nuclear-news

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

To 17 September Nuclear and (some) climate news

This newsletter is intended to be about matters nuclear. It IS, BUT, again this week, climate change is the overwhelmingly big issue. I cannot do justice to it at all. Thank goodness, we have Covering Climate Now, and other great media, taking up the cause.

A bit of good news – What Was Once One of the Most Polluted Landscapes on Earth Now Has Some of the Cleanest Air in the Region.

The poles in climate crisis, and that includes “third pole” the Mingyong glacier. Forest fires destroying vital buffer against climate change. UN warns that climate crisis is the greatest ever threat to human rights.

Frightening new simulation of a US-Russia war triggered by one ‘tactical’ nuclear weapon.

The danger of government secrecy and cover-ups: Kate Brown’s “Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future” illuminates the truth about radioactive legacy of nuclear industry.

How to warn distant future generations about nuclear waste?

UN Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign calls for divestment.

The ‘advanced’ nuclear power sector is fuelling climate change, and Weapons of Mass Destruction. Much touted “advanced” nuclear reactors nonexistent and just not practical. The costs and the risks are too great. Small nuclear reactors safe? Not so.

UK. “The Guardian” co-opted by UK security services? Julian Assange to remain behind bars. Unacceptable risk to consumers: “regulated asset base” system to fund UK’s new nuclear reactors.  Forest to be chopped down for Sizewell C nuclear project, though project approval not yet complete.  UK continues to pour tax-payers’ money into (non-existent) Small Modular Nuclear Reactors.

RUSSIA. Russia’s Floating Nuclear Power Plant Arrives At Far East Base Pevek.  Why Russia’s first atomic submarines were a nuclear nightmare. Russia’s nuclear torpedoes at the bottom of the sea.

UKRAINE. An emigrant’s memory of Chernobyl.

JAPAN. Japan’s New Environmental Minister Calls for Closing Down All Nuclear Reactors to Prevent Another Disaster Like Fukushima. Japan says TEPCO will dump more than 1 million tons of radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear plant into Pacific Ocean.  Plan to Release Radioactive Fukushima Wastewater Into Pacific Ocean Panned by Critics.

USA.

FRANCE. Fears of nuclear closures in France, as welding faults found in more nuclear reactors. France’s loyalty to the nuclear industry is now fading.

CHINA. China’s plans for a nuclear-powered icebreaker ship. China might come to regret its gamble on a nuclear future.

IRAN. UN urges Iran to co-operate with UN regulatory agency.

NORTH KOREA. North Korea willing to resume negotiations, wants USA to take a fresh approach.

SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia Plans To Enrich Uranium.

Advertisements

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

The poles in climate crisis, and that includes “third pole” the Mingyong glacier

The world has a third pole – and it’s melting quickly  An IPCC report says two-thirds of glaciers on the largest ice sheet after the Arctic and Antarctic are set to disappear in 80 years  Guardian,   Gaia Vince  Sun 15 Sep 2019  “……..  . Over the past two decades, the Mingyong glacier at the foot of the mountain [ Khawa Karpo, Tibet]   has dramatically receded. …….

Mingyong is one of the world’s fastest shrinking glaciers, but locals cannot believe it will die because their own existence is intertwined with it. Yet its disappearance is almost inevitable.
Khawa Karpo lies at the world’s “third pole”. This is how glaciologists refer to the Tibetan plateau, home to the vast Hindu Kush-Himalaya ice sheet, because it contains the largest amount of snow and ice after the Arctic and Antarctic – about 15% of the global total. However, quarter of its ice has been lost since 1970.
This month, in a long-awaited special report on the cryosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists will warn that up to two-thirds of the region’s remaining glaciers are on track to disappear by the end of the century. It is expected a third of the ice will be lost in that time even if the internationally agreed target of limiting global warming by 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is adhered to.
Whether we are Buddhists or not, our lives affect, and are affected by, these tropical glaciers that span eight countries. This frozen “water tower of Asia” is the source of 10 of the world’s largest rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yellow, Mekong and Indus, whose flows support at least 1.6 billion people directly – in drinking water, agriculture, hydropower and livelihoods – and many more indirectly, in buying a T-shirt made from cotton grown in China, for example, or rice from India.

Joseph Shea, a glaciologist at the University of Northern British Columbia, calls the loss “depressing and fear-inducing. It changes the nature of the mountains in a very visible and profound way.”

Yet the fast-changing conditions at the third pole have not received the same attention as those at the north and south poles. The IPCC’s fourth assessment report in 2007 contained the erroneous prediction that all Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. This statement turned out to have been based on anecdote rather than scientific evidence and, perhaps out of embarrassment, the third pole has been given less attention in subsequent IPCC reports.
There is also a dearth of research compared to the other poles, and what hydrological data exists has been jealously guarded by the Indian government and other interested parties. The Tibetan plateau is a vast and impractical place for glaciologists to work in and confounding factors make measurements hard to obtain. Scientists are forbidden by locals, for instance, to step out on to the Mingyong glacier, meaning they have had to use repeat photography to measure the ice retreat.
In the face of these problems, satellites have proved invaluable, allowing scientists to watch glacial shrinkage in real time. …….
One reason for the rapid ice loss is that the Tibetan plateau, like the other two poles, is warming at a rate up to three times as fast as the global average, by 0.3C per decade. In the case of the third pole, this is because of its elevation, which means it absorbs energy from rising, warm, moisture-laden air. Even if average global temperatures stay below 1.5C, the region will experience more than 2C of warming; if emissions are not reduced, the rise will be 5C, according to report released earlier this year by more than 200 scientists for the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). …….
As the third pole’s vast frozen reserves of fresh water make their way down to the oceans, they are contributing to sea-level rise that is already making life difficult in the heavily populated low-lying deltas and bays of Asia, from Bangladesh to Vietnam. What is more, they are releasing dangerous pollutants. …..  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/15/tibetan-plateau-glacier-melt-ipcc-report-third-pole

September 16, 2019 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | 1 Comment

Frightening new simulation of a US-Russia war triggered by one ‘tactical’ nuclear weapon

Plan  A
 
A terrifying new animation shows how 1 ‘tactical’ nuclear weapon could trigger a US-Russia war that kills 34 million people in 5 hours, Business Insider, ELLEN IOANES, DAVE MOSHER, SEP 14, 2019,
A new simulation called “Plan A,” by researchers at Princeton’s Program on Science and Global Security, shows how the use of one so-called tactical or low-yield nuclear weapon could lead to a terrifying worldwide conflict.
In the roughly four-minute video, a Russian “nuclear warning shot” at a US-NATO coalition leads to a global nuclear war that leads to 91.5 million deaths and injuries.
Under President Trump, the US is ramping up production of tactical nuclear weapons, ostensibly to target troops and munitions supplies. While advocates say these weapons would keep wars from escalating, the simulation finds the opposite outcome.
The dissolution of the INF treaty in August raised the stakes for nuclear war, as both the US and Russia were free to develop weapons previously banned under the treaty.

The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years,” the project states. Nuclear strikes are an extremely remote possibility, but their chances are rising experts warn.The simulation is called “Plan A,” and it’s an audio-visual piece that was first posted to to YouTube on September 6. (You can watch the full video at the end of this story.) Researchers at the Science and Global Security lab at Princeton University created the animation, which shows how a battle between Russia and NATO allies that uses so-called low-yield or “tactical” nuclear weapons – which can pack a blast equivalent to those the US used to destroy Hiroshima or Nagasaki in World War II – might feasibly and quickly snowball into a global nuclear war.

“This project is motivated by the need to highlight the potentially catastrophic consequences of current US and Russian nuclear war plans. The risk of nuclear war has increased dramatically in the past two years,” the project states on its website………  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/tactical-nuclear-weapons-escalation-us-russia-war-animated-strike-map-2019-9?r=US&IR=T

September 16, 2019 Posted by | weapons and war | 1 Comment

Why Russia’s first atomic submarines were a nuclear nightmare

  Russia’s First Atomic Submarines: A Nuclear Nightmare for 1 Reason , by Sebastien Roblin   National Interest, September 14, 2019, They were not exactly top of the line–think massive safety issues. Mix that with nuclear power…
Key point: The power of the November class’s reactors was bought at the price of safety and reliability.

The United States launched the first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, in 1954, revolutionizing undersea warfare. The Nautilus’s reactor allowed it operate underwater for months at a time, compared to the hours or days afforded conventional submarines. The following year, the Soviet Union began building its own nuclear submarine, the Project 627—known as the November class by NATO. The result was a boat with a few advantages compared to its American competition, but that also exhibited a disturbing tendency to catastrophic accidents that would prove characteristic of the burgeoning Soviet submarine fleet during the Cold War.

……  the power of the November class’s reactors was bought at the price of safety and reliability. A lack of radiation shielding resulted in frequent crew illness, and many of the boat suffered multiple reactor malfunctions over their lifetimes. This lack of reliability may explain why the Soviet Union dispatched conventional Foxtrot submarines instead of the November-class vessels during the Cuban Missile Crisis…..

In fact, the frequent, catastrophic disasters onboard the Project 627 boats seem almost like gruesome public service announcements for everything that could conceivably go wrong with nuclear submarines. Many of the accidents reflected not only technological flaws, but the weak safety culture of the Soviet Navy.  …….
As the Soviet Union was succeeded by an economically destitute Russia, many decommissioned nuclear submarines were left to rust with their nuclear fuel onboard, leading to safety concerns from abroad. International donors fronted $200 million to scrap the hulks in 2003. Flimsy pontoons were welded onto K-159 to enable its towing to a scrapping site, but on August 30 a sea squall ripped away one of the pontoons, causing the boat to begin foundering around midnight. The Russian Navy failed to react until hours later, by which the time submarine had sunk, taking eight hundred kilograms of spent nuclear fuel and nine of the ten seamen manning the pontoons with it. Plans to raise K-159 have foundered to this day due to lack of funding.
This is just an accounting of major accidents on the November-class boats—more occurred on Echo- and Hotel-class submarines equipped with the same nuclear reactors. Submarine operations are, of course, inherently risky; the U.S. Navy also lost two submarines during the 1960s, though it hasn’t lost any since.
The November-class submarines may not have been particularly silent hunters, but they nonetheless marked a breakthrough in providing the Soviet submarine fleet global reach while operating submerged. They also provided painful lessons, paid in human lives lost or irreparably injured, in the risks inherent to exploiting nuclear power, and in the high price to be paid for technical errors and lax safety procedures. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russias-first-atomic-submarines-nuclear-nightmare-1-reason-80456

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Scary faster pace of climate change

Faster pace of climate change is ‘scary’, former chief scientist says. BBC, By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst  16 Sept 10, Extreme events linked to climate change, such as the heatwave in Europe this year, are occurring sooner than expected, an ex-chief scientist says.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

An emigrant’s memory of Chernobyl

Chernobyl’s dark history: Australian returns home 33 years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster, News 7  Steve Pennells  15 September 2019

Chernobyl – just the word is enough to evoke visions of a nuclear holocaust.

But for thousands of Australians, the nightmare was all too real. They are the children of Chernobyl – scarred by their experiences – and now, more than 30 years on, determined to confront the past.

Inna Mitelman grew up in Belarus, in the shadow of Chernobyl. 33 years later, she’s happily settled in Melbourne with two children of her own. Her parents, Irina and Ilia, live close by.

“I remember it as a very beautiful place to grow up,” Inna tells Sunday Night’s Steve Pennells. “The people were lovely. I had a very beautiful childhood, I can tell you that much.”

For Inna, it was an idyllic existence, with her best friend Natasha living in the apartment right next door.

“We were pretty much inseparable,” Inna explains. “Our parents were very close friends, they were like family. We used to come into each other’s houses without knocking. My house was her house, her house was my house.”

Chernobyl was 100 kilometres away – but on the 26th of April 1986, that was much too close.

The explosion in Reactor Number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant would be the worst nuclear accident in history. A safety test gone wrong ruptured the reactor core and caused a fire that released vast clouds of radioactive contamination. But the Soviet authorities supressed the true scale of the disaster – and only after 36 hours was the order given to evacuate the nearby city of Pripyat, home to the power plant workers and their families.

Inna Mitelman was only 11 years old when the refugees from Pripyat arrived on her doorstep, but the memory is still vivid.

“The first thing I remember is seeing new kids in our yard in the morning when we walked out to go to school,” Inna recalls. “There were wrapped up in blankets.”

As the fire continued to rage in the reactor, badly injured power plant workers and fireman were brought to the Pripyat hospital.

Today, the hospital at Pripyat stands abandoned, like the rest of this once-thriving city. But 33 years ago, the reactor was spewing out 400 times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs combined.

Sergii Mirnyi soon learnt the truth. He was the commander of a radiation reconnaissance unit. It was his job to seek out the worst of the hot zones……..

“I’ve got thyroid nodules which were discovered when I was pregnant with my second child,” Inna reveals. “The surgeon said I’ve got [a] 50 per cent chance of developing thyroid cancer, so let’s just get it out now.”

Now, Inna wants to return to her homeland, to understand a tragic event from her past that still haunts her.

“I’m terrified,” Inna admits. “There’s a reason why we haven’t been back. But you need to do this to confront it and deal with it and move on. Because the worst thing that ever happened to me [was] probably my best friend dying when I was 11, and I think having to deal with that freaks me out as well.”

“We first found out that something was wrong with her when she became cross-eyed. They found a brain tumour, they operated, but she died the next morning.”

“This was my best friend. This was the person that I grew up with. Her death, it destroyed me.”

Natasha’s family moved out after the death of their daughter. But Inna is determined to find them.

Inside the exclusion zone

2,500 square kilometres of contaminated territory – including Pripyat – are now abandoned after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Pripyat was a brand new city, right next to the nuclear power plant. It was a jewel in the Soviet crown, with a thriving population of 50,000 people. It was emptied in the course of a single day, with residents forced to leave with only what they could carry…….

For many new mothers here in Belarus, there’s a profound fear that the effects of Chernobyl might be passed on to a second generation.

At the local Children’s Hospital, chief doctor Irina Kalmanovich has been treating Chernobyl survivors for more than 30 years. She has no doubt she is still seeing children suffering from the disaster – and unlike other doctors in this repressive regime, she’s willing to risk saying it.

“It’s my opinion. It can be [a] result of Chernobyl because we have many patients even in our hospital, children with tumour, different parts of body, we have tumour of brain, leukaemia, so we have many patients.”……. https://7news.com.au/sunday-night/chernobyls-dark-history-australian-returns-home-33-years-after-the-worlds-worst-nuclear-disaster-c-454567

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Belarus, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

China might come to regret its gamble on a nuclear future

China’s gambling on a nuclear future, but is it destined to lose?  By James Griffiths, CNN September 14, 2019 Hong Kong (CNN Business)Panicked shoppers thronged supermarket aisles, grabbing bags of salt by the armful. They queued six deep outside wholesalers. Most went home with only one or two bags; the lucky ones managed to snag a five-year supply before stocks ran out.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment

Russia’s Floating Nuclear Power Plant Arrives At Far East Base Pevek

Russia’s Floating Nuclear Power Plant Arrives At Far East Base,  https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-s-floating-nuclear-power-plant-arrives-at-far-east-base/30164346.html    Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant has reached its final destination in the country’s remote Far East after a three-week, 5,000-kilometer journey.

Russia’s state nuclear energy company Rosatom announced on September 14 the arrival in the Arctic port town of Pevek of the nuclear power plant, which Greenpeace has dubbed a “floating Chernobyl.”

The massive plant — a 140-meter towed platform that carries two 35-megawatt nuclear reactors set sail from Murmansk, in northwestern Russia, on August 23 and traveled along the Northern Sea Route to its destination off the coast of Chukotka.

Rosatom said small surrounding communities, along with mining facilities and offshore oil and natural gas platforms, would make use of the electricity.

The nuclear plant has been named the Akademik Lomonosov after the 18th-century Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear torpedoes at the bottom of the sea

A Dead Russian Submarine Armed with Nuclear Torpedoes was Never Recovered, National Interest, Robert Farley, September 15, 2019

Key point: She rests at a depth of 15,000 feet —too deep to make recovery practical. 

The Bay of Biscay is one of the world’s great submarine graveyards. In late World War II, British and American aircraft sank nearly seventy German U-boats in the Bay, which joined a handful of Allied and German subs sunk in the region during World War I. On April 12, 1970, a Soviet submarine found the same resting place. Unlike the others, however, K-8 was propelled by two nuclear reactors, and carried four torpedoes tipped by nuclear warheads.

The Novembers (627):

The November (Type 627) class was the Soviet Union’s first effort at developing nuclear attack submarines…….
 The Novembers were too loud to plausibly find their way into close enough proximity to a NATO port to ever actually fire a nuclear torpedo in wartime conditions…….
On April 8, K-8 suffered two fires, resulting in a shutdown of both nuclear reactors. The boat surfaced, and Captain Vsevolod Borisovich Bessonov ordered the crew to abandon ship. Eight crew members, trapped in compartments that were either flooded or burned out, died in the initial incident. Fortunately, a Soviet repair vessel arrived, and took K-8 under tow. However, bad weather made the recover operation a difficult prospect. Much of K-8’s crew reboarded the submarine, and for three days fought a life-and-death struggle to save the boat. Although details remain scarce, there apparently was no opportunity to safely remove the four nuclear torpedoes from K-8, and transfer them to the repair ship.
Unfortunately, the loss of power onboard and the difficult weather conditions were too much for the crew to overcome. On April 12, K-8 sank with some forty crew members aboard, coming to rest at a rough depth of 15,000 feet. The depth made any effort at recovering the submarine, and the nuclear torpedoes, impractical……
R
The loss of K-8 (along with the several accidents that afflicted her sisters) undoubtedly helped the Soviet Navy learn important lessons about distant operations, if only at extraordinary costs in human lives. And her nuclear torpedoes remain at the bottom, an enduring monument to most dangerous missions of the Cold War. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/dead-russian-submarine-armed-nuclear-torpedoes-was-never-recovered-80416

September 16, 2019 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Decoding the US “secret authorizations” to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia

By Viet Phuong Nguyen, September 10, 2019 US Energy Secretary Rick Perry granted “secret authorizations” for six American companies to provide nuclear technology and technical support for Saudi Arabia. Such approvals are granted through Part 810 authorizations and allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power ahead of a US nuclear cooperation agreement with another country, but no equipment that would go into a nuclear power plant can be shipped. What does the Part 810 authorization mean? Is it the right choice for the Saudi case? And how does Perry’s authorization affect prospects for American nuclear business and nonproliferation policy in the Middle East?….. https://thebulletin.org/2019/09/decoding-the-us-secret-authorizations-to-sell-nuclear-technology-to-saudi-arabia/

September 16, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Ex-Southern California Chief Justice Toal Takes Over Nuclear Debacle Cases

September 16, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment