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Nuclear reactors endangered by climate change: winter storm causes shutdown of Pilgrim nuclear

Winter Storm Exposes Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants  Shutdown of Pilgrim facility in Massachusetts fuels critics’ challenge.By Zahra Hirji, InsideClimate News  29 Jan 15 Two days after a major New England blizzard contributed to the shutdown of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., the facility remains closed.

Due to climate change,more of the most extreme precipitation events, such as this recent snowfall, are expected to slam the area in the coming decades. Nuclear power critics cite the Pilgrim shutdown as proof the industry isn’t ready now—and won’t be any time soon…….The region’s first major nor’easter this winter, dubbed “Juno” by The Weather Channel, dumped up to 3 feet of snow in some places.

nuke-&-seaLParts of the Massachusetts coast were wracked by hurricane-force gusts (up to 78 miles per hour). The culmination of high tide and storm-related winds produced a 2-5-footstorm surge that contributed to coastal flooding……..

If the past is any indication, delays could continue for up to a week. That’s what happened in February 2013 when a major snowstorm caused the plant to lose power unexpectedly……………

Tim Judson, executive director of the anti-nuclear activist group Nuclear Information and Resource Service, told InsideClimate News that during emergency shutdowns—especially during extreme heat or cold—grid operators “are scrambling to find generators to make up the power.”……………


January 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Research shows that global warming will double the incidence and severity of extreme weather

climate-changeStudy: Global warming ‘doubles risk’ of extreme weather By Helen BriggsEnvironment correspondent, BBC News 26 Jan 15  Extreme weather arising from a climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean will get much worse as the world warms, according to climate modelling.

Parts of the world will have weather patterns that switch between extremes of wet and dry, say scientists.

The US will see more droughts while flooding will become more common in the western Pacific, research suggests.

The study, in Nature Climate Change, adds to a growing body of evidence over climate change and extreme weather.

The latest data – based on detailed climate modelling work – suggests extreme La Nina events in the Pacific Ocean will almost double with global warming, from one in 23 years to one in 13 years.

“Our previous research showed a doubling in frequency of extreme El Niño events, and this new study shows a similar fate for the cold phase of the cycle” Prof Mat CollinsExeter University

Most will follow extreme El Nino events, meaning frequent swings between opposite extremes from one year to the next………

January 30, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Inquiry into Litvinenko’s radiation-caused death, but no inquiry into radiation deaths of nuclear veterans

LitvinenkoDyingflag-UKImagine if Alexander Litvinenko’s death was ignored like our nuclear veterans, Mirror, 28 Jan 15 After eight years Crown Prosecution Service has finally led to a public inquiry into the Russian’s death – Britain’s nuclear test veterans have waited 63 years so far.

When Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with a radioactive cup of tea, it provoked an outcry. Within six weeks of his death the Metropolitan Police announced the name of their main suspect, a Russian. Within six months the Crown Prosecution Service issued charges and the Foreign Office made a formal extradition request to the Russian authorities.

After eight years it has finally led to a public inquiry ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron and has already heard the killing was ordered by the Kremlin itself.

Can you imagine what it would be like if no-one had investigated, no charges brought and no inquiry held?

Imagine – a government responsible for the death by radiation poisoning of a man, and never held to account.

It would be a stain upon our nation if we allowed it, and a denial of the rule of law.

Now imagine a government potentially responsible for the death by radiation poisoning of thousands of men.Imagine that government could also be responsible for the grief of thousands of mothers who miscarried fetuses warped beyond recognition by that radiation.

Imagine that government’s actions may have created thousands more living children, disabled by chronic pain, rare genetic conditions and unusual deformities.

Would you expect a public inquiry into that? Would you hope for a criminal investigation, scientific explanation, or at the very least a ‘sorry’?Then you would hope in vain, just as Britain’s nuclear test veterans and families have hoped for 63 years so far……… And it is a stain upon our nation that it continues.

Litvinenko was a man in the employ of our security services, working on our behalf to expose the criminality of Vladimir Putin.He was killed by a high dose of Polonium-210, a rare radioactive metal added to his tea.

It cannot pass through skin, but drink a cup of the stuff and it causes chaos, made worse by the fact that it cannot get out again.It’s called ingested radiation, and was used to kill him while presenting very little risk to those wielding it………://

January 30, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

A most dangerous autopsy – the prost-mortem on radioactively poisoned Alexander Litvinenko

text-radiationflag-UKAlexander Litvinenko inquiry: Post-mortem on poisoned former KGB spy ‘one of most dangerous ever’ Radio Australia 29 January 2015, Europe correspondent Barbara Miller, wires

The autopsy on the body of poisoned former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has been described as one of the most dangerous ever undertaken, on day two of an inquiry into his death. Mr Litvinenko died in a London hospital on November 23, 2006, three weeks after drinking tea infused with deadly polonium-210 at a luxury hotel in the city’s Mayfair district.

The London inquiry was told “an inspired hunch” by police led them to bring in atomic scientists, who found Mr Litvinenko tested positive for alpha radiation poisoning two days before he died.

Lead pathologist Nathaniel Cary said without that finding, the cause of death would not have been discovered in a post-mortem.

He added he was unaware of any other case of someone being poisoned with alpha radiation in Britain, and probably the world.

“It has been described as the most dangerous post-mortem examination ever undertaken in the Western world and I think that is probably right,” he told the inquiry.

Those involved had needed to wear two white protective suits with specialised hoods fed with filtered air……….The British government long opposed the public inquiry but agreed last year amid worsening relations with Moscow.

The inquiry is expected to last two months.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Los Alamos scientist had plan to build nuclear weapons, and to bomb New York

exclamation-Flag-USAUS nuclear scientist secretly taped by FBI claiming he could bomb New York , Guardian, 29 Jan 15  Los Alamos scientist Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni jailed for five years after also offering to build nuclear weapons for Venezuela A disgruntled, former Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist promised to build 40 nuclear weapons for Venezuela and design a bomb targeted for New York City in exchange for “money and power,” according to secret FBI recordings released Wednesday.

In the recordings, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni tells an agent posing as a Venezuelan official that the bombs would prevent the United States from invading the oil-rich nation and brags to his wife that the passing of secrets would make him wealthy.

“I’m going to be the boss with money and power,” the naturalized US citizen from Argentina is heard saying. “I’m not an American anymore. This is it.”

Mascheroni said his New York bomb wouldn’t kill anyone but would disable the city’s electrical system and help Venezuela become a nuclear superpower. It was not known how realistic his New York bombing idea was.

But he suggested that once Venezuela obtained a bomb, the country should explode it “to let the world know what we’ve got,” according to the recordings….The US government did not allege Venezuela sought US secrets…..

January 30, 2015 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy is getting a boost from the nuclear industry’s focus on climate change

  “The nuclear industry giving credence to climate change from fossil fuels has simply led to a stronger renewables industry. …….now renewables, often thought of as useful complements to nuclear, begin to threaten it in power markets when there is abundant power from renewables when the wind blows and the sun shines.”

U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook Business Spectator, 27 January 2015Jim Green “……. a long-standing pattern of stagnation continues. Global nuclear capacity grew by 10.6% in the two decades from 1995-2014, and just 2.6% in the decade from 2005-2014.

The pattern of stagnation is likely to persist. Steve Kidd, a nuclear consultant who worked for the World Nuclear Association for 17 years, wrote in a May 2014 article:

“Upper scenarios showing rapid nuclear growth in many countries including plants starting up in new countries now look very unlikely……….”Despite 20 years of stagnation, the World Nuclear Association remains upbeat. Its latest report, The World Nuclear Supply Chain: Outlook 2030, envisages the start-up of 266 new reactors by 2030. The figure is implausible.

Nuclear Energy Insider was more sober and reflective in an end-of-year review published in December: “As we embark on a new year, there are distinct challenges and opportunities on the horizon for the nuclear power industry. Many industry experts believe that technology like Small Nuclear Reactors (SMR) represent a strong future for nuclear. Yet, rapidly growing renewable energy sources, a bountiful and inexpensive supply of natural gas and oil, and the aging population of existing nuclear power plants represent challenges that the industry must address moving forward.”

Steve Kidd is still more downbeat: “Even with rapid nuclear growth in China, nuclear’s share in world electricity is declining. The industry is doing little more than hoping that politicians and financiers eventually see sense and back huge nuclear building programmes. On current trends, this is looking more and more unlikely. The high and rising nuclear share in climate-friendly scenarios is false hope, with little in the real outlook giving them any substance. Far more likely is the situation posited in the World Nuclear Industry Status Report ……..

Kidd’s comments on renewables are also worth quoting: “The nuclear industry giving credence to climate change from fossil fuels has simply led to a stronger renewables industry. Nuclear seems to be ’too difficult’ and gets sidelined − as it has within the entire process since the original Kyoto accords. And now renewables, often thought of as useful complements to nuclear, begin to threaten it in power markets when there is abundant power from renewables when the wind blows and the sun shines.”….. “nuclear power faces major challenges in competitive markets where there are significant market and regulatory risks, and public acceptance remains a critical issue worldwide.”…….

A November 2014 article in The Hindu newspaper notes that three factors have put a break on India’s reactor-import plans: “the exorbitant price of French- and US-origin reactors, the accident-liability issue, and grass-roots opposition to the planned multi-reactor complexes.” In addition, unresolved disagreements regarding safeguards and non-proliferation assurances are delaying US and European investment in India’s nuclear program………


January 30, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

If it ever becomes a reality, USA-India nuclear deal a very bad one for Indian public

Financially, solar and wind energy are already becoming more attractive than nuclear. Electricity from these renewable sources cost Rs 8 and Rs 4.5 per unit respectively,according to a report by solar think-tank Bridge to India. Renewables are quicker to erect and are not as politically contentious as nuclear. In contrast, the Mithi Virdi project has run into serious opposition from local residents and farmers. If it is ever built, electricity from the Westinghouse reactors will cost Rs 12 per unit.

Buy-US-nukesflag-indiaThe ‘breakthrough’ in Indo-US nuclear deal will bleed Indians every which way, Scroll In,
 The taxpayer will be made to pay to cover US companies’ untested technologies and the expensive electricity they generate. Nityanand Jayaraman, 29 Jan 15 

“………If American corporations are sufficiently convinced to follow through and supply nuclear power plants to India, the common man (and woman) – namely, Indian taxpayers, electricity consumers and communities that host the plants – may well get the wrong end of the stick……….
Scrapping even limited liability Indian law – CLNDA – is already weak. But American and Indian private equipment suppliers – like Westinghouse, L&T, JSW Steel and Tata Power – feel it is not weak enough. Continue reading

January 30, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international | Leave a comment

India-USA nuclear deal very ‘up in the air’: no document signed

no specific document was signed

India is already generating more power from wind turbines alone than from nuclear power and has announced a solar target of 100 gigawatt by 2022. So it is perfectly coherent that the joint US-India declaration contains one paragraph on nuclear cooperation and eight on clean energy.

Flag-USAflag-indiaBreakthrough in US-India civil nuclear deal ‘more symbolism than reality’, DW 29 Jan 15 The US and India announced a “breakthrough” in resolving a liability spat that has stalled the implementation of a civil nuclear deal. But Mycle Schneider tells DW this is more about geopolitics than industrial reality.

“…….Mycle Schneider, an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear policy, says in a DW interview that there is no real market for foreign nuclear companies in India, unless they bring their own funding, adding that the recent announcement is more about presenting both countries as equal partners than it is about the vision of a future blooming Indian nuclear export industry.

DW: What exactly does the new nuclear deal entail?

Mycle Schneider: Very little has so far been published about it. First of all, it is unclear whether there is even a “new nuclear deal.” Usually, when heads of state meet, the occasion is used to sign agreements. However, on this issue, the US-India joint statement only says President Obama and Prime Minister Modi welcomed the “understandings reached” on the issues of civil nuclear liability and “administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation.”

Apparently, no specific document was signed. ………

Unlike all other aspirants for nuclear technology aid, India is not required anymore to put its entire fuel chain, facilities and materials, under comprehensive international control or so-called Full-Scope Safeguards. India has merely promised to separate its nuclear weapons related activities from the power sector……….

India law created liabilities for suppliers in the event of a nuclear accident. Are they not liable anymore?

The 2010 Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act has been voted by both houses of the Indian parliament. It remains in place as long as it has not been invalidated by a new vote. In that respect, absolutely nothing has changed from the situation prior to President Obama’s visit to India.

Considering the fact that the Act has not only been attacked by the nuclear industry side, but also from civil society representatives because it caps the liability of the nuclear operators to a ridiculously small sum of 240 million USD, reopening the parliamentary debate over this fragile compromise seems unlikely at this point. It also seems unlikely that the establishment of an insurance fund would fundamentally change the liability situation of nuclear suppliers.

What do India and the US expect to gain from this civil nuclear deal?

This is a typical example of announcement politics. Both governments are presenting the outcome of the US-India summit as a great success. But it is more an issue of symbolism and geopolitics than of industrial reality. The promise to continue to work together towards India’s “phased entry” into the Nuclear Suppliers Group as into three other international control regimes is more about presenting both countries as equal partners than it is about the vision of a future blooming Indian nuclear export industry.

Do you expect the Indian market to now become more appealing for US nuclear companies?

In reality, there is no real market for foreign nuclear companies in India, unless they bring their own funding. Under free market conditions it is not possible anymore to build a nuclear power plant anywhere in the world.

So if new reactors are built in India or elsewhere, the projects are highly subsidized, either by the government—the taxpayer—or the ratepayer. The Indian nuclear industry has painted a rosy picture of the nuclear future for decades and has delivered very little in comparison.

It is actually amazing to what extent overstretched projections of “hundreds of billions investment” are still being held up. Disconnected from reality, they are an effect of what Princeton University researcher M.V. Ramana has appropriately described as “The Power of Promise.”

India is already generating more power from wind turbines alone than from nuclear power and has announced a solar target of 100 gigawatt by 2022. So it is perfectly coherent that the joint US-India declaration contains one paragraph on nuclear cooperation and eight on clean energy.

Mycle Schneider is an independent international energy and nuclear policy consultant, based in Paris. He is the convening lead author of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report and a member of the Princeton University-based International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM). Schneider is a founding member and the spokesperson of the International Energy Advisory Council (IEAC).

The interview was conducted by Gabriel Domínguez.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | India, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

100% nuclear-free- Austria’s ban on nuclear imports comes into effect

logo-NO-nuclear-SmAustria is 100 percent nuclear-free, Renewables International, 27 Jan 15  On 1 January 2015, Austria’s “ban” on imports of nuclear power went into effect as planned. The event has gone as unreported in the English-speaking world as was the original announcement.

On Twitter this morning, Stephen Tindale asked me a good question – did Austria go ahead with its “ban” on imports of nuclear power? The Austrians are easily the fiercest opponents of nuclear in the EU. In 1978 – a year before Three Mile Island – they voted in a referendum to prevent the country’s first nuclear plant from being switched on; construction had been completed. And this month, Austria also filed suit with the EU against British plans to provide special financial incentives for a new nuclear plant at Hinkley.

Now, the country is 100 percent nuclear free even in terms of imports. Because there were no reports on the event at all, I contacted the press spokesperson at Verbund, Austria’s largest utility and got the following response (my translation of the German):

Starting in 2015, there is an obligation in Austria to demonstrate the origin of electricity. The sale of the ENTSOE mix, which theoretically includes a share of nuclear power, is no longer possible. We therefore also only offer our industry customers electricity with a certificate of origin (which then does not even theoretically contain any nuclear power).

As I explained in my previous report, the Austrians have also gone about the matter in a way that will make it difficult for Brussels to file suit. Essentially, the government merely requires proof of origin. The utilities then voluntarily agreed not to purchase any nuclear power; they are not forced to by law, but are merely responding to market demand. It will be hard for the EU to get a foothold against this setup. …… (Craig Morris / @PPchef

January 30, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Yet another delay for UK’s Hinkley nuclear project – no deal till after May election

Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantHinkley Point nuclear deal faces fresh delay, Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent January 28, 2015 The UK’s parliamentary watchdog has abandoned plans to scrutinise the Hinkley Point C nuclear project after predicting that a deal over state support would not be struck before May’s general election ……

The Commons public accounts committee has given up any hope of examining the contract before the election, according to Margaret Hodge, who chairs the group of MPs that scrutinises public spending……..

Tim Yeo, who chairs the energy committee, said any more delays to the scheme would be “extremely worrying” for long term supporters of nuclear power in the UK. “It will be disappointing if it slips to after the election. We do not need yet another element of doubt,” he said……….

In the deal struck with the government, EDF is due to get £92.50 per megawatt hour for 35 years.

But concern is growing over whether this offers good value for money for taxpayers, given the recent slump in oil prices………

Paul Flynn, a Labour MP, recently pressed Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the Treasury permanent secretary, during a hearing of the public affairs committee. “You have agreed to a contract, in this time of falling fuel prices . . . to guarantee a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, which is twice the present going rate for electricity,” he said. “Is this sensible planning?”

Sir Nicholas accepted these were “good questions” and said he would report back to the committee.

…………….Additional reporting by Lucy Hornby in Beijing

January 30, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Politicians and public not keen for new nuclear reactors, as problems of the old ones multiply

The nuclear industry has a simple solution to the problem of old reactors: new reactors. But the battles over ageing and decommissioned reactors − and the raiding of taxpayers’ pockets to cover shortfalls − will make it that much more difficult to convince politicians and the public to support new reactors.

nukes-sad-U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook U-turn to nowhere: Nuclear’s dire outlook Business Spectator, 27 January 2015 Jim Green “……..The elephant in the room − ageing reactors The problem of ageing reactors came into focus in 2014 − and will remain in focus for decades to come with the average age of the world’s power reactors now 29 years and steadily increasing.

Problems with ageing reactors include:

– an increased risk of accidents (and associated problems such as generally inadequate accident liability arrangements);

– an increased rate of unplanned reactors outages (at one point last year, less than half of the UK’s nuclear capacity was available due to multiple outages);

– costly refurbishments;

– debates over appropriate safety standards for reactors designed decades ago; and

– the uncertainties and costs associated with reactor decommissioning and long-term nuclear waste management.

Greenpeace highlighted the problems associated with ageing reactors with the release of a detailed report last year,and emphasised the point by breaking into six ageing European nuclear plants on March 5, 2014.The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its World Energy Outlook 2014 report: “A wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors is approaching: almost 200 of the 434 reactors operating at the end of 2013 are retired in the period to 2040, with the vast majority in the European Union, the United States, Russia and Japan.”

IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said: “Worldwide, we do not have much experience and I am afraid we are not well-prepared in terms of policies and funds which are devoted to decommissioning. A major concern for all of us is how we are going to deal with this massive surge in retirements in nuclear power plants.”The World Energy Outlook 2014 report estimates the cost of decommissioning reactors to be more than $US100 billion up to 2040, adding that “considerable uncertainties remain about these costs, reflecting the relatively limited experience to date in dismantling and decontaminating reactors and restoring sites for other uses.”

The IEA’s head of power generation analysis, Marco Baroni, said that even excluding waste disposal costs, the final cost could be as much as twice as high as the $100 billion estimate, and that decommissioning costs per reactor can vary by a factor of four.

Baroni said the issue was not the decommissioning cost per reactor but “whether enough funds have been set aside to provide for it.” Evidence of inadequate decommissioning funds is mounting. To give just one example, Entergy estimates a cost of $US1.24 billion to decommission Vermont Yankee, but the company’s decommissioning trust fund for the plant − $US670 million − is barely half that amount.

Michael Mariotte, president of the US Nuclear Information and Resource Service, noted in a recent article: “Entergy, for example, has only about half the needed money in its decommissioning fund (and even so still found it cheaper to close the reactor than keep it running); repeat that across the country with multiple and larger reactors and the shortfalls could be stunning. Expect heated battles in the coming years as nuclear utilities try to push the costs of the decommissioning fund shortfalls onto ratepayers.”

The nuclear industry has a simple solution to the problem of old reactors: new reactors. But the battles over ageing and decommissioned reactors − and the raiding of taxpayers’ pockets to cover shortfalls − will make it that much more difficult to convince politicians and the public to support new reactors.

Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs | Leave a comment

Australia keen to sell uranium to India – easier now with no tracking to prevent its use for nuclear weapons

India looks to use US formula to convince France and Australia –  Indian Express by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | January 27, 2015 A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama announced a resolution to the nuclear liability issue and administrative arrangements, India  plans to engage with France and Australia in the next few weeks to clear the remaining hurdles before nuclear commerce.

India will share the Indo-US formula on resolving the nuclear liability issue with France to resolve the issue of liability with the latter as well, sources said — this has come in the way of nuclear commerce with Areva, the French nuclear supplier.

With Australia, the sources said, India will share the template of its administrative arrangements with Canada — and now the US — so that uranium from Australia can be supplied without further delay. India signed an uranium supply agreement with Australia last September, when Prime Minister Tony Abbott visited the country.

……….The US is said to be no longer insisting on tracking these supplies, required under its rules to ensure it is not being used for military purposes. -……

January 30, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Radioactive polonium used to kill Litvinenko also endangered many others

LitvinenkoDyingLitvinenko: Images Of Radiation Trail Revealed, Sky News, 27 Jan 15  Newly released evidence shows the radiation trail left across London by the men suspected of poisoning the ex-Russian spy. (PHOTOS) Images released as part of the public inquiry into the death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London have laid bare the high levels of radiation found in the hotel rooms of his suspected killers.

They also reveal “very high” radiation in the locations where they met Mr Litvinenko, including on the teapot which was allegedly used to poison him in London’s Millennium Hotel……….

The images, compiled by the Metropolitan Police, were made public on the opening day of the hearing by counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC.
He told the inquiry Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.……… “Scientific evidence will show very high levels of alpha radiation in all three parts of his accommodation, and especially in the bathroom,” Mr Tam said. He told the hearing the traces of radiation found in “large numbers of places across London” had put “many thousands” at risk.

The inquiry heard that Mr Litvinenko explicitly implicated Russian President Vladimir Putin in his killing in the days leading up to his death.

In an impassioned opening statement, Ben Emmerson QC, representing the Litvinenko family, said Mr Putin’s connection to the killing would be unveiled.

“When all of the open and closed evidence is considered together, Mr Litvinenko’s dying declaration will be borne as true, that the trail of polonium traces lead not just from London to Moscow but directly to the door of Vladimir Putin and Mr Putin should be unmasked by this inquiry as a common criminal dressed up as a head of state,” he said.

“Mr Litvinenko had to be eliminated not because he was an enemy of the Russian state itself and certainly not because he was an enemy of the Russian people but because he had made an enemy of the close knit group of criminals who surrounded and still surround Vladimir Putin and keep his corrupt regime in power.”

January 30, 2015 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Paladin, Australian uranium mining company accused of radioactively polluting Lake malawi

Government officials in Malawi are upset about the situation. “I am very shocked with the situation I have seen after monitoring the mine here and all my questions to the Paladin boss have not been answered satisfactory

Meanwhile international experts are starting to question the benefits of the Kayelekera mine

Australian Uranium Mining Company Accused of Contaminating Lake Malawi By Mayu Chang……Global Research, January 29, 2015  CorpWatch  Paladin Energy, an Australian mining company, has been accused of discharging uranium-contaminated sludge into Lake Malawi, which supports 1.7 million people in three countries – Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. The company began uranium mining operations in Malawi in 2009 although it suspended operations last year after ore prices fell.

“It is rumored that Paladin secretly have started discharging the so called purified water. Reports from the Beach Village Chairman indicates that this started in late November,” wrote Rafiq Hajat of Malawi’s Institute for Policy Interaction on Facebook. “[At] a radius of 35 km from the Boma, you will be shocked to see fish of different species dead with some communities along the lakeshore collecting [the fish].”……………“Uranium is radioactive and that with open-pit mining, like the one to be conducted at Kayelekera, the soil drains into rivers and contaminates the water,” Titus Mvalo, a lawyer representing several civil society organizations in Malawi, told Inter Press Service in 2007. “When humans drink the water, it damages kidneys and causes cancer.

At the time, the activist groups warned that the mine would pose a threat to Lake Malawi, Africa’s third largest freshwater lake, which is a major source of drinking water and fish for the country. Christopher Mwambene, the executive director of Coordination Union for Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), a Blantyre-based environmental NGO, estimated that catch from the lake provides 20 percent of the protein requirement for Malawi’s population.

Perhaps even more damning was the assertion that Paladin was planning to use lower standards to build the Kayelekera mine. “Paladin are certainly not meeting Australian standards and they would not get approval in Australia if they were to present the same EIS here.” Dr. Gavin Mudd, an environmental engineering professor at Monash University in Melbourne, told ABC television news in 2007.

Mudd says that uranium tailings (waste) are typically stored under the water table in Australia and Canada, to reduce the risk of contamination. In Malawi, however, Paladin chose to store the tailings above ground behind a specially contructed dam.

“What Paladin is proposing for Kayelekera is it will depend on what happens with the rainfall and climate, but every few years or so allowing the excess build-up of water to be discharged into the local river system and local water resources,” Mudd added.

“This dam is in a catchment area of the stream,” Reinford Mwangonde, the executive director of Citizens for Justice, an NGO in Malawi, told ABC at the time. “The stream runs into Lake Malawi. A number of people in the community depend on that river for domestic water purposes.

Mudd’s predictions appear to have come true. On January 5, a heavy storm caused the liner in a Kayelekera run-off tank to rupture, releasing up to 500 cubic meters of waste…………….

Government officials in Malawi are upset about the situation. “I am very shocked with the situation I have seen after monitoring the mine here and all my questions to the Paladin boss have not been answered satisfactory,” Alex Major, the deputy chairperson of the Parliamentary Natural Resources and Climate Change Committee told a local town hall meeting on January 10.

Meanwhile international experts are starting to question the benefits of the Kayelekera mine. After visiting the country last July, Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, came out against the project. “The criticism is the deals could have been much more equitable, and could have allowed Malawi to use its resources better for the benefit of the population,” he told ABC television news in Australia.

In any case, today Malawi is no longer benefiting financially from Paladin’s operations. ……..

Experts says that the ultimate costs of the Kayelekera mine could be very high. “Uranium mining is associated with high environmental impacts and human health risks’” Fleur Scheele, then researcher at the World Information Service on Energy (WISE), an Amsterdam-based anti-nuclear organization, and author of a report on uranium mining in Africa published in 2011. “The costs of rehabilitation of the mining area are often many times higher than the total revenues derived during the mine’s entire lifetime.

January 30, 2015 Posted by | environment, Malawi | Leave a comment

Fiji nuclear test veterans to be compensated by government

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

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

The Fiji veterans are persisting with a legal case against the British government.

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