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

Week to 18 August in Climate, Nuclear, Pandemic News

As always, hard to know what is the most important issue this week. But, for sure, the coronavirus pandemic is still there.  Latest global data: Total cases 2, 534, 611   deaths 771,106. New daily cases 212,487  –  deaths 4,181. In the USA, in states such as Texas, a prevailing libertarian spirit prevents people from taking precautions, such as wearing masks. The world is headed for an economic depression, and recovery depends on a vaccine and effective treatment for Covid-19.

Meanwhile – global heating moves on inexorably. The last decade has been the Earth’s hottest on record-bringing weather extremes, heatwaves, fires, storms.  AND – there’s the pandemic infectious diseases  connection, too – while heat brings an increase in mosquito-affected areas, with the diseases that they transmit, it also thaws permafrost, releasing microorganisms. Climate study looks at humans’ exposure to extreme temperatures during 21st century.

Hiroshima and the normalisation of atrocities.   In August, attention goes to the nuclear disarmament movement,. There are moves towards achieving a nuclear weapons-free world, for example,  steps that put pressure on the nine nuclear weapons nations. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons is working hard to achieve the 50 national ratifications that will make the Treaty on the Prohicition of Nuclear Weapons become international law. United Nations promotes the role of young people in ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

Some bits of good news:  New studies reveal good news about coronavirus immunity.     No cruise is good news for Venice.

Climate stabilization: Lessons from the corona crisis.  $6.6 trillion in annual GDP at risk as Asian climate warms – McKinsey Global Institute.  Business as usual equals many extra deaths from global warming.

Surviving the nuclear bomb at Nagasaki 75 years ago showed me nuclear weapons shouldn’t exist. A new splurge on nuclear weapons marks the Hiroshims/Nagasaki anniversary.

Nuclear weapons, nuclear war, remain a global existential threat.  Only luck has saved us from nuclear war, not planning.  All too often the world has narrowly avoided World War 3, due to mistakes.  A Major Nuclear Arms Treaty Expires Next Year. What Happens Next?  Urgent need to stop the erosion of nuclear arms treaties -multilateral disarmament forum.  Nuclear weapons countries have an obligation to lead in nuclear weapons control – U.N.

The development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the need for research.

ARCTIC. GREENLAND.  Past the tipping point: Greenland glaciers will continue to lose ice, no matter what.  Arctic permafrost is thawing, as the region experiences unprecedented heat.

BANGLADESH. Drastic flooding in Bangladesh, displaces over 1.5 million, increasing coronavirus risk.

UKRAINE.  Nuclear radiation and Chernobyl’s forest fires.

FRANCE.  Climate change bad for nuclear: Hot weather, water shortage, likely to curb output at France’s Chooz nuclear reactors.

GERMANY.  Germany’s ‘very, very tough’ climate battle.    German energy utilities now earn more money from renewables than fossil fuels.

JAPAN. Japan sabotaging nuclear disarmament – ICAN chief.  Plaintiffs angered by gov’t appeal in Hiroshima ‘black rain’ suit.  Japan gov’t to appeal ruling on A-bomb “black rain” victims,   Fukushima’s Contaminated Wastewater Could Be Too Risky to Dump in the Ocean.  Japan’s nuclear fuel imports almost zero in 2019 as industry stagnates, 1st time in 50 yrs.  No prefecture in Japan wants to host nuclear waste dump.

USA.

UK.  Hitachi renews interest in Wylfa nuclear project, wants government assurance on funding.  UK Chancellor evasive on the involvement of China in building Bradwell nuclear plant.    Extinction Rebellion’s protest demonstration against building of Sizewell nuclear plant.     £20 billion Sizewell C nuclear project ‘Costly and dangerous’– actress Diana Quick.  Maldon District Council now to hold Nuclear Public Meeting in Secret.

Public Comment Due on Proposed Uranium Mining.     Robots may be used for clean-up of highly radioactive areas of UK’s Dounreay nuclear complex. Nuclear site evacuated after chemical found.  UK offshore wind becomes cheaper than nuclear and gas .

RUSSIA. Andreyeva Bay’s damaged spent nuclear fuel to be removed in 2021.  Fuel finally removed from Russia’s most radioactive ship.  Kremlin Warns The US Of Nuclear Retaliation If Russia Or Her Allies Are Targeted.

CANADA. Alberta premier’s small nukes pipe dream makes no economic sense.  Alberta joins Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – led by the nose by nuclear NuScam?

NORTH KOREA. Vulnerability of nuclear reactors to extreme weather events. Flooding all too close to North Korea’s main nuclear reactor.

IRAN. Iran nuclear deal at further risk.  But then -The United States lost a bid to extend a U.N. arms embargo on Iran.

SOUTH AFRICA. Southern African Faith Communities oppose extending the life of Koeberg nuclear power plant .

FIJI. Fiji’s bold step for peace.

MALAYSIA. Malaysia rejects nuclear power, focuses on renewable energy.

ARMENIA. Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant poses threat to region .

MIDDLE EAST.  Houthis are actively enriching Thorium extracted from Yemeni mountains and sending it to Iran for arms manufacture.

SAUDI ARABIA.  Germany urges S.Arabia to comply with nuclear arms control treaty.  Tehran urges IAEA to shed light on Saudi ‘covert’ nuclear program.

AUSTRALIA. Although Australians started a move to abolish nuclear weapons, The Australian government tried to sabotage the U.N. nuclear ban treaty. On 17 August the Senate Nuclear Waste Inquiry- Public Hearings go Secret.

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Pressure the 9 nuclear States – steps to a nuclear weapons-free world

August 17, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan sabotaging nuclear disarmament – ICAN chief

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Past the tipping point: Greenland glaciers will continue to lose ice, no matter what


Warming Greenland ice sheet passes point of no return   
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/08/200813123550.htm     Even if the climate cools, study finds, glaciers will continue to shrink.  August 13, 2020,   Source:  Ohio State University

Summary:
Nearly 40 years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking.

Nearly 40 years of satellite data from Greenland shows that glaciers on the island have shrunk so much that even if global warming were to stop today, the ice sheet would continue shrinking.

The finding, published today, Aug. 13, in the journal Nature Communications Earth and Environment, means that Greenland’s glaciers have passed a tipping point of sorts, where the snowfall that replenishes the ice sheet each year cannot keep up with the ice that is flowing into the ocean from glaciers.

“We’ve been looking at these remote sensing observations to study how ice discharge and accumulation have varied,” said Michalea King, lead author of the study and a researcher at The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. “And what we’ve found is that the ice that’s discharging into the ocean is far surpassing the snow that’s accumulating on the surface of the ice sheet.”

King and other researchers analyzed monthly satellite data from more than 200 large glaciers draining into the ocean around Greenland. Their observations show how much ice breaks off into icebergs or melts from the glaciers into the ocean. They also show the amount of snowfall each year — the way these glaciers get replenished.

The researchers found that, throughout the 1980s and 90s, snow gained through accumulation and ice melted or calved from glaciers were mostly in balance, keeping the ice sheet intact. Through those decades, the researchers found, the ice sheets generally lost about 450 gigatons (about 450 billion tons) of ice each year from flowing outlet glaciers, which was replaced with snowfall.

“We are measuring the pulse of the ice sheet — how much ice glaciers drain at the edges of the ice sheet — which increases in the summer. And what we see is that it was relatively steady until a big increase in ice discharging to the ocean during a short five- to six-year period,” King said.

The researchers’ analysis found that the baseline of that pulse — the amount of ice being lost each year — started increasing steadily around 2000, so that the glaciers were losing about 500 gigatons each year. Snowfall did not increase at the same time, and over the last decade, the rate of ice loss from glaciers has stayed about the same — meaning the ice sheet has been losing ice more rapidly than it’s being replenished.

“Glaciers have been sensitive to seasonal melt for as long as we’ve been able to observe it, with spikes in ice discharge in the summer,” she said. “But starting in 2000, you start superimposing that seasonal melt on a higher baseline — so you’re going to get even more losses.”

Before 2000, the ice sheet would have about the same chance to gain or lose mass each year. In the current climate, the ice sheet will gain mass in only one out of every 100 years.

King said that large glaciers across Greenland have retreated about 3 kilometers on average since 1985 — “that’s a lot of distance,” she said. The glaciers have shrunk back enough that many of them are sitting in deeper water, meaning more ice is in contact with water. Warm ocean water melts glacier ice, and also makes it difficult for the glaciers to grow back to their previous positions.

That means that even if humans were somehow miraculously able to stop climate change in its tracks, ice lost from glaciers draining ice to the ocean would likely still exceed ice gained from snow accumulation, and the ice sheet would continue to shrink for some time.

“Glacier retreat has knocked the dynamics of the whole ice sheet into a constant state of loss,” said Ian Howat, a co-author on the paper, professor of earth sciences and distinguished university scholar at Ohio State. “Even if the climate were to stay the same or even get a little colder, the ice sheet would still be losing mass.”

Shrinking glaciers in Greenland are a problem for the entire planet. The ice that melts or breaks off from Greenland’s ice sheets ends up in the Atlantic Ocean — and, eventually, all of the world’s oceans. Ice from Greenland is a leading contributor to sea level rise — last year, enough ice melted or broke off from the Greenland ice sheet to cause the oceans to rise by 2.2 millimeters in just two months.

The new findings are bleak, but King said there are silver linings.

“It’s always a positive thing to learn more about glacier environments, because we can only improve our predictions for how rapidly things will change in the future,” she said. “And that can only help us with adaptation and mitigation strategies. The more we know, the better we can prepare.”

This work was supported by grants from NASA. Other Ohio State researchers who worked on this study are Salvatore Candela, Myoung Noh and Adelaide Negrete.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Ohio State University. Original written by Laura Arenschield. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Michalea D. King, Ian M. Howat, Salvatore G. Candela, Myoung J. Noh, Seonsgu Jeong, Brice P. Y. Noël, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Bert Wouters, Adelaide Negrete. Dynamic ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet driven by sustained glacier retreatCommunications Earth & Environment, 2020; 1 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-0001-2

August 17, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate stabilization: Lessons from the corona crisis

August 17, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

Urgent need to stop the erosion of nuclear arms treaties -multilateral disarmament forum

August 17, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The development of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the need for research

The big question is to what extent the TPNW will make a difference to the actions of nuclear states. None has signed, but they will all be affected, in part because the treaty prohibits companies and individuals from signatory countries from assisting in weapons development. And because the TPNW is an intergovernmental agreement, nuclear-weapons countries will need to send delegates to its meetings, whether or not they agree with it.

The TPNW is a historic achievement with a lot riding on its young shoulders. It will still take decades to achieve a weapons-free world, but every journey needs to begin somewhere. Altering the balance of decision-making so that it is shared more equally between the nuclear states and the international community is that necessary first step.

August 17, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Book: The Apocalypse Factory – plutonium and the making of the atomic age

In deft, distressing ‘Apocalypse Factory,’ Seattle author details Hanford’s role in the dawn of the nuclear age, Aug. 5, 2020  By Michael Upchurch,  The Seattle Times 

Book review

On the list of self-inflicted threats to humanity that we shove to the side in order to preserve our sanity, nuclear disaster — along with climate change — ranks at the top. And in Washington state, the toxic legacy of the Hanford nuclear reservation is the chief reminder of that threat.

Hanford produced the plutonium used in the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945 — 75 years ago this Sunday. It also supplied the plutonium for most of the thousands of American nuclear weapons manufactured since then. But in the popular imagination, Hanford looms less prominently than Los Alamos when it comes to stories about the dawn of the nuclear age.

In “The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age,” Seattle writer Steve Olson — who grew up in the small town of Othello, roughly 25 miles northeast of Hanford — capably fills in the gap.

As a young writer, Olson studied with John Hersey — the author of the 1946 book “Hiroshima” — so it’s fitting that “The Apocalypse Factory” includes an expansive, Hersey-like chapter on the horrific consequences of the Nagasaki bombing, drawn from Japanese eyewitness accounts. Nagasaki residents, of course, didn’t know what had hit them and were confounded by the “atomic bomb sickness” that killed people who initially appeared to be uninjured.

The book also encompasses the political and military strategies of the period, along with the “fiendishly difficult” challenges of producing plutonium in a way that wouldn’t kill its makers. Olson writes lucidly, making even the most recondite details of the science involved clear to a nonscientist. And he’s eloquent in his chronicling of the lives affected — and sometimes destroyed — by the invention and use of the world’s most deadly weapon.

“Hanford,” he acknowledges, “represents one of humanity’s greatest intellectual achievements; it also embodies a moral blindness that could destroy us all.”………

The secrecy surrounding the bomb didn’t end with World War II. Censorship of details about Nagasaki’s destruction and vital info on what radiation sickness could do to humans continued for years. A story by one Chicago Tribune reporter who wangled his way to Nagasaki wasn’t just censored but destroyed. The carbon copy he kept only came to light 60 years later.

Initial jubilation at Japanese surrender was soon tempered by a realization among scientists of just how nightmarish the bombs’ effects were. Decades later, the radioactive pollution at Hanford likewise became impossible to ignore.

“The leaders of the Manhattan Project,” Olson concludes, “did not devote much thought to the mess they were creating.”

In this deft, informative, sometimes terrifying book, that sentence reads like a stinging understatement.

_____

“The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age” by Steve Olson, Norton, 336 pp., $27.95

August 17, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hitachi renews interest in Wylfa nuclear project, wants government assurance on funding

Hitachi seeks to resurrect Welsh nuclear plant plans, Ft.com, 16 Aug 20, 

Japanese industrial group wants clarity from UK ministers on financing model,

Hitachi is talking to the UK government about resurrecting plans for a nuclear power plant in north Wales, which were frozen at the start of last year.

 Horizon Nuclear Power, a UK-based subsidiary of Hitachi, has been holding “detailed conversations” with the government in recent weeks to persuade ministers that the proposed Wylfa Newydd plant on Anglesey could be quickly re-mobilised if they can produce a new financing model for large nuclear power stations in Britain.
 Hitachi suspended the £20bn Wylfa project at the start of 2019 after failing to reach an agreement over financing. The Japanese group decided at the time the project still posed “too great a commercial challenge”, despite the UK government offering to take a one-third equity stake and provide debt financing.
But Hitachi has maintained a skeleton staff at Horizon and continued to pursue planning permission for Wylfa after the government launched a review into a “regulated asset base” funding model, which would see consumers pay upfront through their energy bills for a new plant and significantly reduce the construction risk for developers.
 There has also been talk in the industry of the state taking majority stakes in nuclear schemes, which could enable developers such as Horizon to become contractors. A decision on Wylfa’s planning application is expected by the end of next month.   ……….
the clock is also ticking for Horizon, which has to submit a business plan to its parent company by December before its funding expires early next year. It wants clarity from government on its nuclear strategy and a potential funding model by the autumn, when ministers had been expected to publish a delayed energy white paper and national infrastructure strategy.
 If sufficient commitment isn’t forthcoming, Mr Hawthorne conceded it would be “easy” for Hitachi to “say we’re out of here” and sell the site, raising fears CGN could potentially move in. …….
Environment activists insist Britain should not be pursuing large new nuclear plants as other forms of power generation, such as offshore wind, are substantially cheaper.  https://www.ft.com/content/6ec9bdb2-8b5b-4aa3-ad51-a799734273f2

August 17, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Fiji’s bold step for peace — Beyond Nuclear International

Country knows firsthand the effects of atomic colonialism

via Fiji’s bold step for peace — Beyond Nuclear International

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A judge again denies Virginia Uranium Inc. — Beyond Nuclear International

Can mine opponents finally declare victory?

via A judge again denies Virginia Uranium Inc. — Beyond Nuclear International

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Public Comment Due on Proposed Uranium Mining —

Originally posted on Protect Water for Future Generations.: DEADLINE IS AUGUST 26, 2020.? NOTE: Updated with Items to Use for Comment The Dewey-Burdock uranium mining project in the southwestern Black Hills is trying to take a step forward. We have only a few weeks to generate and write comments on the latest effort to destroy…

via Public Comment Due on Proposed Uranium Mining —

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

German energy utilities now earn more money from renewables than fossil fuels — RenewEconomy

Big German utilities now earn more money from renewables than they do from fossil fuels and nuclear, and their share prices are outperforming the overall market. The post German energy utilities now earn more money from renewables than fossil fuels appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via German energy utilities now earn more money from renewables than fossil fuels — RenewEconomy

August 17, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nothing is more expensive than nuclear power

Readers sound off on the costliness of nuclear power, By VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |AUG 15, 2020    

Nuclear is not so cost-effective

Manhattan: Re “The inconvenient truth: We need nuclear” (op-ed, Aug. 10): Nothing is more expensive than nuclear power. Estimates for the cleanup of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster range as high as $300 billion, albeit total removal of radioactivity from that land, and ocean, is impossible. In Japan, as everywhere, the costs of such disasters are born by the taxpayer, not the utility companies: There is no such thing as a $300 billion insurance policy.

The cost of creating nuclear-waste storage sites (we don’t know how to do that, so we don’t have any) will also be borne by the taxpayer. And, transporting nuclear waste from 95 reactors in 29 states to storage sites yields a high likelihood of spills. Today, the waste is stored at reactor sites, many of which show signs of leaking. Additionally, it is not possible to “shut down” nuclear reactors even after they have run their life spans. They remain a radioactive danger indefinitely, and will always require flawless maintenance of containment domes — assuming we design domes that can function indefinitely.

The Indian Point power plant, where numerous leaks and mechanical breakdowns have already occurred, is 36 miles from Midtown Manhattan. Since there is no way to evacuate NYC in the event of a serious accident, no such plan exists. Not to mention that Indian Point is already years past its original 40-year operating permit. The list of nuclear power’s unsolvable problems is much longer than this. Per capita, no country consumes and wastes more energy than the U.S. Let’s stop that. Ingrid Eisenstadter   https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-letter-august-15-20200815-z5emj4x33zaclka7efi4et3mme-story.html

August 17, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

USA are drifting toward a fraught nuclear arms race

Politico 5th Aug 2020, U.S.-Russia relations are at a dangerous dead end that threatens the U.S.
national interest. The risk of a military confrontation that could go
nuclear is again real. We are drifting toward a fraught nuclear arms race,
with our foreign-policy arsenal reduced mainly to reactions, sanctions,
public shaming and congressional resolutions. The global Covid-19 pandemic
and the resulting serious worldwide economic decline, rather than fostering
cooperation, have only reinforced the current downward trajectory.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/08/05/open-letter-russia-policy-391434

August 17, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment