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Do corporations have a legal right to destroy the planet’s ecosystem?

Right to end life on Earth: Can corporations that spread climate change denialism be held liable?

If a corporation’s propaganda destroys the world, doesn’t that conflict with our right to live? Salon , MATTHEW ROZSA, DECEMBER 10, 2018 

To facetiously paraphrase a line that I often hear from global warming deniers: Don’t be offended, I’m just asking questions.

It’s conventional wisdom that the right to free speech does not permit you to shout “fire!” in a crowded theater – but does that mean you have the right to claim there is no fire when a theater is ablaze?

This is the question posed by the existential crisis of man-made global warming, and it is one that doesn’t lend itself to an easy answer. Certainly it can be acknowledged that man-made global warming has forced us to re-examine other verities that once underpinned the modern liberal political order. Laissez-faire economic theory, which holds that state regulation of the economy is an unequivocal social ill, doesn’t stand up when you consider that insufficient environmental regulations got us into this mess and stronger ones will be necessary to mitigate the damage. A similar observation could be made about the consumerist ethos that drives free market economic models: A status quo of constant expansion may be economically healthy within the paradigm of capitalist markets, but it is devastatingly unsustainable when it comes to the fitness of our planet………

Michael E. Mann, a professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, shared his own views on whether individuals who mislead the public about climate change should face penalties for doing so.

“In my book ‘The Hockey Stick and the Climate War,’ I state that those who knowingly misled the public and policymakers about the reality and threat of climate change must be held responsible for their actions, and that includes legal repercussions,” Mann told Salon. “Note that there is a distinction between those at the top (e.g., fossil fuel executives and lobbyists and the politicians in their pocket) who are guilty of misleading the public, and those at the bottom (the typical climate denying trolls we encounter on the internet) who in many cases are actually victims of the disinformation campaign.”………https://www.salon.com/2018/12/09/right-to-end-life-on-earth-can-corporations-that-spread-climate-change-denialism-be-held-liable/

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December 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel panel, of Americans plus Australia’s ambassador for environment, Patrick Suckling, scorned in Ploand

The only non-American was Patrick Suckling, the ambassador for the environment in Australia’s coal-enthusiast government.
Protesters disrupt US panel’s fossil fuels pitch at climate talks, Official event praising coal, oil and gas met with laughter and chants of ‘shame on you’  Guardian,  Jonathan Watts in Katowice, Tue 11 Dec 2018

  Trump administration presentation extolling the virtues of fossil fuels at the UN climate talks in Poland has been met with guffaws of laughter and chants of “Shame on you”.Monday’s protest came during a panel discussion by the official US delegation, which used its only public appearance to promote the “unapologetic utilisation” of coal, oil and gas. Although these industries are the main source of the carbon emissions that are causing global warming, the speakers boasted the US would expand production for the sake of global energy security and planned a new fleet of coal plants with technology it hoped to export to other countries.

The event featured prominent cheerleaders for fossil fuels and nuclear power,including Wells Griffith, Donald Trump’s adviser on global energy and climate, Steve Winberg, the assistant secretary for fossil energy at the energy department, and Rich Powell, the executive director of the ClearPath Foundation, a non-profit organisation focused on “conservative clean energy”. The only non-American was Patrick Suckling, the ambassador for the environment in Australia’s coal-enthusiast government.

None of the US participants mentioned climate change or global warming, focusing instead of “innovation and entrepreneurship” in the technological development of nuclear power, “clean coal” and carbon capture and storage.

Ten minutes into Griffith’s opening speech, he was interrupted by a sudden, sustained, loud volley of laughter by several dozen protesters that was then followed by a single shout of “It’s not funny”, and then a series of chants of “Keep it in the ground” and “Shame on you”.

Several campaigners read statements. “There is no such thing as clean coal. Coal is deadly from the beginning to the end. They talk about the life cycle of coal, I talk about it as a death march. My father died of black lung, and I am in this struggle with others whose fathers and husbands are dying of black lung right now,” said Teri Blanton of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, which represents Appalachian coal workers in North America.

After the protesters were led away by security guards, Griffiths said: “In the US our policy is not to keep it in the ground, but to use it as cleanly and efficiently as possible”.

This statement was contradicted by climate analysts, who noted the US environment agency estimates that 1,400 more deaths per year will result from Trump’s proposal to replace the Clean Power Act.

“It’s ludicrous for Trump officials to claim that they want to clean up fossil fuels, while dismantling standards that would do just that,” said Dan Lashof, the director of the World Resources Institute. “Since taking office, this administration has proposed to roll back measures to cut methane leaks from oil and gas operations, made it easier for companies to dump coal ash into drinking water, and just days ago proposed easing carbon pollution rules for new coal-fired power plants.” …….

Echoing a claim often made by Trump, Griffiths said the US would not be subject to agreements that hamstrung domestic growth, while allowing China to operate with high emissions.

This was the second consecutive year that the Trump team was heckled after promoting fossil fuels and nuclear power at the climate talks, underscoring how the US position has shifted since the president took power in 2017………

An alternative, non-official US delegation has backed a faster transition to renewables. Made up of city- and state-level governments, business executives and religious leaders, the “We’re still in” group is staging dozens of events in a bid to show action is still possible without White House support.

Nonetheless, many observers at the official US panel were ashamed at the position of their federal government. “I was completely embarrassed to be an American”, said Leo McNeil Woodberry of the Climate Action Network. “Everything they proposed was absolutely wrong. I can’t believe they are putting profits over the planet, and profits over people.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/10/protesters-disrupt-us-panels-fossil-fuels-pitch-at-climate-talks

December 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

USA’s intractable nuclear waste problem: a new approach is needed

U.S. must start from scratch with a new nuclear waste strategy, a Stanford-led panel says

Thousands of tons of highly radioactive spent fuel are in temporary storage in 35 states, with no permanent solution being discussed. International experts led by Stanford show how to end this status quo. Stanford News, BY KATHLEEN GABEL CHUI AND MARK GOLDEN, 10 Dec 18 The U.S. government has worked for decades and spent tens of billions of dollars in search of a permanent resting place for the nation’s nuclear waste. Some 80,000 tons of highly radioactive spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants and millions of gallons of high-level nuclear waste from defense programs are stored in pools, dry casks and large tanks at more than 75 sites throughout the country.

A Stanford University-led study recommends that the United States reset its nuclear waste program by moving responsibility for commercially generated, used nuclear fuel away from the federal government and into the hands of an independent, nonprofit, utility-owned and -funded nuclear waste management organization.

“No single group, institution or governmental organization is incentivized to find a solution,” said Rod Ewing, co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and a professor of geological sciences.

The three-year study, led by Ewing, makes a series of recommendations focused on the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The reportReset of America’s Nuclear Waste Management Strategy and Policy, was released today.

A tightening knot

Over the past four decades, the U.S. nuclear waste program has suffered from continuing changes to the original Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a slow-to-develop and changing regulatory framework. Erratic funding, significant changes in policy with changing administrations, conflicting policies from Congress and the executive branch and – most important – inadequate public engagement have also blocked any progress.

“The U.S. program is in an ever-tightening Gordian knot – the strands of which are technical, logistical, regulatory, legal, financial, social and political – all caught in a web of agreements with states and communities, regulations, court rulings and the congressional budgetary process,” the report says.

The project’s steering committee sought to untangle these technical, administrative and public barriers so that critical issues could be identified and overcome. They held five open meetings with some 75 internationally recognized experts, government officials, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, affected citizens and Stanford scholars as speakers.

After describing the Sisyphean history of the U.S. nuclear waste management and disposal program, the report makes recommendations all focused around a final goal: long-term disposal of highly radioactive waste in a mined, geologic repository.

“Most importantly, the United States has taken its eyes off the prize, that is, disposal of highly radioactive nuclear waste in a deep-mined geologic repository,” said Allison Macfarlane, a member of the steering committee and a professor of public policy and international affairs at George Washington University. “Spent nuclear fuel stored above ground – either in pools or dry casks – is not a solution. These facilities will eventually degrade. And, if not monitored and cared for, they will contaminate our environment.”

The new, independent, utility-owned organization would control spent fuel from the time it is removed from reactors until its final disposal in a geologic repository.   ………https://news.stanford.edu/2018/12/10/square-one-u-s-nuclear-waste-management-program/

December 11, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Despite President Macron, France’s government report calls new nuclear power uneconomical

Building new nuclear plants in France uneconomical -environment agency https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1YF5HCGeert De Clercq, DECEMBER 11, 2018 

State environment agency contradicts Macron on new nuclear

* New nuclear reactors would be structurally loss-making

* Renewables could account for 85 pct of power mix by 2050.

Building new nuclear reactors in France would not be economical, state environment agency ADEME said in a study on Monday, contradicting the government’s long-term energy strategy as well as state-owned utility EDF’s investment plans.

In a speech last month, President Emmanuel Macron said nuclear energy would remain a promising technology for producing low-cost, low-carbon energy and that EDF’s EPR reactor model should be part of future energy options.

Macron has also asked EDF to draw up a plan for building new reactors with a view to making a decision about nuclear in 2021

Two EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.

“The development of an EPR-based nuclear industry would not be competitive,” ADEME said, adding that new nuclear plants would be structurally loss-making. bit.ly/2GlEbcT

Building a single EPR in 2030 would require 4 to 6 billion euros of subsidies, while building a fleet of 15 with a total capacity of 24 gigawatt-hour by 2060 would cost the state 39 billion euros, despite economies of scale that could bring down the EPR costs to 70 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), ADEME said.

Renewables costs could fall to between 32 and 80 euros/MWh, depending on the technology, by 2060.

But extending the existing fleet too long, while also building new EPRs, would lead to overcapacity, compromising returns on all generation assets, including renewables.

EDF – which generates about 75 percent of French electricity with 58 nuclear reactors – declined to comment.

The ADEME report, which studied energy mix scenarios for 2020-2060, said renewables could account for 85 percent of power generation by 2050 and more than 95 percent by 2060, except if the government pushes through the EPR option anyway.

The gradual increase of renewables capacity could reduce the pre-tax electricity cost for consumers – including generation, grids and storage – to about 90 euros per MWh, compared to nearly 100 euros today, ADEME said.

ADEME director Arnaud Leroy, appointed in February, helped write the energy chapter of Macron’s election programme and was a spokesman for his campaign, but the agency is independent and earlier studies have also contradicted government energy policy.

In 2015, a ADEME study suggesting that France could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 at a cost similar to sticking with nuclear was barred from publication for months by the government. reut.rs/2RLGKG8 (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by David Evans)

December 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

The worst performing countries for climate action- USA and Saudi Arabia

US, Saudi Arabia back-of-the-pack on curbing climate change,  Researchers have identified the United States and Saudi Arabia as the climate change laggards. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/us-saudi-arabia-back-of-the-pack-on-curbing-climate-changeThe United States and Saudi Arabia rank last when it comes to curbing climate change among the 56 nations accounting for 90 percent of planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said Monday.A large number of laggards means the world is dangerously off-track when it comes to slashing the carbon pollution that has already amplified droughts, flooding and deadly heatwaves worldwide, they reported on the margins of UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

Only a few countries have started to implement strategies to limit global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit),” the cornerstone target of the 2015 Paris climate treaty, according to NewClimate Institute and Germanwatch, an NGO.

Most governments “lack the political will to phase out fossil fuels with the necessary speed.”  Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

No answer to clean up Washington’s Hanford nuclear site

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New nuclear power plants, prolong existing ones – to solve global warming?

Evaluation of Nuclear Power as a Proposed Solution to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security In 100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything Textbook in Preparation Mark Z. Jacobson December 10, 2018 Contact: Jacobson@stanford.edu; Twitter @mzjacobson
Summary In evaluating solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, two important questions arise are (1) should new nuclear plants be built to help solve these problems, and (2) should existing, aged nuclear plants be kept open as long as possible to help solve these problems? To answer these questions, the main risks associated with nuclear power are examined.
The risks associated with nuclear power can be broken down into two categories: (1) risks affecting its ability to reduce global warming and air pollution and (2) risks affecting its ability to provide energy and environmental (aside from climate and air pollution) security. Risks in the former category include delays between planning and operation, emissions contributing to global warming and outdoor air pollution, and costs. Risks in the latter category include weapons proliferation risk, reactor meltdown risk, radioactive waste risk, and mining cancer and land despoilment risks. These risks are discussed, in this section. Here are additional specific findings:
New nuclear power plants cost over 3.5 times those per kWh of onshore wind or utility solar PV, take 7-14 years longer between planning and operation, and produce 9 to 37 times the emissions per unit electricity generated.
As such, a fix amount of money spent on a new nuclear plant means much less power generation, a much longer wait for power, and much greater emission rate than the same money spent on WWS technologies.
There is no such thing as a zero- or close-to-zero emission nuclear power plant. Even existing plants emit due to the continuous mining and refining of uranium needed for the plant. However, all plants also emit 4.4 g-CO2e/kWh from the water vapor and heat of reaction they release. This contrasts with solar panels and wind turbines, which reduce heat or water vapor fluxes to the air by ~2.2 gCO2e/kWh for a net difference from this factor alone of 6.6 g-CO2e/kWh.
On top of that, because all nuclear reactors take 10-19 years or more between planning and operation vs. 2-5 year for a utility solar or wind plant, nuclear emits 64-102 g-CO2/kWh more over 100 years just due emissions from the background grid waiting for it to come online or be refurbished vs. a wind or solar farm.
 Overall, emissions from new nuclear are 78-178 g-CO2/kWh, not close to 0   [detailed chart on original, compares emissions from various technologies]…….
  3.3. Why Nuclear Power Represents an Opportunity Cost In evaluating solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, two important questions arise are (1) should new nuclear plants be built to help solve these problems, and (2) should existing, aged nuclear plants be kept open as long as possible to help solve these problems? To answer these questions, the main risks associated with nuclear power are first examined. The risks associated with nuclear power can be broken down into two categories: (1) risks affecting its ability to reduce global warming and air pollution and (2) risks affecting its ability to provide energy and environmental (aside from climate and air pollution) security. Risks in the former category include delays between planning and operation, emissions contributing to global warming and outdoor air pollution, and costs. Risks in the latter category include weapons proliferation risk, reactor meltdown risk, radioactive waste risk, and mining cancer and land despoilment risks. These risks are discussed, in this section. ………..
3.3.1. Risks Affecting the Ability of Nuclear Power to Address Global Warming and Air Pollution The first category of risk associated with nuclear power includes risks affecting nuclear power’s ability to reduce global warming and air pollution. These risks include the long lag time between planning and operating and for refurbishing a nuclear reactor, nuclear’s higher carbon equivalent emissions than WWS technologies, and nuclear’s high costs.
3.3.1.1. Delays Between Planning and Operation and Due to Refurbishing Reactors As discussed in Section 3.2.2, the longer the time lag between the planning and operation of an energy facility, the more the air pollution and climate-relevant emissions from the background electric power grid. Similarly, the longer the time required to refurbish a plant for continued use at the end of its life, the greater the emissions from the background grid while the plant is down. The time between planning and operation of a nuclear power plant includes the time to obtain a site, a construction permit, financing, and insurance; the time between construction permit approval and issue; and the construction time of the plant.
In March 2007, the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the first request for a site permit in 30 years. This process took 3.5 years. The time to review and approve a construction permit is another 2 years and the time between the construction permit approval and issue is about 0.5 years. Thus, the minimum time for preconstruction approvals (and financing) in the United States is 6 years. An estimated maximum time is 10 years. The time to construct a nuclear reactor depends significantly on regulatory requirements and costs. Although recent nuclear reactor construction times worldwide are often shorter than the 9-year median construction times in the United States since 1970 (Koomey and Hultman, 2007), they still averaged 6.5 years worldwide in 2007 (Ramana, 2009). As such, a reasonable range estimate for construction time is 4-9 years, bringing the overall estimated time between planning and operation of a nuclear power plant worldwide from 10-19 years.
An examination of some recent nuclear plant developments confirms that this range is not only reasonable, but is an underestimate in at least one case. The Olkiluoto 3 reactor in Finland was proposed to the Finnish cabinet in December 2000 to be added to an existing nuclear power plant. Its latest estimated completion date is 2020, giving a planning-to-operation (PTO) time of 20 years. The Hinkley Point nuclear plant was planned starting in 2008 and, as of 2019, has an estimated completion year of 2025-27, giving it a PTO time of 17-19 years. The Vogtle 3 and 4 reactors in Georgia were first proposed in August 2006 to be added to an existing site. The anticipated completion dates are November 2021 and November 2022, respectively, given them PTO times of 15 and 16 years, respectively. The Haiyang 1 and 2 reactors in China were planned starting in 2005. Construction started in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Haiyang 1 was commissioned October 22, 2018 and Haiyang 2 is expected in 2019, giving them construction times of 9 years and PTO times of 13 and 14 years, respectively. The Taishan 1 and 2 reactors in China were bid in 2006. Construction began in 2008. Taishan 1 was connected to the grid in August 2018 and Taishan 2 is not expected to be connected until 2019, giving them construction times of 10 and 11 years and PTO times of 12 and 13 years, respectively. Planning and procurement for four reactors in Ringhals, Sweden started in 1965. One took 10 years, the second took 11 years, the third took 16 years, and the fourth took 18 years to complete. In sum, PTO times for both recent and historic nuclear plants have mostly been in the range of 10-19 years.
…….. 3.3.1.2. Global Warming Relevant Emissions From Nuclear Nuclear power contributes to global warming in the following ways: (1) Emissions from the background grid due to its long planning-to-operation times and refurbishment times (Section 3.2.2.1), (2) its lifecycle emissions (constructing, operating, and decommissioning the plant), (3) emissions from its heat and water vapor emissions (Sections 3.2.2.2 and 3.2.2.3), (4) emissions due to covering soil or clearing vegetation due to it (Section 3.2.2.5), and (5) the risk of emissions due to nuclear weapons proliferation (Section 3.3.2.1). Every one of these categories represents an actual emission or emission risk, yet most of these emissions, except for lifecycle emissions, are incorrectly ignored in virtually all lifecycle studies, thereby distorting the impacts on climate associated with some technologies over others.
Table 3.5 [ on original] summarizes the CO2e emissions from nuclear power from each of the five categories ….
Emissions from the heat and water vapor fluxes from nuclear (totaling 4.4 g-CO2-kWh) alone suggest that during the life of an existing nuclear power plant, nuclear can never be a zero-carbon-equivalent technology, even if its lifecycle emissions from mining and refining uranium were zero. On the other hand, the emissions from nuclear due to covering and clearing soil are relatively small (0.17-0.28 g-CO2e/kWh). Finally, Table 3.5 provides a low estimate (zero) and a high estimate (1.4 g-CO2e/kWh) for the 100-year risk of CO2e emissions associated with nuclear weapons proliferation due to nuclear energy. This issue is discussed in Section 3.3.2.1
The total CO2e emissions from nuclear power in Table 3.5 are 78 to 178 g-CO2e/kWh. These emissions are 7.2-25 times the emissions from onshore wind power. Although the emissions are lower than from coal and natural gas with carbon capture, nuclear power’s high CO2e emissions coupled with its long planning-tooperation time render it an opportunity cost relative to the faster-to-operation and lower-emitting alternative WWS technologies.
. 3.3.1.3. Nuclear Costs The third risk of nuclear power related to its ability to reduce global warming and air pollution is the high cost for a new nuclear reactor relative to most WWS technologies. In addition, the cost of running existing nuclear reactors has increases sufficiently and the costs of new WWS technologies have dropped so much that many existing reactors are scheduled to shut down early. Others have requested large subsidies to stay open. In this section, nuclear costs are discussed briefly.
The levelized cost of energy for a new nuclear plant in 2018 according to Lazard (2018), is $15.1 (11.2 to 18.9)/MWh, which compares with $4.3 (2.9 to 5.6) for onshore wind and $4.1 (3.6 to 4.6) for utility-scale solar PV. A good portion of the high cost of nuclear is related to its long planning-to-operation time, which in turn is partly due to construction delays.
The spiraling costs of new nuclear plants in recent years has resulted in the cancelling of several nuclear reactors under construction    (e.g., two reactors in South Carolina) and in requests for subsidies to keep construction projects alive (e.g., the two Vogtle reactors in Georgia). High costs have also reduced the number of new constructions to a crawl in liberalized markets of the world. However, in some countries, such as China, nuclear reactor growth continues due to large government subsidies, albeit with the same 10-19 time lag between planning and operation and escalating costs.
 In sum, a new nuclear power plant costs over 3.5 times that of onshore wind or utility solar PV, take 7-14 years longer between planning and operation, and produce 9 to 37 times the emissions per unit electricity generated. As such, a fix amount of money spent on a new nuclear plant means much less power generation, a much longer wait for power, and much greater emission rate than the same money spent on WWS technologies.
  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change similarly concluded that the economic, social, and technical feasibility of nuclear power have not improved over time,
“The political, economic, social and technical feasibility of solar energy, wind energy and electricity storage technologies has improved dramatically over the past few years, while that of nuclear energy and Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) in the electricity sector has not shown similar improvements.” (de Coninck et al., 2018, page 4- 5)
Costs of operating existing nuclear plants have also escalated tremendously, forcing some plants either to shut down early or request large subsidies to stay open. Whether an existing nuclear plant should be subsidized to stay open should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The risk of shutting a functioning nuclear plant is that its energy may be replaced by higher-emitting fossil fuel generation. However, the risk of subsidizing the plant is that the funds could otherwise be used to replace the nuclear plant with lowercost and lower-emitting wind or solar electricity generation, which the nuclear plant would likely need to be replaced by within a decade in any case.
For example, three existing upstate New York nuclear plants requested and received subsidies to stay open using the argument that the plants were needed to keep emissions low. However, Cebulla and Jacobson (2018) found that subsidizing such plants may increase carbon emissions and costs relative to replacing the plants with wind or solar. For different nuclear plants and subsidy levels, however, the results could change, which is why each plant needs to be evaluated individually.
3.3.2. Risks Affecting the Ability of Nuclear Power to Address Energy and Environmental Security The second category of risk related to nuclear power is its risk of not being able to provide energy and environmental (aside from climate and air pollution) security. One reason for this is risk of nuclear meltdown. Others are its risks related to weapons proliferation, waste disposal, and uranium mining (cancer and land degradation). WWS technologies do not have these risks. ……https://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/NuclearVsWWS.pdf

December 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Assessing the effects of planetary electromagnetic pollution

Planetary electromagnetic pollution: it is time to assess its impact, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanplh/article/PIIS2542-5196%2818%2930221-3/fulltext?dgcid=raven_jbs_etoc_email

Priyanka Bandara
David O Carpenter

Open AccessPublished:December, 20   As the Planetary Health Alliance moves forward after a productive second annual meeting, a discussion on the rapid global proliferation of artificial electromagnetic fields would now be apt. The most notable is the blanket of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, largely microwave radiation generated for wireless communication and surveillance technologies, as mounting scientific evidence suggests that prolonged exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation has serious biological and health effects. However, public exposure regulations in most countries continue to be based on the guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which were established in the 1990s on the belief that only acute thermal effects are hazardous. Prevention of tissue heating by radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is now proven to be ineffective in preventing biochemical and physiological interference. For example, acute non-thermal exposure has been shown to alter human brain metabolism by NIH scientists, electrical activity in the brain, and systemic immune responses.

Chronic exposure has been associated with increased oxidative stress and DNA damage  and cancer risk.
 Laboratory studies, including large rodent studies by the US National Toxicology Program and Ramazzini Institute of Italy, confirm these biological and health effects in vivo. As we address the threats to human health from the changing environmental conditions due to human activity, the increasing exposure to artificial electromagnetic radiation needs to be included in this discussion.
Due to the exponential increase in the use of wireless personal communication devices (eg, mobile or cordless phones and WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled devices) and the infrastructure facilitating them, levels of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation around the 1 GHz frequency band, which is mostly used for modern wireless communications, have increased from extremely low natural levels by about 1018 times (figure). Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation is also used for radar, security scanners, smart meters, and medical equipment (MRI, diathermy, and radiofrequency ablation). It is plausibly the most rapidly increasing anthropogenic environmental exposure since the mid-20th century, and levels will surge considerably again, as technologies like the Internet of Things and 5G add millions more radiofrequency transmitters around us.
Unprecedented human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from conception until death has been occurring in the past two decades. Evidence of its effects on the CNS, including altered neurodevelopment and increased risk of some neurodegenerative diseases, is a major concern considering the steady increase in their incidence. Evidence exists for an association between neurodevelopmental or behavioural disorders in children and exposure to wireless devices, and experimental evidence, such as the Yale finding, shows that prenatal exposure could cause structural and functional changes in the brain associated with ADHD-like behaviour. These findings deserve urgent attention

At the Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory Association, an independent scientific organisation, volunteering scientists have constructed the world’s largest categorised online database of peer-reviewed studies on radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation and other man-made electromagnetic fields of lower frequencies. A recent evaluation of 2266 studies (including in-vitro and in-vivo studies in human, animal, and plant experimental systems and population studies) found that most studies (n=1546, 68·2%) have demonstrated significant biological or health effects associated with exposure to anthropogenic electromagnetic fields. We have published our preliminary data on radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, which shows that 89% (216 of 242) of experimental studies that investigated oxidative stress endpoints showed significant effects.

This weight of scientific evidence refutes the prominent claim that the deployment of wireless technologies poses no health risks at the currently permitted non-thermal radiofrequency exposure levels. Instead, the evidence supports the International EMF Scientist Appeal by 244 scientists from 41 countries who have published on the subject in peer-reviewed literature and collectively petitioned the WHO and the UN for immediate measures to reduce public exposure to artificial electromagnetic fields and radiation.

Evidence also exists of the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on flora and fauna. For example, the reported global reduction in bees and other insects is plausibly linked to the increased radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation in the environment.

Honeybees are among the species that use magnetoreception, which is sensitive to anthropogenic electromagnetic fields, for navigation.

Man-made electromagnetic fields range from extremely low frequency (associated with electricity supplies and electrical appliances) to low, medium, high, and extremely high frequency (mostly associated with wireless communication). The potential effects of these anthropogenic electromagnetic fields on natural electromagnetic fields, such as the Schumann Resonance that controls the weather and climate, have not been properly studied. Similarly, we do not adequately understand the effects of anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on other natural and man-made atmospheric components or the ionosphere. It has been widely claimed that radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, being non-ionising radiation, does not possess enough photon energy to cause DNA damage. This has now been proven wrong experimentally. Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation causes DNA damage apparently through oxidative stress, similar to near-UV radiation, which was also long thought to be harmless.
At a time when environmental health scientists tackle serious global issues such as climate change and chemical toxicants in public health, there is an urgent need to address so-called electrosmog. A genuine evidence-based approach to the risk assessment and regulation of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields will help the health of us all, as well as that of our planetary home. Some government health authorities have recently taken steps to reduce public exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation by regulating use of wireless devices by children and recommending preferential use of wired communication devices in general, but this ought to be a coordinated international effort.
We declare no competing interests. We thank Alasdair Philips for assistance with the figure and Victor Leach and Steve Weller for assistance with the ORSAA Database, which has enabled our overview of the scientific evidence in this area of research.

References……

December 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

As UK’s planned Wylfa nuclear power station might be axed, UK’s whole nuclear project is in doubt

UK’s nuclear plans in doubt after report Welsh plant may be axed. Hitachi’s £16bn Wylfa station on Anglesey is next proposed project after Hinkley Point C https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/10/uk-nuclear-plant-hitachi-wylfa-anglesey by Adam Vaughan @adamvaughan_uk Mon 10 Dec 2018
   Fresh doubts have been raised over prospects for the UK’s new nuclear power programme after a report that Hitachi is considering axing plans for a plant in Wales.

The Japanese conglomerate’s mooted 2.9GW nuclear power station on Anglesey is next in line in the UK’s nuclear plans after EDF Energy’s 3.2GW Hinkley Point C scheme in Somerset.

However, Japan’s TV network Asahi reported that the Wylfa Newydd scheme may be scrapped, sending Hitachi’s shares up by almost 3%, before ending up by 1%.

The project is expected to be discussed at the Japanese multinational’s board meeting on Tuesday.

The Guardian understands that cancelling the power station would result in Hitachi having to write off its near-£2bn investment in the project.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, the board’s chairman, last week admitted the company was struggling to find investors willing to finance the plant. Hitachi faced “an extremely severe situation”, he said.

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If the Wylfa project was to fail it would be a major blow to the UK’s hopes for a fleet of new nuclear plants to meet its carbon targets and fill the energy gap created by old coal and nuclear plants being taken offline.

Ministers have already been hit by the recent collapse of plans for a significant new nuclear plant in Cumbria after Toshiba failed to find a buyer for the Moorside project.

However, it would be surprising if Hitachi pulled the plug on Wylfa at this stage. Tripartite talks are still ongoing between the firm and the UK and Japanese governments.

The business secretary, Greg Clark, said in June that the UK was considering taking a “direct investment” in the power station, overturning decades of policy of not taking a stake in civil nuclear power. But such projects should be financed by the private sector “in the longer term”, he said.

The UK is understood to have offered to take at least a £5bn-plus public stake to make the financing of the £16bn power station work.

The company and government are still continuing with talks, which insiders described as “fairly intense”.

Hitachi’s British subsidiary Horizon will need to reach an agreement with the UK by the middle of 2019, if it is to clear EU state aid approval and hit its timetable of making a final investment decision in mid-to-late 2020.

Wylfa is one of two sites that Hitachi is considering, with an identical 2.9GW plant planned for Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

A Horizon spokesperson said: “Since the secretary of state’s statement to the House in June this year we’ve been in formal negotiations with the UK government regarding financing of the Wylfa Newydd project in a way that works both for investors and the UK electricity customer.”

The company said the negotiations were commercially confidential and it would not comment on rumours or speculation.

Greenpeace UK said investors could see the economics of new nuclear did not add up. “As Hitachi contemplates whether to pull out of Wylfa, UK government might contemplate whether they’ve been backing the wrong horse for many years,” said Doug Parr, the group’s chief scientist.

December 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Russia sends 2 nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuela 

Canberra Times, 10 Dec 18 Moscow: Two Russian nuclear-capable strategic bombers arrived in Venezuela on Monday, a deployment that comes amid soaring Russia-US tensions.Russia’s Defence Ministry said a pair Tu-160 bombers landed at Maiquetia airport outside Caracas on Monday following a 10,000-kilometre flight. It didn’t say if the bombers were carrying any weapons and didn’t say how long they will stay in Venezuela……..

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at last week’s meeting with his Venezuelan counterpart Vladimir Padrino Lopez that Russia would continue to send its military aircraft and warships to visit Venezuela as part of bilateral military cooperation. ….

Russia-US relations are currently at post-Cold War lows over Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election. Russia has bristled at US and other NATO allies deploying their troops and weapons near its borders. https://www.canberratimes.com.au/world/south-america/russia-sends-2-nuclear-capable-bombers-to-venezuela-20181211-p50lea.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_feed

December 11, 2018 Posted by | Russia, SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cold war efforts to provide bunker protection against nuclear bombing

December 11, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany a leading solar power producer, despite its low hours of sunshine

Germany Works (accessed) 9th Dec 2018, Germany has belied its status as a country with the fewest hours of sunshine in the world to become one of the planet’s largest solar power producers.
In 2017, Germany ranked fourth globally and accounted for about 10 per cent of the global installed capacity, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2017, Germany ranked fourth globally and accounted for about 10 per cent of the global installed capacity, according to the International Energy Agency.
This has been achieved by 1.7 million small-scale solar panel operators rather than by big, centralised power producers. These operators produced 9.6 per cent of Germany’s net energy production in the first nine months of 2018, according to research institute Fraunhofer ISE. Further, solar power has become the cheapest mode of power generation in Germany, according to Fraunhofer ISE, which says that equipment and installation costs fell by 75 per cent between 2006 and 2017.
https://germanyworks.ft.com/energy/german-solar-power-is-a-sunrise-market/

December 11, 2018 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

Scotland’s wind power output over 100%

WIND output in Scotland has broken through the 100% threshold for the first
time with 109% of total electricity demand being met from renewables, according to new data. Figures from Weather Energy, part of a wider European project, show electricity generated by wind in November was enough to power nearly 6 million homes – a new record for Scotland.

In another milestone, wind production outstripped total electricity demand on 20 out of 30 days. Gina Hanrahan, head of policy at environmental group WWF Scotland, welcomed the contribution made by wind: “Wind power breaking through the magic 100% threshold is truly momentous. For months output has flirted around the 97% mark, so it’s fantastic to reach this milestone. “It’s also worth noting that 20 out of 30 days wind production outstripped demand.
https://www.thenational.scot/news/17286749.scottish-wind-power-output-breaks-100-output-milestone/

December 11, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

A wave of change is coming to our planet’s water resources

Thanks to climate change, Earth’s freshwater supplies will never be the same again, Science News for Students, BETH GEIGER, DEC 6, 2018 This is the fourth in a 10-part series about the ongoing global impacts of climate change. These stories will look at the current effects of a changing planet, what the emerging science suggests is behind those changes and what we all can do to adapt to them.

It’s January 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa. After three years of record low rainfall, reservoirs that supply this city’s water are dangerously low. The city is running out of water, and fast………..
Water world   Our cool blue planet is covered in water. Just 2.5 percent of that water, however, is fresh. Of that, only about one third is liquid. The rest is locked up as ice.That isn’t much freshwater. Yet we depend on it for everything. In the United States, each person uses an average of 340 liters (90 gallons) per day at home. And that doesn’t include the water needed to grow our food or manufacture everything from clothes to cars to cell phones. It takes 3,400 liters (900 gallons) just to make one pair of jeans.

As climate changes, though, so does how much water is available. Water, climate and weather are connected in a never-ending loop called the water cycle. And like any natural system, change one part of it — whether it’s temperature, soil moisture or even how many trees are in a region — and everything else changes, too. Continue reading

December 11, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, water | Leave a comment

Australia’s dirty tricks in Poland: getting away with no reduction in greenhouse emissions

Fake action’: Australia’s secret path to hitting Paris climate goals, Brisbane Times, By Peter Hannam,– 10 December 2018 Australia could use a little-known loophole to help meet up to half its Paris climate commitments in a move that analysts warn could undermine the global accord.

Neither Environment Minister Melissa Price nor Labor will rule out counting Australia’s expected credits from beating its 2020 goal under the soon-to-be-superseded Kyoto Protocol against its 2030 Paris pledge.

The analysts say such a move by Australia would encourage other nations to follow suit.

One ex-member of Australia’s negotiating team said the government had considered using the credits for some time even though it went against the spirit of the Paris accord signed in 2015. While not formally on the agenda at the current climate talks in Poland, the issue of Kyoto credits is expected to be discussed in coming days.

Ms Price, who is attending the summit in the city of Katowice, has put the expected surplus by 2020 – when the Paris agreement kicks in –

at 294 million tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent.

However, consultancy Climate Analytics calculated the final figure will be at least 333 million tonnes. If accounting around land use changes – including tree planting and land clearing – is settled in Australia’s favour, the surplus could swell to 400 million tonnes.

Australia’s current pledge under the Paris agreement is to cut emissions 26-28 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

Unless other nations object to the use of carryover credits, it could then meet the target with just a 15 per cent cut – a much easier task.

“This appears to be the ‘canter’ the government keeps talking about,”

said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics. “It is fake action and would be rorting the planet, and will undermine real action in Australia.”

Carryover estimates are based on data provided by Australia to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of 2017.

Ms Price declined to directly answer questions about how it will use any Kyoto carryover.

‘Fatal undermining’

Richie Merzian, who was part of Australia’s climate negotiations

team for nine years before joining think tank The Australia Institute in April, said the government had long considered deploying a Kyoto surplus towards its Paris target.

“It was certainly part of their train of thinking,” Mr Merzian said. “It could be they were banking on this.”

“You’re basically getting away without reducing your emissions,” he said…….

Labor caution

Mark Butler, Labor’s climate spokesman, declined to rule out using Kyoto credits if the ALP wins office next year………

Adam Bandt, the Greens’ climate spokesman, said the public expected “a government of climate deniers to use dodgy accounting to shirk their climate responsibilities, but not Labor”.

“Labor needs to follow the lead of many other developed countries and immediately rule out using carryover credits to meet our measly Paris obligations if it wins office,” he said.

Emma Herd, chief executive of the Investor Group on Climate Change, said any weakening of emissions targets would sap investments needed to tranform the economy to net-zero emissions by mid-century.

“To secure the long-term prosperity of Australia, targets need to be in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement – limiting warming to 1.5 degrees and well below 2 degrees,” Ms Herd said.

“The longer we delay credible taking action, the harder the economic adjustment will be and Australia will continue to lose the opportunity to unlock the benefits of investment in clean energy and other low carbon

December 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment