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International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era

International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement urges all nations to end the nuclear era  https://reliefweb.int/report/world/international-red-cross-and-red-crescent-movement-urges-all-nations-end-nuclear-era  , Geneva, 31 July 2020 –Seventy-five years ago, on the morning of August 6, 1945, a B-29 warplane released a terrifying new weapon on Hiroshima.

The nuclear bomb wiped out the city, instantly killing an estimated 70,000 people and leaving tens of thousands more suffering horrific injuries. Three days later, on 9 August, a second nuclear bomb devastated the city of Nagasaki, immediately killing 39,000 people.

By 1950, an estimated 340,000 people had died because of the bombs’ effects, including from illnesses caused by exposure to ionizing radiation. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Japanese Red Cross Society witnessed the unimaginable suffering and devastation, as medical and humanitarian personnel attempted, in near-impossible conditions, to assist the dying and injured.

The 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki comes even as the risk of use of nuclear weapons has risen to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. Military incidents involving nuclear states and their allies have increased in frequency, and nuclear-armed states have made explicit threats to use nuclear weapons.

Additionally, agreements to eliminate existing arsenals are being abandoned as new nuclear weapons are being developed, putting the world on the dangerous path of a new nuclear arms race. These developments add urgency to the international community’s efforts to prohibit and eliminate these unacceptable weapons. The indisputable evidence of their catastrophic impact makes it extremely doubtful that their use could ever comply with international humanitarian law.

The horror of a nuclear detonation may feel like distant history. But today the risk of nuclear weapons being used again is high. Treaties to reduce nuclear arsenals and risks of proliferation are being abandoned, new types of nuclear weapons are being produced, and serious threats are being made. That’s an arms race, and it’s frightening. We must push all states to ban nuclear weapons and push nuclear weapons states to negotiate, in good faith, steps towards their elimination,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“The international community would not be able to help all those in need after a nuclear blast. Widespread radiation sickness, a decline in food production, and the tremendous scale of destruction and contamination would make any meaningful humanitarian response insufficient. No nation is prepared to deal with a nuclear confrontation,” said Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Proving the wide support for a nuclear-free world, 122 states in July 2017 adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). The treaty will become legally binding for countries that ratify it after 50 do so; to date 40 have. The treaty prohibits the development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons. For nuclear-armed states that join the treaty, it provides for a time-bound framework for the verified elimination of their nuclear weapons program.

Mr Maurer and Mr Rocca commended the states that have already joined the TPNW and encouraged all others to follow suit, ensuring the events of 1945 never occur again. The two leaders said it was crucial that the TPNW becomes a new norm of international humanitarian law.

“Not since the end of the Cold War has it been more urgent to call attention to catastrophic consequences and fundamental inhumanity of nuclear weapons. We must signal in a clear and unambiguous manner that their use, under any circumstances, would be unacceptable in humanitarian, moral and legal terms,” said Mr Rocca.

There are over 14,000 nuclear bombs in the world, thousands of which are ready to be launched in an instant. The power of many of those warheads is tens of times greater than the weapons dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

“Weapons with catastrophic humanitarian consequences cannot credibly be viewed as instruments of security,” said Mr Maurer.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Hiroshima survivor,  Setsuko Thurlow, 88, continues her fight for a nuclear weapons-free world

The majority of the world really doesn’t wish to hear our voices, and they haven’t heard us,” Thurlow said. “They choose not to hear us. That’s disappointing. They are just allowing these leaders to pile up the money, invest the money in armaments, to massacre human beings — mass killing. That’s a crime.”
Haunted by bombing, Hiroshima survivor continues fight against nuclear weapons, GRANDIN Media, By Michael Swan, Canadian Catholic News, July 31, 2020   Setsuko Thurlow, 88, isn’t just disappointed. She’s choking back tears of frustration and grief as she describes the response she’s had from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on nuclear disarmament over the last four years.

“That’s extremely, extremely disappointing — so disturbing,” said the Hiroshima survivor who has been actively campaigning against nuclear weapons for more than 60 years.

“It’s not just me. There’s a lot of people disappointed. And that’s not the way the prime minister should be behaving. If this is a democracy, he (Trudeau) should be sharing his ideas and encouraging debate.”

The world is marking the 75th anniversary this month of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, events that still haunt and propel Thurlow in her passion for the disarmament cause.

On June 22 she sent a letter to Trudeau asking that he acknowledge that Canada helped to produce the first atomic weapons and has copied the letter to all 338 parliamentarians in Ottawa. She is still waiting for a reply.

So far the only time Trudeau has ever spoken about nuclear weapons policy was to mock efforts to declare the weapons illegal, Thurlow said…..

Trudeau was not in attendance later that year when Thurlow accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Nor did anyone in his government congratulate her.

The Trudeau government fell in line with U.S.-dictated NATO policy and refused to participate in United Nations negotiations leading to the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons in 2017.

Canada voted against the treaty while 122 nations voted it in. Since then 40 states, including the Vatican, have ratified the treaty. Once 50 countries have ratified it, the treaty comes into legal force.

As one of a dwindling number of hibakusha, or survivors of the first two nuclear weapons, Thurlow has become an important face of the treaty and the campaign that brought it to the UN.

Her drive for a nuclear-free world began almost from the moment she woke up amidst the rubble left by the bomb that killed at least 70,000 people in a flash of heat and blinding light in Hiroshima.

She was then a 13-year-old school girl, bused downtown with 30 classmates to help crack coded messages for the Japanese military. She woke up to a world of pain under a pile of debris that morning of Aug. 6, 1945. Continue reading

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

South Carolina’s $9 billion nuclear fiasco – another legal saga develops, criminal investigation coming

3 years later: How the fallout from SC’s $9 billion nuclear fiasco continues   Post and Courier,  By Avery G. Wilks and Andrew Brown awilks@postandcourier.com abrown@postandcourier.com, Jul 31, 2020

     It has been three years since two of South Carolina’s largest electric utilities abandoned their $9 billion effort to build two nuclear reactors, but the legal, political and financial consequences continue to ripple across the Palmetto State.

The scuttled V.C. Summer expansion in Fairfield County is now widely considered one of the biggest business failures in the state’s history. The announcement of the project’s cancellation on July 31, 2017, shook South Carolina’s power industry, state government and business community.

The two homegrown S.C. utilities that partnered on the project were thrown into disarray. Investigations were initiated by state lawmakers, financial regulators and federal law enforcement officials.

The state and federal court systems were flooded overnight with lawsuits by investors, ratepayers, construction workers and lenders. The state regulatory system that backed the project for nearly a decade was called into question.

And more than 1.7 million utility customers with S.C. Electric & Gas, Santee Cooper and the state’s 19 local electric cooperatives realized they might be forced to pay billions of dollars more for a power plant that will never produce a watt of electricity.

Much has changed since Santee Cooper and SCE&G’s leaders suddenly announced the project’s collapse. But the saga isn’t over quite yet. Here is a breakdown of where things stand.  Continue reading

August 1, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Mystery over drone swarm above America’s largest nuclear power station

the intruders, as well as establishing that Palo Verde lacks effective drone defenses, may now have highly detailed maps of the facility, showing the exact location of every valve, pipe, switch and control. Perhaps they simply aim to sell these on the dark web to anyone who will pay. Or perhaps they have something else in mind. Either way, it is an alarming demonstration of how easily drone intruders can now go anywhere anytime they wish. 

Drone Swarm’ Invaded Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant Last September — Twice   Forbes Jul 30, 2020, David Hambling

Documents gained under the Freedom of Information Act show how a number of small drones flew around a restricted area at Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant on two successive nights last September. Security forces watched, but were apparently helpless to act as the drones carried out their incursions before disappearing into the night. Details of the event gives some clues as to just what they were doing, but who sent them remains a mystery.

Details of the events were obtained from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by Douglas D. Johnson on behalf of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU) using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The SCU’s main interest is in anomalous aerospace phenomena, what other people term UFOs. In this case though the flying objects were easily identifiable as drones, although their exact mission and origin are unknown. Johnson passed the information to The War Zone who give a detailed account.

Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant is the largest in the U.S., producing over three gigawatts, 35% of Arizona’s total power capacity. It supplies electricity to Phoenix and Tucson, as well as San Diego and Los Angeles. It is a critical piece of strategic infrastructure; during the 2003 Iraq War, National Guard troops were deployed to Palo Verde to defend against a possible terrorist threat. In normal times, as with other nuclear installations, it is protected by armed security guards.

The armed guards, gates, fences and barriers were useless on the night of September 29th. According to the official report:

Officer noticed several drones (5 or 6) flying over the site. The drones are circling the 3 unit site inside and outside the Protected Area. The drones have flashing red and white rights [sic] and are estimated to be 200 to 300 hundred [sic] feet above the site. It was reported the drones had spotlights on while approaching the site that they turned off when they entered the Security Owner Controlled Area. Drones were first noticed at 20:50 MST and are still over the site as of 21:47 MST. Security Posture was normal, which was changed to elevated when the drones were noticed.”

The drones departed at 22:30, eighty minutes after they were first spotted.   The security officers estimated that they were over two feet in diameter. This indicates that they were not simply consumer drones like the popular DJI Phantom, which have a flight endurance of about half an hour and is about a foot across, but something larger and more capable. The Lockheed Martin Indago, a military-grade quadcopter recently sold to the Swiss Army, has a flight endurance of about seventy minutes and is more than two feet across. At several thousand dollars apiece minimum, these are far less expendable than consumer drones costing a few hundred. All of which suggests this was not just a prank.

The next night events were repeated:…….

Despite this incident, two months later the NRC decided not to require drone defenses at nuclear plants, asserting that small drones could not damage a reactor or steal nuclear material. It is highly likely that such sites are still vulnerable to drone overflights.

Are such drones a genuine threat to nuclear facilities?…….

their ability to strike pinpoint targets to hit control systems and failsafes. While this would be unlikely to cause a Chernobyl, it might well shut the plant down, taking out 35% of Arizona’s electricity at a stroke. The successful attack on the Abqaiq facility last year, in which about twenty garage-built drones knocked out a heavily-defended oil facility in Saudi Arabia, should be a wakeup call that such unmanned precision strikes are not just the preserve of state actors any more………

the intruders, as well as establishing that Palo Verde lacks effective drone defenses, may now have highly detailed maps of the facility, showing the exact location of every valve, pipe, switch and control. Perhaps they simply aim to sell these on the dark web to anyone who will pay. Or perhaps they have something else in mind. Either way, it is an alarming demonstration of how easily drone intruders can now go anywhere anytime they wish.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhambling/2020/07/30/drone-swarm-invaded-palo-verde-nuclear-power-plant/#78cb15aa43de

August 1, 2020 Posted by | incidents, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Does UK nuclear energy have any future? The industry has big doubts

Ministers challenged on future of UK nuclear energy
Industry dogged by doubts about China and rise of renewables calls for clarity,
Ft.com, Harry Dempsey in Somerset and David Sheppard in London 31 Jul 20, 

 The head of construction at the UK’s first nuclear power plant in three decades has challenged the government to decide whether “it wants nuclear or not” as ministers prepare to publish a new energy policy later this year and uncertainty hangs over China’s continued involvement in the sensitive sector. EDF, the French developer of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, is racing to meet its target of generating electricity by 2025 as it seeks to bolster the case for a new fleet of nuclear plants   …
In recent years, an ambitious plan to build a new generation of reactors across the UK has begun to unravel as two of the world’s leading nuclear engineering groups — Japan’s Toshiba and Hitachi — backed away from their projects. That left just two schemes — Hinkley and Sizewell — led by EDF with its partner China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), which is proposing a third plant at Bradwell in Essex.
“The government needs to decide if it wants nuclear or not,” said Stuart Crooks, managing director of Hinkley Point C. “If it doesn’t want nuclear, no amount of financing will make it happen,” he said, referring to a continuing debate about how to finance any future nuclear plant.  ….
EDF has finished the base for the station’s second reactor. In the coming months, the world’s largest crane, dubbed “Big Carl”, will lift giant prefabricated steel containment structures into place and fill the bases with equipment and piping in critical steps towards building the reactors.
But the coronavirus pandemic has forced EDF to reverse plans to expand its workforce on-site to 6,000; instead, at the height of the UK’s lockdown, it fell to 2,000. Worker numbers have since returned to 4,500 split over two shifts but productivity is as much as 20 per cent lower because of social distancing restrictions.
On Thursday, EDF warned of a “high” risk of further delays, which could push back first power generation until 2027. Speaking earlier in the week, Mr Crooks said disruptions caused by coronavirus at supplier factories, which are running at 50 per cent of output on average, were the biggest risk to the schedule. The French state-controlled utility, which operates all of the UK’s eight nuclear power stations, faces another serious challenge however.
  CGN, its partner in the project, has come under intense scrutiny as relations between London and Beijing deteriorate over Hong Kong and the ban on Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei from supplying new equipment to the UK’s 5G network. The Chinese state-owned company is providing a third of the financing on Hinkley and EDF has repeatedly denied that staff from the Chinese state-backed company pose a threat to UK national security.  ……..
  confidence [ in the Chinese technicians] is unlikely to be shared by some in the ruling Conservative party who want China out of the UK’s nuclear programme. The UK government is also under growing pressure from Washington, which has become increasingly hostile towards the Chinese government. In 2018 the US warned London it believed CGN was involved in the transfer of civilian nuclear technology for military uses…….
  there are growing calls from hawkish Tory MPs to reject CGN’s plans for a nuclear plant at Bradwell, on the Essex coast, using Chinese reactor technology. That has stoked fears that the state-owned group could withhold further investment in Hinkley in retaliation. That could derail the project and stymie any future UK nuclear plants as well as harm EDF’s international nuclear ambitions.  ………
 The nuclear industry has struggled to regain its footing in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011 and the few new-build projects in other developed countries, such as France, have also been hit by extensive delays and spiralling costs.
  Advances in renewable energy technology have further put nuclear on the back foot as the price of solar and wind generation falls. “The nuclear industry is under pressure from a reputational perspective,” said Mr Buckland. “It’s under the microscope at the moment.” Beyond the diplomatic dispute with China, the building of any further nuclear plants in the UK will need a viable funding mechanism. One option is that consumers would effectively take on the risk by paying in advance through their electricity bills.  ………. https://www.ft.com/content/3c3658e0-27f5-49a5-b948-3986da3e5bcd

August 1, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Japan’s trouble-plagued nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Rokkasho should be shut down

Rokkasho plant should be shut down in energy policy shift, Asahi Shimbun, July 31, 2020   “…….. The Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 29 approved an outline of safety measures for the trouble-plagued nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. is building in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture…..

The Nuclear Regulation Authority on July 29 approved an outline of safety measures for the trouble-plagued nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. is building in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture

It is also nearly impossible to find a site for building a new nuclear plant. As aged reactors will be decommissioned one after another in the coming years, the importance of nuclear power generation for Japan’s energy supply will steadily diminish.

Over the long term, Japan needs to phase out nuclear power generation to remove public anxiety about a large-scale accident.

Nuclear fuel recycling can have no great significance in this new era when Japan has to start shifting away from atomic energy. Many industrial nations have long given up nuclear reprocessing as economically unviable.

Another big problem with reprocessing the spent fuel is that it produces plutonium, a material that can also be used to make nuclear weapons.

Japan has a stockpile of some 46 tons of plutonium, stored both at home and abroad, an amount enough to make 6,000 atomic bombs. It is fueling fears and drawing criticism internationally.

Japan Nuclear Fuel’s plant in Rokkasho is designed to have the capacity of reprocessing 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel annually to recover 7 tons of plutonium.

But the plan to develop a fast neutron reactor that can “consume” plutonium by transforming it into other forms of nuclear waste, the key technology for plutonium consumption, has gone awry with the decision to decommission Japan’s “Monju” prototype sodium-cooled fast-breeder reactor.

There are clearly also limitations to the plan to burn so-called MOX (mixed oxide) fuel, which is usually plutonium blended with natural uranium, in existing nuclear reactors.

The government has promised the international community to reduce the nation’s surplus plutonium. That means the reprocessing operation at the Rokkasho plant will have to be restricted so that the amount of plutonium recovered will not exceed consumption.

It simply does not make sense to spend as much as 14 trillion yen ($134.33 billion) on building the plant to recover a small amount of plutonium.

Given that this huge cost will be passed onto consumers through higher electricity bills, it is impossible to win broad public support for the project.

If the government decides to pull the plug on the fuel recycling program, it will have to face tough policy challenges it has long avoided tackling, such as how to dispose of spent fuel. But the nation cannot make the inevitable leap into the new age of energy if it continues spending huge amounts on nuclear power generation, which is beset by so many problems.

There is a growing global trend toward renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. This is the time for the government to make a radical shift in its energy policy. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13594167

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

As Dept of Energy officials enthuse over nuclear in space, they show their disdain for health and safety in pandemic

Here we see 9 DOE officials all close to each other –  bugger social distancing.  Typical nuclear enthusiasts, 7 men confident, think they’re invincible? next to them , the two token women, wearing masks –  they have some grasp of the need for safety and public health measures in the pandemic.

 

US Ramps Up Planning for Space Nuclear Technology  AIP,  NASA and the Department of Energy are expanding their collaboration as part of a broader White House push to develop nuclear power systems for space applications. The initiative comes as NASA faces key decisions on what fuel sources and technology development paths to pursue.

As NASA launched its Perseverance rover to Mars yesterday, senior officials from the Department of Energy were at Cape Canaveral to see it off. Perseverance is the first mission to launch since the Curiosity rover in 2011 that is powered by the radioactive isotope plutonium-238, which is manufactured in DOE facilities.

Now, NASA, DOE, and the White House want nuclear power to play a much larger role in space exploration as plans take shape for a sustained human presence on the Moon and subsequent crewed journeys to Mars……….

The American Nuclear Society hosted a debate on the topic at its annual meeting in June. While the society has generally supported the use of space nuclear power and propulsion in the past, it has decided to develop a position statement by spring 2021 on whether to favor the use of LEU.

Among the participants was Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), a former Fermilab physicist, who argued that proceeding with HEU  (  Highly Enriched Uranium)would set a dangerous precedent. “If all of the spacefaring nations start using HEU reactors in space, then this would involve utilization of a significant amount of weapons grade material,” he remarked…….

Alan Kuperman, a policy scholar affiliated with the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project, pointed to U.S. efforts since the 1970s to minimize the use of HEU in civilian applications, arguing they are “based on the logic of no exceptions.”

“If we say, ‘well, we’re going to have exceptions,’ then other countries are going to say, ‘well, we want exceptions too,’ and then the whole thing falls apart,” he remarked……..https://www.aip.org/fyi/2020/us-ramps-planning-space-nuclear-technology

August 1, 2020 Posted by | health, space travel | Leave a comment

Environmental injustice is rampant around the world

A STUDY OF NEARLY 700 STUDIES MAKES IT CLEAR: ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS RAMPANT AROUND THE WORLD,   ensia July 30, 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement have many environmentalists paying attention to the inextricable links between marginalized peoples and environmental pollution.The history of disproportionate environmental impacts on Black, Indigenous, and people of color often goes back for centuries. A recent review of 141 Indigenous groups by University of Helsinki conservation researcher Álvaro Fernández-Llamazares and colleagues published in the journal Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management shows how colonialism directly led to the development of environment-polluting infrastructure built without the consent of — and differentially affecting — communities in their territories…… July 30, 2020 — The coronavirus pandemic and resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement have many environmentalists paying attention to the inextricable links between marginalized peoples and environmental pollution….. https://ensia.com/notable/environmental-injustice-global-indigenous-pollution/

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Global heating – “best case” scenario is a scary rise of two and a half degrees

How Hot Will the Future Feel?   New Yorker, 29 July 20, By Bill McKibben

Even among the grim daily toll of pandemic deaths and job losses, the most fateful numbers in the news last week probably came from a huge study carried out by a team of scientists at the World Climate Research Programme. It wove together the warming that we’ve observed so far, the latest understanding of feedback effects from clouds and other systems, and the record of the climate in the deep past to conclude that doubling the amount of carbon in the atmosphere (which, at current rates, will occur toward the middle of the century) will raise the average surface temperature on Earth between two and a half and four degrees Celsius

 This is the first significant narrowing of that range in decades—ever since the nineteen-eighties, we’ve been saying one and a half to four and a half degrees. Now, though, researchers are essentially ruling out the bottom end of the range: two and a half degrees, now essentially the best-case scenario, is an enormous number. Dealing with the volume and complexity of data “was such a long and painful process,” one researcher, Kate Marvel, at nasa’s Goddard Institute, said. James Hansen, the former Goddard chief and the world’s premier climate scientist, said, “It is an impressive, comprehensive study, and I am not just saying that because I agree with the result. Whoever shepherded this deserves our gratitude.”

But, again, the level of damage that comes from rising temperatures—let’s call it applied climatology—is not as telling, ultimately, as our collective ability to respond to that damage. The brittleness of political systems in the face of change on this scale is even scarier than the brittleness of dams. The Times Magazine offered a remarkable glimpse into such a possibility this week, with a long examination of climate migration—present and future—from Central America. As more and more people find themselves in zones too hot to support life, they will move, and, as we already know, those movements provoke both compassion and demagoguery. “The best outcome requires not only good will and the careful management of turbulent political forces; without preparation and planning, the sweeping scale of change could prove wildly destabilizing,” Abrahm Lustgarten writes. “The United Nations and others warn that in the worst case, the governments of the nations most affected by climate change could topple as whole regions devolve into war.”

The pandemic shows us above all, I think, that twenty-first-century survival depends on an ability to handle chaos: that our political leaders, and our other institutions, have to devote themselves as never before to humane competence. And, as this summer’s racial reckoning should remind us, the pain that’s coming needs to be distributed far more fairly. We’re fast running out of margin. The capacity of political systems to respond to extreme stress can’t be predicted as numerically as the response of physical systems to extra carbon, but it will be measured, as with covid-19, in deaths. Just on a much larger scale…… https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-a-warming-planet/how-hot-will-the-future-feel

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

As sea levels rise globally, we need to start planning now

RISING GLOBAL FLOOD RISK DEMANDS ACTION,  PURSUIT, 31 Jul 20, 

By the end of the century tens of millions more people and trillions of dollars more of the world economy will be at risk of being flooded as sea levels rise  We know climate change will cause rising sea levels and increase the frequency of storms and extreme waves, putting large stretches of land at greater risk of flooding. But just how bad will it be?

It is the sort of question that has long frustrated strong policy action on countering and mitigating climate change……

In what is the most comprehensive effort yet to assess the global risks of rising sea levels, researchers have now estimated that in the next 80 years the flood risk across the world will rise by around 50 per cent, putting millions more people and trillions of US dollars more of infrastructure at risk.

In addition, by 2100, extreme floods now thought of as being one-in-100-year events, will be occurring as frequently as every 10 years across much of the world – an increased risk of ten times.

According to the University of Melbourne-led study now published in Nature: Scientific Reports, the land area exposed to an extreme one-in-100-year flood event will increase by more than 250,000 square kilometres, an increase of 48 per cent to over 800,000 square kilometres.

In concrete terms the study’s estimates translate into about 77 million more people being at risk of experiencing flooding, a rise of 52 per cent to 225 million.

The economic risk in terms of the infrastructure exposed will rise by $US3.5 trillion, an increase of 46 per cent to $US11.3 trillion…….

According to the University of Melbourne-led study now published in Nature: Scientific Reports, the land area exposed to an extreme one-in-100-year flood event will increase by more than 250,000 square kilometres, an increase of 48 per cent to over 800,000 square kilometres.

In concrete terms the study’s estimates translate into about 77 million more people being at risk of experiencing flooding, a rise of 52 per cent to 225 million.

The economic risk in terms of the infrastructure exposed will rise by $US3.5 trillion, an increase of 46 per cent to $US11.3 trillion………..

It’s showing that whole coastal communities are at risk of being devastated so we need urgent action.

“Curbing rising greenhouse gases is critical, but much of the predicted sea level rise is already baked-in – it will happen irrespective of what happens with greenhouse gases. So we need to adapt.

“This may mean building coastal defences like those already undertaken in the Netherlands. In other locations it may involve retreating populations from coastal areas.”

And Ms Kireczi notes that like many of the consequences of climate change, some low and middle income countries (LMICs) are particularly exposed.

For example, major populations in South-east and South Asia are at risk. But major populations in wealthier regions are also at risk including parts of China, Northern Europe and the United States.

“We need to start planning now the long-term investments in coastal defences, like dykes and sea walls, that we are going to need to protect vulnerable populations and assets.”  https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/rising-global-flood-risk-demands-action

August 1, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Bill in USA Senate to help nuclear workers made ill by radiation exposure

Bill would expand access to comp for federal nuclear site workers  https://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20200731/NEWS08/912335900/Bill-would-expand-access-to-comp-for-federal-nuclear-site-workers#, Angela Childers, July 31, 2020  

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate Wednesday would help workers at federal radioactive sites obtain workers compensation for work-related cancers and other health issues.

S.B. 4363, introduced Wednesday by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), would establish an occupational disease presumption for employees at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Radioactive Waste Management Complex.

The bill is aimed at helping cleanup workers at Washington State’s Hanford Nuclear Site and other nuclear sites more easily claim workers compensation benefits when they suffer from medical conditions as a result of exposure to toxic substances, Sen. Murray’s office said Thursday in a news release.

While the state of Washington created a presumption law for Hanford workers in 2018, the federal legislation would cover workers at other Energy Department nuclear sites. The Hanford site is a 560-square-mile federally operated site known for having manufactured plutonium used in one of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in late 2018 over the state’s presumption law, claiming that the law discriminated against the federal government and its Energy Department contractors and aimed to directly regulate the federal government by imposing extra cleanup costs on the decommissioned site. However, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in June 2019.

The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | employment, health, USA | Leave a comment

Global heating now causing nuclear reactor shutdowns in France

EDF warns heatwave may force brief outage for 2.6 GW Golfech reactors,  S and P   Global, London — Rising temperatures may lead to output restrictions at France’s 2.6 GW Golfech nuclear power plant from July 31, operator EDF warned.   “Due to the temperature forecasts on the Garonne, production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear power plant at Golfech,” it said July 27.     28 Jul 2020 Author Andreas Franke , Editor Felix Fernandez

HIGHLIGHTS

Restrictions focus on July 31 to August 3 period.

Mini-heatwave only forecast to last until weekend

July’s nuclear average above expectations at 30 GW

London — Rising temperatures may lead to output restrictions at France’s 2.6 GW Golfech nuclear power plant from July 31, operator EDF warned.

“Due to the temperature forecasts on the Garonne, production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear power plant at Golfech,” it said July 27.

This could lead to “unavailability of both units” until August 2.

France’s most southerly reactors, located between Toulouse and Bordeaux on the Garonne river, were some of the most impacted units during an extended heatwave last summer when air temperatures rose above 40 C in late June.

The current spell of hot weather is not forecast to stretch beyond the weekend with Meteo France not yet characterizing it as heatwave despite measuring the highest temperature so far this year at nearby Albi at 39.9 C on July 27.

In 2019, temperatures briefly peaked in late June above 40 C amid extended spells of extreme hot weather, increasing river temperatures above critical levels.

Grid operator RTE forecasts power demand to peak above 55 GW on July 31 with average weighted temperatures 7 C above norms.

In June 2019, French demand spiked close to record summer highs of 59.5 GW as temperatures reached 45 C in some regions of southern France.

Around two-thirds of France’s 56 reactor units are river-cooled, with some restrictions due to high temperatures stretching into autumn during past summers…. https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/072820-edf-warns-heatwave-may-force-brief-outage-for-26-gw-golfech-reactors.

August 1, 2020 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Electricite de France fined for lying about Hinkley nuclear project, faces costs and delays due to pandemic

Bloomberg 30th July 2020, Electricite de France SA was fined 5 million euros ($6 million) by
France’s markets regulator for providing false information on the Hinkley
Point C nuclear project. EDF and former Chief Executive Officer Henri
Proglio, who was fined 50,000 euros, failed to properly disclose new
circumstances concerning the U.K. project’s financing, the Autorité des
Marchés Financiers said in a statement on Thursday.
In October 2013, EDF
announced it would build the U.K.’s first nuclear reactors since 1995
after reaching a deal with the government on guaranteed prices for the
power they’d generate. The energy firm also said the project would
benefit from a British credit guarantee on conditions that were yet-to-be
agreed. EDF and Proglio should have specified in a statement a year later
that there had been significant changes on the guarantees, the AMF said.
EDF and its current CEO Jean-Bernard Levy were cleared of a second
accusation brought forward by AMF investigators. The AMF’s enforcement
committee assesses civil market-abuse cases ranging from insider trading to
publishing misleading information.
Electricite de France SA said it’s
facing delays at the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant as the coronavirus
pandemic hampered work on-site and hit supply chains. The largest and most
advanced infrastructure project in the U.K. will miss three key milestones
this year, one of them critical — risking the 2025 completion deadline.
EDF plans to make up time by the end of 2021 but the threat of a second
wave of coronavirus and lockdowns could cause more long-term set-backs.
“We’ve absorbed a lot of factory delays but we had some margin in our
program to do so,” Hinkley Point C’s managing director Stuart Crooks
said in an interview on-site in the southwest of England. EDF still expects
Hinkley to be finished on time.
The French utility is working on the
assumption that the virus peters out by the end of the year so supply
chains and work at Hinkley can return to normal. There are about 4,500
staff currently on the site that covers an area equal to 245 soccer fields.
Initial plans were to ramp-up the number of workers to around 6,000 but
that depends how long social distancing rules stay in place.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-30/edf-fined-6-million-in-market-abuse-case-over-nuclear-project

August 1, 2020 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Problems in USA’s rush to put a nuclear reactor on the moon

America Wants to Put a Nuclear Power Plant on the Moon

What happens to all that highly enriched uranium in space?  Popular Mechanics, BY CAROLINE DELBERT, JUL 30, 2020   


Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Idaho National Laboratory have a new design for a nuclear power plant they say could allow humans to more easily live on the moon. As part of a form plan, the scientists say they want to have the fission reactor, safe launch, and landing system ready by 2027

What are the challenges of generating nuclear energy on the moon?

Designing this special reactor is kind of like adapting terrestrial technology to be mounted on, say, a residential sailboat. The fundamentals can be the same, but there are limitations because of the different environment. A power plant for the moon must be almost totally self-sufficient and run without the influence of gravity or Earth’s atmosphere. It has to be light and small enough that everything can be lifted into space.

Design Development Today reports that the Union of Concerned Scientists expressed, well, concerns:

“Edwin Lyman, director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit, said his organization is concerned the parameters of the design and timeline make the most likely reactors those that use highly enriched uranium, which can be made into weapons. Nations have generally been attempting to reduce the amount of enriched uranium being produced for that reason.”

While the Idaho National Laboratory and the DoE broadly are pushing for “advanced” reactor technology in terms of issues like modularity and safety, the “parameters of the design and timeline” they refer to—in this case advocating for a small, reliable, space-friendly design in just 6 years—almost definitely rules out the modular reactors being developed and certified now.

To fully test and regulate these reactors—and design the special edition to send to the moon in this timeframe—is probably impossible. To rush any nuclear approval is a terrible idea, not just for safety, but also for a public that’s already shy about nuclear energy.

Technology like thorium fuel is still far from ready for the market….

August 1, 2020 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

USA Department of Energy enthuses about Highly Enriched Uranium in space. Not everyone agrees

As I’ve mentioned before on this site, the oh so confident macho nuclear enthusiasts don’t need to do precautions, even though USA is in the thick of the pandemic. Only the 2 token women have the brains to wear masks.

US Ramps Up Planning for Space Nuclear Technology  AIP,  31 July 20, NASA and the Department of Energy are expanding their collaboration as part of a broader White House push to develop nuclear power systems for space applications. The initiative comes as NASA faces key decisions on what fuel sources and technology development paths to pursue.

As NASA launched its Perseverance rover to Mars yesterday, senior officials from the Department of Energy were at Cape Canaveral to see it off. Perseverance is the first mission to launch since the Curiosity rover in 2011 that is powered by the radioactive isotope plutonium-238, which is manufactured in DOE facilities.

Now, NASA, DOE, and the White House want nuclear power to play a much larger role in space exploration as plans take shape for a sustained human presence on the Moon and subsequent crewed journeys to Mars……….

The American Nuclear Society hosted a debate on the topic at its annual meeting in June. While the society has generally supported the use of space nuclear power and propulsion in the past, it has decided to develop a position statement by spring 2021 on whether to favor the use of LEU.

Among the participants was Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), a former Fermilab physicist, who argued that proceeding with HEU  (  Highly Enriched Uranium) would set a dangerous precedent. “If all of the spacefaring nations start using HEU reactors in space, then this would involve utilization of a significant amount of weapons grade material,” he remarked…….

Alan Kuperman, a policy scholar affiliated with the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project, pointed to U.S. efforts since the 1970s to minimize the use of HEU in civilian applications, arguing they are “based on the logic of no exceptions.”

“If we say, ‘well, we’re going to have exceptions,’ then other countries are going to say, ‘well, we want exceptions too,’ and then the whole thing falls apart,” he remarked……..https://www.aip.org/fyi/2020/us-ramps-planning-space-nuclear-technology

August 1, 2020 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment