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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Roundup of the week’s nuclear and climate news

At the G20 meeting of 19 wealthy nations plus the European Union, in Germany, G20 President  Angela Merkel planned for discussion of Africa and health to be a high priority. This is now overtaken by the concern over North Korea’s latest test – of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

Equally important, negotiators representing two-thirds of the 192-member United Nations  finalised   the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons this week after months of talks.

On climate change, at G20 the growing international isolation of the United States under President Trump was starkly apparent, with almost unanimous opposition to Trump’s climate lack of policy. Meanwhile, a 2018 global summit on climate change is planned, led by California Governor Jerry Brown, -as the Donald Trump administration becomes rather irrelevant to international climate action.

Where will climate refugees find shelter and food?

Amid the escalating tension between USA and North Korea, calm calls for Engagement and Dialogue. Donald Trump has few real options in dealing with North Korea. Russia and China propose negotiation .

Global Covenant of Mayors to fight climate change.

Lithium use in batteries booming – need for recycling, and environmental protection

USA. 

CHINA. China calls for calm and restraint on North Korea.

RUSSIA. 

JAPAN. Trial of former Tepco executives over 2011 disaster. Costs of building Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing plant now 4 times greater.

FRANCE. France plans to cut nuclear power’s share of electricity from 75% to 50% by 2025. Sixth MOX nuclear shipment leaves France for Japan.

UKRAINE. Forest fire near Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.

AUSTRALIA. South Australia: Tesla to supply world’s biggest battery

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July 8, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

United Nations formally adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

A Treaty Is Reached to Ban Nuclear Arms. Now Comes the Hard Part, NYT, JULY 7, 2017 For the first time in the seven-decade effort to avert a nuclear war, a global treaty has been negotiated that proponents say would, if successful, lead to the destruction of all nuclear weapons and forever prohibit their use.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s Trump administration will be bypassed, as California leads in global talks on climate change

Last month, Brown discussed climate change with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, an unusual level of engagement between the Chinese head of state and a governor. (Energy Secretary Rick Perry, by contrast, did not meet with Xi in a recent trip to China).

“He wants to make clear that if you can’t look to Washington, you can look to California on progressive environmental policy,” said Ann Carlson, professor of environmental law at UCLA

Gov. Brown unveils plan for global climate summit, further undercutting Trump’s agenda, Melanie MasonEvan Halper and Patrick McGreevyContact Reporters, 6 Jul 17, In a rebuke to President Trump’s disengagement from worldwide climate change efforts, Gov. Jerry Brown told an international audience Thursday the president “doesn’t speak for the rest of us” and unveiled plans for a global environmental summit in San Francisco next year.

The announcement, at a convening of climate activists in Hamburg, Germany, coinciding with Trump’s arrival there for the G-20 summit of world leaders, signals once more how Brown and other American leaders aim to galvanize continued efforts against climate change, even as the federal government moves in the opposite direction.

“It’s hard to grasp the mortal danger that climate change represents,” Brown said in an interview with The Times. “I believe that California, New York, France and Germany and the other countries — we have to get our act together, strengthen our commitment and bring as many nations along as we can.”

Whether Brown and his American cohorts, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcettiand former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will ultimately be able to take sufficient action to curb global warming is uncertain, but they are already succeeding in undercutting the authority of the White House to set the U.S. agenda on climate. Since Trump quit the Paris accord on climate change, California and a dozen other states have vowed to not only stick with the agreement, but also step up their emission reduction efforts to push the rest of the country along. A coalition of cities committed to the climate action outlined in Paris — led by Garcetti — has swollen from a few dozen members to 331 in the last few weeks.

Brown and other American climate crusaders see the G-20 meeting as a crucial moment. Several world leaders who will attend the summit have already signaled that they will confront Trump on climate issues during its proceedings, and a move is afoot to conclude the meeting with a written reaffirmation of commitment to the Paris guidelines that would ostensibly be signed by every G-20 every nation except the U.S. — underscoring how far out of alignment with the rest of the world Trump is on the issue.

But even before the summit began, unity among the other countries was already starting to fray. While Western European leaders vowed to push the issue, countries such as Russia, Indonesia and Turkey were expressing less bombast. Saudi Arabia — which is still bullish on climate action but is also eager to remain in good diplomatic standing with the U.S. amid its dispute with fellow American ally Qatar — is also hedging.

With his video announcement Thursday to attendees of the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, Brown aimed to shore up opposition to Trump’s climate moves and send a signal that the U.S. can maintain a leadership role despite the president.

“It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said in his video, appearing in a leafy setting with a blazer and no tie. “Yes, I know President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America…. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this climate action summit we’re going to get it done.”

Host of next United Nations climate conference turns to California in the global warming battle »

Brown’s message was projected into the arena, and the audience burst out in applause when the governor said Trump doesn’t speak for the rest of the U.S.

Trump was not invited to speak at the festival because his policies don’t align with its goal of supporting global health, climate and gender equality, said a source involved in organizing the festival. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and other leaders took the stage to speak about climate change and education to the crowd of 12,000.

The planned 2018 California summit, Brown told The Times, would signify “the biggest state in the union is the venue for a worldwide convocation of states, regions and entrepreneurs and others who want to do something serious about climate change.”……

Last month, Brown discussed climate change with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, an unusual level of engagement between the Chinese head of state and a governor. (Energy Secretary Rick Perry, by contrast, did not meet with Xi in a recent trip to China).

“He wants to make clear that if you can’t look to Washington, you can look to California on progressive environmental policy,” said Ann Carlson, professor of environmental law at UCLA………http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-jerry-brown-climate-summit-20170706-story.html

July 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

New survey on American attitudes to climate change: majority agree on human caused changes

New Survey Shows Majority Of Americans Believe Climate Change Is Real And Caused By Human Activity  https://www.desmogblog.com/2017/07/06/new-survey-shows-majority-americans-believe-climate-change-real-and-caused-human-activity?utm_source=dsb%20newsletter  By Farron Cousins • Thursday, July 6, 2017 The current leadership in the United States — the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House — have a hostile relationship with climate change science. Not only has current President Donald Trump suggested that the entire concept is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, but the Legislative Branch of government is populated with a majority of representatives who do not accept the scientific consensus regarding climate change. Not only are these views dangerous for the future of the planet, but a new poll shows that these views are entirely out of sync with a majority of the U.S. population.

According to a new report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, a majority of people in the United States believe that climate change is real and that it is mostly the result of human activities. The survey shows that 58% of the public now accepts that climate change is mostly caused by human activity, which is the highest level ever recorded of public acceptance of the human role in climate change since Yale began conducting these studies in 2008.

Here are a few key findings from the new report:

Over half of Americans (58%) understand that global warming is mostly human caused, the highest level since our surveys began in November 2008. By contrast, three in ten (30%) say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment – the lowest level recorded since 2008.

Only about one in eight Americans (13%) understand that nearly all climate scientists (more than 90%) are convinced that human-caused global warming is happening.

Over half of Americans (57%) say they are at least “somewhat worried” about global warming. About one in six (17%) are “very worried” about it.

About one in three Americans (35%) think people in the U.S. are being harmed by global warming “right now.”

By a large margin, Americans say that schools should teach children about the causes, consequences, and potential solutions to global warming (78% agree vs. 21% who disagree).

One particularly intriguing finding from the Yale report is that the majority believe that the threats of climate change are things that will either happen in the distant future, or that they will not happen to the individuals polled or their families:

Most Americans think global warming is a relatively distant threat – they are most likely to think that it will harm future generations of people (71%), plant and animal species (71%), the Earth (70%), people in developing countries (62%), or the world’s poor (62%). They are less likely to think it will harm people in the U.S. (58%), their own grandchildren (56%) or children (50%), people in their community (48%), their family (47%), themselves (43%), or members of their extended family living outside the U.S. (41%).

The fact that most Americans either believe the threat is something that will happen in the distant future or that it won’t happen to them is one possible reason so many people are willing to vote for politicians who either outright deny the existence of climate change or who refuse to act on the issue. Currently, a majority of members of both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate fall into one of those categories, with 53 out of 100 U.S. Senators counted as climate change deniers and 232 out of 435 House members listed as deniers.

But the truth is that climate change is not a far-off threat for Americans. Rising sea levels are already threatening drinking water in South Florida, as salt water is seeping into aquifers. Elsewhere, rising temperatures, rising sea levels, changes in precipitation patterns, and extreme weather events that have been linked to climate change are wreaking havoc. So one of the main focuses of climate science advocates needs to be educating people about the timeline so they stop viewing climate change as a problem that can be put on the back burner. It is happening right now.

Nevertheless, the fact that a majority of U.S. citizens understand the realities of climate change while our elected leaders refuse to accept the science indicates that they have become too far removed from the values, desires, and concerns of their constituents. That’s likely due in part to the massive amounts of money that fossil fuel companies spend on lobbying and direct campaign contributions which totaled $120+ million and $103 million in 2016, respectively.

 

July 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Trump-Moon summit – the focus was on trade differences, not North Korea

A Summit Without Fireworks Over North Korea, 38 North, BY: LEON V. SIGAL 6 JULY 17  Observers who expected fireworks at the first Trump-Moon summit meeting had to wait for the Fourth of July when North Korea test-launched what it said was an ICBM. Smiles rather than tweets marked the mood of the summit with both leaders determined to put on a public show of alliance solidarity and personal rapport. That display will now be put to the test in the aftermath of the North’s missile test.

The sharp differences at the summit came over trade, not North Korea, as US President Donald Trump made clear his intent to revise the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, focusing on automobiles and steel.[1] That demand could face resistance in South Korea…….

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

En route to Washington, President Moon spoke with reporters about a two-phased nuclear negotiating process, starting with a freeze on its nuclear programs. ……..

Furthermore, Moon did not back away from the need for a peace process in Korea. “With the nuclear dismantlement, a peace system will be established on the peninsula,” he stated.[7]And he made clear that economic engagement with the North would resume at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang with the onset of a nuclear freeze.

Sustaining Washington’s secret talks with Pyongyang will be critical to relations with both Koreas. ……..

the latest test-launch underscores how tougher sanctions by Washington and Seoul provoke Pyongyang to step up arming unless nuclear diplomacy is resumed and the North’s security concerns are addressed.

It’s time to stop acting as if the United States and South Korea have to talk to each other and not North Korea. http://www.38north.org/2017/07/lsigal070617/

July 8, 2017 Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA | Leave a comment

British govt did not notify the German public of the potential environmental impacts of Hinkley Point C

Hinkley Point C: UK censured for failing to consult German public British government failed to abide by Aarhus convention that says major projects must consult citizens on environmental impacts, Guardian, Adam Vaughan, 7 July 17, The UK has been censured by an international committee for its failure to notify the German public of the potential environmental impacts of Hinkley Point C, the new nuclear power station being built in Somerset, south-west England.

In a political embarrassment for the government, the verdict found that the UK had not complied with the Aarhus convention, an international agreement on involving citizens in environmental matters.

The Aarhus committee’s finding followed a complaint by a German Green party politician, who said the UK should now halt work on the project to properly consult with the public in neighbouring countries.

Sylvia Kotting-Uhl told the Guardian: “If the government does not want to ridicule the trans-boundary participation procedure that is now due, construction works should be suspended until the procedure is completed.”

While the ruling is very unlikely to affect the project, which began construction last year, the breach comes on top of a fortnight of bad news for the two atomic reactors.

EDF, the French state-owned developer of Hinkley Point C, admitted this week that costs were likely to rise by £1.5bn and there was a risk of a 15-month delay, just days after the public spending watchdog called the project “risky and expensive”.

Kotting-Uhl originally complained to Aarhus’s compliance committee in the summer of 2013, before the UK had agreed commercial terms with EDF.

She said the UK government had discriminated against Germans by not giving them opportunities to take part in the environmental impact assessment procedure for Hinkley, as the Aarhus convention requires. The committee agreed.

In conclusions published recently, the committee said: “By not ensuring that the public concerned in Germany had a reasonable chance to learn about the proposed activity and the opportunities for the public to participate in the respective decision-making, the party concerned failed to comply with article 6, paragraph 2, of the convention.”

Named after the Danish city of Århus, the convention covers the involvement of the public on environmental matters relating to developments such as power stations or new roads – including access to information, the public’s participation in decision-making, and access to justice. The UK ratified the agreement in 2005.

The former UN secretary general Kofi Annan called it “the most ambitious venture in the area of environmental democracy so far undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations”……https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/06/hinkley-point-c-uk-censured-german-public-edf

July 8, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Energy Storage – South Australia to have the world’s largest lithium ion battery

 BBC 7th July 2017 An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company Neoen.  The battery will protect South Australia from the kind of energy crisis
which famously blacked out the state, Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Tesla boss Elon Musk confirmed a much-publicised promise to build it within 100 days, or do it for free. The 100-megawatt (129 megawatt hour) battery should be ready this year.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, energy storage | Leave a comment

Lithium use in batteries booming – need for recycling, and environmental protection

FT 7th July 2017, Tesla Motors and now Volvo may have big plans to end the addiction of drivers to fossil fuels via electric vehicles, however the environmental footprint of mining raw materials used in car batteries and their eventual disposal are emerging as a flash point.

As the mining sector presents a green face and extracts raw materials from lithium to cobalt and nickel
that constitute electric batteries, so the focus on their environmental standards and energy efficient production methods will intensify.

At the tail-end of the electric vehicle boom is the matter of improving the recycling of lithium-ion batteries and making sure the environmental impact is also contained.

To offset the environmental impact of mining there will have to be a large build out in recycling facilities to meet the first wave of electric vehicles, analysts say. Currently over 90 per cent of lead-acid
batteries used in conventional gasoline cars are recycled, versus less than 5 per cent of lithium-ion batteries. An estimated 11m tonnes of spent lithium-ion battery packs will be discarded between now and 2030, according to Canada-based Li-Cycle, a recycler of batteries.
https://www.ft.com/content/8342ec6c-5fde-11e7-91a7-502f7ee26895?mhq5j=e3

July 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, energy storage | Leave a comment

Trump’s Climate Policies leading planet to irreversible climate disaster – Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking: Trump’s Climate Policies Could Turn Earth Into Venus “…two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”, 03/07/2017 HuffPost, Rebecca Shapiro

British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is not mincing words: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris accord combating climate change could cause irreversible harm to the planet.

In an interview with the BBC in honor of Hawking’s 75th birthday, the Cambridge professor said Trump will cause “avoidable environmental damage” by denying climate change evidence and leaving the agreement.

“We are close to the tipping point where global warming becomes irreversible,” he said. “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”

The president announced the decision last month, arguing that the agreement was a “bad deal” for the U.S. As multiple experts, scientists and world leaders pointed out, the deal was nonbinding and had largely been negotiated to meet U.S. expectations.

Earlier this year, Hawking, who has spoken out against Trump in the past, said the president’s anti-science agenda left him feeling unwelcome in the United States.

In an interview in March with Piers Morgan on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain,” Hawking said the president should get rid of Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier, as the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency. “Climate change is one of the great dangers we face, and it’s one we can prevent,” Hawking said. “It affects America badly, so tackling it should win votes for his second term — God forbid.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/07/03/stephen-hawking-trumps-climate-policies-could-turn-earth-into_a_23013506/

 

July 8, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Amnesty International sees the new United Nations nuclear weapons ban as the “antidote to cynical brinkmanship”

UN: Nuclear weapons ban is an antidote to cynical brinkmanship, Amnesty International, 7 July 2017 Following the United Nations’ adoption of a new global treaty outlawing nuclear weapons, James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

“This historic treaty brings us a step closer to a world free from the horrors of nuclear weapons, the most destructive and indiscriminate weapons ever created. All states should give their full backing to this antidote to the cynical brinkmanship embodied in the development, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons.

“The immediate and strong global condemnation of North Korea’s testing of nuclear-capable missiles earlier this week gives a sense of how high the stakes are – everybody knows it is in nobody’s interest for a single nuclear warhead to be detonated, ever.

“Today’s vote shows that a majority of states consider a global prohibition on nuclear weapons to be the best option for protecting the world from their catastrophic effects. And it shows once again how a strong civil society-led effort can inspire real change on the world stage.

“We are opposed to the use, possession, production and transfer of nuclear weapons by any country, including permanent members of the UN Security Council, and so it was deeply disappointing to see that these, and other nuclear-armed states, failed to back the treaty. We are calling on them to take a stand for human rights and humanity by joining the ban treaty.”….. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/07/un-nuclear-weapons-ban-is-an-antidote-to-cynical-brinkmanship/

July 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment