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Growing Extreme Weather Risks to Nuclear Power Plants

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A million tons of Fukushima’s radioactive water – what to do with it?

 FUKUSHIMA’S OTHER BIG PROBLEM: A MILLION TONS OF RADIOACTIVE WATER , Wired, 04.27.18

THE TSUNAMI-DRIVEN SEAWATER that engulfed Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has long since receded. But plant officials are still struggling to cope with another dangerous flood: the enormous amounts of radioactive water the crippled facility generates each day. More than 1 million tons of radiation-laced water is already being kept on-site in an ever-expanding forest of hundreds of hulking steel tanks—and so far, there’s no plan to deal with them.

The earthquake and tsunami that hammered Fukushima on March 11, 2011 triggered meltdowns in three of its six reactors. That left messes of intensely radioactive fuel somewhere loose in the reactor buildings—though no one knows exactly where. What is known, however, is that every day, as much as much as 150 tons of groundwater percolates into the reactors through cracks in their foundations, becoming contaminated with radioactive isotopes in the process.

To keep that water from leaking into the ground or the Pacific, Tepco, the giant utility that owns the plant, pumps it out and runs it through a massive filtering system housed in a building the size of a small aircraft hangar. Inside are arrays of seven-foot tall stainless steel tubes, filled with sand grain-like particles that perform a process called ion exchange. The particles grab on to ions of cesium, strontium, and other dangerous isotopes in the water, making room for them by spitting out sodium. The highly toxic sludge created as a byproduct is stored elsewhere on the site in thousands of sealed canisters.

This technology has improved since the catastrophe. The first filtering systems, installed just weeks after the disaster by California-based Kurion Inc. (which has since been bought by Veolia, a French resource management company), only caught cesium, a strong gamma radiation emitter that makes it the most dangerous of the isotopes in the water. The tubes in those arrays were filled with highly modified grains of naturally occurring volcanic minerals called zeolites. By 2013, the company developed entirely artificial particles—a form of titano silicate—that also grab strontium.

 The filters, however, don’t catch tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. That’s a much trickier task. Cesium and strontium atoms go into solution with the water, like sugar in tea; but tritium can bond with oxygen just like regular hydrogen, rendering the water molecules themselves radioactive. “It’s one thing to separate cesium from water, but how do you separate water from water?” asks John Raymont, Kurion’s founder and now president of Veolia’s nuclear solutions group. The company claims to have developed a system that can do the job, but Tepco has so far balked at the multi-billion dollar cost.

So for now, the tritiated water is pumped into a steadily growing collection of tanks. There are already hundreds of them, and Tepco has to start building a new one every four days.

Tepco has at least reduced the water’s inflow. As much as 400 tons per day was gushing in just a couple of years ago. In an effort to keep the groundwater from getting in, Tepco has built a network of pumps, and in 2016 installed an underground “ice wall”—a $300 million subterranean fence of 30-yard-long rods through which tons of sub-zero brine is pumped, freezing the surrounding earth. All of which helps, but hasn’t solved the problem……… https://www.wired.com/story/fukushimas-other-big-problem-a-million-tons-of-radioactive-water/

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

Time for scientists to learn from the profound ecological knowledge of indigenous people

Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People https://e360.yale.edu/features/native-knowledge-what-ecologists-are-learning-from-indigenous-people

From Alaska to Australia, scientists are turning to the knowledge of traditional people for a deeper understanding of the natural world. What they are learning is helping them discover more about everything from melting Arctic ice, to protecting fish stocks, to controlling wildfires.   

While he was interviewing Inuit elders in Alaska to find out more about their knowledge of beluga whales and how the mammals might respond to the changing Arctic, researcher Henry Huntington lost track of the conversation as the hunters suddenly switched from the subject of belugas to beavers.

It turned out though, that the hunters were still really talking about whales. There had been an increase in beaver populations, they explained, which had reduced spawning habitat for salmon and other fish, which meant less prey for the belugas and so fewer whales.

“It was a more holistic view of the ecosystem,” said Huntington. And an important tip for whale researchers. “It would be pretty rare for someone studying belugas to be thinking about freshwater ecology.”

Around the globe, researchers are turning to what is known as Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to fill out an understanding of the natural world. TEK is deep knowledge of a place that has been painstakingly discovered by those who have adapted to it over thousands of years. “People have relied on this detailed knowledge for their survival,” Huntington and a colleague wrote in an article on the subject. “They have literally staked their lives on its accuracy and repeatability.”

Tapping into this traditional wisdom is playing an outsized role in the Arctic, where change is happening rapidly.

This realm has long been studied by disciplines under headings such as ethno-biology, ethno-ornithology, and biocultural diversity. But it has gotten more attention from mainstream scientists lately because of efforts to better understand the world in the face of climate change and the accelerating loss of biodiversity.

Anthropologist Wade Davis, now at the University of British Columbia, refers to the constellation of the world’s cultures as the “ethnosphere,” or “the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions, brought into being by human imagination since the dawn of consciousness. It’s a symbol of all that we are, and all that we can be, as an astonishingly inquisitive species.”

One estimate says that while native peoples only comprise some 4 or 5 percent of the world’s population, they use almost a quarter of the world’s land surface and manage 11 percent of its forests. “In doing so, they maintain 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity in, or adjacent to, 85 percent of the world’s protected areas,” writes Gleb Raygorodetsky, a researcher with the POLIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria and the author of The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change.

Tapping into this wisdom is playing an outsized role in sparsely settled places such as the Arctic, where change is happening rapidly – warming is occurring twice as fast as other parts of the world. Tero Mustonen, a Finnish researcher and chief of his village of Selkie, is pioneering the blending of TEK and mainstream science as the director of a project called the Snowchange Cooperative. “Remote sensing can detect changes,” he says. “But what happens as a result, what does it mean?” That’s where traditional knowledge can come into play as native people who make a living on the landscape as hunters and fishers note the dramatic changes taking place in remote locales – everything from thawing permafrost to change in reindeer migration and other types of biodiversity redistribution.

The Skolt Sami people of Finland, for example, participated in a study that was published in the journal Science last year, which adopted indicators of environmental changes based on TEK. The Sami have seen and documented a decline in salmon in the Näätämö River, for instance. Now, based on their knowledge, they are adapting – reducing the number of seine nets they use to catch fish, restoring spawning sites, and also taking more pike, which prey on young salmon, as part of their catch. The project is part of a co-management process between the Sami and the government of Finland.

It’s not only in the Arctic. Around the world there are efforts to make use of traditional wisdom to gain a better and deeper understanding of the planet – and there is sometimes a lot at stake.

Record brush fires burned across Australia in 2009, killing 173 people and injuring more than 400. The day the number of fires peaked – February 7 – is known as Black Saturday. It led to a great deal of soul searching in Australia, especially as climate warming has exacerbated fire seasons there.

Land managers in Australia have adopted many of the fire-control practices of the aborigines and have partnered with native people.

Bill Gammage is an academic historian and fellow at the Humanities Research Center of the Australian National University, and his book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How the Aborigines Made Australia, looks at the complex and adept way that aborigines, prior to colonization in 1789, managed the landscape with “fire and no fire” – something called “fire stick farming.”

They used “cool” fires to control everything from biodiversity to water supply to the abundance of wildlife and edible plants. Gammage noted five stages of the indigenous use of fire – first was to control wildfire fuel; second, to maintain diversity; third, to balance species; fourth, to ensure abundance; and five, to locate resources conveniently and predictably. The current regime, he says, is still struggling with number one.

“Controlled fire averted uncontrolled fire,” Gammage says, “and fire or no-fire distributed plants with the precision of a flame edge. In turn, this attracted or deterred grazing animals and located them in habitats each preferred, making them abundant, convenient, and predictable. All was where fire or no-fire put it. Australia was not natural in 1788, but made.”

While the skill of aborigines with fire had been noted before the giant brushfires – early settlers remarked on the “park-like” nature of the landscape – and studied before, it’s taken on new urgency. That’s why Australian land managers have adopted many of the ideas and partnered with native people as co-managers. The fire practices of the aborigines are also being taught and used in other countries.

Scientists have looked to Australian natives for other insights into the natural world. A team of researchers collaborated with natives based on their observations of kites and falcons that fly with flaming branches from a forest fire to start other fires. It’s well known that birds will hunt mice and lizards as they flee the flames of a wildfire. But stories among indigenous people in northern Australia held that some birds actually started fires by dropping a burning branch in unburned places. Based on this TEK, researchers watched and documented this behavior.

“It’s a feeding frenzy, because out of these grasslands comes small birds, lizards, insects, everything fleeing in front of the fire,” said Bob Gosford, an indigenous rights lawyer and ornithologist, who worked on the research, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2016.

Another recent study down under found that an ancient practice of using fire to clear land to improve hunting also creates a more diverse mosaic of re-growth that increases the number of the primate prey species: monitor lizards and kangaroos.

“Westerners  have done little but isolate ourselves from nature,” said Mark Bonta, an assistant professor at Penn State Altoona who was on a co-author on the paper on fire and raptors. “Yet those who make a point of connecting with our earth in some form have enormous knowledge because they interact with a species. When you get into conservation, [that knowledge] is even more important.” Aboriginal people “don’t see themselves as superior to or separated from animals. They are walking storehouses of knowledge,” he said.

The Maya people of Mesoamerica have much to teach us about farming, experts say. Researchers have found that they preserve an astonishing amount of biodiversity in their forest gardens, in harmony with the surrounding forest. “The active gardens found around Maya forest villagers’ houses shows that it’s the most diverse domestic system in the world,” integrated into the forest ecosystem, writes Anabel Ford, who is head of the MesoAmerican Research Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara. “These forest gardeners are heroes, yet their skill and sophistication have too long been set aside and devalued.”

Some native people have the ability to adopt the “perspective of many creatures and objects – rocks, water, clouds,” a researcher says.

Valuing these life ways is an important part of the process. For the Skolt Sami, writes Mustonen, “seeing their language and culture valued led to an increase in self-esteem and power over their resources.”

It may not just be facts about the natural world that are important in these exchanges, but different ways of being and perceiving. In fact, there are researchers looking into the relationship between some indigenous people and the very different ways they see the world.

Felice Wyndham is an ecological anthropologist and ethnobiologist who has noted that people she has worked with can intimately sense the world beyond their body. “It’s a form of enhanced mindfulness,” she says. “It’s quite common, you see it in most hunter-gatherer groups. It’s an extremely developed skill base of cognitive agility, of being able to put yourself into a viewpoint and perspective of many creatures or objects – rocks, water, clouds.

Among the most important messages from traditional people is their equanimity and optimism. There “is no sense of doom and gloom,” says Raygorodetsky. “Despite dire circumstances, they maintain hope for the future.”

April 27, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Global climate change underway – the message from melting Arctic sea ice

Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way, The Conversation,  Mark Serreze, Research Professor of Geography and director, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado, 

Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic. This has many reasons, but climate feedbacks are key. As the Arctic warms, snow and ice melt, and the surface absorbs more of the sun’s energy instead of reflecting it back into space. This makes it even warmer, which causes more melting, and so on.

This expectation has become a reality that I describe in my new book “Brave New Arctic.” It’s a visually compelling story: The effects of warming are evident in shrinking ice caps and glaciers and in Alaskan roads buckling as permafrost beneath them thaws.

But for many people the Arctic seems like a faraway place, and stories of what is happening there seem irrelevant to their lives. It can also be hard to accept that the globe is warming up while you are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm.

Since I have spent more than 35 years studying snow, ice and cold places, people often are surprised when I tell them I once was skeptical that human activities were playing a role in climate change. My book traces my own career as a climate scientist and the evolving views of many scientists I have worked with.  When I first started working in the Arctic, scientists understood it as a region defined by its snow and ice, with a varying but generally constant climate. In the 1990s, we realized that it was changing, but it took us years to figure out why. Now scientists are trying to understand what the Arctic’s ongoing transformation means for the rest of the planet, and whether the Arctic of old will ever be seen again.

Evidence piles up

Evidence that the Arctic is warming rapidly extends far beyond shrinking ice caps and buckling roads. It also includes a melting Greenland ice sheet; a rapid decline in the extent of the Arctic’s floating sea ice cover in summer; warming and thawing of permafrost; shrubs taking over areas of tundra that formerly were dominated by sedges, grasses, mosses and lichens; and a rise in temperature twice as large as that for the globe as a whole. This outsized warming even has a name: Arctic amplification.

……….  Indeed, the question is no longer whether the Arctic is warming, but how drastically it will change – and what those changes mean for the planet. https://theconversation.com/melting-arctic-sends-a-message-climate-change-is-here-in-a-big-way-95573

April 27, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear leaks at North Korean test site ARE a radiological mess

Nuclear Leaks At Nth Korean Test Site – real or “a Furphy” according to Broinowski ? Real, says Langley 

I have been following the story of radiological dangers posed by the increasing stressed geology of the North Korean nuclear test site for some months. Over the last week the story was again raised by the Australian newspaper. This motivated me to find the closest Chinese authority. The story was, as far as I can gather, published this week in The South China Morning Post on Wednesday 25 April 2018. The article, written by Stephen Chen, is entitled “North Korea’s nuclear test site has collapsed … and that may be why Kim Jong-un suspended tests“. The first paragraph explains further: “The mountain’s collapse after a fifth blast last fall has led to the creation of a massive ‘chimney’ that could leak radioactive fallout into the air, researchers have found….” before I go any further, there are two questions to ask: 1. How credible is Stephen Chen’s reporting and 2. Who are the researchers involved? eg are they retired diplomats only or are they qualified to comment in a scientific manner? If so have their findings been peered reviewed?

(what journalists say is irrelevant to me except when the articles lead me to find the peer reviewed papers published by scientists. Newspapers seem not to put relevant links to source documents up which is a crying shame.)

1. Stephen Chen: his bio on the SCMP site states: “Stephen covers breakthoughs in science and their impact on society, environment, military, geopolitics, business – pretty much all aspects of life. His stories often travel across the globe. Stephen is an alumnus of Shantou University, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Semester at Sea programme which he attended with a full scholarship from the Seawise Foundation. In his spare time, Stephen reads and writes novels. He lives in Beijing with a beautiful wife and two lovely kids.”

fair enough, signs look hopeful that the article is not reporting a scientific “furphy”, as Broinowski described the generic story on the Australian ABC TV this morning. But let’s dig a nanometer deeper. Who are the researchers Chen is referencing? Does he name them and are they famous? (fame = mass readership and lots of grant money):

“A research team led by Wen Lianxing, a geologist with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, concluded that the collapse occurred following the detonation last autumn of North Korea’s most powerful thermal nuclear warhead in a tunnel about 700 metres (2,296 feet) below the mountain’s peak.

The test turned the mountain into fragile fragments, the researchers found….” end quote from the SCMP/Chen.

Further, Chen reports: “A research team led by Wen Lianxing, a geologist with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, concluded that the collapse occurred following the detonation last autumn of North Korea’s most powerful thermal nuclear warhead in a tunnel about 700 metres (2,296 feet) below the mountain’s peak.

The test turned the mountain into fragile fragments, the researchers found. ” source: ibid.

Describing these findings and the dangers posed by the scientific observations as reported by Chen does not smack of “Furphy” or fantasy Richard B. (No I don’t mind who your sister is, you should know better).

Wen Lianxing et al have been tracking North Korean nuclear tests, as far as I can find (hamstrung as I am, because I cannot speak or read Chinese), from at least 2006, and certainly since 2009, when the team became the first in the world to precisely locate the location of a North Korean nuclear test. : “High-precision Location of North Korea’s 2009 Nuclear Test”
Article in Seismological Research Letters 81(1):26-29 · January 2010 authors: Lianxing Wen, University of Science and Technology of China (Hefei, China); Hui Long, Stony Brook University (Stony Brook, United States).

Have a read of it Mr Broinowski. You might find it sensible and not a furphy.

Ok, on with the real matters at hand. Underground nuke tests invariably leak radionuclides into the biosphere. The US underground nuclear test regime has created a legacy of cost and risk, to put it mildly, which continues to this day. Name a US underground shot, and go to DOE Opennet and enter the shot’s code name. Up pops reams of documents detailing the test, the immediate result, and the long term consequences in terms of risk and costs.

There is no reason to suspect that the risks and costs of North Korea’s underground will be any more “furphy” ridden that the US underground tests were. And continue to be.

So without any further ado, even if I have to drag Richard B kicking and screaming into 1954, is some more non furphy from Chen and the SCMP:

“It is necessary to continue monitoring possible leaks of radioactive materials caused by the collapse incident,” Wen’s team said in the statement.

The findings will be published on the website of the peer-reviewed journal, Geophysical Research Letters, likely next month.

North Korea saw the mountain as an ideal location for underground nuclear experiments because of its elevation – it stood more than 2,100 metres (6,888 feet) above sea level – and its terrain of thick, gentle slopes that seemed capable of resisting structural damage…..

“The mountain’s surface had shown no visible damage after four underground nuclear tests before 2017.

But the 100-kilotonne bomb that went off on September 3 vaporised surrounding rocks with unprecedented heat and opened a space that was up to 200 metres (656 feet) in diameter, according to a statement posted on the Wen team’s website on Monday. ….

“As shock waves tore through and loosened more rocks, a large section of the mountain’s ridge, less than half a kilometre (0.3 mile) from the peak, slipped down into the empty pocket created by the blast, leaving a scar visible in satellite images.

Wen concluded that the mountain had collapsed after analysing data collected from nearly 2,000 seismic stations. ….

“Three small earthquakes that hit nearby regions in the wake of the collapse added credence to his conclusion, suggesting the test site had lost its geological stability.

Another research team led by Liu Junqing at the Jilin Earthquake Agency with the China Earthquake Administration in Changchun reached similar conclusions to the Wen team. ….

“The “rock collapse … was for the first time documented in North Korea’s test site,” Liu’s team wrote in a paper published last month in Geophysical Research Letters.

The breakdown not only took off part of the mountain’s summit but also created a “chimney” that could allow fallout to rise from the blast centre into the air, they said. …

“Zhao Lianfeng, a researcher with the Institute of Earth Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said the two studies supported a consensus among scientists that “the site was wrecked” beyond repair.

“Their findings are in agreement to our observations,” he said.

“Different teams using different data have come up with similar conclusions,” Zhao said. “The only difference was in some technical details. This is the best guess that can be made by the world outside.” ….

“Speculation grew that North Korea’s site was in trouble when Lee Doh-sik, the top North Korean geologist, visited Zhao’s institute about two weeks after the test and met privately with senior Chinese government geologists.

“Although the purpose of Lee’s visit was not disclosed, two days later Pyongyang announced it would no longer conduct land-based nuclear tests.”

” Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based scholar who follows North Korea’s nuclear programme, said it was highly likely that Pyongyang had received a stark warning from Beijing.

““The test was not only destabilising the site but increasing the risk of eruption of the Changbai Mountain,” a large, active volcano at China-Korean border, said Hu, who asked that his university affiliation not be disclosed for this article because of the topic’s sensitivity.

“The mountain’s collapse has likely dealt a huge blow to North Korea’s nuclear programme, Hu said.

Hit by crippling international economic sanctions over its nuclear ambitions, the country might lack sufficient resources to soon resume testing at a new site, he said.

“But there are other sites suitable for testing,” Hu said. “They must be closely monitored.”

Guo Qiuju, a Peking University professor who has belonged to a panel that has advised the Chinese government on emergency responses to radioactive hazards, said that if fallout escaped through cracks, it could be carried by wind over the Chinese border.

“So far we have not detected an abnormal increase of radioactivity levels,” Guo said. “But we will continue to monitor the surrounding region with a large [amount] of highly sensitive equipment and analyse the data in state-of-the-art laboratories.”

“Zhao Guodong, a government nuclear waste confinement specialist at the University of South China, said that the North Korean government should allow scientists from China and other countries to enter the test site and evaluate the damage.

“We can put a thick layer of soil on top of the collapsed site, fill the cracks with special cement, or remove the pollutants with chemical solution,” he said.

“There are many methods to deal with the problem. All they need [to do] is ask.” end quote . source: ibid.

For the sake of ignorant ex diplomats everywhere, let me list all the qualified scientists Chen gives as sources for his article:

1. Wen Lianxing
2. Liu Junqing
3. Zhao Lianfeng
4. Hu Xingdou
5. Guo Qiuju
6. Zhao Guodong

The above qualified people consider that North Korean nuclear tests have, and do, pose a continuing radiological risk to North Korea and to China. This is due to the geologic damage the test series have caused. As any rational person with knowledge of the US underground test era knows, such risks are extremely well documented in the case of the US tests and appalling documented in the case of North Korea.

Dissenters from my point view and the content of Chen’s reported based upon his 6 expert sources are: 1. Richard Broinowski, retired diplomat. Not a scientist.

blows rasberry at RD. so sue me.

P.S. and another thing Richard B. You won’t close the South Korean nuclear plants down by going on TV and denying the North Korean radiological mess, which is probably an undisclosed actual disaster for the people there. Underground nuke test sites have many ways of leaking radionuclides. Over the years a test site’s hydrology is main vector, but anything can happen at the time, and, in the US experience has happened. The chances of uncontained radionuclides let loose into the biosphere is very high in North Korea and no ideology can successfully hide that fact. Your comments on the ABC TV this morning were damaging to the movement and frankly, in my opinion, bloody ignorant. Would you accept the facts of the matter if the scientists Chen cites were all born in London and were named “Watt”?

This post has been posted on Mr Stephen Chen’s facebook page. with thanks to him and his sources.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | incidents, North Korea | Leave a comment

North Korea still able to test nuclear weapons – test site was not destroyed

No, North Korea’s Nuclear Test Site Wasn’t Destroyed in an Earthquake, National Interest, David Axe, 27 Apr 18, 

While it’s hard to know for sure what’s really going on in North Korea, one of the most secretive countries in the world, Pyongyang’s underground nuclear test facilities are probably intact, and the regime is likely still capable of testing its rudimentary atomic warhead designs.

Major media outlets reported on April 25, 2018 that large portions of North Korea’s underground nuclear test facility had collapsed and were unusable.

 The stories in The Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and websites, all citing a Chinese study first obtained by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, are potentially misleading. News reports aggregating The Wall Street Journal’s own, more balanced reporting draw a line between the apparent collapse and upcoming talks between the United States and North and South Korea, but some experts are doubtful.

While it’s hard to know for sure what’s really going on in North Korea, one of the most secretive countries in the world, Pyongyang’s underground nuclear test facilities are probably intact, and the regime is likely still capable of testing its rudimentary atomic warhead designs. “The reporting has been mostly hot garbage,” Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, tweeted after reviewing satellite imagery of the 7,200-foot Mount Mantap, where North Korea’s Punggye-ri test site is located. …….

Mount Mantap didn’t collapse. Yes, seismologists registered a 6.3-magnitude earthquake under the mountain on September 3, the result of North Korea’s sixth and most recent underground atomic test. And yes, it’s possible that the quake collapsed the subterranean cavity that the buried bomb blast produced. ……


“Nuclear explosions make cavities,” Lewis explained in a tweet. “One of those cavities collapsed, which seismologists detected. Science is cool. But a cavity collapse does not mean the tunnel complex collapsed, let alone the whole mountain.”

Even if a cavity or part of the adjacent facility was destroyed, there’s no reason North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can’t simply build a new site. “Kim can dig new tunnels quickly to replace the collapsed sites if he chooses to do so,” Bruce Blair, a Princeton University nuclear expert, told me. “He could even test above ground if deemed warranted. There is really nothing technical standing in the way.”

……… Experts agree that North Korea hopes to leverage its newfound nuclear-power status for political or economic gain.  Suspending testing is a good-faith gesture and bargaining ploy that yields what Kim wants out of his testing program politically,” Blair said.   

    “Kim has agreed to stop nuclear testing because of the summit(s), not because his nuclear test mountain collapsed,” Lewis added. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/no-north-koreas-nuclear-test-site-wasnt-destroyed-earthquake-25587

 

April 27, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Examining the consequences if Trump kills the Iran nuclear deal

What’s at Stake If Trump Kills the Iran Nuclear Deal? Bloomberg. By Lin Noueihed and  David Wainer, April 28, 2018, 

  • From oil to business to politics, the impact could be global
  • Trump has May 12 deadline for decision on sanctions waiver
  • U.S. President Donald Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to perhaps fatally undermine a years-in-the-making nuclear deal with Iran, with the consequences likely to be felt from Middle East war zones to oil markets. If the U.S. refuses to continue to waive sanctions under the six-nation agreement reached in 2015, there’s a real threat Iran will also walk away. European powers are scrambling to persuade Trump to preserve the agreement, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington on Friday on the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron. So what’s at stake if the U.S. withdraws?

·         Oil Markets  A “snap-back” in Iran sanctions by the U.S. would almost certainly reduce Iran’s oil exports, further stretching an oil market that’s seen prices rise 11 percent this year. What’s more uncertain is exactly how far shipments would fall.

…….Doing Business  A resumption in U.S. sanctions could derail tens of billions of dollars in business deals. While a U.S. exit may not render signed deals illegal, new sanctions would make it risky for international companies to continue working in Iran due to potential ramifications for their U.S. business or banking transactions.

It’s not just companies involved in Iran that are worried. Privately, business leaders increasingly fret about the growing risk of conflict in the region if Iran resumes uranium enrichment in response to a U.S. withdrawal — and what that could mean for world trade…….

………Global Power Balance On the international stage, the biggest winners from a resumption of American sanctions could be two other signatories to the deal — China and Russia, whose influence has gradually spread in the Middle East as the U.S. has scaled back its engagement…….

Nuclear Risks  The collapse of the accord could hamper denuclearization efforts, and not just in the Middle East. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned this week that if the U.S. exits, his country might resume its nuclear program. Iranian officials have also threatened to leave the Non-Proliferation Treaty if the deal crumbles. Iran denies its enrichment was ever intended to build weapons as the U.S., Israel and others had charged.

North Korea, which does have a nuclear arsenal, will be watching developments closely. Ditching a deal the U.S. helped shape could undermine American credibility at the negotiating table as it seeks denuclearization in the Korean peninsula. Some analysts say the upcoming talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might be weighing on Trump — and leave him more inclined to preserve Iran’s agreement.

Iranian Political Dynamics A collapse of the nuclear deal would be a blow for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the reformists who championed a diplomatic settlement to the nuclear standoff that had left Iran increasingly isolated. The nuclear deal is a rare concrete achievement for Rouhani, who was re-elected last year but has been weakened by demonstrations, a currency crisis and problems in the banking sector.

Hardliners, who warned through years of talks that the U.S. was not a trustworthy partner, would emerge strengthened………

Risk of Conflict If the deal collapses and Iran restarts its nuclear program, the risk of confrontation could increase. Washington’s leading Middle East allies — Israel and Saudi Arabia — are both determined to roll back Iranian influence in their neighborhood. Israel in the past has threatened to bomb Iranian nuclear sites to prevent it obtaining a weapons capability.

The potential for a broader conflict is compounded by the war in Syria, which has already drawn in Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Russia, the U.S., Turkey and Israel.

Defying the U.S. The amount of turbulence, especially for businesses, will depend on how Iran, and other powers, respond to any U.S. exit. “If the Americans wind up walking away from the deal but the rest of the world is able to say ‘we are sticking to our approach,’ then this might not be so catastrophic for investments in Iran,” said Alex Vatanka, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-27/what-s-at-stake-if-trump-kills-the-nuclear-deal-with-iran

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Turkish and Greek Cypriots link arms to protest planned Russian nuclear plant

 http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-and-greek-cypriots-link-arms-to-protest-planned-russian-nuclear-plant-130957  Protesters are urging the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot authorities to step up their protests against a nuclear power plant Russia is building on Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline.

Around 250 Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot protesters on April 26 linked arms across a 250-foot (75-meter) stretch of the United Nations controlled buffer zone splitting the capital Nicosia to protest against the plant they say could pose a grave threat to Cyprus and the region because it will be built in a seismic region, the Associated Press reported.

The Greek Cyprus government should have the EU take up the issue with Turkey, which aims to join the bloc, Greek Cypriot Charalambos Theopemptou said.

Many Turkish Cypriots know the risks and oppose the plant, but their leaders must end their silence and speak out, Şener Elçil, General Secretary of KTOS, the Turkish Cypriot Primary Teachers Trade Union said.

 

April 27, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Greek and Turkish Cypriots unite to oppose nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Turkey

Bicommunal action against nuclear power plant held in Nicosia http://cyprus-mail.com/2018/04/27/bicommunal-action-nuclear-power-plant-held-nicosia/ APRIL 27TH, 2018  CNA NEWS SERVICE CYPRUS 

A human chain was formed on Thursday night in a bicommunal demonstration at the Ledra Street checkpoint against the opening of a nuclear power plant in Akkuyu, Turkey.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots from more than 40 parties, organisations, movements, trade unions and professional groups held candles and wore gas masks to honour Chernobyl victims with a minute`s silence. Banners wrote ‘Nuclear Free Mediterranean’ and ‘Not in Nuclear’.

A joint statement read in Greek and Turkish said nuclear power plants are not only a threat to the environment but affect the health and safety of people of the surrounding areas. A possible leak could pose a huge risk to both workers and residents. “Pollution of the environment (air, soil, subsoil, water) in the unfortunate case of an accident, would affect not only the area itself, since radioactivity travels by affecting large geographic areas”, it said.

Akkuyu is a highly seismic area and radiation from the ‘normal’ operation of the plant as well as any serious leak would gradually destroy the quality of life of nearby living beings, including humans, the statement said. “The eastern Mediterranean basin is a huge and interconnected ecosystem. In the instance of a radiation leak, this will harm hundreds of kilometres around the nuclear plants”.

The Chernobyl accident, which occurred 32 years ago, is still creating problems to people and the environment all around the Black Sea basin, it added.

“Nuclear waste by itself is an environmental disaster that will last for centuries and no one can claim that there is a safe way for its disposal, since the danger of a leak is always there. The cost of the disposal of nuclear waste is very high and this negates the theory that nuclear power is a cheap source of energy”. It also asked if there is anybody who wishes to keep nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years buried on their land.

Τhe power plant is only 90 kilometres off the northern coast of Cyprus.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear, Turkey | Leave a comment

In new technique, scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing

Scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/fda-scr042718.php

In an article published in PLOS ONE, Brazilian researchers describe the first retrospective dosimetric study by electron spin resonance spectroscopy using human tissue from nuclear attack victimsFUNDAÇÃO DE AMPARO À PESQUISA DO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO

The bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 was the first and only use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets. A series of studies began in its aftermath to measure the impact of the fallout, in terms of both the radiation dose to which the victims were exposed and the effects of this exposure on DNA and health in general.

Continuing research that started in the 1980s under the leadership of physicist Sérgio Mascarenhas, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazilian scientists have published an article in the journal PLOS ONE describing a method of precise measurement of the radiation dose absorbed by the bones of victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.

The investigation was conducted during the postdoctoral research of Angela Kinoshita, currently a professor at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in Bauru, São Paulo State. Her supervisor was then Oswaldo Baffa, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (FFCLRP-USP).

“We used a technique known as electron spin resonance spectroscopy to perform retrospective dosimetry. Currently, there’s renewed interest in this kind of methodology due to the risk of terrorist attacks in countries like the United States,” Baffa said.

“Imagine someone in New York planting an ordinary bomb with a small amount of radioactive material stuck to the explosive. Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment.”

As Kinoshita explained, the study is unique insofar as it used samples of human tissue from victims of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

“There were serious doubts about the feasibility of using this methodology to determine the radiation dose deposited in these samples, because of the processes involved in the episode,” she said. “The results confirm its feasibility and open up various possibilities for future research that may clarify details of the nuclear attack.”

The equipment used in the investigation was purchased during a project coordinated by Baffa and supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.

Origins

In the 1970s, when he was teaching at the University of São Paulo’s São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC-USP), Mascarenhas discovered that X-ray and gamma-ray irradiation made human bones weakly magnetic. The phenomenon, known as paramagnetism, occurs because the hydroxyapatite (crystalline calcium phosphate) in the mineral portion of bone tissue absorbs carbon dioxide ions, and when the sample is irradiated, the CO2 loses electrons and becomes CO2-. This free radical serves as a marker of the radiation dose received by the material.

“I discovered that we could use this property to perform radiation dosimetry and began using the method in archeological dating,” Mascarenhas recalled.

His aim at the time was to calculate the age of bones found in sambaquis (middens created by Brazil’s original inhabitants as mounds of shellfish debris, skeletons of prehistoric animals, human bones, stone or bone utensils, and other refuse) based on the natural radiation absorbed over centuries via contact with elements such as thorium that are present in the sand on the seashore.

On the strength of this research, he was invited to teach at Harvard University in the United States. Before leaving for the US, however, he decided to go to Japan to try to obtain samples of bones from victims of the nuclear bombs and test his method on them.

“They gave me a jawbone, and I decided to measure the radiation right there, at Hiroshima University,” he said. “I needed to prove experimentally that my discovery was genuine.”

Mascarenhas succeeded in demonstrating that a dosimetric signal could be obtained from the sample even though the technology was still rudimentary and there were no computers to help process the results. The research was presented at the American Physical Society’s annual March Meeting, where it made a strong impression. Mascarenhas brought the samples to Brazil, where they remain.

“There have been major improvements in the instrumentation to make it more sensitive in the last 40 years,” Baffa said. “Now, you see digitally processed data in tables and graphs on the computer screen. Basic physics has also evolved to the extent that you can simulate and manipulate the signal from the sample using computational techniques.”

Thanks to these advances, he added, in the new study, it was possible to separate the signal corresponding to the radiation dose absorbed during the nuclear attack from the so-called background signal, a kind of noise scientists suspect may have resulted from superheating of the material during the explosion.

“The background signal is a broad line that may be produced by various different things and lacks a specific signature,” Baffa said. “The dosimetric signal is spectral. Each free radical resonates at a certain point on the spectrum when exposed to a magnetic field.”

Methodology

To make the measurements, the researchers removed millimeter-scale pieces of the jawbone used in the previous study. The samples were again irradiated in the laboratory using a technique called the additive dose method.

“We added radiation to the material and measured the rise in the dosimetric signal,” Baffa explained. “We then constructed a curve and extrapolated from that the initial dose, when the signal was presumably zero. This calibration method enabled us to measure different samples, as each bone and each part of the same bone has a different sensitivity to radiation, depending on its composition.”

Thanks to this combination of techniques, they were able to measure a dose of approximately 9.46 grays (Gy), which is high in Baffa’s view. “About half that dose, or 5 Gy, is fatal if the entire body is exposed to it,” he said.

The value was comparable with the doses obtained by other techniques applied to non-biological samples, such as measurement of the luminescence of quartz grains present in brick and roof tile fragments found at the bomb sites. According to the authors, it was also close to the results of biological measurement techniques applied in long-term studies using alterations in survivors’ DNA as a parameter.

“The measurement we obtained in this latest study is more reliable and up to date than the preliminary finding, but I’m currently evaluating a methodology that’s about a thousand times more sensitive than spin resonance. We’ll have news in a few months,” Mascarenhas predicted.

About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. For more information: http://www.fapesp.br/en.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Brazil, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Hiroshima hibakusha in Geneva, calling for nations to join Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Hiroshima hibakusha call for nuclear abolition   https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180426_04/  Atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima have appealed for speeding up the effort to eliminate nuclear weapons.  They gave a speech to state representatives at a preparatory meeting in Geneva on Wednesday for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

80-year-old Michiko Kodama told the audience about her war-time experience. Then she said when the United Nations adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year, survivors were elated that the door to abolishing nuclear arms has opened at long last.

But she noted that a long and winding road lies ahead as nuclear powers and their allies have not joined the treaty.

Kodama said mankind has come to a fork in the road: Will we protect this blue planet Earth, or choose the path of destruction?

She called on nations that have signed the NPT to swiftly and completely destroy their nuclear weapons.

Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui also took the podium. He said promoting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will be an important guidepost for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue stressed that the nuclear weapons ban treaty and the NPT go hand in hand. He said cities that have endured an atomic bombing are fully convinced that the nuclear ban treaty is a global norm.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canadian province seeks input for radiation health and safety review

N.L. government seeking input for radiation health and safety review, Northern Pen Canada, ST. JOHN’S, NL , 27 Apr 18 – The provincial government wants to hear from owners, users, sellers and maintainers of equipment that produces ionizing radiation.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Governments Cut Services to Chernobyl Survivors while Spending Billions on Nuclear Power Stations

Mining Awareness +

From Greenpeace.org:
Greenpeace Solidarity with Chernobyl Survivors
Stand in solidarity with Chernobyl survivors!

Today five million people in the Ukraine, Russia and Belarus live in areas contaminated by Chernobyl’s radioactive fallout.

Every day these survivors must make decisions on how to reduce or limit their exposure to radiation. Shopping, cooking, eating, working outside or heating their homes are daily choices that can put their families at risk.

They are being abandoned by their governments who are not taking adequate care of their citizens. Their governments scramble to cut protection programs that ensure needed monitoring, health treatments and uncontaminated food. This is so they can save money.

Worse still, these same governments want to spend billions on extremely risky nuclear energy while ignoring their responsibility to support those who still live in the shadow of Chernobyl’s radioactive legacy.

It is unjust to cut programs to protect Chernobyl survivors.

And it’s madness to spend more money…

View original post 317 more words

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Merging threats – nuclear and climate news

It’s a critical time for human and other species, as the threats from climate change and nuclear power are now merging. Climatologist Paul Beckwith explains this in his latest podcast https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRu-Xs4U2r4&feature=push-u&attr_tag=jW6Jq2IuMN0E13lZ-6  Carbon in the Atmosphere is Regularly Exceeding 410 Parts Per Million for First Time in Human History.

This crisis in the global ecosystem is manifested in other ways, notably in loss of biodiversity.

Professor Majia Nadesan explains “Nuclearity” – how politics trivialises the nuclear threat bringing the probability of global nuclear catastropheNuclear scientists have lower awareness of risks, compared to “life”scientists.

Earth Day and the climate message of the “hockey stick” graph.

NORTH KOREA. Trump’s North Korea talks not likely to succeed.   Report from China that North Korea’s “nuclear mountain” test site has collapsed. Was the collapsed nuclear test site Kim Jong Un’s REAL reason for suspending nuclear tests?

SOUTH KOREA. Hotline set up between North and South Korea.

USA. 

UKRAINE. United Nations report finds Chernobyl radiation has caused many cases of thyroid cancer.  New gigantic confinement dome over Chernobyl nuclear wreck is now almost completed. The true impacts of the 1986 nuclear disaster on people and the environment. Caring for Chernobyl’s children. Sisters now ill, exposed to Chernobyl radiation, – urge others to get cancer checks .

FRANCEElectricite de France (EDF) now recognising the reality that new nuclear power is not economically viable.

UK. 

IRELAND. Concern raised by Kilkenny County Council over proximity to Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.

RUSSIA. Loss of ice in Russian Arctic has doubled over past 10 years. Future Nuclear-Powered Spaceships (oh by the way, one crashed to Canada in the past).   Nuclear corporation Rosatom partners with National Geographic – to promote nuclear power!

IRAN. The ‘demonising’ of Iran, by USA and other Western powers, despite Iran’s good record on the nuclear deal. Investigative journalist Gareth Porter refutes the spin and deception in claims that Iran is a nuclear threat. Iran’s warnings if Donald Trump tears up 2015 nuclear deal.

OCEANIA. Sea level rise will force evacuation of communities from low-lying islands. Many low-lying atoll islands could be uninhabitable by mid-21st century .

NEW ZEALANDNew Zealand’s Prime Minister Just Stood Up to One of The Most Powerful Industries in The World.

CANADA. Indigenous, environmental, groups warn that Canada is mismanaging nuclear wastes.

SOUTH AFRICA. 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize goes to South African anti nuclear activists.

JAPAN.  Japan ‘covering up’ Fukushima nuclear danger-zone radiation levels and blackmailing evacuees to return to radiated areas swarming with radioactive pigs and monkeys.    Japanese trading house Itochu ‘pulls out of nuclear plant project in Turkey’.

BELGIUM. Belgium’s move away from nuclear power – now pushing offshore wind parks,

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Ongoing Chernobyl and Fukushima Disasters

26 Apr 2018

Thirty two years ago the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine melted down. Huge radiation releases occurred; estimates are 10x higher than Fukushima. Official deaths are ridiculously low (9,000 people). New analysis recently by Russian scientists assesses the death toll range as 1 to 1.5 million people. Fukushima deaths: 200,000 people within 10 years and 400,000 people within 50 years. Given that we in early stages of abrupt climate change, with huge increases in frequency, severity and duration of extreme weather, how resilient are nuclear reactors?

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment