nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Radiation-absorption tests under development could save lives in nuclear explosion

Direct measurement (like Becquerels) via blood samples described in the article sounds like the way to go.

The key to understand is that this is something that has never existed and we hope it never gets used,” Josh LaBaer, principal investigator and director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, told Homeland Preparedness News.

The tests could also have civilian applications as well, LaBaer said, such as in the event of industrial accidents at a nuclear power plant or in medical situations when people are exposed to excessive radiation.

josh_labaer2.jpg

The U.S. government is funding the late-stage development of tests that would quickly determine how much radiation a person has absorbed in the event of a catastrophic nuclear explosion.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is sponsoring the development of tests that go beyond detecting whether radiation is on a person’s skin to determining the amount of radiation that has been absorbed into a person’s body.

The key to understand is that this is something that has never existed and we hope it never gets used,” Josh LaBaer, principal investigator and director of the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, told Homeland Preparedness News.

ASPR’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) will provide more than $21.3 million over four years to develop the tests. Kansas City, Missouri-based MRIGlobal said in a written statement the contract could be extended for up to $100 million over 10 years.

MRIGlobal is partnering with Thermo Fisher Scientific and Arizona State University to lead the development of the program for BARDA. The agency also will provide more than $22.4 million in funding over two years to DxTerity Diagnostics based near Los Angeles.

The challenge was that in the event of a nuclear bomb in a major American city, there is an instantaneous release of high doses of gamma radiation, which is the type of radiation that travels through the air over large distances,” LaBaer said. “In that type of mass casualty event there would be lots of people who would need to be evaluated.”

The task for researchers was to develop a device that could quickly measure how much radiation large numbers of people had potentially absorbed into their organs and blood cells during a nuclear emergency. Devices currently available today can only detect radiation on the skin.

The amount of radiation that gets absorbed into the body has a direct implication on how that person gets triaged and managed,” LaBaer said. Absorption of a small or moderate dose of radiation could require medication, while a larger dose could require hospitalization and a potential bone marrow transplant.

BARDA is supporting development of the tests with the goal of potentially purchasing them from one or more of the companies for the Strategic National Stockpile.

After a six-year effort, the university has developed the ASU radiation (ARad) biodosimetry test, which would generate results in about eight hours and could be used on people who were exposed to radiation up to seven days after the event. HHS said the potential exists where 400,000 or more tests could be processed a week.

In the test, a blood sample is taken to isolate the white blood cells in order to collect the genes that have been exposed to radiation. Certain genes are more predictive when it comes to determining the amount of radiation the body was exposed to.

We were looking for the smallest number of genes we could use but that still were accurate in predicting dose depending on the time after the event,” LaBaer said.

Work to date has been based on animal studies and developing conversion factors to transfer to humans.

The tests could also have civilian applications as well, LaBaer said, such as in the event of industrial accidents at a nuclear power plant or in medical situations when people are exposed to excessive radiation.

https://homelandprepnews.com/featured/20018-radiation-absorption-tests-development-save-lives-nuclear-explosion/

Advertisements

October 24, 2016 Posted by | radiation | , , | Leave a comment

Ishinomaki beef to be farmed overseas

angus-calves.jpg

 

A cattle-breeding corporation in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, will begin raising about 5,000 beef cattle in Vietnam by the end of this year at the earliest, in collaboration with a state-owned company there.

The Vietnamese company will prepare a ranch and young cattle, and Japanese farmers will provide their expertise in livestock farming.

The Japanese side will be able to receive $3 million (about ¥300 million) annually in consultation fees. It will be a particularly large operation for a move overseas by farmers in a disaster-hit area (see below).

It can be not only post-disaster reconstruction but also a new growth strategy for Japan’s agriculture,” a farming expert said in expectation.

The agricultural corporation that will begin the project in Vietnam is Ushichan Farm Co., one of the largest beef cattle breeders in the Tohoku region. The company now raises about 4,000 beef cattle in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. It ships out beef rich in fat — called shimofuri — and red meat with less fat.

Tsunami following the tremors washed away cattle barns and about 50 cattle. Due to damage from rumors in the wake of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sales in the year after the disaster fell by about ¥500 million. However, workers at the company have improved the quality of beef through such steps as utilizing tablet computers in breeding management.

Its Vietnamese partner is Saigon Agriculture Incorporation (SAGRI), a state-owned firm based in Ho Chi Minh City.

In Vietnam, volumes of beef consumption have been rising along with its economic growth. SAGRI paid attention to the high-level production skills of Japanese beef-producing farmers to improve the country’s production volumes and qualities of beef.

Red-meat-type beef is popular in Japan, so SAGRI asked Ushichan Farm to collaborate and the two sides signed a business partnership contract in August this year.

SAGRI will prepare a 500-hectare ranch, cattle barns and about 5,000 young cattle in Ho Chi Minh City. Ushichan Farm will provide such techniques as breeding management that uses individual identification numbers and how to mix feeds.

After conducting administrative procedures in the country, the Japanese company will begin raising the cattle by the end of this year at the earliest. Beef from the Vietnamese ranch will be sold in local supermarkets and other stores starting around 2018. Sales will be evenly shared by the two corporations.

Eyeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, the Japanese side plans to import red meat from the cattle to be raised in Vietnam in the future. Ushichan Farm also aims to prepare for international competition with products from the United States and Australia.

We want to make [the project] an opportunity to send out information about Japan’s livestock industry,” said Kazutaka Sato, 39, senior managing director of Ushichan Farm.

According to an official of the Japan External Trade Organization: “Such a large-scale investment in agriculture in Vietnam is rare. It indicates how high the Vietnamese side’s expectations are.”

Kazunuki Oizumi, a professor emeritus of Miyagi University who is an expert on agricultural economics, said, “Exporting skills and techniques can result in new growth not only in the disaster-hit areas but also in Japan’s agriculture overall.”

Moves overseas by farmers in disaster-hit areas

In coastal areas in Miyagi Prefecture devastated by tsunami, farmers have begun businesses overseas. For example, an agricultural production corporation in the town of Yamamoto has grown strawberries in India since autumn 2012, and farmers in the city of Iwanuma have grown rice in Vietnam since summer 2014. This is partly because exporting products from the prefecture has become difficult, as other countries’ restrictions on imports of farming products from the disaster-hit areas were made stricter in the wake of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003275273

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

America DID use depleted uranium weapons in Syria

depleted-uraniumUnited States confirms that it has fired depleted uranium in Syria International Coalition to Ban Nuclear Weapons  US admits that it fired DU on two occasions in November 2015, contrary to earlier claims; military justification for use unclear after target analysis; ICBUW and PAX call for full disclosure to facilitate harm reduction measures; Russia takes advantage of news to distract from its own conduct in the conflict. 21 October 2016 – ICBUW

The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates – the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.

The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assemblyresolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.

In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US hadconfirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating:“U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that:  “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”

CENTCOM confirms DU use     IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to “an error in reporting down range.”

“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.

Unclear why DU was used  The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored……..http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-states-confirms-fired-du-syria

October 24, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, Syria, USA | Leave a comment

The hottest year on record? It will be 2016

global-warming1Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded  http://www.skepticalscience.com/gw-continues-2016-hottest-year.html  21 October 2016 by John Abraham

We know the world is warming – no factor can explain it aside from human emissions ofgreenhouse gases. Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true anymore. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 as the hottest year ever record – and we have three more months left to go.

So, just how hot is 2016? Well my early predictions are shown in the graph below. I have taken temperature data from NASA and superimposed my predictions for 2016 – it isn’t even close. And by the way, it doesn’t matter whose data you use (NASANOAAJMA, Hadley Centre) the results are the same. 2016 is going to blow 2015 out of the water.

A few things to note. First, these temperatures are surface temperatures that are taken across the globe. But, you can measure temperatures elsewhere and see the same result. Most importantly, measurements in the oceans, where 93% of the extra heat is stored are the best proof of global warming. I recently coauthored an open-access paper on this very topic which interested readers can get here.

You can measure sea level rise as the heated water expands, you can measure ice loss across the globe, you can measure temperatures in the lower part of the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter where; the story is the same.

What is the big deal? Well first of all, 2016 blows away 2015 which was previously the hottest year ever and that had beaten 2014 as the hottest year ever – call this a three-peat. Three records in a row and the last two are by large margins. Does this mean global warming all of a sudden has gotten worse?

No, surface temperatures fluctuate a lot – you can see that in the figure. Temperatures will go up or down from year to year without apparent reason. This is why we are interested in the long term trends. This is also why we are interested in looking at other measures of warming (especially in the oceans). All of our measurements agree with each other – we know the Earth was warming long before this set of records began falling in 2014.

One thing these temperatures can do is enable us to compare computer models with measurements. We’ve seen that models have done an excellent job of correctly predicting the rate of heating of the Earth. My own research shows that in the oceans, the models are slightly under-predicting the rate of heating.

To compare models and measurements at the Earth’s surface, I’ve borrowed a figure from Dr. Gavin Schmidt of Nasa and I’ve overlaid the 2016 surface temperatures. A star shows where 2016 will be. The star should be compared to the three heavy dashed lines in the figure. The upper and lower dashed lines show the uncertainty in the models and the middle dashed line shows the average.

Click here to read the rest

October 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Court hears case of US sailors affected by Fukushima nuclear radiation

justiceFlag-USASailors exposed to Fukushima radiation one step closer to justice, Beyond Nuclear, 23 Oct 16  Lawyers for U.S. sailors suffering illnesses associated with radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe presented oral arguments before the 9th circuit court in Pasadena, CA in September. This follows two victories before the district federal court in San Diego, CA and two legal appeals by TEPCO who is being sued for compensation in this first-of-its-kind case. Determination in this case is expected within 60 days.

 

According to Nuclear Hotseat, present at the arguments, the sailors are experiencing a number of health impacts including, leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removal, brain cancers and tumors, testicular cancers, thyroid illnesses, stomach complaints, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and still births and birth defects among their children. A number of these maladies are rare for the sailors’ age and condition, and were not present before the relief operation Tomadachi, undertaken by the U.S. in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan. According to statements at a press conference, filmed here by Ecological Options Network, seven people have already died including a child who was riddled with tumors. The number of sailors in the lawsuit is currently 400 and additional plantiffs continue coming forward.

Radiation diseases are so complex, the Veterans Administration cannot figure out how to treat many of the ill. As a result, they are often diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is a catchall meaning they don’t know what the malady is. This type of unclear diagnosis also occurred after the atomic bomb explosions (bura-bura disease) and after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown(vegetative distonia).

Lawyers for the sailors say any delay in the case is a delay of justice and proper health resources for these radiation-affected people. It’s been about 4 years already since the suit began and only judicial and legal wrangling has been undertaken in court. Specifics of the catastrophe, exposure scenarios and health information has not been allowed as of yet. According to plantiffs’ lawyers, this is a ploy by TEPCO to keep case from being heard………http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radiation-health-whats-new/2016/10/6/uss-reagan-sailors-one-step-closer-to-justice.html

October 24, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Prison for documentary film-makers for taping oil pipeline protests?

civil-liberty-2smDocumentary film-makers face decades in prison for taping oil pipeline protests https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/20/north-dakota-oil-pipeline-protest-film-makers-face-prison

Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel face felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press, Guardian,  , 23 Oct 16,  Two documentary film-makers are facing decades in prison for recording US oil pipeline protests, with serious felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press.

The controversial prosecutions of Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel are moving forward after a judge in North Dakota rejected “riot” charges filed againstDemocracy Now! host Amy Goodman for her high-profile reporting at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.

But authorities in other parts of North Dakota and in Washington state have continued to target other film-makers over their recent reporting on similar demonstrations, raising concerns that the lesser-known journalists are not getting the same kind of public support and national attention.

Schlosberg, a New York-based film-maker, is facing three felony conspiracy charges for filming protesters on 11 October at a TransCanada Keystone Pipeline site in Pembina County in North Dakota, with prosecutors alleging that she was “recruited to record the criminal activity”.

The 36-year-old – who produced a documentary called How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change – could face 45 years in prison. US whistleblower Edward Snowden recently tweeted his support of Schlosberg, writing: “This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests. For reference, I face a mere 30 years.”

Grayzel, an independent film-maker from Portland, Oregon, was also arrested and jailed on 11 October while filming at a separate pipeline protest in Skagit County, Washington. She and her cinematographer, Carl Davis, had their footage and equipment seized and were kept behind bars for a day.

The two were filming activist Ken Ward attempting to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline, and they now face 30 years in prison for a felony burglary charge, a felony “criminal sabotage” charge and a misdemeanor trespass offense. There were a series of pipeline protests across the US on 11 October.

“Everyone needs to be afraid when our first amendment rights are in jeopardy,” Grayzel, 41, told the Guardian on Thursday before her criminal arraignment. “This is not just about me. This is not just about Carl. This is not about Amy Goodman … This is about the public’s right to know what is going on in this country.”

Free-speech advocates said that both cases are unusual and troubling given that prosecutors have admitted that the defendants were acting as film-makers and are still pursuing aggressive felony cases.

While it’s not uncommon for journalists to face arrest and misdemeanor charges for trespassing or disorderly conduct while reporting at controversial protests, conspiracy, burglary and sabotage offenses are rare for members of the media.

“It’s outrageous. It’s an assault on the first amendment,” said Neil Fox, one of Grayzel’s attorneys. “It’s shocking, but it is the kind of climate that we’re living in right now.”

Fox cast blame on the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who has made vicious attacks on the media a cornerstone of his campaign. “This is certainly the result of the toxic language that Trump brings to the election.”

Although Ward, a climate activist, had gained access to a fenced enclosure owned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the Skagit County sheriff’s report noted that Grayzel and her cinematographer were “just outside the enclosure … taking photographs and video”. The report said they confiscated the film-makers’ phone and “assorted camera equipment”, actions that have raised further concerns about press intimidation and free speech violations.

Washington prosecutors are relying on laws that were passed in the early 20th century to target labor rights’ protesters, Fox added. “There’s been a revival in the state of Washington of the use of these statutes against labor activists and against environmental activists.”

In Goodman’s case, a judge forced prosecutors to drop a serious “riot” charge, which was centered on Goodman’s viral coverage of the intense Native American-led protests. But prosecutors and sheriff’s officials said they may continue to pursue other charges against the critically acclaimed journalist.

In Schlosberg’s charges, North Dakota prosecutors have alleged that she was part of a conspiracy, claiming she traveled with protesters “with the objective of diverting the flow of oil”.

“I was surprised at the conspiracy charges. I never thought that would ever happen,” her attorney Robert Woods told the Guardian. “All she was doing was her job of being a journalist and covering the story.”

Prosecutors in both cases declined to comment.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

A “nonsense” paper accepted for International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics

The International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics will be held on 17-18 November in Atlanta, Georgia,

nukefools-dayNonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference New Zealand professor asked to present his work at US event on nuclear physics despite it containing gibberish all through the copy, Guardian, , 22 Oct 16 A nonsensical academic paper on nuclear physics written only by iOS autocomplete has been accepted for a scientific conference.

Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.

“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.

“The text really does not make any sense.”

“The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids,” is a sample sentence from the abstract.

It concludes: “Power is not a great place for a good time.”

Bartneck illustrated the paper – titled, again through autocorrect, “Atomic Energy will have been made available to a single source” – with the first graphic on the Wikipedia entry for nuclear physics.

He submitted it under a fake identity: associate professor Iris Pear of the US, whose experience in atomic and nuclear physics was outlined in a biography using contradictory gender pronouns.

The nonsensical paper was accepted only three hours later, in an email asking Bartneck to confirm his slot for the “oral presentation” at the international conference.

“I know that iOS is a pretty good software, but reaching tenure has never been this close,” Bartneck commented in the blog post. He did not have to pay money to submit the paper, but the acceptance letter referred him to register for the conference at a cost of US$1099 (also able to be paid in euros or pounds) as an academic speaker.

The International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics will be held on 17-18 November in Atlanta, Georgia, and is organised by ConferenceSeries: “an amalgamation of Open Access Publications and worldwide international science conferences and events”, established in 2007…….. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/22/nonsense-paper-written-by-ios-autocomplete-accepted-for-conference

October 24, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change and ocean deoxygenation on the way to suffocating the oceans

A Horrifying New Study Found that the Ocean is on its Way to Suffocating by 2030,  The Inertia,   MAY 2, 2016  It seems that every week, a new study comes out showing just how much damage we’re doing to our planet. This last one’s a doozy, though: according to Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, if we continue along the road we’re on, the ocean could begin to suffocate in about 15 years. Actually.

The study was published a few days ago in Global Biogeochemical Cycleswhich is not The National Enquirer and is a publication entirely based on science. Long’s not some quack, either. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool scientist with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Stanford University, an M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Hydrology) from Tufts University, and a B.S in Environmental Engineering. That is a man who likes facts.

According to Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy, “ocean deoxygenation refers to the loss of oxygen from the oceans due to climate change.”  It’s not up for debate, either: it is a cold and hard fact that both climate change and ocean deoxygenation are happening, and no amount of climate change deniers stamping their feet will change it.

“Long-term ocean monitoring shows that oxygen concentrations in the ocean have declined during the 20th century, and the new IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5 WG1) predicts that they will decrease by 3-6% during the 21st century in response to surface warming,” the website explains. “While 3-6% doesn’t seem like much, this decrease will be felt acutely in hypoxic and suboxic areas, where oxygen is already limiting. […] To put this in context, a highly optimistic emissions scenario of atmospheric CO2 levels of 550 ppm by 2100 would lead to a 1.2°C warming of the upper ocean. Therefore, these declines in oxygen are changes we should be prepared to see.”

 While it seems obvious that an ocean deprived of oxygen is a bad thing, let’s break it down real quick: Almost everything in the ocean depends on the oxygen in the water to survive. Of course, there are a few things that don’t–whales, dolphins, turtles, and other creatures that surface to breathe–but for the most part, everything takes oxygen from the water. If those things die, that’s a pretty massive big ball rolling towards everything else being dead.

So how does climate change affect the ocean? Well, the ocean is warming up, and a warm ocean doesn’t take in as much oxygen from the atmosphere, for starters. There’s the whole sea level rising issue, which is just way too big to go into here. But possibly the most concerning part of the whole thing has to do with phytoplankton, which are one of the smallest, most prolific, and really fucking important creatures on earth. If you believe National Geographic“fish, whales, dolphins, crabs, seabirds, and just about everything else that makes a living in or off of the oceans owe their existence to phytoplankton, one-celled plants that live at the ocean surface. Phytoplankton are at the base of what scientists refer to as oceanic biological productivity, the ability of a water body to support life such as plants, fish, and wildlife.”

Warmer water doesn’t mix well with colder water. As the surface warms, the phytoplankton that float around up there most of the time don’t get down deep as often, and those little guys are responsible for about half of the oxygen in the ocean……….

According to the predictive study, vast portions of the Pacific–Hawaii and the western edge of the Americas included–will be seriously deprived of oxygen somewhere between 2030 and 2040, which would most likely mean massive die-offs of very important creatures.

Although Long’s study is far more telling than any other before it, it’s not really anything all that new. Back in 2010, Scripps Institution of Oceanography warned about the dangers of something called “oxygen minimum zones”, which are exactly what they sound like: large portions of the ocean, usually very deep, that don’t have enough oxygen to really sustain much life. “A major concern is that these so-called oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) will expand in the future as the upper ocean warms and becomes more stratified,” wrote Scripps scientist Ralph Keeling.

What does it all come down to? Well, more and more, it seems we’re already too far gone. Every day, we’re passing tipping points. Long, who seems a little frustrated that no one in charge is listening to him or anyone else that has been screaming about a host of environmental issues, made his point very clear. “This inexorable force of human-induced warming will clearly result in widespread ocean deoxygenation in the future,” he said.

And like it or not, our lust for carbon is causing it. “This latest study adds one more item to the list of insults we are inflicting on the oceans through our continued burning of fossil fuels,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University. “Ocean life and marine ecosystems must now simultaneously contend with the triple threat of warming waters, increased acidity, and now, we’re learning, lower oxygen levels. Any one of these challenges alone would be daunting. “We have yet another reason to be gravely concerned about the health of our oceans, and yet another reason to prioritize the rapid decarbonization of our economy.” http://www.theinertia.com/environment/a-horrifying-new-study-found-that-the-ocean-is-on-its-way-to-suffocating-by-2030/

October 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | 1 Comment

Scottish power plant forced offline for a week by swarm of jellyfish

Power plants seek nuclear option to end jellyfish raids, Sunday Times, There are plenty of problems for those in charge of nuclear power stations to worry about when they look out to sea, from rising sea levels, erosion, storm surges, even in some cases tsunamis, but few are as ever present, or as irritating, as jellyfish.

Swarms of them have plagued coastal power plants worldwide by clogging their water intakes and cooling systems. In June 2011, Torness in the east of Scotland was forced offline for a week after moon jellyfish blocked its filters.

Yet they are fiendishly difficult to stop, track or predict because jellyfish have no hearts and thus… (registered readers only) http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/power-plants-seek-nuclear-option-to-end-jellyfish-raids-tqjzf7bst

October 24, 2016 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Political journalism in America – dying, with the tawdry election “debate”

USA election 2016Commentary: Debates pitch climate change shutout. A few decades from now, when the realities of climate change have hushed even the loudest, densest deniers, we may look back on October 2016 as the month political journalism died. Environmental Health News, October 19, 2016 Peter Dykstra

 On Wednesday evening during the final presidential debate of the campaign, Hell did not freeze over.  Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, where climate denial plays nothing but home games, passed on the final opportunity to ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton about climate change.

This presidential campaign has been a catastrophe for American democracy and for American political journalism.

Amid the relentlessly tawdry campaign news, most Americans haven’t even noticed the absence of virtually any high-level campaign discussion of environmental issues, let alone what many have called the biggest challenge of the 21st century.

For now.

But I invite you to think ahead to that “oh-crap” moment that awaits us all, 5, 10, or 25 years from now when America looks back to reckon with our self-imposed climate silence in the debates.

Journalism —and the memes of our day— have failed us……..

Debate decline

Aside from the “Town Hall” debates—where carefully selected members of the public get to ask questions—you have to go back to 1992 to find a non-TV journalist doing the interrogating at a presidential debate. That was the last election year in which a panel of reporters posed questions to the candidates. Perhaps print journalists don’t fare as well on TV, but it could also be argued that TV journalists don’t always fare well with journalism.

Since then, every journalist’s debate question has come from a network TV anchor or political correspondent.  That’s six election cycles, 18 presidential debates where every question came from a well-compensated news celebrity based in New York or Washington. They conduct the debates under the auspices of a non-partisan commission that’s currently led by former Republican National Committee Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf and Mike McCurry, Bill Clinton’s former Press Secretary. If that’s not an inside job, I don’t know what is……..

For the record, the last, and one of only two, climate change questions ever posed by a journalist at a presidential debate was October 15, 2008.  Bob Schieffer of CBS asked about “energy and climate control.”  Props to Senator John McCain for gently correcting the moderator and realizing that the question was not about commercial property storage facilities.  Then both he and Senator Barack Obama pretty much ducked the climate part of the question and talked about reducing foreign oil imports.

This year’s second debate offered prime evidence of how easily we’re distracted by bright, shiny objects…….

Our nation is already paying. A few decades from now, when the realities of climate change have hushed even the loudest, densest deniers, we may look back on October 2016 as the month political journalism died because we couldn’t bring ourselves to have a serious national conversation on topics that affect our lives.   For questions or feedback about this piece, contact Brian Bienkowski at bbienkowski@e  http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2016/oct/commentary-shrinking-attention-spans-and-journalistic-integrity-on-the-campaign-trail

October 24, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Advances and hurdles in nuclear weapons control

nuclear-weapons-3Nuclear arms control in a globalized world OUP Blog BY JOHN BAYLIS OCTOBER 23RD 2016  We live in a dangerous and uncertain world. While terrorism is the most immediate contemporary threat, the dangers of nuclear weapons remain an ever present concern. During the Cold War a series of nuclear arms control agreements helped to mitigate the worst excesses of the arms race and contributed to the easing of tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their respective alliances. Since 1985, however, the salience of nuclear weapons in international relations has declined, even though the nine nuclear weapons states continue to possess in excess of 10,000 nuclear weapons between them. Many other states have the potential to develop nuclear arms, and fears exist that terrorist groups might acquire some form of nuclear capability. A key question in global security is whether nuclear arms control still has a future?

In 2010 the United States and Russia signed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) which involved significant cuts to be made in strategic delivery vehicles (SDVs) and in nuclear warheads in the period up to February 2018. SDVs were to be cut to 700 and nuclear warheads to 1500. Despite the problems over the Ukraine and deteriorating US-Russian relations, both countries by 2016 are very close to these targets, and key provisions of the Treaty including data exchanges, notifications, and on-site inspections have all been met.

As well as New START, the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Process, initiated by President Obama has also resulted in some important improvements. Starting in 2010, 53 countries have participated in a series of meetings designed to reduce the amount of dangerous nuclear materials (enriched uranium and plutonium) and to improve security of these materials. 12 of 22 NSS participating states are now free of enriched uranium, and 35 states have signed up to a joint statement binding them to strengthen their nuclear security. These summits have helped to set the foundations for a global nuclear security regime.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa’s foolish gamble with nuclear power

The time for us to stand up and put South Africa first is now. We have to oppose the nuclear deal now. We have to stand up and defend the integrity of the Treasury team now..

nukefools-dayflag-S.AfricaNuclear deal is nothing but a fool’s gamble with our future  Times Live 23 Oct 16 

Jay Naidoo opposes the Zuma cabinet’s controversial power plans. Here’s why.

At the heart of the cancerous rot in our state is the greed of a predatory faction. In their unceasing efforts to enrich themselves, they are targeting the management of mega-projects, our state-owned enterprises, government procurements and, in particular, the proposed nuclear deal.

This is a nuclear deal that we don’t need. The proposal has little to do with our energy security, given that our growth projections have been torpedoed by a rudderless leadership and policy uncertainty and do not match the energy requirements of our future economy.

It brings no long-term benefits of job creation or local industrial development – this in a country where already one in four South Africans are formally unemployed.  A more efficient economy is one that is first and foremost based on reducing waste (demand), then on diversity in its sources (supply).

Going with the nuclear option – at a time when most of the industrialised world is abandoning fossil fuels and nuclear energy – with all its inherent environmental threats and risks, is a fool’s gamble. We see major global financial investment rapidly switching to the renewables industry, specifically to solar-based solutions.

One has to ask: which serious observer can believe there is no political agenda in pushing nuclear energy so strongly?

In a clear case of curious timing, on the very day that frivolous charges were read out on national TV against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced that the nuclear build – which we don’t need or want – would be led by Eskom – which we don’t trust or believe – and would not need the permission of the National Treasury.

In my mind, the current team at the Treasury stands between the predatory elite and the state coffers. Let us examine the facts.

In the next 10 years, rapidly growing renewable energy sources all over the world will add more than 100 nuclear reactors’ worth of electricity. This assumes no advances in wind, solar, geothermal and biomass efficiency – and if we assume that rapid innovation in technology will continue apace, major advances will be made.

Coal-fired and nuclear mega-projects are always expensive, behind schedule and way beyond their original cost estimates. One just needs to look at our experience with the Medupi and Kusile coal-fired power stations.

So let’s ask ourselves the following big question: why are renewables growing faster than nuclear everywhere, including in the US, China, Japan and Europe?

This is happening not just because of militant environmental groups or community action, even though these are important. The real answers lie in three factors: Risk. Cost. Time.

It is also the start of a massive divestment movement that is only going to increase in speed. As Michael Bloomberg said at the Paris climate meeting: the money is moving

In terms of jobs, investment in renewables is about 300% more effective than fossil fuels or nuclear. This is what the Pear Energy team headed by Robert Pollin, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, had to say: “The basic facts are simple. When we invest $1-million [R14-million] in building the green economy in the United States, it creates 17 jobs, compared to five in nuclear and fossil fuels.

“That’s 300% more jobs. And it reduces our dependence on dirty and dangerous oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power.”……..

Be it through a basic added tax put directly on carbon emissions or via a cap-and-trade approach where polluters pay per level of emissions, there is no doubt anymore: it will happen. More than two-thirds of Africa’s population, 700 million people, live without electricity.

On a continent where we have more than 300 days of sunlight a year, we shouldn’t hesitate for a second about the use of solar in all its forms. That’s why Nigeria is investing in solar mini-grids and Kenya is leading the way in geothermal energy.

The investment we can drive to an energy mix that will maximise our greatest assets – the ever-present sunshine and the potential of solar power, our hydro, wind and geothermal potential – will have long-lasting effects on our workforce and our overall economy.

These are the game-changers in delivering South Africa’s energy security………..The time for us to stand up and put South Africa first is now. We have to oppose the nuclear deal now. We have to stand up and defend the integrity of the Treasury team now……http://www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/opinion/2016/10/23/Nuclear-deal-is-nothing-but-a-fools-gamble-with-our-future

October 24, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Spain – the cradle of renewable energy

Spain aiming for 100 per cent renewable energy, company director says, ABC News 

October 24, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Spain | Leave a comment