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September 2 Energy News



¶ Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland have joined forces to advance the development of ocean energy technology by forming a new collaborative network. Separate agencies from each of the three countries formed the Ocean Power Innovation Network in Dublin. [reNews]

SXC image SXC image

¶ Average power supply delivered to the UK grid was the lowest on record in August. The increase in embedded generation capacity and improved energy efficiency measures combined to cut the amount of demand the transmission system was required to meet. [Argus Media]

¶ Construction on one of India’s largest, if not the largest, solar park is expected to being soon. The Minister for Energy in the southern state of Karnataka told media outlets that construction on the proposed 5-GW Pavagada solar park will begin there soon. [CleanTechnica]

An 11.5-MW solar array in India. Photo by Citizenmj. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons. An 11.5-MW solar array in India. Photo by Citizenmj.
CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia…

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September 2, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Typhoons cause ‘ice wall’ to melt at Fukushima nuclear plant


Workers examine pipes for the wall of frozen soil at the embattled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Rainfall from recent typhoons caused partial melting of the “ice wall” at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, allowing highly radioactive water to leak from around the damaged reactor buildings, the plant’s operator said Sept. 1.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said melting occurred at two sections of the ice wall, which is designed to divert groundwater away from the reactor buildings.

TEPCO officials believe that during the latest typhoon, contaminated water from around the reactor buildings flowed through openings of the ice wall created by the deluge and reached downstream toward the sea.

The groundwater level near a seaside impermeable wall temporarily rose to 28 centimeters below the ground surface when Typhoon No. 10 passed the area on Aug. 30.

Before the typhoon hit, the water level was 35 cm below the surface.

Around 5.5 cm of rainfall a day fell in the area when the typhoon hit.

The groundwater level, however, actually rose by 7 cm, although 740 tons of groundwater was pumped out of the section.

If there had been an additional 15 cm of rain, (the contaminated water) could have poured out over the ground surface” and spilled into the sea, a TEPCO official said Sept. 1.

The Meteorological Agency’s initial forecast said Typhoon No. 10 would bring a maximum 20 cm of rain a day at some locations in the Tohoku region.

The 34.5-billion-yen ($335 million) frozen wall was completed in spring to prevent groundwater from entering the reactor buildings and mixing with highly radioactive water.

TEPCO admitted the underground wall of frozen dirt is not working.

The company said the temperatures at the two sections of the frozen wall have climbed above zero since Typhoon No. 7 approached Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 17.

The company believes that the partial melting was caused by the influx of water brought by the typhoons and heavy rain in between.

TEPCO plans to freeze the wall again by pouring chemicals into pipes that extend underground.

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

Ban to be lifted on Fukushima’s worst-affected zone in 2022


A barrier set up at the difficult-to-return zone as Typhoon No. 10 approaches Okuma, which co-hosts the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, in Fukushima Prefecture on Aug. 30


Some of the most contaminated areas of Fukushima Prefecture rendered uninhabitable by the 2011 nuclear disaster will be declared safe to live in again in 2022.

The government’s decision to lift the partial ban on repatriation to the “difficult-to-return zone” was announced Aug. 31 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a joint meeting of the government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters and Reconstruction Promotion Council.

By 2022, the area’s 24,000 or so residents will have been displaced for more than a decade and there is no way of knowing how many will choose to return to their hometowns.

The difficult-to-return zone encompasses seven municipalities situated in a 20-kilometer radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as well as a spur of land northwest of the radius.

Partial lifting of the ban, in the eyes of the government, is reasonable as “radiation levels in the zone have dropped” even though no decommissioning work has been done there.

The government said the move is aimed at bolstering efforts to rebuild the prefecture, adding that leaving the zone intact would only perpetuate negative images of the area and sully the reputation of local products.

The ban will initially be lifted for areas where local government buildings, train stations and community halls are located, and eventually the rest of the zone.

There was no word, however, on how many years it will take for that to happen.

The government envisages enacting a law to designate areas earmarked as rebuilding hubs so as to encourage residents to return. The government will try to give priority to decisions by local officials as to which areas fall into that category.

In preparation for the lifting of the partial ban, the government will start extensive decontamination work in the zone from fiscal 2017, which begins next April.

The government estimates it would take 1 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) to clean up the entire zone, and is balking at making such an outlay on grounds of time and cost.

Even if the operation done on a limited basis, it is bound to come with a hefty price tag.

Funds needed for construction of housing and makeshift shops in the hub areas will be set aside in the government’s budget, starting from fiscal 2017.

According to government officials, some municipalities will likely to set up more than one rebuilding hub.

But one of the villages in the zone may end up having no hub at all due to depopulation.

A 2015 survey by the Reconstruction Agency found that the share of displaced people from Okuma, Futaba, Namie and Tomioka who expressed their intention to return to their hometowns varied from 11.4 percent to 17.8 percent. While the ratio was 32.8 percent for Iitate, no figures were available for Katsurao and Minami-Soma.

1 sept 2016.jpg

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Underground Ice Wall – Japan’s gamble to contain Fukushima’s irradiated water

Even if the ice wall works, Tepco will face the herculean task of dealing with the huge amounts of contaminated water that have accumulated.

water tanks Fukushima 16
Japan’s $320 Million Gamble at Fukushima: An Underground Ice Wal
NYT  By MARTIN FACKLER, AUG. 29, 2016 FUKUSHIMA DAIICHI NUCLEAR POWER STATION — The part above ground doesn’t look like much, a few silver pipes running in a straight line, dwarfed by the far more massive, scarred reactor buildings nearby.

More impressive is what is taking shape unseen beneath: an underground wall of frozen dirt 100 feet deep and nearly a mile in length, intended to solve a runaway water crisis threatening the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan.

Officially named the Land-Side Impermeable Wall, but better known simply as the ice wall, the project sounds like a fanciful idea from science fiction or a James Bond film. But it is about to become a reality in an ambitious, and controversial, bid to halt an unrelenting flood of groundwater into the damaged reactor buildings since the disaster five years ago when an earthquake and a tsunami caused a triple meltdown.

Built by the central government at a cost of 35 billion yen, or some $320 million, the ice wall is intended to seal off the reactor buildings within a vast, rectangular-shaped barrier of man-made permafrost. If it becomes successfully operational as soon as this autumn, the frozen soil will act as a dam to block new groundwater from entering the buildings. It will also help stop leaks of radioactive water into the nearby Pacific Ocean, which have decreased significantly since the calamity but may be continuing However, the ice wall has also been widely criticized as an expensive and overly complex solution that may not even work. Such concerns re-emerged this month after the plant’s operator announced that a section that was switched on more than four months ago had yet to fully freeze. Some also warn that the wall, which is electrically powered, may prove as vulnerable to natural disasters as the plant itself, which lost the ability to cool its reactors after the 45-foot tsunami caused a blackout there.

The reactor buildings are vulnerable to an influx of groundwater because of how the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, built the plant in the 1960s, by cutting away a hillside to place it closer to the sea, so the plant could pump in water more easily. That also put the buildings in contact with a deep layer of permeable rock filled with water, mostly rain and melted snow from the nearby Abukuma Mountains, that flows to the Pacific.

The buildings managed to keep the water out until the accident on March 11, 2011. Either the natural disasters themselves, or the explosive meltdowns of three of the plant’s six reactors that followed, are believed to have cracked the buildings’ basements, Once inside, the water becomes highly radioactive, impeding efforts to eventually dismantle the plant. During the accident, the uranium fuel grew so hot that some of it is believed to have melted through the reactor’s steel floors and possibly into the basement underneath, though no one knows exactly where it lies. The continual flood of radioactive water has prevented engineers from searching for the fuel.
Since the accident, five robots sent into the reactor buildings have failed to return because of high radiation levels and obstruction from debris.

The water has also created a waste-management nightmare because Tepco must pump it out into holding tanks as quickly as it enters the buildings, to prevent it from overflowing into the Pacific. The company says that it has built more than 1,000 tanks that now hold more than 800,000 tons of radioactive water, enough to fill more than 320 Olympic-size swimming pools.

On a recent visit to the plant, workers were busily erecting more durable, welded tanks to replace the temporary ones thrown up in a hurry during the early years after the accident, some of which have leaked. Every available patch of space on the sprawling plant grounds now appears to be filled with 95-foot tanks.

“We have to escape from this cycle of ever more water building up inside the plant,” said Yuichi Okamura, a general manager of Tepco’s nuclear power division who guided a reporter through Fukushima Daiichi. About 7,000 workers are employed in the cleanup.

The ice wall is a high-technology bid to break that cycle by installing what might be the world’s largest freezer. Continue reading

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016, Reference | Leave a comment

Dangerous transport of radioactive wastes – legal action against this

radiation-truckThe nuclear waste is a byproduct of the process used at the Chalk River laboratories to create medical radioisotopes from highly enriched uranium originally produced in the U.S. It’s being shipped back to the U.S. as part of a 2010 agreement to repatriate the radioactive material, costing the Canadian government about US$60 million.

According to the U.S. lawsuit filed Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C., the thick yellowy-green liquid being shipped contains highly enriched uranyl nitrate, highly enriched uranium, radioactive varieties of cesium, niobium, zirconium, rhodium, rubidium, iodine, xenon, tellurium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, strontium, praseodymium, neodymium, europium, neptunium and plutonium. 

legal action
Niagara on nuclear waste route, Welland Tribune, By ALLAN BENNER,
 August 31, 2016 Trucks loaded with liquid nuclear waste could be rolling down highways within days — likely travelling through Niagara on their way into the U.S.

But seven American environmental groups have teamed up to launch a lawsuit against the United States government and its Department of Energy (DoE) in the hope of stopping the shipments before they begin.

A November 2015 DoE report, which concluded that an environmental impact statement on the plan would not be necessary, says up to 150 shipments of liquid nuclear waste will be hauled by transport truck from Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont., a community near Algonquin Park, to a disposal site in Savannah River, S.C., 1,700 kilometres south.

Each shipment will include four 58.1-litre stainless steel containers, for a total of 232 litres of nuclear waste per trip. Those containers will be placed inside cylindrical steel nuclear transport casks, which will then be loaded into typical shipping containers and loaded onto trucks. The project is expected to continue for several years.

The nuclear waste is a byproduct of the process used at the Chalk River laboratories to create medical radioisotopes from highly enriched uranium originally produced in the U.S. It’s being shipped back to the U.S. as part of a 2010 agreement to repatriate the radioactive material, costing the Canadian government about US$60 million.

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Gracia Janes, environment convener for the National Council of Women of Canada who has lobbied against the plan, described the material being transported as “absolutely deadly stuff.”

According to the U.S. lawsuit filed Aug. 12 in Washington, D.C., the thick yellowy-green liquid being shipped contains highly enriched uranyl nitrate, highly enriched uranium, radioactive varieties of cesium, niobium, zirconium, rhodium, rubidium, iodine, xenon, tellurium, barium, lanthanum, cerium, strontium, praseodymium, neodymium, europium, neptunium and plutonium.

Although environmental groups believe shipments could begin in September, that information could not be confirmed.

It’s classified……….

Higgins is concerned about the use of the Peace Bridge in the proposed route, one of the busiest border crossings between the two countries. “It’s only three lanes,” he said. “Consequently, trucks are stuck on the bridge idling for inordinate periods of time.”

Niagara’s regional council has taken a stand on the issue, too. On June 11, 2015, councillors ratified a motion opposing any shipment of radioactive liquid waste, and urging the governments of Canada and the U.S. to halt the shipment of high-level radioactive liquid waste pending the outcome of public consultations on the advisability and the potential adverse impacts of the proposed shipments, as well as alternative procedures.

Lincoln regional Coun. Bill Hodgson said he was concerned at the time the motion was passed, but he’s “more alarmed now that it seems that it’s imminent, and really no one with authority has stepped forward and said, ‘Let’s rethink the movement of this stuff.’” “This is a really toxic soup. This is not kid’s play,” he said.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati shares the concerns about the plans……..

if one of those containers were to break, Janes said it would be a disaster. “If it did break open, if it did get down to what’s in there, it’s radioactive material that would take an awfully long time — thousands of years — to actually disappear, if it ever does disappear,” said Janes, who first brought the issue to regional council’s attention during a delegation in February 2015.

“It would go into the groundwater and it could be in a community. We’re not sure where it’s going,” she said. “Or there could be a fire, and it could be sending off plumes of we don’t know what.”

She said it’s “not quite Chernobyl, but I don’t know.”

The November 2015 DoE report also looked at worst-case scenarios, including the potential for radioactive liquid to spill on the ground after highway collisions……

Gervais, however, said he doesn’t believe facilities exist at Chalk River to convert the liquid material to solid.

Kamps said the shipments are unprecedented.  “Never before has highly radioactive liquid waste been transported in North America,” he said.

September 2, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

North Korea’s grandiose plans for ‘nuclear backpack’ squad, and giant submarine

flag-N-KoreaNorth Korea trains its elite soldiers to use ‘nuclear backpacks’ as individual bombs as it emerges Kim Jong Un wants to build a 3,000 tonne submarine

  • North Korea training ‘outstanding’ troops to join ‘nuclear backpack’ squad
  • They would be ordered to infiltrate South and set off bombs in event of war
  • Pyongyang has tested a submarine-launched missile for the first time
  • Kim Jong Un also wants to built a giant 3,000 tonne submarine 


North Korea is training its elite soldiers to smuggle ‘nuclear backpacks’ across the border with the South before detonating their individual bombs.   Troops from the People’s Army will be trained to enter enemy territory and, in the event of war, unleash their own nuclear bomb. Sources within the secretive country say ‘outstanding’ military personnel have been selected to join the battalion.

It comes as it emerged Kim Jong Un is planning to build a giant 3,000 tonne submarine made from old Russian submarine parts. Defector Kim Heung-kwang claimed the dictator has ordered the huge vessel to be completed by October, 2017. The huge submarine will be capable of carrying four ballistic missiles which can be launched from the vessel.

Meanwhile, there are also plans to create a unit of soldiers capable of carrying their own nuclear weapons. It has yet to be clarified whether Pyongyang intends the unit to be a suicide squad similar to Japanese Kamikaze pilots who attacked warships in the Second World War.

According to Radio Free Asia, formation of the units has been taking place since March and is stationed in the North Hamgyong province. It added that dummy bombs used for training purposes weigh between 22lbs and 62 lbs and rather than generating huge explosions, the back pack bombs would be designed to spray radioactive material over a large area.

News of the unit emerged as it was revealed that North Korea has made considerable progress this year on weapons technology, including testing a submarine-launched missile for the first time.

However, it’s still not clear if the isolated nation has developed a nuclear warhead. It also does not yet have a fleet of submarines that can launch the newly developed missile……….

September 2, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK plans nuclear reactors of 3 different types – a recipe for failure

poster renewables not nuclearThe special treatment the UK is granting to nuclear projects fails to take account of the fact that UK-subsidy 2016energy markets are undergoing a period of rapid change, “a revolution, not an evolution,” Schneider said. Electricity generation is going in the direction of ever smaller, more decentralized equipment like rooftop solar, integrated horizontally in networks. Nuclear, in Schneider’s view, represents an out-dated, over-priced paradigm of centralized power generation and distribution

flag-UKPuzzling path to new UK nuclear power stations, DW, 2 Sep 16 The UK plans to build several new nuclear reactors – of three different types, oddly, including a Franco-German design that has gone radically over-budget elsewhere. That’s a recipe for high costs, critics say. Over the past several years, a number of companies have put forth applications to build new nuclear reactors in the UK. But none have started construction, and now, there’s some doubt whether any of them will go forward. Continue reading

September 2, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC) – strong petition against $19.2 billion nuclear power plant

the $19 billion Unit 3 is being built above an earthquake fault.

 text-NoFlag-USAThe Dangerous Nuclear Plant Rising on DC’s Doorstep by JOHN LAFORGE, Dominion Virginia Power, a section of the giant utility Dominion, is proceeding unlawfully with construction of its $19-billion-plus power reactor 80 miles from Washington, DC — called North Anna 3 — and must get formal approval from the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) before it can continue, according to a petition filed August 30th by the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council (VCCC;), a nonprofit group based in Elliston, Va.

The group’s “Petition for a Declaratory Judgment” says in part: “At an estimated total cost of at least $19.2 billion, North Anna 3 would be the most expensive power [reactor] ever built in the United States and could raise customers’ rates by 26 % or more according to the Virginia Attorney General.  While Dominion claims that North Anna 3 is needed for compliance with the federal Clean Power Plan, it would be far costlier than the low-carbon alternative of combined renewables, demand-side management, and efficiency … Dominion has not complied with Virginia law by failing to seek SCC approval before making expenditures on project development and beginning preliminary construction of North Anna 3.” Continue reading

September 2, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Philippines bishop, climate movement, oppose revival of mothballed nuclear plant

Philippines: Alarm sounded over revival of mothballed nuclear plant,  A diocese in the northern Philippines has voiced opposition to a government plan to revive a nuclear power plant constructed in the 1970s.

The Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Morong in Bataan province was constructed during the term of former president Ferdinand Marcos. Costing US$.2.3 billion by the time of its completion in 1984, it remains intact though never fueled. Successive governments have not tried to operate the plant after studies revealed it was built near a major geological fault line and lies close to the then dormant Mount Pinatubo volcano.

“We don’t want to put the lives of people in danger … we don’t want our sources of livelihood destroyed,” read a pastoral letter issued by Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. “The diocese has already spoken on this, and we are again making our position known,” said Bishop Santos “For us, life is more precious than profit or money that will come from cheap electricity” he added and “we want to take care of God’s creation in response to His call to take care, not destroy and abuse creation”. Bishop Santos said the government should tap other sources of energy instead of reviving the nuclear plant.

The proposal to revive the plant came during a three-day international conference this week to discuss the prospects of nuclear power in the Asia-Pacific region. Philippine Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told journalists on the sidelines of the conference that the country should consider nuclear power to address power shortages and the high cost of electricity. Cusi said the government is already working on a road map and consulting experts on nuclear power.

The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice said that while nuclear energy is not a major contributor to climate change it poses “more danger to humanity than any kind of calamity or disaster known.” The faith-based group warned that the Philippines, with its high poverty incidence, “cannot withstand the disaster that may be brought about by a nuclear accident.”

A safety inquiry in the 1980s, revealed that the Bataan nuclear plant had over 4,000 defects.

September 2, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Philippines | Leave a comment

Disunity in Philippines Senate over revival of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

Senators divided on revival of Bataan Nuclear Power Plant August 31, 2016  By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News  Senators have opposing positions on the possibility of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) being revived to ensure the long-term supply of energy in the country.

At the hearing of the Senate committee on energy Wednesday, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi said he was in favor of reviving the 620-megawatt nuclear plant, declaring that it was “safe for use.”

“I have a bias. If I will make a decision, I will open it but it’s not for me to decide, it’s for the country to decide,” Cusi told the committee.

While Cusi assured that we have sufficient supply, reviving the Bataan plant would beef up power reserves, lowering the risk of parts of the country being placed under yellow and red alerts as what happened in recent months………

But Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the energy committee, opposed the plan, saying the needed $1-billion investment to refurbish the power plant would be better spent on “more feasible generation projects.”

Gatchalian added that the BNPP’s location atop a geological fault makes it a safety hazard for the entire Luzon island group.

He said the plant, built four decades ago, was simply outdated……..

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Iran still hindered by USA sanctions, following nuclear deal

Ryabkov Says U.S. Sanctions Continue To Hinder Iran After Nuclear Deal, Radio Free Europe September 01, 2016  The United States has carried out its part of the Iranian nuclear deal, but unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran have remained in place and are a “big hindrance” for Tehran, a top Russian diplomat told TASS.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is visiting Tehran, told TASS on August 31 that the U.S. administration has implemented “from start to finish” everything envisaged by last year’s agreement, “but it hasn’t moved any further.”

“All the so-called unilateral sanctions that existed before an agreement was reached with Iran have stayed in place,” he said.

“These unilateral sanctions are a big hindrance,” he said. “Any deal serviced in dollars goes through corresponding controlling agencies of the United States and can be suspended.”

Despite the removal of most international sanctions against Iran, Ryabkov said European and Asian businesses continue to be cautious about dealing with Iran and as a result, “deals are fewer than one would want to see.”

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

‘secret exemptions’ for Iran in nuclear agreement?

diplomacy-not-bombsflag-IranU.S., partners allowed ‘secret’ exemptions in nuclear agreement for Iran to meet sanctions deadline,   Big News Network, 1 Sep 16, WASHINGTON, U.S. – Reports reveal that the U.S. and its negotiating partners agreed “in secret” to allow Iran to evade some restrictions from last year’s nuclear agreement so it can meet deadlines for relief on economic sanctions.

According to reports, the U.S. and five negotiating partners agreed to allow Iran to keep more low-enriched uranium (LEU) and other nuclear materials than agreed upon, so that the country could be in compliance with the deal by the January deadline.

Another exemption was also made for an undisclosed amount of 20 per cent enriched uranium, described as “lab contaminant.” President of the think tank Institute for Science and International Security, former UN weapons inspector David Albright said that “the exemptions or loopholes are happening in secret, and it appears that they favour Iran.”

The decision was made by an oversight committee which included representatives from the five permanent United Nations Security Council nations, France, Russia, China, U.K., and U.S., along with Germany and Iran, dubbed collectively as the “P5+1.”

Had the exemptions not been allowed, Iran would have failed to comply with the January deadline, forcing the P5+1 powers to keep the sanctions in place.

Further, the report also makes claims that Iran was secretly permitted to maintain 19 radiation containment chambers, or “hot cells”, which violated the terms of the nuclear deal.

Iran was also relieved from having to sell off its excess heavy water, despite a clause in the agreement that the Islamic country should reduce its stores below 130 tons, and allowed it to store excess abroad.

Meanwhile, Iran is expected to build two new nuclear power stations, with aid from Russia, in Iran’s southern city of Bushehr.

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said, “Operations to build two new nuclear power plants in Bushehr will start on Sept. 10.”

He added, “We will save 22 million barrels of oil per year by building these two power plants,” and continued, “In the cooperation contract with the Russians, the emphasis has been laid on making use of technical capabilities of Iran for implementation of the project.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $10 billion.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that global businesses were still wary of the effect of the remaining U.S. sanctions on Iran and that the commission monitoring the implementation of the joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should address the issue.

He said, “We agree with the conclusions which our Iranian friends make, namely that some countries who participated very prominently while the talks were ongoing, now at the phase of implementation, I would use the word, (they are) stuck in their position of not removing obstacles which have been created by themselves through their national legislations, through their national decisions which do not allow for an even more active result-oriented and advanced economic and trade cooperation between Iran and the rest of the world.”

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Israel under pressure from UN to ratify nuclear test ban treaty

flag-IsraelUN urges Israel to ratify nuclear test ban treaty, Praising regional impact of Iran deal, top official calls on Jerusalem to officially adopt moratorium on atomic testing  BY EDITH M. LEDERER September 1, 2016,  UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Israel should ratify the nuclear test ban treaty within five years — and Iran should also ratify but the timing is uncertain, the head of the UN organization established to implement the treaty said Wednesday.

Lassina Zerbo said in an interview with The Associated Press that Israel should be the next key country to ratify the treaty and he hopes it takes less than five years. “I’m putting five years as the longest it should take now based on the positive sign that I’m seeing from Israel,” said Zerbo, who met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time during a visit there in June.

He cited the impact of last year’s Iran nuclear deal in the Middle East for “creating the confidence-building conditions in the region to help others to move forward.” Zerbo said he has met Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif several times and the Iranians participate very actively in the test ban organization. “I think in Iran it’s a matter of when, and the when will depend on the condition that will be right … for them to consider the ratification,” he said. “The only thing I say as head of the organization is I hope the when is yesterday!”

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, known as the CTBT, has 196 member states — 183 that have signed the treaty and 164 that have ratified it.

But the treaty has not entered into force because it still needs ratification by eight countries that had nuclear power reactors or research reactors when the UN General Assembly adopted it in 1996: the United States, China, Iran, Israel, Egypt, India, Pakistan and North Korea.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the treaty and Zerbo was at UN headquarters for a panel organized by the General Assembly to mark Wednesday’s International Day Against Nuclear Tests.

The Obama administration supports a worldwide ban on nuclear testing but hasn’t ratified the treaty because it doesn’t have the votes in the Republican-controlled Senate. China also reaffirmed its commitment to the treaty at Wednesday’s meeting, but didn’t say when it might ratify, Zerbo said.

He said Pakistan has shown leadership recently, talking about a “bilateral moratorium with India” on nuclear testing. “They’re waiting for a response from India,” he said.

North Korea, the only nation that has tested nuclear weapons in the 21st century, was the only country of the eight key nations whose ratifications are needed to boycott Wednesday’s General Assembly meeting. While its seat was empty, its underground explosions were criticized by Japan and many others.

Zerbo said he advocates reopening a dialogue with North Korea “one way or another,” stressing that nothing has stopped Pyongyang from carrying out nuclear tests and firing ballistic missiles.

“What I’m thinking is how can we get them to adhere to a moratorium on nuclear testing as an immediate and first step to denuclearization,” he said. “We have to find the means to do that.”

Zerbo said he thinks there’s an opportunity to open a dialogue with North Korea, similar to the six-party talks with Iran that led to last year’s nuclear deal, and possibly using the six-party talks aimed at negotiating the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula which Pyongyang pulled out of in 2008.

He said one-on-one talks with countries close to North Korea can lead to wider international discussions because “it’s the only way we can get them to stop.”

September 2, 2016 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | 2 Comments

UK PM Theresa May to be pressured at G20, by China, to approve Hinkley nuclear power project

Illustration of Hinkley Point C nuclear station. Image: EDF Energy/PAG20: China expected to press Theresa May on Hinkley nuclear plant  As PM prepares to meet Xi Jinping at summit, officials have reportedly raised issue of delayed power station, Guardian, ,  , 2 Sep 16Theresa May is expected to come under pressure from China at the G20 summit over her decision to review the proposed Hinkley nuclear plant, after the issue was raised by Beijing in a meeting with the British energy minister.

The new British prime minister will have her first face-to-face meeting with Xi Jinping, the Chinese premier, at the summit on Sunday or Monday, amid continuing tensions over Hinkley Point in Somerset.

May angered Beijing by deciding in July that approval of the French- and Chinese-backed £18bn nuclear plant would be delayed, apparently as a result of security concerns over Chinese involvement.

The Chinese government has been publicly making its clear it wants the project to go ahead, but May and her ministers have stuck to the position that the government is “considering all the component parts of the project before making its decision in the early autumn”.

It is understood Chinese officials raised the issue of Hinkley last week when Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the new energy and intellectual property minister, made a low-profile trip to China. The Chinese National Energy Administration said on its website that Neville-Rolfe met one of its top officials in Beijing to discuss Hinkley Point……..

anti-nuclear groups urged the prime minister to stand firm against Chinese and French lobbying for the Hinkley Point power station to go ahead.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said May had a “delicate diplomatic job awaiting her at the G20, and she will no doubt come under renewed pressure to give Hinkley the go-ahead.”

“But the prime minister has shown before that she won’t be bullied into signing up to a deal that doesn’t serve the interests of the British public,” he added……..

September 2, 2016 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Report finds Australia worst on climate change, among G20 nations

The report notes that if every country emulated Australia’s level of ambition, global warming would likely exceed 4C.

It also said that Australia’s currently implemented policy measures were not set to achieve even those inadequate targets and instead would rise to about 27% above 2005 levels by 2030, rather than the targeted 26 to 28% below 2005 levels.

Map Turnbull climateAustralia worst among G20 when it comes to action on climate change, report finds
Australia the only country to receive a rating of ‘very poor’ in a majority of categories in Climate Transparency scorecard,
Guardian, , 1 Sept 16, Australia is the worst country among the G20 when it comes to action on climate change, according to a comprehensive assessment before the G20 summit in China.

Under China’s leadership, this weekend’s G20 in the eastern city of Hangzhou has had a strong focus on climate-related issues.

By analysing the policies and actions of each of the 20 countries, which together produce 75% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, Climate Transparency produced a report, scorecard and series of country profiles detailing their findings, revealing Australia was not pulling its weight.

On the scorecard, Australia was the only country to receive a rating of “very poor” in a majority of categories.

Australia was given the worst possible rating of “very poor” for its performance on emissions trends, carbon intensity, share of renewables in its energy supply and overall climate policy.

It was rated as “poor” in every other category: for its energy intensity, share of coal in energy supply and electricity emissions intensity.

Alvaro Umaña, co-chair of Climate Transparency and a former Costa Rican environment minister, said: “The G20 has proven that it can be nimble and take action on economic issues, so we are looking to these countries to do the same for the climate.”

Along with half the other G20 nations, Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction targets committed to at Paris – making up Australia’s intended nationally determined contribution – were given the worst possible rating of “inadequate”.

However, none of the 20 nations’ commitments were labelled as “sufficient” or “role model”, with the remaining 10 scored as “medium”.

The report notes that if every country emulated Australia’s level of ambition, global warming would likely exceed 4C.

It also said that Australia’s currently implemented policy measures were not set to achieve even those inadequate targets and instead would rise to about 27% above 2005 levels by 2030, rather than the targeted 26 to 28% below 2005 levels.

The report comes one day after Australia’s Climate Change Authority produced its long-awaited “special review”, recommending that the country should institute two emissions trading schemes…..

Last week international investors controlling $13tn worth of fundsurged the G20 to accelerate investment in clean energy, saying countries that ratified the Paris agreement early would benefit by attracting investment in low-carbon technology.

Those calls were particularly timely, coming as the the Australian parliament considers the effective abolition of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, and one day after Guardian Australia revealed that new uncertainty had already caused at least two renewable energy projects to be suspended.

September 2, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment