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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Corporations and climate change

Hear-This-way  http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/corporations-and-climate-change/6947120ABC Radio National, Ockhams Razor 22 Nov 15   In the lead-up to the Paris Climate Talks, Christopher Wright, examines how environmental destruction became a business opportunity.  He explores the complex relationship between the corporate world and climate change, and the central role of corporations in shaping political and social responses to the climate crisis………

Christopher Wright:Global businesses, many of them now larger and more powerful than nation states, exhibit enormous sway on humanity’s response to the climate crisis. Indeed, in the lead-up to the Paris climate talks later this month there is growing media focus on so-called business “leadership” on climate change. For instance, just last month Royal Dutch Shell, General Electric, BHP Billiton and management consultancy McKinsey & Co. announced the establishment of a committee to advise governments on how to combat global warming while strengthening economic growth. This follows other announcements such as Unilever’s chief executive officer, Paul Polman, emphasising the need for private sector mobilization to close the shortfall in emission commitments made by governments, as well as Virgin’s CEO Richard Branson who has argued that “our only hope to stop climate change is for industry to make money from it.”

These proclamations need to be viewed in the broader context of business opposition to the fundamental economic change necessary to avoid dangerous climate change. A good example of the duality of this corporate engagement has been the recent revelation that oil-giant Exxon, for decades a leading opponent of carbon regulation and funder of climate change denial, has since the mid-1980s been well aware of the disastrous implications of fossil fuel use for the Earth’s climate. This self-serving logic parallels other well-known examples of business obfuscation such as BP’s infamous ‘Beyond Petroleum’ greenwashing in the early 2000s, and more recently Peabody Energy’s marketing of coal as a response to “energy poverty” in the developing world.

How then to make sense of the mixed messages from corporations on climate change?

Book Climate Capitalism Corporations

In our new book, Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-Destruction, Daniel Nyberg and I explore the role of corporations and corporate capitalism within the climate crisis. We argue that while many global businesses promote a message of “action” and “leadership”, this ignores the deeper problem 0f how corporate capitalism is locked into a cycle of promoting ever more creative ways of exploiting nature and destroying a habitable climate……..

In our book we argue that global capitalism is now locked into a process of what we term “creative self-destruction”…….

sparkling image of corporate environmentalism and business sustainability falsely promises no conflicts and no trade-offs. Here, it is seen as possible to address climate change while continuing the current global expansion of consumption. In contrast to the blinding evidence of ever-escalating greenhouse gas emissions, this comforting political myth promises no contradiction between material affluence and environmental well-being. We can have it all and, according to the myth of corporate environmentalism, avoid climate catastrophe!……..

Ultimately the “success” or otherwise of the Paris climate talks are unlikely to threaten the fundamental dynamics underlying the climate crisis. Dramatic decarbonisation based around mandatory limits upon consumption, economic growth, and corporate influence are not on the agenda nor open for discussion. Rather, global elites have framed the response to climate change around an accentuation of the very causes of the crisis.

In essence, the prevailing corporate view is that capitalism should be seen not as a cause of climate change but as an answer to it. Thus a problem brought about by overconsumption, the logic goes, should be addressed through more consumption………http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/corporations-and-climate-change/6947120#transcript

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November 21, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Resources -audiovicual | 1 Comment

Scott Porter – The BP oil disaster – Current studies and observations of the animal and coral species in the Gulf

WPP LLC “managed” the Fukushima disaster for the Japanese nuclear cartel in 2011 and helped BP with the Gulf Oil disaster in 2010, So what were they trying to hide? How did they accomplish such a huge cover up? Also, see the Maureen Dauphinee interview link at the bottom of the article for more information PR and security operations and tactics against local communities in the Gulf region!

Activist news source

“…Its now turned into the dustbowl of the 1930`s …. Its literaly dead .. contaminated by marine snow…”

Scott said when referring to what he was seeing while diving in the Gulf of Mexico in recent years.

“..about 80 – 90% of the corals I would normally have harvested were gone and dead due to contaminated marine snow….”

scott_porter

In light of the recent finds by Samantha Joye (U of Georgia, Athens), we wanted to establish that the corexit did NOT break up the oil but only sunk it and killed the microbial community that would normally clean the oil from the water.

So, we introduce Scott Porter who was told to dive by the NOAA (2 weeks past a notice sent by the EPA telling NOAA to keep its divers out of the water) to dive in contaminated water. There is good evidence that scott was badly advised (Following FOI…

View original post 1,437 more words

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Post nuclear world 1

We must believe that it is not too late, because we cannot afford to give up.  It may be that the world now must adapt to the climate changes of this heating planet. At the same time, we have to address the continuing causes of climate change.

Overpopulation is an underlying cause. But as standards of living, rise, with education of women rising, populations do in fact reduce their birth rates, and this has happened in the developed world.

The culture of endless consumption must change. This is one area where the nuclear industry is insidiously dangerous. As they showed in their slick advertising film “Pandora’s Promise”, nuclear energy is all about endless electricity for endless over-consumption.

When it comes to adaptation, this means that we are now, more than ever, one world. National borders have already become meaningless, as pollution, and dangers such as nuclear radiation spread around the planet. With climate change,we are already seeing climate refugees, and that can only increase, as parts of the world become uninhabitable.

We surely need the ethical messages, to transcend the prevailing philosophy of money as the one goal in life.  Many indigenous peoples understand this. Pope Francis gets it. But these people can’t do it on their own.

Christmas is nothing but a silly tasteless charade, unless it means a change in attitude towards our mindless consumption, and towards compassion and help for refugees.  Friends of the Earth said it. long ago, with their slogan – Think Globally, Act Locally.

renewable environment

 

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Nuclear news this week

a-cat-CANSAFETY ISSUES. Despite airplane bombing , and Egypt’s lax security, Russia to provide nuclear reactors to Egypt!  Indonesia will block its waters to nuclear waste ship travelling to Australia.  Japan ramps up its evacuation rules for nuclear ship accidents.

NUCLEAR LOBBY CLIMATE SPIN “The Third Way” – front group for new nuclear spinning hard for Paris Climate Conference. “NuclearMatters” lobby group revs up its spin ahead of Paris climate conference. Nuclear lobby predominates at Wisconsin public hearing.

US NRC Proposes 100% Cancer Rate; Ignores Taxpayer Funded BEIR Report; Ignores ICRP; Ignores New Study of US, UK and French Nuclear Workers.   17 year delay before USA govt even starts cleanup of Hanford radioactive waste.

EUROPE/UK Legal challenge to UK’s Hinkley nuclear plan is joined by Luxembourg.  European regulators start legal action against Hungary’s Paks nuclear power project.

Europe’s nuclear companies face multi $billion burden in disposing of dead nuclear reactors.

UK’s Hunterston nuclear reactor has cracks in bricks at core.

AFRICA. Report from Nuclearisation of Africa Symposium highlights harmful effects of uranium mining.

RENEWABLE ENERGY Investment Bank Lazar  finds wind and solar beat coal and nuclear on costs.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists addresses twin perils of climate and nuclear danger

Resetting the Doomsday Clock: counting climate, nuclear risks http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/resetting-the-doomsday-clock-counting-climate-nuclear-risks/article27376493/ JOHN POLANYI  JOHN POLANYI IS A NOBEL LAUREATE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND A SPONSOR OF THE BULLETIN.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the publication that for 70 years has acted as the conscience of scientists, met this week in Chicago to reset its Doomsday Clock. The hands stand at an alarming three minutes to midnight. But was anyone listening to the scientist doomsayers?

globalnukeNOIn fact, a trio of politicians at the meeting were doing just that. Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister, attributed our avoidance of nuclear war, until now, in large measure to “dumb luck.” Governor Jerry Brown of California spoke of the need to combat climate change through education and strict regulation. Former U.S. secretary of defence William Perry declared that “we are back in dark days as confrontational as those of the Cold War.” The scientists were not, after all, alone.

Scientific knowledge, the Bulletin declares, has driven humanity forever from its Garden of Eden. First, the machine age brought the Industrial Revolution, and with it climate change; then, understanding of the atom gave us the nuclear peril.

logo Paris climate1The Bulletin’s meeting addressed both of these existential threats. First, climate change. A UN international conference will start on Nov. 30 in Paris, the culmination of 20 years of UN discussions. Its outcome is crucial; the goal must be to cut back on fossil fuels, shift to renewable energy sources and implement conservation. Rich countries must make pledges that can be monitored. The poor need generous assistance to meet their targets.

We await similar enlightenment in regard to the threat of nuclear war. The original message of the Bulletin is in danger of being forgotten: It is that the world’s nuclear arsenals are likely to be used.

The great powers, staunch nuclear abolitionists when abroad, are drunkards at home. They seek to ensure their security by improving their arsenals through trillion-dollar upgrades. Their weapons have the stated purpose of deterrence. But the nature of the weaponry – nuclear bombs, battlefield nuclear weapons, missile defences, multiple delivery systems, vast nuclear reserves – suggest a further purpose, which is fighting nuclear wars.

 The United States and Russia between them possess about 15,000 nuclear weapons. Each retains more than 1,000 missiles in immediate readiness for firing. Neither is willing to renounce the option of being the first to use them. They believe, correctly, that a nuclear threat is effective only if it is real. Accordingly, they have made it real. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, then-president John Kennedy estimated the risk of all-out nuclear war as 50-50. Had Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev not backed down (thereby committing political suicide) a nuclear holocaust would have ensued.

In a future confrontation we might face an opponent who approaches still closer to the nuclear brink, determined to prevail rather than surrender.

Will we assent then to live in a world in which the most irresponsible rule? Or, alternatively, commit ourselves to further throws of the nuclear dice? Reason dictates that we chose a third way – the retreat from nuclear confrontation.

Over the Bulletin’s meeting hung the question of the responsibility of the scientist. It is not enough to deliver science. The scientifically literate must read out the signs marked Danger. In Chicago this week, they were doing so.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

As Paris meeting nears, we must expose James Hansen’s pro nuclear spin

globalnukeNODon’t nuke the climate! James Hansen’s nuclear fantasies
exposed 
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2986335/dont_nuke_the_climate_james_hansens_nuclear_fantasies_exposed.html Dr Jim Green 20th November 2015  

NASA scientist James Hansen is heading to COP21 in Paris to berate climate campaigners for failing to support ‘safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power’, writes Jim Green. But they would gladly support nuclear power if only it really was safe and environment friendly. In fact, it’s a very dangerous and hugely expensive distraction from the real climate solutions.

James Hansen will be promoting nuclear power – and attacking environmental and anti-nuclear groups – in the lead-up to the UN COP21 climate conference in Paris in December.

The press release announcing Hansen’s visit to Paris berates environmentalists for failing to support“safe and environmentally-friendly nuclear power”.

It notes that the Climate Action Network, representing all the major environmental groups, opposes nuclear power – in other words, efforts to split the environment movement have failed.

Hansen won’t be participating in any debates against nuclear critics or renewable energy experts. His reluctance to debate may stem from his participation in a 2010 debate in Melbourne, Australia.

The audience of 1,200 people were polled before and after the debate. The pre-debate poll found an 8% margin in favour of nuclear power; the post-debate poll found a margin of 24% against nuclear power.

The turn-around was so striking that Hansen’s colleague Barry Brook falsely claimed the vote must have been rigged by anti-nuclear and climate action groups. “I can think of no other logical explanation – statistically, such a result would be nigh impossible”, Brook claimed.

‘Nuclear safety’ – a contradiction in terms?

An article co-authored by Hansen and Pushker Kharecha, published in the Environment, Science and Technology journal, claims that between 1971 and 2009, “global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning”.

Kharecha and Hansen ignore renewables and energy efficiency, setting up a false choice between fossil fuels and nuclear. Even as an assessment of the relative risks of fossil fuels and nuclear, the analysis doesn’t stack up. Kharecha and Hansen cite a UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report to justify their figure of 43 deaths from the Chernobyl disaster.

But the UNSCEAR report did not attempt to calculate long-term deaths from radiation exposure from Chernobyl, citing “unacceptable uncertainties in the predictions”. Thecredible estimates of the long-term cancer death toll from Chernobyl range from 9,000 (in Eastern Europe) to 93,000 (across Eastern and Western Europe).

Hansen states: “No people died at Fukushima because of the nuclear technology.” The impacts of the disaster are more accurately summarised by radiation biologist Dr Ian Fairlie: “In sum, the health toll from the Fukushima nuclear disaster is horrendous. At the minimum:

    • “Over 160,000 people were evacuated, most of them permanently.
    • “Many cases of post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety disorders arising from the evacuations.
    • “About 12,000 workers exposed to high levels of radiation, some up to 250 mSv
    • “An estimated 5,000 fatal cancers from radiation exposures in future.
  • “Plus similar (unquantified) numbers of radiogenic strokes, CVS diseases and hereditary diseases.
  • “Between 2011 and 2015, about 2,000 deaths from radiation-related evacuations due to ill-health and suicides.
  • “An, as yet, unquantified number of thyroid cancers.
  • “An increased infant mortality rate in 2012 and a decreased number of live births in December 2011.”

There are many reasons to conclude that Kharecha and Hansen’s figure of 4,900 deaths from nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 is a gross underestimate, yet they claim that the figure “could be a major overestimate relative to the empirical value (by two orders of magnitude).” In other words, they think the real figure may be as low as five.

‘Nuclear power has the best safety record of any energy technology’

However a realistic assessment of nuclear power fatalities would include:

  • Routine emissions: UNSCEAR’s estimated collective effective dose to the world population over a 50-year period of operation of nuclear power reactors and associated nuclear fuel cycle facilities is two million Sieverts. Applying a risk estimate of 0.1 fatal cancers / Sievert gives a total of 200,000 fatal cancers.
  • Radiation exposure from accidents, including Chernobyl (estimated 9,000 to 93,000 cancer fatalities) and Fukushima (estimated 5,000 long-term cancer fatalities), and thelarge number of accidents that have resulted in a small number of fatalities.
  • Indirect deaths.

In relation to indirect deaths at Fukushima, Japanese academics state“for the Fukushima coastal region, no-one, not even Self-Defense Forces, could enter the area for fear of exposure to radioactive materials, and the victims were left in the area for a long period of time.

“This resulted in so-called indirect fatalities, people who died due to difficult and long-term evacuation, or those who committed suicide, lamenting the radioactive pollution of their farm lands and farm animals and who had lost hope to ever rebuild their lives.

“These are considered as fatalities related to the nuclear accident, and their numbers have risen to 1459 as of September 2013, according to the Fukushima Prefectural Office. Though they are considered indirect deaths, they would have not died if there had been no nuclear accident.”

Kharecha and Hansen ignore non-fatal impacts. For example, the permanent relocation of 350,000 people in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster was associated with a great deal of trauma. Four and a half years after the Fukushima disaster, over 110,000 of the original 160,000 evacuees remain displaced according to the Japanese government.

Using those figures (350,000 + 110,000), and the global experience of around 16,000 reactor-years of power reactor operations, gives a figure of 29 ‘nuclear refugees’ per reactor-year.

Nuclear power is safer than fossil fuels when considering accidents and routine emissions (by a wide margin, though not as wide as Kharecha and Hansen claim) – but we also need to consider the unique WMD proliferation risks associated with the nuclear industry as well as related security issues such as attacks on nuclear facilities.

But of course the ‘nuclear versus fossil fuels’ argument is a false one. When accidents and routine emissions are considered, renewables are clearly safer than either nuclear power or fossil fuels, and of course nuclear power’s proliferation and security risks don’t apply to renewables.

Yet Hansen falsely claims that “nuclear power has the best safety record of any energy technology.”

Nuclear WMD proliferation – there’s no way to stop  it

Kharecha and Hansen correctly state that “Serious questions remain about [nuclear] safety, proliferation, and disposal of radioactive waste, which we have discussed in some detail elsewhere.” However the paper they cite barely touches upon the WMD proliferation problem and what little it does say is a mixture of codswallop and jiggery-pokery:

  • It falsely claims that thorium-based fuel cycles are “inherently proliferation-resistant”. Irradiation of thorium produces fissile uranium-233 which can be – and has been – used in nuclear weapons.
  • It falsely claims that integral fast reactors (IFRs) “could be inherently free from the risk of proliferation”. Dr George Stanford, who worked on an IFR R&D program in the US,notes that proliferators “could do [with IFRs] what they could do with any other reactor – operate it on a special cycle to produce good quality weapons material.”
  • And the paper states that if “designed properly”, breeder reactors would generate “nothing suitable for weapons”. India’s Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor will be the next fast neutron reactor to begin operation. India refuses to place it under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.

John Carlson, former head of the Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office,describes the risks associated with India’s plans“India has a plan to produce [weapons-grade] plutonium in fast breeder reactors for use as driver fuel in thorium reactors. This is problematic on non-proliferation and nuclear security grounds.

“Pakistan believes the real purpose of the fast breeder program is to produce plutonium for weapons (so this plan raises tensions between the two countries); and transport and use of weapons-grade plutonium in civil reactors presents a serious terrorism risk (weapons-grade material would be a priority target for seizure by terrorists).”

Hansen and his colleagues argue that “modern nuclear technology can reduce proliferation risks”. But are new reactors being made more resistant to weapons proliferation? In a word: No. Fast reactors have been used for weapons production in the past (e.g. by France) and will likely be used for weapons production in future (e.g. by India).

Thorium – another not-so-modern ‘modern’ nuclear technology – has also been used to produce weapons (e.g. by the US and India) and will likely be used for weapons production in future (e.g. India’s breeder/thorium program).

It is disingenuous – and dangerous – for Hansen to be waving away those problems with the claims that modern nuclear technology can somehow be made inherently proliferation-proof.

False hope: Generation IV nuclear technology

Here’s Hansen’s take on Generation IV nuclear technology – hyped up for it’s claimed ability to burn up nuclear waste. Nuclear waste “is not waste”, he writes. “It is fuel for 4th generation reactors! … The 4th generation reactors can ‘burn’ this waste, as well as excess nuclear weapons material, leaving a much smaller waste pile with radioactive half-life measured in decades rather than millennia, thus minimizing the nuclear waste problem.”

Hansen’s views take little or no account of the real-world experience with fast neutron reactors (and Generation IV technology more generally). That real-world experience is littered with accident-prone, obscenely expensive reactors (and R&D programs) that have worsened waste and proliferation problems. Most countries that have invested in fast reactor R&D programs have decided not to throw good money after bad and have abandoned those programs.

Hansen’s views are also at odds with reports published this year by the French and US governments. The report by the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) – a government authority under the Ministries of Defense, the Environment, Industry, Research, and Health – states:

“There is still much R&D to be done to develop the Generation IV nuclear reactors, as well as for the fuel cycle and the associated waste management which depends on the system chosen.”

IRSN is also sceptical about safety claims: “At the present stage of development, IRSN does not notice evidence that leads to conclude that the systems under review are likely to offer a significantly improved level of safety compared with Generation III reactors, except perhaps for the VHTR [Very High Temperature Reactors] … “

Moreover the VHTR system could bring about significant safety improvements “but only by significantly limiting unit power”.

‘Technical challenges may result in higher-cost reactors than anticipated’

The US Government Accountability Office released a report in July on the status of small modular reactors (SMRs) and other ‘advanced’ reactor concepts in the US The report concluded:

“While light water SMRs and advanced reactors may provide some benefits, their development and deployment face a number of challenges. Both SMRs and advanced reactors require additional technical and engineering work to demonstrate reactor safety and economics …

“Depending on how they are resolved, these technical challenges may result in higher-cost reactors than anticipated, making them less competitive with large LWRs [light water reactors] or power plants using other fuels …

“Both light water SMRs and advanced reactors face additional challenges related to the time, cost, and uncertainty associated with developing, certifying or licensing, and deploying new reactor technology, with advanced reactor designs generally facing greater challenges than light water SMR designs. It is a multi-decade process … “

The glum assessments of the US and French governments are based on real-world experience. But Hansen prefers conspiracy theories to real-world experience, claiming that an IFR R&D program in the US was terminated due to pressure from environmentalists with devious motives.

The real reasons for the termination of the IFR program were mundane: legitimateproliferation concerns, the already-troubled history of fast reactor programs, the questionable rationale for pursuing fast reactor R&D given plentiful uranium supplies, and so on. But Hansen has a much more colourful explanation:

“I think it was because of the influence of the anti-nuclear people who realised that if this newer technology were developed it would mean that we would have an energy source that is practically inexhaustible – it could last for billions of years – and they succeeded in getting the Clinton administration to terminate the R&D for the fourth generation nuclear power plants.”

Wrong, stupid, and offensive: Hansen lines up with far-right nuts who argue that environmentalists want everyone living in caves. No wonder he is having so little success winning the green movement over.

Renewables and energy efficiency

“Can renewable energies provide all of society’s energy needs in the foreseeable future?”asks Hansen“It is conceivable in a few places, such as New Zealand and Norway. But suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

But there are credible studies for the countries that Hansen mentions:

  • USA: The Nuclear Information & Resource Service maintains a list of reportsdemonstrating the potential for the US (and Europe) to produce all electricity from renewables.
  • China: A 2015 report by the China National Renewable Energy Centre finds that China could generate 85% of its electricity and 60% of total energy from renewables by 2050.
  • India: A detailed 2013 report by WWF-India and The Energy and Resources Institute maps out how India could generate as much as 90% of total primary energy from renewables by 2050.

There is a growing body of research on the potential for renewables to largely or completely supplant fossil fuels for power supply globally.

The doubling of global renewable energy capacity over the past decade has been spectacular, with 783 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable power generation capacityinstalled from 2005 to 2014 – compared to a lousy 8 GW for nuclear.

As of the end of 2014, renewables supplied 22.8% of global electricity (hydro 16.6% and other renewables 6.2%). Nuclear power’s share of 10.8% is less than half of the electricity generation from renewables – and the gap is widening.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates another 700 GW of new renewable power capacity from 2015-2020. The IEA report also outlines the spectacular cost reductions: the global average costs for onshore wind generation fell by 30% from 2010-2015, and are expected to decline a further 10% by 2020; while utility-scale solar PV fell two-thirds in cost and is expected to decline another 25% by 2020.

There’s also the spectacular potential of energy efficiency that Hansen sometimes ignores and sometimes pays lip-service to. A 2011 study by University of Cambridge academics concluded that a whopping 73% of global energy use could be saved by practically achievable energy efficiency and conservation measures.

Making nuclear power safe … how would you do it?

But let’s go with Hansen’s argument that renewables and energy efficiency aren’t up to the job of completely supplanting fossil fuels. It’s not an unreasonable place to go given that the task is Herculean and urgent.

What would make nuclear power more palatable, reducing the risk of Chernobyl- and Fukushima-scale catastrophes and reducing the WMD proliferation risks? ‘Super-safe’, ‘proliferation-resistant’ Generation IV reactor technology that’s both unproven and grossly uneconomic? Not likely.

So how about improved safety standards and stricter regulation? That’s something that really would reduce the risk of catastrophic accidents. A strengthened – and properly funded – safeguards system would reduce the WMD proliferation risks.

And therein lies the greatest irony of Hansen’s nuclear advocacy. Many of the environmental and anti-nuclear groups that he attacks have a commendable track record of campaigning for improved safety and regulatory standards and for improvements to the safeguards system.

Hansen has said little and done less about those issues.

 


 

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia> and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a longer version of this article was originally published.

Nuclear Monitor has been publishing deeply researched, often strongly critical articles on all aspects of the nuclear cycle since 1978. A must-read for all those who work on this issue! jim.green@foe.org.au

Petition for organizations: ‘Don’t nuke the climate – COP21!

Join our campaign to keep nuclear power out of COP21.

More information

 

November 21, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Despite airplane bombing , and Egypt’s lax security, Russia to provide nuclear reactors to Egypt!

safety-symbol1flag-Egyptflag_RussiaEgypt’s Nuclear Power Plant Deal With Russia Signed Amid Escalating Tensions  By Menna Zaki, AllAfrica, 20 Nov 15 

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi signed a nuclear power plant deal with Russia Thursday, just days after the Kremlin’s unilateral announcement that the Russian charter flight which blew up over Sinai late October was downed by an act of terrorism…….

The deal, which has been under negotiation for months, was signed days after Russia vowed to avenge the terrorist bombing of a Russian airliner killing all 224 passengers and crew on board, the majority of whom were Russian holidaymakers visiting the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh and heading to St. Petersburg.

Since the crash, Egypt has made no conclusive statements on the results of the Egypt-led international investigation, agreeing only that the jet broke up midair after abruptly disappearing from the radar 23 minutes from takeoff.

Egyptian officials said on separate occasions that it is too early to jump to conclusions and that no criminal evidence can be established so far.

Russia, on the other hand, announced days before signing the nuclear deal with Egypt that the crash was a terrorist act. Days after the crash, Russia had halted all flights to Egypt and banned the national carrier EgyptAir from flying to Russia, apparently based on information passed on by the UK which was not shared with Egypt, according to Egyptian officials…….

Russia announced Thursday that it has evacuated 90,000 of its citizens from Egypt, with the remaining 2,500 to leave by November 30………Egypt’s lax airport security has come under heavy scrutiny since the incident amid news reports that small bribes by travellers are enough to help them bypass queues and luggage scanners…….http://allafrica.com/stories/201511201808.html

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Egypt, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Birth defects from nuclear radiation

The first documented excesses of congenital anomalies were among children of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

The 1986 meltdown at Chernobyl produced numerous reports of certain congenital anomalies among populations subject to fallout from the stricken reactor

anencephaly

Open Journal of Pediatrics
Vol.05 No.01(2015), Article ID:54828,13 pages
10.4236/ojped.2015.51013

Changes in Congenital Anomaly Incidence in West Coast and Pacific States (USA) after Arrival of Fukushima Fallout   Joseph Mangano*, Janette D. Sherman

Radiation and Public Health Project, New York, USA 

ABSTRACT

Radioactive fallout after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown entered the U.S. environment within days; levels of radioactivity were particularly elevated in the five western states bordering on the Pacific Ocean. The particular sensitivity of the fetus to radiation exposure, and the ability of radioisotopes to attach to cells, tissues, and DNA raise the question of whether fetuses/newborns with birth defects with the greater exposures suffered elevated harm during the period after the meltdown.

We compare rates of five congenital anomalies for 2010 and 2011 births from April-November. The increase of 13.00% in the five western states is significantly greater than the 3.77% decrease for all other U.S. states combined (CI 0.030 – 0.205, p < 0.008). Consistent patterns of elevated increases are observed in the west (20 of 21 comparisons, 6 of which are statistically significant/borderline significant), by state, type of birth defect, month of birth, and month of conception.

While these five anomalies are relatively uncommon (about 7500 cases per year in the U.S.), sometimes making statistical significance difficult to achieve, the consistency of the results lend strength to the analysis, and suggest fetal harm from Fukushima may have occurred in western U.S. states.

1. Introduction

The harmful effects of radiation exposure to chromosomes have been known for nearly a century, starting with the discovery of chromosomal deformities in irradiated fruit flies [1] . Experiments with mice [2] [3] and rats [4] confirmed this knowledge, and documented elevated risk for congenital defects, at relatively low doses of exposure. Populations exposed to pre-conception X-rays have been shown to have higher congenital anomalies [5] as were those living in areas with relatively high background radiation [6] [7] .

One form of radiation, byproducts of uranium or plutonium fission, was first introduced into the environment from weapons and reactors seven decades ago [8] -[10] . These isotopes bind with cells, tissues, and DNA of the unborn, and thus risks of congenital defects in irradiated populations have been studied. The first documented excesses of congenital anomalies were among children of survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. [8] -[10] . During the 1950s, reports of various defects among newborns in the Marshall Islands, the site of 67 large-scale U.S. nuclear weapons tests, were made public. Other studies found links with between atmospheric tests and elevated birth defects, including a high rate of Down Syndrome in northwest England in 1963-1964, the peak period of global fallout from tests [11] . Another report documented elevated birth defect incidence near the Hanford nuclear weapons plant in Washington state (USA) [12] .

The 1986 meltdown at Chernobyl produced numerous reports of certain congenital anomalies among populations subject to fallout from the stricken reactor. One documented a doubling of congenital developmental anomalies among infants born to fathers who worked as liquidators to contain the meltdown [13] . Various analyses presented elevated congenital anomaly rates in various parts of the Belarus region, which received the greatest doses of radioactivity from the meltdown, in the years following Chernobyl [14] -[22] . Other research also found high birth defect rates in the Ukraine [23] [24] , Bulgaria [25] , Croatia [26] , and Germany [27] -[30] including areas with fallout levels well below those Belarussian sites closest to the reactor.

Post-Chernobyl studies also identified elevated rates of specific anomalies, the most-analyzed of which was Down syndrome (Trisomy-21), mostly in Germany [31] -[39] . Other conditions included neural tube defects in Turkey [40] -[43] , cleft lip/palate in Germany [44] [45] , and anencephaly in Turkey [46] . Meta-analyses concluded that a pattern of elevated congenital anomaly rates was associated with exposure to the Chernobyl meltdown [47] -[49] .

No published reports exist on the change in congenital defects rates in Japan after the March 2011 meltdown at Fukushima. However, at least one report examines morphological abnormality rates in aphids in the first sexual reproduction period after the meltdown, and found a 13.2% rate close to Fukushima vs. 3.8% in seven control areas [50] .

Changes in the rate of one type of birth defect, congenital hypothyroidism, have been reported. In the five U.S. states bordering on the Pacific Ocean, with the most elevated levels of environmental radiation after the meltdown, a 16% increase in incidence of the disorder was observed in the nine months following the meltdown, compared to a 3% decrease in 36 other U.S. states [51] . The gap was particularly large (28% increase vs. a 4% decrease) in the first 14 weeks after the arrival of fallout. In addition, the rate of California newborns with a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone score of 19 micro international units per milliliter of blood during initial screening, was 27% greater in the nine months after the meltdown compared to other periods in 2011-2012 [52] . The known affinity for radioactive iodine to attack cell membranes and DNA in the thyroid gland indicates a potential link between Fukushima fallout and congenital hypothyroidism.

Historical reports linking exposure to ionizing radiation with congenital anomaly risk, plus the initial reports on congenital hypothyroidism in the western U.S. suggest further analysis be conducted on other birth defects.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes national data collected by state health departments on incidence of five congenital anomalies in the nation. These include Anencephaly, Cleft Lip/Pa- late, Down Syndrome, Omphalocele/Gastroschisis, and Spina Bifida/Meningocele [53] . Approximately 7500 cases of these five defects occur in the U.S. each year. As of mid-2014, the CDC web site contained complete birth defect data for the years 2007 to 2012.

These five specific anomalies to be addressed in this report, merit some discussion, including their suspected link with radiation exposure………http://file.scirp.org/Html/13-1330400_54828.htm

November 21, 2015 Posted by | children, Reference | 2 Comments

Indonesia will block its waters to nuclear waste ship travelling to Australia

ship radiationIndon to ‘block Aust-bound nuclear waste’ http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/breaking-news/indon-to-block-aust-bound-nuclear-waste/story-fnihsg6t-1227617732008 November 21, 2015 AAP
 INDONESIA’S Navy and police reportedly want to close their waters to a ship carrying nuclear waste bound for Australia.

“WE will block the ship because nuclear waste is very dangerous,” sea security coordinating agenda head Vice Admiral Desi Albert Mamahit told The Jakarta Post newspaper.

“Our ships are on standby, although the ship is still far from Indonesia. We have information about the ship.”On October 16, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) confirmed a project to repatriate radioactive waste from France, where it was sent for reprocessing in the 1990s and early 2000s, and which will now be retained at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights, Sydney, facility.”Consistent with security requirements and practice established during nine previous export operations, ANSTO will not confirm the destination port, land route, or timing,” it said on its website.The Indonesians are concerned about a ship called the MV Trader, which was close to the African coast and expected to pass through the Malacca Strait, according to reports.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Indonesia, safety | 1 Comment

Japan ramps up its evacuation rules for nuclear ship accidents

ship radiationflag-japanEvacuation rules revised for nuclear vessel accidents http://www.
japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/11/20/national/science-health/evacuation-rules-revised-for-nuclear-vessel-accidents/#.Vk-NWdIrLGh
 
KYODO The government on Friday lowered the threshold for evacuating residents during accidents on nuclear vessels, bringing it in line with accidents at atomic power plants.

Under the new rules, residents will begin evacuating when radiation exceeds 5 microsieverts per hour in areas near nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or submarines — significantly lower than the previous 100 microsieverts per hour.The government also revised its emergency manual to reflect the change, and local authorities will now order or advise residents to leave based on the new rules.

Cities hosting U.S. Marine Corps bases with nuclear vessels are Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, and Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture.

The Cabinet Office had been working to revise the standards after disaster management minister Taro Kono instructed it to do so last month.

The government is also eyeing further amendments since discrepancies between nuclear vessel accidents and nuclear plant accidents still exist.

For example, people within a 30-km radius of a nuclear plant are urged to stay indoors during an accident, while only those within a 3-km radius of a nuclear vessel accident are urged to do so.

The rules for power plant accidents were revised in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

“The Third Way” – front group for new nuclear spinning hard for Paris climate Conference

logo Third Way
Third Way Tries to Revive Nuclear, Real Clear Energy By William Tucker , 20 Nov 15,  Third Way, the Flag-USAWashington think tank, has taken upon itself the unenviable task of trying to convince liberal Democrats that nuclear energy is an important part of the battle against global warming…….
 Third Way lists Democratic Senators Tom Carper, Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Chris Coons and Jean Shaheen among its supporters. Jim Webb, the former Democratic Senator from Virginia, also might have filled the bill but he only lasted one round of the debates……
where it is making a name for itself – and where it is likely to have the most impact – is in its support of nuclear power……
Third Way is celebrating the flowering of a new generation of nuclear engineers that is reviving forgotten technologies from the Golden Age of Nuclear that prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s. ………  So  Leslie Dewan and fellow MIT alumnus Mark Massie founded Transatomic Power, a start-up dedicated to reviving the molten salt reactor designed by Oak Ridge Director Alvin Weinberg …..
In all, Third Way says is has uncovered a nuclear renaissance among small companies in the United States and Canada. “In total, we have found over 45 projects in companies and organizations working on small modular reactors, advanced reactors using innovative fuels and alternative coolants like molten salt, high-temperature gas or liquid metal instead of high-pressure water,” says Freed. Third Way sees the small modular reactors as a “bridge technology” what will eventually pave the way for molten salt and other more extreme novelties. “The main advantage of SMRs is that they will be using the old light-water technology and will therefore have a let up in getting through the regulatory requirements at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” says Freed.
Third Way clearly identifies the NRC as the major roadblock to these new developments. ……
This was emphasized at the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy held on November 6. Although the all-day program featured representative from a dozen small companies working on new reactors and lots of self-congratulations on what a great job the Obama Administration is doing in supporting nuclear energy, there was a huge elephant in the room. Lee McIntyre of Bill Gates’ TerraPower was one of the featured speakers…..
Also upsetting Third Way is the closing of reactors around the country because they cannot compete with natural gas. The think tank worked with a pair of MIT-trained researchers to scope out what will happen if nuclear reactors continue to drop off the grid. “Regardless of the scenario we ran, the answers were dire,” says Freed…….
To keep the ball rolling, Third Way will be sponsoring another Advanced Nuclear Summit & Showcase in Washington on January 27th in conjunction with the Idaho, Argonne and Oak Ridge National Laboratories……
Third Way is fighting an uphill battle. There isn’t too much enthusiasm for nuclear among liberal Democrats these days. Most of the energy goes toward promoting renewables and shutting down older reactors. But Third Way believes the world’s confrontation with global warming is at stake. “Without nuclear there is no chance that we’re going to win the battle,” says Freed. “It’s a choice we have to make.”  http://www.realclearenergy.org/articles/2015/11/20/third_way_tries_to_revive_nuclear_108891.html

November 21, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

“NuclearMatters” lobby group revs up its spin ahead of Paris climate conference

 

text-Nuclear-MattersBloomberg BNA and Nuclear Matters Hosting December 3 Event in Austin on the Role of Nuclear Energy in the Region, PR Newswire

Complimentary Event Features Industry Leaders, Policy Experts and Members of Academia Discussing Challenges and Opportunities for Nuclear Energy in Texas  ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Bloomberg BNA today announced that it is hosting Nuclear Energy,Texas and the EPA Clean Power Plan, an afternoon conversation exploring the future role of nuclear energy in Texas.  The fourth in a series of nationwide events underwritten by Nuclear Matters, the discussion is being held in Austin on Thursday, December 3 from3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Driskill Hotel Austin. ……

Additional events will be held throughout 2015 and 2016 in major U.S. cities.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Price Anderson Act lets nuclear companies off the hook when big accidents occur

The Atomic Age and limited liability for nuclear accidents, The Hill, 20 Nov 15  By William F. Shughart II.……….Half a century ago, the United States was the only member of the global nuclear club. After detonating atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington’s attention turned to civilian uses of nuclear power. “Atoms for Peace” was a catchphrase of the day. The Cold War was well underway then and civilian reactors were seen as a key producer of nuclear materials destined for military use.

To jumpstart nuclear power in the United States, and to assuage fears that utilities would go bankrupt if radioactive materials were accidentally released into the atmosphere, Congress passed – and President Eisenhower signed – the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act in 1957.

text-Price-Anderson-Act

-…………-the very large expected costs of a major nuclear event, unlikely as it may be, explain why private insurers are unwilling to underwrite fully any and all future accident claims.

Price-Anderson clearly is a form of corporate welfare that indemnifies the nuclear industry in a worst-case scenario. Although the law doesn’t allow the industry to get off scot-free for all injuries it may cause and it doesn’t prevent injured parties from seeking compensation, the industry’s support for its periodic reauthorization suggests that it highly values Price-Anderson protections.

From an economist’s perspective, the downside of Price-Anderson, as with insurance in general, is that it encourages behavior known as “moral hazard.” Because the nuclear industry itself will not bear the full costs of a devastating accident, such accidents are more likely to happen than otherwise. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/260837-the-atomic-age-and-limited-liability-for-nuclear

November 21, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Christmas just “a charade” while wars continue – Pope Francis

Pope Francis calls Christmas a ‘charade’ as the ‘world continues to wage war’ http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/20/pope-francis-calls-christmas-a-charade-as-the-worl/  By Maria Stainer – The Washington Times – Friday, November 20, 2015

Pope Francis said Thursday in a sermon that Christmas this year will be a “charade” because the “world continues to wage war” and “we do not understand peace.”

“Today, Jesus weeps as well because we have chosen the way of war, the way of hatred, the way of enmities. We are close to Christmas. There will be lights, there will be parties, bright trees, even Nativity scenes — all decked out — while the world continues to wage war,” he said during Mass at the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Legal challenge to UK’s Hinkley nuclear plan is joined by Luxembourg

justiceLuxembourg joins Hinkley C nuclear challenge http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2986352/luxembourg_joins_hinkley_c_nuclear_challenge.html Oliver Tickell 20th November 2015  Luxembourg will join Austria’s legal challenge to the UK’s support package for the Hinkley C nuclear power station. Meanwhile EDF has laid off 65 engineers working on the project in Paris, and the EU Commission has initiated proceedings against Hungary over its Paks II nuclear project with Rosatom.

The Luxembourg government will join Austria’s legal challenge to the €108 billion Hinkley C subsidy package at the European Court of Justice.

The low-key announcement was released yesterday in Austria’s Parliament, just days before the deadline for other states to join is due to expire on Monday.

“They will not make a huge fuss about it as they do not want angry phone calls from Downing Street”, commented Adam Pawloff, anti-nuclear spokesman for Greenpeace Austria, who has been working closely with Luxembourg colleagues on the issue.

But he said that the move was an important one whose significance should not be underestimated: “In terms of foreign policy and EU solidarity it is quite a statement for one member state to follow up a legal challenge against another and the fact we are seeing further member states joining shows there is a growing front against nuclear power in Europe.

“It is sending a message to all countries involved in building new nuclear power plants that nuclear is not sustainable – environmentally, economically or socially. We are talking about substantial amounts of state aid are going into this nuclear project at a time when nuclear is in normal circumstances not financeable.

“The support of the action by Luxembourg is a major setback for the nuclear lobby. And it sends an important message to governments, nuclear developers and the Commission as well which approved the package. You cannot allow this kind of heavily subsidised market-distorting nuclear development anywhere in Europe without expecting legal challenges by multiple states.”

Speaking in July after Austria launched its legal challenge, Luxembourg Environment Minister Carole Dieschbourg told the Duchy’s parliament: “Further massive sums of public money cannot put into an unsafe and unprofitable technology that will wreck the market price for renewable energy … If we take our anti-nuclear policy seriously, then we must join this lawsuit.”

Commission acts against Hungary nuclear state aid

In a simultaneous move this week, the Commission has taken the first steps in state aid and public procurement infringement proceedings against Hungary over its planned Paks II nuclear plant a little over 100km from the border with Austria.

The €12.5 billion Paks II plant is to be built by Russia’s Rosatom backed by a €10 billion loan from Russia leaving €2.5 billion invested directly by the Hungarian government. Under a deal agreed in January 2014, construction of two VVER-1200 reactors each of 1.2GW was due to begin in 2015 but this is currently scheduled for 2018.

One reason for the Commission’s action is that the project did not go to public tender, in violation of EU public procurement rules. In addition, says Pawloff, Hungary has been slow and obstructive in its dealings with the Commission, keeping it waiting for over a year before delivering key documents. “It’s a highly opaque and bizarre case”, he comments.

The Commission’s is proceedings against Hungary may also have a bearing on the Hinkley C case. The Hinkley package was approved in October 2014 in the dying days of the Barroso Commission in what was seen as a highly politicised decision which went against the advice of officials.

And one of the main points at issue in Hungary – the lack of any open and competitive tender process – also applies to Hinkley C, which was simply offered to the French parastatal EDF. And while the Paks II power plant is due to deliver power at €55 per megawatt hour, Hinkley C will cost about twice as much, £92.50 in 2012 pounds.

The move against Hungary therefore indicates that the Juncker Commission may not be unduly diligent in its defence of the Hinkley C support package when the case comes before the European Court – something that must be causing serious concern in the strongly pro-nuclear UK government.

Hinkley C prospects fade

Pawloff added that other states might also join the challenge to Hinkley C before the Monday deadline. It is no secret that Germany and Sweden, countries that are now in the process of decommissioning their nuclear power legacy and building up renewable energy, are unhappy with the European Commission’s decision to approve the UK’s state aid for Hinkley C.

Opposition to the Hinkley C deal was also voiced this week by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and a likely future Conservative prime minister who branded the deal as “a disgrace” under questioning by Green Assembly member Jenny Jones.

“I’m totally with you on that one”, he said. “If you ask do I think the deal on nuclear power looks like good value for money at whatever it is £95 per kilowatt hour for 30 years, it just looks like an extraordinary amount of money to spend.”

And in what may have been a deliberate jibe aimed at Energy Secretary Amber Rudd and Chancellor George Osborne – who have slashed support for all forms of renewable energy and solar in particular – he added: “On renewables, which does not include nuclear because its not renewable, on other renewables, solar is very exciting and its great that the costs are coming down.”

A month ago UK Prime Minister David Cameron signed a deal with the Chinese President Xi Jinping for the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) to pay £6 billion for a 33.5% share in the troubled Hinkley C project. However EDF, which currently owns 100% of NNB Generation Company which will take the project forward, has still made no final investment decision, and indications are that it will not be taken until well into 2016.

Meanwhile works on the Hinkley C site have ground to a complete halt – and The Ecologisthas been reliably informed that a team of 65 nuclear engineers working on the project with EDF in Paris has been laid off – with the detailed technical specifications they have been working on for years left unfinished.

November 21, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment