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Hope and Commitment renewed as global climate agreement reached in Paris

HopePhilippa Rowland, 14 Dec 15 a new climate agreement struck last night with all countries on board – For me, one important outcomes is keeping the small flames of hope and commitment inside each and everyone of us alive and burning fiercely, for there is absolutely no doubt that the Earth needs champions at this time and that there will be hard yards ahead as we make out way through the next decades.

 

So I leave thinking the Paris agreement – for the first time setting expectations for all nations and for the world – might just be a strong enough signal to give real momentum towards slowing global warming despite the dysfunctional international process and the imperfect national promises and the arguments over detail that will continue interminably at such conferences.


logo Paris climate1Paris climate deal might just be enough to start turning the tide on global warming
Despite the dysfunctional international process and the imperfect national promises and the arguments over detail, the Paris agreement – setting solid expectations for the world to limit temperature rise – gives even a cynic cause for optimism,
Guardian   in Paris 13 Dec 15 “……Two weeks at the climate summit were a wild ride between cynicism and the final realisation that there were reasons to be optimistic, despite the dysfunctionality of it all. And not just because of good lunches…….

Island states and low-lying “climate vulnerable” countries like the Marshall Islands, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Vietnam run an unexpectedly effective campaign to change the goal of the agreement from limiting global warming at 2C to bringing it back to less than 1.5C. They assemble powerful supporters, including the United States, the European Union, Germany, France, Brazil and – eventually – Australia. President Obama spent some of his two days in Paris meeting with island state leaders and calls himself an “island boy”. The young activists paint 1.5C on their faces and sing songs about it in the streets.

In the end it all boils down to an agreed “purpose” in the Paris deal to hold global temperature increases to “well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit (them) to 1.5C, recognising that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change”……..

I’m talking to Howard Bamsey, who I’ve encountered at many of these events – he was Australia’s lead negotiator in Kyoto in 1997 when the protocol was agreed as well as the special envoy on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009. He says he’s been to 18 or 19 of these “conferences of the parties” or COPs – he’s lost count. He’s an academic now and has always been a details man, not someone to get carried away by the speeches and the singing.

And despite everything, he’s optimistic.

“I’ve had this impression growing on me all week. When this process started governments were all important, whether they moved or not was the whole story. Here governments are only part of the picture. When we went to side events by business or environment groups 15 or 20 years ago it was all about the good ideas they might be able to do if they had the right policies. Now it’s about what they have already done,” he says.

I think back to the start of the conference. There was this thing called the Lima Paris Action Agenda where hundreds of businesses and thousands of regions and cities made promises to cut emissions that streamed into my email inbox in a torrent.

Mondelēz International promised US$400mn to support the production of sustainable cocoa with zero net deforestation in Africa; Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom announced they’d provide $5bn by 2020 if forest countries demonstrated measured, reported and verified emission reductions; 20 investor groups, representing US$3.2tr, committing to ‘decarbonisation’ of US$600bn in assets, 114 big companies promised to reduce emissions including Ikea, Coca-Cola, Dell, General Mills, Kellogg’s, NRG Energy, Procter & Gamble, Sony and Walmart……….

Michael Jacobs, senior adviser for the New Climate Economy project, says the long-term goals in the agreement send investors the clearest sign “that the world was on an irreversible and irrevocable downward trend in emissions”.

So I leave thinking the Paris agreement – for the first time setting expectations for all nations and for the world – might just be a strong enough signal to give real momentum towards slowing global warming despite the dysfunctional international process and the imperfect national promises and the arguments over detail that will continue interminably at such conferences.

That’s a cynical optimist’s view of this extraordinary Paris summit. http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/dec/13/paris-climate-deal-gives-even-a-cynic-grounds-for-optimism

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December 14, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear workers: 33,480 died from radiation- caused illnesses

At least 33,480 US nuclear workers died of exposure: Report http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/12/13/441510/US-nuclear-arsenal-dead-Cold-War   A yearlong investigation reveals that America’s great push to win World War II and the Cold War has left “a legacy of death on American soil,” with at least 33,480 US nuclear workers dying of radiation exposure over the course of the last seven decades.

menace

The death count, disclosed for the first time, is more than four times the number of American fatalities in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a report from McClatchy called “irritated.”

The investigation has exposed the “enormous human cost” of the US nuclear weapons complex using more than 70 million records in a database obtained from the US Department of Labor under the Freedom of Information Act.

The count includes all workers who died after they or their survivors were compensated under a special fund established in 2001 to help those who were exposed to deadly materials while building the US nuclear stockpile, the report said.

A total of 107,394 workers, involved in the construction of America’s nuclear arsenal, have been diagnosed with cancers and other diseases over the last seven decades, records from an interactive database showed.

In addition to utilizing the federal data, McClatchy’s investigation is also based on over 100 interviews with nuclear workers, government officials, experts and activists.

The report noted that US government officials greatly underestimated how sick the nuclear workforce would become. At first, the government estimated that the compensation program would cost $120 million a year to cover 3,000 people. However, 14 years later, the government has spent $12 billion of taxpayer money to compensate more than 53,000 nuclear workers.

Despite the enormous costs, federal records show that only fewer than half of those who sought compensation have had their claims approved by the US Department of Labor.

Decades after the first victims of the radiation exposure have been identified; McClatchy’s investigation revealed that current safety standards have not reduced the exposure rates and day-to-day accidents in America’s nuclear facilities.

The government, meanwhile, seeks to save money by cutting current workers’ health plans, retirement benefits and sick leave. More than 186,000 nuclear employees have been exposed since the compensation program was created in 2001.

McClatchy conducted the project in partnership with the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center in New York City.

The report comes as the US prepares to upgrade its aging nuclear arsenal to the tune of $1 trillion over the next 30 years.

December 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, radiation, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Idaho nuclear workers: 360 killed by by exposure to radiation

death-nuclearFlag-USAFederal government acknowledges nuclear radiation likely killed 396 in Idaho, George Zapo, Inquisitr, 13 Dec 15 The federal government acknowledged that nuclear radiation work performed at an Idaho site likely caused or contributed to the deaths of 396 workers. Hundreds of Idaho National Laboratory (INL) employees have filed health insurance claims, declaring the nuclear radiation work they performed at the United States’ leading center for nuclear energy research and development caused them to become ill, and in many cases die prematurely.

Jim Delmore worked at INL since 1966. He is one of the top experts in the nation on mass spectrometry, an analytical chemistry technique. He’s retired now, but he continues to work at the INL as a senior fellow.

Jim said has suffered through several bouts of five different cancers — all in remission now. Based on what he knew from a 1972 incident, he made a claim in 2013 under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

On November 13, 1972, Jim Delmore came to the laboratory he ran at the Idaho National Laboratory, and found the facility roped off from entry because of a plutonium contamination. It turns out, a chemist brought a sample of plutonium nitrate into the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant the day before that was 10,000 times larger than needed, Delmore said.

The plutonium nitrate spread throughout the lab. Internal tests showed the dose to the lungs of the 13 lab staff was small. However, it also showed that several of the workers had been previously contaminated and had not been adequately monitored.

Delmore received $150,000 in compensation. In addition, other INL workers, who were able to prove their work with nuclear radiation likely contributed to, or caused their illness, received part of $53 million in health care costs paid under the program.

Another $188 million was paid to the survivors of 471 former INL workers who’ve died, according to the Department of Labor.

The federal government acknowledged for the first time this year nuclear radiation work done by workers at Idaho National Laboratory probably caused or contributed to the deaths of 396 workers.

Though the U.S. federal government compensated the families of nearly 480 INL workers who died, official say that only 396 workers proved to the government’s satisfaction that nuclear radiation exposure at INL was 50 percent or more responsible for their deaths. So far, 15,809 of the nuclear worker deaths nationwide fit that test.

Idaho National Laboratory employees have been finding it difficult to prove eligibility. In fact, nearly two of every three claims are denied. When an INL worker has a disease that qualifies, they also have to prove they had been exposed to high levels of nuclear radiation or hazards.

Fortunately, because Jim Delmore brought the 1972 nuclear radiation incident and the lack of internal monitoring to the attention of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in his 2013 claim, many former employees may be eligible for compensation without having to prove anything — except that they have a qualifying disease.

Jim Delmore simply responded about the eligibility of his co-workers…….. http://www.inquisitr.com/2630254/government-acknowledges-nuclear-radiation-likely-killed-396/

December 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kansas nuclear workers: sickness and death toll from radiation-induced illness

nearly 300 former Kansas City Plant workers who have received more than $55 million in compensation for illnesses linked to their work, according to an analysis of government data obtained by McClatchy Newspapers through the Freedom of Information Act.

In more than half of the cases, the money went to survivors after the workers died.

Most of those who applied to the federal fund got nothing, including the families of at least 554 deceased Kansas City Plant workers whose claims the government denied.

death-nuclearFlag-USAKansas City’s nuclear legacy trails weapon makers and their families

Scores of workers have died after making nuclear weapons at the Bannister Road plant

A government review finds more radioactive materials used at the plant than was known before

The federal government has paid $55 million to sickened workers, but a vast majority are still frustrated that they have not been compensated  The Kansas Cty Star, BY LINDSAY WISE lwise@mcclatchydc.com AND SCOTT CANON scanon@kcstar.com 13 Dec 15  Marlon Smith , worked as a roofer at the Bannister Federal Complex in south Kansas City for just five months in 2005.

That’s all the time it took for him to suffer irreparable damage to his lungs by inhaling particles of beryllium, a hazardous metal used in nuclear weapons production.

Today the 58-year-old has chronic beryllium disease, a serious respiratory condition that can be fatal.

Smith says the subcontractor he worked for never warned him about the dangers of beryllium exposure, even after he asked why other workers in a tent a few yards away from him were fully suited in protective gear.

“I said, ‘Where is my suit?’ ” he recalls. “They said, ‘You don’t need one. You need just a dust mask.’ ”

News that beryllium and other toxins sickened workers at the site broke years ago. But a recent investigation by the federal government revealed that some employees at the Kansas City Plant might have been exposed to more radiation than previously known. Already, the government has paid workers from the plant, or their survivors, tens of millions in compensation for illnesses and deaths. That figure is still growing……..the latest investigation by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and an advisory board appointed by the president has turned up proof that operations at the site in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s involved more radioactive materials — and potentially higher radiation doses to workers — than previously disclosed in the public record.

More than 1,440 workers who fell ill after working at the Kansas City Plant have applied for compensation and medical coverage from the federal government. The money comes from a fund created in 2001 to recognize the sacrifices made by nuclear workers who helped America fight the Cold War.

Smith received a check this year for $150,000 from the federal government, a sum he considers a paltry price for his life and livelihood.

“How can you put a price on somebody’s life?” he asked.

The roofer is in a group of nearly 300 former Kansas City Plant workers who have received more than $55 million in compensation for illnesses linked to their work, according to an analysis of government data obtained by McClatchy Newspapers through the Freedom of Information Act.

In more than half of the cases, the money went to survivors after the workers died.

Most of those who applied to the federal fund got nothing, including the families of at least 554 deceased Kansas City Plant workers whose claims the government denied.

The approval rate for cases involving former workers at the plant is particularly low at just 23 percent — less than half the national average, McClatchy’s analysis found.

Workers and their relatives say they’re confounded by the paperwork and bureaucracy of the claims process.

Otha Gilliam has a stack of documents for his late parents’ compensation cases at least a foot thick in his home in south Kansas City.

The struggle to follow through with the claims leaves him overwhelmed……..

As the government now acknowledges, work with natural uranium took place at the plant in the early 1950s. Natural uranium emits about twice as much radioactivity per gram as depleted uranium. Workers also machined magnesium alloys containing thorium, a radioactive element, in the 1960s and ’70s. And they used tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to prepare calibration sources and produce luminescent switch plates. Radioactive nickel-63 was plated on disks that also were used to calibrate radiation detectors.

The natural uranium and mag-thorium alloy machining could result in the biggest bumps to workers’ estimated radiation doses, said Stuart Hinnefeld, director of NIOSH’s Division of Compensation Analysis and Support……..http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article49473260.html

December 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Texas nuclear workers sick and dying from exposure to radiation

widespread examples of payouts that occur only after a worker dies. She handled the claim of one widow who just this year received a payout on a claim that her husband filed in 2005. The husband died of cancer in 2011.

“Many claimants have commented that they think the claims are drug out so that the claimants die,” Ray said. “It truly is less costly to pay a survivor than it is to pay compensation and provide long-term healthcare for a living worker.”

Half of all claims are settled on behalf of survivors, including workers’ spouses, children, parents, grandchildren and grandparents


death-nuclearFlag-USAThe perils of Pantex: Hundreds of workers sickened at Texas nuclear weapons plant, Star telegram, 13 Dec 15 

Panhandle nuclear weapons assembly plant a hazardous workplace

Workers used to joke that they made soap at the facility

More than 1,300 workers and families have been awarded compensation since 2000 BY YAMIL BERARD yberard@star-telegram.com

AMARILLO “…..Years ago, it was popular for plant workers to tell spouses and other loved ones that they made soap at the nuclear weapons assembly facility on a 16,000-acre parcel. But Pantex now conjures up a different image, as hundreds have suddenly fallen ill or died at the plant, a vital component in the nation’s nuclear weapons program since the 1950s.

The federal government has made concessions to a growing number of workers, like Ruzich, whose Pantex jobs made them sick. Many hundreds have been provided with medical coverage and lump sum payments, under the energy employees’ compensation program, according to records provided to the Star-Telegram by the Labor Department.

Bob Ruzich, now 64, said he never thought the chemicals in the maintenance warehouse and the toxins on the production line would give him throat and tongue cancer.

“I didn’t think much about it, but I do now believe that’s what caused my cancer,’’ said Ruzich, who worked dismantling warheads and in the maintenance department since 1982.

Several years ago, less than 1 in 5 claims were decided in favor of workers and their families, according to records provided to the Star-Telegram. Now, more than half are typically handed compensation and medical care because of a prevalence of scientific evidence that their illness was caused by an exposure to plant hazards, records say.

All told, $171 million in compensation and medical bills has been disbursed to more than 1,300 workers and families since the energy employees’ compensation program began in 2000, the program’s numbers say.

“The number of claimaints or sick workers was beyond the expectations of those who originally created the program,” said Sarah Ray, a former Pantex critical safety systems training specialist, who has filed thousands of claims on behalf of Pantex workers and their families since the program started.

“Overall, there just has not been a real grasp of the true situations faced by nuclear weapons workers,” said Ray, who believes that thousands more aren’t aware that they are sick because they have not developed symptoms…….

Since 2000, David Pompa has documented each sick case in a running log that includes more than several hundred employees. Over the years, Pompa has gone with the sick to see doctors, to meet with supervisors and staff members and to special hearings with government claims examiners, employees said……

Ray, the former Pantex training specialist, said she now hears of more families burying their dead.

“Workers at Pantex are walking time bombs,’’ Ray said. “They have this false bravado — especially the guys. Then all of a sudden, they are really, really sick and they learn they are deathly ill from some lung problem. Then they’ve got something else and they die, just because they’re not paying attention to the minor signs.”……

Ray, who has filed thousands of claims on behalf of Pantex workers and their families, said it can take years for claimants to receive money or get healthcare assistance. Ray has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in instructional technology.

She’s seen widespread examples of payouts that occur only after a worker dies. She handled the claim of one widow who just this year received a payout on a claim that her husband filed in 2005. The husband died of cancer in 2011.

“Many claimants have commented that they think the claims are drug out so that the claimants die,” Ray said. “It truly is less costly to pay a survivor than it is to pay compensation and provide long-term healthcare for a living worker.”

Half of all claims are settled on behalf of survivors, including workers’ spouses, children, parents, grandchildren and grandparents, Leiton indicated……..http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article49500030.html

December 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mississipi nuclear workers victims of radiation

cancer_cellsNuclear tests in South Mississippi cost government millions in claims  BY PAUL HAMPTON jphampton@sunherald.com, Sun Herald, 12 Dec 15  The Department of Labor has paid almost $5.5 million to people who are suffering medical problems after working at the Salmon Nuclear Explosion Site southwest of Hattiesburg.

Combined with money paid to workers who lived in Mississippi but didn’t necessarily work on the Salmon site, the total is $16.8 million. A total of 56 claims came from the Salmon site, commonly known as the Tatum Salt Dome.

The medical claims were from workers exposed to radiation and other toxic substances at the site from 1964 through June 29, 1972, said Amanda McClure of the Department of Labor’s Office of Public Affairs. The money came from the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act.

“Former DOE federal workers and DOE contractors and subcontractors who were diagnosed with cancer and whose cancer was caused by exposure to radiation while working at the Salmon Nuclear Explosion Site during the covered time period are eligible for lump-sum compensation and medical benefits,” she said in an email……..

Shortly after the blast, scientists drilled down into the dome to lower instruments into it, and the drill bit brought contaminated soil to the surface. The mistake was repeated in 1966. Several cleanup attempts were made.

The buildings were razed and sent to the Nevada Test Site in 1972. A monument at the site warns people not to drill or dig.

In 1979, about 15 families were evacuated, some in the middle of the night, after scientists believed they had found deformed and radioactive wildlife in the area. That radioactivity later was attributed to contaminated lab equipment used to test the wildlife.

In the 1990s, scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy drilled 55 wells near the site to test the water. The DOE also spent $1.9 million for a water system so residents wouldn’t have to use well water……http://www.sunherald.com/news/article49448010.html

December 14, 2015 Posted by | employment, health, weapons and war | Leave a comment

High level nuclear waste into the ocean: Japanese govt’s latest idea

Fukushima toiletJapan to consider ocean disposal of nuclear waste http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201512120027 December 12, 2015 THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

The industry ministry will consider the feasibility of burying high-level radioactive waste from nuclear power plants under the seabed, which a working panel said Dec. 11 could be a “highly appropriate” solution.

In an interim report on disposal methods of highly contaminated materials from spent nuclear fuel, the panel said such waste could be disposed of in adjacent waters within 20 kilometers of the coastline.

It called the disposal method relatively realistic because the circulation of groundwater at sea is not as strong as on land. The panel said the site should be created in adjacent waters so that nuclear waste can easily be transported by ships.

The panel included the under-the-seabed disposal plan in nearby waters as a viable option for the final disposal site.

Based on this proposal, the ministry will set up an expert panel in January to discuss what specific technical challenges lay ahead.

The expert panel will discuss locations of active faults under the seabed and the impact of sea level changes to evaluate the feasibility of the project. It is expected to issue its recommendations by next summer.

While the government has encouraged municipalities to submit candidate sites for nuclear waste disposal, it is being forced to rethink this policy because no local government has come forward to provide a realistic disposal site.

Instead, it will hand-pick the “candidate sites from scientific perspectives” and unilaterally request local governments to comply with its research and inspection efforts.

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, Japan, oceans | 3 Comments

Declassified report shows Fukushima nuclear situation much worse than we were told

Fukushima report declassified: Worse than we were told Rt.com 12 Dec, 2015 Fukushima nuclear power plant is still experiencing major contamination issues nearly five years after the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent meltdown. A new declassified report from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, written on March 18, 2011 just days after the disaster, sheds light on just how bad it was.

We now know that “100% of the total spent fuel was released to the atmosphere from unit 4.” According to nuclear expert and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen in an interview with WBAI in New York, unit four contained more cesium “than in all 800 nuclear bombs exploded above ground”.

Cesium has been linked to thyroid cancer, which is on the increase in the Fukushima area since the tsunami, according to the US National Library of Medicine. The chemical is highly soluble in water and can find its way into foodstuffs that have been prepared in contaminated areas.

Another report this week revealed there are more than nine million bags of nuclear material piling up in Japan, according to the Fukushima Prefecture and the Environment Ministry.

Engineers at Fukushima are still dealing with fallout from four years ago. Last week, the radioactivity at Reactor 1 was measured at 482,000 becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said.

This is 4,000 times higher than last year and the company believes the contaminated water stored at a nearby building may have leaked into the duct, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

Increases in other areas have not been registered, the company said.

400 to 500 tons of radioactive seawater that washed ashore in the 2011 tsunami is pooled in the tunnels, which lie next to a temporary storage facility for radioactive water being used to cool nuclear fuel inside the damaged reactors.

TEPCO said they plan to investigate the spike in radiation. https://www.rt.com/news/325663-fukushima-nuclear-report-declassified/

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Real possibility of accidental nuclear war between USA and Russia

atomic-bomb-l“An Accidental Nuclear War between the U.S. and Russia is Possible”. Nuclear Holocaust in Just 30 Minutes – Former US Navy Advisor  By Dr. Theodore Postol and Sophie Shevardnadze
Global Research, December 13, 2015

The Nuclear End of the World never happened. When the Cold War finally ended, the whole world sighed in relief as the threat of total annihilation seemingly passed. And yet, 25 years later, both the US and Russia once again are pumping up their nuclear arsenal, and the Doomsday Clock shows it’s just three minutes before midnight. Is nuclear destruction looming once again over humankind? And, even if no state is actually ready to press the button – could Atomic Armageddon happen by accident? We ask these and many other questions to a specialist on nuclear technology, a professor from MIT and a former adviser to the US Chief of Naval Operations. Dr. Theodore Postol is on Sophie&Co……

Dr. Theodore Postol: I think this is a consequence of the domestic politics. You can never understand the foreign policy of a country without understanding its domestic situation, and in this case, the domestic politics has caused Mr. Obama to decide – frankly, I think, incorrectly – that he has to modernize the U.S. arsenal in order to avoid being criticized for not being concerned about the defence of the country…….
 I think the current political confrontation between Russia and the West and, particularly, the U.S. is potentially dangerous too. Both sides are very aware of the catastrophic consequence of nuclear weapons being used by one or the other, so I think both will be very cautious – but I think the danger does exist, yes…….
The problem is that as long as forces are on alert, at a high level, there’s always the possibility of a series of unexpected accidents that could lead to nuclear exchange, and I think, that’s the real danger……
typically what the U.S. and Russia have are several kinds of what are called “ballistic missiles” – they, in the case of both Russia and the U.S. we have land-based ballistic missiles which are in fortified underground missile silos, so they are protected to some extent from nuclear attack, or on submarines, in the holds of submarines. The ballistic missile could be fired, basically, within 50 or 60 seconds, more or less, after alert being given to the operators.The warning could take minutes to occur  – that is, the Russian government or the American government, could believe that an attack is underway, they could access the situation, and then, collect information and then make a decision whether or not to launch.

That could take 10 or 15 minutes. In the case of actually launching a rocket, that would take 40-60 seconds, more or less, depending on procedures – which are easily changed. The rocket will then ignite, it would fly out of its silo or its launch hall in the submarine, it would typically undergo powered flight for about… between 150 and 300 seconds, depending on whether or not the rocket is what’s called a “solid-propellant” or “liquid propellant”, so in one case 5 minutes, in other cause, maybe, 2,5 minutes – and then it would release warheads. The warheads would float in the near vacuum of space under the influence of gravity and momentum, and in about 20-28 minutes would arrive at their targets, re-enter the atmosphere and explode. So the world could be, basically, finished off in anywhere from half hour to an hour upon the arrival of these warheads. People who think about these things generally expect – nobody really knows what to expect – but if you have a massive exchange, most nuclear warheads would be delivered in a very short time, probably within half hour or an hour interval.

SS: Now, the bombs that Russia and the U.S. have in their arsenal right now – they are 100 times more powerful than the ones that were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. How devastating would be the aftermath of the nuclear explosion be today?

Dr.TP: They are more than 100 times more powerful. Typical warhead from a Russian missile like what we call the SS-18, the one of these warheads –  this rocket can carry up to 10 warheads – one of these warheads, detonated over New York city, for example – one! – would essentially destroy all of Manhattan, most of Staten Island, probably all of it, basically. Large parts of New Jersey to the west. basically, the borough of Brooklyn and most of Queens and the Bronx out to a range range of, maybe, anywhere from, I’d say, 10 kilometers range from the central area where it exploded. If you had a similar warhead from the U.S. over Moscow, it would destroy, again, most of the city. It would, again, destroy a 150 square kilometers of the city easily and that’s only one warhead. There would be many warheads targeted on each of these great cities by the other side.

SS: Now, you wrote that there’s a lack of quality staff in the American nuclear forces. Are you saying nuclear arsenal is not being looked after properly, or is it safe?

Dr.TP: I think, there are very serious problems with the nuclear arsenal at the current time. Basically, what is going on is there is a catastrophic falling of morale among the troops…….

the leadership of the U.S. has domestic – again, I want to underscore this, domestic political, not international, political commitments to doing missile defence. The Congress is deeply committed to it. I think, the big defence companies that do the work wanted to keep their contracts and the American Congress is strongly influenced by the ability of these companies to influence elections through their money. I think the President has not behaved…has not shown leadership in this particular area. He has backed away from his original scepticism, which was well-justified, about the value of these missile defences in terms of their technical capability, and…

The U.S. has vast industrial power, vast wealth. It has shown that it is more than able to engage in irrational military activities, and the Russian military cannot be assured that the U.S. won’t make some kinds of changes in some unforeseen future scenario to this missile defence. So you can have a missile defence, like the Americans have, which technically speaking is a joke –  I want to underscore it, it’s a technical joke in terms of what it can do – but, the Russian military has almost no choice but to treat it as if it is a serious concern. So you get the worst of both worlds. Even from an american point of view – a missile defence that doesn’t work, but is treated by the Russian side as if it works……. http://www.globalresearch.ca/an-accidental-nuclear-war-between-the-u-s-and-russia-is-possible-nuclear-holocaust-in-just-30-minutes-former-us-navy-advisor/5495548

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan-India nuclear deal sounds good, but not likely in practice

Much-feted Indo-Japan nuclear deal isn’t all that it’s made out to be and will mean little when implemented, First Post by Jaideep Prabhu  Dec 13, 2015 News of an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between India and Japan has been met with much fanfare in the Indian media. The announcement came on the second morning of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe’s three-day trip to India to attend the ninth annual India-Japan Summit. Despite the celebratory tone in India, the fine print and context of what was agreed upon between the two nations is less than satisfactory and will mean little in practice.

The nuclear deal has been a sensitive subject between Delhi and Tokyo for the past five years. ………

Japan holds an important position in international nuclear commerce. Over the years, the island nation has developed expertise in manufacturing several critical reactor components of high quality and become a key node in the supply chains of at least three of the major nuclear vendors, namely the French firm Areva and the American firms General Electric and Westinghouse. Among the major players, only Russia’s Rosatom and China’s two major state-run nuclear vendors – China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) – are independent of Japanese components. As per Japan’s strict export controls stipulating end-user certification and other conditions, US and French nuclear firms would first need the permission of their Japanese suppliers before doing business with India. Tokyo’s consonance on nuclear cooperation with India thus achieved a greater import, not to mention the symbolic value India put on such an agreement as an indicator of its nuclear normalisation.

The declaration at the India-Japan Summit falls considerably short of a nuclear deal. The two sides merely signed a memorandum of understanding that has punted the legal and technical differences further down the road. In essence, this means that Japan has only agreed to the principle that it can conclude a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with India, that it will make an exception to its rule of not conducting nuclear commerce with a state that is not a signatory of the NPT. This is progress, no doubt, but what price Japan will extract for its concession in terms of technical requirements or how long the nuclear deal will take to operationalise is anyone’s guess……

Even if India and Japan had succeeded in signing a comprehensive civil nuclear cooperation agreement, the chances of it having much impact on India’s nuclear energy sector are slim. As part of its agreement with the United States, India agreed to bring into force a nuclear liability law like all other states with nuclear facilities. However, Delhi’s interpretation of liability, informed as it was by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, was not in congruence with the international standard that limited damages and made the operator solely responsible for economic compensation.
Consequently, no vendor is willing to enter the Indian nuclear market. Chairman Jeff Immelt stated categorically that he was not willing to expose his company to the risks Indian liability law required of nuclear suppliers, and Areva has slowed down its work at Jaitapur pending further clarifications regarding liability despite signing a pre-engineering agreement for the site with Larsen & Toubro in April 2015. Similarly, Westinghouse has been remarkably silent on its interest in India since January 2015 when US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Narendra Modiachieved an expensive and convoluted workaround on supplier liability by establishing an insurance pool for nuclear vendors……..
Whatever the potential benefits of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan may be, India has not achieved them today. http://www.firstpost.com/world/much-feted-indo-japan-nuclear-deal-isnt-all-that-its-made-out-to-be-and-will-mean-little-when-implemented-2543774.html

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Japan, marketing of nuclear | Leave a comment

Damaging aspects to Japan’s push to sell nuclear reactors to India

Abe,-Shinzo-nuke-1Keep your nuclear power, Mr Shinzo Abe. We can do without a Fukushima, Catch News KUMAR SUNDARAM@pksundaram |12 December 2015

Big deal

  • India, Japan may sign a nuclear deal during Shinzo Abe’s visit
  • The deal will fast-track the French’s nuclear project in Jaitapur
  • It’ll enable supply of key parts for Mithi Virdi, Kovvada plants

Heavy price

  • Jaitapur plant will wreck one of world’s 10 Hottest Biodiversity Hotspots
  • It’ll also destroy the livelihoods of nearly 40,000 people
  • Areva’s reactors, used at Jaitapur, have been flagged for safety concerns

More in the story

  • Post-Fukushima, why is India alone in a mad rush for nuclear power?
  • Two years ago, Shinzo Abe said Fukushima was “under control”. Latest report: radiation is 4,000 times higher

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe arrived in India on 11 December. He came with a bag of goodies – bullet trains, aircraft and, most importantly, nuclear power.

Do we really want his nuclear power?

No, we definitely don’t. Here’s why.  The proposed India-Japan Nuclear Agreement, to be signed during the visit, is more than just a bilateral deal. It’s an instrument to serve American and French nuclear lobbies.

The deal would fast-track the French nuclear giant Areva’s project in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. It’s also crucial for supply of critical equipment to the American nuclear projects in Gujarat’s Mithi Virdi and Andhra Pradesh’ Kovvada.

But that isn’t its most damaging aspect………http://www.catchnews.com/india-news/keep-your-nuclear-power-mr-shinzo-abe-we-can-do-without-a-fukushima-1449883672.html

December 14, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Gloomy prediction for USA’s nuclear industry

new designs are at least 10-30 years away from being commercially viable. “It’s not a technology problem, it’s an engineering and project management problem,” he said. “[Nuclear] is a fundamentally flawed technology.”

“The idea that we would have fusion this century is not credible,” he said. “This is not an engineering problem, it’s a lack of physics understanding

terminal-nuclear-industryThe Outlook For Nuclear Power In The US Really Sucks, Gizmodo, 13 Dec 15  JENNIFER OUELLETTE     “……. what’s really killing nuclear power in this country is garden-variety economics: in the emerging energy market of the 21st century, nuclear just can’t compete — particularly with ultra-cheap natural gas.
“There are a lot of climate scientists talking about how we need nuclear power or we can’t solve climate change,” said Greg Jaczko, a former chair of the NRC who is now a consultant in Washington, DC. “I hear that and I think, well, then we’re never gonna solve climate change, because nuclear power is not gonna do it. We’re not doing today what would need to be done to maintain that massive fleet of reactors in the future.”

It all comes down to the staggering price tag. Every type of electricity generation has associated costs, but to build a nuclear power plant in most states, companies need to put the capital expenditure upfront and absorb that cost for however long it takes to complete construction. That’s usually five to seven years, on average, although even the latest designs have been plagued by significant delays and cost overruns. And we’re talking about a big investment: between $US8 to $US10 billion for a single large plant.

Jaczko estimates that it would cost $US540 ($750) billion to build 90 new plants over the next 20 years — equivalent to the entire Department of Defence budget. Even if you staggered that, building five new plants each year, that still amounts to $US30 ($42) billion per year — equivalent to the entire Department of Energy (DOE) budget. And that’s assuming energy demand stays constant, when it is far more likely to increase.

Koonin acknowledges that construction costs for nuclear plants are heavily front loaded, but he argues that once that considerable initial investment is paid off, there are just operating costs like fuel, maintenance and personnel to contend with. “It’s basically a cash machine,” he told Gizmodo.

Investors don’t seem to share his optimism. “I talk to the kinds of people who finance these projects, and they’re very supportive of the technology, but privately they will tell me, we’d love to go nuclear, but the performance just hasn’t been good enough to justify the capital investment,” said Jaczko. “Nobody is investing in nuclear power plants.”

So how about upgrading existing plants instead? The NRC is doling out licensing extensions bit by bit, but Jaczko is sceptical that this will be a viable solution, since fully 80% of existing plants would need licence extensions to meet the country’s electricity needs. The oldest plants in particular would require expensive refurbishment, and they still would not be able to compete, price-wise, with natural gas. The profit margins just aren’t there. “Bottom line, most [nuclear] plants in the country are going to shut down in two decades or or so,” said Jaczko.

It’s already begun. Entergy shut down its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in January of this year after 42 years in operation, even though it is licensed to operate until 2032. The company is also closing its Fitzpatrick plant in Oswego, New York; that facility is expected to lose around $US40 ($56) million in 2016 alone. Also closing: the Kewaunee facility in Wisconsin and Florida’s Crystal River plant.

In northern Illinois, Excelon will likely be closing its small single reactor plant, even though the NRC agreed to relicense the plant for another 20 years. But it did so on the condition that the plant be refurbished, which could cost as much as $US1 billion. The company can build a shiny new combined cycle gas-fired plant for a comparatively affordable $US500 ($694)-$US600 ($833) million. ……..

There are some innovative new reactor designs on the horizon, such as small modular reactors  — a design favoured by Koonin, and being developed by a startup called NuScale. Then there is TerraPower, a project that Bill Gates is developing with China: it uses sodium as a coolant and depleted uranium as fuel. Thiel is backing a company called Transatomic Power, founded by two MIT graduate students. That design can burn liquid uranium (LWRs burn solid uranium); the startup claims its reactor should be able to run on the spent fuel of other nuclear reactors, thereby addressing the waste storage issue as well.

But Jaczko says new designs are at least 10-30 years away from being commercially viable. “It’s not a technology problem, it’s an engineering and project management problem,” he said. “[Nuclear] is a fundamentally flawed technology.”

And what about fusion? Despite the recent news of an experimental fusion reactor, the Wendelstein 7-X(W7X), starting up on Germany, Rosner — who served on the DOE’s fusion energy advisory committee — insists that the fusion option just isn’t on the table right now. “The idea that we would have fusion this century is not credible,” he said. “This is not an engineering problem, it’s a lack of physics understanding, both for magnetic and inertial fusion.”……

December 14, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment