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

The week in climate and nuclear news

This week there’s quite a lot of news about nuclear weapons development. Nobody seems very interested – all same-same? Weapons anxiety fatigue? UN disarmament chief hopes upcoming conference will address current nuclear challenges. Some experts think that the subject should get a mention in the USA 2020 election race.

The Coronavirus has gripped the media – with climate change taking a back seat. Bad though that epidemic is, global heating also moves on inexorably.

a bit of good news –  Designer Works to Erect First Modern Village to Generate its Own Electricity–and Food–in 100% Sustainable Loop

Coronavirus – right-wing media reactions and conspiracy theories.

The Planet Is Screwed, Says Bank That Screwed the Planet. USA fails to stop G20 finance ministers and central bank governors‘ warning on climate change.

Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the worldThe Castle Bravo bomb and its effects on the soldiers, and on the planet.

A Brief Study of Molten Salt Reactors.

Climate action? – you simply couldn’t build enough nuclear reactors.

ANTARCTICA . Antarctic ice walls protect the climate.

IRAN. Iran Nuclear Accord Parties Meet to Try to Salvage Deal.

JAPAN.

USA.  2020 election – Big climate change policy unlikely no matter who wins the White House. Trump is using Yucca Mountain to drum up Republican votes.

Half the US population favors the nuclear abolition treaty. U.S. Pentagon demands $167 billion tax-payer nuclear funding through to 2025. Pentagon toys with a plan to win a “limited nuclear war” against Russia .  USA’s nuclear insurance places the big responsibility on the tax-payer.

California’s Super Tuesday primary and Diablo nuclear station – symbol of USA’s nuclear corruption.

Hanford’s radioactive underground structures likely to collapse. New Mexico’s elected leaders waver on Holtec’s nuclear waste plan. No vote on high level nuclear waste storage in New Mexico, despite Memorial opposing the dump. Plans to remove Lewiston nuclear waste.

Safety check records falsified at SC nuclear plant. USA desperately pushing the fantasy of Small Nuclear Reactors to India. NuScam’s nuclear reactor looks suspiciously like an old design, (that melted down).

FRENCH POLYNESIA. Veterans groups not happy -France wants to abolish the National Commission for Monitoring the Consequences of Nuclear Tests.

INDIA. Trump’s toxic nuclear sales pitch to India- undermining India’s nuclear liability law.

UK. Radioactive wastes into River Clyde could have devastating effects on community and wildlife. Is Cumbria about to become the world’s plutonium dump? Outage’s at EDF’s Hinkley nuclear station extended until June.

AUSTRALIA.  Investigative journalism –  Legislation banning nuclear power in Australia should be retained.

EGYPT. Egypt going into $25 billion debt to Russia, to buy nuclear reactors.

KAZAKHSTAN. Kazakhstan local residents may be stuck with costs of decommissioning nuclear reactor.

SWEDEN. Sweden now faces years of nuclear reactor shutdowns and waste disposal problems.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.  Nuclear power not economic, nor safe, but it bolsters a secretive autocratic regime, United Arab Emirates.

INDONESIA. Illegal radioactive substances found in South Tangerang house, Jakarta.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

EXPERTS:  NUCLEAR WEAPONS SHOULD BE FRONT-BURNER ISSUE IN 2020 RACE FOR WHITE HOUSE

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist Briefing Audience Told: “We Are Living in a World Where the Next President Will Decide if the Number of Nuclear Weapons Go Up or Down.”

CHICAGO, IL///March 2, 2020///Two leading experts raised serious concerns today about the lack of substantive discussion among U.S. presidential candidates about their plans for U.S. nuclear weapons and related threats around the globe. They noted that arms control agreements resulted in the number of nuclear weapons in the world being slashed from 70,000 to 14,000, with that progress now in danger of being reversed.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists briefing held one day before Super Tuesday included an appeal to both candidates and the news media to move nuclear weapons to the forefront of the 2020 elections.

Former Obama science adviser John P. Holdren said: “We live in a soundbite and Twitter culture. It’s difficult to express nuclear weapons threats in 240 words or an eight-second quote … We should be talking about embracing a no-first-use policy. We have much cheaper and safer ways to deal with conventional and biological attacks than using nuclear weapons and therefore launching a much wider nuclear war. That threat is not worth it. Candidates should be talking about their views on ‘no first use.’”

Holdren now is the Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Co-Director of the School’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy program, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and Affiliated Professor in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science. Holdren also is Visiting Distinguished Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and Senior Advisor to the President at the Woods Hole Research Center, a pre-eminent scientific think tank focused on global climate change. From January 2009 to January 2017, he was President Obama’s Science Advisor and Senate-confirmed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

Alexandra Bell, the senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, said: “There are well over 4,000 nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile. Anyone running for President is asking the public to trust them … The next President is going to decide if we live in a world when the number of nuclear weapons is going up or going down. If we lose the (arms control) agreements, we are definitely headed to a world where that number is going up. That is why this should be a major issue in the 2020 election cycle.”

Previously, Bell served as a senior adviser in the Office of the Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security. She has also worked on nuclear policy issues at the Ploughshares Fund.

Holdren said that the issue of “no first use” was considered at length during the Obama Administration and that a decision was deferred in the President’s second term “on the assumption that Hillary Clinton would win” the 2016 election.

Bell noted that President Trump is the first U.S. president since John F. Kennedy to fail to initiate a major arms control agreement in their first term in office. She said: “Whoever the next person is to sit behind that Resolute Desk is going to having to deal with a number of issues that have been left behind to them.”

Both Holdren and Bell agreed that the news media (except for a handful of key outlets) are not paying enough attention to nuclear weapons issues. But they also agreed that it is incumbent on experts to find a way to talk about nuclear weapons that engages presidential candidates, elected officials, the media, and the public.

John Mecklin, editor-in-chief of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moderated the expert panel discussion.

For more background information, see Nuclear Weapons Policy and the U.S. Presidential Electionan edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists available free online until March 31, 2020.

ABOUT THE BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS

December 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the first edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, initially a six-page, black-and-white bulletin and later a magazine, created in anticipation that the atom bomb would be “only the first of many dangerous presents from the Pandora’s Box of modern science.”  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ iconic Doomsday Clock was reset on January 23, 2020 to 100 seconds to midnight.  www.thebulletin.org.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Max Karlin, (703) 276-3255 and mkarlin@hastingsgroup.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming recording of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ briefing will be available at www.thebulletin.org/nukes2020vote as of 5 p.m. CST/6 p.m. EST/2300 GMT on March 2, 2020.

 

 

March 3, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The Olympic torch relay promoting “radiation recovery” – not so popular in Fukushima

In Fukushima, Olympic torch relay faces cool welcome from nuclear evacuees WTVB, 

Sunday, March 01, 2020  by Thomson Reuters By Mari Saito and Kiyoshi Takenaka

FUTABA, Japan (Reuters) – Dressed in protective plastic coveralls and white booties, Yuji Onuma stood in front of the row of derelict buildings that included his house, and sighed as he surveyed his old neighborhood.

On the once-bustling main street, reddish weeds poked out of cracked pavements in front of abandoned shops with caved-in walls and crumbling roofs. Nearby, thousands of black plastic bags filled with irradiated soil were stacked in a former rice field.

“It’s like visiting a graveyard,” he said.

Onuma, 43, was back in his hometown of Futaba to check on his house, less than 4 kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered a triple meltdown in 2011 following an earthquake and tsunami, leaking radiation across the region.

The authorities say it will be two more years before evacuees can live here again, an eternity for people who have been in temporary housing for nine years. But given the lingering radiation here, Onuma says he has decided not to move back with his wife and two young sons.

Most of his neighbors have moved on, abandoning their houses and renting smaller apartments in nearby cities or settling elsewhere in Japan.

Given the problems Futaba still faces, many evacuees are chafing over the government’s efforts to showcase the town as a shining example of Fukushima’s reconstruction for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While there has been speculation that the global spread of the coronavirus that emerged in China last month might force the cancellation of the Olympics, Japanese officials have said they are confident the Games will go ahead.

The Olympic torch relay will take place in Fukushima in late March – although possibly in shortened form as a result of the coronavirus, Olympic organizers say – and will pass through Futaba. In preparation, construction crews have been hard at work repairing streets and decontaminating the center of town.

I wish they wouldn’t hold the relay here,” said Onuma. He pointed to workers repaving the road outside the train station, where the torch runners are likely to pass. “Their number one aim is to show people how much we’ve recovered.”

He said he hoped that the torch relay would also pass through the overgrown and ghostly parts of the town, to convey everything that the 7,100 residents uprooted of Futaba lost as a result of the accident.

“I don’t think people will understand anything by just seeing cleaned-up tracts of land.”

UNDER CONTROL”

In 2013, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was pitching Tokyo as the host of the 2020 Games to International Olympic Committee members, he declared that the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant was “under control”.

The Games have been billed as the “Reconstruction Olympics” – an opportunity to laud Japan’s massive effort to rebuild the country’s northeastern region, ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami, as well as the meltdowns at the nuclear plant owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

After the disaster, the government created a new ministry to handle reconstruction efforts and pledged 32 trillion yen ($286.8 billion) in funding to rebuild affected areas.

Signs of the reconstruction efforts are everywhere near the plant: new roads have been built, apartment blocks for evacuee families have sprouted up, and an imposing tsunami wall now runs along the coastline. An army of workers commutes to the wrecked plant every day to decommission the reactors.

In March, just days before the Olympic relay is scheduled to be held across Fukushima, Japan will partially ease a restriction order for Futaba, the last town that remains off-limits for residents to return.

This means that residents like Onuma will be able to freely come and go from the town without passing through security or changing into protective clothing. Evacuees will still not be able to stay in their homes overnight.

After a few years bouncing between relatives’ homes and temporary apartments, Onuma decided to build a new house in Ibaraki, a nearby prefecture. His two sons are already enrolled in kindergarten and primary school there.

“You feel a sense of despair,” said Onuma. “Our whole life was here and we were just about to start our new life with our children.”

When Onuma was 12, he won a local competition to come up with a catchphrase promoting atomic energy. His words, “Nuclear Energy for a Brighter Future” was painted on an arch that welcomed visitors to Futaba.

After the nuclear meltdowns, the sign was removed against Onuma’s objections.

“It feels like they’re whitewashing the history of this town,” said Onuma, who now installs solar panels for a living.

The organizing committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics did not respond to requests for comment from Reuters.

“BACK BURNER”

Other residents and community leaders in nearby towns say the Olympics may have actually hindered the region’s recovery.

Yasushi Niitsuma, a 60-year-old restaurant owner in Namie, said the Olympics stalled local reconstruction projects because of surging demand and costs to secure workers and materials ahead of the games in Tokyo.

“We need to wait two years, three years to have a house built because of the lack of craftsmen,” said Niitsuma. “We are being put on the back burner.”

Fukushima’s agriculture and fisheries industries have also been devastated.

“I was astonished by the “under control” comment made in a pitch to win the Olympic Games,” said Takayuki Yanai, who directs a fisheries co-op in Iwaki, 50 kilometers south of the nuclear plant, referring to Abe’s statement.

“People in Fukushima have the impression that reconstruction was used as a bait to win the Olympic Games.”

A government panel recently recommended discharging contaminated water held at the Fukushima plant to the sea, which Yanai expects to further hurt what remains of the area’s fisheries industry……..

Radiation readings in the air taken in February near Futaba’s train station were around 0.28 microsieverts per hour, still approximately eight times the measurement taken on the same day in central Tokyo.

Another area in Futaba had a reading of 4.64 microsieverts per hour on the same day, meaning a person would reach the annual exposure upper limit of 1 millisievert, recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, in just nine days.

Despite the official assurances, it’s hard to miss the signs of devastation and decay around town.

The block where Takahisa Ogawa’s house once stood is now just a row of overgrown lots, littered with concrete debris. A small statue of a stone frog is all that remains of his garden, which is also scattered with wild boar droppings.

He finally demolished his house last year after he failed to convince his wife and two sons to return to live in Futaba.

Ogawa doubts any of his childhood friends and neighbors would ever return to the town.

“I’ve passed the stage where I’m angry and I’m resigned,” he said.

(Reporting by Mari Saito and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Mari Saito; Editing by Philip McClellan) https://wtvbam.com/news/articles/2020/mar/02/in-fukushima-olympic-torch-relay-faces-cool-welcome-from-nuclear-evacuees/990039/

March 3, 2020 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

No advantage in ‘new’ back-to-the-future nuclear reactors for Australia. Is the real motive military?

It is a spurious argument to say any reactor type will reduce Australia’s power industry high level nuclear waste when we produce zero at the moment.
only a devotee of nuclear power would see any advantage in introducing any type of nuclear reactor to Australia. Unless the real motive for such a reactor is a military motive. If so, the O’Brien Committee and the government need to come clean on that.
The waste from the very first molten salt fuelled and cooled reactor, as we saw in the previous post, continues to cost US taxpayers money 60 years later.
The sub text of the picture admits that nuclear industry cannot keep going in the way that it has done since the days between 1945 and now. The industry would disappear if it did not “modernise”.  
Seeing as there actually no new concepts, why not look again, in desperation, at the rejected designs of the past?

Part 2 of A Study of the “Report of the inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia” Australian Parliamentary Committee 2020.       The Industry Push to Force Nuclear Power in Australia    nuclearhistory    2 Mar 2020 https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/103698880/posts/2607926791  In progress, first draft, incomplete.

The Parliamentary Committee recommends, in part, the following: Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government undertake a body of work to progress the understanding of nuclear energy technology by:

  1. Commissioning the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), or other equivalent expert reviewer, to undertake a technological assessment on nuclear energy reactors to:
    1. produce a list of reactors that are defined under the categories of Generation I, II, III, III+ and IV;
    2. advise on the technological status of Generation III+ and Generation IV reactors including small modular reactors;
    3. advise on the feasibility and suitability of Generation III+ and Generation IV reactors including small modular reactors in the Australian context; and
    4.  formulate a framework to be used by Government to monitor the status of new and emerging nuclear technologies.The first item of the recommendation – for ANTSO to compile of reactors according to each one’s status within the table of Generation – 1 to 4 might be a good idea, for many of the Generation IV reactor designs were first envisaged and trialled in the 1950s and 1960s before being discarded. Whereas, at the present time, and since the time the US Department of Energy sought ways of halting the decline of nuclear power’s percentage contribution to global energy supply in the 1990s. For that is the time that the idea of resurrecting old designs and calling them new and “Generation IV” and re marketing them first arose

The waste from the very first molten salt fuelled and cooled reactor, as we saw in the previous post, continues to cost US taxpayers money 60 years later.

In 2014 the Brookings Institute published an essay by Josh Freed entitled “Back to the Future, Advanced Nuclear Energy and the Battle Against Climate Change”. This essay is available to read at http://csweb.brookings.edu/content/research/essays/2014/backtothefuture.html The cover illustration is very interesting.

The titled cover includes the disclosure that the nuclear industry sees a future for previously discarded, old reactor designs. It shows a nuclear reactor sitting below sea level, protected by a combined Dyke / Causeway for levitating vehicles. Huge waves threaten the Dyke, vehicles, reactor and giant Science Woman, who is watching on with skilled impartiality. In the distance, buildings taken straight from the cartoon “The Jetsons” appear. The illustration is also, actually, a reinterpretation of the events which occurred in March 2011 at Fukushima. The sub text of the picture admits that nuclear industry cannot keep going in the way that it has done since the days between 1945 and now. The industry would disappear if it did not “modernise”.

The fission industry is dying as more and more competition arises in the form of alternative technologies in the energy generation technology market. Even Fusion research continues to make inroads toward the goal of successful and economic power generation, but it still a few years off. The 1930s fission patents of Szilard are long in the tooth and actually, in terms of economic energy production has always been a failure. Kick started by governments, the standard designs are trusted by fewer and fewer people, especially throughout Asia. Westinghouse Nuclear, GE Nuclear, Toshiba Nuclear are all bankrupt. British Nuclear Fuels Ltd is broke, Sellafield is broke and a growing cleanup cost liability.

So increasingly, the industry needs a unique selling point, something new and radical, something that solves the old nuclear problems. It needs a product which never fails or spills radioactive materials into the biosphere, it needs a product that will not fail because the grid goes down for a few days, it cannot melt down, catch fire like Windscale, Monju and Fermi 1 did.

Seeing as there actually no new concepts, why not look again, in desperation, at the rejected designs of the past? The essay by Josh Freed (his real name) mentions a company called Transatomic. In contrast to the contents of the Freed article, which claims the old new reactor envisioned by Transatomic run on nuclear waste, Transatomic make no such claim. They state that their proposed reactor would run on liquid uranium fuel. As per the original 50s/60s design. They claim that the Molten salt reactor would create less weight of high level waste.

Because the waste would be continuously removed from the reactor. he corporate website for Transatomic is here: http://www.transatomicpower.com/the-science/ And this, from their web site, is precisely what they promise: Molten salt reactors like Transatomic Power’s are fueled by uranium dissolved in a liquid salt. The fuel is not surrounded by cladding, making it possible to continuously remove the fission products that would otherwise stop the nuclear reaction. The liquid fuel is also much more resistant to structural damage from radiation than solid materials – simply, liquids have very little structure to be damaged. With proper filtration, liquid fuel can remain in a molten salt reactor for decades, allowing us to extract much more of its energy.” end quote. They claim their reactor design produces half the nuclear waste of a comparable conventional light water reactor.

This still does not solve the high level nuclear waste stockpile. It adds to it. Given the competition nuclear power has in the modern world, given that the need for ‘baseload’ energy is now shown to be nonsense, what would 1 or 2 small modular molten salt reactors add to Australia? Would they merely replace coal fire powered generation? SA has not had coal fired electricity for some years now. A combination of solar, wind and storage in SA means SA is a net electricity exporter to the Eastern States. We have back up of gas fired generation which very rarely needed.

Sadly for Transatomic, Green Tech Media state the following at https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/transatomic-to-shutter-its-nuclear-reactor-plans-make-its-technology-public announced the following in 2018:

“Transatomic to Shutter It’s Nuclear Reactor Plans, Open-Source It’s Tecnology.

The startup backed by Peter Thiel won’t be able to build its advanced reactor designs—but it’s making its IP available for others to carry on the work.” Source: Jeff St. John, 25 Sept 2018.as given above.

This gift to the world by Transatomic occurred at the time in Australia when various people began a bombastic and highly enthused campaign to convince Australians that Molten Salt Reactors, fuelled with either Uranium or Lithium or nuclear waste, were Jesus Mark 2. “We’ll Save Yer, just like we did in the Cold War. Solar and batteries are for whimps. We Can’t have solar and wind power in Australia, its a threat to Queensland Coal. Let’s nuclear instead and all make a quick a buck with IP”.

Funny that. Talk about drumming up business prospects and investment funds, and in 2020, floating a float on the back of sympathetic and one eyed Parliamentary Inquiry!

Double or Nothing?

The promise made by Transatomics is that molten fuel/molten salt reactors made with modern techniques will reduce by roughly half the amount of high level nuclear waste generated per unit of power generated. However, at the current time the amount of high level nuclear waste (ie, fission products -the transmutation products described in Szilard’s 1930s patents) and the release of the gaseous forms of these substances into the atmosphere, generated by Australian electricity generation is ZERO.

So the introduction of Molten Salt Reactor into Australia for electricity production will RAISE the production of high level nuclear waste from this activity by 100%. It won’t half, it won’t double, it will increase by x grams per watt. It is a spurious argument to say any reactor type will reduce Australia’s power industry high level nuclear waste when we produce zero at the moment. And if Australia continues on its non nuclear path, that zero rate of power related high level waste will remain zero forever. So where is the advantage for Australia in introducing power reactors in the civilian sphere?

I am led to believe that it will take between 10 – 20 years for any Australian nuclear power reactor to come on line from the time it is approved. By that stage the competition from other forms of low carbon power production will be much, much more severe than it is now. And today, in my opinion, only a devotee of nuclear power would see any advantage in introducing any type of nuclear reactor to Australia. Unless the real motive for such a reactor is a military motive. If so, the O’Brien Committee and the government needs to come clean on that. Not that they will. Such an admission is likely to be impossible for several reasons. Besides, no nuclear industry is free to fully disclose the corporate production and disposition of “special nuclear materials”.

So, I suppose in the end the Committee recommend ANTSO compile a list of reactor types and nominate the current industry PR terms for each type. For the Generational types (1 through IV) have actually very little to do with the chronological order and date range over which each type first manifest as a prototype. The small World War 2 German reactors, of which there were many, are little known, and the US ALSOS project has not disclosed that much about them. Germany had at least 4 reactor programs, 7 ways of enriching uranium. Japan had an Army fission project, a Navy fission project, an Air Force Fission project. All were formally abandoned, ironically , in July 1945. Germany was able to enrich uranium.

This is ancient history, but the world remains fairly ignorant I think, as to which reactor type is the safest, most economic, most reliable and so on. So far, all I have heard from the nuclear industry is PR manufactured originally by the US Department of Energy which relabelled the various reactor designs originated in the US according to a “Generation Number” which is completely detached from the chronological sequence in which they occurred.

In World War 2 Germany was working on heavy water reactors. Does that mean Hitler’s heavy water reactors were Generation III+ ? Of course not. They were Gen 1. As was the Canadian heavy water reactor of World War 2 which supplemented the US plutonium production at Hansford. If the Candu reactor is Gen III+ I’m Father Christmas. What the US DOE is doing with its naming is using marketing techniques to sell old concepts as new ideas.

Car companies do the same when naming cars. Makers of garbage trucks send salesmen around to Council depots extolling the virtues of the Gen IV 2 ton rubbish truck, complete with compactor, a tilt tray and 8 track stereo sound. And Depot managers get given toy model rubbish trucks they sit on their book cases to show how technically astute they are in the field of garbage.

Same deal here. It’s a no brainer. Yet, start collecting lists from ANSTO Mr. O’Brien. Great idea sir. It’ll keep you off the streets for awhile.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Busting the lies of the Australian Government about “new” nuclear reactors

The core propositions of non-traditional reactor proponents – improved economics, proliferation resistance, safety margins, and waste management – should be reevaluated.

Before construction of non-traditional reactors begins, the economic implications of the back end of these nontraditional fuel cycles must be analyzed in detail; disposal costs may be unpalatable………. reprocessing remains a security liability of dubious economic benefit

Non-traditional” is used to encompass both small modular light water reactors (Generation III+) and Generation IV reactors (including fast reactors, thermal-spectrum molten salt reactors, and high temperature gas reactors)

March 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the world

When Linus Pauling accepted the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning against hydrogen bombs, he said that carbon 14 “deserves our special concern” because it “shows the extent to which the earth is being changed by the tests of nuclear weapons.”
If people’s teeth have a very low level of radiocarbon, it means that they were born well before Castle Bravo. [thermonuclear atom bomb test] People born in the early 1960s have high levels of radiocarbon in their molars, which develop early, and lower levels in their wisdom teeth, which grow years later. By matching each tooth in a jaw to the bomb curve, forensic scientists can estimate the age of a skeleton to within one or two years.

Even after childhood, bomb radiocarbon chronicles the history of our body.

Your Inner H-Bomb  Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the world—in trees and sharks, in oceans and human bodies. Even as that signal disappears, it’s revealing new secrets to scientists. The Atlantic, Story by Carl Zimmer, 2 Mar 20, 
“…… Among the isotopes created by a thermonuclear blast is a rare, radioactive version of carbon, called carbon 14. Castle Bravo and the hydrogen-bomb tests that followed it created vast amounts of carbon 14, which have endured ever since. A little of this carbon 14 made its way into Clark’s body, into his blood, his fat, his gut, and his muscles. Clark carried a signature of the nuclear weapons he tested to his grave.
I can state this with confidence, even though I did not carry out an autopsy on Clark. I know this because the carbon 14 produced by hydrogen bombs spread over the entire world. It worked itself into the atmosphere, the oceans, and practically every living thing. As it spread, it exposed secrets. It can reveal when we were born. It tracks hidden changes to our hearts and brains. It lights up the cryptic channels that join the entire biosphere into a single network of chemical flux. This man-made burst of carbon 14 has been such a revelation that scientists refer to it as “the bomb spike.” Only now is the bomb spike close to disappearing, but as it vanishes, scientists have found a new use for it: to track global warming, the next self-inflicted threat to our survival. ……. Continue reading

March 3, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, environment, radiation, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big climate change policy unlikely no matter who wins the White House

Big climate change policy unlikely no matter who wins the White House

Amy Harder Don’t hold your breath for big climate policy changes — even if a Democrat wins the White House.

Why it matters: Congress is likely to remain gridlocked on the matter, leading to either more of the same with President Trump’s re-election or a regulatory swing back to the left no matter which Democrat wins — but far short of a legislative overhaul.

The big picture: Climate change is reaching a new high-water mark as a political concern for American voters, and Democratic presidential nominees are promising aggressive policies.

  • That in and of itself is a sea change from prior elections. Even still, these worries and pledges are unlikely to translate into any major new laws in the next few years (at least).

Here’s why, with potential scenarios mapped out.

Trump wins re-election

While Trump is uniquely unpredictable in presidential history, he’s made it clear since moving into the White House that he’s not interested in pursuing any sort of actual climate legislation on Capitol Hill.

More of the same is most likely, in two important ways:

  1. More curtailing of environmental regulations — and defending them in court.
  2. More pressure on other actors — like companies, states and other countries — to take bigger action on their own as the void of U.S. presidential leadership grows.

Any Democrat wins

All Democrats have aggressive climate plans, but it’s an open question whether any would first push climate legislation over other priorities — especially health care………

Regardless of congressional priority, any Democratic president would swing Washington’s executive-action pendulum far back in the other direction. …..

A progressive Democrat wins

… like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. ……This type of all-encompassing and hyper-aggressive legislation is unlikely to get universal support among Democrats (to say nothing of universal Republican opposition) — which makes them extremely unlikely to get through the Senate.

  • This is because Democrats with more moderate ideologies or those representing energy-intensive states are unlikely to support the broader socioeconomic measures and such aggressive moves away from fossil fuels, partly because many of those jobs are represented by unions……..

A more moderate Democrat wins

… like Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Michael Bloomberg.

I anticipate these politicians would be (relatively) more open to trying to work with Republicans on climate change than their progressive counterparts……

As Congress talks climate policy, carbon price gets no love

New lobbying urging Congress to support a price on carbon emissions is not convincing lawmakers to warm up to the policy.

Why it matters: A carbon price is widely considered one of the most economically efficient ways to tackle climate change. But, economics be damned, its politics remain deeply unpopular. https://www.axios.com/climate-policy-changes-unlikely-7ecf6cc3-c42c-4d7c-b492-41d73433a015.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_axiosam&stream=top

March 3, 2020 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020, politics | Leave a comment

The Castle Bravo bomb and its effects on the soldiers, and on the planet

Your Inner H-Bomb, Nuclear testing left a signature of radioactive carbon all around the world—in trees and sharks, in oceans and human bodies. Even as that signal disappears, it’s revealing new secrets to scientists. The Atlantic, by Carl Zimmer, 2 Mar 20, 

In the morning of March 1, 1954, a hydrogen bomb went off in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. John Clark was only 20 miles away when he issued the order, huddled with his crew inside a windowless concrete blockhouse on Bikini Atoll. But seconds went by, and all was silent. He wondered if the bomb had failed. Eventually, he radioed a Navy ship monitoring the test explosion.

“It’s a good one,” they told him.

Then the blockhouse began to lurch. At least one crew member got seasick—“landsick” might be the better descriptor. A minute later, when the bomb blast reached them, the walls creaked and water shot out of the bathroom pipes. And then, once more, nothing. Clark waited for another impact—perhaps a tidal wave—but after 15 minutes he decided it was safe for the crew to venture outside.

The mushroom cloud towered into the sky. The explosion, dubbed “Castle Bravo,” was the largest nuclear-weapons test up to that point..

It was intended to try out the first hydrogen bomb ready to be dropped from a plane. Many in Washington felt that the future of the free world depended on it, and Clark was the natural pick to oversee such a vital blast. He was the deputy test director for the Atomic Energy Commission, and had already participated in more than 40 test shots. Now he gazed up at the cloud in awe. But then his Geiger counter began to crackle.

“It could mean only one thing,” Clark later wrote. “We were already getting fallout.”

That wasn’t supposed to happen. The Castle Bravo team had been sure that the radiation from the blast would go up to the stratosphere or get carried away by the winds safely out to sea. In fact, the chain reactions unleashed during the explosion produced a blast almost three times as big as predicted—1,000 times bigger than the Hiroshima bomb.

Within seconds, the fireball had lofted 10 million tons of pulverized coral reef, coated in radioactive material. And soon some of that deadly debris began dropping to Earth. If Clark and his crew had lingered outside, they would have died in the fallout.

Clark rushed his team back into the blockhouse, but even within the thick walls, the level of radiation was still climbing. Clark radioed for a rescue but was denied: It would be too dangerous for the helicopter pilots to come to the island. The team hunkered down, wondering if they were being poisoned to death. The generators failed, and the lights winked out.

“We were not a happy bunch,” Clark recalled.

They spent hours in the hot, radioactive darkness until the Navy dispatched helicopters their way. When the crew members heard the blades, they put on bedsheets to protect themselves from fallout. Throwing open the blockhouse door, they ran to nearby jeeps as though they were in a surreal Halloween parade, and drove half a mile to the landing pad. They clambered into the helicopters, and escaped over the sea.
As Clark and his crew found shelter aboard a Navy ship, the debris from Castle Bravo rained down on the Pacific. Some landed on a Japanese fishing boat 70 miles away. The winds then carried it to three neighboring atolls. Children on the island of Rongelap played in the false snow. Five days later, Rongelap was evacuated, but not before its residents had received a near-lethal dose of radiation. Some people suffered burns, and a number of women later gave birth to severely deformed babies. Decades later, studies would indicate that the residents experienced elevated rates of cancer.  ……….https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/03/how-nuclear-testing-transformed-science/607174/

March 3, 2020 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Veterans groups not happy -France wants to abolish the National Commission for Monitoring the Consequences of Nuclear Tests.

Dismay over plans to scrap French nuclear monitoring commissionhttps://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/410780/dismay-over-plans-to-scrap-french-nuclear-monitoring-commission 2 March 2020 Nuclear test veterans groups in French Polynesia have reacted with dismay at reports that Paris wants to abolish the National Commission for Monitoring the Consequences of Nuclear Tests.

Last week, the French publication Canard Enchaine reported that as part of administrative changes and cost-cutting measures, dozens of commissions would be disestablished.

The commission is the body bringing together state authorities, representatives of the French Polynesian government and veterans associations to work on the list of radiation-induced illnesses deemed to be relevant for compensation.

The head of the group Moruroa e tatou Hiro Tefaarere has told the broadcaster La Premiere the move was inadmissible yet not surprising for the Macron government.

He said the French president on one hand described colonialism as a crime against humanity and on the other everything was suppressed which would recognise the consequences of the tests.

France carried out more than 190 nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific and until 2010 maintained that they were clean and posed no threat to human health.

French Polynesia’s president has reportedly raised his concerns in a letter to the French prime minister.

March 3, 2020 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power not economic, nor safe, but it bolsters a secretive autocratic regime, United Arab Emirates

March 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment