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Donald Trump’s gamble with nuclear negotiations with North Korea – the risk of war if it falls apart

Trump’s Bet on Kim Might Not Pay Off, All that’s preventing the collapse of talks is that North Korea’s missiles haven’t flown far enough yet. The Atlantic

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May 11, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

US Dept of Energy plans changes to definition of “High Level” nuclear wastes: Rick Perry keen, environmentalists not

Perry Supports DOE Reconsideration of High-Level Waste Definition, Exchange Monitor,   BY CHRIS SCHNEIDMILLER, MAY 10, 2019

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday voiced support for his agency’s potential reinterpretation of the definition of high-level radioactive waste.

The Department of Energy proposed the reinterpretation in October and is now reviewing public comments submitted through Jan. 9 on the matter.

Ultimately, DOE could determine the definition should emphasize the radiological threat waste poses to human health, rather than where or how it was generated. That could open the door to disposal methods now prohibited for high-level waste.

The department has not given a timeline for a decision……

Subcommittee Vice Chairman Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.)  suggested the reinterpretation could lead to high-level waste being dispoosed of “in less secure sites.” He asked Perry to specify the amount of material DOE is considering reclassifying. The DOE chief did not provide a specific figure.

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 and the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 define HLW as highly radioactive material that comes from spent nuclear fuel. That generally involves separating contents in irradiated nuclear fuel and target materials, such as plutonium.

There is roughly 90 million gallons of solids, liquids, and sludge left over from decades of nuclear weapons production, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future said in 2012. By law, that material must go into a geologic repository – which the United States does not yet have, after decades of efforts to bring the Yucca Mountain disposal site into existence.

Some high-level waste that is redesignated as another waste type could be shipped to the Nevada National Security Site, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, and the privately held Waste Control Specialists facility in West Texas, the nongovernmental Energy Communities Alliance has said. The Washington, D.C.-based group, which represents communities near DOE sites, has said it does not expect any decision from the department until late 2019. https://www.exchangemonitor.com/perry-supports-doe-reconsideration-high-level-waste-definition/

May 11, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Chelsea Manning released from gaol, – but this could be only temporary

May 11, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Radioactive fallout could be released from melting glaciers

“Anthropocene Nuclear Legacy” –Melting Glaciers Could Unleash Radioactive Fallout  https://dailygalaxy.com/2019/05/anthropocene-nuclear-legacy-melting-glaciers-could-unleash-radioactive-fallout/ May 9, 2019 “These materials are a product of what we have put into the atmosphere. This is just showing that our nuclear legacy hasn’t disappeared yet. It’s still there,”said Caroline Clason, a lecturer in Physical Geography at the University of Plymouth of a study published in Nature that surveyed 19,000 of Earth’s glaciers and found their total melt amounts to a loss of 335 billion tons of ice each year, more than measurements of previous studies.“When it was built in the early 1900s, the road into Mount Rainier National Park from the west passed near the foot of the Nisqually Glacier, one of the mountain’s longest,” reports the New York Times. “Visitors could stop for ice cream at a stand built among the glacial boulders and gaze in awe at the ice. The ice cream stand (image below) is long gone.”

The glacier now ends more than a mile farther up the mountain, and they are melting elsewhere around the world too.

This scary scenario of our nuclear legacy was explored by an international team of scientists who studied the spread of radioactive contaminants in Arctic glaciers throughout Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, the European Alps, the Caucasus, British Columbia, and Antarctica. The researchers shared their results at the 2019 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) in Vienna.

It found man made radioactive material at all 17 survey sites, often at concentrations at least 10 times higher than levels elsewhere. “They are some of the highest levels you see in the environment outside nuclear exclusion zones,” said Caroline Clason

“Missing –14 Billion Tons of Antarctica’s Ice”

Fallout radionuclides (FRNs) were detected these sites. Radioactive material was found embedded within ice surface sediments called “cryoconite,” and at concentration levels ten times greater than the surrounding environment.“ They are some of the highest levels you see in the environment outside nuclear exclusion zones,” Clason, who led the research project, told AFP.

The Chernobyl disaster of 1986—by far the most devastating nuclear accident to date—released vast clouds of radioactive material including Caesium into the atmosphere, causing widespread contamination and acid rain across northern Europe for weeks afterwards. “Radioactive particles are very light so when they are taken up into the atmosphere they can be transported a very long way,” she told AFP. “When it falls as rain, like after Chernobyl, it washes away and it’s sort of a one-off event. But as snow, it stays in the ice for decades and as it melts in response to the climate it’s then washed downstream.”

The environmental impact of this has been shown in recent years, as wild boar meat in Sweden was found to contain more than 10 times the safe levels of Caesium.

“We’re talking about weapons testing from the 1950s and 1960s onwards, going right back in the development of the bomb,” Clason said. “If we take a sediment core you can see a clear spike where Chernobyl was, but you can also see quite a defined spike in around 1963 when there was a period of quite heavy weapons testing.”

Weapons tests can fling radioactive detritus up to 50 miles in the air. Smaller, lighter materials will travel into the upper atmosphere, and may “circulate around the world for years, or even decades, until they gradually settle out or are brought back to the surface by precipitation,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fallout is comprised of radionuclides such as Americium-241, Cesium-137, Iodine-131, and Strontium-90. Depending on a material’s half-life, it could remain in the environment minutes to years before decaying. Their levels of radiation also vary.

Particles can return to the immediate area as acid rain that’s absorbed by plants and soil, wreaking havoc on ecosystems, human health, and communities. But radionuclides that travel far and wide can settle in concentrated levels on snow and ice—large amounts of radioactive material from Fukushima was found in 2011 on four glaciers in the Tibetan Plateau, for example.

One of the most potentially hazardous residues of human nuclear activity is Americium, which is produced when Plutonium decays. Whereas Plutonium has a half-life of 14 years, Americium lasts 400.

Americium is more soluble in the environment and it is a stronger alpha (radiation) emitter. Both of those things are bad in terms of uptake into the food chain,” said Clason. While there is little data available on how these materials can be passed down the food chain—even potentially to humans—Clason said there was no doubt that Americium is “particularly dangerous”.

As geologists look for markers of the epoch when mankind directly impacted the health of the planet—known as the Anthropocene—Clason and her team believe that radioactive particles in ice, soil and sediment could be an important indicator.

The team hopes that future research will investigate how fallout could disperse into the food chain from glaciers, calling it a potential “secondary source of environmental contamination many years after the nuclear event of their origin.”

The Daily Galaxy via AFP, France24, and Nature

May 11, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, radiation | Leave a comment

Russia using nuclear power loans and sales to have political influence – nuclear colonialism

Russia’s Nuclear Power Exports are Booming, Moscow Times, 10 May 19, 

Rosatom has been using nuclear power plants as a way of cementing ties with its fellow emerging markets.Russia’s state-owned agency Rosatom is on a tear. The company operates 35 nuclear power stations in Russia that produce 28 gigawatts (GW) of power, and it is actively exporting its nuclear technology to countries around the world.

Russia has been using nuclear power plants as a way of cementing ties with its fellow emerging markets with no nuclear power tradition and the BRICS countries, a group that started as a marketing tool for Goldman Sachs to sell equity but has increasingly turned into a real geopolitical alliance amongst the leading emerging market governments.

In recent years Rosatom has completed the construction of six nuclear power reactors in India, Iran and China and it has another nine reactors under construction in Turkey, Belarus, India, Bangladesh and China. Rosatom confirmed to bne IntelliNews that it has a total of 19 more “firmly planned” projects and an additional 14 “proposed” projects, almost all in emerging markets around the world.

Rosatom has become the world’s largest nuclear reactor builder as the financial problems of the two big Western firms Westinghouse Areva have crimped their ability to develop nuclear plants abroad . as the financial problems of the two big Western firms Westinghouse Areva have crimped their ability to develop nuclear plants abroad. Westinghouse and Areva, now owned by EDF, have for years negotiated deals to build reactors in India but have made little progress, partly because Indian nuclear liability legislation gives reactor manufacturers less protection against claims for damages in case of accidents.

The sales drive was organised by former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, who presided over Russia during the 1998 financial crisis but was given the job of running Rosatom after leaving office and tasked with selling 40 nuclear power plants internationally.

… Part of Rosatom’s appeal is not only Russia’s lower prices and state-of-the-art technology, but the fact that company usually provides most of the financing for the typically $10 billion price tag.

Last year the Russian firm said it had an order book worth $134 billion and contracts to build 22 nuclear reactors in nine countries over the next decade, including Belarus, Bangladesh, China, India, Turkey, Finland, Hungary, Egypt and Iran. The size of the order book puts nuclear power station exports on a par with Russia’s booming arms export business.

But underpinning the business is politics. Russia has long used energy as the sweetener when offering a package of trade deal to its international partners. Like gas pipelines, nuclear power stations are a way of binding countries to Russia, as nuclear power stations come with 60-year long maintenance deals and uranium supply contracts.

…. Iran Bushehr

One of the most controversial nuclear power stations built by Moscow was Iran’s Bushehr that was completed in 2013 over strong U.S. objections.

….Russia has been producing new parts for the second nuclear power plant to be built at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf and now Russia is preparing to push ahead with the construction of the second unit. ……

India Kudankulam…..

Hungary Paks……

Belarus Grodno……

Turkey Akkuyu……

Egypt El Dabaa…… https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/05/09/russias-nuclear-power-exports-are-booming-a65533

May 11, 2019 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

President Kennedy strongly warned Israel against getting nuclear weapons

May 11, 2019 Posted by | history, Israel, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Environmentalists astounded that panel rules in favour of Holtec’s nuclear waste storage plan for New Mexico

May 11, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Patients not always aware of the risks in medical radiation treatment

May 11, 2019 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Deep ocean animals are eating radioactive carbon from nuclear bomb tests

May 11, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, oceans, radiation | Leave a comment