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Fukushima village preparing for lifting of evacuation order

Radiation decontamination workers cut grass in a special reconstruction promotion area at Katsurao, Fukushima Prefecture, in November 2018.

Nov 22, 2021

Katsurao, Fukushima Pref. – The village of Katsurao in Fukushima Prefecture is set to bolster preparations for the lifting of government evacuation orders related to the 2011 nuclear accident.

Starting Nov. 30, the village will allow residents to come back and stay in a special reconstruction promotion area set up in the village in preparation for their permanent return, the office of the village announced Sunday.

The village plans to lift the evacuation order for the 95-hectare special area around spring 2022.

Katsurao and five other municipalities in the prefecture have set up special reconstruction promotion areas. Katsurao will be the first among them to carry out preparatory stays by residents in these specialized zones.

Fukushima is home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power station, which was heavily damaged in the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011.

The village held a meeting Sunday on the planned preparatory stays. After village officials asked 18 residents who joined the meeting about the plan, the municipal and central governments decided the date to begin the preparatory stays.

Eighty-three people from 30 households had lived in the area designated for reconstruction before the nuclear accident.

The preparatory stays come as decontamination work and the construction of necessary infrastructure in the area were conducted as scheduled.

At the meeting, participants voiced concerns over radioactive contamination in the area.

In response, Katsurao Mayor Hiroshi Shinoki told reporters: “Safety and security are major issues. We aim to work for the lifting of the evacuation order while trying to obtain understanding from residents.”

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/11/22/national/fukushima-evacuation-lifting/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , | Leave a comment

IEA: Rate of energy efficiency improvements needs to double to put world on track for net-zero

The IEA is urging other nations to follow in Europe’s footsteps and implement stricter standards and regulations for energy-using products; consider tax incentives for energy efficiency; increase public spending on building and industrial retrofitting and streamlining planning procedures to make efficiency projects more attractive to private finance. Private spending on energy efficiency between 2021 and 2023 is forecast to be more than twice as high as spending by governments.

https://www.edie.net/news/6/IEA–Rate-of-energy-efficiency-improvements-needs-to-double-to-put-world-on-track-for-net-zero/

19 November 2021, source edie newsroom, Sarah George

Globally, energy efficiency has improved in 2021 after a rocky 2020, according to a new analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA). But the rate of progress will need to at least double to put the world on track for net-zero by 2050, the Agency is warning.

19 November), the 2021 edition of the Agency’s annual Energy Efficiency Report reveals that progress is now back on track as the world emerges from the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2020 saw only a minor (0.5%) improvement to global energy intensity, amid falling energy demands and prices, slowed investment in the energy sector and many energy-using sectors and logistical issues with supply chain and solutions installation.

Global energy intensity is on track to fall 1.9% in 2021, the analysis forecasts. This is a promising yet expected figure – the year-on-year fall was 2% in 2019.  

“It is still unclear whether this year’s improved energy intensity will signal the start of a sustained recovery,” the IEA said in a statement.

However, increased investment trends, rising government spending on efficiency – in large part related to recovery plans enacted in response to Covid-19 crisis – new announcements of higher climate ambition and other policy measures offer some encouraging signals.”

To this point, the report forecasts that, by the end of the year, national policies will have helped to generate $30bn of investment in energy efficiency – around 10% of the total set to be allocated between 2015 and 2021.

In recent months, much growth in energy efficiency investment has been concentrated in Europe. Policy supports have included the European Commission’s Renovation Wave and overarching Energy Efficiency Directive, and the UK’s updated Industrial Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy.

A long road ahead

Nonetheless, the report emphasises the fact that there is still much more to be done. It highlights the fact that, in the IEA’s scenario for net-zero by 2050, global energy intensity falls by at least 4% each year in the 2020s.

The IEA is urging other nations to follow in Europe’s footsteps and implement stricter standards and regulations for energy-using products; consider tax incentives for energy efficiency; increase public spending on building and industrial retrofitting and streamlining planning procedures to make efficiency projects more attractive to private finance. Private spending on energy efficiency between 2021 and 2023 is forecast to be more than twice as high as spending by governments.

The report emphasises the fact that, while wealthy nations are currently accounting for the majority of global investment in energy efficiency, developing and emerging nations also stand to reap benefits in terms of rapid job creation and economic growth, as well as future-proofing infrastructure and industry. Delivering the 4% annual improvement to global energy intensity, the IEA has forecast, would create four million additional jobs in energy efficiency by 2030, in sectors including construction and retrofitting.

As well as addressing low-hanging fruit using mature technologies, the IEA’s report outlines the potential for implementing the next generation of digital technologies. It states that, by the end of the year, there will be more ‘smart’ connected appliances and sensors in the world than people for the first time. This presents a major opportunity to accelerate energy efficiency improvements.

At COP26, the IEA and the UK Government launched a Product Efficiency Call to Action, which aims to double the energy efficiency of air conditioning, refrigeration, industrial motor systems and lighting by 2030. These four activities account for more than 40% of global electricity demand every year. In total, 14 countries have now signed onto the initiative, which is the largest of its kind. Read edie’s full story here.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY | Leave a comment

The Japanese government and the Fukushima nuclear disaster – History repeating itself?

17 November 2021

Did you know that there are global agreements against the dumping of nuclear waste into the world’s oceans? They are called the London Convention and London Protocol (LC/LP) and the latest meeting of the government signatories and observers, including Greenpeace International, has just finished under the auspices of the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO). It was an uncomfortable experience for Japanese diplomats trying to defend the decision to dispose of nuclear waste from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean. But it also triggered memories of a different time and a different policy nearly three decades ago when Japan at the IMO took on the role of protecting the marine environment from radioactivity.

The LC/LP international conventions, which were established between the 1970’s and the 1990’s, only exist because of sustained public pressure against governments and the global nuclear industry which from 1946 had been dumping nuclear waste from ships into the world’s oceans. For countries such as the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Russia, military and commercial nuclear programs were producing enormous volumes of nuclear waste of many different types.

Faced with the rapidly growing stockpiles of wastes, from the 1950’s governments choose one of the least costly options for dealing with some of those wastes – dumping solid and liquid wastes directly into the ocean. The thinking was that the waste would be out of sight in the deep ocean and that radioactivity would dilute. Other countries also developing their commercial nuclear power programs, such as Germany and Japan, also supported nuclear waste dumping at sea. Seventy years of the commercial nuclear industry and the nuclear waste crisis has only got worse and still with no viable safe solution.

Greenpeace activists attempt to prevent dumping barrels of nuclear waste from the ship Scheldeborg. North Atlantic

Fortunately, the last known deliberate nuclear waste dumping from a ship into the ocean was in October 1993 when the Russian navy dumped 900 tons of liquid and solid nuclear waste into the international waters off the coast of Vladivostok in the sea near Japan and Korea. The justifications offered by the government in Moscow were that the issue was urgent as storage space was running out, that the radioactive waste was not hazardous, and that the dumping was carried out according to international norms. 

Sound familiar?

History on repeat

The Japanese government in April 2021 announced its decision to proceed with plans for the deliberate discharge of nuclear waste water from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Even beyond the 900 tons of nuclear waste the Russian’s dumped in 1993, Japan plans for more than at least 1.2 million tons to be mixed with sea water and discharged via a sub-seabed pipeline into the Pacific Ocean. The discharges are scheduled to take 30 years, but are almost certainly going to last much longer.

In 1993, the Japanese government called the Russian dumping extremely regrettable. Now, the Japanese government justifies its plans to discharge over 1 million tons of radioactive waste water as “necessary” because storage space is not available, and that the water is not contaminated but “treated”. Nearly 30 years apart, the dezinformatsiya, perfected by the Soviet Union and Russia and used to justify waste dumping, is mirrored by the disinformation from Tokyo. 

In early 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), already knew of Russia’s plans to dump nuclear waste, but did not intervene and chose not to inform Tokyo. Today, the IAEA has formed a partnership with the Japanese government to provide cover for its plans and to  ensure, as it states, that the discharges will be done safely and in line with international practice. It continues to play the same historical role as set down in its 1957 statute of supporting and promoting the interests of the nuclear industry, not protecting the environment or public health.

Greenpeace documenting Russian ship TNT27 dumping nuclear waste in the sea near Japan and Korea. 18 October 1993

Since the 1970’s Greenpeace had been challenging nuclear sea dumping. After years of investigations and campaigning, the Russian navy’s secret operations to pump nuclear waste into the sea were challenged and filmed by the Nuclear Free Seas campaign team on board the Motor Vessel Greenpeace ship on 18 October 1993. While the MV Greenpeace sat off the Russian coast after the Russian military ship TNT27 and other navy vessels returned to port to pick up another cargo of nuclear waste, their nuclear dumping exposed to world attention, the Russian’ government announced on 22 October that it would halt further disposal plans. The TNT27 remained in port. 

By the time the Greenpeace ship had docked in Japan, the government of Morihiro Hosokawa had announced a policy change. It would no longer advocate nuclear waste disposal at sea. Instead, it would support an amendment to the London Convention at the November 1993 meeting at the IMO that would prohibit all nuclear waste disposal at sea. Both then and now, Greenpeace International representatives were at the IMO meeting pushing for an end to radioactive pollution of the marine environment.

I played a very minor role at that time, chasing the then IAEA Director Hans Blix, from Seoul to Tokyo with a copy of a telex (it was three decades ago!) from the Russian government informing Blix of their plans for nuclear dumping. The IAEA for some reason had chosen not to inform the Japanese government. Travelling from South Korea to Japan, I still remember as if it was only yesterday how moved I was watching my Greenpeace colleagues John Sprange, Twilly Cannon, Dima Litvinov, Thomas Schultz, captain Pete Wilcox and the rest of the crew of the MV Greenpeace confronting the Russian navy on NHK TV .

One further result of Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Germany, and Greenpeace Japan’s exposé of Russian dumping was that the Japanese government took the decision to financially support the building of additional storage and processing facilities for nuclear waste in the Russian Far East. This was a point that Greenpeace International has emphasised over the years at IMO meetings and drew the parallels for the Fukushima water crisis. 

Failed discussions and agreements

A principal objective of the London Convention and London Protocol is to protect the marine environment from pollution, including man-made radioactivity. However, the Japanese government contends that their plans for Fukushima contaminated water have nothing to do with the conventions. In fact, at the latest meeting on 26 October 2021, Japan tried to stop further discussion of the Fukushima water issue, arguing that the IAEA was the correct place to discuss such matters and it was not appropriate for governments to consider the issues at the LC/LP United Nations hosted meeting. This is an absurd and scientifically bankrupt position when radioactivity discharged from a pipeline poses potentially a greater coastal threat to the marine environment than deep sea dumping from a ship. 

Jacob Namminga from the Netherlands, head of radiation protection for the Greenpeace survey team doing marine sediment sampling onboard Asakaze, a Japanese research vessel chartered by Greenpeace Japan. The organisation is doing radiation survey work off shore of Fukushima Daiichi, doing sea bed survey and sampling of marine sediment with the Rainbow Warrior acting as a campaign support ship. A gamma ray spectrometer is used to measure the distribution of radioactivity discharged from the plant, and sampling and the under water videos /stills documentation are conducted by a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). All samples will be sealed upon before transport to independent laboratories in Japan and France.

Japan failed to end discussion of the Fukushima contaminated water issue at the LC/LP. In Greenpeace International’s written submission, Greenpeace International proposed that a scientific working group be established under the LC/LP that would consider the alternatives to discharging the Fukushima waste into the Pacific. Greenpeace International argued, as in 1993, that there were alternatives to the Russian dumping, namely additional storage and applying best available processing technology, and that these should also be applied at Fukushima Daiichi.

In 1993, Russia accepted international assistance and the dumping stopped. However, Dr. David Santillo, Greenpeace International’s science representative reported that Japan refused to consider this option at the October 2021 IMO meeting, and its position was supported by the United States, France and the UK. The governments of South Korea, Chile, China, and the Pacific Island nations of Vanuatu and Palau all spoke in favour of reviewing alternatives to discharge in a technical working group. The meetings operate on consensus and with Japan’s objections, agreement to assess alternatives was impossible. Dr. David Santillo, challenged the IAEA over its role, and asked if it could be tasked with reporting on its discussions with Japan on the alternatives to discharges. The IAEA has agreed to report back in 2022. 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident marks the 10-year anniversary on March 11, 2021. Greenpeace Japan has been conducting continuous radiation surveys in Fukushima Prefecture right after the accident, and in November 2020, we conducted our 32nd survey in Iitate and Namie.

There is a historical resonance and also a tragic irony with Japan’s attempts to remove discussion of its Fukushima nuclear waste crisis from international review at the LC/LP IMO meetings. The Russian dumping in 1993 caused public and political outrage in Japan. The Japanese government of Hosokawa subsequently played an important and critical role at the LC/LP meeting when it supported the prohibition of all nuclear waste ocean dumping. Nearly thirty years ago its position was no doubt informed by self-interest – protecting its coastal waters from radioactive pollution and the rights of its own citizens, especially the fishing communities that were at risk. 

Back then, the position of the Japanese government was the right and just thing to do. Today, protecting the marine environment from deliberate radioactive pollution still remains the right and legal thing to do – except that’s not what’s happening.  
Instead, the government of Prime Minister Kishida, like his predecessors Abe and Suga, are disregarding and disrespecting the views and rights of their own citizens and fishing communities along the Tohoku coast.

The decision to discharge violates an agreement to abide by the views of the Fukushima fishing federations. They are not acting to protect the marine environment from radioactive pollution but instead will be the source of pollution. The Japanese government is also seeking to avoid scrutiny of their plans and to dismiss the concerns and opposition of neighbours in the Asia Pacific region, near and far. And they clearly don’t want to explore any viable alternative options of storage and processing.

Continuing the fight

There are many technical and radiological reasons to be opposed to discharging Fukushima waste water into the Pacific Ocean. And Greenpeace East Asiahas reported on these and continues to investigate. But the decision also affects you on a fundamental level. It should rightly trigger an outrage. In the 21st century, when the world’s oceans are already under the most severe threats including the climate and biodiversity emergencies, a decision by any government to deliberately contaminate the Pacific with radioactivity because it’s the least cost/cheapest option when there are clear alternatives seems so perverse. That it is Japan, given its historical role in securing the prohibition on nuclear dumping in the London Convention and London Protocol, makes it all the more tragic.

On occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, Greenpeace Japan activists hold up a banner saying “Stand with Fukushima” in front of the national Diet (Parliament) building, calling for the Japanese government to shift to a renewable energy future.

There are numerous legal problems facing Japan’s plans – they have dismally failed to consult with affected coastal countries, including South Korea, China and northern Pacific Island States; they have failed to conduct an environmental impact assessment, and they have obligations not to allow pollution from their own waters to pollute international waters or the waters of other countries. This disregard for the human rights of both their own Japanese citizens, as well as those in the wider Asia Pacific region, including indigenous people’s has justifiably been challenged, not least by UN human rights Special Rapporteurs

Japan is under international legal obligation to take all measures possible to avoid transboundary pollution from radioactivity, and its failure to develop the alternatives to dumping in the Pacific by continued storage (which it can certainly extend; it is a question of money) and treating the water to remove radioactive, including carbon-14 and tritium, (another question of money).  But these are just reflections of the blazingly obvious: Japan is exporting its radioactive pollution by dumping it in the Pacific ocean. 

However, there is time to stop the discharges which are due to begin in 2023, at the earliest. The governments attending the LC/LP, under the auspices of the United Nations IMO, together with Greenpeace International, will continue to question and challenge the Japanese government on the Fukushima nuclear waste water crisis. It’s only one of several international instruments that allow scrutiny of the Fukushima Daiichi plant and to directly challenge the plans to discharge. The articles of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) have even greater relevance and application to Tokyo’s misguided plans. The new government of Kishida may yet find out, as the government of Boris Yeltsin did nearly three decades ago, that you may have plans for dumping radioactive waste into the sea, but it does not mean you will be able to.

Shaun Burnie is a Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace East Asia.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima 2021 | , , , | Leave a comment

Europe to pay half for raising Russia’s dangerous sunken submarines, – while Russia builds new ones!

The sunken submarines K-27 and K-159 are the potential source of contamination of the Arctic, the riskiest ones,”

As Moscow this spring took the Chair of the Arctic Council, the need to lift dangerous nuclear materials from the seabed was highlighted as a priority.

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

Europe to pay half … it is a dilemma that international partners are providing financial support to lift old Cold War submarines from the ocean, while Russia gives priority to building new nuclear-powered submarines threatening the security landscape in northern Europe. 

EU willing to co-fund lifting of sunken nuclear subs from Arctic seabed  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/11/europe-offers-pay-russia-raise-sunken-nuclear-subs The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) has decided to start a technical review aimed to find a safe way to lift two Cold War submarines from the Barents- and Kara Seas. By Thomas Nilsen   

“We are proceeding now,” says a smiling Jari Vilén, Finland’s Ambassador for Barents and Northern Dimension.

Projects aimed to improve nuclear safety are some of the few successful arenas for cooperation still going strong between the European Union and Russia.

“In roughly two years time we will have the understanding on what and how it can be done, what kind of technology has to be used,” Vilén elaborates with reference to the two old Soviet submarines K-159 and K-27, both rusting on the Arctic seabed with highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel elements in their reactors.

Continue reading

November 23, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, oceans, politics international, Reference, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

The US Faces Pressure To Do More To Address Its Nuclear Legacy In The Marshall Islands.

The US Faces Pressure To Do More To Address Its Nuclear Legacy In The Marshall Islands,  Civil Beat     By Anita Hofschneider   22 Nov 21,   Marshallese are concerned about continued health effects from Cold War-era nuclear testing as well as a concrete dome in which the atomic waste was stored.

Two Congress members are asking the U.S. Department of Energy to provide more information about the effects of U.S. nuclear waste in the Marshall Islands.

The U.S. conducted 67 nuclear weapons tests in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958, exposing Marshallese people to radiation that continues to have health and environmental implications. The U.S. then stored the atomic waste at Runit Dome, a concrete dome on Enewetak Atoll.

Rep. Katie Porter represents Orange County, California, and is chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

She has been seeking more details about the effects of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands in the wake of a Los Angeles Times investigation that found the U.S. stored nuclear waste from Nevada in Runit Dome without informing the Pacific nation.

In a letter Friday, Porter and Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona asked for documents and correspondence among Department of Energy officials related to a letter that officials sent to the Marshall Islands about the state of nuclear waste in May.

The Department of Energy didn’t respond to a request for comment.

In October, Porter led a congressional hearing regarding concerns about Runit Dome, which is leaking radioactive waste. The Energy Department said in a report last year that the leaking is not significant.

“The U.S. has both a moral and national security imperative to address our nuclear legacy in the Marshall Islands,” Porter said at the hearing, adding that addressing the issue would be in line with the Biden administration’s commitment to racial justice and national security issues in the Pacific………

In their letter, Porter and Grijalva criticized the agency’s lack of response to repeated document requests, raised concerns about conflicting Energy Department testimony and the timing of the department’s May letter.

The U.S. is in the midst of renegotiating a treaty with the Marshall Islands that in part gives the U.S. military strategic denial rights over the country’s surrounding air and waters.

The Congress members described how the U.S. failed to evacuate Marshallese people quickly enough to protect them from the fallout during the 1946-1958 testing, and cited descriptions of how mothers later gave birth to babies with translucent skin and no bones.

A 2014 study analyzed how the radiation exposure in the Marshall Islands increased the risk of certain cancers, especially thyroid cancer.

Broader Concerns

Franscine Anmontha, communication director of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission, said Saturday that the community is concerned about the ongoing health effects of radiation on people not only on the atolls enrolled in the U.S. medical program but on surrounding atolls.

“If you were to ask a group of young Marshallese people if they knew someone with cancer almost 90% of them would raise their hands,” she said. She said the commission wants to bring scientists to the Marshall Islands to analyze the dome so that they don’t have to rely solely on U.S. data……….

Friday’s letter is the second letter this month pressing the Biden administration for more information about the nuclear testing.

Several Congress members — including Hawaii Reps. Ed Case and Kai Kahele — wrote to the White House on Nov. 5 pushing for the appointment of a lead negotiator for treaty discussions who would have the ability to address concerns about nuclear waste.

The lead negotiator “should have the mandate to see that legacy issues related to U.S. nuclear testing in the region are appropriately resolved, including proper environmental protections, clean up, health benefits, and monetary compensation for victims and their descendants,” the lawmakers wrote………….  https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/11/the-us-faces-pressure-to-do-more-to-address-its-nuclear-legacy-in-the-marshall-islands/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

This world of pandemic and climate change can no longer afford the luxury of nuclear weapons proliferation

Aotearoa must stand apart as others amass nuclear weapons https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/127065066/aotearoa-must-stand-apart-as-others-amass-nuclear-weapons, Nov 23 2021 EDITORIAL You’d be forgiven for not thinking about the threat of nuclear war during the past couple of years.

The pandemic, climate change – it seems there are enough dangers threatening our existence, without adding a nuclear holocaust to the list.

Unfortunately, ignoring the steady proliferation of nuclear weapons is a luxury we can no longer afford.

As geopolitical tensions rise, many of them centred on our own Indo-Pacific region, so do nuclear arsenals

Russia and the US continue to own more than 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons, and it seems they have no plan to give those up. Earlier this month, the Pentagon estimated China will have up to 700 deliverable nuclear warheads by 2027. Estimates currently put its arsenal at about 350.

Meanwhile, the UK has reversed a policy of reducing the country’s nuclear arsenal, increasing the planned cap on nuclear warheads. There are reports that India, Pakistan and North Korea are also expanding their capabilities

At the same time, our traditional allies, Australia, the US and the UK, have a new strategic agreement enabling Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines. While they won’t carry nuclear arms, they are not without risk/

It’s no wonder Phil Twyford, Minister for Disarmament and Arms Control, says the risk of nuclear warfare is as bad – if not worse – now than at vany time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. In a recent speech, he was blunt in his criticism of nuclear states the US, France, China, Russia and the UK for their lack of efforts to work towards disarmament. But one speech does not a meaningful security policy make.

Aotearoa has long prided itself on its independent foreign policy, and nuclear-free stance. Lest we forget the great Lange speech from the 1985 Oxford Union debate.

Aside from his memorable uranium comment, the late prime minister was clear in communicating the position of the New Zealand people: the nuclear weapons which would defend us caused more alarm, and accordingly, we deemed it pointless to be defended by them.

Over the years, Kiwis have become disconnected from this element of our foreign policy. We assume we are safe, and that with the end of the Cold War came the end of the imminent threat of nuclear war.

But with the threat on our doorstep, thanks to the US, North Korea and China, now is the time to start caring again.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Financial hypocrisy in Canada – the pretence that nuclear power is green and cheap

A Global First: BMO Supports Bruce Power with World’s First Nuclear Green Financing Framework, Yahoo Finance  TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ – Bruce Power, Ontario’s leading private sector power provider, has taken another industry-leading step in its environmental [?], social and governance strategy by launching the world’s first green [?] finance framework with nuclear use of proceeds.

Acting as Co-Lead Green Structuring Agent, BMO Financial Group (TSX:BMO) (NYSE:BMO), today announced the successful issuance of CAD $500 Million in green [?] bonds under the framework, which is designed to guide future issues of green bonds with a focus on Bruce Power’s Life-Extension Program and investments related to increasing the output of nuclear units and extending the plant’s life beyond 2060.

The framework sets out the guidelines in accordance with the Green Bond Principles issued by the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) and the Green Loan Principles issued by the Loan Market Association (LMA) and Loan Syndications and Trading Association (LSTA) – ensuring the proceeds are exclusively allocated to green projects and activities that promote environmental sustainability and deliver clear environmental benefits.

CICERO Shades of Green, an internationally-recognized leading provider of independent review and second-party opinions on green financing frameworks, [REALLY?} has given Bruce Power’s Green Finance Framework the highest possible governance score of Excellent, and an overall designation of CICERO Medium Green, acknowledging the role of nuclear power in mitigating climate change and recognizing Bruce Power’s strong risk management processes.

Clean nuclear power is crucial to fighting climate change, and today’s announcement marks another industry-leading step in the company’s environmental, social and governance strategy,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO…..

“We’re proud to partner with Bruce Power to build a green framework that facilitates the alignment of the company’s business and financing activities to support nuclear power’s critical role in mitigating climate change,” said Jonathan Hackett, Head, Sustainable Finance, BMO Capital Markets. ………. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/global-first-bmo-supports-bruce-143800875.html

November 23, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate and biodiversity: mapping the irrecoverable carbon in Earth’s ecosystems

Avoiding catastrophic climate change requires rapid decarbonization and improved ecosystem stewardship at a planetary scale. The carbon released through the burning of fossil fuels would take millennia to regenerate on Earth.

Though the timeframe of carbon recovery for ecosystems such as peatlands, mangroves and old-growth forests is shorter (centuries), this timeframe still exceeds the time we have remaining to avoid the worst
impacts of global warming. There are some natural places that we cannot afford to lose due to their irreplaceable carbon reserves. Here we map ‘irrecoverable carbon’ globally to identify ecosystem carbon that remains within human purview to manage and, if lost, could not be recovered by mid-century, by when we need to reach net-zero emissions to avoid the worst climate impacts. Since 2010, agriculture, logging and wildfire have caused emissions of at least 4.0 Gt of irrecoverable carbon.

 Nature Sustainability 18th Nov 2021

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-021-00803-6

November 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The U.S. Is Bracing for Blows With Israel as Iran Nuclear Talks Near


The U.S. Is Bracing for Blows With Israel as Iran Nuclear Talks Near,  
 U.S. officials say it’s already much more difficult to carry out a cyberattack to set back Iran’s nuclear program as Iran improves air defenses and places nuclear facilities underground.   Amos Harel, Haaretz, 22 Nov 21,
The closer we get to the scheduled renewal Monday in Vienna of the talks to restore Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, the more the psychological warfare between the sides escalated. Oddly, perhaps, very few of these skirmishes are between Tehran and its negotiating partners. Most of them are between two countries that won’t have a foot in the door at the talks. The first is the United States, whose representatives will be in Vienna but won’t be participating in the direct talks on account of Iranian opposition. The other is Israel.

……………………. President Joe Biden’s hope that in his first year in office he could return to the agreement and afterward focus on a “longer, stronger” deal, has been dashed, in light of Iran’s intentional delaying policy. The regime in Tehran delayed talks during the period of the presidential elections in Iran, and waited a few more months after the hawkish President Ebrahim Raisi, entered office.

This is the current U.S. position, but the conclusion that goes along with it is interesting. According to the administration, not only has the policy of maximum pressure led by former president Donald Trump collapsed. Israel’s sabotage campaign against Iran’s nuclear program has also failed.   Moreover, paradoxically, it seems that these actions have only served to move the Iranians closer to their goal…….. over the past 20 months Israel assassinated the head of the Iranian nuclear project, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and caused significant explosions in four nuclear and missile facilities in Iran, in the hopes of delaying the ability of Iran to build a bomb. But the result, according to U.S. intelligence officials and the international inspectors, was the opposite of what was intended. The Iranians quickly restored operations at the sites and installed new centrifuges that can enrich uranium more rapidly.

…………….  the sources in the U.S. administration believe that Iran wants to reach the status of a nuclear threshold state, which will leave it a very short distance from manufacturing a bomb if it wants to. This gloomy conclusion underscores the most recent report of the Institute for Science and International Security. In the report, published Sunday, the chief researcher of the prestigious U.S. think tank, David Albright, writes that Iran has enough uranium enriched to near-20 and 60 percent to produce sufficient weapon-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon in as little as three weeks. Albright adds that some of the major advances are due to the installation of advanced centrifuges.

If Iran wants to manufacture a nuclear weapon, it still needs to execute the military part of its program – installing the bomb as a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile, a process that according to various experts could take another one to two years. And yet, Albright’s conclusion shows how much the Iranians have advanced while the administrations in Washington – first Trump’s and now Biden’s – persuaded themselves that they were dealing well with the problem.  https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-the-u-s-is-bracing-for-blows-with-israel-as-iran-nuclear-talks-near-1.10407853

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

Will Germany’s Next Government Ditch U.S. Nuclear Bombs?

Explainer: Will Germany’s Next Government Ditch U.S. Nuclear Bombs? U.S. News, By Reuters|Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Editing by William Maclean, Nov. 22, 2021,  BERLIN (Reuters) – NATO allies will be scouring the policies of Germany’s next federal government for one crucial detail: Will Berlin remain part of NATO’s nuclear sharing agreement?

Or will it drop out and ask the United States to remove its nuclear bombs from German soil?

While such a move might be popular among some Germans, it would reveal a rift within NATO at a time when the alliance’s relations with Russia are at their lowest since the end of the Cold War.

WHAT IS NATO’S NUCLEAR SHARING?

As part of NATO’s deterrence, the United States has deployed nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey – all NATO allies that do not have their own nuclear weapons. In the case of a conflict, the air forces of these countries are meant to carry the American nuclear bombs.

WHAT EXACTLY IS GERMANY’S ROLE?

Around 20 U.S. nuclear bombs are estimated to be stored at the German air base of Buechel, in a remote area of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The base is also home to a squadron of Tornado fighter jets belonging to the German air force, the only German jets fitted to carry the nuclear bombs.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE TORNADO FIGHTER JETS?

The German air force has been flying the Tornado jets since the 1980s, and it has become increasingly expensive to maintain them and difficult to find spare parts to keep the plane in the air. The German defence ministry plans to phase out the jet between 2025 and 2030. Should Berlin not purchase new jets fitted for the task of carrying U.S. nuclear weapons, Germany would simply drop out of nuclear sharing when the last Tornado retires around 2030.

WHAT CHANGES MAY THE NEW GERMAN GOVERNMENT BRING?

In spring 2020, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, proposed replacing the Tornado jets in Buechel with F-18s made by Boeing, but the decision was later pushed into 2022.

Now, the likely new German government will be led by the Social Democrats, a party that has some lawmakers who would like to get rid of U.S. nuclear weapons on German soil. The Greens, who are expected to be part of the coalition, also have some lawmakers who take that view………https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-11-22/explainer-will-germanys-next-government-ditch-u-s-nuclear-bombs

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Germany, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

As presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron opposed nuclear power, now he’s all for it

Nuclear: Emmanuel Macron’s energy “at the same time”. Inheriting President Hollande’s nuclear commitments, candidate Macron had made campaign promises that were not very favorable to the atom.

But, in the middle of his five-year term, the President of the Republic has put nuclear power back at the center of France’s energy policy. To end up announcing, at the beginning of November, that it would be necessary to build new power stations.

 Les Echos 22nd Nov 2021

https://www.lesechos.fr/industrie-services/energie-environnement/nucleaire-le-en-meme-temps-energetique-demmanuel-macron-1365687

November 23, 2021 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Exelon Generation Co changing its name to the more appropriate (Nuclear) Spin Co

Exelon moving nuclear plants, including Limerick, to spin-off company, https://www.readingeagle.com/2021/11/22/exelon-moving-nuclear-plants-to-spin-off-company/

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission OK’d the move on Nov. 17,  By EVAN BRANDT | ebrandt@pottsmerc.com | Reading Eagle

November 22, 2021  LIMERICK — The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has signed off on a plan by Exelon Corp. to divest itself of its fleet of 23 nuclear power reactors, including the two at the Limerick Generating Station.

Exelon Corp. will transfer the NRC licenses to a new company, currently called HoldCo, as part of a corporate restructuring, the NRC announced on Nov. 17.

There is no money changing hands.

Exelon is not “selling” the plants, and spent fuel rod storage facilities, but rather “the transaction is taking place between corporate entities owned by Exelon,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan explained in response to a query from MediaNews Group.

‘It intends to separate its utilities, such as PECO, and competitive energy businesses, including its nuclear power plants, into two separate companies,’ Sheehan wrote.

“HoldCo will wholly own Exelon Generation Co. (renamed as SpinCo) and its subsidiaries. SpinCo will continue to own and operate the plants to the same extent as before the transfers. The final names for HoldCo and SpinCo will be determined prior to the completion of the transfer,” according to the Nov. 17 NRC announcement.

The new power-generation company will be named Constellation, according to a Nov. 17 press release from Exelon.

“Each of these companies will emerge as industry leaders with the financial and strategic independence to focus on best serving their respective customers and communities,” Chris Crane, president and CEO of Exelon, said in the company’s press release.

November 23, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

China calls on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to make Southeast Asia a nuclear-weapons-free zone


China pushes for nuclear-weapon-free Southeast Asia, KhmerTimes, Aandolu Agency  ISTANBUL 22 Nov 1 
– China on Monday said it is ready to work with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) towards a nuclear-weapon-free region besides ensuring stability in the disputed South China Sea.

“China supports ASEAN’s efforts to build a nuclear-weapon-free zone, and is prepared to sign the Protocol to the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone as early as possible,” President Xi Jinping told the China-Asia summit marking 30 years of the relations between two sides.

Beijing’s demand for a nuclear-free Southeast Asia comes as the US and UK empower their ally Australia with nuclear-armed submarines under a deal called AUKUS signed in September………..

The bilateral trade between China and ASEAN has skyrocketed by 85 times to $684.6 billion in 2020 from less than $8 billion in 1991, making the two sides each other’s largest trading partners. https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50975461/china-pushes-for-nuclear-weapon-free-southeast-asia/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

US warns Israel its attacks on Iran nuclear program are counterproductive .

US warns Israel its attacks on Iran nuclear program are counterproductive — NYT  Times of Israel, By TOI STAFF and AGENCIES, US officials have warned Israel that its attacks against the Iranian nuclear program are counterproductive and have enabled Tehran to rebuild an even more efficient enrichment system, the New York Times reported Sunday.

Citing officials familiar with the behind-the-scenes discussion between Washington and Jerusalem, as the US continues to try and bring Iran back into the nuclear deal, the report said that Israeli officials have dismissed the warnings, saying they have “no intention of letting up.”

Noting that in the last 20 months there have been four explosions at Iranian nuclear facilities attributed to Israel, along with the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, the report said US officials have cautioned their Israeli counterparts that while such efforts may be “tactically satisfying,” they are “ultimately counterproductive.”

In the wake of the explosions, which took uranium enrichments plants offline and destroyed dozens of centrifuges, the Americans noted that Iran has managed to resume enrichment within

months, often installing newer machines that can enrich uranium far faster.

However, the officials said Israel appeared unmoved by the arguments, and this was one of the many areas on which the US and Israel disagree regarding efforts to thwart Tehran’s drive to build nuclear weapons.

Further complicating matters was the fact that Iran has apparently managed to improve its defenses, particularly in the cyber field, the report said. As a consequence, cyber attacks like the Stuxnet attack that crippled centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear enrichment site for more than a year, an attack widely reported to be a joint US-Israeli effort, have become “much harder now to pull off.”………….

With the possibility of a return to the 2015 deal fading, the US was examining the possibility of hammering out an interim deal with Iran, the New York Times report said, confirming a separate report last week. “Inside the White House, there has been a scramble in recent days to explore whether some kind of interim deal might be possible to freeze Iran’s production of more enriched uranium and its conversion of that fuel to metallic form — a necessary step in fabricating a warhead,” the Times said. “In return, the United States might ease a limited number of sanctions. That would not solve the problem. But it might buy time for negotiations, while holding off Israeli threats to bomb Iranian facilities.”…………………………https://www.timesofisrael.com/nyt-us-warns-israel-attacks-on-iran-nuclear-program-are-counterproductive/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear Fusion Recedes Into Far Future For The 57th Time


Fusion Recedes Into Far Future For The 57th Time,  Clean Technica
,  Fusion has an amazing future as a source of energy. In space craft beyond the orbit of Jupiter sometime in the next two centuries. By Michael Barnard, November 9, 2021  Fusion has an amazing future as a source of energy. Which is to say, in space craft beyond the orbit of Jupiter, sometime in the next two centuries. Here on Earth? Not so much. At least, that’s my opinion.

Nuclear electrical generation has 2.5 paths. The first is nuclear fission, the part that is the major electrical generation source that provides about 10% of the electricity in the world today. 

And then there’s fusion. Where fission splits atoms, fusion merges them. Instead of radioactive fuel, there’s a lot of radioactive emissions from the merging of things like hydrogen-3, deuterium, and tritium that irradiates the containment structures. Lower radioactive waste that doesn’t last as long, but still radioactive waste for those who think that’s a concern…….

fusion generation of electricity, as opposed to big honking nuclear weapons using fusion, is a perpetual source of interest. When Lewis Strauss, then chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, talked about nuclear being “too cheap to meter” in 1954, he was talking about fusion, not fission. Like everyone since the mid-1950s, he assumed that fusion would be generating power in 20 years.

And so here we are, 67 years later. How is fusion doing?

Let’s start with the only credible fusion project on the planet, the ITER Tokamak project. It’s been around for decades. It planted its roots in 1985 with Gorbachev and Reagan. 35 countries are involved. Oddly, ITER isn’t an acronym, it’s Latin for “The Way,” a typically optimistic and indeed somewhat arrogant assumption about its place in the universe.

It’s supposed to light up around 2040. That’s so far away I hadn’t bothered to think much about it, as we have to decarbonize well over 50% of our economy long before that. As a result, I had a lazy read on it. I had assumed, as most press and indeed pretty much everyone involved with it asserted, that it would be generating more energy than it consumed, when it finally lit up…………..

ITER will require about 200 MW of energy input in total running as it creates 500 MW of heat. But the exergy of heat means that if it were tapped, it would only return about 200 MW of electricity. So it might be a perpetual motion machine, but one that wouldn’t do anything more than keep its lights running as long as you fed it tritium, about $140 million worth of the stuff a year.

And it gets worse. ITER is planning at the end of this process to maintain this for less than 3000 seconds at a time. That’s 50 minutes. This is at the end of the process. As they build up to less than an hour, mostly they’ll be working on fusion that lasts five minutes, several times a day. It’s a very expensive physics experiment that will not produce climate-friendly energy. It’s going to teach us a bunch, which I completely respect, but it’s not going to help us deal with climate change.

I expected more from ITER. Not much more. I mean, it is a million-component fission reactor expected to light up in 2040 and not generate any electricity at that point. But I had assumed based on all the press that it would generate more electricity than it used to operate if you bolted a boiler and some turbines to it, even if it were grossly expensive. Apparently not. Just grossly expensive, no net new electricity………..

However, ITER is not the only fusion reactor in the game. There are startups! And we all know startups make no promises that they can’t keep and are excellent at disclosure.

Like Helion. They have a photo-shopped peanut asserting it’s a 6th prototype with regenerative power creation that’s never achieved fusion that is backed by Peter Thiel! It just received $500 million more of VC funding, with an option to get up to $2.2 billion if they hit their targets!

I’m not sure if I could have made up a paragraph less likely to make me think that there was some there there.

The website is likely intentionally lacking in anything approaching detail. It’s low-information and VC friendly, which in the energy space is Thiel’s jam. He’s the guy who, despite being partnered with Elon Musk, has never realized that electrical generation was already being disrupted by wind and solar. His acolytes in startups disrupting energy crashed and burned, because he and they never bothered to do the hard work of understanding how electricity actually works at grid scale. At least Musk was solid on solar, although he got the wrong end of it and hasn’t quite figured that out yet.

While Helion has achieved 100 million degrees Celsius, it’s with a high-energy laser pulse — not new ideas, in fact 1950s ideas, just easier now — and they are incredibly coy about duration. The assumption to be taken is that it lasts for a picosecond at a time. They talk about their prototype having worked for months, but that means it’s maintaining a vacuum and occasionally creating plasma, a precursor to fueled fusion. Many years and tens of millions of dollars in, they are promising the moon, and soon. And to be clear, they are well behind on their initial schedule…………..

 fusion generating electricity appears to be as far away as ever. https://cleantechnica.com/2021/11/09/breaking-news-fusion-recedes-into-far-future-for-the-57th-time/

November 23, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology | Leave a comment