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South Africa’s anti nuclear movement ready for President Zuma’s next pro nuclear move

Zuma’s ANC countdown puts anti-nuclear groups on high alert, Fin 24, Nov 29 2017 , Matthew le Cordeur, 

WITH the countdown to the African National Congress (ANC) elective conference having started, civil society is on high alert that President Jacob Zuma – and his supportive Energy Minister, David Mahlobo – will sign a deal with the Russians to build a fleet of nuclear power stations. Fin24’s Matthew le Cordeur explains…

THE level of anxiety regarding a possible nuclear deal being struck before the year is up has been evident with the media analysis on Mahlobo’s every utterance, civil societies’ concern regarding an energy indaba next week and Wednesday’s urgent court interdict against a nuclear deal rushing ahead.

The unproven and denied allegation that Zuma has been bribed with billions of dollars by the Russians as part of a “secret nuclear deal” has driven the debate against nuclear energy in recent years. Zuma himself said South Africa is committed to procuring nuclear energy at a “pace and scale South Africa can afford”.

However, if the allegations are true, the ANC elective conference from December 16 to 20 is a major deadline for the “secret deal” to go through. If Cyril Ramaphosa succeeds Zuma as ANC president, the nuclear plans will likely be scrapped because it is seen as fiscal suicide by Ramaphosa’s faction.

If the allegations are true and if Zuma feels threatened by Ramaphosa’s chances of a victory, it would make sense to sign a nuclear procurement deal with Rosatom before then.

The official nuclear procurement programme run by Eskom this year would have likely been signed by now. However, a court ruling in April changed that and the Department of Energy under newly-appointed Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said government would start from scratch……….

there is still concern that Mahlobo intends pushing through the energy policy document following what some believe may be a sham public participation process next week. If the new energy policy states that large amounts of nuclear energy is required, the government may see this as enough to start the process.

That is why over 20 civil society organisations wrote to Mahlobo on Tuesday asking him to clarify the purpose of the department’s Energy Indaba being held next week on Thursday and Friday in Midrand.

Action group OUTA also wrote to Mahlobo on Wednesday asking for clarity, saying that “the event programme has not yet been circulated and clarity is required on the accessibility of this indaba to the public [both interested and affected parties].”

“According to the ministry, it would appear the planned Energy Indaba constitutes a formal public engagement process on energy matters in general, including on the nuclear energy matter.

“We believe the planned Energy Indaba in the format currently being pursued falls well short of the requirements in law and reason for meaningful engagement on decisions relating to energy mix and procurement,” OUTA told the minister.

The civil society groups that wrote to Mahlobo on Tuesday include WWF, Earthlife Africa, Safcei, Greenpeace Africa and the Centre for Environmental Rights…….

With the alarm sounded, all eyes will remain on Zuma and Mahlobo regarding nuclear in the coming weeks.

Secret deal or not, the opposition groups to nuclear energy are on full alert and will turn to the courts to fight the process to the last drop. https://www.fin24.com/Opinion/zumas-anc-countdown-puts-anti-nuclear-groups-on-high-alert-20171129

December 1, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

The effect of the Agung volcano in Bali, on global temperatures

Analysis: How could the Agung volcano in Bali affect global temperatures? Carbon Brief, ZEKE HAUSFATHER 25.10.2017  While human activity has been the dominant driver of climate change over the past century, natural factors can influence short-term variations in global temperature.

Major volcanic eruptions, in particular, can have a sizable cooling impact on the climate lasting for five years or so.

The Mount Agung volcano in Bali, Indonesia has been showing signs that an eruption is likely to occur this year. Last time Agung erupted, back in 1963, it had a noticeable cooling effect on the Earth’s climate.

Here, Carbon Brief examines how volcanoes influence the climate, and suggests that a new Agung eruption would likely only result in a modest and temporary cooling of global temperatures.

Volcanoes and climate changeVolcanoes generally have a cooling influence on the Earth’s surface.Eruptions send a cloud of ash and dust high into the atmosphere. The sulphur dioxidereleased combines with water to form sulfuric acid aerosols, which reflect incoming sunlight and influence cloud formation. When eruptions are powerful enough to reach the stratosphere (18 km or more above the surface at the equator), these sulphate aerosols can stay aloft for a number of years and have a strong cooling effect on the climate.

Volcanic eruptions also release CO2 into the atmosphere, meaning they contribute to warming by strengthening the greenhouse effect. But this influence is very small, and is outweighed by the cooling impact of the dust and ash.

The location of volcanoes also matter. Major volcanic eruptions near the equator are more likely to have a big effect on global temperatures, while high-latitude eruptions (like Laki) will have their effects more limited to the one hemisphere. Sulphate aerosols from high-latitude volcanoes generally will not cross the equator, while tropical volcanoes tend to cool both hemispheres………

This projection, which is based on the historical relationship between volcanic eruptions and temperature, suggests that an Agung eruption would reduce global temperatures between 0.1C to 0.2C in period from 2018 to 2020, with temperatures mostly recovering back to where they otherwise would be by 2023.

There is no guarantee that an eruption of Agung today would be the same size as the one in 1963, however. A small volcanic eruption that doesn’t reach the stratosphere would have a relatively minor climate impact, as sulphur dioxide from the volcano would quickly fall out of the atmosphere.

On the flip side, we have records of much larger volcanic eruptions, such as Tambora in 1815 that may have cooled the globe by 0.6C or more and led to the “year without a summer”. Even in large eruptions this cooling only lasts a few years, however, as once sulphate aerosols eventually fall back to earth the climate quickly returns to normal.

This projection, which is based on the historical relationship between volcanic eruptions and temperature, suggests that an Agung eruption would reduce global temperatures between 0.1C to 0.2C in period from 2018 to 2020, with temperatures mostly recovering back to where they otherwise would be by 2023.

There is no guarantee that an eruption of Agung today would be the same size as the one in 1963, however. A small volcanic eruption that doesn’t reach the stratosphere would have a relatively minor climate impact, as sulphur dioxide from the volcano would quickly fall out of the atmosphere.

On the flip side, we have records of much larger volcanic eruptions, such as Tambora in 1815 that may have cooled the globe by 0.6C or more and led to the “year without a summer”. Even in large eruptions this cooling only lasts a few years, however, as once sulphate aerosols eventually fall back to earth the climate quickly returns to normal……..https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-how-could-agung-volcano-bali-affect-global-temperature

December 1, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water amount grows every day

Japan is poised to flood the Pacific Ocean with one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant —The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day. | 26 Nov 2017 | The Japanese government is being urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water in to the Pacific Ocean more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. The government has been urged to release the water into the ocean as all the radioactive elements of the water except tritium have [*allegedly*] been removed through treatment. But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

South Korea looks for a stake in building UK’s Moorside Nuclear Power Station

Carlisle News and Star 30th Nov 2017, The British and Korean governments have agreed to greater collaboration onnuclear developments, fuelling speculation that a Korean company is about
to invest in West Cumbria’s Moorside power station.

Greg Clark, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, and Paik
Un-gyu, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, signed a
Memorandum of Understanding on Monday in London. It promises greater
collaboration in both the construction and decommissioning of nuclear power
stations.

The signing appears to have only been reported by World Nuclear
News and Business Korea websites. State-run Korea Electric Power
Corporation (Kepco) has revealed it is in “working-level” talks to buy
a stake in NuGen – which plans to build three new reactions in West
Cumbria to provide seven per cent of the UK’s electricity needs.

Toshiba, NuGen’s current owner, has been exploring a range of options to fund the
project after its then subsidiary Westinghouse Electric – due to supply
three AP1000 reactors to Moorside – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection in the US having overpaid by several billion dollars for another
nuclear construction and services business….http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/business/International-agreement-fuels-Korean-interest-in-Moorside-2cefe362-b678-4e12-9214-ad75be6a1933-ds

December 1, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, UK | Leave a comment

Russian refugee talks about radioactive leak, and Mayak living conditions

France TV 29th Nov 2017, [Machine Translation] Ruthenium leak: Russian refugee activist in France
tackles nuclear taboo in Russia. Today a Russian activist testifies about
the living conditions around the nuclear site of Maïak. She is convinced
that the ruthenium 106 found in Western Europe comes from a leak on this
site.   https://www.francetvinfo.fr/replay-radio/c-est-ma-planete/fuite-de-ruthenium-une-militante-russe-refugiee-en-france-s-attaque-au-tabou-du-nucleaire-en-russie_2468374.html

December 1, 2017 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

France joins the rush to market nuclear power to Saudi Arabia

Reuters 29th Nov 2017, French state-controlled utility EDF intends to take part in a tender to
build two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, two sources familiar with the
situation told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia, which wants to reduce domestic oil
consumption, is considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear-fuelled
power generation capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to
international suppliers to build two reactors

With answers to the request due by the end 2017 or early 2018, a formal tender could be launched by
mid-2018, but more likely toward the end of 2018 or early 2019, industry
specialists say.   https://www.reuters.com/article/saudi-nuclear-edf/update-1-frances-edf-plans-to-bid-in-saudi-arabia-nuclear-tender-sources-idUSL8N1NZ1YN

December 1, 2017 Posted by | France, marketing, Saudi Arabia | 2 Comments

Mushrooms contaminated with radioactive cesium 137 stopped by France, – shipment from Belarus

France stops large shipment of radioactive Belarus mushrooms, Geert De Clercq, PARIS (Reuters), 30 Nov 17 – France has stopped a large shipment of Belarus mushrooms contaminated with low-level radioactivity probably from Chernobyl and not linked to a radioactive cloud that appeared in southern Russia last month, officials said on Thursday.

Earlier, the head of French nuclear regulator ASN Pierre-Franck Chevet told the French senate that traces of cesium had been found on imported mushrooms from Russia and did not mention Belarus.

A spokesman for French nuclear safety institute IRSN said that a few days ago customs officials found that a 3.5 tonne shipment of Belarus mushrooms coming through Frankfurt, Germany was contaminated with cesium 137, a radioactive nuclide that is a waste product of nuclear reactors…….https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-nuclearpower-accidentedf/france-stops-large-shipment-of-radioactive-belarus-mushrooms-idUSKBN1DU1CW

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Belarus, environment | Leave a comment

Protest against South African govt’s plan s for nuclear power

Greenpeace activists stage nuclear protest https://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/greenpeace-activists-stage-nuclear-protest-12205544, PRETORIA NEWS / 30 NOVEMBER 2017 MATLHATSI DIBAKWANE matlhatsi.dibakwane@iml.co.za

A group of 15 Greenpeace activists have blocked the main entrance of the Department of Enviromental Affairs with nuclear barrels to send a message to the department to stop nuclear as they said it was never safe.

The group sat on the department’s entrance demanding with a huge banner that read “Stop nuclear! Protect our future” that they want the Department of Environmental Affairs to withdraw the environmental authorisation that has been issued for a proposed nuclear power station at Duynefontein.

They did so early in the early hours of the morning by unloading nuclear barrels filled with smoke and staged what could happen in a nuclear disaster.

Melita Steele senior climate and energy campaign manager for Greenpeace Africa said the protest was to send a message to the department that nuclear was dangerous and expensive and should not be under consideration in South Africa.

Steele added that the approval and the construction of a nuclear power station was negligent and that the minister of environmental affairs was putting all South Africans at risk.

“South Africans are clearly saying no to nuclear, and there is no point coming to work if you are going to completely fail to do your job,” she said.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

Gabon’s uranium miners’ long wait for compensation for radiation-caused illness

For Gabon’s sickly uranium miners, a long quest for compensation,https://www.modernghana.com/news/819514/for-gabons-sickly-uranium-miners-a-long-quest-for-compensa.html , 27 Nov 17“We are all sick. It’s our health, and we are being conned,” Moise Massala says angrily.

The 82-year-old is a retired geochemist who used to work in a uranium mine in Gabon owned by French nuclear giant Areva.

He and hundreds of other former workers say they fell ill from their work to extract the uranium — a source of nuclear power and warheads, but toxic and potentially carcinogenic.

The miners worked for an Areva subsidiary — the Compagnie des mines d’uranium de Franceville, better known by its abbreviation of COMUF.

Over 38 years, the mine extracted some 26,000 tonnes of uranium near Mounana, southeastern Gabon, before closing in 1999 after the global price of uranium fell and the seam of ore began to thin.

By the end of 2016, 367 former workers had died from “pulmonary respiratory infections” linked to working in the mine, according to MATRAC, a campaign group gathering 1,618 former employees.

The surviving miners, many of them old and sick, have unsuccessfully demanded compensation for 12 years in the belief they were exposed to dangerous levels of uranium contamination.

Areva, a multi-billion-dollar business majority-owned by the French state, has repeatedly denied that it has any case to answer. “No occupational disease related to exposure to ionising radiation” has ever been detected, it says.

‘Many serious diseases’ An internal company mail dating from 2015, seen by AFP and independently verified, acknowledges that the company was aware many of its former employees had developed serious ailments.

In the mail, Areva’s health director, Pierre Laroche, wrote that “many serious diseases have been detected among former employees, for example contagious tuberculosis”.

For former workers, this proves the company’s liability and justifies their claims for compensation, even if it does not legally prove all their illnesses are directly linked to excessive levels of uranium exposure.

The firm has refused to give payouts to the vast majority of its employees, apart from compensation payments in 2011 to the families in France of two French former mine workers who died of lung cancer.

The company has repeatedly argued it was difficult to establish if the rate of cancer cases among former miners was greater than those occurring in the wider population.

“That there was radioactivity in Mounana is a reality. (But) to what degree and to what extent the workers were affected, it will be very difficult to establish,” a former senior executive of the mine told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

In similar disputes elsewhere in the world, experts acknowledge the difficulty of pinning cancer and respiratory diseases on nuclear exposure at work.

Smoking and other “lifestyle” habits could, for instance, be a cause.

‘We are sick’

Areva has been under pressure to compensate its employees for more than a decade.

In 2007, French NGOs Sherpa and Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) carried out field surveys in Mounana and in Niger, another Areva uranium mining site.

They published a report denouncing what they described as high rates of cancer among former employees.

Areva agreed to investigate the situation and launched a health initiative in 2009 — the Mounana Health Observatory (OSM) — promising to pay compensation and treat former miners who fell ill, provided scientific and medical panels confirmed their disease was attributable to industrial causes.

Seven years on, not one former employee has been compensated.

“I’ve had difficulty breathing for 10 years,” says 77-year-old Roland Mayombo, who spent 27 years in the mine.

“I went to the OSM four times a year, but I have never had a result,” he complained.

“We decided to stop going (to the OSM) because no one has ever given us our analysis results,” said Estime Beno Ngodi, president of MATRAC, who says he is suffering from lung cancer.

COMUF accuses MATRAC of spreading “misinformation” and defends its handling of the health initiative.

It looked at more than 650 former workers but suspended the project in 2015 because of a boycott by MATRAC, says Gilles Recoche, COMUF’s director of the board.

“We’re proud of having set up a unique tripartite structure, which enabled former COMUF workers to benefit from a free medical visit,” he adds.

For the surviving miners, their long battle to prove a direct link between their illness and uranium contamination goes on. But, for many, age and sickness are wearing them down.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | AFRICA, health, Uranium | Leave a comment

New decommissioning regulations released by USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Nuclear Regulatory Commission releases first step in new decommissioning regulations https://dailyenergyinsider.com/news/9290-nuclear-regulatory-commission-releases-first-step-new-decommissioning-regulations/ November 30, 2017 by Chris Galford The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently completed the regulatory basis it will use for the proposal of new decommissioning regulations for commercial nuclear power reactors next year. The NRC staff have determined that new regulations are necessary in a number of areas, including emergency preparedness, physical security, cyber security, drug and alcohol testing, training requirements for certified fuel handlers, decommissioning trust funds, financial protection requirements, indemnity agreements, and how the backfit rule is applied. Many of these revolve around the decommissioning process.

Not all of these require new rules, however. NRC staff has recommended that some are simply in need of updated guidance or inspection procedures. In the case of the management of spent fuel and environmental reporting, though, they have likewise recommended greater clarity among requirements. Staff in requirements, aging management of plant systems, structures, and components, as well as the active role state and local governments are expected to play in decommissioning scenarios, could all be affected.

This process of this new regulatory basis has been underway since November 2015, and the results are now publicly available.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Former Defense Secretary William Perry Sounds the Alarm Over the Present Nuclear Danger

What will the consequences be if the bipartisan consensus on Russia continues to be almost completely untethered from reality?, The Nation, By James Carden, 30 Nov 17, “……Kerry observed that, while many in Congress and in the administration are agitating to implement ever-greater sanctions on Iran (in order, of course, to destroy the deal), few are aware that the we have fewer sanctions in place against North Korea, which has roughly 20 nuclear weapons, than we have in place against Iran, which has none.

And so: What to do with the world on the nuclear brink, with the very real potential for an outbreak of perhaps simultaneous crises between the United States, Russia, Iran and North Korea?

As Perry pointed out, climate change is another looming catastrophe, but it is one of which the public is, for the most part, aware. Perry argued that, as is the case with climate change, “we need a program of public education” regarding the growing nuclear danger.

And for his part, Perry pledged to dedicate the remainder of his public career to the task.

In his recent book, My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, Perry writes: “Our chief peril is that the poised nuclear doom, much of it hidden beneath the seas and in remote badlands, is too far out of the global public consciousness. Passivity shows broadly.”

Finding, he said, his motivation in a wish that his grandchildren not have to live with the ever-present specter of nuclear catastrophe hanging like a Sword of Damocles above their heads, Perry has proved to be anything but a passive player in this continuing, and very troubling, drama. https://www.thenation.com/article/former-defense-secretary-william-perry-sounds-the-alarm-over-the-present-nuclear-danger/

December 1, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Workers report strange odors at Hanford nuclear reservation

  http://komonews.com/news/local/workers-report-strange-odors-at-hanford-nuclear-reservation  30 Nov 17 HANFORD, Wash. (AP) – Employees at a Washington nuclear reservation reported smelling strange odors.

The Tri-City Herald reports eight workers reported the odors Tuesday at AW Tank Farms in Hanford, with three of the workers receiving medical evaluations before being cleared to return to work. The other five reported smelling odors but declined medical evaluations.

The workers were preparing an empty storage box to receive containerized tank waste samples when they reported smelling a glue-like odor.

Washington River Protection Solutions says the workers were told to leave the building. Access to the area was then restricted.

Technicians used instruments to examine the area, but did not detect anything above background levels.

The contractor says other air samples tested in a lab came back as “below action levels.” Access to the building was then restored.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment