sessions, but there appears to be no record for as many as nine others.

Nor was public notice given that the meetings were being held.

The investigator’s report was commissioned by the county after a complaint by citizens’ groups.

The complaint arose over meetings of a body called the Community Consultation Advisory Group. It was made up of all the mayors in Bruce County, including the county warden.

The group was formed by Ontario Power Generation to talk about OPG’s plans for a low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste site near Kincardine.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization — which is seeking a place to bury high-level nuclear waste — was also part of the sessions. Some were attended by members of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Because the group included every mayor in Bruce County, Amberley Gavel said there was in effect a quorum of county council members at every meeting of the advisory group.

And since the nuclear waste issue had been a subject discussed at county council, the advisory group sessions were in effect council meetings, the report concludes.

The Municipal Act generally requires council meetings to be public. None of the permitted exceptions applied in this case. “Since there was no notice of these Council meetings given to the public in accordance with the County’s Procedure By-Law; no Clerk or designate was present to take minutes, nor were any taken; and the public was unaware of and in no case attended any of these meetings; nor was there any resolution to close them, they were clearly in contravention of the open meetings requirements of the Act,” the report concludes………

Former Brockton mayor Charlie Bagnato said he didn’t fully realize the meetings were closed to the public when he attended the sessions.

“When you get elected, you get a list of all the different committees there and you appoint people to different committees,” he said. “The thing was driven by OPG. I guess we just kind of kowtowed to whatever they had done in the past.”

But some residents of the area have said the closed meetings show the current process of choosing a nuclear waste is fatally flawed.

The task of evaluating the location of the proposed low- and intermediate-level waste site is in now in the hands of a federal panel.

Rod McLeod, a lawyer and former president of the Southampton Residents Association, argued in a submission to the panel when the secret meetings first came to light that the panel should ultimately abort its current process.

Both the nuclear regulators and the municipalities showed that they aren’t willing to participate fairly and transparently, he argued. http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/08/07/closeddoor_nuclear_meetings_broke_the_law_in_bruce_county.html

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

China’s fast development of big and small solar energy systems

China adds Australian-levels of solar capacity in clean energy push,  http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/china-adds-australianlevels-of-solar-capacity-in-clean-energy-push-20140808-101qe4.html#ixzz39rGnpkOv  August 8, 2014 –  Bloomberg NewsChina, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, accelerated solar power installations in the first half, adding enough capacity in the period to equal Australia’s entire supply of power from sunlight at the end of last year.

China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity in the six months ended June 30, double last year’s additions, the National Energy Administration said today in a statement.

China now has 23 gigawatts of solar power supply, almost seven times as much as Australia, which is described by its own government as the world’s highest recipient of radiation per square meter.

China’s race to add renewable energy comes as policymakers push for ways to combat the nation’s growing problem of air pollution. Just this week, Beijing ordered official vehicles off the road and urged the use of public transport to ensure smog- free skies for a preparatory meeting ahead of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in November.

Utility-scale photovoltaic power plants accounted for 2.3 gigawatts of the new capacity in the first half, with distributed projects comprising the remainder, the NEA said.

The northwestern region of Xinjiang led the way, with 900 megawatts of photovoltaic power plants in the first six months. Xinjiang was followed by Inner Mongolia, Qinghai and Shanxi. The eastern province of Jiangsu added 270 megawatts of distributed solar capacity, according to the NEA.

Distributed solar

Distributed generation refers to electricity produced at or near where it’s used. In the case of solar, distributed projects typically include rooftops or ground-mounted panels near facilities such as sporting arenas or municipal buildings.

The agency vows to install 13 gigawatts of solar power capacity this year by supporting the development of distributed solar power generation, Xinhua News Agency reported August 5, citing Wu Xinxiong, the NEA’s head.

China may announce policies as soon as this month to encourage such installations, people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly, said earlier this week.

“Demand will be quite positive” from August in China, Xie Jian, president of JA Solar Holdings Co., said in an interview last month.

August 8, 2014 Posted by | China, ENERGY | Leave a comment