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

Petition against dumping ‘nuclear mud’ off Cardiff reaches 5k threshold for Senedd debate

September 3, 2020 Posted by | environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Renewable energy can save the natural world – but if we’re not careful, it will also hurt it

Renewable energy can save the natural world – but if we’re not careful, it will also hurt it   https://theconversation.com/renewable-energy-can-save-the-natural-world-but-if-were-not-careful-it-will-also-hurt-it-145166
 September 2, 2020    Laura Sonter, Lecturer in Environmental Management, The University of Queensland, James Watson, Professor, The University of Queensland, Richard K Valenta, Director – WH Bryan Mining and Geology Research Centre – The Sustainable Minerals Institute, The University of Queensland

A vast transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is crucial to slowing climate change. But building solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy infrastructure requires mining for materials. If not done responsibly, this may damage species and ecosystems.

In our research, published today, we mapped the world’s potential mining areas and assessed how they overlap with biodiversity conservation sites.

We found renewable energy production will exacerbate the threat mining poses to biodiversity – the world’s variety of animals and plants. It’s fair to assume that in some places, the extraction of renewables minerals may cause more damage to nature than the climate change it averts.

  1. Australia is well placed to become a leader in mining of renewable energy materials and drive the push to a low-carbon world. But we must act now to protect our biodiversity from being harmed in the process.
  2. Mining to prevent climate change

    Currently, about 17% of current global energy consumption is achieved through renewable energy. To further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, this proportion must rapidly increase.

    Building new renewable energy infrastructure will involve mining minerals and metals. Some of these include:

    • lithium, graphite and cobalt (mostly used in battery storage)
    • zinc and titanium (used mostly for wind and geothermal energy)
    • copper, nickle and aluminium (used in a range of renewable energy technologies).

    The World Bank estimates the production of such materials could increase by 500% by 2050. It says more than 3 billion tonnes of minerals and metals will be needed to build the wind, solar and geothermal power, and energy storage, needed to keep global warming below 2℃ this century.

  3. However, mining can seriously damage species and places. It destroys natural habitat, and surrounding environments can be harmed by the construction of transport infrastructure such as roads and railways.
  4. What we found

    We mapped areas around the world potentially affected by mining. Our analysis involved 62,381 pre-operational, operational, and closed mines targeting 40 different materials.

    We found mining may influence about 50 million km² of Earth’s land surface (or 37%, excluding Antarctica). Some 82% of these areas contain materials needed for renewable energy production. Of this, 12% overlaps with protected areas, 7% with “key biodiversity areas”, and 14% with remaining wilderness.

    Our results suggest mining of renewable energy materials may increase in currently untouched and “biodiverse” places. These areas are considered critical to helping species overcome the challenges of climate change.

  5. Threats here and abroad

    Australia is well positioned to become a leading supplier of materials for renewable energy. We are also one of only 17 nations considered ecologically “megadiverse”.

    Yet, many of the minerals needed for renewable energy exist in important conservation areas.

    For example, Australia is rich in lithium and already accounts for half of world productionHard-rock lithium mines operate in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

    This area has also been identified as a national biodiversity hotspot and is home to many native species. These include small marsupials such as the little red antechinus and the pebble-mound mouse, and reptiles including gecko and goanna species.

  6. Australia is also ranked sixth in the world for deposits of rare earth elements, many of which are needed to produce magnets for wind turbines. We also have large resources of other renewables materials such as cobalt, manganese, tantalum, tungsten and zirconium.

    It’s critical that mining doesn’t damage Australia’s already vulnerable biodiversity, and harm the natural places valued by Indigenous people and other communities.

    In many cases, renewables minerals are found in countries where the resource sector is not strongly regulated, posing an even greater environmental threat. For example, the world’s second-largest untouched lithium reserve exists in Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni salt pan. This naturally diverse area is mostly untouched by mining.

    The renewables expansion will also require iron and steel. To date, mining for iron in Brazil has almost wiped out an entire plant community, and recent dam failures devastated the environment and communities.

  7. We need proactive planning

    Strong planning and conservation action is needed to avoid, manage and prevent the harm mining causes to the environment. However global conservation efforts are often naive to the threats posed by significant growth in renewable energies.

    Some protected areas around the world prevent mining, but more than 14% contain metal mines in or near their boundaries. Consequences for biodiversity may extend many kilometres from mining sites.

     

    Meanwhile, other areas increasingly important for conservation are focused on the needs of biodiversity, and don’t consider the distribution of mineral resources and pressures to extract them. Conservation plans for these sites must involve strategies to manage the mining threat.

  8. There is some good news. Our analyses suggest many required materials occur outside protected areas and other conservation priorities. The challenge now is to identify which species are most at risk from current and future mining development, and develop strong policies to avoid their loss.

September 3, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Geoengineering to counter global heating? It’s a risky gamble

September 3, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA – new plutonium pit production – but no new environmental assessment !

 US officials: No new environmental study for nuclear lab, Spectrum,   BY ASSOCIATED PRESS AP,  SEP. 02, 2020, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The National Nuclear Security Administration says it doesn’t need to do an additional environmental review for Los Alamos National Laboratory before it begins producing key components for the nation’s nuclear arsenal because it has enough information.
Watchdog groups are concerned about Tuesday’s announcement, saying the plutonium pit production work will amount to a vast expansion of the lab’s nuclear mission and that more analysis should be done.

Los Alamos is preparing to resume and ramp up production of the plutonium cores used to trigger nuclear weapons. It’s facing a 2026 deadline to begin producing at least 30 cores a year — a mission that has support from the most senior Democratic members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation  ……..

The National Nuclear Security Administration on Tuesday released its final supplemental analysis of a site-wide environmental impact statement done for the lab more than a decade ago. The agency concluded that no further analysis is required.

Critics have pushed for a new environmental impact statement, saying the previous 2008 analysis didn’t consider a number of effects related to increased production, such as the pressure it puts on infrastructure, roads and the housing market.

“The notion that comprehensive environmental analysis is not needed for this gigantic program is a staggering insult to New Mexicans and an affront to any notion of environmental law and science,” Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group said in a statement.

Lab officials last year detailed plans for $13 billion worth of construction projects over the next decade at the northern New Mexico complex as it prepares for plutonium pit production. About $3 billion of that would be spent on improvements to existing plutonium facilities for the pit work, the Albuquerque Journal reported…….https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/buffalo/ap-online/2020/09/02/us-officials-no-new-environmental-study-for-nuclear-lab

September 3, 2020 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Republicans And Democrats Clash Over How To Repeal Nuclear Bailout

September 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Santee Cooper and Westinghouse Electric to sell of equipment at the failed $9 billion VC Summer nuclear site.

September 3, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

France’s President Macron joins the global nuclear lobby’s push to export nuclear reactors

Macron talks nuclear energy and ways to control militias during Iraq visit, The National , Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Sep 2, 2020French PM is the most significant leader to visit Iraq since Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi came to power in May

During a visit to Baghdad on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron discussed solving Iraq’s massive power shortages with nuclear energy ……. Mr Kadhimi told reporters in Baghdad that he discussed with Mr Macron “a future project” to use nuclear energy to produce electricity and solve decades-long power shortages……..

If realised, the project would place Iraq along with the UAE and Iran as the only Middle East countries with electricity produced by a nuclear reactor. ………. https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/macron-talks-nuclear-energy-and-ways-to-control-militias-during-iraq-visit-1.1071729

September 3, 2020 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear activity still a ‘serious concern’: UN watchdog 

North Korea’s nuclear activity still a ‘serious concern’: UN watchdog  https://nypost.com/2020/09/02/north-koreas-nuclear-activity-still-a-serious-concern-un/-By Ben Feuerherd, September 2, 2020 

Nuclear activities in North Korea remain a cause for “serious concern,” and the rogue totalitarian state continues to enrich uranium, which could be used in an atomic weapon, the UN’s watchdog said in a recent report.

The activities by the country are in “clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in the report that was released Tuesday.

The report also notes that what was once the heart of the country’s nuclear program, the Yongbyon site, has likely been shut down since 2018 — and that no plutonium has been produced there in the past year.

Nuclear activities in North Korea remain a cause for “serious concern,” and the rogue totalitarian state continues to enrich uranium, which could be used in an atomic weapon, the UN’s watchdog said in a recent report.

The activities by the country are in “clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the International Atomic Energy Agency wrote in the report that was released Tuesday.

The report also notes that what was once the heart of the country’s nuclear program, the Yongbyon site, has likely been shut down since 2018 — and that no plutonium has been produced there in the past year.

Still, the information it’s able to get about the program is “declining” because the agency’s been locked out of the hermit nation.

“Knowledge of the DPRK’s nuclear program is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining,” the report states.

 

September 3, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste project proposed near Carlsbad sees mixed response in final public hearing

September 3, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment