nuclear-news

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

Unacceptable suffering — Beyond Nuclear International

Ban treaty brings commitment to restitution for atomic victims

Unacceptable suffering — Beyond Nuclear International

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nukes Are Selfish Savagery! — limitless life

Nukes Are Illegal, What Now? FacebookTwitterPinterestRedditShare Let’s not forget: We are standing at the edge of global change. I believe what’s visible in this fleeting moment is our own evolution. Let’s not let this moment flicker and die, to be replaced, with a despairing shrug, by business as usual. Donald Trump shattered the centrist political […]

Nukes Are Selfish Savagery! — limitless life

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Global Town Hall on Nuke, etc. — limitless life

Peace Magazine and Project Save the World Invite You to Our Next Monthly Global Town Hall Sunday, Jan. 31, 2:00 – 4:00 PM EST (Toronto Time)  https://zoom.us/j/9108970203 On the last Sunday of every month, we hold an open meeting on Zoom for activists worldwide who are addressing issues of militarism (especially nuclear weapons), global warming, […]

Global Town Hall on Nuke, etc. — limitless life

January 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Huge legacy of radioactive trash in UK, much of it already in Cumbria

Whitehaven News 30th January 2021,  CHRIS WHITESIDE County councillor for Egremont North & St Bees (Conservative)   Any consideration of the issue of nuclear waste in Cumbria
must start by recognising one basic fact. No matter how much some people
might wish it were otherwise, Britain already has thousands of tons of
low-level waste material, and a substantial amount of high-level nuclear
material, as a legacy of our existing and historical nuclear programmes.
And much of it is already in Cumbria.

Imagining that the tens of thousands
of cubic metres of nuclear material which is already here at sites like
Sellafield and the LLWR will somehow magically go away if you put up
posters demanding that there should be no nuclear waste in Cumbria or,
worse, try to sabotage any attempt to get a rational discussion going about
how we can most safely manage the nuclear waste which we already have by
vilifying anyone who takes part in a conversation about it, is not just
incredibly stupid but utterly irresponsible.

https://www.whitehavennews.co.uk/news/19051819.whitehaven-news-letters-nuclear-waste-years/

January 31, 2021 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes – deliberately left to our grandchildren – theme for February 2021

 

The nuclear lobby has found the perfect solution to shutting down reactors and dealing with radioactive trash now accumulating.  The answer is so simple – Do Nothing, really.

You just extend the operating licenses of old, cracked, tired nuclear reactors for many more decades –  100 years is the recommnded time, now.

That way, all today’s so-called ”responsible” authorities absolve themselves of all responsibility for those problem and outcomes.  And – it’s so much cheaper than taking responsibility!

 

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Christina's themes | 4 Comments

100 seconds to midnight: the dissonance and madness of our present horror

This is the essence of why the time we’re living in is an insane one, of why we’ve reached 100 seconds to midnight: the system can only think to react to the emergence of destabilizing factors by creating even more potential for destabilization. Whether it’s engaging in provocations against rival powers in reaction to the loss of a unipolar world, or driving down the population’s living standards even further in reaction to an economic crash, or reacting to the climate crisis by further engaging in military buildup even though the U.S. military is the world’s largest polluter, the system’s only solution is to move us even further towards our doom while telling us that these decisions are nothing but rational. It’s madness that’s presented to us as the only sensible path forward.

   100 seconds to midnight: the dissonance & madness of our present horror

By       29 Jan 21

Something feels bizarre about living in the current era, the era in which the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists just concluded that we’re metaphorically 100 seconds away from the extinction of humanity. This strange feeling has been present for a while now, going back to when the Bulletin’s “Doomsday Clock” reached 2 minutes to midnight in January of 2018 for the first time since 1953.

The Bulletin’s statement from this year on why we’re just 100 seconds away from annihilation cites the fact that “An extremely dangerous global failure to address existential threats”–“-what we called ‘the new abnormal’ in 2019”–“-tightened its grip in the nuclear realm in the past year, increasing the likelihood of catastrophe.” The new abnormal began creeping up in the middle of the last decade, when the U.S. empire reacted to its dwindling hegemony and the rise of its geopolitical rivals by effectively restarting the cold war. Following the beginning of Obama’s pivot to Asia at the beginning of the 2010s, where Washington began a campaign of military buildup against China in the Indo-Pacific, in 2014 Washington installed a fascist regime in Ukraine that started a proxy war with Russia.

Nuclear tensions between the great powers once again flared up, and in January of 2015 the Doomsday Clock was set at 3 minutes to midnight for the first time since 1984. As the threat of World War III continued to escalate during the next few years, with alarming skirmishes breaking out between the U.S. and Russia in Syria and Washington engaging in wild provocations against China and Iran, the clock was for the first time moved to 100 seconds to midnight in January of last year. Given the great risks of further geopolitical tensions the Eurasia Group anticipates for this next year, which will be spurred on by the projected2021 crash of the dollar, it will surprise me if the clock gets further away from midnight next year.

Of course, the clock is only an arbitrary marker of where the global conditions are perceived to be at, one which can give us a kind of comfort purely because of how it provides our psyches with such a simplistic numerical assessment. What more reliably creates psychological horror is examining the practical details behind why the risk of a third world war is now unprecedented. We can intellectually understand the great-power conflict risk estimates that I’ve mentioned and the surface-level causes behind them that I’ve described, but we can’t grasp what they mean without looking at exactly which forces are shaping this historical nightmare. Continue reading

January 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Fukushima businesses struggling to stay afloat despite government help

Rokutaro Kurihara, managing director of a company that runs a shopping complex in Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture, is struggling to keep his business afloat.

Jan 29, 2021

Commercial complexes built as part of revitalization projects in areas affected by the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011 are struggling to stay afloat.

Faced with difficulties due to swelling costs, business operators often turn to local municipalities for financial aid to help them overcome crises. But the financial struggles will not end soon, given that only a portion of the residents who evacuated from the disaster-stricken areas have returned or are expected to.

Those outlets are now facing a testing moment that will determine whether they can continue with their businesses.

A small village in Fukushima Prefecture located northwest of the power plant, Iitate, which was issued evacuation orders after the nuclear disaster, built the commercial complex Michi no Eki Madeikan for ¥1.4 billion. However, business at the commercial building, which has a convenience store and a vegetable stand, has always been touch and go.

Madei Garden Village Iitate runs the business using a ¥33 million payment from the local government. But even with those funds, the operator saw a deficit of ¥9 million in fiscal 2017 and ¥8 million the following year.

Faced with a severe financial crisis, the company was forced to seek financial aid worth ¥35 million from Iitate in 2018.

After revising its business strategy, the company managed to reduce running costs and decrease the deficit to ¥300,000 in fiscal 2019.

“We are expecting a profit in fiscal 2020. I’ll be dealing with the accumulating debt as a priority,” says Rokutaro Kurihara, the company’s managing director.

Kurihara’s company is among those operating at 12 commercial facilities in 10 towns in areas that used to be designated as no-go zones, including the town of Namie and Tamura city.

Since most of the stores and shops shut down when residents evacuated from the region, local governments have built them for returning residents.

But many of them share the same fate as Kurihara’s.

In the town of Tomioka, Sakura Mall Tomioka, which houses various shops including a grocery store, operates with support from the the town and Fukushima Prefecture, covering its yearly losses worth ¥22 million.

But an official at the municipal government warns that the town will need to raise its rent after the prefecture’s subsidy program ends at the end of fiscal 2021.

Not all tenants deal with financial stress. However, businesses that continue to attract customers worry they may lose them to competitors outside the region.

The operator of Kokonara Shopping Street, a shopping complex that opened in 2018 in the town of Naraha, believes that they cannot meet customers’ needs because they do not have much space. Recent estimates show that cashiers at the center’s 10 stores, including a supermarket and a retailer with daily necessities, served as many as 570,000 customers in fiscal 2019.

But Shigeki Nemoto, who runs a supermarket at the Kokonara shopping facility with limited products available, says he may lose his customers to a nearby, larger shopping complex.

“Our shop is really small and we are struggling to source the product lineup we would like to offer to respond to the needs of our customers,” Nemoto said, adding that he had to reduce its range of meat and fish products.

His store is about 500 square meters, about half the floor space of an average supermarket.

“The neighboring city of Iwaki has a supermarket twice as big as ours with a floor space of 1,000 square meters and we’re worried that we’ll lose out to the competition,” Nemoto added.

Meanwhile, shops operating in areas where the government-run revitalization projects are ongoing depend on workers engaged in the projects for their business.

For instance, Minamisoma city built the only supermarket in its Odaka district, which had its no-go status lifted in 2016, for ¥240 million in 2018.

But the daily number of customers now hovers at around 250.

Many workers for the government reconstruction project visit the store in the afternoon or in the evening to purchase take-out meals or daily necessities. But when the reconstruction project finishes, those workers will disappear as well.

“Operators in the area should invest more in mobile catering and delivery services to boost potential demand and lure former residents back,” a Minamisoma official said.

This section features topics and issues from the Tohoku region covered by the Kahoku Shimpo, the largest newspaper in Tohoku. The original article was published Dec. 30.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/01/29/national/fukushima-business-struggles/

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

Newly found Fukushima plant high radiation to delay cleanup process

This Jan. 31, 2014, image released by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings shows the aerial view of the No. 3 reactor, with its roof blown off and shield plug (circle in the middle) exposed, in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan. A draft investigation report into the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, adopted by Japanese nuclear regulators Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, says it has detected dangerously high levels of radioactive contamination at two of the three reactors, adding to concerns about decommissioning challenges.

Newly found Fukushima plant contamination may delay cleanup

January 27, 2021

TOKYO – A draft investigation report into the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown, adopted by Japanese nuclear regulators Wednesday, says it has detected dangerously high levels of radioactive contamination at two of the three reactors, adding to concerns about decommissioning challenges.

The interim report said data collected by investigators showed that the sealing plugs sitting atop the No. 2 and 3 reactor containment vessels were as fatally contaminated as nuclear fuel debris that had melted and fell to the bottom of the reactors following the March 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

The experts said the bottom of the sealed plug, a triple-layered concrete disc-shaped lid 12 meters (39 feet) in diameter sitting atop the primary containment vessel, is coated with high levels of radioactive Cesium 137.

The No. 1 reactor lid was less contaminated, presumably because the plug was slightly knocked out of place and disfigured due to the impact of the hydrogen explosion, the report said.

The experts measured radiation levels at multiple locations inside the three reactor buildings, and examined how radioactive materials moved and safety equipment functioned during the accident. They also said venting attempt at Unit 2 to prevent reactor damage never worked, and that safety measures and equipment designs still need to be examined.

The lid contamination does not affect the environment as the containment vessels are enclosed inside the reactor buildings. The report did not give further details about if or how the lid contamination would affect the decommissioning progress.

Nuclear Regulation Commission Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa called the findings “extremely serious” and said they would make melted fuel removal “more difficult.” He said figuring out how to remove the lids would be a major challenge.

Removing an estimated 900 tons of melted fuel debris from three reactors is a daunting task expected to take decades, and officials have not been able to describe exactly when or how it may end.

The Fukushima plant was to start removing melted fuel debris from Unit 2, the first of three reactors, later this year ahead of the 10th anniversary of the accident. But in December, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the government announced a delay until 2022. They said the development of a robotic arm for the debris removal — a joint project with Britain — has been delayed due to the pandemic.

Under the current plan, a remote-controlled robotic arm will be inserted from the side of the reactor to reach the molten fuel mixed with melted parts and concrete floor of the reactor. Eventually the lids also would have to be removed, but their contamination is a major setback.

The team of experts entered areas inside the three reactors that were previously highly contaminated and inaccessible after radiation levels came down significantly. They’re seeking data and evidence before they get lost in the cleanup.

Massive radiation from the reactors has caused some 160,000 people to evacuate from around the plant. Tens of thousands are still unable to return home.

https://www.local10.com/tech/2021/01/27/newly-found-fukushima-plant-contamination-may-delay-cleanup/

High radiation facilities inside Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant may delay decommissioning process

January 27, 2021

Ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a panel of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Tuesday released a draft interim report on the accident investigation, which resumed in September 2019. The on-site investigation found that there were areas with extremely high radiation levels near the fifth floor of the reactor buildings of Units 2 and 3. This may lead to a delay in the decommissioning process of the plant.

According to the draft report, high levels of contamination were found at the bottom of a concrete lid called a shield plug, located at the top of the reactor containment vessel. Radioactive cesium there was estimated to be giving off about 20 to 40 petabecquerels of radiation at Unit 2 and about 30 petabecquerels at Unit 3. (The prefix peta indicates 1,000 trillion.)

In terms of radiation dosage, this is likely to be equivalent to several sieverts per hour. If a person were to enter the area, a fatal dose would accumulate in just a few hours.

TEPCO plans to first remove the nuclear fuel debris, which is a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and other materials, from the Unit 2 reactor. Depending on the removal route, it may be necessary to remove the shield plug. The removal of this structure is expected to take a long time, not only because of the high radiation levels but also because the shield plug weighs a total of 465 tons.

Looking back at what had happened during the crisis at the plants in 2011, the panel also examined the effects of venting, or releasing steam containing radioactive materials into the atmosphere to reduce pressure, which was done to prevent damage to the containment vessels. As a result of examining the piping and other parts, the panel found that steam flowed back into the reactor buildings of Units 1 and 3, where the venting was successful.

They also analyzed the TV footage from that time and noted that there had been multiple hydrogen explosions at the Unit 3 reactor

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0007096152

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima College robot wins top prize for nuclear decommissioning

The Mehikari robot developed by a team at Fukushima College

Jan 25, 2021

Fukushima – A robot created by a team from a technology college in northeastern Japan recently won the top prize in a robotics competition that had the theme of decommissioning the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The Mehikari robot of Fukushima College earned praise for its speed as well as ability to employ different methods to retrieve mock debris similar in size to that at the plant, the site of a nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

The robot completed the set task in about 2 minutes, the fastest time, in the annual competition aimed at fostering future engineers that was attended by students from 13 colleges belonging to the National Institute of Technology.

Sunday’s competition was the fifth of its kind. Students in 14 teams from the colleges across the country such as in Osaka and Kumamoto prefectures were tasked this year with developing robots to remove fuel debris from the plant, organizers said.

“I’ll be happy if our robot is useful on the ground,” said Hiroha Toba, the 18-year-old leader of the winning team.

The robots were required to pass through a 4-meter-long pipe, land on a pedestal, collect balls representing fuel debris situated 3.2 meters below and return within 10 minutes.

The robots had to be remotely operable without a direct line of sight.

Also according to the contest rules, radio waves could not penetrate certain sections of the field, resembling the real-life situation in which the Fukushima No. 1 plant is covered by thick concrete walls. This meant the teams had to transmit directions by wire when the robots passed those areas.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the teams submitted videos of the robots’ performance to the organizers in advance. They were evaluated based on speed, accuracy and originality of retrieval method.

The competition was mainly organized by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and had the support of the education ministry and other entities.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/01/25/national/science-health/fukushima-college-robot-wins-top-prize/?fbclid=IwAR2SN5pm5gty_CT4Ltz7FvqZfXN0E-GP13rHn-2-l-xPFEfS8HdehYnuIYI

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-classmates reunite at school abandoned after Fukushima disaster

Old friends Nozomi Kaminagakura (L) and Mari Yamamoto hug each other in a schoolyard before parting on Jan. 9, 2021

Jan 24, 2021

Namie – “Take care. Let’s meet again,” Nozomi Kaminagakura and Mari Yamamoto said repeatedly as they hugged in a corner of a weed-strewn schoolyard in the town of Namie in Fukushima Prefecture that is still partly under an evacuation order.

The friends were neighbors until they were forced to leave their hometown when they were in the fourth grade because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster triggered by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan.

They smiled for most of the day when they visited Namie in January but became tearful as they were about to part. Wearing kimono, they had attended a coming-of-age ceremony in the town earlier in the day.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, seats at the ceremony were spaced apart and the participants only took off their face masks for the commemorative photograph. There was no reunion party afterward.

Former classmates visit Karino Elementary School

Eleven former classmates along with their families visited the abandoned building of Karino Elementary School, which is set to be demolished.

In contrast to the bleak schoolyard, the young adults were cheerful as they shared stories of their school days and took photos.

Their parents also looked delighted to see them enjoying their reunion.

“Where do you live now?” they asked one another. One even asked, “Do you really remember me?”

It was their first return to the school together since the disaster forced all the residents of the town to evacuate.

“We were separated without any time to prepare,” one of them said.

Former classmates take a photo in the schoolyard. As many as 11 of them gathered for the first time in almost a decade

Kaminagakura, now a university student in Sendai in adjacent Miyagi Prefecture, said the area where she and Yamamoto used to lived remains basically off limits because radiation levels are still high.

Affectionately calling each other “Non-chan” and “Mari-chan,” they played almost every day back then, at a nearby river in the summer and sledding on a hill in the winter.

“I never thought we’d be unable to see each other,” Kaminagakura said, adding she had expected to return to the town after a short time.

“It’s not the Namie I knew,” she said.

At the school, however, she was able to freely converse with her former classmates, even after such a long time. “I was glad they haven’t changed.”

Minori Yoshida, who attends a technical school in Yokohama, near Tokyo, was forced to evacuate in the midst of moving to her new home in the town. The house remains vacant.

“I feel at ease whenever I come to Namie,” said Yoshida, who was visiting for the first time in three years with her family, who now live in the city of Fukushima.

When asked why she feels so, Yoshida said, “Because it is in the countryside? I have mixed feelings though, looking at the scenery now.”

About her friends from Namie, she said, “They are special to me.”

The 11 young adults stand side-by-side for a group photo in front of a school building to be demolished.

It might be the last time the former classmates could gather at the school before its demolition. They took a group photo in front of the school building.

A banner placed on the three-story building’s balcony read, “Forever in the hearts of Karino pupils. Thank you, Karino Elementary School.”

The 11 former classmates were slow to leave, even though the sun was setting, and kept repeating, “Take care. Let’s meet again.”

Nozomi Kaminagakura (L) and Mari Yamamoto in kimono pose in the schoolyard.

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/01/adea7d939fd4-feature-ex-classmates-reunite-at-school-abandoned-after-fukushima-disaster.html?fbclid=IwAR25P5T1dY0WWM4XnJR9rnflDH_IoukuUKArhqP_B2vsvbBARgdMyvabeu8

January 30, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

All-Africa Conference of Churches welcomes Nuclear Prohibition Treaty https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2021-01/aacc-treaty-nuclear-weapon-proliferation-africa-church.htmlThe All-Africa Conference of Churches salutes the recent coming into force of the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), hailing it as further inspiration to work for a nuclear-weapons-free world.

By Fr. Benedict Mayaki, SJ  The first-ever Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) came into force on 22 January 2021 after years of negotiations. The Treaty, welcomed by many as a step towards ridding the world of nuclear weapons, was signed four years after it was adopted by the UN in 2017.

Hailing this recent development, the All-Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), in a statement on Tuesday, expressed its support, together with the rest of the ecumenical community, for the Treaty which now becomes international law.

The ecumenical body said that the Treaty “ushers in the possibilities of heralding a new world free of the threats and tensions that have been characterized by the battle to develop and hold nuclear weapons.”

No safe hands for nuclear weapons

In the Tuesday statement, AACC stated its belief “that the very holding and potential threat of use of nuclear weapons is immoral,” adding that it looks forward to the day “when the world will be freed of these weapons permanently.”

“There are no safe hands for these weapons,” added AACC. “The accidental or deliberate detonation of a nuclear weapon would cause severe, long-lasting and far-reaching harm on all aspects of our lives and our environment throughout the world.”

At the same time, these technologies are “part of structures and systems that bring about great suffering and destruction” and have been the cause of “major tensions and threats of widespread devastation.”

TPNW: inspiration for a nuclear-weapon-free world

In the wake of the entry into force of the Treaty, AACC said that at a time when the world desperately needs fresh hope, the TPNW inspires us to work towards fully eliminating “the threat of nuclear weapons, and to create conditions for peace, justice and well-being.”

AACC also pointed out that the treaty addresses the disproportionate impact of nuclear weapons on women and indigenous peoples, as well as the “importance of victim assistance and healing environmental harms in a groundbreaking way.”

Citing the example of the hibakusha – survivors of the two nuclear attacks launched at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II – AACC noted that their courage and perseverance serve as “the inspiration, guidance and moral foundation” in the quest for a world without nuclear weapons.

Appeal to States

Highlighting that none of the nine nuclear global powers, and many countries with defense pacts with them have signed or ratified the Treaty, AACC pointed out that a lot of work still remains to be done.  As at its entry into force, the TPNW was signed by 86 countries and ratified by 51.

n this regard, AACC appealed to the ecumenical global community to make its contribution, in whichever way possible, to participate in the global work for peace, justice and respect for life.

Concretely, the ecumenical body is urging all States to sign and ratify the TPNW, as well as join the first meeting of the State parties scheduled for next year. AACC further calls for decisive action “to strengthen the power of the TPNW upon its entry into force, and to work for peace, cooperation and common security.”

“We must not be discouraged at the slow pace, but become even more determined to push for a better world,” AACC said. “This is part of our mission and we know God is on our side.”

AACC

Founded in Kampala, Uganda, in 1963, the AAAC is an ecumenical association that today has 173 member churches present in 40 African countries, representing over 120 million Christians on the continent. Its headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya.

January 30, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, Religion and ethics, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Why nuclear power is a bad way to balance renewable energy  


Why nuclear power is a bad way to balance renewable energy  
https://100percentrenewableuk.org/why-nuclear-power-is-a-bad-way-to-balance-renewable-energy
David Toke, Ian Fairlie and Herbert Eppel from 100percentrenewableuk discuss how nuclear power effectively switches off wind and solar power and how a 100percent renewable energy system is much better for the UK than one involving nuclear power

The Government, backed by a lot of public policy reports paid for by pro-nuclear interests, constantly pushes out the view that nuclear power is ‘essential’ to balancing wind and solar power.

But what they never mention is the massive waste of renewables that occurs in such a scenario.

Under the scenarios planned by the Government nuclear power is paid very high prices to generate power even when there is excess electricity, which pushes renewables to close down.

The Government also refuses to undertake serious investigations of how a system that uses excess renewables to create short and long term storage is a much better way of organising our energy needs rather than wasting more money on building nuclear power statitons.

If you agree the aims of 100percentrenewableuk please join the discussion via our email group.

 

January 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Avoiding a ‘Ghastly Future’: Hard Truths on the State of the Planet

Avoiding a ‘Ghastly Future’: Hard Truths on the State of the Planet, Yale Environment 360
BY CARL SAFINA • JANUARY 27, 2021

A group of the world’s top ecologists have issued a stark warning about the snowballing crisis caused by climate change, population growth, and unchecked development. Their assessment is grim, but big-picture societal changes on a global scale can still avert a disastrous future.

Within the lifetime of anyone born at the start of the Baby Boom, the human population has tripled. Has this resulted in a human endeavor three times better — or one-third as capable of surviving? In the 1960s, humans took about three-quarters of what the planet could regenerate annually. By 2016 this rose to 170 percent, meaning that the planet cannot keep up with human demand, and we are running the world down.

“In other words,” say 17 of the world’s leading ecologists in a stark new perspective on our place in life and time, “humanity is running an ecological Ponzi scheme in which society robs nature and future generations to pay for boosting incomes in the short term.” Their starkly titled article, “Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future,” reads less as an argument than as a rain of asteroids encountered in the course of flying blind on a lethal trajectory. The authors’ stated goal is not to dispirit readers. “Ours is not a call to surrender,” they write, “we aim to provide leaders with a realistic ‘cold shower’ of the state of the planet that is essential for planning to avoid a ghastly future.”

Put on your shower cap and step into the cold. Humans have altered about 70 percent of Earth’s land surface and ocean. …….

Referring to the loss of living diversity and abundance, the authors note: “The mainstream is having difficulty grasping the magnitude of this loss, despite the steady erosion of the fabric of human civilization.” But I think the problem is that the fabric of human civilization has been built and fueled precisely by causing erosion of the living world. The pain of other living things is seldom humanly felt, their interests seldom considered, their intrinsic values discounted. (I am still asked “why we should care” about whether even iconic creatures such as right whales, for example, vanish forever.)

Worth noting is that the authors are overwhelmingly ecologists. As am I. This may account for their perceiving a grim future versus the rosy future offered by techno-optimists. Ecologists understand the world as interdependent relationships among diverse living and non-living systems…….

Ecologists understand that building an ever-larger human enterprise has resulted from putting more of the world through a macerator at the expense of the rest of life on Earth and generations unborn. On a planet that is finite, such an enterprise faces inevitable limits.  ……

Most economists and politicians catastrophically confuse growth and improvement as synonymous…….

If there is one silver bullet, that bullet is full citizenship and empowerment of women……..

The point of “Avoiding a Ghastly Future” is that we all must recognize the enormity of these problems. But the authors believe that reality can be faced without sowing “disproportionate” fear and despair. They say the necessary choices will entail “difficult conversations about population growth” and “the necessity of dwindling but more equitable standards of living.”…….. https://e360.yale.edu/features/avoiding-a-ghastly-future-hard-truths-on-the-state-of-the-planet

 

January 30, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Russia extends key New START nuclear treaty

Russia extends key New START nuclear treaty, DW, 29 Jan 21, With only days to spare, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on the law that would keep the Obama-era nuclear treaty in place. The move follows a phone call with US President Joe Biden.

Moscow agreed to extend the only remaining nuclear arms treaty with the United States for another five years, with Russian President Vladimir Putin signing the move into law on Friday. The decision was previously approved by Russian lawmakers.

The New START treaty limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads for both the US and Russia. Both sides can only have up to 1,550 ready for use on intercontinental missiles and heavy bomber bases. It also imposes various other restrictions on the two countries’ respective arsenals. According to US data cited by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists last year, the US had 1,373 deployed warheads to Russia’s 1,326. The deal was set to expire next week.

Putin talked to US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, with the two leaders agreeing to keep the New START in place. The US does not require congressional approval to extend the deal. …………

No more ‘Open Skies’ for US and Russia

Last November, the Trump administration said it was pulling the US out of the “Open Skies” treaty. The accord, which involves 34 states, is a trust-building measure that allows countries to fly unarmed aircraft over military facilities of other signatories for surveillance purposes. Earlier this month, Moscow said they would also abandon the deal.

With Biden taking the reigns in the White House last week, the climate seems to be shifting. Both sides have recently signaled they are willing to work on arms control, including non-nuclear threats. https://www.dw.com/en/russia-extends-key-new-start-nuclear-treaty/a-56388218

January 30, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Half a £billion here, half a £billion there – the costs of Hinkley Point C go up again

NFLA 28th Jan 2021, Half a billion here, half a billion there – the costs of Hinkley Point C
go up again, just as Hitachi finally gives up on Wylfa B.

The UK & Ireland .Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) note with little surprise the announcement from EDF Energy that the costs of building the Hinkley Point C has gone up again, now to an eye-watering £23 billion.

It also comes as the Japanese nuclear utility Hitachi formally withdraws its interest from the possible development of the Wylfa B site, criticising the UK Government’s lack of support in its decision.

https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/costs-hinkley-point-c-up-again-hitachi-finally-gives-up-wylfa-b/

January 30, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment