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Earth Day 2020: Climate change would be small fry compared to nuclear war  

Earth Day 2020: Climate change would be small fry compared to nuclear war   https://www.pressenza.com/2020/04/earth-day-2020-climate-change-would-be-small-fry-compared-to-nuclear-war/  

21.04.2020 – Abolition 2000, On this Earth Day 2020, members of the Abolition 2000 coodinating committee and others have written a statement in support of the need to address the triple threats facing humanity today: climate change, global pandemics and nuclear devastation.  The statement is open for signatories by anyone who would like to endorse it.  It highlights the fact that although climate change is a huge threat to human civilization given that a tipping point could be reached at any time, and covid-19 is killing thousands of people every day, a nuclear war has the capability to destroy civilization in a matter of days.

Addressing the threats to Planetary Survival

Earth Day 2020 sign on statement from members of the Abolition 2000 global network to eliminate nuclear weapons

The year 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day[i] and finds the planet facing existential threats like never before in human history.

The threat from climate change is manifesting itself more and more strongly as the years go by through extreme weather events, forest fires on a vast scale, the bleaching of coral reefs, and receding glaciers, among others.  This year also sees the world facing a pandemic which, as we speak, is costing thousands of lives every day and seems likely to have an impact on our civilization for years, if not decades to come.

Alongside these threats to human existence, however, is the lesser-considered, but more dangerous threat from nuclear disaster, and in this context we recall that the year 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing an estimated 500,000 people either through immediate incineration by the blast or subsequent death over the following months and years from agonising radiation poisoning[ii]. 2020 also marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” by putting in place the common security mechanisms to achieve this. Unfortunately, the end of the 2nd World War also kicked off a race for nations to develop nuclear technology that has the possibility to inflict a more devastating blow to the planet in 10 days than climate change will have in 100 years.

Today, some 14,000 nuclear weapons – most of which are vastly more powerful than the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki – continue to pose an intolerable threat to humanity as identified by Atomic Scientists who judge the planet to be a symbolic 100 seconds to midnight on their doomsday clock[iii]. These weapons, thousands of which can be launched within minutes of the order being given, are in the hands of sometimes erratic leaders who cannot be trusted to put the wellbeing of the planet ahead of their own domestic agendas.  Research published in 2013 by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War concludes that up to 2 billion people would be at risk of starvation in a nuclear conflict consisting of the use of only 100 nuclear warheads[iv], and evidence from the ICRC showed that there is no capacity to provide humanitarian assistance in the case of nuclear bombs used in populated areas[v], either.

In addition, the over 400 nuclear power stations distributed all over the planet are capable of poisoning the entire planet with toxic radioactive waste that needs to be stored safely for 250,000 years.  Each one of these stations is an accident waiting to happen and a potential terrorist threat.  Over the last 50 years in which Earth Day has been marked, we have seen dramatic accidents at reactors in Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima.  At the time of writing, forest fires around Chernobyl are cause for concern as they approach the reactor location, and the fires themselves are re-releasing into the atmosphere the radioactive material previously absorbed by trees and other plants since the reactor exploded[vi].

Colonised and indigenous peoples have, in the large part, borne the brunt of nuclear devastation – from the mining of uranium and the testing of nuclear weapons on indigenous peoples land, to the dumping, storage and transport of plutonium and nuclear wastes, and the theft of land for nuclear infrastructure.[vii]

On this Earth Day, as the world faces the triple threats of climate change, virus pandemic and nuclear oblivion, we call on all people of good faith around the world to come together and construct the foundations of a new world: a world without nuclear weapons and nuclear energy, a sustainable world in which the land, oceans, atmosphere, glaciers, wildernesses, flora and fauna in all its diversity can recover, and an equitable world with an economic system that provides a dignified life for all the planet’s inhabitants.

An essential part of this new world will be better implementation of the UN Charter prohibition on war and the utilisation of diplomacy and law to resolve international disputes. It will also require redirection of military spending towards human security, the elimination of nuclear weapons, the rapid phasing out of nuclear power, and a turn to clean, safe renewable energy sources.[viii][ix]

As a species, we have the capability of doing this, and the current global crisis is the wake-up call we need in order to make a better world for all.

We, the undersigned, are ready to do our part.  Who is with us?

Click here to add your name to the list of signatories

Click here to view the full list of signatories

[i] https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/
[ii] https://www.pressenza.com/2019/07/interview-with-kathleen-lawand-international-committee-of-the-red-cross/
[iii] https://thebulletin.org/2020/01/press-release-it-is-now-100-seconds-to-midnight/
[iv] https://www.ippnw.org/pdf/nuclear-famine-two-billion-at-risk-2013.pdf
[v] https://www.regjeringen.no/globalassets/upload/ud/vedlegg/hum/hum_malich.pdf
[vi] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-52274242
[vii] http://www.abolition2000.org/en/resources/newsreleasesstatements/moorea-declaration/
[viii] http://www.abolition2000.org/a2000-files/sustainable-now.pdf
[ix] https://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2020/Apr/Renewable-energy-can-support-resilient-and-equitable-recovery

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

April 23, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

U.S. Environmental and Labor Groups Team Up to Demand COVID-19 Relief

Environmental and Labor Groups Team Up to Demand COVID-19 Relief, Candice Bernd, Truthout, 22Apr 20

 This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the U.S. economy, national environmental organizations are stepping up to support labor unions and frontline workers across the country in their push for personal protective equipment, sick and hazard pay, safe working conditions, and other forms of relief as the crisis intensifies.

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), which partners labor and environmental groups, is facilitating a loose coalition of more than 100 unions and environmental organizations working to pressure the Trump administration to do more to protect frontline workers. The groups are also supporting nine days of action from Earth Day to May Day to demonstrate the interconnection of climate justice and worker justice……… This story is published as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the U.S. economy, national environmental organizations are stepping up to support labor unions and frontline workers across the country in their push for personal protective equipment, sick and hazard pay, safe working conditions, and other forms of relief as the crisis intensifies.

The Labor Network for Sustainability (LNS), which partners labor and environmental groups, is facilitating a loose coalition of more than 100 unions and environmental organizations working to pressure the Trump administration to do more to protect frontline workers. The groups are also supporting nine days of action from Earth Day to May Day to demonstrate the interconnection of climate justice and worker justice…… https://truthout.org/articles/environmental-and-labor-groups-team-up-to-demand-covid-19-relief/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=de9b2e7e-e70c-405a-830f-e0ea3203ca88

April 23, 2020 Posted by | climate change, employment, health, politics | Leave a comment

EDF nuclear power company looks to a profitable future in small-scale, distributed RENEWABLE energy

Can EDF Make Big Money in Small-Scale Renewables?, Greentech Media

The world’s leading nuclear power generator is betting big on a future of small-scale, distributed energy.

KARL-ERIK STROMSTA APRIL 22, 2020 THE WORLD’S LEADING NUCLEAR POWER GENERATOR IS BETTING BIG ON A FUTURE OF SMALL-SCALE, DISTRIBUTED ENERGY.

Électricité de France operates 58 nuclear reactors in its home country and owns stakes in several U.S. nuclear plants that it’s now moving to sell. But EDF’s biggest stamp on the American power market has come in large-scale renewables: Its San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America subsidiary has developed and now operates gigawatts of wind and solar farms across the country.

Now, EDF Renewables is trying to replicate that success on a much smaller scale. How it fares in the distributed space will be of great interest to other 20th-century energy giants feeling their way toward a transformed, low-carbon future.

Over the past few years, and largely through acquisitions, EDF Renewables has amassed one of the most comprehensive U.S. distributed energy businesses, covering solar, energy storage, microgrids and electric vehicle chargers.

The coronavirus crisis may open the door to more dealmaking, said Raphael Declercq, who runs the Distributed Solutions unit at EDF Renewables North America. “There will be some casualties in our sector: Assets seemed overpriced up to a month ago; that may change and we may be able to grow through acquisitions,” Declercq told GTM.

Several European energy giants have been on a recent shopping spree for distributed energy companies in the startup-rich U.S. — notably Shell, EDF and Enel. Without their own U.S.-based utilities to worry about taking business from, they can roll up fleets of behind-the-meter energy assets and deliver power to customers in new ways, while learning lessons that can be applied in other markets.

“It’s a grab game right now, getting as much of that value chain as possible,” said Elta Kolo, content lead for grid edge research at Wood Mackenzie. “In a way, you’re almost seeing a new type of utility emerging in the market,” she said.

It’s a hazardous moment for the energy industry, oil companies and utilities alike. State-controlled EDF last week pulled its financial guidance for 2020 and 2021, saying it expects a sharp drop in its French nuclear output this year as the coronavirus outbreak depresses power demand…….

The rising importance of corporate renewables…….

A common thread runs through EDF Renewables’ businesses these days: the growing importance of corporate customers. In many markets around the world, and nowhere more so than the U.S., corporations are increasingly going around traditional utilities to buy clean power and energy services directly. ……..https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/can-edf-make-big-money-in-small-scale-renewables

April 23, 2020 Posted by | decentralised, France, USA | Leave a comment

Ohio a clear example of corporate power and dark money shaping public policy

What happened in Ohio is a clear example of corporate power combined with the growth of “dark money” organizations following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision to shape public policy decisions. The reasons why FirstEnergy engaged in such activities are not hard to guess. Any entity that invests so heavily in these dark money organizations, media strategies, lobbyists, and political contributions will be expecting a sizeable return on its investments. And indeed, it has been rewarded handsomely. The irony is that an industry that acknowledges that it is not economically competitive is spending massively on lobbying. It is the ratepayers and taxpayers who bear the cost of these twisted priorities.  

A dirty battle for a nuclear bailout in Ohio  https://thebulletin.org/2020/04/a-dirty-battle-for-a-nuclear-bailout-in-ohio/#    By Shakiba FadaieM. V. Ramana, April 21, 2020  Last July, Ohio’s governor signed House Bill 6 (HB6) to provide FirstEnergy (now Energy Harbor), a large electric utility, with subsidies of nearly $150 million per year to keep its Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants operating. Ohio is only the fifth US state to offer such subsidies; other states include New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Although the subsidies are justified by some as necessary for climate mitigation, in the latter four states, electricity generation from natural gas, which results in greenhouse gas emissions, has increased since 2017, when these subsidy programs started kicking in. Moreover, in Ohio, subsidies are also being extended to coal power plants, providing the clearest illustration that what underlies the push for subsidies to nuclear plants is not a result of a real commitment to climate mitigation but a way to use climate concerns to bolster the profits of some energy corporations.

The enormous lobbying effort that won the subsidies used dark money–backed organizations that spent millions of dollars to sway voters and politicians. But it didn’t stop with the bill being signed into law—the lobbying also thwarted the ability of citizens to put the proposal to a democratic vote through a referendum, including by funding television advertisements that falsely claimed that China was “intertwining themselves financially in our energy infrastructure” and threatening “national security,” implying that not going through with the nuclear bailout would somehow lead to Chinese control of Ohio’s power grid. As confronting climate change gets in the way of corporate profits, such dirty battles are sure to emerge more often.

Electricity economics. It has been known since the late 1970s that the cost of constructing nuclear plants in the United States is very high, but the cost gap between nuclear electricity and other alternatives has increased dramatically in the last decade. In its most recent estimate, the Wall Street firm Lazard estimated that a new nuclear plant will generate electricity at an average cost of $155 per megawatt hour, nearly four times the corresponding estimates of around $40 per megawatt hour each for new wind and solar energy plants. The average cost for natural gas plants is $56 per megawatt hour.

The gap will only grow larger. While the costs of nuclear power have been increasing, the costs of wind and solar power have declined by around 70 to 90 percent in the last decade. Even solar projects that offer some amount of storage to meet demand when the sun no longer shines are becoming cheaper. Last year, the city of Los Angeles signed such a contract at $33 per megawatt hour. So new nuclear power plants are simply not competitive in the US electricity market.

But what about already operating nuclear plants, those that don’t have to worry about borrowing money for construction or repaying the money they have already borrowed? Herein lies the real cost problem for electric utilities that own nuclear plants. For each megawatt hour of electricity generated in 2019, the average nuclear power plant in the United States spent $30.42 on fuel, repairs and maintenance, and wages; some spent much more. Those costs are comparable to the overall generation costs (including the cost of construction) of solar and wind power listed above.

Renewable energy plants, of course, cost very little to operate since they don’t need any fuel. Thus, already existing renewable plants will remain far cheaper than nuclear plants. With natural gas plants, the comparison with nuclear plants depends on the cost of natural gas; thanks to fracking, for the last many years, natural gas plants have also lowered their operational costs to way below that of nuclear reactors.

The net result is that nuclear electricity is no longer competitive, and that is a problem for utilities that operate in states where electricity is traded on the market. (Other states, where a state regulator approves electricity projects, allow utilities to pass on the high costs of nuclear power to rate payers.) The number of nuclear plants this trend affects is quite large. In 2018, Bloomberg analysts estimated that “more than one quarter of all nuclear plants don’t make enough money to cover their operating costs.”

Political games. This state of affairs has led electric utilities in various states to try and get taxpayers and ratepayers to pay more to keep up their profits. Ohio’s FirstEnergy started early, in 2014, when it asked Ohio regulators to allow its distribution utilities to enter into agreements to purchase the outputs of its coal and nuclear plants at a set price that significantly exceeded wholesale electricity market prices. Ohio ratepayers would end up paying for electricity from these plants even if the distribution companies could have purchased electricity from other providers at cheaper prices. The proposal was approved in 2016, but the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission blocked the deal because it would have been unfair to consumers.

Since then, FirstEnergy has regularly tried to get subsidies in one form or another—until it succeeded in 2019 with HB6. In summary, that bill forces electricity consumers in Ohio to pay a surcharge on their monthly bills, and the resulting amounts go to subsidizing two nuclear power plants owned by FirstEnergy—Perry and Davis-Besse—and two coal-fired plants owned by Ohio Valley Electricity Corporation. The bill also weakens (and will eventually gut) Ohio’s requirements for a minimum amount of electricity to be provided by renewable sources and reduces its targets for improving energy efficiency.

There has been a recent history of growth of renewables in Ohio, albeit from a pitifully low base. According to the US Energy Information Administration, between 2011 and 2017, Ohio’s wind and solar production grew by factors of 7.6 and 4.3 respectively. The reasons for this growth presumably have to do with the economic factors mentioned earlier. Likewise, energy efficiency programs saved twice as much as was spent on implementing them, and were projected to save $4 billion over 10 years. An increase in renewable energy production combined with energy efficiency improvements was shown to be the most economical way to reduce Ohio’s emissions by over 30 percent between 2012 and 2030 as part of the 2014 proposed Clean Power Plan of the US Environmental Protection Agency.

What do those in favor of the bill say? The arguments being used by pro-nuclear groups can be categorized into two sets of claims: economic and environmental.  The environmental argument is that nuclear power is a clean power source and a source of “clean air,” a claim made by, for example, Judd Gregg, former governor and senator from the state of New Hampshire and a member of the advocacy council of Nuclear Matters. The problem with that argument is two-fold. First, it does not explain why the bill would support the continued operation of old coal power plants. Second, it doesn’t fit well with the fact that renewables and energy efficiency are far cheaper sources of clean air, and this bill guts both of those.

The economic argument has to do with the fact that nuclear power plants are a source of employment among those communities living near the facilities. When they are shut down, those jobs would obviously disappear. Naturally, some labor unions, those with many members working in the nuclear industry, supported the bill. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers website, for example, proudly announced that its “activists have been hard at work, pressing representatives from both political parties to support this job-saving bill and urging all of their Buckeye State brothers and sisters to do the same,” with a union official going on to offer the tip: “No form letters or petitions, but one-on-one contact with the people that vote for them… It’s the personal touch that works.”

But, as with the environmental argument, the economic argument is dubious. The Perry and Davis-Besse nuclear power plants employ an estimated 700 workers each. Even generous estimates that include “additional  jobs … that result from the overall economic boost associated with lower electricity prices and more in-state production” assert that the two plants create a combined 4,270 jobs. While these claims don’t square with the higher electricity costs that drive the need for subsidies, even these figures are just a fraction of the “over 81,000 workers” employed in the energy efficiency sector in the state.

More to the point, the number of jobs at these nuclear plants is very small when viewed in the context of the millions of dollars offered as subsidies to FirstEnergy, which, if invested in other energy resources, would create work for many more people. Per unit of electricity generated, nuclear power creates somewhere between one-half and one-sixth the number of jobs created by solar photovoltaic electricity. Because solar energy costs much less to install or generate, nuclear power employs even fewer on a per dollar basis.

The big fight. None of these arguments is exactly rocket science, and the fact that HB6 amounted to a corporate bailout was clear to many. Coalitions of Ohio companies, the state’s manufacturers’ association, environmental groups, and economists testified against the bill. A consumer group ran targeted radio advertisements pointing out how the bill was intended “to subsidize FirstEnergy’s failing investments.” All to no avail.

FirstEnergy’s lobbying power was overwhelming. Politicians were targeted directly and were offered campaign contributions. FirstEnergy and a political action committee they created contributed millions to political candidates and parties in Ohio. Although the details remain murky, much of the funding is documented by two main sources: state and federal campaign-finance filings and records from bankruptcy proceedings that FirstEnergy had entered into. Among the more egregious examples of this funding was the use of payroll deductions from FirstEnergy’s roughly 15,000 employees to raise and pay nearly a million dollars in political contributions between 2017 and 2019, most of it going to Republicans. The effort also included at least $9.5 million in television advertisements, much of which came from a dark money group. There is evidence, however, that FirstEnergy paid at least $1.9 million to this group. 

Although Republicans received the majority of the financial contributions, Democrats were also recipients, and therefore support for (and opposition to) the bill was not strictly along party lines. On the Democratic side, those who supported the bill typically cited “a desire to retain union jobs at the endangered plants.” On the other side of the aisle, those Republicans who opposed it invoked problems with subsidies in general.

The raw political and economic power of the industry was on display even after the bill was passed. Having been defeated within the legislature, grassroots organizations such as Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts and Ohio Consumers Power Alliance took to the streets and tried to collect signatures on a petition calling for a referendum question about HB6 to be included in the 2020 elections. It was a tough task, since those opposing the bailout had less than two months to gather over a quarter of a million valid signatures.

FirstEnergy tried to stop them with a two-pronged approach. The first was a legal trick. It went to the state’s supreme court and argued that the monthly charges on customers “should be considered tax increases, which cannot be challenged by a referendum.” But the court dismissed the case, saying there was “no ‘justiciable controversy’ for it to decide.” For the main part, though, the response from FirstEnergy and other beneficiaries was more of the same: dark money–backed organizations spending millions to undo the grassroots efforts by urging voters to refuse signing the petition.

Among these organizations was one called Ohioans for Energy Security, which sponsored television advertisements that falsely claimed that China is “intertwining themselves financially in our energy infrastructure,” threatening “national security,” and implying that not going through with the bailout campaign would lead to Chinese control of Ohio’s power grid. The watchdog organization Energy and Policy Institute quickly identified that some of the people featured in the TV advertisement were in fact FirstEnergy employees. In other words, there was reason to suspect that FirstEnergy was behind the advertisement. Ohioans for Energy Security also mailed thousands of letters to state residents with bold lettering behind a Chinese flag imploring, “Don’t give the Chinese government your personal information.” The hyperbolic allegations about China apparently are connected to natural gas-fired power plants in Ohio that were partially financed by a Chinese government-owned bank, although FirstEnergy has itself borrowed money from the same bank.

There were also accusations that the law’s supporters were trying to buy off circulators and take their petitions. Another front group, Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs, whose spokesperson was registered as a lobbyist for FirstEnergy Solutions, used “targeted ads on social media” to urge people who had already signed the referendum petition to withdraw their names.

The point of all these actions by FirstEnergy and its front or allied organizations was to dissuade voters from participating—and they succeeded. In October of last year, Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts announced that it would not file the referendum petition, and HB6 went into effect.

Lessons. What happened in Ohio is a clear example of corporate power combined with the growth of “dark money” organizations following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision to shape public policy decisions. The reasons why FirstEnergy engaged in such activities are not hard to guess. Any entity that invests so heavily in these dark money organizations, media strategies, lobbyists, and political contributions will be expecting a sizeable return on its investments. And indeed, it has been rewarded handsomely. The irony is that an industry that acknowledges that it is not economically competitive is spending massively on lobbying. It is the ratepayers and taxpayers who bear the cost of these twisted priorities.  

Although they have not been so egregious in their strategies and the energy and environmental policy outcomes have not been so detrimental, electricity utilities in New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut have also pursued profits at a financial cost to customers. As in the case of Ohio, the concerned electricity utilities all have investments in fossil fueled plants as well, and they have a vested interest in maintaining those plants for as long as possible.

Adding up all the bailouts to utilities with nuclear plants in the five aforementioned states would result in roughly $15 billion going from consumers to these corporations over the next several years. Although such a sum might seem small when compared to the much larger bailouts that have been paid out in the aftermath of the economic crashes in 2008 and 2020, it is nevertheless a large amount of money within the electricity sector. More important, the funds go to maintaining the profits of large energy corporations, often under the guise of climate mitigation, but without delivering the real and rapid reductions of emissions that are urgently needed.

Climate change is a serious concern, and finding ways of rewarding electric utilities for maintaining the status quo is not the way to tackle it. Even worse, by diverting much-needed resources and investment away from renewables and related technologies, these subsidies undermine efforts to decarbonize the electricity sector and further entrench companies that invest in high-risk energy sources, be they nuclear or fossil-fueled.

April 23, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, employment, politics, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

16 hour days, 86 hour weeks for nuclear workers, amid pandemic panic?

Nuclear agency clears way for long days, weeks for Palo Verde employees, azfamily.comMorgan Loew 22 Apr 20,  PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given the operator of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station permission to work its employees 16 hours per day and as many as 86 hours in a week, according to a letter from the NRC obtained by CBS 5 Investigates.

“Palo Verde Generating Station requested and received this exemption from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission early and proactively so that the option to modify work hours is immediately available in response to an extreme circumstance. Work schedules are not changing at this time, nor is a change imminent,” stated Jill Hanks in an email. She is a senior communications consultant at APS…..

environmentalists, like Steve Brittle from Don’t Waste Arizona, say they don’t think exemptions like these are a good idea. “All of the money this industry has, this is the best they can do?” said Brittle.

He said he only found out about the changes because of a standing records request he has on file with the NRC. “Government agencies as well as potential polluters – they all need to have somebody watching over them,” said Brittle.

The NRC has granted similar exemptions to other nuclear reactors across the country and allowed some facilities to postpone scheduled maintenance. Environmental groups warn that reducing maintenance, worker’s protections, and oversight could lead to accidents.

Morgan Loew’s hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.https://www.azfamily.com/news/investigations/cbs_5_investigates/nuclear-agency-clears-way-for-long-days-weeks-for-palo-verde-employees/article_116ace1e-844a-11ea-890d-b3c0d57fab8c.html 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Tsunami could overtake Fukushima Daiichi’s seawall

Tsunami could overtake Fukushima Daiichi’s seawall,  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200422_03/

An estimate by a Japanese government panel suggests that tsunami could overwhelm a new seawall at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, if a mega-quake occurs in a deep-sea trench off northeastern Japan.

The panel of experts on Tuesday released its projection of the scale of tsunami that could be triggered by a massive quake along the Japan Trench.

The panel expects that waves as high as 13.7 meters could hit Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, where the plant is located.

That is higher than the 11-meter-high seawall being built on the ocean side of the compound. The wall is one of the anti-tsunami measures taken by Tokyo Electric Power Company as it decommissions the plant.

Other measures include blocking the openings of the reactor buildings and deploying power supply vehicles on higher ground to continue cooling spent nuclear fuel.

TEPCO says it will examine the estimate and consider what measures to take.

    Nearly 1,000 tanks of radioactive wastewater are stored in the compound. The operator says the projected tsunami won’t reach the higher ground where they are located

 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

A dire need  to closely scrutinize  Indian procurement and export practices in defense and nuclear deals. 

South Asian Nuclear Muddle – OpEd, April 22, 2020  Rabia Javed,

Indeed, the origin of nuclear episode in South Asia occurred when India detonated its first plutonium device characterizing it as a “peaceful nuclear explosive”. While scratching around some pages from the history, one comes to the conclusion that the nuclear arms race in South Asia is intensifying, thanks, amply, to New Delhi’s designs to be a hegemonic regional power. Over the past decade, South Asia has increasingly become alarmed by Indian ability to wage conventional war and their ambitious nuclear weapon capabilities are also a threat to peace.

According to a report published by financial times titled “India raise nuclear stakes” re-counted that India can now build nuclear weapons with the same destructive power as those in the arsenals of the world’s major nuclear powers according to New Delhi’s senior atomic officials.

Similarly, a statement published in The Hindu  by Indian Atomic Energy Chairman R.K. Sinha mentioned, “India will continue its nuclear programme without any interruption, irrespective of decisions taken by other countries and there is no reason to follow Germany, Japan which are cutting down on nuclear energy.” Has the international community accepted India as a determined proliferator which can’t be stopped?

Similarly, a report shows India’s dependence on nuclear weapons is increasing miles after every passing year and will be devastating in near future. Some newspapers also published this report with a label of China being a sole reason for such development.  However, Zachary Keck once argued that India’s nuclear development was just a mistake to be remembered because it has not served the purpose of what India has aimed for (deterring China).

India has long sought to carve out a special exception for itself in the nuclear sphere. Brig. Naeem Salik in his book titled, The Genesis of South Asian Nuclear Deterrence: Pakistan’s Perspective, traces the origin of India’s nuclear programme and the aspects of its nuclear double standards. He provides a comparative study of the dynamics of the South Asian nuclearization which concludes that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and father of the Indian bomb, Dr. Homi Bhabha recognized the dual nature of nuclear technology, and believed it could be beneficial for India.

During New Delhi’s early period in nuclear history, it achieved nuclear technology to utilize it for peaceful purposes but the demonstration in 1974 evoked a totally different situation. Isn’t it a mischief that India tested its first nuclear device in May 1974 and now has full capabilities of nuclear fuel cycle under the cover of civilian nuclear technology? How did this come to pass when there were strict safeguards in place to prevent misuse of the peaceful atom? The further depressing dilemma is that India’s nuclear programme is moving forward, steadily, without any hindrance from great powers. It secretly pursued nuclear weapons, declared in the late 1990s, whereas, the International community engaged with New Delhi, constantly extending a hand of friendship exemplified by different diplomatic measures such as the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.

That being said, New Delhi continues to sign nuclear deals without being hindered by any of the so-called nuclear non-proliferation purists. Despite not signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, India has also assigned the uranium deal with Australia   which has raised various important questions regarding the use of Australian uranium in India. As of now, India has signed civil nuclear agreements with more than a dozen countries which include; Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Namibia, Russia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam. Has India succeeded enough to bury her proliferation record over decades and shove it under the carpet? Isn’t it a lethal hoax?

Under these circumstances, it is also astonishing that there is even a possibility to grant India, the membership of Nuclear Supply Group (NSG), which is, in turn, a reactionary measure to India’s own disconcerting pursuit of nuclear weapons. Interestingly, India has been building its case for international recognition as a (Normal) nuclear weapon state for years, seeking admission to the Group, where, permitting an NPT-outlier like India will create the domino effect, when it will become a compulsion for states like Pakistan to opt for strategies commanded by their security concerns.  While, on the other hand, it was also revealed that India has been busy in developing a secret nuclear city.  Henceforth, it is important for NSG to abide by the criteria established by their own policies and must consider that its decision will also affect strategic stability in the region of South Asia.

As the world seeks to shrink global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, India continues to modernise its arsenal which increases Pakistan’s security dilemmas, compelling it to give a befitting yet restrained response. North Korean and Iranian nuclear programmes must not be the only concern, the concern should be regarding the rate of proliferation everywhere. Nuclear sales may benefit the corporate bottom-line, however, the spread of nuclear technology and ultimately nuclear weapons undermines the security of the planet.

Last but not the least, there is a dire need  to closely scrutinize  Indian procurement and export practices in defense and nuclear deal.  AT TOP https://www.eurasiareview.com/22042020-south-asian-nuclear-muddle-oped/

 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear Plants Allowed to Extend Workers’ Hours, Delay Inspections

April 23, 2020 Posted by | health, safety | Leave a comment

Arctic marine life threatened as a result of Alaskan sea ice disappearing

Disappearing Alaskan sea ice is significant for Arctic marine ecosystem, Science Daily , April 22, 2020, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

Summary:
A new study shows that plant materials originating in Arctic sea ice are significantly incorporated into marine food webs that are used for subsistence in local communities of the greater Bering Strait region. The research has the potential to demonstrate the importance of sea ice ecosystems as a source of food in Arctic waters in Alaska and beyond.

A new study shows that plant materials originating in Arctic sea ice are significantly incorporated into marine food webs that are used for subsistence in local communities of the greater Bering Strait region.

The study led by scientists from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science traced persistent biological compounds that are uniquely generated by microscopic plants in sea ice and found that the compounds are present throughout the base of the food web. The research has the potential to demonstrate the importance of sea ice ecosystems as a source of food in Arctic waters in Alaska and beyond.

“It is widely thought that the loss of sea ice habitat will have far-reaching implications for Arctic ecosystems,” said lead author Chelsea Wegner Koch, a graduate research assistant and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

“As sea ice breakup occurs earlier and forms later each year, the open water period is expanding and the sources of food are shifting away from sea ice and towards greater proportions of open water production. This production in the absence of sea ice differs in the quality, quantity, and timing of delivery to the seafloor,” she said.

Efforts to account for the proportional shifts in contributions of ice algae have been incomplete due to the lack of a specific tracer that can be definitively assigned to ice algae rather than open-water phytoplankton. The compounds reaching the seafloor that were studied are associated with food for a range of seafloor animals that in turn provide food for ecologically and culturally important organisms, such as the bearded seal, Pacific walrus, gray whale and spectacled eider that forage on the shallow sea floor. …… https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200422151134.htm
 

April 23, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s health speculation raises question over nuclear weapons future

April 23, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Some Grand Gulf Nuclear Station employees impacted by COVID-19

Some Grand Gulf Nuclear Station employees impacted by COVID-19,   PORT GIBSON, Miss. (WJTV)22 Apr 20 Entergy confirmed some of its team members at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Claiborne County tested positive for the coronavirus…..  https://www.wjtv.com/health/coronavirus/some-grand-gulf-nuclear-station-employees-impacted-by-covid-19/

April 23, 2020 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Japanese government panel warns on risk that tsunami could overwhelm Fukushima nuclear plant in future Japan earthquake

Tsunami could overwhelm Fukushima nuclear plant in future Japan earthquake, government panel says,  By Travis Fedschun | Fox News 22  Apr 20, Towering waves could overwhelm the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan if another mega-earthquake struck the deep-sea trenches off the country’s Pacific coast, a government panel said Tuesday.The Japanese panel said in a report that if an earthquake of magnitude 9.0 or greater struck in the deep-sea trenches, tsunami waves as high as 44 feet could hit the area around the Fukushima plant.

“A massive earthquake of this class (shown in the simulation) would be difficult to deal with by developing hard infrastructure (such as coast levees),” seismologist Kenji Satake, a University of Tokyo professor and head of the panel said Tuesday. “To save people’s lives, the basic policy would be evacuation.”A future mega-quake in the Japan Trench, which extends off Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands, to Boso Peninsula east of Tokyo, or in the Kuril Trench, which goes from Hokkaido to Russia’s Kuri Island, could yield disastrous results.

Waves as high as 98 feet could strike thThe latest government projection suggests a 36-foot seawall planned by the owner of the wrecked nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) would also be overwhelmed if tsunami waves are unleashed, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK. The panel expected waves of at least 44-feet could strike Futaba Town, where the plant is located.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake that struck off Japan’s east coast in March 2011 spawned a devastating tsunami that struck the nuclear facility. Three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant then had meltdowns, causing radioactive water to leak from the reactors and mix with the groundwater and rainwater at the plant. The water is being treated but is still slightly radioactive and is stored in 1,000 large tanks, which hold 1 million tons of water.e northernmost island of Hokkaido, while other tsunamis may strike in areas along the Sea of Japan, according to Kyodo News.

TEPCO currently stores about 1.2 million tons of radioactive water and only has space to hold up to 1.37 million tons, or until the summer of 2022. The water — leakage of contaminated cooling water from damaged reactors mixed with groundwater — has accumulated since the accident. It is constantly pumped up, treated and stored in tanks, while part of it is recycled as coolant.

The company said Wednesday it’s assessing the new government report……..  https://www.foxnews.com/world/tsunami-fukushina-nuclear-plant-japan-wrecked-future-earthquake-government-report-disaster

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Russia dumps its plans for costly huge Nuclear Destroyer and supersized Frigate Programs

Russia Has Abandoned Its Massive Nuclear Destroyer And Supersized Frigate Programs, The Drive BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK APRIL 21, 2020  The state-run shipbuilding company responsible for both programs now has concerns about its long-term finances

Eussia’s Severnoye Design Bureau has stopped development entirely of its Project 23560 destroyers, also known as the Lider class, and the Project 22350M frigate, an expanded derivative of the Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov class. The company has said these ships are among its most promising future offerings and the halting of the two programs has raised quThe Lider destroyer, also referred to at times as the Shkval, was clearly an extremely ambitious project, perhaps overly so, from the very beginning. Though originally intended to be a conventionally powered warship, plans subsequently shifted to a nuclear-powered design. Its expected displacement also grew from already massive 12,000 to 13,000 tons to 19,000 tons, stretching its classification as a “destroyer.” estions about its long-term financial stability.

Russian newspaper Interfax reported the new developments at Severnoye, which is part of the country’s state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation, on Apr. 18. The information was reportedly contained in an annual review of the shipbuilder’s activities in 2019, which the outlet had obtained……

The Lider destroyer, also referred to at times as the Shkval, was clearly an extremely ambitious project, perhaps overly so, from the very beginning. Though originally intended to be a conventionally powered warship, plans subsequently shifted to a nuclear-powered design. Its expected displacement also grew from already massive 12,000 to 13,000 tons to 19,000 tons, stretching its classification as a “destroyer.”  …… HTTPS://WWW.THEDRIVE.COM/THE-WAR-ZONE/33099/RUSSIA-HAS-ABANDONED-ITS-MASSIVE-NUCLEAR-DESTROYER-AND-SUPERSIZED-FRIGATE-PROGRAMS

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fitch downgrades EDF’s Outlook to Negative

Fitch Revises EDF’s Outlook to Negative; Affirms IDR at ‘A-‘22 Apr, 2020
Fitch Ratings – Milan – 22 Apr 2020: Fitch Ratings has revised Electricite de France’s (EDF) Outlook to Negative from Stable, affirming the utilities group’s Long Term Issuer Default Rating at ‘A-‘. A full list of rating actions is below.

The Outlook revision mainly reflects a large production cut in nuclear generation in France related to the coronavirus pandemic, and ongoing problems with new nuclear, adding to an expected increase in leverage to slightly above our rating sensitivity on average for 2020-2022. It also reflects growing uncertainties about the nuclear-market reform in France – which we still expect to be finally implemented – in terms of timing and final impact.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Production Cuts due to Pandemic: The pandemic and the lockdown have caused daily electricity demand to fall up to 20% yoy and depressed both spot and forward electricity prices. EDF has announced a cut of French nuclear production to 300TWh in 2020 and to 330TWh-360TWh for 2021-2022 (from our earlier assumption of 385TWh annually for the whole period), due mainly to the operational impact of the pandemic on the outages scheduled for these years and, to a lesser extent, to the drop in demand. While the announcement led to a rebound of forward prices 2021-2022 to around 45EUR/MWh, we do not expect EDF to fully benefit from it due to the ARENH reference price of 42EUR/MWh. For 2020, EDF is largely protected from the low price environment through hedging.

Large Working Capital Outflows: Another immediate consequence of the pandemic has been an increase in the number of end-customers struggling to pay their bills. In this respect, EDF will continue to supply power to households and small companies with overdue bills without penalties. ,……..

Company’s Reaction Uncertain: EDF has not yet communicated revised financial targets to the market, and we do not know what actions it will focus on to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  …….

Problems with New Nuclear: At Flamanville, fuel loading would occur at best at end-2022 (compared with the previously estimated late-2019), implying an increase of construction costs by EUR1.5 billion (in 2015 real terms and excluding interests during construction) compared with previous estimates. HPC – the other key nuclear project of EDF – following another cost review in September 2019, sees an increase in construction costs of GBP1.9 billion-GBP2.9 billion (2015 real terms) compared with previous estimates. It remains to be seen if the pandemic will further increase the delay and cost overrun for these projects…….. https://www.fitchratings.com/research/corporate-finance/fitch-revises-edf-outlook-to-negative-affirms-idr-at-a-22-04-2020

April 23, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery — RenewEconomy

Clean energy stimulus could help meet net zero emissions goals of Paris Agreement and generate more than $A159 trillion in benefits to global GDP above business-as-usual. The post Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Renewables could add $A160 trillion to post Covid-19 economic recovery — RenewEconomy

April 23, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment