One of the largest and oldest black churches in the US warns that black people are disproportionally harmed by global warming and fossil fuel pollution, Guardian, Oliver Milman, 24 July 16, African American religious leaders have added their weight to calls for action on climate change, with one of the largest and oldest black churches in the US warning that black people are disproportionally harmed by global warming and fossil fuel pollution.
The African Methodist Episcopal church has passed its first resolution in its 200-year history devoted to climate change, calling for a swift transition to renewable energy.
“We can move away from the dirty fuels that make us sick and shift toward safe, clean energy like wind and solar that help make every breath our neighbors and families take a healthy one,” states the resolution, which also points to research showing that black children are four times as likely as white children to die from asthma.
“Damage to our climate puts the health of children, elderly, and those with chronic illnesses at greater risk and disproportionately impacts African Americans. We believe it is our duty to commit to taking action and promoting solutions that will help make our families and communities healthier and stronger,” stated Bishop John White, president of the council of bishops of the AME church.
The resolution follows an open letter sent by African American clergy last year that called for political leaders to take “bold action to address climate change”……..
Dupont-Walker said that the church’s voter mobilization campaign will work throughout the 2016 election cycle to question candidates on climate change. Local officials and landlords will also be put under pressure over inadequate housing and infrastructure that helps spread pollution to black communities.
According to the NAACP, African Americans emit far less carbon dioxide per person compared with white people and yet will bear the brunt of heat-related deaths, due to the concentration of black people in cities…….https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/24/african-methodist-episcopal-church-climate-change-letter
Coup attempt in Turkey raises a nuclear concern at US air base Incirlik Air Base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. It is also America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons. South China Morning Post, 24 July, 2016 A little more than 100 miles from the territory held by Islamic State, there is a little piece of Americana. It has an eight-lane swimming pool, a baseball diamond and housing tracts built on carefully manicured cul-de-sacs.
The Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey has some other American assets: several dozen B61 thermonuclear warheads. The base has been a linchpin in Nato’s southern flank for more than half a century, the staging ground for US anti-terrorism missions and the fight against Islamic State.
But the failed military coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has increased long-standing concerns about the military usefulness and security of the Incirlik armoury, America’s largest foreign stockpile of nuclear weapons. Security remains at the highest level. Electrical power was restored Friday after a weeklong blackout that strained living conditions at the base. The 3,000 US service personnel stationed there have been ordered to remain inside the gates. Hundreds of dependents were sent home months ago because of fears of a terrorist attack.
The base was an operational centre of the attempted coup. Its commander and his subordinates were arrested on suspicion of trying to overthrow the Turkish government, leaving junior officers in control. The developments have shocked US military experts who say they demonstrate a worrying level of instability in Turkey’s military command close to the B61s.
Defence officials have never acknowledged the existence of these weapons on the base and refused at news briefings after the coup attempt to answer questions about them…….
The weapons are in underground vaults in a mile-long security zone at the base, protected by an Air Force guard unit with attack dogs. The nearly 12-foot-long weapons have devices that are supposed to prevent unauthorised detonation, but experts are divided on the effectiveness of those controls.
Unlike the strategic weapons that the US deploys in missile silos, submarines and intercontinental bombers, the B61s at Incirlik are tactical weapons that can be deployed at low altitude in the battlefield……..
“The weapons should be pulled back,” said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of American Scientists. “They have been in excess of what is needed in Europe for the past two decades. And now we have this new situation. This is the US nuclear base closest to a war zone. The country has a deeply fractured political and military system.” http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/1994052/coup-attempt-turkey-raises-nuclear-concern-us-air-base
GOP. 22 July 16 “………Kaine Supported Nuclear Power As A Solution To Meeting Virginia’s Energy Needs. “In Virginia last week, a panel on reducing climate change appointed by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) considered adding nuclear power to its menu of recommendations. The governor’s energy plan also supports nuclear power as one solution to meeting the state’s energy needs, which are expected to grow by the equivalent of a million homes in the next decade.” (Lisa Rein and Christy Goodman, “Little Outcry On Nuclear Reactor Proposal,” The Washington Post, 8/4/08)…..https://gop.com/meet-tim-kaine/
BBC staff offered chance to survive nuclear holocaust – but wives left at home http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/23/bbc-staff-offered-chance-to-survive-nuclear-holocaust—but-wive/ Telegraph Reporters 23 JULY 2016
BBC employees were offered the chance to survive a nuclear holocaust by broadcasting from an underground bunker, but they could not tell their wives, newly released files reveal.
The broadcaster secretly drew up plans during the Cold War for how it would run a Wartime Broadcasting System in the event of a major disaster.
Early versions of the plan – known as the ‘War Book’ – say that staff were “assigned” or “designated” to go underground, but later editions suggest they were “invited”. Chosen workers were informed not to tell their wives or bring them to the bunker, the files released by the BBC reveal.
“My clearest memory is of a discussion about whether people with spouses could bring them along,” Bob Doran, an experienced editor in Radio News in the 1980s, who attended a civil service seminar in Yorkshire said. The answer was no.
BBC bosses planned to set up 11 protected bunkers – known as ‘Regional Seats of Government’ – spread across the UK, each with a studio and five staff from nearby local radio stations.
A bunker at the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire would be a headquarters staffed by 90 BBC staff including engineers, announcers, 12 news editors and sub-editors.
The output would be controlled by the government, but the BBC made a collection of cassette tapes of old radio comedies to entertain the public.
Shows chosen to amuse listeners during Armageddon included the Goon Show, Just a Minute and Round the Horne.
UK proposal to offer subsidy contracts to Russia, China and South Korea to build nuclear power stations!
Russian, Chinese and South Korean nuclear companies should be offered subsidy contracts to build reactors in the UK if they are cheaper than other projects already under development, a prominent nuclear lobbyist has said.
Tim Yeo, the former chairman of the House of Commons energy select committee, said EDF’s proposed £18bn plant at Hinkley Point, which is expected to get the go-ahead this week, should be allowed to proceed, but he urged the Government to rethink its approach to future projects.The Japanese-owned Horizon and Franco-Japanese NuGen consortia are both developing plans for reactors at sites in the UK and hope to secure approval for their technologies and subsidy deals from the Government.
Mr Yeo, the MP for South Suffolk for 32 years until the 2015 general election, now chairs New Nuclear Watch Europe, a lobby group whose members include the Korean nuclear firm Kepco. He urged the Government to “urgently examine which nuclear vendors can deliver the cheapest electricity, maximise the number of UK supply chain jobs and minimise the risk of construction delays”………..
He also advocated a new funding approach under which “most of the construction costs are funded by government borrowing throughout the construction period” to help cut financing costs. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/23/russia-china-and-south-korea-should-be-invited-to-build-uk-nucle/
The People against Wylfa B (PAWB) group leafleted railway stations across North Wales Demonstrations have been held against radioactive waste being transported by rail along the North Wales coast. Daily Post,, 24 JUL 2016 BY GARETH WYN-WILLIAMS
Members of PAWB (People Against Wylfa B) handed out leaflets at train stations including Bangor, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay and Rhyl on Saturday morning, alerting commuters of the nuclear waste that is transported up to twice a week from Wylfa to Sellafield in Cumbria. The Nuclear Decomissioning Authority (NDA) say such waste has been transported since 1962 without a single accident.
But PAWB argues that if a train carrying waste was to be involved in a collision, residents would be exposed to “highly dangerous and lasting radiation”. Anti-nuclear campaigner Dylan Morgan, who has been protesting for years against a new nuclear plant on Anglesey, said: “The Wylfa trains go weekly on the North Wales coast line through our towns and villages, often at peak times and within three metres of ordinary passenger trains.
“Each of these waste flasks contain hundreds of extremely radioactive atomic fuel rods. Should one of these flasks become damaged, we would be exposed to highly dangerous and long lasting radiation.
“At Sellafield, some of that nuclear waste is reprocessed. That waste contains plutonium, which can be used for nuclear bombs like Trident.
“Sellafield receives far more waste than it can manage and has become a highly radioactive waste dump, which will pollute the environment for centuries to come and cannot be stopped from radiating.”…….http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/campaign-against-anglesey-nuclear-train-11652484
High court to rule on £7bn nuclear clean-up contract https://next.ft.com/content/5c2dbe24-4f39-11e6-8172-e39ecd3b86fc A win for Energy Solutions would raise questions about procurement process y: Gill Plimmer, 24 July 16
Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is in the High Court this week for the final ruling in a long-running damages claim on a £7bn deal to clean up Britain’s oldest nuclear power plants.
Energy Solutions, a US-based company, filed a high court writ in 2014 after losing the contract to engineering company Babcock and Texas-based Fluor. It had been managing the nuclear sites for 14 years and in documents filed to the court alleged that the NDA did not follow its own procedures when the new contract was awarded and that its point scoring system was flawed.
At the heart of the dispute is one of the largest contracts ever put out to tender by the government, which involves about 3,000 workers cleaning 12 of Britain’s 25 nuclear sites. These include Sizewell, Hinkley and Dungeness — built in the 1960s to produce plutonium to make nuclear weapons but now at the end of their lives.
If the NDA loses the case it could cost the government hundreds of millions of pounds and will again raise questions over the way large and sensitive public-sector contractsare awarded.
The judgment is expected on July 29 and will rule whether the NDA made serious errors in awarding the contract. If so, there will be further hearings, which could stretch into 2017, to decide any payment for damages.
Although Energy Solutions competed for the contract in partnership with the US company Bechtel, Energy Solutions is taking legal action alone.
Energy Solutions, which has since been taken over by the construction and support services company Atkins, declined to comment. Atkins said it had “no economic interest in or any control over the resolution of the … claim, which has been retained by the remaining part of the Energy Solutions business”.
A series of botched contracts has raised concerns over the government’s procurement processes. The referral of G4S and Serco to the Serious Fraud Office for overcharging on electronic tagging contracts for offenders and the West Coast main line rail franchising debacle two years ago are among examples.
In 2012, FirstGroup won a 13-year deal to manage the rail network linking London to Scotland, only for Virgin Trains to challenge the decision in court and eventually force a government U-turn.
An NDA spokesperson said: “We continue to await the judgment being handed down and cannot comment before this time.”
New Report shows EPA’s own experts disagree on Region 7 assessment of wastes and solution at West Lake Landfill.A new report released by Bob Alvarez and Lucas Hixson draws conclusion from the newly released EPA National Remedy and Review Board critique as well as documents and emails discussing the 2008 decision to cap-and-leave the wastes at West Lake Landfill. This report is short and a must read for everyone. There are links to source documents at the end of the report.This report clearly describes the disastrous decisions being made by Region 7, despite EPA’s own top scientists.
This, in fact, is why Missouri’s Federal Representatives and Senators all cast a vote of no confidence in EPA’s ability to successfully manage and remediate the atomic weapons waste at the landfill. Thus, prompting legislation this past fall to take control of the radioactive wastes away from EPA and give jurisdiction to the Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP.
Based on the linked report, It sounds like EPA’s review board and top scientists have also cast their own vote of no confidence in Region 7.
You can find the report here.
To learn more about FUSRAP and its involvement in St. Louis clickhere.
To follow the status of bipartisan legislation, HR4100, click here.
Dangerous events that were not considered in the 2008 EPA Record of Decision.
An underground fire, or smoldering subsurface event, has been burning since 2010 and is expected to burn for another 5-10 years. This underground fire is the size of 6 football fields. Everyday this fire burns it is inching its way closer to the known nuclear waste. Attorney General Chris Koster warned that a Chernobyl-like event could occur if the fire meets the radioactive waste, i.e. radioactive particles could attach to steam or smoke and be released into the atmosphere……… http://www.stlradwastelegacy.com/new-report-shows-epas-own-experts-disagree-on-region-7-assessment-of-wastes-and-solution-at-west-lake-landfill-07222016/
How Secure are America’s Nuclear Weapons in Europe?, The National Interest, Lydia Dennett, 24 July 16, After the recent military coup attempt in Turkey, multiple organizations have raised appropriate concerns about the 50 U.S. nuclear bombs stored at a Turkish Air Base less than 70 miles away from the Syrian border. And while this new interest is warranted, the security vulnerabilities of the 131 American B61 nuclear bombs currently deployed at military bases in Belgium, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands have been a growing concern for almost a decade.
These nuclear bombs are relics of Cold War perceptions of reassurance, and are now more of a liability than a legitimate international security strategy. Given how uncertain the security situation is in Europe, particularly in Belgium andTurkey, it’s time to consider just how useful, or not, these weapons actually are.
In 2012, and again in 2013, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) wrote letters to the Secretary of Defense questioning the military efficacy of keeping these bombs in Europe when faced with mounting costs and troubling security concerns. Although these weapons are protected by U.S. military personnel, the overall security of the sites where they’re stored is the responsibility of the host nation. This can be dangerous if, in the case of Turkey, there is an abrupt change in national leadership. Dan Lamothe of The Washington Post reported that one of the Turkish officers detained after the coup was the commander of the base where the nukes are kept.
A 2008 U.S. Air Force Blue Ribbon review found that security at the European sites varied widely, and most did not meet U.S. nuclear weapons protection standards. Some security requirements—including armored vehicles and perimeter fencing—were underfunded, leading the review to conclude: “the [United States Air Force] must continue to emphasize to its host nation counterparts their requirement to honor security commitments.”
Just two years later, a group of peace activists jumped the fence around the Kleine Brogel Airbase in Belgium. They wandered around the base for an hour, near buildings containing nuclear weapons vaults, before they were finally stopped by a soldier carrying an unloaded rifle and without readily available ammo. They posted a video of their break-in on YouTube.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Belgium earlier this year, Belgian authorities discovered video surveillance footage of a nuclear power facility, indicating the Islamic State’s possible interest in nuclear materials. The New York Times reported, “This is especially worrying in a country with a history of security lapses at its nuclear facilities, a weak intelligence apparatus and a deeply rooted terrorist network.”
All of these incidents should have set off major alarm bells given how catastrophic the results would be if access to nuclear material ended up in the wrong hands. POGO has found that the U.S. considers three main potential terrorism scenarios when assessing security:
– The creation of an improvised nuclear device on site by suicidal terrorists.
– The use of conventional explosives on site to create a radiological dispersal device, also known as a dirty bomb.
– The theft of nuclear materials in order to create a crude nuclear weapon off-site………..
With a new Administration coming this January, there is an opportunity to re-evaluate how the U.S. deploys its assets. Is the presence of U.S nukes in Europe really a meaningful way to reassure our allies that we are committed to their security, or is it instead creating an expensive and unnecessary risk to the region? http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/how-secure-are-americas-nuclear-weapons-europe-17098
Nuclear reactors in California and New York State are on different paths, PRI Living on Earth July 24, 2016 Writer Adam Wernick The Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California, which was built in an earthquake zone 30 years ago, is now scheduled to close by 2025. But not far from New York city, the operators of Indian Point, an even older reactor with a history of problems, are resisting calls to shut down.
The plans for Diablo Canyon and the conflict over Indian Point illustrate starkly different views about the future of nuclear energy in the US. One side continues to see nuclear energy as safe, clean and crucial to the nation’s energy future; the other sees an outdated, dangerous energy source that can and should be replaced by renewable sources of energy.
In New York, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently extended Indian Point’s license to operate, and Entergy, the company that owns it, claims the reactor is still safe.
Opponents of the plant disagree. Indian Point is only about 30 miles away from midtown Manhattan, they point out. A major accident at Indian Point would endanger millions of people and could become a trillion dollar disaster.
“It is the most precariously located reactor, from a demographic point of view, if there were an accident,” says Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. “And Indian Point has had plenty of problems. It has had a history of tritium leaks. It has had a history of transformer fires. For a reactor situated like Indian Point, I think it’s pretty egregious that it has had so many problems and is still operating.”……..
out on the West Coast, a different scenario is playing out. Pacific Gas & Electric has begun the process of shutting down its controversial Diablo Canyon reactors and replacing them with renewable energy sources by 2025.
“I have to congratulate them. I think this is a very, very historic achievement,” says Arjun Makhijani.
Diablo Canyon is located in a seismic zone and information about the geology of the region and the seismic activity continues to evolve. There are questions as to whether the reactors could withstand a worst-case-scenario earthquake.
“There’s a fault much closer to these reactors — just offshore — than was previously known, and renewables and efficiency are cheaper — so they are seeing the handwriting on the wall,” Makhijani says.
In addition, California now is requiring its utilities to transition to 50 percent renewables, mainly solar and wind, by 2030. But unlike in New York State, there is no worry that California can replace the power from the Diablo Canyon nuclear complex with renewables.
“If you plan a shutdown the way the Diablo Canyon shutdown is planned, [in which] there are explicit targets in the agreement, then you can build up your efficiency, you can build up the jobs that go with that and you can build up renewables,” Makhijani says. “Planning a shutdown is the best way forward for what is really a 20th century technology.”
Indeed, Makhijani believes the future for all nuclear energy has passed. Existing plants will be phased out one way or another as they become more and more expensive to operate, while renewables, efficiencies and storage become so cheap in combination.
“In such a circumstance I think nuclear power will go away,” he says. “The question is how fast, and whether we can do it in an orderly way. I think the Diablo Canyon agreement is historic because it is showing an orderly way to go from an old, centralized, inflexible model to a new model that is more democratized, renewable, more dispersed and more resilient.”……….. http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-07-24/nuclear-reactors-california-and-new-york-state-are-different-paths
In a largely symbolic response, the US Congress retaliated with the Broomfield Act, downgrading New Zealand’s status from ally to friend.
Former prime minister David Lange said if the security alliance was the price New Zealand must pay to remain nuclear-free, it was the price the country was prepared to pay.
In 1989, 52% of New Zealanders indicated they would rather break defence ties than admit nuclear-armed ships. By 1990, National had signed up to the anti-nuclear stance.
There the situation has remained until Mr Biden accepted an invitation for the US to send a ship to the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th birthday in November……..
New Zealand is consistently said to have made a difference in peace-keeping activities around the world, being an independent thinker when it comes to solving complex security issues.
New Zealand is part of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network.
Although New Zealand is not seen as reliable as Australia as an ally, it does have qualities which it can bring to any situation.
So despite the urging of Mr Key, the return to New Zealand waters by a US ship in November cannot be taken lightly. It is a win for the resolve of Kiwis to keep this country nuclear free.
It is not known if the US ship will be a warship or something tamer.
Under New Zealand’s law, Mr Key has to sign a declaration he is satisfied the ship complies with New Zealand law, something he says he has done about 40 times since he became prime minister.
Publicly available information will make it possible for watchers of maritime issues to identify if the ship is nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered……..http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/391403/nz-s-nuclear-resolve
The BBC’s detailed plans for nuclear war, BBC News 23 July 2016 For the first time, the BBC has given detailed access to the plans it drew up in the Cold War for a Wartime Broadcasting System to operate in the event of nuclear war. Paul Reynolds, a former BBC diplomatic and foreign correspondent, has been studying the secrets of what was known as the “War Book”.
The War Book reveals a world of meticulous BBC planning. The Wartime Broadcasting System (WTBS) – referred to in the book as “Deferred Facilities” – would have operated from 11 protected bunkers spread across the UK.
Known as “Regional Seats of Government”, these would also have sheltered government ministers and staff from government departments during what is termed a “nuclear exchange”. The BBC had a studio in each, usually with five staff drawn mostly from nearby local radio stations.
The BBC’s headquarters would have been a bunker at the Engineering Training Department at Wood Norton in Worcestershire, where 90 BBC staff would have been assembled, including engineers, announcers, 12 news editors and sub-editors and ominously “two nominations from Religious Broadcasting”. Output would have been controlled by the government…….http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36865345
Around a 100km drive west of St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of Finland, sits Sosnovy Bor, home to state nuclear energy giant Rosatom’s waste disposal operations. Inside a controlled perimeter, subsidiary RosRAO, the facility’s manager, has created a prototype water decontamination plant for use at Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings‘ Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station — the site of Japan’s largest nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The scrubbing facility, unveiled in June, is capable of removing tritium, or radioactive hydrogen, from nuclear-tainted water, something beyond the capabilities of the Fukushima plant’s current cleanup equipment. Distillation and electrolysis isolate and concentrate the isotope, which is then locked away in titanium. Experiments under conditions similar to those on the ground reportedly show the technology cutting wastewater’s radioactive material content to one-6,000th the initial level, making it safe for human consumption or release into the ocean.
Duplicating the facility near the Fukushima site and running it for the five years necessary to process 800,000 cu. meters of contaminated water would cost around $700 million in all. Companies in Japan and the U.S. are at work on their own facilities for tritium disposal, but the Russian plan’s cost and technological capability make it fully competitive, according to the project’s chief.
Rosatom has made other overtures to Japan. Executives from a mining and chemical unit have visited several times this year for talks with Japanese nuclear companies, aiming to cooperate on decommissioning the Fukushima plant and upgrading a reprocessing plant in Aomori Prefecture for spent nuclear fuel. Russia has amassed a wealth of expertise dealing with damaged nuclear reactors in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, and would like Japan to draw on that knowledge, the subsidiary’s chief executive said.
Revving up nuclear technology exports is essential to re-energizing Russia’s domestic industry and breaking free of dependence on the resource sector, Moscow has decided. The nuclear business, along with the space industry, is one of the few tech-intensive sectors where the country is internationally competitive. President Vladimir Putin has leaned more heavily on leaders in Europe and emerging countries in recent years to agree to deals with Russia’s nuclear companies………..http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/International-Relations/Japan-nuclear-cleanup-next-target-in-Russian-economic-offensive
Eskom Influence Growing In Proposed South African Nuclear Tender, AFK Insider,
While South Africa’s energy department will choose the successful vendor, Eskom, as the owner-operator of the new nuclear plants, will have a large input. David Nicholls, chief nuclear officer at Eskom, gave delegates a glimpse this week of Eskom’s vision for nuclear by defining a leading role for the state utility at the Power-Gen and DistribuTech Africa conference in Johannesburg.
A chosen vendor will lead the early process with Eskom’s input. This is how South Africa’s only operating nuclear plant, Koeberg, north of Cape Town, was built in the 1980s, he said.
Once the design base has been established with the first plant, South Africa will increasingly take charge.
Nicholls’ remarks show that Eskom is in favor of a proven standardized fleet of reactors, with sibling international plants to learn from. This indicates South Africa is likely to choose one vendor and stick with them……….. Vendors from Russia, France, South Korea, the U.S. and China are all hoping to win the lucrative South African nuclear contract.South Africa has opted for a pressurized water reactor technology,……..http://afkinsider.com/130186/eskom-influence-growing-in-proposed-south-african-nuclear-tender/
Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation has signed an operating support services deal with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power that will see the company dispatch personnel to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant until 2030.
Under the agreement, the Korean firm will provide main control room operators and local operator to support ENEC’s recently launched local operating subsidiary Nawah Energy Company……http://gulfbusiness.com/korea-hydro-nuclear-power-staff-operate-abu-dhabis-barakah-plant/#.V5UxYtJ97Gg
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