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Jeremy Corbyn could scrap UK’s nuclear weapons, in deal with Scottish National Party

November 17, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change is a health emergency – physicians

Visionary Leaders Symposium: ‘Our planet is our patient.’    by Louise Dettman on 11/8/2019   Nearly 200 organizations representing medical, health care and public and environmental health professionals, including APHA, have so far endorsed the 2019 U.S. Call to Action on Climate Change, Health and Equity: A Policy Agenda.It challenges government, business, civil society and the health sector to recognize climate change as a public health emergency and to act now for climate, health and equity.

“Being health professionals, it’s important for us to realize that our planet is our patient, and it’s in the intensive care unit. We’re doctors to a dying planet and we have a job to do,” said Helen Caldicott, MD, keynote speaker at yesterday’s Physicians for Social Responsibility Visionary Leaders Symposium in Washington, D.C.

PSR founder and former president, anti-nuclear activist, author and pediatrician from Australia, Caldicott has spent her life educating world leaders and the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age. She urged those gathered at the Ronald Reagan Building for the symposium to “stop being polite and speak the truth loudly and clearly” about the need for action on climate change. As one of the drafters of the U.S. Call to Action, PSR is using it to mobilize and give voice to more health professionals.

It advocates for policies that promote a just transition to clean, safe renewable energy and energy efficiency; sustainable food production and diets; clean water; active transportation; and green cities. Such policies can lower climate pollution, reduce the incidence of communicable and non-communicable disease, improve mental health and realize significant cost savings in health care.

“I’m not being radical. I’m being a physician,” Caldicott said as she stressed the urgency of the situation; challenged attendees to question the role of politicians, corporations and the military in the production of greenhouse gases; and told everyone to contact members of Congress. “If you don’t use your democracy, they’ll swoop in and use it for you — for their own political and financial gain,” she said.

The U.S. Call to Action urges the health sector itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and — as a trusted voice — to effectively communicate the health threats of climate change and the health benefits of climate action. The symposium focused specifically on the role of women in the climate, health and equity movement and the importance of economic justice for the most vulnerable communities.

Heidi Hutner, PhD, a filmmaker, writer and professor at Stony Brook University, moderated an expert panel of women advocates discussing the health hazards of and solutions to nuclear power and climate change. Hutner opened the program with a trailer of her upcoming documentary about the women of Three Mile Island and, along with the other participants, questioned nuclear power as the answer for a just transition to clean energy.

Following the symposium, at the 2019 Visionary Leadership Awards, PSR presented Caldicott with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work. It also recognized other individuals and organizations for their efforts in advancing nuclear weapons abolition and addressing environmental risks to human health, including the consequences of climate change.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

World Nuclear Waste Report

The final disposal of high-level radioactive waste presents governments worldwide with major challenges that have not yet been addressed, and entails incalculable technical, logistical, and financial risks. This is the conclusion of the first “World Nuclear Waste Report ‒ Focus Europe” launched in Berlin in November.

The World Nuclear Waste Report (WNWR) is a project by a group of renowned international experts who want to draw more attention to radioactive waste as a significant and growing challenge with no long-term solutions yet available. The project was initiated by Rebecca Harms, and the original outline was produced by Wolfgang Neumann, Mycle Schneider (coordinator of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Reports) and Gordon MacKerron. Numerous experts have contributed to the first edition of the WNWR (including former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Allison Macfarlane).

The WNWR aims to make a substantial contribution to understanding nuclear waste challenges for countries around the world. It does so by describing national and international classification systems, the risks posed by specific radioactive waste forms, generated and estimated future waste quantities, the waste management and disposal strategies of governments and their financing mechanisms.

According to the WNWR, over 60,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel alone are stored in interim storage facilities across Europe (excluding Russia and Slovakia). Spent fuel rods are highly radioactive waste. To date, no country in the world has a repository for high-level waste from nuclear power in operation. Within the EU, France accounts for 25 percent of the current spent nuclear fuel, followed by Germany (15 percent) and the United Kingdom (14 percent).

In addition, more than 2.5 million cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level waste has been generated in Europe (excluding Slovakia and Russia). Over its lifetime, the European nuclear reactor fleet will produce an estimated 6.6 million cubic metres of nuclear waste. Four countries are responsible for most of this waste: France (30 percent), the UK (20 percent), the Ukraine (18 percent) and Germany (8 percent).

According to the WNWR, many governments underestimate the costs of interim and final storage. No country has a consistent financing model to date in places. This poses further financial risk for taxpayers.

Marcos Buser, a Swiss geologist and co-author of the report, said: “Increasing amounts of high level waste have to be interim stored for ever longer periods of time, as no country in the world has yet commissioned a deep geological repository for such waste. The problem is that interim storage facilities have not been designed for such long-term use.”

The Swiss nuclear expert warned that the storage facilities are already reaching the limits of their capacities. For example, storage capacity for spent fuel in Finland has already reached 93 percent saturation. Sweden’s decentralized storage facility CLAB is at 80 percent saturation. “The shutdown and decommissioning of many nuclear power plants will again drastically increase the quantities of nuclear waste,” warns Buser.

In addition to the safety aspects, the report identifies the enormous costs of interim storage and final disposal as another risk. “National governments and operators often significantly underestimate the costs of decommissioning, storage, and disposal of nuclear waste,” said Ben Wealer, co-author of the study and industrial engineer at the Technical University of Berlin.

In many countries there is a large gap between the expected costs and the financial resources earmarked for them. The problem would be exacerbated by the fact that final disposal also involves incalculable risks, which could lead to enormous cost increases, as the German government experiences with the Asse repository illustrate.

Nearly every government claims to apply the polluter-pays-principle, which makes operators liable for the costs of managing, storing, and disposing of nuclear waste. In reality, however, governments fail to apply the polluter-pays-principle consistently. “No country in Europe has taken sufficient precautions to finance the costs of the final disposal of nuclear waste. There is a threat that the real, massive costs will ultimately be borne by the taxpayers,” Wealer warned.

Ellen Ueberschär, President of the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, said: “The numerous unsolved problems in dealing with nuclear waste show that nuclear power has no future. At the same time, the report makes clear that phasing out nuclear power is not enough. Insufficient financial provisions for disposing of nuclear waste must not undermine the care and safety of decisions for interim storage and final disposal. The search for a suitable final repository needs greater public attention. The report is intended to facilitate a qualified international debate.”

World Nuclear Waste Report

World Nuclear Waste Report 2019 ‒ Focus Europe:

November 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, wastes | 1 Comment

Dangerous radioactive hot particles span the globe — Beyond Nuclear International

Cesium-134 from Fukushima is found 270 miles away

via Dangerous radioactive hot particles span the globe — Beyond Nuclear International

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Still no country for old nuclear waste — Beyond Nuclear International

The incalculable risks of our radioactive legacy

via Still no country for old nuclear waste — Beyond Nuclear International

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

November 17 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Power to the people: how suburban solar could become the Uber of the energy grid” • Australians are embracing the ‘virtual power plant’, which advocates say can protect the grid, save money and combat the climate crisis. The VPPs that have been implemented save participants quite a lot of money on their electricity […]

via November 17 Energy News — geoharvey

November 17, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NRC likely to extend licence for Westinghouse nuclear fuel factory, despite its history of spills and leaks

November 17, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Likely delay in clean-up of radioactive contamination at Dalgety Beach

STV 13th Nov 2019, A clean-up operation to deal with radioactive contamination at a Fife beachis being held up by local landowners. Thousands of radioactive particles have been found on the shore at Dalgety Bay since 1990.

The objects are believed to come from eroded landfill that contains debris from Second World War aircraft that originally had radium dials. Stephen Ritchie told councillors: “We actually have had cabinet approval, ministerial approval – we have all the funding we need and authority to proceed. “However, the local stakeholders are dragging their feet. ”

We can’t get on the land to clean up the waste without the landowners’ permission. “There are four stakeholders for the area – one of which is the Crown, which is obviously not an issue. However, the other three have been dragging their feet.” Mr Ritchie told councillors that the MoD were looking to award the contract to a company to remove the waste by December 13, but if talks continued to stall, they could miss their window and the project would be delayed,meaning that the clean-up might not be able to happen in 2020.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Bulgaria nuclear reactor capacity reduced over generator malfunction

Bulgaria nuclear reactor capacity reduced over generator malfunction,  SOFIA (Reuters) 18 Nov 19– Bulgarian nuclear power plant Kozloduy said on Saturday that its 1,000 MW Unit 5 was running at half capacity after one of its main circulation pumps shut down, activating the safety system.

Kozloduy said in a statement equipment inspections were under way following the incident, which occurred at 0910 local time (0710 GMT). ……

November 17, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

Pope Francis wants a total ban on nuclear weapons, visiting Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Pope Francis to take anti-nuclear mission to Japan’s ground zeros

Philip Pullella, VATICAN CITY (Reuters) 17 Nov 19, – Pope Francis takes his mission to ban nuclear weapons this week to the only places where they were used in war, visiting the World War Two ground zeros of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of a tour of Japan and Thailand.


After four days in Thailand, Francis moves on to Japan, where international and domestic politics will loom large, particularly on Nov. 24, when he visits Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

About 400,000 people were killed, either instantly or from radiation illness or injuries resulting from the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki three days later as it sought to end World War Two.

Francis wants a total ban on nuclear weapons, going further than his predecessors when he said in 2017 that countries should not stockpile them even for the purpose of deterrence……..

Francis will meet blast survivors, pray, and read a major “message on nuclear weapons” at the bomb epicenter in Nagasaki. He later visits Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

Nuclear energy will also feature in the trip when the pope meets victims of Japan’s “triple disaster,” the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami that in turn caused a meltdown at the Fukushima power plant. Radiation forced 160,000 people to flee and thousands will never return.

Following the Fukushima disaster, Japan’s Catholic Bishops Conference issued a document calling for the abolition of nuclear power generation.

They also oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s moves to revise Japan’s post-war pacifist constitution……..

November 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Nuclear-Powered Aircraft failed for both USA and Soviets

Both U.S. and Soviet Attempts at Developing a Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Ended in Failure   Nuclear shielding and weight issues proved insurmountable to both the U.S. and the Soviet Union.  By  Marcia Wendorf, November 17, 2019. In the 1950s, people dreamed of using nuclear energy to power all manner of transport — from cars to airplanes to airships. In the U.S. the father of the nuclear reactor, Enrico Fermi, envisioned a nuclear-powered aircraft, while in the USSR, the chief designer of the Soviet atomic bomb, Aleksandr Kurchatov, thought nuclear-powered “heavy aircraft” could be built.

A nuclear-powered bomber seemed a no-brainer since it could theoretically stay aloft indefinitely, providing an effective deterrent to a nuclear attack. Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union researched nuclear-powered aircraft, but neither country developed an active-duty version due to problems inherent in the design. These included shielding air and ground crews from radiation, and the possible effect of a crash.

To date, no civilian nuclear-powered aircraft has ever been created.

Nuclear-powered jet engines

In May 1946, the U.S. Air Force initiated the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft (NEPA) program. In 1951, NEPA was supplanted by the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program, which was run by the Atomic Energy Commission………….

As an odd aside to the nuclear-powered aircraft story, the U.S. military considered solving the shielding problem by employing elderly crews to fly the nuclear-powered airplanes. Their thinking was that the crew would die of natural causes before the effects of radiation could kill them.

November 17, 2019 Posted by | technology | Leave a comment