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Ethics of burdening developing countries with nuclear debts and nuclear wastes

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract]  November 30, 2019


“…..5- Nuclear energy in the South!

If all the latter costs were reallocated to consumers, an increase in the price for electricity between €0.139 and €2.36 for each kilowatt-hour will have to be administered for a period of commitment of 100 years(45). These estimates explicate the true cost of electricity produced from nuclear sources, similar to some predictions discussed earlier in the Japanese case, and thus urge few more reflections on the issue, such as:

Can developing countries in the South afford the actual prices of each KWh?

Is it ethical to overburden these developing nations with loans and radioactive waste management for millions of years?

To what extent can developing countries afford the risk of experiencing a major nuclear accident?

If small developing nations disintegrate due to a nuclear catastrophe, does this outcome open the way to asylum seekers flocking towards the North?

If a nuclear catastrophe strikes in the South, is the North ready to accommodate environmental refugees from the South?

If the answer is still yes, we suggest reminding the North that corruption risks are much higher in the South compared to the North, which thus dooms the investment in nuclear energy a failure! Furthermore, extra load management, upgrading the electricity grid, providing cooling water, constructing desalination plants for the cooling towers and facilitating the proper infra-structure are all factors to consider. Not to mention that a higher risk of a catastrophe would be predicted in the South due to shortages in skilled labor and because of the loose ends of cultural safety values typical of under developed countries.

As for non-proliferation, each nuclear power plant of around 1000 MW produces around 200 kg of plutonium every year, which is enough to arm 20 nuclear warheads. Wouldn’t that be an incentive for some countries to plunder the resources of others by force?

Enriching uranium U235 to 3.5%, for use in nuclear reactors, produces huge amounts of U238 (depleted Uranium), enough to encase tonnes of missiles annually. Who can guarantee these lethal weapons not to be used in the future for the destruction of humanity, as it has already been used in Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Environmental degradation already accounts for 3-5% of GDP for some countries in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Jordan and Egypt. Uranium mining in these countries will worsen the environmental conditions which are already out of control, such as phosphate tailings in Rusaifa and Hasa in Jordan, which have bewailed the natural environment beyond recovery!

Creation of jobs is essential too when considering any investment in the South as unemployment is very high there. In a country like Namibia, were uranium mines had been utilized for a long time, the percentage of unemployment reached 51.2% in 2008(46). What about construction and operating nuclear facilities, are they labor intensive?

Energy source-jobs per tera watt hours are underlined in the following table:

Natural Gas 250 jobs / TWh
Coal 370 jobs / TWh
Nuclear 75 jobs / TWh
Wood 733 jobs / TWh
Hydro 250 jobs / TWh
Wind 918 – 2400 jobs / TWh
Photo-voltaic 29580 – 107000 jobs / TWh

Table 1: Jobs per tera watt hours of electricity production (47)

It looks quite obvious that the nuclear industry is the poorest concerning jobs per energy production. Hence, developing countries need to be motivated to resort to intensive labor energy sources, away from logging and deforestation, by promoting wind and solar energy which provide far more jobs than the nuclear industry. Renewable and clean energy jobs are both decentralized, require no high skilled labor and are safe and secure energy sources; decentralization and jobs are badly needed in the South as migration from rural areas to cities is intensifying and many skilled labor had already migrated to the North.

As for safety and security, we wonder! With the present reputation of safety and security in the South, can developing countries minimize the risks of a nuclear disaster?

Expert nuclear engineer David Lochbaum responds to our question:

It is not if we are going to have nuclear accidents but when” (48)!

If developing countries can afford nuclear accidents and can recover from such catastrophes, like what happened in Japan at Fukushima, developing countries of the South cannot for the reasons discussed earlier……”

December 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | 1 Comment

UN climate talks not getting very far on climate action

UN talks struggle to stave off climate chaos, 13 Dec 19, Observers and delegates at the UN’s COP25 climate summit said negotiators had largely failed to live up to the conference’s motto: Time for Action.

United Nations climate negotiations in Madrid were set to wrap up with even the best-case outcome likely to fall well short of what science says is needed to avert a future ravaged by global warming.

The COP25 summit comes on the heels of climate-related disasters across the planet, including unprecedented cyclones, deadly droughts and record-setting heatwaves.

Scientists have amassed a mountain of evidence pointing to even more dire impacts on the near horizon, while millions of youth activists are holding weekly strikes demanding government action.

As pressure inside and outside the talks mounts, old splits dividing rich polluters and developing nations – over who should slash greenhouse gas emissions by how much, and how to pay the trillions needed to live in a climate-addled world — have reemerged.

Newer fissures, meanwhile, between poor, climate vulnerable nations and emerging giants such as China and India – the world’s No.1 and No.4 emitters – may further stymie progress.

To not lose time, the 12-day meet was moved at the last minute from original host Chile due to social unrest.

But observers and delegates said negotiators had largely failed to live up to the conference’s motto: Time for Action.

Not even appearances from wunderkind campaigner Greta Thunberg – named Time Person of the Year Wednesday, much to the chagrin of Donald Trump — could spur countries to boost carbon-cutting pledges that are, taken together, woefully inadequate.

“We are appalled at the state of negotiations,” said Carlos Fuller, lead negotiator for the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), many of whose members face an existential threat due to rising sea levels.

“At this stage we are being cornered. We fear having to concede on too many issues that would damage the very integrity of the Paris Agreement.”

Shifting alliances

The narrow aim of the Madrid negotiations is to finalise the rulebook for the 2015 climate accord, which enjoins nations to limit global temperature rises to “well below” two degrees Celsius.

Earth has already warmed 1C, and is on track to heat up another two or three degrees by 2100.

But “raising ambition” on emissions remains the overarching goal in Madrid.

Host nation Spain said Thursday that rich and developing nations alike were stalling.

There are two very clear visions,” Spain’s minister for energy and climate change Teresa Ribera told reporters.

“There are those that want to move quicker and those that want to hide behind things which aren’t working, so as not to advance.”

The deadline under the Paris treaty for revisiting carbon cutting commitments – known as NDCs, or nationally determined contributions – is 2020, ahead of the next climate summit in Glasgow.

But Madrid was seen as a crucial launch pad where countries could show their good intentions. Nearly 80 countries have said they intend to do more, but they only represent 10 percent of global emissions.

Conspicuously absent are China, India and Brazil, all of whom have indicated they will not follow suit, insisting that first-world emitters step up.

Fantasy land’

But some countries historically aligned with the emerging giants over the course of the 25-year talks broke rank Thursday.

“The failure of major emitters — including Australia, the United States, Canada, Russia, India, China, Brazil – ‘to commit to submitting revised NDCs suitable for achieving a 1.5C world shows a lack of ambition that also undermines ours,” AOSIS said in a statement.

The talks received a meagre shot in the arm Friday after the EU pledged to make the bloc carbon-neutral by 2050.

The much-heralded decision was immediately undermined however by the refusal of Poland – a major emitter – to sign on.

The UN said this month that in order for the world to limit warming to 1.5C, emissions would need to drop over seven percent annually to 2030, requiring nothing less than a restructuring of the global economy.

In fact, they are currently rising year-on-year, and have grown four percent since the Paris deal was signed.

“It’s basically like what’s happening in the real world and in the streets, the protesters, doesn’t exist,” Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists, told AFP.

“We are in a fantasy land here.”

Without strong commitments from big emitters to up their own contributions to the climate fight, Meyer said the talks would have failed to fulfil their purpose.

“Countries need to be on a track to be 1.5C compatible, that’s the bottom line.”

December 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | 1 Comment

Renewable energy to fight climate change, – NOT Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

December 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 1 Comment

Nuclear power the worst, most unsuitable, most expensive power option for Ontario

December 14, 2019 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. Democrats cave in to a weak compromise National Defense Authorization Act

December 14, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Spent mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel to be removed from Ikata nuclear reactor

December 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

EU heads of state and government agreed that nuclear energy will be recognized as a way to fight climate change

EU leaders include nuclear energy in green transition, By SAMUEL PETREQUIN, Associated Press Dec. 13, 2019  BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union leaders agreed Friday that nuclear energy will be part of the bloc’s solution to making its economy carbon neutral by 2050, allowing them to win the support of two coal-dependent countries.

EU heads of state and government agreed that nuclear energy will be recognized as a way to fight climate change as part of a deal that endorsed the climate target. While Poland did not immediately agree to the plan, the concessions on nuclear energy were enough for the Czech Republic and Hungary to give their approval…….. (subscribers only)

December 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

France’s EDF company is trying to ‘restore trust’ in the nuclear industry

EDF unveils plan to ‘restore trust’ in French nuclear industry, Move comes as utility’s next-generation plant is beset by ballooning costs and delays, 

Michael Pooler in Paris ,, 13 Dec 19,
EDF has drawn up a plan to “restore trust” in France’s nuclear power industry after a government-commissioned report lambasted failings at the energy group’s troubled flagship nuclear project. The state-backed company said it would spend €100m on measures including a skills programme, a scheme for selecting suppliers and initiatives to improve project management and industrial standards. This came after the French government, which owns 84 per cent of EDF, gave the utility a month to draw up a scheme to fix problems at Flamanville after the flagship project stumbled into delays and cost overruns.
  A government-commissioned report into the failings at Flamanville, published in October, also pointed to a loss of skills in France’s nuclear sector. “We want to restore more trust in the ability of the French nuclear industry to deliver according to its objectives, in terms of cost, time and schedule,” said EDF’s chairman and chief executive Jean-Bernard Lévy.  ……
Flamanville is considered a litmus test for next-generation European Pressurised Reactor technology, which supporters say will be a bigger, safer and more efficient type of nuclear plant. But the plant’s construction, which was supposed to last four-and-a-half years, is now expected to take 15 years to complete at about four times its originally projected cost of €3.3bn. This follows problems such as faulty weldings. Once a leader in atomic power, France will not decide whether to build more EPRs until Flamanville is up and running.
  To address the sector-wide issues identified in October’s damning report, EDF will seek to change how risks are shared with suppliers and set up a college dedicated to “nuclear disciplines” where there are shortages, such as welding. ……

EDF’s plans come during a turbulent period for the group. Not only is it under fire for delays at another planned EPR site in the UK, but it is heading towards a corporate reorganisation.
This would create a government-owned mother company, EDF Bleu, containing its nuclear and hydroelectric assets. Bleu’s main subsidiary, EDF Vert, will house renewable energy, networks and services businesses, and will have a stock market listing. Under an energy planning law enacted this year, France must reduce its share of electricity produced by nuclear from 72 per cent to 50 per cent by 2035, with the rest coming from renewables. However, new atomic power stations may need to be built to replace ageing facilities, which will also need investment for retrofitting and maintenance. ….

December 14, 2019 Posted by | France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Ignoring or downplaying serious environmental risks of nuclear power does not remove the objective danger

FT 12th Dec 2019, Letter David Lowry: I read your report “EU agrees rule book for green investments” on the newly established EU “taxonomy for sustainable activities” for investment in energy, and found it extraordinary that
nuclear energy has been included under a categorisation that screens
options under a “do no harm principle”, which was pushed for by MEPs.
Do these MEPs and European Commission’s energy directorate officials not
remember the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, which has cost more than
€500bn in clean-up costs and lost land utility in Ukraine, Belarus,
Russia and several western European countries including the UK and Austria?
Do they not recall the more recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe in
2011, which is still radioactively polluting the Pacific Ocean, and would
have bankrupted its owner-operator Tepco if the Japanese government had not stepped in and bailed out the company with taxpayers’ money?
Ignoring or downplaying serious environmental risks of nuclear power — as do the three University of Cambridge academics, along with their Finnish research professor colleague — does not remove the objective danger. It just
misleads elected decision makers.

December 14, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Sound the alarm on deadly US-Russia nuclear threat

Sound the alarm on deadly US-Russia nuclear threat, by Jill Dougherty December 12, 2019  CNN, As I looked around the large square conference table, I watched the faces settle into worried frowns. Russians and Americans, several of whom once had responsibility for their nations’ nuclear weapons, all members of the Dartmouth Conference, the oldest continual bi-lateral dialogue between Americans and Russians, founded almost 60 years ago during one of the darkest periods of the Cold War.

For a long minute, no one spoke. Then, one of them broke the silence: “Someone needs to sound the alarm.”
Now, profoundly concerned that the United States and Russia are on the verge of a new arms race, they are speaking out, issuing an urgent appeal to keep arms control alive:
“… for the first time in our history we are compelled by the urgency of the situation to issue this public appeal to our governments, founded on our view that the clear threat of an uncontrolled nuclear arms race has re-emerged with the collapse in recent years of key elements of the post-Cold War arms control architecture.”
Members of the Dartmouth Conference meet twice a year to discuss ways of improving — and, at this point, salvaging — the US/Russia relationship. Several are former top-level military and diplomatic officials. Some are religious leaders or physicians. All are concerned citizens.
They’ve watched as the arms control agreements, which helped prevent nuclear war between our countries, were dismantled — the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by former President Richard Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement signed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
Now, the New START agreement — the last remaining arms control agreement between the US and Russia — hangs in the balance. …….
It could get worse, both I and other Dartmouth Conference members believe. Neither country wants to start a nuclear war, which would imperil the entire planet, but it could start by mistake, by misunderstanding, by escalation of tensions, as it almost did during the Cold War……..
In their appeal, Dartmouth members say the dialogue on strategic stability should be broadened to include other nuclear powers. But that doesn’t mean that, in the interim, New START can’t be extended for another five years, as the treaty provides. Extending it beyond 2021 would provide some breathing space to work on future global security agreements. We can do both.
New START not only led to steep reductions of nuclear arsenals on both sides but it strengthened confidence and trust between our countries and our militaries by providing for inspections and data exchanges that verify compliance. Transparency is key; Not knowing what weapons the other side might have can ignite suspicion.
At this very moment both countries are developing new, highly advanced conventional arms and delivery systems.
A cyberattack could knock out early warning systems. Both countries keep most of their nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired within minutes. Our presidents have only a few minutes to decide whether to respond. A missile launched in Russia can hit an American city in less than 30 minutes — and vice versa. A single warhead can kill millions of people.
……… together, we had just written: “The immediate imperative is extension of the New START Treaty … We see this as a paramount moral obligation of both our governments before our own peoples, and the world at large. We respectfully urge our governments to begin discussions immediately to this end.”

December 14, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Prairie Island Indian Community – nuclear refugees

December 14, 2019 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA | Leave a comment

Muons: probing the depths of nuclear waste

Muons: probing the depths of nuclear waste,  physicsworld, 12 Dec 2019

Taken from the December 2019 issue of Physics World. Members of the Institute of Physics can enjoy the full issue via the Physics World app.

Having used them to look through rock, physicists are now exploiting muons to peer inside canisters of radioactive waste. The ability could prove very handy for nuclear inspectors, as Edwin Cartlidge reports

……muons – energetic subatomic particles that can pass through thick layers of dense material and which the scientists in Egypt used to look inside the limestone and granite pyramid.

Muons are generated routinely in particle colliders, where physicists use them to identify other, potentially more exotic, particles within the debris. But they are also produced naturally in the atmosphere, and an ever-growing range of researchers are using these commonly occurring muons as highly penetrating probes. Beyond archaeologists, geologists, for example, are developing muon detectors to establish when magma might be on the rise within a volcano……..

Muons offer a way to establish how much waste there is in a container without having to open or move the container in question. That capability would become vital, according to Matt Durham of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the US, should inspectors or the countries involved ever lose confidence in their monitoring. “This issue is only getting worse as more plutonium piles up around the world,” he says.

Muons offer a way to establish how much waste there is in a container without having to open or move the container in question………

December 14, 2019 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

December 13 Energy News — geoharvey

COP25: ¶ “Crunch Time At Climate Talks Amid Discord On Carbon Markets” • Officials from almost 200 countries are poring over revised drafts, preparing for a last push at an annual UN summit to finalize rules for the Paris climate accord amid signs that resolving the issue of international carbon markets may be postponed for […]

via December 13 Energy News — geoharvey

December 14, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment