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Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine

The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.
Throughout the 1950s, the US, the Soviet Union, and others tested thermonuclear weapons in the Earth’s atmosphere. Those tests released vast quantities of radioactive material into the air and triggered fears that the nuclear reactions could ignite deuterium in the oceans, thereby destroying the planet in a catastrophic accidental fireball.
Atmospheric tests ended in 1980, when China finished its program, but the process has left a long-lasting nuclear signature on the planet. One of the most obvious signatures is cesium-137, a radioactive by-product of the fission of uranium-235.
After release into the atmosphere, cesium-137 was swept around the world and found its way into the food supply in trace quantities. Such an addition is rarely welcomed. But in 2001, the French pharmacologist Philippe Hubert discovered that he could use this signature to date wines without opening the bottles.
cesium-137-in-wine.jpg
The technique immediately became a useful weapon in the fight against wine fraud—labeling young wines as older vintages to inflate their price. Such fraud can be spotted by various types of chemical and isotope analysis—but only after the wine has been opened, which destroys its value.
Cesium-137, on the other hand, allows noninvasive testing because it is radioactive. It produces distinctive gamma rays in proportion to the amount of isotope present. Dating the wine is a simple process of matching the amount of cesium-137 to atmospheric records from the time the wine was made. That quickly reveals any fraud. Indeed, if there is no cesium-137, the wine must date from after 1980.
There is one blip in this record, though. The Chernobyl disaster in 1986 bathed much of Europe, and other parts of the world, in a radioactive cloud that increased atmospheric levels of cesium-137 again. Hubert and colleagues can see this blip in their data from wines.
And that raises an interesting question about the Fukushima disaster of 2011, an accident of Chernobyl proportions caused by a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan following a huge earthquake and tsunami. It released a radioactive cloud that bathed North America in fissile by-products.
Is it possible to see the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in California wines produced at the time?
Today we get an answer, thanks to a study carried out by Hubert and a couple of colleagues. “In January 2017, we came across a series of Californian wines (Cabernet Sauvignon) from vintage 2009 to 2012,” say Hubert and company.
This set of wines provides the perfect test. The Fukushima disaster occurred on March 11, 2011. Any wine made before that date should be free of the effects, while any dating from afterward could show them.
The team began their study with the conventional measurement of cesium-137 levels in the unopened bottles. That showed levels to be indistinguishable from background noise.
But the team was able to carry out more-sensitive tests by opening the wine and reducing it to ash by evaporation. This involves heating the wine to 100 degrees Celsius for one hour and then increasing the temperature to 500 degrees Celsius for eight hours. In this way, a standard 750-milliliter bottle of wine produces around four grams of ashes. The ashes were then placed in a gamma ray detector to look for signs of cesium-137.
Using this method, Hubert and his colleagues found measurable amounts of cesium-137 above background levels in the wine produced after 2011. “It seems there is an increase in activity in 2011 by a factor of two,” conclude the team.
That probably won’t be very useful for fraud detection in California wine—the levels of cesium-137 are barely detectable, and even then, only if the wine is destroyed.
But the result does show how nuclear disasters can have unexpected consequences long after the fact.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1807.04340 : Dating of Wines with Cesium-137: Fukushima’s Imprint
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July 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

The ultimate nightmare (but good for military profiteers) Trump’s plan for nuclear weapons in space

Star wars returns – Free speech tv. 1 of 3

Trump’s Space Force: Military Profiteering’s Final Frontier http://progressive.org/dispatches/trumps-space-force-military-profiteerings-final-frontier-180719/

“The heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

by Harvey Wasserman July 19, 2018 

The Commander-in-Chief, President Donald Trump, has announced a new mission into the realm of martial excess. It is one is that will surely enrich the aerospace industry while spreading the global battlefield to a new dimension.

Trump is calling for the creation of a new Space Force as a sixth branch of the U.S. military, to militarize the heavens.

“It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” Trump told a meeting of the National Space Council in mid-June. “We must have American dominance in space.”

To this end, the President has taken a page from Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars playbook. Reagan’s scheme, according to a recent article by Karl Grossman, was built around “nuclear reactors and plutonium systems on orbiting battle platforms providing the power for hypervelocity guns, particle beams and laser weapons.”

Grossman, a journalism professor at State University of New York/College of New York and author of the book The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet, has been reporting on the militarization of space for decades, says the move will likely spur a new international competition to weaponize space.

In an interview, Grossman told me that “the Russians and Chinese are hesitant because of the high cost. But if the Americans proceed with this, all bets are off. They’re not going to sit for it. They’re going to get up there before you know it.”

“It will all be nuclear,” Grossman adds. “It’s the ultimate nightmare.”

Trump’s move contradicts the letter and spirit of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which was won after years of epic negotiations, mostly during the Vietnam War. The landmark United Nations accord brought the Soviet Union, China, the United States, and 120 other nations together in a monumental agreement to designate space as a global commons, reserved for peaceful purposes.

“States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner,” the treaty states.

“The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military maneuvers on celestial bodies shall be forbidden.”


Now Trump has instructed the Pentagon “to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces; that is a big statement. We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal, it is going to be something.”

The proposal for a Space Corps as part of the Air Force could likely pass in the House but faces tougher going in the Senate.

“There’s a lot of resistance to this,” says Grossman, “because a lot of the current work is located in Colorado Springs, and in Huntsville, Alabama. So there’s geographical lobbying from the Pentagon because they thought a new Space Corps might be competition to some of the vested interest in those towns.”

“It’s hard to know how much this would cost,” says Grossman. An article in Roll Call has estimated “$500 billion or more in the coming decade.”

“The real cost will depend on how greedy the aerospace companies are,” Grossman says. “So much of space is now private business, with Elon Musk and Bezos and all kind of companies talking about making a buck out there.”

Representative Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, seems to agree, tellingRoll Call that “a big payday is coming for programs aimed at developing weapons that can be deployed in space.”

According to Franks, “It was a Democrat mindset that caused us to step back from space-based defense assets to ostensibly not ‘weaponize space,’ while our enemies proceeded to do just that, and now, we find ourselves in a grave deficit. In every area of warfare, within the Geneva Conventions, America should be second to none. That includes satellite warfare, if it’s necessary. We cannot be victims of our own decency here.”


The 1967 Outer Space Treaty was the result of worldwide recognition that war is incredibly costly in terms of lives and resources—and that more needed to be done.

“The U.S. led the effort to de-weaponize space in the wake of Sputnik,” says Grossman. “I was told by Craig Eisendrath of the State Department that the U.S. feared the Soviet presence in space. As a model they used the Antarctic Treaty, which banned weapons down there.”

Since the mid-1980s, key players at the United Nations have tried to expand the ‘67 accord. The Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space Treatyproposed in 1985, would have banned from space all weapons, nuclear and otherwise. Canada, Russia, and China pushed hard for its ratification. But no American president has been willing to sign it. The United Nations committee working on it was dissolved in 1994. In 2008, China and Russia submitted an updated draft to the U.N. General Assembly which the United States alone has continued to oppose (Israel has abstained). Even Putin, at their infamous Helsinki presser, chided Trump about it.

Now Trump is heading where no President since Reagan has gone before. “My new national strategy for space recognizes that space is a warfighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea,” he says.

“Trump’s plan, like Reagan’s, involves laser beams, particle beams and hypervelocity guns, all of which will have to involve nuclear power,” says Grossman. “If there’s a shooting war it will be Chernobyls and Fukushimas in the sky. Some of it will come down, which will be catastrophic. And some will take millennia to fall, which means the heavens are going to be littered with radioactive debris.”

As Grossman sees it, “Of all the many, many terrible things the Trump Administration is doing, opening space to war will be the most destructive.”

 

July 20, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Arctic circle countries ravaged by wildfires – Sweden worst affected

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help http://www.inkl.com/news/sweden-calls-for-help-as-arctic-circle-hit-by-wildfires?sharer=20552, By Jonathan Watts, July 18, 2018

At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox.

The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes, which have broken out across a wide range of its territory and prompted the evacuations of four communities.

Tens of thousands of people have been warned to remain inside and close windows and vents to avoid smoke inhalation. Rail services have been disrupted.

The Copernicus Earth observation programme, which gives daily updates of fires in Europe, shows more than 60 fires burning across Sweden, with sites also ablaze in Norway, Finland and Russia, including in the Arctic Circle.

Norway has sent six fire-fighting helicopters in response to its neighbour’s request for assistance. Italy is sending two Canadair CL-415s – which can dump 6,000 litres of water on each run – to Örebro in central southern Sweden.

In western Sweden, fire-fighting operations were temporarily halted near an artillery training range near Älvdalen forest due to concernsthat unexploded ordnance might be detonated by the extreme heat.

Residents in Uppsala said they could see the plumes of smoke and have been banned from barbecuing in national parks, after 18 consecutive days without rain.

“This is definitely the worst year in recent times for forest fires. Whilst we get them every year, 2018 is shaping up to be excessive,” said Mike Peacock, a university researcher and local resident.

There have been huge fires in the past in Sweden, but not over such a wide area. This appears to be a trend as more and bigger blazes are reported in other far northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, Siberia and Canada.

The sparks come from a variety of sources: BBQs, cigarettes and increasingly lightning, which is becoming more frequent as the planet warms.

Swedish authorities say the risk of more fires in the days ahead is “extremely high” due to temperatures forecast in excess of 30C. Much of the northern hemisphere has sweltered in unusually hot weather in recent weeks, breaking records from Algeria to California and causing fires from Siberia to Yorkshire. Ukraine has been hit especially hard by wildfires.

The European Forest Fire Information System warned fire danger conditions were likely to be extreme across much of central and northern Europe in the coming weeks.

EU officials said many of this year’s fires are outside the traditional European fire zone of the Mediterranean, and are increasingly taking place at unexpected times of year. 2017 was the worst fire year in Europe’s history, causing destruction to thousands of hectares of forest and cropland in Portugal, Spain and Italy, as late as November. “There are clear trends of longer fire seasons and frequent critical periods in Europe that are leading to dangerous fire situations,” said a European commission official.

Climate scientists said the Arctic and other areas that were once relatively fire-free are likely to become more vulnerable.

“What we’re seeing with this global heatwave is that these areas of fire susceptibility are now broadening, with the moors in north-west England and now these Swedish fires a consequence of that,” said Vincent Gauci, professor of global change ecology at the Open University.

“Both these areas are typically mild and wet which allows forests and peatlands to develop quite large carbon stores,” he added. “When such carbon-dense ecosystems experience aridity and heat and there is a source of ignition – lightning or people – fires will happen.”

July 20, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Sweden | Leave a comment

Unbearable heat in India becoming a major threat to health

In India, summer heat could soon be unbearable — literally

An analysis of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continued, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity indicating when the body can no longer cool itself — will become so high people directly exposed for six hours or more would die.
Somini Sengupta-Seattle Times,  July 18, 2018  
The New York Times

NEW DELHI — On a sweltering Wednesday in June, a rail-thin woman named Rehmati gripped the doctor’s table with both hands. She could hardly hold herself upright, the pain in her stomach was so intense.

She had traveled for 26 hours in a hot oven of a bus to visit her husband, a migrant worker here in the Indian capital. By the time she got here, the city was an oven, too: 111 degrees by lunchtime, and Rehmati was in an emergency room.

The doctor, Reena Yadav, did not know exactly what had made Rehmati sick, but it was clearly linked to the heat. Yadav suspected dehydration, possibly aggravated by fasting during Ramadan. Or it could have been food poisoning, common in summer because food spoils quickly.

Yadav put Rehmati, who is 31 and goes by one name, on a drip. She held her hand and told her she would be fine. Rehmati leaned over and retched.

Extreme heat can kill, as it did by the dozens in Pakistan in May. But as many of South Asia’s already-scorching cities get even hotter, scientists and economists are warning of a quieter, more far-reaching danger: Extreme heat is devastating the health and livelihoods of tens of millions more.

If global greenhouse-gas emissions continue at their current pace, they say, heat and humidity levels could become unbearable, especially for the poor.

It is already making them poorer and sicker.

…….Indeed, a recent analysis of climate trends in several of South Asia’s biggest cities found that if current warming trends continue, by the end of the century, wet bulb temperatures — a measure of heat and humidity that can indicate the point when the body can no longer cool itself — would be so high that people directly exposed for six hours or more would not survive.

In many places, heat only magnifies the more thorny urban problems, including a shortage of basic services, like electricity and water.

…The science is unequivocally worrying. Across the region, a recent World Bank report concluded, rising temperatures could diminish the living standards of 800 million people.

Worldwide, among the 100 most populous cities where summer highs are expected to reach at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050, according to estimates by the Urban Climate Change Research Network, 24 are in India.

………Delhi’s heat index, a metric that takes average temperatures and relative humidity into account, has risen sharply — by 0.6 degrees Celsius in summer and 0.55 degrees during monsoons per decade between 1951 and 2010, according to one analysis based on data from 283 weather stations across the country.

Some cities are getting hotter at different times of year. The average March-to-May summertime heat index for Hyderabad had risen by 0.69 degrees per decade between 1951 and 2010. In Kolkata, a delta city in the east, where summers are sticky and hot anyway, the monsoon is becoming particularly harsh: The city’s June-September heat index climbed by 0.26 degrees Celsius per decade.

Joyashree Roy, an economist at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, found that already, most days in the summer are too hot and humid to be doing heavy physical labor without protection, with wet-bulb temperatures far exceeding the thresholds of most international occupational health standards. of most international occupational health standards……… https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/in-india-summer-heat-could-soon-be-unbearable-literally/

July 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, India | 1 Comment

Linear No Threshold the best model for ionising radiation, new research shows

 Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326387649_Implications_of_recent_epidemiologic_studies_for_the_linear_nonthreshold_model_and_radiation_protection

Article in Journal of Radiological Protection ·
Article in Journal of Radiological Protection · July 2018   Roy ShoreHarold Beck Jr. John D. Boice Lawrence Dauer        DOI: 10.1088/1361-6498/aad348
Abstract
The recently published NCRP Commentary No. 27 evaluated the new information from epidemiologic studies as to their degree of support for applying the linear nonthreshold (LNT) model of carcinogenic effects for radiation protection purposes [1].
The aim was to determine whether recent epidemiologic studies of low-LET radiation, particularly those at low doses and/or low dose rates (LD/LDR), broadly support the LNT model of carcinogenic risk or, on the contrary, demonstrate sufficient evidence that the LNT model is inappropriate for the purposes of radiation protection.
An updated review was needed because a considerable number of reports of radiation epidemiologic studies based on new or updated data have been published since other major reviews were conducted by national and international scientific committees. The Commentary provides a critical review of the LD/LDR studies that are most directly applicable to current occupational, environmental and medical radiation exposure circumstances.
This Memorandum summarizes several of the more important LD/LDR studies that incorporate radiation dose responses for solid cancer and leukaemia that were reviewed in Commentary No. 27. In addition, an overview is provided of radiation studies of breast and thyroid cancers, and cancer after childhood exposures. Non-cancers are briefly touched upon such as ischemic heart disease, cataracts, and heritable genetic effects.
To assess the applicability and utility of the LNT model for radiation protection, the Commentary evaluated 29 epidemiologic studies or groups of studies, primarily of total solid cancer, in terms of strengths and weaknesses in their epidemiologic methods, dosimetry approaches, and statistical modeling, and the degree to which they supported a LNT model for continued use in radiation protection. Recommendations for how to make epidemiologic radiation studies more informative are outlined. The NCRP Committee recognizes that the risks from LD/LDR are small and uncertain.
The Committee judged that the available epidemiologic data were broadly supportive of the LNT model and that at this time no alternative dose-response relationship appears more pragmatic or prudent for radiation protection purposes.

Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection | Request PDF. Available Implications of recent epidemiologic studies for the linear nonthreshold model and radiation protection | Request PDF. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326387649_Implications_of_recent_epidemiologic_studies_for_the_linear_nonthreshold_model_and_radiation_protection [accessed Jul 20 2018].

July 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Captiol Hill briefing paper on the need for autopsies at decommissioning reactors 

http://www.beyondnuclear.org/nuclear-reactors-whatsnew/2018/7/11/captiol-hill-briefing-paper-on-the-need-for-autopsies-at-dec.html

LINK TO FULL REPORT 

Decommissioning nuclear power stations need an “autopsy” to verify and validate safety margins projected for operating reactor license extensions  

                                                    Summary

The Issue

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), the lead organization for the U.S. commercial nuclear power industry, envisions the industry’s “Bridge to the Future” through a series of reactor license renewals from the original 40-year operating license; first by a 40 to 60-year extension and then a subsequent 60 to 80-year extension. Most U.S. reactors are already operating in their first 20-year license extension and the first application for the second 20-year extension (known as the “Subsequent License Renewal”) is before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for review and approval. NEI claims that there are no technical “show stoppers” to these license extensions. However, as aging nuclear power stations seek to extend their operations longer and longer, there are still many identified knowledge gaps for at least 16 known age-related material degradation mechanisms (embrittlement, cracking, corrosion, fatigue, etc.) attacking irreplaceable safety-related systems including miles of electrical cable, structures such as the concrete containment and components like the reactor pressure vessel. For example, the national labs have identified that it is not known how radiation damage will interact with thermal aging. Material deterioration has already been responsible for near miss nuclear accidents.  As such, permanently closed and decommissioning nuclear power stations have a unique and increasingly vital role to play in providing access to still missing data on the impacts and potential hazards of aging for the future safety of dramatic operating license extensions.

The NRC and national laboratories document that a post-shutdown autopsy of sorts to harvest, archive and test actual aged material samples (metal, concrete, electrical insulation and jacketing, etc.) during decommissioning provides unique and critical access to obtain the scientific data for safety reviews of the requested license extensions. A Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 2017 report concludes, post-shutdown autopsies are necessary for “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions. Many of the remaining questions regarding degradation of materials will likely require[emphasis added]a combination of laboratory studies as well as other research conducted on materials sampled from plants (decommissioned or operating).” PNNL reiterates, “Where available, benchmarking can be performed using surveillance specimens. In most cases, however, benchmarking of laboratory tests will require(emphasis added)harvesting materials from reactors.” In the absence of “reasonable assurance,” it is premature for licensees to complete applications without adequate verification and validation of projected safety margins for the 60 to 80-year extension period.

Decommissioning is not just the process for dismantling nuclear reactors and remediating radioactive contamination for site restoration. Decommissioning has an increasingly important role at the end-of-reactor-life-cycle for the scientific scrutiny of projected safety margins and potential hazards at operating reactors seeking longer and longer license extensions.                   

The Problem

After decades of commercial power operation,the nuclear industry and the NRC have done surprisingly little to strategically harvest, archive and scientifically analyze actual aged materials. Relatively few samples of real time aged materials have been shared with the NRC.  The NRC attributes the present dearth of real time aged samples to “harvesting opportunities have been limited due to few decommissioning plants.” However, ten U.S. reactors have completed decommissioning operations to date and 20 units are in the decommissioning process. More closures are scheduled to begin in Fall 2018.  A closer look raises significant concern that the nuclear industry is reluctant to provide access to decommissioning units for sampling or collectively share this cost of doing business to extend their operating licenses. Key components including severely embrittled reactor pressure vessels were promptly dismantled by utilities and buried whole without autopsy. Many permanently closed reactors have been placed in “SAFSTOR,” defueled and mothballed “cold and dark” for up to 50 years without the material sampling to determine their extent of condition and the impacts of aging. Moreover, the NRC is shying away from taking reasonable regulatory and enforcement action to acquire the requested samples for laboratory analysis after prioritizing the need for a viable license extension safety review prior to approval. Meanwhile, the nuclear industry license extension process is pressing forward.

David Lochbaum, a recognized nuclear safety engineer in the public interest with the Union of Concerned Scientists, identifies that nuclear research on the impacts and hazards of age degradation in nuclear power stations presently relies heavily on laboratory accelerated aging—often of fresh materials—and computer simulation to predict future aging performance and potential consequences during license extension.  Lochbaum explains that “Nuclear autopsies yield insights that cannot be obtained by other means.” Researchers need to compare the results from their time-compression studies with results from tests on materials actually aged for various time periods to calibrate their analytical models.According to Lochbaum, “Predicting aging effects is like a connect-the-dots drawing. Insights from materials harvested during reactor decommissioning provide many additional dots to the dots provided from accelerated aging studies. As the number of dots increases, the clearer the true picture can be seen. The fewer the dots, the harder it is to see the true picture.

The Path Forward

1) Congress, the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NRC need to determine the nuclear industry’s fair share of autopsy costs levied through collective licensing fees for strategic harvesting during decommissioning and laboratory analysis of real time aged material samples as intended to benefit the material performance and safety margins of operating reactors seeking license extensions, and;

2) As NRC and the national laboratories define the autopsy’s stated goal as providing “reasonable assurance that systems, structures, and components (SSCs) are able to meet their safety functions” for the relicensing of other reactors, the NRC approval process for Subsequent License Renewal extensions should be held in abeyance pending completion of comprehensive strategic harvesting and conclusive analysis as requested by the agency and national laboratories, and;

3) Civil society can play a more active role in the independent oversight and public transparency of autopsies at decommissioning reactor sites such as through state legislated and authorized nuclear decommissioning citizen advisory panels.

July 20, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Growing threat to human health, as night time temperatures are going up around the world

Research published in the International Journal of Climatology last year found night-time temperatures were increasing more rapidly than daytime temperatures.

Why temperatures at night are going up around the world and what we can do about it http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-19/nights-getting-hotter-climate-change-has-deadly-consequences/9985340, ABC Weather By Kate Doyle 

July 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Uranium Tariffs Threaten Nuclear Plants Trump Is Trying to Save

Uranium Tariffs Threaten Nuclear Plants Trump Is Trying to Save, Bloomberg, By 

  •  
    U.S. to probe whether imports are threat to national security
  •  
    Tariffs on imports ‘would drive up the price of uranium’
The Trump administration’s decision to consider tariffs on uranium imports may raise the cost of fuel for nuclear reactors and undermine a separate initiative to shore up struggling electricity generators.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday it will probe whether uranium imports “threaten to impair” national security. U.S. miners Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc., which requested the probe in January, want 25 percent of the domestic market reserved for U.S. producers. Domestic companies supply less than 5 percent of U.S. consumption and would need about three years to ramp up production to meet that target.

The prospect of trade barriers comes after President Donald Trump last month ordered his energy secretary to take action to extend the life of money-losing coal and nuclear power plants that face competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy. Those efforts may be hindered as the prospect of tariffs threatens to deal another blow to financially strapped reactor operators……..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-19/uranium-tariffs-threaten-nuclear-plants-trump-is-trying-to-save

July 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Over $34 billion esitmated as cost of Rick Perry’s bailout plan for coal and nuclear

Perry’s bailout plan for coal, nuclear could cost more than $34 billion, study says   https://www.mrt.com/business/energy/article/Perry-s-bailout-plan-for-coal-nuclear-could-cost-13086420.php By James Osborne, WASHINGTON – A Department of Energy proposal to bail out struggling coal and nuclear power plants would cost $34 billion, according to a new study commissioned by a coalition of energy and technology companies opposing the plan.

The analysis, by Massachussetts-based research firm The Brattle Group, looked at the costs associated with keeping the U.S. coal and nuclear fleets operating as is for the next two years.

“Arresting the retirement of uneconomic generating assets in the current market environment will likely prove quite costly,” the report reads.

RELATED STORY: Trump orders Perry to “prepare immediate steps” to keep coal, nuclear plants online

The study was commissioned by groups including American Petroleum Institute, Advanced Energy Economy and American Wind Energy Association, after the leak of a memorandum from the Department of Energy calling for the White House to use national security powers to save coal and nuclear plants.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has been championing such actions since last year, arguing the shutdowns theater the stability of the nation’s power grid.

“Further, bailouts of coal and nuclear plants around the country could raise costs on American consumers and fundamentally hurt the administration’s goal of American energy dominance throughout the world,” said Todd Snitchler, market development director at the American Petroleum Institute.

 

July 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants

https://www.nippon.com/en/features/h00238/ [2018.07.19]  Seven years on from the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, nine reactors are operational in Japan as of July 2018. Unlike the Fukushima Daiichi reactors, all of these are pressurized water reactors and they are based in western Japan.

On March 11, 2011, there were 54 nuclear reactors in operation in Japan supplying approximately 30% of the country’s electric power. However, the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent devastating tsunami that brought disaster to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station transformed attitudes and nuclear energy usage nationwide.

In July 2013, the Japanese government established new regulatory standards for nuclear power plants. To withstand earthquakes and tsunami, new stricter safety regulations must be met, involving huge costs to implement necessary safety countermeasures. Additionally, in municipalities where plants are located, whether operations are allowed to resume has become an election point for local politicians, and residents continue to file injunctions against bringing plants online again. Even if the hugely expensive safety countermeasures are implemented, numerous hurdles remain to be overcome.

As of July 12, 2018, there are five plants with a total of nine reactors that have met the new standards: Ōi and Takahama (Kansai Electric Power Company), Genkai and Sendai (Kyūshū Electric Power Company), and Ikata (Shikoku Electric Power Company). Meanwhile, it has been decided that 19 reactors will be decommissioned.

The nine reactors that have resumed operations are based in western Japan. All of them are pressurized water reactors, thereby differing from the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), where the accident occurred. When it comes to nuclear plants that have the same boiling water reactor system as Fukushima Daiichi, reactors 6 and 7 of Kashiwazaki-Kariwa (TEPCO) have passed the new standards review and Tōkai Daini (Japan Atomic Power Company) is now at the final stage awaiting official approval. However, as they are the same types of reactors as Fukushima Daiichi and memories of the huge earthquake are still strong in people’s minds in eastern Japan, it is difficult to gain approval from local residents and municipalities. No plans have been set for restarting them

 

July 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Legal action against Franced’s EDF over Framatome (i.e AREVA) ‘s violations of environmental code

Liberation 17th July 2018 , Flamanville: NGOs lodge a complaint against EDF for “breaches” of security.
Sortir du nucléaire and Greenpeaceare to take legal action this Wednesday morning in the case of defective welds detected on the pipes of the future EPR reactor. The soap opera of the shipyard of the EPR reactor, built by EDF on the Flamanville power station (Manche), takes a legal turn.

According to our information, Sortir du nucléaire and Greenpeace France will file this Wednesday morning with the prosecutor of the High Court of Cherbourg a complaint against EDF and its industrial subsidiary Framatome
(ex-Areva NP) “for ten violations of the code of the environment and the regulation of basic nuclear installations “.
http://www.liberation.fr/france/2018/07/17/flamanville-des-ong-portent-plainte-contre-edf-pour-infractions-a-la-surete_1667181

July 20, 2018 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

In Britain, Nuclear power is now recognised as not economically viable

Ecologist 18th July 2018 Nuclear power is now recognised as not economically viable. This confirms
that renewable energy really does deserve its place in the sun, argues Bruce Davis, the managing director of Abundance Investment.

The UK has long been a welcoming habitat for a number of white elephants. Normally, these
rare and massive beasts roam freely, grazing on political expediency. However, now and again their existence is threatened by outbreaks of political honesty and economic necessity.

This week saw calls for the humane culling of one species of white elephant in particular, namely our
political obsession with nuclear energy. This is an obsession that continues despite the industry’s inability to reduce the risks of construction, costs of production and – most importantly – find a sustainable and morally acceptable way to deal with long-term storage of radioactive waste.
https://theecologist.org/2018/jul/18/white-nuclear-elephants-move-endangered-list

July 20, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Catholic Church urged to make care of environment a legal obligation – Vatican’s former legal chief

Vatican’s former legal chief says canon law should include care of creation, CRUX, Elise Harris, CNA, Jul 18, 2018, ROME – The Vatican’s former top advisor on canon law has made a public call to insert legal obligations for the care of creation into the Church’s universal canon law –  making it a legal duty for Catholics not only “not to harm” the environment, but to improve it.

According to veteran Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, former head of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, made the proposal during a July 12 event in Rome titled “Dialogue on Catholic Investments for the Energy Transition.”

During the closed-door discussion, representatives from the Vatican and Catholic organizations spoke about how to invest responsibly towards a transition to renewable energies.

In an interview with Vatican Insider, Coccopalmerio discussed canons 208-221 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law, which enumerate “Obligations and rights of all the faithful.”

This section “outlines an ‘identikit’ of the faithful and of their life as a Christian,” the cardinal said, but noted that nothing is mentioned “about one of the most serious duties: That of protecting and promoting the natural environment in which the faithful live.”

The proposal he outlined, which he suggested could be submitted to the pope but considered by his former department, would be to ask for a new canon to be added to the obligations of all the faithful, specifically treating environmental responsibility………

Drawing inspiration from Laudato Si’, Francis’s 2015 encyclical on the environment, participants at the event agreed on the Catholic Program of Disinvestment, sponsored by the Catholic Climate Movement, which urges ecclesial institutions to make a public commitment to move away from financial investments in fossil fuels.

Participants also highlighted the importance of pursuing ethical investment strategies in line with the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, according to Tornielli……..https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2018/07/18/vaticans-former-legal-chief-says-canon-law-should-include-care-of-creation/

July 20, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) acquires 75% stake in Swedish wind power project

Reuters 18th July 2018 , China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) has acquired a 75 percent
stake in a Swedish wind power project from Australia’s Macquarie Group
and GE Energy Financial Services, state news agency Xinhua reported on
Wednesday. The North Pole wind power project, located in Pitea, Sweden, is
expected to be operational by the end of 2019 with a capacity of 650,000
kilowatts, making it the single largest onshore wind power park in Europe,
Xinhua said.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-cgn-sweden/chinas-cgn-acquires-75-percent-of-swedish-wind-farm-xinhua-idUSKBN1K81IC?rpc=401&

July 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, China, renewable, Sweden | Leave a comment

Britain’s new rules will force companies to declare their carbon footprint

Telegraph 18th July 2018, Britain’s largest companies will need to lay bare the size of their
carbon footprint alongside their statutory financial results in their
annual reports from next year. Under new rules, the Government will force
large private companies and those quoted on the London Stock Exchange to
account for their energy use, carbon emissions and their energy efficiency
measures in the drive towards a zero carbon economy. The new rules take
effect for the financial years from April 2019 and replace a defunct carbon
reporting regime which was heavily criticised by business for needlessly
adding layers of bureaucracy at a cost of around £20m.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/07/18/government-force-carbon-accounting-annual-reports/

July 20, 2018 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment