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Fukushima Consequences of Radiation on Wildlife

By Pierre Fetet (translation by Hervé Courtois)

Source : http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/09/fukushima-consequences-de-la-radioactivite-sur-la-faune.html

Scientific studies conducted following the Fukushima disaster revealed little by little the consequences of radioactivity on the living and particularly on wildlife. Although published, they are nevertheless rarely circulated. This is why I would like to put a spotlight on some of them and publicize various observations which we do not hear much about, to counter the silly optimism to always relativize the consequences of low doses on life. Any dose of radiation, however small it be, has effects on the living: the ionizing radiation breaks the DNA molecules.

The birds

The feathers of birds take radioactive dust released into the atmosphere continuously by the wind. They therefore suffer permanent external irradiation.

We can see this dust by placing a contaminated bird on a radio-sensitive paper for a month. Here is an example with a bird picked in Iitate in December 2011.

Autoradiography also allows to highlight that the birds also undergo internal contamination.

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Autoradiography of a bird revealing radioactive contamination in the plumage and stomach (Source Morizumi)

Yasuo HORI has also reported that some swallows Fukushima undergo depigmentation, as had already been found in Chernobyl. The Wild Bird Society of Japan also noted that the tail feathers of some Japanese swallows were not uniform.

It must be said that nests of swallows up to 1.4 million becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram (Bq / kg) have been found in the towns of Okuma and Namie. The nests of chickadees, were not better: 1.3 million Bq / kg.

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Left: Swallow from Minamisoma (Fukushima Prefecture) – Right: deformed tail of a swallow from Kakuda (Miyagi Prefecture)

According to studies conducted by Tim Mousseau (University of South Carolina), the population of fifteen bird species living in contaminated areas of Fukushima prefecture decreases with time, with a 30% survival rate.

Another research focused on a falcon species returning in the same nest every year was also conducted by a team of scientists led by Naoki Murase (Nagoya University) at a distance of 100 to 120 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The interest of this study is that raptors are at the top of a food chain and concentrate radionuclides accumulated by their prey. The authors have shown that the reproductive capacity of the bird was related to radiation measured directly under the nest : radioactivity affects the germline of the bird. The ability of birds to leave the nest fell from 79 to 55% in 2012 and 50% in 2013.

Another study finally published in 2015 by ASN and the Anders Møller laboratory (CNRS), focused on the total dose – internal and external – of birds.

It showed that 90% of the 57 species studied had been chronically exposed to radioactivity dose rate possibly affecting their reproduction.

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Simplified representation of the level change of maximum exposure of adult birds (in dose rate) for 57 species of the bird community observed on 300 sites and four years of study. Compared to the range of variation (in blue) ambient dose rate measured on the sites and ranges (red) corresponding to various effects in birds published by the ICRP (2008) (Source IRSN)

So there are three factors that affect living organisms in contaminated areas: the ambient radiation (the dose that is received by being next to a radioactive object), the external contamination (radioactive dust that sticks to the skin, hair, feathers), and internal contamination (radionuclides ingested or trapped in organs).

The butterflies

The first scientific evidence of damage to a living organism by radioactive contamination due to the disaster of Fukushima Daiichi was delivered by the team of researcher Chiyo Nohara (University of Okinawa).

The study highlighted the physiological and genetic damage of a common butterfly of Japan, the maha zizeeria. In May 2011, some show relatively slight abnormalities. But the first female offspring of the first generation showed more serious defects, inherited by the second generation. Adult butterflies collected in September 2011, then showed more severe abnormalities than those collected in May: abortive hatching, infertility, size reduction, slow growth, high mortality and morphological abnormalities (Atrophied wings, curved or in excess number, malformed antennae, bumpy eyes, discolored).

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Representative anomalies of butterflies fed contaminated leaves. (Source: Hiyama et al)

Aphids

In 2014, Shin-ichi Akimoto (Hokkaido University) found that about 10% of certain insects, such as aphids, have malformations in Fukushima. But their survival and their reproduction remain possible.

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Sorini aphid T. From Fukushima. (A) normal morphology, (B) Level 3 malformation of the abdomen (Source: S. Akimoto)

The cows

The phenomenon of white patches (depigmentation) on the observed swallows in Fukushima and Chernobyl is also found on the cows of Masami Yoshizawa, at the Farm of Hope in Namie, a town located 14 km from the destroyed plant .

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A cow of Masami Yoshizawa was brought to Tokyo in 2014 to the government for diagnosis (AFP Photo)

Horses

The biologist Hayato Minamoto reported the carnage suffered by Tokuei Hosokawa, an Iitate farmer who lost a hundred horses in two years. Iitate had suffered the brunt of the radioactive cloud from the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March-April 2011.

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Iitate horses

Monkeys

Between April 2012 and March 2013, researchers led by Shin-ichi Hayama (Japan University of Life Sciences and Veterinary Sciences) analyzed the blood of 61 Japanese monkeys living in a forest 70 km from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The total concentration of cesium in monkeys muscles was between 78 and 1778 Bq / kg. Blood tests in these animals revealed a small quantity of white blood cells and red blood cells, which could make them more vulnerable. The decrease of blood cells was directly proportional to the concentration of cesium in the muscles, which suggests a dose-response correlation. Researchers estimate that exposure to radioactive materials contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys.

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Drawing by Julien Loïs

Provisional Conclusion

The consequences of radioactivity on animals are visible to anyone who will bother to observe what happens. In this article, I focused on some animals only (there would be other cases to develop: the population decline of the cicadas, the increased cataract of rodents, etc.). Scientists could conduct similar studies on this strange animal that is man, but it would not be politically correct.

Yet this has already been done, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl. For example, studies conducted between 1993 and 1998 on Ukrainian children permitted to observe a drop of blood cells, which was related to the exposure of each child to cesium depending on the place of residence. And yet, in Tokyo, from 2011 to 2014, Dr. Mita observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, decreased in children under 10 years old. (Which prompted him to move and to ask his patients to leave Tokyo). But no, do not say anything, and do not look into such matter.

In Japan, the denial of the danger is a must. The only mention of a nosebleed in a manga can cause a national affair and censorship … To speak of the negative consequences of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi is not accepted.

You must rebuild, you must forget, you must think about the future. Institutionally, only one study is accepted, the monitoring of thyroids of children in Fukushima. That study is the screen that hides the forest of lies.

And yet, despite 131 thyroid cancers confirmed in June 2016, the official Japanese scientists refuse to see them as caused by radioactivity.

Pierre Fetet

To read more:

1) Scientific studies cited in this article

The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident on the pale grass blue butterfly, A. Hiyama, C. Nohara, S. Kinjo, W. Taira, S. Gima, A. Tanahara, J.-M. Otaki, 2012

 

Low blood cell counts in wild Japanese monkeys after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, K. Ochiai, S. Hayama, S. Nakiri, S. Nakanishi, N. Ishii, T. Uno, T. Kato, F. Konno, Y. Kawamoto, S. Tsuchida, T. Omi, 2014

 

Morphological abnormalities in gall-forming aphids in a radiation-contaminated area near Fukushima Daiichi: selective impact of fallout?, S. Akimoto, 2014

 

Effects of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident on goshawk reproduction, K. Murase, J. Murase, R. Horie, K. End, 2015

 

Radiological dose reconstruction for birds reconciles outcomes of Fukushima with knowledge of dose-effect relationships, J. Garnier-Laplace, K. Beaugelin-Seiller, C. Della-Vedova, J.-M. Métivier, C. Ritz, T. A. Mousseau, A. P. Møller, 2015

 

Cumulative effects of radioactivity from Fukushima on the abundance and biodiversity of birds, A. P. Møller, I. Nishiumi & T. A. Mousseau, 2015

 

2) Articles and file

Tchernobyl, une histoire pas si naturelle que ça (Pierre Fetet)

 

Non, Tchernobyl n’est pas devenu une réserve naturelle (Timothy Mousseau)

 

A Fukushima, les souris sont aveugles et les oiseaux ne chantent plus (Anne-Laure Barral)

 

Les conséquences de la radioactivité sur la faune et la flore à Tchernobyl et à Fukushima (Dossier Phil Ansois)

 

 

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Despite Paris agreement, world is set for a 3.5 degree temperature rise

Paris Agreement comes into force but sets us on course for a 3.5 degree world, says Friends of the Earth International http://reliefweb.int/report/world/paris-agreement-comes-force-sets-us-course-35-degree-world-says-friends-earth  REPORT from Friends of the Earth  03 Nov 2016 On Friday 4 November, just days before the UN climate talks open in Marrakech, the Paris Agreement comes into force. Friends of the Earth International reiterates its concern that without greater ambition and more urgency the Paris Agreement will fail to deliver the scale of fair and drastic action needed to prevent dangerous climate change.

1971 countries have agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to hold the global temperature increase to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels” and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.’’ However, even if countries stick to commitments made so far, we can expect at least 3.5°C of warming2.

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“After 24 years of negotiations we are hurtling towards a 3.5 degree world, which will be catastrophic for millions across the world,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator for Friends of the Earth International. “Despite all the science-based evidence, rich countries are failing to do their fair share of emissions reductions as well as provide much-needed finance to drive energy transformation in developing countries. The clock is ticking, we have almost no time left to ensure the peoples of Africa are not sacrificed to increasing temperatures.”

“There are 1.2 billion people living with no access to electricity and over half of those people are in Africa,” said Geoffrey Kamese, Senior Programme Officer, Friends of the Earth Uganda / NAPE “Africa-led and people-centred initiatives – such as the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative – must be given support to work for people. However, we’re only seeing more of the same – old and indeed new dirty energy projects – oil, coal, gas and big dams, fracking, even tar sands – continue to devastate communities.

The Paris Agreement’s goal of preventing catastrophic climate change and protecting the world’s poor will be worthless if governments use it to open the door to untested, dangerous geo-engineering (that will also trigger a global land grab for agrofuels), and to focus on discredited solutions such as carbon markets and nuclear energy.

Friends of the Earth International champions the real solutions to the climate crisis: steep and urgent reductions in carbon emissions, in line with each country’s fair share; an end to deforestation; new, public finance and support for clean, sustainable, people-centred power solutions, and a transformation in our food systems. These solutions have long been underway, initiated by people and their communities. Decision-makers must listen to the people, listen to the science, and stop wasting precious time and money on false solutions.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Global nuclear lobby gets ready to influence climate talks

Buy politiciansNuclear community gets ready for Paris Agreement WNN  04 November 2016 Countries planning to use nuclear power to meet their climate change goals will pool experience as part of a forthcoming research effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Paris Agreement entered into force today, committing governments to limiting global warming to 2 deg C and, if possible, 1.5 deg C.

The IAEA told journalists today that it is starting to “Coordinate research efforts of member states on the assessment of the potential role of nuclear in their climate change mitigation strategies.” It will cover various analytical methods, frameworks and strategies.

Loreta Stankeviciute of the IAEA’s Planning and Economic Studies Section will oversee the work. She said research “would include aspects such as energy planning but also focus on the assessment and effectiveness of support mechanisms that were mentioned under the Paris Agreement such as domestic policies and carbon prices in order to identify key barriers and develop approaches to address those investments in low carbon technologies.”

The head of the Planning and Economic Studies Section, David Shropshire, said IAEA tools were generalised enough to be used for any kind of energy development, not just nuclear power. To make best use of the tools, it has recently signed a practical arrangement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). The focus of cooperation between the two UN agencies has been Africa, but could be expanded anywhere, said Shropshire…..

the World Nuclear Association made clear the industry’s readiness to work for the Paris goals…… It said that industry has endorsed a goal of supplying 25% of the world’s electricity with nuclear generation by 2050, a target that will require the construction of 1000 GWe of new nuclear capacity.

Shropshire said, “It’s up to each member state to decide for themselves how much [the role of nuclear] is going to be. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/EE-Nuclear-community-gets-ready-for-Paris-Agreement-0411161.html

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Bigger battles beyond the climate agreement – climate crises for vulnerable countries

The ‘flexible’ carbon mitigation mechanism of National Determined Contributions that makes contribution to emission cuts voluntary allows for the watering down of the historic and current responsibility of big polluter countries like the United States and China. Pressure is unjustly put on low carbon economies of developing countries when there should be none in the first place.

There are no concrete commitments and mechanisms that will ensure adequate and unconditional support for climate vulnerable countries. Even more marginalized was the proposed mechanism for ‘Loss and Damage’ that sought to facilitate compensation from industrialized nations to vulnerable nations that are already suffering climate impacts.

Transnational corporations and financial institutions, meanwhile, are given free rein to promote multi-billion dollar false climate solutions such as mega hydro, clean coal, and nuclear power plants, timber plantations, carbon credits, and other projects that displace communities and degrade the environment.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.

There are bigger battles outside the Paris Agreement   http://opinion.inquirer.net/98960/there-are-bigger-battles-outside-the-paris-agreement   November 04, 2016   LEON DULCE
Campaign Coordinator Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment
We write with regard to the resurgence of debate on President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambivalence over the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as it comes in a time when deeper public discourse and action on the climate crisis is urgently needed.

World leaders will gather at the United Nations “COP22″ climate talks once again to attempt to concretize the Paris Agreement’s agreed common actions on mitigating carbon emissions that induce climate change, adapting communities to worsening climate impacts, and ensuring financing, technology transfer, capacity building, and loss and damage mechanisms.

COP22’s commencement fittingly coincides with the Philippines’ commemoration of the third anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan). World leaders should be reminded that some 16 million people were severely affected by Yolanda’s powerful winds, floods and storm surges across the Philippines, and that these impacted communities are still struggling to recover three years later—a preview of what future climate norms are in store for us if climate disruption is left unfettered.

An alarming evidence of this was the findings of current Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo that at least 200,000 Yolanda survivors have yet to receive emergency shelter assistance from the state because of discrimination by local politics during the Aquino administration.

Meanwhile, the specter of ‘disaster capitalism’ continues to haunt Yolanda survivors. Initial findings of an environmental investigation mission held by the Center for Environmental Concerns and scientist group AGHAM regarding the proposed P7.9-billion Leyte Tide Embankment Project revealed how the biggest post-Yolanda mega-infrastructure solution actually threatens the livelihood and environment of some 10,000 residents across the east coast of Leyte.

Unfortunately, there is still a yawning gap between the abject plight of Yolanda survivors and other frontline communities and the reality of the Paris Agreement.

The ‘flexible’ carbon mitigation mechanism of National Determined Contributions that makes contribution to emission cuts voluntary allows for the watering down of the historic and current responsibility of big polluter countries like the United States and China. Pressure is unjustly put on low carbon economies of developing countries when there should be none in the first place.

There are no concrete commitments and mechanisms that will ensure adequate and unconditional support for climate vulnerable countries. Even more marginalized was the proposed mechanism for ‘Loss and Damage’ that sought to facilitate compensation from industrialized nations to vulnerable nations that are already suffering climate impacts.

Transnational corporations and financial institutions, meanwhile, are given free rein to promote multi-billion dollar false climate solutions such as mega hydro, clean coal, and nuclear power plants, timber plantations, carbon credits, and other projects that displace communities and degrade the environment.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. It is hard not to cast a shadow of doubt over the Paris Agreement and the uphill battle to step up the pact’s ambition in the upcoming COP22. It is actually commendable how President Duterte asserts our people’s right to develop as the foundation of his argument, a right of vulnerable and poor nations that is given only tokenisms in the agreement.

The climate talks, however, are still a legitimate venue to advance the concrete needs and aspirations of our people.

President Duterte can take a leaf from the book of Bolivian President Evo Morales, who called out global capitalism as the root of the climate and environmental crises in his plenary speech at COP21 last year, or from Pope Francis who also called for system change with his encyclical “Laudato Sii.”

At COP22, Duterte can take up the cudgels for the Filipino people struggling for climate justice, from the Lumad, Igorot, and other indigenous peoples resisting big coal and metallic mines to the Yolanda survivors that will march once again on ‘ground zero’ come November 8 to assert their demands for resilient homes and livelihoods.

These are the bigger battles outside the Paris Agreement that need to be fought, as these are the ones winning the struggle against the global system that perpetuates climate injustice. Let these stories of struggles in the frontlines be at the core of the climate talks.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Philippines, politics international | Leave a comment

Advocates Protest  In their letter, the plan’s opponents argue that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 bars the federal government from taking responsibility for interim waste in the absence of a federal repository.

the concept of interim storage came out of the Obama Administration’s Blue Ribbon Commission on nuclear waste.

Elephant--blue-ribbon-commission

Meanwhile, the Energy Department remains decades away from developing a permanent repository.

stranded.At nearly every meeting of the San Onofre Community Engagement Panel, residents line up to ask whether sea air might cause corrosion in the casks, what the chance of leakage is, and who’s responsible if the casks degrade

As the amount of waste grows, so does the government’s liability……….The government’s estimated total liability is $29 billion.”That’s probably low, because it’s getting more expensive to store this stuff,”

Nuclear Plants Closing Early Leave Decades of Toxic Waste Stranded http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-03/decades-of-toxic-waste-stranded-as-nuclear-plants-close-early  ctraywick    markchediak November 4, 2016 —

  • U.S. government has no permanent repository for spent fuel
  • 76,000 metric tons of waste stored at commercial sites Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA election clouds the U.N. climate conference in n Marrakech, Morocco

logo Paris climate1The two-week conference begins Monday on the eve of the U.S. presidential election, which USA election 2016threatens to doom U.S. participation in global climate agreements if GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump wins. He disputes man-made climate change and has promised to “cancel” or at least “renegotiate” the global agreement.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton supports the Paris deal and the U.N. climate process.

PARIS AGREEMENT Deal takes force under cloud of U.S. election Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporterClimateWire: Friday, November 4, 2016 The landmark Paris Agreement enters into force today as U.S. voters prepare to choose between a candidate who supports the climate deal and one who has said he would cancel it.

The agreement reached by nearly 200 countries outside the French capital last December has taken effect more than three years before its framers expected it to, after nations rushed to submit their ratification documents in just 10 months.

John Morton, director for energy and climate change at the National Security Council, said negotiators will assemble in Marrakech, Morocco, next week for the first U.N. conference since Paris “with a tremendous amount of positive momentum.” Continue reading

November 5, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA “new nuclear” lobby wants #2 billion each year from tax-payers

fleecing-taxpayer$2 Billion Needed Annually for Advanced Nuclear, Group Says Tax - payers http://www.bna.com/billion-needed-annually-n57982082293/  Bloomberg BNA By Rebecca Kern Nov. 3 — Advanced nuclear reactor technologies would be speeded up if the federal government increased spending to $2 billion annually on research and development test beds and demonstration projects, nuclear experts advised.

In order to move advanced nuclear reactors from the conceptual stage where they are today to the testing stages and eventual deployment, the government needs to increase its funding from its approximately $500 million per year to $2 billion per year over a 10-year period, Armond Cohen, executive director of the Clean Air Task Force, said during a Nov. 3 event releasing the Global Nexus Initiative’s policy memo outlining a framework for advanced reactors.

The Global Nexus Initiative is a group formed two years ago by the Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents the nuclear industry, and the Partnership for Global Security, a nonpartisan, non-profit focusing nuclear security policy.

The report is based on discussions during the group’s February workshop on the challenges to deploying advanced reactors, which are non-light water nuclear reactors that rely on other substances, such as sodium, to cool the reactor that have the potential to be cheaper to build and safer than existing reactor technologies.

logo Third Way

Todd Allen, a senior visiting fellow at Third Way, a policy research group, said that government funding should be focused on early innovation for startup companies, of which some fraction will move up to commercial deployment…..   http://www.bna.com/billion-needed-annually-n57982082293/

November 5, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.N.: Paris Climate Agreement Takes Effect

 https://www.stratfor.com/situation-report/un-paris-climate-agreement-takes-effect  NOVEMBER 4, 2016The Paris agreement under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force Nov. 4, U.N. Dispatch reported. The deal was formulated in December 2015 and would put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions. In order to take effect, it had required that 55 parties whose emissions totaled to 55 percent of the world total ratify the pact. To date, 97 parties have signed on. The pact’s objective is to maintain global warming at below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since the start of the Industrial Revolution, with 1.5 degrees Celsius as the goal. World leaders and activists will gather in Marrakech, Morocco, from Nov. 7-18 for a follow-up on the Paris meeting.

In spite of the fanfare, the Paris agreement on its own will not significantly alter countries’ behavior with regard to climate change. Instead, a variety of political, economic and technological factors will determine how different regions change their energy consumption to mitigate the threat of global warming. The transition beyond oil is already underway, as the world’s energy systems shift toward nuclear power, natural gas, renewables or some combination of the three.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Philippines Senator supports President Duterte’s stand against the use of nuclear power

text-NoGatchalian with Duterte on stand vs nuclear power By:  / @TarraINQ  / November 04, 2016  Sen.Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday expressed agreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand against the use of nuclear power, saying further studies must first be undertaken to ensure that it would be a viable and safe energy source for the Philippines.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate energy committee, said the Department of Energy should first “formulate a comprehensive nuclear energy policy” before forging ahead with the use of nuclear power.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi  earlier proposed the use of the long-mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, but Gatchalian expressed reservations, citing safety concerns over the aged facility.

“The President and I see eye to eye on this matter. More research should be done to prove that nuclear power is a safe and viable energy option for the Philippines. At this point, I am not convinced,” said Gatchalian in a statement.

He said he was willing to hear out advocates of nuclear power but proposed to shift focus first on more viable energy sources……http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/841149/gatchalian-with-duterte-on-stand-vs-nuclear-power

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

On 4 November, Paris Climate deal came into legal force

logo Paris climate1The Paris climate deal has come into force – what next for Australia?, The Conversation, , 4 Nov 16, The Paris climate agreement comes into legal force today, just 11 months after it was concluded and 30 days after it met its ratification threshold of 55 parties accounting for at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

By contrast, the Kyoto Protocol, which this treaty now replaces, took more than 8 years to come into force, slowed by the United States’ persistent and erosive opposition.

At the time of writing, the Agreement has been ratified by 94 parties, including the world’s four largest emitters: China, the United States, the European Union and India. As Climate Analytics reports, these nations account for 66% of greenhouse emissions. Even if the United States were to withdraw its support under a Trump presidency, the Paris Agreement will remain in force……..

a legal hybrid that obliges parties to abide by processes, mechanisms and timetables for setting and reviewing their national climate targets, and providing climate finance to developing countries.

But the treaty doesn’t compel those national efforts collectively to meet its core aims: to keep global warming well below 2℃ and as close as possible to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels; to peak global emissions as soon as possible; and to reach zero net global emissions in the second half of this century. Worse still, the currently pledged targets would deliver some 3℃ of overall warming by the end of this century.

Because the treaty relies on “intended” national climate targets rather than binding ones, much hinges on the success of the requirement for nations to review and toughen them every five years. The theory is that these global stocktakes of collective progress (beginning with a facilitative dialogue among parties in 2018) will generate enough pressure for individual nations to be encouraged to ratchet up their efforts as they go.

For these reasons – because of its emphasis on process and its lack of compliance mechanisms – the Agreement has been described as a promissory note, or prematurely criticised as inadequate…….

while there will be more celebrations at this year’s UN climate summit, which begins in Marrakech on Monday, negotiators and UN bureaucrats have been caught out. In some senses, the Paris Agreement is a framework agreement within a Framework Agreement (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which this is a subsidiary part). It’s a work in progress with lots of details yet to be filled in.

The newly formed Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement will be scrambling to define key elements governing the new treaty’s implementation. Many of these elements are critical to the treaty’s long-term effectiveness. They include measures to ensure transparent and effective accounting of countries’ emissions reductions; to work out exactly how the ambition of “zero net emissions” will be met; and to transfer crucial economic measures used under the Kyoto Protocol over to the new framework.

The Agreement requests that this be done by the first session of the Conference of the Parties to the new treaty. As this now will occur in Marrakech, time is too short and such labour is likely to continue through 2017 and perhaps beyond……… https://theconversation.com/the-paris-climate-deal-has-come-into-force-what-next-for-australia-68140

November 5, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA Federal Judge upholds lawsuit about Hanford nuclear workers’ health and safety

legal actionFederal judge rejects dismissing Hanford nuclear lawsuit http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2016/11/nuclear-power-federal-judge-rejects-dismissing-hanford-nuclear-lawsuit.html November 4, 2016  By Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday rejected the U.S. Department of Energy’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Washington state over worker safety issues at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rice rejected an Energy Department argument that the federal agency was not endangering enough Washington residents to allow the state to sue.

“The state has an inherent and fundamental sovereign interest in ensuring that all Washington workers are safe,” Rice wrote in his opinion.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit last fall against the Energy Department and its contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions. The lawsuit contends that hazardous tank vapors pose a serious risk to Hanford workers.

‘This motion was just another example of the federal government’s culture of indifference to worker safety at Hanford,” Ferguson said Thursday.

Ferguson’s office contends that hundreds of workers have been exposed to vapors escaping from nuclear waste storage tanks since the early 1980s and that those breathing the vapors developed nosebleeds, chest and lung pain, headaches, coughing, sore throats, irritated eyes, and difficulty breathing.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and now is engaged in cleaning up a massive inventory of radioactive and chemical wastes left over from that work.

Much of the waste is stored in 177 giant underground storage tanks at Hanford, which is located near Richland.

After more than 50 workers were exposed to tank vapors earlier this year, Ferguson asked a federal court to immediately order the government to implement enhanced safety measures. That motion is still pending before the court.

Officials for the Energy Department in Richland did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment on Thursday.

Lawyers for the Energy Department had argued that the state lacked legal standing to file the lawsuit, in part because it involved about 2,000 workers out of a population of millions of residents. The agency also contended that no evidence has been provided showing that Hanford workers have been harmed by vapors. Symptoms like headaches are common, they have said.

The trial is set for May 22, 2017.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | health, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Canada’s navy to investigate object found off B.C. coast -Lost Cold War nuclear weapon?

UFO? Lost Cold War nuclear weapon? Canada’s navy to investigate object found off B.C. coast  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ufo-lost-cold-war-nuclear-weapon-canada-s-navy-to-investigate-object-found-off-b-c-coast-1.3835542  Army records indicate diver may have found bomb lost by the U.S. Air Force in 1950

Lost Nuke: The Last Flight of Bomber 075 book trailer

By George Baker, Andrew Kurjata, CBC News Posted: Nov 04, 2016 The Royal Canadian Navy is sending a ship to determine if a diver has discovered “the lost nuke” — a Mark IV bomb that went missing after a U.S. bomber crashed off B.C.’s North Coast in the early days of the Cold War.

Sean Smyrichinsky found the mystery object during a recent diving trip near Banks Island. “I got a little far from my boat and I found something that I’d never ever seen before,” he recalled. “It resembled, like, a bagel cut in half, and then around the bagel these bolts molded into it.”

When he got back to the ship he tried to describe the object to his crew.

“I came out from the dive and I came up and I started telling my crew, ‘My god, I found a UFO. I found the strangest thing I’d ever seen!'”

The ‘lost nuke’

Smyrichinsky started asking around and was told the story of Convair B-36B, a U.S. Air Force bomber that crashed off B.C. in 1950. In a book published earlier this year, historian Dirk Septer traces the story of that flight, summarizing it in publicity documents as a Cold War drama:

“Just before midnight on February 13, 1950, three engines of a US Air Force B-36 intercontinental bomber caught fire over Canada’s northwest coast. The crew jumped, and the plane ditched somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Almost four years later, the wreck of the bomber was found accidentally in a remote location in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, three hours’ flying time in the opposite direction of where it was supposed to have crashed.

“After years of silence, the United States finally admitted to losing its very first nuclear bomb; the incident was its first Broken Arrow, the code name for accidents involving nuclear weapons. But was the bomb dropped and exploded over the Inside Passage, or was it blown up at the aircraft’s resting place in the mountains?”

The lost bomb was a Mark IV. As soon as Smyrichinsky looked it up on Google Images, he recognized it as the object he had found.

“It was a piece that looked very much like what I saw,” he said. “The plane that was carrying the bomb, it crashed 50 miles south of where I found that object.”

“What else could it possibly be? I was thinking UFO, but probably not a UFO, right?”

Probably not nuclear

Major Steve Neta of the Canadian Armed Forces confirmed the location of Snyrichinsky’s find does coincide with the site of the 1950 crash.

Neta also said records indicate the lost bomb was a dummy capsule, and so there is little risk of the object being a nuclear weapon.

“Nonetheless, we do want to be sure and we do want to investigate it further,” he said. To hear Sean Smyrichinsky describe finding the object, click on the audio labeled ‘A discovery off B.C.’s north coast possible missing relic of Cold War‘.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Canada, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Eskom just can’t do nuclear

flag-S.AfricaCan Eskom can be trusted with such a huge, risky and expensive exercise?
Between the Chains: Eskom just can’t do nuclear http://www.financialmail.co.za/opinion/Betweenthechains/2016/11/03/between-the-chains-eskom-just-can-t-do-nuclear

BY SIKONATHI MANTSHANTSHA, NOVEMBER 03 2016, By the time you read this, Statistics SA will have published yet another electricity production report that exposes the propaganda coming out of Eskom for the lie it really is. The last electricity production report, released in the first week in October, shows Eskom has been generating ever-shrinking amounts of power for the past decade. For the eight months to August, it produced a total 152,432 gigawatt hours (gWh) of electricity. For the whole of last year Eskom generated 230,122gWh of power, a far cry from the 241,170gWh it churned out in 2007, the year the screws really came off. The next-best generation performance came only in 2010, with 240,528gWh of electricity produced. It has been on a downward production spiral since then.
This year’s production figures also include the more than 2,000MW that is produced by private, renewable-power operators.

Yet for the past year the utility has been feeding the nation the lie that it has improved its generation performance, pointing at the absence of load shedding as proof. Only when confronted with the evidence do Eskom’s executives reluctantly admit that the much lower demand “has contributed” to the lack of load shedding.

Stats SA collects its information from the utility itself. So who is Eskom fooling with its public-relations spin?

Now that they have been repeating the “superb performance” narrative, Eskom’s managers are beginning to believe it and are becoming more ambitious and brazen. Generation chief Matshela Koko has been generating a storm of hot air about why Eskom must handle the procurement of the next fleet of nuclear power stations. And now that energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has effectively handed the responsibility to Eskom, the utility says it will use its balance sheet to fund the nuclear power stations, which it would operate when the first one comes into operation by 2026……..

While I believe that SA does need to build more nuclear power stations in order to restore energy security, I do not think Eskom can be trusted with such a huge, risky and expensive exercise at this stage. And I believe we only need to build a maximum 3,000MW of new nuclear capacity during the next 20 years, not the 9,600MW government has been pushing for.

As a start, it is fanciful and misleading at best to say a nuclear power station can be commissioned by 2026. Certainly not by Eskom. The worst possibility is that Eskom executives are deliberately misleading SA into believing they can efficiently manage such a process.

Over budget and years late

Since August 2007, Eskom has been bumbling and unnecessarily costing SA billions trying to build the Medupi and Kusile power stations. Both are way over budget and at least five years late.

It is not only lack of skills causing these delays and cost overruns. Corruption inside Eskom and at government level has played the biggest role. And corruption has since got worse, not better.

The biggest lie in Eskom’s bid to control the nuclear procurement is that it has a balance sheet capable of handling such a commitment. Koko conveniently forgets that in 2009 Eskom abandoned its nuclear build programme, and handed the responsibility to government.

The reason was stated clearly: Eskom alone could not afford the commitment, said then chief generation officer Brian Dames in 2009. The utility has since leant on government for financial guarantees and bailouts to support its current capital investment programme. The taxpayer is exposed to more than R170bn in Eskom guarantees alone. Eskom did not have the money then. It does not have it now.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Ukraine (over) confident of its nuclear waste storage plans

Nuclear Regulation Inspectorate approves preliminary spent nuclear fuel storage facility safety report http://en.interfax.com.ua/news/economic/381495.html, 4 Nov 16,  A panel of Ukraine’s State Nuclear Regulation Inspectorate at a Thursday meeting approved a conclusion of the public examination of nuclear and radiation security under a preliminary safety analysis report for the centralized spent nuclear fuel storage facility.

“Thus, the panel confirmed that the spent nuclear fuel storage facility project meets the nuclear and radiation safety requirements. According to a resolution of the panel, some project safety solutions shortly described in the project will be presented in details at the next designing stage,” the press service of national nuclear generating company Energoatom said.

The conclusion will be sent to the State Architectural and Construction Inspectorate of Ukraine.

Energoatom President Yuriy Nedashkovsky said at the meeting of the panel, the discussion of the issues linked to construction of the centralized spent nuclear fuel storage facility should be accelerated.

“Technologies and project solutions selected for construction of the facility meet international spent nuclear treatment requirements and ensure reliable and safe storage of spent nuclear fuel from Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs). The feasibility study of the centralized spent nuclear fuel storage facility passed public environmental examination and obtained a positive conclusion. Today all organization and legal issues related to construction of the storage facility have been settled. A delay with the start of construction would entail further financial losses for Ukraine, while the launch of the facility would considerably increase the country’s energy security,” he said.

Head of State Nuclear Regulation Inspectorate Serhiy Bozhko said that construction of spent nuclear fuel storage facilities is permanent global practice, but today this solution is only an intermediate link in settling the issue of treading spent nuclear fuel in a long-term outlook.

November 5, 2016 Posted by | Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

The nuke heads want to use small nuclear reactor for Mars travel (I suppose it’s on tax-payers’ money)

spacecradt-plutonium-I-Team: Nuclear reactor test in Nevada could make a Mars trip reality, Las Vegas Now, By George Knapp , Matt Adams | madams@8newsnow.com 11/04 2016 “….Next year, a team of top scientists will hunker down inside a classified facility in the Nevada desert so they can experiment with a piece of advanced technology.

The test will focus on a small nuclear reactor and if it works as planned, it could be a huge step toward putting humans on Mars……

Los Alamos nuclear reactor scientist Patrick McClure is bubbling with enthusiasm about the end uses for the small nuclear reactor his team will test in the Nevada Desert in 2017. The reactor is named Kilopower. The experiment is dubbed KRUSTY, and yes, it’s an acronym named for the character in “The Simpsons” television show, but the goals are all too serious…….

“It could have happened. You could have nuclear powered rockets taking people to Mars, by now. That would be the reality of this,” said Darwin Morgan, Department of Energy.

“Definitely, in the 2030s, we will have the technology and the capability to go to Mars,” Houts said.

“This is exciting stuff,” McClure said. “We like it.”  http://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/i-team-nuclear-reactor-test-in-nevada-could-make-a-mars-trip-reality

November 5, 2016 Posted by | technology, USA | 1 Comment