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Interim storage facility completed by March, no prospects for final disposal

January 3, 2022

At the interim storage facility for the waste from the decontamination of Fukushima Prefecture, about 90% of the planned amount of waste has been delivered, and the Ministry of the Environment has said that it will be mostly completed by March of this year.
On the other hand, there is no prospect for the final disposal of the waste, which is required by law to be done outside Fukushima Prefecture by 2045.

At the interim storage facility being built around the TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, about 14 million cubic meters of waste, including soil, plants and trees from decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture, is planned to be brought in.

According to the Ministry of the Environment, 12.45 million cubic meters, or 89% of the planned amount, had been brought in by December 23, and the ministry plans to complete the delivery of the remaining 1.55 million cubic meters by March of this year.

On the other hand, these wastes are required by law to be disposed of outside of Fukushima Prefecture by March 2045, and the Ministry of the Environment has said that it will present options for the structure and area of the final disposal site by fiscal 2024, but there is no prospect for the location or method.

In addition, in order to reduce the amount of final disposal, a demonstration project is underway to recycle soil from the decontamination process for use in public works nationwide, but there has been no significant movement outside of Fukushima Prefecture.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/fukushima/20220103/6050016821.html?fbclid=IwAR1yHQBDAjvZoV479cYujfiWDqtWLSTChkmelCAL76fnaWwCbPQ-eH6ktaU

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO slow to respond to growing crisis at Fukushima plant

A special container, right, to store radioactive slurry at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on Nov. 26
Mock slurry gives an idea of the stuff accumulating at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The imitation material does not contain radioactive substances.
Bags filled with zeolite lie in pools of radioactive water in an underground space below a building at the nuclear complex in Fukushima Prefecture.

January 2, 2022

Radioactive waste generated from treating highly contaminated water used to cool crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has thrown up yet new nightmarish challenges in decommissioning the facility, a project that is supposed to be completed in 30 years but which looks increasingly doubtful.

The continuous accumulation of radioactive slurry and other nasty substances, coupled with the problem of finding a safe way to dispose of melted nuclear fuel debris at reactors No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3, has plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. frantically scratching around for ideas.

One problem is that storage containers for the tainted slurry degrade quickly, meaning that they constantly have to be replaced. Despite the urgency of the situation, little has been done to resolve the matter.

Fuel debris, a solidified mixture of nuclear fuel and structures inside the reactors melted as a consequence of the triple meltdown triggered by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster has to be constantly cooled with water, which mixes with groundwater and rainwater rainwater that seep into the reactor buildings, producing more new radioactive water.

The contaminated water that accumulates is processed via an Advanced Liquid Processing System to remove most of radioactive materials. The ALPS is housed in a 17-meter-tall building situated close to the center of the plant site.

Reporters from the Japan National Press Club were granted a rare opportunity in late November to visit the crippled facility to observe the process.

The building houses a large grayish drum-like container designed especially to store radioactive slurry. The interior of each vessel is lined with polyethylene, while its double-walled exterior is reinforced with stainless steel.

ALARMING DEVELOPMENTS

The use of chemical agents to reduce radioactive substances from the contaminated water in the sedimentation process produces a muddy material resembling shampoo. Strontium readings of the generated slurry sometimes reach tens of millions of becquerels per cubic centimeter.

TEPCO started keeping slurry in special vessels in March 2013. As of November, it had 3,373 of the containers.

Because the integrity of the vessels deteriorates quickly due to exposure to radiation from slurry, TEPCO and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) predict that durability of the containers will reach the limit after exposure to an accumulated total of 5,000 kilograys of radiation–a level equivalent to 5 million sieverts.

Based on that grim forecast, TEPCO speculated the vessels will need replacement from July 2025.

But the NRA accused TEPCO of underestimating the impact of the radiation problem. It blasted the operator for measuring slurry density 20 centimeters above the base of the container when making its dose evaluation.

“As slurry forms deposits, the density level is always highest at the bottom,” a representative of the nuclear watchdog body pointed out.

The NRA carried out its own assessment in June 2021 and told TEPCO that 31 containers had already reached the end of their operating lives. Its findings also showed an additional 56 would need replacing within two years.

The NRA told TEPCO to wake up and “understand how urgent the issue is since transferring slurry will take time.”

In August, TEPCO conducted a test where slurry with relatively low radiation readings was moved from one container to another. The work took more than a month to complete due to mechanical troubles and other reasons.

An analysis of the radioactive materials’ density data collected during the transfer procedure also turned up another challenge to be overcome. The NRA in October said there was an unacceptable risk of radioactive substances being released into the air during the process and insisted that the refilling method be radically reviewed and changed.

TEPCO is currently considering what steps to take, including covering the workspace with plastic sheets.

Slurry in some containers in need of replacement have strontium levels of more than 1,000 times that of the one in the August test.

TEPCO says that the “container covers will be opened and closed remotely.” But it has not revealed how it plans to safely deal with such readings to carry out the vital work.

It was envisioned that equipment to dehydrate hazardous materials to prevent radiation leakage could be built, but as yet there is no finished design for the device.

With no drastic solutions in sight, a succession of containers will reach the end of their shelf lives shortly.

ANOTHER NIGHTMARE PROBLEM

Radioactive slurry is not the only stumbling block for decommissioning.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2011 disaster, TEPCO stored contaminated water in the underground spaces below two buildings near the No. 4 reactor. In doing so, bags full of a mineral known as zeolite were placed in the temporary storage pools to absorb cesium so as to reduce the amount of radioactive substances.

Twenty-six tons of the stuff are still immersed in the dirty water on the floors under the buildings. Radiation readings of 4 sieverts per hour were detected on their surfaces in fiscal 2019, enough to kill half of all the people in the immediate vicinity within an hour.

TEPCO plans to introduce a remotely controlled underwater robot to recover the bags, starting no earlier than from fiscal 2023, However, it has not determined how long this will take or where to store the bags once they are retrieved.

In addition, radioactive rubble, soil and felled trees at the plant site totaled 480,000 cubic meters as of March 2021, leading TEPCO to set up a special incinerator. The total volume is expected to top 790,000 cubic meters in 10 years, but where to dispose of the incinerated waste remains unclear.

TEPCO is in a race against time. That’s the view of Satoshi Yanagihara, a specially appointed professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Fukui who has specialist knowledge on processes to abandon reactors.

“Now, only 30 years remain before the target date of the end of decommissioning set by the government and TEPCO,” said Yanagihara.

As decommissioning work is due to shortly enter a crucial stage, such as recovering nuclear fuel debris on a trial basis from as early as 2022, Yanagihara noted the need for careful arrangements before forging ahead with important procedures.

“The government and TEPCO need to grasp an overall picture of the massive task ahead and discuss how to treat, keep and discard collected nuclear debris and the leftover radioactive waste with local residents and other relevant parties,” he said.

(This article was written by Yu Fujinami and Tsuyoshi Kawamura.)

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14503708

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Robots to probe inside Fukushima reactor

Jan. 2, 2022

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is planning to conduct robotic probes and collect samples from damaged reactors this year.

The work will be a key step in the effort to decommission the plant.

The No.1, 2 and 3 reactors suffered meltdowns following a major earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Nuclear fuel melted and collapsed into the reactors’ containment vessels. It mixed with surrounding metal parts and formed solid fuel debris.

Tokyo Electric Power Company plans to begin a robotic survey of the No.1 reactor in mid-January. The survey is expected to take about six months.
The robots will use ultrasonic devices to locate and measure the thickness of the deposits.

Utility officials say they also hope to collect samples.

Preparation to retrieve fuel debris from the No.2 reactor is underway with a robotic device that was developed in the UK.

It is now undergoing performance tests in Japan.

Tokyo Electric Power Company is planning to collect a few grams of debris with the robot by the end of this year. It hopes to gradually increase the amount to be retrieved.

Removal and safe storage of the extremely radioactive debris is thought to be one of the biggest challenges in the decommissioning process.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20220102_06/

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Anger as European Union is poised to subsidise the corrupt and rapacious nuclear industry

Germany and Austria have expressed their fury over a French victory on EU rules that would open the door to new investment in nuclear power. The European Commission’s proposed new “taxonomy” rules will allow private investment in atomic energy to be linked to climate policy subsidies as well as funding for gas-fuelled power stations to replace coal-fired generators.

Incensed Austrian ministers compared the Brusselsdecision, which was rushed through late on New Year’s Eve, to Adolf Hitler’s 1941 “Nacht und Nebel”, night and fog, decree to round upand destroy all resistance to the Nazis.

“The EU commission took a step towards greenwashing nuclear power and fossil gas yesterday in a night and fog action,” Leonore Gewessler, the Austrian climate protection minister, said. “They are harmful to the climate and the environment and destroy the future of our children.”

Greenpeace UK has urged Boris Johnson not to allow gas or nuclear to be included in Britain’s own green investment rules. “This loophole could be a drain for Europe’s climate ambitions, as they switch from phasing out dirty fuels, to phasing out dirty fuels only when it seems convenient. The UK must resist being pulled into this failing approach,” Doug Parr, the chief scientist and policy director of British Greenpeace, said.

 Times 2nd Jan 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/eu-capitals-at-odds-on-nuclear-power-kd2fsznr6

January 4, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | 1 Comment

Changing patterns for spreading misinformation on pandemics and climate change.

Covid conspiracy theorists turn on climate change , GUY BELL/ALAMY

Groups spreading misinformation about Covid-19 lockdowns and vaccines are starting to use the same language to spread conspiracy theories about climate change, experts have warned.

As the impact of the pandemic and need for restrictions begins to wane, Covid-19 conspiracy theorists are starting to use terms such as “green lockdowns”, according to analysts at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

The term refers to the belief that, in future, people will be regularly forced to stay at home and restrict their travel and social contacts to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climatechange.

There is no evidence for such claims. Ciaran O’Connor, an analyst at the institute, said that conspiracy theorists would try to framemeasures to tackle climate change in a similar way to lockdowns — as a
“loss of civil liberties and loss of freedoms”.

Such arguments would present campaigns urging people to take fewer flights, use their cars less
often and eat less meat as attacks on individual freedoms rather than as efforts to avert the worst impacts of climate change through collective action.

Dr Jonathan Bright, an associate professor at the Oxford Internet Institute, said: “I think people are going to be thinking about climate change misinformation quite a lot [in 2022].” O’Connor said that such
conspiracy theorists are increasingly turning away from mainstream social media sites, warning: “Telegram has become the platform of choice for far-right, extreme right wing groups, for conspiracy communities [and] for extremist communities in general. Facebook and YouTube… they do have community guidelines, they do enforce them.

 Times 3rd Jan 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/covid-conspiracy-theorists-turn-on-climate-change-lk72pgklv

January 4, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

European Commission’s divisive plan to label nuclear power ”green”, revealed on the sly?

Short of digging an actual hole, the European Commission couldn’t have tried harder to bury this proposal”

we get a document written behind closed doors and published on New Year’s Eve,”

EU labels nuclear power ‘green’, Germany calls it dangerous, Sydney Morning Herald, By John Chalmers, January 4, 2022  Brussels: The German government has condemned nuclear energy as dangerous, slamming European Union proposals that would let the technology remain part of the bloc’s plans for a climate-friendly future.

Germany is on course to switch off its remaining three nuclear power plants at the end of this year and phase out coal by 2030, whereas its neighbour France aims to modernise existing nuclear reactors and build new ones to meet its future energy needs. Berlin plans to rely heavily on natural gas until it can be replaced by non-polluting sources for energy.

The opposing paths taken by two of the EU’s biggest economies have resulted in an awkward situation for the bloc’s Executive Commission.

“We consider nuclear technology to be dangerous,” German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin, noting that the question of what to do with radioactive waste that will last for thousands of generations remains unresolved.

Hebestreit added that Germany “expressly rejects” the EU’s assessment of atomic energy, has repeatedly stated this position towards the commission and is now considering next steps.

The European Union has rejected accusations that it waited until New Year’s Eve to publish the divisive proposals to allow some natural gas and nuclear energy projects to be labelled as sustainable, saying “we weren’t trying to do it on the sly”.

The commission’s decision to include gas and nuclear investments in the European Union’s “sustainable finance taxonomy” rules was circulated in a draft proposal late on December 31 and leaked to some media organisations.

“Short of digging an actual hole, the European Commission couldn’t have tried harder to bury this proposal,” said Henry Eviston, spokesman on sustainable finance at the European Policy Office of the environmental group WWF.

“When the question was whether renewables are green, the commission gave citizens three chances to provide their opinion. For fossil gas and nuclear, we get a document written behind closed doors and published on New Year’s Eve,” he said in an online posting………………………………….

The European Commission will now collect comments to its draft until January 12 and hopes to adopt a final text by the end of the month. After that, the text can be discussed with EU governments and Parliament for up to six months. But it is unlikely to be rejected because that would require 20 of the 27 EU countries, representing 65 per cent of EU citizens, to say “no”.

The aim of the agreement is to send a signal to private investors as to what the EU considers acceptably “green” and stop greenwashing, whereby companies or investors overstate their eco-friendly credentials. The deal will also set limits on what governments can use EU recovery funds to invest in.  
https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/eu-labels-nuclear-power-green-germany-calls-it-dangerous-20220104-p59lmt.html

January 4, 2022 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Facebook’s gigantic data farm planned for Netherlands causing a severe energy problem

 Facebook has been hit by an outcry over plans to build a giant data centre in the Netherlands that will use as much electricity as the nation’s railway system or a major city.

Meta, the social media giant’s parent company, says it has stipulated that the 166-hectare (410-acre) complex at Zeewolde must be run from renewable power sources.

However, the plan is rapidly becoming the biggest headache for a new, fragile coalition government because its sheer scale threatens the nation’s climate change targets.

 Times 2nd Jan 2022

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/outcry-over-energy-sucking-facebook-data-centre-threatening-dutch-green-targets-c5vbnrcrv

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Pro nuclear shills use UK’s energy crisis to promote nuclear, but with government action, renewable energy would solve the problem

Government failure behind energy crisis, Chartist, By Dave Toke -31/12/2021   The only thing wrong with renewables is that we’ve not built nearly enough of them, says Dave Toke. Amidst a global shortfall of gas supplies in relation to demand (and a global increase in gas prices), the anti-renewables lobbies are busy blaming a lack of wind and solar (wot, solar too?) for the soaring energy prices. It’s nonsense of course to pin the blame on renewables for a combination of a global oil and gas crisis and the UK’s unique market vulnerability to natural gas supply squeezes, but that’s precisely what is happening. The truth is we’d be much more secure and greener with a much higher proportion of energy coming from renewables backed up with a revived storage network that successive UK governments have allowed to run down. 

Of course we’ve had fossil fuel energy price surges and crises for decades, but now, suddenly, to read some papers and a lot of tweets, I’m told mainly from fossil fuel lobbyists,  it’s the fault of renewables! Remarkable! 

Some are even using the crisis to boost the case for nuclear power. Now that’s ironic, given that five out of 14 of EDF’s nuclear units are offline as I write! With nuclear, of course, it’s always going to be better in the future (and never is). Certainly, the idea that the UK relying on 3.2GW units (like Hinkley C and the planned Sizewell C) for its security at times of pressure is a guarantee of system security needs rather clearer analysis than is being done at the moment. (By the way, did you know that the first Hinkley C – like EPR in China – got shut down this summer because of radioactive leaks? Somebody please tell me when it gets back online.)………………..

We need much, much more renewables. Currently, the UK generates about 100TWh a year of wind and solar, compared to around 900TWh of natural gas consumption. How on earth can you blame wind and solar for a failure to meet gas demand when the Government has so far incentivised only a small fraction of the renewable energy generation required to phase out reliance on natural gas? It’s gaslighting on a grand scale (pun intended). 

And, yes, there’s easily enough renewables to do the job. All of UK energy could be supplied from offshore wind occupying less than less than 8 per cent of the UK’s offshore waters, not counting all the solar and other renewable energy resources in the UK. https://www.chartist.org.uk/government-failure-behind-energy-crisis/

January 4, 2022 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Five world powers vow to prevent spread of nuclear weapons

Five world powers vow to prevent spread of nuclear weapons
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/1/3/five-world-powers-vow-to-prevent-spread-of-nuclear-weapons

In a joint statement, permanent members of UN Security Council pledge
to ensure a nuclear war is never fought, amid rising world tensions.

Five global nuclear powers have pledged to prevent atomic weapons from
spreading and to ensure a nuclear war is never fought, in a rare joint
statement ahead of a review of a key nuclear treaty later this year.

The statement on Monday said that the United States, United Kingdom,
Russia, China and France – who are the permanent members of the United
Nations Security Council – consider it their primary responsibility to
avoid war between the nuclear states and to reduce strategic risks,
while aiming to work with all countries to create an atmosphere of
security.

“We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be
prevented,” it said, adding, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must
never be fought.”

The Russian-language version of the statement read, “We declare there
could be no winners in a nuclear war, it should never be started.

“As the use of nuclear arms would have far-reaching consequences, we
also confirm that nuclear arms – as long as they exist – should serve
defensive aims, deterrence against aggression and prevention of war.”

Russia hopes the pledge will reduce world tensions, while saying a
summit of permanent UN Security Council members remains necessary.

“We hope that, in the current difficult conditions of international
security, the approval of such a political statement will help reduce
the level of international tensions,” Moscow’s foreign ministry said
in a statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that
Moscow still considered a summit between the world’s major nuclear
powers to be “necessary”.

The foreign ministry also said it hoped the agreement will “help build
confidence and form the foundations of future control over offensive
and defensive arms”.

France also released the statement, underscoring that the five powers
reiterated their determination for nuclear arms control and
disarmament. They would continue bilateral and multilateral approaches
to nuclear arms control, it said.

China said the pledge will “increase mutual trust” and reduce the risk
of nuclear conflict.

“The joint statement issued by the leaders of the five nuclear-weapon
states will help increase mutual trust and replace competition among
major powers with coordination and cooperation,” the official Xinhua
news agency quoted vice foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu as saying.

Tensions between Russia and the West have sky-rocketed in recent
months over Ukraine, with the US and its allies warning Moscow of a
massive coordinated sanctions response if it invades its ex-Soviet
neighbour.

January 4, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

President Biden should pledge never to use nuclear weapons first


President Biden should pledge never to use nuclear weapons first, The Hill, BY THOMAS GRAHAM, JR. AND JONATHAN GRANOFF, — 01/03/22
President Biden can make the world a dramatically safer place by declaring that it is now the policy of the United States never to use nuclear weapons first. Such a pledge is consistent with international legal obligations, fulfills campaign promises, and diminishes the risk of using a nuclear weapon. It would make countries subject to the nuclear weapons threats less nervous in a crisis, when irrationality can lead to disaster. It would add to global stability by lowering the political currency of nuclear weapons.

And significantly, it would help strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the world’s most important arms control treaty. Pursuant to Article VI of the treaty, five nuclear weapons states — United Kingdom, United States, Russia, China, and France — have pledged to “pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.”

The NPT needs such a boost.  Notwithstanding the commitment to disarmament, the five nuclear weapons states, plus the four others not in the treaty — India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea — are spending enormous amounts of money modernizing or expanding their nuclear arsenals, or both. Because of the omicron surge in New York, an important 50-year review conference for the treaty (the tenth five-year review), which was supposed to take place next week, has been postponed for the second year in a row (the scheduled 2020 conference was also cancelled due to a winter COVID surge). Meanwhile, nuclear tensions continue to rise, making progress toward meeting the NPT’s goals critically important.

Normally the NPT gets reviewed every five years. At these periodic review conferences, every nation in the world (except the four that aren’t NPT parties) analyze the state of the treaty’s nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament obligations, and strike agreements to strengthen proliferation constraints and make tangible progress toward a nuclear weapons-free world…………….

 there is one step the U.S. can take which would help reverse the present  dangerous situation: declaring it will never use nuclear weapons first. That would lend credibility to the sincerity of U.S. commitment to fulfilling its disarmament pledges under the NPT.

When brought into deployment practice, a no-first-use posture could make us all dramatically safer. Today, the nuclear posture of the U.S. and Russia supports continuing to threaten to use nuclear weapons first. In practice this tends to keep the arsenals close to Cold War hair-trigger alert status. Such conduct ignores the most important principle of international civilized order and diplomacy: pacta sunt servanda, solemn promises among nations must be kept. Failure to keep arms control commitments — in the nuclear age — could mean the annihilation of civilization.

A no-first-use pledge is consistent with the platform of the Democratic Party on which President Biden campaigned, which states, “(The) sole purpose of our nuclear arsenals should be to deter — and, if necessary retaliate against — a nuclear attack, and we will work to put that belief into practice, in consultation with our allies and military.” A U.S. pledge would challenge all nuclear weapons states to make similar pledges.

Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev got it right when they agreed that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.

Reagan and Gorbachev helped reduce the number of nuclear weapons from more than 65,000 in 1985 to fewer than 14,000 today. This process rested on arms control agreements such as the NPT.

Affirming that the sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal is to deter attack would respect the NPT, diminish the extremity of the status quo, and help move from an environment of irrational threat to a shared recognition of common security interests and the realistic pursuit of human security.  https://www.dell.com/en-au/work/shop/business-laptops-ultrabooks-and-tablets/vostro-5410-laptop/spd/vostro-14-5410-laptop/smc9wnv5410c09aub?gacd=9695171-8007-5761040-272319172-0&dgc=ST&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI_ISr8_uW9QIVu4GsAh2EXA_HEAEYASAEEgJoSfD_BwE

January 4, 2022 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

German government struggles to unite on EU energy proposal

German government struggles to unite on EU energy proposal, DW, 4 Jan 22,

The EU Commission’s proposal to classify nuclear power and natural gas plants as “green” investments has sparked debate in Germany’s new coalition government. Conflict is also brewing between EU states.

Less than a month after Germany’s new coalition government was sworn in, it is facing a major test: To find a united stance in response to a controversial proposal by the EU Commission, published on New Year’s Eve.

The EU Commission wants to label natural gas and nuclear power as climate-friendly, and include investments in both energies on its long-awaited taxonomy list — a green labeling system for investments in the energy sector.

The list is part of the bloc’s plans to decarbonize the European economy and build clean power plants, which will require the investment of billions of euros.

Under the draft proposal, the gas and nuclear plants must meet certain criteria: Investment in new nuclear plants as they are planned in France, the Netherlands, and Poland, can be considered “sustainable” only if respective states ensure they meet the latest technology standards, and provide a concrete plan for the disposal for high-level radioactive waste. 

Natural gas plants could also be granted a green label for a limited period of time, provided certain criteria are met. These could involve limits on the amount of greenhouse gas emitted or proving that the plants can also be operated with green hydrogen or low-carbon gas. 

The classification of economic activities by the EU Commission under the so-called taxonomy is intended to enable investors to switch their investments to more sustainable technologies and companies.

Divided coalition………………

Climate and Economy Minister and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck, told German press agency dpa that he felt the EU proposal “waters down the good label for sustainability.”

“It’s questionable whether this greenwashing will be accepted by the financial markets anyway,” the Green politician said.

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) also rated the EU proposal as “questionable.”………….

Klaus Jacob of the Research Center for Environment Policy at Berlin’s Freie Universität says the debate within the government was completely foreseeable.

“This isn’t a predetermined breaking point in the coalition,” Jacob told DW…………………….

Nuclear phaseout nearing completion

The three governing coalition parties are, however, in agreement when it comes to the phaseout of nuclear energy. Germany’s last nuclear power plants are due to be decommissioned just a year from now.

The decision to phase out nuclear power was made during the 1998-2003 coalition between the SPD and Greens under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, in response to the realization that there was no way to store nuclear waste safely. Almost two decades earlier, Germany’s anti-nuclear protests gave birth to the Green Party and the phaseout has long been one of its core policies.

Angela Merkel’s coalition government of center-right Christian Democrats and FDP then rolled back the phaseout. But in 2011, after the accident at the Fukushima atomic power plant in Japan, Merkel made an about-turn and decided to push through with the phaseout after all.

Referring to the EU’s plans to green label nuclear energy, Environment Minister Lemke said the Commission “creates the great danger of blocking and damaging really viable, sustainable investments in favor of dangerous nuclear power.”……………

EU fissure

The 27 EU member states now have until January 12 to comment on the Commission’s draft. But it’s unlikely that the proposal can be blocked. Besides Germany, only Austria, Luxembourg, Denmark, and Portugal have voiced criticism. 

Implementation can only be prevented if at least 20 EU countries (representing at least 65% of the total EU population) or at least 353 members of parliament vote against it.

Other EU countries are continuing to push nuclear energy and campaign for it to be included on the EU’s list of sustainable energy sources eligible for investment — prominently France which holds the rotating EU presidency and is heading for presidential elections in April.

Austria, meanwhile, is threatening to go to the European Court of Justice to stop the draft from being passed.

Edited by Rina Goldenberg   https://www.dw.com/en/german-government-struggles-to-unite-on-eu-energy-proposal/a-60319292

January 4, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Will Biden stay the course toward nuclear disarmament?

When President Joe Biden took office last year, a historic shift in U.S. nuclear policy seemed likely. Now, with ongoing threats from Russia and China, experts say moving away from nuclear weapons may be more difficult. CS Monitor, By Robert Burns Associated Press, 4 Jan 22,

Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House nearly a year ago seemed to herald a historic shift toward less U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons and possibly a shrinking of their numbers. Even an American “no first use” pledge – a promise to never again be the first to use a nuclear weapon – seemed possible.
The outlook will be clearer when the Biden administration completes its so-called nuclear posture review – an internal relook at the numbers, kinds, and purposes of weapons in the nuclear arsenal, as well as the policies that govern their potential use. The results could be made public as early as January.

The biggest unknown is how forcefully Mr. Biden will weigh in on these questions, based on White House calculations of the political risk. During his years as vice president, Mr. Biden talked of new directions in nuclear policy. But heightened concerns about China and Russia would seem to improve the political leverage of Republicans seeking to portray such change as a gift to nuclear adversaries.

Tom Z. Collina, policy director at Ploughshares Fund, an advocate for nuclear disarmament, says the China and Russia problems complicate the politics of Mr. Biden’s nuclear review but should not stop him from acting to reduce nuclear dangers.

“We do not want a new nuclear arms race with either nation and the only way to prevent that is with diplomacy,” Mr. Collina said. “We must remember the main lesson we learned in the Cold War with Russia – the only way to win an arms race is not to run.”………………………

The Pentagon has not publicly discussed details of the nuclear review, but the administration seems likely to keep the existing contours of the nuclear force – the traditional “triad” of sea-, air-, and land-based weapons, which critics call overkill. It also may embrace a $1 trillion-plus modernization of that force, which was launched by the Obama administration and continued by Mr. Trump.

It’s unclear whether Mr. Biden will approve any significant change in what is called “declaratory policy,” which states the purpose of nuclear weapons and the circumstances under which they might be used.

The Obama administration, with Mr. Biden as vice president, stated in 2010 that it would “only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances to defend the vital interests of the United States or its allies and partners.” It did not define “extreme circumstances.”

Eight years later, the Trump administration restated the Obama policy but got more specific. “Extreme circumstances could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities.”…………… https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2022/0103/Will-Biden-stay-the-course-toward-nuclear-disarmament

January 4, 2022 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN chief welcomes P5 statement on nuclear war prevention 

UN chief welcomes P5 statement on nuclear war prevention https://news.cgtn.com/news/2022-01-04/UN-chief-welcomes-P5-statement-on-nuclear-war-prevention-16xs8fIorHa/index.htmlCGTN  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has hailed a joint statement by the leaders of Russia, China, the United States, Britain and France on the prevention of nuclear war.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the joint statement by the nuclear-weapon States on the prevention of nuclear war and avoidance of arms races,” UN chief’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Monday.

January 4, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Progress in nuclear waste cleanup at Idaho nuclear site

US close to ending buried nuke waste cleanup at Idaho site, KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press, Jan. 3, 2022,

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A lengthy project to dig up and remove radioactive and hazardous waste buried for decades in unlined pits at a nuclear facility that sits atop a giant aquifer in eastern Idaho is nearly finished, U.S. officials said.

The U.S. Department of Energy said last week that it removed the final amount of specifically-targeted buried waste from a 97-acre (39-hectare) landfill at its 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory.

The targeted radioactive waste included plutonium-contaminated filters, graphite molds, sludges containing solvents and oxidized uranium generated during nuclear weapons production work at the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado. Some radioactive and hazardous remains in the Idaho landfill that will receive an earthen cover.

The waste from Rocky Flats was packaged in storage drums and boxes before being sent from 1954 to 1970 to the high-desert, sagebrush steppe of eastern Idaho where it was buried in unlined pits and trenches. The area lies about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of the city of Idaho Falls.

The cleanup project, started in 2005, is named the Accelerated Retrieval Project and is one of about a dozen cleanup efforts of nuclear waste finished or ongoing at the Energy Department site.

The project involving the landfill is part of a 2008 agreement between the Energy Department and state officials that required the department to dig up and remove specific types and amounts of radioactive and hazardous material.

The agency said it removed about 13,500 cubic yards (10,300 cubic meters) of material — which is the equivalent of nearly 50,000 storage drums each containing 55 gallons (208 liters).

Most of the waste is being sent to the U.S. government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for permanent disposal. Some waste will be sent to other off-site repositories that could be commercial or Energy Department sites.

The Energy Department said it is 18 months ahead of schedule in its cleanup of the landfill.

“The buried waste was the primary concern of our stakeholders since the beginning of the cleanup program,” Connie Flohr, manager of the Idaho Cleanup Project for the Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management, said in a statement. “Completing exhumation early will allow us to get an earlier start on construction of the final cover.”……

The Lake Erie-sized Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer supplies farms and cities in the region. A 2020 U.S. Geological Survey report said radioactive and chemical contamination in the aquifer had decreased or remained constant in recent years. It attributed the decreases to radioactive decay, changes in waste-disposal methods, cleanup efforts and dilution from water coming into the aquifer.  https://www.nhregister.com/news/article/US-eyes-finish-of-buried-nuclear-waste-cleanup-at-16746645.php

January 4, 2022 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate Noise Has Obscured Nuclear Dump Cronyism and Nuclear Impacts of Coal Mine – Why Bother With Traffic Light System for Induced Earthquakes? — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Originally posted on Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole: The following letter has just been sent to the Coal Mine Planning Inspector Mr Stephen Normington following a letter from the Rt Hon Greg Hands, Minister of State for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change (this Govnt department appointed the coal mine boss as “invaluable” nuclear…

Climate Noise Has Obscured Nuclear Dump Cronyism and Nuclear Impacts of Coal Mine – Why Bother With Traffic Light System for Induced Earthquakes? — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Excerpts –  ”……………………..should the coal mine be approved by government, then a seismic Traffic Light System at least as stringent as that for the oil and gas industry should be part of the conditions imposed.   The empirical evidence (presented by Radiation Free Lakeland at the Planning Inquiry) is unequivocal in its findings that coal mining produces earthquakes of far greater magnitude and frequency than that of fracking.  Despite this Greg Hands MP states that there will be no Traffic Light System for the coal mine.

In tandem with the absence of a seismic Traffic Light System is the outrageous allowance of 6mm/s Peak Particle Velocity as agreed by the Inquiry’s Rule 6 Parties and Developer for ground movements as a result of the deep mining proposed.   As you will be aware the PPV at which “receptors”  will make complaints is 1mm/s.

An observer of the bulk of the Planning Inquiry would have had no idea of the uniquely dangerous sense of place regarding the planned coal mine.  If this same coal mine was anywhere in the world the climate impacts would be the same.  

……….   But this coal mine is not anywhere in the world.  It is five miles from Sellafield, the worlds riskiest nuclear waste site,  under the arguably most radioactively contaminated sea in the world and directly beneath the radioactively contaminated Cumbrian Mud Patch………

 our concerns lay with the undeniable connections/cronyism between the coal mine and the proposed Geological Disposal Facility.

The Government’s refusal to consider a seismic Traffic Light System for the earthquake inducing coal mine is a case in point. 

Mark Kirkbride the CEO of West Cumbria Mining was appointed in 2019 as an “invaluable” adviser to the Government (Committee on Radioactive Waste Management) on the digging of big holes for a Geological Disposal Facility for Heat Generating Nuclear Wastes and for shallower Near Surface Disposal of Low and Intermediate Level Nuclear Wastes.   

We are painfully aware, as no doubt is government nuclear dump advisor Mark Kirkbride, that a seismic Traffic Light System for an earthquake inducing deep undersea coal mine would also impact negatively on the facilitation of an even deeper hole for a GDF. The Irish Sea area adjacent to the coal mine is in the frame for a GDF.

……..  which is far more than the sum of its (more widely reported) climate/jobs parts.   Should this coal mine go ahead the people and environment of Cumbria and the planet WILL be exposed to deep radiological, immediate and irreversible impacts that will make the more widely reported and not to be sneezed at climate impacts pale into insignificance.

The whole thing feels like a massive stitch up in which the climate issues have been used as a smoke screen to hide the nuclear impacts of this coal mine.  If Leonardo DiCaprio (of “Don’t Look Up” fame)  thinks climate campaigners have it bad he should walk a mile in the shoes of nuclear safety campaigners!  https://keepcumbriancoalinthehole.wordpress.com/2022/01/03/climate-noise-has-obscured-nuclear-dump-cronyism-and-nuclear-impacts-of-coal-mine-why-bother-with-traffic-light-system-for-induced-earthquakes/

January 4, 2022 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment