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

How to find radiation in Fukushima Hotspot 5.6 mcSv/h #Safecast

Heres an interesting find RE geiger measurements. After clean up and laying of Ashfelt, look between the joins for hotspots (5+ mcSv/h Ouch! Near a used public space) Measurement day July 29, 2017 Sukagawa City, Fukushima Prefecture ①

Enrichment by asphalt joint

measurement details (Think small child) 1 m above ground 0.6 μSv / h Ground 50 cm 1.2 μSv / h 5 cm above the ground 4.1 μSv / h Earth surface 5.6 μSv / h

PS the same could be found in otherwise damaged or broken asphalt as well (broken by heavy vehicle, rain or badly laid asphalt surface which is all too common)

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The past week in climate and nuclear news

On CLIMATE the situation is eerie. Technogeeks are exploring geoengineering ways to cool the planet. Some journalists – New York’s David Wallace Wells, Slate’s Tommy Lynch, predict an uninhabitable Earth, and warn that we are not alarmed enough.

The general media inform us of greatly increased wildfires, (Europe),  (USA), floods, (India)(Germany), droughts, (USA), (Italy) . These news items whisk away under the relentless hurricane news of celebrities, sport, and Trump’s latest absurdities.

On NUCLEAR it would seem few immediate events are happening. However,important issues are being explored. Investigative journalism lives!

 

Catholic Church organising to support UN nuclear weapons ban.  Cybersecurity researchers warn that nuclear power stations are vulnerable to hackers and terrorists.

Impact of Environmental Change on Human Security  – climate refugees.   NASA monitors Arctic sea ice loss. Plans for technology to remove CO2 from air.  Artificially cooling planet Earth by thinning cirrus clouds. 100 Fossil Fuel Companies Responsible for 71 Percent of Carbon Emissions Since 1988 — And They’re Being Sued For it.

EUROPE. European Heat, Drought, Fires Bite Deep as 1 Million Impacted by Water Rationing in Rome. European Commission wants Czech Republic to deal with its nuclear waste backlog.

JAPAN.

RUSSIA.  Russia decides to fuel floating nuclear plant in Murmansk, following pressure from Norway. Russia provides $70 billions to countries in its nuclear marketing drive.

USA.

IRAN. Iran refrains from being drawn into a row, by USA’s new sanctions slapped on Iran.

IRAQ. In Mosul, ISIS nearly had the means to make a radioactive “dirty bomb”.

UK. Serious doubts about UK’s Trident nuclear plan – problems not “manageable or resolvable.”  Inquiry into Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)’s spending, held behind closed doors.  Unexpected release from gaol of 2 UK peace campaigners.

GREENLAND. Greenland ice sheet might start to melt “faster and faster”.

UKRAINE. Ukraine’s dangerous nuclear industry: theft of 100s of containers with radioactive materials.

SOUTH KOREA. South Korea to move away from nuclear power – but still wants to sell nukes overseas!

CHINA. China’s marketing strategy – Poland and Britain as springboards for China’s nuclear marketing.

INDIA. Indian State Government hands over land for nuclear development, displacing 2,200 families.

ISRAEL.  Israel STILL punishing nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Japan’s government selects hundreds of coastal sites as potentially suitable for radioactive trash dumps

METI maps out suitable nuclear waste disposal sites, Japan Times, 28 July 17 KYODO The government on Friday unveiled a nationwide map of potential disposal sites for high-level nuclear waste that identifies coastal areas as “favorable” and those near active faults as unsuitable.

Based on the map, the government is expected to ask the municipalities involved to let researchers study whether sites on their land can host atomic waste disposal sites.

 But the process promises to be both difficult and complicated as public concern lingers over the safety of nuclear power since the triple core meltdown in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011.

The map, illustrated in four colors indicating the suitability of geological conditions, was posted on the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry…..

To permanently dispose of high-level nuclear waste, it must be stored at a repository more than 300 meters underground so it cannot harm human life or the environment.

The map identifies about 70 percent of Japan as suitable for hosting nuclear dumps. Up to 900 municipalities, or half of the nation’s total, encompass coastal areas deemed favorable for permanent waste storage.

Areas near active faults, volcanoes and oil fields, which are potential drilling sites, are deemed unsuitable because of “presumed unfavorable characteristics,” and hence colored in orange and silver on the map.

The other areas are classified as possessing “relatively high potential” and colored in light green.

Among the potential areas, zones that are within 20 km (12 miles) of the coastline are deemed especially favorable in terms of waste transportation and colored in green. The ministry formulated the classification standards in April.

Parts of giant Fukushima Prefecture, where decontamination and recovery efforts remain underway from the mega-quake, tsunami and triple core meltdown of March 2011, are also suitable, according to the map. But Seko said the government has no plans at this stage to impose an additional burden on the prefecture.

Seko also signaled that Aomori Prefecture, which hosts a nuclear fuel reprocessing facility, is exempt from the hunt because the prefectural government and the state have agreed not to build a nuclear waste disposal facility there.

Japan, like many other countries with nuclear power plants, is struggling to find a permanent geological site suitable for hosting a disposal repository. Finland and Sweden are the only countries worldwide to have picked final disposal sites. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/07/28/national/meti-posts-map-potential-nuclear-waste-disposal-sites/#.WXuyKhWGPGg

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

North Korea challenges USA with another intercontinental ballistic missile test

North Korea throws down gauntlet to Trump with second ICBM test, US, South Korean and Japanese monitors detect an unusual late-night missile test carried out by North Korea. SBS World News, 29 July 17 North Korea on Friday carried out what appeared to be its second test this month of an intercontinental ballistic missile, doubling down on its threat to develop a nuclear strike capability against the US mainland in the face of severe warnings from President Donald Trump.

South Korean, US and Japanese monitors all detected the unusual late-night test, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying the missile may have landed within Japan’s maritime exclusive economic zone.

“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said, adding that the projectile travelled about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) before splashing down in the Sea of Japan.

However, the Russian military said the launch appeared to be a “medium-range” ballistic missile.

The launch came a day after North Korea celebrated what it calls “Victory Day” – the anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang regularly times its missile tests to coincide with symbolic dates.

Condemnation was swift with Japan’s top government spokesman, calling Friday’s test another clear violation of UN resolutions.

“Our country will never tolerate it and made a severe protest to North Korea, condemning it in the strongest words,” Suga said.

In Seoul and Tokyo, the governments convened meetings of their national security councils.

South Korean President Moon Jae-In said Seoul would respond with a “strong military show of force,” including joint South Korea-US missile tests, according to a statement from the presidential Blue House.

Further sanctions

US military and South Korean intelligence officials had in recent days warned that North Korea appeared to be prepping another missile test — likely of an ICBM.

The ICBM test on July 4 had triggered global alarm, with experts saying the missile had a theoretical range to reach Alaska.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, who personally oversaw that launch on America’s Independence Day, described it as a gift to the “American bastards.”

It sent tensions soaring in the region, pitting Washington, Tokyo and Seoul against China, Pyongyang’s last remaining major ally.

The United States instigated a push at the United Nations for tougher measures against Pyongyang, with US President Donald Trump saying he was considering a “pretty severe” response.

Joel Wit, a senior fellow at the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and an expert on the North’s nuclear weapons programme, said Friday’s launch confirmed time was running out for Washington to find a way out of a pressing security crisis.

“Another North Korean test of what appears to be a missile that can reach the United States further emphasises the need for the Trump administration to focus like a laser on this increasingly dangerous situation,” Wit said on the institute’s 38 North website.

Friday’s launch came just hours after the US Senate passed bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang, and Japan slapped its own sanctions on two Chinese firms, including a bank accused of laundering North Korean cash…….

There remain doubts whether the North can miniaturise a nuclear weapon to fit a missile nose cone, or if it has mastered the technology needed for the projectile to survive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere…..

Reacting to Friday’s launch, United Nations spokesman Farhad Haq said it was “frustrating” that the UN secretary general’s calls for all sides to de-escalate tensions on the Korean peninsula had gone unheeded……
Meanwhile, the US military is preparing to conduct another test of a missile-intercept system in Alaska, perhaps as soon as Saturday. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/07/29/north-korea-throws-down-gauntlet-trump-second-icbm-test

July 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Inevitable that North Korea will be a nuclear weapons state

The inevitability of North Korea’s nuclear weapons, WP,  July 28 17, “…..North Korea appeared to launch another missile just after 11 p.m. local time on Friday, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said.

The exact details of the launch are still coming out, and it remains unclear if the missile was capable of reaching the continental United States. However, the launch itself is not a shock. Advancements in North Korea’s weapons program have become a fact of life. The debate about when Pyongyang would theoretically be able to hit the U.S. mainland with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile has shifted from “if” to “when.”…..

First, North Korea has nuclear weapons — perhaps as many as 30, according to a former U.N. weapons inspector — and it’s not going to willingly give them up. Kim Jong Un knows what happened to leaders such as Libya’s Moammar Gaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein after they gave up their own weapons programs. The ship for denuclearization has almost certainly sailed.

Meanwhile, North Korea may soon be able to put a nuclear weapon on a missile that could hit the United States. Pyongyang keeps testing missiles, dramatically improving its weapons technology in the process.

Then there’s the catch: Any attempt to use force to destroy North Korea’s weapons systems probably would be catastrophic….. In the event of a military strike on North Korea’s nuclear sites, Seoul could ……it is unclear what the Trump administration’s plan for North Korea is — even whether a military strike is off the table…..

Then there is the president himself, a man who seems to prize his own unpredictability and rashness. …..If Trump is resigned to a North Korea with nuclear weapons, it may not be a bad thing…..

In the past, Trump has suggested he might be open to talks with Kim or other inventive options. Although there’s no guarantee these efforts will work, they seem to be less risky than military actions. ….https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/07/28/the-inevitability-of-north-koreas-nuclear-weapons/?utm_term=.db9780d66790

July 29, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Trump trying to provoke Iran into violating the nuclear agreement

Trump Seeks Way to Declare Iran in Violation of Nuclear Deal, NYT, JULY 27, 2017 President Trump, frustrated that his national security aides have not given him any options on how the United States can leave the Iran nuclear deal, has instructed them to find a rationale for declaring that the country is violating the terms of the accord.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Corruption probe into Amec Foster Wheeler (UK govt’s choice for subsidy for SMRs)

Serious Fraud Office launches probe into Amec Foster Wheeler,Telegraph,   Amec Foster Wheeler is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over its dealings with Unaoil over possible bribery and corruption through payments to middlemen.

The energy support services group rushed out a regulatory announcement on Tuesday evening confirming the formal launch of a probe by the watchdog.

In May the company signalled it could be in the SFO’s sights in documents relating to its £2.2bn merger with peer Wood Group.

Circulars detailing risks to deal revealed that a Wood Group business “engaged Unaoil and that the joint venture made payments to Unaoil under agency agreements”.

Agency agreements are widely understood to mean payments to third parties which can be used to pay bribes, though there is no indication that this happened with Wood’s joint venture.

At the time Amec said it was co-operating with the SFO, but the regulator’s staff have now decided to launch a formal investigation as a result of what they have discovered.

Unaoil is at the centre of a global corruption scandal with allegations that it paid bribes to secure deals. Petrofac has already been dragged into the scandal with its executives questioned by the SFO, though the company has said previously it has not found any evidence of wrongdoing…..

If the investigations turn into full-scale prosecutions they could result in heavy fines which could deal a huge blow to the merged Amec-Wood business, as they would come after the tow had merged  the companies could be liable for huge fines…..Both Amec and a spokesman for Unaoil declined to comment. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/11/serious-fraud-office-launches-probe-amec-foster-wheeler/

July 29, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt’s dubious plan for funding Amec Foster Wheeler’s research on Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Amec Foster Wheeler To Lead UK Government’s Nuclear Reactor Research, Alliance News , By Joshua Warner; joshuawarner@alliancenews.com; @JoshAlliance, 28th Jul 2017 LONDON  – Amec Foster Wheeler PLC on Friday said it has handed a GBP2.9 million contract from the UK government to lead a “key” research programme that aims to use developments in digital technology to optimise the next generation of nuclear reactors……

The project is part of a broader effort to put UK industry at the forefront of developing Generation IV and small modular reactors…….

Amec Foster Wheeler is being supported by partners and sub-contractors from industry, academia and science, including the University of Liverpool’s Virtual Engineering Centre, the Hartree Centre, National Nuclear Laboratory, Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, EDF Energy, the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London.

Professor Eann Patterson from the University of Liverpool, also partnering on the project, will be the lead academic of the research programme……..

The contract award comes as Amec Foster Wheeler is in the midst of merging with peer John Wood in a GBP2.20 billion deal that is expected to take place in the fourth quarter. Amec Foster Wheeler only last month made a decision to retain its European nuclear business after consulting John Wood, but is still pushing to offload its North American nuclear unit.

The North American nuclear operations are nominal within the wider company, adding a trading profit of just GBP1.0 million and revenue of GBP83.0 million to Amec Foster Wheeler’s 2016 results.

What’s more, Amec Foster Wheeler is being investigated by the UK Serious Fraud Office about possible offences related to corruption and bribery related to its past relationship with Monaco-based Unaoil SAM, which has been being probed by the SFO for suspected fraud, bribery and money laundering since July 2016.

That probe into Unaoil also hit oil services provider Petrofac Ltd, forcing the resignation of its chief operating officer.  http://www.lse.co.uk/AllNews.asp?code=w955wuya&headline=Amec_Foster_Wheeler_To_Lead_UK_Governments_Nuclear_Reactor_Research

July 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics | Leave a comment

Educating the American public on surviving a nuclear attack

North Korea prompts US cities to prepare for a nuclear attack, SMH, Ralph Vartabedian and W.J. Hennigan, 29 July 17, Fleets of big black trucks, harbor boats and aircraft, equipped with radiation sensors and operated by specially trained law enforcement teams, are ready to swing into action in Los Angeles for a catastrophe that nobody even wants to think about: a North Korean nuclear attack.

American cities have long prepared for a terrorist attack, even one involving nuclear weapons or a “dirty bomb,” but North Korea’s long-range missile and weapons programs have now heightened concerns along the West Coast over increasing vulnerability to a strike……..

This month, Wellerstein and other researchers launched Reinventing Civil defence, a nonprofit project that over the next two years will examine how best to reeducate the American public on the nuclear threat – one that never went away. It is being funded by a $US500,000 ($626,000) grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

“If we live in a world where a nuclear detonation is possible, and we do, then people should be informed on what that means,” he said. “It’s something that’s been nonexistent in our society since the late 1980s.”

The reluctance to prepare reflects what LoPresti calls a “generational PTSD” from the decades of living under the threat of instant thermonuclear war. “It is not something people are comfortable talking about,” he said……

The main responsibility would lie with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which declined to provide an official to discuss the issue and did not answer written questions.

Some arms control experts say it would be a mistake to launch a full-scale civil defence effort in response to North Korea. Wright, the expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said such a response would send the wrong message that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has put a dent in US confidence.

Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear weapons analyst with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, said Kim presents the same threat that existed throughout most of the last century. “He’s ruthless, but he’s not crazy,” Lewis said. “There’s reason to be cautious. But it’s not a reason to start digging bomb shelters.”

But Levin, the Ventura County health director, argues that doing nothing is equally wrong. The key point of the Ventura plan is to ask residents not flee, but to “get inside and stay inside” immediately after a detonation.

The county’s plan was developed with technical assistance from Brooke Buddemeier, a nuclear weapons effects expert at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has made the case that sheltering indoors for just 24 hours after a detonation provides significantly reduced exposure.

“Talking about nuclear detonation is not one of those topics you can bring up at a cocktail party,” Buddemeier said. “But a little knowledge can save a lot of lives.” http://www.smh.com.au/world/north-korea-prompts-us-cities-to-prepare-for-a-nuclear-attack-20170727-gxkdu2.html

July 29, 2017 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Death Spiral Of Nuclear Energy And The Demise Of Uranium Miners

Seeking Alpha, Jul. 28, 2017  Includes: BBLBHPCCOEGRAFNXERIOURA Caiman Valores   Contrarian, long-term horizon, research analyst, value 

Summary

  •  Uranium is caught in a protracted slump that is sharply impacting uranium miners.
  • Despite claims that prices will rise sentiment towards nuclear power has turned unfavorable.
  • Demand growth for uranium remains muted which along with growing supplies will keep pressure on prices.
  • There is no indication of a sustainable recovery in sight making uranium miners value traps.

There has been a surge in interest in uranium explorers and miners in recent months because of growing optimism surrounding the outlook for the radioactive metal. This has sparked a rash of upgrades for a number of uranium miners and explorers including Cameco Corp……

The marked uptick in the outlook for uranium is long over due with the radioactive metal caught in prolonged slump that now sees it trading at less than a sixth of its 2007 high………

Despite the proclamations of some analysts and market pundits there are distinct signs that point to a sustained recovery in uranium being unlikely and that the long-term prognosis for the fuel is poor.

What is driving this positive outlook?  The progressively positive outlook for uranium mining stems from a belief that the current global supply glut which has been weighing heavily on uranium prices will be eliminated over the next two-years.

There is also the expectation among market pundits that as demand for the radioactive metal begins to grow global supplies will diminish. This is because the prolonged slump according to those pundits has led to a dearth in investment in exploration and mine development which will impact uranium production in coming months.

Furthermore, uranium miners have been forced to shutter high cost production because it was uneconomic at current prices. The slump in uranium particularly in the wake of the Fukushima disaster sent one of the world’s largest uranium miners Energy Resources of Australia (OTCPK:EGRAF) also known as ERA, which at its peak was supplying 10% of the world’s yellow cake, into terminal decline……(registered readers only) https://seekingalpha.com/article/4091999-death-spiral-nuclear-energy-demise-uranium-miners

July 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

New York City’s toxic thorium contamination to finally be cleaned up

Government Announces Cleanup Plan for NYC Radioactive Site THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (VERENA DOBNIK) July 28, 2017, New York (AP) — The federal government on Thursday announced its plan to clean up a Superfund site in New York City where radioactive material was once processed to develop the atomic bomb.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the $39 million job, which could take years, will force out businesses still operating on a block in Queens where buildings, the soil and sewers were contaminated with radioactive material. Protective measures have been in place since 2012.

The source of the industrial waste was the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company that operated on Irving Avenue in the Ridgewood neighborhood from 1920 to 1954, according to Elias Rodriguez, the EPA spokesman in New York. The company processed monazite sand, extracting from it a radioactive element called thorium for the federal government as part of a program that began with the top-secret Manhattan Project that led to the testing of the first nuclear weapons during World War II in New Mexico.

The now-defunct company disposed of thorium waste on its property and into the Queens sewer.

Given the contaminated waste, the owner of the Celtic Custom NYC motorcycle repair shop, Sandy Frayman, said on Thursday that he wouldn’t want to stay, “but we’re worried what’s going to happen to us.”…….

The public is invited to voice concerns to the federal agency — either by email, regular mail and telephone, or by showing up for an open public hearing on Aug. 16 at a nearby day care center…..

Following an EPA evaluation, buildings will be razed and excavation will start to remove more than 24,000 cubic yards (18,000 cubic meters) of contaminated soil, sediment and debris.

An exact date for the cleanup will be set when the evaluation is completed. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-27/government-announces-cleanup-plan-for-nyc-radioactive-site

July 29, 2017 Posted by | thorium, USA | Leave a comment

Expert opinion is that climate change will increase wildfire incidence and severity

Climate change will feed wildfires – experts http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1458660/climate-change-feed-wildfires-experts By AFP28th July 2017  Long periods of heat cause vegetation to become dry and inflammable, easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion, or fires lit by humans. More than 10,000 people had to flee raging fires in southern France this week, and several villages were evacuated in Portugal just weeks after another blaze killed more than 60 people there.
In South Africa in June, nine people died and some 10,000 people were evacuated from their homes as fires raged through the drought-stricken Western Cape region, while this month some 40,000 people have had to flee wildfires in western Canada, where officials declared a state of emergency.In California, some 8,000 people were evacuated last week ahead of fires that razed vast swathes of forest.

What causes wildfires?   Long periods of heat cause vegetation to become dry and inflammable, easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion, or fires lit by humans. The more the mercury climbs, the higher the risk for more, and more intense, wildfires.

Scientists say the average global temperature has risen by one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the Industrial Revolution, when mankind started emitting heat-trapping greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels into the atmosphere.

Most of the world’s nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to limit overall warming to 2 C. But experts say this will not be enough, and severe heatwaves and drought will grow worse regardless.

And it is not just heat to blame for fires. A recent study showed that extreme thunderstorms formed due to higher temperatures, and were the main driver for massive fires in Alaska and Canada in recent years. More storms mean more lighting to ignite fires.

 Are there more fires today?  According to Thomas Curt, a researcher at France’s Irstea climate and agriculture research institute, big fires of over 100 hectares, and “megafires” over 1,000 hectares, have been “a growing problem worldwide and notably in Mediterranean Europe”.And NASA research shows that fires have increased in Canada and the American west, as well as in regions of China, India, Brazil and southern Africa.

Why?  According to NASA, “a warming and drying climate,” was to blame. “Climate change has increased fire risk in many regions,” according to the space agency.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said last month that parts of Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the southwestern United States experienced extremely high May and June temperatures.

Globally, surface temperatures over land and sea were the second highest on record for January to May.

Italy, Portugal and most of France had winter rainfall 20-30 percent under the seasonal norm, according to French climatologist Michele Blanchard. Almost three-quarters of Portugal, where 75,000 hectares of forest have burnt since January, has been battling a severe drought since June. According to the WMO, more than a third of Portuguese weather stations measured temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius over a weekend in June when the fires began.

In France, several towns in the south broke June temperature records.

Large parts of South Africa, meanwhile, experienced an historic drought and crippling water shortages.

Scientists are loath to ascribe any particular drought, heatwave, or other weather event to climate change — a phenomenon that can only be measured over decades, but note that these events took place within a What about the future?

Climate change will unlock “more heatwaves… with more evaporation and more intense drought,” said Blanchard.

A 2016 study of the European Commission showed that the fire-prone surface area of southern Europe could double in the 21st century.

A study published in Nature Climate Change in June said three-quarters of the global population will be exposed to potentially deadly heatwaves by 2100 unless greenhouse gas emissions are curbed. Even with aggressive cuts, it said, nearly half of the population will be exposed.

According to the authors of another study published by the same journal in May, fire is the most significant risk to forests, which cover about a third of global land surface. And it was clear that “risks caused by fires… will increase in the context of climate change,” they said — citing devastating forest blazes in Canada and Russia in recent years.

What to do?

Apart from long-term efforts to rein in global warming, some forest will have to be cut back, undergrowth cleared, and residential areas moved further from scrubland and forest borders, to reduce the risk to life and property.

“The focus… should shift from combating forest fires as they arise to preventing them from existing, through responsible long-term forest management,” says green group WWF.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Toshiba to pay $2.2 billion to get out of SCANA’s troubled South Carolina nuclear project

Toshiba reaches $2.2 billion deal over SCANA’s South Carolina nuclear project   http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-westinghouse-scana-idUSKBN1AC3DN (Reuters) – Toshiba Corp has agreed to pay $2.168 billion to walk away from two unfinished nuclear reactors in South Carolina being built by its Westinghouse subsidiary, according to a statement by the owners of project.

SCANA Corp (SCG.N) and its partner, state-owned utility Santee Cooper, said Toshiba will make the payments in installments beginning in October and ending in September 2022.

Toshiba’s Westinghouse Electric Co filed for bankruptcy in March, overwhelmed by the cost overruns at the VC Summer plant in South Carolina and a similar unfinished nuclear project known as Vogtle in Georgia. The projects are years behind schedule.

The agreement allows Toshiba and its Westinghouse unit to exit the nuclear construction business and caps Toshiba’s liability for guaranteeing that Westinghouse complete the VC Summer contract.

Toshiba reached a similar agreement for $3.7 billion in June with the utilities, led by a unit of Southern Co (SO.N), that own the Vogtle project.

Toshiba has warned that losses from Westinghouse threaten its future and it is considering bids for its flash memory chip unit, worth around $18 billion, to raise capital.

The owners of the VC Summer project said on Thursday they expect the cost of completing the project will “materially exceed” Westinghouse’s estimates and the payments due from Toshiba. They said they hope to decide soon whether they will continue with the two projects, modify them or abandon them.

Westinghouse is expected to deliver this week a five-year business plan to its lender, an affiliate of Apollo Global Management (APO.N). That plan will help shape bids for Westinghouse, which has attracted the interest of U.S. private equity firms.

As part of that plan, Westinghouse is expected to reach an agreement with SCANA under which it will continue to provide engineering and other services. Westinghouse has a similar agreement in place with the owners of the Vogtle plant.

Westinghouse asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, New York, on Wednesday to give it until Dec. 6 to file a plan of reorganization. The company said it needed more time in part due to talks with SCANA.

The request will be heard by the court on Sept. 7.

The Georgia and South Carolina plants were the first new nuclear power projects in the United States in three decades.

However, the projects have been dogged by design problems, disagreements with regulators and poor quality work by Westinghouse’s partners.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, USA | Leave a comment

EDF’s profits fall due to nuclear woes: renewable energy investment could save it

EDF profits dented by nuclear woes,Telegraph,   28 JULY 2017 
Earnings at energy giant EDF have plummeted by a fifth in the first half of this year due to ongoing woes in its French fleet of nuclear reactors and lower profits from those in the UK.

The French state-backed group behind the UK’s first new nuclear plant in a generation, Hinkley Point C, has suffered a major setback to its domestic reactors, some of which have been closed for safety checks since October.

French nuclear power output fell by 3.9pc from the first half of last year to 197.2TWh in the six months to June 30, the group said. Despite a 4.2pc rise in UK EDF’s nuclear generation to 32.2TWh, the fleet of reactors were still a drain on earnings due to the weaker market price for electricity.

The slump in its two core markets wiped more than 20pc from its underlying earnings before interest, tax, debt and amortisation to €7bn (£6.3bn) but the group has assured investors that it remains on track to meet its guidance of between €13.7bn to €14.3bn for the year.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chairman and chief executive, underlined the “unfavourable market context” but said the group’s move towards renewable energy was accelerating……http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/28/edf-profits-dented-nuclear-woes/

July 29, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Thousands homeless, hundreds die in East India floods

Monsoon 2017: Floods Across Gujarat, Rajasthan, East India Kill Hundreds; Thousands Homeless, Sky Weather, 28 July 2017 Floods across many parts of the country have wreaked havoc resulting in chaos in several areas. The flood toll has reached a whopping 200 now and a few thousands have become homeless.

Rescue and relief operations were in full swing which is why thousands were sent to safer places.  Not only this, PM Modi announced that the injured are entitled to compensation of Rs 50,000, while the family of deceased will get Rs 2 lakh.

The two weather systems which developed over either side of the country, one being over South Rajasthan and Gujarat and another over Gangetic West Bengal as well as Jharkhand were responsible for bringing torrential rains. Heavy rains were witnessed over many parts of the country.

Parts of Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal and Jharkhand witnessed extremely heavy rains between July 21 and 25. These weather conditions were attributed to the low over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining Jharkhand intensified into a low pressure area and now the system is lying over Southeast Uttar Pradesh as a depression…..

many parts of Gujarat and South Rajasthan have been reeling under flood conditions which escalated to being severe due to non stop rains.

Since the second week of July, back to back weather systems have been affecting Gujarat and South Rajasthan. Initially, the low which formed over Southeast Uttar Pradesh travelled over Gujarat and gave heavy rains over the region.

 Another Weather system which formed over West Central Bay off Odisha coast also travelled up to South Rajasthan and Gujarat around July 20. Since then, the system has been persisting over the region and giving heavy to extremely heavy rains over that area…..https://www.skymetweather.com/content/weather-news-and-analysis/monsoon-2017-floods-across-gujarat-rajasthan-east-india-kill-hundreds-thousands-homeless/

July 29, 2017 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment