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To October 7 – the week in nuclear/climate news

The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize has just been awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).  This global campaign began in Melbourne 10 years ago, and look where it went from there! Retrieving Australia’s past reputation for work towards nuclear disarmament, ICAN’s dedicated team just kept going. Today, I can feel proud to be Australian,  despite the Australian government’s present craven record on disarmament.

Contrasting with that positive news, we have Donald Trump’s latest ominous utterance – “the calm before the storm”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU62DZ_Xf0M Who knows what he means?  At least in the 1979 Peter Sellers film “Being There” that particular  dimwitted President knew that he was talking about gardening.

 

NUCLEAR  Text of Nobel Peace Prize award to anti-nuclear campaign ICAN. Why Trump’s Words on North Korea Matter – normalising nuclear war.

Debunking the myths about nuclear fusion – The ITER Power Amplification Myth.

International Atomic Energy Agency predicts slowdown in nuclear power.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse.

CLIMATE. Stark Evidence: A Warmer World Is Sparking More and Bigger Wildfires – Degraded Tropical Forests Now Release More Carbon Than They Store.   40 large Catholic institutions put their money where fossil fuel investment isn’t.

USA. Nuclear

CHINA. Bill Gates partners with China’s government nuclear companies to develop his small nuclear reactor dream

EUROPE. Europe plans to save Iran nuclear deal , despite Donald Trump. European States anxious about Britain’s ‘nuclear revival’ in Hinkley project. Iodine tablets for Dutch provinces near nuclear power stations. Norway grants immigration to Israeli nuclear whistleblower.

NORTH KOREA.   North Korea threatens Japan – with ‘nuclear clouds over suicidal Japan’.   North Korea’s environment paying a heavy price for Kim’s nuclear bomb tests.

SOUTH KOREA. Catastrophic outcome if North Korea were to attack Seoul and Tokyo.

IRAN. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran is working well: Trumps is dishonest.

UK.

Brexit is mucking up Britain’s Small Modular Nuclear Reactor dreams

JAPAN. The World’s Biggest Nuclear Plant Approved to be Restarted in Japan.   Japanese opposition party will phase out nuclear power – Japan nuclear stocks down. New, unexpected way in which Fukushima is polluting the ocean. 

Japanese beaches 60 miles away have become major source of radioactivity after Fukushima. Radioactive Water “Possibly” Leaked From Reactors For Months “By Error” Says Tepco.

 Fukushima after six years and half: the forgotten victims.

CANADA. Radioactive dump plan near Ottawa River is meeting growing opposition.  Investors beware of uranium mining company Cameco.

NEW ZEALAND. Education on nuclear disarmament – New Zealand is the leader.

SWEDEN. Very high radiation levels in Europe’s wild boars: record high in boar shot in Sweden.

GERMANY. German authorities puzzled over increase in radioactive particles in air.

FRANCE. EDF wrestling with problems on the Hinkley Point nuclear power project.

INDIA. Nuclear submarine accident – India’s nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra, damaged. Farmers in 575 villages unite against Chutka nuclear project in Madhya Pradesh.

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October 7, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

Anti-nuclear campaign ICAN wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize
Nerijus Adomaitis, Stephanie Nebehay
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nobel-prize-peace/anti-nuclear-campaign-ican-wins-2017-nobel-peace-prize-idUSKBN1CB0XR
OCTOBER 6, 2017

OSLO/GENEVA (Reuters) – The Norwegian Nobel Committee, warning of a rising risk of nuclear war, awarded the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday to a little-known international campaign group advocating for a ban on nuclear weapons.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) describes itself as a coalition of grassroots non-government groups in more than 100 nations. It began in Australia and was officially launched in Vienna in 2007.

“We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the leader of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

In July, 122 nations adopted a U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, although the agreement does not include nuclear-armed states such as the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.

“This award shines a needed light on the path the ban treaty provides toward a world free of nuclear weapons. Before it is too late, we must take that path,” ICAN said in a statement on its Facebook page.

“This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The specter of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.” (Graphics on ‘Nobel laureates’ – here)

The Nobel prize seeks to bolster the case of disarmament amid nuclear tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty over the fate of a 2015 deal between Iran and major powers to limit Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Iran deal is seen as under threat after U.S. President Donald Trump called it the “worst deal ever negotiated”. A senior administration official said on Thursday that Trump is expected to announce soon that he will decertify the pact, a step toward potentially unwinding it.

The committee raised eyebrows with its decision to award the prize to an international campaign group with a relatively low profile, rather than giving it to the architects of the Iran deal, who had been widely seen as favorites after hammering out a complex agreement over years of high-stakes diplomacy.

“Norwegian Nobel Committee has its own ways, but the nuclear agreement with Iran achieved something real and would have deserved a prize,” tweeted Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister who has held top posts as an international diplomat.

The leader of the Norwegian Nobel committee denied that the prize was “a kick in the leg” for Trump and said the prize was a call to states that have nuclear weapons to fulfill earlier pledges to work toward disarmament.

“The message is to remind them to the commitment they have already made that they have to work for a nuclear free world,” Reiss-Andersen told Reuters.

The United Nations said the award would help bolster efforts to get the 55 ratifications by countries for the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to come into force.

“I hope this prize will be conducive for the entry into force of this treaty,” U.N. Chief Spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci told a news briefing.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, culture and arts, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A Donald Trump nuclear threat – or what? – ‘the calm before the storm’

Trump’s cryptic warning ahead of Iran decision: ‘The calm before the storm’ – video   https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2017/oct/06/trumps-cryptic-warning-on-iran-the-calm-before-the-storm-video At a meeting of military leaders and their spouses, Trump says they are witnessing ‘the calm before the storm’. When asked by reporters what he means, the US president says: ‘You’ll find out.’

October 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Text of Nobel Peace Prize award to anti-nuclear campaign ICAN

 https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/37375277/text-of-nobel-peace-prize-award-to-anti-nuclear-campaign-ican/   OSLO (Reuters) (Reporting By Alister Doyle), 6 Oct 17 – Following is the text of the Nobel Peace Prize award on Friday to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons:

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).

The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.
We live in a world where the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time. Some states are modernizing their nuclear arsenals, and there is a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea.

Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to humanity and all life on earth. Through binding international agreements, the international community has previously adopted prohibitions against land mines, cluster munitions and biological and chemical weapons. Nuclear weapons are even more destructive, but have not yet been made the object of a similar international legal prohibition.

Through its work, ICAN has helped to fill this legal gap. An important argument in the rationale for prohibiting nuclear weapons is the unacceptable human suffering that a nuclear war will cause. ICAN is a coalition of non-governmental organizations from around 100 different countries around the globe.

The coalition has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to cooperate with all relevant stakeholders in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. To date, 108 states have made such a commitment, known as the Humanitarian Pledge.

Furthermore, ICAN has been the leading civil society actor in the endeavor to achieve a prohibition of nuclear weapons under international law. On 7 July 2017, 122 of the UN member states acceded to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

As soon as the treaty has been ratified by 50 states, the ban on nuclear weapons will enter into force and will be binding under international law for all the countries that are party to the treaty.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is aware that an international legal prohibition will not in itself eliminate a single nuclear weapon, and that so far neither the states that already have nuclear weapons nor their closest allies support the nuclear weapon ban treaty.

The Committee wishes to emphasize that the next steps towards attaining a world free of nuclear weapons must involve the nuclear-armed states. This year’s Peace Prize is therefore also a call upon these states to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world.

Five of the states that currently have nuclear weapons – the USA, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China – have already committed to this objective through their accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of 1970.

The Non-Proliferation Treaty will remain the primary international legal instrument for promoting nuclear disarmament and preventing the further spread of such weapons.

It is now 71 years since the UN General Assembly, in its very first resolution, advocated the importance of nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon-free world. With this year’s award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to pay tribute to ICAN for giving new momentum to the efforts to achieve this goal.

The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has a solid grounding in Alfred Nobel’s will.

The will specifies three different criteria for awarding the Peace Prize: the promotion of fraternity between nations, the advancement of disarmament and arms control and the holding and promotion of peace congresses. ICAN works vigorously to achieve nuclear disarmament.
ICAN and a majority of UN member states have contributed to fraternity between nations by supporting the Humanitarian Pledge. And through its inspiring and innovative support for the UN negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.

It is the firm conviction of the Norwegian Nobel Committee that ICAN, more than anyone else, has in the past year given the efforts to achieve a world without nuclear weapons a new direction and new vigor.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Debunking the myths about nuclear fusion – The ITER Power Amplification Myth

The ITER Power Amplification Myth   – By Steven B. Krivit –New Energy Times, 6 Oct 17 

Short link: http://tinyurl.com/y9lvf79j

This is the third of three reports about the claims by representatives and proponents of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). “The Selling of ITER” published on Jan. 12, 2017. “Former ITER Spokesman Confirms Accuracy of New Energy Times Story” published on Jan. 19, 2017.


Abstract (Abstract is Copyleft, duplication permitted but only with attribution and link to original )

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is the largest and most expensive science experiment on Earth today. Public outreach for the experimental fusion reactor, under the direction of Laban Coblentz, the head of the ITER communications office, has led journalists and the public to believe that, when completed, the reactor will produce 10 times more power than goes into it.

It will do no such thing. The $22 billion reactor is designed to produce only 1.6 times more thermal power than it consumes in electric power. Using a more conservative calculation, the reactor will lose more power than it produces. The planned output power of the reactor has been reported correctly, but the input power for the reactor has been widely reported, incorrectly, as 50 megawatts. The actual input power value, rarely discussed publicly, will be significantly larger.

For decades, some proponents of thermonuclear fusion research have used a double meaning for the phrase “fusion power” yet failed to inform the public, the news media, or legislators about the existence of this dual meaning. This ambiguity has caused non-experts to think that power production rates from large-scale thermonuclear fusion experiments show greater technological progress than has actually occurred. As a result, people who are not fusion experts think that ITER will achieve a power production rate, or power amplification, six times larger than its design specification. ITER will produce power at a rate of only two-thirds of the rate it will consume power, when comparing electric power input to equivalent electric power output.

Some fusion proponents have used the secondary meaning of “fusion power” to convince non-experts that the record-setting 1997 fusion experiment in the Joint European Torus (JET) reactor in the U.K. had produced thermal power at a rate of 65 percent of the electric power consumed by the reactor and, therefore, that the reactor had come close to producing power at a rate equal to the rate of power consumed. In fact, in that experiment, the reactor produced power in heat at a rate of less than 2 percent of the power in electricity it consumed. Coblentz and the ITER communications group have used the same double meaning to promote the publicly funded $22 billion ITER reactor, under construction now in southern France.

Fusion research insiders know that the current primary goal of ITER is not to demonstrate power amplification of the reactor. Instead, they know, the main goal is the power amplification of the fusion plasma, a significantly different measurement. Fusion experts say that non-experts understand the distinction, but nearly all evidence, as shown for example in news coverage by The New York Times, Scientific American, Bloomberg, Forbes and BBC News, is to the contrary. The double meaning of the phrase “fusion power” went unnoticed for years and has misled experienced journalists, scientists, members of the public and elected officials…….http://news.newenergytimes.net/

October 7, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Dear oh dear! USA hasn’t enough plutonium for both space exploration and nuclear weapons

 

Why is it that the citizens of teh United States put up with their tax money going to produce toxic plutonium for useless dangerous space travel and even more useless dangerous and illegal nuclear weapons.?

What happens when a spacecraft powered by plutonium crashes into a city?

Report: It’s space travel power versus pits at Los Alamos By Mark Oswald / Journal Staff Writer, Thursday, October 5th, 2017 SANTA FE – At Los Alamos National Laboratory, a mandate to produce more of the plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons is bumping up against goals to produce power systems for NASA’s “long duration space missions.”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that lab officials say that plutonium work for NASA systems “must compete with other priorities for facility space” at the LANL’s plutonium facility, specifically production of nuclear weapons “pits.”

The problem could significantly effect a key step in production of “radioisotope power systems” (RPS) and delay delivery of the systems for NASA’s missions, says the GAO report.

RPS produce power by converting heat from decay of plutonium-238 into electricity and can operate where solar panels or batteries would be ineffective and can operate for more than a decade, according to the report.

An RPS is currently used to power the roving Mars Science Laboratory, known as Curiosity, that has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012. Other missions in the coming years are slated to use the power systems, including another rover, Mars 2020.

The GAO was asked to review the situation in part because the National Academy of Sciences has expressed concern about future NASA missions because of a diminishing supply of plutonium-238. Until 2015, it hadn’t been made in the U.S. for more than 25 years. Various laboratories within the Department of Energy are involved. The GAO report says LANL maintains capability for producing Pu-238 and its work involves Pu-238 storage, chemical processing, analysis, fuel processing and encapsulation of Pu-238…..

LANL is also under orders to produce as many as 80 plutonium pits by 2030, as part of an expansive update of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. None have been made for several years.

The GAO report says the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within DOE that includes LANL and the rest of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, is currently “focused primarily” on making pits and has not coordinated with the Pu-238 program in connection with potential modifications of the Los Alamos plutonium facility…….https://www.abqjournal.com/1074021/report-its-space-travel-power-versus-pits-at-los-alamos.html

October 7, 2017 Posted by | - plutonium, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump severely criticised by Nobel peace prize winner ICAN, over nuclear standoff 

Nobel peace prize winner rebukes Trump over nuclear standoff https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/06/anti-nuclear-campaign-group-ican-wins-nobel-peace-prize

As award is announced for anti-nuclear group Ican, its head says US president ‘puts a spotlight’ on the weapons’ dangers, Guardian, Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Jon Henley, 7 Oct 17,  The head of the anti-nuclear campaign group awarded the Nobel peace prize has chided Donald Trump for ramping up a nuclear standoff and said the US president has a track record of “not listening to expertise”.

Speaking in the hours after the Norwegian Nobel committee made the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) its 2017 laureate, Beatrice Fihn, the group’s executive director, said Trump “puts a spotlight” on the dangers of nuclear weapons.

“The election of President Donald Trump has made a lot of people feel very uncomfortable with the fact that he alone can authorise the use of nuclear weapons,” she told reporters in Geneva, adding that “there are no right hands for nuclear weapons”.

Fihn, who called Trump “a moron” in a Twitter post just two days before the peace prize announcement, said the award sent a message to all nuclear-armed states that “we can’t threaten to indiscriminately slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians in the name of security”.

The chair of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said the award had been made in recognition of Ican’s work “to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”.

The award underlines the mounting danger of nuclear conflict between the US and North Korea and the increasing vulnerability of the Iran nuclear deal. It also amounts to a reprimand to the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers – the US, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – all of whom boycotted negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons that was approved by 122 non-nuclear nations at the UN in July.

The Nobel committee said “the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater than it has been for a long time” and there was “a real danger that more countries will try to procure nuclear weapons, as exemplified by North Korea”.

It said the peace prize was also a call to nuclear-armed states “to initiate serious negotiations with a view to the gradual, balanced and carefully monitored elimination of the almost 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world”.

The award is not the first time the peace prize has gone to anti-nuclear campaigners. Philip Noel-Baker received it in 1959 for his work on disarmament, and in 2005 the International Atomic Energy Agency and its former chief Mohamed ElBaradei were joint laureates “for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes”.

The Nobel committee’s decision comes just days before as Trump could carry out his threat to unravel the Iran nuclear deal, which could trigger a second nuclear standoff amid the North Korea crisis. The deal, concluded in 2015, settled a decade-long dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme and averted the risk of another war in the Middle East.

Trump could decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal next week. He told a meeting of US military leaders on Thursday that Tehran was not living up to the “spirit of the agreement”, and added they were witnessing “the calm before the storm”.

Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Iran, said the Nobel award was “a challenge to the international community, led by the UN security council, to protect this historic non-proliferation agreement [the Iran deal], which is vital for regional peace, from its detractors”.

Fihn said in her initial reaction that the group had received a phone call minutes before the official announcement and she had thought it was a prank. She said she did not believe it until she heard the name of the group during the announcement in Oslo.

Ican said in a statement: “This is a time of great global tension, when fiery rhetoric could all too easily lead us, inexorably, to unspeakable horror. The spectre of nuclear conflict looms large once more. If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now.”

The UN chief, António Guterres, tweeted his congratulations: [on original]

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who was touted as a possible peace prize winner this year alongside the Iranian foreign minister for their work on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, tweeted: [on original]

In Japan, survivors of the 1945 US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the second world war welcomed this year’s announcement. Sunao Tsuboi, who met with former US president Barack Obama during the latter’s historic visit to Hiroshima last year, congratulated Ican on its win. He endured serious burns and later developed cancer.

“I’m delighted that Ican, which has taken action to abolish nuclear weapons like us, won the Nobel peace prize,” the 92-year-old said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Together with Ican and many other people, we hikabusha will continue to seek a world without nuclear weapons as long as our lives last,” he said.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017

Small modular reactors won’t be able to compete with natural gas plants combined with renewables unless and until they get enough orders to justify building factories to manufacture them in a mass production environment.

Holtec Opens SMR Manufacturing Center in New Jersey

In September Holtec announced the grand opening of a $360M, 50 acre SMR manufacturing center in Camden, N.J. The firm was incentivized by the State of New Jersey to locate there with $260M in tax breaks.  According to Holtec the Camden plant will eventually employ up to 1,000 people……….

Dr. Singh, Holtec’s President and CEO, declared the factory to be “Ground Zero” for the renaissance of nuclear energy and heavy manufacturing in America.

“It will serve as the launching pad for the regeneration of manufacturing in the United States.”

He added, “We will build nuclear reactors here, and they will sail from the port of Camden to hundreds of places around the world.”

Is Holtec Headed for Ukraine to Manufacture SMRs for Europe & Asia?

The maturing of an American supply chain to support mass production of components for SMRs might develop, but not all of it may be in the U.S. Holtec International, is reportedto be in talks about planning to arrange the production of small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and for export to Europe and Asia.

The Interfax wire service report, which was not confirmed by Holtec, comes on the heels of the firm’s grand opening of a $360M nuclear energy component manufacturing center in Camden, NJ. It is the second report in three months providing details of Holtec International’s discussions with Energoatom. However, a spokesperson for Holtec declined to comment on these discussions as reported by Interfax.

The Intefax report quotes Energoatom National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine President Yuriy Nedashkovsky who said,

“There is a very interesting offer made by Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko  – to create a hub in Ukraine, distributing small modular reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the localization of production and a large number of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.”

According to Nedashkovsky, Ukraine’s Turboatom has already been involved in the project, as it has the required turbines in its production line.

“This project has already been developed conceptually. The launch of licensing procedures (in the U.S.) is expected next year, and an active phase of construction – approximately in 2023.”  Nedashkovsky added.

Talking of the long-term prospects, Nedashkovsky noted that the demand for small modular reactors after 2025 was estimated to grow over time.

Is the Ukraine SMR Story Ahead of Holtec’s Headlights?

What’s unclear is whether Nedashkovsky was speaking off-the-top-of-his-head, commenting officially on behalf of Holtec International, Continue reading

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea’s environment paying a heavy price for Kim’s nuclear bomb tests

The first casualty of North Korean nuclear tests? The country’s environment, LA Times, Barbara Demick, 5 Oct 17 

Mt Paektu is an active volcano that occupies a revered place in Korean legend as the birthplace of the Korean people. But it may be paying a price for their division.

Located on the border of North Korea and China, the volcano has been appropriated by Pyongyang as the “sacred mountain of the revolution.” Propagandists for the Communist state spin a tale, most likely apocryphal, that the late leader Kim Jong Il was born there while his father was a guerrilla fighting the Japanese.

The sacred mountain, however, is just 60 miles from the site where North Korea, now led by Kim’s son, Kim Jong Un, tested its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon on Sept. 3.

Shortly afterward, Chinese authorities closed part of the tourist park on their side of the border because of rock slides. Chinese authorities would not say definitively whether the nuclear test was to blame, but seismologists think it is likely. The explosion registered as a 6.3 magnitude earthquake and was blamed for water bottles rolling off tables and furniture toppling in China, and apartment buildings rattling all the way to the Russian port city of Vladivostok.

It is just one example of the way that North Korea’s headlong rush to become a nuclear power is degrading the environment in and around the country’s borders.

The first casualty is inside North Korea itself, around the rugged, granite mountains of North Hamgyong province. All six of North Korea’s nuclear tests have taken place there at a site known as Punggye-Ri. Satellite images taken after the last test show numerous landslides around the site as well as water leaking from the entrance to one of the tunnels, according to 38 North, an academic website on Korea run by John Hopkins University.

“These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North’s previous five tests, and include additional slippage in pre-existing landslide scars and a possible subsidence crater,’’ the report said.

Another analysis of satellite data found that Mt. Mantap, a 7,000-foot peak above the test site, actually lost a little elevation from the force of the underground explosion……

North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests around the same site. The Sept. 3 test involved a device estimated at 250 kilotons — 17 times the force of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945.

“Every country that has developed a nuclear program has harmed its own people,” said Matthew McKinzie, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He compares the situation to East Germany, where the extent of environmental degradation wasn’t known until after reunification in 1990.

The satellite photographs taken after the last test show water draining from the test site that was likely forced out from underground by explosion and could leach into the groundwater. A stream near the test site runs to the nearest sizable city, Kilju, some 25 miles away.

Even closer is the Hwasong labor camp, which is nestled next to Mt. Mantap and houses an estimated 20,000 political prisoners and their families. North Korean defectors in South Korea have said they believe prisoners were used to dig the tunnels of the nuclear test complex.

Satellite images also show that North Korea has failed to dispose safely of nuclear waste. In Pyongsan, north of the capital, Pyongyang, tailings are routinely dumped from North Korea’s largest uranium mine into an unlined pond, which is likely to contaminate the groundwater, 38 North has reported.

Defectors have complained as well about the environmental and safety risks of the nuclear program.

“North Korea’s facilities are dilapidated… and North Korea woefully lacks the ability to manage the facilities,’’ wrote a defector group, North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, in a brochure published last year……. http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-north-korea-environment-20171006-story.html

October 7, 2017 Posted by | environment, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Essential for the public to know about the hazards of RADON

In the face of multiple environmental hazards and issues radon often gets overlooked, partially because radon is what one can call a silent killer

Educating the public about radon and their ill effects and ways of preventing it is a must as there is not much awareness about this in the public –despite many northern states in the USA having high concentrations. Part of this education effort involves indoor testing.

Public funding and radon poisoning, what’s the link? https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/radon-public-funding/ Morgan, Jessica | October 5, 2017 It has only been a short while since the news of drastic budget trimming on various EPA projects by President Donald Trump’s government came out; however, it is already obvious that it will have a long-term effect on the environment.

The proposed 25-30% cut in EPA’s budgets can severely affect several climate programs that were nurtured under President Obama’s rule, and many other initiatives and projects that support clean air and water. These initiatives were introduced for the well-being of the public to a large extent in the future. This move can also shut the doors for the Indoor Air Radon Program and State Indoor Radon Grants.

The main goal of the Indoor Air Radon Program is minimizing and preventing radon-related lung cancer nationally. The EPA provides grant funds to States and tribes. These funds help finance their radon risk reduction programs. The recipients of the funds must provide a minimum of 40% in matching funds. The SIRG or States Indoor Radon Grant funds are however not available to individuals or homeowners.

The SIRG program was started in 1988 and has been consistent in supporting the State efforts to reduce Radon exposure-related health risks. The SIRG program from time to time has been revising the SIRG guidance by removing the obsolete administrative and technical guidance and updating with latest modifications that address a renewed emphasis on program priorities, documenting results, and results reporting.

Those who receive funds from SIRG are expected to follow the agency’s strategic goals and all their projects and activities must be aligned accordingly. The strategic goals include,

  • Local government to adopt building codes that require radon-reducing features and initiate those building new homes to add these radon-reducing features where appropriate.
  • Have real estate dealers test the property for radon exposure before striking a deal. Also, have homeowners test their homes for radon exposure and have it fixed.
  • Have existing school buildings check for radon exposure and get it fixed appropriately. Building new schools with radon-reducing features.
  • Conducting projects and activities that bring awareness to the public about the above three strategies which include promoting action by consumers, real estate professionals, state and local building code officials, schools officials, non-profit public health organizations,  professional organizations partnerships.

Cutting down the EPA budget can directly affect the SIRG program as it is essential to continue the State radon programs. With the budget cut down, SIRG cannot run an effective program.

In the face of multiple environmental hazards and issues radon often gets overlooked, partially because radon is what one can call a silent killer. It is a gas which is odorless, tasteless, and colorless. When radium or uranium present in the soil, rock, or water breaks down or decays, it releases radon. Radon itself does not cause any harmful effects as it travels to the surface of the ground and dilutes in the air outdoors. The problem is when the gas accumulates indoor in a building it might not have room for an escape of dilution and further decays –radon can enter a house through cracks in foundations, floors, well water, etc. The decayed radon creates radon progeny, which are radioactive particles that attach to dust particles indoors. When a person inhales this radioactive gas, it can damage the cells in the lung tissue and leads to lung cancer.

Usually there will be two copies of DNA repair enzymes in many people that can repair the damage; however, a few less fortunate people may have just one copy of these DNA repair enzymes which might not be sufficient enough to repair the damages and can lead to lung cancer. This is the reason why even though an entire family is living in a radon-exposed environment, only one or two might be affected by it.

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air, and the recommended level is 4 pCi/L. In comparison, the outdoor level of radon is just 0.4 pCi/L. If a house or a building has radon above the recommended levels then proper actions need to be taken. Modern technology is able to bring down the radon level indoors to 2 pCi/L or lower.

Educating the public about radon and their ill effects and ways of preventing it is a must as there is not much awareness about this in the public –despite many northern states in the USA having high concentrations. Part of this education effort involves indoor testing. There are short term tests that last for 90 days as well as long-term tests that last for more than 90 days to confirm the levels. There are also test kits available. If it is confirmed that your home is exposed to radon, mitigation steps can be taken by professional contractors who have expertise in this field. The contractor will gauge your house and recommend the exact mitigation system that your house will need. There are different methods like soil suction which involves sub-slab suction, sump holds suction, drain tile suction, and block wall suction. Other methods are heat recovery ventilators, home pressurization, well water aeration, sealing radon entry locations, etc.

Reductions in federal funding for the Indoor Air Radon Program and States Indoor Radon Grant hamstrings many of the radon risk reduction and education programs, raising the likelihood that low-income households will not be able to afford testing and mitigation.  Whether your government supports you or not, you can learn more about the harmful risks of radon and the steps you can take to make your house safer for you and your family. To learn more about radon, go through this infographic from PropertEco which explains about radon gas and its ill effects.


The MAHB Blog is a venture of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. Questions should be directed to joan@mahbonline.org

MAHB Blog: https://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/radon-public-funding/

October 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Japanese opposition party will phase out nuclear power – Japan nuclear stocks down

Japan nuclear stocks down on opposition party’s phase-out plans, https://www.ft.com/content/1d201ea0-a9a9-3ead-b6e5-b430b59ccedc by Edward White Japanese nuclear power companies were losing ground on Friday after the opposition party affirmed its intention to phase out nuclear energy by 2030. Kansai Electric was the biggest loser, down 1.1 per cent, followed by Tokyo Electric, which was down 0.8 per cent. Kyushu Electric and Chugoku Electric Power lost 0.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent respectively.

That saw that utilities segment drop 0.6 per cent, dragging on the broader Topix index which was up 0.2 per cent in morning trading. Those same stocks had fallen around 5 per cent in late September in response to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, whose Party of Hope will challenge prime minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the upcoming snap election, declaring her support for phasing out nuclear energy by 2030.

That anti-nuclear policy was listed as part of a campaign platform released on Friday by the Party of Hope. Fifty nuclear reactors were shut down in Japan after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Despite public concern, Japan’s nuclear safety watchdog on Wednesday issued an initial approval to restart two reactors at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa, the world’s largest nuclear generating site.

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Piketon, Ohio, fighting radioactive disposal site

Piketon continues to fight radioactive disposal site , By Nikki Blankenship – nblankenship@aimmediamidwest.co    NEWS 4 Oct 17,PIKETON – The Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed at Monday night’s Piketon Village Council meeting that concerns expressed by Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer, members of Council, various other public officials and members of Citizens Against Radioactive Dump (CARD) are valid. The DOE’s local site lead Joel Bradburne and Manager of the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office for DOE Robert Edwards were both present at the meeting to answer questions from community members who expressed frustrations, claiming that the DOE has repeatedly lied to the them.Over recent months, the Village of Piketon has urged the DOE to reconsider the on-site waste disposal facility that the department feels is a solution to the waste problem at the Piketon plant. Thus far, options have been to do nothing, ship waste off-site or create a place on-site to dump it.

During the meeting, DOE representatives explained that it is expected to cost an estimated $1 billion less to dispose of the waste on-site. The facility would be 100-acre dump that DOE representatives state would hold low-level contaminants from site cleanup.

Earlier this year, Piketon hired an third-party consultant to evaluate plans for the site. The conclusion brought about several concerns that Piketon officials addressed directly during Monday night’s meeting.

The first concern was that there are fragments in the bedrock which could allow for waste to contaminant underground water sources, proximity to Piketon residents and compliance with the Toxic Substances Control Act provision mandating that the bottom of a landfill line system be installed at least 50 feet from historic high-water tables.

According to the results of the study, data from DOE states the depth of groundwater in some areas of the landfill site is as shallow as 21 feet below the surface.

“We worry about our water,” Spencer stated during the meeting.

Spencer and other frustrated Piketon officials and residents demanded DOE address these concerns……….

The waste disposal facility (referenced as a radioactive dump by opponents) is expected to be ready to accept waste as early as late 2021.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.   http://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/news/19756/piketon-continues-to-fight-radioactive-disposal-site

 

October 7, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Westinghouse “committed” to developing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) BUT CAN THEY GET THE FUNDING?

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017  “…….Westinghouse Says It Remains Committed To UK SMR Development

(NucNet) Westinghouse Electric Company said last week it remains committed to developing a 225-MW small modular reactor (SMR) that the company believes will allow the UK to move from buyer to global provider of SMR technology.

The company said in a statement that more than 85% of its SMR’s design, license and procurement scope can be delivered by the UK. The fuel would be manufactured at its Springfields facility in northern England.

“This is a special offering that only Westinghouse, with UK partners, can deliver,” the statement said.

Media reports in the UK have suggested that ministers are ready to approve the development of a fleet of SMRs to help guard against electricity shortages as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned………

Westinghouse said it filed for bankruptcy protection in the US to protect its core businesses and give the company time to restructure for continuing operation.

It remains unclear where the company will get the capital to pay for development of the SMR, complete a Generic Design Review in the UK, and build a manufacturing center there to produce the reactors. https://neutronbytes.com/2017/10/04/smr-supply-chains-costs-are-focus-of-key-developments/

October 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, technology, USA | Leave a comment

ICAN points out to Trump and Kim Jong Un that nuclear weapons are illegal

ICAN chief’s message to Trump and Kim: nuclear weapons are illegal http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nobel-prize-peace-fihn/ican-chiefs-message-to-trump-and-kim-nuclear-weapons-are-illegal-idUSKBN1CB14K?il=0  Reuters Staff  GENEVA (Reuters) – The head of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons said on Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should know that nuclear weapons are illegal.

Asked for her message to the two leaders, ICAN’s Executive Director Beatrice Fihn told Reuters: “Nuclear weapons are illegal. Threatening to use nuclear weapons is illegal. Having nuclear weapons, possessing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear weapons, is illegal, and they need to stop.”

October 7, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Africa – lovely! they have a nuclear power utility educating kids about nuclear power!!!

SA utility educates youth on nuclear ESI Africa, 6 Oct 17 

 Eskom has recently launched its first school’s nuclear debate programme in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape Province.

The School Nuclear Debate initiative is part of Eskom’s five-year Schools Adoption & Skills Development programme……….“Eskom aims to create awareness about the most important aspects of nuclear power, to bring facts to the fore and to debate, correct myths, fears and misconceptions that may exist regarding nuclear power.”

October 7, 2017 Posted by | Education, South Africa | Leave a comment