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Marathon UN climate talks have a rather disappointing outcome

Disappointment as marathon climate talks end with slim deal. AP News,  By FRANK JORDANS and ARITZ PARRA,MADRID (AP) 15 Dec 19, — Marathon U.N. climate talks ended Sunday with a slim compromise that sparked widespread disappointment, after major polluters resisted calls for ramping up efforts to keep global warming at bay and negotiators postponed debate about rules for international carbon markets for another year.

Organizers kept delegates from almost 200 nations in Madrid far beyond Friday’s scheduled close of the two-week talks. In the end, negotiators endorsed a general call for greater efforts to tackle climate change and several measures to help poor countries respond and adapt to its impacts.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “disappointed” by the meeting’s outcome.

“The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis,” he said. “We must not give up and I will not give up.”

The final declaration cited an “urgent need” to cut planet-heating greenhouse gases in line with the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord. But it fell far short of explicitly demanding that countries submit bolder emissions proposals next year, which developing countries and environmentalists had demanded……

Thankfully, the weak rules on a market-based mechanism, promoted by Brazil and Australia, that would have undermined efforts to reduce emissions, have been shelved,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Nairobi-based campaign group Power Shift Africa.

Helen Mountford, from the environmental think-tank World Resources Institute, said that “given the high risks of loopholes discussed in Madrid, it was better to delay than accept rules that would have compromised the integrity of the Paris Agreement.”…….

Delegates made some progress on financial aid for poor countries affected by climate change, despite strong resistance from the United States to any clause holding big polluters liable for the damage caused by their emissions. Countries agreed four years ago to funnel $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing nations, but so far nowhere near that amount has been raised. …..

The United States will be excluded from much of those talks after President Donald Trump announced the country’s withdrawal from the Paris accord, a process than comes into force Nov. 4, 2020……. https://apnews.com/aca79ab4956f370b8892ba574fe56834

December 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | 2 Comments

Analysis of decontamination of irradiated soil of Fukushima area

Fukushima: Lessons learned from an extraordinary case of soil decontamination  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/12/191212081926.htm

Source:
European Geosciences Union
Summary:
Following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in March 2011, the Japanese authorities decided to carry out major decontamination works in the affected area, which covers more than 9,000 km2. On Dec. 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, researchers provided an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness.
On December 12, 2019, with most of this work having been completed, the scientific journal SOIL of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is publishing a synthesis of approximately sixty scientific publications that together provide an overview of the decontamination strategies used and their effectiveness, with a focus on radiocesium. This work is the result of an international collaboration led by Olivier Evrard, researcher at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement [Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences] (LSCE — CEA/CNRS/UVSQ, Université Paris Saclay).

Soil decontamination, which began in 2013 following the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, has now been nearly completed in the priority areas identified1. Indeed, areas that are difficult to access have not yet been decontaminated, such as the municipalities located in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear power plant. Olivier Evrard, a researcher at the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences and coordinator of the study (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), in collaboration with Patrick Laceby of Alberta Environment and Parks (Canada) and Atsushi Nakao of Kyoto Prefecture University (Japan), compiled the results of approximately sixty scientific studies published on the topic.

This synthesis focuses mainly on the fate of radioactive cesium in the environment because this radioisotope was emitted in large quantities during the accident, contaminating an area of more than 9,000 km2. In addition, since one of the cesium isotopes (137Cs) has a half-life of 30 years, it constitutes the highest risk to the local population in the medium and long term, as it can be estimated that in the absence of decontamination it will remain in the environment for around three centuries.

“The feedback on decontamination processes following the Fukushima nuclear accident is unprecedented,” according to Olivier Evrard, “because it is the first time that such a major clean-up effort has been made following a nuclear accident. The Fukushima accident gives us valuable insights into the effectiveness of decontamination techniques, particularly for removing cesium from the environment.”

This analysis provides new scientific lessons on decontamination strategies and techniques implemented in the municipalities affected by the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima accident. This synthesis indicates that removing the surface layer of the soil to a thickness of 5 cm, the main method used by the Japanese authorities to clean up cultivated land, has reduced cesium concentrations by about 80% in treated areas. Nevertheless, the removal of the uppermost part of the topsoil, which has proved effective in treating cultivated land, has cost the Japanese state about €24 billion. This technique generates a significant amount of waste, which is difficult to treat, to transport and to store for several decades in the vicinity of the power plant, a step that is necessary before it is shipped to final disposal sites located outside Fukushima prefecture by 2050. By early 2019, Fukushima’s decontamination efforts had generated about 20 million cubic metres of waste.

Decontamination activities have mainly targeted agricultural landscapes and residential areas. The review points out that the forests have not been cleaned up — because of the difficulty and very high costs that these operations2 would represent — as they cover 75% of the surface area located within the radioactive fallout zone. These forests constitute a potential long-term reservoir of radiocesium, which can be redistributed across landscapes as a result of soil erosion, landslides and floods, particularly during typhoons that can affect the region between July and October. Atsushi Nakao, co-author of the publication, stresses the importance of continuing to monitor the transfer of radioactive contamination at the scale of coastal watersheds that drain the most contaminated part of the radioactive fallout zone. This monitoring will help scientists understand the fate of residual radiocesium in the environment in order to detect possible recontamination of the remediated areas due to flooding or intense erosion events in the forests.

The analysis recommends further research on:

  • the issues associated with the recultivation of decontaminated agricultural land3,
  • the monitoring of the contribution of radioactive contamination from forests to the rivers that flow across the region,
  • and the return of inhabitants and their reappropriation of the territory after evacuation and decontamination.

This research will be the subject of a Franco-Japanese and multidisciplinary international research project, MITATE (Irradiation Measurement Human Tolerance viA Environmental Tolerance), led by the CNRS in collaboration with various French (including the CEA) and Japanese organizations, which will start on January 1, 2020 for an initial period of 5 years.

Complementary approaches

This research is complementary to the project to develop bio- and eco-technological methods for the rational remediation of effluents and soils, in support of a post-accident agricultural rehabilitation strategy (DEMETERRES), led by the CEA, and conducted in partnership with INRA and CIRAD Montpellier.

Decontamination techniques

  • In cultivated areas within the special decontamination zone, the surface layer of the soil was removed to a depth of 5 cm and replaced with a new “soil” made of crushed granite available locally. In areas further from the plant, substances known to fix or substitute for radiocesium (potassium fertilizers, zeolite powders) have been applied to the soil.
  • As far as woodland areas are concerned, only those that were within 20 metres of the houses were treated (cutting branches and collecting litter).
  • Residential areas were also cleaned (ditch cleaning, roof and gutter cleaning, etc.), and (vegetable) gardens were treated as cultivated areas.

1 In Fukushima prefecture and the surrounding prefectures, the decision to decontaminate the landscapes affected by the radioactive fallout was made in November 2011 for 11 districts that were evacuated after the accident (special decontamination zone — SDZ — 1,117 km2) and for 40 districts affected by lower, but still significant levels of radioactivity and that had not been evacuated in 2011 (areas of intensive monitoring of the contamination — ICA, 7836 km2). 2 128 billion euros according to one of the studies appearing in the review to be published on 12 December 2019 in SOIL. 3 Relating to soil fertility and the transfer of radiocesium from the soil to plants, for example.

The study was conducted by Olivier Evrard (Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (LSCE/IPSL), Unité Mixte de Recherche 8212 (CEA/CNRS/UVSQ), Université Paris-Saclay), J. Patrick Laceby (Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD), Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP)), and Atsushi Nakao (Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Kyoto Prefectural University).

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, Reference | Leave a comment

The toxic gender norms in the nuclear weapons establishment

discussion of nuclear weapons is informed by and perpetuates toxic gender norms. In this world, strength, force, rationality, and destruction are masculine. Things like weapon design, targeting, and nuclear strategy fall into this category. Weakness, emotion, the very concept of peace, and the human costs of nuclear weapons are feminine.

 

December 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Angst in Utah over dangers of nuclear waste transport to “temporary” storage

“Congress should be pursuing hardened on-site storage for this waste at or near its current location. This is the solution that can most safely contain it and not put others at-risk,”

“Washington is bowing to the political clout of industry while placing unnecessary and potentially costly risks on public health

December 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | 1 Comment

The world is headed for climate crisis and nuclear destruction

December 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) got hacked

How a nuclear plant got hacked, Plugging nuclear plants into the internet makes them vulnerable targets for nation-state attack.  By J.M. Porup, Senior Writer, CSO   December  9, 2019  If you think attacking civilian infrastructure is a war crime, you’d be right, but spies from countries around the world are fighting a silent, dirty war to pre-position themselves on civilian infrastructure — like energy-producing civilian nuclear plants — to be able to commit sabotage during a moment of geopolitical tension.

What follows is an explanation of how India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) got hacked — and how it could have been easily avoided.

The KNPP hack The news came to light, as it so often does these days, on Twitter. Pukhraj Singh (@RungRage), a “noted cyber intelligence specialist” who was “instrumental in setting up of the cyber-warfare operations centre of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO),” according to The New Indian Express, tweeted: “So, it’s public now. Domain controller-level access Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The government was notified way back. Extremely mission-critical targets were hit,” noting in a quote tweet that he was aware of the attack as early as September 7, 2019, calling it a “causus belli” (an attack sufficiently grave to provoke a war).

In a later tweet, Singh clarified that he did not discover the malware himself. A third party “contacted me & I notified National Cyber Security Coordinator on Sep 4 (date is crucial). The 3rd party then shared the IoCs with the NCSC’s office over the proceeding days. Kaspersky reported it later, called it DTrack.”

At first the Nuclear Power Plant Corporation of India (NPCI) denied it. In a press release they decried “false information” on social media and insisted the KNPP nuclear power plant is “stand alone and not connected to outside cyber network and internet” and that “any cyber attack on the Nuclear

Power Plant Control System is not possible.”

Then they backtracked. On October 30, the NPCI confirmed that malware was in fact discovered on their systems, and that CERT-India first noticed the attack on September 4, 2019. In their statement, they claimed the infected PC was connected to the administrative network, which they say is “isolated from the critical internal network.”

“Investigation also confirms that the plant systems are not affected,” their statement concludes.

Power Plant Control System is not possible.”

Then they backtracked. On October 30, the NPCI confirmed that malware was in fact discovered on their systems, and that CERT-India first noticed the attack on September 4, 2019. In their statement, they claimed the infected PC was connected to the administrative network, which they say is “isolated from the critical internal network.”

“Investigation also confirms that the plant systems are not affected,” their statement concludes.

A targeted attack

Contrary to some initial reporting, the malware appears to have been targeted specifically at the KNPP facility, according to researchers at CyberBit. Reverse-engineering of the malware sample revealed hard-coded administrator credentials for KNPP’s networks (username: /user:KKNPP\\administrator password: su.controller5kk) as well as RFC 1918 IP addresses (172.22.22.156, 10.2.114.1, 172.22.22.5, 10.2.4.1, 10.38.1.35), which are by definition not internet-routable.

That means it is highly likely the attacker previously broke into KNPP networks, scanned for NAT’ed devices, stole admin credentials, and then incorporated those details into this new malware, a second-stage payload designed for deeper and more thorough reconnaissance of KNPP’s networks.

“This was a very targeted attack on just this plant,” Hod Gavriel, a malware analyst at CyberBit, tells CSO. “Probably this was the second stage of an attack.”

The malware discovered, however, did not include Stuxnet-like functionality to destroy any of KNPP’s systems. “This phase was only for collection of information, it wasn’t sabotageware,” Gavriel says. ….. https://www.csoonline.com/article/3488816/how-a-nuclear-plant-got-hacked.html

December 16, 2019 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

North Korea conducts second test at satellite site, to ‘bolster nuclear deterrent’

San Francisco Chronicle, Simon Denyer, The Washington Post Dec. 14, 2019  TOKYO – North Korea announced on Saturday it had conducted another test at a satellite launch station near the Chinese border, saying the unspecified test would help bolster the country’s nuclear deterrent.The test was conducted Friday evening, and was the second in less than a week at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, a site near the Chinese border that has been used to test rocket engines and launch satellites into space in the past…… (subscribers only) https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/North-Korea-conducts-second-test-at-satellite-14906516.php

December 16, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Sceptisim over Boris Johnson’s promises environment and climate

The Conversation 13th Dec 2019, Rebecca Willis: Climate change had a higher profile in the UK election campaign than ever before, with parties competing hard over their offer to concerned voters.

But this was a debate that the Conservatives – who won a landslide majority – largely stood back from. Their manifesto was light on detail compared to the other parties, and Boris Johnson chose not to take part in the first ever UK televised leaders’ debate on climate.

Conservative candidates were conspicuous by their absence in local climate
hustings, too. Neither was climate mentioned in their legislative plan for
the first hundred days. The Conservative government did legislate for a net
zero carbon emissions target back in June, following the advice of the
Committee on Climate Change. And there was an explicit manifesto pledge to
deliver on this target, with no signs of backtracking.

In his speech to the party faithful on the morning of his election, Johnson declared his ambition to “make this country the cleanest, greenest on Earth, with the most far-reaching environmental programme”, adding: And you the people of this country voted to be carbon-neutral in this election – you voted to be carbon-neutral by 2050. And we’ll do it.

But targets don’t reduce carbon. Policies do. And despite its much-admired Climate Change Act, the UK’s policy record lately has not been good. The Committee on Climate Change have repeatedly warned that the UK is off track to meet future commitments, a verdict shared by the independent Climate Action Tracker project, which assesses each country’s performance against the Paris Agreement. It rated the UK as “insufficient”, with policies compatible
with a 3°C world – not the 1.5°C level that we desperately need.

If the new government is serious about its commitment, it will have to signal this soon, and with confidence. Steps that it could and should take straight
away include: instigating a swift review of governance for net-zero, giving
responsibility and resources to other government departments, and,
crucially, to local areas, to deliver on carbon strategy; prioritising
climate and environmental protection in negotiations for a trading
relationship with the European Union; moving quickly to consult on a
phase-out date for petrol and diesel vehicles, as promised in its
manifesto; removing the de facto ban on onshore wind energy, which the
Committee on Climate Change advised needs to increase in capacity by 1GW a
year; confirming its opposition to fracking, and making its moratorium
permanent; pledging to formally consider the results of the national
citizens’ assembly on climate change, Climate Assembly UK, due to report
in 2020.

https://theconversation.com/what-boris-johnsons-government-needs-to-do-to-show-it-is-serious-on-climate-change-128885

December 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Weak outcome of UN climate change talks in Madrid

UN climate change talks in Madrid end with no agreement on carbon market rules or stronger pledges  Marathon international climate talks have ended with major polluters resisting calls to ramp up efforts to keep global warming at bay and negotiators postponing the regulation of global carbon markets until next year.  ABC 15 Dec 19
Key points:

  • UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said he was “disappointed” by the meeting’s outcome
  • The final talks fell short of promising to enhance countries’ pledges to cut planet-heating greenhouse gases next year
  • There was no final agreement on regulation for international carbon markets, with the EU warning that weak rules sought by some countries would undermine the system

Those failures came even after organisers added two more days to the 12 days of scheduled talks in Madrid.

In the end, delegates from almost 200 nations endorsed a declaration to help poor countries that are suffering the effects of climate change, although they did not allocate any new funds to do so.

The final declaration called on the “urgent need” to cut planet-heating greenhouse gases in line with the goals of the landmark 2015 Paris climate change accord.

That fell far short of promising to enhance countries’ pledges to cut planet-heating greenhouse gases next year, which developing countries and environmentalists had lobbied the delegates to achieve.

The Paris accord established the common goal of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

So far, the world is on course for a 3 to 4-degree Celsius rise, with potentially dramatic consequences for many countries, including rising sea levels and fiercer storms.

Negotiators in Madrid left some of the thorniest issues for the next climate summit in Glasgow in a year, including the liability for damages caused by rising temperatures that developing countries were insisting on.

That demand was resisted mainly by the United States……..

observers said big emissions emitters like China, the United States and India need to stop shirking their responsibilities.

“Regressive governments put profit over the planetary crisis and the future of generations to come,” the conservation group WWF said in a statement.

Ms Mountford said the talks this year “reflect how disconnected country leaders are from the urgency of the science and the demands of their citizens in the streets.”

“They need to wake up in 2020,” she added.  https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-16/un-climate-summit-ends-with-no-deal-on-carbon-markets/11801772

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

UK election. Green Party grew by 60%

Business Green 13th Dec 2019, The Green Party saw its total number of votes grow by over 60 per cent in yesterday’s election, delivering the biggest percentage gains of any party following a campaign that saw environmental issues take centre stage.
Caroline Lucas retained her seat in Brighton Pavilion, increasing her share
of the vote by almost five per cent to 57 per cent.

https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3084650/green-party-celebrates-60-per-cent-vote-surge

December 16, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

United States and Russia are on the verge of a new arms race

Can Russia And The U.S. Agree To Keep A Lid On Their Nuclear Arsenals?  Radio Free Europe, December 15, 2019 By Mike Eckel 

  One major Cold War-era weapons treaty has collapsed. Another, aimed at building trust among the United States, Russia, and other countries, is under severe strain. Washington and Moscow are modernizing their arsenals, building new, more advanced weapons.

By most accounts, the United States and Russia are on the verge of a new arms race, if not already in one.

But last month, something unusual happened: U.S. inspectors traveled to Russia to examine a new missile that Moscow says is super-fast. The demonstration was “aimed at facilitating efforts to ensure the viability and efficiency of New START,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The move has arms control observers wondering whether, despite poisoned relations, Moscow and Washington may in fact find a way to agree to extend the biggest — and last — major weapons treaty restraining the holders of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Dmitry Stefanovich, a researcher with the Russian International Affairs Council, said the inspection of the weapon — called Avangard by Russian military designers — was a demonstration that Moscow was eager to extend New START.

“It is more like an offer: See, we will [give] you transparency on some new weapons and probably some more in the future, but we have to extend the treaty for it to work,” he told RFE/RL. “And we expect the same from you, when your modernization of strategic weapons reaches fruition.”

Large Arsenals

Signed in 2010 by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, New START limited the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals by capping the numbers of delivery systems — long-range bombers, silo-based land missiles, and submarine-launched missiles — and deployed warheads.

As of September 1, Russia had 513 deployed strategic launchers with 1,426 warheads, according to State Department figures. The United States deploys 668 strategic launchers with 1,376 warheads, according to the data……

The treaty expires in February 2021, although provisions allow for it to be prolonged by five years if both sides agree. ….. https://www.rferl.org/a/new-hope-for-new-start-can-russia-and-the-u-s-agree-to-keep-a-lid-on-their-nuclear-arsenals-/30326546.html

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear War Simulator shows the devastation that nukes could cause

Nuclear War Simulator shows the devastation that nukes could cause , MIC, By AJ Dellinger, Dec 14, 2019

,  The fallout of nuclear war is the premise for all sorts of films and video games. There is a sort of morbid curiosity to imagining what life would be like in a post-apocalyptic world caused by this type of warfare, but the threat of such an occurrence is anything but science fiction. To better understand exactly how devastating to the planet and the population that a global nuclear could cause, there’s Nuclear War Simulator.

One way to imagine Nuclear War Simulator is like a version of Google Earth with a nuclear option. With a couple clicks, you can find out what the fallout of a conflict between two nuclear superpowers would be, from casualties caused to the long-term effects that follow, including nuclear fallout and radiation levels.
The simulator puts you in full control of the experience, allowing you to design your own nuclear forces, establish attack plans and explore potential conflict scenarios and even push to see just how many weapons a nation could produce if they decided to put the full force of their military and economy behind it. Along the way of seeing how these scenarios play out, the Nuclear War Simulator also lets you determine what your chance of survival would be in a nuclear holocaust, based on your location and how the attacks would play out.  …… https://www.mic.com/p/nuclear-war-simulator-shows-the-devastation-that-nukes-could-cause-19447517

December 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Docking problems for Russia’s nuclear ships

Nuclear-powered container ship sailed 3,000 nm to change propellers in lack of floating dock up north

After the floating dock SD-50 sank at Roslyakovo yard north of Murmansk last fall “Sevmorput” now had to sail all around Scandinavia to St. Petersburg to find a dock large enough.   Barents Observer, By  Thomas Nilsen, December 15, 2019

Sevmorput” left her homeport in Murmansk on December 5th and arrived in St. Petersburg on the 12th after sailing a distance of nearly 3,000 nautical miles, information from MarineTraffic tells.

The 260 meters long container ship is currently moored at the Admiralteyskiye yard in the Neva River, but will later be taken to the nearby dry dock at Kanonerskiy yard, SeaNews agency reports.

It was late October last year the floating dock sank at shipyard No. 82 in Roslyakovo between Murmansk and Severomorsk in the Kola Bay. The dock was then holding “Admiral Kuznetsov”, Russia’s only aircraft carrier.

The sunken dock was the only one on the Kola Peninsula large enough to accommodate “Sevmorput” and navy ships like the nuclear-powered battle cruiser “Pyotr Velikiy” and ballistic missile submarines of the Delta-IV-, Oscar, II- and Borei-classes.

An older land-dock at naval yard No. 35, Sevmorput, in Murmansk will be expanded to facilitate larger military vessels, like the submarines. The dock is said to be ready by 2021. Meanwhile, navy ships will have to sail to Severodvinsk for simple docking operations……..https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2019/12/nuclear-powered-container-ship-sailed-3000-nm-change-propellers-lack

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Release of radioactive dust at Dounreay contravened regulations

December 16, 2019 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

December 15 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “UN COP25 Summit Ends With Anger With Global Warming’s ‘Window Of Escape’ Getting Harder” • Major economies have resisted calls for bolder commitments as a UN summit in Madrid limped towards a delayed conclusion, dimming any hopes that nation governments would act in time to mitigate the impacts of climate change. [ABC News] […]

via December 15 Energy News — geoharvey

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment