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The fallacy of recommending nuclear power as a solution to climate change

More Nuclear Energy Is Not The Solution To Our Climate Crisis, November 19, 2018 Philip Warburg 

Faced with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report, some environmental leaders are all too ready to toss a lifeline to aging, uneconomic nuclear power plants. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), long venerated as America’s most rigorous nuclear watchdog group, joined this chorus in early November.

The UCS report, “The Nuclear Dilemma,” proposes that we single out “safe” but financially ailing nuclear plants and subsidize their operations, so that they might remain open — thus avoiding additional carbon emissions from coal or natural gas plants that might replace them. America gets about 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, but only 17 of the 99 reactors that generate this power are unprofitable, according to UCS. Those reactors account for just 3 percent of overall U.S. power generation, though UCS says the share of unprofitable nuclear plants could grow in future years if the price of natural gas drops or the costs of maintaining older nuclear facilities rise.

What do we gain by breathing some extra life into these plants? Proponents say “zero-carbon emissions.” That’s if we choose to ignore the emissions associated with mining and processing uranium, building nuclear power stations, managing nuclear waste, and — on those rare but horrific occasions — dealing with the consequences of a major nuclear disaster.

Bailing out old, financially shaky nuclear plants is a short-sighted response to a huge challenge that requires much bigger, much more transformative thinking. Instead, we ought to invest big in our leading zero-carbon alternatives — solar and wind — which offer far cheaper electricity and, unlike nuclear, have life-cycle costs that have steadily dropped over the past several years.

Setting aside the questionable economics of boosting the bottom lines of unprofitable power plants, how would we determine if a nuclear plant is “safe”?

The UCS recommends that we rely upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s five-tier performance matrix, and offer financial support only to plants that have earned the NRC’s highest rating. In 2002, the Davis Besse Nuclear Power Station in Ottawa County, Ohio, enjoyed that rating, but in March of that year, its reactor vessel — which contains the nuclear reactor coolant and shrouded reactor core — was found to be a fraction of an inch away from a potentially catastrophic rupture. Years of undetected corrosion had worn a football-sized hole in the vessel wall.

If the vessel had ruptured, the plant’s backup water pump (which was known to be impaired) would not have been able to re-flood the reactor vessel, an essential step in stabilizing the reactor core. In a recent interview, UCS scientist Dave Lochbaum, a seasoned reactor engineer, told me he remembers telling residents near Davis Besse: “You can stop buying lottery tickets. Your luck has been used up.”

Hundreds of thousands of people in Central Europe and Japan didn’t fare so well in the nuclear safety lottery.

Following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, some 350,000 people were evacuatedfrom parts of Ukraine and Belarus, and to this day 1,000 square miles of territory remain off-bounds to human habitation. In Japan, some 100,000 people had still not returned home five years after the March 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Utterly different circumstances precipitated these two nuclear disasters, as well as the earlier meltdown at Three Mile Island, but all three proved the statistician’s axiom that rare events do happen.

And then there’s the question of security at nuclear plants.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, word got out that unnamed nuclear plants were on al-Qaida’s list of potential terror targets. This was particularly alarming to people living near the Pilgrim power station in Plymouth, Massachusetts, situated on the flight path of the hijacked planes departing from Logan Airport.

Suicide air attacks were one concern post-9/11; saboteurs carrying rocket-propelled grenades and other portable weapons were another. To help plant operators prepare for potential threats, the NRC increased the frequency of “force-on-force” mock confrontations with plant infiltrators. It also required plant personnel to be trained in the use of portable pumps, generators and other devices that could fill in for safety equipment knocked out by sabotage.

Yet, at Pilgrim, this added training didn’t engender lasting vigilance.

Diane Turco, executive director of the volunteer watchdog group Cape Downwinders, brought attention to gaping holes in Pilgrim’s plant security when she and another activist visited the plant unannounced in 2014. She explained to me how they walked by an empty guardhouse, down the plant’s interior roadway, and into the access control building, where they observed employees punching in their security codes. No one stopped them, questioned them or searched for weapons. In 2012, a member of the same group, Paul Rifkin, circled Pilgrim in a friend’s helicopter and took detailed aerial photos of the plant.  He encountered no response from plant security, the FAA or the U.S. armed forces.

To be sure, Pilgrim is not on the NRC’s list of star performers. Burdened by a backlog of operational problems, it will be shutting down next spring. That said, the security deficits plaguing this plant are, to some degree, a warning about the broader vulnerability of nuclear plants.

We need to cut carbon emissions drastically if we are to have any hope of avoiding the very worst of climate change. Were there no better low-carbon electricity choices, groups like UCS might be on the right track in calling for a bailout of financially strapped nuclear plants. But we do have safer, more economically viable options.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory projects that renewable energy, combined with a more flexible electric system, would be “more than adequate to supply 80 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050, while meeting demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country.” Keeping our least- profitable nuclear plants online is a distraction from meeting — or exceeding — this goal.

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November 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Independent testing of radiation levels in air- Woolsey Fire and Santa Susana Field Lab Site

WOOLSEY FIRE: ARE YOU BREATHING TOXIC AND RADIOACTIVE AIR?  by fdr | Nov 14, 2018 Preliminary Independent Radiation Test Results from US Nuclear Corporation from The Woolsey Fire and Santa Susana Field Lab Site

After various complaints and talking with numerous concerned parents The Lancaster Weekly Review has ordered a commission in a preliminary study in order to finally answer some of the community’s concerns regarding potential toxic materials released from the Woolsey Fire as well as radiation from the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. The Field Lab was the site of a nuclear meltdown in 1959 with many locals and doctors condemning subpar cleanup efforts that point to high cancer rates which are 60% higher for those people living within a 2 mile radius of the SSFL. A lingering effect of the various toxins within the Field Labs vicinity.

It appears that the recent Woolsey Fire which has devastated swathes of Ventura and northwestern Los Angeles Counties, originated at the Santa Susa Field Lab and Testing Site with varied reports to the damage to the facility as well as the contamination area of the nuclear meltdown. The Southern California Edison Chatsworth Substation which is on the SSFL site shut down 2 minutes prior to start of the Woolsey Fire.

An independent study of air testing was conducted by US Nuclear Corporation of Canoga Park on Tuesday, November 13, five days after the Woolsey fire began. The owner, Mr. Bob Goldstein, was more than happy to help with the study and dispatched David Alban and Detwan Robinson to the Santa Susana Field Laboratory on Tuesday, November 13th at 3PM. They took two types of measurements for radiation with the US Nuclear Fast-Cam Air Monitor and another with a filter air tape. Twenty minute samples were taken at high flow rate of 40cfm at the Lab Entrance, which is up wind from the Lab. Another 20 minute sample was taken on the down wind side, which is North of the Lab. Given the proximity of the company’s headquarters to the Woolsey Fire US Nuclear Corporation’s team also took indoor samples at their office in Canoga Park.

It appears that many of the preliminary tests are picking up increased levels of Radon. Mr. Goldstein of US Nuclear Corporation commented, “Ordinary background radiation from minerals in the soil (and also from the solar wind and from cosmic rays) gives a dose rate of 0.015mR/hr (milliRem per hour) in the San Fernando Valley. But at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory background levels were found to be elevated to 0.040mR/hr. which is 0.025mR/hr higher than expected.”

Mr. Goldstein also stated, “The radioactivity collected on the filters decayed down to undetectable levels within 3 hours, leading us to conclude that this radioactive material is from Radon gas which decays after a short half life.” Overall, the tests that were conducted found that the area’s Radon levels are about 3 times higher than the surrounding San Fernando Valley.

Additional independent testing of other contaminants and toxins will take place in the coming days and will be published as soon as testing has taken place.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | environment, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Moorside project collapses, but UK’s Conservative government is Socialist when it comes to nuclear power projects

Another Nuclear Megaproject Bites The Dust, Oil Price, 

Toshiba’s announcement follows word of a breakdown in negotiations with prospective buyer, Korea Electric Power (KEPCo). It appears the Koreans, like others, are rethinking their commitment to nuclear energy worldwide.

Absent the cancellation decision, Toshiba is likely to have had trouble financing a project of this magnitude especially given the stress on its finances from its troubled venture into American nuclear construction. The Moorside project in Cumbria will have cost Toshiba over £400 million and management announced it was taking a write off of £125 million. Toshiba described its decision as “economically rational.” Amen to that.

A government spokesperson commented, “All proposed nuclear projects in the UK are led by private sector developers and … this is entirely a commercial decision for Toshiba.” This is an interesting statement. The only UK nuclear construction project currently underway is owned by French and Chinese state controlled entities, financed  with liberal debt guarantees provided by the UK government.

But let’s review the UK’s nuclear energy plans. There were at a minimum three large facilities planned. One for Cumbria, the Toshiba NuGen entity, is now cancelled. The Hinkley Point C units, being built by a French and Chinese consortium, are under construction and slated for commercial service in 2025-27. Lastly, Hitachi had a planned nuclear site in Wylfa.

Given the turmoil surrounding new nuclear construction, we have our doubts about the financial viability of Wylfa. This plant would cost at least 20 billion pounds ($26 billion). Press reports indicate government support would be necessary for close to two thirds of that amount. To further encourage developers, a government minister said in June that the government might directly invest 5 billion pounds into the project for a one third ownership share.

A little over three decades ago, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wanted her government to end state ownership of power producers. And she privatized the UK’s electricity industry. Her successors, who still call themselves Conservatives, seem to have reversed course.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s navy shipyards already threatened by climate change: storms, rising seas, and worse to come

U.S. Nuclear Fleet’s Dry Docks Threatened by Storms and Rising SeasDamage to key military shipyards would undermine the Pentagon’s ability to respond to military crises and counter China’s ambitions. Inside Climate News, By Nicholas Kusnetz NOV 19, 2018  PORTSMOUTH, Va. — At the foot of the Chesapeake Bay in southeast Virginia lies a Naval shipyard older than the nation itself. One of the country’s first warships was built here in 1799. So was the first battleship, and decades later the first aircraft carrier.Over a quarter millennium, Norfolk Naval Shipyard has been blockaded and burnt to the ground by the British, the Union and the Confederates, only to be rebuilt again and again to evolve into a hub of Naval power.

Today, it’s an essential maintenance facility for the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers, and it’s facing a threat that could shut it down permanently.

Rising seas will likely engulf the shipyard by century’s end, but the reckoning for Norfolk and nearby military installations could come much sooner.

“They’re going to disappear” unless the Pentagon acts quickly to protect them, said Ray Mabus, Navy secretary under President Barack Obama.

The most immediate worry is a direct hit from a major storm. “It would have the potential for serious, if not catastrophic damage, and it would certainly put the shipyard out of business for some amount of time,” Mabus said. “That has implications not just for the shipyard, but for us, for the Navy.”

The shipyard is among the American military sites most vulnerable to climate change. Because of its role in maintaining the fleet, damage to the aging facility could undermine the Pentagon’s ability to respond to military and humanitarian crises and to counter China’s growing naval ambitions. …….

The dry docks “were not designed to accommodate the threats” of rising seas and stronger storms, according to a 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office. Navy officials warned the GAO that flooding in a dry dock could cause “catastrophic damage to the ships.”

Already, high-tide flooding is contributing to extensive delays in ship repairs, the GAO said, disrupting maintenance schedules throughout the nuclear fleet.

The Navy has erected temporary flood walls to protect the dry docks and has begun elevating some equipment. It also recently proposed a more permanent barrier and other projects to address flooding, part of a 20-year, $21 billion plan the Navy submitted to Congress this year to modernize its four shipyards.

But the new projects have yet to be approved by lawmakers……….

Climate change is threatening to impair the military’s ability to respond to crises and defend the nation, not only at the shipyard but throughout its operations. The Defense Department has publicly recognized this risk for at least 15 years. The Navy, in particular, understands what is at stake, with so many facilities along the coasts and its forces often the first to arrive on the scene of humanitarian crises triggered by extreme weather……….

Addressing climate change has become more difficult under President Donald Trump. His administration omitted mention of climate change in its first National Security Strategy and instead called for greater fossil fuel development. Trump rescinded an Obama executive order that, in part, sought to provide intelligence analysts with the most current climate science to better monitor potential global hotspots. Nearly all references to climate change were also stripped from the final draft of a survey about the effects of climate-driven weather on facilities.

Military officials have become reluctant to work openly on climate change in the current political environment, said Joan VanDervort, former deputy director for ranges, sea and airspace at the Pentagon. “They have gone underground. They’re doing the same work but calling it something different. They try to stay away from the words ‘climate change,’ and use words like natural resources and resiliency and terms like weather, hurricanes,” she said. When you omit “climate change as a priority related to our national security, it’s very difficult to get funding.”…………

Every Year You Wait, the Risk Goes Up

A decade ago, the chief of naval operations commissioned the National Research Council to study the implications of climate change on the Navy’s mission. The 2011 report warned that global warming would strain the service’s capabilities. More severe weather would trigger famine and mass migration, requiring more humanitarian aid. A thawing Arctic would stress the Navy’s fleet by opening a vast new arena to police in particularly harsh conditions. Rising seas and harsher storms would put bases at risk: 56 facilities worth a combined $100 billion would be threatened by about 3 feet of sea level rise (the list has not been made public).

It warned that the Navy needed to begin investing in protections immediately at facilities facing the greatest climate risks, and had only 10 to 20 years to begin work on the rest. Seven years later, there’s been little progress, said retired Rear Adm. Jonathan White, who led the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change before retiring in 2015.

“Many of those recommendations, most if not all, have gone unanswered,” he said. “Every year you wait to make decisions and take actions, the risk goes up. And I think the expense also goes up.”………..InsideClimate News reporter Neela Banerjee contributed to this story.

Read this next: Dangers Without Borders: Military Readiness in a Warming World

November 19, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

“New Nuclear” lobbyists, Nuclear Alternative Project and USA’s CINTAC, target Puerto Rico

Nuclear Advocates Set Sights on Advanced Reactors for Puerto Rico

With big push of meetings with key officials, nuclear industry hopes to be part of Puerto Rico’s energy future, Morning ConsultBY JACQUELINE TOTH 

  • Supporters are highlighting the energy, climate and safety benefits of advanced reactor concepts.
  • Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives passed a resolution to study nuclear energy.
  • Details are sparse this early in the discussions, and Puerto Rico has no concrete plans for nuclear, instead focusing on other sources.
Nuclear industry professionals have launched a long-term bid to convince Puerto Rico they may have the solution for the island’s energy woes. ………

A group of nuclear industry professionals, who have formed The Nuclear Alternative Project nonprofit organization, recently hosted a group of nuclear executives to meet with Puerto Rican lawmakers and officials to discuss new nuclear concepts.

“We were in Puerto Rico for four days, and we were able to take the conversation from, ‘You guys are nuts,’” to something Puerto Ricans would consider if it would lower their energy bills, said Jesabel Rivera, the nonprofit’s community impact and engagement consultant.

But a host of questions over when, where, how and at what cost these reactors would be deployed and operated in Puerto Rico remains unanswered at this early stage. Some groups have also raised environmental concerns.

Officials from companies that included small modular reactor and micro-reactor developers NuScale Power LLC, X-Energy LLC, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., attended the meetings on the island.

“A lot of folks didn’t know anything about nuclear other than what they had kind of seen in movies,” said Jose Reyes, chief technology officer of NuScale, who attended the trip. “One person mentioned Homer Simpson.”

Another participant was Donald Hoffman, president and chief executive of nuclear consultancy EXCEL Services Corp., founder of the United Nuclear Industry Alliance, a former adviser to now-President Donald Trump and a member of the Commerce Department’s Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee.

Several of the recent tour’s other participants are CINTAC members.

After the tour, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives on Nov. 7 approved a resolution that calls on the House Government Commission to investigate the need for nuclear energy reactors on the island and report back within 180 days.
SMRs are billed as faster-to-construct, safer technologies with longer refueling cycles compared to older nuclear reactors, though no U.S. designs have yet undergone construction. The U.S. SMR furthest along in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process is NuScale, which has completed phase one of design review……

But discussions are at a nascent stage.

“There’s not enough detail yet. There’s no site,” design or cost determination for nuclear in Puerto Rico, Carlos Fernández-Lugo, chairman of the environmental, energy and land use practice group at law firm McConnell Valdés LLC, said during an Oct. 30 public panel discussion on nuclear energy held at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

It also remains unclear whether the customer for a nuclear plant would be the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the struggling government-owned utility that is undergoing restructuring.

The Nuclear Alternative Project is looking for funding to move forward with a feasibility study, Rivera said.

On Friday, however, a spokeswoman from the Department of Energy said the department does not have plans for a study on advanced nuclear in Puerto Rico at this time.
Puerto Rico does not currently have any operating nuclear reactors, but it once had the Boiling Nuclear Superheater Reactor Facility, an experimental reactor in Rincón, which operated at full power in 1965 but stopped about three years later due to technical difficulties and the resulting expensive changes that would be required. It was decommissioned, and decontamination work continued into the early 2000s.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | marketing, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Because of Brexit, the clean-up of UKs radioactive Dalgety Bay is stalled

Delay in Dalgety Bay radiation remediation work ‘due to Brexit’, Courier UK  November 19 2018 A further delay in the project to contain radiation at Dalgety Bay has been blamed on Brexit.

It was hoped remediation work to contain radioactive particles at the contaminated shore would be complete by the end of next summer.

But it has been revealed the work will not even be started in 2019 after the UK Government took longer than expected to give the plans final approval.

“I think every government department is focused on Brexit, and I think that’s potentially the problem,” said Labour councillor Bobby Clelland.

David Barratt, SNP councillor for Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, said: “It’s extremely disappointing that an entirely avoidable delay is now likely to occur and even more frustrating that this may be down to it sitting in someone’s inbox.

“I am writing to Lesley Laird as the MP for Dalgety Bay to express this frustration and to ask her to seek answers on why such a delay occurred in seeking ministerial approval.”

Radioactive particles were first discovered at the headland near Dalgety Bay Sailing Club in 1990.

The particles were found to contain radium-226 which was in paint used to make aircraft dials luminous. Studies of the coastline suggest incinerated radioactive waste was dumped prior to 1959, when the nearby airbase HMS Merlin was decommissioned.

After years of refusing to accept liability, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was named as the polluter by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency more than two decades after the radiation was found.

The MoD has drawn up an action plan, including removing some of the contaminated debris and containing the rest by building a wall and new slipway, which is with UK ministers for approval.

Stephen Ritchie from the MoD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) told South and West Fife Area Committee the delay was “very frustrating for everybody”………..

November 19, 2018 Posted by | environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Sayonara Nukes ~The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons

Book Review: Sayonara Nukes ~The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons,  BY DENNIS RICHES BY CNIC_ENGLISH · CAITLIN STRONELL, CNIC AUGUST 2, 2018 

Center for Glocal Studies, Seijo University I first came across Dennis Riches’ blog about a year after 3.11 when I was in India studying anti-nuclear movements. I read it avidly for its rich perspectives and home truths. Dennis was offering cultural, psychological, socio-economic explanations for the innumerable crises that the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns had unleashed. Many of my friends at the time were focused on technical explanations, which although of course vitally important, didn’t answer the really big questions for me, such as: How can the nuclear industry still be telling the same lies? How can TEPCO still be allowed to operate as a company? What are the structures we have to change here? His blog described the stark reality that we were facing in a matter-of-fact way but with strong undercurrents of extreme passion, which somehow seemed to me exactly what was needed.

  His recently released book is a compilation of these blog posts, divided into three parts: Articles that relate nuclear issues to works of literature, cinema and popular music; articles primarily about nuclear energy; and articles primarily about nuclear weapons.
The first section connects nuclear issues to figures as wide apart as Don Quixote and Bob Dylan, and compares the situation in Japan immediately after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster to a sci-fi drama called LOST. Although I have never seen this drama, Dennis’s comparison of the traumatized victims in the drama who somehow find themselves in an island paradise that has been transformed by technology and their dazed befuddlement and denial of reality, or perhaps inability to even grasp what had happened to them, and the situation in Japan in the nuclear disaster aftermath, make a lot of sense. We are reminded that in times when we feel utter disbelief, it is often the arts that offer the best explanation as to how and why we find ourselves in this predicament. This section also includes other film and book reviews and discussions.
The other two sections also contain book reviews as well as reports of conferences that Dennis attended, including the 2015 Pugwash Conference in Nagasaki (which he is quite critical of) as well as a report of a presentation on India’s nuclear program by Kumar Sundaram given in 2014 when he was in Tokyo. Articles on the devastating affects of the nuclear industry on citizens of various countries around the world, including the US, the Pacific Islands and Dennis’s native Canada are described with a focus on the voices of the victims. More abstract ideas such as the ‘institutional self-deception’ of the nuclear industry as well as an article titled ‘Commucapitalism’ about how ‘plutonium cities’ in both of the superpowers adopted the same political and social values despite their opposing national ideologies.
Many of the articles are 10-20 pages long and this allows Dennis to present many details, but also articulate overarching ideas and arguments. Each article is followed by copious endnotes and in many cases further reading lists providing a wealth of information on a wide variety of topics. Although this may sound a little academic, the articles are very easy to read and draw you in with their forthrightness and slight sarcastic edge.
The time period covered is from immediately after 3.11 through to more recent articles on the Trump administration. I would have liked to have known the actual date that the original blog was published as I think this might give some indication of the phases that Dennis, and perhaps many of us, went through and the way our thoughts developed post 3.11.
The book is published by Seijo University’s Center for Glocal Studies and is available in pdf form, free of charge at

November 19, 2018 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

The East Yorkshire village almost wiped out by a nuclear bomb

It was, understandably, opposed by residents By Alex Grove 18 NOV 2018 

It is a quaint rural hamlet on the coast of East Yorkshire with around 600 people and a few small amenities.

Life in Skipsea is peaceful, sleepy and quiet, but a controversial proposal put forward by scientists 65 years ago threatened to effectively wipe out the village from existence and change the face of the seaside village forever.

In 1953, almost 240 miles away from Skipsea in another similarly small Berkshire village called Aldermaston, scientists at the Atomic Research Establishment seriously considered detonating a nuclear weapon next to Skipsea.

At the time it had a medieval church and the remains of a Norman castle but not much else, and its close proximity to the RAF base at Hull made it an ideal spot to explode an atomic bomb.

In the midst of the Cold War, the UK wanted to find a coastal site for an above-ground atomic bomb explosion after detonating under the sea off a group of islands near Australia in 1952.

They first opted for a Scottish beauty spot called Duncansby Wick near Caithness in the Highlands of Scotland, but this plan was halted by the damp.

They turned their attention to Donna Nook in Lincolnshire before settling on Skipsea.

However, the people of the small East Riding village were not going to relinquish their hamlet without a fight. Unsurprisingly, community leaders rallied to protest against the idea arguing the site chosen was too close to bungalows and beach huts. The area’s MPs encouraged the government to reconsider the radical plan and with opposition to the idea too fierce, the government backed down and secured Skipsea’s future with the bomb test carried out at Emu Field – a desert area in South Australia.

The village was still used later on by The Royal Observer Corps as a site for a Cold War observation post on the east coast of England. The site remained active from October 1959 until its decommissioning in September 1991. It gathered dust for years before being restored by an enthusiast ten years ago.

People may not think there is much to do in Skipsea with the village home to a couple of churches and post offices, a village hall a pub and a few shops.

However, this tale of old will just make you appreciate the fact that this quiet, sleepy village even exists at all.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | history, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Almost truly incredible – the farce of Saudi Arabia’s Investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder

Saudi Arabia’s Investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Is a Tragic Farce, New Yorker, By Robin Wright, November 16, 2018     Despite six weeks of ferocious denials by Saudi Arabia, U.S. intelligence has concluded that the kingdom’s ambitious young crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, personally ordered the execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in Istanbul last month, the Washington Postreported late Friday. The U.S. assessment was reportedly based on a growing array of hard data as well as a psychological study of the thirty-three-year-old prince. The most damning and specific intelligence was provided by Turkey, including audio recordings of the murder inside the Saudi consulate and a call from the diplomatic mission back to Saudi Arabia immediately afterwards. Turkey shared both with the C.I.A. director Gina Haspel. But the United States also had its own electronic intercepts of conversations, some retrieved in a search of its electronic archives after Khashoggi’s murder on October 2nd, the Post reported. One was reportedly between the crown prince’s brother Khalid, who was the Saudi Ambassador to Washington at the time, and Khashoggi, who was told to go to Istanbul to get official papers proving his divorce so he could remarry.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | Reference, Saudi Arabia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Climate changes multiplying hazards, and the limits to ‘top down’ solutions

Mind-blowing’: Hazards to multiply and accumulate with climate change,, By Peter Hannam

20 November 2018 — Humanity is already enduring cumulative effects from climate change and damages will continue to mount along with carbon emissions, a new study has found. Tropical coastal regions will be the most exposed to multiple hazards.

The research – which involved analysis of 3280 research papers and was published on Tuesday by Nature Climate Change – identified 467 pathways that populations were already being hit by a warmer climate. Those impacts will likely increase and intensify unless aggressive efforts are taken to curb greenhouse gas pollution.

“We never stopped being surprised by how many impacts had already happened to us,” said Camilo Mora, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of the paper. (An interactive can be seen here.)

“It was also mind-blowing that we just refuse to wake up about how serious this is,” he said.

Examples of impacts cited ranged from famine deaths triggered by droughts and the increased spread of diseases in a warming world, to worsening heavy metal contamination in lakes after wild fires and a poor Russian wheat harvest amid heatwaves in 2010 that led to a doubling of world prices for the commodity.

The tendency towards more extreme weather includes accelerated evaporation rates as temperatures rise, worsening droughts and contributing to more severe wildfires – a combination currently being played out in California, Professor Mora said.

Similarly, with the atmosphere holding about 7 per cent more moisture for each degree of warming, the potential for more intense rain events increases.

About 20-40 per cent of the rainfall from the record wet Hurricane Harvey that soaked Houston in 2017 has been attributed to climate change, Professor Mora said.

Coastal regions were already being exposed to overlapping hazards from both the land and the ocean, making them particularly vulnerable locations now and in the future.

If carbon emissions continued to rise unabated at their current rate, tropical coastal areas such as in Southeast Asia could face as many as six climate hazards concurrently, the paper said.

These included rising sea level and the increased acidity of oceans as they absorb more carbon from the atmosphere.

Top-down limitations

While societies often relied on top-down approaches to dealing with emissions, the result was often a fragile policy set-up.

“One person can come along and reverse the whole thing,” Professor Mora said.

“We need to build the solution for climate change from the bottom up,” he said, citing a project currently being tested in Hawaii to make the US state fully carbon neutral by tree planting and other efforts.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Study suggests a possible ill effect of smartphones on teenagers’ brains

RF Safe Public Awareness Campaign: Study Shows Smartphone Radiation Triggers Memory Loss In Right-handed Teenagers

PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire PHOENIXNov. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The study titled, A Prospective Cohort Study of Adolescents’ Memory Performance and Individual Brain Dose of Microwave Radiation from Wireless Communication was published on 23 July 2018 found that cumulative RF-EMF brain exposure from mobile phone use over one year had a negative effect on the development of figural memory performance in adolescents, confirming prior results published in 2015.

Figural memory is mainly located in the right brain hemisphere, and the association with cell phone radiation exposure was more pronounced in adolescents using the mobile phone on the right side of the head. “This may suggest that indeed RF-EMF absorbed by the brain is responsible for the observed associations, ” said Martin Röösli, Head of Environmental Exposures and Health at Swiss TPH.

It took just one year’s worth of cell phone radiation exposure to damage the part of the brain that interprets images and shapes — and right-handed teens are worse affected.

Swiss radiation expert Martin Röösli studied the phone habits of 700 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17, before making them do memory tests.

The conclusion of the study states, “Our findings for a cohort of Swiss adolescents require confirmation in other populations but suggest a potential adverse effect of RF-EMF brain dose on cognitive functions that involve brain regions most exposed during mobile phone use.”

According to John Coates, CEO of RF Safe Corporation, “RF Safe headsets with air tube technology are designed to keep potentially harmful radiation away from your head. Using an air-tube to conduct the sound to your head, there are NO electrical components conducting sound to your head. Much like a Doctors stethoscope, only an air tube is used to conduct sound to the earpiece.”

“It is important parents recognize that children have smaller brains, thinner skulls, softer brain tissue, and a higher number of rapidly dividing cells, which makes them more susceptible to damage from cell phone exposure than adults,” Coates, said.

RF Safe has a focus that supports forward progress of the wireless industry and governmental agencies in standardization for safer cell phones with a goal of accelerating the pace that cell phone users are properly informed and able to attain safer wireless technologies “at the point of sale.”


RF SAFE is a world-leading provider of cell phone radiation protection accessories and informational safety data. Since 1998 RF (Radio Frequency) Safe has been dedicated to evolving the wireless industries safety standards, by engaging in the business of design, testing, manufacture, and sale of safety technologies to mitigate harmful effects of cell phone radiation.    SOURCE RF Safe  Markets Insider and Business Insider Editorial Teams were not involved in the creation of this post.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children | Leave a comment

250 safety mishaps in lat 4 years involving UK’s nuclear submarines

The Ferret 18th Nov 2018

The Ferret 18th Nov 2018  The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recorded more than 500 safety mishaps
with nuclear submarines on the Clyde since 2006 – half of them in the
last four years. UK defence minister, Stuart Andrew MP, has disclosed that
there have been 259 “nuclear site event reports” for Trident submarines
based at Faslane over the last 12 years. Over the same period there have
been 246 safety events on nuclear-powered but conventionally-armed
“hunter-killer” submarines berthed or docked at the naval base. Overall
23 incidents were categorised as having a “high potential” for leaking
radioactivity into the environment or within a submarine or building. Some
148 incidents were said to have a “moderate potential for future release
or exposure”.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK’s THORP nuclear reprocessing plant at Sellafield was a dud – never met its operational targets

International Panel on Fissile Materials 18th Nov 2018 Martin Forwood: The UK government announced on 14 November 2018 that the  THORP reprocessing plant at Sellafield has started its planned shutdown. A
Sellafield Stakeholder committee was told that by 11 November 2018, THORP would have chopped up (sheared) its last batch of spent fuel, bringing to an end almost a quarter century of operation.

Based on the officially published ‘annual throughput’ figures (tons reprocessed per year) collated
by the environmental group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE) since the plant opened in 1994, THORP has failed to meet its operational targets and schedules by a large margin. Just 5,045 tons were
reprocessed in the first 10 years of operation–the 7,000 tons only being completed on 4 December 4 2012–over nine years late. Not once during the Baseload period (1994-2003) was the nominal throughput rate of 1,000 tons
per year achieved.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, reprocessing, UK | Leave a comment

Vladimir Putin considers his response to US exit from nuclear pact

Putin mulls Russian response to US exit from nuclear pact  November 19 MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has gathered his top military officials to discuss a response to the planned U.S. withdrawal from a key nuclear arms pact.

U.S. President Donald Trump declared last month that he intends to opt out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, over alleged Russian violations. Russia has denied breaching the pact.

Putin told the top military brass Monday that the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty “wouldn’t be left without an answer from our side.” He noted that Russia has responded to the U.S. missile defense program by developing new weapons that he said are capable of piercing any prospective missile shield.

While warning of a possible Russian retaliation, Putin voiced hope that Moscow and Washington could engage in arms control talks to reduce tensions.

November 19, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

Edward Snowden Condemns US Justice Department for Targeting Assange 

Sputnik News, 18 Nov 18 The former NSA contractor, who faces capital punishment in the US for leaking classified information on numerous US secret surveillance programmes, voiced his support for the WikiLeaks founder after it came to light that US authorities are apparently poised to indict Julian Assange.

Edward Snowden, who has been granted political asylum in Russia, has voiced his concern about the dangerous precedent for stifling press freedom which could emerge from the US Justice Department’s alleged plans to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation, where Snowden is a board member, also issued a statement condemning the possible indictment of Julian Assange, whose website published a classified Iraqi dossier revealing that the US killed civilians during the country’s 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation. Trevor Timm, executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, cited a profound threat to press freedom if any charges are brought against WikiLeaks for their publishing activities.

“Whether you like Assange or hate him, the theories used in a potential Espionage Act prosecution would threaten countless reporters at the New York Times, Washington Post, and the many other news outlets that report on government secrets all the time. While everyone will have to wait and see what the charges detail, it’s quite possible core First Amendment principles will be at stake in this case,” his statement reads.

Earlier this week, it came to light through what is believed to be an accident that there’s a sealed complaint against Assange, as the US Department of Justice is gearing up to prosecute the whistleblower. It is now “optimistic” about the prospect of securing his release to US authorities, a new report suggests. According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors have weighed several types of charges against the journalist, who has resided in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012……….

November 19, 2018 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment