nuclear-news

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

My people are still suffering from Australia’s secret nuclear testing

 http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/my-people-are-still-suffering-from-australias-secret-nuclear-testing-20171208-h01a3l.html Sue Coleman-Haseldine, 

My name is Sue Coleman-Haseldine. I was born into poverty on the margins of Australian society on the Aboriginal mission of Koonibba in 1951. At this time my people were not allowed to vote and we had very few means to be understood, let alone be heard.

I was born into one of the oldest living cultures known on Earth and into a place that I love – a dusty, arid paradise on the edge of a rugged coastline. Our land and waters are central to our outlook and religion and provide the basis for my people’s health and happiness.

And I was born just before the desert lands to our north were bombed by the deadliest weapons on Earth in an extensive, secretive and devastating manner by the Australian and British governments.

In the 1950s, areas known as Emu Fields and Maralinga were used to test nine full-scale atomic bombs and for 600 other nuclear tests, leaving the land highly radioactive. We weren’t on ground zero, but the dust didn’t stay in one place. The winds brought the poison to us and many others.

Aboriginal people, indeed many people at that time, knew nothing about the effects of radiation. We didn’t know the invisible killer was falling amongst us. Six decades on, my small town of Ceduna is being called the Cancer Capital of Australia. There are so many deaths in our region of various cancers. My grand-daughter and I have had our thyroids removed, and there are many others in our area with thyroid problems. Fertility issues appear common.

 But there has been no long-term assessment of the health impacts in the region and even those involved in the botched clean-ups of the test sites have no recourse because they cannot prove their illness is linked with exposure to nuclear weapons testing.

The impact of the Maralinga and Emu Fields testing has had far-reaching consequences that are still being felt today. Ask a young person from my area, “What do you think you will die from?” The answer is, “Cancer, everyone else is”.

I have lived my life learning about the bomb tests and also learning that the voice of my people and others won’t always be understood or heard. But I learnt from old people now gone that speaking up is important and by joining with others from many different places and backgrounds that our voices can be amplified.

Through these steps I found the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), or perhaps ICAN found me.

ICAN – as an organisation, as a collective of passionate, educated people working for a clear goal – has been so important to me. To know that my story and my voice helps bring recognition to the past and can shape the future of nuclear prohibition has strengthened my resolve.

Being involved in ICAN has been a double-edged sword. On one hand and for the first time in my life, I no longer feel alone or isolated. I have met others from many parts of the globe who have similar stories and experiences and who are passionate advocates for a nuclear-free future.

But the flip side of this is my understanding of just how widespread and just how devastating the nuclear weapons legacy is across the globe. To learn that so many weapons still exist sends fear to my heart. ICAN is a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize – in a short time we have gathered support for a treaty to finally outlaw nuclear weapons and help eliminate the nuclear threat.

The vision was reached in part with so many nations adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in July 2017. And we should celebrate this win and the opportunity to work together to stop the suffering and assist countries to make amends to nuclear weapons victims by acknowledging the permanent damage done to land, health and culture.

Unfortunately, the Australian government, along with other first world nations, didn’t even participate in the treaty negotiations, and they haven’t signed the treaty yet, but over time we feel confident they will.

A lot has changed since I was born. Aboriginal people now have the right to vote in Australia, but still we battle for understanding about our culture and the Australian nuclear weapons legacy. My home is still remote and most of my people still poor. But we are also no longer alone. We have the means and the will to participate – to share and to learn and to bring about lasting change.

ICAN’s work is not done, our work is not done. We will continue to work together. A world without nuclear weapons is a world we need and are creating. I stand here in hope and gratitude for the opportunity to participate. I stand here with pride and I stand here for our future and the generations to come.

Sue Coleman-Haseldine is a Kokatha woman who lives in Ceduna, South Australia. This is an extract of her speech in Oslo marking the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN.​

December 11, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

International Camaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons urges nuclear powers to join the U.N. ban treaty.

‘Prevent the end of us’: Nuclear powers urged to ban the bomb http://www.smh.com.au/world/prevent-the-end-of-us-nuclear-powers-urged-to-ban-the-bomb-20171210-h0279q.html, Reuters with Carolyn Webb,  Gwladys Fouche, 11 Dec 17, 

Oslo: The leader of the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has urged nuclear nations to adopt a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons in order to prevent “the end of us”.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded the prize by a Nobel committee that cited the spread of nuclear weapons and the growing risk of an atomic war.

ICAN, which began in Melbourne, is a coalition of 468 grassroots non-governmental groups that campaigned for a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations in July.

The treaty is not signed by – and would not apply to – any of the states that already have nuclear arms.

Beatrice Fihn, ICAN’s executive director, urged them to sign the agreement. “It provides a choice. A choice between the two endings: the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she said in her speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo on Sunday. “The United States, choose freedom over fear. Russia, choose disarmament over destruction. Britain, choose the rule of law over oppression,” she added, before urging France, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel to do the same.

Israel is widely assumed to have nuclear weapons, although it neither confirms nor denies it.

“A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego, could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities,” she added.

“A calculated military escalation could lead to the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians.”

Fihn delivered the Nobel lecture together with Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an ICAN campaigner.   Thurlow recalled on stage on Sunday some of her memories of the attack on August 6, 1945.  She was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building about 1.8 kilometres from Ground Zero, she said. Most of her classmates were burnt alive.  “Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by. Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen,” she said. “Parts of their bodies were missing. Flesh and skin hung from their bones. Some with their eyeballs hanging in their hands. Some with their bellies burst open, their intestines hanging out. The foul stench of burnt human flesh filled the air.”

The US, Britain and France sent second-rank diplomats to the Nobel ceremony, which Fihn earlier said was “some kind of protest”.

Hours before the prize was presented in Oslo, co-founder Dimity Hawkins said it was “gratifying to win a Nobel Peace Prize but we’ve still got to get ourselves to zero nukes”.

“The biggest prize will be to have all nations – including Australia – sign up to the nuclear weapons ban treaty which we helped bring about at the UN this year.”

 

December 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

“We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us” – ICAN

Nobel Peace Prize winner Ican warns nuclear war ‘a tantrum away’, BBC news, 10 Dec 17, The world faces a “nuclear crisis” from a “bruised ego”, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican) has warned in an apparent reference to US-North Korea tensions.

Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday, Ican’s executive director Beatrice Fihn said “the deaths of millions may be one tiny tantrum away”.

“We have a choice, the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she added.

Tensions over North Korea’s weapons programme have risen in recent months.

The open hostility between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership under Kim Jong-un has at times descended into personal attacks this year.

‘Irresponsible leaders’

Speaking at the ceremony in Oslo, Ms Fihn said “a moment of panic” could lead to the “destruction of cities and the deaths of millions of civilians” from nuclear weapons.

The risk of such weapons being used, she added, was “greater today than during the Cold War”.

Ican, a coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has worked for a treaty to ban the weapons.

Prior to presenting the prize on Sunday, Nobel committee chair Berit Reiss-Andersen offered a similar warning, saying that “irresponsible leaders can come to power in any nuclear state”.

Ms Reiss-Andersen commended Ican which, she said, had succeeded in highlighting the dangers of nuclear weapons as well as trying to eradicate them.

Ms Reiss-Andersen also acknowledged the contributions of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and now an Ican campaigner.

Ms Thurlow, who was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building at the time, said that most of her classmates, who were in the same room, were burned alive.

“Processions of ghostly figures shuffled by,” she said on Sunday. “Grotesquely wounded people, they were bleeding, burnt, blackened and swollen.”……..

Ican, formed in 2007 and inspired by a similar campaign to ban the use of landmines, has made it its mission to highlight the humanitarian risk of nuclear weapons.

A coalition of hundreds of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the Geneva-based group helped pave the way for the introduction of a UN treaty banning the weapons, which was signed this year.

While 122 countries backed the treaty in July, the talks were notably boycotted by the world’s nine known nuclear powers and the only Nato member to discuss it, the Netherlands, voted against.

Only three countries, the Holy See, Guyana and Thailand, have so far ratified the treaty, which requires 50 ratifications to come into force.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42298453

December 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate scientists – physicians to the planet – need to speak out – Katherine Hayhoe

Climate change, that’s just a money grab by scientist… right   Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe

Katherine Hayhoe: ‘The true threat is the delusion that our opinion of science somehow alters its reality’   Whilst the climate is changing rapidly, climatologist Katherine Hayhoe says that scientists have no option but to fight against the politicisation of science , Wired,  

In her 2009 book, co-authored with husband Andrew Farley, Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, Katharine Hayhoe wrote: “Most Christians are not scientists, and it’s hard to say how many scientists are Christians. In our family, we are both.” The Texas Tech atmospheric physicist, who’s also an Evangelical Christian, has long been one of the most vocal evangelists for the environment. Hayhoe has been featured in the James Cameron-produced TV series Years of Living Dangerously and once nominated as one of the most influential people in the world by TIME. She talks to WIRED about president Trump, clean energy, and, of course, climate change.

Katherine Hayhoe on anti-science sentiment 

Most people don’t reject science wholesale because they actually have a problem with the science. The same equations of radiative transfer and non-linear fluid dynamics that explain how our stoves work or how airplanes fly provide the basis of our climate models, too. Rather, people selectively reject a specific set of scientific findings: those they perceive to be a threat to their ideology or worldview, and hence to their identity.

How can the reality of climate change be perceived as a threat? First, there’s the pragmatic aspect: six out of ten of the wealthiest corporations in the world either extract oil or create the cars that use them. And there’s no getting around it – to fix the climate, we have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels as quickly as we can. These companies have a significant financial stake in muddying the waters on the science and delaying action on climate as long as possible; because every year that carbon emissions continue, they make an additional profit. Climate change solutions threaten their bottom line.


On the responsibility of scientists

Climate scientists are like the physicians of the planet……. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/katherine-hayhoe-climate-change-clean-energy-interview

December 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

America’s trillions of dollars militaristic economy

The US Military Is the Biggest “Big Government” Entitlement Program on the Planet , December 10, 2017, By JP Sottile, Truthout |The US economy is caught in a trap. That trap is the Department of Defense: an increasingly sticky wicket that relies on an annual, trillion-dollar redistribution of government-collected wealth. In fact, it’s the biggest “big government” program on the planet, easily beating out China’s People’s Liberation Army in both size and cost. It is not only the “nation’s largest employer,” with 2.867 million people currently on the payroll, but it also provides government benefits to 2 million retirees and their family members. And it actively picks private sector winners by targeting billions of dollars to an elite group of profit-seeking contractors.

The top five overall recipients collectively pulled in $109.5 billion in FY2016, and their cohorts consistently dominate the government’s list of top 100 contractors. They reap this yearly largesse through a Rube-Goldberg-like system of influence peddlers, revolving doors and wasteful taxpayer-funded boondoggles. Finally, it is all justified by a deadly feedback loop of perpetual warfare that is predicated on a predictable supply of blowback.

But this belligerent cash machine doesn’t just produce haphazard interventions and shady partnerships with a motley assortment of strongmen, proxies and frenemies. It also has Uncle Sam caught in a strange cycle of taxpayer-funded dependence that may ultimately be the most expensive — and least productive — jobs program in human history………

Too Big to Fail?

The US stands alone as a globe-spanning empire with 787 overseas bases, “lily pad” deployments and host country facilities in 88 nations and territories, according to the most recent accounting by scholar David Vine. At home, a Google Maps search reveals another 603 bases, depots, arsenals and assorted military facilities peppered around the 50 states. The US dominates the land, sea and skies, and is moving to dominate space…….

taxpayers’ only end product is a larger military with more bases and more weapons. However, without a serious shift toward non-defense government priorities, cutting the defense budget would mean, in the immediate term, many Americans losing their jobs. In the absence of non-military jobs programs and other forms of robust social spending, these workers depend on military tax dollars to fund their livelihoods, their health care and their kids’ educations. Tax dollars sustain the military-driven local and regional economies within which they live and work. Not coincidentally, this misallocated investment in a “war and weapons-based economy” is, as Major Gen. (Ret.) Dennis Laich and Col. (Ret.) Lawrence Wilkerson write, also reflected in the inherent “unfairness” that feeds off the “all-volunteer force.”……….

So, what are the options now that the US finds itself stuck in this paradigmatic trap? There are three possible alternatives.

One is to simply slash the budget. The downside is that it will dislocate millions of people who rely directly and indirectly on defense spending. The upside is that it will force an immediate retreat from both empire and military Keynesianism. This also could stoke some economic growth if the half to three-quarters of a trillion in annual savings was “returned” to taxpayers in the form of a rebate check. Basically, Americans would finally get the “peace dividend” almost 30 years after the Cold War ended.

The second option is the post-WWII demobilization model. That influx of manpower was met with the GI Billtax breaks for new homeowners and investments in infrastructure. This is a truly Keynesian solution. Infrastructure jobs and educational subsidies would provide relief to Americans currently reliant on military Keynesianism for their livelihoods. The original GI Bill “returned $7 to the American economy for every $1 invested in the GI Bill,” notes Jared Lyon of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families. And a study by Costs of War Project determined allocating resources to “clean energy and health care spending create 50 percent more jobs than the equivalent amount of spending on the military,” and “education spending creates more than twice as many jobs” as defense spending.

Frankly, either of these two solutions is far better than the third option, which is to continue to misallocate hundreds of billions in precious capital away from the productive economy while wreaking havoc at home and abroad. And that’s the ultimate no-win situation for a militarized economy that has manufactured its share of bloody, no-win situations since the end of World War II. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/42829-the-us-military-is-the-biggest-big-government-entitlement-program-on-the-planet

 

December 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In Middle East – a heightened risk of attacks on nuclear facilities

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 8th Dec 2017, Earlier this week, Yemen’s Houthi rebel group claimed it had launched a
missile at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the western region of Abu
Dhabi, in retaliation for the Saudi-led blockade imposed on Yemen.

Abu Dhabi is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a member of the coalition
that has been targeting the Houthis. UAE officials immediately denied that
the attack had taken place, and the Houthis have not provided any evidence
to support their claim.

However, regardless of the claim’s validity, and despite the lack of evidence, the incident is emblematic of the dangers of
nuclear power in the Middle East.

The UAE should take it very seriously. Even if this “attack” was merely a propaganda ploy, nuclear power
facilities will always be potential targets for enemy states and non-state
actors, including terrorist groups. In the Middle East, in particular,
there is a history of attacks on nuclear sites during regional conflicts.
https://thebulletin.org/yemeni-rebel-claim-highlights-risk-nuclear-power-middle-east11335

December 11, 2017 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, safety | Leave a comment

Investing in nuclear weapons – some Swedish banks do this

Swedish banks allow investment in nuclear weapons: report https://www.thelocal.se/20171210/swedish-banks-allow-investment-in-nuclear-weapons-report Several Swedish banks allow investment in companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, according to an analysis.

The Fair Finance Guide organisation said that of the nine banks it reviewed, only three have zero-tolerance policies in relation to economic dealings involving nuclear weapons.

One bank highlighted by the organisation, Nordea, was placed in a ‘grey zone’. The bank has publicly expressed zero tolerance towards nuclear weapons in asset management and foundations, but does not have any lending policies with regard to nuclear weapons, according to Fair Finance Guide.

Nordea has business agreements with Russian state nuclear energy company Rosatom, which also manages the country’s nuclear weapons programme, according to a report by Svenska Dagbladet.

The Swedish bank has had a “strategic partnership” with Rosatom for several years, according to the newspaper.

Nordea maintains that it only finances the company’s nuclear energy activities.

“Nevertheless, this is enough to demonstrate support for the nuclear weapons arm of Rosatom, given that profits from the energy business are used to support its weapons industry,” Fair Finance Guide project leader Jakob König said in a press statement.

The organisation states on its website that it aims to improve the corporate social responsibility of banks.

Nordea sustainability manager Sasja Beslik rejected criticism of the bank. “The conclusion is incorrect. We do not finance – either directly or indirectly – any nuclear weapons production anywhere in the world,” Beslik said.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Aftershocks 14 weeks after North Korea’s biggest nuclear test

Aftershocks detected 14 weeks after North Korea nuclear test ‘moves Earth’s crust’ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/aftershocks-north-korea-nuclear-test-tremors-punggye-ri-usgs-hydrogen-bomb-mountain-a8101966.html

‘It takes a while for the crust movement to fully subside’, says USGS  Jon Sharman 10 Dec 17 Geologists have detected two tectonic tremors that they say are probably aftershocks from North Korean nuclear tests conducted over three months ago.

The artificial explosion created near a known nuclear testing site in North Korea had “moved the Earth’s crust” and subsequent seismic activity showed the region’s underlying geology settling back down, experts said.

The aftershocks, of magnitude 2.9 and 2.4, were detected at 6.13am and 6.40am GMT on Saturday respectively, said the US Geological Survey (USGS).
Lassina Zerbo, executive secreta

ry of the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation, said analysts had confirmed that the activity was “tectonic” in origin.

A USGS official said the tremors had occurred near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, where North Korea conducted its sixth and largest underground nuclear test on 3 September.

“They’re probably relaxation events from the sixth nuclear test,” the official said. “When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the earth’s crust around the area, and it takes a while for it to fully subside. We’ve had a few of them since the sixth nuclear test.”

Pyongyang claimed the September test was of a thermonuclear hydrogen bomb, and experts have estimated it was 10 times more powerful than the US atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

A series of quakes since then has prompted experts and observers to suspect the test might have damaged the mountainous location of its site in the northwest tip of North Korea, where all of the country’s nuclear tests have been conducted.

South Korea’s spy agency told the country’s lawmakers in October that North Korea might be readying two more tunnels at the site.

North Korea hinted its next nuclear test could be above ground after US President Donald Trump warned in September that the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened America.

Another possible obstacle to North Korea’s use of Punggye-ri for tests is the nearby active volcano of Mount Paektu, which North Koreans consider a sacred site. Its last eruption was in 1903, and experts have debated whether nuclear testing could trigger another.

North Korea’s official media reported on Saturday that national leader Kim Jong-un had scaled Mount Paektu with senior military officials to “emphasise his military vision” after completion of the country’s nuclear force.

But pictures released by the official KCNA news agency showed him wearing smart black leather shoes and carrying no specialised equipment.

Mr Kim declared the nuclear force complete after the test of North Korea’s largest ever intercontinental ballistic missile last month, which experts said puts all of America within range.

South Korea said Pyongyang still needed to prove it has mastered critical missile technology, such as re-entry, terminal stage guidance and warhead activation, however.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | environment, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Paris Climate Summit to focus on finance

Macron’s ‘real world’ climate summit to focus on finance, https://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/38230114/macrons-real-world-climate-summit-to-focus-on-finance/ by Catherine HOURS, 11 Dec 17, Paris (AFP) – Two years to the day after 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron will convene a follow-up climate summit Tuesday to jump-start the lagging transition to a greener global economy.

Launched in part to counter US President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the landmark 2015 treaty, the One Planet Summit — co-sponsored by the United Nations and the World Bank — will centre on how to finance the shift in developing countries trying to simultaneously reduce their carbon footprints, adapt to climate change impacts, and accommodate growing populations.

“The focus on finance is particularly timely because that was the area we had the least progress on at the COP23,” said Alden Meyer, a climate policy expert at the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists, referring to the “Conference of the Parties” UN negotiations in Bonn last month.

Some 50 world leaders are set to attend the Paris meeting, including Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto, Theresa May of Britain, Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and numerous African leaders.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also be in attendance, along with ministers from China, India, Canada.

– ‘The other America’ –

Officially, the United States — which helped seal the Paris deal under Barack Obama — will be represented by a low-level official from the Paris embassy. In November, an aide to Macron said Trump had not been invited.

But what some call “the other America” will also be present in force: California Governor Jerry Brown, whose state — the sixth largest economy globally — boasts among the most ambitious carbon-cutting targets in the world; former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spearheaded a climate coalition of dozens of megacities, and corporate guidelines for assessing climate risk; and megastars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Leonardo Di Caprio.

“It’s a mobilisation of all those who want to pick up the pace,” said Laurence Tubiana, CEO of the European Climate Foundation and one of the main architects — as France’s climate ambassador — of the Paris pact.

“Everything must be done to show that it is necessary and possible to do more than what was pledged in 2015,” she told AFP.

The Paris Agreement calls for capping global warming at “well under” two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and at least $100 billion per year (85 billion euro), from 2020, in climate finance to poor nations. So far, neither commitment is assured.

Voluntary national plans, annexed to the treaty, to cut greenhouse gas emissions would still result in a rise of 3 C by century’s end, a recipe for human misery on an unprecedented scale, scientists say.

With only a single degree Celsius of global warming so far, the planet has already seen a crescendo of deadly droughts, heatwaves and superstorms engorged by rising seas.

Ramping up financial flows to the developing world is also not on track, especially when long-term needs — beyond the 2020 horizon — are taken into account.

“One of the big topics in Paris next week is the need to scale up financing, which is still not nearly enough to meet the Paris commitments,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

More broadly, the International Energy Agency has estimated it will take $3.5 trillion (3 trillion euros) a year in investments until mid-century to contain the rise of global temperatures and retool the global economy.

Macron’s team foresees a dozen “major announcements” during the summit.

A new “Transport Decarbonisation Alliance” may, for the first time, constrain the rapidly expanding shipping sector, which — if it were a country — would be the 7th or 8th largest CO2 emitter.

The transport sector accounts for 15 percent of man-made CO2 emissions, on track to increase 50 percent by mid-century.

The Powering Past Coal Coalition of nations committing to shutter coal-fired power plants, launched last month, will likely take on new members, and a couple dozen countries that have laid out climate strategies to 2050 will also be joined by a raft of cities and sub-national regions.

“This is the real world, with leaders and ministers and business leaders and NGOs coming to talk about what’s happening in the real economy,” said Meyer.

The number of global companies committed to implementing Bloomberg?s climate-risk assessments will also grow, sources said.

A large group of institutional investors, meanwhile, will band together in a five-year campaign to pressure companies with large carbon footprints

December 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Origin of the mysterious radioactive cloud remains obscure, as Russia now denies it came from Mayak

Russia’s Nuclear Industry Tries To Dispel Fears Over Mysterious Radioactive Cloud https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/12/08/569384745/russias-nuclear-industry-tries-to-dispel-fears-over-mysterious-radioactive-cloud, December 8, 2017 LUCIAN KIM

 More than two months after a mysterious radioactive cloud was detected over Europe, Russia’s nuclear industry went public Friday in an attempt to dispel fears that one of its facilities had released a plume of ruthenium-106.Russia’s

 state nuclear corporation, ROSATOM, released the findings of a special commission, which concluded that the Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant, near the border with Kazakhstan, could not have been the source of ruthenium-106, a radioactive isotope.

“There is no scientific basis for the hypothesis of some of our Western colleagues that there was a big release at Mayak,” Rafael Arutyunyan, deputy director of the Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a member of the commission, said at a news conference in Moscow. European monitoring stations first picked up traces of ruthenium in the air in late September. While concentrations were too low to pose a health risk in Europe, scientists have

 been puzzling over its origin. Wind patterns pointed to the south Urals, where the Mayak facility is located. The plant was the site of a 1957 explosion widely considered to be one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters.

In November, Russia’s meteorological service said that on Sept. 26, ruthenium-106 levels in a town 20 miles from the Mayak plant, Argayash, had exceeded the previous month’s by 986 times.

The same day, Mayak flatly denied that the spike in ruthenium had anything to do with its activities.

The ROSATOM commission that inspected the Mayak facility afterward reached the same conclusion. The commission said it hadn’t detected abnormal levels of ruthenium at the facility, there had been no malfunction of monitoring systems and none of the 250 Mayak employees tested had shown any trace of the isotope.

Arutyunyan rejected the suggestion that officials have been slow in informing thepublic, saying there had been no emergency situation that would have warranted an alarm. He called talk of a danger to health “nonsense.”
“Why should we come running to announce something? Mayak told us that all their systems were working absolutelynormally and routinely,” he said. “Why should they have jumped up and shouted? I think we spent the right amount of time to understand what happened.”

Environmental activists and government critics disagree.

After the findings of the commission were released, Greenpeace Russia started a petition drive addressed to the general prosecutor’s office, demanding an investigation by independent specialists and public figures into a possible release of ruthenium from Russian territory, as well as into the possible concealment of information by ROSATOM.

“The question is not only about the immediate danger, but the origin of this release,” Greenpeace energy campaigner Rashid Alimov said in a phone interview. “We think such incidents should be investigated and there must be an answer.”

Finding the source of the radioactive cloud was beyond the scope of the ROSATOM commission. But because the ruthenium-106 over Europe was found alone, that is, unaccompanied by other radioactive isotopes, the commission said nuclear power plants or spent nuclear fuel processing facilities like Mayak could be excluded as sources because they don’t produce “pure” ruthenium-106.

The commission said a satellite — or a fragment of one — re-entering the atmosphere cannot be completely ruled out as the source of the ruthenium.

According to French authorities,

the International Atomic Energy Agency found that no satellite containing ruthenium had fallen back to earth during the period in question.

The elephant in the room, of course, is the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, when Soviet authorities lied for days about the scope of the disaster.

“What’s happening with the ruthenium cloud reminds me a lot of what went on with Chernobyl,”

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said in a recent video blog. “In no way do I want to prove there’s been a catastrophe of that scale. I just want to say that the pattern of behavior is exactly the same.”

Navalny went on to pillory the headline on state television that “safe ruthenium rain fell on Bashkiria” and the chief oncologist of Chelyabinsk region, who advised people worried about high ruthenium levels “to watch soccer and drink beer.”

ROSATOM insistsit is being as transparent as possible.”Russia’s nuclear industry is a lot more open than our peers’,” ROSATOM spokesman Andrei Ivanov said at the news conference.

On Friday, local journalists were let into Mayak on the first press tour since the facility was identified as a possible source of the ruthenium cloud.

Foreign correspondents will have to wait up to two months to get a security clearance.

December 11, 2017 Posted by | environment, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

South Korea: Moon calls for ‘overwhelming’ military capability against North Korea

Moon calls for ‘overwhelming’ military capability against North Korea, Korea Herald, 
jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com By Yeo Jun-suk : Dec 8, 2017 -President Moon Jae-in urged the military to secure “overwhelming” capability to fend off North Korea’s growing military threat on Friday as South Korea’s Defense Ministry warned against another strategic provocations following its latest missile launch. 

The president also called for an “early and swift” transfer of wartime operational control from the United States to South Korea, suggesting the military should secure capability to lead combined operations in the event of contingency on the Korean Peninsula.

“Based on a robust South Korea-US alliance, we have to work swiftly to meet the conditions for wartime operational control,” said the president during a lunch meeting with some 150 military commanders at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul.

“Given that North Korea’s missile and nuclear threat has been accelerating at a faster pace than before, the military’s role is more important than ever. You are our last line of defense against North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile threats,” he added. ……http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20171208050060

December 11, 2017 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The fantasy of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for outback Australia

Volunteers wanted – to house small modular nuclear reactors in Australia,Online Opinion, Noel WAuchope , 11 Dec 17, 

We knew that the Australian government was looking for volunteers in outback South Australia, to take the radioactive trash from Lucas Heights and some other sites, (and not having an easy time of it). But oh dear– we had no idea that the search for hosting new (untested) nuclear reactors was on too!

Well, The Australian newspaper has just revealed this extraordinary news, in its article “Want a nuclear reactor in your backyard? Step this way” (28/11/17). Yes, it turns out that a Sydney-based company, SMR Nuclear Technology, plans to secure volunteers and a definite site within three years. If all goes well, Australia’s Small Modular Reactors will be in operation by 2030.

Only, there are obstacles. Even this enthusiastic article does acknowledge one or two of them. One is the need to get public acceptance of these so far non-existent new nuclear reactors. SMR director Robert Pritchard is quoted as saying that interest in these reactors is widespread. He gives no evidence for this.

The other is that the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant in Australia is prohibited by both commonwealth and state laws.

But there are issues, and other obstacles that are not addressed on this article. A vital question is: does SMR Nuclear Technology intend to actually build the small reactors in Australia, or more likely, merely assemble them from imported modular parts – a sort of nuclear Lego style operation?

If it is to be the latter, there will surely be a delay of probably decades. Development of SMRs is stalled, in USA due to strict safety regulations, and in UK, due to uncertainties, especially the need for public subsidy. That leaves China, where the nuclear industry is government funded, and even there, development of SMRs is still in its infancy.

As to the former, it is highly improbable that an Australian company would have the necessary expertise, resources, and funding, to design and manufacture nuclear reactors of any size. The overseas companies now planning small reactors are basing their whole enterprise on the export market. Indeed, the whole plan for “modular” nuclear reactors is about mass production and mass marketing of SMRs -to be assembled in overseas countries. That is accepted as the only way for the SMR industry to be commercially successful. Australia looks like a desirable customer for the Chinese industry, the only one that looks as if it might go ahead, at present,

If, somehow, the SMR Technologies’ plan is to go ahead, the other obstacles remain.

The critical one is of course economics. …….

Other issues of costs and safety concern the transport of radioactive fuels to the reactors, and of radioactive waste management. The nuclear industry is very fond of proclaiming that wastes from small thorium reactors would need safe disposal and guarding for “only 300 years”. Just the bare 300!

The Australian Senate is currently debating a Bill introduced by Cory Bernardi, to remove Australia’s laws prohibiting nuclear power development. The case put by SMR Technologies, as presented in The Australian newspaper is completely inadequate. The public deserves a better examination of this plan for Small Modular Reactors SMRS. And why do they leave out the operative word “Nuclear” -because it is so on the nose with the public? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19460&page=2

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Kenya, Reference, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Britain’s plans to become a leader in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

The government has announced up to £56m in funding for the development of
mini-nuclear plants. The money will be available over the next three years
to assess the potential of designs of advanced and small modular reactors
(SMRs). It will also support early access to regulators in order to build
the capability and capacity needed to assess and licence SMRs and will
establish an expert finance group to advise how small reactor projects
could raise private investment in the UK. The first round of funding
comprises up to £4m for feasibility studies and up to £7m to further
develop their capability. Should these efforts prove successful, up to
£40m will be made available for R&D projects to bring the technology into
the mainstream. The government said it wanted the UK to become a world
leader in developing the next generation of nuclear technologies.

Engineering & Technology 8th Dec 2017

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/12/mini-nuclear-power-plant-concept-gets-56m-funding-boost-from-uk-government/

December 11, 2017 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

It looks as if Saudi Arabia wants uranium enrichment etc as prelude to nuclear weapons development

Beyond Nuclear 6th Dec 2017, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih is extending invitations
to the U.S. nuclear industry to launch the Gulf Region’s most ambitious
nuclear power program. The Saudi atomic energy plan is to build as many as
17 nuclear power plants by 2032. The Saudi Arabia government has stated
that its atomic power program will be “self-sufficient” in the
production of nuclear fuel at 5% enriched uranium-235 and purely directed
for civilian power development.

The pronouncement comes as Saudi energy officials remain silent on their past refusal to not pursue high-grade
uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing technologies as military
weapons production facilities. In any case, the introduction of nuclear
materials will significantly increase instability and tensions in the
region. http://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2017/12/6/us-nuclear-companies-invited-to-help-launch-saudi-arabias-da.html

December 11, 2017 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Energy Minister – nuclear build will push ahead, regardless of the correct planning system

Nuclear will happen, Fin 24, Dec 10 2017   Dewald van Rensburg  Johannesburg -South Africa would procure several thousand megawatts of new nuclear power generation capacity, new Energy Minister David Mahlobo declared this week.

He would not say exactly how much, but seemingly intends for nuclear to be 20% of the local power supply by 2030……..

This will result in anything between R25 billion and R50 billion more being spent per year on power in South Africa by 2030 – compared with what would happen under a “least cost” strategy involving no new nuclear and no new coal stations, said Bischof-Niemz.

The wide range is due to the question mark over the cost of nuclear.

Having 20% of power come from nuclear was always the plan and was never really up for consultation, Mahlobo said this week.

On Tuesday, he subjected nongovernmental organisations to a two-hour lecture, and then proceeded to give journalists almost the same lecture at a bizarre and hastily arranged energy indaba on Thursday.

This apparent repudiation of South Africa’s existing system for planning energy investments was presented as obvious and uncontested.

Everyone else just misunderstood South Africa’s energy policy, said the former security minister who inherited the energy portfolio after President Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet reshuffle last month.

Mahlobo used the indaba to quietly announce that the long-awaited Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) had already been approved by Cabinet and that there would be no more consultations on it.

This was not said in the main plenary attended by more than 700 people, but told to journalists at a press conference afterwards that was mostly attended by Mahlobo’s staff, who applauded his answers to the journalists’ questions…….

The official programme was a strange mishmash of presentations and then parallel “commissions” to separately discuss coal, renewable energy, gas, liquid fuels and nuclear.

In the commission on renewable energy, the room was awkwardly silent when moderator Nelisiwe Magubane started the session by instructing everyone that “this is not a platform to discuss the IRP”.

There were chuckles and sighs in the room.

When she asked why no one had any questions, there were murmurs: “They’re all about the IRP!”

When a delegate pointed out that the IRP was central to the discussion, Magubane said that it could not be discussed because “the minister had a meeting with civil society and indicated this is not part of the consultation on the IRP”.

At this point, no one in the room knew that Cabinet had already approved the IRP and precluded any further consultations anyway.

Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams confirmed this, and said it was not mentioned in the normal Cabinet statement issued this week because it was felt that Mahlobo should announce it.

The news turns the long battle around energy policy on its head and will almost certainly lead to a new court challenge from environmental groups, which earlier this year succeeded in getting the old decision to procure 9 600MW of nuclear scrapped in court.

Up to now, the expectation had been that a new draft IRP would be produced and offer various options and scenarios for future power investments, followed by extensive public consultations.

Not so, said Mahlobo.

According to the minister, the original IRP of 2010 is still in effect and the apportionment of power sources set in 2010 remains the target.

All that will have changed from the original 2010 IRP is the overall forecast of national power demand, Mahlobo said.

This has two major effects – it demotes renewables back down to 9% of the mix and promotes nuclear back up to 20%.

Modelling done early this year with the latest technology costs created a “least cost” outcome that excludes nuclear and massively scales up renewables, which have become far cheaper in recent years……

A draft IRP released late last year was pilloried for setting arbitrary limits on renewables, which had the effect of putting nuclear back into the energy mix the mathematical model proposes.

The department of energy has since refused to provide documentation on how it modelled the cost of nuclear or to justify its limits on renewables, fuelling speculation that the IRP was being rigged to facilitate a nuclear deal.

“Nuclear, we are going to do it,” Mahlobo told journalists.

According to the minister, there will be new nuclear plants in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape…….https://www.fin24.com/Economy/nuclear-will-happen-20171210-2

December 11, 2017 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment