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Typhoon Hagibis floods carry away Fukushima nuclear waste bags in their thousands

2,667 Radioactive Bags From Fukushima Swept Away By Typhoon Hagibis   https://newspunch.com/1667-radioactive-bags-fukushima-swept-away-typhoon-hagibis/, October 14, 2019 Baxter Dmitry   As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday, thousands of bags containing radioactive waste at Fukushima were reportedly carried into a local stream by floodwaters.Experts warn the radioactive bags could have a devastating environmental impact across the entire Pacific region, reports Taiwan News.

According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing 2,667 bags storing radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were “unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis.

Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a waterway 100 meters from the site.

Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size.

Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12 and it is uncertain how many remain unrecovered while the potential environmental fallout is being assessed.

The radioactive waste swept away by Typhoon Hagibis represents the latest setback for Fukushima officials who have struggled to adequately quarantine the radiation.

StatesmanJournal reports: Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.

Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting.

Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.

Also for the first time, cesium-134 has been detected in a Canadian salmon, the Fukushima InFORM project, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, is reporting.

In both cases, levels are extremely low, the researchers said, and don’t pose a danger to humans or the environment.

Massive amounts of contaminated water were released from the crippled nuclear plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More radiation was released to the air, then fell to the sea.

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October 15, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear threats join in Japan’s multibillion-dollar typhoon disaster.

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Japan | Leave a comment

USA’s “outrageous” claim to “universal jurisdiction over every person on earth”- plea from Australia to save Julian Assange

 

October 15, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Soaring costs of France’s Flamanville project casts a blight on the global nuclear industry

‘Curse of Flamanville’ strikes again as cost of EDF’s reactor soars, 14 Oct 19,  The French energy group that is building Britain’s new nuclear reactors has admitted that a similar project in Normandy will cost almost four times the original estimate.

EDF said that its European pressurised reactor in Flamanville was now expected to cost €12.4 billion. This is €1.5 billion more than the previous estimate.

Initially it was supposed to cost €3.3 billion and the reactor was supposed to come on stream in 2012. The company says that under the revised plan it hopes to load fuel at Flamanville at the end of 2022, a decade late.

EDF is an electrity business with interests worldwide, including operating 58 nuclear reactors in its home country. It is majority-owned by the French state, which holds an 83.7 per cent stake…(subscribers only) https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/edf-admits-flamanville-reactor-will-cost-four-times-original-estimate-k55qjn9b5?fbclid=IwAR0-APtlBA77Q8ixdA4VPMl3YCO24A_ivA0dL9Xf_Hyo0mwKn4w0898zmjY

October 15, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

The million year problem – deep burial of nuclear wastes

Quite apart from the technological challenges and ethical issues these solutions present, both have one major drawback: to be successful they rely on external, uncontrollable factors. How could the knowledge required to interpret these things this be guaranteed to last?

Semiotician Thomas Sebeok recommended the creation of a so-called Atomic Priesthood. Members of the priesthood would preserve information about the waste repositories and hand it on to newly initiated members, ensuring a transfer of knowledge through the generations.

Buried nuclear waste stays dangerous for a million years — here’s how scientists plan to stop a future disaster 

In thousands of years’ time, will they even understand the language written on our ‘keep out’ signs? https://inews.co.uk/news/long-reads/buried-nuclear-waste-danger-underground-future-disasters-814704

By Helen Gordon, Monday, 14th October 2019  The red metal lift takes seven juddering minutes to travel nearly 500 metres down. Down, down through creamy limestone to reach a 160-million-year-old layer of clay.

Here, deep beneath the sleepy fields and quiet woods along the border of the Meuse and Haute-Marne departments in north-east France, the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Andra) has built its underground research laboratory.

The laboratory’s tunnels are brightly lit but mostly deserted, the air dry and dusty and filled with the hum of a ventilation unit.

Blue and grey metal boxes house a series of ongoing experiments – measuring, for example, the corrosion rates of steel, the durability of concrete in contact with the clay. Using this information, Andra wants to build an immense network of tunnels here.

It plans to call this place Cigéo, and to fill it with dangerous radioactive waste. It is designed to be able to hold 80,000 cubic metres of material.

Long-term risks of nuclear waste Continue reading

October 15, 2019 Posted by | France, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Bags of debris from Fukushima disaster swept away in typhoon

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Putin warns on the need for a new nuclear weapons treaty

PUTIN TAKES SWIPE AT TRUMP FOR WITHDRAWING FROM NUCLEAR TREATY: ‘IT WAS NOT WORTH RUINING’, Newsweek, 

BY BRENDAN COLE ON 10/14/19 Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that a new nuclear weapons deal needed to be struck urgently as he criticized the decision by Donald Trump to pull the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which had been in place since the Cold War.

In an interview with Arabic-speaking journalists ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Putin reiterated Russia’s opposition to the withdrawal in February from the INF, which had been signed in 1987 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan.

It banned missiles with ranges of between 310 and 3,400 miles but the U.S. and Nato had accused Russia of violating the pact by deploying a new type of cruise missile, a claim Moscow denied.

Putin said: “It think it was a mistake…and that they could have gone a different path. I do understand the U.S. concerns. While other countries are free to enhance their defences, Russia and the U.S. have tied their own hands with this treaty. However, I still believe it was not worth ruining the deal; I believe there were other ways out of the situation.”

Putin said that the U.S. must back a new START Treaty, which expires in 2021, to restrict a race to acquire strategic nuclear weapons.

“The new START Treaty is actually the only treaty that we have to prevent us from falling back into a full-scale arms race. To make sure it is extended, we need to be working on it right now. We have already submitted our proposals; they are on the table of the U.S. administration. There has been no answer so far.

“If this treaty is not extended, the world will have no means of limiting the number of offensive weapons, and this is bad news. The situation will change, globally. It will become more precarious, and the world will be less safe and a much less predictable place than today,” Putin said, according to a transcript of the interview on the Kremlin website.

Putin said that his doubt over the U.S. commitment to nuclear disarmament stretched back to 2002, when under President George W. Bush, Washington withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which had imposed limits on missile defence systems……… https://www.newsweek.com/putin-start-treaty-trump-arms-race-1464921

October 15, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Urgent need for diplomacy with Iran

October 15, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

At long last – some Australian politicians speak up for Australian Julian Assange

Barnaby Joyce joins calls to stop extradition of Assange to US, The Age, By Rob Harris, October 13, 2019 Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce has joined calls for the Morrison government to try to halt Julian Assange’s potential extradition from Britain to the United States on espionage charges, as the WikiLeaks founder’s supporters intensify their campaign to bring him to Australia.

Mr Joyce joined former foreign minister Bob Carr in voicing concerns over US attempts to have the 48-year-old Australian stand trial in America, where he faces a sentence of 175 years if found guilty of computer fraud and obtaining and disclosing national defence information.

Also seeking to increase pressure on the federal government is actress Pamela Anderson, who is demanding to meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison to request he intervene in the case. She plans to visit Australia next month.

Assange’s supporters say they are increasingly concerned about his health and his ability to receive a fair trial in the US………

Mr Carr has challenged Foreign Minister Marise Payne to make “firm and friendly” representation to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, believing Australians would be “deeply uneasy” at a fellow citizen being handed over to the “living hell of a lifetime sentence in an American penitentiary”.

Mr Joyce, who in 2007 was the first Coalition MP to call for the then Howard government to act over the detention of Australian David Hicks in Guantanamo Bay, said his position was principled and he gave “no opinion of Mr Assange whatsoever”.

“If someone was in another country at a time an alleged event occurred then the sovereignty of the land they were in has primacy over the accusation of another nation,” Mr Joyce said.

“It would be totally unreasonable, for instance, if China was to say the actions of an Australian citizen whilst in Australia made them liable to extradition to China to answer their charges of their laws in China. Many in Hong Kong have the same view.”

Assange is serving a 50-week sentence in Belmarsh Prison in south-east London for bail violations after spending seven years inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to answer allegations of rape and molestation in 2012.

In June, the then British home secretary, Sajid Javid, signed an extradition request after the US Justice Department filed an additional 18 Espionage Act charges over Assange’s role in obtaining and publishing 400,000 classified US military documents on the war in Iraq in 2010.

Mr Carr, the former NSW premier who served as foreign minister in the Gillard government, said he understood many people would have reservations about the “modus operandi” of Assange and his alleged contact with Russia.

“On the other hand, we have an absolute right to know about American war crimes in a conflict that the Australian government of the day strongly supported – we wouldn’t know about them except for Assange,” he said.

Mr Carr said the Morrison government should make strong representations to the US on behalf of an Australian citizen who “is in trouble because he delivered on our right to know”.

“I think the issue will gather pace and in the ultimate trial there’ll be a high level of Australian public concern, among conservative voters as much as any others.”……..

Mr Carr said the Morrison government should make strong representations to the US on behalf of an Australian citizen who “is in trouble because he delivered on our right to know”.

“I think the issue will gather pace and in the ultimate trial there’ll be a high level of Australian public concern, among conservative voters as much as any others.”…….https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/barnaby-joyce-joins-calls-to-stop-extradition-of-assange-to-us-20191013-p53080.html

October 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

North West Evening Mail (UK) gives a fine example of incorrect pro nuclear goobledygook

Radiation Free Lakeland 12th Oct 2019, New Nuclear** On the anniversary of the Windscale disaster and in the midst of the building of a new gas plant especially for Sellafield, the North West Evening Mail publishes a press release from the nuclear industry touting the ‘Rediscover Nuclear’ campaign.

Some of the laughable descriptions include “homegrown” “safe” “low carbon”. Each of these claims is a big fat lie. As Phil Johnstone tweets: UK “homegrown” nuclear. “UK only ever sold 2 reactors back in 60s, British Energy no longer exists. The UK doesn’t really have much of a civil nuclear industry. What is “homegrown” about it? Electricite de France? China General Nuclear Power Corporation?

https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2019/10/12/homegrown-dont-make-me-laugh/

October 14, 2019 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

Climate Scientists urge protestors to keep on going with Extinction Rebellion

October 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The impossibility of nuclear power solving climate change

October 14, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands, victim of nuclear testing, now declares a Climate Emergency

 

Marshall Islands, low-lying US ally and nuclear testing site, declares a climate crisis https://www.heraldmailmedia.com/news/nation/marshall-islands-low-lying-us-ally-and-nuclear-testing-site/article_4b37cc0d-040d-5b2a-b83e-1df6d71dfb74.html,  By Susanne Rust Los Angeles Times (TNS), Oct 11, 2019 

    • The Marshall Islands, a low-lying chain of atolls and key U.S. ally in the Central Pacific, has declared a national climate crisis because of the mounting risk of sea-level rise, the nation’s president announced this week.

The nation’s parliament, the Nitijela, overwhelmingly supported a measure that calls upon the international community to step up its efforts to mitigate global warming and provide aid to nations unable to finance safeguards against rising seas.

“As one of only four low-lying coral atoll nations in the world, the failure of the international community to adequately respond to the global climate crisis of its own making holds particularly grave consequences,” wrote President Hilda Heine in a tweet Wednesday.

Low-lying coral atoll nations such as the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and Tuvalu in the Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean are particularly vulnerable to rising oceans, averaging just a few feet above sea level. There have already been episodes of “King Tide” flooding in the Marshall Islands, which consists of 29 coral atolls, located about 5,000 miles from Los Angeles and 2,000 from Hawaii.

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned that sea level could rise by 1 to 4 feet by 2100, potentially submerging many of these nations, and by 2050, making many uninhabitable.

The report echoes research sponsored by the Department of Defense, which found Kwajalein Atoll, where the U.S. leases a strategic military base, could become unlivable by 2030, if the Antarctic ice sheet were to melt. Mid-century inhabitability due to flooding, storm waves and ground water contamination by salt water was predicted in a more conservative model.

The resolution calls upon the Nitijela to “unite fully and unequivocally behind the science” and to recognize the rights of the Marshallese youth to grow up in a “climate safe future.”

It asks the international community to “consider additional ways to respond to and support the extreme vulnerability and special circumstances” unique to low-lying coral atoll islands, such as the Marshall Islands.

“Prolonged and unseasonal droughts are hitting us real hard, and saltwater is creeping into our freshwater lands,” said Heine last month at the United Nations Climate Action conference in New York. “We are on the very front line of climate change.”

The United States used the Marshall Islands as a nuclear testing ground during the Cold War, detonating 67 nuclear bombs on the nation between 1946 and 1958.

The U.S. is committing $10 million to the Pacific region for disaster resilience, weather forecasting and “to address environmental challenges,” said a U.S. State Department spokesperson Friday. “The United States recognizes that addressing environmental degradation and climate change is a priority in the Pacific — especially for the Marshall Islands — due to the threat posed by sea level rise and the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters.”

October 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Russia and the quest for nuclear power in space

Below are extracts from this very thoroughly researched article. The original contains much historical detail, good diagrams and excellent references

Ekipazh: Russia’s top-secret nuclear-powered satellite, The Space Review, by Bart Hendrickx, Monday, October 7, 2019  There is strong evidence from publicly available sources that a Russian company called KB Arsenal is working on a new type of military satellite equipped with a nuclear power source. Called Ekipazh, its mission may well be to perform electronic warfare from space.

KB Arsenal, based in St. Petersburg, is no newcomer to the development of nuclear-powered satellites. In the Soviet days it built satellites known as US-A (standing for “active controllable satellite”), which carried nuclear reactors to power radars used for ocean reconnaissance (in the West they were known as “radar ocean reconnaissance satellites” or RORSAT for short.)  ……………
 evidence emerged in the past few years for the existence of another KB Arsenal project with the odd name Ekipazh (a French loanword meaning both “crew” and “horse-drawn carriage”). The name first surfaced in the 2015 annual report of a company called NPP KP Kvant, which manufactures optical sensors for satellite orientation systems. It revealed that the company had signed a contract with KB Arsenal under project Ekipazh to deliver an Earth sensor (designated 108M) for “transport and energy modules.” According to the 2015 report, test flights of Ekipazh were to be completed in 2021.
Documentation published in recent weeks and months on Russia’s publicly accessible government procurement website zakupki.gov.ru has now confirmed that Ekipazh and TEM are indeed separate efforts. While TEM is a civilian project started jointly by Roscosmos and Rosatom in 2010, Ekipazh officially got underway on August 13, 2014, with a contract signed between KB Arsenal and the Ministry of Defense. It has the military index 14F350, an out-of-sequence number in the 14F satellite designation system, pointing to the satellite’s unusual nature………
While this procurement documentation reveals little about the true nature of Ekipazh and its “transport and energy module,” contractual information that appeared on the procurement website this summer provides conclusive evidence that Ekipazh is a nuclear-powered satellite and leaves little doubt that it uses the Plazma-2010 platform or an outgrowth of it…………

Regulatory issues

Despite the safety risks associated with launching nuclear reactors into space, there are no international rules forbidding nations from doing so. In September 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations did adopt the so-called “Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space,” but these do not have the same binding force as the UN Outer Space Treaties.

One of the Principles stipulates that nuclear reactors may be operated on interplanetary missions, orbits high enough to allow for a sufficient decay of the fission products, or in low-Earth orbits if they are boosted to sufficiently high orbits after the operational part of the mission. As explained earlier, the latter procedure was followed for the Soviet-era RORSAT missions, but it is highly unlikely that Russia would want to risk repeating the Cosmos 954 experience of 1978. In fact, the very presence of a “transport and energy module” on Ekipazh is a sure sign that it will be placed into an orbit high enough to prevent any harm. Before the nuclear-powered TEM is even activated, a liquid-fuel propulsion system may first boost the satellite to an orbital altitude of at least 800 kilometers, the same procedure that has been described for the one-megawatt TEM. During a recent question-and-answer question with students in St. Petersburg, Roscosmos chief Dmitri Rogozin confirmed that 800 kilometers is the minimum operating altitude for nuclear reactors. Judging from Russian press reports, Rogozin was actually replying to a question about Ekipazh, but seemingly dodged that by talking about the one-megawatt reactor instead.[38]

Another Principle states that launching nations should make a thorough and comprehensive safety assessment and share the results of that with other nations before launch:

The results of this safety assessment, together with, to the extent feasible, an indication of the approximate intended time-frame of the launch, shall be made publicly available prior to each launch and the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall be informed on how States may obtain such results of the safety assessment as soon as possible prior to each launch.

Russia adhered to this rule on the only occasion that it launched nuclear material into space after the adoption of the 1992 Principles. This was on the ill-fated Mars-96 interplanetary mission, which carried two surface penetrators powered by small radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs). However, unlike Ekipazh, Mars-96 was an international scientific mission and the presence of the RTGs was widely known. It will be interesting to see how Russia deals with this issue once the top-secret Ekipazh nears launch.

Outlook

It may well be several more years before that launch takes place. Although the initial goal appears to have been to finish test flights by 2021, the available procurement documentation suggests that the first mission is still some time off. Ekipazh may well be experiencing the same kind of delays suffered by many other Russian space projects due to both budgetary issues and Western-imposed sanctions that have complicated the supply of electronic components for space hardware. On top of that, the development of a nuclear-powered satellite is bound to pose some daunting technical challenges that may further contribute to the delays.

One also wonders if the Russians are biting off more than they can chew by simultaneously working on two nuclear electric space tugs (Ekipazh and the one-megawatt TEM). An attempt to streamline this effort seems to have been made by giving KB Arsenal a leading role in both projects in 2014, making it possible to benefit from the company’s earlier experience in the field and infrastructure that it may already have in place to test related hardware. Still, the two projects use fundamentally different nuclear reactors built by different organizations.

The slow progress made in developing the one-megawatt gas-turbine reactor has left many wondering if it will ever fly in space. If Russia plans to use nuclear reactors solely for practical applications in Earth orbit, it may make more sense to abandon the gas-turbine reactor altogether and upgrade the capacity of Krasnaya Zvezda’s thermionic reactors. The company has already done conceptual work on thermionic reactors with a maximum capacity of several hundred kilowatts, even though their operational lifetime would be limited.[39] If this path is chosen, Ekipazh could serve as a testbed for all the nuclear reactors that Russia intends to fly in the near future. However, the country is unlikely to let all the money and effort invested in the one-megawatt TEM go to waste, even if its capabilities may not be needed until well into the 2030s or even later.
Project Ekipazh is discussed in this thread on the NASA Spaceflight Forum, which is updated with new information as it becomes available……. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3809/1

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Reference, Russia, space travel | Leave a comment

Is UK’s regulator of Hinkley nuclear project ignoring the seismic risks of fracking in the area?

Drill or Drop 12th Oct 2019, Hinkley. The safety regulator for the nuclear industry has no information about the risk of earth tremors from fracking near the Hinkley Point power station, a campaign group has revealed. Frack Free Exmoor, Quantocks and Sedgemoor.

(FFEQS) has also shown that the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has had no correspondence on the subject with either the oil and gas industry regulator, the power station operator, local exploration companies or Somerset County Council. FFEQS has described the failure to assess the risk of fracking on the nuclear station, which includes the new Hinkley Point C facility, as “a gaping hole” in the safety case.

In August 2019,  fracking by Cuadrilla near Blackpool caused more than 130 earth tremors, including the UK’s largest fracking-induced seismic event, measuring 2.9ML. This tremor led to formal complaints of cracks to walls, windows and doors to about 100 properties, DrillOrDrop understands. Hinkley Point is a few miles from an area where the exploration company, South Western Energy, has indicated it is interested in drilling for hydrocarbons (DrillOrDrop report).

Opposition to fracking appears to be growing in the region.
Sedgemoor District Council voted unanimously on 9 October 2019 to be a Frack Free zone. This follows previous similar votes in Somerset West and Taunton councils.

https://drillordrop.com/2019/10/12/campaigners-accuse-regulator-of-failing-to-assess-fracking-risk-to-nuclear-station/

October 14, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment