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Swiss artist Cornelia Hesse-Honegger shows how insects can tell the true story of the impacts of ionising radiation

The woman who paints insects https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/04/29/woman-who-paints-chernobyls-insects/Swiss artist, Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, finds and draws bugs deformed by Chernobyl and other nuclear accidents and exposures, By Claus-Peter Lieckfeld

 

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April 30, 2018 Posted by | environment, Reference | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un promises a public display of closing nuclear test site

Kim Jong-un promises to close North Korea’s nuclear test site in May in front of the world, ABC News , 29 Apr 18

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to shut down the country’s nuclear test site in May and open the process to experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States, Seoul’s presidential office has said.

Key points:

  • Singapore is being considered as a location for the Trump-Kim summit
  • Mr Trump said he would continue to sanctions pressure on Pyongyang
  • He is also providing the Japanese Prime Minister with updates on the negotiations

Mr Kim made the comments during his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday (local time), where he also expressed optimism about his anticipated meeting with Donald Trump.

The North Korean leader said the US President would learn he is “not a person” to fire missiles toward the United States, Mr Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.

During the summit, the two Korean leaders promised to work toward the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula, but made no references to verification or timetables…………

North Korea suspends nuclear tests, will change time zone

North Korea this month announced it has suspended all tests of nuclear devices and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and plans to close its nuclear testing ground.

Mr Kim reacted to scepticism that the North would only be closing down the northernmost test tunnel at the site in Punggye-ri, which some analysts say became too unstable to conduct further underground detonations following the country’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September.

In his conversation with the South Korean President, Mr Kim denied that he would be merely clearing out damaged goods, saying that the site also has two new tunnels that are larger than previous testing facilities, Mr Yoon said.

Mr Yoon said the North Korean leader also revealed plans to re-adjust its current time zone to match the South’s………  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-29/donald-trump-says-north-korea-meeting-could-happen-within-weeks/9708208

April 30, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Now it’s up to Donald Trump to succeed in diplomacy with Kim Jong Un. But he has no real plan?

Analysis: Korea summit puts nuclear ball in Trump’s court, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/analysis-korea-summit-puts-nuclear-ball-in-trumps-court/2018/04/28/d53a2a66-4b43-11e8-8082-105a446d19b8_story.html?utm_term=.72844b0   April 28 

SEOUL, South Korea — After a summit high on theatrics, emotional displays of Korean reconciliation and some important but familiar sounding plans to boost bilateral relations, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has safely returned to Pyongyang and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to his official residence in Seoul.

But is buyer’s remorse about to set in?

Despite its feel-good emphasis on relationship-building, the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade left a lot of question marks around the biggest and most contentious agenda item of them all: denuclearization. And that puts the ball squarely in the court of President Donald Trump, whose much anticipated sit-down with Kim is expected to be just weeks away.

For Moon and Kim, that was probably a feature, not a bug. They were both looking to make a show of Korean unity. But it could complicate matters for Trump, who has raised expectations of a deal with Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons much higher. In the long run, that could complicate things for everyone involved.

For sure, Friday’s daylong summit inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas was a major step forward for diplomacy and could set a more solid foundation for future, more substantive talks. Starting off with a meeting that establishes goodwill and personal relationships at the highest level is a smart move, particularly when there is so much animosity in the air.

Moon also proved he really knows how to put on a show — and Kim revealed his skill at playing along for the cameras.

The two seemed almost like old pals, hugging and holding hands, sitting off to themselves on a footbridge in the Demilitarized Zone for a private “chat” that lasted nearly a half hour. As they exchanged their first handshake, Moon motioned for Kim to cross the concrete slab that marks the division of the nation — a hugely symbolic, albeit highly choreographed, moment.

Kim then went off script, according to South Korean officials, and motioned for Moon to take a step back and join him in the North. The seemingly impromptu dance seemed to encapsulate the reality — some might say absurdity — of their nation’s division along the 38th parallel, a decision made not by Koreans themselves but by a U.S. military trying to counter Soviet expansion after Japan’s defeat in World War II.

The summit follows meetings between Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, with South Korean presidents in 2007 and 2000. Each produced similar sounding vows to reduce tensions, replace the current armistice that ended the fighting in the 1950-53 Korean War and expand cross-border engagement.

One difference from Friday’s summit was the pledge by Kim and Moon to officially declare an end to the conflict this year.

They also announced a series of engagement measures. They will set up a liaison office in the North Korean city of Kaesong, which is near the border and is the site of a now shuttered industrial complex that had for years been the biggest joint project between the two countries. Moon will visit Pyongyang in the fall, high-level military talks will be held next month and reunions will be arranged for families separated by the war.

All of these measures are significant.

They underscore a real policy shift in the South away from the hard-line approach taken by its previous president, Park Geun-hye. Moon clearly is interested in pursuing a less volatile relationship with the North on several fronts and appears unwilling to put all of that on hold until Kim agrees to some sort of quick and complete denuclearization.

He also seemed to steer well away from human rights issues, which have been all but forgotten in the shadow of the North’s nuclear program. That’s a bit of a blow to Tokyo, which has been largely sidelined lately and was hoping that Moon would bring up the matter of what happened to Japanese abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and ‘80s.

More importantly, the softer approach, while helping many South Koreans breathe easier after the exceptionally high tensions of last year, puts Seoul and Washington on conflicting paths.

Trump welcomed the talks on Twitter.

But the messaging from the White House remains ambiguous. Trump has suggested Pyongyang must demonstrate a commitment to denuclearization before his policy of maximum pressure on the North can change.

Moon, on the other hand, seems willing for the most part to kick the nuclear issue down the road. He signed off on a pledge with Kim to seek the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — a phrase that sounds good on the surface but has very little practical meaning without the inclusion of specific measures, time frames and even a definition of exactly what the word “denuclearization” means.

This is where the obligatory mention of the devil being in the details comes in.

The United States hasn’t kept nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula since the early 1990s. But for Pyongyang, denuclearization has generally been taken to mean the removal of South Korea from Washington’s “nuclear umbrella.” That would mean Washington must somehow assure Kim that his country is safe from a nuclear attack — and that’s a very complicated thing to do.

Maybe that will all become clear when Kim and Trump meet.

But so far, neither has offered any realistic, detailed proposals.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Radiation to atmosphere from Fukushima now estimated to be up to 8 times more than from Chernobyl nuclear accident

Counterpunch 27th April 2018 The radiation dispersed into the environment by the three reactor meltdowns at Fukushima-Daiichi in Japan has exceeded that of the April 26, 1986
Chernobyl catastrophe, so we may stop calling it the “second worst”
nuclear power disaster in history. Total atmospheric releases from
Fukushima are estimated to be between 5.6 and 8.1 times that of Chernobyl,
according to the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report. Professor Komei
Hosokawa, who wrote the report’s Fukushima section, told London’s
Channel 4 News then, “Almost every day new things happen, and there is no
sign that they will control the situation in the next few months or
years.”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/04/27/move-over-chernobyl-fukushima-is-now-officially-the-worst-nuclear-power-disaster-in-history/

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima residents fight state plan to build roads with radiation-tainted soil

 https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/04/29/national/fukushima-residents-fight-state-plan-build-roads-radiation-tainted-soil/#.WuY-GdRubGg KYODO The Environment Ministry plans to use radiation-tainted soil to build roads in Fukushima Prefecture, starting with trials in the city of Nihonmatsu next month.

But in the face of fierce protests from safety-minded residents, the ministry is struggling to advance the plan.

“Don’t scatter contaminated soil on roads,” one resident yelled during a Thursday briefing by Environment Ministry officials in Nihonmatsu.

The officials repeatedly tried to soothe them with safety assurances, but to no avail.

“Ensuring safety is different from having the public feeling at ease,” said Bunsaku Takamiya, a 62-year-old farmer who lives near a road targeted for the plan. He claims the project will produce groundless rumors that nearby farm produce is unsafe.

Seven years after the March 2011 core meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Takamiya has finally been able to ship his produce in Fukushima without worry. Then the ministry’s soil plan surfaced.

A woman in the neighborhood agrees.

“The nature and air here are assets for the residents. I don’t want them to take it away from us,” she said.

Under the plan, tainted soil will be buried under a 200-meter stretch of road in the city. The soil, packed in black plastic bags, has been sitting in temporary storage.

The plan is to take about 500 cu. meters of the soil, bury it under the road at a depth of 50 cm or more, cover it with clean soil to block radiation, and pave over it with asphalt. The ministry intends to take measurements for the project in May.

Fukushima is estimated to have collected about 22 million cu. meters of tainted soil at most. The ministry plans to put it in temporary storage before transporting it to a final disposal site outside the prefecture.

The idea is to reduce the amount. The ministry thus intends to use soil with cesium emitting a maximum of 8,000 becquerels per kg in public works projects nationwide.

The average radiation level for soil used for road construction is estimated at about 1,000 becquerels per kg, the ministry says.

The ministry has already conducted experiments to raise ground levels in Minamisoma with the tainted soil, saying “a certain level” of safety was confirmed.

Similar plans are on the horizon regarding landfill to be used for gardening in the village of Iitate. But it is first time it will be used in a place where evacuations weren’t issued after the March 2011 meltdowns.  Given the protests, an official linked to the ministry said, “It’s difficult to proceed as is.”

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Pompeo: Trump Will Drop Iran Nuclear Deal ‘If We Cannot Fix It’ 

 https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-deal-us-pompeo-israel/29199116.html Speaking to journalists alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while visiting Tel Aviv on April 29, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump had “directed the administration to try and fix” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) — a multilateral agreement reached in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Should that prove impossible, Pompeo said Trump was “going to withdraw from the deal.” (Reuters)

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Wylfa nuclear project in Wales – construction started before design completed; taxpayers at risk

Times 29th April 2018, New nuclear power plants are likely to blow their budgets and arrive late unless their designs are completed before construction starts, a report has warned. Ministers, wary of cost hikes and delays, are wrestling with how to financially support replacements for ageing coal-fired and nuclear plants across the UK.

Hitachi is trying to strike a deal with ministers to build a £10bn-plus plant at Wylfa on Anglesey, where taxpayers are likely to take a stake.

Researchers at Energy Technologies Institute found that most high-cost projects had started construction with incomplete designs, whereas work on low-cost plants had begun only once design and planning had been finalised.

The falling cost of renewable power such as offshore wind and solar has posed more questions about the financial viability of nuclear projects.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/alarm-rings-over-rising-nuclear-power-plant-bills-pqh8v0rkr

April 30, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

America’s over-loaded plutonium waste sites pose a serious danger

Science Recorder 27th April 2018 , The U.S. Energy Department has 54 metric tons of surplus plutonium at sites
across the country and cannot decide what to do with it, according to department officials. Nuclear researchers warn that many of these sites are
storing more of the radioactive substance than is safe and that a mishap at any one of them could lead to full-blown disaster.
https://sciencerecorder.com/article.php?n=united-states-has-too-much-deadly-plutonium-on-its-hands&id=144178

April 30, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Russia’s hazardous new nuclear project – world’s first floating nuclear power plant bound for the Arctic

World’s first floating nuclear power plant bound for the Arctic, warns Greenpeace https://www.greenpeace.org/international/press-release/16218/worlds-first-floating-nuclear-power-plant-bound-for-the-arctic-warns-greenpeace/ by Greenpeace International  

April 30, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Russia, safety, technology | Leave a comment

Hitachi chickening out on Wales nuclear project? Wants the UK government to directly fund it

Hitachi seeks talks to slash shareholding in UK nuclear business https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Hitachi-seeks-talks-to-slash-shareholding-in-UK-nuclear-business, Chairman to ask British premier May to take direct stake in Horizon power unit 

TOKYO — Hitachi will ask the U.K. government to take a direct stake in the company that is to build and operate a nuclear power plant in Wales which is now 100% owned by the Japanese industrial company. Hitachi expects the U.K. government will invite private British companies to participate and hopes to reduce its own stake to less than 50%.

Nikkei has learned that Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi will shortly travel to the U.K. to discuss the ownership issue and other project terms with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

Hitachi has recently concluded that the risk of proceeding with the Anglesey project, at an estimated cost of more than 3 trillion yen ($27.5 billion), is too great to manage on its own as a private company. It plans to withdraw from the project if restructuring negotiations fall through. Such a move would have significant repercussions for nuclear power policy for both Britain and Japan.

Hitachi acquired complete ownership of the U.K.’s Horizon Nuclear Power in 2012 for 89 billion yen as part of its plan to expand its nuclear business from Japan to foreign markets. It has spent about 200 billion yen preparing for Horizon’s first project, the construction of a plant on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales.

Hitachi hopes to lower its stake in Horizon to less than 50% before construction begins at Anglesey. It has requested that the British government take a direct stake in Horizon and then invite local enterprises to invest.

In response to Hitachi’s concerns, the British government earlier this month proposed that U.K. interests and Japanese public and private interests join with Hitachi to move Anglesey forward. The three sets of shareholders would each put 300 billion yen into the project, giving each a one-third stake. According to sources, the company and the Japanese government see it as too risky for Japanese interests to retain a majority shareholding and hope that British interests will acquire a controlling stake.

London has been leery up to now of taking a direct stake in any new nuclear construction. Hitachi will likely seek in direct talks a commitment to U.K. government investment as well as to additional support that may be necessary to sustain the operation.

Other key project terms also remain unsettled, including the degree to which London would guarantee the 2 trillion yen in loans Hitachi sees as needed to finance the Anglesey development and the price to be paid to Hitachi for the electricity from the plant. London’s proposed price is 20% lower than what Hitachi has requested. The Japanese government plans to guarantee the project’s loans.

The U.K. in December approved the design of the reactor that Hitachi plans to use in Anglesey. The project is now in its final pre-construction phase. The company has targeted to begin construction next year.

With its domestic nuclear industry still crippled by the legacy of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident, Japan has been eager to promote nuclear exports. The drive for overseas orders however has struggled as many governments reconsider nuclear power’s merits.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The under-rated risks from plutonium

Homeland Preparedness News 27th April 2018 , A new paper from the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) provided
recommendations for mitigating risks related to separated plutonium. As compared to highly enriched uranium (HEU), separated plutonium has not
received enough attention as a security risk, NTI Counselor John Carlson said in the paper, titled “Mitigating Security Risks from Separated Plutonium: Some Near-Term Steps.”
Eight countries currently hold more than 375 metric tons of separated plutonium, which is produced by reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel. The paper recommends minimizing stocks and specific actions in production, storage and use of the material. “Even small quantities [of plutonium] could be of interest to terrorists if they see opportunities for acquiring plutonium in a number of locations or for use in a radiological dispersal device,” Carlson said.
https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/28131-nuclear-threat-initiative-highlights-separated-plutonium-security-risks/

April 30, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD, Reference, safety | Leave a comment

Donald Trump touted for Nobel Peace Prize !!

Trump could get Nobel Peace Prize nod for progress on North Korea denuclearization, 

April 30, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Dr Helen Caldicott tells it like it is – on the nuclear industry!

Straight talk from down-under more https://thebulletin.org/straight-talk-down-under11743Bulletin of the Atomic scientists By Dan Drollette Jr, 26 APRIL 2018   During the darkest days of World War II, US Army general Joseph Stilwell earned the nickname “Vinegar Joe” for his brilliant, blunt, bracing, leadership style. Stilwell’s tough, honest assessment of a disastrous military campaign in Asia captured the imagination of the American public, and roused the White House to completely re-assess the direction it had been taking: “I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, fix it, then go back and retake it.”

Though she may not enjoy the comparison to a military man, the same tough-but-invigorating observations can be found in the pithy, concise, sharp (and sometimes humorous) words of legendary anti-nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, who recently gave an hour-long interview to the Bulletin by Skype from her home in Sydney. For nearly 60 years, this Australian physician has been taking on the powers-that-be, and fighting for a world without nuclear weapons.

And not holding anything back.

It’s not every day that one hears the words “missile envy” in a sober-sided analysis of the reasons for the nuclear arms race. Or learn that the solution to nuclear proliferation may be to give the collective bottoms of those in charge a good swat.

Or hear this observation about the current situation in Washington: “We’ve got a man in charge who I think has never read a book, and who knows nothing about global politics, or his own county’s politics. Who operates with his own kind of sordid intuition. And he’s putting people in every department committed to destroying that department… My dream solution is that people from Congress come in, pick him up, and lock him in a laundry [room] or something. ”

And now, you can enjoy a sneak peak of the full interview, for free, in advance of formal publication in the Bulletin’s bi-monthly magazine.

And find out what she said about you.

(Full disclosure: I was the interviewer, so I may be biased in her favor. But I’d still highly recommend reading what Caldicott has to say, no matter who conducted the interview.)

Publication Name: Taylor and Francis OnlineTo read what we’re reading,  click here

April 30, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

32 years after Chernobyl, wild boars remain too radioactive to eat

The little piggies that won’t go to market, https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2018/04/29/chernobyl-boars-still-radioactive/Wild boars remain too radioactive to eat, 32 years after Chernobyl, By Linda Pentz Gunter

Wild boars in Europe, parts of the former Soviet Union and Japan are too radioactive to be safe for human consumption. That sounds like good news for the boars. But only partly so.

The boars are radioactively contaminated due to fallout from the April 26, 1986 Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear power plant explosion. They were vulnerable because they love mushrooms and truffles. These fungi absorbed the cesium-137 fallout released by the Chernobyl nuclear explosion.

Because they lack stems and roots, mushrooms and other fungi use absorption to obtain nutrition from the atmosphere through their surface cells. As a result, they are prone to absorbing radioactive substances such as cesium-137 and other radionuclides.

When the boars eat the mushrooms and truffles, that radioactive contamination moves up the food chain. The mushrooms are also too radioactive for human consumption.

Between 2014 and 2016, nearly half of the 614 wild boar inspected in the Czech Republic were too radioactive to eat. In Germany, more than one in three boars killed by hunters were also radioactive.

Consequently, hunters in Saxony, Germany, 700 miles from Chernobyl, still have to have any boar they kill tested first for radioactivity.

Hunters in Sweden are equally wary of killing and eating wild boar, which have been found to be 10 times more radioactive than the “acceptable” (but, as always, not “safe”) limits for consumption.

Wild boars have of course been affected in Japan as well, since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Apart from roaming at will through the deserted prefecture — where they have even been observed entering and occupying abandoned houses — these animals also carry cesium contamination. However, one study at least has shown that their cesium levels are significantly lower than those of boars affected by Chernobyl fallout.

The unsuitability of wild boars for human consumption resulting from Chernobyl may sound like a win for boars and the vegetarian cause. But this radioactive contamination may come at a price. To date, studies of wildlife in the Chernobyl and Fukushima zones have shown that even if numbers of animals appear to have increased due to the absence of human predators, the health of these species contaminated with radiation has been seriously compromised.

Birds, mice and insects have demonstrated low to zero sperm counts, a tendency to tumors and cataracts, smaller brains, and shorter lifespans. Examination of muscle tissue and bone marrow in Macaque monkeys living in the contaminated areas of Fukushima yielded ominous signs. The monkeys had significantly low white and red blood cell counts as well as a reduced growth rate for body weight and smaller head sizes. The bone marrows of these monkeys were found to be producing almost no blood cells. Instead, the bone marrow has turned almost entirely into white-looking fat.

So far, Europe’s wild boar seem to have been evaluated only in relation to their contribution as a food source. Missing from the studies is what might be happening to the health of the boars themselves, and the implications for future generations of these animals.

“Gleaning the contamination levels of boars once they are killed is not enough,” says Cindy Folkers, radiation and health specialist at Beyond Nuclear, who looked at published studies on boars and radioactivity. “There is no history of their contamination level or any comparison to any damage they may have suffered. The genes could tell us that, but it appears no one is looking.”

Such changes, especially to DNA, can take many years and several generations to manifest as disease. But if negative outcomes do occur, this could signal a decline in the species, with repercussions for other animals along the food chain as well.

“Wild boars are one of the biomagnifiers of radioactivity in the environment,” added Folkers. “They dig in soil that might be slightly contaminated with cesium, inhaling and ingesting it, and foraging for mushrooms, which they then ingest. They are part of the ecosystem that keeps the cesium circulating.”

April 30, 2018 Posted by | environment, Sweden, Ukraine | Leave a comment

North Korea’s 2017 Test and its Nontectonic Aftershock J. Liu et. al March 2018 — Nuclear Exhaust

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2018GL077095 North Korea’s 2017 Test and its Nontectonic Aftershock J. Liu L. Li J. Zahradník E. Sokos C. Liu X. Tian First published: 14 March 2018 https://doi.org/10.1002/2018GL077095 Geophysical Research Letters. Abstract Seismology illuminates physical processes occurring during underground explosions, not all yet fully understood. The thus‐far strongest North Korean test of 3 September 2017 was […]

via North Korea’s 2017 Test and its Nontectonic Aftershock J. Liu et. al March 2018 — Nuclear Exhaust

April 30, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment