nuclear-news

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

Safety of Spain’s nuclear reactors is questioned by European Commission

European Commission concerned over Spain’s nuclear power stations http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2016/04/10/european-commission-concerned-over-spains-nuclear-power-stations/

Issues surrounding the safety of older reactors were raised by climate and energy commissioner Miguel Cañete

By Rob Horgan (Reporter 10 Apr, 2016  

CONCERNS over Spain’s nuclear power stations have been aired by the European Commission.

Issues surrounding the safety of older reactors were raised by climate and energy commissioner Miguel Cañete who claims there is a ‘lack of transparency’ when addressing safety issues at Spanish sites.

Cañete’s allegations were sparked after his request for information about a nuclear-waste storage facility in Bilbao was ignored.

“The Commission expects to receive this information under Article 41 of the Euratom treaty, which governs investment projects in this field,” said Arias Cañete. “To date, we haven’t received any communication referring to the possibility of installing a nuclear waste storage facility at the plant.”

Cañete added that Spain had ‘described various measures ensuring transparency’ in its 2014 report on the Nuclear Safety Directive but had failed to live up to its promises.

Advertisements

April 11, 2016 Posted by | safety, Spain | Leave a comment

Pope invites Bernie Sanders to Vatican – similar views on environment, climate change

US election: Bernie Sanders invited to Vatican by Pope, BBC News 10 Apr 16 

  • Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has accepted an invitation from the Pope to the Vatican.

    Mr Sanders, who is Jewish, accepted an invitation to Rome for a conference at the end of next week.

    The Vatican visit is four days before the primary contest in New York, a competitive battle between him and front-runner Hillary Clinton.

    Mr Sanders said he was not sure whether he would meet the Pope but he was a big fan of the pontiff.

    The Vermont senator said they share the same views on inequality.

    “He’s trying to inject this sense of morality into how we do economics… and we need that absolutely desperately.”

    He will attend a conference on social, economic and environmental issues and give a speech on 15 April, his campaign said.8 April 2016…….http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35999269

April 11, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Russian naval officer who saved the world from nuclear war

ethics-nuclearYou (and Almost Everyone You Know) Owe Your Life to This ManCURIOUSLY KRULWICHA Blog by Robert Krulwich NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, FRI, 03/25/2016 “……The world owes an enormous debt to a quiet, steady Russian naval officer who probably saved my life. And yours. And everyone you know. Even those of you who weren’t yet born. I want to tell his story.

The sub is hiding in the ocean, and the Americans are dropping depth charges left and right of the hull. Inside, the sub is rocking, shaking with each new explosion. What the Americans don’t know is that this sub has a tactical nuclear torpedo on board, available to launch, and that the Russian captain is asking himself, Shall I fire?

This actually happened.


The Russian in question, an exhausted, nervous submarine commander named Valentin Savitsky, decided to do it. He ordered the nuclear-tipped missile readied. His second in command approved the order. Moscow hadn’t communicated with its sub for days. Eleven U.S. Navy ships were nearby, all possible targets. The nuke on this missile had roughly the power of the bomb at Hiroshima.

“We’re gonna blast them now!”…….

Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov steps into the story…. He was Savitsky’s equal, the flotilla commander responsible for three Russian subs on this secret mission to Cuba—and he is maybe one of the quietest, most unsung heroes of modern times.

What he said to Savitsky we will never know, not exactly. But, says Thomas Blanton, the former director of the nongovernmental National Security Archive, simply put, this “guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world.”

Arkhipov, described by his wife as a modest, soft-spoken man, simply talked Savitsky down.

The exact details are controversial. The way it’s usually told is that each of the three Soviet submarine captains in the ocean around Cuba had the power to launch a nuclear torpedo if—and only if—he had the consent of all three senior officers on board. On his sub, Savitsky gave the order and got one supporting vote, but Arkhipov balked. He wouldn’t go along.

He argued that this was not an attack……

The debate between the captain and Arkhipov took place in an old, diesel-powered submarine designed for Arctic travel but stuck in a climate that was close to unendurable. And yet, Arkhipov kept his cool. After their confrontation, the missile was not readied for firing. Instead, the Russian sub rose to the surface, where it was met by a U.S. destroyer. The Americans didn’t board. There were no inspections, so the U.S. Navy had no idea that there were nuclear torpedos on those subs—and wouldn’t know for around 50 years, when the former belligerents met at a 50th reunion. Instead, the Russians turned away from Cuba and headed north, back to Russia……..

the world is very, very lucky that at one critical moment, someone calm enough, careful enough, and cool enough was there to say no. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/25/you-and-almost-everyone-you-know-owe-your-life-to-this-man/

April 11, 2016 Posted by | Religion and ethics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Innovation’ – greenwash buzzword from the nuclear lobby

Innovating Canadian Nuclear Greenwash, Graham’s Green Design, 9 Apr 16 

“…..We need to focus and invest on green solutions that will deliver the best ROI* for Canada, not what is being sold as green. Is government doing enough? For now, I do not think so.

With climate change neatly spotlighted in the Justin Trudeau showcase of environmental spending, a lot of money is leaving fossil fuels and innovating towards green energy. Even the big dogs are buying into solar and wind energy, even after the big dogs were recommending another Stephen Harper Government for Canada. Funny how those that fought green energy are now buying in and getting grants with our tax dollars. Should Canada allow corporations that fought climate, pollution and basic economics benefit from Canada’s new manifesto? Can we trust groups that thoughtlessly delayed critical action? Is it smart to risk our only chance to succeed with teaming up with the groups that delayed and fought all progress?

Greenwash?

When it comes to green energy, the next generation in poor ideas is being touted as a climate saviour — the same folks that denied climate change two years ago are now recommending nuclear energy as a solution for climate change. Big nuclear has been quietly patient. Nuclear energy has a carbon footprint that’s hidden — just because there are no smokestacks doesn’t mean complex analysis finds nuclear energy is a poor long-term solution. As I say on Twitter, “#DoTheMath“. The nuclear lobby has been quietly doing the green dance, waiting for the next gravy wave to cut-in with their “green” climate solution.

I have noticed the nuclear lobby slowly working the room for the past 5 years, minting new cheerleaders, some asserting that #Fukushima had no health impacts. One nuclear troll even asserted that nuclear pollution doesn’t hurt people — wow. Aside from nuclear being more expensive, having a larger carbon footprint than renewables, the large grid model of modern energy distribution seems to be obsolete. Large generation and large transmission seem elegant by design, but are expensive, and less profitable, versus smaller local distributed generation that leverage green energy storage systems and #smartgrid energy management technology. …….

I am glad that Justin Trudeau didn’t announce big investments in new nuclear, but the nuclear lobby is still working our room. Recently hearing Paul Wells spoke at the Canadian Nuclear dog and pony show — mostly smearing Justin Trudeau, he fails to make a clear case for nuclear energy. A ten year old girl can probably tell you why solar energy is cleaner than fossilfuels, but Paul doesn’t seem to have a home run case for nuclear — telling……

I noticed Paul didn’t provide any hard metrics to quickly and clearly demonstrate why nuclear is a superior choice for Canada. Has Paul been reading up on a nuclear greenwash site? I respect his consideration towards improving climate and energy security, but being in a position of influence, I thought he would bring a strong argument — missing, just cheerleading from what I saw.

I thought his endorsement was weak. It isn’t easy to compare solar, wind, and nuclear energy, I will give Paul Wells that. Seeing his talk empty of any valid analysis makes me wonder how he came to his conclusions. Is Paul using the latest in LEAN Manufacturing Business Intelligence systems? Does Paul think it’s Justin Trudeau’s responsibility to help support the future failure of nuclear energy? We see fossil fuels suffering this fate now, can’t compete on price — green is cheaper and doesn’t create pollution while generating energy.

When it comes to comparing nuclear to the “others”, it’s smart to remember that big nuclear is being idled in America as it’s not cost competitive with mixed energy markets. Nuclear loses money when competition is added. For me, a manufacturing specialist, it is easy to understand why nuclear is more expensive — more complexity, security & risk equals a higher cost of energy delivery. Understanding how big nuclear energy is a poor fit in future mixed energy markets is a good method to see that nuclear isn’t green, it’s greenwash. http://www.grahamsgreendesign.com/blog/2016/3/3/green-vs-greenwash-nuclear-toronto-canada-design-innovation-climate-security-cities

April 11, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australia reduces aid to Africa, while promoting dodgy mining companies there

Last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report called Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining Companies Digging a Deadly Footprint in Africa. It reported that Australian mining companies were the most rapidly expanding of all mining investors in Africa. From 2000 to 2009, prospecting licences held by Australian companies in Botswana alone increased from 14 to 260.

According to the report, Australian mining companies were responsible for multiple cases of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa. It claims that since 2004 more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in offsite skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in 13 countries in Africa.

In comparison with Australia, African tax regulations are relatively flexible, while wages and working conditions, environmental protection, and occupational health and safety laws are weak.

Last year Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Australian government would actively promote the interests of the mining sector ahead of economic aid to Africa.

Australian miners in South Africa  In the wake of a local activist’s murder, Australian mining interests in Africa are being called into question.  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/resources/2016/04/09/australian-miners-south-africa/14601240003106  PHILLIP WALKER 9 Apr 16   Thee assassination of South African community activist Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Radebe was shocking but sadly not surprising.

On the night of his death – March 22 – Radebe had warned his colleagues in the Amadiba Crisis Committee of a hit list. An hour later, two men masquerading as police arrived at Radebe’s house and shot him eight times in the head.

Radebe had been opposing titanium mining at Xolobeni, on the ancestral land of the Pondo people on South Africa’s east coast. The mining company involved is Australian-based Mineral Commodities Limited.

At Radebe’s funeral last weekend, Chief Cinani, representing the Queen and the Royal House of the amaMpondo, criticised the government’s acceptance of Australian investment and investment from the Indian business family the Guptas. “I am blaming the government because the government gave permits for those Australians, while people were saying ‘no’ to the government . It is clear that the business community is ruling the government. It is not only about the Guptas. Now we have seen the Australians. People are coming here with huge sums of money to divide the people.”

Through its director, Mark Caruso, Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC) and its South African subsidiary, Transworld Energy & Minerals Resources (TEM), have long been in dispute with the Amadiba community. The latest tragedy marks an escalation of hostility in a conflict now entering its 10th year.

There were hopes that the international condemnation drawn by the assassination of Radebe might stem the violence, but it is now alleged that after Radebe’s funeral “pro-mining thugs” assaulted three journalists.

Following the killing of Radebe, Caruso issued a statement on behalf of MRC declaring that it was “in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this incident … This company will not engage in any activity that incites violence.” The Saturday Paper does not suggest Caruso had any involvement in Radebe’s death or any other illegality.

In an email sent last October regarding a taxi contract for the Tormin mine, however, Caruso said he felt “enlivened by the opportunity to grind all resistance to the [sic] my presence and the presence of MSR [another MRC subsidiary] into the animals [sic] of history as a failed campaign.”

In the same email, he cited Ezekiel 25:17: “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.”

Elsewhere, he raged against the “group of colluding malfeasant, recalcitrant people and groups who chose to use underhanded nefarious elements to achieve their self-interested objectives”.

The correspondence ended: “It is easier to support us, than work against us.”

The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has reported MRC’s Tormin mine, on South Africa’s west coast, for several contraventions including mining in no-go areas and the use of unauthorised roads. MRC also stands accused of poor environmental practices by allowing a cliff face to collapse, and engaging in substandard land rehabilitation.

At both Tormin and Xolobeni, evidence suggests that MRC and its South African subsidiary are creating communities at war with themselves. Families, communities and tribal authorities are pitted against each other through the selective allocation of benefits and favours.

During a public consultation, subheadman elder Samson Gampe captured local feeling when he declared: “A cow that is a stranger in the herd is always chased by the rest of the herd by showing it horns. This is what we have done today, to tell the world that people of Kwanyana do not want this foreign ‘cow’ – this mining proposal … We need a proposal that brings us together, not the one that brings us conflict.”

Through Transworld Energy & Minerals Resources, MRC seeks to mine 2900 hectares at Xolobeni on South Africa’s Wild Coast. The Amadiba Crisis Committee, representing the local community, has blocked mining licence applications on environmental and ownership grounds.

The communal land in question is held in trust by the minister of land reform on behalf of local residents under communal land tenure. The crisis committee is committed to community-owned ecotourism as a more viable option for themselves and the land. Permission to mine one of the five “blocks” was rescinded on appeal last year…….

Last year, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a report called Fatal Extraction: Australian Mining Companies Digging a Deadly Footprint in Africa. It reported that Australian mining companies were the most rapidly expanding of all mining investors in Africa. From 2000 to 2009, prospecting licences held by Australian companies in Botswana alone increased from 14 to 260.

According to the report, Australian mining companies were responsible for multiple cases of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa. It claims that since 2004 more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in offsite skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in 13 countries in Africa.

Among the most notorious incidents is the case of Anvil Mining in south-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2005 Anvil vehicles transported Congolese troops under the command of Colonel “Double-Bladed Knife” Ademar to the village of Kilwa, which had been taken the previous day by rebels.

Most villagers had already fled by the time Colonel Ademar’s troops arrived, and the rebels fled within hours. There were reports that Ademar ordered, “Kill everything that breathes.” It is known that 73 men, women and children were summarily murdered.

Following public outcry, Anvil issued a statement saying: “The DRC military requested access to Anvil’s air services and vehicles, to facilitate troop movements in response to the rebel activity. Anvil had no option but to agree to the request”.

Neither Anvil Mining nor any employee has been found guilty of any crime.

In comparison with Australia, African tax regulations are relatively flexible, while wages and working conditions, environmental protection, and occupational health and safety laws are weak. Mining companies attribute conflict to corrupt or brutal officials, or to local issues, rather than acknowledge the role of the mine in these conflicts.

Many mining companies are tempted to use their association with Australia and its friendly reputation to gain a competitive advantage while avoiding the ethical and operational standards that prevail within Australia.

Last year Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that the Australian government would actively promote the interests of the mining sector ahead of economic aid to Africa.

“Australia’s aid program has been reshaped in line with our belief that the best way to help countries grow their economies and improve the living standards of their people is to focus on prosperity…” she said. “Mining has made, and continues to make, a substantial contribution to economic development and poverty alleviation in Africa.”

Australian aid to Africa has been slashed since 2014. The mining sector is the only remaining means for Australian embassies to build relationships and promote their public profile in Africa. Even the remnants of the scholarship scheme named Australia Awards have been aligned to suit the mining sector.

Last year, at the Africa Down Under mining conference held in Perth, it was claimed that in Africa “ground discoveries made by Australian companies amount to $687 billion of value”, while investment was only 10 per cent of that amount. Clearly there is significant profit to be made mining in Africa.

While most mining companies may operate in accordance with national laws and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – the minimal standards apply – outrages such as the murder of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Radebe undermine any promotional value Australia may seek to achieve.

In his funeral oration, Chief Cinani said: “There is no crisis which can take more than 10 years. A crisis should take place for quite a short time and then the authorities should resolve the problem. The King has said, ‘This must stop.’ Today we are here to say Bazooka has died with the key in his hand, so whoever would like to continue this must go and dig the key from his grave. He has gone with it. That simply means there will be no mining here.”

April 11, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Murder of South African activist: Australian mining company denies involvement

Australian mining company denies role in murder of South African activist
Campaigners claim death of Sikhosiphi Rhadebe is an escalation of violence against opponents of a mine owned by Perth’s Mineral Commodities Limited
, Guardian, , 25 Mar 16  An Australian-owned mining company has denied any link to the murder of an activist leading a campaign against its plans to mine titanium in South Africa.

Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was gunned down at his home in Xolobeni on South Africa’s Wild Coast on Tuesday, in what fellow activists claimed was an escalation of violence and intimidation against local opponents of a mine owned by Perth-based Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC).

MRC, which has repeatedly denied inciting violence involving its supporters, said it was “in no way implicated in any form whatsoever in this incident”.

Mzamo Dlamini is a fellow activist who believes he is among the “prime targets” on the anti-mining Amadiba crisis committee following Rhadebe’s death.

Despite fearing for his life, Dlamini vowed to continue organising resistance to a project that campaigners said would force the relocation of an estimated 100 households and up to 1,000 people.

“The assassination affects us all,” he said. “There will be more Bazookas long after we have died.”

Six people associated with the mining venture were subject to court orders last May after a clash over land access, during which a TEM director fired a “warning shot” in the air.

Four people, including an alleged employee of another MRC mine at Tormin, are due to face court next month over alleged assault and intimidation, including with firearms, of mining opponents in Xolobeni in December. These allegations are yet to come before a court and there is no suggestion these or any other employees were involved in Rhadebe’s murder……..

Lawyer Henk Smith of the Legal Resources Centre, which has acted for landholders opposing MRC’s Tormin mine, said the killing of Rhadebe, a “principled democrat”, had likely ended the prospect of conciliation meetings between the miner and its opponents.

“I think the company has made a few statements condemning the violence but it comes after the event and the company has never taken any steps to encourage conciliation or mediation or consultation even a meeting,” Smith said.

“In fact the company shies away from meeting the community which as a result, there’ll be little chance of simply starting a process of meetings now.

“The company is in effect refusing to accept that it’s got to negotiate with the community and are relying on an interpretation of the law in South Africa that they must consult affected people about mitigation of environmental impact and their responsibility goes no further.

“For the rest, they’ve got [to] swallow what the company offers.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/mar/25/australian-mining-company-denies-role-in-of-south-african-activist

April 11, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment