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Russia wants help to clean up sunken nuclear submarines – while it invests in new ones!

Norway celebrates 25-years paying for nuclear-dump cleanup. Russia showcases new reactor weapons
Rosatom officials and Norwegian project partners are Wednesday marking that it is 25 years since the first money check was sent from Oslo to help improve infrastructure at the ill-fated Andreeva Bay dump site for spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste accumulated from the operation of Cold War submarines.  The Barents Observer ,By Thomas Nilsen September 29, 2021

”………………….. Sunken reactors  

Andrey Zolotkov with ANO Bellona Murmansk says there are problems in the sphere of nuclear safety that Russia can’t deal with alone.

“This is to raise the sunken nuclear submarines,” he says.

On the seafloor of the Barents Sea, the old November class K-159 that sank in August 2003 has two reactors with spent nuclear fuel on board. The submarine lays in an area of high importance for the fisheries of both Russia, Norway and the European Union. Further east, in the Kara Sea, the submarine K-27 was dumped on purpose, along with several other submarine reactors and thousands of containers with radioactive waste.

Zolotkov fears the submarines may corrode to the worse if nothing is done. 

If we constantly postpone this for later, then something may happen. The lifting operation will sooner or later become impossible because supporting structures will be destroyed as a result of corrosion.”

A key question is how eager potential donor nations would be to cash out even more money to assist in reducing the environmental risks caused by the past nuclear legacy, like the dumped reactors in the Kara Sea, as long as Russia itself gives priority to creating nuclear weapons systems beyond what the world ever has seen before. 

Rearmament of the north 

Russia’s rearmament of the north includes a new generation of both multi-purpose submarines and ballistic missile submarines. Currently, some 12-13 reactor-powered subs are under construction at the Sevmash yard in Severodvinsk. The new vessels will sail for both the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. Little is known about 4th generation Russian navy reactors and uranium fuel enrichment.

Maybe more frightening than the new submarines are two other reactor-powered weapons systems currently under testing and development in northern Russia: the Poseidon underwater drone and the Burevestnik cruise missile. Both are said to carry nukes and have a nearly unlimited range.

New satellite images 

In late August, Google Earth updated its satellite images from above the naval yards in Severodvinsk…………………

Nenoksa accident  

In August 2019, five employees from Rosatom were killed when a nuclear object was about to be raised from the seabed outside Nenoksa in the White Sea, only a few kilometers west of Severodvinsk. What exactly happened remains secret, but radiation monitors in Severodvinsk saw a spike, and locals took photos of ambulances where both the interior and the drivers were wearing protective dressed against radiation.

As reported by the Barents Observer, the explosion was most likely involving the reactor from a Burevestnik test. This autumn, Russia’s top-secret testing of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered missile is moved to Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic, an archipelago under full military control and formerly used for real nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere and underground.

This week, a large area both on land at Novaya Zemlya and in the waters along the west coast on the Barents Sea side is closed off with NOTAM-warnings (Notice to Airmen). The size of the closed-off areas fits with a likely test launch of the nuclear-powered missile………

October 1, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Russia, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan’s independent English language newsletter, analysing nuclear issues, is struggling to survive

Japan NPO on nuke power issues struggling to retain English newsletter

September 27, 2021 (Mainichi Japan    TOKYO (Kyodo) — A citizens’ organization in Japan that publishes independent analysis in English on nuclear power issues is struggling financially, threatening its ability to remain the major source of specialized public information on Japan’s nuclear industry for an international audience.

The Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center based in Tokyo has published the free bimonthly English newsletter Nuke Info Tokyo since 1987 but is having to crowdfund to keep publishing amid financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The nonprofit organization, which also produces a monthly newsletter in Japanese for a domestic audience, had previously financed the cost of the English publication by holding paid seminars at which it also solicited donations and sold books, as well as collecting membership fees.

But it has been unable to hold the events since early 2020 when coronavirus infections began to impact Japan, Hajime Matsukubo, CNIC secretary general, told Kyodo News.

Membership — already in decline — has also dropped further amid the pandemic and its effect on the economy, he said.

“Membership decreased by about 100 last year alone under the coronavirus outbreaks and (membership) is around 2,100 now,” Matsukubo said, admitting the decline in membership also owed to a waning of public interest in nuclear issues in recent years.

…………. Philip White, a former editor of Nuke Info Tokyo, wrote that he fielded calls around the clock from the foreign media by referring to the archived English-language articles at the time of the disaster.

“The international media was hungry for critical information to counter the sanitized version offered by the government and the nuclear industry. Our English website offered clearly referenced Nuke Info Tokyo articles,” he wrote……………

Matsukubo argues that the government and electric power companies operating nuclear plants tend to withhold information, not just when accidents occur but also in normal times.

Although the government has said the Fukushima plant is under control, it is uncertain how many more years it will take to deal with over a million tons of treated radioactive water from the plant and decommission damaged reactors.

The government continues to deem nuclear power a major energy source, although, since 2014, it has said it aims to decrease its reliance on such power.

Running the English newsletter, staffed by Stronell, four freelance translators, and an editor who is also co-director of the group, costs around 1.5 million yen ($13,700) per year. While the translators used to work voluntarily, CNIC started to pay them in 2009 — though they receive half or less than the market rate.

At this time, the newsletter, which had been printed and mailed to readers with a postage fee charged only to readers in Japan, was made available for free online. Several hundred readers regularly refer to the newsletter, among them journalists, NGO staff, and academics.

Another co-director of CNIC, Hideyuki Ban, said that researchers worldwide have quoted Nuke Info Tokyo in their work.

“Nuke Info Tokyo is the only newsletter in English that specializes in the situation of nuclear power in Japan and has covered a wide range of issues from citizens’ standpoints for decades,” Ban said.

CNIC was founded in 1975 by scientists, including the late Jinzaburo Takagi, a nuclear chemist who began his career in the nuclear industry but later voiced concerns about atomic power……..

To coincide with the policy discussion, CNIC held a virtual seminar on Friday to draw attention to the issues and help people make up their minds on the right policy for Japan.

Stronell said she hopes to run an article on the seminar given by experts in the newsletter.

“I think the most important thing is having independent experts’ information on nuclear power accidents like Fukushima and other problems to let people make decisions about their own health and future,” Stronell said. “And so for us to continue to do this, and that’s what the crowdfunding project is about, any support is very much appreciated.”

October 1, 2021 Posted by | Japan, media | Leave a comment

Nuclear for climate? – DON’T MENTION RADIATION! – theme for October 21.

Recommending nuclear power as a a cure for climate change is like recommending cigarette-smoking as a cure for obesity – Helen Caldicott

Well, it’s just not nice to talk about ionising radiation right now – when we’re all gearing up for the COP26 Glascow climate change talkfest . I mean, by now the nuclear lobby has probably bribed its way into the conference, along with other corporations.

You’re allowed to mention – costs , safety, even time delay – in assessing the relationship of the nuclear industry to global heating.

Strangely – you can talk about the rapid health effects of tiny invisible viruses. BUT NOT the slow drawn out effects of tiny particles of low-level ionising radiation. Health impacts of unseen dangers 

Especially ignored are thg effects of Internal exposure – radioactive particles taken in by breathing or swallowing:

The dangers are probably still  small for most foods, but hazards are tenfold to a hundredfold for children, infants, and fetuses, who have the fastest rates of mitosis and development. Rapidly dividing cells in the young are most sensitive in any organism. Similarly, organs with rapidly dividing cells are affected (bone marrow, digestive tract, skin).  So risk avoidance is most important for the young.

Some of the list of long-term impacts for human health include the following:

  • Circulatory damage (high blood pressure, rhythm disturbances, MI, stroke, cardiomyopathies, rhythm disturbances artery spasm, especially during cardiac stress such as temperature extremes, physical/emotional stress) (Bandazhevsky, 2001)
  • Hematologic problems (leukemias especially)
  • Endocrine problems (especially Hypothyroidism, thyroid nodules/Cancer, and Diabetes)
  • Immune system
  • Uro-genital system
  • Musculoskeletal system
  • Dental problems as cesium replaces calcium in teeth and bones
  • Central nervous system and psyche
  • The eye (cataracts and retinopathies)
  • Increase in congenital malformations
  • Increase in cancers
  • Accelerated aging
  • Increased frequency of mutations
  • Fertility problems and Change in secondary sex ratio (Yablokov, 2012)

October 1, 2021 Posted by | Christina's themes, radiation | 5 Comments