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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Ready at last for cleaning up Kyrgyzstan’s old uranium sites

Kyrgyzstan one step closer to remediation of uranium legacy sites https://www.timesca.com/index.php/news/18505-kyrgyzstan-one-step-closer-to-remediation-of-uranium-legacy-sites, 18 August 2017BISHKEK (TCA) — The EU welcomes the swift ratification by Kyrgyzstan of an agreement that allows environmental remediation in a number of uranium legacy sites in the country to go ahead, the Delegation of the European Union to the Kyrgyz Republic said on August 18.

All the basic conditions are now in place to start actual remediation work. Support has been provided to the Kyrgyz Government on the matter as part of the EU’s environmental strategy for Central Asia. The importance of these initiatives was once more confirmed in June when the EU discussed the overall progress of this environmental strategy.

The areas concerned are the uranium legacy sites of Min-Kush, Shekaftar and Mailuu-Suu. The EU has funded technical studies and environmental impact assessment. These studies allow remediation work to first start in Min-Kush and Shekaftar.

It is now clear what needs to be done to improve the living conditions in the areas. Remediation work will be implemented through the EBRD managed multilateral Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA). The EU is currently the only contributor to the ERA fund with an initial contribution of €16.5 million.

The preparatory work done so far is also supported by a Strategic Master Plan for Environmental Remediation of Uranium Legacy Sites in Central Asia. This plan was prepared under the leadership of the IAEA and it has further strengthened the technical basis on which the activities are to be done.

As a next step, the Kyrgyz Government is asked to set up the necessary structures to manage the projects. Technical assistance will be provided.

The Strategic Master Plan will be signed in September during the IAEA’s General Conference. At the same time in New York a special event will take place to further explain and discuss the progress made following a UN resolution of 2013 calling for international support to mitigate the risks in Central Asia as a result of the uranium legacy.

August 19, 2017 Posted by | environment, Kyrgyzstan | Leave a comment

Radioactive materials unearthed by construction workers at the Flamanville nuclear site

Jersey Evening Post 15th Aug 2017, TRACES of radioactive material have been unearthed by construction workers
at the Flamanville nuclear site – less than 30 miles from Jersey’s
coast.

The incident has been reported to the French nuclear regulator ASN
– the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire – and has been classed as a
‘Significant Environmental Event’. Employees were said to have been in
the process of clearing 8,700 tons of non-nuclear waste as part of a larger
project to build a car park, when they came across nearly 100 suits used by
technicians working in zones exposed to nuclear activities. A spokesman for
the plant said that the construction had been stopped following the
incident and that some of the waste had been in the ground since 1989.
http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2017/08/15/radioactive-material-unearthed-at-p

August 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, France | Leave a comment

The weapons industry is polluting our environment – Potomac River as an example

How War Pollutes the Potomac River, DAVID SWANSON AND PAT ELDER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT, 17 AUG 17,  The Pentagon’s impact on the river on whose bank it sits is not simply the diffuse impact of global warming and rising oceans contributed to by the U.S. military’s massive oil consumption. The U.S. military also directly poisons the Potomac River in more ways than almost anyone would imagine.

Let’s take a cruise down the Potomac from its source in the mountains of West Virginia to its mouth at the Chesapeake Bay. The journey down this mighty waterway details six EPA Superfund sites created by the Pentagon’s reckless disregard for the fragile ecosystem of the Potomac River watershed.

The U.S. Navy’s Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in Rocket Center, West Virginia, 130 miles north of Washington, is a critical source of contamination in the Potomac River. The on-site disposal of explosive metals and solvent wastes contaminates soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. The groundwater and soil along the river are laced with explosives, dioxins, volatile organic compounds, acids, laboratory and industrial wastes, bottom sludge from solvent recovery, metal plating pretreatment sludge, paints, and thinners. The site also has a beryllium landfill. An active burning area is still used for waste disposal, sprinkling chemical dust over the river. It’s not good.

Traveling the river 90 miles further south brings us to Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, the Army’s “proving ground” for the nation’s biological warfare program. Anthrax, Phosgene, and radioactive carbon, sulfur, and phosphorous are buried here. The groundwater is laced with deadly trichloroethylene, a human carcinogen, and tetrachloroethene, suspected of causing tumors in laboratory animals. The Army tested ghastly and heinous agents here, like Bacillus globigii, Serratia marcescens, and Escherichia coli. Although the DOD says it ceased biological weapons testing for offensive purposes in 1971, the claim is like the military’s placement of “defensive” missile systems near an enemy’s border.

Fort Detrick also has a history of dumping high levels of phosphorus into its drain system that ultimately washes into the lower Monocacy River, a tributary of the Potomac. In fact, the Maryland Department of Environment has cited the Army for exceeding allowable permit levels. Too much phosphorus in the water causes algae to grow faster than the Potomac ecosystem can handle. It is deadly. The Army is a leading polluter of the Potomac River watershed……..

The Potomac is far from unique. Sixty-nine percent of U.S. Superfund environmental disaster sites are the result of war preparations.

Preparations for war cost over 10 times the money that actual wars do, and cause at least 10 times the deaths. Routine U.S. military war preparations cause deaths by diverting resources from human needs and directly through massive environmental destruction spread all over the world including in the United States, and including in the Potomac.

So-called foreign intervention in civil wars around the world is, according to comprehensive studies, 100 times more likely — not where there is suffering, not where there is cruelty, not where there is a threat to the world, but where the country at war has large reserves of oil or the intervener has a high demand for oil.

The U.S. military is the top consumer of petroleum around, burning more of it than most entire countries, and burning much of it in routine preparations for more wars. There are military planes that can cause more damage with jet fuel in 10 minutes than you can with gasoline driving your car for a year.

All such calculations omit the environmental destruction done by private weapons makers and by their weapons. The U.S. is the leading exporter of war weapons to the rest of the world.

All such calculations also omit much of the damage and all of the details of the human suffering. The U.S. military burns toxic waste in the open, near its own troops in places like Iraq, near the homes of the people who live in the countries it has invaded, and within the United States in many — often poor and minority — communities such as Colfax, Louisiana, and at Dahlgren on the Potomac.

Much of the damage is essentially permanent, such as the poison of depleted uranium, used in places like Syria and Iraq. But this is true in locations all around the United States as well. Near St. Louis, Missouri, an underground fire is moving ever closer to an underground pile of radioactive waste.

And then there is the Potomac River. It flows south between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in Washington, D.C. on the east, and Arlington, Virginia, on the west, where the Pentagon Lagoon brings the water up to the headquarters of world militarism.

Not only does the home of war making sit near rising waters — rising first and foremost because of the effects of war making, but those particular waters — the waters of the Potomac and of the Chesapeake Bay into which it flows, and the tides of which raise and lower the waters of the Pentagon Lagoon each day — are heavily polluted by war preparations.

This is why we are planning and invite you to join in a kayactivist flotilla to the Pentagon on September 16th. We need to bring the demand of No More Oil for Wars to the doorstep of our leading destroyer of the environment.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBookhttp://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/how-war-pollutes-the-potomac-river

August 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Effects of the nuclear industry – environmental risks in 31 countries

Town & Country Planning Association (accessed) 17th Aug 2017, Prof Andrew Blowers: In the first of a series of articles on the local and social legacies of nuclear energy, Andrew Blowers looks at where and why
these legacies have come to pass.

The nuclear industry has left its visible and invisible footprint in landscapes of risk encountered in the 31
countries in which nuclear energy has been developed.

In several countries the mark is, as yet, small, related to one or two operating nuclear
reactors. At the other extreme there are those countries with
long-established nuclear industries, some involved in both the civil and
military sectors, where nuclear operations, including electricity
generation, reprocessing and experimental processes, are intermixed with
redundant facilities, nuclear wastes, and radioactive discharges onto land
and into water and emissions into the atmosphere.  https://www.tcpa.org.uk/journal

August 18, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Increase in harmful algal blooms in US freshwaters due to climate change

Climate change projected to significantly increase harmful algal blooms in US freshwaters, Phys Org, 
August 15, 2017, Harmful algal blooms known to pose risks to human and environmental health in large freshwater reservoirs and lakes are projected to increase because of climate change, according to a team of researchers led by a Tufts University scientist. The team developed a modeling framework that predicts that the largest increase in cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) would occur in the Northeast region of the United States, but the biggest economic harm would be felt by recreation areas in the Southeast.

The research, which is published in print today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is part of larger, ongoing efforts among scientists to quantify and monetize the degree to which climate change will impact and damage various U.S. sectors…….

It has been estimated that lakes and reservoirs serving as drinking water sources for 30 million to 48 million Americans may be contaminated periodically by algal toxins. Researchers cited an example in 2014, when nearly 500,000 residents of Toledo, Ohio, lost access to drinking water after water drawn from Lake Erie revealed the presence of cyanotoxins……..https://phys.org/news/2017-08-climate-significantly-algal-blooms-freshwaters.html

August 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA, water | Leave a comment

Proposed nuclear waste site – too close to Ottawa River

Bloc Quebecois, environmentalists wary of proposed nuclear waste disposal plan, Mylene Crete, The Canadian Press , August 11, 2017 CHALK RIVER, Ont. — A proposed nuclear waste disposal site on land around Chalk River Laboratories is too close to the Ottawa River, says Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet.

A significant percentage of Quebecers use the river for their drinking water and a leak could be catastrophic, Ouellet told reporters while touring the nuclear facilities in Chalk River, Ont., earlier this week.

“Radioactivity, just like heavy crude oil, doesn’t go away,” she said. “You can’t say, ‘we have contamination, we are going to clean it up.’ It can’t be cleaned.”……

Ottawa subcontracts the management of the site to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a consortium of four engineering and tech companies including SNC-Lavalin and Rolls-Royce.

CNL says it wants to consolidate all the nuclear waste around the site in one location, so it can be monitored, contained and isolated…….

Ouellet said CNL didn’t look for other disposal sites further away from the river.

“I have not been reassured because their so-called best site, it’s located on their territory of Chalk River and they didn’t look outside the area because of the costs involved,” she said. Kehler said CNL did look for other locations.

“We have considered the possibility of moving radioactive material elsewhere, but people wouldn’t be in favour of that,” Kehler said. “And the waste is already here.”

CNL’s plan is to create a facility that can hold up to 1,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste for up to 50 years.

Benoit Delage, an environmentalist in Quebec’s Outaouais region, said it’s a bad idea.

“The idea of building a nuclear waste depot one kilometre away from a river that feeds a large part of the Quebec population, there is something missing there,” he said. “Anyone can tell you it doesn’t make sense.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission needs to conduct an environmental review of CNL’s depot proposal.

Public consultations will also take place. Quebec’s environment minister has asked the federal government to hold the hearings in Quebec in order for them to be close to the people potentially impacted by the plan. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/bloc-quebecois-environmentalists-wary-of-proposed-nuclear-waste-disposal-plan-1.3542320

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Canada, wastes, water | Leave a comment

Under Trump administration, dramatic drop in EPA fines against polluters

EPA fines collected against polluters dropped 60% under Trump, report says, By Miranda Green, CNN August 10, 2017 Washington (CNN) The amount of money the Environmental Protection Agency is penalizing polluters they’ve sued for breaching federal regulations has plummeted by 60% under President Donald Trump, a report released Thursday has found.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Indigenous Peoples’ movement surpasses other social movements and they are best guardians of Earth’s biodiversity

Guardian, 9 Aug 17  Interview with UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Today is the United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, numbering an estimated 370 million in 90 countries and speaking roughly 7,000 languages. To mark it, the Guardian interviews Kankanaey Igorot woman Victoria Tauli-Corpuz about the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which she calls “historic” and was adopted 10 years ago.

Tauli-Corpuz, from the Philippines, was Chair of the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues when the Declaration was adopted, and is currently the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In this interview, conducted via email, she explains why the Declaration is so important, argues that governments are failing to implement it, and claims that the struggle for indigenous rights “surpasses” other great social movements of the past:

DH: Why is the UN Declaration so important?

VTC: [It’s] so important because it enshrines and affirms the inherent or pre-existing collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the individual human rights of indigenous persons. It is a framework for justice and reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and states, and applies international human rights standards to the specific historical, cultural, social and economic circumstances of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a standard-setting resolution of profound significance as it reflects a wide consensus at the global level on the minimum content of the rights of indigenous peoples. It is a remedial tool which addresses the need to overcome and repair the historical denial of the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples, and affirms their equality to all other members of society.

DH: How significant an achievement was it?

 VTC: In the 1970s Indigenous Peoples had brought to the UN’s attention the problems and issues they were facing, which led the UN to establish the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. ……..

DH: What do you think of the mainstream media’s portrayal of indigenous peoples?

VTC: I think that there has been an increase in media coverage over the years. I’m glad to see less coverage that portrays us as primitive, but sometimes the media fails to capture the fact that we are not anti-development. We are also seeing more media coverage – but still not enough – on the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to global goals on climate, poverty and peace. If Indigenous Peoples’ rights are not secured and protected, it will be impossible for the world to deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Secure land rights for Indigenous Peoples is a proven climate change solution, and denying indigenous land rights and self-determination is a threat to the world’s remaining forests and biodiversity. It is also a primary cause of poverty. Many indigenous communities face intractable poverty despite living on resource-rich lands because their rights are not respected and their self-determined development is not supported. Protecting the rights of indigenous women, who are often responsible for both their communities’ food security and for managing their forests, is particularly important. Finally, undocumented land rights are a primary cause of conflict and a threat to investment in developing countries. Securing their rights can help mitigate these conflicts and create a more peaceful world.

DH: Finally, do you think the struggle for indigenous peoples’ rights and territories is comparable to any of the other great social movements in the past?

VTC: I think the Indigenous Peoples’ movement surpasses other social movements. They have struggled against colonisation for more than 500 years and continue against forms of colonisation and racism. At the same time, they continue to construct and reconstruct their communities and practice their cultural values of collectivity, solidarity with nature, and reciprocity even amidst serious challenges. Many still fight to protect their territories, which makes their movement different from others. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2017/aug/09/indigenous-peoples-are-the-best-guardians-of-the-worlds-biodiversity

August 11, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Questioning whether nuclear energy can truly be classified as “clean”

OF NUCLEAR INTEREST: Proposed clean energy updates, Wicked Local Plymouth, 9 Aug 17,  Last year, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection proposed adding six new regulations as well as amendments to existing regulations designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the commonwealth……

One of the six updates that may be of particular interest to South Shore residents is the Clean Energy Standard. The CES essentially requires sellers of electricity to purchase increasing amounts of “clean” energy for use by their customers, and is designed to increase the percentage of electricity sold to consumers that is generated by clean energy sources.
Which generators qualify as a “clean energy source,” according to the CES? As written, eligibility is determined using an emissions-based threshold and is limited to generators built after 2010. This includes large hydroelectric generators, nuclear power plants, and certain fossil fuel plants.

While we commend the state’s efforts to promote energy efficiency and clean energy, we strongly believe that clean energy sources need to be defined, not just by emissions in Massachusetts, but the total impact caused by the technology. This is especially true for environmental impacts, including associated pollution with mining and operations, pipeline emissions, and ultimate transportation and management of waste products.

Nuclear waste in Massachusetts, for example, is currently stranded on the Cape Cod Bay shoreline with no repository or solution in sight. This exceptionally dangerous waste will remain a threat for hundreds of thousands of years, and dealing with it over time requires enormous investment in energy for transport, security, and problem solving. Not exactly the definition of “clean.”……

MassDEP is scheduled to announce final regulations this month. Let’s hope that Massachusetts stays the course, and older nuclear plants are not eligible under the CES. Such an action would divert credits and incentive away from truly clean energy advancement and technologies, and shackle our region to serious and unresolved problems for years to come.

Karen Vale-Vasilev manages Jones River Watershed Association’s (JRWA) Cape Cod Bay Watch program. JRWA has its offices on the banks of the river in Kingston, eight miles from Pilgrim.

August 11, 2017 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Global ocean circulation appears to be slowing due to global warming

 https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2017/08/03/global-ocean-circulation-appears-to-be-collapsing-due-to-a-warming-planet/amp/Trevor Nace Aug 3, 2017 Global ocean circulation appears to be slowing

Scientists have long known about the anomalous “warming hole” in the North Atlantic Ocean, an area immune to warming of Earth’s oceans. This cool zone in the North Atlantic Ocean appears to be associated with a slowdown in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), one of the key drivers in global ocean circulation.

A recent study published in Nature outlines research by a team of Yale University and University of Southhampton scientists. The team found evidence that Arctic ice loss is potentially negatively impacting the planet’s largest ocean circulation system. While scientists do have some analogs as to how this may impact the world, we will be largely in uncharted territory.

AMOC is one of the largest current systems in the Atlantic Ocean and the world. Generally speaking, it transports warm and salty water northward from the tropics to South and East of Greenland. This warm water cools to ambient water temperature then sinks as it is saltier and thus denser than the relatively more fresh surrounding water. The dense mass of water sinks to the base of the North Atlantic Ocean and is pushed south along the abyss of the Atlantic Ocean.

This process whereby water is transported into the Northern Atlantic Ocean acts to distribute ocean water globally. What’s more important, and the basis for concern of many scientists is this mechanism is one of the most efficient ways Earth transports heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The warm water transported from the tropics to the North Atlantic releases heat to the atmosphere, playing a key role in warming of western Europe. You likely have heard of one of the more popular components of the AMOC, the Gulf Stream which brings warm tropical water to the western coasts of Europe.

Evidence is growing that the comparatively cold zone within the Northern Atlantic could be due to a slowdown of this global ocean water circulation. Hence, a slowdown in the planet’s ability to transfer heat from the tropics to the northern latitudes. The cold zone could be due to melting of ice in the Arctic and Greenland. This would cause a cold fresh water cap over the North Atlantic, inhibiting sinking of salty tropical waters. This would in effect slow down the global circulation and hinder the transport of warm tropical waters north.

NOAA

Measured trend in temperature variations from 1900 to 2012.

Melting of the Arctic sea ice has rapidly increased in the recent decades. Satellite image records indicate that September Arctic sea ice is 30% less today than it was in 1979. This trend of increased sea ice melting during summer months does not appear to be slowing. Hence, indications are that we will see a continued weakening of the global ocean circulation system.

This scenario of a collapse in AMOC and global ocean circulation is the premise for the movie “The Day After Tomorrow.” As a disclaimer, the plot line in which much of New England and Western Europe gets plunged into an ice age is significantly over exaggerated and unrealistic on human time scales.

While geologists have studied events in the past similar to what appears to be happening today, scientists are largely unsure of what lies ahead.

Trevor Naceis a geologist, Forbes contributor, founder of Science Trends, and adventurer.Follow his journey@trevornace

August 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

“Biological Annihilation” – global warming’s effect on plant and animal species

Dahr Jamail | Scientists Warn of “Biological Annihilation” as Warming Reaches Levels Unseen for 115,000 YearsJuly 31, 2017By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report Camp 41, Brazilian Amazon –– Less than 30 years ago, the Earth’s tropical rainforests held the carbon equivalent of half of the entire atmosphere. But as atmospheric CO2 has escalated along with the deforestation of so much of the tropics, that is no longer the case. Nevertheless, carbon stored in tropical rainforests is still significant. According to NASA, “In the early 2000s, forests in the 75 tropical countries studied contained 247 billion tons of carbon. For perspective, about 10 billion tons of carbon is released annually to the atmosphere from combined fossil fuel burning and land use changes.” This is one of the countless reasons why losing them would be catastrophic to life on Earth.

I’m writing this dispatch just having emerged from the heart of the Amazon, the most biodiverse place on the planet. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Tom Lovejoy, known as the “Godfather of Biodiversity,” at the famous Camp 41, which is filled with researchers and scientists. Throughout our conversations, Lovejoy emphasized the staggering amount of biological diversity in the Amazon, which has thousands upon thousands of species of trees, fish, birds, plants and astronomical numbers of insect species.

“We’ve only scratched the surface, and are discovering new species of birds all the time,” said Lovejoy, who was the first person to use the term “biological diversity” in 1980 and made the first projection of global extinction rates in the “Global 2000 Report to the President” that same year……..

Lovejoy warns that as anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD)  progresses and temperature limits continue to be exceeded, we are losing parts of the biosphere that we don’t even know exist……..

Having long since warned that the Sixth Mass Extinction event is already well underway, in a study recently published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers said that billions of populations of animals have already disappeared from Earth, amid what they called a “biological annihilation,” and admitted that their findings revealed a situation that was worse than they’d previously thought. The study showed that more than 30 percent of all vertebrates are experiencing declining populations, and the prime drivers of the annihilation are human overpopulation and overconsumption, especially by the rich, as well as habitat destruction, pollution and of course, ACD…..

recently published research generated at Cornell University revealed that by 2100, a staggering 2 billion people, or one-fifth of the total global human population, could become ACD refugees due to rising seas alone.

“We’re going to have more people on less land and sooner than we think,” lead author Charles Geisler, professor emeritus of development sociology at Cornell, said. “The future rise in global mean sea level probably won’t be gradual. Yet, few policy makers are taking stock of the significant barriers to entry that coastal climate refugees, like other refugees, will encounter when they migrate to higher ground.”…..

Water: As usual, there is ample evidence of ACD’s impacts across the watery realms…..

Air: Hot temperature records and extreme heat waves continue to be the norm, and they are intensifying…..http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41425-biological-annihilation-trillion-ton-icebergs-warming-levels-unseen-for-115-000-years

August 2, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

City of Broomfield and WCRA oppose DOE’s plan to breach a Rocky Flats dam: risk of radioactively polluting waterways

Rocky Flats dam removal dredges up contamination concerns, Boulder Weekly ,By Josh Schlossberg -June 29, 2017,    The City of Broomfield and the Woman Creek Reservoir Authority (WCRA), a political subdivision and public corporation of the State of Colorado, are opposed to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plan to breach a dam on a pond collecting surface water flowing from Rocky Flats, the former nuclear weapons facility site 10 miles south of Boulder.

DOE has contended that the dam on Pond C-2 is “no longer necessary to site operations” and wants to remove it sometime between 2018-2020 to return surface water flow to Woman Creek, thereby enhancing streamside wildlife habitat and encouraging wetlands. Removal would cause “no significant impact,” as determined by an environmental assessment conducted under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Getting rid of the dam would also cut DOE costs related to inspection, reporting and upkeep, which WCRA estimates to be around $17,000 per year.

Yet according to a 2016 document prepared for WCRA by Boulder-based Hydros Consulting Inc., removal of the dam would “represent an irreversible loss of an effective contingency to protect downstream water quality” in Standley Lake, the drinking water supply for Westminster, Northglenn and Thornton, also used for irrigation, fishing, boating and water skiing.

Alan King, director of public works for the City and County of Broomfield, wrote in his June 2010 correspondence with DOE that the breach would “clearly increase the potential for uncontrolled releases of contaminated surface water off-site that would negatively impact downstream watersheds and expose downstream communities to additional risks.”

Pond C-2 is located on the border of the former Rocky Flats facility site 1.25 miles upstream of the Woman Creek Reservoir, the latter of which was built in 1996 to capture Rocky Flats runoff and keep it from reaching Standley Lake. The pond is currently operated in “batch-and-release mode,” where it is allowed to fill to roughly half capacity, and then discharged up to two times per year, according to DOE’s Environmental Assessment.

“Significant [plutonium] and [americium] contamination remains in surface soils on the DOE-retained land in the Woman Creek drainage, particularly on the 903Pad Hillside, with [radioactive] mass loading to Pond C-2 comparable to pre-closure conditions,” Hydros Consulting documented.

The 903Pad is an area of Rocky Flats where more than 5,000 buried barrels of liquid radioactive waste leaked, contaminating an estimated 261,000 square feet of soil before they were removed, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).   

GS51 is a surface water sampling location within the former facility site just south of the 903Pad and upstream of a ditch which DOE says flows “quite infrequently” into Pond C-2. On October 4, 2013, a month after the flood of 2013, GS51 “recorded elevated levels of plutonium in excess of the applicable standard,” according to a September 2015 memo from the Town of Superior Trustees to the Rocky Flats Stewardship Council.

King noted that Pond C-2 also receives runoff from several other areas that have “residual contamination.”

“Elevated readings for uranium have been recorded in this pond, and DOE-LM acknowledges that it is not 100 percent natural uranium,” wrote King.

On April 4, 2016, water samples collected on Woman Creek reached 0.313pCi/L (picocuries per liter) for plutonium and 0.17pCi/L for americium, “the first sample over 0.15pCi/L in more than 20 years of sampling…” according to Hydros Consulting.

Surface water samples “indicate that solids transported in runoff … have, at times, been above the Site closure cleanup target for surface soils” of 50pCi/g (picocuries per gram), occurring “in four out of five of the most recent years,” mostly attributed to plutonium.

Playing with fire

Typical events aside, the City of Broomfield and WCRA fear that a wildfire or landslide in contaminated areas within Rocky Flats may result in further downstream contamination…….http://www.boulderweekly.com/news/breach-of-trust/

July 31, 2017 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Greenland ice sheet might start to melt “faster and faster”

Independent 25th July 2017, Scientists are “very worried” that the Greenland ice sheet might start to
melt “faster and faster”, a leading scientist has said. The problem is that
the warmer weather is allowing more dark algae to grow on the ice. Because
ice is white, it reflects much of the sun’s energy, but dark algae absorb
the heat, increasing the rate of melting. The Greenland ice sheet is up to
3km thick and would raise sea levels by seven metres if it all melted into
the sea. The current rate of melting is adding about 1mm a year to the
global average sea level.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-scientists-greenland-ice-sheet-melt-faster-worried-algae-a7858876.html

July 28, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Radioactive particles at St Bees beach, UK

Radiation Free Lakeland 27th July 2017, Peter Bullard the Director of Cumbria Wildlife Trust told campaigners:
“Cumbria Wildlife Trust has been holding this event on the beach at St
Bees for a number of years. You have been raising the issue of safety for a
number of years. The beach is considered a safe place for children to play
by the relevant authorities. We have carried out a risk assessment of the
event and will be holding the event again this year.”

On 30th July. Radiation Free Lakeland point out that the Sellafield Annual Report(pdf)
states that one of the last radioactive particles to be picked up from St
Bees was a tiny metal particle of Cobalt 60 which is a synthetic
radioactive isotope of cobalt with a half-life of 5.2714 years. It is
produced artificially in nuclear reactors.

CWT insist that all radioactive particles have been picked up from St Bees beach. However, Sellafield
themselves admit that their monitoring is limited, they do not pick up all
radioactive particles, monitoring stops over Easter, Summer and Christmas
in order not to frighten beach users. The tide comes in twice a day.

As well as the award Cumbria Wildlife Trust will receive a new report
commissioned by Radiation Free Lakeland and written by the Edinburgh Energy
and Environment Consultancy. The report focuses on the environmental impact
of nuclear reactors and states: “…scientific ignorance of the subject
was so great that eventually the nuclear industry was forced to admit that
sea disposal, particularly in the Irish Sea, had really been an enormous
experiment, but an unfortunate one.

In fact, both soluble and insoluble nuclides can travel for at least several hundreds of kilometres and both
are available for transport out of the sea area of their initial discharge.
Deposition of suspended sediments and their associated radioactivity occurs
(under the influence of a range of mechanisms) into estuarine and coastal
sub tidal sediments, estuarine and coastal fringing inter-tidal mud and
salt flats and offshore sub-tidal sediment deposits.
https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/the-last-radioactive-particle-has-been-removed-from-st-bees-cumbria-wildlife-trust-presented-with-award/

July 28, 2017 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

World watching Australian government – ready to sacrifice the Great Barrier Reef for Adani coal interests?

Australia’s Greatest (Dying) Global Asset, JULY 26, 2017 “……..on a local level, it’s a magnet for tourism that generates around $6 billion ($4.8 billion USD) a year. This is what the Australian government seemed intent on protecting when it removed all references to the reef and the way it was being ruined by warming waters, among other things, from a United Nations report on climate change last year.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, environment, politics | Leave a comment