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Particles From Cold War Nuclear Bomb Tests Found in Deepest Parts of the Ocean

Particles From Cold War Nuclear Bomb Tests Found in Deepest Parts of the Ocean

Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests, By Christopher Crockett, smithsonian.com , May 1, 2019 

Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests
The first test of a thermonuclear weapon, or a hydrogen bomb, codenamed Ivy Mike and conducted by the United States in 1952 over the island of Elugelab in Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. (Public Domain)……… Crustaceans in the Mariana Trench and other underwater canyons feed on food from the surface laced with carbon-14 from Cold War bomb tests

No place on Earth is free from human influence—not even the bottom of the deepest trenches in the ocean.

Shrimp-like critters from three West Pacific ocean trenches were found to munch on food that sinks down from the surface, leaving a unique chemical signature from decades-old nuclear bomb tests in the bodies of the deep-sea crustaceans. The findings, published recently in Geophysical Research Letters, not only help marine scientists figure out how these bottom dwellers survive, but also underscore the depths to which humanity’s influence can penetrate………

In those dark depths, one of the most common critters is the shrimp-like amphipod, a family of crustaceans that scavenge the ocean floor for food. Where that food comes from is a matter of debate. Potential sources include morsels that percolate up from Earth’s interior, nutrient-rich sediment that slides down steep trench walls, or tasty detritus that wafts down from the surface.

A recent haul of deep-sea amphipods offered Sun and colleagues a chance to solve this marine mystery. Using baited traps, two Chinese research vessels in 2017 harvested amphipods from three trenches in the West Pacific, including the famous Mariana Trench. Sun’s team chemically analyzed the amphipods’ muscle tissue and gut contents and found elevated levels of carbon-14, a heavy variant of carbon. The levels closely matched abundances found near the surface of the ocean, where the amount of carbon-14 is higher than usual thanks to nuclear bomb tests conducted more than half a century ago.

Carbon comes in a few different varieties based on how many neutrons are stuffed into its atomic nucleus. About one out of every trillion carbon atoms on Earth has two extra neutrons. This form, known as carbon-14, occurs naturally thanks to high-speed atomic particles from deep space whacking into nitrogen atoms. But in the middle of the 20th century, humans doubled the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, from 1945 to 1963 the United States and the Soviet Union (with a little help from the United Kingdom and France) detonated nearly 500 nuclear bombs, 379 of which exploded in the atmosphere. These tests dramatically increased the amount of carbon-14 on our planet. The Test Ban Treaty of 1963 put a stop to most atmospheric and underwater tests, and carbon-14 levels in the atmosphere started a slow return to normal—though they are still higher than pre-nuclear levels—as ocean waters and land-based life absorbed carbon from the air.

………While the nuclear bomb signature has been recorded a couple miles down in the West Atlantic, no one has seen it as these depths before. “This is just interesting as all get out,” says Robert Key, a Princeton oceanographer who was not involved with this study. He points out that starting about a mile below the surface of the North Pacific, carbon-14 levels closely match what the atmosphere looked like before the bomb tests. “The high carbon-14 [in the amphipods] could only come from food that’s come down from the top,” he says.

The abundance of material created in nuclear bomb tests high in the sky found in the bodies of deep-dwelling amphipods underscores a very intimate connection between human activity and the most isolated reaches of the sea…………. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/particles-cold-war-nuclear-bomb-testing-found-amphipods-mariana-trench-180972078/

May 2, 2019 Posted by | oceans, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The bizarre Westminster Abbey glorification of nuclear weapons

Why is Westminster Abbey about to hold a bizarre thanksgiving for Britain’s nuclear weapons?  https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/nuclear-weapons-westminster-abbey-cnd-bruce-kent-church-a8893106.html 1 May 19
We are told that nuclear weapons and their deterrent effect have kept the peace. What peace?  
Bruce Kent @CNDuk   There is to be a ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 3 May in celebration of 50 years of submarine nuclear weaponry. Two hundred Anglican clerics have publicly condemned the service – in their view it should not go ahead because it is at odds with church policy to “work tirelessly” for a world free of nuclear weapons.

I think they’re right and the Abbey has got this very wrong. These submarines are nuclear weapon submarines. Their crews, trained to obey orders, are ready to fire missiles whose warheads will bring destruction to faraway places and people far beyond the scale of Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

My opposition to potential war crimes of this magnitude will motivate me to join a vigil outside the Abbey. I do not blame the sailors. The history of nuclear weaponry has been from the beginning one of deceit.

We were, and are, told that the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the only way to end the Second World War. Not true. The Japanese leadership, ready to surrender, were looking for one guarantee – that the position of the Emperor would not be challenged in any surrender settlement and that he would not be prosecuted. That was just what was given by General MacArthur but only after the bombs were dropped. Why were they dropped then? As a warning to the Soviets and to see if they “worked”? Probably.

We are never told about the few scientists, like Professor Joseph Rotblat, then in Los Alamos, who refused to continue to work on the bomb once he knew how it was to be used. He was sent back to Britain in 1944 in disgrace.

Not many church voices in this country were raised in opposition at the use of these bombs. One was that of Cuthbert Thickness, the Dean of St Albans Abbey. When he was supposed to have rung the bells in thanksgiving, he said in August 1945 “I cannot honestly give thanks to God for an event brought about by the wrong use of force, by an act of wholesale indiscriminate massacre, different in kind over all other acts of open warfare hitherto, however brutal and hideous.”

There were however strong military voices in opposition, to which little attention has been paid. General Eisenhower for instance had this to say: “Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

We are told now that nuclear weapons and deterrence have kept the peace. What peace?

The list of post-1945 wars runs to several pages and the global military budget is nearly $2tn. If this claim means we have not had a nuclear war then I think we should listen to Robert McNamara, erstwhile US secretary of defense, who said, late in life, that we were saved not by our good judgement but by “good luck”. He had in mind the many accidents and misunderstandings which have dogged our nuclear weapon world.

In 1968 we signed up to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and promised in “good faith” to work for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Yet almost 50 years later we are now spending over £200bn on yet another nuclear weapons system (also entirely dependent on a regular loan of US missiles) to replace Trident.

Surely it is time to start spending our billions not on weapons of mass murder but on our NHS, pensions, welfare and real peace-making initiatives, here and abroad.

There is now a UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons just waiting for more signatory states to give it the force of law. Britain should sign it and lead the world towards a nuclear-free future.

In these dangerous times, when the threat of nuclear war is growing rather than receding, a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey for the so-called nuclear “deterrent” is the last thing we need.

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Religion and ethics, UK | Leave a comment

Exelon welcomes Pennsylvania Governor joining nuclear front group the “US Climate Alliance”

Pennsylvania joins US Climate Alliance, WNN, 1 May 19Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has joined the US Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exelon, which owns the Limerick, Peach Bottom and Three Mile Island nuclear power plants in the state, welcomed the move…..

May 2, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change has been causing droughts for a century, and this trend is accelerating

Climate change link to global droughts goes back a century, study finds, SMH,  by Peter Hannam, May 2, 2019 Humans have contributed to increased global risks of drought for more than a century, scientists say, in findings that also point to “severe” consequences ahead with climate change.

The research by US-based scientists and published in Nature journal on Thursday comes as the latest Bureau of Meteorology data showed the first four months of 2019 were the hottest on record for Australia as drought tightened its grip on the country’s south-east.

The scientists, led by Kate Marvel at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, used so-called drought atlases derived from tree-ring data combined with satellite observations and climate models to identify how soil moisture has changed.

They found drought increased during the first half of the 20th century, eased in the quarter century to 1975 and worsened again. The pause in the trend coincided with increased aerosol pollution.

Models project and observations show a re-emerging greenhouse gas signal towards the end of the 20th century, and this signal is likely to grow stronger in the next several decades,” the paper concluded. “The human consequences of this, particularly drying over large parts of North America and Eurasia, are likely to be severe.”

Paul Durack, a research scientist and an author of the paper, said the study was the first to show global-scale droughts to be impacted by human activities.

“This is potentially bad news for Australia, and similar climate regions such as California,” he said in a statement. “These regions have experienced devastating recent droughts, and if the model projected changes continue, such droughts will become more commonplace into the future.”

Andrew King, climate extremes research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said while heat extremes caused by climate change have been clear, “droughts are very complicated”, with natural variability masking the trends, Dr King said.

“You’d expect the signal to be weaker. Like in this study, we found an increased human fingerprint for heat extremes more recently that will continue to increase in the next few decades.”…….   https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/climate-change-link-to-global-droughts-goes-back-a-century-study-finds-20190501-p51j2n.html

 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Extradition of Julian Assange Threatens Us All 

May 2, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Private Companies Pitch New Ways To Store USA’s piling up nuclear wastes

As Nuclear Waste Piles Up, Private Companies Pitch New Ways To Store It,  NPR, JEFF BRADY  1 May 19, Congress is once again debating how to dispose of the country’s growing inventory of nuclear waste. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., is proposing legislation that would jump-start licensing hearings for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site in Nevada. The Trump administration also is asking Congress for money to resume work on that decades old project.But that may not end local opposition or a longstanding political stalemate. And in the meantime, nuclear plants are running out of room to store spent fuel.

Running out of room

The Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in south-central Pennsylvania illustrates the problem. It’s one of 80 sites, across dozens of states, where nearly 80,000 metric tons of waste from power plants is stored where it was generated, at taxpayer expense.

Spent fuel removed from the Peach Bottom reactor is first stored in racks in a big pool. It’s surrounded by a bright yellow plastic barrier and signs that read “Caution: Radiation Area.”

“They are under about 22 feet of water,” says reactor engineering manager Mark Parrish. “They are continuously being cooled, as they still have some amount of decay heat even after they’ve operated in the reactor.”

The spent fuel stays here for seven to 10 years while it cools.

Once it’s safe to remove the spent fuel from the pool, it’s stored outside in white metal casks that look like big hot water heaters. They are lined up on a concrete base behind razor wire and against a hillside near the power plant.

Currently there are 89 casks at Peach Bottom with room for three more, says Pat Navin, site vice president for Exelon, the company that partially owns and operates the power plant.

“That is 40 years worth of spent fuel stored over there currently and it’s less than the size of a football field,” says Navin. “Probably half a football field.”…….

without a permanent disposal site, Navin says they’re going to run out of room. So they’re expanding the temporary storage to hold all the waste generated through the 60 years the plant is licensed to operate…..

Private companies propose their own storage plans

As the waste piles up, private companies are stepping in with their own solutions for the nation’s radioactive spent fuel. One is proposing a temporary storage site in New Mexico, and another is seeking a license for a site in Texas.

But most experts agree that what’s needed is a permanent site, like Yucca Mountain, that doesn’t require humans to manage it.

“Institutions go away,” says Edwin Lyman, acting director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “There’s no guarantee the owner will still be around for the duration of time when that waste remains dangerous, which is tens or hundreds of thousands of years.”

A California company says it has a viable plan for permanent storage. Deep Isolation wants to store spent fuel in holes drilled at least 1,000 feet underground in stable rock formations. The company says the waste would be separate from groundwater and in a place where it can’t hurt people.,,,,,,

Regulators require retrieval, because new technology could develop to better deal with the spent fuel. And the public is less likely to accept disposal programs that can’t be reversed, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Proving the waste can be retrieved may be the easy part. The bigger challenge is federal law, which doesn’t allow private companies to permanently store nuclear waste from power plants.

Current law also says all the waste should end up at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. By contrast, Deep Isolation’s technology would store waste at sites around the country, likely near existing nuclear power plants.

“I just don’t see how there would be political support from every other state, other than Nevada, for changing the law, so that spent nuclear fuel could stay in your state forever,” says Lyman.

Despite the law, all that waste in dozens of states is staying put for now. https://www.npr.org/2019/04/30/716837443/as-nuclear-waste-piles-up-private-companies-pitch-new-ways-to-store-it

May 2, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Even USA’s conservative groups are objecting to subsidising Ohio’s nuclear power stations

May 2, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

NuScale’s 12 Small Modular Nuclear Power units will cost $3 billion

NuScale Gains Potential Financial Backing for Worldwide SMR Deployment, Power , 05/01/2019 | Sonal Patel   NuScale Power, the front-runner in the race to commercialize small modular reactors (SMRs), has bagged another major backer that could broaden its nuclear supply chain base and expand its financial standing. 

On April 29, NuScale signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction (DHIC), a South Korean–based engineering, procurement, and construction contractor with a wide global network, that supports deployment of NuScale’s Power Module worldwide. “The relationship includes DHIC, a member of the Doosan Group, and potential Korean financial investors, which, commensurate to final due diligence, plan to make a cash equity investment in NuScale,” NuScale said on Monday. …..

That project, which is to be built at a 890-square-mile site at the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls, will feature a plant comprising a dozen 60-MWe modules. NuScale anticipates the first module could be operational by 2026 and full plant would be operational by 2027. 

However, NuScale’s design certification application, which it submitted to the the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2016 covers 50-MWe modules. The company increased the module’s capacity to 60-MWe in June 2018, citing optimization through advanced testing and modeling tools. The breakthrough would boost the power capacity of the 12-module UAMPs facility from 600 MWe to 720 MWe, it said. ….

According to NuScale, the first 12-module facility, even at 684 MWe (net), could cost up to $3 billion to build  ……https://www.powermag.com/nuscale-gains-potential-financial-backing-for-worldwide-smr-deployment/

May 2, 2019 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Dept of Energy pledges to remove plutonium from Nevada

Energy Department says it will remove plutonium from Nevada, abc,By SCOTT SONNER, ASSOCIATED PRESS,  Apr 30, 2019,U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is pledging to expedite the removal of weapons-grade plutonium secretly hauled to Nevada last year as the state and Trump administration remain locked in a court battle about whether the shipment was legal.

The Energy Department intends to start removing the highly radioactive material in 2021 and finish by the end of 2026, Perry said in an April 24 letter to U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Nevada Democrat.

He also assured her in the letter released Tuesday that his department won’t ship any more plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada Nuclear Security Site north of Las Vegas.

Nevada still is seeking a formal court order preventing any shipments because it says the agency’s track record shows it cannot be trusted. It also has a related case before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A federal judge in South Carolina has ordered the U.S. government to remove a metric ton (2,204 pounds) of plutonium from the Savannah River site by Jan. 1, 2020, and haul out an additional 5 metric tons (11,020 pounds) in future years.

Nevada sued in November, accusing the Energy Department of failing to do the necessary environmental reviews before adopting a plan last August to ship the plutonium to the state.

The department disclosed in January that it already had shipped half a metric ton (1,102 pounds) of the material before Nevada sued but kept it secret for national security reasons…….

The Energy Department has said it plans to forward the plutonium to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico by the “2026-2027 timeframe.” https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/energy-department-remove-plutonium-nevada-62738713

May 2, 2019 Posted by | - plutonium, USA | Leave a comment

Risk of catastrophic Hanford tunnel collapse prevented as tunnel is stabilised

May 2, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear bailout could help “old” technology at the expense of “new nuclear”

May 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak reiterates Nevada opposition to Yucca nuclear storage

May 2, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

New miniseries dramatises the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Irish Times 30th April 2019 A new five-part miniseries dramatising the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion will bring “fresh eyes” to the disaster and its subsequent cover-up,
Chernobyl activist Adi Roche said at a screening of the drama in Dublin on
Tuesday.

Ms Roche said she hoped the series, named Chernobyl and made by
Sky in association with US broadcaster HBO, “wins every award going”
for its portrayal of the tragedy and those caught up in it. “Disasters
like Chernobyl can fade from the headlines, can fade from societal
consciousness, can fade from the memories of ordinary people,” Ms Roche
said.

“This series will reveal to a new global TV audience the ignominy,
the betrayal and the heroism behind the deadliest nuclear accident in human
history.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/chernobyl-tv-drama-will-bring-new-light-to-1986-nuclear-disaster-says-adi-roche-1.3876520

May 2, 2019 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

UK’s nuclear weapons programme could cost £172bn

UK Defence Journal 30th April 2019 , A new report has warned that the UK’s nuclear weapons programme could cost £172bn between now and 2070, and suggests the government should
review the UK’s possession of nuclear weapons. The report, published
today by the Nuclear Information Service (NIS), states that the UK must
make a choice in the near future: increase the overall defence budget,
reduce spending on conventional weapons in order to fund nuclear weapons,
or reducing spending on/scrapping the nuclear weapons programme. NIS also
argues that the UK should work to “achieving a nuclear free world”, and
must “re-examine” the case for nuclear disarmament.

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/report-warns-of-spiralling-costs-of-uk-nuclear-weapons-programme/

May 2, 2019 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Climate emergency’ declared by Welsh Government,

 BBC,  29 April 2019  A “climate emergency” has been declared in Wales following protests demanding politicians take action on climate change.

The Welsh Government’s Lesley Griffiths said she hoped the declaration would trigger “a wave of action”.

Climate change threatens Wales’ health, economy, infrastructure and natural environment, she said……

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-48093720

May 2, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment