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Nukiller Games Continue….Unless

http://www.nuclearpolicy.info

NUclear Free Local Authorities media release – for immediate release, 4th April 2017
As Engie becomes the seventh international energy utility to give up on UK
new nuclear build, NFLA say now is the time to move towards a
decentralised, renewable energy alternative policy

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes with little surprise
today’s decision by the French energy utility Engie to pull out of the
proposed Sellafield Moorside new nuclear development. This follows
Toshiba’s nuclear subsidiary Westinghouse going into bankruptcy protection
in the United States and its decision that it will not fund new nuclear
reactors at the Moorside site. (1)

Engie follows on from the previous decisions over the past decade of E-on
(Wylfa), RWE Npower (Wylfa), Iberdrola (Moorside), SSE (Moorside),
Centrica (Hinkley Point) and seemingly Toshiba as well (Moorside) who have
pulled out of developing new nuclear reactors in the UK.

The decision to file…

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April 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Patronage, Nepotism, Diversion, and Trump’s Missile Strikes Against Syria (When Rats are Cornered they Jump?)

Mining Awareness +

When rats are cornered they jump?

US President Trump and Israeli PM Netanyahu appear to have the same talking points on Syria. They are both facing corruption investigations; they are both backed by Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who gave at least $20 million to benefit Trump’s campaign. And, Netanyahu and Trump’s son-in-law/in-laws are long-time aquaintances or friends. A corruption investigation into Israeli PM Netanyahu may take two months, it was learned on Monday. According to the Times of Israel (Jan. 2017), Sheldon Adelson may be called to testify. Is Trump really going against Putin’s interests in Syria? Not necessarily. These missile strikes are in the interest of some Russian oligarchs.

On Tuesday, on Twitter, Benjamin Netanyahu‏ ‪stated: “When I saw pictures of babies suffocating from a chemical attack in Syria, I was shocked and outragedhttps://twitter.com/netanyahu/status/849253480036433921?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

The next day, on Wednesday, Trump stated: “When you kill innocent…

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April 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 7 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down” • For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued it isn’t affordable. But unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power   by far, a report from the UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance says. [Think Progress]

Solar farm in Chile (Credit: ACERA)

World:

¶ Netherlands-based power provider Eneco and Japanese multinational company Mitsubishi Corporation are planning to install a 48-MW lithium-ion storage system in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The 50-MWh battery would be the largest of its kind in Europe, the two companies said. It would store power from wind farms. [pv magazine]

¶ The world added record levels of renewable energy capacity in 2016, according to the UN, but the bill was almost a quarter lower than the previous year, because of the…

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April 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Arctic Sea Ice Volume Continues to Crater

robertscribbler

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”John Adams

*****

(March sea ice volume hit a new record low in the PIOMAS measure during 2017. Image source: Oren and the Arctic Sea Ice Blog.)

This week, measurements from PIOMAS indicate that Arctic sea ice volume for the month of March hit new, all-time record lows during 2017. March 2017 volume, according to the Polar Science Center, dropped about 1,800 cubic kilometers from the previous record low set during the same month in 2011. In total, more than a third of March sea ice volume has been lost since 1979.

The Polar Science Center notes:

Arctic sea ice volume through March 2017 continued substantially below prior years. March 2017 sea ice  volume was 19,600 km3 , …

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April 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

North Korea will be the most pressing issue at this week’s Donald Trump-Xi Jinping summit

Learning to live with a nuclear North Korea?, https://theconversation.com/learning-to-live-with-a-nuclear-north-korea-75620 The Conversation,  Executive Director of La Trobe Asia and Professor of International Relations, La Trobe University April 3, 2017 North Korea has been on a long march to acquire a usable nuclear weapon. Since 2011, when Kim Jong-un replaced his father at the head of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the pace of that march has quickened markedly.

Contrary to claims made by Nikki Halley, the new US ambassador to the UN, North Korea’s leader is not crazy – he has decidedly rational motives. Kim wants nuclear weapons to provide security from a world that he believes threatens North Korea’s existence.

So far, North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests – in 2006, 2009, 2013 and two in 2016. The decision to acquire nuclear weapons was initially prompted by the perception that without such a deterrent, North Korea risked Iraq’s fate: invasion and regime change.

Although North Korea has one of the largest militaries in the world – its army alone has more than 1 million soldiers – it is an antiquated fighting force whose principal advantage is its proximity to South Korea. Its ability to win a fight against a technologically sophisticated opponent is widely questioned. Nuclear weapons offset that weakness markedly.

An independent nuclear capacity would also reduce the country’s dependence on China. Beijing has long believed that North Korea is a useful buffer between it and an American-allied South Korea. Pyongyang realises, however, that were Beijing to change its attitude then it would find itself dangerously exposed.

North Korea perceives it is isolated in a world that is hostile to its existence. However loathsome the regime may be and however badly it misallocates resources to bolster the ruling elite, the reason for acquiring nuclear weapons is entirely rational: they are a vital means for North Korea to protect itself.

Kim has made the acquisition of nuclear weapons a core priority. It is central to government propaganda, figures prominently in nationalist iconography, and indeed the country’s nuclear standing is now enshrined in the constitution.

Most analysts believe North Korea has not yet mastered all three parts of the “nuclear trinity” required to make a usable weapon. This entails first developing a controlled nuclear explosion. The second is miniaturising and hardening that technology so it can work reliably while attached to a means of delivery. The final step is an accurate and reliable delivery system, such as a ballistic missile.

North Korea definitely has the first step and is getting close to both the second and third steps. Barring either a change in heart from the regime about its nuclear ambition or some kind of effective international intervention, North Korea is very likely to have a functioning nuclear weapon within a few years – if not sooner.

The acceleration of the nuclear program – three tests since 2013 compared with two tests between 2006 and 2012 – reflects most obviously the higher priority Kim has placed on it.

Development of missile technology – the third step in the nuclear trinity – has also increased in tempo, with more than 20 tests since January 2016. The recent acceleration is an attempt not just to “sprint” to the finish but also to take advantage of the sense of uncertainty in the region.

North Korea’s more adventurous tendencies are most effectively kept in check when the US and China are able to align their interests and policies. That has most assuredly not been the case over the past year or so.

During his “reassurance tour”, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that the old policies toward North Korea had failed – and “everything was on the table”. Many interpreted this as a new appetite for strategic risk from the incoming administration.

As with other aspects of America’s Asia policy, Tillerson was light on detail about what new approach Washington might pursue. One assumes it was a major point of debate in Seoul and Beijing. But speculation abounds that pre-emptive attacks may be being considered more seriously than in the past.

The problem with managing North Korea’s nuclear ambition is that there are so few options, and none of them are appealing. As an isolated economy that cares little for international public opinion there are precious few carrots and sticks.

Sanctions have had some effect, but they largely punish the population and not the regime. And they are regularly flouted by China on an opportunistic basis.

Due to the compressed geography of the peninsula, military action would come at a heavy price – North Korea would retaliate by unleashing massive force on South Korea. Seoul is within 60 kilometres of the border with North Korea; pre-emption would be extraordinarily risky.

North Korea will be the most pressing issue at this week’s Donald Trump-Xi Jinping summit. What can be done? There are three main options.

The first is to somehow convince North Korea to step back from its nuclear ambitions, possibly using the stalled Six-Party Talks framework. Given how important it has become to the leadership, both as a security goal and as a sense of national purpose and identity, this seems highly unlikely.

Many once assumed North Korea had started down the nuclear path as an elaborate means to receive international aid. That is, it didn’t actually want them as such, but sought them as a means to extort international financial support. This no longer appears to be the case, if it ever was.

The second option is to coerce North Korea into giving them up. This is equally fraught. Not only is the risk of major war significant, but even short of war, more targeted and better-enforced sanctions seem unlikely to halt the run to the finish line.

The third and least-worst of the options is a tried and tested policy but one that is politically unsavoury. That is, to engage with the regime, bilaterally or in the Six-Party mode. The aim here would be to retard but probably not prevent its nuclear weapon development while devising ways of learning to live with a nuclear North Korea.

Well-managed deterrence can produce a more stable strategic environment in northeast Asia than has existed in recent years. Engagement could also lead to reduced tension, greater stability and possibly even economic reform in North Korea.

Of one thing we can be sure: North Korea acts rationally, and the one outcome above all it wants to avoid is its own demise.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

America launches first direct attack on Syrian government, – 50 cruise missiles to a military airfield

U.S. strikes Syrian military airfield in first direct assault on Bashar al-Assad’s government [following US-backed ‘rebel’ chemical false flag] WP,  06 April 2017 | The U.S. military launched approximately 50 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield late on Thursday, in the first direct American assault on the government of President Bashar al-Assad since that country’s civil war began six years ago. The operation, which the Trump administration authorized in retaliation for a chemical attack killing scores of civilians this week, dramatically expands U.S. military involvement in Syria and exposes the United States to heightened risk of direct confrontation with Russia and Iran, both backing Assad in his attempt to crush his opposition.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | Syria, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump expands power of President to declare war

What specifically makes this new plan different from the operations of administrations past is the new autonomy it gives the military from civilian control, not only in terms of congressional oversight but also in terms of presidential direction.

Trump’s dangerous expansion of executive war powers For decades, Congress has relinquished its constitutional role in declaring war. But Trump is taking it to new extremes. Politico, By BONNIE KRISTIAN 04/03/17  With Washington distracted by the health care debate, President Donald Trump has quietly overseen an expansion in the administration’s war-making powers, giving the Department of Defense greater autonomy to conduct military operations independent of the White House.

Already, the Pentagon has used this expanded authority in Yemen, where the U.S. has recently conducted significant air operations against AQAP, an Al Qaeda offshoot. And on Friday, Trump extended the authority to parts of Somalia where the U.S. is targeting Shabab, a terrorist group. In military terms, Yemen and Somalia are now “areas of active hostility,” a bureaucratic way of saying that the U.S. is conducting military operations there, with little input or oversight from either the White House or Congress.

This expanded bombing campaign, though, could be just the tip of the iceberg. In early March, The Guardian reported that the White House is considering a secret Pentagon proposal to designate temporary areas of active hostility in which the military could launch what amounts to six-month wars without congressional approval. Under the proposal, once the president signs off on a temporary battlefield, commanders would be given “the same latitude to launch strikes, raids and campaigns” as they now have in active U.S. warzones like Iraq. Protections for civilians would also be scaled back.

These temporary battlefields, as The Guardian dubbed them, are not exactly new; the Obama administration already applied the label to conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. But the proposal Trump is considering would expand and formalize that decision, stretching the temporary battlefield designation to cover entire countries in which the United States is technically not at war. Despite the bureaucratic language, Trump’s plan, if implemented, is a flagrant perversion of the Constitution, redoubling the worst excesses of the Obama administration and further undercutting the rule of law.

To understand the recklessness of this proposal, a little history is in order. Though it names the president as “Commander in Chief” of the U.S. military, the Constitution explicitly delegates the power to “declare war” to Congress. The choice of the word “declare” was a careful one, as James Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention reveal. Originally written as the power to “make war,” it was amended to communicate that while the executive is permitted “the power to repel sudden attacks” on American soil, it is not allowed to “commence war” independent of the legislature.

George Mason, the “father of the Bill of Rights,” was against “giving the power of war to the Executive, because [it was not] safely to be trusted with it,” Madison records, and Mason supported using “declare” as a means of “clogging rather than facilitating war [and instead] facilitating peace.”…….

With this “temporary battlefields” idea, the White House once again strips Congress of what was left of its responsibility for our military, taking unilateral control of foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

What specifically makes this new plan different from the operations of administrations past is the new autonomy it gives the military from civilian control, not only in terms of congressional oversight but also in terms of presidential direction. In Obama’s scheme, which was already far afield from the constitutional war powers framework, the president and his top national security advisers remained intimately involved in the approval process for U.S. strikes outside of active war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. With the new plan, military commanders would be able to make these decisions independently during 180-day periods. This puts major foreign policy decisions one step further away from congressional influence and civilian control………

this proposal is regression, not reform. It demolishes the last remnants of one our Founders’ most necessary constitutional protections, and it opens the gate to a host of dangerous, imprudent military interventions with no demonstrable connection to U.S. national security interests.

After the last 15-plus years of imprudent executive war-making, what we need is not less oversight of our foreign policy, but more—more open debate about our goals and strategy, more realistic risk analysis, and more careful determination of what political outcomes we can achieve through military force.

Bonnie Kristian is a fellow at Defense Priorities. She is a weekend editor at The Week and a columnist at Rare, and her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, Politico, Relevant Magazine, The Hill, and The American Conservative, among other outlets. http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/04/trumps-dangerous-expansion-of-executive-war-powers-000387

April 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Northy Korea has a a nuclear-tipped bargaining chip

Is North Korea putting a nuclear-tipped bargaining chip on the table? Reuters, By James Pearson and Ju-min Park | SEOUL, 6 Apr 17, 

As the leaders of China and the United States sit down for a summit on Thursday, North Korea has made sure it also has something on the negotiating table: A nuclear-tipped bargaining chip.

North Korea launched a projectile on Wednesday, which U.S. officials said appeared to be a liquid-fueled, extended-range Scud missile that only traveled a fraction of its range before spinning out of control and crashing into the sea.

The launch was North Korea’s latest in a long series of missile and nuclear tests that have accelerated in their variation and intensity over the last two years.

And now, experts agree, North Korea is closing in on the ability to hit the United States with a missile, a goal that for decades has been the subject of Pyongyang’s vivid propaganda posters.

“They’ve been able to put a nuke on a missile for a while now,” said Jeffrey Lewis of the California-based Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

“The stated purpose of the last test was to validate the nuclear weapon design that would arm all of North Korea’s missiles,” Lewis said of North Korea’s September 2016 nuclear test – its fifth and largest to date.

Since then, North Korea has further ramped up its tests and rhetoric, emphasizing a consistent message: To create a nuclear device small enough to mount on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and fire it at the United States.

“If we push the button, the bombs will be fired and reduce the U.S. to ashes,” an editorial in the ruling Workers’ Party newspaper the Rodong Sinmun said on Wednesday.

North Korea now has the strength to “wipe out” the United States “in a moment” with an H-bomb, the editorial said.

“This is again our warning”.

BARGAINING CHIP  From last year, North Korea took the rare step of publicizing images of its missile equipment tests, convincing analysts that Pyongyang’s banned program was further along toward successfully testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) than first thought.

“The first few tests might fail, but that’s not good news because they’ll learn,” said Lewis. “How long it takes to make it work is anyone’s guess. Maybe a couple of years, maybe the first time”………

It was not clear if Wednesday’s launch was deliberately timed to coincide with Thursday’s summit between China’s President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Florida, where North Korea is expected to be a prime topic of discussions.

Some experts think North Korea has tried to make sure the two world leaders are aware Pyongyang has a bargaining chip in any forthcoming moves to clam down on its weapons programs…….http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-bargaining-idUSKBN17811R

April 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

A new load of twaddle from James Conca and “Generation Atomic”- marching “for science” on 22 April!!

Amazing that they can pretend that this thing is “non profit”. Backed by nuclear lobbyists like Rod Adams, and with board members like Lenka Kollar  (Director of Business Strategy at NuScale Power where she is working to bring NuScale’s small modular reactor to market through business plan development)

Generation Atomic asks the public for donations, and if you donate, they’ll supply a shirt for you to publicise the nuclear industry, on the March For Science on 22 April.

 

Advocating For Nuclear Energy — There’s An App For That, Forbes, James Conca, 6 Apr 17 There’s a new App that helps you advocate for nuclear energy. Named Atomic Action, it’s from a non-profit grassroots start-up, called Generation Atomic, that specializes in door-to-door canvassing operations and gamifying nuclear advocacy……

The developer, uCampaign, is a pioneer in gamifying advocacy, successfully creating and deploying similar tools for issues and political campaigns in the 2016 elections. Gen A’s team is taking Atomic Action public tomorrow, April 5th. Those interested will be able to download the app beginning tomorrow in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store, free of charge…….

When a Gen A volunteer knocks on a door, they present potential supporters with an entirely digital experience on a handheld or mobile device. On the screen are facts about three main benefits of nuclear energy:

 – Jobs & Economy

– Affordable Energy

– Environment

Volunteers allow potential supporters to self-select issues through Gen A’s tailored digital platform. Following the conversation, canvassers send the new supporters a text message invitation to download the Atomic Action app.

Supporters even earn points by sharing content, contacting legislators, attending meetings, and recruiting new supporters. The engine for this campaign was rooted at the campuses of the University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University. Gen A has established two officially-recognized student chapters at each university. Thus far, of the thousands of people Gen A has had a conversation with, 53% sign up to support nuclear…….

The nuclear industry is vilified in the press, scorned by green activists, and ignored by politicians…..But it cannot seem to pierce the unfair image that has been painted by irrational – and baseless – fear……..Above all, the industry must wrest control of the green message.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | 2 Comments

Former Chernobyl neighbours hit with rare eye cancer

Former Chernobyl Neighbors Diagnosed with Rare Cancer Years Later, in NYC http://www.livescience.com/58503-rare-cancer-in-new-yorkers-linked-to-chernobyl-exposure.html By Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer | April 2, 2017 WASHINGTON — When 10 people in New York City developed a very rare form of eye cancer over just a four-year period, doctors were puzzled. The cancer, called vitreoretinal lymphoma, had been diagnosed in the U.S. only a handful of times over the previous 20 years.

The doctors tried to figure out what might have caused this rare cancer in these 10 patients, all of whom were diagnosed between 2010 and 2013, and they discovered that six of the patients had an interesting connection: They all had lived near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The Chernobyl disaster is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history: On April 26, 1986, an explosion occurred at the plant in Ukraine, leaking massive amounts of cancer-causing radiation into the atmosphere. [Cancer-Fighting Diet: 6 Tips to Reduce Your Risk]

Vitreoretinal lymphoma is a type of eye cancer that affects white blood cells in the retina, the optic nerve or the vitreous humor (the gel-like substance found inside the eye), said Roxana Moslehi, a genetic epidemiologist at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and the senior author of the study on the New York cases. The doctors who diagnosed the cancers had reached out to Moslehi when they realized they were seeing something strange happening with the rates of this cancer, she said.

Moslehi set out to determine if the cases of vitreoretinal cancer represented a “cluster” — in other words, a group of cases that are close together in time and location and occur at higher rates than expected. She presented her findings here today (April 2) at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting. The findings have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Based on data from the New York State Cancer Registry, Moslehi found that statistically, there should be only one case of vitreoretinal lymphoma in New York state in a four-year period. So to find 10 cases in New York City alone in that same time period was certainly “unanticipated,” and represented a cluster, she said. Moslehi also looked at national rates of the disease, and also found incredibly low rates.

To figure out what could be causing this cluster, the researchers looked for commonalities among the patients, Moslehi said. They noted that eight of the 10 were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, she said.

But even more interesting to the researchers was that six of the 10 patients had lived near Chernobyl at the time of the disaster, Moslehi said. Four of the patients had lived in Ukraine, one patient had lived in Poland and one patient had lived in Moldova, according to the case report.

“It was very surprising to discover this,” Moslehi told Live Science. The cause of vitreoretinal lymphoma is unknown, “so any clues that you get as to possible causes make you very excited,” she said. [10 Do’s and Don’ts to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer]

Indeed, in looking through the literature, the researchers found several studies linking other types of lymphoma to exposure to radiation, Moslehi said. For example, clean-up workers at Chernobyl have been shown to have higher rates of a type of cancer called chronic lymphocytic leukemia, she said. In addition, rates of leukemia in children and adults are increased in people who were exposed to either Chernobyl or the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan during World War II, she said. (Both leukemia and lymphoma affect white blood cells.)

The New York City patients who had lived near Chernobyl ranged in age from 62 to 85 at the time of their diagnosis, according to the case report. The diagnoses took place between 24 and 27 years after the nuclear disaster, meaning that a number of the patients were in their late 30s when the disaster took place. Moslehi is still looking at the cases in the other four patients, who did not live near Chernobyl, for clues in those cases, she said.

There was also another cluster of cases that involved related conditions, called myeloproliferative disorders, that was found in Israel, Moslehi said. Myeloproliferative disorders cause blood cells proliferative abnormally. Similar to the group in New York City, the patients in Israel were of Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicity and lived near Chernobyl at the time of the disaster.

Moslehi noted that they “still cannot link this disease or lymphoma to radiation per se” — more studies are needed to fully understand the cause. For example, it may be that Ashkenazi Jews are more susceptible to the effects of radiation, she said.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | health | Leave a comment

French utility Engie backs out of UK Moorside nuclear project

UK’s Moorside nuclear project in turmoil as Toshiba’s French partner backs out, Guardian, 5 Apr 17, 
Troubled tech giant forced to take sole ownership of NuGen after Engie sells stake, adding to uncertainty over plan for three reactors 
Toshiba has been forced to buy out the French utility Engie from a project to build three nuclear reactors in Moorside, northwest England, further straining the Japanese company’s finances and adding to uncertainty over the project.

Engie said on Tuesday it was exercising its right to sell its 40% stake in the NuGen venture to Toshiba following the bankruptcy of the Japanese firm’s Westinghouse nuclear power plant business. Toshiba will pay 15.3 billion yen ($138.5m) for the stake.

Toshiba is now the sole owner of NuGen, but has said it is looking for more investors to join the $15-20bn project or to sell out altogether…..

EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project in Somerset got the final go-ahead in 2016 after several years of delay, but only after securing backing from the French government.

 The British government has been working to attract new investors to NuGen, and some analysts said Engie’s departure might make it easier for Toshiba to sell NuGen as a whole.

Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) is a potential investor: its chief executive said last month it was in talks to buy a stake in NuGen.

Britain’s energy minister is currently in South Korea for talks on future collaboration between the two countries, including nuclear projects, a government spokeswoman said…….https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/04/toshiba-moorside-nuclear-nugen-engie-reactor

April 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Changes emerging, as some USA Republicans introduce to Congress the Republican Climate Resolution

GOP climate resolution deserves wider support APRIL 5, 2017 PHILLY.COM by John C. Dernbach

It has already been a tough year for those who want bipartisan leadership on climate change.

 President Trump’s recent executive order is intended to unwind much of the Obama administration’s work on climate change. Trump wants to cut funding by a third for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and he appointed Scott Pruitt, who has openly questioned the reality of climate change, to lead EPA.

But even in the face of hostility for climate action from the Republican leadership in Washington, there are signs of positive change within the party.

 Seventeen Republican lawmakers – including Pennsylvania Congressmen Ryan Costello, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Patrick Meehan – just introduced the Republican Climate Resolution. It states that it is “a conservative principle to protect, conserve, and be good stewards of our environment.” It also calls for Congress to commit to economically viable solutions to climate change………

This House resolution on climate change is the latest sign that more Republicans are changing their tune on this and other environmental protection issues. Earlier this year, nine Republicans broke with their party on a vote to repeal an Obama-era rule to protect waterways from coal mining runoff. And 11 Republicans voted against a repeal of a rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry.

It is little wonder that Republicans are increasingly willing to buck special interests on the issue. Lawmakers are seeing more and more climate change-related impacts in their home districts. The economic opportunities provided by climate action are enormous. And their constituents are calling for solutions.

That is certainly the case in Pennsylvania……….

It was a Republican state senator from Delaware County, Ted Erickson, who sponsored the Climate Change Act of 2008, which calls for state impact assessments and a climate change action plan. A Republican chief justice of the state Supreme Court, Ronald Castille, wrote the 2013 opinion upholding the Environmental Rights Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution.

The House resolution does not make specific policy recommendations for preventing future climate disruptions. And more signers are needed before the caucus will have the votes necessary to command the respect it needs. But this is real progress.

Costello, Fitzpatrick, and Meehan recognize that everyone has much to gain if we act on climate change, regardless of political affiliation. Let’s hope they convince more of their GOP colleagues to join them. And those of us who live in other districts represented by Republicans can do our part by asking them to join this resolution.

John C. Dernbach is the commonwealth professor of environmental law and sustainability and the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center at Widener University Commonwealth Law School. jcdernbach@widener.edu http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/commentary/20170405_Commentary__GOP_climate_resolution_deserves_wider_support.html

April 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | 1 Comment

Theresa May’s dangerous plan to link nuclear trade with security

Britain’s secret Brexit nuke http://www.newindianexpress.com/opinions/2017/apr/06/britains-secret-brexit-nuke-1590353–1.html By Tom Arms  6th April 2017 

May’s attempt to link trade and security sets a dangerous precedent for the world. Will she now offer N-protection to Saudi Arabia?

British Prime Minister Theresa  May has linked Britain’s  nuclear deterrent to Brexit negotiations. And in doing so she has pointed the way for India and other nuclear weapons states to use their irradiated umbrellas to secure their own lucrative trade deals.

Until now it has been accepted that nuclear weapons are the ultimate deterrent, and are to be used only in that capacity. Linking them to trade, as May has done, has added a new and dangerous level to the nuclear playing field.

The link came in the British prime minister’s letter to the European Commission triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and the start of Brexit negotiations. In just one letter, she explicitly linked economic concessions with security issues nine times.

Alright, the n-word has yet to be dropped on a public stage, but it is being talked about behind closed Whitehall doors.  The whispers have been loud enough for me to hear them and to contact the UK’s Department  for Brexit negotiations. I pointedly asked them, “Is the government considering offering a nuclear deterrent—probably incollaboration with the French—to EU countries in return for trade concessions?” The reply was neither a confirmation nor a denial but an email pointing me to the links in May’s Brexit letter and a speech in which the British PM said, “The third … reason I believe we can come to the right agreement is that cooperation between Britain and the EU is needed not just when it comes to trade but when it comes to our security too.”

“Britain and France are Europe’s only two nuclear powers. … Britain’s armed forces are a crucial part of Europe’s collective defence.”

“… After Brexit, Britain wants to be a good friend and neighbour in every way, and that includes defending the safety and security of all of our citizens.”

Quick phone calls to embassies and European ministries of foreign affairs elicited a wall of no comments, until I came to the Poles where a spokesperson said, “Yes that’s right.”

But if the negotiating ploy is successful in Europe, what is to stop the British from offering the same protection to other regions of the world? Does Britain strike a deal with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to protect them from Iran? The British have just reopened a permanent naval base in Bahrain. How about East Africa? The Americans lease Diego Garcia but the British still own it. London has great relations with Singapore, an excellent base for an Asian presence.

And what about other nuclear weapon states? What is to stop India, Pakistan, France, Russia, China, and the US from using their nukes to extract trade concessions.  It will cost more but the trade deals, or should I say protection money—should more than cover the costs, with a profit—adding a new and dangerous element to  the problem of nuclear non-proliferation.

A stronger nuclear Britain willing to flex its muscles fits in nicely with the Trump view of the world. During his campaign, The Donald shocked analysts by floating the cost-cutting proposal that America supply nukes to Japan and Saudi Arabia. And although the US is making more positive noises about the NATO, the initial talk of obsolescence has left Europeans deeply worried.

Beefing up the British nuclear deterrent and tying it closer to Europe would save America money. However, it would also put several more links in the defensive chain that ties the US to the protection of Europe.

Trump may favour such a change, but it is not in the interests of either side of the Atlantic. Two World Wars have proven that. In both, the US adopted a hands-off role at the start. However, the fact is their interests were so intertwined with the European democracies that Washington was eventually forced to intervene to protect its national interests.

It is the growing American isolationism that makes it possible for May to test thendangerous nuclear waters. The EU is worried about losing its American nuclear umbrella. The UK is worried about losing their European market. Britain has nuclear weapons. The EU has markets. There is a clear fit.

Dr Ian Lesser, vice president at the German Marshall Fund, said it is “not incredible” that Britain is considering using its nuclear deterrent as part of the Brexit negotiations. He added, “But it would certainly be controversial.”

Trump’s foreign policy has prompted widespread calls for  greater European defence cooperation, including—at the suggestion of the Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski—a German-funded European nuclear deterrent. This was firmly and immediately rejected by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Navajo Nation still affected by legacy of uranium mining – contaminated water

Uranium leaves legacy of contamination for Navajo Nation http://www.heraldextra.com/news/state-and-regional/uranium-leaves-legacy-of-contamination-for-navajo-nation/article_8c4df54f-426c-5647-8779-15049d913308.html Apr 2, 2017  SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) — For more than a decade, about 20 gallons of uranium-contaminated groundwater have been pumped per minute into a disposal pond from beneath a tailings site on the eastern edge of the Navajo Nation.

The U.S. Energy Department says the pond is a few years away from the end of its life span, and pumping will have to stop since the pond has almost reached its capacity.

The federal government monitors and pumps groundwater from beneath the Shiprock uranium mill tailings site in northwestern New Mexico as part of a long-term project aimed at cleaning up the area.

 Mark Kautsky with the DOE’s Office of Legacy Management recently toured the site near the Arizona-New Mexico state line with a group of students from Arizona.

“The water level has come up the point where that pond is just about full,” he told the students from Shonto Preparatory School.

Over the next couple of years, the pond will be evaporated and its liner will be replaced, the Gallup Independent reported (http://bit.ly/1jl8YBA).

Kautsky said the community of Shiprock should not be affected since its drinking water is piped from miles away and farmers in the area get their irrigation water diverted from the San Juan River about 10 miles (16 kilometers) upstream.

The mill tailings disposal site is located behind a locked fence on a ridge behind the Shiprock Fairgrounds and past the Navajo Engineering Construction Authority.

Families live in mobile homes within several hundred yards (meters) of the site, and yellow signs attached to the fencing display warnings in Navajo not to drink the pond’s water.

The disposal site sits on top of a former mill that processed more than 200 tons of uranium ore a day from mines in Cove, Arizona, and other nearby locations.

 The mill operated from 1954 through 1968. The buildings and equipment were torn down in the years immediately after the operation ceased and initial cleanup of the site took place from 1975 throughout 1980.

The massive rock covering of the uranium tailings was built in 1986 to prevent the escape of radon gas.

Kautsky said it was safer to leave the tailings in place than to move them.

“If you start picking up all of this material and hauling it out of here through the community there would be a lot of potential for accidents to happen,” he told the students.

 The Energy Department began long-term oversight of the disposal site in 1991. Federal officials have said there are over 500 abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation in the country. Navajo territory spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The Energy Department has four legacy management locations on the Navajo Nation: the Shiprock site; disposal sites in Mexican Hat, Utah, and Tuba City, Arizona; and a former processing site in Monument Valley, Arizona.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with responsible parties and implementing settlements that provide funding to assess and clean up about 40 percent of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo land. Linda Reeves, a regional project manager with the agency, said the EPA is in the early stages of its work.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | indigenous issues, Uranium, USA, water | Leave a comment

Brexit brings bad news for world’s biggest active nuclear fusion project

Brexit brings nuclear (con)fusion http://www.politico.eu/article/world-leading-nuclear-fusion-project-threatened-by-brexit/ The world’s biggest active nuclear fusion project could lose EU funding just as it gears up for its grand finale. By SARA STEFANINI , 4/6/17, CULHAM, England — Just as European scientists here gear up to put decades of experiments to the test and try to bottle up the nuclear reaction that powers every star in the universe, Brexit is throwing the future of their work into doubt.

The 34-year-old Joint European Torus (JET), which sits in the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy’s retro 1960s laboratory, is a crucial part of an international research push on nuclear fusion that hopes to, one day, fuel homes and cities with energy free of greenhouse gases and waste.

Despite its location in the Oxfordshire meadows, JET is an EU venture through and through. The hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians who visit the center to conduct experiments, as well as the parts used to assemble the world’s biggest nuclear fusion reactor so far, come from all around the Union.

Crucially, so does the €283 million that underpins the JET program for the five years through 2018. New European Commission funding, at least for 2019 and 2020, looked pretty certain — until Britain’s referendum, and London’s announcement in January that it would leave the European atomic energy community, Euratom, once the U.K. leaves the block in two years.

Talks to renew JET’s funding are now on hold, according to Culham center officials. What happens after 2018 depends largely on the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

The uncertainty could delay or even derail the JET program’s grand finale: Heating two hydrogen isotopes — heavy hydrogen (deuterium), which comes from water, and super-heavy hydrogen (tritium), from lithium — to temperatures hotter than the center of the sun.

April 7, 2017 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment