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

We underestimate the long term effects of the pandemic

July 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Global heating will mean that many areas become too hot for human activities

Climate change will make much of the planet too hot for us  By Daniel T Cross on July 20, 2020  There’s   been much talk of climate change for years, yet for most people it still remains an abstract concept. That is because most of us have been spared its most devastating consequences.

So far, that is.

In one manifestation of a warming planet billions of people could soon be exposed to such high levels of heat that spending longer periods outdoors during sweltering summer months could prove fatal.

Parts of the planet, such as the Sahara desert, are already largely unsuitable for people other than the hardiest souls. Yet other regions with currently temperate climates could also become too hot for much of the year. Once levels of heat stress rise to a certain threshold in these areas millions of people could suffer serious health effects, experts warn.

Across much of the planet, in other words, a warmer climate “will pose greater risk to human health,” says Tom Matthews, a climate scientist at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. “[W]e can say we are universally creeping close to this magic threshold of 35°C,” he elucidates. “It looks like, in some cases for a brief period of the day, we have exceeded this value.”

Matthews has reached this conclusion after analyzing weather station data from around the world with his colleagues. What they have found is a marked increase in the recurrence of so-called wet bulb (WB) temperatures (which is a measurement of heat and humidity taken together) that exceed limits we can still safely handle.

Beyond a WB threshold of 35°C, our bodies can no longer cool themselves by sweating in humid weather. Just think of staying in a sauna for too long. As a result, we are likely to experience heat stroke and organ failure because the core temperature of out bodies remains too high. Yet since 1979 the frequency of dangerous heatwaves have doubled in countries such as India, Pakistan, parts of the United States and Mexico.

Even across much of Europe last summer thousands of people succumbed to extreme heat during long spells of unusual heat. Not only will such deadly heatwaves become more common but they will also continue to impact more and more people across an ever larger area, scientists say.

According to a new study, in just a couple of generations (in half a century) up to 3.5 billion people could find themselves living in areas that are too hot for humans throughout much of the year.

At present the planet seems to be on track for a warming of 3°C on average by the end of the century, which will make much of the planet uninhabitable for humans. Because land areas are warming faster than the oceans, temperatures in certain parts of the world could rise by as much as 7.5°C by 2070. The most-affected regions will include Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, Arabian Peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and Australia.

Prolonged droughts and other weather extremes could make things even worse for people living in these areas. “Absent climate mitigation or migration, a substantial part of humanity will be exposed to mean annual temperatures warmer than nearly anywhere today,” the scientists behind the study warn.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely

Fukushima may have scattered plutonium widely, Physics World 20 Jul 2020   Tiny fragments of plutonium may have been carried more than 200 km by caesium particles released following the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. So says an international group of scientists that has made detailed studies of soil samples at sites close to the damaged reactors. The researchers say the findings shed new light on conditions inside the sealed-off reactors and should aid the plant’s decommissioning……..

Mapping plutonium spread

To date, plutonium from the accident has been detected as far as 50 km from the damaged reactors. Researchers had previously thought that this plutonium, like the caesium, was released after evaporating from the fuel. But the new analysis instead points to some of it having escaped from the stricken plant in particulate form within fragments of fuel “captured” by the CsMPs…….

Implications for decommissioning

The researchers note that previous studies have shown that plutonium and caesium are distributed differently in the extended area around Fukushima, which suggests that not all CsMPs contain plutonium. However, they say that the fact plutonium is found in some of these particles implies that it could have been transported as far afield as the caesium – up to 230 km from the Fukushima plant.

As regards any threat to health, they note that radioactivity levels of the emitted plutonium are comparable with global counts from nuclear weapons tests. Such low concentrations, they say, “may not have significant health effects”, but they add that if the plutonium were ingested, the isotopes that make it up could yield quite high effective doses.

With radiation levels still too high for humans to enter the damaged reactors, the researchers argue that the fuel fragments they have uncovered provide precious direct information on what happened during the meltdown and the current state of the fuel debris. In particular, Utsunomiya points out that the composition of the debris, just like that of normal nuclear fuel, varies on the very smallest scales. This information, he says, will be vital when it comes to decommissioning the reactors safely, given the potential risk of inhaling dust particles containing uranium or plutonium.

The research is reported in Science of the Total Environment.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Funding for nuclear weapons tests is blocked in U.S. Congress

House Democrats vote to block funding for nuclear weapons tests, Defense News, by: Joe Gould 21 July 20,  WASHINGTON ― No funding would be available for live nuclear weapons testing under an amendment the House adopted to its version of the annual defense policy bill.

The amendment from Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, was adopted, 227-179, in a mostly party-line vote. The House is expected Tuesday to vote to pass the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

The amendment marks the second rebuke of the Trump administration amid reports it’s mulling a resumption of nuclear weapons testing. The House Appropriations Committee passed a similar ban earlier this month.

The amendment’s adoption will likely make it harder for House Republicans to vote for the House’s FY21 NDAA, and it likely sets up a fight with the Republican-controlled SASC when leaders of both panels reconcile their versions of the bill.

The FY21NDAA was voted out of the House Armed Services Committee on a bipartisan 56-0 vote earlier this month.

“Explosive nuclear testing is not necessary to ensure our stockpile remains safe and nothing in this amendment would change that,” McAdams said in a floor speech ahead of the vote. “Explosive nuclear testing causes irreparable harm to human health and to our environment. and jeopardizes the U.S. leadership role on nuclear nonproliferation.” ………

The House, separately, adopted an amendment that would give the energy secretary a stronger hand in setting nuclear policy by making him co-chair, alongside the defense secretary, of the Nuclear Weapons Council. The council is charged with the coordinating policy to manage the existing nuclear weapons stockpile and plan future nuclear deterrents.

The amendment, from House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden, R-Ore., is to “to provide Cabinet-level visibility and accountability of our nuclear deterrent and the NWC budget process,” according to an amendment summary. Under current law, DoD’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment chairs the council.

It was adopted in larger package of amendments, approved by a bipartisan 336-71.

It’s the latest move in a running battle over who controls the nuclear weapons budget submission. SASC’s proposed version of the FY21 NDAA would allow the council to edit the budget request after the Energy Department crafts it and before the request is submitted to the White House budget office. But House appropriators earlier this month approved a spending bill that would bar such a move.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea continues policy -no denuclearization talks until the US withdraws its “hostile policy.

North Korea Proceeds Down a Nuclear Path, BY38 NORTH, JULY 20, 2020

Reports about the unusual “closed-door meeting” of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Military Commission (CMC)[1] on July 18 suggested that North Korea remains committed to its strategic weapons development and production plan, including its nuclear weapons. This meeting builds on recent statements by North Korean officials implying that Pyongyang will proceed with its strategic weapons plans and that the moratorium on nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missile testing is off the table. ……
North Korea may have omitted “nuclear” to dial down the tone of recent messaging, but it does not necessarily translate into actual policy implications …….
In the Context of Recent Statements

This nuanced treatment of nuclear weapons in CMC meeting coverage is consistent with recent statements by North Korean officials, which indicated denuclearization is off the table for now and North Korea will proceed with its weapons development to cope with US “long-term threats.”…….

While Kim Yo Jong’s July 10 press statement seemed more conciliatory in tone than the previous Foreign Ministry statements, the bottom line was consistent with North Korea’s position since the Stockholm talks in October 2019: there will be no denuclearization talks until the US withdraws its “hostile policy.”[9] Kim added that North Korea must plan for “long-term threats” from the US and “strengthen and steadily increase our practical capabilities,” which implied going ahead with North Korea’s weapons development and production plan.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain’s Conservatives anxious to review UK’s nuclear build co-operation with China

Tory hawks press button on nuclear power battle with China, After Huawei, energy sector looks set to be next flashpoint in Sino-British relations,,  Jim PickardDaniel Thomas and Nathalie Thomas-20 July 20

After securing a de facto ban on Huawei from winning future business in the UK, hawkish Conservative MPs have turned their sights on other Chinese investments — with the nuclear industry set to become the next flashpoint.
Over the past decade of a so-called “golden era” of Sino-British relations, initiated by former Tory chancellor George Osborne, Chinese companies snapped up an estimated $80bn of UK assets.

 They range from the manufacturer of the famous London black cabs to a wind farm in Norfolk, various property deals and stakes in various football clubs, including Southampton.
 The buying spree saw a range of household names change hands such as the 2014 takeover of PizzaExpress by private equity group Hony Capital; Thomas Cook, the travel operator that collapsed last year; and breakfast cereal maker Weetabix, since sold to US investors.  ……..
The energy sector looks set to become the next battleground in Sino-British relations. Although there has been a frenzy of activity by Chinese companies across wind and solar farms, the China critics have their sights set on the highly sensitive nuclear power sector with the focus on state-owned China General Nuclear.

CGN, which has already invested £3.8bn in the UK nuclear sector, is a junior funding partner for the new Hinkley Point power station in Somerset being built by France’s EDF, and is also involved with the French company’s other proposed plant at Sizewell in Suffolk.

 But it is CGN’s third nuclear power project — a new station at Bradwell in Essex where it is the majority partner — that the Tory backbenchers want blocked. The Chinese company wants to use its own reactor technology and is hoping to receive design approval from the UK regulator in the next 18 months.
Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith is one of the leading voices pushing for the government to review the group’s involvement in the UK. CGN has been blacklisted by the Trump administration in Washington over allegations of stealing US technology for potential military use.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | China, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Global surge in Covid-19 infections, over 600.000 deaths

Coronavirus deaths top 600,000 worldwide as pandemic infections surge. 9 news, By Associated Press Jul 20, 2020  The coronavirus pandemic has found fresh legs around the world, as confirmed deaths pass 600,000 and countries from the US to South Africa to India struggle to contain a surge of new infections.

Hong Kong issued tougher new rules on wearing face masks, Spain closed overcrowded beaches and Germany reported another outbreak at a slaughterhouse. Pope Francis said “the pandemic is showing no sign of stopping” and urged compassion for those whose suffering during the outbreak has been worsened by conflicts.
The World Health Organisation said that 259,848 new infections were reported yesterday, its highest one-day tally yet.
While the US leads global infections, South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic with more than 350,000 cases, or around half of all those confirmed on the continent.
Its struggles are a sign of trouble to come for nations with even fewer health care resources.
India, which has now confirmed more than one million infections, on Sunday (local time) reported a 24-hour record of 38,902 new cases……
Confirmed global virus deaths risen to nearly 603,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins.
The United States tops the list with over 140,000, followed by more than 78,000 in Brazil. Europe as a continent has seen about 200,000 deaths.
The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, with 3.7 million in the United States and more than two million in Brazil.
Experts believe the pandemic’s true toll around the world is much higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues.
Infections have been soaring in US states such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, with many blaming a haphazard, partisan approach to lifting lockdowns as well as the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

Trump uses fear of China to drum up hostilities, and diminish arms control

“What about China?” and the threat to US–Russian nuclear arms control

By David M. AllisonStephen Herzog, July 20, 2020   The administration of President Donald J. Trump has consistently used fear of China to undermine nearly five decades of bipartisan consensus on US–Russian nuclear arms control. The negative consequences of these actions may last far beyond the Trump presidency. If generations of agreement between Democrats and Republicans on bilateral nuclear treaties with Russia erode, it will pose a significant setback to US national security and global stability. Future leaders may ultimately need to consider new approaches to nuclear risk reduction that preserve the benefits of the arms control regime.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

770-ton nuclear reactor pressure vessel completes trip to Utah

July 21, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Settlement for ratepayers over failed VC Summer nuclear project

July 21, 2020 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment