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Nuclear power plants – ”no significant harm?”-risks of catastrophic accidents, wastes dangers to future generations, water consumption.

Not green and not sustainable,  The science-based case for excluding nuclear power from the EU taxonomy, Beyond Nuclear, 15 Jan 2022,  ”………………………Does the present generation of nuclear fission power plants ‘do no significant harm’? 

To answer this question, two specific issues for nuclear power stand out: the risk of a catastrophic accident and the management of high-level nuclear waste (HLW). Nuclear fission energy is characterized by low probability, high consequence risks to humans and the environment. Even the JRC recognizes that the risk of a severe nuclear accident cannot be excluded, even in the best commercially available nuclear power plants. 

The disaster in Fukushima (2011) was triggered by a process that these nuclear reactors were not “designed” to withstand. These circumstances shed light on the limitations of the technical risk assessments, which have not fully taken into account beyond design risks in particular of core melt accidents. 

The events in Fukushima have made it apparent that such assessments are based on specific assumptions, for example on seismic safety or the maximum height of a tsunami, and that reality can disprove these assumptions. Deciding whether such risks belong to the category of ‘tolerable risks’ for a given society depends on the various risk regulation measures put in place. Especially relevant for nuclear fission power is the fact that the liability of the operator in the case of a severe accident is limited and the remaining costs are (largely) taken on by the state (privatization of profits, socialization of risks).

The Taxonomy architecture is not designed to cater for such risks that carry an intergenerational impact lasting for thousands of years, making it an unsuitable instrument to decide on the sustainable nature of nuclear power. 

The characteristics and nature of HLW generated by the nuclear fission process present long-term intergenerational risks and thereby challenge the principle of ‘do no significant harm’ to the extent that nuclear fission energy may not be considered eligible for the EU Taxonomy. 

This was made abundantly clear to the Commission in the TEG’s recommendations, which were not published in their entirety. Independent, scientific, peer-reviewed evidence compiled by TEG provided confirmation of the risk of significant harm arising from nuclear waste. 

The back end of the fuel cycle is currently dominated by the containment of spent fuel rods and waste from nuclear power facilities. Safe and secure long-term storage of nuclear waste remains unresolved and has to be demonstrated in its operational complexity. Whilst the nuclear industry and international nuclear waste experts provide assurances of multiple engineered safeguards designed to reduce the risks from nuclear waste through geological disposal, the question remains whether, despite the solid scientific basis and thorough geological knowledge gathered, in the absence of experience with this technology, one can really guarantee that HLW will remain isolated from humans and the environment for thousands, let alone millions of years. 

The fact that a ‘solution’ has to be found for the existing quantities of waste (as well spent fuel as conditioned high level waste forms), and that geological disposal is the least bad solution for this, does not imply that nuclear power can suddenly be classified as a ‘green’ energy source. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the risks presented by nuclear fission energy to the ‘do no significant harm’ principle and technical screening criteria of the EU Taxonomy means that it can not be considered EU Taxonomy eligible or aligned as long as the technology and fuel cycle management has not proven to be sustainable as a whole.  

Other concerns with regard to DNSH criteria 

Nuclear fission power plants require about three cubic metres of cooling water per megawatt hour (MWh) produced. A nuclear plant’s cooling water consumption is higher than that of fossil-fuel plants. Throughout the world, new nuclear plants and existing plants increasingly face cooling water scarcity induced by heat waves, a situation that is likely to be aggravated by climate change. More efficient cooling technologies could be considered, but this adds to the already high costs of nuclear power plants. 

For reasons of having access to enough cooling water, nuclear plants are mostly sited in coastal or estuarine locations, but this makes them vulnerable to flooding and extreme events that climate change may occasion. The siting of nuclear power plants along coastal zones presents adaptation risks associated with sea-level rise, water temperature rise, coastal erosion as well as natural catastrophes such as the Fukushima disaster demonstrates. 

The Fukushima disaster reveals how powerless human operators are when nuclear systems escape full, continuous control. Instead of helping to address the impacts of the Tsunami as renewable energy sources would have, the devastated nuclear power plant strongly aggravated the emergency relief in the province and left huge new problems of liquid waste and radioactive waste resulting from infrastructure and land cleaning activities, never encountered before in densely populated industrial areas. 

Furthermore, when major nuclear plant accidents occur significant land areas become unsuitable for human habitation (e.g. Chernobyl, Fukushima). 

Advocates of nuclear power draw attention to the survival of natural flora and fauna in zones contaminated by radioactive materials and precluding human access. However, this is presumably not the type of ecological protection and resilience that the EU Taxonomy aims to achieve. Surface or underground mining and the processing of uranium ore can substantially damage surrounding ecosystems and waterways. The huge volumes of associated mining waste in developing countries are normally not considered in life cycle waste inventories of nuclear energy producing countries. 

More critically, the adverse effects on local environmental conditions of routine discharging of nuclear isotopes to the air and water at reprocessing plants have not been considered thoroughly enough. A number of adverse impacts (of radiation) on soil/sediment, benthic flora and fauna and marine mammals has been demonstrated ………………………………  https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3774941784

January 17, 2022 Posted by | climate change, environment, EUROPE | 4 Comments

Our Oceans Are Not Sewers


Our Oceans Are Not Sewers   
https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/our-oceans-are-not-sewers

December 26, 2021

Reckless endangerment of the world’s oceans and seas by governmental agencies and industry continues, By The Fairewinds Crew

Whether it’s plastic, mercury, or radioactivity, the entire world has treated our planet’s oceans as its sewage dump. As if we need more proof that Radioactivity Knows No Borders, three recent events discussed below prove the reality of our statements. The global authorities that regulate atomic power and nuclear waste often assure us that there are no significant risks to communities near radioactive disasters and operating facilities. Yet, communities must determine the actual dangers themselves.

Demystifying Nuclear Power

in 2015, Arnie Gundersen traveled to Cumbria, adjacent to the Irish Sea in the UK. Fairewinds went to the UK to work with citizen scientists collecting local samples. When Fairewinds testified at the House of Commons,  Arnie detailed radioactive contamination emanating from the Sellafield reprocessing plant, Chernobyl, and the 1957 Windscale nuclear disaster. He was sampling in the summer resort community of Seascale near the

Sellafield Nuclear Site along the Irish Sea, where the beaches are frequented by families with children.

Unfortunately, the nuclear power and weapons industries have continued to use the Irish Sea as a dumping ground for British atomic waste since the 1950s.  

Thanks to the Unfriending the Atomorganization and program, we recently found out that Arnie’s winter coat has plutonium in its pockets – even after being dry cleaned from travel abroad. While working with citizen scientists, he wore this coat to collect samples on public open-space estuary-land. Also, view the whole Unfriending the Atom Zoofor more images of “exotic data from mundane objects”. 

Arnie’s time sampling near Sellafield is part of our worldwide campaign to protect families and communities from the devasting and lasting impact of radiation exposure. Currently, we have begun the process of researching and documenting our Irish Sea data for another peer-reviewed journal article. When this paper has been accepted by a publisher, we will share this open and accessible data for our community-volunteer citizen-scientists and the public.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) back in 1999. As you will see in the map [on original], the IAEA identified that our planet’s oceans have been used as a sewer for radioactive waste. BTW (By the Way), for our readers today who do not know this, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) was created by the United Nations. And, when it was founded, the IAEA was charted to regulate and promote nuclear power! Imagine regulating AND promoting.

Secondly, this week, there was more breaking news of additional radioactive dumps into the world’s oceans.  A ship bound from India was detained last week in Kenya when authorities uncovered a large cargo of radioactive waste (Red alert as nuclear ship docks in Mombasa). Authorities believe that the toxic radioactive waste was destined for illegal dumping in the Atlantic Ocean! You must be wondering, as Fairewinds is, how long this has been going on? Once again, atomic regulators have failed to protect our Earth and its people. Unfortunately, dumping in the Atlantic Ocean is not a new issue, and the United States is far from blameless. Read about the U.S. Atomic Sailors here!

Third, we have more to discuss with you about Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), where the infamous Japanese nuclear meltdown occurred. Once again, TEPCO is seeking permission from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to discharge hundreds of thousands of tons of highly-toxic radioactive wastewater into the Pacific. 

Organizations and individuals worldwide have publicly and privately criticized TEPCO’s plan and the apparent approval of the NRA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Representatives from South Korea, China, and the Marshall Islands have been particularly vocal about this disaster-in-waiting. They are requesting much greater transparency in their dialog with Japan. However, Japanese regulators are still not cooperating with the neighboring communities, severely impacted by these releases.

Moreover, Greenpeace submitted a damning public comment to TEPCO. Three days after the public comment period was officially closed, TEPCO announced it filed for approval to discharge nuclear waste into the sea. They plan to release this toxic liquid radioactivity directly into the ocean via a pipe they are preparing to construct. 

  • Where is the accountability?  
  • When will regulators get serious about preventing the dumping of radioactive nuclear waste by the nuclear industry, its contractors, and the military, who has radioactive waste from weapons manufacturing? 

Treaties, conventions, and laws are not enough to prevent the illegal dumping of highly toxic waste of any kind into our communities. However, since firm statutory regulations are already in place, the enforcement of these laws is key to protecting our oceans worldwide. This is why Fairewinds community-based citizen-science is so critical.

Fairewinds will keep you informed in 2022. As we have said over and over again, Radiation Knows No Borders.

January 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Nuclear authorities dismiss a massive tritium leak from nuclear reactor as unimportant. But should they?


Nuclear: do our power plants release too much tritium? This fission residue is not very radiotoxic. But the discharge standards in waterways are more permissive in France than in Japan.

With the holiday season and the covid epidemic, the event has gone almost unnoticed. But it is reported in detail on the site of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

Between November 25 and December 8, 2021, at the Tricastin site, around 900 liters of effluents containing tritium infiltrated the soil, causing “abnormal radiological activity”. More precisely, the measurements carried out on site made it possible to detect a peak in radioactivity of 28,900
Becquerels per liter on December 12.

Taking up this information, the Mediapart site mentions a major radioactive leak. After ASN inspection, the event was nevertheless classified at level 0 on the international nuclear
events scale. How to explain this difference in perception?

 L’Express 28th Dec 2021

 https://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/sciences/nucleaire-nos-centrales-rejettent-elles-trop-de-tritium_2165111.html

January 1, 2022 Posted by | environment, France, incidents | Leave a comment

Land and water ecosystems, ‘stressed to a critical point’ 

Entitled, State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture – Systems at breaking point (SOLAW 2021), the report highlights the challenges that lie ahead in feeding a global population that should near ten billion by 2050.

At the launch of the publication, FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, said that “current patterns of agrifood production are not proving sustainable.” Yet, he added, these systems “can play a major role in alleviating these pressures and contributing positively to climate and development goals.”

Main findings: If the world keeps to the current trajectory, producing the additional 50 per cent
more food needed, could mean an increase of 35 per cent, in the water withdrawals needed for farming. That could create environmental disasters, increase competition for resources, and fuel new social challenges and conflicts.

Currently, human-induced soil degradation affects 34 per cent (around 1,660 million hectares), of agricultural land. Even though more than 95 per cent of all food is produced on land, there is little room for expanding the area that can be made more productive. In fact, urban areas
occupy less than 0.5 per cent of the Earth’s land surface, but the rapid growth of cities has significantly reduced resources, polluting and encroaching on prime agricultural land. In only 17 years, between 2000 and 2017, land use per capita declined by 20 per cent.

 UN News 9th Dec 2021

 https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/12/110753

January 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

World urgently needs a Paris-style agreement for biodiversity

‘We’ll get it done. Come hell, high water or Covid’: Can 2022 be a
super year for nature? Biodiversity talks in Kunming are likely to be
delayed again, but the world urgently needs a Paris-style agreement for
nature.

 Guardian 30th Dec 2021

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/30/super-year-for-nature-is-on-hold-again-but-how-long-can-planet-wait-kunming-aoe

January 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq – largely due to depleted uranium.

In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up.

‘Everything Living Is Dying’: Environmental Ruin in Modern Iraq, Decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction have devastated the country’s environment and its people. Undark, BY LYNZY BILLING, 12.22.2021 All photos by LYNZY BILLING for UNDARK  ”’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,   Miscarriages, of course, are common everywhere, and while pollution writ large is known to be deadly in the aggregate, linking specific health outcomes to local ambient pollution is a notoriously difficult task. Even so, few places on earth beg such questions as desperately as modern Iraq, a country devastated from the northern refineries of Kurdistan to the Mesopotamian marshes of the south — and nearly everywhere in between — by decades of war, poverty, and fossil fuel extraction.

As far back as 2005, the United Nations had estimated that Iraq was already littered with several thousand contaminated sites. Five years later, an investigation by The Times, a London-based newspaper, suggested that the U.S. military had generated some 11 million pounds of toxic waste and abandoned it in Iraq. Today, it is easy to find soil and water polluted by depleted uranium, dioxin and other hazardous materials, and extractive industries like the KAR oil refinery often operate with minimal transparency. On top of all of this, Iraq is among the countries most vulnerable to climate change, which has already contributed to grinding water shortages and prolonged drought. In short, Iraq presents a uniquely dystopian tableau — one where human activity contaminates virtually every ecosystem, and where terms like “ecocide” have special currency.

According to Iraqi physicians, the many overlapping environmental insults could account for the country’s high rates of cancer, birth defects, and other diseases. Preliminary research by local scientists supports these claims, but the country lacks the money and technology needed to investigate on its own. To get a better handle on the scale and severity of the contamination, as well as any health impacts, they say, international teams will need to assist in comprehensive investigations. With the recent close of the ISIS caliphate, experts say, a window has opened.

While the Iraqi government has publicly recognized widespread pollution stemming from conflict and other sources, and implemented some remediation programs, few critics believe these measures will be adequate to address a variegated environmental and public health problem that is both geographically expansive and attributable to generations of decision-makers — both foreign and domestic — who have never truly been held to account. The Iraqi Ministry of Health and the Kurdistan Ministry of Health did not respond to repeated requests for comment on these issues……………………….

experts who study Iraq’s complex mosaic of pollution and health challenges say. Despite overwhelming evidence of pollution and contamination from a variety of sources, it remains exceedingly difficult for Iraqi doctors and scientists to pinpoint the precise cause of any given person’s — or even any community’s — illness; depleted uranium, gas flaring, contaminated crops all might play a role in triggering disease……………………………

This is Eman’s sixth year at the hospital, and her 25th as a physician. Over that time span, she says, she has seen an array of congenital anomalies, most commonly cleft palates, but also spinal deformities, hydrocephaly, and tumors. At the same time, miscarriages and premature births have spiked among Iraqi women, she says, particularly in areas where heavy U.S. military operations occurred as part of the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 to 2011 Iraq War. 

Research supports many of these clinical observations. According to a 2010 paper published in the American Journal of Public Health, leukemia cases in children under 15 doubled from 1993 to 1999 at one hospital in southern Iraq, a region of the country that was particularly hard hit by war. According to other research, birth defects also surged there, from 37 in 1990 to 254 in 2001.

But few studies have been conducted lately, and now, more than 20 years on, it’s difficult to know precisely which factors are contributing to Iraq’s ongoing medical problems. Eman says she suspects contaminated water, lack of proper nutrition, and poverty are all factors, but war also has a role. In particular, she points to depleted uranium, or DU, used by the U.S. and U.K. in the manufacture of tank armor, ammunition, and other military purposes during the Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that some 2,000 tons of depleted uranium may have been used in Iraq, and much of it has yet to be cleaned up. The remnants of DU ammunition are spread across 1,100 locations — “and that’s just from the 2003 invasion,” says Zwijnenburg, the Dutch war-and-environment analyst. “We are still missing all the information from the 1991 Gulf War that the U.S. said was not recorded and could not be shared.”

Souad Naji Al-Azzawi, an environmental engineer and a retired University of Baghdad professor, knows this problem well. In 1991, she was asked to review plans to reconstruct some of Baghdad’s water treatment plants, which had been destroyed at the start of the Gulf War, she says. A few years later, she led a team to measure the impact of radiation on soldiers and Iraqi civilians in the south of the country.

Around that same time, epidemiological studies found that from 1990 to 1997, cases of childhood leukemia increased 60 percent in the southern Iraqi town of Basra, which had been a focal point of the fighting. Over the same time span, the number of children born with severe birth defects tripled. Al-Azzawi’s work suggests that the illnesses are linked to depleted uranium. Other work supports this finding and suggests that depleted uranium is contributing to elevated rates of cancer and other health problems in adults, too.

Today, remnants of tanks and weapons line the main highway from Baghdad to Basra, where contaminated debris remains a part of residents’ everyday lives. In one family in Basra, Zwijnenburg noted, all members had some form of cancer, from leukemia to bone cancers.

To Al-Azzawi, the reasons for such anomalies seem plain. Much of the land in this area is contaminated with depleted uranium oxides and particles, she said. It is in the water, in the soil, in the vegetation. “The population of west Basra showed between 100 and 200 times the natural background radiation levels,” Al-Azzawi says.

Some remediation efforts have taken place. For example, says Al-Azzawi, two so-called tank graveyards in Basra were partially remediated in 2013 and 2014. But while hundreds of vehicles and pieces of artillery were removed, these graveyards remain a source of contamination. The depleted uranium has leached into the water and surrounding soils. And with each sandstorm —  a common event — the radioactive particles are swept into neighborhoods and cities.

Cancers in Iraq catapulted from 40 cases among 100,000 people in 1991 to at least 1,600 by 2005.

In Fallujah, a central Iraqi city that has experienced heavy warfare, doctors have also reported a sharp rise in birth defects among the city’s children. According to a 2012 article in Al Jazeera, Samira Alani, a pediatrician at Fallujah General Hospital, estimated that 14 percent of babies born in the city had birth defects — more than twice the global average.

Alani says that while her research clearly shows a connection between contamination and congenital anomalies, she still faces challenges to painting a full picture of the affected areas, in part because data was lacking from Iraq’s birth registry. It’s a common refrain among doctors and researchers in Iraq, many of whom say they simply don’t have the resources and capacity to properly quantify the compounding impacts of war and unchecked industry on Iraq’s environment and its people. “So far, there are no studies. Not on a national scale,” says Eman, who has also struggled to conduct studies because there is no nationwide record of birth defects or cancers. “There are only personal and individual efforts.”…………………..

After the Gulf War, many veterans suffered from a condition now known as Gulf War syndrome. Though the causes of the illness are to this day still subject to widespread speculation, possible causes include exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, and smoke from burning oil wells. More than 200,000 veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East have reported major health issues to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which they believe are connected to burn pit exposure. Last month, the White House announced new actions to make it easier for such veterans to access care.

Numerous studies have shown that the pollution stemming from these burn pits has caused severe health complications for American veterans. Active duty personnel have reported respiratory difficulties, headaches, and rare cancers allegedly derived from the burn pits in Iraq and locals living nearby also claim similar health ailments, which they believe stem from pollutants emitted by the burn pits.

Keith Baverstock, head of the Radiation Protection Program at the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe from 1991 to 2003, says the health of Iraqi residents is likely also at risk from proximity to the burn pits. “If surplus DU has been burned in open pits, there is a clear health risk” to people living within a couple of miles, he says.

Abdul Wahab Hamed lives near the former U.S. Falcon base in Baghdad. His nephew, he says, was born with severe birth defects. The boy cannot walk or talk, and he is smaller than other children his age. Hamed says his family took the boy to two separate hospitals and after extensive work-ups, both facilities blamed the same culprit: the burn pits. Residents living near Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad also report children born with spinal disfigurements and other congenital anomalies, but they say that their requests for investigation have yielded no results.  ……………………………………… https://undark.org/2021/12/22/ecocide-iraq/

December 27, 2021 Posted by | children, environment, Iraq, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s Environmental Authority requires a list of all the problems encountered in building the Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor

 An inventory of incidents on the EPR required according to the
Environmental Authority. In its latest opinion, the Environmental Authority
recommends a listing of all the problems encountered during the
construction of the EPR, as well as an update on the various solutions
provided.

 France Bleu 23rd Dec 2021

https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/environnement/un-etat-des-lieux-des-incidents-sur-l-epr-necessaire-selon-l-autorite-environnementale-1640277425

 Science & Avenir 23rd Dec 2021

https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/nature-environnement/nucleaire-l-autorite-environnementale-reclame-plus-d-informations-sur-flamanville_160059
Le Figaro 23rd Dec 2021

https://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-eco/nucleaire-l-autorite-environnementale-reclame-plus-d-informations-sur-flamanville-20211223

December 27, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, safety | Leave a comment

Swedish environmental groups sound a warning on the government’s plans for a new radioactive waste dump.

On 22 December, the Government decided to approve the extension of the
repository for short-lived radioactive waste in Forsmark (SFR) with a new
repository (SFR 2).

SFR is the current repository for short-lived
radioactive operational waste from the nuclear power plants and is located
under the seabed outside the Forsmark nuclear power plant.

SFR 2 is a new repository for short-lived radioactive waste from the decommissioning of
the Swedish nuclear reactors, and the repository will be built next to the
old one. The government decided to grant permissibility according to the
Environmental Code and a license according to the Nuclear Activities Act.

The decisions can be found in the news story on the MKG Swedish web page
(link below on original)).

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, The Swedish
Friends of the Earth and the Swedish NGO Office for Nuclear Waste Review
(MKG) have stated that the government should say no to the new repository.
The organisations recently told the government in an opinion that it has
not been shown that the new repository will be safe enough.

The environment risks being damaged by the repository leaking radioactive particles into
the Öregrundsgrepen outside Forsmark faster than expected, perhaps already
within 50 to 100 years after closure. In addition, there is already a
relatively unexpected and extensive breakdown of the technical repository
barriers in the existing repository.

The organisations believe that the
government should have conditioned the decision on leaving the repository
open under supervision for the 400 to 500 years required for the
radioactive content to have decayed to less dangerous levels.

 MKG 22nd Dec 2021

 https://www.mkg.se/en/the-government-approves-the-expansion-of-sfr-in-forsmark

December 24, 2021 Posted by | environment, Sweden, wastes | Leave a comment

China opposes Japanese decision to release nuclear-contaminated water into ocean

 BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — China is seriously concerned about and firmly opposes Japan’s unilateral decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and its proceeding with the preparatory work, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Zhao Lijian made the remarks when asked to comment on a media report that Tokyo Electric Power Company has submitted an application to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority with a detailed plan of discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.

Since April this year, the international community has raised concerns to the Japanese side over the legitimacy of the discharge into the sea, the rationality of the discharge plan, the credibility of the data about the nuclear contaminated water and the reliability of the equipment to purify the nuclear-contaminated water, Zhao said.

The work of the IAEA technical working group on the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is still undergoing, he added.

“In total disregard of the legitimate and reasonable concerns of the international community, the Japanese side only continues to proceed with the preparations for the discharge both policy-wise and technology-wise,” Zhao said.

“Obviously, it wants to impose its wrong decision on the entire international community, and it is all the littoral countries of the Pacific Ocean that will have to take the risk for such move. The Japanese side is extremely irresponsible in doing so.”……….. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/20211015/C9A4AEDD72B00001F26810B030601260/c.html

December 24, 2021 Posted by | China, oceans | Leave a comment

France’s Association for the Control of Radioactivity in the West (ACRO) reveals plutonium pollution in La Hague.

14 Dec 21, Plutonium pollution in La Hague revealed by ACRO. As part of its Citizen’s Observatory of Radioactivity in the Environment, ACRO regularly monitors radioactive pollution around the nuclear installations in La Hague, which enabled it, in 2016, to highlight unusual pollution. in the Ru des Landes
area, with the notable presence of americium-241 and plutonium, which are particularly toxic.

Areva, now Orano, has pledged to take back the contaminated land. But, as of December 2021, no sanitation work has yet been carried out and cows continue to graze there.

 ACRO 14th Dec 2021

December 20, 2021 Posted by | environment, France | Leave a comment

France ready to join forces with fossil fuel promoters, in order to put nuclear at the heart of European environment policy.

To put nuclear power at the heart of European environmental policy, France
is ready to join forces with countries which promote fossil fuels.

European taxonomy is a register classifying the different energies with a more or
less green label. Obtaining it may in particular make it possible to
benefit from grants or funding.

For its part, France is pushing for nuclear
power to be recognized by the European Commission as sustainable energy. To
achieve its ends, it is not excluded that it ally with other countries
which, for their part, support natural gas – fossil energy – as shown by a
note revealed by the newspaper Context relayed by many NGOs.

 France Inter 17th Dec 2021

https://www.franceinter.fr/environnement/le-grand-jeu-d-influence-autour-du-label-vert-energetique-europeen

December 20, 2021 Posted by | climate change, environment, France | Leave a comment

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ”air – conditioners” – the North and South poles.

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ‘air-conditioners’, risking rest of planet, The Age , By Sarah Kaplan, 16 Dec 21,   The ice shelf was cracking up. Surveys showed warm ocean water eroding its underbelly. Satellite imagery revealed long, parallel fissures in the frozen expanse, like scratches from some clawed monster. One fracture grew so big, so fast, scientists took to calling it “the dagger”.

“It was hugely surprising to see things changing that fast,” said Erin Pettit. The Oregon State University glaciologist had chosen this spot for her Antarctic field research precisely because of its stability. While other parts of the infamous Thwaites Glacier crumbled, this wedge of floating ice acted as a brace, slowing the melt. It was supposed to be boring, durable, safe.

Now climate change has turned the ice shelf into a threat – to Pettit’s field work and to the world.

Planet-warming pollution from burning fossil fuels and other human activities has already raised global temperatures more than 1.1 degrees Celsius. But the effects are particularly profound at the poles, where rising temperatures have seriously undermined regions once locked in ice.

In research presented this week at the world’s biggest earth science conference, Pettit showed that the Thwaites ice shelf could collapse within the next three to five years, unleashing a river of ice that could dramatically raise sea levels.

Up north, aerial surveys document how warmer conditions have allowed beavers to invade the Arctic tundra, flooding the landscape with their dams. Large commercial ships are increasingly infiltrating formerly frozen areas, disturbing wildlife and generating disastrous amounts of rubbish. In many Alaska Native communities, climate impacts compounded the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to food shortages among people who have lived off this land for thousands of years.

“The very character of these places is changing,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and co-editor of the Arctic Report Card, an annual assessment of the state of the top of the world. “We are seeing conditions unlike those ever seen before.”

The rapid transformation of the Arctic and Antarctic creates ripple effects all over the planet. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift and ecosystems will be altered. Unless humanity acts swiftly to curb emissions, scientists say, the same forces that have destabilised the poles will wreak havoc on the rest of the globe.

“The Arctic is a way to look into the future,” said Matthew Druckenmiller, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and another co-editor of the Arctic Report Card. “Small changes in temperature can have huge effects in a region that is dominated by ice.”

This year’s edition of the report card, which was presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting on Tuesday, describes a landscape that is transforming so fast scientists struggle to keep up. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average. The October to December 2020 period was the warmest on record, scientists say.

Separately on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed a new temperature record for the Arctic: 38 degrees in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020.

These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past northern summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales are at risk.

“It’s an ecosystem collapse situation,” said Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, Inupiaq, whose business Ikaagun Engagement facilitates cooperation between scientists and Alaska Native communities.

The consequences of this loss will be felt far beyond the Arctic. Sea ice has traditionally acted as Earth’s “air conditioner”; it reflects as much as two-thirds of the light that hits it, sending huge amounts of solar radiation back into space.

By contrast, dark expanses of water absorb heat, and it is difficult for these areas to refreeze. Less sea ice means more open ocean, more heat absorption and more climate change.

“We have a narrow window of time to avoid very costly, deadly and irreversible climate impacts,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Rick Spinrad said.

Record highs have also sounded the death knell for ice on land. Three historic melting episodes struck Greenland in July and August, causing the island’s massive ice sheet to lose about 34 trillion kilograms. On August 14, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell at the ice sheet summit…….

Though the Greenland ice sheet is more than a mile thick at its centre, rain can darken the surface, causing the ice to absorb more of the sun’s heat, Moon said. It changes the way snow behaves and slicks the top of the ice.

The consequences for people living in the Arctic can be dire. …………..

In Antarctica, University of Colorado-Boulder glaciologist Ted Scampos said “climate change is more about wind changes and ocean changes than warming – although that is happening in many parts of it as well.”

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

For many Arctic residents, climate change is a threat multiplier – worsening the dangers of whatever other crises come their way. Another essay in the report card documents the threats to Alaska Natives’ food security caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantine restrictions prevented people from travelling to their traditional harvesting grounds. Economic upheaval and supply chain issues left many supermarkets with empty shelves.

But the essay, which was co-written by Inupiaq, Hadia, Ahtna and Supiaq researchers, along with experts from other Native communities, also highlights how Indigenous cultural practices helped communities stave off hunger. Existing food sharing networks redoubled their efforts. Harvesting traditions were adapted with public health in mind………………….

Though no place on Earth is changing as fast as the Arctic, rising temperatures have already brought similar chaos to more temperate climes as well. Unpredictable weather, unstable landscapes and collapsing ecosystems are becoming facts of life in communities around the globe.

None of this represents a “new normal,” Moon cautioned. It’s merely a pit stop on a path to an even stranger and more dangerous future.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to keep rising. Governments and businesses have not taken the steps needed to avert catastrophic warming beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. There is every reason to believe that instability at the poles – and around the planet – will get worse.

But achieving the best case climate scenarios could cut the volume of ice lost from Greenland by 75 per cent, research suggests. International cooperation could prevent garbage from getting into the oceans and alleviate the effects of marine noise. Better surveillance and early warning systems can keep people safe when melting triggers landslides and floods.

“There’s such a big range and difference in what the future of the Arctic and the future anywhere on our globe can look like,” Moon said. “It all depends on human actions.”

The Washington Post   https://www.theage.com.au/world/north-america/climate-change-has-crashed-earth-s-air-conditioners-risking-rest-of-planet-20211215-p59hny.html

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could ”shatter like a car windscreen” in the next 5 to 10 years

 An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could “shatter like a car windscreen” in the next five to 10 years, causing a significant rise in global sea levels, scientists have warned. The Thwaites glacier in the western Antarctic is the widest on earth at 80 miles across.

A huge part of it is now in danger of breaking off and releasing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean. Data from a comprehensive study by the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) shows that this colossal glacier is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the effects of its collapse would be devastating.

Thwaites – also known as the ‘Doomsday glacier’ – has already lost an estimated 900 billion metric
tons of ice since 2000. Its annual ice loss has doubled in the past 30 years, and it now loses approximately 45 billion metric tons more ice than it receives in snowfall per year, according to The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).

If the glacier were to break up entirely and release all its water into the ocean, sea levels worldwide would rise by more than 2 feet (65 centimetres), said ITGC lead coordinator Dr Ted Scambos. “And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet (3m), if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it,” Dr Scambos said in a statement.

 Telegraph 14th Dec 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/12/14/antarctic-glacier-size-britain-could-shatter-like-car-windscreen/

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Biden administration must end the environmental injustices of the nuclear era

Biden administration must end the environmental injustices of nuclear era  https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/12/14/22827937/renewable-energy-nuclear-biden-executive-order-chiefs-raiders-person-year-letters

If nuclear energy can’t be changed into something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place Stephanie Bilenko, La Grange Park,  Dec 14, 2021,    President Joe Biden’s executive order, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, created the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) to advise the federal government’s efforts to address environmental injustice.

In a May report, WHEJAC recommended ruling out nuclear power under the council’s criteria for federal investments that maximize benefits and avoid harm. WHEJAC concluded that nuclear power is not beneficial to communities that have suffered from environmental injustice and are on the frontlines of radioactive exposure, contamination and environmental degradation across the entire nuclear fuel chain and radioactive waste streams.

Instead of propping up aging reactors and perpetuating injustices, the Biden administration must implement policies that end injustice. Congress and the Biden administration should commit to phasing out nuclear power, cleaning up radioactive sites, making reparations to impacted communities and transitioning to 100% renewable energy — now.

The more nuclear power we generate now, the more radioactive waste will be stockpiled for generations far into the future. An essential boundary of appropriate tech is the boundary between matter you can change with tools on hand, and matter you can’t change. If it can’t be changed to something safe, it’s a bad idea to produce it in the first place.

Basic morality teaches us that we ought to leave the world a better place for those who come after us. If we know better, we have to do better.

December 16, 2021 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

 Radionuclides found from Hinkley nuclear mud Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey .

 

 Radionuclides found…! Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey, Tim Deere-Jones, Stop Hinkley C. A new survey has concluded the spread of man-made radioactivity from reactor discharges into the Bristol Channel is far more extensive and widespread than previously reported.

The research has also detected a high concentration of radioactivity in Splott Bay, which could be linked to the controversial dumping of dredged waste off the Cardiff coast in 2018.The survey was undertaken over the summer by groups from both sides of the Bristol Channel after EDF Energy refused to carry
out pre-dumping surveys of the Cardiff Grounds and Portishead sea dump sites where they have disposed of waste from the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

The survey found that shoreline concentrations of two radio nuclides (Caesium 137 and Americium 241)
typical of the effluents from the Hinkley reactors and indicators of the presence of Plutonium 239/240 and 241, do not decline significantly with distance from the Hinkley site as Government and Industry surveys had previously reportedOverall, the study found significant concentrations of Hinkley derived radioactivity in samples from all 11 sites, seven along the Somerset coast and four in south Wales and found unexpectedly high concentrations in sediments from Bristol Docks, the tidal River Avon, the
Portishead shoreline, Burnham-on-Sea and Woodspring Bay.

 Public Enquiry 11th Dec 2021

Research finds ‘significant concentrations’ of radioactivity in
samples taken from across the Somerset and south Wales coast. Nation Cymru 9th Dec 2021

December 13, 2021 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment