The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The week that was, in climate and nuclear news

It must be harder for residents of the Northern hemisphere to get their heads around the idea of global warming causing extreme cold weather, but – climate scientists tell us that this is the case. Easier for residents of the Southern Hemisphere , especially Australia and New Zealand to accept the idea of global warming.

A great pity that government secrecy and the language barrier combine to prevent us learning anything about nuclear matters in China and Russia. Are they finding nuclear power cheap?  Do they have no problems with nuclear waste?  I doubt that.

Meanwhile the British government flounders about, pretending that its nuclear industry has a future, when informed opinion, and the stopping of new programmes indicate that it does not. In the USA, there’s a concerted push by nuclear companies, and some politicians, for “new nukes”, specifically for tax-payer funded Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – the push is led by Bill Gates.

A bit of good news – Radioactive Cesium-137 diminishing in 2 Fukushima rivers, after close to 8 years.

Rapid Arctic Warming Linked To Mid-Latitude Weather Extremes. How global warming can lead to extreme cold weather, too.

Climate change reshaping how heat moves around globe. Our global home”is on fire” – Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum 2019.

Doomsday Clock at 2 minutes to midnight – “The New Abnormal”       Nuclear disarmament, non proliferation, “peaceful use” on the agenda as France, Russia, Britain and the United States meet in ChinaStorage of nuclear waste a ‘global crisis’: report


JAPAN. Greenpeace slams Japan’s plan to dump radioactive Fukushima water into the ocean.  TEPCO failed to spot leak of contaminated water.  Japan’s plans to sell nuclear plants overseas derailed.

EUROPE. NATO chief says ‘no real progress’ on nuclear treaty.

FRANCE.  France’s government snidely changes law to avoid paying compensation to Polynesian victims of atomic bomb testing. French nuclear company EDF considering retreating from operations in UK.


NORTH KOREANorth Korea’s Nukes and the ‘Forgotten War’.

SOUTH KOREA. South Korea looks for nuclear dismantling pledge by Kim at second summit with Trump.

GERMANY. Germany phasing out coal, but will not import nuclear power as replacement.

SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia could be planning for nuclear weapons. 5 countries scramble to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia.

CZECH REPUBLIC. Shares slump for Europe’s biggest publicly traded power company, due to Czech Republic’s PM’s nuclear power dream.

HUNGARY. Hungary’s problems in financing new nuclear power plant.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Rapidly climbing costs to USA tax-payers for nuclear waste cleanup – rose by $100 billion in one year!

America’s Chernobyl’: Inside The Most Toxic Place In The Nation | TODAY


Cost to taxpayers to clean up nuclear waste jumps $100 billion in a year , 30 Jan 19, An Energy Department report shows the projected cost for long-term nuclear waste cleanup overseen by DOE jumped $100 billion in just one year.  Jan. 29, 2019, By Laura Strickler, WASHINGTON — The estimated cost of cleaning up America’s nuclear waste has jumped more than $100 billion in just one year, according to a DOE report — and a watchdog warns the cost may climb still higher.

The Energy Department’s projected cost for cleanup jumped from $383.78 billion in 2017 to $493.96 billion in a financial report issued in December 2018.

A government watchdog and DOE expert said the new total may still underestimate the full cost of cleanup, which is expected to last another 50 years. “We believe the number is growing and we believe the number is understated,” said David Trimble, director of the Government Accountability Office’s Natural Resources and Environment team.

The cost was calculated by the accounting firm KPMG under contract to DOE.

Eighty percent of the increase comes from new projections of the costs of cleaning up radioactive waste and hazardous chemicals at the Hanford site in southeastern Washington.

The 586-square-mile site, home to nine former production reactors and processing facilities, produced plutonium for America’s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War.

Cleaning up Hanford has already cost taxpayers $170 billion over 30 years, but government auditors say the most challenging parts of the clean-up work are yet to be done.

Still not cleaned up are 56 million gallons of what the DOE’s inspector general has described as “hazardous and highly radioactive waste.” The rise in projected cost is due to updated estimates for building and running a waste treatment plant, including “operating costs, tank farm retrieval and closure costs” at the site, according to the report. The report also refers to changes in “technical approach or scope” and “updated estimates of projected waste volumes.”

Trimble of the GAO believes the Energy Department “does not have a coherent strategic plan on how to address its cleanup mission.”

A spokesperson for the Energy Department said in an emailed statement that the office that oversees the cleanup is “committed to making progress on the ground at Hanford, and mitigating the years of escalating liabilities at the site.”

The spokesperson said DOE expects more cost increases “and is working with regulators and stakeholders on best options to treat and dispose of radioactive waste.”

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has proposed a reclassification of the radioactive waste at Hanford to make its disposal less expensive, a suggestion opposed by environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest.

In mid-December, DOE issued a financial report with a signed letter from U.S. Energy Department Secretary Rick Perry on the fourth page. Perry’s letter lists the agency’s accomplishments and describes the agency’s environmental cleanup activities. He cited the completion of an underground project at Hanford, but does not mention the projected increase in costs to taxpayers.


For decades, government auditors have raised serious concerns about the lack of clear goals for the site and long term problems with the cleanup.

A 2018 report from the DOE’s inspector general rolled up 38 investigations the IG had conducted on the environmental management efforts at Hanford.

The IG concluded Hanford has been “plagued with mismanagement, poor internal controls, and fraudulent activities, resulting in monetary impacts totalling hundreds of millions of dollars by the various contractors at the site.”

Bechtel, one of the large government contractors that manages site cleanup, was part of a group of contractors that paid a $125 million settlement in 2016, the largest settlement ever obtained by the agency’s inspector general.

The U.S. had alleged Bechtel improperly used federal taxpayer dollars to fund a multi-year lobbying effort in Congress to continue the funding of its contract.

Under the final settlement agreement, Bechtel National Inc. admitted no wrongdoing.

In response to the recent Energy Department report Bechtel spokesperson Fred deSousa notes that the waste treatment plant they are building in Hanford is “the most complex project of its kind in the world.” DeSousa also told NBC in his statement that the project has gone through multiple independent reviews resulting in changes to its contract. “Today the project is bigger, more robust, and has more stringent operating and safety margins,” he said.

The new Democratic chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee says the committee will increase its oversight of Hanford.

“It is essential that DOE better manage and oversee its contractors to ensure that taxpayers, workers and the environment are being protected” said Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J. “The Committee will continue to have questions for DOE as to whether cleanup efforts at Hanford and other sites are being properly managed.”

January 31, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, USA, wastes | 2 Comments

Climate change brings water shortage to India and Pakistan

Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict? DW , 30 Jan 19,
Across the world, climate change is sparking conflict as people struggle over dwindling resources. The fight over water could quickly escalate between India and Pakistan — and both have nuclear arms.

Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just some of the places where climate change is increasingly regarded as a root cause of violent conflict. But while much of the focus on climate change-attributed conflict has predominantly been on Africa and the Middle East, a potentially even deadlier clash over resources may be looming on the horizon in Asia.

That’s because India and Pakistan — bitter rivals over water — both have nuclear weapons in their arsenal.

The two countries have a long but strained agreement over sharing water from the Indus River and its tributaries. Waters from the Indus, which flow from India and the disputed Kashmir region into Pakistan, were carved up between India and Pakistan under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT).

Read more: Water scarcity in Pakistan – A bigger threat than terrorism

The IWT divides the six major rivers of the Indus basin between Pakistan and India. Pakistan was granted rights to most of the water in the region’s western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab — which flow through Indian-administered Kashmir.

The dispute over the Kashmir region — a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than six decades — is hugely intertwined with water security. Both countries claim the whole region, but each only controls a part of it.

While the IWT has managed to survive the wars and other hostilities, it is increasingly being strained to its limit. Pakistan has accused India of throttling its water supply and violating the IWT by constructing dams over the rivers flowing into Pakistan from Kashmir.

“Any country with nuclear weapons, if they’re backed into a corner because they have no water — that’s really dangerous,” said Jeff Nesbit, author and executive director of non-profit climate communication organization Climate Nexus.

‘A matter of survival’

For Sherry Rehman, Parliamentary Leader of the left-wing opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the Senate, water security, especially in South Asia, “has become a regional security threat.”

“We are now facing challenges brought about by climate change which were not a primary focus during the negotiations for the Indus Water Treaty,” she told DW.

“It has become a matter of survival,” she continued. “Aside from the lack of formal dialogue, the rhetoric floating around suggesting a possible water war is particularly alarming.”

A treaty under threat

For Pakistan, the Indus waters are a lifeline: most of the country depends on it as the primary source of freshwater and it supports 90 percent of the country’s agricultural industry.

And while Pakistan was considered relatively plentiful with water, a mixture of mismanaged irrigation, water-intensive agriculture and climate change has reduced the Indus to a trickle in parts.

A 2018 report from the International Monetary Fund ranked Pakistan third among countries facing severe water shortages.

When the rapidly-melting glaciers in the Himalayas, which feed the Indus waters, eventually disappear as predicted, the dwindling rivers will be slashed even further…………

Elsewhere in Asia, other conflicts have also been linked to climate change. For instance the unprecedented flooding in Thailand in 2011 which sparked major protests over unfair emergency supplies distribution and ultimately led to a military coup that overthrew the democratically-elected government in 2014. The military junta is still in power to this day.

On a global level, Janani Vivekananda, climate security expert at consultancy Adelphi, is somewhat more hopeful about how the struggle over water will play out.

“The trend is people cooperate rather than fight over water because it’s just too important and I think this is what will happen just out of necessity,” she told DW. “Because there’s too much to lose.”

January 31, 2019 Posted by | climate change, India, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Bill to prevent nuclear first strike without congressional approval introduced by U.S. Democrats

Dems reintroduce bill to prevent nuclear first strike without congressional approval,

At a press conference announcing the legislation, Lieu said the bill is needed because President Trump is “unpredictable and rash.”

“Trump’s brand is to be unpredictable and rash, which is exactly what you don’t want the person who possesses the nuclear football to be,” Lieu said, according to a press release. “We introduced this bill under the Obama administration but Trump’s presidency has highlighted just how scary it is that any president has the authority to launch a nuke without congressional consultation.”

The statement cited a Trump tweet from January 2018 that taunted North Korea over the size of his nuclear button.

“Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!” Trump wrote, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Markey added in the statement that no president “should have the power to launch a first use nuclear first strike absent such an attack without explicit Congressional approval.”

Lawmakers in the past, including Lieu and Markey, have introduced similar legislation, but it has stalled in Congress.

The legislation, called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2019, will be introduced by Lieu in the House and Markey in the Senate.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant: officials 

SMH, By John Hudson and Ellen Nakashima, 30 January 2019  Washington: Russian officials made a secret proposal to North Korea last northern fall aimed at resolving deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration over its nuclear weapons program, said US officials familiar with the discussions.

In exchange for dismantling its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Moscow offered the country a nuclear power plant.

The Russian offer, which intelligence officials became aware of in late 2018, marks a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks as it reasserts itself into a string of geopolitical flash points from the Middle East to South Asia to Latin America. Its latest bid is expected to unsettle Chinese and US officials wary of granting Moscow an economic foothold on the Korean Peninsula.

As a part of the deal, the Russian government would operate the plant and transfer all byproducts and waste back to Russia, reducing the risk that North Korea uses the power plant to build nuclear weapons while providing the impoverished country a new energy source…….

January 31, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

The era of nuclear decommissioning soon upon the world – bringing severe problems

Ecologist 29th Jan 2019 Decommissioning**  The nuclear energy industry faces severe problems in 2019 – and beyond. Chief among them is the ageing of the global reactor fleet. The average age of the fleet reached 30 years in mid-2018 and continues to rise. The average lifespan of the current reactor fleet will be about 40 years, according to reasonable estimates. There will likely be an average of 8‒11 permanent reactor shutdowns annually over the next few decades.

This will add up to about 200 reactor shutdowns between 2014 and 2040. Indeed, the International Energy Agency expects a “wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors” and an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning”. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) anticipates 320 gigawatts (GW) of retirements from 2017 to 2050 (that’s about 80 percent of the current worldwide reactor fleet). Another IAEA report estimates up to 139 GW of permanent shutdowns from 2018‒2030 and up to 186 GW of further shutdowns
from 2030-2050. The reference scenario in the 2017 edition of the WNA’sNuclear Fuel Report has 140 reactors closing by 2035. A 2017 Nuclear Energy Insider article estimates up to 200 permanent shutdowns over the next two decades.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Nuclear propaganda keeps spinning, despite the gloomy reality of the industry

Nuclear power down for the count, Jim Green, Online Opinion, 31 January 2019,  

Last year was a “positive year for nuclear power” according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). And indeed it was, compared to 2017, which was one of the industry’s worst-ever years.

The WNA cited nuclear power’s net gain in 2018 (nine reactor grid connections compared to six permanent shutdowns). A superficial look at the numbers suggests some more good news for the industry. The number of reactor grid connections (start-ups) over the past five years (38) almost doubled the number in the five years before that (21). If the number doubled again, the much-hyped nuclear renaissance would be upon us.

A casual observer might also be impressed by the fact that the number of reactor grid connections (59) and construction starts (71) over the past decade exceeded the number of permanent reactor shutdowns (50).

And some more good news for the industry: according to the WNA, 41 reactors will enter commercial operation in the four years from 2019-22. But after that, the pre-Fukushima mini-renaissance (38 reactor construction starts from 2008-2010) slows dramatically with an estimated total of just nine reactor start-ups in the following four years.

Ominously for the industry, the 22 construction starts from 2014-18 was less than half the number (49) from 2009-13.

The (independent) World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) noted in early January that 49 reactors are under construction worldwide ‒ the first time the number has fallen below 50 in a decade, down 19 since 2013, and the number has decreased for five years in a row.

If all these contradictory good-news, bad-news figures seem a little … contradictory, that’s because nuclear power currently reflects two opposing dynamics: the mini-renaissance is evident but will subside by the mid-2020s, and the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning (discussed later) has begun and will be in sharp focus by the mid-2020s.

By contrast, renewable power generation continues to expand rapidly and costs continue to fall dramatically. Renewables accounted for 26.5 percent of global electricity generation in 2017 compared to nuclear power’s 10.3 percent.

Ageing reactor fleet

The industry faces severe problems, not least the ageing of the global reactor fleet. The average age of the fleet continues to rise and reached 30 years in mid-2018. A reasonable estimate is that the average lifespan of the current reactor fleet will be about 40 years.

There will likely be an average of 8-11 permanent reactor shutdowns annually over the next few decades:

·         The International Energy Agency expects a “wave of retirements of ageing nuclear reactors” and an “unprecedented rate of decommissioning” ‒ almost 200 reactor shutdowns between 2014 and 2040.

·         The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) anticipates 320 gigawatts (GW) of retirements from 2017 to 2050 (that’s about 80 percent of the current worldwide reactor fleet).

·         Another IAEA report estimates up to 139 GW of permanent shutdowns from 2018-2030 and up to 186 GW of further shutdowns from 2030-2050.

·         The reference scenario in the 2017 edition of the WNA’s Nuclear Fuel Report has 140 reactors closing by 2035.

·         A 2017 Nuclear Energy Insider article estimates up to 200 permanent shutdowns over the next two decades.

So an average of 8-11 construction starts and grid connections will be required to maintain current nuclear generation. Yet construction starts have averaged just 4.5 over the past five years.

Grim prospects

For the first time in many years, perhaps ever, the IAEA was up-front about the grim prospects for nuclear power in a September 2018 report. The IAEA said:

“Nuclear power’s electricity generating capacity risks shrinking in the coming decades as ageing reactors are retired and the industry struggles with reduced competitiveness … Over the short term, the low price of natural gas, the impact of renewable energy sources on electricity prices, and national nuclear policies in several countries following the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011 are expected to continue weighing on nuclear power’s growth prospects … In addition, the nuclear power industry faces increased construction times and costs due to heightened safety requirements, challenges in deploying advanced technologies and other factors.”

The IAEA’s low and high projections for global nuclear power capacity in 2030 are both 36 percent lower than the same projections in 2010, the year before the Fukushima disaster.

Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd noted in an August 2018 article:

“The current upward spike in reactor commissioning certainly looks impressive (at least compared with the recent past) but there are few signs that here will be a further uplift in the 2020s. What we see today is largely the result of rapid growth in the Chinese industry, which has now seemingly ended. … In Asia, the sharp downturn in Chinese interest in nuclear is unlikely to be replaced by India or by a combination of the other populous counties there. It is clear that without a strong lead from the established nuclear countries, a worldwide uplift in reactor construction is not going to happen.”

And therein lies a fundamental problem for the nuclear industry: it is in a frightful mess in the three countries that accounted for 56 percent of global nuclear power capacity just before the Fukushima disaster: the US, France and Japan. A 2017 EnergyPostWeekly article said “the EU, the US and Japan are busy committing nuclear suicide.”


Bright New World, an Australian pro-nuclear lobby group (that accepts secret corporate donationslisted these wins in 2018:

1. Taiwanese voters voiced support for overturning legislation to eliminate nuclear power.

2. Poland announced plans for a 6-9 GW nuclear sector.

3. China connected the world’s first AP1000 and EPR reactors to the electrical grid.

4. Some progress with Generation IV R&D projects (Terrestrial Energy, NuScale, Moltex), and the passing of the US Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act which aims to speed up the development of advanced reactors.

Those are modest and pyrrhic wins. To take each in turn:

1. Taiwan’s government remains committed to phasing out nuclear power although the 2025 deadline has been abandoned following a referendum in November 2018.

2. Poland might join the club of countries producing nuclear power ‒ or it might not. Currently it is a member of a group of countries that failed to complete partially-built power reactors and have never generated nuclear power, along with Austria, Cuba, the Philippines, and North Korea.

3. China’s nuclear power program has stalled ‒ the country has not opened a new construction site for a commercial reactor since December 2016. The most likely outcome over the next decade is that a small number of new reactor projects will be approved each year, well short of previous projections and not enough to match the decline in the rest of the world.

4. Generation IV fantasies are as fantastical as ever. David Elliot ‒ author of the 2017 book Nuclear Power: Past, Present and Future ‒ notes that many Generation IV concepts “are in fact old ideas that were looked at in the early days and mostly abandoned. There were certainly problems with some of these early experimental reactors, some of them quite dramatic.”

One example of the gap between Generation IV rhetoric and reality was Transatomic Power’s decision to give up on its molten salt reactor R&D project in the US in September 2018 ‒ just weeks before the public release of the New Fire propaganda film that heavily promotes the young entrepreneurs who founded Transatomic. The company tried but failed to raise a modest US$15 million for the next phase of its R&D project.

An article by four current and former researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Engineering and Public Policy, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in July 2018, argues that no US advanced reactor design will be commercialised before mid-century.

Further, the Carnegie authors systematically investigated how a domestic market could develop to support a small modular reactor industry in the US over the next few decades ‒ including using them to back up wind and solar, desalinate water, produce heat for industrial processes, or serve military bases ‒ and were unable to make a convincing case.

Long-time energy journalist Kennedy Maize recently argued in POWER magazine that Generation IV R&D projects are “longshots” and that the “highest profile of the LWR apostates is TerraPower … backed by Microsoft founder and multi-billionaire Bill Gates. 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.”

TerraPower recently abandoned its plan for a prototype reactor in China due to new restrictions placed on nuclear trade with China by the Trump administration.

Cost blowouts

The Bright New World lobby group might have cited some other pyrrhic wins in 2018. The French government abandoned previous plans to reduce nuclear power to 50 percent of total electricity generation by 2035 (compared to 71.6 percent currently) but still plans to shut 14 reactors by 2035. Cost estimates for two French-built reactors ‒ one in France and the other in Finland ‒ have increased by a factor of 2.5‒3and the reactors are the best part of a decade behind schedule.

The Vogtle reactor project in the US state of Georgia came close to being abandoned last year but it was rescued despite multi-year delays and monumental cost overruns (the estimate for two AP1000 reactors has doubled from US$14 billion to US$28 billion).

The current cost estimate for Vogtle reactors #3 and #4 is an order of magnitude greater than Westinghouse’s 2006 estimate of US$1.4-$1.9 billion to build one AP1000 reactor. To find another blowout of that magnitude you’d need to go back to … Vogtle #1 and #2! Built in the 1970s and 1980s, the cost of the first Vogtle twin-reactor project skyrocketed 13-fold, from US$660 million to US$8.7 billion (around US$18 billion in today’s money).

The only other reactor construction project in the US ‒ a twin-reactor AP1000 project in South Carolina ‒ was abandoned in 2017 after the expenditure of US$9‒10.4 billion. That disaster bankrupted Westinghouse and almost bankrupted its parent company Toshiba. So much for the nuclear renaissance.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning

In many countries with nuclear power, the prospects for new reactors are bleak and rear-guard battles are being fought to extend the lifespans of ageing reactors that are approaching or past their design date. A new era is approaching ‒ the Era of Nuclear Decommissioning ‒ following on from nuclear power’s growth spurt from the 1970s to the 1990s then 20 years of stagnation.

The Era of Nuclear Decommissioning will entail:

·         A decline in the number of operating reactors.

·         An increasingly unreliable and accident-prone reactor fleet as ageing sets in.

·         Countless battles over lifespan extensions for ageing reactors.

·         An internationalisation of anti-nuclear opposition as neighbouring countries object to the continued operation of ageing reactors (international opposition to Belgium’s ageing reactors is a case in point and there are numerous other examples).

·         Battles over and problems with decommissioning projects (e.g. the UK government’s £100+ million settlement over a botched decommissioning tendering process).

·         Battles over taxpayer bailout proposals for companies and utilities that haven’t set aside adequate funds for decommissioning and nuclear waste management and disposal. (According to Nuclear Energy Insider, European nuclear utilities face “significant and urgent challenges” with over a third of the continent’s nuclear plants to be shut down by 2025, and utilities facing a €118 billion shortfall in decommissioning and waste management funds.)

·         Battles over proposals to impose nuclear waste repositories and stores on unwilling or divided communities.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, spinbuster | Leave a comment

The One Earth Climate Model to curb climate change, without nuclear power

Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation just announced a bold new plan to curb climate change

The One Earth Climate Model says we can curb temperature rises without resorting to nuclear power or using unproved technologies. It will be expensive–but far less than the subsidies we currently give fossil fuel companies. BY ADELE PETERS , 30 Jan 19

A landmark climate report in late 2018 explained exactly what’s at stakeif the world doesn’t limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, from the total loss of coral reefs to millions of people at risk from sea level rise. Now, a new report lays out a blueprint to keep warming in check– without, as many plans do, relying on controversial nuclear power or new technologies to capture CO2 (including machines that suck carbon dioxide from the air) that haven’t yet been proven at scale. The report says it can happen for far less money than we’re currently spending to subsidize fossil fuels.

In the project, called the One Earth Climate Model, funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s One Earth initiative, researchers had “the ultimate goal of finding a way to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 Celsius without resorting to geo-engineering or nuclear,” says Sven Teske, the project’s lead scientist and research director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney. “The warnings from the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and the scientific community are clear: A world that warms beyond 1.5 Celsius is not one we want to inhabit.” The world has warmed about 1 degree Celsius so far, and we’re already seeing more catastrophic wildfires and flooding. The more the world heats up, the more existential risks we face.

The researchers took a detailed, bottom-up look at the energy sector, modeling each hour of energy use through 2050 on 72 regional energy grids, studying local solar and wind data, and projecting energy demand and the need for storage. They considered three scenarios. In one, based on projections from the International Energy Agency, they looked at how the world could continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels and warm an apocalyptic 5 degrees. In another, they modeled how the world could limit warming to 2 degrees. The last scenario looked at a 1.5-degree limit.

To stay under 1.5 degrees of warming, the report says, the world needs to move quickly to renewable energy, reaching 100% renewables by 2050. By 2020, we’ll need to be phasing out an average of two coal power plants every week. Heating, cooling, and transportation will have to shift to electricity on a massive scale. Energy use will have to become much more efficient, with total demand dropping by more than a third.

The changes in the energy system–all based on currently available technology–can get the world most of the way to the 1.5-degree target. “Negative emissions,” or sucking carbon out of the air, is necessary for the rest. While other climate models include new carbon-capture technology, the researchers found that planting and protecting forests could take up enough carbon to avoid unproven solutions. Through changes in land use, particularly large-scale reforestation in tropical forests and reducing logging, it’s possible to sequester around 150 gigatons of carbon dioxide. “Forests do a much better job as natural carbon sinks–and they are an asset for our planet that should be conserved for a wealth of reasons, which is why we propose the restoration of forests and a moratorium on deforestation within this generation,” Teske says. (The report acknowledges that this solution has risks, including the possibility that increasing wildfires burn down trees, or prolonged droughts mean that soil isn’t taking up as much carbon.)

A fast transition to renewable energy would also create more jobs than the business-as-usual path, the report says. By 2050, on a 1.5-degree pathway, the world would have 46.3 million energy sector jobs, versus 29.9 million in a 5-degree scenario. The transition would be expensive, with a cost of around $1.7 trillion a year. But governments currently spend an estimated $5 trillion a year to support fossil fuels, or $10 million a minute every day. Shifting to clean power could happen at a third of the cost.

The report makes it clear that it’s technically and economically possible to make the changes we need. The gap is political and social. “Staying below 1.5 Celsius is still possible, but it’s going to take radical action by governments to implement the right policy frameworks and public mobilization on an unprecedented scale if we’re to build the zero-carbon future that the world so desperately needs,” says Teske.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

New, powerful, submarine-launched nuclear weapon begins production in USA














Trump Administration Begins Production Of A New Nuclear Weapon, NPR, January 28, 2019 “….The weapon is a variant of the Navy’s primary submarine-launched nuclear weapon, the W76-1. That warhead is a “strategic weapon,” meaning it makes a very big boom. The W76-1 is believed to have a yield of around 100 kilotons, according to Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, an arms control advocacy group. By contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of about 15 kilotons.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactor at Fort Belvoir to be decommissioned

 By: staff Anjali Hemphill, FOX 5 DC, 29 Jan 19, AN 29 2019 FORT BELVOIR, Va. (FOX 5 DC) – Tucked away on the Fort Belvoir army base, the SM-1 nuclear reactor was fully operational for many years, but now there’s a plan to take it all down and build over it.

Stepping into the former nuclear power  plant is like a blast from the past. It’s been virtually untouched since the day it was deactivated back in the 1970s. The plan now is to tear it down and haul it away………

January 31, 2019 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Alarm triggered at onetime nuclear fuel facility in Ibaraki after radioactive substances leaked 

STAFF REPORT, KYODO, 29 Jan, An alarm was triggered at a onetime nuclear fuel manufacturing facility Wednesday after radioactive substances leaked from materials that were being transferred at a facility operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, officials with the company said. …. (subscribers only)

January 31, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA Pentagon wants to fly small nuclear reactors in transport jets – Gee, I hope they dont crash

The Pentagon Wants a Nuclear Reactor That Fits in a Transport Jet, Foxtrot Alpha , Kyle Mizokami  30 Jan 19, The Department of Defense wants a portable nuclear reactor the size of a main battle tank that’s capable of being lifted to overseas hot spots. The reactor would provide megawatts of power for U.S. forces, providing juice for everything from Xboxes to directed energy weapons. A mobile reactor would also make the military less reliant on diesel fuel for electrical generators, which in some cases must be sent along dangerous resupply lines.

According to the Federal Business Opportunities website, the Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office has officially put out a request for information for a “Small Mobile Nuclear Reactor.”………

Despite more than seventy years of development, portable or even semi-portable nuclear reactors have not achieved the kind of success dreamed of early in the Nuclear Age. Between 1964 and 1972 a nuclear reactor, PM-3A, provided 1.8 megawatts of power to the U.S. research station at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Unfortunately the reactor was also seriously buggy, malfunctioning 438 times over its operational lifespan resulting in a reliability rate of just 72 percent. It was also implicated in a spike in cancer-related deaths.

The NB-36 bomber was a proposed nuclear-powered heavy strategic bomber that used the R-1 nuclear power plant for propulsion, but concerns about environmental damage should the plane crash shelved the nuclear-powered aircraft concept indefinitely. …….

January 31, 2019 Posted by | safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Security dangers in South Asia increase as India and Pakistan develop nuclear weapons programmes

Nuclear programmes of India, Pakistan increase risk of security incident in South Asia: US spymaster, Economic Times, Jan 30, 2019  WASHINGTON: There is an increased risk of a nuclear security incident in South Asia due to continued growth and development of Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons programmes, America’s top spymaster told lawmakers on Tuesday.

The remarks of National Intelligence Director Daniel Coats is part of US intelligence community’s assessment of worldwide threats in the year 2019.

While Pakistan continues to develop new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer range ballistic missiles, India this year has conducted its first deployment of a nuclear-powered submarine armed with nuclear missiles, he said.

“The continued growth and development of Pakistan and India’s nuclear weapons programmes increase the risk of a nuclear security incident in South Asia, and the new types  .. ……..

January 31, 2019 Posted by | India, Pakistan, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Security guards kill man at Nevada Nuclear Test Site

Official: Man killed at nuclear site failed to drop object by The Associated Press  An aggressive man was killed by officers at a U.S. nuclear security site in Nevada after refusing orders to drop a cylindrical object, authorities said Tuesday.

Investigators declined immediate comment on whether the object was a weapon.

The incident began when the unidentified man failed to stop Monday evening at the security gate at the Nevada National Security Site, located 70 miles (112 kilometers) north of Las Vegas, according to Darwin Morgan, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Morgan said the trespasser drove 8 miles (13 kilometers) with officers in pursuit before he parked and approached them with the object in his hand. Deputies and site officers fired at him when he ignored their verbal commands, Morgan said.

The man died at the property formerly known as the Nevada Test Site.

The FBI has been notified and no additional information has been released, Nye County sheriff’s Lt. David Boruchowitz said.

Nevada is currently involved in a legal battle with the U.S. Energy Department to block the shipment of a metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium to the site from South Carolina.

Government scientists conduct tests simulating nuclear explosions at the 1,360-square mile (3,522-square kilometer) site in Nevada that is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | incidents, USA | 1 Comment

UK Chancellor Philip Hammond looks to ‘ alternative financing model’to save Wylfa nuclear project

Wylfa Newydd: Chancellor Philip Hammond ‘hopeful’ of nuclear plant deal  BBC  30 Jan 19 Work on a multi-billion pound UK nuclear project could still “go ahead” if a new financing model is found, Chancellor Philip Hammond has said.Japanese firm Hitachi cited rising costs for halting work on the £13bn plant at Wylfa Newydd, Anglesey.

It had been in talks with the UK government since June about funding for the project, which was being built by its Horizon subsidiary.

Mr Hammond said an alternative model was being worked on.

“Obviously we are disappointed by the decision of Hitachi to suspend work on the Wylfa project, but we haven’t given up hope,” he told the House of Commons.

“They retain the site and we hope that the work that we’re doing on a possible alternative financing model may yet allow the project to go ahead.”………

If the Wylfa Newydd project is scrapped, it leaves the Hinkley Point power station in Somerset as the only new UK reactor still being built.

There are plans for new plants at Bradwell and Sizewell, but neither is currently under construction……

January 31, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment