The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

ICRC calls ban treaty entry into force “a victory for humanity” — IPPNW peace and health blog

In a statement following the 50th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Peter Maurer, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the treaty “allows us to turn our gaze towards the future; to imagine a world freed from these inhumane weapons no longer as a distant […]

ICRC calls ban treaty entry into force “a victory for humanity” — IPPNW peace and health blog

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

World climate at the crossroads – much depends on USA election result

Guardian 26th Oct 2020, Among the myriad reasons world leaders will closely watch the outcome of a fraught US presidential election, the climate crisis looms perhaps largest of all. The international effort to constrain dangerous global heating will hinge, in large part, on which of the dichotomous approaches of Donald Trump or Joe Biden prevails.
On 4 November, the day after the election, the US will exit the Paris climate agreement, a global pact that has wobbled but not collapsed from nearly four years of disparagement and disengagement under Trump.
Biden has vowed to immediately rejoin the Paris deal. The potential of a second Trump term, however, is foreboding for those whose
anxiety has only escalated during the hottest summer ever recorded in the northern hemisphere, with huge wildfires scorching California and swaths of central South America, and extraordinary temperatures baking the Arctic.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Ocean ecosystems – future in doubt

The uncertain future of the oceans, Science Daily October 26, 2020

Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles react very sensitively to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) – but the effects are far more complex than previously thought. Data were combined from five large-scale field experiments, which investigated how the carbon cycle within plankton communities reacts to the increase of CO2.
The ocean plays a key role in the current climate change, as it absorbs a considerable part of the atmospheric carbon dioxide emitted by humankind. On the one hand, this slows down the heating of the climate, and on the other hand, the dissolution of CO2 in seawater leads to acidification of the oceans.
This has far-reaching consequences for many marine organisms and thus also for the oceanic carbon cycle. One of the most important mechanisms in this cycle, is called the biological carbon pump. Part of the biomass that phytoplankton forms in the surface ocean through photosynthesis sinks to the depths in the form of small carbonaceous particles. As a result, the carbon is stored for a long time in the deep sea. The ocean thus acts as a carbon sink in the climate system. How strongly this biological pump acts varies greatly from region to region and depends on the composition of species in the ecosystem.

The study, which has now been published in the journal

Nature Climate Change, is one of the most comprehensive studies so far on the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. Scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel have now been able to show for the first time that ocean acidification influences the carbon content of sinking organic material, and thus the biological pump. Surprisingly, the observed changes were highly variable. The carbon content of sinking particles increased or decreased significantly with increasing CO2, depending on the composition of species and the structure of the food web. Since the underlying data cover a wide range of ocean regions, this seems to be a global phenomenon. These findings allow a completely new assessment of the effects of ocean acidification……….

October 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Britain, and other countries, got nuclear weapons for reasons of status and pride

October 27, 2020 Posted by | culture and arts, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Irish government welcomes 50th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Statement by (Irish) Minister on the 50th Ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Irish Dept of Foreign Affairs 25th Oct 2020, I am pleased that the 50th instrument of ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was deposited yesterday, meaning the Treaty will enter into force on 22 January

October 27, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Hope for nuclear arms control with Russia? 

October 27, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ukraine on the Brink: Transforming Ukraine’s nuclear cities

Ukraine on the Brink: Transforming Ukraine’s nuclear cities,  26 Oct 20 This episode of the Ukraine on the Brink series shares the stories of the Ukrainians who are bringing green energy to two of Ukraine’s most well-known nuclear cities – Chornobyl and Slavutych. These innovative and ambitious solar energy projects are a ray of hope for the future of sustainable energy in Ukraine…… (Subscribers only)

October 27, 2020 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

This week: climate, coronavirus – and Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

Even the generally pro nuclear mainstream media could not ignore the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as it reached the required 50 ratifications to become law.      Nuclear weapons – always inhumane and unacceptable, now illegal — IPPNW peace and health blog. The ethical and moral case grew stronger, for the U.N. nuclear ban treaty.

One important article this week links the otherwise irrational push for small nuclear reactors (SMRs) to their connection with the nuclear weapons industry.

Second COVID-19 wave swells across US and Europe as winter looms.

‘Back to the future of climate” –– research on the  Eocene period, some 55 million years ago, when atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide were over  1,400 ppm, indicate what the Earth’s future climate might be. Then the temperatures on Earth must have resembled those of a sauna. It was hot and humid, and the ice on the polar caps had completely disappeared. That situation deeloped over millions of years. Now, industrialisation is bringing it about by soon after 2100.


Global Covid-19 cases top 42.5mn: Johns Hopkins Oct 25, 2020.

The passing of the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty  – an  embarrassment and a problem for the USA, and the other nuclear weapons nations. .   Difficulties in the membership of countries in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Why nuclear power Is unsustainable.       Climate change a big threat to nuclear reactors – as water supplies at risk.    Every dollar wasted on nuclear power is a dollar not invested in clean energy.  The very genuine promise of cheap electricity – solar power.

Study finds that bees are harmed by quite low levels of ionising radiation.

The Guardian was grossly unfair to Julian Assange. They could still make up for this.

Geological disposal of nuclear waste – a focus of interest in the coming months.


PACIFIC ISLANDS. Pacific islands demand truth on the decades of nuclear testing, now that nuclear weapons are becoming illegal

ARCTIC.  Delayed freezing of Arctic sea ice due to continued freakish warm weather.  Unwanted nuclear submariness and military operations in the Arctic.

ANTARCTIC. Scientific women get together in plan for marine protected area for Antarctica Peninsula.  Vital need to protect Antarctic seas: groups aim for new protected areas.


SOUTH KOREA. Democratic Party leader says he demanded “transparent disclosure” of information about Fukushima water treatment.  S. Korean demonstrators ramp up protests against Japan’s plans to dump radioactive water into the ocean.


RUSSIA.   Russian hacking group Energetic Bear have hacked nuclear stations, now threaten USA election

TAIWAN.  Taiwan furthers its departure from nuclear power, with more unused fuel rods sent back to USA.

EUROPE.  An opportunity to remove American nuclear weapons from Europe.  European Commission commits to retaining Iran nuclear deal.

POLAND.  $40 billion cost to Poland for nuclear power – $18 billion to USA for starters.


CHINA.  China’s nuclear oppression of the Uighur people. China’s world-leading push for solar and wind energy.

IRAN.  Considering the future of the Iran nuclear deal.  Hard to save the Iran nuclear deal, even if Biden wins the U.S. election.

FRANCE.  France’s anti nuclear activists to train citizen scientists to measure radioactivity levels around a nuclear site.

GERMANY. In Germany , a new dispute over the old abandoned Gorleben nuclear waste site. Pledge Times (India/Germany)– Hitler’s quest for nuclear weapons.

SWEDEN.  Swedish council votes in favour of nuclear waste disposal facility.

SOUTH AFRICA. Trump’s USA is pushing NuScale’s small nuclear reactors for South Africa.

AUSTRALIA.  After the state of  Victoria’s long and difficult coronavirus lockdown, it’s now the envy of the world. As coronavirus cases plummet, it’s time to ask: Is Australia ready for the third wave?

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Google headline nuclear articles today – the main topic was the Nuclear Ban Treaty

26 Oct 20, In the 95 nuclear news items listed as headlines in Google Search today, the most notable recent topic was nuclear weapons, and, significantly, the ratifications of the U.N Treaty on the Prohition of Nuclear Weapons . These now number 50, the required number to bring this Treaty into international law.  Generally articles on nuclear weapons were critical of, or opposed to them, with some articles ‘neutral’, simply reporting facts and numbers. A smaller number of articles had the theme of valuing the nuclear weapons industry.

Apart from articles about nuclear weapons and the weapons ban treaty,   the majority of articles about the nuclear industry were clearly promotions of that industry. the major theme being that the world ‘needs nuclear power’, especially small nuclear reactors, to provide ‘clean’, climate ‘-friendly’  energy.    Another big theme was the development of nuclear fusion.  Other articles enthused about space research, nuclear medicine, and safety of ionising radiation.

Roughly half as many articles opposed the nuclear industry.  The main themes were waste disposal problems, small reactors costly and useless, and safety issues.

A smaller number again were even-handed or ‘neutral’ articles – the main topic being international diplomacy, then safety concerns, and decommissioning of nuclear stations.


October 26, 2020 Posted by | media | Leave a comment

Joe Biden calls climate change the ‘number one issue facing humanity

Joe Biden calls climate change the ‘number one issue facing humanity’, CNBC, OCT 24 2020

    • Joe Biden declared climate change the “number one issue facing humanity” and vowed a national transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy that he says will create millions of new jobs.
    • Biden has a $2 trillion plan that puts the U.S. on a path to zero carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050.
    • Scientists say that Biden’s transition plan is required to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.
    • Climate change has fueled record-setting wildfires in the U.S. West and one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons this year………
    • “Climate change is the existential threat to humanity,” the former vice president said. “Unchecked, it is going to actually bake this planet. This is not hyperbole. It’s real. And we have a moral obligation.” ……

Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has boasted a $2 trillion plan that invests significantly in clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building industry, cuts fossil fuel emissions and improves infrastructure.

Biden’s plan also puts the U.S. on a path to zero carbon pollution from the electricity sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Coal and natural gas comprise more than 60% of the electricity sector, according to the Energy Information Association.

“It’s going to create millions of jobs … We can’t be cavalier about the impact it’s going to have on how we’re going to transition to do all this,” Biden said of his plan on the podcast. “But I just think it’s a gigantic opportunity, a gigantic opportunity to create really good jobs.”

Scientists say that Biden’s transition plan is required to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change.  …..

Trump has denied the science of climate change and reversed more than 70 major environmental regulations during his four years in office, with nearly 30 more in progress.

But climate change has been a top issue of the 2020 presidential election, especially among younger voters…….

Biden leads on climate change by an enormous margin, with 58% to 19% of registered voters saying the former vice president would address the problem better than President Trump, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. …..

    •  and this year is set to be one of the five hottest in recorded history.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | 1 Comment

495 local assemblies demand Japan government ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

495 local assemblies demand Japan gov’t ratify nuclear ban treaty in written statement,  October 24, 2020 Mainichi Japan  
HIROSHIMA — Over a quarter of local assemblies across Japan have adopted a written statement demanding that the central government sign and ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), a report by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo) revealed. ……

The nuclear arms prohibition treaty was adopted in July 2017 by 122 countries and regions — over 60% of the United Nation’s membership. The treaty bans the development, test, manufacture, possession or use of atomic weapons, as well as the threat of their use — the basis of nuclear deterrent. Japan did not participate in negotiations nor signed the pact, along with the five nuclear powers of the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China. Tokyo stayed out of the pact for fear of appearing to denounce nuclear deterrence and thereby deepening conflict between nuclear have and have-not nations.

In response, Gensuikyo decided in a global conference held in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 2017 that it will approach local assemblies in Japan to adopt written statements asking the national government to sign and ratify the nuclear ban treaty. Atomic bomb survivors have been engaged in these efforts across Japan.

According to Gensuikyo, the prefectural assemblies of Iwate, Nagano, Mie, Tottori, and Okinawa, as well as 490 municipal assemblies — 28% of all local assemblies nationwide — had adopted the written statement as of Oct. 23, 2020. The tally includes assemblies that have adopted the objective of the written statement, as they agree with it but are uncertain of its feasibility. A total of 34 assemblies in Iwate, including the prefectural assembly, adopted the statement. The statement was initially turned down twice in the municipal assembly of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, but finally gathered a majority in March 2020 after Gensuikyo explained persistently about damage resulting from nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, no local assemblies in the prefectures of Toyama, Fukui, Yamaguchi and Saga have adopted the statement.
A tendency among conservative assembly members to dislike passing written statements that counter central government policy has apparently led to the regional differences. Even in the atomic bomb-stricken areas of Hiroshima and Nagasaki prefectures, the statement’s adoption rate is 67% and 32%, respectively.

Sixteen municipal assemblies in Hiroshima Prefecture, including the Hiroshima city assembly, have adopted the statement, with authorities saying, “Our country, the only nation that has experienced atomic bombing, has a special role and responsibility to strive to abolish nuclear weapons.” However, Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly lawmakers did not even submit a proposal to adopt the statement.

Fumikazu Furuta, secretariat head at Gensuikyo’s Hiroshima branch, explained that a prefectural assembly member belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rejected his request for cooperation by saying, “We must consider the views of party headquarters.”

There are also local assemblies that reject adopting the statement as it is not legally binding, and by claiming that national defense and security are exclusively under central government jurisdiction. Soji Kanno, deputy secretariat head at Gensuikyo’s Iwate branch, who approached Iwate Prefecture assemblies with the statement, commented, “Abolishing nuclear weapons is not a political request, but the wish of the Japanese public. I’d like for all local assemblies to raise their voices towards the Japanese government.”

(Japanese original by Isamu Gari and Misa Koyama, Hiroshima Bureau)


October 26, 2020 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Every dollar wasted on nuclear power is a dollar not invested in clean energy

October 26, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Dear “President-elect Biden” — Beyond Nuclear International

Your first job is to turn back the Doomsday Clock

Dear “President-elect Biden” — Beyond Nuclear International

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump government’s dangerous plan to deregulate disposal of radioactive trash

Trump team pushes nuke dumping, by Staff Report • October 25, 2020   Many Americans alarmed over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, a worsening climate crisis, an economic disaster on par with the Great Depression, or the White House’s surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban would sleep better if they had assurances the radioactive waste disposal is as secure as it could possibly be… but President Donald Trump is still in charge so there’s no such luck.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is finalizing a year-long drive to functionally deregulate disposal of massive amounts of radioactive waste.

NRC’s  plan would allow commercial nuclear reactors to dump virtually all their radioactive waste, except spent fuel, in local garbage landfills, which are designed for household trash not rad-waste, according to comments filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Friday marked the end of public comments for an NRC “interpretative rulemaking” that would, in effect, abrogate longstanding requirements that virtually all such waste must be disposed of in licensed radioactive waste sites meeting detailed safety standards and subject to NRC inspection and enforcement.

Instead, the Trump administration wants to allow the NRC to grant generic exemptions for unlicensed waste handlers.

NRC declares its “intent” that these newly exempt disposal sites would be limited to “very low-level radioactive wastes” – a term undefined by statute – which NRC considers to be “below 25 millirem per year.”

“NRC’s definition would allow public exposure to the equivalent to more than 900 chest X-rays over a lifetime,” explained Lisa McCormick. “This new approach creates a cancer risk twenty times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable risk range, thousands of times the risk goal for Superfund sites, or enough radiation to cause every 500th person exposed to get cancer.”

McCormick, a progressive Democratic activist in New Jersey, says the rule change is “the worst thing to do as dozens of America’s 104 nuclear power plants come to the end of their operation.”

“Once an exempt entity accepts radioactive waste, it enters a regulatory black hole, with no one  accountable for it,” stated PEER Pacific Director Jeff Ruch, pointing out that NRC’s plan eliminates the need for radiation monitoring, health physics personnel, design standards, and NRC inspections – all now required of licensed operators.  “Unlicensed radioactive waste dumps could operate in ways that endanger communities free from any NRC oversight.”

NRC’s cryptic justification merely indicates that the plan “would provide an efficient means by which the NRC may issue specific exemptions for disposal” but ignores impacts that would –

  • Transform many municipal dumps into radioactive repositories, with no safeguards for workers, nearby residents, or adjoining water tables;
    • Allow unlicensed radioactive waste dumps to expose the public to 2.5 times higher levels of radiation than the NRC now allows for licensed low-level radioactive waste sites, thus creating a strong incentive to send all the radioactive waste to unlicensed dumps; and
    • Eliminate the public’s ability to find out radioactive waste is being dumped near them.

    At present, the U.S. has 104 commercial nuclear power plants, many of which are beginning, or will soon start, the decommissioning process.

    Removing the need for licensed sites to handle the staggering amounts of debris from old reactors would be a major cost savings for that industry.

    “One of New Jersey’s oldest nuclear power plants just came off line and it poses a drastic problem for the people and environment” said McCormick.

    “NRC’s deregulation will make it nearly impossible to trace recycled radioactive waste flowing through the stream of American commerce,” added Ruch, noting that it may also create a market for the U.S. to import radioactive waste for cheaper disposal. “This plan would plunge the U.S. into the wild, wild West of radioactive waste disposal, on a par with a Third World natio

October 26, 2020 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Angry reactions to Japanese government’s plan to release Fukushima nuclearwaste water into the Pacific

Plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific provokes furious reaction 25 Oct 20, The Japanese government has reportedly decided to pump highly radioactive cooling water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean. The plan has been slammed by environmental groups, locals and neighboring nations.Environmental groups have reacted furiously to reports that the Japanese government is set to approve plans to dump more than 1 million tons of highly radioactive water stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, with their concerns shared by the governments of neighboring countries and people living in northeastern Japan.

A government panel set up to determine the best way of disposing the radioactively contaminated water is scheduled to announce its decision by the end of the month.

Three Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns following a 2011 tsunami that destroyed wide swaths of the coastline in northern Japan’s Miyagi prefecture.

According to reports leaked to Japanese media, the panel will recommend releasing the approximately 1.23 million tons of water currently stored in tanks in the grounds of the nuclear plant.

The alternatives that have been considered are to evaporate the water into the atmosphere or to mix it into concrete and store it underground.

According to reports from national broadcaster NHK and other news outlets, the panel will call for the water to be again put through a process designed to reduce the radioactivity to below “regulatory standards” and dilute it with sea water before it is pumped into the ocean.

The three damaged reactors require constant cooling with water, which becomes highly radioactive, and mixes with around 170 tons of groundwater that seeps into the subterranean levels of the reactor buildings every day.

That water is pumped into hundreds of huge tanks on the site every day, with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the operator of the power plant, estimating that even with more waste tanks being constructed, storage capacity will be reached fully in the summer of 2022.

Environmental groups insist that there is no reason why more storage tanks cannot be constructed outside the perimeter of the plant. They accuse the government of seeking the cheapest and quickest solution to the problem, as authorities have promised the site will be safe in 40 years.

And that deadline, they say, is completely unrealistic. Complications include recovering the molten fuel that escaped from the reactor chambers. This kind of recovery has never before been attempted and the technology required does not yet exist.

They also accuse the Japanese authorities of playing down the radiation levels in the water planned for release.

Environmental groups insist that there is no reason why more storage tanks cannot be constructed outside the perimeter of the plant. They accuse the government of seeking the cheapest and quickest solution to the problem, as authorities have promised the site will be safe in 40 years.

And that deadline, they say, is completely unrealistic. Complications include recovering the molten fuel that escaped from the reactor chambers. This kind of recovery has never before been attempted and the technology required does not yet exist.

They also accuse the Japanese authorities of playing down the radiation levels in the water planned for release.

Elevated levels of radiation

A study by the Kahoko Shinpo newspaper confirmed that levels of iodine 129 and ruthenium 106 exceeded acceptable levels in 45 out of 84 samples collected in 2017.

Iodine has a half-life of 15.7 million years and can cause cancer of the thyroid, while ruthenium 106 is produced by nuclear fission and high doses can be toxic or carcinogenic when ingested.

Tepco subsequently confirmed that levels of strontium 90 were more than 100 times above legally permitted levels in nearly 65,000 tons of water that had already been treated,

They were 20,000 times above safety levels set by the government in several storage tanks at the Fukushima site.

Fish industry worried

Precisely what is in the water that is due to be released into the ocean cannot be confirmed, however, as Tepco and the government have refused to permit independent testing on samples.

Residents of Fukushima Prefecture are also against the plan, with 42 of the 59 local authorities in the prefecture passing resolutions either expressing outright opposition to the plan or deep concern.

The fishing industry — which was devastated by the original natural disaster and has since struggled to reestablish itself — is also hostile to the proposals, with representatives of fishing cooperatives meeting with government officials last week to express their concerns.

“We are terrified that if even one fish is found to have exceeded the [radiation] safety standards after the treated water is released, people’s trust in us will plummet,” a fisherman from the city of Soma told Kyodo News. “Our efforts to fight false information and address other challenges could be wasted.”

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens Nuclear Information Center, echoed those calls.

“Release of the contaminated water into the ocean should not be allowed when fishing unions from Fukushima and neighboring Ibaraki and Iwate prefectures are opposed,” he told DW.

“If it is dumped in the ocean, it will become an international problem and it is possible that bans on exports from this area will continue or that new export restrictions may be introduced.”

Read moreJapan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

“It is highly unlikely that the highly radioactive waste can be removed from the site of the nuclear plant, so instead of rushing to remove the fuel debris, the overall decommissioning schedule should be reviewed and measures taken so that the contaminated water can be stored on land,” he said.

In a statement issued to DW, Tepco said it is “not in a position to make a decision on this matter.”

“The government has been listening to the opinions of various stakeholders, including local municipalities and those involved in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, and it is the government that will make a decision on the disposal method,” the company said, adding Tepco will follow the disposal guidelines as instructed following the official decision.

Neighbors’ concerns

The residents of Japan’s neighboring countries and their governments are equally concerned, with an editorial in the Korea Times on Monday warning of an “environmental disaster” that could “destroy the marine ecosystem.”

The South Korean government has also demanded that Japan provide a full accounting of its plans for the contaminated water, including an accurate accounting of the different radionuclides that it contains.

In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, Seoul said it places the highest priority on protecting the environment and the Korean public’s health.

Scientists and academics in China are demanding independent testing and verification of radiation levels in the water, while environmental and citizens’ groups in Taiwan have previously expressed concerns about the impact of any large-scale release of contaminated water on their health and well-being.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Japan, oceans, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment