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Switzerland’s nuclear reactors will keep going – for now

Swiss nuclear plants to remain on grid, swissinfo.ch


By Urs Geiser , 27 Nov 16 

Swiss voters have thrown out a proposal to close the country’s five nuclear power plants after 45 years in operation. The Green Party initiative was rejected by 54.2% of the vote, according to final results.

Only six of the country’s 26 cantons, mainly in French-speaking Switzerland, came out in favour of the phase out. Despite the defeat, Regula Rytz, president of the Green Party, welcomed Sunday’s result.

“The high number of yes votes confirmed that citizens wanted to opt out of nuclear power in the long run,” she said.

The leftwing Social Democrats said the nuclear era was coming to an end, while the environmental organisation Greenpeace described the result as a “slap on the wrist” of the nuclear power industry.

Confidence 

Energy Minister Doris Leuthard  said the result was a vote of confidence in the government and its energy strategy. “Voters do not want a hasty shut down of nuclear power plants. A policy change is not feasible from one day to the next,” she told a news conference…….

Supporters of the initiative argued the safety of old reactors, operating since the early 1970s, could no longer be guaranteed. Instead, they called for more energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.

“An orderly phase out creates more safety and protects our country,” according to the campaign slogan of the initiative committee.

If it had been approved, three plants would have had to close as early as next year and Switzerland would have phased out nuclear energy production by 2029. Most of the Swiss nuclear reactors have unlimited operating licences, which are subject to approval by the regulator.

The proposal was backed by an alliance of leftwing parties, trade unions and environmental organisations……..

Energy Strategy

Following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the Swiss government in 2011 decided in principle to opt out of nuclear power production by 2034. In its energy policy, the government recommended decommissioning all nuclear reactors and to promote hydroelectric power, renewable energy and combined gas plants.

Last September, parliament approved an energy strategy, ending more than two years of debate. The programme foresees boosting renewable energy resources and outlaws the construction of nuclear power plants. However, it sets no deadline for the existing reactors to be shut down.

Unhappy with the Energy Strategy 2050, the rightwing Swiss People’s Party is challenging the law to a referendum, criticising planned government subsidies for renewable energy resources……

Nuclear votes

The Nov 27 was vote was the seventh nationwide ballot on nuclear power in Switzerland since 1979.

Ballots also took place at cantonal and local levels, notably on the storage of nuclear waste, public stock ownership in nuclear companies or a ban of nuclear power supplies for public utilities.

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November 28, 2016 Posted by | politics, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Does Senator mark Rubio now REALLY believe that Donald Trump would be safe with the nuclear codes?

TrumpDana Bash catches Rubio in trap with clip where he said Trump ‘too erratic to have the nuclear codes  https://www.rawstory.com/2016/11/dana-bash-catches-rubio-in-trap-with-clip-where-he-said-trump-too-erratic-to-have-the-nuclear-codes/ TOM BOGGIONI 27 NOV 2016 FLorida Senator Marco Rubio (R) gave his full support to Donald Trump on Sunday morning but continued to hedge his bets when it comes to feeling comfortable handing over the nuclear codes to the president-elect.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, host Dana Bash reminded the Florida senator that he once called Trump unfit for the office of the presidency, and warned against “turning over the nuclear codes to an erratic individual.”

“Senator, do you still have those concerns about President-elect Trump?” Bash asked.

“Well, Dana, we had an election,” Rubio replied. “Ultimately the voters chose him both as our nominee and now as our president. The election is over and it’s time to govern. We’ll give him every chance to be successful. That’s what I”m focused on now. At some point elections end and governing needs to begin.”

“Senator, I completely get elections are over and now it is time for governing,” Bash pressed. “But given the fact that it’s time for governing and your criticism was about his abilities to govern, even as far as saying that he shouldn’t have the nuclear codes because he’s too erratic. What will you do as senator, as somebody who actually has the responsibility of check and balance, to make sure that he is governing properly given the concerns that you expressed?”

“The same as I would do with anybody else who is elected.” Rubio replied, side-stepping once again before adding, “I feel comfortable voters have voted him to be the commander-in-chief.”  [Video]

November 28, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is worried over Iran losing a nuclear device

Iran Loses Nuclear Device, Sparks GCC Worry , Oil Price, 

Aside from the security concerns, at the forefront in the GCC’s mind is what impact the radioactive device—wherever it may be today—could have on water supplies.

According to the newspaper, the device went missing after the car transporting it was stolen. Thankfully, the vehicle was recovered, but the radioactive nuclear device was not so lucky.

The GCC has contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the incident—both organizations are concerned that Iran’s nuclear program may pollute the waters in the Gulf, Asharq al-Awsat quoted GCC Emergency Management Center chairman, Adnan al-Tamimi, as saying.

Most members of the GCC – which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman – desalinate sea water from the Gulf. If contamination from the device were to reach desalination stations, an already critical situation becomes even more critical.

The missing device is set to lose half of its power after 74 days of inactivity, Tamimi said, noting that it still should be handled with care even after that period……..http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Iran-Loses-Nuclear-Device-Sparks-GCC-Worry.html

November 28, 2016 Posted by | incidents, Iran | 1 Comment

New information about America’s fears surrounding Israel’s nuclear arsenal

Documents Reveal Just How Freaked Out America Was Over Israel Building Nuclear Weapons, National Interest, Robert Beckhusen, 27 Nov 16, Israel’s nuclear weapons program is one of the biggest military open secrets in the world. Now we know a little more about the angst inside the Pentagon in the late 1960s, as Israel was months away from activating its nuclear deterrent.

That’s all according to new documents obtained by the nonprofit National Security Archive at George Washington University. In 2006, the researchers revealed the Nixon administration’s wrangling over what to do about Israel’s nuclear weapons program. But the latest round of documents show new details about the debate—and the stark warnings from Pentagon officials about the dangers of Israeli nukes…..

secret-agent-SmIsrael remains highly secretive about its nuclear weapons—which are believed to number in the several hundreds. In the late 1960s, the secretive nature of the program led to lots of uncertainty in Washington about how far Israel had made it, and whether other Middle Eastern states knew about the program……http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/documents-reveal-just-how-freaked-out-america-was-over-18514

November 28, 2016 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Climate change in action: Bolivia’s fast-melting glaciers

climate-changeWe must be prepared for the impact of Bolivia’s fast-melting glaciers
The country’s glaciers are leaving behind lakes that could cause catastrophic flooding of vast metropolitan areas. Simon Cook considers the impact on communities living below the waters,
The Independent, Simon Cook  Thursday 27 October 2016 Bolivia’s glaciers have shrunk by more than 40 per cent in the past few decades. This puts further pressure on an already stressed water supply, while the meltwater lakes left behind risk collapsing in sudden and catastrophic outburst floods. That’s the conclusion of a new study of the country’s glaciers I conducted with colleagues based in the UK and Bolivia. Our results are published in the journal The Cryosphere.

Although Bolivia sits in the tropics, the Andes run through the country like a spine. Many mountains exceed 6,000 metres, among the highest outside of south and central Asia, meaning that glaciers can exist here. Indeed, Bolivia contains around 20 per cent of the world’s so-called “tropical glaciers”. But these glaciers are very sensitive to the effects of a warming climate. Our study shows that Bolivian glaciers have shrunk by around 43 per cent since the mid-1980s – a period marked by increasing temperatures. We estimate that these glaciers will be much diminished by the end of the century.

  • This matters first because people depend on water that drains from glaciers. La Paz and neighbouring El Alto draw on water from several surrounding glaciers, and together these cities form a fast-growing metropolitan area that is home to more than two million people. Throughout the year, glaciers supply around 15 per cent of the drinking water, but this proportion almost doubles during the dry season between May and October. The glaciers can’t keep “topping up” an unsustainable water supply like this. The short-term gain of more water during the dry season will turn into a longer-term water resource problem once the glaciers disappear. ….
  • These disappearing glaciers also threaten to unleash sudden and devastating floods from meltwater lakes that develop as the ice recedes. ……http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/we-must-be-prepared-for-the-impact-of-bolivia-s-fast-melting-glaciers-a7380931.html

November 28, 2016 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Climate change in action – California’s six-year drought has killed 102 Million Trees

Drought Climate Change102 Million Trees Have Died in California’s Drought http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/50164 California’s six years of drought has left 102 million dead trees across 7.7 million acres of forest in its wake, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced following an aerial survey. If that is not horrendous enough, 62 million trees died in the year 2016 alone—an increase of more than 100 percent compared to 2015.

“The scale of die-off in California is unprecedented in our modern history,” Randy Moore, a forester for the U.S. Forest Service, told the Los Angeles Times, adding that trees are dying “at a rate much quicker than we thought.”

“You look across the hillside on a side of the road, and you see a vast landscape of dead trees,” added Adrian Das, a U.S. Geological Survey ecologist whose office is located in Sequoia National Park. “It’s pretty startling.”

Most of the dead trees are located in 10 counties in the southern and central Sierra Nevada region.

“Five consecutive years of severe drought in California, a dramatic rise in bark beetle infestation and warmer temperatures are leading to these historic levels of tree die-off,” the USFS said.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Care2

November 28, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Canadian navy investigates underwater ‘find’ – it is not the Missing Cold War nuclear bomb

Missing Cold War nuclear bomb remains a mystery after Canadian navy investigates object found by diver, Telegraph,   26 NOVEMBER 2016 
ACold War nuclear bomb is still missing after it turned out a diver’s underwater discovery was not the atomic weapon weapon as first thought.

The mystery of a “missing nuke” in Canada has baffled historians for more than half a century.

Ever since an American B-36 Bomber crashed near British Columbia during a secret training mission in 1950, the nuclear bomb on boardhas never been found. Earlier this month, a commercial diver raised hopes that the Mark IV bomb had been discovered after he stumbled across an object in the waters off Canada’s west coast. ……Along with assistance from the diver, the HMCS Yellowknife investigated the wreckage, only to determine that the object was just a piece of steel machinery……http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/26/missing-cold-war-nuclear-bomb-remains-mystery-canadian-navy/

November 28, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment