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Lake Close to Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Could Stay Radioactive For Another 20 Years

The cleanup from the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but the environmental cost might be far greater, according to a research, with neighboring lakes polluted for another 20 years.

Nov 06, 2021

Lake Onuma’s Radioactivity Concentration

Lake Onuma on Mount Akagi might be polluted with radioactive cesium-137 (137CS) for up to 30 years after the unfortunate incident, according to a group of researchers led by those from the University of Tsukuba.

The fractional diffusional approach was utilized by the researchers to establish that radioactive concentration would occur for up to 10,000 days after the event.

The radiation concentration dropped very fast after the nuclear disaster, but the decline slowed dramatically in the months and years that followed.

Since Lake Onuma is a closed lake, it receives just a little quantity of inflow and runoff water. Professor Yuko Hatano, one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement that previous research had utilized the two-component decay function model, which is the sum of two exponential functions, to match the detected 137Cs radioactive concentration.

Health Issues Caused by Exposure to Radioactive Isotope 

Cesium-137 has a half-life of roughly 30 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Exposure to the radioactive isotope may result in burns, radiation illness, and death, as well as boosting cancer risk.

The specialists utilized a fractional diffusion model to forecast the 137Cs content in both the lake water and the pond smelt, a common species of fish that dwells in the lake, over the long term.

The quantity of 137Cs in lake water and pond smelt was tested for 5.4 years after the event, according to the researchers. Experts anticipate that radioactive concentration will occur for up to 10,000 days after the catastrophe, based on the formula.

Researchers will be able to better comprehend the radioactive contamination of surrounding lakes that have been closed, as well as provide citizens a clearer sense of living conditions around the lakes, thanks to the formula.

Effects of Radioactive Contamination on the Ecosystem

A different set of researchers discovered last month that species in the region, particularly wild boar and rat snakes, are flourishing and have seen no substantial health consequences.

This is most likely due to the fact that cesium-134, one of the principal radioactive elements released during the accident, saw its levels in the region drop by about 90%, owing to its short half-life of just over two years.

Another study published in January 2020 revealed that more than 20 species, involving wild boar, macaques, and a raccoon dog, were flourishing in the ‘exclusion zone’ surrounding the Fukushima Daichii nuclear plant, which had been shut down.

Researchers found in July that the accident had resulted in a boar-pig hybrid, since both species in the vicinity had mated. The Fukushima tragedy ravaged Japan, irreversibly shifting huge portions of Honshu, the country’s main island, many feet to the east.

It triggered 130-foot-high tsunami waves that destroyed 450,000 people’s houses and melted six nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Thousands of people were forced to abandon their houses as a constant stream of deadly, radioactive pollutants were released into the atmosphere.

https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/48121/20211106/scientists-lake-close-to-the-2011-fukushima-nuclear-accident-could-possibly-stay-radioactive-for-another-20-years.htm

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

A Decade On, Fukushima Farmers Fear Nuclear-Tainted Water’s Impact on Business

A laboratory technician prepare tests for cesium levels in beef from cattle bred in Fukushima, at Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, Japan November 2, 2021. Picture taken November 2, 2021.

Nov. 5, 2021

IWAKI, Japan (Reuters) – Fukushima farmers fear the Japanese government’s planned release of water from the crippled power plant could revive concerns about contamination and again hit the price of their produce, undoing a decade of slow recovery from nuclear disaster.

Japan plans to release https://www.reuters.com/article/us-disaster-fukushima-water-release-expl-idAFKBN2C003P more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the plant in the country’s northeast into the sea after treating it, as the site reaches storage limits for the water. Although international authorities support the plan, it has sparked concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried local fisherman and farmers.

“We’re just about seeing our prices go back to normal after a big drop following the disaster, but now we will have to deal with the potential reputational damage all over again because of the release of the water,” said Hiroaki Kusano, a pear farmer and vice-leader of the local agricultural co-operative.

The water is to be processed to remove radioactive contamination other than from tritium, which cannot be removed. Water with the radioactive isotope diluted to one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking water will be released into the Pacific a kilometre out from the plant around spring 2023, under a government plan.

Nuclear plants worldwide routinely release water containing tritium, considered the least-toxic byproduct of atomic power.

Last year, for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast coast and triggered the nuclear disaster, the average price of Fukushima pears sold in Tokyo overtook those from some other prefectures, fetching 506 yen per kg ($2.00 per pound), data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market showed.

A year after the crisis, prices were at 184 yen per kg, 20% below the average of more than 230 yen for other prefectures.

Fukushima’s produce goes through multiple checks for radioactivity, with farmers screening before shipment, while the prefecture also tests regularly.

Over the last decade, local produce has gone through a “thorough testing process, consistently” said Kazuhiro Okazaki of Fukushima’s Agricultural Technology Centre, which has screened produce for radioactive cesium since June 2011.

Fukushima produced 13,000 tonnes of pears in 2020, making it Japan’s fourth-largest source of the popular fruit, official data showed.

DECOMMISSIONING

The Daiichi plant is being decomissioned as part of a clean-up by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) expected to take decades https://jp.reuters.com/article/japan-fukushima-anniversary-decommission-idINKBN2B40XF.

Some 1,000 tanks, each 12 metres (40 feet) tall, crowd the site and hold enough radioactive water to fill around 500 Olympic-sized swimming polls. The release of water that once passed through contaminated areas of the plant marks a milestone in decommissioning and will free up space for the clean-up.

Tepco will compensate for damages related to the water release, said Junichi Matsumoto, a company official overseeing decommissioning work. Tepco says it has so far paid out some 10.1 trillion yen ($89 billion) in damages from the crisis.

“The first step is to listen to the voices of those impacted adversely by the water release,” Matsumoto said.

There are additional concerns because the Fukushima water has been sitting around for years, said Toru Watanabe, a radioactivity researcher at the Fukushima Fisheries and Marine Science Research Center.

“The water has been in those tanks for a long time. The quality of that water needs to be thoroughly understood before it’s released,” he said.

Farmers say there isn’t much they can do once the water is released. They worry about their tough customers – Japanese shoppers are famously picky about produce and pay close attention to freshness and place of origin.

“All we can do is keep explaining all of the measures we have to ensure the safety of our produce,” said pear farmer Tomoichi Yoshioka. “The final decision lies with the consumer.”

($1 = 113.6700 yen)

https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2021-11-05/fukushima-farmers-fear-contaminated-water-could-hurt-business-10-years-after-nuclear-disaster

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

The need to stop population growth, and the way to go about this

There are loud voices calling for an acceleration of population growth as the only economic solution. Cries that ‘ageing population’ will be too expensive, and other stories that make no sense when examined properly.

But consider the comments of Jeff Bezos on returning from his trip to space. His wealth results from all the people in the world who buy from Amazon. If there were less people in the world, he would have less wealth.

But it not just those few billionaires for whom it is “more people equals more wealth”. The same applies to companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. Not that any of these companies is in a position to influence how people think. And yes, you would think that in an equitable world, more people would also mean more shares and shareholders, so the individual share price and wealth of each shareholder would not change. But it just may be, we don’t live in that equitable world quite yet.

Why wait? We should end population growth NOW! One Finite Planet I have been asked on a few occasions, why not end population growth now? It is not like we need to get more people first? Japan has stopped population growth, why not the rest of us? What are we waiting for?

  • What is needed to stop growth immediately: Births equals deaths.
  • But Japan Has Managed It?
  • Realistically? What Is Soonest Growth Could Stop?
  • What Is The Ideal?
  • Threatening Problem: What Could Prevent The Ideal?

What is needed to stop growth immediately: Births equals deaths.

Fail: Two parents, Two Children Families Takes 3 Generations To Stop.

At first glance, it would seem logical that families had one child for each parent, then population numbers would be stable.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple, and while this works eventually, it takes 3 generations to stop population growth………………..

But Japan Has Managed To Stop Growth?

Japan has already ended national population growth, and has not needed to reduce births to 1 child, but a more reasonable 1.4 average births per women.

How?

The secret is Japan achieved this by starting reducing family sizes earlier. While the two children per family model can take 3 generations, 1.4 children per family does reach the target of stopping growth much sooner, and has the benefit that it can then, if desired, provide a period of population correction. Note Japan has already had around 40 years of less children born every year.

The graphs on this page  [on original] tell the story of ending population growth:  ….

Realistically? What Is Soonest Growth Could Stop?

Globally, births per woman is currently still at around 2.3, having fallen from around 6.0 prior to 1900, when infant mortality was still high. We have had a population explosion triggered by a fall in infant mortality, but the explosion is now ending.

If the word follows the path of Japan, it could still take another 35 years before the population is decreasing, and if we follow some UN projections where having fallen to 2.3, births per woman stops falling, it population growth could persist until the end of the century, provided the resulting numbers themselves don’t cause a disaster.

Realistically, even if you do accept that the fact we are unable to exist sustainably means we are overpopulated , without a massive intervention, the very fact that population of elderly people is so much smaller because they were born when population was smaller, means population keeps growing for at least another 10 years.

What Is The Ideal.

Personally, despite the fact we are already overpopulated, I believe any disruption so severe as to halt growth right now is likely to reduce the planets carrying capacity of humans, and make overpopulation an even worse problem even without having more people.

Ending growth smoothly in 10 or even 20 years I think is the best we could hope to achieve.

Threatening Problem: What Could Prevent The Ideal?

There are loud voices calling for an acceleration of population growth as the only economic solution. Cries that ‘ageing population’ will be too expensive, and other stories that make no sense when examined properly.

But consider the comments of Jeff Bezos on returning from his trip to space. His wealth results from all the people in the world who buy from Amazon. If there were less people in the world, he would have less wealth.

But it not just those few billionaires for whom it is “more people equals more wealth”. The same applies to companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. Not that any of these companies is in a position to influence how people think. And yes, you would think that in an equitable world, more people would also mean more shares and shareholders, so the individual share price and wealth of each shareholder would not change. But it just may be, we don’t live in that equitable world quite yet.

Anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”ATTRIBUTED TO KENNETH BOULDING IN: UNITED STATES. CONGRESS. HOUSE (1973)  HTTPS://ONEFINITEPLANET.ORG/2021/11/05/END-POPULATION-GROWTH-NOW/COMMENT-PAGE-1/?UNAPPROVED=781&MODERATION-HASH=AA2A290874C6DDED0D00BF8B5DE29F79#COMMENT-781

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The EU Taxonomy is designed to identify which activities are green: it’s about science, not promoting business

 the EU Sustainable Taxonomy’s design is aimed at defining which economic activities are green – not which economic sectors are needed for the transition to a net-zero by 2050 economy

Decision-makers cannot let economic questions on energy security and cost thwart the scientific integrity of the EU Sustainable Taxonomy and still have an opportunity to save the credibility of the EU’s sustainable finance policy framework. It is now up to them to take responsibility

How to save the scientific integrity of the EU’s green finance taxonomy,  By Elise Attal and Jan Vandermosten, 29 Oct 21  Decision-makers cannot let economic questions on energy security and cost thwart the scientific integrity of the EU Sustainable Taxonomy, write Elise Attal and Jan Vandermosten.

Elise Attal is Head of EU Policy at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a United Nations-supported international network of investors. Jan Vandermosten is a Senior Policy Analyst at PRI

It is crunch time for the EU Sustainable Taxonomy; a classification framework developed to help investors direct capital towards sustainable economic activities.

Member states and industry are heavily lobbying to include gas-fired electricity and nuclear energy within the definition of sustainable activities for climate mitigation.

While these sectors may be needed in the short-term to secure energy supply, their inclusion would fundamentally undermine the scientific integrity of the EU Sustainable Taxonomy – the bedrock on which the entire credibility of the EU sustainable finance framework relies.

Policymakers and industry should consider the risks of tarnishing investor confidence in this carefully designed and sophisticated framework aimed at providing long-term certainty.

The EU Sustainable Taxonomy regulation delineates an economic activity as sustainable if it “substantially contributes” to one out of six environmental objectives while at the same time “doing no significant harm” to any of the other five objectives. Screening criteria, based on best performance thresholds and life-cycle analysis, for instance, are under development for each environmental objective by an independent expert group, the Sustainable Finance Platform.

The Platform’s assessment relies on conclusive scientific evidence and – in the case of the climate change objective under the EU Taxonomy – whether the economic activities contribute to the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. First screening criteria for climate change mitigation and adaptation were adopted by the European Commission in April. Still, a decision on gas-fired power and nuclear was postponed at that time.

The inclusion of gas-fired electricity would seriously compromise the EU Sustainable Taxonomy’s ability to act as an independently and scientifically designed tool for guiding investment into environmentally sustainable activities in line with the EU’s goal of reducing emissions by 55% by 2030.

Research on net-zero by 2050 pathways for the energy sector, including the recent IEA World Energy Outlook, stresses that there is no remaining carbon budget for new gas investments and that existing gas-fired power plants will have to be phased out by 2035 in the OECD and 2040 globally.

The current EU Sustainable Taxonomy screening criteria for climate mitigation state that power generation from different technology sources can only make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation within an emissions threshold of 100g CO2e/ kWh. Most existing gas production today would even fall above the ‘significant harm’ threshold for climate change mitigation, which has been set at 270g CO2e/kWh.

The merits of including nuclear energy in the EU Sustainable Taxonomy are also debatable.

Nuclear energy’s potential substantial contribution to climate mitigation objectives is clear, but important questions remain over its ability to meet the “do no significant harm” criteria with regards to other environmental objectives. A report by the Joint Research Centre that was commissioned to inform a decision on this matter has been criticised (e.g. SCHEERHeinrich Böll StiftungAustrian Institute of Ecology) for not sufficiently addressing risks related to the storage of nuclear waste, severe incidents and nuclear proliferation.

Proponents of the inclusion of gas-fired electricity and nuclear energy in the EU Sustainable Taxonomy will argue that these economic activities have a role to play in the energy transition.

This argument is beside the point: the EU Sustainable Taxonomy’s design is aimed at defining which economic activities are green – not which economic sectors are needed for the transition to a net-zero by 2050 economy……..

Decision-makers cannot let economic questions on energy security and cost thwart the scientific integrity of the EU Sustainable Taxonomy and still have an opportunity to save the credibility of the EU’s sustainable finance policy framework. It is now up to them to take responsibility. https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/how-to-save-the-scientific-integrity-of-the-eus-green-finance-taxonomy/

   

November 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

New evacuation ‘border’ baffles, splits community in Fukushima

Shoichi Sasaki’s house on the right, shown here on July 30 in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, will remain “off-limits” even after an evacuation order is lifted next spring for two houses on the other side of a road.

November 5, 2021

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture—Evacuees eager to finally return to their homes near the hobbled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant have been thrown into confusion over the way evacuation orders will be lifted.

The orders will end in parts of the “difficult-to-return zones” in less than six months but not all of them as the town of Okuma had hoped.

In a compromise with the central government, the town accepted a boundary that cuts across the Machi neighborhood of Okuma, creating a livable “enclave” surrounded on all sides by “no-entry” areas.

Residents from the enclave will be able to return to their homes, but their neighbors, even on the other side of a street, could be prohibited from returning until the end of the decade.

‘RECONSTRUCTION BASE’ DESIGNATION

Okuma co-hosts the nuclear plant, which suffered a triple meltdown after being hammered by the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.

Machi is located along National Route 6 around 3 kilometers southeast of JR Ono Station, which stands in what used to be Okuma’s downtown.

The road is busy with trucks for post-disaster rebuilding work and passenger cars. But streets behind the barricades along the road are still lined with empty houses.

The around 90 households in the community were all forced to flee after the disaster. Machi was later designated a difficult-to-return zone, the most severe level for evacuation orders.

In 2017, about 20 of the 140 or so hectares of the community’s landmass were collectively designated by the central government as a “specified reconstruction and revitalization base,” entitling the area to preferential decontamination work.

The evacuation order covering those 20 hectares is expected to be lifted next spring.

However, Shoichi Sasaki, head of the Machi community, is not excited by the prospect.

“Our community has been divided, although radiation levels are more or less the same on the inside and outside of the ‘reconstruction base’ area,” Sasaki, 72, said.

Most of the 860 or so hectares in Okuma that have been designated as reconstruction bases are concentrated around Ono Station. The Machi community is detached from those areas.

The reconstruction base in Machi includes only about half of all households in the community. Returning residents may be denied free access to areas outside the reconstruction base that will remain as difficult-to-return zones.

‘PRODUCT OF COMPROMISE’

A behind-the-scenes struggle between Okuma and the central government led to the curious demarcation, according to former senior town officials and assembly members.

Okuma town representatives called for a lifting of all difficult-to-return zone designations, but the central government did not like the idea, which would have required huge cleanup costs.

The “specified reconstruction and revitalization base” zoning system was a “product of compromise” to promote decontamination work for the lifting of evacuation orders only in limited parts of the difficult-to-return zones.

Sources said the central government made the proposal to designate part of the Machi community as a reconstruction base even though it was isolated from other bases around Ono Station.

Central government officials said the proposal took account of the fact that Machi was the seat of the Kumamachi village office before the village merged into Okuma during the Showa Era (1926-1989). Machi was home to a certain concentration of residences.

Okuma town representatives, concerned about a division of the Machi community, called on Tokyo to clean up and lift evacuation orders across all areas of the town, a former senior town official said.

The pleas were in vain.

Okuma ended up accepting Tokyo’s proposal, hoping it would “at least broaden areas where evacuation orders have been lifted,” the former senior town official said.

In Sasaki’s survey in May of all households from the Machi community, 11 said they wanted to return to their homes.

One of those who want to go home is Sasaki. However, his house lies just outside of the reconstruction base zone across a road.

“I have no idea when I will be allowed to go back home,” Sasaki said. “I hope as many residents as possible will be able to return and help each other to rebuild their lives there.”

LATER THIS DECADE

The central government in August released a plan for cleaning up and lifting evacuation orders in areas outside the reconstruction bases, including those in Machi. Residents who had to evacuate from those areas may be allowed to return home by the end of the 2020s.

The specific dates and areas will be determined after talks with local communities, officials said.

Around 33,700 hectares of difficult-to-return zones exist in seven municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture.

Tokyo plans to lift evacuation orders for 1,510 hectares in Okuma, Futaba and Katsurao from next spring, followed by 1,237 hectares in three surrounding municipalities in spring 2023.

Cleanup of radioactive contaminants and development of infrastructure, including water supply and sewerage, are under way in those areas.

However, high residual radiation levels following the cleanup and delays in the restoration work have emerged.

Radiation levels failed to dip below 3.8 microsieverts per hour, the safety standard for lifting evacuation orders, at 1,269, or 2.7 percent, of measurement sites in areas of Okuma where the Environment Ministry conducted cleanup work between June 2013 and May this year.

The Okuma town government initially planned to start “preparatory overnight stays,” or temporary home returns for evacuees, in October.

The starting date has been put off to “by the end of this year.”

Radiation levels also failed to fall below the safety standard at 563, or 1.0 percent, of the measurement sites in the neighboring town of Futaba, the other co-host of the nuclear plant.

Evacuation orders in Futaba were initially scheduled to be lifted next spring. But delays in the infrastructure development will likely push back that schedule to around June at the earliest.

“It is essential to prepare an environment that allows residents to live without anxiety,” said Kencho Kawatsu, a guest professor of environmental policy and radiation science with Fukushima University.

Kawatsu heads an Okuma town committee reviewing the effects of cleanup work and other matters.

The Environment Ministry is conducting supplementary decontamination work in Okuma and Futaba. Kawatsu said the effects of those efforts should be reviewed carefully.

(This article was written by Shinichi Sekine, Toru Furusho and Nobuyuki Takiguchi.)

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14464648

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , | Leave a comment

The role of efficiency and smart grids in conserving energy

Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Nigeria have joined a collaborativeinitiative steered by the UK Government and the International Energy Agency (IEA) aimed at drastically improving the energy efficiency of appliances such as lighting, refrigerators and air conditioners.

“IEA analysisclearly shows the importance of energy efficiency for reaching net zero emissions globally,” Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director said. “Policies to improve the efficiency of products have already helped halve the energy consumption of major appliances in many markets, allowing consumers to benefit from significant savings while also loweringgreenhouse gas emissions.

 Smart grids

 What Is a Smart Grid, and How Might One Protect Our Energy Future? Our electric grid is old and fraying, but new technology could insulate us from the possibility of widespread blackouts and cyberattacks. In February 2021, an electric grid failure in Texas caused more than 4.5 million homes and businesses to lose power. Months later, wide-scale droughts and wildfires threatened the western US with rolling blackouts. With new energy sources such as wind and solar power, maintaining a steady balance gets even more complicated. This is because power from these sources is inconsistent.

“Smart grids” sense small imbalances faster, making adjustments so problems don’t get larger. They use sensors to constantly measure the status of different parts of the grid, and a series of devices that control the current flowing through different points. The sensors and controllersare run by computers that make automatic adjustments to maximize efficiency.

 

 Scientific American 4th Nov 2021

https://www.scientificamerican.com/video/what-is-a-smart-grid-and-how-might-one-protect-our-energy-future/

November 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry pushing its spin and doing deals on the sidelines at COP26


Nuclear Power Is COP26’s Quiet Controversy, TIME   BY ALEJANDRO DE LA GARZA  NOVEMBER 5, 2021
In the midst of the COP26 climate talks yesterday, U.S. and Romanian officials stepped aside for a session in the conference’s Blue Zone, establishing an agreement for U.S. company NuScale to build a new kind of modular nuclear power plant in the southeastern European country. …….

NuScale CEO John Hopkins sees the agreement as part of a broader recognition that nuclear power has a big role to play as the world decarbonizes. ……

But others at COP26 aren’t convinced that NuScale’s small reactors can help avoid climate catastrophe. Some point to the fact that NuScale has yet to build a single commercial plant as evidence that the company is already too late to the party. “We have to get everything done in the next 25 years,” says Tom Burke, co-founder of climate think tank E3G. “The idea that you’re going to scale up a technology you don’t even have yet, and it’s going to be commercially viable [in that time], just seems to me like la la land.”

( More broadly, the NuScale controversy underscores larger disagreements about nuclear power’s role in bringing the world to a post-carbon future. On one side, institutions like the International Energy Agency say that the nuclear industry, which has been shrinking for years, will need to nearly double in size over the next two decades in order for the world to meet net-zero emissions targets.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. has embraced the power source as a solution for developing countries, announcing yesterday that it will spend $25 million to help build reactors in Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia. Russia’s environment minister told Reuters last month that the country planned to push for other nations at COP26 to acknowledge its nuclear power plants as environmentally friendly, while the Czech Republic, France and a slew of other European nations announced an “alliance” to promote nuclear energy (as well as natural gas) as sustainable investments under the E.U.’s upcoming climate finance rules.

But opposition to the idea of including nuclear power in a green energy roadmap is equally fierce. Germany and Belgium have long been drawing down their nuclear sectors, while nations like New Zealand and Austria have opposed classifying nuclear as a clean power source alongside renewables like wind and solar.

Lukas Ross, Climate and Energy Justice Program Manager at Friends of the Earth U.S., points to ballooning costs for nuclear projects in the U.S. and the U.K., and calls the energy source a “distraction” and a waste of scarce resources compared with renewables like wind and solar. “[Nuclear] is too expensive and too slow to be relevant to the climate crisis,” says Ross.

Still, Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and a senior research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative, says the economics of nuclear energy are improving thanks to new technology like NuScale’s modular reactors, and that fission energy can help the world’s electricity systems meet crucial “baseload” needs, providing a steady current of power even when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow.

But other experts say that the whole notion of baseload power is an outmoded concept, predicated on old assumptions about the ways that grids work. And Paltsev admits that, despite nuclear’s apparent promise, the industry still must prove that the technology is safe and cost effective.    https://time.com/6114156/nuclear-power-is-cop26s-quiet-controversy/

November 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

‘No One Died From Radiation At Fukushima’: IAEA Boss Statement Met With Laughter At COP26   

‘No One Died From Radiation At Fukushima’: IAEA Boss Statement Met With Laughter At COP26, Forbes,    Sofia Lotto Persio Forbes Staff Sustainability I oversee sustainability coverage and curate the Daily Dozen. Nov 21,   The tsunami-triggered destruction of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 provoked a rethink of nuclear power across the world—and remains a sore spot for the industry even as it tries to champion its low-carbon energy source status to gain prominence in the fight against climate change. 

On Thursday, the day dedicated to discussing energy at the COP26 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was given a prominent spot, with director general Rafael Mariano Grossi being interviewed on stage by Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett. 

It was an opportunity for Grossi to highlight the benefits of nuclear power, its appeal as part of a country’s energy mix,  and dispel concerns about nuclear waste and safety, but his assertion that the multiple nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Okuma—which forced the evacuation of more than 160,000 residents—resulted in no deaths from exposure to radiation was met with skepticism from the audience………

For years since the disaster, Grossi’s statement held true. But in 2018, the Japanese government recognized the death of one Fukushima plant worker to be attributable to radiation exposure, disbursing compensation to his family. The worker, a man in his 50s who had spent nearly 29 years working at nuclear stations in Japan until September 2015, was in charge of measuring radiation at the Fukushima plant. In the period of December 2011 and September 2015, the amount of radiation he was exposed to more than doubled from roughly 34 millisieverts to around 74 millisieverts, as the Japanese newspaper Mainichi reported. The maximum level of radiation exposure workers should be exposed to is 100 millisieverts every five years—an annual exposure to that level of radiation is linked to an increase in cancer risk. The worker was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016 and died of the disease.

Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco) is still facing lawsuits for its failure to safeguard the nuclear complex. In February, the company and the Japanese government were ordered to pay $2.6 million in compensation to 43 evacuees for failing to enact preemptive measures against the disaster. Establishing a clear link between exposure radiation and cancer in a court of law can be more difficult. Tepco won one case in May because the plaintiff, who had worked on removing debris from the Fukushima complex between July and October 2011, developed three cancers between 2012 and 2013, whereas government guidelines stipulate the minimum latency period for a disease to develop following radiation exposure is five years….   https://www.forbes.com/sites/sofialottopersio/2021/11/04/no-one-died-from-radiation-at-fukushima-iaea-boss-statement-met-with-laughter-at-cop26/?sh=241acac17a47

November 6, 2021 Posted by | deaths by radiation, Japan, legal | Leave a comment

U.S Department of Interior raised alarm about radioactive pollution of Congaree National Park from Westinghouse nuclear fuel plant.

 “This is quite significant,’’ he said. “A federal agency that owns Congaree National Park, what they say can’t be brushed under the rug. ‘’

Congaree National Park threatened by nuclear fuel plant, federal document shows The State BY SAMMY FRETWELL NOVEMBER 05, 2021,  The U.S. Department of the Interior has raised alarms about pollution from a nuclear fuel plant near Columbia, saying it could “have potential impacts’’ on Congaree National Park as contamination trickles through the ground from the Westinghouse factory.

In a letter made public Friday, the department recommends the plant receive only a 20-year license to continue operating — instead of the 40 years proposed by Westinghouse and recommended by state nuclear advisers — because of environmental problems at the facility.


“Multiple leaks or spills’’ at the Westinghouse plant, as well as contamination from flooding, are chief worries, according to the seven-page letter.

Extensive groundwater contamination has been found beneath the Westinghouse plant, some of which only has been discovered in recent years, The State has previously reported. Written to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the interior department letter said an environmental study of the plant’s impact on the area does not adequately address many issues — and the fuel plant’s potential effect on the national park is a major worry.


“The department is concerned that an existing subsurface contamination plume from the (factory) could have potential impacts to Congaree National Park and the Congaree River as it migrates through a highly interconnected hydrogeologic system within the park,’’ according to the letter from the Interior Department’s regional environmental officer, Joyce Stanley. Stanley’s letter, dated Sept. 17, is the first comment from a federal environmental agency that has come to light with concerns about the Westinghouse plant. The Department of Interior oversees the National Park Service, which manages Congaree National Park.

Among other things, the department wants more extensive monitoring for groundwater pollution at the Westinghouse site, the letter said. It also wants to know how radioactive contamination might affect the Congaree River and how floods like the 2015 deluge that swamped Columbia could affect the area near the nuclear fuel plant. The Westinghouse plant, built more than 50 years ago, makes fuel rods for commercial nuclear power plants. It handles uranium and other radioactive materials, as well as chemicals. It is about four miles up the road from Congaree National Park, a 27,000-acre preserve known for its expansive flood plain, meandering streams and towering, old-growth trees.


Westinghouse wants a license to operate the plant another 40 years, arguing that the facility is safe and improvements are being made after a recent history of problems. Gov. Henry McMaster’s Nuclear Advisory Council voted last month to support a 40-year license for the plant, citing improvements by Westinghouse.

But Stanley’s letter discourages a long-term license despite a Nuclear Regulatory Commission environmental study that downplayed the impacts of the plant. That environmental study recommended a 40 year license. The earth’s changing climate is expected to bring heavier rainfall at the same time development is expected to increase in eastern Richland County, Stanley wrote. A 20-year license is preferred “given all of the uncertainties regarding contaminant plume source, transport, and fate, as well as re-evaluation in the face of anticipated development and climate change impacts,’’ her letter said.
What impact the Interior Department letter will have on the NRC’s decision on a new license for Westinghouse is unknown. The decision is ultimately up to the nuclear oversight agency. The agency is taking public comments through Nov. 19. A decision on the license is expected next year. Dave McIntyre, a spokesman for the NRC, said his agency would take the letter into consideration as it decides whether to issue a new license.

This is similar to some comments we have heard in public meetings and we will certainly review it,’’ he said, adding that Interior Department officials “have certain expertise and credibility. But we do take all comments seriously.’’ Tom Clements, a nuclear safety advocate who is tracking the Westinghouse license issue, said the Interior Department raises legitimate concerns about pollution from the plant and how that might affect Congaree National Park, as well as the surrounding community. “This is quite significant,’’ he said. “A federal agency that owns Congaree National Park, what they say can’t be brushed under the rug. ‘’


Congaree National Park, for years the only national park in South Carolina, draws about 100,000 visitors annually. The area was protected in the mid-1970s and became South Carolina’s first national park 18 years ago. The Congaree River and its tributaries flow past or through the park below the nuclear plant. The park is widely known for its extensive and unspoiled forested flood plain.

Concerns by the Interior Department follow a series of troubles at the Westinghouse plant in recent years and the discovery of groundwater pollution government officials had not been told about. Since 2016, the plant has drawn NRC scrutiny over a buildup of radioactive uranium in an air pollution control device, leaking shipping containers and a leak of uranium through a hole in the plant’s floor, among other things. At the same time, NRC officials said in 2018 that groundwater was polluted with unsafe levels of radioactive material from leaks that occurred years ago, but only recently revealed to state and federal regulators. Many people who live near the plant have questioned whether Westinghouse could pollute their well water or cause other environmental problems. But Westinghouse officials have said groundwater is not flowing toward their wells.. The company has an agreement with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control to assess the contamination and take action when warranted.

Read more at: https://www.thestate.com/news/local/environment/article255573511.html#storylink=cpy

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Other owners of Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear power project are balking at the billowing costs.

Nuclear plant price doubles to $28.5B as other owners balk. https://www.news4jax.com/business/2021/11/05/nuclear-plant-price-doubles-to-285b-as-other-owners-balk/   Jeff Amy, Associated Press.

ATLANTA – The cost of two nuclear reactors being built in Georgia is now $28.5 billion, more than twice the original price tag, and the other owners of Plant Vogtle argue Georgia Power Co. has triggered an agreement requiring Georgia Power to shoulder a larger share of the financial burden.

Atlanta-based Southern Co. announced in its quarterly earnings statement Thursday that Georgia Power’s share of the third and fourth nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle has risen to a total of $12.7 billion, an increase of $264 million. Along with what cooperatives and municipal utilities project, the total cost of Vogtle has now more than doubled the original projection of $14 billion.

Opponents have long warned that overruns would be sky-high. Liz Coyle, executive director of consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch, said the price tag is “outrageous” but predictable.

“We said you can’t build it for what you’re saying you can,” she said of Georgia Watch’s opposition to the project when the Georgia Public Service Commission originally authorized the new reactors.

Total costs are actually higher than $28.5 billion, because that doesn’t count the $3.68 billion that contractor Westinghouse paid back to owners after going bankrupt. When approved in 2012, the first electricity was supposed to be generated in 2016…..

Southern Co. also disclosed Thursday that the other owners of Vogtle are saying Georgia Power has tripped an agreement to pay a larger share of the ongoing overruns, a cost the company estimates at up to $350 million. Southern Co. said it disagrees that Georgia Power has crossed the cost threshold but has signed an agreement to extend talks with the other owners on the issue.

Georgia Power owns 45.7% of the new reactors, while cooperative-owned Oglethorpe Power Corp. owns 30%. The Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia owns 22.7% and the city of Dalton’s municipal utility owns 1.6%. Florida’s Jacksonville Electric Authority is obligated to cover some of MEAG’s costs. Some cooperatives and municipal utilities in Alabama and northwest Florida have agreed to buy power as well.

The higher costs stem from more construction delays. Georgia Power announced last month that it doesn’t expect Unit 3 to start generating electricity until the third quarter of 2022. It was the third delay announced since May. Unit 4 is now projected to enter service sometime between April and June of 2023.

The company says it is redoing substandard construction work and contractors aren’t meeting deadlines. Experts hired by the Georgia Public Service Commission to monitor construction have long said Southern Co. has set an unrealistic schedule. In August, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission found two sets of electrical cables meant to provide redundancy in Unit 3 weren’t properly separated. Earlier, Georgia Power had to repair a leak in Unit 3′s spent fuel pool.

Georgia Power shareholders have been paying the cost of recent overruns, but the company could ask regulators to require customers to pay some or all of those bills.

November 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Billionaires Not Morally Qualified to Shape Civilization

Billionaires Not Morally Qualified to Shape Civilization, Consortium News, November 3, 2021  We’re talking about a class which could easily put a complete halt to human beings dying of starvation, writes Caitlin Johnstone. But they don’t.  By Caitlin JohnstoneCaitlinJohnstone.comHuman civilization is being engineered in myriad ways by an unfathomably wealthy class who are so emotionally and psychologically stunted that they refuse to end world hunger despite having the ability to easily do so.

The United Nations has estimated that world hunger could be ended for an additional expenditure of $30 billion a year, with other estimates considerably lower. The other day Elon Musk became the first person to attain a net worth of over $300 billion. A year ago his net worth was $115 billion. According to Inequality.org, America’s billionaires have a combined net worth of $5.1 trillion, which is a 70 percent increase from their combined net worth of under $3 trillion at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So, we’re talking about a class which could easily put a complete halt to human beings dying of starvation on this planet by simply putting some of their vast fortunes toward making sure everyone gets enough to eat. But they don’t. This same class influences the policies, laws, and large-scale behavior of our species more than any other.

……….how absolutely insane it is that we allow this class to shape our civilization.

And we most certainly do allow them to shape our civilization.

Take Bill Gates. He spends a fortune on narrative control ranging from immense contributions to The Guardian to tens of billions of dollars in grants and he’s committed hundreds of millions of dollars to shady political influence groups as well. He’s been influencing Covid policies around the world, from intervening against the waiving of vaccine patent restrictions to facilitating the worldwide rollout of digital vaccine passports; he’s been giving countless media interviews about Covid-19 and vaccines despite having no medical degree or indeed any qualifications at all apart from a net worth of $136 billion. This is after falsely pledging to give his immense fortune away over a decade ago; his net worth has more than doubled in that time.

Jeff Bezos has been a contractor with the Pentagonthe CIA and the NSA, and experts have claimed that Amazon is trying to control the underlying infrastructure of the economy. As sole owner of The Washington Post he ensures that a hugely influential news outlet will always be staffed by people who will help manufacture consent for the status quo upon which his empire is built, and his grand vision for humanity involves shipping us offworld to breed in giant rotating space cylinders………

The World Economic Forum has laid out an agenda for giant corporations to move beyond their unofficial and unacknowledged role as unelected rulers of our world and become open partners in the governance of world affairs alongside our official elected governments, with more power than ever before.

There are almost infinite examples I could highlight, but I think my point is clear. Billionaires and billionaire corporations own our media, influence our thinking, manipulate our economies, interfere in our politics, determine the fate of our ecosystem and shape our world. And they are the very least qualified among us to be doing so……… https://consortiumnews.com/2021/11/03/billionaires-not-morally-qualified-to-shape-civilization/

November 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

NATO chief advises UK to deal with climate change threat to its Trident nuclear weapons at Faslane

 COP26: NATO chief says it is up to UK to address Trident climate change flooding threat. NATO’s secretary general has stressed that it is up to individual nation members of the alliance to take action to protect military resources from the impacts of climate change, amid warnings that Faslane, the home of the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent, could be
impacted by flooding due to rising sea levels.

 Scotsman 3rd Nov 2021

https://www.scotsman.com/news/defence/cop26-nato-chief-says-it-is-up-to-uk-to-address-trident-climate-change-flooding-threat-3443798

November 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

”Cocooning” Hanford nuclear reactors conveniently leaves the $600 billion clean-up to future generations

Future generations will decide the final disposition of the eight Hanford reactors.

The bigger question is whether future generations will be willing to pay the massive costs of Hanford cleanup, he said.

Carpenter said the estimated cost to completely clean up just the tank wastes at the Hanford site is around $660 billion.

“It’s rather grim. It’s multigenerational,” he said.

“This will cost more than anyone thought possible,” Carpenter said of the tank wastes and other wastes that were dumped into the ground at Hanford. “It’s a hidden cost of the (nuclear) buildup.

US government works to ‘cocoon’ old nuclear reactors  https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/us-government-works-cocoon-nuclear-reactors-80964651

Costs to clean up a massive nuclear weapons complex in Washington state are usually expressed in the hundreds of billions of dollars and involve decades of work
, By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press5 November 2021   SPOKANE, Wash. — Costs to clean up a massive nuclear weapons complex in Washington state are usually expressed in the hundreds of billions of dollars and involve decades of work.

 usually expressed in the hundreds of billions of dollars and involve decades of work.

But one project on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is progressing at a much lower price.

The federal government is moving forward with the “cocooning” of eight plutonium production reactors at Hanford that will place them in a state of long-term storage to allow radiation inside to dissipate over a period of decades, until they can be dismantled and buried.

“It’s relatively non-expensive,” Mark French, a manager for the U.S. Department of Energy, said of cocooning. “The cost of trying to dismantle the reactor and demolish the reactor core would be extremely expensive and put workers at risk.”

The federal government built nine nuclear reactors at Hanford to make plutonium for atomic bombs during World War II and the Cold War. The site along the Columbia River contains America’s largest quantity of radioactive waste.

The reactors are now shut down and sit like cement fortresses near the southeastern Washington city of Richland. Six have already been cocooned for long-term storage, and two more are headed in that direction. The ninth reactor was turned into a museum as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

While World War II ended in 1945 and the Cold War ended in 1989, the United States is still paying billions of dollars per year for the disposal of the nuclear waste produced by the atomic weapons that played a big role in ending those conflicts. The biggest expense is dealing with a massive volume of liquid wastes left over from the production of plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons.

While the liquid wastes stored in 177 underground tanks will take decades of work and hundreds of billions of dollars to clean, efforts to secure the nine plutonium reactors are much closer to completion.

The cocoons are expected to last about 75 years, by which time the radioactivity inside will have dramatically decreased and there presumably will be a plan for final disposition of the remaining parts, French said.

Every five years, workers enter the reactor building to make sure there are no leaks or rodent or bird infestations, he said.

Cleanup of Hanford, which has about 11,000 employees and is half the size of Rhode Island, started in the late 1980s, and now costs about $2.5 billion per year. The work has been slowed by technical issues, lack of funding, lawsuits from state regulators, worker exposure to radiation and turnover of contractors on the complex job.

But the handling of the old reactors is a bright spot.

The nine reactors — called B Reactor, C Reactor, D Reactor, DR Reactor, F Reactor, H Reactor, K-East Reactor, K-West Reactor, and N Reactor — were built from 1943 through 1965.

They were constructed next to the Columbia River because of the abundance of hydropower and cooling water needed by the reactors during operation.

All have been cocooned except K-East and K-West. Work on cocooning the K-East reactor has already started and should be finished by 2023, French said. Work on the K-West reactor is scheduled for completion in 2026.

The cocoon plan for K-East and K-West is to basically construct steel buildings around them. Each building is 158 feet (48.2 meters) long, 151 feet (46 meters) wide and 123 feet (37.5 meters) tall, French said. The two steel buildings will cost less than $10 million each.

The government also operated five plutonium production reactors at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina during the Cold War. All of those are also shut down, although three of the reactor buildings are being used to store radioactive materials Two of the reactors at Savannah River are closed but under a different procedure than the Hanford reactors, said Amy Boyette, a spokeswoman for Savannah River.

Future generations will decide the final disposition of the eight Hanford reactors, French said. They will likely be dismantled and buried in the central area of the Hanford site, away from the river.

Robots may be deployed in the future” for that work, French said.

Hanford watchdogs generally agree with this process, said Tom Carpenter, director of the Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge.

“Nobody is raising any concerns about cocooning,” Carpenter

said. “We’re all worried about the tank waste that needs immediate and urgent attention.”

The bigger question is whether future generations will be willing to pay the massive costs of Hanford cleanup, he said.

Carpenter said the estimated cost to completely clean up just the tank wastes at the Hanford site is around $660 billion.

“It’s rather grim. It’s multigenerational,” he said.

“This will cost more than anyone thought possible,” Carpenter said of the tank wastes and other wastes that were dumped into the ground at Hanford. “It’s a hidden cost of the (nuclear) buildup.

By then, there might be bigger budget concerns such as dealing with the effects of climate change, Carpenter said.

The most intriguing of the old reactors is the B Reactor, the first one built during World War II. It will not be cocooned, and can be visited by tourists at the national historical park. B Reactor, which shut down in 1968, was cleaned up enough to allow some 10,000 tourists to visit each year and learn the history of Hanford. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Plutonium from Hanford’s B Reactor was used in the testing of the world’s first atomic bomb in July 1945. Called the Trinity Test, the bomb was blown up in the New Mexico desert. Hanford plutonium was also used for the bomb that was dropped over Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945. 

November 6, 2021 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Is it green, or forever toxic? France’s radioactive waste crisis. Nuclear rift at climate talks

Is it green, or forever toxic? Nuclear rift at climate talks

By ANGELA CHARLTON, 4 Nov 21,   SOULAINES-DHUYS, France (AP)
— Deep in a French forest of oaks, birches and pines, a steady stream of trucks carries a silent reminder of nuclear energy’s often invisible cost: canisters of radioactive waste, heading into storage for the next 300 years.

As negotiators plot out how to fuel the world while also reducing carbon emissions at climate talks in Scotland, nuclear power is a central sticking point. Critics decry its mammoth price tag, the disproportionate damage caused by nuclear accidents, and radioactive leftovers that remain deadly for thousands of years.

……… Many governments are pushing to enshrine nuclear energy in climate plans being hashed out at the conference in Glasgow, known as COP26. The European Union, meanwhile, is debating whether to label nuclear energy as officially “green” — a decision that will steer billions of euros of investment for years to come. That has implications worldwide, as the EU policy could set a standard that other economies follow.

But what about all that waste? Reactors worldwide produce thousands of tons of highly radioactive detritus per year, on top of what has already been left by decades of harnessing the atom to electrify homes and factories around the world.

Germany is leading the pack of countries, mainly within the EU, standing firmly against labeling nuclear as “green.” …..

nowhere in the world is as reliant on nuclear reactors as France, which is at the forefront of the pro-nuclear push at the European and global level. And it’s among leading players in the nuclear waste industry, recycling or reprocessing material from around the world.

South of the World War I battlefields of Verdun, trucks bearing radioactivity warning stickers pull into a waste storage site near the village of Soulaines-Dhuys. They’re repeatedly checked, wiped and scanned for leaks. Their cargo — compacted waste stuffed into concrete or steel cylinders — is stacked by robotic cranes in warehouses that are then filled with gravel and sealed with more concrete.

……….. The storage units hold 90% of France’s low- to medium-activity radioactive waste, including tools, clothing and other material linked to reactor operation and maintenance. The site is designed to last at least 300 years after the last shipment arrives, when the radioactivity of its contents is forecast to be no higher than levels found in nature.

For longer-life waste — mainly used nuclear fuel, which remains potentially deadly for tens of thousands of years — France is laying the groundwork for a permanent, deep-earth repository beneath corn and wheat fields outside the nearby stone-house hamlet of Bure.

Some 500 meters (yards) below the surface, workers carry out tests on the clay and granite, carve tunnels and seek to prove that the long-term storage plan is the safest solution for future generations. Similar sites are under development or study in other countries, too.

If the repository wins French regulatory approval, it would hold some 85,000 metric tons (94,000 tons) of the most radioactive waste produced “from the beginning of the nuclear era until the end of existing nuclear facilities,” said Audrey Guillemenet, geologist and spokesperson for the underground lab.

“We can’t leave this waste in storage sites on the surface,” where it is now, she said. “That is secure, but not sustainable.”

The 25 billion euro ($29 billion) cost of the proposed repository is already built into budgeting by French utilities, Guillemenet said. But that’s just one piece of the staggering cost of building and operating nuclear plants, and one of the reasons that opposition abounds.

All around Bure, street signs are replaced with graffiti reading “Nuclear is Over,” and activists camp out at the town’s main intersection.

Greenpeace accuses the French nuclear industry of fobbing off waste on other countries and covering up problems at nuclear facilities, which industry officials deny. Activists staged a protest last week in the port of Dunkirk, as reprocessed uranium was being loaded onto a ship for St. Petersburg, demanding an end to nuclear energy and more research into solutions for existing waste.

…….. The current energy crunch is giving nuclear advocates another argument. With oil and gas costs driving an energy price crisis across Europe and beyond, French President Emmanuel Macron has trumpeted “European renewables and, of course, European nuclear.”

The waste, meanwhile, isn’t going away.

To make radioactive garbage dumps less worrying to local residents, Andra organizes school visits; one site even hosts an escape game. Waste storage researchers are readying for all kinds of potential future threats — revolution, extreme weather, even the next Ice Age, Guillemenet said.

Whatever happens in Glasgow, “whether we decide to go on with the nuclear energy or not,” she said, “we will need to find a solution for the management of that nuclear waste” that humankind has already produced. https://apnews.com/article/climate-science-business-environment-accidents-b334c5cddc50c620d53674a5b32518dd

November 6, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, France, wastes | Leave a comment

A ”scientific disgrace” – a leaked document pushing nuclear and gas as sustainable will damage the EU’s credibilify on green finance.

”the EU Sustainable Taxonomy’s design is aimed at defining which economic activities are green – not which economic sectors are needed for the transition to a net-zero by 2050 economy.”

LEAKED: Paper on gas and nuclear’s inclusion in EU green finance rules  https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/leaked-paper-on-gas-and-nuclears-inclusion-in-eu-green-finance-rules/

By Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com  A proposal to bring both nuclear power and natural gas into the bloc’s green finance taxonomy is circulating in Brussels. The paper has been branded as a “scientific disgrace” by campaigners who warned it would damage the EU’s credibility on green finance.

The so-called “non-paper”, obtained by EURACTIV, lays out detailed technical criteria for gas to qualify as a transitional activity under the EU’s sustainable finance rules.

To qualify as a “sustainable” investment, gas power plants or cogeneration facilities must not emit more than 100 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour, according to the draft paper.

It comes in the wake of declarations by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who said the EU executive would soon table proposals on gas and nuclear as part of the bloc’s green finance rulebook.

“We need more renewables. They are cheaper, carbon-free and homegrown,” von der Leyen wrote on Twitter after an EU summit meeting two weeks ago where leaders debated the bloc’s response to rising energy prices.

“We also need a stable source, nuclear, and during the transition, gas. This is why we will come forward with our taxonomy proposal,” she added.

Gas as a ‘transitional activity’

The 100gCO2 emissions criteria is the same as earlier proposals circulated last year, which were rejected as too stringent by a group of 10 pro-gas EU countries who threatened to veto the proposal.

To assuage critics concerns, the paper lays out additional criteria for gas plants to qualify as a “transitional activity”, accompanied by a sunset clause (until 31 December 2030) for the commissioning of new plants…………

Campaigners denounced those criteria as “radically weaker” than previous plans drafted by the European Commission.

“This proposal is a scientific disgrace that would deal a fatal blow to the taxonomy,” said Henry Eviston, spokesman on sustainable finance at WWF European Policy Office.

“It would severely damage the EU’s sustainable finance agenda and the EU Green Deal. It must be firmly rejected by the Commission and opposed by all member states,” he added in a statement.

Campaigners were unsure about the origin of the non-paper. But diplomats who spoke to EURACTIV at an EU summit two weeks ago said France has been working behind the scenes to forge a compromise on the taxonomy that would satisfy supporters of gas and nuclear power.

At the initiative of Paris, representatives from like-minded EU countries held a meeting on 18 October to debate nuclear and natural gas in the context of the taxonomy, the EU diplomat said. The meeting was attended by Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

According to the same diplomatic source, participants discussed compromise proposals for technical criteria to assess the sustainability of gas and nuclear power plants.

Nuclear

On nuclear, the “non-paper” builds on the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) recommendations, which concluded in a July report that nuclear power was safe and therefore eligible for a green label under the taxonomy.

The paper does not propose detailed sustainability criteria at this stage and merely divides nuclear power production activities into four categories:

  • Nuclear plant operation: Production of electricity, including the construction, commissioning, operation and decommissioning of nuclear power plants.
  • Storage or disposal of radioactive waste or spent nuclear fuel (enabling activity).
  • Mining and processing of uranium (enabling activity).
  • Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (enabling activity).

The “non-paper” comes in the wake of a meeting of EU energy ministers last week where twelve EU countries spoke in favour of nuclear’s inclusion in the taxonomy.

Prominent critics of gas and nuclear’s inclusion in the taxonomy include Elise Attal is Head of EU Policy at the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a United Nations-supported international network of investors.

“Proponents of the inclusion of gas-fired electricity and nuclear energy in the EU Sustainable Taxonomy will argue that these economic activities have a role to play in the energy transition,” she wrote in a recent op-ed published on EURACTIV.

“This argument is beside the point: the EU Sustainable Taxonomy’s design is aimed at defining which economic activities are green – not which economic sectors are needed for the transition to a net-zero by 2050 economy.”

Read the full paper below or download here:

November 6, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment