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Nuclear power plants under threat from climate change

Susan Stranahan: Climate change’s threat to nuclear plants


March 18, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The incessant statement that nuclear is “carbon free” is untrue, and the nuclear industry knows it

RealAccounting , 17 Mar 18  The incessant statement that nuclear is “carbon free” is untrue, and the nuclear industry knows it. The carbon footprint of a standard nuclear plant is in its construction and infrastructure. Many tons of concrete; google the carbon footprint of cement. Then the fossil fuel needed to dig up, crush, size, wash and transport aggregate for the concrete. We’ll ignore carbon costs of acquiring and pumping water for the concrete, at this point. Then steel. Many tons of steel; much of it specialized, using manufacturing processes that use 2-5x more heat (coal/coke) than plain mild steel. Mining. Smelting. Forming. Ore transport. Steel transport. All done with fossil fuels- not zero. Then there’s operating staff. A 2.2 MW coal plant has about 350 employees. Three Mile Island has 675. Numbers for maintaining/operating wind and solar plants are wildly variable, since so much depends on size and site at this point; but you understand that taking care of an installed wind or solar plant is a job for a very few technicians.

When “selling” a power plant to the public, the fact that it “provides” lots of jobs is seen as a positive. But in terms of carbon footprint and allocation of resources; the more humans needed to operate the plant; the bigger the carbon footprint, forever. This bit of resource accounting is always ignored, and is very far from trivial. Basically, in order to operate Three Mile Island, a small village of 700 people, + all the services they need, all the support- belongs to the carbon footprint of the nuclear plant. If those same people were elsewhere; their carbon costs would be attached to whatever enterprise they are involved in. Time to be serious about it; and honest. Only “Lifetime- total system” accounting – counts


Are these tiny, ‘inherently safe’ nuclear reactors the path to a carbon-free future?  by Andrew Maykuth, March 16, 2019 


Are these NuScale nuclear power stations REALLY tiny?

“……the industry sees the future not in building gargantuan plants, but in small modular reactors, or SMRs — factory-built units with fewer parts, designed to be installed underground with passive cooling systems that the industry says are “inherently safe.”

March 18, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Indian military confirms deployment of nuclear subs amid rising tensions with Pakistan

AMN By News Desk2019-03-17  Tensions between the two nuclear-armed Asian powers escalated last month, after an incursion into Pakistani territory in Kashmir by Indian Air Force warplanes to strike at Jihadist militants led to skirmishes in the air and small arms and artillery fire along the shaky Line of Control border.

Major combat units of the Indian Navy including the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier-led battle group, nuclear submarines “and scores of other ships, submarines and aircraft” were quickly shifted from exercises to operational deployment as tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad escalated, India’s Ministry of Defence revealed in a statement Sunday……..

Earlier Sunday, sources speaking to Reuters reportedly said that India and Pakistan had threatened to lob nuclear missiles at each other during the crisis and that only US officials’ intervention helped to defuse what may have well turned into a much deadlier conflict. ……

Tensions continue to smolder, with regular reports of airspace violations, military drills held in the sensitive border area, and back and forth allegations of ceasefire violations amid small arms and artillery fire along the Line of Control in Kashmir.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

International shame for human society, that children have to take the lead on climate action

The Observer view on the school climate strikes: it’s shameful that children need to take the lead, Observer Editorial, 17 Mar 19, 
Children are right to call politicians to account over a global crisis   For those who care passionately about our planet’s future, these are dispiriting times. Fossil fuel emissions, which are now causing our world to overheat dangerously, continue to rise despite scientists’ clear warnings about the likely consequences: melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, unprecedented storms, acidifying oceans and spreading deserts.

Such forecasts should have spurred global action a long time ago. Yet politicians across the world have consistently refused to act and for decades have procrastinated, discounting evidence that clearly shows global warming is already affecting our planet. Many factors account for this inaction. Lobbying by oil and gas companies obsessed with short-term gain has certainly been involved. Others have argued that only God can have a planet-wide influence and that humanity is being presumptuous in believing it could alter a global ecosystem. In addition, there are those who believe bids to introduce limits on coal and oil burning are simply the work of leftwing, anti-capitalist conspirators.

Such befuddled notions are no longer acceptable in an overheating world. In failing to act over climate change, our leaders are in real danger of betraying a generation of young people who, in a few decades, are likely to inherit a blighted world that has been denuded of much of its wildlife, coastline and fertile land. The future of our children is being stolen before their eyes.

n the face of this stark scenario, the decision by children round the planet to vent their anger and to stage an international campaign of protests and school walkouts last week is to be welcomed. It was a just response to a global injustice. Without a voice in a political debate in which their future is being threatened by the political inability of their elders, young people have had little choice. Teachers may complain that the disruption caused by last week’s protests only increases their workload and wastes lesson times, but it is clear the campaign is being driven by genuine outrage, a grievance that also explains the considerable breadth of these protests.

From Australia to America, pupils simply put down their books and took to the streets. More than 100 towns and cities in the UK saw protests. In Sydney, about 30,000 young folk held a climate march, while in Delhi more than 200 children walked out of classes.

Equally impressive were the comments and blogs. In India, 13-year-old Arya Dhar Gupta from Gurugram, whose air is some of the world’s most polluted, revealed it was no longer safe for her to play outdoors. Others called for a moratorium on all new coal, oil and gas plants. Some demanded massive investment in renewable energy projects.

But perhaps most telling were the words of Anastasia Martynenko from Kiev. She supported her actions in terms that starkly highlight the depth of her elders’ failures and underline the now desperate need for a reinvigoration of global climate policies. “We are happy to be the driving force… because when our children ask us what have you done for our future, we will have an answer.”

March 18, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

In over 2000 cities, hundreds of thousands of children left school to protest for climate cxation

Even in chilly Oklahoma, USA – Students rally for climate change

Hundreds of thousands leave schools world-wide to protest climate change inaction, SBS NEWS< 17 Mar 19, Hundreds of thousands of students in more than 2000 cities from Australia to Uganda and Germany left the classroom on Friday to protest government inaction on climate change.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Democrats propose policy to use nuclear weapons only in response to attack.


DEMS PROPOSE U.S. GIVE UP FIRST-STRIKE NUCLEAR OPTION  Plan would pledge to use nukes only in response to attack

18 Mar 19,  Democrats are proposing in Congress that the United States give up the option for a nuclear first strike – for any reason, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

The policy for decades deliberately has been one of “calculated ambiguity.” It stemmed from a Cold War era in which the U.S. and NATO faced “numerically superior” Soviet and Warsaw Pact conventional forces in Europe, explains a document prepared by the Congressional Research Service.

“At the time, the United States not only developed plans to use nuclear weapons on the battlefield to disrupt or defeat attacking tanks and troops, but it also hoped that the risk of a nuclear response would deter the Soviet Union from initiating a conventional attack. This is not because the United States believed it could defeat the Soviet Union in a nuclear war, but because it hoped the Soviet Union would know that the use of these weapons would likely escalate to all-out nuclear war, with both sides suffering massive destruction.”

That policy of ambiguity has been continued, with even the Obama administration promising that the U.S. “would only consider the use of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances,” far short of a promise never to use them first.

Democrats now are demanding to change that.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mas., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., have proposed legislation, S. 272 and H.R. 921, that would adopt the statement: “It is the policy of the United States to not use nuclear weapons first.”

Other members of Congress are divided,” the report from the CRS explained, with Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., warning the Democrats’ plan “betrays a naïve and disturbed world view.”

The Trump administration already had rejected the idea, in its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which said the weapons contribute to “deterrence of nuclear and non-nuclear attack; assurance of allies and partners; achievement of U.S. objectives if deterrence fails; and the capacity to hedge against an uncertain future.”

For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Proposed nuclear power station at Indian village – a  serious threat to living beings 

Nuclear power serious threat to living beings Hans News Service 18 March 2019 

HIGHLIGHTS The proposed Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) at Kovvada village in Ranastalam mandal is a serious threat to all living beings in the surrounding 250 kilometers radius of north coastal AP districts and south Odisha state, said Anti-Nuclear Committee national member Dr Vivek Mantory.

Srikakulam: The proposed Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) at Kovvada village in Ranastalam mandal is a serious threat to all living beings in the surrounding 250 kilometers radius of north coastal AP districts and south Odisha state, said Anti-Nuclear Committee national member Dr Vivek Mantory. Addressing a seminar on ‘Nuclear power plant at Ranastalam’ on Sunday, held under the aegis of CITU, he came down heavily on both the Central and State governments’ for neglecting the interest of people living in the area and for violation of environmental laws.
Stating that the establishment of nuclear power was a costly affair than any other power like wind, hydro, coal-based thermal power and solar power, he said all the developed and advanced countries like the USA, Russia, Japan and other nations were backed away from the nuclear power. He wondered as to why India is showing much interest without thinking safety measures and preventive technology. CITU State vice-president D Govinda Rao, district president K Srinivas and members of other unions also participated. Residents of NPP affected villages also present in the seminar.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Is it REALLY a good idea for American tax-payers to prop up the failing nuclear power industry?

  Does the United States Need a Civilian Nuclear Industry? The National Interest, March 13, 2019
Instead of a greater financial cushion, what the nuclear industry needs is more transparent exposure to market signals.
  The U.S. nuclear industry is on life support. Two nuclear reactors currently under construction have been canceled. Westinghouse, once at the vanguard of American technology, filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and is now owned by a Canadian firm. These troubles have affected the human capital—technicians, engineers, and other specialists—crucial for innovation in the industry. The United States once held the majority of nuclear-qualified manufacturing certifications—the prestigious N-stamp issued by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers to certify a level of quality for nuclear applications. That ended in 2010 as other countries expanded their nuclear workforces.

Advocates and industry lobbyists are proposing a new structure of subsidies to prop up the industry. Instead of a greater financial cushion, however, what the nuclear industry needs is more transparent exposure to market signals. …..

improved battery storage and transmission technology could make the entire idea of baseload energy obsolete. Government subsidies, whether to renewables, natural gas, or nuclear, only cloud the issue. It should be up to investors, with access to diverse and comprehensive market information, to bet for (or against) nuclear energy.

Another argument for subsidizing the civil nuclear industry relies on its importance for national defense. Here, the United States walks a fine line: on one hand, the United States has a commitment to uphold the nonproliferation regime. On the other hand, the United States seeks to maintain and even modernize its nuclear arsenal to provide deterrence. In August 2017, former energy secretary Ernest Moniz coauthored the Energy Futures Initiative, a report arguing for greater government support for “robust nuclear energy enterprise” that serves both nonproliferation and nuclear deterrence goals. A particular concern was ensuring the supply of tritium , a hydrogen isotope important for powering nuclear weapons. Government reactors produced tritium until 1988, when they were closed because of cost.

On closer inspection, however, these concerns about the health of the nuclear elements of national security are overblown. The Government Accountability Office finds that tritium reserves are sufficient through the 2030s, and there are other ways to acquire tritium by enriching uranium.

The civilian industry makes the case for electric rate subsidies and exemption of onerous licensing and export controls because of their importance for nuclear weapons and nuclear powered submarines. However, it seems just as likely that the civil nuclear industry is as dependent on the defense industry for talent and investment. The training for civil and military nuclear technology requires the same basic physics, but beyond that, the education diverges. Naval reactors are not the same as civilian ones, and the navy operates approximately 160 nuclear reactors compared to ninety-eight in the civilian sector.

Civilian universities foster research on nuclear science and technology, but the defense establishment may be more interested in state-of-the-art work on artificial intelligence or autonomous technology than nuclear energy. Many of the advances in defense nuclear operations come not from basic nuclear science, but from improved safety and storage technology or warhead design.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

China trying to market nuclear technology to Argentina

Chinese delegation set to revive stalled Argentina nuclear power plant talks
Technical team expected to go to Latin American country to discuss project reportedly worth up to US$8 billion, SCMP, 16 Mar, 2019 A delegation from China will visit Argentina this month to discuss the construction of a nuclear power plant, signalling possible progress in a deal that could increase Beijing’s deepening influence in the South American nation.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

How Leonardo DiCaprio is fighting climate change with finance 

Putting his money where his mouth  is. Your Money, 18 Mar 2019, Jack Derwin  Digital Journalist,    Oscar-winning actor and Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio has long been an environmental activist, but he’s now turning to the world of finance to help tackle his chosen cause.

DiCaprio has announced he will become a senior adviser to a new $150 million environmental unit at fund manager Princeville Capital that invests directly into tech companies fighting global warming.

Taking to Twitter, it appears he is willing to put his money where his mouth is, becoming an investor himself.

“What I like about Leo’s fund if you are predisposed to wanting to improve the climate or stop climate change, this is a fund that invests in companies that are trying to mitigate the effects of climate change,” The Motley Fool head of investment Scott Phillips told Your Money Live.

The major difference between DiCaprio’s fund and other ethical funds is rather than divesting from big polluters, his is actively investing in potential future solutions……..

March 18, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Schoolchildren around the world “on strike” demanding action on climate change

‘Fridays for future’ marches for climate change going global | DW News

It’s our time to rise up’: youth climate strikes held in 100 countries Sandra LavilleMatthew Taylorand Daniel Hurst, Sat 16 Mar 2019 

School and university students continue Friday protests to call for political action on crisis  From Australia to America, children put down their books on Friday to march for change in the first global climate strike.

The event was embraced in the developing nations of India and Uganda and in the Philippines and Nepal – countries acutely impacted by climate change – as tens of thousands of schoolchildren and students in more than 100 countries went on “strike”, demanding the political elite urgently address what they say is a climate emergency. Continue reading

March 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, climate change | Leave a comment

Nebraska nuclear station is threatened by flooding, as Missouri River continued to rise

Deadly, Historic Midwest Flooding Threatens Ericson Dam, Nuclear Plant in Nebraska, By Pam Wright and Ron Brackett,  15 Mar 19, 

At a Glance

  • New evacuations were ordered overnight in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
  • A Nebraska farmer was killed trying to rescue a stranded motorist.
  • A Nebraska nuclear plant is threatened.
  • A ‘compromised’ dam forced evacuations along the Niobrara River.
  • A third of the 24,000 residents in Norfolk, Nebraska, were ordered to evacuate Thursday.
  • Flooding in parts of the Midwest has left one man dead threatens a Nebraska dam and nuclear power plant as heavy rains mixed with a melting snowpack swell waterways to historic levels……..
  • In Nebraska, a utility company was placing sandbags around a threatened nuclear power plant Thursday as the Missouri River continued to rise, the Omaha World-Journal reports.

    Mark Becker, spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District, told the newspaper that should the river hit the level of 45.5 feet as projected by the National Weather Services this weekend, the Cooper Nuclear Station, which accounts for 35 percent of NPPD’s power, will have to be shut down…………

March 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry pushes for weaker regulations:NRC Board dominated by Trump appointees

Nuclear industry pushing for fewer inspections at plants

The board of the agency charged with enforcing regulations on commercially operated nuclear plants is dominated by Trump appointees. NBC News, March 16, 2019,  By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nuclear power industry is pushing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to cut back on inspections at nuclear power plants and throttle back what it tells the public about plant problems. The agency, whose board is dominated by Trump appointees, is listening.

Commission staffers are weighing some of the industry’s requests as part of a sweeping review of how the agency enforces regulations governing the country’s 98 commercially operating nuclear plants. Recommendations are due to the five-member NRC board in June.

Annie Caputo, a former nuclear-energy lobbyist now serving as one of four board members appointed or reappointed by President Donald Trump, told an industry meeting this week that she was “open to self-assessments” by nuclear plant operators, who are proposing that self-reporting by operators take the place of some NRC inspections. …….

the prospect of the Trump administration’s regulation-cutting mission reaching the NRC alarms some independent industry watchdogs, who say the words “nuclear safety” and “deregulation” don’t go together……..

“For an industry that is increasingly under financial decline … to take regulatory authority away from the NRC puts us on a collision course,” said Paul Gunter, of the anti-nuclear group Beyond Nuclear. With what? “With a nuclear accident,” Gunter said………..

Trump has said he wants to help both the coal and nuclear power industries. So far, it’s the more politically influential coal industry that’s gotten significant action on the regulatory rollbacks that it sought from the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.

In January, Trump appointees to the NRC disappointed environmental groups by voting down a staff proposal that nuclear plants be required to substantially — and expensively — harden themselves against major floods and other natural disasters. The proposal was meant to be a main NRC response to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster after Japan’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami in 2011………

March 16, 2019 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

150,000 climate strikers at 60 locations across Australia in schoolchildren’s pprotest

Students strike to demand climate action | ABC News

Climate strikes attract 150,000 supporters,, 16 Mar 19,   About 150,000 people took part in climate strikes across the country on Friday, with students planning more rallies if their demands for more action aren’t met. About 150,000 students, parents and activists have taken to the streets to protest over the federal government’s inaction on climate change.

Strikes were held across the country on Friday at 60 locations, as part of a global effort to shine a light on climate change.

The protests were estimated to be 10 times the size of those held in November. The students have three demands: stop the Adani coal mine in central Queensland, no new coal or gas, and 100 per cent renewables by 2030.

More strikes will be planned if the students don’t see the action they want from the government.

“If the politicians are just going to throw our futures away there’s nothing we can do but be out here and say: we’re not going to let you do that,” 15-year-old Olivia Boddington told AAP at a climate strike in Canberra.

“We’re not going to just go away.”

Huge crowds gathered across the country on Friday, including at Sydney’s Town Hall Square, outside Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building and in Brisbane’s CBD.

The movement was inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who has been striking for climate action since last August.

The 16-year-old’s activism has earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Senior cabinet minister Christopher Pyne criticised the students for striking, saying the move will damage their education.

However, Labor national president Wayne Swan defended student activism.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Scotland’s First Minister refused to meet Australian Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor – for political reasons

Gaffe reveals why Sturgeon refused to meet nuclear waste protestor  James McEnaney on March 14, 2019 The Scottish Government has mistakenly revealed that Nicola Sturgeon refused to meet an Aboriginal nuclear waste protestor in an attempt to avoid political damage – not because she was too busy, as her officials said. 

Internal emails uncovered by The Ferret reveal that the First Minister was advised to turn down a request for a meeting in 2018 so as not to become a “focus for criticism”. But officials said the public reason given for her refusal would be “on the standard basis of diary pressures”.

Campaigners reacted with sadness, saying that the Scottish Government’s “ears are closed”. The government stressed that it had “very limited scope” to address the issues raised.

Nuclear fuel was sent from an Australian research reactor to Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland for reprocessing in the 1990s. The resulting radioactive waste, amounting to 51 cemented drums, was originally due to be returned to Australia for disposal.

But under the terms of a waste substitution deal in 2014, Scottish and UK governments agreed that the drums should stay at Dounreay. Instead, the plan is to send four containers of “radiologically equivalent” waste to Australia from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria.

Two sites have been identified for a planned store for the waste in south Australia – Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, and Kimber – both of which face opposition from indigenous communities. The Ferret reported in February that Scottish ministers had been advised that they had powers to prevent the waste being exported to protect human rights.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment