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This week in climate and nuclear news

Anti-science got a boost this week, as the “leader of the free world” Donald Trump, visiting the catastrophic California wildfire sites, reaffirmed his rejection of climate science.    The Trump administration went on to deny its own government’s dire new report on climate change. It is disturbing and sad, to see so many people accepting the doctrine, which was named by Carl Sagan decades ago, – climate denial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gjuk2RcZ8uA. Even as the evidence mounts – of rising global average temperatures, arctic melting, sea level rise, and increasing extreme weather events,- politicians and much of the media promote the fossil fuel line of denial.

The world heads for Armageddon, as nuclear weapons control is wound back.

IAEA Director General Amano says Iran is abiding by nuclear deal, says North Korea should re-admit inspectors.

Study shows that women care more than men do, about climate change.(surprise, surprise)    Sir David Attenborough to speak for the people at UN climate summit.

Julian Assange at risk, as changes occur in Ecuadorian Embassy.

BANGLADESH. Climate change, rising sea levels, salty drinking water and increased miscarriages.

JAPAN.

RUSSIA. Russia to give up its policy of ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons.

USA. 

 

UK. Frightening projections by UK’s Met Office on impacts of climate change, rising seas. UK’s environmental campaigners “Extinction Rebellion” block roads around London’s Parliament Square.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLHN1eBbhOs

Sellafield – a nuclear misuse of public funds – and Hinkley Point C will be the next. UK customers to pay in advance for Hinkley nuclear power, AND cop the financial risk?  Architects awarded contest prize for nuclear project that is now cancelled.  Calls for permanent shutdown of Hunterston nuclear reactor 3, with its 350 cracks.    Uncertainty and delay, as UK struggles with plans for dealing with radioactive trash.

VIETNAM. Vietnam government abandons costly nuclear power plans.  Taiwan to host Asian anti-nuclear forum in 2019 .

TAIWAN. Taiwan still on track to become nuclear-free, despite pro-nuclear referendum.

BULGARIA. Bulgaria’s Belene Nuclear Power Plant project unlikely to ever be built, now needs EU approval.

CZECH REPUBLIC. Czechs consider nuclear power options: would require tax-payer funding.

SOUTH AFRICADoubts on future of South Africa’s nuclear research reactors, with glut of medical isotopes, and with particle accelerator production.

FRANCE. France could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028.

November 27, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Toxic radiation would have been spread by Californian fire at nuclear site

There has been great concern about extensive and extremely toxic and radioactive waste at the SSFL for years.

According to Daniel Hirsch, who recently retired as director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, SSFL is “one of the most contaminated sites in the country

There are multiple human health impacts that have been known to stem from the site well before the Woolsey Fire began.

study prepared by Professor Hal Morgenstern for the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry studied the community surrounding SSFL and found a greater than 60 percent increase in incidence of key cancers associated with proximity to the site.

“DTSC is a classically captured regulatory agency, captured by the polluters it is supposed to regulate,”

California Wildfire Likely Spread Nuclear Contamination From Toxic Site   https://truthout.org/articles/california-wildfire-likely-spread-nuclear-contamination-from-toxic-site/, Dahr Jamail,, November 26, 2018The incredibly destructive Woolsey Fire in southern California has burned nearly 100,000 acres in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, killed three people, destroyed more than 400 structures, and at the time of this writing, was finally nearly completely contained.

The fire may also have released large amounts of radiation and toxins into the air after burning through a former rocket engine testing site where a partial nuclear meltdown took place nearly six decades ago.

“The Woolsey Fire has most likely released and spread both radiological and chemical contamination that was in the Santa Susana Field Laboratory’s soil and vegetation via smoke and ash,” Dr. Bob Dodge, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), told Truthout.

The fire has been widely reported to have started “near” the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site (SSFL), but according to PSR-LA, it appears to have started at the site itself.

The contaminated site — a 2,849-acre former rocket engine test site and nuclear research facility — is located just 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

press release issued by PSR-LA on November 12 stated: Continue reading

November 27, 2018 Posted by | environment, incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Tensions rise as Russia prepares for USA to deploy nuclear weapons to Europe after ban treaty abandoned

Russia says it’s planning for the US to deploy nuclear weapons to Europe after ban treaty abandoned, Business Insider, Andrew Osborn and Tom Balmforth, Reuters, 26 Nov 18

November 27, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sea level rise, salty drinking water – how climate change could be causing miscarriages in Bangladesh

How climate change , BBC News , 26 November 2018 

In small villages along the eastern coast of Bangladesh, researchers have noticed an unexpectedly high rate of miscarriage. As they investigated further, scientists reached the conclusion that climate change might be to blame. Journalist Susannah Savage went into these communities to find out more.

“….in a small village on the east coast of Bangladesh… While miscarriages are not out of the ordinary, scientists who follow the community have noticed an increase, particularly compared to other areas. The reason for this, they believe, is climate change….

“Nothing grows here anymore,” says Al-Munnahar. Not many years ago – up until the 1990s – these swamp lands were paddy fields.  If rice production back then was not profitable, it was at least viable. Not anymore. Rising waters and increasing salinity have forced the wealthiest among the villagers to change to shrimp farming or salt harvesting. Today, few paddy fields remain.

“This is climate change in action,” says Dr Manzoor Hanifi, a scientist from the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh (ICDDRB), a research institute. “The effect on the land is visible, but the effect on the body: that we don’t see.”

Brine and bribery

ICDDRB have been running a health and demographic surveillance site in and around the district of Chakaria, near Cox’s Bazaar, for the last thirty years, enabling them to detect even small changes in the health of the communities they monitor.

Over the last few years, many families have left the plains and moved inland, into the forest hill area—mostly those with enough money to bribe forest wardens…….

In particular, women inland are less likely to miscarry. ……..

Moreover, when comparing the whole Chakaria region to Matlab, another area monitored by ICDDRB, in a part of Bangladesh far removed from the coast, the scientists also saw a noticeable difference.

In Chakaria, 11% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. In Matlab it is 8%.

This difference, the scientists believe, is to do with the amount of salt in the water the women drink – the increase of which is caused by climate change.

Families with no choice

Sea levels are rising, in part because of the melting of icecaps, but also because the earth’s rising temperature affects atmospheric pressure: even a small change in this causes an inverse effect on the sea level.

“With a one millibar decrease in atmosphere pressure,” says Dr Hanifi, “the sea level rises by ten millimetres: a series of depressions in atmospheric pressure can cause a considerable rise in water levels in shallow ocean basins.”

When sea levels rise, salty sea water flows into fresh water rivers and streams, and eventually into the soil. Most significantly, it also flows into underground water stores – called aquifers – where it mixes with, and contaminates, the fresh water. It is from this underground water that villages source their water, via tube wells.

The water that the village pump in Failla Para spews out is a little red in colour. It is also full of salt. This does not stop villagers drinking from the pump, though – nor from bathing in it and washing and cooking their food in it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people consume no more than 5g of salt per day. In Chakaria, those living in the coastal zone consume up to 16g per day – over three times what those in the hilly areas do.

In countries like the UK, health campaigns have cautioned against excessive salt consumption for years. It causes hypertension, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks, and, among pregnant women, miscarriages and preeclampsia.

These Bangladeshi families have no idea of the health risk from the water they are drinking, and even if they did, they have little choice……….
At the moment, the chance of miscarriage for women like Sharmin and Al-Munnahar is only slightly elevated. But unless something is done, says Dr Hanifi, “this will only get worse, as Bangladesh feels the effects of climate change more and more.”

As a low-lying country, full of flood plain land, Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to changes caused by global warming.

But other countries elsewhere, are also likely to experience similar repercussions from rising sea level…….https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-45715550

November 27, 2018 Posted by | ASIA, climate change, health | 1 Comment