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

The push for small nuclear reactors – just a distraction, that helps fossil fuel industries keep going

Small modular nuclear reactors distract from real climate solutions, Regina Leader Post, Darrin Qualman, Glenn Wright, Jul 03, 2020  •Last fall, the premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick pledged their support for small modular reactors (SMRs). Last week, Saskatchewan’s government announced a Nuclear Secretariat to oversee development of those reactors. Many in Saskatchewan took these announcements at face value and began questioning the cost, feasibility and safety of these units. To do so, however, is to misunderstand what’s really happening. The reality is that three premiers lacking adequate emission-reduction plans pledged themselves to speculative technologies that will take a decade or two to get up and running, if ever. SMRs are another distraction to shift the focus away from provincial records of increasing emissions. The SMR announcement follows a pattern of past policy declarations that serve to distract the public and delay effective policies…..

As the lustre was fading from biofuels, Saskatchewan’s government trotted out a new fix: Carbon capture and storage (CCS). ……..  As a political tactic, CCS did what it was supposed to do: Delay action on emissions reduction and paper over a huge policy gap. Rather than admitting it had no climate plan, the Saskatchewan government spent years pretending CCS would be an emissions fix.
SMRs are the third chapter in the government’s use of distracting technologies to kick the climate change can down the road. Thoughtful, informed people can disagree over nuclear energy, but even those who support nuclear power should be angered by what the government is doing: Not supporting nuclear, but rather using it cynically as a fig leaf to cover up the government’s ideologically driven foot-dragging on climate solutions
The government’s stalling tactics are irresponsible. There are numerous proven technologies, policies, and strategies to address climate change and reduce emissions being implemented worldwide. Our government is delaying because it chooses to, not because it has to. In the best case, SMRs are 2030s or 2040s technologies. But solar and wind power can provide low-emission electricity today. In fact, our province has among the best solar and wind resources in the world and those power supplies can be deployed at less cost, lower risk and much more quickly. It’s strange that the sunniest province in Canada has not developed this world class renewable resource. Real leadership would focus on wind and solar. Instead, the government dealt a body blow to solar installers when it rolled back the net metering program.
Real leadership would focus on wind and solar. Instead, the government dealt a body blow to solar installers when it rolled back the net metering program.
Canada has committed to cut emissions by 30 per cent (below 2005 levels) by 2030 and to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. We have lots of work to do. And the sooner we start, the smoother the transition will be. We must begin ramping up employment to support this transition: Residential solar installation, utility-scale wind turbine construction, battery and power-storage installation, new net zero buildings, energy-conserving building retrofits and adding capacity to the electrical grid for automobile charging and building heating and interprovincial electricity transfers.

Solutions are within reach. Jobs await. SMRs are a distraction. Let’s not be fooled again. Let’s demand rapid, effective emissions reduction now as part of a revitalized Saskatchewan economy.

Darrin Qualman is director of climate crisis policy and action with the National Farmers Union. Glenn Wright is an NFU member, farmer, engineer, student at law, former uranium-sector worker and electric vehicle advocate.

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Covid-19, climate change – what are we to do?

July 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Arctic heat, uncontrolled fires, crumbling permafrost – very bad climate news

July 6, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Russia | Leave a comment

Iran Says Fire At Natanz Nuclear Facility Caused Significant Damage; ME Intel Official Said Israel Planted a Bomb — Mining Awareness +

From “Iran Says Fire At Natanz Nuclear Facility Caused Significant Damage July 05, 2020 19:59 GMT By RFE/RL A fire last week at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran caused significant damage, an Iranian nuclear official said on July 5 in a new assessment of the incident, adding that it could slow down the […]

via Iran Says Fire At Natanz Nuclear Facility Caused Significant Damage; ME Intel Official Said Israel Planted a Bomb — Mining Awareness +

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rethinking security: Nuclear sharing in Europe in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic — IPPNW peace and health blog

The global COVID-19 pandemic is making it clear that governments must rethink security. Our future challenges lie in establishing a good healthcare system in every country of our planet, in fighting climate change and in achieving the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations. The time is overdue to transform European public opinion against nuclear weapons into policy steps of nuclear disarmament of our governments.

via Rethinking security: Nuclear sharing in Europe in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic — IPPNW peace and health blog

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can Hunterston nuclear power station restart? Are UK tax-payers to pay billions for new nuclear?

Times 5th July 2020, A high-stakes game of chance is being played at Hunterston B nuclear power
station on the west coast of Scotland. Engineers from the French giant EDF and safety experts from the Office for Nuclear Regulation are trying to work out if and when the plant’s two reactors can be restarted.

Forty-four years of hard use have not been kind to the plant’s graphite core — a vast chunk of carbon riddled with cracks that weighs the same as 110 double-decker buses. While the regulator and EDF insist that, with careful supervision, a cracked graphite core is nothing to worry about, it
is a symptom of its advancing years.

Hunterston, like the rest of EDF’s nuclear power stations around the UK, is on borrowed time. Seven nuclear stations capable of supplying about a sixth of the UK’s power needs will shut during the next decade. Unless ministers leap into action, the country that opened the first industrial-scale nuclear power station in 1956 at Calder Hall, Cumbria, will be left with just one replacement plant, Hinkley Point C on the Somerset coast, which is under construction.

The government faces difficult decisions: what next in its race to eliminate carbon emissions by 2050? A boom in renewable power has offered the beguiling prospect that wind and solar, combined with storage such as big batteries and hydrogen, could fill the void. A report from the National Infrastructure Commission has suggested that commercially unproven technologies, such as hydrogen generation, could negate the need for more nuclear power and be “substantially cheaper”.

With half an eye on this utopian future, successive governments have tried to persuade European
power giants such as Germany’s RWE and Eon, and Japan’s Toshiba and Hitachi, to pump cash into new reactors. However, one by one, those companies have dropped out, leaving just a handful of options remaining.

EDF and China General Nuclear (CGN) — both backed by their governments — are building the £22bn Hinkley plant. Without a state support package, EDF will struggle to build the planned Sizewell C in Suffolk. That would leave CGN as the only developer capable of going it alone without UK taxpayer support. ……

The prime minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings is thought to be a fan of small nuclear power stations, and Boris Johnson hinted about a role for nuclear last week………. Taxpayers are about
to find out whether billions of pounds will be pumped into nuclear power……

July 6, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

British soldiers the guinea pigs for testing effects of nuclear radiation

  “My task was to go in and pick up all the radioactive debris, load them into my truck and take them to the decontamination centre. “I had no protection whatsoever. The only people who had protection on Christmas Island were civilian AWREs – Atomic Weapons Research Establishment people.”  A study undertaken by Sue Rabbitt Roff, a social scientist at Dundee University in 1999, found that of 2,261 children born to veterans, 39% were born with serious medical conditions. By contrast, the national incidence figure in Britain is around 2.5%. “I want them to apologise to all the nuclear veterans for using us as experiments,” he said.    I still maintain that they wanted to find out the level of radiation that a person could survive the nuclear bombs with. I want them to apologise to all the nuclear veterans for using us as experiments’, says Fife Christmas Island veteran, July 4 2020  Michael Alexander. Here’s why nuclear test veteran Dave Whyte from Fife intends to campaign for justice “until the end” In the 18 years that Christmas Island veteran Dave Whyte from Fife has been campaigning for “justice” for Britain’s nuclear test veterans, he has never held back with the language he has used to describe the Ministry of Defence’s treatment of British soldiers during the nuclear tests of the 1950s. He has compared the nuclear tests with the “experiments of Nazi Doctor Joseph Mengele”, accused the MoD of treating soldiers as “guinea pigs” and made comparisons with the aftermath of “Chernobyl”. He blames his exposure to the fallout from five atomic and hydrogen bomb blasts in 1958 for a catalogue of health problems he’s experienced over the years including the loss of all his teeth at 25 and the discovery in his mid-30s that he was sterile. The Ministry of Defence, meanwhile, has said there is no valid evidence linking the nuclear tests to ill health. But despite numerous attempts at legal action against the MoD over the years, which, he admits have “hit every brick wall available”, the now 83-year-old, of Kirkcaldy, is refusing to give up as he continues searching for an admission that he, and thousands of other servicemen – now dwindling in numbers – were exposed to more radiation than the authorities have ever admitted. Born and raised in Montrose before a spell living in Edinburgh and Germany where his sergeant major father served with the Royal Artillery, Mr Whyte was 22-years-old and serving with the Royal Engineers when he was sent to Christmas Island in the South Pacific in 1958. The Cold War was at its height and Mr Whyte was stationed there, off the north-eastern coast of Australia, to assist with British nuclear tests. His job was to collect samples afterwards. At the time the stakes were high. Amid real fears that the Cold War could escalate into open warfare with the USSR, Britain was determined that it should have its own nuclear deterrent. In all, Britain and the USA caused some 40 nuclear test explosions in the Pacific region between 1952 and 1962. Something like 21,000 British servicemen were exposed to these explosions. But little did Mr Whyte and his colleagues realise that in years to come, some would suffer ill health and in some cases premature death. Some would suffer from rare forms of leukaemia. Others reported congenital deformities in their children with a disproportionate number of stillbirths. “I was at Grapple Y – the largest hydrogen bomb exploded by Britain,” said Mr Whyte. Continue reading

July 6, 2020 Posted by | health, history, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19: “If we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves”  BY JEFF BERARDELLI JULY 2, 2020 CBS NEWS   While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world’s collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world’s been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of “biological annihilation” may soon be “unimaginable.”Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity’s existence.

CBS News recently spoke to Goodall over a video conference call and asked her questions about the state of our planet. Her soft-spoken grace somehow helped cushion what was otherwise extremely sobering news: “I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it,” warned Goodall.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Jeff Berardelli: Destruction of nature is causing some really big concerns around the world. One that comes to the forefront right now is emergent diseases like COVID-19. Can you describe how destruction of the environment contributes to this?

Dr. Jane Goodall: Well, the thing is, we brought this on ourselves because the scientists that have been studying these so-called zoonotic diseases that jump from an animal to a human have been predicting something like this for so long. As we chop down at stake tropical rainforest, with its rich biodiversity, we are eating away the habitats of millions of animals, and many of them are being pushed into greater contact with humans. We’re driving deeper and deeper, making roads throughout the habitat, which again brings people and animals in contact with each other. People are hunting the animals and selling the meat, or trafficking the infants, and all of this is creating environments which are perfect for a virus or a bacteria to cross that species barrier and sometimes, like COVID-19, it becomes very contagious and we’re suffering from it.

But we know if we don’t stop destroying the environment and disrespecting animals — we’re hunting them, killing them, eating them; killing and eating chimpanzees in Central Africa led to HIV/AIDS — there will be another one. It’s inevitable.

Do you fear that the next [pandemic] will be a lot worse than this one?

Well, we’ve been lucky with this one because, although it’s incredibly infectious, the percentage of people who die is relatively low. Mostly they recover and hopefully then build up some immunity. But supposing the next one is just as contagious and has a percentage of deaths like Ebola, for example, this would have an even more devastating effect on humanity than this one.

I think people have a hard time connecting these, what may look like chance events, with our interactions and relationship with nature. Can you describe to people why the way that we treat the natural world is so important? 

Well, first of all, it’s not just leading to zoonotic diseases, and there are many of them. The destruction of the environment is also contributing to the climate crisis, which tends to be put in second place because of our panic about the pandemic. We will get through the pandemic like we got through World War II, World War I, and the horrors following the World Trade towers being destroyed. But climate change is a very real existential threat to humankind and we don’t have that long to slow it down.

Intensive farming, where we’re destroying the land slowly with the chemical poisons, and the monocultures — which can be wiped out by a disease because there is no variation of crops being grown — is leading to habitat destruction. It’s leading to the creation of more CO2 through fossil fuels, methane gas and other greenhouse gas [released] by digestion from the billions of domestic animals. 

It’s pretty grim. We need to realize we’re part of the environment, that we need the natural world. We depend on it. We can’t go on destroying. We’ve got to somehow understand that we’re not separated from it, we are all intertwined. Harm nature, harm ourselves.

If we continue on with business as usual, what do you fear the outcome will be?

Well, if we continue with business as usual, we’re going to come to the point of no return.  At a certain point the ecosystems of the world will just give up and collapse and that’s the end of us eventually too.

What about our children? We’re still bringing children into the world — what a grim future is theirs to look forward to. It’s pretty shocking but my hope is, during this pandemic, with people trapped inside, factories closed down temporarily, and people not driving, it has cleared up the atmosphere amazingly. The people in the big cities can look up at the night sky and sea stars are bright, not looking through a layer of pollution. So when people emerge [from the pandemic] they’re not going to want to go back to the old polluted days.

Now, in some countries there’s not much they can do about it. But if enough of them, a groundswell becomes bigger and bigger and bigger [and] people say: “No I don’t want to go down this road. We want to find a different, green economy. We don’t want to always put economic development ahead of protecting the environment. We care about the future. We care about the health of the planet. We need nature,” maybe in the end the big guys will have to listen……….

July 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, health | 1 Comment

Hard to get action on global heating, with Facebook no help, and oil industry pressure

What Facebook and the Oil Industry Have in Common, Bill McKibben, New Yorker, 2 July 20, 

Why is it so hard to get Facebook to do anything about the hate and deception that fill its pages, even when it’s clear that they are helping to destroy democracy? And why, of all things, did the company recently decide to exempt a climate-denial post from its fact-checking process? The answer is clear: Facebook’s core business is to get as many people as possible to spend as many hours as possible on its site, so that it can sell those people’s attention to advertisers. (A Facebook spokesperson said the company’s policy stipulates that “clear opinion content is not subject to fact-checking on Facebook.”) This notion of core business explains a lot—including why it’s so hard to make rapid gains in the fight against climate change.

For decades, people have asked me why the oil companies don’t just become solar companies. They don’t for the same reason that Facebook doesn’t behave decently: an oil company’s core business is digging stuff up and burning it, just as Facebook’s is to keep people glued to their screens. Digging and burning is all that oil companies know how to do—and why the industry has spent the past thirty years building a disinformation machine to stall action on climate change. It’s why—with the evidence of climate destruction growing by the day—the best that any of them can offer are vague pronouncements about getting to “net zero by 2050”—which is another way of saying, “We’re not going to change much of anything anytime soon.” (The American giants, like ExxonMobil, won’t even do that.)

Total, the French oil company, has made the 2050 pledge, but it is projected to increase fossil-fuel production by twelve percent between 2018 and 2030. These are precisely the years when we must cut emissions in half, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to have any chance of meeting the vital targets set by the Paris climate agreement, which aim to hold the planet’s temperature increase as close as possible to one and a half degrees Celsius. The next six months will be crucial as nations prepare coronavirus recovery plans. Because effective climate planning at this moment will require keeping most oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground, the industry will resist fiercely.

So we need power brought to bear from companies whose core business is not directly challenged by climate activism. Consider the example of Facebook again: after organizing by people like Judd Legum and, companies including Unilever and Coca-Cola agreed to temporarily stop advertising on the social platform. Coke’s core business is selling you fizzy sugar water that can help make you diabetic—when that’s threatened, the company fights back. But when it feared being attacked for helping Facebook’s core business, it simply stopped advertising with the company, which wasn’t essential for Coke’s business.

That’s why it is critical to get third parties to pressure the oil industry. This past month, the growing fossil-fuel divestment campaign got a huge boost when the Vatican, whose core business is saving souls, called for divestment, and the Queen of England, whose core business is unclear but involves hats, divested millions from the industry.

Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota, announced that he was suing ExxonMobil, as well as the American Petroleum Institute and Koch Industries, for perpetrating a fraud by spreading climate denial for decades. (Ellison’s core business is justice, and his office is pursuing this climate action at the same time that it is prosecuting the killers of George Floyd.) All this, in turn, puts pressure on the financial industry to stop handing over cash to oil companies. 

 As I pointed out in a piece last summer, JPMorgan Chase may be the biggest fossil-fuel lender on earth, but that’s still only about seven per cent of its business—big, but not core.

Effective progress on climate will require government and the finance industry to enforce the edicts of chemistry and physics: massive action undertaken inside a decade, not gradual, gentle course correction. And that will require the rest of us to press those institutions. Because our core business is survival……..

July 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Update on Legal Case: Toxic, Toxic Culture at Sellafield —

Support Alison McDermott on the 7th July…. Readers may remember Sellafield workers speaking out “about their experience of bullying and sexism at the Sellafield plant….after whistleblower Alison McDermott launched a crowdfunding page to pay for legal fees for her whistleblowing and victimisation case lodged to the Employment Tribunal against Sellafield Ltd. Alison told the local […]

via Update on Legal Case: Toxic, Toxic Culture at Sellafield —

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment