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Putin puts shipping safety regulation in the Arctic into the hands of the nuclear industry!

It’s a law – Russian Arctic shipping to be regulated by Rosatom

President Putin signs the bill that makes the country’s state nuclear power company top regulator of the Northern Sea Route.By Atle Staalesen, January 02, 2019

Rosatom has officially been granted the leading role in the development of the vast Russian Arctic. The company that employs more than 250,000 people and engages in a multitude of activities related to nuclear power development and production is now formally Russia’s management authority for the Northern Sea Route.

The law was adopted by the State Duma on the 11th December and on the 28th signed by Vladimir Putin.

The new legislation comes as Russian Arctic shipping is on rapid increase. In 2018, about 18 million tons of goods was transported on the sea route, an increase of almost 70 percent from 2017. And more is to come. According to Vladimir Putin so-called May Decrees, the top national priorities, shipping on the Northern Sea Route is to reach 80 million tons already by year 2024.

Rosatom’s new powers in the Arctic include development and operational responsibilities for shipping, as well as infrastructure and sea ports along the northern Russian coast.

The responsibilities of the Northern Sea Route Administration, that until now has operated under the Ministry of Transport, will now be transferred to Rosatom.

It was Putin himself who in early 2017 made clear that a coordinating government agency for the Northern Sea Route was needed. A battle between Rosatom and the Ministry of Transport followed. In December 2017, it became clear that the nuclear power company had won that fight.

A central person in the new structure will be Vyacheslav Ruksha, the former leader of nuclear icebreaker base Atomflot.

The nuclear power company has since 2008 operated the fleet of nuclear-power icebreakers. Currently, five icebreakers are based in Atomflot, Murmansk, and several more ships are under construction, including four powerful LK-60 vessels.

Rosatom is also in the planning process of the «Lider», the 120 MW capacity super-powerful ship that can break through two meter thick ice at an unprecedented 10-12 knot speed.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | politics, Russia, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 10 Comments

Japan losing hope for having a nuclear export industry

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un actually getting nowhere in nuclear diplomacy

Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program, NYT, By David E. Sanger, Jan. 1, 2019

Nearly two years into his presidency and more than six months after his historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.

That was the essential message of Mr. Kim’s annual New Year’s televised speech, where he reiterated that international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up a single weapon, dismantle a single missile site or stop producing nuclear material.

The list of recent North Korean demands was a clear indicator of how the summit meeting in Singapore last June altered the optics of the relationship more than the reality. Those demands were very familiar from past confrontations: that all joint military training between the United States and South Korea be stopped, that American nuclear and military capability within easy reach of the North be withdrawn, and that a peace treaty ending the Korean War be completed.

“It’s fair to say that not much has changed, although we now have more clarity regarding North Korea’s bottom line,’’ Evans J.R. Revere, a veteran American diplomat and former president of the Korea Society, wrote in an email.

“Pyongyang refused to accept the United States’ definition of ‘denuclearization’ in Singapore,’’ he wrote. To the United States, that means the North gives up its entire nuclear arsenal; in the North’s view, it includes a reciprocal pullback of any American ability to threaten it with nuclear weapons. “The two competing visions of denuclearization have not changed since then.”

o                  Mr. Trump and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, who is supposed to turn Mr. Trump’s enthusiasms into diplomatic achievements, dispute such conclusions. They note that the tone of one of the world’s fiercest armed standoffs has improved. It has, and both leaders say they want to meet again.

……….By some measures there has been modest progress. It has been 13 months since the North tested a nuclear weapon or a long-range missile, a change that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo cite as the first fruits of what some officials now concede will be a long diplomatic push.

Relations between the two Koreas are warming, though there is considerable evidence that Mr. Kim sees his outreach to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea as a way to split the United States from its longtime ally.

But Mr. Trump’s strategic goal, from the moment he vowed to “solve” the North Korea problem rather than repeat the mistakes of past presidents, has been to end the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, not suspend it in place.

Mr. Trump dispatched his first secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, to Seoul in March 2017 to declare that a mere nuclear freeze would not be enough. Back then, Mr. Tillerson declared there would be no negotiations, and certainly no lifting of sanctions, until the North’s dismantling had begun. A nuclear freeze would essentially enshrine “a comprehensive set of capabilities,” he argued.

The decision Mr. Trump must make now is whether to backtrack on the objective of zero North Korean nuclear weapons even if that means accepting the North as a nuclear-armed state, as the United States has done with Pakistan, India and Israel.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Between USA’s John Bolton, and Russia’s nuclear hawks – the fragmentation of nuclear arms control spells global danger

January 5, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New nuclear technology is NOT a solution to climate change

Debate Continues: Can New Technology Save Nuclear Power?   Power, 01/01/2019 | Kennedy Maize.………Are advanced nuclear reactor designs the answer to the decades-long doldrums for nuclear power? For the U.S., a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel led by long-time nuclear advocate M. Granger Morgan of Carnegie Mellon University, issued a pessimistic report last July—US nuclear power: The vanishing low-carbon wedge.

The academy’s report found, “While advanced reactor designs are sometimes held up as a potential solution to nuclear power’s challenges, our assessment of the advanced fission enterprise suggests that no US design will be commercialized before midcentury.” That’s a chilling indictment for all advanced LWRs. The crux of the Morgan report is an assessment that the economic hurdles for nuclear in the U.S. are insurmountable.………

Peter Bradford, a veteran electric utility regulator and nuclear skeptic who served on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from 1977 to 1982, agrees that nuclear power in the U.S. is priced out of the market. “Even if, for once, they could contain or level out the costs,” he told POWER, “new nuclear is so far outside the competitive range. They have to cut costs and they can’t cut costs without building a bunch [of reactors]. That really isn’t in the cards.”

Nor does Bradford see new nuclear as a way to combat global warming. “Even if it is scaled up much faster than anything now in prospect, it cannot provide more than 10% to 15% of the greenhouse gas displacement that is likely to be needed by mid-century. Not only can nuclear power not stop global warming, it is probably not even an essential part of the solution to global warming,” he wrote in 2006. Since then, he argues, the declining costs of renewables and energy efficiency swamp nuclear economics even further.

While advocates call for setting a price on carbon to reward carbon-free generation, Bradford said that is a weak reed. “At any given level” of carbon prices, he said, “it is going to wind up benefiting renewables and storage,” not nuclear. A reasonable carbon price, he argued, “might not be enough to keep existing plants running.”

SMRs to the Rescue?…. 

while smaller nuclear reactors are an appealing technological approach to keeping nuclear in the generating mix, they come with their own set of problems.

On closer inspection, said the NAS panel, “Our results reveal that while one light water SMR module would indeed cost much less than a large LWR, it is highly likely that the cost per unit of power will be higher. In other words, light water SMRs do make nuclear power more affordable but not necessarily more economically competitive for power generation.”

Given the “economic premium” of SMRs, along with “the considerable regulatory burden associated with any nuclear reactor, we do not see a clear path forward for the United States to deploy sufficient numbers of SMRs in the electric power sector to make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation by the middle of this century,” the report says. Economist Kee echoed that conclusion. When it comes to SMRs, he said there “is a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.”

SMRs also face a challenge of demonstrating their viability: Making an economic or climate impact requires many reactors. Neil Alexander, a Canadian nuclear consultant, wrote recently, “Everything about SMRs such as the cost of construction, availability of fuel, cost of shared services, availability of trained operators, and cost of research needed to resolve emerging challenges, only work economically when the unit is in a fleet. A FOAK [first-of-a-kind] cannot stand alone and the barrier to entry that the industry faces is more akin to the ‘First Dozen of a Kind.’ ”

Portland, Oregon-based NuScale appears to be the leader in developing SMR technology (Figure 4 on original). It is taking Alexander’s advice. NuScale has a customer for a 12-unit (720-MW) station: Utah Associated Municipal Power System (UAMPS), which has a site at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory (INL). UAMPS will own the project and Energy Northwest, a municipal joint action agency that operates the Columbia nuclear station near Richland, Washington, will run the plant. Columbia is a 1,100-MW boiling water reactor.

NuScale recently selected BWX Technologies (BWXT) of Lynchburg, Virginia, to begin engineering work leading up to the manufacture of the 60-MW NuScale reactors. BWXT, created after reactor builder Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, has deep experience in the U.S. naval reactor program. NuScale has received a commitment of some $200 million from the DOE. Global engineering firm Fluor Corp. is the majority investor in NuScale.

Ironically, BWXT was the early leader in the SMR race, with its 195-MW mPower pressurized water reactor design. After spending some $400 million on the mPower venture (including $100 million from the DOE), B&W declared it officially dead in March 2017. Rod Adams, who worked on the project for B&W, had this epitaph for the mPower project, “There was simply too much work left to do, too much money left to invest, and an insufficient level of interest in the product to allow continued expenditures to clear corporate decision hurdles.”

NuScale still has a long way to go to demonstrate the validity of its SMR. The company said it expects the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will approve the NuScale reactor design in September 2020. UAMPS will also have to get NRC approval for a combined construction and operating license for the site at INL. Nonetheless, NuScale’s optimistic schedule projects commercial operation “by the mid-2020s.”

Past experience suggests that nuclear construction schedules are made to be broken. SMRs pose unique challenges to federal regulators, both in the reactor designs and in operational issues such as staffing levels and communications among 12 discrete units, particularly if they are used to follow load. Additionally, power prices in the Western U.S. are already low and natural gas is driving them lower.

Recognizing the challenges to deploying SMRs, the DOE in November issued a report suggesting state standards and incentives, modeled on those boosting renewables, be applied to SMR technology. But, as POWER reported, “To make a meaningful impact, nearly $10 billion in incentives would be needed to deploy 6 GW of SMR capacity by 2035.”

Beyond the LWR?

Several efforts are in place to replace conventional LWRs with other approaches to splitting atoms to generate power. Admittedly longshots, these build-on technologies go back to the early days of civilian nuclear power, and were previously abandoned in favor of the proven LWR designs.

The highest profile of the LWR apostates is TerraPower, based in Bellevue, Washington, and backed by Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates. [ Ed note: TerraPower has now abandoned this joint project with China] Founded in 2006, TerraPower is working on a liquid-sodium-cooled breeder-burner machine that can run on uranium waste, while it generates power and plutonium, with the plutonium used to generate more power, all in a continuous process.

Liquid sodium has advantages over pressurized water as a coolant, including better heat transfer. It also does not act as a moderator to slow neutrons, which allows for breeding plutonium. Sodium coolant has its own set of problems. Sodium catches fire when exposed to oxygen so coolant leaks can be devastating, as has happened in the past.

Nuclear power father Adm. Hyman Rickover, after a bad experience with the Seawolf-class submarine sodium-cooled reactor—the second subs to use LWR technology after the USS Nautilus—commented that sodium-cooled systems were “expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shutdown as a result of even minor malfunctions, and difficult and time-consuming to repair.” TerraPower hopes to have commercial machines operating in the late 2020s, but industry insiders have reported that the company’s prototype reactor being built in China has experienced major problems.

Another approach to bypass LWRs is the molten salt reactor, long a favorite of nuclear pioneer Alvin Weinberg. A Canadian firm, Terrestrial Energy, is pushing a 190-MW SMR design using the technology Weinberg developed at Oak Ridge National Lab in the mid-1960s. Molten salt technology operates at close to atmospheric temperature and combines the fuel and the coolant. Terrestrial plans to use the technology to power an SMR, with a target date for the late 2020s. Molten salt poses new engineering challenges for nuclear reactors. One nuclear observer commented, “I prefer solid fuel” to the liquid fuel-coolant in the molten salt reactor.

Finally, developers are looking at abandoning uranium as the primary nuclear fuel. Instead, the idea is to use thorium, one of the most-common elements on the planet. Thorium is a slightly radioactive metal. But thorium is not fissile—able to undergo nuclear fission—so it has to be irradiated with enriched uranium in order to be transmuted into fissile U-233.

Thorium’s chief attribute is that the fuel is so plentiful. Terrestrial Energy has shown interest in using thorium in its molten salt reactors, along with low-enriched uranium that is used in the design it is pursuing in Canada. Skeptics suggest that thorium is an answer in search of a question, given the easy availability of uranium, particularly in seawater. Uranium shortages, forecast in the 1960s when advocates first suggested using thorium, have never materialized.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is currently wrapping up a study of the new, non-LWR reactor designs. Physicist Ed Lyman, a veteran UCS staffer, told POWER, “Our overall conclusion is that vendors, DOE, and advocates are greatly exaggerating the benefits” of the technologies. “The whole landscape is not compelling. We question whether the best direction for nuclear power is to go off on these more exotic tangents,” rather than focus on making LWRs cheaper and safer. “That’s potentially a better near term” investment, he said.

The original generations of civilian nuclear power failed to live up to their promises. The U.S. nuclear industry stalled in the mid-1970s and has not recovered, despite repeated government and industry attempts at a restart.

Gen III reactors were aimed at overcoming the perceived safety and economic shortcomings of the original machines. As those new designs appear to be falling short, attention has shifted to SMRs or new approaches that abandon traditional light-water technology. Whether they will live up to their billing remains a serious, open question. ■

Kennedy Maize is a long-time energy journalist and frequent contributor to POWER. 


January 5, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Earthquakes still being set off due to North Korea’s September 2017 nuclear test

September 2017 nuclear test triggers 2019 earthquake in North Korea, By Jake Kwon and Joshua Berlinger, CNN January 2, 2019  North Korea’s sixth nuclear test was so powerful that it’s still triggering earthquakes more than a year later.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | incidents, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Uncertain future for nuclear engineers

High-Paying Jobs in Nuclear Power Aren’t Looking So Safe Anymore

A wave of plant closings has workers—even highly trained engineers—on edge, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Erin Ailworth, Dec. 28, 2018  “………As large employers, these plants are often economic anchors for the smaller, sometimes rural communities in which they were built. When they disappear, so too can a significant portion of the tax base—a big blow for many. Each plant shuttered equals hundreds of jobs lost; combined, the nine slated to retire employ more than 7,000.

After a plant closes, those employees are left playing musical chairs, hoping to land a spot at another nuclear plant even as that job pool shrinks. Federal labor data for nuclear and other electric power generation shows the number of workers has dropped to about 63,000 in October from roughly 158,000 in 1990. At least 3,000 of those jobs vanished since the start of 2013………

Federal forecasts show that employment among nuclear power reactor operators, who tend to have a high school or equivalent education, is expected to fall by just over 10% from 2016 to 2026. Meanwhile, the Nuclear Energy Institute, a trade association, estimates that of 100,000 nuclear workers—including those with jobs outside power plants—it expects about 23,000 people to retire from or quit the industry over the next five years.

……. The latest nuclear job losses occurred at Oyster Creek, a 49-year-old plant owned by Exelon Corp. in New Jersey, that went offline in September. Next to go will be Entergy Corp.’s Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts, which is scheduled to shut down in May. Three Mile Island’s shuttering is slated for September 2019.

Christopher Crane, chief executive of Exelon, said his company is doing what it can to absorb workers displaced by Oyster Creek’s retirement, even as it works to avoid further closures by lobbying for policies that recognize nuclear power as a carbon-free resource akin to solar and wind farms.

…….. The last nuclear plant built in the U.S. came into full service in 2016. More recent nuclear projects have had huge cost overruns and delays.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, repeatedly has promised to help the struggling nuclear industry, but so far its efforts haven’t panned out.

Employees at the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear plant in central New York state worry about their future.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | employment, USA | Leave a comment

Japan abandoning ambition to sell nuclear power reactors to Turkey

January 5, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Don’t let feds change the rules for cleaning up Hanford nuclear waste, January 2, 2019

The public can comment on the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposed changes to Hanford nuclear waste cleanup rules until Jan. 9, Tom Carpenter

After almost 30 years of a program to clean up dangerous defense waste at the Hanford nuclear site in southeastern Washington, the Department of Energy now wants to change the rules to make the job easier and save money. If approved, the proposal poses new dangers to the health and safety of people and the environment — not just in southeastern Washington, but at nuclear sites around the country.

In 1943, the U.S. government built the massive complex at Hanford to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons. When defense production ceased in 1986, its nine reactors had produced enough material for 60,000 atomic bombs. What remains is North America’s most contaminated site — more than half a billion gallons of nuclear waste and toxic chemicals stored in leaking tanks and dumped into the ground.

The most dangerous material is classified as “high-level waste.” The U.S. government has long recognized that because it poses such an extraordinary risk to human health and the environment, it requires special handling. A report prepared for the Atomic Energy Commission in 1957 called for disposal of high-level nuclear waste in a “deep underground formation, where it would remain isolated from human beings” for hundreds of thousands of years. That recommendation became law in 1982 when Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

Responsibility for the mess at Hanford falls to the U.S. Department of Energy. The plan includes mixing 56 million gallons of high-level waste with molten glass so it can be safely transferred to a permanent underground disposal site.

The cleanup effort began in 1989. It has not gone well. More than $45 billion has been spent, but no high-level waste has been processed. Hanford workers have received more than $1 billion in compensation for exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals. Companies working on the cleanup have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and settlements. Radioactive waste is leaking into the groundwater and flowing toward the Columbia River.

Not to worry! The Energy Department has come up with an alternate approach for dealing with high-level nuclear waste — give it a new name and leave it where it is.

This past summer, the agency announced its intention to reclassify high-level nuclear waste in 16 partially emptied tanks as low-level waste and cover what remains with grout. Now DOE is going big, and proposing to give itself the authority to relabel waste as it sees fit anywhere in the nation.

Even under ideal conditions, the waste will slowly leach through the grout and into the surrounding soil. That assumes it doesn’t fail catastrophically due to fractures caused by changes in temperature, stress, or imperfections — all possible, even likely.

The danger extends beyond Hanford. Once the Energy Department grants itself the authority to redesignate dangerous nuclear material, it can do the same with hundreds of millions of gallons of high-level waste stored in 161 other tanks or simply dumped into the ground at Hanford. It sets a dangerous precedent that will place millions of people at risk — not just downwind and downriver from Hanford, but near facilities in South Carolina, Idaho and upstate New York, where millions more gallons of high-level waste are stored.

Why consider such an unsound plan? Money. By absolving itself of its legal obligation to handle high-level waste safely, the Energy Department expects to save $40 billion.

The proposal is not only irresponsible and dangerous, it violates the law and flies in the face of longstanding legal precedent. “High-level radioactive waste” was clearly defined by the Atomic Energy Commission in 1970 and the courts have repeatedly turned back attempts to reclassify it. In 2003, for example, the U.S. District Court in Idaho confirmed that what’s in tanks at Hanford is, in fact, high-level waste and made clear that the Energy Department cannot simply come up with an alternative way to treat it just because it is “too expensive or too difficult.”

Although it is profoundly shortsighted, deeply irresponsible and clearly illegal, this proposal isn’t surprising — it is entirely consistent with the Department of Energy’s history of cutting corners at Hanford and saddling future generations with a problem that requires our urgent attention today.

The Energy Department is taking public comments on this proposal through Jan. 9. Clearly, this plan must be rejected.


January 5, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Tons of methane being released into atmosphere by melting ice sheets

Melting ice sheets release tons of methane into the atmosphere, study finds, 3-JAN-2019


The Greenland Ice Sheet emits tons of methane according to a new study, showing that subglacial biological activity impacts the atmosphere far more than previously thought.

An international team of researchers led by the University of Bristol camped for three months next to the Greenland Ice Sheet, sampling the meltwater that runs off a large catchment (> 600 km2) of the Ice Sheet during the summer months.

As reported in Nature, using novel sensors to measure methane in meltwater runoff in real time, they observed that methane was continuously exported from beneath the ice.

They calculated that at least six tons of methane was transported to their measuring site from this portion of the Ice Sheet alone, roughly the equivalent of the methane released by up to 100 cows.

Professor Jemma Wadham, Director of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment, who led the investigation, said: “A key finding is that much of the methane produced beneath the ice likely escapes the Greenland Ice Sheet in large, fast flowing rivers before it can be oxidized to CO2, a typical fate for methane gas which normally reduces its greenhouse warming potency.”

Methane gas (CH4) is the third most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere after water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2). Although, present in lower concentrations that CO2, methane is approximately 20-28 times more potent. Therefore smaller quantities have the potential to cause disproportionate impacts on atmospheric temperatures. Most of the Earth’s methane is produced by microorganisms that convert organic matter to CH4 in the absence of oxygen, mostly in wetlands and on agricultural land, for instance in the stomachs of cows and rice paddies. The remainder comes from fossil fuels like natural gas.

While some methane had been detected previously in Greenland ice cores and in an Antarctic Subglacial Lake, this is the first time that meltwaters produced in spring and summer in large ice sheet catchments have been reported to continuously flush out methane from the ice sheet bed to the atmosphere.

Lead author, Guillaume Lamarche-Gagnon, from Bristol’s School of Geographical Sciences, said: “What is also striking is the fact that we’ve found unequivocal evidence of a widespread subglacial microbial system. Whilst we knew that methane-producing microbes likely were important in subglacial environments, how important and widespread they truly were was debatable. Now we clearly see that active microorganisms, living under kilometres of ice, are not only surviving, but likely impacting other parts of the Earth system. This subglacial methane is essentially a biomarker for life in these isolated habitats.”

Most studies on Arctic methane sources focus on permafrost, because these frozen soils tend to hold large reserves of organic carbon that could be converted to methane when they thaw due to climate warming. This latest study shows that ice sheet beds, which hold large reserves of carbon, liquid water, microorganisms and very little oxygen – the ideal conditions for creating methane gas – are also atmospheric methane sources.

Co-researcher Dr Elizabeth Bagshaw from Cardiff University added: “The new sensor technologies that we used give us a window into this previously unseen part of the glacial environment. Continuous measurement of meltwater enables us to improve our understanding of how these fascinating systems work and how they impact the rest of the planet.”

With Antarctica holding the largest ice mass on the planet, researchers say their findings make a case for turning the spotlight to the south. Mr Lamarche-Gagnon added: “Several orders of magnitude more methane has been hypothesized to be capped beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet than beneath Arctic ice-masses. Like we did in Greenland, it’s time to put more robust numbers on the theory.”

This study was a collaboration between Bristol University, Charles University (Czechia), the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, Newcastle University, the University of Toronto (Canada), the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Belgium), Cardiff University (UK), and Kongsberg Maritime Contros (Germany). It was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with additional funds from the Leverhulme Trust, the Czech Science Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Fond de Recherche Nature et Technologies du Québec (Canada).

Paper: ‘Greenland melt drives continuous export of methane from the ice sheet bed’ by Guillaume Lamarche-Gagnon, Jemma L. Wadham, et al. Nature, Doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0800-0

January 5, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

USA’s new Speaker in Congress, Nancy Pelosi states climate change as ‘The existential threat of our time’

‘The existential threat of our time’: Pelosi elevates climate change on Day One, Politico, By ANTHONY ADRAGNA and ZACK COLMAN , 01/03/2019 
Democrats put climate change back on the forefront of their governing agenda Thursday, portraying the issue as an “existential threat” even as the caucus remains split over how forcefully to respond.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought up the issue in her opening address while touting a new select panel to come up with ideas on how to solve it, and the Energy and Commerce Committee announced that climate change would be the subject of its very first hearing this year……..

Progressives, led in part by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), are tugging the caucus into a more urgent posture that they say best reflects what scientists have called for to avert climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned last year that the world has 12 years to put policies in place to avoid irreversible, catastrophic effects of climate change. ……..

January 5, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK govt offers up to £2.5million to prospective “nuclear dustbin” communities

Daily Mail 1st Jan 2019 Towns and villages are offered up to £2.5million to become Britain’s
‘nuclear dustbin’ and bury masses of radioactive waste near their homes.
Hundreds of tons of radioactive nuclear power station waste needs to be
stored a kilometre – roughly 3,000ft – deep in the ground. The facility
will need to hold 750,000 cubic metres of waste – enough to fill three
quarters of Wembley stadium – and will cost an estimated £8billion to
build. To provide an incentive to hosting the dumping ground, the selected
area will be given between £1million and £2.5million a year for community
projects, the Government said. The sweetener comes after the last attempt
to find a nuclear burial ground flopped in 2013 – following five years of
consultations – when Cumbria county council rejected the plan. It is
expected the process to find a site will take 20 years, and it will take
ten years to build. It will then need to remain safe for up to 200,000

January 5, 2019 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

UK govt offers compensation to “nuclear dumping” communities, but not to communities endangered on nuclear transport routes

David Lowry 1st Jan 2019 In his article on burial of nuclear waste in what he describes as an atomic ‘dungeon’, anenvironment correspondent writes that “To provide an
incentive to hosting the dumping ground, the selected area will be given
between £1million and £2.5million a year for community projects, the
Government said.” Although this financial offer has been dismissed as a
bribe by several campaigners in communities they fear may be chosen, it
would provide a measure of community compensation for the disruption caused
by such a massive infrastructural development.

But what ministers have refused to do is to offer similar risk compensation “danger money” to
communities along transport routes from the current location of the
radioactive waste, to the facility needed for conditioning and packaging,
and then to the community or communities hosting a deep underground
geological disposal facility (GDF).

January 5, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment