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Religious leaders of diverse faiths join together, saying that climate change is a moral issue

church greenFlag-USAFaith leaders reframe climate change as moral issue  Marion Renault The Columbus Dispatch  •  Friday January 13, 2017

Priests, pastors and ministers nationwide are spreading the gospel of climate change — as are imams and rabbis.

In recent years, faith-based advocacy has emerged as a powerful tool in the environmental movement. By reframing climate change and sustainability as moral issues, religious leaders hope to advance environmentalism by elevating it above the political fray.

“I believe that all religions, all faiths share a common goodness,” said Zerqa Abid, founder of My Project USA, a Muslim youth organization in Columbus. “All of us have to look within our houses, within our cities, in our everyday lives.

“We take care of the Earth, or we destroy it.”

Americans report fairly high levels of spirituality, but most do not view climate change as a moral issue, according to a 2015 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Presenting climate change as a spiritual issue could be a successful strategy for attracting religious folks to environmental causes, the report suggests.

In Ohio, three-fourths of voters identify as religious, but little more than half say environmental laws are worth the cost, according to 2016 Pew Research Center surveys.

“Hitting people in the head with science doesn’t get them in the heart,” said Deborah Steele, fiscal officer for Clinton Township who previously worked for three years as an Ohio Interfaith Power and Light coordinator. “What gets people is a matter of conscience and not the logic of science.”

As leaders of intimate community spaces, religious officials are beginning to address the human-rights implications of climate change.

For example, exploitation of natural resources severely affects the world’s poorest populations and violates divine dictates on how people should treat the planet, said Rabbi Alex Braver of Tifereth Israel.

“The big-picture view, that’s what religion can offer,” Braver said. “I think (environmentalism) has very deep roots in ancient text and tradition, but it’s been lifted up in a different way now that we’re seeing the immense power we can have over the environment.”……….

At a rally on Monday, people from across several faiths and campaigns called on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, to reject nominees for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet who deny climate change or come from the fossil-fuel industry.

Among the people who attended was Aline Yamada and her two children. Yamada, a Buddhist from Clintonville, said she feels a parallel between her beliefs and the protest’s message.

“We are all connected,” she said. “I think this is the biggest moral challenge of our time.” mrenault@dispatch.com

@MarionRenault  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2017/01/13/faith-leaders-reframe-climate-change-as-moral-issue.html#

January 14, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Religion and ethics, USA | 1 Comment

Congressmen introduce Bill to allow high level nuclear trash to be sent to Andrews, New Mexico

radioactive trashFlag-USAConaway Introduces Bill to Add More Types of Nuke Waste at Dump in Andrews http://sanangelolive.com/ By Joe Hyde | Jan. 12, 2017

Washington, D.C. — Thursday, Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX) and Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)  introduced a bill that will, as Conway described it, pave a path forward for storage of the nation’s nuclear waste in Andrews.

The Texas Tribune reported in April 2016 that Waste Control Specialist, the company that owns the nuclear waste dump near Andrews and the Texas-New Mexico border, applied for the license to build and maintain a temporary storage site for the spent fuel.

“The Interim Consolidated Storage Act would allow the Department of Energy to use interest from the National Nuclear Fund to contract temporary storage facilities for spent nuclear fuel and could have the federal government begin collecting waste from nuclear facilities across the country in as little as five years,” Conaway stated in a release……..

The Andrews nuclear waste facility received approval to store radioactive waste in 2009. It is the only facility to obtain regulatory approval within the last 30 years to store Class A, B and C low-level radioactive waste.

Conaway’s bill is among many steps in approving the storage of “temporary” radioactive waste at the Andrews site. This type of waste is highly radioactive and originates as spent nuclear reactor fuel, according to reports. The WCS proposal requires the Department of Energy to assume the title and liability for the spent nuclear fuel stored at the site, Texas Tribune reported. Congressional approval is required for the DoE to do so. http://sanangelolive.com/news/business/2017-01-12/conaway-introduces-bill-add-more-types-nuke-waste-dump-andrews

January 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia to lock Bangladesh into a 20 year big nuclear power debt

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia extends $11.38 bln loan to Bangladesh to build nuclear power plant http://tass.com/economy/925025 January 13 Bangladesh will repay the actually spent loan in equal six-month installments over a twenty year period MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. Russia’s government has extended a $11.38 billion loan to Bangladesh to build the Rooppur nuclear power plant. The relevant document was published on the government’s website containing legal information.

According to the draft inter-governmental agreement, the loan will be used from 2017 to 2024. Bangladesh will repay the actually spent loan in equal six-month installments over a twenty year period. The first installment will be paid out on March 15, 2017.

Two units of the Rooppur nuclear power plant, with a capacity of 1,200 MW each, which are being built with Russia’s assistance, are planned to be put into operation in 2022 and 2023.

In mid-December 2015, Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation signed an EPC contract for a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

The construction work is being done in accordance with the inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in building a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh, dated 2011. The nuclear power plant will be located on the eastern bank of the Ganges River, 160 kilometers from the country’s capital of Dhaka.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

12 Members of USA Congress urge President-Elect Trump to Prioritize Hanford Cleanup,

Hanford-waste-tanksWashington Congressional Delegation Urges President-Elect Trump to Prioritize Hanford Cleanup, Worker Health, Tri-Cities’ Safety U>S> Senate Committee on Energy and National Resources, 9 Jan 2017

“This work is essential to protecting the health and safety of the Tri-Cities community, the Columbia River, Washington state and our nation.”

Washington, D.C.  – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Representatives Dan Newhouse (Wash.-04), Adam Smith (Wash.-09), Rick Larsen (Wash.-02), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.-05), Dave Reichert (Wash.-08), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.-03), Suzan DelBene (Wash.-01), Denny Heck (Wash.-10), Derek Kilmer (Wash.-06), and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.-07) wrote President-Elect Donald Trump to urge him to make the ongoing cleanup at the Hanford nuclear waste site a high priority.

The letter provided essential background information on the cleanup and remediation operations at the site and emphasized the importance of worker safety and protecting communities in the Tri-Cities region and beyond. The senators and representatives called for the incoming administration’s full support for and attention to the Hanford cleanup mission.

The delegation noted that fully supporting Hanford means maintaining strong and predictable funding for vital cleanup work already underway at Hanford. This “enables progress and ensures our top priority—worker safety—is achieved while these dangerous cleanup operations take place,” said the members. “It is essential that the safety of the more than 9,000 workers come first as they are doing a remarkable job and their efforts keep surrounding communities safe.”

After contributing to the country’s security through nuclear deterrence in World War II and the Cold War, the Tri-Cities region now faces the high costs of a decades-long nuclear waste cleanup program. There are still 54.6 million gallons of nuclear and radioactive waste stored in the Hanford facility, threatening the surrounding area and communities downstream along the Columbia River. Any lapses in funding for the site puts workers and communities at risk.
President-elect Donald J. Trump
Trump-Pence Transition Office
1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear President-elect Trump:

We write to share with you the importance of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) ongoing cleanup mission at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the State of Washington, a region that underwent dramatic transformation nearly 75 years ago to help the United States win World War II, and later the Cold War. We believe, with your strong support, we can continue the vital nuclear waste cleanup and environmental remediation work currently underway at Hanford. This work is essential to protecting the health and safety of the Tri-Cities community, the Columbia River, Washington state, and our nation from waste that was created from over 40 years of nuclear weapons production. Continued cleanup progress, along with strong and predictable funding, is crucial to the federal government fulfilling its legal and moral obligation to remediate the 54.6 million gallons of nuclear and radioactive waste currently stored at Hanford. Additionally, this vital cleanup mission is a top priority for the local communities and our constituents in Washington state, as well as to the strength of the local and regional economies. ……..

Previous administrations and Congress have repeatedly supported the legal and moral obligation of the federal government to clean up Hanford, and we urge your Administration to do the same. A critical component to this support is proper funding levels, which enables progress and ensures our top priority—worker safety—is achieved while these dangerous cleanup operations take place. It is essential that the safety of the more than 9,000 workers come first as they are doing a remarkable job and their efforts keep surrounding communities safe.

We look forward to discussing Hanford, ongoing cleanup work, and its importance to the Tri-Cities community and the Pacific Northwest with you and your Administration in more detail in the coming days and months. Together, we can ensure that the federal government fulfills its obligation through continued progress and safe remediation of the Hanford site.

Sincerely,

January 14, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

“Small” nuclear reactors are still pretty big, AND more expensive than large ones

NuScale says its mass-produced reactor modules will be simpler and more affordable to build than a big plant. Placing several modules in a single location will provide the same power output as a commercial reactor, says Mike McGough, the company’s chief commercial officer. NuScale is already partnering with a consortium of Utah utilities to build a 12-module power plant on land in Idaho owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. (The DOE is a partner in the NuScale project.)…..
not everyone is convinced smaller is better.Ed Lyman,an analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, says the electricity generated by a smaller reactor is more expensive than that generated by a larger one. Companies such as NuScale hope to offset the higher costs by saving on the cost of construction, but Lyman isn’t convinced. He worries savings will come at the cost of safety.

He says NuScale wants to do things like reduce the size and strength of the reactor containment building and the number of personnel needed to operate the plant. “NuScale is proposing major reductions in all of these areas relative to current NRC requirements for large reactors, based on the assertion that the reactor will be safer,” he says.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

European Union approves France’s massive subsidising of AREVA nuclear power industry!!

EU clears French rescue of troubled nuclear firm Areva http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/eu-clears-french-rescue-of-troubled-nuclear-firm-areva-117011001343_1.html AFP  |  Brussels January 10, 2017 anti-regulators today cleared the French government’s massive restructuring of troubled state-owned nuclear reactor builder Areva.

Problem-prone Areva, which is 87-per cent owned by the French state, has faced severe difficulties since 2011, when the Fukushima disaster in called nuclear power generation into question across the world.

 In April, Paris notified the Commission of an big restructuring plan to save the national champion that included a massive payout from public coffers.
Tax - payers

“The European Commission has concluded that French plans to grant a capital injection of 4.5 billion euros (USD 4.75 billion) to Areva are in line with state aid rules,” a statement said.

The Commission added that other regulatory decisions were still needed, including a greenlight by the on the buyout of Areva’s reactor business by EDF, the French state-owned electricity supplier. Areva’s woes were compounded by construction problems affecting its first EPR reactor in — now expected to open nine years late in 2018 — putting company finances deep into the red.

In addition, Areva’s former CEO Anne Lauvergeon has been charged in a case linked to the company’s disastrous 2007 purchase of a Canadian uranium mining firm.

EDF, also majority-owned by the French state, agreed in June 2015 to purchase up to 75 per cent of Areva’s reactor unit at a valuation of around 2.7 billion euros, with the deal expected to be finalised in 2017.

France sees nuclear energy as a key national industry and the has been closely involved in talks to restructure the sector.

The French state has already poured in billions to keep Areva afloat and thousands of French workers in their jobs.

January 14, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

Hungary’s nuclear regulator not independent, but European Commission approves its Russian-supplied nuclear reactors anyway

exclamation-Smflag-EUBrussels unswayed by concerns over Hungarian nuclear project http://www.politico.eu/article/brussels-unswayed-by-concerns-over-hungarian-nuclear-project-paks-ii-tender/  Opponents are continuing to fight, but Budapest insists the reactors will be built.  and  1/13/17,

The European Commission is standing behind its approval of Hungary’s decision to buy two nuclear reactors from Russia for its Paks II power plant without holding a tender.

The Commission dismissed the concerns of environmental groups questioning the lack of a bidding process in a letter, saying the “arguments put forward did not provide new elements that would have led the Commission to reconsider its previous position.”

Hungary had argued that only Rosatom’s VVER-1200 reactors could fulfill all of its requirements for the project.

Under EU rules, competitive tenders can be skipped when “for technical reasons the contract may be executed only by a particular economic operator.” Hungary wouldn’t be the first country to make use of that rule. France’s EDF handed the contract to build a reactor at the Flamanville nuclear power plant to state-owned Areva in 2007, arguing it was the only company that could fulfill the technical requirements.

Critics, including Greenpeace and Hungarian Green MEP Benedek Jávor, complained that the Commission hasn’t given an explanation as to why only Russian technology could fulfill Hungary’s requirements. They also pointed out that Hungary had been thinking of holding a competitive bid for the contract before opting for the Russian reactors.

The letter from the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs said that although Hungary may have initially thought of holding a competitive process, nothing precluded it from concluding that “only the Russian technology could technically fulfill the final Hungarian requirements.”

The Commission still needs to give its final say on whether financial support for the €12 billion project breaches EU state aid rules; Moscow is financing 80 percent of the costs with a loan. However, Brussels is expected to grant its approval in the coming weeks.

Hungary’s nuclear law raises concerns

Despite the Commission’s refusal to block Paks, opponents of the project are continuing a broader fight over Hungary’s nuclear policies.

The parliament in December passed amendments allowing the government to seize powers from the Hungarian Atomic Energy Agency.

The move has raised worries that the new rules not only compromise the regulator’s independence but also enable the Hungarian government to change the license conditions the agency set for Paks II. Environmental groups worry that this essentially makes the government the funder, owner, operator and regulator of the nuclear power station.

A group of NGOs called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to raise concerns about the developments at its next meeting on nuclear safety in March and April.

Budapest dismissed the claims in a statement to POLITICO, calling them attempts “to provoke international tension related to Hungary’s pro-nuclear stance.”

The government said it has no plans to reverse course on Paks II, saying it “is necessary, and we shall realize it — despite opposition from anti-nuclear green organizations.”

January 14, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Mich.’s reactor shutdown not sounding climate alarms

 Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter January 13, 2017

January 14, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment