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Nuclear power plants in the path of oncoming Cyclone Nisarga

June 4, 2020 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

Climate Experts Predict ‘Grim Future’ For Nuclear Power 

Climate Experts Predict ‘Grim Future’ For Nuclear Power 

In FOI documents seen by VICE, academics advising the UK government’s nuclear watchdog warn of a climate-invoked disaster.  VICE, By Rick Lyons; illustrated by Ella Strickland de Souza  3 June 20, 

On 30th January, 1607, a massive storm surge swept up the Bristol channel, swamping large parts of Devon, Somerset, Gloucestershire and South Wales. It is estimated that 2,000 people or more drowned, as houses and villages were swept away and around 200 square miles of farmland inundated. In the Church of All Saints at Kingston Seymour, near Weston-super-Mare, a chiselled mark remains showing that the water reached 7.74 metres above sea level.
Some 412 years on from that tragic event, an academic chose to recall it in a talk he was giving. They did so not because it was an interesting slice of British meteorological history, but in order to warn that it could happen again. And the audience they wanted to warn? The people in charge of Britain’s nuclear power stations.
In fact, that warning was just one of several sobering analyses given the same day at a meeting of academics advising the government’s nuclear watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), on climate change risks. The little known and catchily named Expert Panel on Natural Hazards – Meteorological and Coastal Flood Hazards Sub-Panel meets to advise the ONR once a year. The minutes and presentation slides of the last meeting, which took place at the ONR head office in Bootle, Merseyside, in May 2019, have been obtained by VICE under the Freedom of Information Act. They make interesting, if not alarming, reading.
For starters, according to the academics – whose names were all redacted – climate change-related heatwaves could lead to a nuclear disaster. Or in their words: “significant heat waves of persistent high temperatures are likely to occur” so that “the ability of Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) plant to maintain required temperature limits could be challenged, potentially leading to a plant shutdown and the risk of an accident”. This matters because, as the academics point out, the UK is set for more frequent and intense heatwaves and we have eight operational nuclear power stations, with three more in the pipeline – Bradwell B, Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C.
Specific words of caution were given to the builders of Hinkley Point C. Currently under construction at an estimated cost of £22.9 billion, it is the flagship project of the new generation of nuclear power stations from the Nuclear New Build (NNB) Generation Company, a spin-off of EDF Energy. It is due to operate from 2025 until 2085 when it will be retired, or decommissioned. This 60-year lifespan is significant as our planet may change quite a bit during that time. “It is possible,” one academic said, “that by the time HPC is decommissioned the planet will be 4C warmer with many extreme weather events, and therefore with significant design implications for NNB.”
The 1607 flood was not the only historical comparison used to illustrate future risks. Our nuclear power stations must be able to withstand events “worse” than both that devastating flood and the Great Storm of 1703, one speaker said. It’s been argued that the Great Storm, an extratropical cyclone, was the worst Britain has ever experienced. It brought down thousands of trees and chimneys and some estimates put the death toll up to 15,000. It occurred around the birth of journalism; Daniel Defoe penned a whole book about it, The Storm. He wrote: “No pen could describe it, nor tongue express it, nor thought conceive it unless by one in the extremity of it.”
Another presentation at the meeting looked at the possibility of “black swan” storm surges and waves. A black swan was ominously defined as a “high-consequence event that has never been previously observed”. The possibility of a black swan event that causes massive coastal flooding is a big deal to nuclear power stations as they’re all on the coast to use seawater for cooling. The Fukushima disaster stands as an example of what can happen. In 2011, the tsunami in Japan caused three nuclear meltdowns, three hydrogen explosions and a radiation leak which led to residents being evacuated within a 20km radius.

The result of research into black swans – called “Synthesising Unprecedented Coastal Conditions: Extreme Storm Surges” aka SUCCESS – was presented at the meeting. It was important to conduct this research, the academic said, because “the storm surge of 5th December 2013 caused sea levels in many parts of the country that were the highest ever recorded and begs the obvious question – could they have been worse?”

In other words: we’re likely to see storms on a scale never seen before and the only way to get a handle on them is to model their impact using software. One conclusion of modelling these “artificially enhanced events” was that we could see black swan coastal floods which reach close to 6m above sea level.

All in all, the presentations and discussions at the meeting would not have been particularly welcome to the ONR, whose job it is to make sure nuclear power stations are built to standards that guarantee public safety. In a statement to VICE, an ONR spokesperson said “ONR requires that nuclear new build sites are able to withstand extreme natural hazards, by designing against a one in 10,000 year event. Sites must identify these external hazards, which include the impact of climate change, and demonstrate that they are adequately protected against them throughout the lifetime of the facility.”

As one of the experts at the meeting put it, it was “grim news”. But exactly how worried should we be?
On one hand, 1607-scale floods, heatwaves compromising nuclear safety and Black Swan storms doesn’t sound particularly good. On the other, the ONR stipulates that nuclear power stations must be built to withstand “external hazards” so severe they only occur, on average, once every 10,000 years. That seems incredibly robust. However, there a few things to think about here. Firstly, how do you work out what a “once in every 10,000 year event” is? The past isn’t a good guide to future extreme weather in the age of climate change. Modelling may not be especially accurate either. In the words of one academic from the meeting minutes: “Climate and weather models are not good enough.”
The limitations of climate projections are currently being borne out in the real world. Nick Ely national coastal modelling & forecasting manager for the Environment Agency says: “It’s increasingly becoming apparent that defences designed over the last 50 years, using the best evidence at time including climate change, are now no longer providing the standard of protection to the original planned level.”
Another problem is claiming something can withstand a one in 10,000 year event when climate change is constantly moving the goal posts. An infrastructure project with a 60-year lifespan like Hinkley Point C might be able to withstand a one in 10,000 year event when it opens, but climate change means a one in 10,000 year event may become, for example, a one in 8,000 year event by the time its decommissioned. At the same time, a one in 10,000 year event may become something more extreme that the power station hasn’t been designed to withstand……..

June 4, 2020 Posted by | climate change, UK | Leave a comment

Time that journalists reported on the threat of global heating to the nuclear industry

In this article explaining China’s plans to develop nuclear power, the author states this about nuclear power expansion:
“it does bode well for the climate under any flag. “
China Plans To Dominate The Global Nuclear Energy Push, Oil Price, By Haley Zaremba – Jun 03, 2020,

Really?    Not a mention of the ill effects that climate change has on nuclear power, nor the fact that it, and the uranium mining that feeds it, are highly water guzzling.
Therefore most nuclear reactors are sited near the sea, or near rivers and estuaries.
They have to cut back or even shut down in very hot weather.  They are vulnerable to sea level rise, and extreme events – flooding, hurricanes, wildfires.
Far from nuclear power combatting climate change, it’ds the other way around.

As for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors working against climate change, you would need literally millions of them to be quickly operating around the world, to have any effect on global heating. Time that you journalists told the whole story, not just the nuclear lobby’s version

June 4, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Global ‘hot spots’. Australia very vulnerable to droughts, as planet heats

Australia among global ‘hot spots’ as droughts worsen in warming world, The Age, By Peter Hannam, June 1, 2020 The world’s major food baskets will experience more extreme droughts than previously forecast as greenhouse gases rise, with southern Australia among the worst-hit, climate projections show.

Scientists at the Australian National University and the University of NSW made the findings after running the latest generation of climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Future drought changes were larger and more consistent, the researchers found.

“Australia is one of the hot spots along with the Amazon and the Mediterranean, especially,” said Anna Ukkola, a research fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes and lead author of the paper published in Geophysical Research Letters.

For southern Australia, the shift to longer, more frequent and more intense droughts up to 2100 will be due to greater variability in rainfall rather than a reduction in average rainfall. For the Amazon, both mean rain and variability changes…….

One reason for the prediction of worse droughts is that the latest models assume the climate will respond more than previously understood to increased atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Some of the models used for CMIP6 predict changes of more than 7 degrees in global and Australian temperatures by the end of the century.

Australia’s vulnerability to big shifts in annual rainfall already challenge the country’s farming sector, while also leaving much of the country’s south more at risk of bad bushfire seasons – such as last summer’s – as forests dry out.

The CSIRO has long forecast a large reduction in stream flows in the Murray-Darling Basin, for instance, as reduced cool-season rainfall combines with higher temperatures. Such a trend appears to have already begun.

While a more moderate emissions trajectory will still produce more intense, frequent and longer lasting droughts in most of the world’s mid-latitude regions than current conditions, the shift will be less than if carbon emissions remain near the top of forecasts. ……..

June 2, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

An American nuclear reactor flooded by an extreme rainfall event – during the pandemic

COVID Infects World Nuclear Plants , by Radio Ecoshock


Grant Smith mentioned the climate threat to nuclear installations. We have a case of that right now. The American mid-West has experience record-setting extreme rainfall events. The City of Chicago just had it wettest May, for the third year in a row. All that rain burst two dams in Michigan, flooding out the city of Midland, population 42,000. It also flooded the Dow Chemical plant that has produced noxious chemicals for years, including Agent Orange. The company acknowledges their chemicals have leaked out over the years. It has been declared a Superfund site, among the worst in the country requiring federal cleanup funds. There are chemicals lining the river, now being stirred up by the flood, and washing down into Lake Michigan.

What is less reported is the Dow nuclear reactor at that flooded site. It is a smaller research reactor built in the 1960’s, called a TRIGA 1 model. The reactor is sunk down into the ground. It doesn’t have cooling rods, but depends on convection for water cooling. Although the reactor was not operating at the time of the flood in late May, the design suggest it probably still had nuclear materials inside. Are they now leaking out into the river and Lake Michigan. So far, the company says “no”. With no federal oversight reporting we can rely on, you just have to take the word of Dow Chemical that this reactor is perfectly safe during this extreme rainfall event. Nothing to worry about here, they say. Beyond nearly 400 very large nuclear power plants in the United States, there are thousands of smaller reactors scattered around the country, at Universities, military bases, and private companies. Who is keeping track of those as climate change and a pandemic come knocking at the door?

Here is that unusual event report to the NRC about the Dow Chemical reactor in Michigan. For those who want to dive deeper, here is a description of that Triga Mark I reactor………

June 2, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment


June 1, 2020 Posted by | climate change, health, Russia, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Extreme heat, humidity, air pollution – combined threat to South Asia

May 30, 2020 Posted by | ASIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Michigan flooding: a warning on potential triple disaster – climate, pandemic, and nuclear radiation

Michigan floods expose impossible challenges of mass evacuations during Covid-19 By Paul Gunter 24 May, 20  Two dam failures and major flooding in central Michigan, which also prompted a low-level emergency notification (scroll to NCR event #54719) at a nearby nuclear research reactor in Midland, have exposed the almost impossible challenge of evacuating people to safety during simultaneous catastrophic events.The sudden need to evacuate large numbers of people from severe flooding — also threatening to compromise a Dow chemical facility that uses a research reactor — during a time of national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, raises serious questions and concerns about the emergency response readiness and the viability of evacuation that might simultaneously include a radiological accident.

Michigan authorities were forced to face a “no-win compromise” between protecting the public from exposure to Covid-19 while at the same time moving people out of harm’s way after heavy rains caused failures at the Edenville and Sanford dams, leading to devastating floods.

The Dow plant insists there have been no chemical or radiological releases, but the situation will be evaluated once floodwaters recede. Fortunately, no full-scale commercial nuclear power plant was in the path of the Michigan floods.

Operating nuclear power stations are required by federal and state laws to maintain radiological emergency preparedness to protect populations within a ten-mile radius from the release of radioactivity following a serious nuclear accident. These measures include mass evacuations.

However, many communities around the nation’s 95 commercial reactors are presently sheltering-in-place at home as a protective action during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Michigan flooding has forced the relocation of thousands of citizens from their stay-at-home lockdown into the social distancing challenges of mass shelters. Evacuating tens of thousands from a likely more far-reaching radioactive cloud to mass shelters, as is presently planned during a nuclear emergency, raises difficult if not impossible choices under pandemic conditions.

In fact, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (Sect.03.02 p.2) between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) already obligates the federal government to re-exam radiological emergency plans around nuclear facilities specifically in response to a pandemic, and to identify any shortcomings, deficiencies and enhancements that might be needed under such conditions.

But to date, neither agency has taken the initiative to do so. In fact, the NRC actions are focused on relaxing safety measures required by operating licenses, resulting in extended work hours for reactor operators and security guards, and deferred safety inspections and repairs for as much as another 18 months. This makes an accident more likely.

Given what we are now seeing in Michigan, the NRC and FEMA should lose no time in reviewing their MOU and the viability of their radiological emergency plans, and take action to make any necessary enhancements or shut these nuclear facilities down.

Beyond Nuclear has identified two such actions under the MOU as vital to public health:

  • The NRC and FEMA must conduct a “Disaster Initiated Report”, as mandated by the MOU, on the adequacy of offsite radiological emergency response plans during the pandemic, and;
  • Federal and state response plans need to be bolstered by the immediate pre-distribution of potassium iodide (KI) tablets by direct delivery to every resident within the ten-mile radius of U.S. nuclear power stations, now, before any accident occurs. This is in accordance with disaster medicine expert recommendations including from the American Thyroid Association (ATA).
  • KI, if taken promptly in advance or shortly after exposure to radioactive iodine, is recognized by the US Food and Drug administration as a safe, inexpensive and effective prophylactic prevention for thyroid cancer and other developmental disorders caused by exposure to highly mobile iodine-131. Radioactive iodine is a gas released early in a serious nuclear accident.
  • KI is particularly important for the protection of infants, young children and pregnant women and should be readily on hand, according to the ATA and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    The ATA further recommends stockpiling KI tablets in schools, hospitals, police and fire stations from 10 miles out to 50 miles from every nuclear power plant. These institutions could then serve to pre-distribute KI free through the mail upon request to every home and business within 50 miles of an operating nuclear plant.

    KI is commonly used to iodize table salt in concentrations. When taken in tablet form, it saturates the thyroid with stable iodine and blocks the absorption of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland.

  • KI only protects the thyroid. It does not protect other parts of the body, or prevent damage from other radioactive isotopes released during a nuclear power plant accident, such as cesium-137 or krypton or xenon gases. Ideally, it is used to provide protection to the thyroid — because iodine-131 can be the large and early radioactive exposure first to arrive — while people are still evacuating out of the oncoming radioactive fallout pathway.

    KI is a critical adjunct to evacuation, but it should not replace evacuation from a nuclear accident, even during a viral pandemic. If faced with an immediate threat to life, perhaps even a triple threat such as an extreme flood, a nuclear accident and Covid-19 exposure, evacuation must be the immediate decision.

    However, at least having KI tablets on hand provides for a reasonable protection from the radioactive iodine, a fundamental human right while seeking to shelter farther away from a nuclear accident.

    The prospect of a nuclear disaster prompting a mass evacuation during a viral pandemic reinforces the need for an energy policy focused on safe, clean and affordable renewable energy. It’s time to remove the added and unnecessary danger presented by the 95 nuclear reactors still operating in the US today and transition to a rapid phaseout before a nuclear emergency during a pandemic becomes a nightmarish reality.

May 25, 2020 Posted by | climate change, health, USA | Leave a comment

Australia, and the world, underestimate how many die due to global heating

May 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

The flooding danger to nuclear radioactive sites -Michigan dams fail

May 22, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Climate: Cyclone Amphan disaster in India, Bangladesh

May 22, 2020 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactor threatened by Michigan flooding, but news media ignores this


Current Event Notification Report for May 20, 2020

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Operations Center

Event Reports For
5/19/2020 – 5/20/2020
Event Text


At approximately 1930 EDT on May 19, 2020, the Dow Chemical Company TRIGA Reactor received notification of an upstream dam break in Sanford, Michigan and the potential to flood the facility. A Notification of Unusual Event was subsequently declared at 1930 EDT.

The reactor was in a shutdown condition at the time of the event and has been due to COVID-19.

The licensee is monitoring the flood situation in the area and licensee personnel have responded to the site. The NRC remains in the normal mode of operations.
Notified DHS SWO, FEMA Operations Center, CISA IOCC, FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

May 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Michigan flood – a setback to cleanup of toxic waste Superfund site

Michigan flood displaces thousands, threatens chemical plant    Brynne Connolly  21 May 20, MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Floodwaters have overtaken dams and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people from communities in central Michigan, where the governor warned that Dow Chemical Co.’s hometown could end up under 9 feet of water by Wednesday evening and said the state will investigate the dam operators.

Families living along the Tittabawassee River and connected lakes in Midland County were ordered to leave home Tuesday evening, the second time in less than 24 hours. By Wednesday morning, water several feet deep covered streets, parking lots and parkland and had reached a hotel near the river in downtown Midland.

No injuries or fatalities related to the flooding have been reported, city spokeswoman Selina Tisdale said.

The river topped a previous record of 33.9 feet (10.3 meters) set during flooding in 1986, the National Weather Service said. Its flood stage is 24 feet (7.3 meters), and it was expected to crest by day’s end at about 38 feet (11.6 meters).

The Weather Service urged anyone near the river to seek higher ground following “catastrophic dam failures” at the Edenville Dam, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of Detroit, and the Sanford Dam, about seven miles (11 kilometers) downriver.

Midland City Manager Brad Kaye said Wednesday that the Sanford Dam is overflowing but the extent of structural damage isn’t yet known.

If the entire dam structure were to fail, “there would be a much higher surge that will come down the river and that could raise the level much more quickly than what we’re seeing right at the moment,” Kaye said.

Michigan is under a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The state has been a national hot spot for COVID-19, with more than 52,000 cases and 5,000 deaths, but Midland County has had fewer than 80 cases and under 10 deaths. Still, residents were advised to take precautions and schools set up as shelters spaced cots to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said downtown Midland, a city of 42,000 and home to Dow Chemical Co., faced an especially serious flooding threat.

“In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water,” the governor said during a late Tuesday briefing. “We are anticipating an historic high water level.”

On Wednesday, Whitmer told reporters that her office has been in touch with federal officials and will ask FEMA for support. “This is an event unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” she said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he was closely monitoring the situation and praised first responders. But he also took a jab at Whitmer, whom he has criticized for her stay-at-home orders: “We have sent our best Military & @fema Teams, already there. Governor must now ‘set you free’ to help. Will be with you soon!”

Whitmer said the state would investigate the operators of the dams and “pursue every line of legal recourse we have.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said it has directed Boyce Hydro to establish an independent investigation team to determine the cause of the damage to Sanford Dam, and that it would reach out to state officials regarding the Edenville Dam. It will send an engineer to assist with the investigation when it’s safe to do so.

In 2018, the commission revoked Boyce Hydro’s license to operate the Edenville Dam due to non-compliance issues that included spillway capacity and the inability to pass the most severe flood reasonably possible in the area. That year, the state rated the dam, built in 1924, in unsatisfactory condition.

The Sanford Dam, which was built in 1925, received a fair condition rating. Both are in the process of being sold.

“The initial readout is that this was a known problem for a while and that’s why its important that we do our due diligence,” Whitmer said.

Dow Chemical, with 9,000 employees and contractors in Midland, on Tuesday shut down all operating units except those needed to contain chemicals, spokesman Kyle Bandlow said. By Wednesday, floodwater was mixing with on-site containment ponds prompting the company and U.S. Coast Guard to activate emergency plans, Dow said in a statement.

It said there was no threat to the public or the environment, and that it has uncovered no product releases.

The flooding likely will pose a significant setback to the cleanup of a federal Superfund site caused by Dow’s release of dioxins in the last century, which contaminated sediments and floodplains along 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers, said Allen Burton, a professor of environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan……  

May 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change, environment, USA | Leave a comment

Feds spent 20 years warning Michigan dam was in danger before it failed

Feds spent 20 years warning Michigan dam was in danger before it failed, By Kyle Feldscher

May 21, 2020    Thousands in Michigan evacuate after two dams fail  (CNN)Federal regulators have warned for more than 20 years of inadequate spillways at a Michigan dam that was breached Tuesday, sending floodwaters raging into a city of more than 40,000.

Documents available on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission website show federal regulators warned multiple companies that the Edenville Dam was not ready to handle a massive flood. The federal government threatened large fines against one private company that operated the dam until eventually revoking its license in 2018.
Although federal regulators repeatedly warned about the dam’s inability to handle a large flood, it took years for federal authorities to crack down on the dam’s operator after more than 13 years of cajoling them to abide by the terms of their license…….
The Edenville Dam, built in 1924, failed Tuesday evening, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people from Midland and the surrounding communities. The flood could have lasting environmental effects after waters from the Tittabawassee and Tobacco rivers mixed with a Dow Chemical containment pond and inundated a federal Superfund site downriver that was caused by Dow’s release of dioxins years ago. ……

May 21, 2020 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Global heating is making hurricanes more extreme

Global warming is making hurricanes stronger, study says,  Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 18 May 20 

  • Scientists studied 40 years of satellite images to reach their conclusions.
  • Tropical cyclones are some of nature’s most powerful and destructive storms.
  • Much of the death and destruction from hurricanes comes from storms of Category 3 strength or higher.

Who says we can’t control the weather?

Human-caused global warming has strengthened the wind speeds of hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones around the globe, a new study released Monday said.

These storms, collectively known as tropical cyclones, are some of nature’s most powerful and destructive storms. Category 5 Hurricane Dorian, for example, laid waste to portions of the Bahamas last year as the storm’s 185-mph winds cut through the nation like a buzzsaw.

Scientists studied 40 years of satellite images to reach their conclusions.

“Our results show that these storms have become stronger on global and regional levels, which is consistent with expectations of how hurricanes respond to a warming world,” said study lead author James Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Global warming, aka climate change, is caused by the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. This has caused the planet to warm to levels that cannot be explained by natural factors.

The study was led by scientists from NOAA and the University of Wisconsin and was published in the peer-reviewed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not involved in the study, said the findings were “much in line with what’s expected,” according to the New York Times.

Scientists said that the chances of hurricanes becoming a Category 3 or higher have increased each of the past four decades. Much of the death and destruction from hurricanes comes from storms of Category 3 strength or higher, which are known as “major” hurricanes…….

May 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment