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Terrorists may have ways of bypassing nuclear power station security measures

TERRORIST THREAT TO UK REACTORS, HIGH ALERT IN PAST 24 HOURS http://www.siasat.com/news/terrorist-threat-uk-reactors-high-alert-past-24-hours-1165170/

According to Intelligence agencies, the terrorist groups have developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones that can evade airport security screening methods.

Energy minister Jesse Norman said that the government was “fully committed to defending the UK against cyber threats, with a £1.9 billion investment designed to transform this country’s cyber security.”

The growing threat of attack on Britain’s 15 operational reactors, which account for nearly a fifth of the country’s electricity from terrorists, foreign spies and “hacktivists” remains high.
Norman said the civil nuclear strategy published in February sets out ways to ensure that the civil nuclear sector “can defend against, recover from, and remain resilient in evolving cyber threats.”

Deputy director-general Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute, an independent think tank for defence and security, said that it was crucial for the Government to “respond rapidly”.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

President Zuma drastically reshuffles Cabinet, to make way for nuclear power development

ZUMA’S CABINET RESHUFFLE OPENS DOOR FOR SA NUCLEAR DEAL, EyeWitness News, 1 April 17  Hartmut Winkler is professor of physics, University of Johannesburg.This article first appeared on The Conversation.

South Africa has just witnessed a game-changing Cabinet reshuffle with the firing of five ministers and several deputy ministers. This included the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his second-in-charge Mcebisi Jonas.

The three ministries with the most critical impact on the energy sector have all been affected, significantly increasing the chances of the country opting for a highly controversial nuclear energy programme. Continue reading

April 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear corruption in South Africa – new allegations

‘Gigaba has signed nuclear deal, we are Russia’s slaves’ http://citizen.co.za/news/news-national/1474986/gigaba-has-signed-nuclear-deal-we-are-russias-slaves/, Charles Cilliers , 1 Apr 17,  Vytjie Mentor has thrown her weight behind an allegation that includes the ‘revelation’ that Zuma’s nephew is set to make billions.

A little-known ANC member and part-time lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal put Facebook users into a tailspin on Sunday evening when she took to the platform to declare that she had knowledge that the new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba, has already signed off on a new nuclear deal.

Sibusisiwe Mngadi, who lists as among her occupations being a part-time lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg and an area manager at the Msunduzi Municipality, wrote: “The Nuclear Deal deadline was last night. Guess whose signature is on the paper? The new Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.” She alleges the deal will benefit President Jacob Zuma’s controversial nephew Khulubuse Zuma to the tune of R50 billion by his company being given the contract to build nuclear plants.

“Mission Nuclear done and dusted. Guess whose company is in charge of building the nuclear plants?

“Khulubuse Zuma is the SA holding company for the Nuclear plants. The next 20 yrs Khulubuse Zuma will be making more than 50billion. Congratulations, mission accomplished.”

She did not reveal what her source for this allegation was and many of her followers questioned whether she was properly informed or telling the truth.

Many pointed out that it was highly unlikely the new finance minister would have been able to sign off on such an important deal (the most expensive in South African history) after being in the job for just one day. Update: Treasury in an official statement later said that the new finance minister had signed no such documents and there were no documents ready to sign. Gigaba is yet to even occupy his office at Treasury.

Mngadi explained that she had not joined the struggle against apartheid and been jailed only for this to happen to her “beloved ANC”.

It is understood that President Jacob Zuma and the Gupta family have been pushing hard for government to sign off on a trillion-rand deal with Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom.

The former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, and his predecessor, Nhlanhla Nene, were in no hurry to sign off on any nuclear agreements with Russia, or anyone else. Many analysts have concluded that both were axed due primarily to their opposition to any hasty conclusion of such a deal with Russia.

When Nene was axed in favour of Des van Rooyen in 2015, there were similar allegations that Van Rooyen had hurriedly signed off on the nuclear deal (he was in office for just four days), but these rumours turned out to be baseless.

Former ANC MP and party whistleblower Vytjie Mentor repeated the allegation about the deal being signed, though it’s not clear if she sourced her allegations from Mngadi or verified them independently.

She wrote: “Gigaba signed the nuclear deal last night. It will be R6 trillion with over-runs. All South Africans are now officially slaves of the Russians, and thus will be the case for the next 100 years.”

Mngadi’s post has already been shared nearly 700 times, with it also going viral on WhatsApp and Twitter.

Mentor has thrown her weight behind a group of South Africans calling for the observance of #BlackMonday by wearing black tomorrow in support of the call for Zuma to step down.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Africa; Treasury denies that a nuclear deal with Russia has been signed

Treasury shoots down nuclear deal allegations http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/treasury-shoots-down-nuclear-deal-allegations-20170402   Jenna Etheridge, News24 Cape Town – National Treasury on Sunday set the record straight on news that was circulating on social media of a nuclear deal allegedly signed by incoming Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

Did Russia’s nuclear lobby make Africa’s President get rid of Finance Minister Gordhan?

Gordhan said to have spooked Russian connection on nuclear deal http://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/gordhan-said-to-have-spooked-russian-connection-on-nuclear-deal-8459357

2 April 2017 Staff Reporter Johannesburg – Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan said the masses should be worried when top ANC officials admitted that they didn’t know where a decision was made.

Professor Njabulo Ndebele said the country was in a “deep political and moral crisis” characterised by power and greed.

Zuma’s spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said the president was not involved “in the planning of the memorial service and in the cancellation thereof. Any impression created that the president cancelled or ordered the cancellation is erroneous and unfortunate.”

Meanwhile, while Gordhan was doing the presentations in London there was a gentleman called Chenkov who kept on asking many questions about South Africa. He wanted to know if the South African government was looking at developing nuclear energy. Gordhan quickly quashed the idea of nuclear and repeatedly confirmed that the South African government would never develop this energy.

Chenkov had no further questions. After the presentation Chenkov called someone and spoke in Russian but whoever he was speaking to was not impressed and angrily dropped the phone.

It is believed that this person immediately called President Jacob Zuma and threatened him that if he did not immediately trigger the process of changing the finance minister and sign the nuclear deal, as commission had already been paid, he would be taught a lesson.

A shaken Zuma immediately called the minister back home. “You obviously know what happened!”

April 3, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons ban negotiations at UN

Survivors Speak Out As UN Negotiates Nuke Ban, Huffington Post, By Ariel Conn,31 Mar 17
“[My nephew was] transformed into a charred, blackened and swollen child who kept asking in a faint voice for water until he died in agony.”

To imagine innocence is to picture children playing. As such, most people and governments are horrified by the idea of children and other helpless civilians suffering and dying, even during war. Finding a way to prevent the unnecessary slaughter of innocents has brought over 115 countries to the United Nations in New York this week to begin negotiations of a historic treaty that would, once and for all, ban nuclear weapons.

The countries are united by concerns that tens or even hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children – mothers, sons, fathers, daughters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and neighbors – could be killed, quite literally, in a flash.

In a statement to the opening of negotiations, Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, or ICRC, said, “The prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons is a humanitarian imperative.”

Responding to a Humanitarian Imperative

A ban on nuclear weapons is certainly historic, but it’s not without precedence. Prohibiting and eliminating other weapons because of their horrific humanitarian consequences has happened before. In fact, most of the world’s deadliest weapons are currently banned.

At a press conference, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN, said, “The treaty will finally ban weapons designed to indiscriminately kill civilians, completing the prohibitions on weapons of mass destruction.”

For example, when adults around the world learned of the tens of thousands of children killed by landmines while simply pursuing childhood activities, such as playing in open fields, a global cry arose to bring an end to the indiscriminate weapons. In 1997, 133 countries signed the Mine Ban Treaty, and as of today 162 have signed. According to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, “only 35 states remain outside the treaty, but most of them do not actually use or produce antipersonnel mines.”

A similar rallying cry heralded the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Cluster munitions often landed without exploding and remained unstable. Their toy-like appearance attracted thousands of children, who were killed and maimed by the weapons. The treaty was adopted in 2008 and is described by clusterconvention.org as an “international treaty of more than 100 States that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm caused to civilians by cluster munitions.”

Today, most countries abide by these treaties, and even countries like the United States, which has not signed either treaty, is either mostly in compliance or is showing signs of improvement………

Relegating Nukes to History A common concern about these negotiations is the notable absence of the nuclear states. However, history, as seen with the landmine and cluster munitions treaties, gives those supporting the negotiations reason to hope.

In his statement for the ICRC, Maurer added, “Of course, adopting a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons will not make them immediately disappear. But it will reinforce the stigma against their use, support commitments to nuclear risk reduction, and be a disincentive for proliferation. … As with chemical and biological weapons, a clear and unambiguous prohibition is the cornerstone of their elimination.”

Susi Snyder, the nuclear disarmament program manager for PAX in the Netherlands, explained, “This is the start of a negotiation. The impact of the negotiation cannot be guessed or measured until the treaty is done. Even then, as with all treaties and growing norms, the impact will grow over time.”

Fihn added that a treaty would “make it clear that the world has moved beyond these morally unacceptable weapons of the past.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/survivors-speak-out-as-un-negotiates-nuke-ban_us_58dd5552e4b0fa4c0959872b?

April 3, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Los Angeles Times spells it out on the dishonesty of President Donald Trump

Our Dishonest President, LA Times, 2 Apr 17 

Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck. Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office.

Instead, seventy-some days in — and with about 1,400 to go before his term is completed — it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.

In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all.

His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment. But he is proceeding with his efforts to defang the government’s regulatory agencies and bloat the Pentagon’s budget even as he supposedly retreats from the global stage.

These are immensely dangerous developments which threaten to weaken this country’s moral standing in the world, imperil the planet and reverse years of slow but steady gains by marginalized or impoverished Americans. But, chilling as they are, these radically wrongheaded policy choices are not, in fact, the most frightening aspect of the Trump presidency.

What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation. …….

In the days ahead, The Times editorial board will look more closely at the new president, with a special attention to three troubling traits:

1 Trump’s shocking lack of respect for those fundamental rules and institutions on which our government is based……

2 His utter lack of regard for truth……..

His scary willingness to repeat alt-right conspiracy theories……..http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-ed-our-dishonest-president/

April 3, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

China makes strongest statement yet on climate action

This is China’s strongest statement yet on climate action, Climate Home, 30/03/2017,  
As President Trump rolls back climate policies and finance, China’s UN representative makes a detailed pitch for global leadership. 
By 

In the week before Donald Trump began to roll back Obama-era climate regulations, China’s government made its clearest statement yet that it sees climate action as central to its best interests.

Speaking at a New York event on 23 March, China’s permanent representative at the UN Liu Jieyi said China remained committed to openness and collaboration on climate change, “whatever the vicissitudes of the international situation”.

Under Barack Obama, the US state department expended huge effort and political capital cajoling the Chinese into a bilateral deal that laid the foundations for the Paris accord on climate change.

One of the pillars of that deal was the Clean Power Plan – which mandated emissions reductions in the US energy sector. On Tuesday, Trump signed an order that began rolling back that policy declaring he was “putting an end to the war on coal”.

But Liu’s comments make clear that China now sees climate action as a matter of national interest, independent of US policy.1 That applies not only at home, but across a range of diplomatic forums.

Senior global policy advisor at Greenpeace East Asia Li Shuo said the speech “highlights the shifting political stance of China on climate change”……..http://www.climatechangenews.com/2017/03/30/chinas-strongest-statement-yet-climate-action/

April 3, 2017 Posted by | China, climate change | Leave a comment

Intelligence agencies believe ISIS has developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones

ISIS ‘can plant bombs in laptops and mobile phones that will get through airport screening undetected’ http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/isis-can-plant-bombs-laptops-10146339Experts fears terrorists made a breakthrough after obtaining airport screening equipment to experiment and there are fears they will use the techniques at US and European airports, BY , 2 APR 2017

Intelligence agencies believe ISIS has developed ways to plant explosives in laptops and mobile phones that can evade airport security screening methods.

The warning by security services has led to Britain’s airports and nuclear power stations being instructed to tighten their defences against terrorist attacks.

 It is this new information which is thought to have led the US and Britain to ban travellers from a number of countries carrying laptops and large electronic devices on board.

Now there are concerns that terrorists will use the techniques to bypass screening devices at European and US airports.

Some experts fears terrorists made a breakthrough after obtaining airport screening equipment to allow them to experiment. FBI experts have tested how the explosives can be hidden inside laptop battery compartments in a way that allows a computer still to be turned on.

Manny Gomez, a former FBI special agent, said: “We had the shoe bomber, cartridge attempt, now this is the next level. We need to be several steps ahead of them.”

Last year al-Shabaab , the Islamist terror group based in Somalia, d etonated a bomb on a flight from the capital Mogadishu to neighbouring Djibouti .

The explosives were hidden in a part of a laptop where bomb-makers had removed a DVD drive. The bomber was blown out of the window but the plane survived.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Cancer deaths linked to nuclear power plants in Salem County

Study claims cancer deaths up since startup of Salem nuclear plants, By Bill Gallo Jr. | For NJ.com 1 Apr 17, LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. — A new study claims cancer death rates in Salem County have risen higher than the state average since the startup of three nuclear power plants there.

“Something like this that affects so many people is worth further study,” said Joseph J. Mangano, executive director of the Ocean City-based Radiation and Public Health Project.

“Current death rates in Salem County exceed the state rates for both genders, all age groups, all races and ethnic groups and all major types of cancer,” the study says.

Mangano, in the self-authored study, says that cancer death rates in Salem County have risen from about 5 percent below the state average in the 1983-1986 period to 20 percent above the average in the 2011-2014 period. He also says that non-cancer death rates have risen from about 2 percent above the state average  in 1983-1986 to more than 23 percent above in the 2011-2004 period.

According to Mangano’s research, the incidences of cancer went from 1 percent below the state average in 1998-2001 to more an 9 percent above the average in 2011-2014.

The three nuclear reactors operated by PSEG Nuclear at Artificial Island  in Lower Alloways Creek Township — Salem 1, Salem  and Hope Creek — comprise the second-largest nuclear generating station in the U.S. in terms of power output.

Salem 1 began producing electricity in 1976, Salem 2 in 1980 and Hope Creek in 1986.

“We are not advocating for the shutdown of nuclear power plants,” Mangano said. “There well may be other factors that account for this cancer rise … a combination of factors.”

The region is also home to refineries, chemical plants and Superfund sites……..

Mangano says one of his major concerns are what he says are releases from nuclear plants.

“We are concerned that nuclear plant emissions may be contributing to the increase (on the cancer and death rates),” Mangano said. “We believe strongly that the focus should be placed on the new cancer risk factors and one of them that should be studies is the emissions from the Salem/Hope Creek plants.”……http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2017/04/study_says_cancer_deaths_up_since_salem_nuclear_pl.html

April 3, 2017 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Giant renewable energy storage battery – a transformation for a coal mine

Germany Converts Coal Mine into Giant Battery to Store Renewable Energy for off-Hours EnviroNews World News  on April 2, 2017  North Rhein Westphalia, Germany — The Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine, slated to be shut down in 2018 when government subsidies run out, is being repurposed to become a giant battery for excess power created by renewable energy sources. Located in North Rhein Westphalia, the coal mine’s conversion will allow Germany to store 200 MW of electricity for use during times when solar and wind are unavailable or unable to meet energy needs.

The storage is formed by a reservoir of water above the mine. The water can be released into the system when it is needed. As gravity pulls the water into the coal mine below, the water turns a turbine creating electricity. The water is then pumped back to the reservoir. This can be done when power prices are lower or when renewable energy sources are making more energy than people are using, as they did in Germany on May 12, 2016. This isn’t the first pumped hydroelectric storage station; however, it is the first one to use a coal mine for its lower reservoir.

According to Governor Hannelore Kraft, the miners of Bottrop will remain employed during the conversion process. Thus the plan addresses two concerns about which most opponents are vocal when it comes to energy sources like solar and wind. It creates a storage system, and it keeps people employed…….http://www.environews.tv/world-news/germany-converts-coal-mine-giant-battery-store-renewable-energy-off-hours/

April 3, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, Germany | Leave a comment

Monsanto’s slag dumping: hazardous chemicals and rdaioactive wastes

Monsanto’s Superfund Secret https://www.dissentmagazine.org/online_articles/monsanto-roundup-production-superfund-sites-radioactive Bart Elmore  April 1, 2017 The world’s most widely used herbicide, Roundup, has faced intense scrutiny in recent weeks, since documents surfaced revealing a close relationship between Monsanto, the creator of Roundup, and EPA officials tasked with regulating herbicide use in the United States. One email exchange included a Monsanto executive boasting that an EPA official had told him he “should get a medal” if he could “kill” an agency investigation into the herbicide.

This news was troubling, considering the fact that the World Health Organization recently declared Roundup’s active ingredient “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The 2015 WHO announcement raised major alarms because roughly 89 percent of American corn and over 90 percent of all soybeans produced in the United States—millions of tons of which are exported every year to dozens of countries around the world—are genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant, Roundup Ready being a preferred variety. These findings gave new scientific fodder to many GMO opponents who have long alleged that the world’s food supply is awash in dangerous chemicals.

But while new emails raise serious questions about the safety of consuming food contaminated with Roundup, historical documents reveal troubling issues further upstream. I obtained files from the EPA via a Freedom of Information Act request that tell the story of Roundup’s origins at a Superfund hazardous waste site. These documents show that there are disturbing environmental and human health concerns at the beginning, not just at the end, of Roundup’s lifecycle.

Monsanto’s weedkiller comes from beneath the soil. The active ingredient in Roundup is glyphosate, which is ultimately derived from elemental phosphorous extracted from phosphate rock buried below ground. Monsanto gets its phosphate from mines in Southeast Idaho near the town of Soda Springs, a small community of about 3,000 people. The company has been operating there since the 1950s.

I went to visit last summer, and what I found was startling. I stood just beyond a barbed-wire fence at about nine o’clock at night and watched as trucks dumped molten red heaps of radioactive refuse over the edge of what is fast becoming a mountain of waste. This dumping happened about every fifteen minutes, lighting up the night sky. Horses grazed in a field just a few dozen yards away, glowing in the radiating rays coming from the lava-like sludge. Rows of barley, for Budweiser beer, waved in the distance.

When phosphate ore is refined into elemental phosphorous, it leaves a radioactive by-product known as slag. Monsanto’s elemental phosphorous facility, situated just a few miles from its phosphate mines, produces prodigious quantities of slag that contains elevated concentrations of radioactive material. For years, this slag was actually sold to the town of Soda Springs and nearby Pocatello, and people built their homes and roadways out it. In the 1980s, however, the EPA conducted a radiological survey of the community and warned that citizens might be at risk from elevated gamma ray exposure. The study concluded that if business continued as usual in Soda Springs, within four decades “the probability of contracting cancer due to exposure from elemental phosphorous slag” would “be about one chance in 2,500 in Pocatello and one chance in 700 in Soda Springs.”

The EPA, facing serious pressure from Monsanto and community members who feared what this study might mean for property values, later agreed to submit the report for review, and ultimately recommended the initiation of new studies. In the meantime, the mayor of Soda Springs worked with the city council to ban the further sale of slag in the community.

I spoke with a radiological scientist who studied the slag issue in the area for many years, and he assured me that homeowners in Southeast Idaho are exposed to only small levels of gamma radiation that should not be harmful—currently the EPA’s official position.

Nevertheless, a website created by the Phosphorous Slag Technical Work Group—a coalition that includes Monsanto, EPA officials, local public health agents, and other mining concerns—offers advice to Idahoans, including the helpful tip that if dangerous contamination is found, homeowners might consider “spending less time in the basement.”

Monsanto’s Soda Springs plant is currently an active Superfund site, having achieved that toxic waste site designation in 1990. Harmful onsite pollutants include cadmium, selenium, and radioactive radium all of which can cause serious health problems in humans in high concentrations.
In 2013, over two decades after EPA declared Monsanto’s Soda Springs plant a Superfund site, the EPA explained that pollution problems continued to plague the facility: “The remedy for the Monsanto site is currently not protective because concentrations” of “contaminants of concern” continued to leach into groundwater. In a five-year review of the site, the EPA found that some harmful chemicals were increasing in plumes migrating from the plant. The agency offered a disheartening conclusion: “Monitoring trends indicate that the groundwater performance standards will not be met in the foreseeable future.” This was the last five-year review of the site to date. Currently, the EPA’s website for the facility reports that groundwater contamination is “not under control” even as elemental phosphorous production continues.

In the past, Monsanto has also had elevated levels of mercury emissions at the plant. Citing an EPA study, Keith Riddler of the Associated Press reported that in 2006 “about 684 pounds of mercury was emitted in [Idaho], 659 of that from Monsanto Co.’s Soda Springs phosphate processing plant in eastern Idaho.” In 2015, the company reported mercury compound emissions topping 875 pounds. For context, the third- and fourth-largest emitters of mercury compounds among power plants in the United States—which the Obama administration targeted for serious mercury emissions reductions under the Clean Power Plan—put out 823 pounds and 782 pounds respectively in 2013.

Toxic chemicals are not confined to Monsanto’s processing facility. In 2003, the EPA began Superfund remediation assessments at three closed Monsanto mine sites nearby—Ballard, Henry, and Enoch Valley—due in large part to selenium contamination in mining debris.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, since 1996, “an estimated 600 head of livestock (including horses, cattle, and sheep) have died after ingesting plants or surface water containing high concentrations of selenium.” Some of these incidents took place at mine sites owned by other phosphate companies in the area, such as FMC, but Monsanto mines have contributed to this casualty count over the years.

Radioactive waste piles, groundwater pollution, mercury emissions, and poisoned livestock: these are just some of the supply-side costs of producing Roundup, an herbicide that Monsanto dubs the lynchpin of its “environmentally responsible weed control program.”

The prospects for resolution of these problems are bleak. President Trump’s EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, is an avowed adversary of the agency he now heads, and he has given clear signs that he intends to annul regulations designed to curb polluting practices. If the EPA’s relationship with corporations like Monsanto was already cozy, it is likely only to become more so. In other words, Monsanto is not likely to face renewed federal pressure to clean up its act anytime soon.

As Monsanto looks to seal a multibillion-dollar merger with German rival Bayer, its power to spread Roundup around the world is due to expand in the years ahead. And if the past is any indication, Monsanto’s message to the world will be one of agricultural salvation through biotechnology. But communities that are the target of these corporate promises should take heed. The sustainable future Monsanto hawks remains tied to a toxic Superfund past that is not even past.


Bart Elmore is an assistant professor of environmental history at the Ohio State University and a Carnegie Fellow at New America.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Indian nuclear power plant to use drones for surveillance


Nuclear plant to have eye in the sky http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/nuclear-plant-to-have-eye-in-the-sky/article9612475.ece 
RAHUL WADKE MUMBAI, APRIL 2:  Situated in vast areas and away from human settlement, the surveillance of nuclear power plants have been a challenge for paramilitary force CISF, which is tasked with the security of such installations.

Now, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) plans to deploy drones for the purpose at the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) near Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu.

While MAPS would be the first such facility in the country to use drones for general surveillance and intrusion detection, they were famously deployed by Japanese engineers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the nuclear accident of 2011.

The Kalpakkam plant, located 70 km from Chennai, is also in the vicinity of other sensitive installations of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) such as the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, the Fast Breeder Reactor Project, the BARC-run nuclear desalination demonstration plant and Kalpakkam fuel reprocessing plant.

Sources close to the development said tenders are likely to be floated by the NPCIL for procuring the drones and their control systems this fiscal. The use of drones will also require clearances from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), the regulator for all atomic energy institutions in the country.

Both aerial and ground level drones are capable of large-scale territorial surveillance. They are fitted with video cameras and other sensors that allow continuous surveillance of facilities.

Sources said the cameras mounted on the drones could be programmed to scan for certain topographical features on the ground and if there is a mismatch between the programmed image and the live feed from drones, alarms would go off.

Lt Gen DS Hooda (Retd), who served as Chief of Northern Army Command, told BusinessLine that the Army had been using drones on the India-Pakistan border and in Kashmir region. Drones allow the forces to get a bird’s eye view of the terrain and identify intruders hiding in tall structures. Drones would prove to useful in securing large installations, he said.

April 3, 2017 Posted by | India, safety | Leave a comment