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

This week in nuclear news

Coronavirus. I can’t keep up with pandemic news – but it’s not going to go away –   for a long time.It’s still looking like vaccination as everyone’s best hope.

Climate. G7 environment ministers have agreed that they will deliver climate targets in line with limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C.

All quiet on nuclear developments this week. One news item from the UK (Hinkley project delays)  clearly illustrates that very real, but rarely acknowledged connection between the coronavirus pandemic, and the fizzling out of activity in the ”peaceful” nuclear industry.But nothing stops the weapons makers and the Pentagon from pushing for more $billions for nuclear weapons. No doubt Russia, China then follow suit.

The effects of radioactive waste water released into the ocean.

Scaling back missile defense could prevent a nuclear attack .

world based on 100% renewable energy by 2035 is technically and economically feasible.   Both Germany and Britain are decarbonising while nuclear production is greatly reducing.  We already have 95% of the technologies and know how to slash emissions, remove air pollution and provide energy security and jobs.

“Advanced” isn’t the answer — New reactors as an answer to climate change are an illusion.

Scientists turn a blind eye to the fraud that is the ITER nuclear fusion project.

Should Bill Gates be viewed as a man of character and a trusted adviser to world leaders?

Tesla’s Bitcoin about-face is a warning for cryptocurrencies that ignore climate change.  

Uranium Film Festival – Online for free from May 20 to May 30.

We already have 95% of the technologies and know how to slash emissions, remove air pollution and provide energy security and jobs.

JAPAN. Discharging Fukushima radioactive waste water to the ocean would violate Japan’s legal and environmental obligations. Nuclear emergency guidelines on thyroid radiation exposure under review in Japan . Flaws found in anti-terror measures at Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant .

UK

EUROPEPoor outlook for the nuclear industry in Europe.

GERMANY Despite Germany’s nuclear phaseout, the secure supply of electricity in Germany will remain guaranteed at the current high level for the foreseeable future.

USA

 Senator Bernie Sanders pushes resolution to stop $735 million in US military sales to Israel. Senator Bernie Sanders unveils Bill to force Pentagon to pass audit, citing “fraud” and “waste”. Pentagon hypes up the ”China threat’‘, in its deceptive propaganda to get more $billions from Congress. A trillion reasons to scrutinize the US plan for more than $1.5 trillion spend on nuclear weapons.  

United States considered nuclear strike on China over Taiwan in 1958, classified documents reveal   
 Biden must end sanctions against North Korea — and finally end the Korean War

U.S. tiptoes through sanctions minefield toward Iran nuclear deal .  

White House environmental justice advisers express opposition to nuclear .

Yet more delays in USA’s costly, troubled Vogtle nuclear project.  

 Renewable energy cheated in uneasy coalition with Exelon nuclear, in Illinois. 

 The dark legacy of a nuclear meltdown – The Santa Susana Field Laboratory.  

Early atomic bomb research – the ‘demon core’ that killed physicist Harry Daghlian .  

Changes to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant could hide plan to expand this nuclear waste facility.  Alabama hospital installs radiation-free spine imaging tool.

RUSSIA. Russia’s Arctic Council leadership now facing up to the problem of nuclear reactors dumped in the ocean.

UKRAINE. Chernobyl is showing signs of a possible new nuclear accident.

ISRAELMossad co-operating with Saudi Arabia in devising military action against Iran? Israeli public opinion makes a US-Iran nuclear deal urgent .

IRAN. Talks in Austria with UK, France and Germany head towards nuclear agreement. Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended.

NEW ZEALANDPacific Nuclear test veterans encouraged quest for apology will succeed  

CHINAJapan slammed for not addressing nuclear wastewater dumping concerns. China building uneconomic closed fuel cycle nuclear breeder reactors – for plutonium for nuclear weapons?.

GREENLAND. French mining company Orano stops all uranium exploration in Greenland.

AUSTRALIA. New research on the complexity of particles from plutonium resulting from British atomic bomb tests at Maralinga. Plutonium ”hot particles” are not as stable as we assumed. 

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

“Advanced” isn’t the answer — New reactors as an answer to climate change are an illusion

The study’s conclusion is that pursuing “advanced” nuclear reactors is too slow, too resource-intensive and too dangerous and won’t result in improvements over light-water reactors.

The costs of these “advanced” reactors are too high to justify their flimsy promises of improvement over traditional light-water reactors, especially given that the time needed urgently to address climate change is extremely short.

New reactors as an answer to climate change are an illusion

“Advanced” isn’t the answer — Beyond Nuclear International https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3354864782 23 May 21, Next in Talking Points series showcases USC takedown of non-light-water reactor delusions  While we support efforts to guarantee better public safety protections for the public from the current fleet of light-water reactors, the position of Beyond Nuclear is that no further development of LWRs should happen, but rather that the country must expeditiously move to a 100% nuclear power phaseout. 

Nevertheless, the specter of “advanced” reactors continues to loom, and many governments remain intent on squandering precious resources on attempts to develop these under the misleading guise of climate mitigation. Therefore, we believe that this comprehensive takedown of the futility of such endeavors is a valuable addition to our Talking Points series.

The full UCS report can be read here. And watch for new installments in our Talking Points series in the coming weeks.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and edits Beyond Nuclear International.

By Linda Pentz Gunter

In the second in the Beyond Nuclear Talking Points series, we bring you Dr. Edwin Lyman’s definitive examination of so-called advanced reactors, or non-light-water reactors (NLWRs).

In a groundbreaking report, Lyman who is Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, debunks almost all of the industry claims for NLWRs, predominantly on the grounds of safety and security risks, but also touching on costs, time, regulations and waste.

The report — “Advanced” Isn’t Always Better. Assessing the Safety, Security, and Environmental Impacts of Non- Light-Water Nuclear Reactors — can be found in full here on the UCS website. We appreciated the opportunity to condense it into our second Talking Points, all of which are free to download, print and distribute widely.

As Lyman writes in the executive summary of the report, nuclear power in general is replete with flaws: “. . . the technology has fundamental safety and security disadvantages compared with other low-carbon sources. Nuclear reactors and their associated facilities for fuel production and waste handling are vulnerable to catastrophic accidents and sabotage, and they can be misused to produce materials for nuclear weapons.”

The study’s conclusion is that pursuing “advanced” nuclear reactors is too slow, too resource-intensive and too dangerous and won’t result in improvements over light-water reactors.

The report, and our Talking Points, lay out a number of the key arguments.

The current designs, still on paper, all present considerable safety risks. Sodium-cooled reactors could explode like a small nuclear bomb under severe accident conditions. High-temperature gas-cooled reactors use fuel that, contrary to claims, is not “meltdown proof”. Molten-salt-fueled reactors are also not meltdown-proof and, under some circumstances, the hot liquid fuel they use could heat up and destroy the reactor in minutes.

The costs of these “advanced” reactors are too high to justify their flimsy promises of improvement over traditional light-water reactors, especially given that the time needed urgently to address climate change is extremely short. Building the expensive new facilities and infrastructure NLWRs would need to manufacture, manage and eventually store their different kinds of fuels consumes resources better used elsewhere.

As with any new nuclear construction projects, the time and quantity needed to bring these to fruition in order to have any meaningful impact on carbon emissions reductions is unrealistic. At least 25,000 MWe of NLWR capacity would have to come on line globally each year between now and 2050 to reach such goals — five times the recent global rate of LWR construction — a target in which there is no basis to have any confidence whatsoever.

Given the risks and uncertainties of the NLWR designs, a strong regulator is essential. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is a weak one. Where extra levels of safety would be needed for NLWRs, for which there is little or no operating experience, the NRC is instead showing signs of leaning toward licensing designs chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy without requiring prototype testing first, running the risk of unanticipated reliability problems and serious accidents.

Promoters of NLWRs have made claims that these could “consume” or “burn” nuclear waste. Lyman’s paper calls this “misleading.” Such reactors, he writes, can only use a fraction of irradiated fuel as new fuel, and separating that fraction — through the necessary prior process of reprocessing — increases proliferation and terrorism risks.

Indeed, it is this necessity for reprocessing that is central to a major downside of NLWRs. Fast reactors such as the sodium-fueled reactor, typically require plutonium or highly enriched uranium-based fuels that are readily nuclear weapon-usable and therefore entail unacceptable proliferation and terrorism risks. 

High-temperature gas-cooled reactors, using high-assay low enriched uranium fuel, are more proliferation-prone than light-water reactors due, in part, to the additional monitoring challenges presented by their fuel fabrication system. 

Some molten salt reactor designs require on-site, continuously operating fuel reprocessing plants — pathways for diverting or stealing nuclear weapons-usable material. 

The position of UCS, unlike that of Beyond Nuclear, is not openly to oppose nuclear power in principal but to ensure its safety. This is a tall order. Lyman concludes his report by saying: “. . . the bulk of nuclear energy-related research and development funding, both public and private, should be focused on improving the overall safety, security, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of LWRs and the once-through fuel cycle.”

While we support efforts to guarantee better public safety protections for the public from the current fleet of light-water reactors, the position of Beyond Nuclear is that no further development of LWRs should happen, but rather that the country must expeditiously move to a 100% nuclear power phaseout. 

Nevertheless, the specter of “advanced” reactors continues to loom, and many governments remain intent on squandering precious resources on attempts to develop these under the misleading guise of climate mitigation. Therefore, we believe that this comprehensive takedown of the futility of such endeavors is a valuable addition to our Talking Points series.

The full UCS report can be read here. And watch for new installments in our Talking Points series in the coming weeks.


Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and edits Beyond Nuclear Internationa
l.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | technology | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer in Fukushima children increased 20-fold — Beyond Nuclear International

In addition to thyroid cancer, other types of malignancies and other diseases triggered or adversely affected by ionized radiation are expected to increase. The FMU thyroid studies represent the only scientific study that can provide any relevant information at all about the health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And they are currently in danger of being undermined by the proponents of nuclear energy such as IAEA, which has entered a cooperation with FMU and by the Japanese government, which is trying to dispel any concerns about the meltdowns and nuclear energy as a whole. 

Increases are real and can’t be attributed to “screening effect”

Thyroid cancer in Fukushima children increased 20-fold — Beyond Nuclear International

Latest results of the Fukushima thyroid screenings confirm worrying trend   https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3354864780 By Dr. Alex Rosen, 23 May 21,

In 2011, people in Japan were exposed to radioactive fallout. Some still live in contaminated regions where they are exposed to elevated levels of radiation on a daily basis: radioactive hot-spots on the side of the road, in rice paddies or in sandboxes, contaminated mushrooms or algae, contaminated groundwater, and recontamination from forest fires or flooding. 

One of the most dreaded effects of radioactive exposure is the development of cancer through mutation of the DNA. Thyroid cancer in children is certainly not the most dangerous form of radiation-induced cancer, but it is probably the easiest to detect. For one thing, the latency periods before a cancer develops are relatively short, while at the same time, thyroid cancer in children is an extremely rare disease, so that even a slight absolute increase can be statistically detected.

Accordingly, in 2011, there was great pressure on Japanese authorities to investigate the development of thyroid cancer in children and adolescents in Fukushima by conducting long-term screening examinations. 

For almost 10 years now, Fukushima Medical University has been regularly examining the thyroid glands of people who lived in Fukushima Prefecture at the time of the meltdowns and were under 18 years of age. Initially, this group consisted of about 368,000 individuals. Of these, 300,000 (about 82%) were successfully screened in the first few years. After the initial screening (2011-2014), follow-up examinations of these children took place every two years. The second examination has already been completed, the third examination is in its final stage, the fourth series of examinations has been running since 2018, and the fifth since 2020.

In the initial investigation in Fukushima, 116 abnormal biopsies were found. Amongst these, 101 cases of cancers were found that were so aggressive that they required surgery. The patients with abnormal biopsies were 6 to 18 years old (average of 14.9 years) at the time of the nuclear disaster. This unexpectedly high number was explained by Fukushima Medical University as a screening effect, the phenomenon of identifying more cases of disease in large-scale screening than would be expected. While the exact magnitude of this screening effect in the first round is unknown, it can be ruled out that the increased cancer rates in subsequent screenings are consequences of a screening effect, because all of these children had already been examined and found to be cancer-free in previous screenings. They must therefore have developed the cancer between the screening examinations. 

In the 2nd screening round, 54 cancer cases were found in 71 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 5-18, average of 12.6 years), in the 3rd screening round, another 27 cases were found in 31 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 5-16, average of 9.6 years), and in the current 4th round, 16 new diagnoses have been made in 27 abnormal biopsies (age at the time of the nuclear disaster 0-12, average of 8.0 years). A total of 46 children with suspicious fine-needle biopsies are still under observation and have not yet undergone surgery. The steadily decreasing average age in the screenings is striking: with time, more and more cancer cases are becoming apparent in patients who were still very young at the time of the nuclear disaster, even under 5 years of age. 

Incidentally, adolescents in the study cohort who turn 25 are excluded from the main study and transferred to a newly created cohort, the “Age 25 Milestone” group. In this group, 4 additional cases of thyroid cancer have been registered, with 7 conspicuous biopsies so far. The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher: the participation rate in this study is just 8%. The creation of a new study cohort is generally seen as a measure by FMU to further reduce the number of diagnosed cancer cases.

In addition, there are 11 thyroid cancer cases diagnosed in children from the study cohort, but not during the official screenings. These patients were seen and diagnosed at Fukushima University Hospital. These 11 cases are not reported in the official results, although they show identical tumor entities and occurred in patients who are in the actual study cohort. The 11 cases came to light in June 2017. How many more cases have been diagnosed but not reported since then is unknown. In addition, data from other hospitals in Japan are not available, and patients from contaminated areas outside Fukushima Prefecture are not examined at all, so the unreported number of thyroid cancer cases among patients who were children in the contaminated areas at the time of the meltdowns is likely to be much higher. Nevertheless, the total number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima currently stands at 213 (198 official cases from the serial examinations, 4 cases from the Age 25 Milestone cohort and 11 cases from the Fukushima University Hospital).

It is interesting to compare these figures with the overall Japanese incidence rate. The official incidence rate of thyroid cancer in children under 25 in Japan is about 0.59 per 100,000 per year, which means that in the cohort of about 218,000 children, about 1.3 new thyroid cancer cases per year would be expected. Today, 10 years after the beginning of the nuclear disaster, just under 13 thyroid cancer cases would thus have been expected in the study population.

However, the actual number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima of 213 is higher by a factor of 16. If we consider only the 112 cases diagnosed after the initial screening and thus not suspected to be caused by a screening effect of any kind, the number of confirmed cases is 20 times higher than the number of expected thyroid cancer cases (5.5 new cases after the end of the initial 1st screening in 2014)

In the following graph,  [on original] the officially confirmed thyroid cancer cases (in blue) are compared to the cases expected mathematically in the screening cohort (in orange). It can be seen that the number of cases increased steadily over the course of the initial screening, and continue to increase beyond that, in the years 2014-2020 – an effect that cannot be explained by any kind of screening effect.    [Graph on original explains this]

In addition, the geographic distribution of thyroid cancer rates corresponds to the level of radioactive contamination. A significantly higher incidence of thyroid cancer in children was recorded in the 13 most severely contaminated municipalities in eastern Fukushima than in the less contaminated areas in the north, south and central parts of the prefecture. The incidence was lowest in the western part of the prefecture, where the radioactive fallout was also least pronounced.

In the following graph, [on original] the officially confirmed thyroid cancer cases (in blue) are compared to the cases expected mathematically in the screening cohort (in orange). It can be seen that the number of cases increased steadily over the course of the initial screening, and continue to increase beyond that, in the years 2014-2020 – an effect that cannot be explained by any kind of screening effect.

There seems to be a system behind this trend: Fukushima Medical University, which is in charge of the study, has been sending staff to schools in the prefecture for years to educate children about their “right not to participate” and the “right not to know”. On the study forms, there is now a prominent “opt-out” option for people who wish to be removed from the screening. FMU seems to encourage people to opt out of the study. The drop in participation can also be explained by the removal of people over 25 years from the main study. Are FMU staff concerned that the disturbing trend of increasing numbers of thyroid cancer cases will continue? Are they uncomfortable with data that contradicts the thesis, propagated since the beginning of the nuclear disaster, that the multiple meltdowns would not lead to additional cancers? 

In addition to thyroid cancer, other types of malignancies and other diseases triggered or adversely affected by ionized radiation are expected to increase. The FMU thyroid studies represent the only scientific study that can provide any relevant information at all about the health consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And they are currently in danger of being undermined by the proponents of nuclear energy such as IAEA, which has entered a cooperation with FMU and by the Japanese government, which is trying to dispel any concerns about the meltdowns and nuclear energy as a whole. 

The people of Japan have an inalienable right to health and to life in a healthy environment. The examination of children’s thyroid glands benefits not only the patients themselves, whose cancers can be detected and treated at an early stage, but also the entire population, which is affected by irradiation from radioactive fallout. 

 The correct continuation and scientific monitoring of thyroid examinations are therefore in the public interest and must not be thwarted by political or economic motives. It is important to continue to critically accompany these developments from the outside.

Dr. Alex Rosen is a pediatrician and Co-Chair of the German affiliate of IPPNW

Note: this article was first published in IPPNW Germany’s member magazine ippnw forum in 03/21

Headline photo showing thyroid cancer by National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from Bethesda, MD, USA/Wikimedia Commons

May 24, 2021 Posted by | children, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

Russia’s Arctic Council leadership now facing up to the problem of nuclear reactors dumped in the ocean

Reactors are dumped at several locations in the Kara Sea in addition to the two submarines K-159 and K-278 that sank in the Barents- and Norwegian Seas. Map: Barents Observer / Google Earth

Tackling dumped nuclear waste gets priority in Russia’s Arctic Council leadership   https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/05/lifting-nuclear-waste-kara-sea-gets-priority-russias-arctic-council

The reactors from the submarines K-11, K-19, and K-140, plus the entire submarine K-27 and spent uranium fuel from one of the old reactors of the Lenin-icebreaker have to be lifted from the seafloor and secured. 
Thomas Nilsen

Russia’s Foreign Ministry invites international experts from the other Arctic nations to a June 2022 conference on how to recover the sunken radioactive and hazardous objects dumped by the Soviet Union on the seafloor east of Novaya Zemlya.

No other places in the world’s oceans have more radioactive and nuclear waste than the Kara Sea.

While mentality in Soviet times was «out of sight, out of mind», the Kara Sea seemed logical. Ice-covered most of the year, and no commercial activities. That is changing now with rapidly retreating sea ice, drilling for oil-, and gas and increased shipping.

The submarine reactors dumped in shallow bays east of the closed-off military archipelago of Novaya Zemlya were all brought north for a good reason, they had experienced accidents and posed a radiation threat at the navy yards where people were working.

Dumping the reactors in shallow waters, someplace at only 50 meters, meant they could be lifted one day when technology allowed.

There is momentum now. For environmental and foreign policy reasons, Russia needs to take action now,” says nuclear safety expert Andrey Zolotkov. He works with Bellona Murmansk, an advocacy group promoting international cooperation to secure hazardous radioactive objects in Russia’s Arctic region. Zolotkov is pleased to see Moscow highlighting steps to secure the sunken reactors in the Kara Sea.

“Ecology is one of the few topics where Russia and foreign partners can conduct constructive dialogue nowadays,” he says.

However, Zolotkov underlines, “the issue of urgency can only be discussed after at least one expedition to the flooded objects.”

A worst-case scenario would be a failed lifting attempt, causing criticality in the uranium fuel, again triggering an explosion with following radiation contamination of Arctic waters.  

Technical survey needed 

With Russia now holding the chair of the Arctic Council, Zolotkov hopes such expedition can take place within the next two-year period.

A Russian-Norwegian expedition to the K-27 submarine in Stepovogo bay in 2012 took samples for studying possible radioactive leakages. Now, the Bellona expert, calls for an expedition to thoroughly study the strength of the hull and look for technical options on how to lift the heavy submarine and reactor compartments.

“Decades on the seafloor do not pass without impacts,” Andrey Zolotkov explains.

A previous study report made for Rosatom and the European Commission roughly estimated the costs of lifting all six objects, bringing them safely to a yard for decommissioning, and securing the reactors for long-term storage.

The estimated price-tag for all six is €278 million, of which the K-159 in the Barents Sea is the most expensive with a cost of €57,5 million. Unlike the submarines and reactors that are dumped in relatively shallow waters in the Kara Sea, the K-159 is at about 200 meters depth, and thus will be more difficult to lift.

In addition, about 17,000 objects were dumped in the Kara Sea in the period from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.

Most of that is containers with solid radioactive waste from the naval yards on the Kola Peninsula and in Severodvinsk. Some radioactive waste also originated from the repair and maintenance of the fleet of civilian nuclear-powered icebreakers in Murmansk. 

Most of the objects are metal containers with low- and medium-level radioactive waste. The challenge today, though, are the reactors with high-level waste and spent uranium fuel, objects that will pose a serious threat to the marine environment for tens of thousands of years if nothing is done to secure them.

According to the Institute for Safe Development of Nuclear Energy, part of Russia’s Academy of Science, the most urgent measures should be taken to secure six objects that contain more than 90% of all the radioactivity.

The Arctic Council in late 2019 took a formal decision to establish a Working Group on radiation Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR).

May 24, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

The effects of radioactive waste water released into the ocean

when radionuclides are present in seawater alongside commonly-occurring metals like copper, the DNA damage caused by radionuclides to the mussels was increased.

the need for transparency when it comes to nuclear technology has never been greater

After all, we are what we eat: our health as a global community depends on the health of the environment, and a contaminated ocean knows no geographical or political borders.

Nuclear power: how might radioactive waste water affect the environment? https://theconversation.com/nuclear-power-how-might-radioactive-waste-water-affect-the-environment-159483   Awadhesh Jha
Professor of Genetic Toxicology and Ecotoxicology, University of Plymouth     April 30, 2021
 It’s been just over a decade since the fourth most powerful earthquake of the modern era triggered a tsunami that struck Fukushima on the eastern coastline of Japan, causing thousands of deaths and leaving hundreds of thousands unable to return home. That tsunami was also responsible for the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster.

When the 14-metre wave flooded the Fukushima Daiichi plant, it shut down emergency generators, triggering a series of heat-induced meltdowns.Now, the Japanese government’s decision to allow the release of more than one million tonnes of radioactive water from the plant into the ocean has dividedopinion.

Water is a vital tool for all nuclear power stations: it’s used to cool their heat-generating radioactive cores. During the cooling process, the water becomes contaminated with radionuclides – unstable atoms with excess energy – and must be filtered to remove as many radionuclides as possible.

The filtered water is then stored in huge steel tanks or released into nearby bodies of water. As huge amounts of water are required by every plant, most nuclear facilities are built on coastlines – or, in the case of Chernobyl, surrounded by huge lakes. That way, filtered waste water can be discharged into the ocean or lake once it’s been assessed and confirmed safe by authorities.

This is how workers at Fukushima dealt with waste water while the plant was operating. But since the tsunami hit in 2011, authorities have used more than a million tonnes of water to try and cool the plant’s disabled reactors, which are still hot thanks to the long-term release of energy from the nuclear power source. All that radioactive water – which is more contaminated than standard waste water – has to go somewhere. The decision to release it into the oceans is – some would argue – the most pragmatic long-term solution.

What could the impacts be?

The process of filtering and diluting the huge amounts of water to meet safety standards will take a few years to complete. Then, we’d usually expect the water to be released gradually in small volumes through coastal pipelines. That way, any potential effects of releasing the radioactive waste will be minimised. However, the fact is that we don’t know exactly what those effects will be on marine – or human – life, given the sheer volume of water set to be released from the Fukushima plant.

Our own research has shown that a number of marine species could have their DNA damaged through extended exposure to radionuclides in seawater. It’s important to note that our conclusions are mostly drawn from studies in the lab, rather than in the real world; when a nuclear accident takes place, human safety takes priority and biological assessment often takes place decades after the original event.

That being said, our experiments with both marine and freshwater mussels found that when radionuclides are present in seawater alongside commonly-occurring metals like copper, the DNA damage caused by radionuclides to the mussels was increased. Much, much more research is needed to understand the effects of exposure to different types of radionuclides on different species.

In the meantime, anger towards Japan’s decision from fishing communities is understandable. In a world where global dependence on fisheries for food is increasing – and at least 10% of the world’s population depend on fisheries for their livelihood – a potentially contaminated environment could result in a contaminated food chain, raising consumer concerns.

We also know that around 95% of cancers in humans are triggered by exposure to toxic substances present in the environment, food included. If these substances damage genetic material within our cells, that damage must be repaired. Otherwise, the damaged cell either dies or divides. And when the latter happens, the damage – which can cause genetic mutations – is passed on to dividing cells in a process that may lead to diseases like cancer.

If that genetic damage happens to egg or sperm cells, it may be passed down from parent to child, triggering new diseases in future generations. To neutralise these complex threats, it’s key to ensure that only safe levels of nuclear waste are being released into the ocean.

Where do we go from here?

As new nuclear plants emerge in the effort to tackle climate change, the need for transparency when it comes to nuclear technology has never been greater: especially if we are to build public confidence in the benefits of nuclear energy.

When nuclear reactors are mentioned, it’s disasters which tend to spring to mind. Yet considering the long history of nuclear power generation, serious accidents – involving loss of life and severe damage to the environment – are extraordinarily rare. The huge amounts of data gathered from each disaster site have enabled powerful advances in nuclear security, making future accidents even less likely. Meanwhile, waste from the world’s nuclear reactors is being managed safely every day, although long-term solutions to waste disposal still pose a challenge.

Rapidly developing technology like nuclear fusion – mimicking the Sun’s way of generating energy by fusing hydrogen atoms to form helium, and converting that helium into energy – may eventually slash generation of nuclear waste. There’s also room for improvement of our existing nuclear facilities to help minimise waste generation: for example, by forcing radioactive byproducts to decay faster.

But while we still rely on nuclear power, the most urgent priority is to set internationally accepted regulations for radiation exposure levels across different species. After all, we are what we eat: our health as a global community depends on the health of the environment, and a contaminated ocean knows no geographical or political borders.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

United States considered nuclear strike on China over Taiwan in 1958, classified documents reveal  

United States considered nuclear strike on China over Taiwan in 1958, classified documents reveal  https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/3134511/united-states-considered-nuclear-strike-china-over

The US also assumed that the Soviet Union would aid China and retaliate with nuclear weapons, according to the documents

Former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg is famous for his 1971 leak to US media of a top-secret Pentagon study on the Vietnam war known as the Pentagon Papers

US military planners pushed for nuclear strikes on mainland China in 1958 to protect Taiwan from an invasion by Communist forces, classified documents posted online by Daniel Ellsberg of The Pentagon Papers television show.

US planners also assumed that the Soviet Union would aid China and retaliate with nuclear weapons – a price they deemed worth paying to protect Taiwan, according to the document, first reported by The New York Times.

Former military analyst Ellsberg posted online the classified portion of a top-secret document on the crisis that had been only partially declassified in 1975.

Ellsberg, now 90, is famous for his 1971 leak to US media of a top-secret Pentagon study on the Vietnam war known as the Pentagon Papers.

llsberg told the Times that he copied the top-secret Taiwan crisis study in the early 1970s, and is releasing it as tensions mount between the United States and China over Taiwan.

Had an invasion taken place, General Nathan Twining, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, “made it clear that the United States would have used nuclear weapons against Chinese airbases to prevent a successful air interdiction campaign,” the document’s authors wrote.

If this did not stop an invasion, then there was “no alternative but to conduct nuclear strikes deep into China as far north as Shanghai,” the document said, paraphrasing Twining.

In the event, US president Dwight D Eisenhower decided to rely initially on conventional weapons.

The 1958 crisis ended when Communist forces halted artillery strikes on islands controlled by Taiwan, leaving the area under the control of Nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-shek.

China considers Taiwan to be a rebel province that will one day return to the mainland’s fold, by force if necessary.

Washington has recognised Beijing since 1979, but maintains relations with Taipei and is its most important military ally.

In recent months the Chinese air force has increased incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

The 1958 crisis ended when Communist forces halted artillery strikes on islands controlled by Taiwan, leaving the area under the control of Nationalist forces under Chiang Kai-shek.

China considers Taiwan to be a rebel province that will one day return to the mainland’s fold, by force if necessary.

Washington has recognised Beijing since 1979, but maintains relations with Taipei and is its most important military ally.


In recent months the Chinese air force has increased incursions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | history, politics international, Taiwan, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New study into mental health of atomic bomb test veterans

Eastern Daily Press 22nd May 2021, A nuclear test veteran blamed himself for the birth defects which he
believed he passed on to members of his family, his daughter has revealed.
Suzanna Ward spoke as a new study was launched into the mental health of
the children, wives and widows of nuclear veterans. Around 22,000 British
servicemen witnessed nuclear tests on mainland Australia, the Montebello
Islands off Western Australia and Christmas Island in the South Pacific,
during the 1950s and 1960s.

https://www.edp24.co.uk/news/new-study-into-mental-health-of-nuclear-veterans-7991116

May 24, 2021 Posted by | psychology - mental health, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended  

Iran says IAEA access to nuclear sites images has ended  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/23/iran-says-iaea-access-to-nuclear-sites-images-has-ended

Three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog expires, raising questions over talks.
3 May 2021

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

The announcement on Sunday raised further questions about the future of indirect talks under way between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the (IAEA) agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement,” state TV quoted parliament speaker Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf as saying.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion the blow of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency, and it allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi is in talks with Iran about extending the agreement.

European diplomats said last week that a failure to agree upon an extension would plunge the wider, indirect talks between Washington and Tehran on reviving the 2015 deal into crisis. Those talks are due to resume in Vienna this week.Play Video

The IAEA had planned for Grossi to hold a news conference on Sunday but it said he was still “consulting with Tehran” and that his news conference had been postponed until Monday morning.

An unnamed Iranian official was quoted as saying the agreement between the IAEA and Tehran could be extended “conditionally” for a month.

“If extended for a month and if during this period major powers … accept Iran’s legal demands, then the data will be handed over to the agency. Otherwise, the images will be deleted forever,” according to the member of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.

Without commenting on the parliament speaker’s earlier announcement, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Sunday that Tehran would continue the talks in Vienna “until reaching a final agreement”.

He also repeated an earlier statement that “Washington has agreed to lift sanctions” on Iran, according to Iranian state media.

US says unclear if Iran ready to return to pact.

Iran and global powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, Austria, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.

Iran began gradually breaching terms of the 2015 pact with world powers after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it remains unclear whether Iran is “ready and willing” to take the necessary steps to return to compliance with the multination nuclear agreement.

European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary-General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy at Ministry of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi during a meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna, Austria [File: EU Delegation in Vienna/Handout/Reuters]Speaking before a fifth round of talks in Vienna on rescuing that deal, Blinken was asked about Iranian reports that Washington had already agreed to lift some of the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

“We know what sanctions would need to be lifted if they’re inconsistent with the nuclear agreement,” he said on ABC’s This Week.

He added that more importantly, “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision.

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 2 Comments

Dalgety Bay – 20,000 tonnes of radioactive material from the area to screen, – clean-up begins at last.

Scotsman 23rd May 2021, 30 years on, Scotland’s radioactive beach clean-up begins at last. It’s not a scene which might usually be welcome, but locals in the Fife town of Dalgety Bay have been waiting decades for this – ever since highly dangerous radioactive material was detected on the shoreline more than 30 years ago. Contamination was first identified there in 1990, but the source – luminous paint used on aircraft navigation dials – dates back to theSecond World War.

The area was once home to Donibristle military airfield,
where a large number of planes were dismantled after the end of the
conflict in 1945 and the debris burned and buried. Part of the foreshore at
Dalgety Bay has been off limits to the public since 2011 due to the health
risks posed by radioactive debris.

Radium was used to coat instrument
panels so they could be seen in the dark, but it is radioactive and toxic
to human health, with a half life of 1,600 years. Work to clean up
potentially deadly radioactive contamination has got under way at Dalgety
Bay in Fife, caused by debris from aircraft used during the Second World
War.

David Barratt, Fife councillor for Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay, has
welcomed the work finally getting started. He said: “It has taken over 30
years and significant pressure from the community to get to this point.
“I’m delighted that works are now under way and grateful to Sepa for
all their effort in ensuring it will be done right, providing a permanent
solution.

“It should send a clear message that it doesn’t matter how much
time passes, the polluter should always pay. “Time will tell if its
smooth sailing from here and whether a 2022 completion date is possible.
They have around 20,000 tonnes of material from the area to screen and the
more contamination they find, the longer it will take, but at least now we
know it will be safe, however long it takes.”

https://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/30-years-on-scotlands-radioactive-beach-clean-up-begins-at-last-3246562

May 24, 2021 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Changes to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant could hide plan to expand this nuclear waste facility.

New Mexico weighs changes to permit for nuclear waste dump    CARLBAD, N.M. (AP) 23 May 21, — U.S. officials are pushing state regulators to clear the way for a new ventilation shaft to be built at the federal government’s nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico, but watchdog groups say modifying the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s permit to allow for the construction could open the door to expansion.

The state Environment Department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau held a virtual hearing over the past week to gather comments on the proposed permit change. A final decision is anticipated in mid-October.

Ventilation has been an issue since 2014, when a radiation release contaminated parts of the underground facility and forced an expensive, nearly three-year closure, delayed the federal government’s cleanup program and prompted policy changes at national laboratories and defense-related sites across the U.S.

Officials with the U.S. Energy Department have said the new shaft is needed to repair a “crippled” ventilation system, the Carlsbad Current-Argus newspaper reported………

The proposal is supported by leaders from the nearby city of Carlsbad, where many of the plant’s employees live.

……………… Cynthia Weehler, a Santa Fe resident and representative of activist group Stop Forever WIPP, argued the utility shaft was indicative of the Energy Department gradually expanding the repository using individual projects rather than proposing the overall goal of altering the facility’s mission to extend its lifetime.

She said that if New Mexico approves the permit, it would seem to be “colluding” with the Energy Department “to relabel a new mission and a future expansion.”

“It will lead us to an operation we didn’t consent to,” Weehler said.  https://apnews.com/article/nm-state-wire-new-mexico-nuclear-waste-business-science-171b011df1d62d4a433b78f8c03e1760

May 24, 2021 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Australian govt plan for nuclear waste dump ignores transport dangers

Looking back to the 2016 shonky South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, – the same problems apply to the present Federal Government plan . Friends of the Earth Australia examined these- in Arguments against turning SA into the world’s nuclear waste dump.

The Royal Commission’report claimed that ”no accident involving a breach of the package and the release of its contents has occurred. The same record applies to international transport of high and intermediate level waste.”

”That claim is incorrect and is refuted by documented evidence provided to ‒ and ignored by ‒ the Royal Commission. For example a whistleblower sparked a major controversy over frequent excessive radioactive contamination of waste containers, rail cars, and trucks in France and Germany. International transport regulations for spent fuel shipments were constantly over a period of many years and this was done knowingly. Another example concerns the derailment of a train wagon carrying spent fuel in December 2013, 3 km from Paris, with testing by AREVA revealing a hotspot on the rail car.

Numerous other train derailments involving nuclear materials transport have been documented. It is unsettling to consider the multiple derailments on the Ghan train line in Australia in the relatively short period of time it has been in operation.

Transport incidents and accidents are routine in countries with significant nuclear industries. The case of the UK is pertinent. A UK government database contains information on 1018 events from 1958 to 2011 (an average of 19 incidents each year).

There were 187 events during the shipment of irradiated nuclear fuel flasks from 1958−2004 in the UK (an average of four per year):

  • 33% involved excess contamination on the surface of the flask;
  • 24% involved collisions and low speed derailments of the conveyance;
  • 16% involved flask preparation faults, and loading/unloading faults;
  • 13% involved excess contamination of conveyance;
  • 11% involved faults with the conveyance; and
  • the remainder included three cases involving fire on a locomotive with no damage to flasks.

The French nuclear safety agency IRSN produced a report summarising radioactive transport accidents and incidents from 1999−2007. The database lists 901 events from 1999−2007 − on average 100 events annually or about two each week. The IRSN report notes that events where there is contamination of packages and means of transport were still frequent in 2007.

Potential costs of transport accidents: Spent fuel / high level nuclear waste transport accidents have the potential to be extraordinarily expensive. Dr. Marvin Resnikoff and Matt Lamb from Radioactive Waste Management Associates in New York City calculated 355−431 latent cancer fatalities attributable to a “maximum” hypothetical rail cask accident, compared to the US Department of Energy’s estimate of 31 fatalities. Using the Department of Energy’s model, they calculated that a severe truck cask accident could result in US$20 billion to US$36 billion in clean-up costs for an accident in an urban area, and a severe rail accident in an urban area could result in costs from US$145 billion to US$270 billion.

Transport and nuclear security: Nuclear engineer Dr John Large writes: “Movement of nuclear materials is inherently risky both in terms of severe accident and terrorist attack. Not all accident scenarios and accident severities can be foreseen; it is only possible to maintain a limited security cordon around the flask and its consignment; … terrorists are able to seek out and exploit vulnerabilities in the transport arrangements and localities on the route; and emergency planning is difficult to maintain over the entire route.”

A number of nuclear transport security incidents are listed in the body of this submission (section 3.8).

Security and proliferation risks…….”Arguments against turning SA into the world’s nuclear waste dump  https://nuclear.foe.org.au/waste-import-arguments/?fbclid=IwAR1yajKABFYLvMp3gFjM_DuYJFFMu4nnuc3LXxLFEBLpI7Da9-OjSv0IHrk#_ftnref4

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Journey to the Safest Place on Earth —

Journey to the Safest Place on Earth – a “must watch” film for Cumbrians…. Members of the Copeland and Allerdale “Working Groups” are a few self selected people who have put their faith in the nuclear industry’s promises, they do not speak for Cumbria – or even for Copeland and Allerdale although the Borough Councils’ […]

Journey to the Safest Place on Earth —

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A world based on 100% renewable energy by 2035 is technically and economically feasible

Renew Extra 22nd May 2021, Dave Elliott: 100% renewable energy ‘is possible by 2035’. A world based on 100% renewable energy is possible, and we are able to transform the energy system fast enough to avoid the climate catastrophe!’ So says the Joint declaration of the global 100% renewable energy strategy group.

Set up initially by a core of 7 leading climate and energy scientists, including Prof. Mark Jacobson from Stanford in the USA, and Prof Christopher Breyer from LUT in Finland, and then backed by 40 other scientists, it claims that ‘a 100% renewable electricity supply is possible by 2030, and with substantial political will around the world, 100% renewable energy is also technically and economically feasible across all other sectors by 2035.

A 100% RE system will be more cost effective than will a future system based primarily on fossil and nuclear power. The
transformation to 100% renewables will boost the global economy, create millions more jobs than lost, and substantially reduce health problems and mortality due to pollution’.

https://renewextraweekly.blogspot.com/2021/05/100-renewable-energy-is-possible-by-2035.html

May 24, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Anxieties on the impact of pandemic on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power project, -major delays could result


Telegraph 23rd May 2021, EDF has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could cause major delays to
its £23bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Talks are continuing between the French state-owned power business and British officials about potential hold-ups caused by the Covid crisis. Hinkley’s start date has
already been pushed back to June 2026 due to a six-month delay caused by the pandemic. It was originally due to come online in 2025 when it was given the go-ahead in 2016. EDF first raised concerns over the possible
delays at the start of the pandemic with the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), the government-owned company that acts as counterparty on clean energy subsidy contracts.

Under its subsidy contract, Hinkley Point C is guaranteed £92.50 per MwH for 35 years. The Somerset site – eing built by EDF and its Chinese partner CGN – will become the UK’s first nuclear power plant in decades. However, the length of this 35-year term will be cut if Hinkley is not generating by May 2029 – reducing the guaranteed income for EDF.

It can be cancelled altogether if the plant is not operational by October 2033. EDF said it has not applied to the LCCC for a specific extension to those deadlines, but that on principle it may be entitled to an extension because Covid is a “force majeure” event – an unforeseen event that affects a company’s ability to deliver on its
contract. It stressed that the June 2026 schedule for Hinkley Point C to start generating, which was announced in January, remains unchanged and the project is making good progress. “We anticipate that it may take some
time to establish the true impact of Covid-19 on complex construction projects such as Hinkley Point, as it is still unknown when Covid-19 restrictions will cease.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/05/23/edf-warns-delays-hinkley-due-pandemic/

May 24, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

May 23 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “How Wolves And Other Wildlife Help Us Fight For The Climate” • Amid the buzz over better stewardship of our planet’s greenery, a growing body of scientific research is examining another piece of the carbon puzzle: wildlife. It is increasingly clear that biodiversity is not an optional luxury, but integral to natural life […]

May 23 Energy News — geoharvey

May 24, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment