nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19

Jane Goodall on conservation, climate change and COVID-19: “If we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves”  BY JEFF BERARDELLI JULY 2, 2020 CBS NEWS   While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world’s collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world’s been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of “biological annihilation” may soon be “unimaginable.”Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity’s existence.

CBS News recently spoke to Goodall over a video conference call and asked her questions about the state of our planet. Her soft-spoken grace somehow helped cushion what was otherwise extremely sobering news: “I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it,” warned Goodall.

What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation.

Jeff Berardelli: Destruction of nature is causing some really big concerns around the world. One that comes to the forefront right now is emergent diseases like COVID-19. Can you describe how destruction of the environment contributes to this?

Dr. Jane Goodall: Well, the thing is, we brought this on ourselves because the scientists that have been studying these so-called zoonotic diseases that jump from an animal to a human have been predicting something like this for so long. As we chop down at stake tropical rainforest, with its rich biodiversity, we are eating away the habitats of millions of animals, and many of them are being pushed into greater contact with humans. We’re driving deeper and deeper, making roads throughout the habitat, which again brings people and animals in contact with each other. People are hunting the animals and selling the meat, or trafficking the infants, and all of this is creating environments which are perfect for a virus or a bacteria to cross that species barrier and sometimes, like COVID-19, it becomes very contagious and we’re suffering from it.

But we know if we don’t stop destroying the environment and disrespecting animals — we’re hunting them, killing them, eating them; killing and eating chimpanzees in Central Africa led to HIV/AIDS — there will be another one. It’s inevitable.

Do you fear that the next [pandemic] will be a lot worse than this one?

Well, we’ve been lucky with this one because, although it’s incredibly infectious, the percentage of people who die is relatively low. Mostly they recover and hopefully then build up some immunity. But supposing the next one is just as contagious and has a percentage of deaths like Ebola, for example, this would have an even more devastating effect on humanity than this one.

I think people have a hard time connecting these, what may look like chance events, with our interactions and relationship with nature. Can you describe to people why the way that we treat the natural world is so important? 

Well, first of all, it’s not just leading to zoonotic diseases, and there are many of them. The destruction of the environment is also contributing to the climate crisis, which tends to be put in second place because of our panic about the pandemic. We will get through the pandemic like we got through World War II, World War I, and the horrors following the World Trade towers being destroyed. But climate change is a very real existential threat to humankind and we don’t have that long to slow it down.

Intensive farming, where we’re destroying the land slowly with the chemical poisons, and the monocultures — which can be wiped out by a disease because there is no variation of crops being grown — is leading to habitat destruction. It’s leading to the creation of more CO2 through fossil fuels, methane gas and other greenhouse gas [released] by digestion from the billions of domestic animals. 

It’s pretty grim. We need to realize we’re part of the environment, that we need the natural world. We depend on it. We can’t go on destroying. We’ve got to somehow understand that we’re not separated from it, we are all intertwined. Harm nature, harm ourselves.

If we continue on with business as usual, what do you fear the outcome will be?

Well, if we continue with business as usual, we’re going to come to the point of no return.  At a certain point the ecosystems of the world will just give up and collapse and that’s the end of us eventually too.

What about our children? We’re still bringing children into the world — what a grim future is theirs to look forward to. It’s pretty shocking but my hope is, during this pandemic, with people trapped inside, factories closed down temporarily, and people not driving, it has cleared up the atmosphere amazingly. The people in the big cities can look up at the night sky and sea stars are bright, not looking through a layer of pollution. So when people emerge [from the pandemic] they’re not going to want to go back to the old polluted days.

Now, in some countries there’s not much they can do about it. But if enough of them, a groundswell becomes bigger and bigger and bigger [and] people say: “No I don’t want to go down this road. We want to find a different, green economy. We don’t want to always put economic development ahead of protecting the environment. We care about the future. We care about the health of the planet. We need nature,” maybe in the end the big guys will have to listen……….https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jane-goodall-climate-change-coronavirus-environment-interview/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7e&linkId=92720503

July 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, health | 1 Comment

Ruthenium and Caesium radioactive isotopes over Europe due to mismanagement at a nuclear reactor – says IAEA

Low Levels of Radioisotopes Detected in Europe Likely Linked to a Nuclear Reactor – IAEA, 27/2020    The recent detection of slightly elevated levels of radioisotopes in northern Europe is likely related to a nuclear reactor that is either operating or undergoing maintenance, when very low radioactive releases can occur, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said today. The geographical origin of the release has not yet been determined.

Basing its technical assessment on data reported by its Member States, the IAEA reiterated that the observed air concentrations of the particles were very low and posed no risk to human health and the environment.

Estonia, Finland and Sweden last week measured levels of Ruthenium and Caesium isotopes which were higher than usual. They also reported the detection of some other artificial radionuclides. The three countries said there had been no events on their territories that could explain the presence of the radionuclides, as did more than 40 other countries that voluntarily provided information to the IAEA.

Seeking to help identify their possible origin, the IAEA on Saturday contacted its counterparts in the European region and requested information on whether the particles were detected in their countries, and if any event there may have been associated with the atmospheric release.

By Thursday afternoon, 37 Member States in the European region (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Republic of Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Republic of Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom) had voluntarily reported to the IAEA that there were no events on their territories that explained the release. They also provided information about their own measurements and results……

Based on the IAEA’s technical analysis of the mix of artificial radionuclides that were reported to it, the release was likely related to a nuclear reactor, either in operation or in maintenance. The IAEA ruled out that the release was related to the improper handling of a radioactive source. It was also unlikely to be linked to a nuclear fuel processing plant, a spent fuel pool or to the use of radiation in industry or medicine.

Based on the data and information reported to the IAEA, no specific event or location for the dispersal of radionuclides into the atmosphere has yet been determined. To do this, the IAEA depends on receiving such information from a country where the release occurred. https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/low-levels-of-radioisotopes-detected-in-europe-likely-linked-to-a-nuclear-reactor-iaea

July 4, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

A global push for racial justice in the climate movement 

A global push for racial justice in the climate movement    For years, mainstream environmental movements around the globe have excluded people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by climate change. Today’s global Black Lives Matter protests have amplified calls for institutions of all kinds — including environmental groups — to challenge and dismantle chronic systemic racism., The World, June 30, 2020 By Anna Kusmer

Environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor remembers being the only Black person in her environmental science class at Northeastern Illinois University in the early 1980s. When she asked her white professor why there weren’t more Black students, he quickly told her that it was “because Blacks are not interested in the environment,” she said.

This assumption ran counter to everything she knew. She had grown up in Jamaica, where people from all backgrounds were passionate about the environment and loved nature.

Taylor, until recently a professor of environmental racism at the University of Michigan, found that underrepresentation exists at environmental organizations across the United States. In 2014, just under 16% of people of color were represented in a survey of hundreds of organizations, compared to about 35% of the population, she said. In the early 1990s, only about 2% of the staff of environmental nongovernmental organizations were people of color.

In the UK, the environmental sector is one of the least diverse sectors of the economy.

Yet, people of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental degradation and climate change, and environmental organizations are being called to focus more than ever before on environmental justice.

In the past few weeks, big international green groups including Greenpeace and 350.org have responded with statements, videos and op-eds supporting Black Lives Matter and calling for racial justice.

Related: Black Lives Matter UK says climate change is racist

But environmental activist Suzanne Dhaliwal is skeptical this will translate into real inclusion, particularly in the UK, where she lives and works. Dhaliwal, who identifies as British Indian Canadian Sikh, grew up partly in Canada and spent much of her 20s working alongside big environmental nonprofits in the UK. ………

So, Dhaliwal started her own environmental nonprofit, UK Tar Sands Network, which works alongside Indigenous communities and organizations to campaign against UK companies investing in oil extraction in Alberta, Canada.

“Now, what I call for is direct funding of Black and Brown and Indigenous organizations and leadership training,” said Dhaliwal. “We need research money so that we can research new strategies.”

Other environmentalists are trying to change environmental organizations from within.

Samia Dumbuya just started a job with the European branch of international nonprofit Friends of the Earth, working on climate justice and energy issues. She lives in the UK.

As a Black person whose parents are refugees from Sierre Leone, talking about racial justice issues within the environmental movement is personal for her. She says she sees how climate change is affecting her parents’ home country with increasingly bad flooding and landslides. ………

Across the globe, the urban spaces that are overpoliced and lack public investment also have the worst air quality and contaminated drinking water. The environmental movement will grow stronger with more diverse representation, but also by making these connections, Taylor said.

“Environmentalists all over the country are really taking note that they need to think of the environment now as not just the trees and the birds and the flowers, but the human relationships that are in them — and how these are really threatening some people way more than they’re threatening others.” https://www.pri.org/stories/2020-06-30/global-push-racial-justice-climate-movement

July 2, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive reference layer found in Northern glaciers as they thaw

Terrawatch: unearthing snow’s ‘Fukushima layer’  https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jun/30/terrawatch-unearthing-snows-fukushima-layer  

Chinese glaciologists have found the freeze-thaw process has concentrated discharge from the disaster  Kate Ravilious, @katerav Wed 1 Jul 2020  The Fukushima nuclear accident has added a distinctive signature to snow and ice across the northern hemisphere, new research published in Environmental Research Letters shows. Triggered by the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan on 11 March 2011, the disaster resulted in a month-long discharge of radioactive material into the atmosphere, ocean and soil.Feiteng Wang from the Tian Shan glaciological station in Lanzhou, China, and colleagues collected snow samples in 2011 and 2018 from a number of glaciers (spanning a distance of more than 1,200 miles (2,000km) in north-western China. They expected the Fukushima signature to have faded away by 2018, but to their surprise the freeze-thaw processing had made it more concentrated, creating a strong and lasting reference layer in the ice.

Many reference layers from the last 50 years (such as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster) have melted away in recent warming events, making it difficult to date the upper layers of ice cores. “Reference layers are crucial and a prerequisite for telling the story of the ice core,” says co-author Jing Ming. “The Fukushima layer will be useful for dating ice in one or two decades when the snow transforms to ice,” he adds.

July 2, 2020 Posted by | China, environment, radiation | Leave a comment

Sizewell nuclear plant – untried, costly, environmentally damaging, and no electricity for 10 years or more!

the government is exploring novel ways in which to lay the burden for financing a dangerous and costly nuclear venture on you, the consumer. 

The Sizewell C plans are an insult to the people of Suffolk’  https://www.eadt.co.uk/news/pete-wilkinson-together-against-sizewell-c-campaign-1-6718925   27 June 2020, Pete Wilkinson, Together Against Sizewell C

Chairman of Together Against Sizewell C, Pete Wilkinson, has described it is a “battle for the soul and integrity of East Suffolk”. Here he explains why he is opposing the nuclear project.

Anyone new to Suffolk, ignorant of EDF’s nuclear plans, would be forgiven for laughing out loud.

An untried reactor, labelled ‘technically complicated to construct’ by its own designers, a cost of £20billion-plus, taking at least 10 years to build, producing waste which is not only lethal to living tissue but which remains so for thousands of years and for which there is no agreed or proven disposal or management route, to be built in the middle of a community of 5,000, which will not produce electricity for at least 10 years by which time its output will be redundant to needs, built on an eroding coast? Yeah, sure: pull the other one.

You really couldn’t make it up.

Yet this is what residents up and down the East Suffolk are facing. They have been led to believe that the destruction of their environment on a massive scale, the compulsory purchases, the roads, the workers’ campuses, the borrow pits, the huge water demand in the driest county is inevitable – and to make the best of it.

When did anyone ask YOU, resident of East Suffolk, if you wanted your tranquil, culturally rich and peaceful rural environment urbanised and anonymised, requiring six new roundabouts on the A12 and up to 1,000 vehicle movements a day along our country roads to ferry the material required for our own white elephantine carbuncle on our heritage coast, light, noise and dust pollution 24 hours a day, seven days a week or a decade of accommodating 4,000 workers? Of course you were not asked. They knew the answer. The new nuclear policy has not been subjected to anything like forensic public or Parliamentary scrutiny.

Democratic deficit runs through all aspects of this programme like the letters in a stick of rock and is presented by its advocates as ‘inevitable’. The National Policy Statement process renders what government calls ‘national infrastructure projects of over-riding importance’ inviolate, untouchable and – yes – inevitable unless the planning authorities have the courage or unless the Secretary of State has the guts to do what they should – throw the EDF plans out as an insult to the people of Suffolk. Sizewell C is important to no-one other than EDF.

But just how ‘over-riding’ is the need for Sizewell C? The French-made film, ‘The Nuclear Trap’ makes it clear that Hinkley C in Somerset and Sizewell C are more critical to the survival of the French nuclear industry than they are to providing electricity to UK consumers.

There has been a huge reduction in electricity demand since 2013 – over 16% – making earlier predictions of an increase of 15% by 2020 an overestimation of more than 30%.

Renewables out-compete nuclear on every front – cost, waste, jobs, CO2 and time for deployment. If ever Sizewell was built, it would be at least a decade, probably more like 15 years given the history of cost and time over-runs of its flagship plant at Flamanville, before it turned one kilowatt hour of electricity.

In 15 years, we will – one can only hope – have grown out of our obsession with nuclear and invested at suitably high levels in realising the huge job potential in micro-technology, decentralisation, efficiency and conservation of energy, and look back on our nuclear infatuation with a shake of the head.

The current National Policy Statement which covers the nuclear component of the energy policy, EN6, is entirely unfit for purpose as it gives policy authority only to those nuclear plants which can be deployed before 2025 – i.e. not, Hinkley, not Sizewell and not Bradwell, none of which will be generating electricity by that date.

Therefore the EN6 policy document is null and void. Its replacement is still undergoing review and will depend heavily on the financing arrangements the government can agree to in order to remove the need for EDF to fork out for it.

Instead, the government is exploring novel ways in which to lay the burden for financing a dangerous and costly nuclear venture on you, the consumer. 

So much for ‘no subsidy’ nuclear, but in policy terms, it is legally questionable for Hinkley C to continue to be built, for Sizewell C’s planning application to be submitted or for CGN/EDF to consult on plans to build Bradwell B when there is no policy architecture to justify and legitimise any of this work or progress.

EN6 has fallen as a legitimate policy statement for new nuclear build but that does not seem to have any effect on the way the French and Chinese backers of new nuclear in the UK are required to act nor the complacency and indifference with which the government seems to take these gaping legal inconsistencies.

The waste problem that nuclear generates is probably the most intractable. In the 15 years of the existence of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, it has failed to secure a site, a volunteer community or to satisfactorily solve many of the dozens of technical and engineering problems associated with burying 500,000 cubic metres of legacy waste while ensuring that the estimated 78,000,000 units of radioactivity remain underground.

While new build waste such as that from Sizewell C is likely to be less bulky, its high burn up in the reactor means that it will be far hotter than even Sizewell B’s waste and will generate much more radioactivity – up to five times that contained in the legacy waste. How can any government or industry knowingly embark on a development programme which will create such a mountain of waste when a repository for its safe disposal is still more a matter of hope over expectation?

The only legacy Sizewell C will leave for Suffolk is a degraded environment and a radioactive waste mountain which future generations will have to deal with. Please tell your councillor to vote to remove the support for Sizewell C at the full council meeting on July 7, please write to the planning inspector to voice your concerns and please urge your MP to tell the Secretary of State to put EDF’s planning application where it belongs – in the bin.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Cloud with tiny levels of radioactivity detected over Scandinavia and European Arctic.

Radioactivity is blowing in the air  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/ecology/2020/06/various-reactor-related-isotopes-measured-over-scandinavia-and-svalbard?fbclid=IwAR2UsXspMQZSLInvisible for humans, but detectable for radiation-filters. A cloud with tiny levels of radioactivity, believed to originate from western Russia, has been detected over Scandinavia and European Arctic. By Thomas Nilsen, June 26, 2020

First, in week 23 (June 2-8), iodine-131 was measured at the two air filter stations Svanhovd and Viksjøfjell near Kirkenes in short distance from Norway’s border to Russia’s Kola Peninsula. The same days, on June 7 and 8, the CTBTO-station at Svalbard measured tiny levels of the same isotope.

CTBTO is the global network of radiological and seismic monitoring under the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.

Norway’s nuclear watchdog, the DSA, underlines that the levels are very small.

“We are currently keeping an extra good eye on our air-monitoring system,” says Bredo Møller with DSA’s Emergency Preparedness unit at Svanhovd.

While iodine-131 is only measured in the north, in the Kirkenes area and at Svalbard, Swedish and Finnish radiation authorities inform about other isotopes blowing in the skies over southern Scandinavia.

Bredo Møller says to the Barents Observer that his agency can’t conclude there is a connection between what is measured up north and what his Scandinavian colleagues measured in week 24.

“As part of our good Nordic cooperation we are currently exchanging data,” he says.

Møller tells about radiation just above detectable levels. “We found 0,9 microBq/m3 at Svanhovd and 1,3 microBq/m3 at Viksjøfjell.”

Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) detected on June 16 and 17 small amounts of the radioactive isotopes cobalt, ruthenium and cesium (Co-60, Ru-103, Cs-134 and Cs-137).

STUK says the measurements were made in Helsinki where analysis is available on the same day. “At other stations, samples are collected during the week, so results from last week will be ready later.”

Likely from a reactor

All these isotopes indicate that the release comes from a nuclear-reactor. Iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days, and given the small amount measured in the north, this isotope could be gone before the radioactive cloud reached the southern parts of Finland and Sweden a week after the first measurements in the north. That be, if the release was somewhere in the Arctic or northwestern Russia and winds were blowing south or southwest.

Neither of the Scandinavian radiation agencies will speculate about the origin.

“It is not possible now to say what could be the source of the increased levels,” writes the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority in a statement. Also the Swedes underline that the levels are low and do not pose any danger to people or the environment.

In the Netherlands, though, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has analyzed the data from Scandinavia and made calculations to find out what may have been the origin of the detected radionuclides.

“These calculations show that the radionuclides came from the direction of Western Russia,” RIVM concludes.

Calls for info-exchange

Senior Nuclear Campaigner with Greenpeace Russia, Rashid Alimov, says to the Barents Observer that the composition of the isotopes strongly indicates that the source is a nuclear reactor or a spent fuel element from a reactor.

“The Russian monitoring systems have not reported any unusual levels of radioactivity in June,” Alimov says, emphasizing that could be due to delayed publication of data.

Greenpeace calls for rapid international cooperation that includes Russia.

“We think information exchange is crucial,” Rashid Alimov says.

June 29, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

The Anthropocene, begun in 16th Century colonialism, slavery -? for repair in 21st Century post-Covid-19 recovery

Why the Anthropocene began with European colonisation, mass slavery and the ‘great dying’ of the 16th century, The Conversation, Mark Maslin, Professor of Earth System Science, UCL, Simon Lewis, Professor of Global Change Science at University of Leeds and, UCL June 25, 2020 The toppling of statues at Black Lives Matter protests has powerfully articulated that the roots of modern racism lie in European colonisation and slavery. Racism will be more forcefully opposed once we acknowledge this history and learn from it. Geographers and geologists can help contribute to this new understanding of our past, by defining the new human-dominated period of Earth’s history as beginning with European colonialism.Today our impacts on the environment are immense: humans move more soil, rock and sediment each year than is transported by all other natural processes combined. We may have kicked off the sixth “mass extinction” in Earth’s history, and the global climate is warming so fast we have delayed the next ice age.

We’ve made enough concrete to cover the entire surface of the Earth in a layer two millimetres thick. Enough plastic has been manufactured to clingfilm it as well. We annually produce 4.8 billion tonnes of our top five crops and 4.8 billion livestock animals. There are 1.4 billion motor vehicles, 2 billion personal computers, and more mobile phones than the 7.8 billion people on Earth.

All this suggests humans have become a geological superpower and evidence of our impact will be visible in rocks millions of years from now. This is a new geological epoch that scientists are calling the Anthropocene, combining the words for “human” and “recent-time”. But debate still continues as to when we should define the beginning of this period. When exactly did we leave behind the Holocene – the 10,000 years of stability that allowed farming and complex civilisations to develop – and move into the new epoch?

Five years ago we published evidence that the start of capitalism and European colonisation meet the formal scientific criteria for the start of the Anthropocene.

Our planetary impacts have increased since our earliest ancestors stepped down from the trees, at first by hunting some animal species to extinction. Much later, following the development of farming and agricultural societies, we started to change the climate. Yet Earth only truly became a “human planet” with the emergence of something quite different. This was capitalism, which itself grew out of European expansion in the 15th and 16th century and the era of colonisation and subjugation of indigenous peoples all around the world.

In the Americas, just 100 years after Christopher Columbus first set foot on the Bahamas in 1492, 56 million indigenous Americans were dead, mainly in South and Central America. This was 90% of the population. Most were killed by diseases brought across the Atlantic by Europeans, which had never been seen before in the Americas: measles, smallpox, influenza, the bubonic plague. War, slavery and wave after wave of disease combined to cause this “great dying”, something the world had never seen before, or since.

In North America the population decline was slower but no less dramatic due to slower colonisation by Europeans. US census data suggest the Native American population may have been as low as 250,000 people by 1900 from a pre-Columbus level of 5 million, a 95% decline.

This depopulation left the continents dominated by Europeans, who set up plantations and filled a labour shortage with enslaved workers. In total, more than 12 million people were forced to leave Africa and work for Europeans as slaves. ……….

In addition to the critical task of highlighting and tackling the racism within science, perhaps geologists and geographers can also make a small contribution to the Black Lives Matter movement by unflinchingly compiling the evidence showing that when humans started to exert a huge influence on the Earth’s environment was also the start of the brutal European colonisation of the world.

In her insightful book, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, the geography professor Kathryn Yusoff makes it very clear that predominantly white geologists and geographers need to acknowledge that Europeans decimated indigenous and minority populations whenever so-called progress occurred.

Defining the start of the human planet as the period of colonisation, the spread of deadly diseases and transatlantic slavery, means we can face the past and ensure we deal with its toxic legacy. If 1610 marks both a turning point in human relations with the Earth and our treatment of each other, then maybe, just maybe, 2020 could mark the start of a new chapter of equality, environmental justice and stewardship of the only planet in the universe known to harbour any life. It’s a struggle nobody can afford to lose. https://theconversation.com/why-the-anthropocene-began-with-european-colonisation-mass-slavery-and-the-great-dying-of-the-16th-century-140661

June 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, civil liberties, climate change, environment, history | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear project threatens nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast

Surfbirds 13th June 2020, The RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) have united in a position against Sizewell C stating that the build must not go ahead. The two organisations also highlighted concerns about the timing of proceeding with this decision, amid a public health crisis, which is likely to impact public scrutiny of plans.
The charities have not seen any  evidence from EDF that Sizewell C can be built without detrimentally impacting internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast, at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, Sizewell Belts SSSI, and beyond.

http://www.surfbirds.com/community-blogs/blog/2020/06/13/wildlife-charities-unite-in-position-against-sizewell-c/

June 16, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Half of the Earth’s ice-free land is still free from human impact

June 15, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Post-pandemic packages could green up our energy systems for environmental and economic benefit.

New Statesman 11th June 2020, Post-pandemic packages could provide the perfect opportunity to green up our energy systems for environmental and economic benefit. In June of 1993, Germany’s energy companies took out a series of newspaper adverts. Their
message was a grim, possibly self-serving, prediction, that sun, wind and water power would only ever meet four per cent of the country’s needs.
Now over half of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable sources, although there has been more scepticism along the way. “In 2002 I was told by two engineers that renewables could never provide more than 10 per cent of electricity in Germany,” says Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, an independent organisation aimed at accelerating the clean energy transition. “In the first quarter of 2020 it was 51.9 per cent.” The very notion of a renewables-dependent grid was considered by many engineers as “pipe dream”, says John Murton, the UK’s COP26 climate summit envoy.
This week, Britain passed the landmark of burning no coal to generate power for a full two months. A decade ago, about 40 per cent of the country’s electricity came from coal. During lockdown, as much as 30 per cent of power has come from renewables. Research led by Oxford University and economists Nicholas Stern and Joseph Stiglitz shows green projects create more jobs, deliver higher short-term returns and lead to increased long-term cost savings compared to traditional fiscal stimulus. “Green fiscal recovery packages can act to decouple economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and reduce existing welfare inequalities that will be exacerbated by the pandemic in the short-term and climate change in the long-term,” says the study published in May 2020.https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/energy/2020/06/why-clean-energy-post-covid-19-stimulus-plans-climate-change

June 15, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, ENERGY, environment | Leave a comment

Climate helped by Europe’s fast-growing mini-forests

Fast-growing mini-forests spring up in Europe to aid climate

Miyawaki forests are denser and said to be more biodiverse than other kinds of woods, Guardian,  Hannah Lewis, Sat 13 Jun 2020 Tiny, dense forests are springing up around Europe as part of a movement aimed at restoring biodiversity and fighting the climate crisis.

Often sited in schoolyards or alongside roads, the forests can be as small as a tennis court. They are based on the work of the Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who has planted more than 1,000 such forests in Japan, Malaysia and elsewhere.

Advocates for the method say the miniature forests grow 10 times faster and become 30 times denser and 100 times more biodiverse than those planted by conventional methods. This result is achieved by planting saplings close together, three per square metre, using native varieties adapted to local conditions. A wide variety of species – ideally 30 or more – are planted to recreate the layers of a natural forest.

Scientists say such ecosystems are key to meeting climate goals, estimating that natural forests can store 40 times more carbon than single-species plantations. The Miyawaki forests are designed to regenerate land in far less time than the 70-plus years it takes a forest to recover on its own.

“This is a great thing to do,” said Eric Dinerstein, a wildlife scientist who co-authored a recent paper calling for half of the Earth’s surface to be protected or managed for nature conservation to avoid catastrophic climate change. “So this could be another aspect for suburban and urban areas, to create wildlife corridors through contiguous ribbons of mini-forest.”

The mini-forests could attract migratory songbirds, Dinerstein said. “Songbirds are made from caterpillars and adult insects, and even small pockets of forests, if planted with native species, could become a nutritious fast-food fly-in site for hungry birds.”……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/fast-growing-mini-forests-spring-up-in-europe-to-aid-climate

June 15, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment | Leave a comment

Radioactive cloud over Europe in 2017 came from a civilian nuclear reactor

June 14, 2020 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Our existential threat – our extinction

Externalities Are Our Existential Threat, Medium, 10 June 20, It’s the “ex’s” we need to worry about the most. Externalities that create an existential threat. The ultimate threat: Our extinction.

An externality is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved”. Externalities in a global context are the consequence that everyone bears for everyone else’s actions. Externalities result in us all bearing the consequences of living out of synchronization with Nature, but unfortunately in most cases the poor and the vulnerable pay a higher price, disproportionate to their contribution to the cause. 

The negative externality consequences of most human economic activity are unaccounted; seemingly off loaded free of charge to the ecosphere. But Nature has a balance sheet — these unaccounted, costs of doing business, that are charged to Nature, are turned into debts. These debts will be settled at a later date and not in a manner of our choosing. The challenge for us is that in many cases the debts are slow to become obvious to everyone, remaining invisible or disguised for a prolonged period. Linking cause and effect is very complex and spans long periods of time, often not directly attributable. It is like a very slow moving train crash — you barely notice it happening but you’ll know when it hits, and then it’s too late. We are all aboard that slow train right now.

In developed countries, we are fortunate to not have to face the poverty, war, famine, diseases that affected humans in the pre-industrial and early industrial times. Capitalism has been an amazing wealth creating and poverty reducing system. Most of us cannot even comprehend how fortunate we are. However, there is a downside to the considerable progress we have made since the industrial revolution; the unintended consequences. Never before were humans able to have an impact on future generations aside from culture or knowledge that was passed on. Today that is different — our actions are determining the fate of billions of people, those currently alive and those not yet born. Unfortunately, we have been brewing trouble……

capitalism can only operate in the best interests of society if it is governed well. It is the good governance part that we have been lacking — unfortunately we have a corrupted, crony capitalism that stems from problems with our democratic system. Quite simply, we seem to be unable to elect leaders who actually care about the long term interests of the people.  Our entire political system is deeply corrupted by money — elected officials represent those who contribute to their campaigns, not their constituents, and that’s dominated by the very wealthy, corporations and special interest organizations, not the typical citizen. This is something that needs mainstream understanding as it is the root of all society’s problems and why they are never sensibly addressed.

The common theme is that we have proved ourselves to be incapable of acting in our collective best interests. Together we are all on that metaphorical slow train, steaming towards a cliff edge with no one in the driver’s seat attempting to steer us away from inevitable catastrophe…… Continue reading

June 11, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, politics international | Leave a comment

The Mayak nuclear reprocessing plant: Rosatom’s dirty face- and the courageous opposition

Anti–nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals [Full Report 2020]    Report “Anti–nuclear resistance in Russia: problems, protests, reprisals” Produced by RSEU’s program “Against nuclear and radioaсtive threats”
Published: Saint Petersburg, Russia, 2020
“………The Mayak plant: Rosatom’s dirty face
The Mayak plant in the Chelyabinsk region is a nuclear waste reprocessing facility, arguably one of the places most negatively affected by the Russian nuclear industry. Firstly, radioactive waste was dumped into the Techa river from 1949 to 2004, which has been admitted by the company. According to subsequent reports by the local organisation For Nature however, the dumping has since been ongoing. (37)
 As a result, 35 villages around the river were evacuated and destroyed. Secondly, the explosion at the plant in 1957, known as the Kyshtym tragedy, is among the 20th century’s worst nuclear accidents. (38)
• One of the first organisations that raised the problem of radiation pollution in the Ural region was the Movement for Nuclear Safety , formed in 1989. During its work, the Movement was engaged in raising awareness, social protection of the affected population, and publishing dozens of reports. (39)
After unprecedented pressure and persecution, the organisation’s leader, Natalia Mironova, was forced to emigrate to the United States in 2013.
• Since 2000, another non–governmental organisation, Planet of Hope, has held thousands of consultations with affected citizens. Nadezhda Kutepova, a lawyer and head of the organisation, won more than 70 cases in defence of Mayak victims, including 2 cases in the European Court of Human Rights (40). However, some important cases have still not been resolved. These include 2nd generation victims, cases involving pregnant women who were affected during liquidation, as well as the many schoolchildren of Tatarskaya Karabolka village who were sent to harvest the contaminated crop after the accident. (41)
The state and Rosatom have reacted against the actions of Nadezhda Kutepova, persecuting both her and Planet of Hope. The organisation survived arbitrary inspections in 2004 and 2009, but was labelled a Foreign Agent in 2015 and closed in 2018. /42)
After being accused of ‘industrial espionage’ under the threat of criminal prosecution, Nadezhda was forced to flee the country with her children. She nevertheless continues her struggle to bring justice for the victims of Mayak
.• Since 2002, the public foundation For Nature has been disputing nuclear activity in the region. The organisation appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on the import of spent nuclear fuel from the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. The court declared the Governmental Decree to be invalid, thus preventing the import of 370 tons of Hungarian radioactive waste. (43)
In March 2015, For Nature was also listed as a Foreign Agent and fined. (44)
In 2016, the court shut down the organisation. (45)
In its place, a social movement of the same name was formed, and continues to help the South Ural communities. (46)
11Struggle against nuclear repository

In the city of Krasnoyarsk, Rosatom plans to build a national repository for high–level radioactive waste. A site has been selected on the banks of Siberia’s largest river, the Yenisei, only 40 km from the city. Environmental activists consider this project, if implemented,to be a crime against future generations and violates numerous Russian laws. Activists are also concerned that waste from Ukraine,Hungary, Bulgaria (and in the future from Belarus, Turkey, Bangladesh, and other countries) could be transported there as well. (47)

The community is understandably outraged, as no one wants to live in the world’s nuclear dump.Since 2013, for more than 7 years, the people of Krasnoyarsk have been protesting. To date, more than 146,000 people have signed the petition tothe President of the Russian Federation protesting against the construction of this federal nuclear repository. (48)
Most of the producing nuclear power plants are located in the European part of Russia, but the waste is going to be sent for ‘the rest of its lifetime’to Siberia. Local activists refer to this, with good reason, as Rosatom’s “nuclear colonisation” of Siberia. (49)
• In 2016, Fedor Maryasov, an independent journalist and leader of the protest, was accused of inciting hatred against ‘nuclear industry workers’as a social group. A criminal case was initiated under the article on extremism. (50)
The basis for thisaccusation was 125 publications on social networksand the press about nuclear topics. The activist’s apartment was searched and his computer seized,along with a printed report on Rosatom’s activities in the Krasnoyarsk region. (51)
The federal security service also issued Maryasovan official warning for treason. Only wide publicity in the media and the active support of human rights lawyers has thus far prevented further criminal prosecution of the activist. ……….”   https://www.facebook.com/notes/rna-international/antinuclear-resistance-in-russia-problems-protests-reprisals-full-report-2020/3498100043537008/

June 6, 2020 Posted by | environment, opposition to nuclear, Reference, reprocessing, Russia | Leave a comment

Deep concern over environmental  cost of planned Sizewell C nuclear station

East Anglian Daily Times 5th June 2020 Councillor David Blackburn: Deeply concerned over the environmental  cost of Sizewell C. I share the ‘deep concerns’ of the National Trust to
the potential environmental costs of the proposed Sizewell C new nuclear
reactor project (EADT, 25th May).

They tally with those made at our recent
Saxmundham seminar from environmental representatives including the
naturalist Simon Barnes, the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Suffolk Coastal
Friends of the Earth. At that meeting it was made clear that Sizewell C
could have major and long term negative effects on highly sensitive sites
like Minsmere, and as the National Trust notes, Dunwich Heath.

And we know as well that Coronation Wood is to be removed in the interim plans for the
site. The natural environment around Sizewell includes some rare and unique
habitats, and clearly an industrial development on the sheer scale of
Sizewell C can’t possibly be able to mitigate all of these issues.

It should also be noted that, in the past few months, renewable energy has
delivered the bulk of UK electricity needs and it is reported that EDF may
be paid £50 million just to turn Sizewell B off due to a lack of demand.
With longer-term concerns over climate change, coastal erosion and rising
sea levels there is a lethal combination of factors that make it much more
sensible not to develop new nuclear reactors in Suffolk. The concerns of
local environmental groups need to be heeded for this and future
generations so that we can continue to enjoy these beautiful landscapes and
their rare wildlife.

https://www.eadt.co.uk/home

June 6, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment