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Illegal and opposed — Beyond Nuclear International

 

Besides threatening public health, safety, and the environment, evading federal law to license the ISP facility would also impact the public financially. Transferring title and liability for irradiated fuel from the nuclear utilities that generated it to DOE would mean that federal taxpayers would have to pay many billions of dollars for so-called “interim” storage of the waste. That’s on top of the many tens of billions of dollars that ratepayers and taxpayers have already paid to fund a permanent geologic repository that hasn’t yet materialized.

Beyond Nuclear files suit to stop massive radioactive waste dump  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/02/15/illegal-and-opposed/

From Beyond Nuclear staff. Beyond Nuclear has filed suit in federal court to prevent the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) from licensing a massive “consolidated interim storage facility” (CISF) for highly radioactive waste in Andrews County, West Texas.

In its Petition for Review filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Beyond Nuclear asked the Court to dismiss the NRC licensing proceeding for a permit to build and operate a CISF proposed by Interim Storage Partners (ISP), a business consortium. ISP plans to use the facility to store 40,000 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated fuel generated by nuclear reactors across the U.S., (also euphemistically known as “used” or “spent” fuel), amounting to nearly half of the nation’s current inventory.

The irradiated fuel would be housed on the surface of the land, on the site of an existing facility for storage and disposal of so-called “low-level radioactive waste” (LLRW). The LLRW facility is owned and operated by Waste Control Specialists (WCS). WCS and Orano (formerly Areva) comprise ISP. ISP’s CISF is located about 0.37 miles from the New Mexico border, and very near the Ogallala Aquifer, an essential source of irrigation and drinking water across eight High Plains states. 

The Beyond Nuclear petition charges that orders issued by the NRC in 2018 and 2020 violate federal law by contemplating that the U.S. government will become the owner of the irradiated fuel during transportation to and storage at the ISP facility. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, the government is precluded from taking title to irradiated fuel unless and until a repository is licensed and operating. No such repository has been licensed in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) most recent estimate for the opening of a geologic repository is the year 2048 at the earliest.

In its 2020 decision, in which the NRC rejected challenges to the license application, the NRC Commissioners admitted that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act would indeed be violated if title to irradiated fuel were transferred to the federal government so it could be stored at the ISP facility.  But they refused to remove the proposed license provision which contemplates federal ownership of the irradiated fuel.

Instead, they ruled that approving ISP’s application would not directly involve NRC in a violation of federal law – according to the NRC, that violation would occur only if DOE acted on the approved license – and therefore they could approve it, despite the fact the  provision is illegal. The NRC Commissioners also noted with approval that “ISP acknowledges that it hopes Congress will change the law to allow DOE to enter storage contracts prior to the availability of a repository” (December 17, 2020 order, page 5).

But the petition contends that the NRC may not approve license provisions that violate federal law in the hope the law will change. “This NRC decision flagrantly violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which prohibits an agency from acting contrary to the law as issued by Congress and signed by the President,” said Mindy Goldstein, an attorney for Beyond Nuclear.

“The Commission lacks a legal or logical basis for its rationale that it may issue a license with an illegal provision, in the hopes that ISP or the Department of Energy won’t complete the illegal activity it authorized. The buck must stop with the NRC,”  Goldstein said. Co-counsel Diane Curran stated, “Our claim is simple. The NRC is not above the law, nor does it stand apart from it.” Continue reading

February 15, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Continued use of nuclear energy brings pollution, cancers and birth defects

the continued use of nuclear energy that has forced us into this Faustian bargain in the name of mitigating climate change, is both unnecessary and downright harmful.
A Grim Reality.   https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/02/15/a-grim-reality/, Living longterm in radioactively contaminated areas damages our health, By Cindy Folkers, 15 Feb 21,

A growing body of evidence supports a grim reality: that living in radioactively contaminated areas over multiple years results in harmful health impacts, particularly during pregnancy.

This is borne out in a recent study by Anton V. Korsakov, Emilia V. Geger, Dmitry G. Lagerev, Leonid I. Pugach and Timothy A. Mousseau, that shows a higher frequency of birth defects amongst people living in Chernobyl-contaminated areas (as opposed to those living in areas considered uncontaminated) in the Bryansk region of Russia.

Because the industry and governments are pushing to spend more money on new nuclear reactors — or to keep the old ones running longer — they have been forced to come up with a deadly workaround to surmount the strongest argument against nuclear power: its potential for catastrophic accidents.

Even the nuclear industry and the governments willing to do its bidding understand that you cannot really clean up after a nuclear catastrophe. For example, in Japan, where the March 2011 nuclear disaster has left lands radioactively contaminated potentially indefinitely, there is an attempt to mandate that people return to live in these areas by claiming there are no “discernible” health impacts from doing so.

Bodies that are supposed to protect health and regulate the nuclear industry, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the International Commission on Radiological Protection and Nuclear Regulatory Commission are raising recommended public exposure limits, considering halting evacuations from radiation releases, and encouraging people to live on, and eat from, contaminated land. 

The public justification for continued nuclear energy use is, ostensibly, to address the  climate crisis. The reality is more likely a desperate last-ditch effort by the nuclear industry to remain relevant, while in some countries the nuclear energy agenda remains inextricably linked to nuclear weapon programs.

Forcing people to live on and consume produce grown from radioactively contaminated land is contrary to scientific evidence indicating that these practices harm humans and all animals, especially over the long-term. By the time these health impacts are unearthed, decades later, the false narratives of “harmless low radiation doses” and “no discernible impact” have solidified, covering up the painful reality that should be a touchstone informing our debate over nuclear power.

The recent joint study, whose implementation, says Korsakov, would not have happened without the support and efforts of co-author Mousseau, found that birth defects like polydactyly (having more than five fingers or toes), and multiple congenital malformations (including those that are appearing for the first time — called de novo), were “significantly higher… in newborns in regions with elevated radioactive, chemical and combined contamination.”

Uniquely, Korsakov also examines areas contaminated by both Chernobyl radioactivity and industrial chemicals. Multiple congenital malformations (MCM) were much higher in areas of combined contamination, indicating an additive and potentially synergistic effect between pollutants for these birth defects.

Congenital malformations (CM) are thought to originate in the first trimester of pregnancy and represent a main cause of global disease burden. They are considered “indicators of adverse factors in the environment,” including radioactive pollution, and can afflict numerous organs (heart, brain, lungs, bones, intestines) with physical abnormalities and metabolic disorders. Counted among these are clubfoot, hernias, heart and neural tube defects, cleft palate and lip, and Down syndrome.

CMs are the leading cause of infant mortality in many developed nations, accounting for 20% of U.S. infant deaths. For those living past infancy, the effects can be lifelong. While a number of CMs are obvious early in life, some may not be identified until later, even into adulthood. Countries of low- and middle-income are affected disproportionately.

In the Bryansk region of Russia, birth defects were examined over the 18-year period from 2000-2017. For areas contaminated with radiation alone, dose estimations from Chernobyl radiation (released from the 1986 nuclear catastrophe) ranged from 0.6 mSv to 2.1 mSv per year, while in areas contaminated with radiation and chemicals, dose ranges were 1.2 to 2.0 mSv per year.

As the Bryansk study authors point out, “[n]early all types of hereditary defects can be found at doses as low a [sic] 1–10 mSv indicating that current radiation risk models are inadequate for low dose environments.”

In comparison, Japan and the U.S. maintain that there is little risk to resettling or inhabiting areas contaminated by nuclear catastrophe where estimated doses would range from 5-20 mSv/year. Yet harm was found among Bryansk populations exposed to doses far lower than the much higher ones proclaimed “livable” by nuclear proponents.

One explanation for the disconnect between the expected and actual health effects is an underestimate of the impact of ingesting or inhaling manmade radioactive isotopes, particularly beta emitters, a large source of exposure following radiation releases from nuclear power catastrophes.

A number of these isotopes mimic nutrients that our bodies need such as calcium (radiostrontium) and potassium (radiocesium), so our body doesn’t know to avoid them. Of course, nuclear proponents recognize that economic recovery of polluted places will be difficult without being able to grow, sell and consume food that might be contaminated with isotopes that give off this radiation,.

Korsakov et al. point to yet another explanation for the disconnect — the assumption that dose reconstruction models properly fit all realistic exposures. When experts estimate doses they often do so without adequate knowledge of local culture and habits. Therefore, they fail to capture variations in exposure pathways, creating enormous errors in dose reconstruction. As a starting point, radiation science would be better served by directly measuring contamination levels where people actually live, play, breathe and eat.

But it seems dose models also fail to adequately represent the damage done to fetuses and neonates, not least because damage can be random (stochastic) making it difficult to predict. Stochastic health impacts include cancer and other genetic damage, and may be severe even at low doses.  During pregnancy, one hit from radiation could damage or destroy cells meant to form entire organs, making accounting for stochastic impacts during fetal development extremely important — especially as fetal tissue collects some radionuclides in greater amounts than maternal tissue.

Health impacts in the Bryansk region could be a result both of direct radiation exposure during pregnancy and of cumulative impact over a “series of generations (genetic load)” raising the specter of heritability of genetic damage. Past studies have indicated that radiation damage can be heritable — passing from parents to offspring; that living in environments of elevated natural background radiation will increase mutations and disease; that the ability to withstand radiation doses appears to diminish as continually-exposed generations progress; and that doses from catastrophic releases should be accounted for across generations, not just in the generation initially exposed.

These currently sparse, yet growing data, support long-held conclusions that humans do not differ significantly from every other animal and plant — they, too, suffer heritable damage from radiation.

The Korsakov study projects that overall, multiple congenital malformations will increase in the next few years in the contaminated regions. Increases in birth defects are occurring despite access to free in-depth medical exams for pregnant women residing in areas of higher contamination and, if warranted, pregnancy termination. Such access has apparently greatly decreased the number of stilbirths in the region, as did a similar program at the end of the 1990s in Belarus, the country which bore the brunt of radioactive Chernobyl contamination. But even with such programs, overall birth defects have increased in the contaminated areas in Russia.

So not only is it unhealthy to live in radiologically-contaminated areas, attempts at mitigating the effects, particularly those on pregnancy, have limited impact. Encouraging, or worse yet, forcing people to live in contaminated areas and eat contaminated food, is foolishly cruel (particularly to people of reproductive age who may face wrenching decisions about wanted pregnancies) and not in the interest of public health.

Meanwhile, the continued use of nuclear energy that has forced us into this Faustian bargain in the name of mitigating climate change, is both unnecessary and downright harmful.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, Reference, women | Leave a comment

Iran vows to limit nuclear inspections if partners fail to act

Iran vows to limit nuclear inspections if partners fail to act
Iran said it will scale back its comprehensive international nuclear inspections next week if world powers fail to move. 
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/15/fm-iran-will-limit-nuclear-inspections-if-others-fail-to-act, By Maziar Motamedi15 Feb 2021

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s government will have no choice but to limit nuclear inspections starting next week if the other parties to a 2015 nuclear deal do not cooperate with it, according to its foreign ministry.

Foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said President Hassan Rouhani’s government is obliged by law to stop voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol – which gives the UN’s nuclear watchdog more inspection authority – if US sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors are not lifted by February 21.

The nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers, but former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from it in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran. One year later, Iran gradually scaled back its commitments under the deal.

Iran has boosted uranium enrichment to 20 percent and is planning further breaches of its commitments in compliance with December legislation ratified by the conservative parliament.

The bill was passed quickly after top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near Tehran in late November in a sophisticated attack that Iran blames on Israel.

As Khatibzadeh also reiterated on Monday, nuclear inspectors will still have access to Iranian sites as part of the country’s commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“All these measures are easily reversible with the condition that other parties return to their commitments,” he said.

Iranian officials have said they will consider sanctions effectively lifted if Iran is able to freely sell its oil and receive its earnings through international banking channels.

But the foreign ministry spokesman said the Joe Biden administration is effectively continuing his predecessor’s hawkish policy on Iran by refusing to lift sanctions until Iran returns to commitments first.

“Unfortunately, the US is still moving based on the wrong approach of the previous administration and what is happening today is no different than before January 20,” Khatibzadeh said, citing the date Trump left office.

“Maximum pressure and crimes against the Iranian people and the disregard for international human rights still persist today.”

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Lancaster City Council will call on UK to join nuclear weapons ban

Lancaster City Council will call on government to join nuclear weapons ban
City councillors have voted in favour of writing to the government to urge it to sign up to the United Nation’s Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which came into force last month.
Lancaster Guardian,   By Nick Lakin, Monday, 15th February 2021, The motion was brought to council by Green Councillor Mandy Bannon, who represents Marsh ward.

South Lakeland and Lancaster District Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), has praised the council for its decision.

The motion brought to council was in response to a global campaign organised by the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017………

Lancaster will join 16 other UK councils who already support the ICAN campaign including Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Oxford, Norwich, and several authorities in London and Scotland…….https://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/news/uk-news/lancaster-city-council-will-call-government-join-nuclear-weapons-ban-3134898

February 15, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big trouble ahead, on regulation issues, for countries desperately trying to export small nuclear reactors

Regulatory Harmonization: An Upcoming Hurdle for SMRs?
Nuclear developers may have problems selling small modular reactors abroad.
GreenTech Media JASON DEIGN FEBRUARY 15, 2021  The nuclear industry is betting on small modular reactors (SMRs) to regain its competitive edge in markets such as the U.S. and Canada. Proponents say the reactors can be built cheaply once multiple units start being ordered and can even lead to lucrative export opportunities.There’s just one problem. If you build an SMR in the U.S., for example, you can’t sell it in Canada until Canadian regulators have approved the design. And the same goes for every other nuclear market in the world. Even nuclear insiders recognize that this could be a big issue for SMRs.

Regulatory harmonization has a lot to do with whether or not SMRs are going to be able to achieve cost competitiveness,” stated John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association, in an interview.

… national regulations cover everything from food safety to vehicle emissions.

But the hyper-safety-conscious nuclear industry takes regulation to a whole new level. The SMR manufacturer NuScale, for example, claims to have spent more than $500 million, plus 2 million labor hours, in the process of passing its U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Design Certification Application…….

National regulations are not just highly detailed but also wildly divergent. The differences between the regulatory regimes in the U.S. and the U.K., for example, reflect not just different jurisdictions but entirely different safety philosophies.

………  even a regulatory approval from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission won’t pass muster in the U.S.,,,,,   https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/regulatory-harmonization-an-upcoming-hurdle-for-smrs

February 15, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Iran foiled series of assassinations planned by Israel – says Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi

Iranian minister: Israel planned series of hits against officials in nuclear program  https://www.israelhayom.com/2021/02/15/iranian-minister-israel-planned-series-of-hits-against-officials-in-nuclear-program/By  Neta Bar

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi says his officers had “recognized and foiled” several alleged attempts by Israel to eliminate Iranian officials in the wake of last year’s hit on the country’s nuclear mastermind – who he says was killed by a disgruntled co-worker, not Israel.

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi claimed Sunday that Israel had planned to carry out “many operations” seeking to undermine the Islamic republic’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities, saying these efforts have ” all been prevented by Iranian security.”
These efforts, he told the state-run ISNA news agency, included planned assassinations of officials in the nuclear program, which were to follow the November elimination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, believed to be head of the Iranian military nuclear program.

“After Fakhrizadeh was killed, the Zionists attempted to carry out additional acts of terrorism and evil in the country, including more assassinations. These attempts were recognized and foiled by Iranian intelligence,” he said.

While the ayatollahs’ regime has consistently blamed Israel for Fakhrizadeh’s death, Alavi told ISNA on Sunday that the country’s nuclear mastermind was not, in fact, killed by Israel rather “by a disgruntled co-worker.”

“The man responsible for the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was fired from the intelligence service and left the country shortly before it [the hit] actually took place. He is now wanted by Iranian authorities,” the minister said.

He did not elaborate as to whether Iranian authorities think the suspect was working with Israel.

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Bulgaria prosecutes former energy ministers over mismanagement of Belene nuclear power project

Intellinews 13th Feb 2021, Bulgaria’s prosecution has filed charges against former energy ministers Rumen Ovcharov and Petar Dimitrov over mismanagement that led to a loss of around BGN500mn (€250mn) related to the project to build the Belene nuclear power plant, the Anticorruption Fund NGO said in a statement on February 12.

There was no official statement from the prosecution, but the NGO has published a photo of the documents. The accusations against the two former ministers and two former executive directors of the state-owned National Electricity Company (NEC), Mardik Papazyan and Lyubomir Velkov, were raised back in 2016 when the prosecution launched an investigation. It
claims the two former ministers failed to exercise sufficient control over the executive directors of NEK when they allowed them to sign a deal with Atomstroyexport on the nuclear power plant at Belene.

https://www.intellinews.com/bulgaria-s-prosecution-files-charges-against-former-ministers-over-belene-nuclear-project-202852/

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Bulgaria, Legal | Leave a comment

Dangerous nuclear waste casks should stay off roads and rails

Nor was the potential for cracked or corroded canisters to leak radiation studied
proposal only addresses a new destination for the high-level nuclear waste – not the removal and transport of the fuel storage canisters from nuclear power plants
Even transport casks with canisters that are not damaged will release radiation as they are transported from nuclear power plants to the storage facility, exposing populations along the transport routes in a majority of states and tribal communities in New Mexico to repeated doses of radiation.

Radioactive rail wreck,   Dangerous nuclear waste casks should stay off roads and rails ,  rails  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2020/07/12/radioactive-rail-wreck/,   Beyond Nuclear  By Laura Watchempino 12 July 20, 

If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) conclusion that it’s safe to move spent nuclear fuel from nuclear power plants across the country to a proposed storage facility in Lea County sounds vanilla-coated, it’s because the draft environmental impact statement for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility submitted by Holtec International did not address how the casks containing the spent fuel would be transported to New Mexico.

It’s likely the casks would be transported primarily by rail using aging infrastructure in need of constant repair. But our rail systems were not built to support the great weight of these transport casks containing thin-wall fuel storage canisters.

Nor was the potential for cracked or corroded canisters to leak radiation studied because an earlier NRC Generic EIS for the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel assumed damaged fuel storage canisters would be detected during an intermediary dry transfer system or a pool.

But Holtec’s proposal only addresses a new destination for the high-level nuclear waste – not the removal and transport of the fuel storage canisters from nuclear power plants to New Mexico.

Even transport casks with canisters that are not damaged will release radiation as they are transported from nuclear power plants to the storage facility, exposing populations along the transport routes in a majority of states and tribal communities in New Mexico to repeated doses of radiation.

Other issues not considered in the draft EIS were the design life of the thin-wall canisters encasing the nuclear fuel rods and faulty installation at reactor sites like San Onofre, or the self-interest of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance in using the land it acquired for a consolidated interim storage site.

Thin-wall canisters cannot be inspected for cracks and the fuel rods inside are not retrievable for inspection or monitoring without destroying the canister. NRC does not require continuous monitoring of the storage canisters for pressure changes or radiation leaks. The fuel rods inside the canisters could go critical, or result in an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction, if water enters the canisters through cracks, admits both Holtec and the NRC. None of us are safe if any canister goes critical.

Yet a site-specific storage application like Holtec’s should have addressed NRC license requirements for leak testing and monitoring, as well as the quantity and type of material that will be stored at the site, such as low burnup nuclear fuel and high burnup fuel.

Irradiated nuclear fuel is safer (but not safe) stored at the reactor site rather than transported thousands of miles to New Mexico. (Image: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

With so many deficiencies in the draft EIS, a reasonable alternative is to leave this dangerous radioactive nuclear waste at the nuclear plants that produced it in dry cask storage rather than multiply the risk by transporting thousands of containers that could be damaged across many thousands of miles and decades to southeastern New Mexico, then again to a permanent repository.

Interim storage of spent nuclear fuel at existing nuclear plant sites is already happening – there are 65 sites with operating reactors in the United States and dry cask storage is licensed at 35 of these sites in 24 states. But since the thin-wall canisters storing the fuel rods are at risk for major radioactive releases, they should be replaced with thick-walled containers that can be monitored and maintained. The storage containers should be stored away from coastal waters and flood plains in hardened buildings.

Attempting to remove this stabilized nuclear waste from where it is securely stored across hundreds or thousands of miles through our homelands and backyards to a private storage facility also raises some thorny liability issues, since the United States will then be relieved of overseeing the spent nuclear fuel in perpetuity.

The states and nuclear plants that want to send us their long-lived radioactive waste will also be off the hook, leaving New Mexico holding a dangerously toxic bag without any resources to address the gradual deterioration of man-made materials or worse, a catastrophic event. It’s a win/win, however, for Holtec International and the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance.

Ironically, just a few years ago, the US Environmental Protection Agency had expressed opposition to mass transportation of another kind of radioactive waste. In a classic example of environmental injustice, the EPA balked at removing uranium mine waste on the Navajo Nation, because, it said, “Off-site disposal, because of the amount of waste in and around these areas, means possibly multiple years of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of trucks going in and out of the community and driving for miles”.

The agency told the affected communities, during discussion about digging up the uranium mine waste and transporting it to a licensed repository in different states outside the Navajo Nation, that this option, also the Nation’s preference, was the most expensive. But now New Mexico is the destination for precisely the reverse, with hundreds and thousands of transports from different states coming to deposit the country’s nuclear waste site radioactive debris on Native soil.

Laura Watchempino is with the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment/Pueblo of Acoma. A version of this article first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal and is republished with kind permission of the author

February 15, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Canada’s nuclear waste storage ”“cannot and will not go forward without the informed and willing consent of potential host communities”

Consent will be key to nuclear waste storage, The Chronicle Journal, BY CARL CLUTCHEY, NORTH SHORE BUREAU,   15 Feb 21, The incoming executive in charge of overseeing site selection regarding a potential underground storage facility for spent nuclear-fuel rods says consultation with affected neighbouring communities will be paramount.The potential facility “cannot and will not go forward without the informed and willing consent of potential host communities,” Lise Morton said on Jan. 29, in a Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) news release………

One of two sites remaining in Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s search for a potential underground storage facility will permanently house three million spent nuclear-fuel rods.

One candidate site is in South Bruce in southwestern Ontario near an existing nuclear station; the other is located about 35 kilometres west of Ignace, south of Highway 17 and on the traditional lands of Wabigoon Lake First Nation.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization wants to announce a site for its so-called deep geological repository by 2023.

The facility, which would cost $23 billion to build, would be operational by 2035…..https://www.chroniclejournal.com/news/local/consent-will-be-key-to-nuclear-waste-storage/article_b238ff5e-62ad-11eb-a2e8-9f1762ad35bd.html

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa omits mention of nuclear in his State of the Nation Address

Experts speculate on meaning of Ramaphosa’s nuclear omission in SONA https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/experts-speculate-on-meaning-of-ramaphosas-nuclear-omission-in-sona-fe6bd6f4-15da-496d-88b7-0009b080661c

By Mwangi 15 Feb 21, Githahu Cape Town – Energy experts and commentators are speculating on the the significance of the omission of any mention of nuclear energy by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address, with one suggesting this might be a sign that the government may have dropped its commitment to the nuclear power option.

In his speech on Thursday night, Ramaphosa said: “The fourth priority intervention of the recovery plan is to rapidly expand energy-generation capacity.

“Over the last year, we have taken action to urgently and substantially increase generation capacity in addition to what Eskom generates. The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) will soon be announcing the successful bids for 2 000 megawatts of emergency power.

“Government will soon be initiating the procurement of an additional 11 800 megawatts of power from renewable energy, natural gas, battery storage and coal in line with the Integrated Resource Plan 2019.”

Mark Swilling, Distinguished Professor of sustainable development at the School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, said: “It is significant that nuclear wasn’t mentioned. It’s not like government forgot about nuclear.

“The DMRE has after all been pushing nuclear power very hard. What is more likely is that the department failed to get its way, and that can only be a good thing, as nuclear is expensive and risky, especially when there are cheaper alternatives.

“What the president announced is a very good start, but not enough. Instead of the procurement of an additional 11 800 megawatts, what we need is at least 20 000MW if we are to be free of load shedding by 2025.

“There is a problem if the 11 800 includes coal because it’s not as though you can build a new coal mine. Nobody is funding them anymore. Around the world even new coal stations are shutting down. The 11 800MW should be strictly from renewables.”

Executive director of the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (Safcei), Francesca de Gasparis, said: “The president’s speech was silent on nuclear power, yet we know from recent developments that the government has been pushing on with its nuclear plans, despite more nuclear not being needed and being one of the most costly electricity generation options.

“In terms of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which lays out our energy choices, this risky and outdated technology is not even identified as a necessary part of the solution to the country’s ongoing energy crisis. Renewable energy is significantly quicker to install and a more cost-effective choice.”

The Climate Justice Charter Movement lobby group said in a statement: “The economic recovery plan calls for more off-shore extraction of oil and gas. If the president is serious about the climate crisis he would make it clear that nuclear energy plans are also off the national agenda. In this context, we would have taken his climate change commission more seriously.”

February 15, 2021 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Nuclear news – week to 15 February

 

The Julian Assange extradition case is back in the news, As Joe Biden pushes for extradition,   What did we really expect from a Biden win?   I am reminded of an old English comedian, who explained America’s political parties:

Well the Republican Party is the same as our Conservatives, whereas the Democratic Party is the same as our Conservatives

In nuclear news,  Japan is alerted by a 7.3m  earthquake all too close to Fukushima nuclear plant wreck.   The systemic corruption in the industry is highlighted this week,, with the continuing saga of political crookedness in Ohio.

CLIMATE  –   the role of methane in global heating, – the Arctic, and USA’s leaking natural gas.

Some bits of good news  – 10 Positive COVID Updates From Around the World – 2021 is Looking Brighter.

‘Ecocide’ proposal aiming to make environmental destruction an international crime.

The real value of the nuclear ban treaty.

Drone swarms: coming (sometime) to a war near you. Just not today.

UK. 

USA. 

CANADA. Even a pro nuclear enthusiast admits that Small Nuclear Reactors cause toxic radioactive wastes.

ASIA.  No nukes in Asia…or anywhere.  New types of computer malaware target nuclear facilities.

JAPAN.   Powerful magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolts Fukushima area.  Tremors continue in northeast Japan.  Leak at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant a concern after  Earthquake.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o51cN-oxm0o  Court orders Tokyo Electric Power Company pay ¥600 million to 271 plaintiffs.   Fukushima to Triple Wind Power Generation .

RUSSIA.  Crimea to demolish dangerous, (and never operational), nuclear power station.  Despite punishment by the government, Russia’s ‘‘Eco-Defense’ has helped to stop construction of a nuclear power plant.

FRANCE.  French nuclear attack submarine patrolling South China Sea .  No apologies from France, over nuclear bomb tests’ pollution in Algeria.

UKRAINE.  Ukraine’s complicated plan to deal with its excess nuclear energy generation.

NORTH KOREA. Expert panel reports that North Korea is relying on cyberattacks to fund nuclear weapons.

EUROPE. European Parliament calls for a halt to Belarus nuclear plant in Ostrovets.

IRAN.  Israel’s military threat to Iran. Iran calls on U.N. to respond.Iran warned by France, Germany, UK, over uranium metal production

ALGERIA. Radioactive poisoning of the environment: France’s nuclear legacy of wastes in Algeria.

INDIA.  Amidst the trauma of the Chamoli flash floods, people recall an old lost nuclear device.

SOUTH AFRICA. Koeberg Nuclear Power Station containment buildings damaged by prolonged exposure to sea air.– Koeberg has suffered severe damage, according to Koeberg Alert Alliance.

AUSTRALIA.  Australian government’s brazen duplicity concerning Julian Assange. Australian Government could face an unwinnable legal case if Senate passes the Kimba Nuclear Waste Dump Bill,

February 15, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Biden administration presses for Julian Assange to be extradited to USA

Biden administration files appeal pressing for Assange extradition, Yahoo News, Sat, 13 February 2021  The administration of US President Joe Biden has appealed a British judge’s ruling against the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a Justice Department official said Friday.

A brief filed late Thursday declared Washington’s desire to have Assange stand trial on espionage and hacking-related charges over WikiLeaks’ publication of hundreds of thousands of US military and diplomatic documents beginning in 2009.

The Justice Department had until Friday to register its stance on Judge Vanessa Baraitser’s January 4 ruling that Assange suffered mental health problems that would raise the risk of suicide if he were sent to the United States for trial.

“Yes, we filed an appeal and we are continuing to pursue extradition,” Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi told AFP.

After Baraitser’s decision, which did not question the legal grounds for the US extradition request, Donald Trump’s administration moved to appeal.

But Biden’s stance was not clear, and he was pressured by rights groups to drop the case, which raises sensitive transparency and media freedom issues.

After WikiLeaks began publishing US secrets in 2009, then-president Barack Obama, whose vice president was Biden, declined to pursue the case.

Assange said WikiLeaks was no different than other media constitutionally protected to publish such materials.

Prosecuting him, too, could mean also prosecuting powerful US news organizations for publishing similar material — legal fights the government would likely lose.

But under Trump, whose 2016 election was helped by WikiLeaks publishing Russian-stolen materials damaging to his rival Hillary Clinton — the Justice Department built a national security case against Assange.

In 2019 the native Australian was charged under the US Espionage Act and computer crimes laws with multiple counts of conspiring with and directing others, from 2009 to 2019, to illegally obtain and release US secrets……….

Assange has remained under detention by British authorities pending the appeal.

Earlier this week 24 organizations, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA and Reporters Without Borders, urged Biden to drop the case.

“Journalists at major news publications regularly speak with sources, ask for clarification or more documentation, and receive and publish documents the government considers secret,” they said in an open letter.

“In our view, such a precedent in this case could effectively criminalize these common journalistic practices.”

Assange’s fiancée Stella Moris said in a statement that Baraitser’s January decision that Assange was a high risk for suicide and that US prison facilities were not safe remained a strong reason to deny extradition.

Baraitser “was given clear advice by medical experts that ordering him to stand trial in the US would put his life at risk,” she said.

“Any assurances given by the Department of Justice about trial procedures or the prison regime that Julian might face in the US are not only irrelevant but meaningless because the US has a long history of breaking commitments to extraditing countries,” she said  https://au.news.yahoo.com/biden-administration-files-appeal-assange-171637702.html

February 15, 2021 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA military leaders were unaware of risks to Pence’s ‘nuclear football’ during Capitol riot

Military officials were unaware of potential danger to Pence’s ‘nuclear football’ during Capitol riot, By Barbara Starr and Caroline Kelly, CNN, February 12, 2021  Military officials overseeing the authorization process to launch nuclear weapons were unaware on January 6 that then-Vice President Mike Pence’s military aide carrying the “nuclear football” was potentially in danger as rioters got close during the violent Capitol insurrection, according to a defense official.

The vice president is always accompanied by a backup of the “football,” which contains the equipment to carry out orders to launch a nuclear strike. It must be ready at all times and is identical to what the president carries, in case he becomes incapacitated.
US Strategic Command became aware of the gravity of the incident after seeing a video played at the Senate impeachment trial Wednesday showing Pence, his Secret Service agents and a military officer carrying the briefcase with classified nuclear launch information running down a flight of stairs inside the Capitol to get to safety, the official said.
“As the rioters reached the top of the stairs, they were within 100 feet of where the vice president was sheltering with his family, and they were just feet away from one of the doors to this chamber,” Del. Stacey Plaskett, one of the impeachment managers, explained in the senate trial on Wednesday. In one video, the crowd can be heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence” as they stand in an open doorway of the Capitol.
It is not clear if other national security elements of the government such as the National Security Council or top officials at the Pentagon were aware of the gravity of Pence’s position and those of his team.
On January 6 the military officer was able to maintain control of the backup “football” at all times and the President was inside the White House, the official said. Even if the rioters had gotten hold of it, they could not have used any of the information because of the security controls on the system, the official said.
Since they never lost control of the “football” and then-President Donald Trump was safe, they didn’t have to deactivate Pence’s system. But the incident raises the question of whether the “football’s” status was sufficiently accounted for at all times.
“The risk associated with the insurrectionists getting their hands on Pence’s football wasn’t that they could have initiated an unauthorized launch. But had they stolen the football and acquired its contents, which include pre-planned nuclear strike options, they could have shared the contents with the world,” Kingston Reif, an expert on nuclear weapons policy at the nonpartisan Arms Control Association, told CNN.
“Such an outcome would have been a security breach of almost incomprehensible proportions,” Reif added. “And it ought to raise further questions about the rationale for the anachronism that is the football.”
The Pentagon has declined to comment on the Pence video because of the sensitivity surrounding nuclear weapons issues. The National Security Council also declined to comment………https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/11/politics/military-officials-were-unaware-pence-nuclear-football-riot/index.html

February 15, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Covid-19 ”Hell” on UK nuclear submarine

‘HELL’ AT SEA Sailors on Royal Navy nuclear submarine come through ‘patrol from hell’ after Covid outbreak at sea, The Sun, Jerome Starkey, 12 Feb 2021,

SAILORS on a nuclear sub have come through the patrol from hell after a Covid outbreak at sea.

Dozens on board HMS Vigilant reported sick but, with no access to a test lab, the precise number is not known.  They had little chance to escape the bug while working in hot and cramped conditions.

A source said: “Imagine being cooped up underwater and breathing the same air when a killer virus is on the loose. It really was the patrol from hell.”

HMS Vigilant was on patrol as part of the Navy’s continuous at-sea deterrent.

The £3billion sub was the designated “bomber boat” and armed with Trident nukes.

The source added: “The sickest sailors were put in isolation but it is not easy on a submarine.

“People sleep in bunks in tiny six-man cabins. They work on top of each other.”…….. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14036051/sailors-navy-nuclear-sub-covid-outbreak/

February 15, 2021 Posted by | health, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive poisoning of the environment: France’s nuclear legacy of wastes in Algeria

Impact of France’s nuclear tests persists: Algeria  https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/impact-of-frances-nuclear-tests-persists-algeria/2143751

Algerian Foreign Minister said nuclear tests were three to four times the size of US bombing of Hiroshima in Japan,  Abdul Razzaq Bin Abdullah   |13.02.2021   ALGIERS

France’s nuclear experiments in the Algerian desert in the 1960s were three to four times equal to the Hiroshima bombing in Japan, Algerian Foreign Minister Sabri Boukadoum said on Saturday.

In a Twitter post on the occasion of the 61st anniversary of the first French nuclear explosion in the Algerian desert, on Feb. 13, 1960, Boukadoum described the impacts of the tests as “catastrophic”.

“On this day in 1960, imperialist France carried out the first nuclear explosion in the Reggane region in the Algerian desert, in a process code-named ‘Gerboise Bleue’ (Blue Desert Rat),” Boukadoum said.

He added that the French nuclear explosion yielded a force of 70 kilotons (kt) and its catastrophic radiological repercussions still persist.

The first atomic bomb dropped 75 years ago by the United States leveled Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and killed an estimated 140,000 people with many more dying in the following years from the effects of radiation. Three days later, Washington dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing around 70,000 people and forced Japan to surrender six days later.

According to French officials, the colonial authorities carried out 17 nuclear experiments in the Algerian desert in the period between 1960 and 1966. Algerian historians, however, put the number at 57.

On Feb. 13 1960, France conducted its first nuclear test, code-named “Gerboise Bleue” (Blue Desert Rat) in the Sahara Desert, southwest of Algeria.

The French nuclear experiments have caused the death of around 42,000 Algerians and injured thousands due to nuclear radioactivity, in addition to the extensive damage to the environment.

France has rejected Algerian demands to reveal the location of the nuclear waste as well as compensating the victims and those suffering from permanent disabilities due to the harmful effects of nuclear radioactivity.

During the course of the struggle for independence, nearly five million Algerians were killed, while hundreds of thousands more injured. *Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara contributed to this report

February 15, 2021 Posted by | AFRICA, politics international, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment