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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Global action is needed, NOW, to defeat the out-of-control Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Over the past few weeks, the Japanese have attempted to send their Scorpion robot into the damaged containment vessel areas. These attempts have resulted in the rapid destruction of these specially designed radiation-detecting robots — but not before measurements were made… reliable measurements, that indicate radiation leaking at 530 seiverts per hour. Such readings were described as “unimaginable.” Why? Because human death is likely at just 10 seiverts per hour of radiation exposure.

This is all current news — yet our national media and federal government will not investigate it, talk about it, or help in developing a strategy to defeat the problem.

There is no greater clear and present danger to the future of humanity and other life on this earth than the out-of-control Fukushima disaster.

If we get to work on the problem, I am absolutely confident that our human ingenuity and resourcefulness will defeat it. We are, in our human potentiality, that good — if we will only do it.

Fukushima ocean plume

The Ongoing Fukushima Disaster http://pagosadailypost.com/2017/02/23/essay-the-ongoing-fukushima-disaster/ BY  · FEBRUARY 23, 2017

 On March 11, 2017, we will hit the 6th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan which featured the complete meltdown of three nuclear reactor cores due to these facilities being inundated by a 45-foot high tsunami wave caused by an earthquake. Sadly, the engineers and scientists trying to mitigate the ongoing damage have been unsuccessful at stopping the daily flow of radiation into the Pacific Ocean, which is simply one piece of the interconnected body of water I call the Earth Ocean.

The material of the melted cores, called corium, has sunk down into the earth below their shattered former containment vessels, and resides within the shallow water table below — which results in an ongoing flow of radioactive material pouring into the ocean. Apparently, there is no existing technological solution to this issue, and there are increasing measurements of radioactive material within the vast Pacific Ocean and all along the western coasts of the North and South American continents.

The Federal Government of the United States does not (publicly) monitor such radiation inflows, and therefore, any information about the contamination comes from various activities funded by crowd-source financing of various private and public-good organizations, etc.

This I find somewhat odd — in that the United States has, in recent days, deployed their radiation-sniffing jet to fly about over Europe in the hopes of identifying the source of highly abnormal radioactive particles of Iodine-131 that have been wafting about upon the winds since (apparently) early January 2017. At this moment, there is no explanation. So… we’ll deploy United States taxpayer resources to help track down the source of a European Iodine-131 leak — which, incidentally, has a half-life of about eight days — and will discuss the problem publicly … but we won’t (publicly) monitor our western coasts and air for an ongoing radiation catastrophe now six years old, emitting radioactive particles with half-lives of thousands of years. The Federal Government of the United States won’t even talk about it.

Is the idea (or attitude) then that since we have no ability to arrest or fix the unrelenting Fukushima poisoning of our planetary environment, that we will just not talk about or acknowledge it in a public way? Are we going to continue to buy the demonstrably false notion put forth by the U.S. government that the vast waters of the Pacific ocean will act to “dilute” the radioactive poison over time — when it is a scientific fact that radioactive particles are not “dilutable” and are, instead, cumulative?

Are we going to continue to disassociate the massive die-offs and poisoning of ocean life from the obvious source, the cumulative effects of Fukushima radiation? Are we going to continue to enjoy our seafood because the Federal Government says that the radioactive levels within it are “within safe limits”? Are we going to continue to label people like myself (of which there are many) as “conspiracy theorists” and uneducated alarmists who have been expressing concern over the Fukushima catastrophe since it occurred — people like me who know from objective observed and scientific fact that all is not well with what is going on (or not going on) at Fukushima?

Over the past few weeks, the Japanese have attempted to send their Scorpion robot into the damaged containment vessel areas. These attempts have resulted in the rapid destruction of these specially designed radiation-detecting robots — but not before measurements were made… reliable measurements, that indicate radiation leaking at 530 seiverts per hour. Such readings were described as “unimaginable.” Why? Because human death is likely at just 10 seiverts per hour of radiation exposure.

This is all current news — yet our national media and federal government will not investigate it, talk about it, or help in developing a strategy to defeat the problem. I would submit that the ongoing Fukushima environmental catastrophe is — by far — the most urgent danger to humanity that we face. This is not a localized Japanese problem — it is a world-wide environmental emergency that is getting worse every day.

If humanity does not have the current technology to defeat this problem, then we need to get our best and brightest minds together from across the world and develop technology to defeat it, immediately. It is absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible for the world to simply ignore what it going on — indeed, it is eventually suicidal. If President Trump does not begin to openly talk about the ongoing global emergency threat of Fukushima and advocate for a solution, then I, for one, will publicly part ways with him — on this issue alone.

There is no greater clear and present danger to the future of humanity and other life on this earth than the out-of-control Fukushima disaster. All other issues of debate and controversy are small potatoes in comparison. President Trump needs to rally support for an effective response on this—indeed, the sheer gravity of the destruction being done to the world provides a superb opportunity to bring together a truly unified global response to an issue that threatens humanity. Japan does not have the resources or technological ability to solve this problem by itself — and no individual nation does, or could. Just as if humanity found itself mortally in danger from a source beyond the Earth and would therefore unify to defeat it, so too must it view the Fukushima situation as a mortal danger to humanity from within.

If we get to work on the problem, I am absolutely confident that our human ingenuity and resourcefulness will defeat it. We are, in our human potentiality, that good — if we will only do it.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Trump’s associates and USA conservatives to wage war on environmentalists

Conservatives predict ‘real war’ with environmentalists http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060050477  Amanda Reilly, E&E News reporter   Greenwire: Thursday, February 23, 2017 People who question the science of climate change today told conservative activists they were looking forward to using their bigger platform during the Trump administration to roll back U.S. EPA regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

At the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a panel of prominent global warming skeptics said one of their top targets was the Obama administration’s 2009 endangerment finding, the basis for EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

“It’s going to be a real war with environmentalists, no question about that,” said Steve Milloy, who says he served on President Trump’s EPA transition but was not listed on the administration’s official landing team for the agency. “There’s going to be a lot of litigation. But we’re going to move EPA in the right direction.”

Milloy said “nothing’s made me prouder than the fact that Donald Trump is now president” because Republicans as a whole had been lukewarm in their support of climate skeptics prior to Trump, who once called climate change a Chinese hoax.

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute sponsored the panel this morning in one of the side ballrooms at CPAC, happening outside Washington. Appearing on the panel with Milloy were James Delingpole and Tony Heller. All three have questioned whether human-caused climate change is occurring.

Delingpole, an executive editor at the Breitbart News Network, likened environmentalism to a religion and recycling advocates to a “cult.”  The environmental movement, he told the conservative audience, was full of “control freaks” looking for a scientific justification “to tax us, to regulate us, to control our lives.”

Heller, who also goes by the pseudonym Steven Goddard, accused the government of faking statistics to make people believe in “absurd” and “fake news” climate change.

He claimed that conservatives who don’t believe in climate change have been treated like women who were accused of being witches in the 1600s. “Right now, conservatives get blamed for every bad weather event and for climate change, right. It’s our fault,” he said. “But hundreds of years ago, it was witches who were blamed for it.”

‘Scumbags’

The treatment of people who don’t believe in man-made warming is about to change during the Trump administration, Delingpole said. “The people who portray people like us as selfish, greedy, nature-hating scumbags — no. They are the scumbags. We are the good guys,” Delingpole said. “Thank goodness, thanks to Donald Trump, the tide’s turned, and we are about to witness that.”

Along with questioning federal climate change science, panelists also said they were skeptical of EPA research on everything from air pollution to pesticides.  Milloy, who led a crusade against EPA’s risk assessment of secondhand smoke, said he hoped the Trump administration would completely end scientific research at the agency, accusing it of paying for “the science it wants.”

An agency “can’t be responsible for producing science and then regulating” based on that science, Milloy said.Being selected to EPA’s transition team was “a dream come true after fighting EPA for 25 years,” he said.

Conservatives are starting to see the fruits of the advice of that transition team, beginning with the confirmation of former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, he said.

Under the Trump administration, Milloy said, warming skeptics would get to participate in debates over killing President Obama’s key climate policies, including the endangerment finding, which the Supreme Court upheld in 2014.

“The endangerment finding needs to be repealed,” he said. “If it’s not, then President Trump is going to be forced to issue his own climate policy.”

John Walke, clean air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, slammed the panel in a series of tweets.

“This is alt-reality, folks,” he said.

Twitter: @apeterka Email: areilly@eenews.net

February 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Radiation ‘sniffer plane’ over Europe

questionA radiation ‘sniffer plane’ is reportedly searching for the source of a cloud of nuclear isotopes floating across Europe, news.com.au FEBRUARY 23, 2017 A CLOUD of radioactive particles is floating across Europe — and no one knows where it came from.  First detected in mid-January, spikes in the level of a radioactive isotope called Iodine-131, have been recorded all the way from Norway to Spain.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, radiation | Leave a comment

Effect of air pollution might have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss

Air pollution may have masked mid-20th Century sea ice loss https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170223124327.htm February 23, 2017

Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
sea-ice-meltingfHumans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century.

Humans may have been altering Arctic sea ice longer than previously thought, according to researchers studying the effects of air pollution on sea ice growth in the mid-20th Century. The new results challenge the perception that Arctic sea ice extent was unperturbed by human-caused climate change until the 1970s.

Scientists have observed Arctic sea ice loss since the mid-1970s and some climate model simulations have shown the region was losing sea ice as far back as 1950. In a new study, recently recovered Russian observations show an increase in sea ice from 1950 to 1975 as large as the subsequent decrease in sea ice observed from 1975 to 2005. The new observations of mid-century sea ice expansion led researchers behind the new study to the search for the cause.

The new study supports the idea that air pollution is to blame for the observed Arctic sea ice expansion. Particles of air pollution that come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels may have temporarily hidden the effects of global warming in the third quarter of the 20th Century in the eastern Arctic, the researchers say.

These particles, called sulfate aerosols, reflect sunlight back into space and cool the surface. This cooling effect may have disguised the influence of global warming on Arctic sea ice and may have resulted in sea ice growth recorded by Russian aerial surveys in the region from 1950 through 1975, according to the new research.

“The cooling impact from increasing aerosols more than masked the warming impact from increasing greenhouse gases,” said John Fyfe, a senior scientist at Environment and Climate Change Canada in Victoria and a co-author of the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

To test the aerosol idea, researchers used computer modeling to simulate sulfate aerosols in the Arctic from 1950 through 1975. Concentrations of sulfate aerosols were especially high during these years before regulations like the Clean Air Act limited sulfur dioxide emissions that produce sulfate aerosols.

The study’s authors then matched the sulfate aerosol simulations to Russian observational data that suggested a substantial amount of sea ice growth during those years in the eastern Arctic. The resulting simulations show the cooling contribution of aerosols offset the ongoing warming effect of increasing greenhouse gases over the mid-twentieth century in that part of the Arctic. This would explain the expansion of the Arctic sea ice cover in those years, according to the new study.

Aerosols spend only days or weeks in the atmosphere so their effects are short-lived. The weak aerosol cooling effect diminished after 1980, following the enactment of clean air regulations. In the absence of this cooling effect, the warming effect of long-lived greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide has prevailed, leading to Arctic sea ice loss, according to the study’s authors.

The new study helps sort out the swings in Arctic sea ice cover that have been observed over the last 75 years, which is important for a better understanding of sea ice behavior and for predicting its behavior in the future, according to Fyfe.

The new study’s use of both observations and modeling is a good way to attribute the Arctic sea ice growth to sulfate aerosols, said Cecilia Bitz, a sea ice researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle who has also looked into the effects of aerosols on Arctic ice. The sea ice record prior to satellite images is “very sparse,” added Bitz, who was not involved in the new study.

Bitz also points out that some aerosols may have encouraged sea ice to retreat. Black carbon, for instance, is a pollutant from forest fires and other wood and fossil fuel burning that can darken ice and cause it to melt faster when the sun is up — the opposite effect of sulfates. Also, black carbon emissions in some parts of the Arctic are still quite common, she said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by American Geophysical Union.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, oceans, Reference, ARCTIC | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear radiation – toxic on the planet for about 2000 years

Fukushima ocean plumeFukushima could poison the planet for the next 1,000 years, News Target, 22 Feb 17, “………even more concerning is the fact that the  530 sievert reading wasn’t even taken close to the reactor — the reading was recorded at a fair distance away from the melted fuel.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, says that in actuality, the radiation at reactor 2 “could be 10 times higher than recorded.”

Gizmodo reports that TEPCO claims that there is a 30 percent margin of error, which means that radiation levels at reactor 2 could be as “low” as 370 sieverts, but may be as high as 690 sieverts. Either way, it doesn’t sound like a good time.

Experts have also warned that the radiation levels at reactors 1 and 3 could be even higher than 530 sieverts. Unfortunately,the melted fuel in those reactors has yet to be located, so no readings have been done.

It is worth noting that Safecast — an organization for citizen science — reports that because the 530 sievert reading was taken at a new location where readings could not previously be taken, it does not necessarily indicate that radiation levels are rising. However, in making this statement, they also reveal that the reverse could be true: radiation levels could have been much, much higher than were initially reported after the incident. This is a fairly probable scenario, but at least one thing is for sure: the radioactive material at Fukushima is still far away from any plausible containment procedures.

Radiation leaks at Fukushima

The extreme amounts of radiation at the Fukushima site have put any plans of deconstructing the nuclear power plant on hold: even robots can barely function at such high levels of radioactivity. They are also complicating TEPCO’s plans for exploring reactor 2’s containment vessel any further…..the nuclear material inside reactor 2’s pressure vessel melted a hole through the pressure vessel. Soon, it will probably eat its way through the containment unit, as well. Any effort that could be made to contain the radiation from above will be futile: the nuclear material is already making its way into the groundwater. Even if TEPCO (or anyone else) could get a crew of robots close enough to the reactor, and get them to survive long enough to be useful, there is virtually nothing they can do to stop what is going on down below. Groundwater contamination is on the horizon.

The nuclear fuel that is melting away at Fukushima is going to be sticking around in our environment for a very, very long time.

Mike Adams explains that some of the melting fuel rods at Fukushima are MOX fuel, which contains Plutonium-239 — a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 24,000 years.  “So sometime in the year 26000 A.D. the Fukushima nightmare will be HALF as toxic as it is right now,” Adams states.

Plutonium is an extremely lethal and toxic substance. Nuclear expert Steven C. Jones says that if just a single pound of plutonium were to be dispersed evenly into the lungs of every single person on the planet, “it would kill every man, woman, and child on earth.”http://newstarget.com/2017-02-22-fukushima-could-poison-the-planet-for-the-next-1000-years.html

February 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture radioactively contaminated

text-what-radiationGreenpeace exposes high radiation risks in Fukushima village as govt prepares to lift evacuation order http://www.newkerala.com/news/fullnews-228867.html Tokyo/ New Delhi, Feb 21 : The Japanese government will soon lift evacuation orders for 6,000 citizens of Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture where radiation levels in nearby forests are comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation.

Seventy-five percent of Iitate is contaminated forested mountains, a Greenpeace statement claimed..
A survey team led by Greenpeace Japan recently found radiation dose rates at houses in the village of Iitate well above long-term government targets, with annual and lifetime exposure levels posing a long-term risk to citizens who may return. Evacuation orders will be lifted for Iitate no later than March 31, 2017, to be followed one year later by the termination of compensation payments.

The relatively high radiation values, both inside and outside houses, show an unacceptable radiation risk for citizens if they were to return to Iitate. Citizens returning to their irradiated homes are at risk of receiving radiation equivalent to one chest X-ray every week. This is not normal or acceptable, said Ai Kashiwagi, energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan .

As Japan nears the six year anniversary of the nuclear disaster, the Japanese government last week confirmed that it has not yet conducted any assessments of lifetime exposure risks for citizens if they were to return to Iitate.

Recent reports suggest that the cost of cleaning up of Fukushima plant would cost more than 12lakh crores. If a developed country like Japan, known for its processes and systems, is finding it too difficult to handle the disaster, it makes little sense for India to go ahead and sign up for four more reactors at Kudankulam and elsewhere. In the words of George Santania Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, says G. Sundarrajan of Poovulagin Nanbargal.

Life can never go back to normal for people living near nuclear power plants. But clearly, the world has failed to learn its lessons from nuclear accidents like those in Chernobyl and Fukushima. India, for instance, seems determined to add on to its nuclear power capacity despite putting the lives of millions of people at risk, says Nandikesh Sivalingam, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace India.

The fact remains that nuclear power is neither safe nor economical, and that India is grossly ill-prepared to handle a nuclear disaster. This was pointed out by Red Alert, a Greenpeace India report that released last year.

Last years Indo-Japan nuclear deal also negated the lessons learnt from Fukushima.

The deal to buy six AP1000 reactors was more of a last ditch effort to save Westinghouse/Toshiba from imminent meltdown. Now, after the meltdown, the future of the six nuclear reactors has put a question mark on the economic viability of nuclear power. Its reported that the cost of building these six reactors will be three to six times greater than the cost of building a solar photovoltaic plant of the same capacity.
It should also be noted that India is currently in a situation of surplus power witnessing massive installed overcapacity in the electricity sector. With the solar tariffs going down to record low levels, Indias energy needs for the next ten years can be fulfilled by cleaner and safer sources of energy in the form of solar and wind.

Greenpeace India stand by the victims of Fukushima who are being forced to return to the accident site for economic reasons. India must learn from the Fukushima disaster and its long lasting impacts on peoples lives and livelihoods and move away permanently from highly risky and economically unviable nuclear energy to safer, greener and cheaper energy sources like solar and wind.

Greenpeace has launched a public petition in solidarity with the Fukushima survivors campaigning for the restitution/protection of their human rights.

February 22, 2017 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, Japan | Leave a comment

Radioactive Iodine-131 observed across much of northern and central Europe

French nuclear agency: Mystery radioactive residue over Europe raises concern  Concerns have spread in Europe about a potential nuclear “incident” following a recent report by a French nuclear watchdog agency – the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the French national public expert in nuclear and radiological risks – that radioactive Iodine-131 had been observed across much of northern and central Europe. Since the isotope has a half-life of only eight days, the detection was an indication of a rather recent release. As the Barents Observer added, “where the radioactivity is coming from is still a mystery.” The emission was rumored to have originated close to the Arctic circle, with some speculating that a nuclear test of emergency had taken place in Russia in January and the fallout then spread to Norway and onward to Europe:

Iodine-131 a radionuclide of anthropogenic origin, has recently been detected in tiny amounts in the ground-level atmosphere in Europe. The preliminary report states it was first found during week 2 of January 2017 in northern Norway. Iodine-131 was also detected in Finland, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, France and Spain, until the end of January”, the French Institute de Radioprotection et de Süreté Nucléaire wrote in a press release.

Adding an air of mystery to this alleged “incident” was the spotting of the “Constant Phoenix”, which as we first reported, arrived on Friday in the UK’s Mildenhall airbase from Florida. The WC-135 Constant Phoenix has been used in the past to determine whether nuclear tests or detonations have taken place in any given region. The WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center.

Read more here.   http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/world-news/23242-french-nuclear-agency-mystery-radioactive-residue-over-europe-raises-concern.htm

February 22, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE | Leave a comment

“Forest cities” – a plan to save China from air pollution

‘Forest cities’: the radical plan to save China from air pollution, Guardian 18 Feb 17
Stefano Boeri, the architect famous for his plant-covered skyscrapers, has designs to create entire new green settlements in a nation plagued by dirty air 
When Stefano Boeri imagines the future of urban China he sees green, and lots of it. Office blocks, homes and hotels decked from top to toe in a verdant blaze of shrubbery and plant life; a breath of fresh air for metropolises that are choking on a toxic diet of fumes and dust.

forest-city-for-china

Last week, the Italian architect, famed for his tree-clad Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) skyscraper complex in Milan, unveiled plans for a similar project in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing.

The Chinese equivalent – Boeri’s first in Asia – will be composed of two neighbouring towers coated with 23 species of tree and more than 2,500 cascading shrubs. The structures will reportedly house offices, a 247-room luxury hotel, a museum and even a green architecture school, and are currently under construction, set for completion next year.

But Boeri now has even bolder plans for China: to create entire “forest cities” in a country that has become synonymous with environmental degradation and smog.

“We have been asked to design an entire city where you don’t only have one tall building but you have 100 or 200 buildings of different sizes, all with trees and plants on the facades,” Boeri told the Guardian. “We are working very seriously on designing all the different buildings. I think they will start to build at the end of this year. By 2020 we could imagine having the first forest city in China.”

 Boeri described his “vertical forest” concept as the architectural equivalent of a skin graft, a targeted intervention designed to bring new life to a small corner of China’s polluted urban sprawl. His Milan-based practice claimed the buildings would suck 25 tons of carbon dioxide from Nanjing’s air each year and produce about 60 kg of oxygen every day.

“It is positive because the presence of such a large number of plants, trees and shrubs is contributing to the cleaning of the air, contributing to absorbing CO2 and producing oxygen,’ the architect said. “And what is so important is that this large presence of plants is an amazing contribution in terms of absorbing the dust produced by urban traffic.”

Boeri said, though, that it would take more than a pair of tree-covered skyscrapers to solve China’s notorious pollution crisis. “Two towers in a huge urban environment [such as Nanjing] is so, so small a contribution – but it is an example. We hope that this model of green architecture can be repeated and copied and replicated.”

If the Nanjing project is a skin graft, Boeri’s blueprints for “forest cities” are more like an organ transplant. The Milan-born architect said his idea was to create a series of sustainable mini-cities that could provide a green roadmap for the future of urban China.

The first such settlement will be located in Luizhou, a mid-sized Chinese city of about 1.5 million residents in the mountainous southern province of Guangxi. More improbably, a second project is being conceived around Shijiazhuang, an industrial hub in northern China that is consistently among the country’s 10 most polluted cities…….. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/17/forest-cities-radical-plan-china-air-pollution-stefano-boeri?CMP=fb_gu

February 20, 2017 Posted by | China, environment | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear waste agency promoting nuclear dump to South Australia, despite its dodgy record at home

a-cat-CANIt is extraordinary that some French wine producers are accompanying the Australian and French nuclear promoters spruiking the benefits of nuclear waste dumping to the community in the Barndioota region of South Australia.   Not only are many vital questions unanswered as ENuFF SA (Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future SA) has shown, but this  propaganda campaign completely ignores both the opposition to nuclear waste dumping, in France and the radioactive danger to France’s  Champagne vineyards

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”

Radioactive waste leaking into Champagne Water Supply, Levels set to rise warns Greenpeace, Greenpeace 30 May, 2006  Greenpeace today revealed that France’s iconic sparkling wine, Champagne, is threatened by radioactive contamination leaking from a nuclear waste dumpsite in the region. Low levels of radioactivity have already been found in underground water less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards.

Problems at the dumpsite, including water migration leading to fissures in the storage cells have been reported to French nuclear safety agency in recent weeks (1). Greenpeace has written to the Comita des Producteur de Champagne to warn them that their production risks contamination, as experienced by dairy farmers in la Hague, Normandy.

wine threat

The waste dump, Centre Stockage l’Aube (CSA) in Soulaine eastern France, contains mostly waste from Electricite de France (EdF) and AREVA, but also includes foreign nuclear waste disposed of illegally under French law (2). Every week nuclear waste is trucked across France to the Champagne site. Once full, the dumpsite will be one of the world’s largest with over 1 million cubic meters of waste, including plutonium and other radionuclides.

ANDRA, the national nuclear waste agency operating the site, stated that it would not release any radioactivity into the environment when given permission for the dumpsite in the late 1980’s. Greenpeace research released last week showed levels of radioactivity leaking from another dumpsite run by ANDRA in Normandy were up to 90 times above European safety limits in underground water used by farmers, and that the contamination was spreading into the countryside (3). The Champagne site will receive a total of 4 thousand terabequerels of tritium; more than three times the amount of tritium waste as the dumpsite in Normandy.

“We have been told for decades that nuclear dumpsites will not leak and that the best standards are being applied. In reality the dumpsite in Normandy is a disaster, and radioactivity is already leaking from the dumpsite in Champagne,” said Shaun Burnie nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International. “The authorities know they have a problem in Champagne already, with mistakes in the design. This is only the beginning of the problem, the bigger picture is that France has a nuclear waste crisis out of control that is threatening not only the environment and public health but also the economy of the Champagne region.”

In addition to the problems with the waste stores at the site, Greenpeace has learnt recently that French nuclear safety agency DGSNR has written to AREVA seeking clarification of the type of waste being disposed of at the Champagne site (4).

In addition to the low and intermediate waste site, a new high-level waste dumpsite is being planned in Bure also in the Champagne region, in which the most radioactive material in France would be deposited. Plans to build a high level waste facility in the Rhone Valley were scrapped a few years ago after strong opposition by the wine producers due to the threat to their vines and wine production.

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”……http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/radioactive-waste-leaking-into/

February 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Radioactive contamination persists in former uranium mining site: the reason why

water-radiationThis cycling in the aquifer may result in the persistent plumes of uranium contamination found in groundwater, something that wasn’t captured by earlier modeling efforts.

Study helps explain why uranium persists in groundwater at former mining sites      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170202163234.htm

February 2, 2017

Source:
SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Summary:
A recent study helps describe how uranium cycles through the environment at former uranium mining sites and why it can be difficult to remove.

Decades after a uranium mine is shuttered, the radioactive element can still persist in groundwater at the site, despite cleanup efforts.

A recent study led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory helps describe how the contaminant cycles through the environment at former uranium mining sites and why it can be difficult to remove. Contrary to assumptions that have been used for modeling uranium behavior, researchers found the contaminant binds to organic matter in sediments. The findings provide more accurate information for monitoring and remediation at the sites.

The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In 2014, researchers at SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) began collaborating with the DOE Office of Legacy Management, which handles contaminated sites associated with the legacy of DOE’s nuclear energy and weapons production activities. Through projects associated with the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act, the DOE remediated 22 sites in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico where uranium had been extracted and processed during the 1940s to 1970s.

Uranium was removed from the sites as part of the cleanup process, and the former mines and waste piles were capped more than two decades ago. Remaining uranium deep in the subsurface under the capped waste piles was expected to leave these sites due to natural groundwater flow. However, uranium has persisted at elevated levels in nearby groundwater much longer than predicted by scientific modeling………

“For the most part, uranium contamination has only been looked at in very simple model systems in laboratories,” Bone says. “One big advancement is that we are now looking at uranium in its native environmental form in sediments. These dynamics are complicated, and this research will allow us to make field-relevant modeling predictions.”In an earlier study, the SLAC team discovered that uranium accumulates in the low-oxygen sediments near one of the waste sites in the upper Colorado River basin. These deposits contain high levels of organic matter — such as plant debris and bacterial communities.During this latest study, the researchers found the dominant form of uranium in the sediments, known as tetravalent uranium, binds to organic matter and clays in the sediments. This makes it more likely to persist at the sites. The result conflicted with current models used to predict movement and longevity of uranium in sediments, which assumed that it formed an insoluble mineral called uraninite.

Different chemical forms of the element vary widely in how mobile they are — how readily they move around — in water, says Sharon Bone, lead author on the paper and a postdoctoral researcher at SSRL, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Since the uranium is bound to organic matter in sediments, it is immobile under certain conditions. Tetravalent uranium may become mobile when the water table drops and oxygen from the air enters spaces in the sediment that were formerly filled with water, particularly if the uranium is bound to organic matter in sediments rather than being stored in insoluble minerals.

“Either you want the uranium to be soluble and completely flushed out by the groundwater, or you just want the uranium to remain in the sediments and stay out of the groundwater,” Bone says. “But under fluctuating seasonal conditions, neither happens completely.”

This cycling in the aquifer may result in the persistent plumes of uranium contamination found in groundwater, something that wasn’t captured by earlier modeling efforts.

February 6, 2017 Posted by | environment, Reference, USA, water | Leave a comment

Health and safety win , in the battle of Indian Point

reactor-Indian-PointThe battle of Indian Point http://shelterislandreporter.timesreview.com/2017/01/29/column-battle-indian-point/ by  “It is a huge step forward in protecting the health and safety of all New Yorkers.”

So said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. (I-SagHarbor) on the agreement to close the Indian Point nuclear power plants, which sit 30 miles from Times Square, less than 50 miles from western Suffolk and 84 miles from Shelter Island — as the crow flies and radioactivity spreads.

These aged, problem-plagued nuclear plants have constituted a huge danger for the most densely populated area of the United States.

“This closure will put New York State on the fast track to expanding its renewable energy portfolio,” Mr. Thiele said. “By shifting our focus to green, renewable energy, we can grow our economy, create jobs and safeguard the health and safety of residents and state’s natural resources for generations to come.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo has long been calling for the plants to be shut down, and in announcing the agreement on January 9, he called the two-reactor Indian Point facility a “ticking time bomb.” Under the agreement, Indian Point 2 will close by April 2020 and Indian Point 3 by April 2021.

For decades, environmentalists and safe-energy organizations have been active in working to shut down the plants. Riverkeeper, the environmental organization, has been deeply involved. Its president, Paul Gallay, along with top New York State officials led by the governor, signed the agreement with the nuclear plants’ owner, New Orleans-based Entergy.

After the signing, Mr. Gallay described Indian Point as the “biggest existential threat to the region.” These strong words were confirmed years ago by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in an analysis of the consequences of a meltdown with breach of containment (a “China Syndrome” accident) at every nuclear power plant in the U.S.

The 1982 report, “Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences” or CRAC2 (it’s available on-line), considers “peak early fatalities,” “peak early injuries,” “peak cancer deaths” and “scaled cost billions in 1980 dollars.”

For Indian Point 2, the analysis, done at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories, projects peak early fatalities — 46,000; peak early injuries — 141,000; peak cancer deaths — 13,000; and scaled cost in billions — $274 billion, which in today’s dollars would be $1 trillion. For Indian Point 3,  it calculates peak early fatalities — 50,000; peak early injuries — 167,000;  peak cancer deaths — 14,000; scaled cost in billions — $314 billion. “Scaled cost” includes “lost wages, relocation expenses, decontamination costs, lost property” and a portion of the U.S. rendered uninhabitable for centuries because of radioactivity.

These aren’t just numbers, but represent people’s lives lost, injuries, those left with cancer and part of the planet ruined.
Said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., vice chairman of Riverkeeper: “The agreement marks a milestone in America’s historic transition from a dirty, dangerous energy system to clean, safe, wholesome, local and patriotic power supply.”

New York State and the environmental and safe-energy groups won the battle of Indian Point by using a similar tactic we on Long Island used to prevent the Shoreham nuclear power plant from going into commercial operation, and to prevent the Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO) from building seven to 11 nuclear plants here. The strategy involved getting around federal “pre-emptions” on nuclear power.

The promoters of nuclear power arranged in the 1950s for a supportive federal government to have “pre-emption” over states and localities on most nuclear plant issues. On Long Island, a strategy of grassroots activists with support of elected officials was to use the state’s power of eminent domain. The Long Island Power Act was enacted in 1985 giving the state the authority, if LILCO persisted with Shoreham and its other nuclear plant projects, to seize its assets and eliminate it. There was no federal “pre-emption” preventing that. And LILCO gave up.

On Indian Point, environmental activists and the state zeroed in on denying Entergy the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit that allowed the plants to discharge 2.5 billion gallons of water a day into the Hudson. This “once-through” cooling system released radioactive poisons into the river and has been killing massive amounts of fish. There was no federal “pre-emption” preventing this SPDES strategy. Another important factor causing Entergy to give up is that competitive power systems are now less expensive than nuclear, including renewable energy with safe solar and offshore wind power playing a huge role.

There are post-agreement complaints by some about replacing the electricity Indian Point generated. That’s baloney. There are alternatives. We can easily have energy we can live with.

January 30, 2017 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

Greenland – environment future threatened by mining for uranium and rare earths

greenland-johan-petersen-fjordYou can’t live in a museum’: the battle for Greenland’s uranium, Guardian, Maurice Walsh, 28 Jan 17  A tiny town in southern Greenland is fighting for its future. Behind it sits one of the world’s largest deposits of uranium. Should a controversial mine get the green light?

………….Since 2009, the island has been an “autonomous administrative division” within Denmark, giving its 56,000 inhabitants control over local resources. The idea of full independence within a generation or two is the dominant theme of local politics – even if the price of breaking free would be an annual Danish subsidy worth some £7,500 a head……
 in 2013, the government granted four times the number of exploration licences approved in 2003 – so has the pressure to repeal a 1988 ban on uranium mining: this prevented the extraction of uranium, as well as any minerals that might have uranium as a byproduct. In 2013, after a debate that divided the country, Greenland’s parliament voted narrowly to repeal the ban.
Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq, is one of many potential mines. Last month, an Australian company was given the green light to begin construction of a zinc and lead mine on the northern coast; there are currently 56 active licences to exploremining for gold, rubies, diamonds, nickel, copper and other minerals elsewhere.

But uranium has made Kvanefjeld the most controversial project, and the focus of a debate about whether this is the economic path that Greenland should pursue. (The most common argument raised against is the danger that radioactive dust will fall on neighbouring settlements and farmland.) An Australian-owned company, Greenland Minerals and Energy (GME), has spent nearly £60m developing a plan for an open pit mine here. It was due to submit an environmental impact assessment by the end of 2016, but the deadline has been extended……….

In a move that sounds counterintuitive, GME is promoting its mine as a contribution to the new global green economy. According to the company, 80% of the commercial deposits in Kvanefjeld are rare earth minerals, commonly used in wind turbines, hybrid cars and lasers; uranium accounts for only 10%. “The market for rare earth minerals is deciding this,” says operations manager Ib Laursen. “Everybody is looking for them. Instead of Greenland being a passive receiver of global warming from the western world, it could contribute to green technology.”

It is a clever pitch. Greenland’s ice sheet has become the benchmark measurement for the march of global warming; research published in September showed that ice loss is accelerating more rapidly than previously feared. Greenland is also the emblematic victim of climate change: Inuit hunters and fishermen are called on in international conferences, to describe how their traditional lifestyles are being destroyed by warming seas.

But what the rest of the world see as creeping ruination, local politicians see as an opportunity. The melting ice sheet will make some minerals more accessible, and reveal others that are so far unknown.

……….Most of the world’s rare earth minerals come from China (six state-owned enterprises control nearly 90% of the planet’s supply), and the scale of environmental degradation there has given open pit mining a bad reputation. Concerned locals in Greenland invoke images of wasted landscapes and pools of toxic and radioactive waste, gleaned from a Google search. Similarly, the history of uranium mining has been one of blithe disregard for the environment……

Laursen.presents his mine as an environmentally friendly alternative to Chinese mines, modelled on international standards of best practice. He says the fears of radioactive dust floating over south Greenland are groundless. The crushed rock discarded once the minerals have been extracted, known as tailings, will be turned into slurry and carried in a pipeline to the bottom of a nearby lake. “It would never surface as dust,” Laursen says: the lake will be sealed in perpetuity by an impermeable dam……..

Frederiksen (sheep farmer) was alert to the dangers of radioactive dust because he had studied sheep farming in Norway in the mid-90s, when animals there were still affected by the fallout from Chernobyl. The scientists said they would remove dust from the mine by sprinkling it with water. “Well, water is usually frozen here in the winter,” Frederiksen tells me now, “so I asked them, ‘How are you going to have water to sprinkle then?’ And they said they would answer that when the environmental impact assessment arrived. When someone asked if it was possible to have no pollution in a mining area, the elderly man told us there had never been mining without pollution.” Frederiksen and Lennert believe most of the sheep farmers oppose the mine, but they avoid too many conversations about it just in case: polarisation risks harmony, and they might need each other in difficult times……….

In the past two elections, the people have decided, by voting for parties that support the uranium mine. Now, Qujaukitsoq says, it is a decision for the government. “Are we hesitant? No. We have no reservations about creating jobs.” For him it is the only way of saving Narsaq from stagnation. Whatever image the rest of the world cherishes, one thing is clear: Greenland will make its own way in the age of climate change.

 Maurice Walsh travelled as part of the Arctic Times Project, an international team exploring the transformation of the Arctic.more https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/28/greenland-narsaq-uranium-mine-dividing-town

January 30, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, environment, RARE EARTHS | Leave a comment

Sea level rise more rapid than expected

sea_levels_risingSea Level Rise Estimate Grows Alarmingly Higher in Latest Federal Report https://insideclimatenews.org/news/24012017/sea-level-rise-global-warming-federal-report-donald-trump

NOAA’s latest report arrives, predicting worst-case scenario of 8 feet of rise by century’s end, just as Donald Trump takes office with pro-fossil fuel policies. New federal estimates say global sea levels could rise faster than previously thought, and the rise may be even worse in many coastal regions of the United States.

A new report, written by scientists with several federal agencies and universities, says that under a worst-case scenario, climate change could raise the oceans an average of more than 8 feet by 2100, about 20 inches more than a previous federal estimate published in 2012. The best case now projected would be an average of about a foot.

The report was delivered just as President Donald Trump took office, immediately working to undo President Barack Obama’s climate policies. On his inauguration day, pages mentioning climate change on whitehouse.gov were removed. Trump has promised policies to increase fossil fuel development in the U.S., and to undo Obama’s major emissions-cutting initiative, the Clean Power Plan.

Sea level rise will likely be worse in some regions of the U.S. because of ocean currents, wind patterns and settling sediments. The authors examined six scenarios with a range of probabilities in an effort to help state and local governments plan for sea level rise. Under all of them, the Northeast should expect higher waters than much of the rest of the globe. The Pacific Northwest and Alaska would likely experience lower-than-average increases under the best-case scenarios.

“The ocean’s not flat,” said William V. Sweet, one of the authors and a scientist at NOAA. “It’s not going to rise like water in a bathtub.”

The six scenarios are based on United Nations models of future greenhouse gas emissions, depending on whether countries rapidly slash pollution or continue burning fossil fuels as usual. The authors determined that the worst-case rise of more than 8 feet has only a 0.1 percent chance of occurring by 2100, even under a business-as-usual emissions scenario, but a rise of more than 1.5 feet is near certain with high emissions.

The increase in the estimates for global sea rise was partly due to new research on the Antarctic ice sheet, which is melting faster and appears to be more fragile than previously estimated, suggesting that some of the more pessimistic scenarios are increasingly likely.

The report also warned that moderate coastal flooding will become 25 times more likely with a 14-inch rise in the seas. That level could come anytime from 2030 to 2080 for most coastal cities, depending on their location and the world’s emissions. It would mean that a flood that now comes once every five years would be expected five times a year.

Sea levels have already risen by more than 8 inches globally since 1880, with 3 inches coming since 1993. Tidal flooding “has increased by an order of magnitude over the past several decades,” the report says, “turning it from a rare event into a recurrent and disruptive problem.”

The authors note that 2 million Americans would likely see their homes permanently flooded if sea levels rise 3 feet. Twice that increase would inundate the homes of 6 million. Only the rosiest scenarios would avoid a 3-foot rise by 2100. The effects of global warming, of course, will continue long beyond that year.

“Even if society sharply reduces emissions in the coming decades,” the authors write, “sea level will most likely continue to rise for centuries.”

January 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows radioactive waste to be dumped Under Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifer,

water-radiationlegal actionFPL Wins Battle to Store Radioactive Waste Under Miami’s Drinking Water Aquifer, Miami New Times, BY JERRY IANNELLI JANUARY 16, 2017  Environmental activists have started a petition urging Florida lawmakers to prevent FPL from storing waste underground.   South Florida sits atop two gigantic underground stores of water: the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers. Miamians get most of their drinking water from the upper Biscayne Aquifer, while the government has used the lower portion of the Floridian to dump waste and untreated sewage — despite the fact that multiple studies have warned that waste could one day seep into the drinking water.

So environmentalists are concerned that Florida Power & Light now wants to dump full-on radioactive waste into the that lower water table, called the Boulder Zone. A small group of activists called Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) tried to stop FPL’s plan, but their legal petition was shot down this past Friday.

According to NRC documents, CASE’s petition was dismissed for being filed “inexcusably late” in FPL’s application process.

“This was thrown out on procedural grounds,” says CASE’s president, Barry J. White. “The science is still there.”

CASE had filed a petition with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but the NRC on Friday threw out CASE’s complaint, saying the environmental group had filed too late in FPL’s approval process.

The fight stems from the energy company’s plan to build two nuclear reactors at the controversial Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station south of Miami by roughly 2030. The towers might not be operational for a decade or two, but that doesn’t mean the public should stop paying attention to them. FPL is submitting numerous proposals about the project to the government.

As part of that package, FPL told the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that it plans to store contaminated water used to clean the reactors, as well as radioactive waste (“radwaste”) in the Boulder Zone. In October, the NRC issued a report, stating FPL’s plan would pose “no environmental impacts” to the South Florida environment.

Roughly a month later, on November 28, CASE filed a legal petition demanding that the NRC hold a hearing on FPL’s radioactive waste plan. CASE alleges the government failed to address a host of concerns about the power company’s plan.

“Everything will be put into a supposedly ‘hermetically sealed’ Boulder Zone,” White told New Times in December. “But anybody who lives in South Florida knows nothing below us is hermetically sealed.” Environmentalists say the plan could leak carcinogens such as cesium, strontium 90, and tritium right into the drinking-water aquifers…….. http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/fpl-wins-battle-to-store-radioactive-waste-under-miamis-drinking-water-aquifer-9059210

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA, water | Leave a comment

Coral bleaching kills 70 percent of Japan’s biggest coral reef

By TATSUYUKI KOBORI/ Staff Writer  January 11, 2017 Coral bleaching has killed 70.1 percent of the nation’s largest coral reef as of the end of 2016, up from 56.7 percent just a few months earlier, the Environment Ministry said.

Warmer seawater temperatures last summer are believed to have caused coral bleaching to spread to 90 percent of the Sekiseishoko coral reef in Okinawa Prefecture…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701110028.html

January 13, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Japan, oceans | Leave a comment