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Why future sea levels matter to Suffolk’s Sizewell nuclear plant

Global coastal inundation is now expected to be far worse than previously predicted Paul Brown, 16 Sept 22,

he caution of scientists, reinforced by accusations scaremongering from the well-funded fossil fuel lobby, has meant computer estimates of sea level rise in official forecasts have been low. Scientists mostly only counted the rise of the oceans because of expansion of warmer water then added on melting glaciers in the Alps and other temperate regions.

Originally ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica were excluded, in case increased snow fall in winter was greater than the ice melt in summer. Real time measurements of ice lost in polar regions has changed that. Coastal inundation in places such as East Anglia, Florida, and the Nile and Mekong deltas is expected to be far worse and quicker than previously predicted. Food supplies are threatened. The melting is also irreversible.

This makes Boris Johnson’s last act as prime minister to back a giant nuclear power plant on a low lying coast at Sizewell in Suffolk look a gamble. The builders, EDF, say there is no danger because the twin reactors will be built on a concrete raft seven metres above mean sea level, with a further surrounding wall to protect the nuclear island. But this concrete monolith will need to withstand sea level rise and storm surges for up to 200 years to protect future generations from its radioactive content.

September 20, 2022 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

France Urges Brussels To Label Nuclear-Produced Hydrogen “Green”

   EurActiv , By  Paul Messad, French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher is trying to get EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson to include nuclear among energy sources for the production of so-called “green” hydrogen, according to a letter seen by EURACTIV France………………..

 according to the French minister, the current rules leave little room for the production of green hydrogen from “low-carbon” electricity, mostly nuclear power.

Given “the absolute priority of the next decade for hydrogen, […] the only important issue is the carbon content of the hydrogen produced and not the production vector,” Pannier-Runacher wrote to the European Commissioner…………………………….

France riding solo

The pro-nuclear position of the French when it comes to green hydrogen is not entirely shared by the industry.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, which represents the interests of the industry in 25 EU countries, said the letter is proof that France is “going solo” on nuclear and putting itself in a “dangerous insular position”………

September 20, 2022 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Extreme hunger is soaring in the world’s climate hotspots – Oxfam

Extreme hunger is closely linked to the climate crisis, with many areas of
the world most affected by extreme weather experiencing severe food
shortages, research has shown.

The development charity Oxfam examined 10 of
the world’s worst climate hotspots, afflicted by drought, floods, severe
storms and other extreme weather, and found their rates of extreme hunger
had more than doubled in the past six years.

Within the countries studied,
48 million people are currently suffering from acute hunger, up from about
21 million people in 2016. Of these, about 18 million people are on the
brink of starvation, according to the Oxfam report published on Thursday.

Guardian 16th Sept 2022

September 19, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Drying up of Europe’s great rivers – the death knell for France’s nuclear fleet?

From the Danube to the Loire, Europe’s prime rivers — lifelines for the continent’s economy — are running low after a brutal five-month drought. After years of dry weather, scientists are warning that low-water conditions could become the norm in Europe as the climate changes.

Could the Drying Up of Europe’s Great Rivers Be the New Normal Yale Environment 369 BY PAUL HOCKENOS • SEPTEMBER 6, 2022 “………………………………. “At towns up and down the Danube, drought and climate change take on an existential meaning,” explains Nick Thorpe, author of The Danube: A Journey Upriver from the Black Sea to the Black Forest. “In contrast to city dwellers, they’re having this disaster unfold before their eyes.”

………………………….  In France, the warmed waters of the Rhône and Garonne can no longer cool the systems of nuclear power plants, forcing numerous plants to shut down. And hundreds of tributaries to the larger rivers are in even worse shape: bone dry.

…………………………. In early August, France’s prime minister, Élisabeth Borne, said that France is in the midst of the “most severe drought” the country has ever experienced, which has so sapped rivers — including the Loire, the Doubs, the Dordogne, and the Garonne — that hundreds of municipalities now require that drinking water be delivered by truck…………………………

September 6, 2022 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Super Typhoon Hinnamnor Could Slam Straight Into Nuclear Power Plant BY JESS THOMSON ON 9/5/22

The most powerful storm in South Korean history is due to collide with a nuclear power plant.

According to the South Korea Meteorological Administration, Super Typhoon Hinnamnor is due to hit on September 6, and may cause multiple casualties. Kori Nuclear Power Plant, which is in the oncoming path of the Category 5 storm near to industrial city Ulsan, has lowered the run rates of three of its nuclear reactors to less than 30 percent in preparation for the typhoon, according to EnergyVoice.

“We’re now entering a phase where we have to minimize casualties,” Han Sang Un, the chief forecaster at Korea Meteorological Administration, said during a briefing on September 5.

“It’s a massive typhoon with a 400-kilometer (248.5 miles) radius, which is big enough to cover Seoul to Busan. Most regions in Korea will experience intense rain and wind,” he said.

Typhoon Sarah, which hit South Korea in 1959, and Typhoon Maemi, which hit in 2003, are thought to be two of the most powerful storms in the nation’s history. Hinnamnor is forecasted to be potentially more powerful. As of September 5, the storm has wind speeds of 127 miles per hour (mph) with gusts around 155 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

“Super typhoons are defined as a typhoon in the NW Pacific Ocean basin with 1-minute sustained winds of at least 130 kts (150 mph), which is equivalent to a strong Category 4 or Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale,” Dr. Adam Lea, a senior research associate in hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones for University College London’s Department of Space & Climate Physics, told Newsweek.

“The overall diameter of the storm can be hundreds of km but the very damaging winds are confined to a much smaller region surrounding the eye called the eye wall, which is a ring of thunderstorms surrounding the eye where the most extreme conditions occur. This area typically extends to 100km [around 60 miles] from the eye. Hinnamnor is one of the larger typhoons with typhoon force winds extending up to around 140km [around 85 miles] from the center.”

The Kori Nuclear Power Plant, which is in the path of the storm, may therefore be at risk if the typhoon hits it at full power.

Natural disasters of this kind are historically very bad news for power plants: the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan was severely damaged by a tsunami caused by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake in 2011, leading to some 150,000 people to be evacuated from the communities close to the disaster site.

According to Lea, a super typhoon hitting land at peak intensity would cause extreme to catastrophic damage to most buildings not built to resist such winds.

However, typhoon Hinnamnor has weakened considerably from its peak intensity.

“I am not knowledgeable on nuclear power plants, but the buildings are very sturdily constructed and will withstand the winds comfortably,” he said. “In advance of typhoon Maemi in 2003, five nuclear plants were shut down automatically and were ultimately unaffected.”

The typhoon is forecasted by the South Korea Meteorological Administration to hit the resort island of Jeju at about 1 a.m. local time on September 6, and southern coastal cities including Ulsan and Busan at about 7 a.m. Residents have been advised to remain indoors, and according to Bloomberg, 200 residents in coastal areas of Busan have been asked to evacuate to shelters on September 5.

September 6, 2022 Posted by | climate change, safety, South Korea | Leave a comment

Future threat to Europe’s water supplies as Switzerland’s glaciers are rapidly thawing

Switzerland’s glaciers have lost more than half their volume in less than a
hundred years, and the long hot summer this year has accelerated the thaw,
a new study shows. The glaciers support ski resorts and attract climbers
and hikers in summer, but are also essential to Europe’s water supply. Now,
communities across the Alps are worrying about their future.

BBC 1st Sept 2022

September 2, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Switzerland | Leave a comment

The ‘horrors of climate change’ hit Pakistan

More than 1,000 dead and 33MILLION people displaced due to Pakistan flash
floods: Terrifying torrents of water are filmed wiping village away after
monsoon. More than 1,000 deaths from widespread flooding in Pakistan amid
‘climate catastrophe’ monsoon season. Flash flooding washed away entire
villages as 33 million Pakistanis were displaced and army called to rescue.
Pakistani military chiefs released a video Sunday pleading with countries
to offer their financial support. PM Shahbaz Sharif blamed ‘the horrors of
climate change’ for dramatic scenes which saw hotel washed away.

Daily Mail 29th Aug 2022

August 30, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Pakistan | Leave a comment

South Asian countries facing devastating extreme weather events – seek reparation from rich countries

South Asian countries facing devastating extreme weather events are
increasingly looking to Cop27 and in turn, rich countries for more finance
– which in itself has become yet another reminder that they are not the
ones to have caused the problem in the first place but have become one of
the most vulnerable to it.

From record-breaking heatwaves and droughts to
devastating floods, millions of people in south Asia are suffering
back-to-back extreme weather events on an unprecedented scale in the last
few months. Calls for reparations from wealthier countries have only grown
even as climate crisis-induced disasters like intensified heatwaves, drying
rivers, raging wildfires and frequent storms are now impacting regions
where such phenomenon were at one time unprecedented.

Independent 29th Aug 2022

August 30, 2022 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear: EDF extends the shutdown of four reactors for several weeks. (Translation)

The energy company announced on Thursday that reactors 1, 3 and 4 of the Cattenom power plant, as well as reactor 1 of Penly, will only be reconnected to the electricity network between November and January. An announcement related to the stress corrosion problem detected since last fall on several units.

By Les Echos

Posted on August 25, 2022 at 5:55 PMUpdated on August 25, 2022 at 6:04 p.m.

France will have to do without at least four nuclear reactors until the beginning of winter. This Thursday, EDF announced the extension, for several weeks, of the shutdown of units affected by the problem of stress corrosion detected for the first time in the fall of 2021.

According to the new provisional timetable published by the energy company, reactors 1 and 4 of the Cattenom power plant, in Moselle, will be reconnected to the electricity network  on November 1 and 14 respectively . Reactor number 3 will resume service on December 11, while unit number 1 of the Penly power plant (Seine-Maritime) will not be reconnected until January 23……… (subscribers only)

August 28, 2022 Posted by | climate change, France, safety | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s desperate plight after monster flooding

 Pakistan is appealing for further international assistance after floods
wreaked havoc across the country. The US, UK, United Arab Emirates and
others have contributed to a monsoon disaster appeal but more funds are
needed, an interior ministry official told the BBC. More than 1,000 people
have died and millions have been displaced since June, Salman Sufi said. He
said Pakistan’s government was doing everything in its power to help

 BBC 28th Aug 2022

August 28, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Pakistan | Leave a comment

How the USA climate bill will promote the nuclear industry.

What the climate bill does for the nuclear industry, CNBC, Catherine Clifford, AUG 23 20222

Production tax credit for existing nuclear power plants

Production tax credit for advanced nuclear power plants

Investment tax credit for new nuclear power plants

“………………………………………Production tax credit for existing nuclear power plants, Starting in 2024 and running through 2032, utilities will be able to get a credit of $15 per megawatt-hour for electricity produced by existing nuclear plants. If the price of power rises above $25 per megawatt-hour, then the credit will gradually decrease, but it doesn’t phase out completely until energy prices reach around $44 per megawatt-hour, explained Matthew Crozat, the executive director of strategy and policy at the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.

“Every plant is different and some plants have a different revenue model but we can say that this credit will offer a reprieve from the low revenues that had forced more than a dozen reactors to close,” Crozat told CNBC.

To be eligible for the full $15 per megawatt-hour base tax credit, a nuclear power plant operator has to pay workers operating and doing maintenance on the power plant “prevailing wage requirements,” according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Production tax credit for advanced nuclear power plants

Several companies in the United States are working to commercialize new nuclear power plant designs that are meant to be safer and with a smaller capacity, making them ideally cheaper to build and maintain as well.

For example, Bill Gates’ nuclear innovation company, TerraPower, is developing a couple of advanced reactor designs, one of which is going to be built at a retiring coal facility in Wyoming as part of a demonstration program in partnership with the U.S. government.

Advanced nuclear reactors could benefit from the IRA by way of the Clean Electricity Production Tax Credit, a technology-agnostic production credit, which can be applied toward emissions-free power generation that goes online after 2025. The clean energy production credit is for at least $25 per megawatt-hour for the first ten years the plant is in operation, adjusted for inflation. The credit phases out in 2032 or when carbon emissions coming from electricity have fallen by 75% below the level of 2022, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. The tax credit is increased by 10% for locating the zero-emissions power source where a coal plant previously lived.

Worth noting, there’s another Advanced Nuclear Production Tax Credit already on the books. That tax credit was established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and is for $18 per megawatt-hour for the first eight years that a nuclear power plant is operating, provided the nuclear power plant had not begun construction when the 2005 bill was signed into law, Crozat told CNBC. The third reactor unit of the Vogtle Power plant being constructed in Georgia will be the first power plant to take advantage of the 2005 Advanced Nuclear Production Tax Credit, according to Crozat.

A company can not take advantage of both tax credits — it has to pick. Going forward, the tax credits in the IRA just signed into law will be more attractive. “Since the new production tax credit has been indexed to inflation and last for two additional years, it will be considerably more valuable than the older version,” Crozat told CNBC.

Investment tax credit for new nuclear power plants

New nuclear power plants are eligible for claiming an Investment Tax Credit made available through the new law for facilities that generate energy with zero emissions and that go into service in 2025 or after.

The investment tax credit allows a nuclear power plant to get a tax credit for 30% of what was invested in building the zero-emissions energy production facility, which includes nuclear power plants, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The investment tax credit is increased by 10% for locating the zero-emissions power source where a coal plant previously lived. It starts to phase when carbon emissions from the sector are 75% lower than 2022 levels.

Money to spur innovation

The law includes $700 million that will go towards the research and development of high-assay low enrichment uranium (HALEU) fuel sources in the United States through 2026, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington DC-based think tank. That’s important because the advanced, next-generation reactors which are currently being developed by 20 companies in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, depend on HALEU fuel to operate.

The existing fleet of nuclear power reactors in the United States operate on uranium that has been enriched up to 5%. HALEU fuel has been enriched between 5% and 20%. Many advanced reactor designs are smaller builds than conventional nuclear reactors and so to make a nuclear reactor smaller, they need to get more power from smaller quantities of fuel, the Department of Energy says.

“Right now, the only commercially available source of HALEU is from the Russian Federation and the support for HALEU in the IRA signals an understanding that the federal government is needed to jumpstart domestic enrichment capabilities to support the coming wave of new nuclear technologies,” Rampal told CNBC.

It’s also just the first step, Rampal said. The nuclear industry needs multiple billions of dollars to invest in HALEU production over the next ten years, he told CNBC.  

The IRA also includes $150 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy through 2027, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. That money is for the Department of Energy to invest in its nuclear innovation research at its network of National Laboratories.  ……………………………………..

Tax credits for making component parts

The IRA includes a manufacturing production provision that allows for a tax credit for component parts produced and sold after 2022, according to a summary of the benefits of the IRA for the nuclear industry from the law firm Morgan Lewis.

August 23, 2022 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

China’s record-breaking heatwave, threatening water resources

The southwestern Chinese regions of Chonqging and Sichuan were battling
fires on Tuesday as they awaited a long-anticipated drop in temperatures
over the next week, but the country’s important autumn harvest remained
under serious threat. Officials warned this month that temperatures were
rising faster in China than in the rest of the world and a record-breaking
heatwave has raised concern about its ability to adapt to rapid climate
change and conserve already scarce water resources.

Reuters 23rd Aug 2022

August 23, 2022 Posted by | China, climate change, water | Leave a comment

Terrifying nuclear bomb prediction as world tensions rise

As the prospect of nuclear war rises, experts have made a terrifying prediction about what this means for Australia. Jamie Seidel@JamieSeidel, August 16, 2022 

It’s been 77 years since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s been 33 years since the Berlin Wall’s fall and the Cold War’s end.

But the bomb is back.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making thinly veiled threats. China’s embarking on a massive nuclear weapon-building campaign. And the menace of atomic annihilation coming out of North Korea is so common as to become background noise.

Has the world forgotten how close these weapons can bring us to extinction?

A new study in the science journal 
Nature Foodhas built upon recent lessons from Australia’s and Canada’s catastrophic 2019-20 forest fires to anticipate the impact of nuclear detonation on global food production.

Estimates place the amount of smoke produced by the recent fires as up to 1 teragram (1 trillion grams). Heavier soot ejecta was up to 0.02Tg. Both quickly encompassed the globe – lingering in the sky for months afterwards.

This adds confidence to our simulations that predict the same process would occur after a nuclear war,” reads the research published today (Tuesday, August 16) in Nature Food, from lead author Lili Xia of Rutgers University, along with contributors including Dr Ryan Heneghan of the Queensland University of Technology.

The study’s not without immediate relevance.

The bomb is back……………..

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation”. Ukraine. Asia. The Middle East. The Koreas. All are experiencing heightened levels of nuclear threats.

With 13,000 nuclear weapons sitting in stockpiles worldwide, the secretary-general warned delegates “the risks of proliferation are growing and guardrails to prevent escalation are weakening”.

“Future generations are counting on your commitment to step back from the abyss.

“This is our moment to meet this fundamental test and lift the cloud of nuclear annihilation once and for all.”

Such a war would reach far beyond the battlefield.

We’re seeing that right now.

The fighting between Russia and Ukraine has disrupted more than 20 per cent of global grain exports – threatening famine in Africa and the Middle East while causing prices to soar globally.

Even a “small” nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India would have catastrophic implications. The handful of weapons both nations possess would kill some 52 million people instantly. They would also eject more than 16 teragrams (16 trillion grams) of soot into the stratosphere.

National borders will not constrain this. Instead, the soot will quickly be picked up by high-altitude jet streams and circle the world.

The result would be a global famine killing an additional 926,000,000 people within two years.

Australia, however, appears to get off relatively lightly. At least at first.

Food for thought

The study, Global food insecurity and famine from … nuclear war soot injection, examines the implications of wars scaling up from 100 warhead detonations through to 4400.

Only Australia and some other southern hemisphere nations would potentially avert starvation.

And that may include the worst-case “all-out exchange” scenario.

Some 360 million would die in the initial blasts. Two years later, an additional five billion would be dead of hunger…………………………… more

August 23, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Digital damage: Is your online life polluting planet? Macquarie University/The Lighthouse Dr Jessica McLean is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the Macquarie School of Social Sciences. 22 Aug 22

Shorter emails, camera-off Zoom calls and deleting old photos could reduce our digital carbon footprints – but sustainability expert Dr Jessica McLean says this is too big for individuals, and governments and organisations need to take responsibility.

Swapping digital meetings, shopping and even exercise classes for their in-person alternatives can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding transport-related pollution, but the environmental impact of our digital lives is also surprisingly high, says Human Geographer Dr Jessica McLean.

We don’t often think about the various infrastructures required to do simple things like send an email or hold our photos – these digital things are stored in data centres that are often out of sight, out of mind,” says McLean, who is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Macquarie University’s School of Social Sciences.

“If we think about it at all, we usually expect these services to be continual and think that there isn’t really a limit on those digital practices,” she says.

However, digital activity has a surprisingly high environmental impact, says McLean, who has recently published a book on the topic.

Along with the greenhouse gas emissions from substantial energy use by our personal computers, data centres and communication equipment, this impact also includes the water use and land impact from mining, building and distributing the metals and other materials that make up our vast global digital infrastructure.

High-impact digital activities

Many researchers have attempted to calculate the individual carbon footprints of various technologies, and these often focus on the energy used by servers, home wi-fi and computers and even a tiny share of the carbon emitted to construct data centre buildings.

Some of our greenhouse-gassiest digital activities include:

  • Emails: 
    Professor Mike Berners-Lee calculated that a short email sent phone-to-phone over wifi equates to 0.3 grams of CO2, a short email sent laptop-to-laptop emits 17g of CO2 and a long email with attachment sent from laptop could produce 50g of CO2.
  • Digital hoarding: Data transfer and storage of thousands of photo, audio and video files, messages, emails and documents in an average US data centre emits around 0.2 tons of CO2 each year, for every 100 gigabyte of storage.
  • Binge-watching in High Definition: Just one hour of HD streaming a day emits 160kg of CO2 each year – but swap to Standard Definition video quality and that drops to around 8kg of CO2 annually.

Beyond the individual

Deconstructing the many and varied impacts of our increasingly digital lives can be overwhelming.

Talking heads: Just one hour of videoconferencing can emit up to 1kg of CO2.

“There’s a lot to take in, and many of these figures will change depending on things like the use of renewable energy that is being taken up by some digital corporations and many individuals,” says McLean.

“This highlights the complexity of this challenge, showing that understanding and addressing digital sustainability goes beyond individual responsibilities, and is more fittingly held by governments and corporations.”

She says that the onus should be on governments to regulate a greater transparency on how digital corporations use energy, and to require regular reporting on sustainability targets.

Big tech continues to produce smartphones that are not designed to last.

“Most device manufacturers subscribe to a ‘planned obsolescence’ paradigm, rather than circular economy – for example, big tech continues to produce smartphones that are not designed to last.”

McLean’s recent research with Dr Sophia Maalsen (University of Sydney) and Dr Lisa Lake (UTS) found that while university students, staff and affiliates were concerned about the sustainability of digital technologies, there was a big gap between their intentions and actual practices of sustainability in their everyday digital lives.

“People expressed concern for the sustainability of their digital technologies, but they had limited opportunities to do anything substantive about this issue,” she says.

Digital ‘solutionism’ the wrong approach

Concepts like the paperless office, remote work and virtual conferences often come with a promise of lower environmental impacts – but McLean says these can be examples of ‘digital solutionism’.

E-harm: Digital activity has a surprisingly high environmental impact, says Dr Jessica McLean, who has recently published a book on the topic.

“It’s time to question whether being digital is always the most sustainable solution,” she says.

McLean says that our society is becoming increasingly entangled in the digital via the exponential growth of intensely data driven activities and devices, from the Internet of Things to Big Data and AI.

However, she points out that this digital immersion isn’t universal.

“There are uneven patterns and gaps in these digital affordances, both within Australia and across the Global South,” she says.

Her book, Changing Digital Geographies, explores alternatives to our current exponential digital growth, and its impact on our natural world.

“There are many alternatives for how we live digitally, from making decisions about what’s ‘good enough’ to changing the whole digital lifecycle and the way it is regulated,” she says.

“Individuals cannot be expected to resolve these issues, governments need to regulate and corporations need to act, to improve our digital future and make it sustainable.”

August 22, 2022 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Islanders in Latin America face relocation, because of climate change.

 Some 2,000 islanders in Guna Yala will become one of the first indigenous
communities in Latin America to relocate because of climate change.
Islander Magdalena Martínez, who has campaigned for new housing on the
mainland, tells the BBC how she feels about leaving the island she grew up

The Panama government estimates all islands of the Guna people could be
under water by 2050, based on forecasts by an independent group of
scientists, although others think the islands may not all be submerged
until the end of the century.

 BBC 20th Aug 2022

August 21, 2022 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment