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

Nuclear industry and governments colluded to obscure the health effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident

Is Chernobyl disaster to blame for global rise in cancer rates? Author alleges shock cover

NUCLEAR fall-out from the Chernobyl power station disaster could be responsible for the global rise in cancers and diseases, according to a terrifying new book.

BSIMON OSBORNE Mar 15, 2019 US historian Kate Brown has been investigating the impact of radiation from the world’s worst ever nuclear disaster and claims the real death toll has been deliberately covered up by organisations with vested interests. She alleges scientists joined forces with the UN, Red Cross and World Health Organisation to withhold evidence of hundreds of thousands of people who have died as a result of the 1986 nuclear explosion in what is now Ukraine.
She said at the time it was widely agreed and underestimated by scientists that the accident would cause around 200 deaths over 80 years.

But in her book, Manual For Survival: A Chernobyl Guide To The Future, she claims: “International scientists suppressed evidence of a cancer epidemic among children.”

Cancer Research UK acknowledged rates of the disease were rising but said this war largely down to people were living longer coupled with increased consumption of red and processed meats, increasing obesity in the west, and a culture of sunbathing and sunbeds were largely to blame.

One in two people are now likely to develop the disease rather than the previous estimates of one in three.

Ms Brown believes the increase in cancer may be linked to Chernobyl while governments and nuclear industry chiefs have dodged responsibility.

She said: “Minimising both the number of deaths so far and the on-going health consequences of the Chernobyl disaster provided cover for nuclear powers to dodge lawsuits and uncomfortable investigations in the 1990s.”

She criticises a lot of senior figures, both past and present, for not admitting that nuclear radiation is really poisonous and therefore not providing adequate protection or support for people who may still be affected.

Her book details how the threshold for the amount of radiation legally allowed in produce exported for consumption in the US is surprisingly high and could be dangerous.

It also describes what the nuclear plant workers and local residents saw and experienced when the explosion tore through the power station.

It reveals how workers clearing the devastated site were advised by Soviet doctors to drink vodka throughout the day because they claimed it would stimulate the liver and cleanse the body of radiation.

Ms Brown conducted her research over four years and relied on 27 archives of information from Europe, the US and the former Soviet Union.

She reckons the actual death told could be as high as 150,000 for Ukraine alone over the past three decades.

She concludes by calling for the impact of nuclear radiation on human health and the facts and figures surrounding to Chernobyl to be reassessed.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Ionising radiation in space will kill astronauts headed for Mars

The radiation showstopper for Mars exploration, by   3 June 19, An astronaut on a mission to Mars could receive radiation doses up to 700 times higher than on our planet—a major showstopper for the safe exploration of our solar system. A team of European experts is working with ESA to protect the health of future crews on their way to the Moon and beyond.

Earth’s magnetic fieldand atmosphere protect us from the constant bombardment of galactic cosmic rays—energetic particles that travel at close to the speed of light and penetrate the human body.

Cosmic radiation could increase cancer risks during long duration missions. Damage to the human body extends to the brain, heart and the central nervous system and sets the stage for degenerative diseases. A higher percentage of early-onset cataracts have been reported in astronauts.

“One day in space is equivalent to the radiation received on Earth for a whole year,” explains physicist Marco Durante, who studies cosmic radiation on Earth.

Marco points out that most of the changes in the astronauts’ gene expression are believed to be a result of radiation exposure, according to the recent NASA’s Twins study. This research showed DNA damage in astronaut Scott Kelly compared to his identical twin and fellow astronaut Mark Kelly, who remained on Earth.

A second source of space radiation comes from unpredictable solar particle events that deliver high doses of radiation in a short period of time, leading to “radiation sickness” unless protective measures are taken.

Europe’s radiation fight club

“The real problem is the large uncertainty surrounding the risks. We don’t understand space radiation very well and the long-lasting effects are unknown,” explains Marco who is also part of an ESA team formed to investigate radiation.

Since 2015, this forum of experts provides advice from areas such as space science, biology, epidemiology, medicine and physics to improve protection from space radiation.

“Space radiation research is an area that crosses the entire life and physical sciences area with important applications on Earth. Research in this area will remain of high priority for ESA,” says Jennifer Ngo-Anh, ESA’s team leader human research, biology and physical sciences.

While astronauts are not considered radiation workers in all countries, they are exposed to 200 times more radiation on the International Space Station than an airline pilot or a radiology nurse.

Radiation is in the Space Station’s spotlight every day. A console at NASA’s mission control in Houston, Texas, is constantly showing space weather information.

f a burst of space radiation is detected, teams on Earth can abort a spacewalk, instruct astronauts to move to more shielded areas and even change the altitude of the station to minimize impact.

One of the main recommendations of the topical team is to develop a risk model with the radiation dose limits for crews traveling beyond the International Space Station.

ESA’s flight surgeon and radiologist Ulrich Straube believes that the model should “provide information on the risks that could cause cancer and non-cancer health issues for astronauts going to the Moon and Mars in agreement with all space agencies.”

Recent data from ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter showed that on a six-month journey to the Red Planet an astronaut could be exposed to at least 60% of the total radiation dose limit recommended for their entire career.

“As it stands today, we can’t go to Mars due to radiation. It would be impossible to meet acceptable dose limits,” reminds Marco.

Measure to protect

ESA has teamed up with five particle accelerators in Europe that can recreate cosmic radiation by “shooting” atomic particles to speeds approaching the speed of light. Researchers have been bombarding biological cells and materials with radiation to understand how to best protect astronauts.

“The research is paying off. Lithium is standing out as a promising material for shielding in planetary missions,” says Marco.

ESA has been measuring the radiation dose on the International Space Station for seven years with passive radiation detectors in the DOSIS 3-D experiment. ESA astronauts Andreas Mogensen and Thomas Pesquet wore a new mobile dosimeter during their missions that gave them a real-time snapshot of their exposure.

The same European team behind this research will provide radiation detectors to monitor the skin and organ doses of the two phantoms traveling to the Moon onboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | 2 Comments

Sweden’s Uppsala District Court rules against extraditing Assange to Sweden

4 June 19

Sweden’s Uppsala District Court has found in favour of Assange: the court ruled NOT to detain Assange in absentia. The preliminary investigation can proceed without Assange’s extradition to Sweden. This was always the case as Assange has always cooperated with the investigation.

Suzie Dawson on Julian Assange’s mistreatment #FreeAssange

June 4, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, legal, Sweden | Leave a comment

Donald Trump, guided by John Bolton, could wreck the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)

Could Trump Trash The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty? Forbes, Michael Krepon, 3 June 19

  Think of what the world would be like if Russia, the United States, China, India and Pakistan were testing nuclear weapons. They are not because of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which is responsible for shutting down nuclear testing by major and regional powers for more than two decades. Walking away from the CTBT would be extraordinarily dumb and dangerous, but the Trump administration has taken a step in this direction.

The CTBT was negotiated in 1996, but it isn’t solidly in place. While Russia has signed and ratified it, Senate Republicans rejected it in 1999. China, like the United States, has signed but not ratified.

 There are other holdouts, including India and Pakistan. And yet none of these states has tested nuclear weapons since 1998. When a treaty is negotiated, it’s common diplomatic practice not to undercut its objectives while awaiting its entry into force. Hence the two-decades-long moratorium on testing by every nuclear-armed state except North Korea.

How long this can this situation last? The answer is in doubt now that the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, Jr., has declared at a public forum that the “United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium.” The Treaty sets a “zero yield” obligation: states aren’t supposed to test even with the slightest yields. The State Department defines this as any explosion “that produce a self-sustaining, supercritical chain reaction.” In other words, you can conduct experiments, but the experiments should not produce any seismic activity.

As a result of General Ashley’s statement, it’s now open season against the CTBT for those who want to trash another treaty. Critics of arms control have begun to call on Donald Trump to “unsign” the CTBT, just as he has walked away from the Iran nuclear deal and the Arms Trade Treaty. (Trump also announced withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but in this case, evidence of Russian noncompliance is compelling.) By “unsigning” the CTBT, Trump would tell the world that the United States is no longer bound to respect the Treaty’s obligation not to test nuclear weapons.
Before stumbling into this sinkhole, there are three very important things to bear in mind. First, the U.S. Intelligence Community in general, and the Defense Intelligence Agency in particular, have bad track records in assessing Moscow’s compliance with nuclear testing constraints. Second, National Security Adviser John Bolton and others have a track record of fixing intelligence findings to fit their policy preferences, to the great detriment of America’s national security, expeditionary forces, and international standing. And third, walking away from the CTBT would remove constraints on the resumption of nuclear testing by others far more than on the United States.

Now let’s consider details.

General Ashley declared that the United States believes that Russia “probably” is cheating. This suggests an intelligence community-wide agreement, but Time magazine reports that this is not the case. According to Time’s reporters, there is no consensus, and “the Defense Intelligence Agency generally takes the ‘worst case’ position on military matters.” We deserve to know if there is a difference of view within the intelligence community on whether Russia is “probably” cheating, and if this dispute is about inference rather than evidence. We also need to know whether administration officials are seeking to influence intelligence assessments to suit policy preferences…………

It’s unknown whether John Bolton had any involvement with the DIA intelligence assessment, but another reason for investigation is the National Security Adviser’s record of  “fixing” intelligence to make the case for a second war against Saddam Hussein, a war predicated on weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Bolton is on record opposing U.S. ratification and entry into force of the CTBT. Is he once again “fixing the facts” to suit his policy preferences? Is the Defense Intelligence Agency once again guilty of reaching conclusions beyond available evidence, and misrepresenting the evidence it has? Or is there strong evidence of Russian violations of the CTBT’s prohibition on testing?

We deserve answers to these questions before opening the floodgates to resumed nuclear testing.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Arctic is thawing ever faster: permafrost collapse is further accelerating the release of carbon

Arctic Is Thawing So Fast Scientists Are Losing Their Measuring Tools  BY Dahr Jamail, Truthout, June 3, 2019  

We’ve never experienced anything like this: We are living with the full knowledge of our collapsing biosphere and watching huge portions of it vanishing before our very eyes. Meanwhile, the industrial growth society (as eco-philosopher, author and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy calls it) continues to grind on, and this veneer of normalcy persists one more day.

Yet simultaneously, a great awakening is occurring. Millions of people around the world are rising to protect what remains, working to mitigate the damage and to adapt to the drastically changing world. They are working to hold space for that which, despite seemingly overwhelming odds, may continue in the wake of this great collapse……….

dear reader, I urge you to find your own work that reconnects — or to find another way to ground yourself, as you read on, and as we each travel through another crises-ridden day into an increasingly bleak future.

That future is perhaps most visible at the poles. Greenland is melting much faster than previously understood, as melting has increased six-fold in recent decades, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We wanted to get a long precise record of mass balance in Greenland that included the transition when the climate of the planet started to drift off natural variability, which occurred in the 1980s,” study co-author Eric Rignot told CNN. “The study places the recent (20 years) evolution in a broader context to illustrate how dramatically the mass loss has been increasing in Greenland in response to climate warming.” Rignot added, “As glaciers will continue to speed up and ice/snow melt from the top, we can foresee a continuous increase in the rate of mass loss, and a contribution to sea level rise that will continue to increase more rapidly every year.”

The study also shows how sea level rise is accelerating, and will continue to do so with each passing year, as the effects compound upon themselves.

On that note, Indonesia recently announced it will be moving its capital city of Jakarta, partly due to the sinking of the land and sea level rise. This is a city of 10 million people.

Permafrost in the Arctic is now thawing so fast that scientists are literally losing their measuring equipment. This is due to the fact that instead of there being just a few centimeters of thawing each year, now several meters of soil can become destabilized in a matter of days.

Adding insult to injury, another study revealed that this permafrost collapse is further accelerating the release of carbon into the atmosphere, possibly even doubling the amount of warming coming from greenhouse gases released from the tundra.

Already in Greenland, the ice sheet’s melt season began about a month early while in Alaska, several rivers saw winter ice break up on their earliest dates on record.

The recent U.N. report showing that one million species are now in danger of going extinct has grave implications for the future of humanity…..


Disconcertingly, since 2001 forests in Canada have released more carbon than they have sequestered. This is due largely to climate disruption-fueled drought, higher temperatures and wildfires. ………

Meanwhile, the refugee crisis from rising seas and extreme weather events continues apace in Bangladesh. Already one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to sea level rise, it is now estimated that more than 10 million people there are estimated to lose their livelihoods in the next decade. The larger cities are already overwhelmed with the number of people streaming into them from the submerging coastal areas.


Climate disruption-amplified, flood-inducing extreme weather events continue to make their mark around the planet………….


Just four months into 2019, the U.K. had already had more large wildfires than it had during the entirety of 2018……….


recent report shows how much warmer cities across the U.S. will be within one generation (by 2050).

“Every season in every city and town in America will shift, subtly or drastically, as average temperatures creep up, along with highs and lows,” reported Vox, which released the report. “Some of those changes — like summers in the Southwest warming by 4°F on average — will mean stretches of days where it’s so hot, it’ll be dangerous to go outside. Heat waves around the country could last up to a month.”

Denial and Reality

The U.S. is now one of the world’s leaders when it comes to climate change denial……….  With the ongoing acceleration of the climate crisis, it is clear that even if we believe the best-case scenarios, governments are not reacting according to the gravity of the situation at hand. Each one of us, knowing what we now know, must take full responsibility for preparing ourselves for the adaptation required to live on this increasingly warming, melting world as civilizations and societies continue to disintegrate.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear Experts Beg Congress to Push Back on Trump Administration’s ‘Dangerous Impulses’ 

Nuclear Experts Beg Congress to Push Back on Trump Administration’s ‘Dangerous Impulses’  A letter asks House and Senate Armed Services leaders to defund small nukes and support an extension for New START.    BY BRADLEY PENISTON

More than two dozen national security pros — including former White House policy directors, former senators, and one former defense secretary — are sending a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees asking them to act to blunt what they call “the administration’s dangerous impulses” in nuclear policy.

The June 3 letter asks for action in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, starting with support for extending the New START Treaty. Set to expire in 2021, the treaty is the last remaining strategic arms-control agreement between the United States and Russia. The Trump administration has proposed to let it expire and seek instead a three-way Russia-China-U.S.agreement that few outside the White House believe has any chance of becoming real.

The letter’s 25 signatories also ask Congress to “defund and prohibit deployment of low-yield nuclear weapons in this year’s NDAA to reduce the risk of nuclear escalation.” In the letter, they argue that ”deploying low-yield nukes not only lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, but it signals to adversaries that the United States would respond reciprocally (rather than overwhelmingly) to a nuclear attack. It incentivizes thinking in Moscow and Beijing that developing and deploying low-yield nuclear weapons is necessary to keep pace with the United States and could be a viable option in theater.”

Finally, the letter warns against overreacting to superfast maneuvering missiles being developed by U.S. rivals. “The development of hypersonic missiles by China and Russia is a serious military challenge, but it does not fundamentally change the logic of nuclear deterrence and therefore should not be cause for dangerous overreaction,” it says.

Among the signatories are former Defense Secretary William J. Perry; Bonnie Jenkins, once the State Department’s coordinator for threat reduction programs; Kelly Magsamen, former principal deputy assistant defense secretary; Ned Price, former senior director of the National Security Council; and Jon Wolfsthal, former NSC senior director for arms control and nonproliferation. The letter to lawmakers also bears the signatures of Sens. Gary Hart and Mark Udall.

Read the letter, here.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse due to climate change

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ in 2050  3 June 19

The climate change analysis was written by a former fossil fuel executive and backed by the former chief of Australia’s military. A harrowing scenario analysis of how human civilization might collapse in coming decades due to climate change has been endorsed by a former Australian defense chief and senior royal navy commander.

The analysis, published by the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, a think-tank in Melbourne, Australia, describes climate change as “a near- to mid-term existential threat to human civilization” and sets out a plausible scenario of where business-as-usual could lead over the next 30 years.

The paper argues that the potentially “extremely serious outcomes” of climate-related security threats are often far more probable than conventionally assumed, but almost impossible to quantify because they “fall outside the human experience of the last thousand years.”

On our current trajectory, the report warns, “planetary and human systems [are] reaching a ‘point of no return’ by mid-century, in which the prospect of a largely uninhabitable Earth leads to the breakdown of nations and the international order.”

The only way to avoid the risks of this scenario is what the report describes as “akin in scale to the World War II emergency mobilization”—but this time focused on rapidly building out a zero-emissions industrial system to set in train the restoration of a safe climate.

The scenario warns that our current trajectory will likely lock in at least 3 degrees Celsius (C) of global heating, which in turn could trigger further amplifying feedbacks unleashing further warming. This would drive the accelerating collapse of key ecosystems “including coral reef systems, the Amazon rainforest and in the Arctic.”

The results would be devastating. Some one billion people would be forced to attempt to relocate from unlivable conditions, and two billion would face scarcity of water supplies. Agriculture would collapse in the sub-tropics, and food production would suffer dramatically worldwide. The internal cohesion of nation-states like the US and China would unravel.

Even for 2°C of warming, more than a billion people may need to be relocated and in high-end scenarios, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to model with a high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end,” the report notes.

The new policy briefing is written by David Spratt, Breakthrough’s research director and Ian Dunlop, a former senior executive of Royal Dutch Shell who previously chaired the Australian Coal Association.

In the briefing’s foreword, retired Admiral Chris Barrie—Chief of the Australian Defence Force from 1998 to 2002 and former Deputy Chief of the Australian Navy—commends the paper for laying “bare the unvarnished truth about the desperate situation humans, and our planet, are in, painting a disturbing picture of the real possibility that human life on Earth may be on the way to extinction, in the most horrible way.”

Barrie now works for the Climate Change Institute at Australian National University, Canberra.

Spratt told Motherboard that a key reason the risks are not understood is that “much knowledge produced for policymakers is too conservative. Because the risks are now existential, a new approach to climate and security risk assessment is required using scenario analysis.”

Last October, Motherboard reported on scientific evidence that the UN’s summary report for government policymakers on climate change—whose findings were widely recognized as “devastating”—were in fact too optimistic.

While the Breakthrough scenario sets out some of the more ‘high end’ risk possibilities, it is often not possible to meaningfully quantify their probabilities. As a result, the authors emphasize that conventional risk approaches tend to downplay worst-case scenarios despite their plausibility.

Spratt and Dunlop’s 2050 scenario illustrates how easy it could be to end up in an accelerating runaway climate scenario which would lead to a largely uninhabitable planet within just a few decades.

“A high-end 2050 scenario finds a world in social breakdown and outright chaos,” said Spratt. “But a short window of opportunity exists for an emergency, global mobilization of resources, in which the logistical and planning experiences of the national security sector could play a valuable role.”

June 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 2 Comments

Trump administration to create a “climate review panel” led by climate denialist William Happer

Trump administration’s attack on climate science goes full-Orwell

By John Mecklin, May 28, 2019 The US political divide on climate change couldn’t be starker: Democrats argue over differences on a Green New Deal that would remake the US energy mix and quickly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that are heating the planet; the Trump administration denies that human-caused climate change exists and tries to ridicule those silly ducks who believe the overwhelming global scientific consensus on the crisis. That divide has, however, taken on a new and ominous dimension with the Trump administration’s decision to attack the methods by which government climate science is produced.

In a ground-breaking piece, the New York Times reports that the federal government will no longer engage in “what scientists say is one of the most urgent jobs of climate science studies: reporting on the future effects of a rapidly warming planet and presenting a picture of what the earth could look like by the end of the century if the global economy continues to emit heat-trapping carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels.”

This effort to defang official US climate reporting appears aimed at making sure the government does not reproduce anything like the recent National Climate Assessment, which projected drastic results—”higher sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, crop failures, food losses and severe health consequences”—unless quick action to counteract climate change is taken. If followed through, the administration’s anti-science effort would limit the time frame allowed in government climate projections, so that, in the case of the US Geological Survey, those projections could not extend beyond 2040, even though the most severe effects of climate change are expected to occur in the decades beyond that arbitrary deadline.

In addition to hamstringing climate assessment methodology to make climate change seem a less serious problem than it is, the Trump administration is trying to create a climate review panel that would examine government regulations from, it seems clear, a climate change-denialist vantage. The effort to create the panel is led by 79-year-old physicist William Happer, a deputy assistant on the National Security Council “who had a respected career at Princeton but has become better known in recent years for attacking the science of man-made climate change and for defending the virtues of carbon dioxide—sometimes to an awkward degree,” the Times says, perhaps understating by use of the word “awkward.”

Among other things, Happer has said, “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”

I have searched my mind to find a proper description of the administration’s most recent, genuinely Orwellian efforts to distort rational truth-seeking on climate change and cannot come up with anything better than the quote given to the Times by Philip B. Duffy, the president of the Woods Hole Research Center, who served on a National Academy of Sciences panel that reviewed the government’s most recent National Climate Assessment: “What we have here is a pretty blatant attempt to politicize the science—to push the science in a direction that’s consistent with their politics.

“It reminds me of the Soviet Union.”

June 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Record viewing of HBO miniseries “Chernobyl”

CHERNOBYL Official Trailer 

Sky 2nd June 2019 , Without fanfare, Chernobyl has become unmissable TV. The Sky Atlantic show,
which concludes on Tuesday, is harrowing and unrelentingly bleak, with some
complicated science to get to grips with.

It is also a western-made drama about a disaster that occurred in the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago,
of which details such as the number of deaths are still debated. There was
much that could go wrong. And ultimately, we know how the story pans out.

But seemingly from nowhere, this five-part mini-series is now the show that
everyone is talking about. (Sorry, Game Of Thrones). After just three
episodes, Chernobyl topped film and TV database IMDB’s list of the greatest
250 TV shows of all time. It currently has a score of 9.7, based on more
than 96,000 votes. Fan-voted charts obviously have their problems and are
by no means definitive, but it is still quite an accolade for a drama
series just four weeks and four episodes old.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | media | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear envoys apparently not executed or sent to labour re-education camp, as previously reported

N.Korea shows former top nuclear envoy, Canberra Times, Joyce Lee , 3June 19

June 4, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics | Leave a comment

New Hampshire citizens’ group to monitor radiation emanating from the Seabrook Power plant.

Group looks to monitor Seabrook power plant radiation, By 

June 4, 2019 Posted by | ACTION, environment, radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Problems in nuclear fusion, radiation risks – some active wastes, intermittency

Fusion- some new issues June 19, Renewables are doing very well these days, with costs falling, but some say that we will also need other non-fossil options to respond to climate change. Nuclear fission is one, but it is having problems- it’s proving to be expensive and, some say, risky. Some are hopeful that new technology will improve its lot, but for others the big hope is that, at some point in the future, nuclear fusion will be available and will avoid the problems that fission faces.

It is usually claimed that fusion will be cleaner and safer, with no fission products to store and no risks of core melt downs.  Moreover, since it uses hydrogen isotopes (deuterium and tritium), which are relatively easily obtained (deuterium from sea water, tritium from lithium), fusion can provide energy more or less indefinitely, into the far future. It may not be a renewed resource, but it is large. An exciting high tech solution – that could, some say, be available soon!

However, the reality is a bit more complex, with there being issues at each stage of the fuel-to-energy process, and a lot more work to do. In terms of fuel, it takes energy to extract deuterium from water, and lithium reserves, although relatively large, may be increasingly depleted given the growing demand for Lithium Ion batteries for electric vehicles. In terms of fusion plant operation, there will be radiation exposure risks and the potential for accidental release of active materials – tritium has a 12.3 year half-life, and tritiated water can be a major health hazard.  Depending on the fusion system used, there will also still be some active wastes to deal with- the components and containment structures will be activated by the high radiation fluxes and have to be regularly stripped out. They will be less long-lived than fission wastes, but they are still an issue.

More generally there is the issue of plant operation in power terms. It is early days yet, since we only have experience with small prototype test projects, like JET at Culham, and no detailed plans for full scale power stations. However, it seems likely that the plants will not be run continually, but in pulses.  When eventually finished, and fully commissioned (maybe by 2030?) the 500 MW rated €15bn ITER project being built in the south of France is expected to generate power in up to 10 minute bursts, and for at the most 1 hour. The proposed larger DEMO follow up (in the 2040s?) willevidently also only run in bursts, but of 2-4 hours.

One implication of this intermittent generation is that commercial scale fusion reactors, when and if they emerge, may be used not to generate base-load continuous power, but for producing hydrogen in batch-production mode. That can be used as a storable fuel for heating or be converted into various synfuels for vehicle use. It may thus be that fusion will focus on these more lucrative markets rather than trying to compete in the very tight electricity market.

There are other approaches to fusion which might offer other power options. The USA’s laser-fired ‘ignition’ system has its fans. Certainly some see the ‘inertial confinement’ approach, with tiny fuel pellets being compressed, using multiple focused laser beams, to reach fusion conditions, as winning over Tokomak magnetic constriction plasma systems like ITER. We shall see, with Google even entering the field, offering advanced electronics. Germany, Japan, South Korea and China are also in the game, as is Russia, which is where the original Tokomak design came from.  TheUK national hopes rest with the MAST spherical Tokomak at Culham and derivatives like the ST40.

Few of these technologies seem likely to be running at full scale before the 2030s or even 2040’s, but some do claim that they can be ready earlier.  In 2014, Lockheed surprised everyone by claiming that for their ‘compact fusion’ programe they were aiming for a ‘prototype in 5 years, defence products in 10, clean power for the world in 20 years’.  We may see, but for the moment it all seems rather speculative and long term.  Some of the rivals may get there faster, but, even assuming everything goes to plan, a commercial-scale ITER follow up is not now seen as likely to be available to feed power to the grid until after 2050!

Breakthroughs in smaller-scale laser fusion or some such are possible, and some reports seem to suggest imminent success (or at least a sustained positive output by 2024), but for the moment, there are the practicalities of the large scale Tokomak approach being developed by ITER to face. Some of the issues are quite worrying. The high radiation fluxes will present some operational safety issues. Indeed, a recent paper in Nature has warned that not enough attention had so far been given to safety.

It compared the current 500MW rated ITER project with the hypothetical DEMO commercial-scale follow-up project, maybe running in the 2040/50s. In ITER, it said, the risk of radiation exposure comes from fusion neutrons emitted from the plasma, γ-radiation emitted by neutron-activated components, X-rays emitted by some heating and current drive generators, and the β-radiation emitted from tritium. DEMO, would have a similar range of radiation – the main difference being the size of the inventories of typical radioactive products. It would presumably be the workforce who were most at risk, but there could also be public exposure issues, especially if there was a major loss of containment

The Nature article says that it’s been calculated that the radioactivity due to materials activation in a future fusion reactor may be three orders of magnitude more than that in a typical fission reactor with the same electrical power output, while the total radioactivity is comparable. It adds ‘from this point of view, fusion reactors may be potentially unsafe if low-activation materials are not deployed. Note that this finding may also be applicable to the more recent fusion reactor concepts with even low-activation materials adopted. This means that radiation exposure control for fusion reactor design and operation is of critical concern […] Thus, several radiation protection provisions, such as confinement barriers, radiation shielding and access control, must be applied in order to meet the maximum public dose limits required by the regulatory body and at the same time to keep individual occupational doses for workers as low as reasonably achievable.’ 

It also says ‘a fusion demonstration reactor is generally expected to have an order of magnitude more decay heat power than ITER, comparable to that of a fission reactor with the same electrical output power’ And finally, ‘in DEMO, radio-active waste activity after 100 years, assuming that low/reduced-activation materials are used for the first wall & structure material, could be around 20–50 times more than for ITER. The larger tritium inventory is also significant for tritiated waste management. In fact, this large amount of radioactive waste and especially tritiated waste will result in a large burden for waste disposal sites in the country where DEMO is located’.

There do seem to be some serious issues, and the ITER project has attracted its fair share of criticism.    Breakthroughs are always possible, but artificial fusion may not be the way ahead after all! We may have to rely on the (free) fusion reactor we already have- the sun. Maybe a safer option. And a faster one- we have working renewables now: we don’t need to wait for fusion topossibly start dealing with climate change decades hence.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

UK Labour’s plan for a :Green Jobs” tour

Business Green 3rd June 2019 Labour launched a national green jobs tour around the UK this weekend, in a
bid to ignite national support for its ‘Green Industrial Revolution’
agenda. Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey visited Morecambe in
Lancashire on Saturday to discuss the area’s potential for “green jobs” in
sectors such as offshore wind, tidal power and community-owned renewable
She said the tour aims to help Labour better understand “the skills
and ideas of people throughout society”. “That’s why we’re talking to
unions, businesses and communities across the country to prepare detailed
and ambitious plans to deliver a Green Industrial Revolution,” she said.
Alongside the tour, Labour is hosting an online call for evidence, asking
for input from trade unions, businesses, public sector bodies, party
members, civil society groups and members of the public on its plans to
develop the green jobs market around the UK. The consultation is open until
the end of 2019.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

3 Royal Navy sailors serving on nuclear missile ship were caught taking cocaine

Evening Standard 2nd June 2019 Three sailors serving on a submarine which carries 16 nuclear missiles have
been caught taking cocaine, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The
Royal Navy submariners failed a Compulsory Drugs Test shortly after HMS
Vengeance visited a US naval facility in Florida.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

6th June- world premiere of movie ‘The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons’

Beyond Nuclear 2nd June 2019 , At 7pm, on the 6thof June, at the Village East Cinema, in Lower Manhattan,
Pressenza International Press Agency, of which I am a co-director, will
host the World Premiere of our new documentary on the Treaty to Prohibit
Nuclear Weapons.

The title, The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons, is
a reference to the speech made by Setsuko Thurlow to the assembled throng
of dignitaries and International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (ICAN)
campaigners, during her Nobel Laureate Speech in December 2017 when the
Peace Prize was awarded to ICAN. The film charts the story of the
development of the atomic bomb through to the negotiations to prohibit
nuclear weapons, and is told through the interventions of 14 people whose
roles have been key in the fields of activism and diplomacy.

June 4, 2019 Posted by | ACTION, media, Resources -audiovicual, USA | Leave a comment