nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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

Record loss of sea ice in 2016-both Arctic and Antarctic

New analysis: global sea ice suffered major losses in 2016 http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/2017/01/07/sea-ice-extent-in-2016-at-both-poles-tracked-well-below-average/#.WHMiWtJ97Gj  By Tom Yulsman | January 7, 2017 The extent of sea ice globally took major hits during 2016, according to an analysis released yesterday by the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

At both poles, “a wave of new record lows were set for both daily and monthly extent,” according to the analysis.

sea-ice-meltingf

In recent years, Arctic sea ice has been hit particularly hard.

“It has been so crazy up there, not just this autumn and winter, but it’s a repeat of last autumn and winter too,” says Mark Serreze, director of the NSIDC.

In years past, abnormal warmth and record low sea ice extent tended to occur most frequently during the warmer months of the year. But for the past two years, things have gotten really weird in the colder months.

In 2015, Serreze says, “you had this amazing heat wave, and you got to the melting point at the North Pole on New Years Eve. And we’ve had a repeat this autumn and winter — an absurd heat wave, and sea ice at record lows.”

Lately, the Southern Hemisphere has been getting into the act. “Now, Antarctic sea ice is very, very low,” Serreze says.

From the NSIDC analysis:

Record low monthly extents were set in the Arctic in January, February, April, May, June, October, and November; and in the Antarctic in November and December.

Put the Arctic and the Antarctic together, and you get his time series of daily global sea ice extent, meaning the Arctic plus Antarctic:

As the graph [on original] shows, the global extent of sea ice tracked well below the long-term average for all of 2016. The greatest deviation from average occurred in mid-November, when sea ice globally was 1.50 million square miles below average.

For comparison, that’s an area about 40 percent as large as the entire United States.

The low extent of sea ice globally “is a result of largely separate processes in the two hemispheres,” according to the NSIDC analysis.

For the Arctic, how much might humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases be contributing to the long-term decline of sea ice? The graph above [on original] , based on data from a study published in the journal Science, “links Arctic sea ice loss to cumulative CO2emissions in the atmosphere through a simple linear relationship,” according to an analysis released by the NSIDC last December. Based on observations from the satellite and pre-satellite era since 1953, as well as climate models, the study found a linear relationship of 3 square meters of sea ice lost per metric ton of CO2 added to the atmosphere.

That’s over the long run. But over a shorter period of time, what can be said? Specifically, how much of the extreme warmth and retraction of sea ice that has been observed in autumn and winter of both 2015 and 2016 can be attributed to humankind’s emissions of greenhouse gases?

“We’re working on it,” Serreze says. “Maybe these are just extreme random events. But I have been looking at the Arctic since 1982, and I have never seen anything like this.”

January 9, 2017 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | 1 Comment

Environmental Protection Agency caters to uranium industry, not to protection of groundwater

text-EPA-Nuclear-ProtectionUS delays cleanup rule at uranium mines amid GOP criticism
Federal GOP legislators from Wyoming have said a rule was an unnecessary burden for the uranium industry
NBC5 Jan 5, 2017 CHEYENNE, Wyo. —

Federal officials withdrew a requirement for companies to clean up groundwater at uranium mines across the U.S. and will reconsider a rule that congressional Republicans criticized as too harsh on industry.

The plan that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency put on hold Wednesday involves in-situ mining, in which water containing chemicals is used to dissolve uranium out of underground sandstone deposits. Water laden with uranium, a toxic element used for nuclear power and weapons, is then pumped to the surface. No digging or tunneling takes place.

The metal occurs in the rock naturally but the process contaminates groundwater with uranium in concentrations much higher than natural levels. Mining companies take several measures to prevent tainted water from seeping out of the immediate mining area…….

Along with setting new cleanup standards, the rule would have required companies to monitor their former in-situ mines potentially for decades. The requirement was set for implementation but now will be opened up for a six-month public comment period.

EPA officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Environmentalists and others say uranium-mining companies have yet to show they can fully clean up groundwater at a former in-situ mine. Clean groundwater should not be taken for granted, they say, especially in the arid and increasingly populated U.S. West.

In-Situ-Leaching

“We are, of course, disappointed that this final rule didn’t make it to a final stage,” said Shannon Anderson with the Powder River Basin Resource Council. “It was designed to address a very real and pressing problem regarding water protection at uranium mines.”

The EPA rule is scheduled for further consideration in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

In-situ uranium mining surged on record prices that preceded the 2011 Japanese tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster. Prices lately have sunk to decade lows, prompting layoffs. http://www.mynbc5.com/article/woman-who-lost-her-leg-receives-very-generous-gift/8570346

January 7, 2017 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA, water | Leave a comment

USA’s EPA ( Nuclear Industry Protection Agency) confirms dramatic increase in radiation will be permitted in drinking water

text-EPA-Nuclear-ProtectionRADICAL DRINKING WATER RADIATION RISE CONFIRMED IN EPA PLAN http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/radical-drinking-water-radiation-rise-confirmed-in-epa-plan.html EPA Hid Planned Exposure Levels 1,000s of Times Safe Drinking Water Act Limits PEER, Dec 22, 2016 Washington, DC 


— In the last days of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is about to dramatically increase allowable public exposure to radioactivity to levels thousands of times above the maximum limits of the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to documents the agency surrendered in a federal lawsuit brought by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). These radical rollbacks cover the “intermediate period” following a radiation release and could last for up to several years. This plan is in its final stage of approval.

The documents indicate that the plan’s rationale is rooted in public relations, not public health. Following Japan’s Fukushima meltdown in 2011, EPA’s claims that no radioactivity could reach the U.S. at levels of concern were contradicted by its own rainwater measurements showing contamination from Fukushima throughout the U.S. well above Safe Drinking Water Act limits. In reaction, EPA prepared new limits 1000s of times higher than even the Fukushima rainwater because “EPA experienced major difficulties conveying to the public that the detected levels…were not of immediate concern for public health.”

When EPA published for public comment the proposed “Protective Action Guides,” it hid proposed new concentrations for all but four of the 110 radionuclides covered, and refused to reveal how much they were above Safe Drinking Water Act limits. It took a lawsuit to get EPA to release documents showing that –

  • The proposed PAGs for two radionuclides (Cobalt-60 and Calcium-45) are more than 10,000 times Safe Drinking Water Act limits. Others are hundreds or thousands of times higher;
  • According to EPA’s own internal analysis, some concentrations are high enough to deliver a lifetime permissible dose in a single day. Scores of other radionuclides would be allowed at levels that would produce a lifetime dose in a week or a month;
  • The levels proposed by the Obama EPA are higher than what the Bush EPA tried to adopt–also in its final days. That plan was ultimately withdrawn; and
  • EPA hid the proposed increases from the public so as to “avoid confusion,” intending to release the higher concentrations only after the proposal was adopted. The documents also reveal that EPA’s radiation division even hid the new concentrations from other divisions of EPA that were critical of the proposal, requiring repeated efforts to get them to even be disclosed internally.
  • “To cover its embarrassment after being caught dissembling about Fukushima fallout on American soil, EPA is pursuing a justification for assuming a radioactive fetal position even in cases of ultra-high contamination,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has called for the PAGs to be withdrawn on both public health and legal grounds. “The Safe Drinking Water Act is a federal law; it cannot be nullified or neutered by regulatory ‘guidance.’”

    Despite claims of transparency, EPA solicited public comment on its plan even as it hid the bulk of the plan’s effects. Nonetheless, more than 60,000 people filed comments in opposition.

    “The Dr. Strangelove wing of EPA does not want this information shared with many of its own experts, let alone the public,” added Ruch, noting that PEER had to file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force release of exposure limits. “This is a matter of public health that should be promulgated in broad daylight rather than slimed through in the witching hours of a departing administration.”

January 6, 2017 Posted by | politics, Reference, USA, water | 1 Comment

  Nuclear power reactors are NOT CLEAN

Fukushima Radiation Looms. No Nuclear Power Plant On Planet Earth! “The Incompatibility of Radiation with Human Life” By Eiichiro Ochiai Global Research, January 05, 2017.…………… Approximately 450 nuclear power reactors are presently on this earth.  In the nuclear power production of electricity, only one third of the heat produced in a reactor is converted into electricity, and the remainder two third of heat is released into the surrounding.  A typical 1giga watt reactor will release 4.7 x 1016 joule of heat into the environment per year.  This much heat will bring 100 million tons of water at zero degree to boiling.  This is with a single nuclear reactor.  The nuclear power reactors are excellent environmental heaters.  Hundreds of such reactors are operating on this earth.  But this fact is ignored in the argument of the nuclear power being environmentally clean.  This is not the only reason for the nuclear reactors being unclean.

dirty-nuclear

In addition, this typical reactor of 1 giga (thousand mega) watt of capacity (electricity) produces in a year radioactive material equivalent to about 1000 Hiroshima atomic bombs.  In 2015, the total amount of electricity produced by nuclear reactors was 2,441 BkWh (billion kilo watt hours: data [7]), which is 8.79 x 1018 joule.  It was produced by about 280 nuclear reactors of 1 giga watt capacity.  So they produced radioactive material approximately equivalent to 280,000 Hiroshima bombs.  In addition, they released 1.3 x 1019 joule of heat into the environment.  These are the values for just one year.  Nuclear power reactors have been operating the last forty years, though not always this many.

Anyway, an enormous amount of radioactive material has been made on the earth.  How much of it has been released into the environment is not easy to estimate.  They have come out into the environment through the tests of the nuclear weapons, use of depleted uranium bombs, the routine release of some radioactive material from the nuclear facilities under normal conditions and others, in addition to the accidents at nuclear facilities.  The effects of the released radioactive material have been amply observed and reported, and yet are not shared with the majority of humankind.  We mention here only a few cases, and refer them to a few major sources.  The nuclear weapon explosion tests in the atmosphere affected the people in the eastern side, Utah, of the test site in Nevada (1951-1960, ref [8]).  Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in the present Ukraine (1986) was one of the worst nuclear facility accidents, and people are still suffering  [9]. Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster (2011) cause by the huge earthquake along with tsunami is far from settled, and health effects are only now becoming manifest [10]. These incidents represent the notion that the nuclear power is “not clean” at all, rather it is the dirtiest……http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-radiation-looms-no-nuclear-power-plant-on-planet-earth-the-incompatibility-of-radiation-with-human-life/5566712

January 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, Reference | Leave a comment

The Trump administration will face big environmental battles

The biggest environmental battles facing the Trump administration Some flashpoints for environmental activists relating to climate change that are likely to erupt in the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency, Guardian,  and , 6 Jan 17, Donald Trump is likely to face unprecedented opposition from environmental groups during his presidency as activists prepare to battle the new administration on a number of fronts across the US.

While environmentalists clashed with Barack Obama over the Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines, these fights could pale in comparison to the array of grievances Trump will face over water security, fracking and climate change.

The president-elect has vowed to approve the Keystone pipeline, which Obama blocked, and “very quickly” resolve the Dakota Access project, currently held up by the federal government after months of protests by Native Americans. Trump has pledged to remove “roadblocks” to oil, gas and coal developments and threatened to end all climate and clean energy spending.

Opposition to this agenda has already begun in earnest, following a prediction by former vice-president Al Gore that there will be a “huge upsurge” in environmental activism, stoked by the new administration’s plans to cut science funding, remove the US from the Paris climate deal and appoint Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency – an agency he has sued multiple times as Oklahoma attorney general.

What will be the first actions Trump takes as president?

350.org, an international environmental organization, pledged to make January a month of a resistance against Trump’s cabinet picks. On 9 January, the organization will mobilize its chapters in all 50 states to stage protests at senators’ district offices. It will be the beginning of what they say will be a sustained protest throughout the year.

In New York City in December, the Sierra Club protested Pruitt’s nomination by projecting an image of rising seas and the words “Don’t Trump the planet” on to the side of the Trump Building on Wall Street. It’s the opening salvo of what is likely to be a war of attrition waged by America’s largest environmental group, which has drawn in more monthly donors in the weeks since Trump’s election than it has in the past four years.

“If Trump keeps choosing to drag us backwards to the dirty energy of the past, he will find unfettered opposition every step of the way,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club.

Here are some of the flashpoints for environmental activists protesting issues relating to climate change happening around the country now and likely to erupt in the first few months of Trump’s presidency:

Eminent domain in Iowa

South of Standing Rock, the sprawling Dakota Access pipeline faces another dispute. Landowners in Iowa are challenging the government seizure of their land to build the pipeline………

Divestment movement on campus  

Campuses across the country have been pushing universities to divest from from the fossil fuel industry over the past few years. Organizers are hoping the environmental threats posed by Trump’s cabinet nominations of energy industry leaders will further galvanize the movement……..

Pipelines across the US

It’s not just Dakota Access and Keystone XL. Environmental reform leaders say resistance is escalating to numerous proposed oil and gas pipelines around the country………https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/05/biggest-environmental-fights-against-donald-trump

January 6, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Greenland Ice Melt might cause Atlantic Circulation to Collapse

Greenland Ice Melt Could Push Atlantic Circulation to Collapse New research gives a glimpse of the potential long-term consequences of anthropogenic warming, Hakai Magazine,   January 3, 2017

In the North Atlantic, east of North America and south of Greenland, the ocean’s upper layers are much warmer than one might presume given the extreme latitude. This unexpected warmth is a product of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a vitally important system of ocean currents that moves warm salty water northward from the tropics and cold fresher water south. The AMOC looms large in the Earth’s climate: it is responsible for redistributing nutrients throughout the Atlantic Ocean and is a major driving force controlling the climate on both sides of the pond.

Ocean currents all experience fluctuations, which can dramatically change the distribution of nutrients, heat, and fish. The best known example is probably the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, in which unusually warm water occasionally disrupts the Pacific Ocean’s Humboldt Current that flows north from Chile toward Peru. El Niño events can shift the jet stream south, cause excessive rainfall and devastating floods, and temporarily collapse fish stocks.

To date, most climate research suggests that the AMOC is relatively stable and carries water throughout the ocean in a reliable, repeating cycle. But anthropogenic climate change seems to have made the current weaken slightly, raising the question of whether more dramatic shifts are in store. As of the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, a shutdown of the circulation from further warming is considered unlikely. Yet a new study says that the unprecedented melting of Greenland’s massive ice sheets, previously overlooked in most climate modeling, will result in the AMOC weakening, and maybe even collapsing, within the next 300 years……..https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-short/greenland-ice-melt-could-push-atlantic-circulation-collapse

January 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Climate Change threat to global ocean circulation might be worse than we thought

Scientists say the global ocean circulation may be more vulnerable to shutdown than we thought, WP,  January 4 2017Intense future climate change could have a far different impact on the world than current models predict, suggests a thought-provoking new study just out in the journal Science Advances. If atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were to double in the future, it finds, a major ocean current — one that helps regulate climate and weather patterns all over the world — could collapse. And that could paint a very different picture of the future than what we’ve assumed so far.

The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation, or AMOC, is often described as a large oceanic conveyor belt. It’s a system of water currents that transports warm water northward from the Atlantic toward the Arctic, contributing to the mild climate conditions found in places like Western Europe. In the Northern Atlantic, the northward flowing surface water eventually cools and sinks down toward the bottom of the ocean, and another current brings that cooler water back down south again. The whole process is part of a much larger system of overturning currents that circulates all over the world, from pole to pole.

But some scientists have begun to worry that the AMOC isn’t accurately represented in current climate models. They say that many models portray the current as being more stable than real-life observations suggest it actually is. Recent studies have suggested that the AMOC is weakening, although there’s some scientific debate about how much of this has been caused by human activities and how much by natural variations.

Nevertheless, the authors of the new study point out, many climate models assume a fairly stable AMOC — and that could be affecting the predictions they make for how the ocean will change under future climate change. And because overturning circulation patterns have such a significant effect on climate and weather all over the world, this could have big implications for all kinds of other climate-related projections as well.

“This is a very common and well-known issue in climate models,” said the new study’s lead author, Wei Liu, a postdoctoral associate at Yale University, who conducted the work while at the University of California at San Diego. “I wanted to see, if I use a corrected model, how this will affect the future climate change.”

Liu and colleagues from the UC-San Diego and the University of Wisconsin at Madison took a commonly used climate model and corrected for what they considered to be the AMOC stability bias. Then they ran an experiment to see how the correction would affect the model’s projections under future climate change. They instantaneously doubled the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from present-day levels in both the corrected and uncorrected models, and then they let both models run for hundreds of simulated years.

The differences were striking. In the uncorrected climate model, the AMOC weakens for a while, but eventually recovers. In the corrected model, however, the AMOC continues to weaken and after 300 years, it collapses altogether.

In a commentary also published today in RealClimate, Stefan Rahmstorf, an oceans physics expert at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, explained how such a collapse could occur when the AMOC gets too weak.

“Freshwater continually flows into the northern Atlantic through precipitation, rivers and ice-melting,” he wrote. “But supply of salty waters from the south, through the Gulf Stream System, balances this. If however the current slows, there is less salt supply, and the surface ocean gets less salty.”

Because freshwater is less dense than salty water, this process can lead to a kind of stratification, in which the lighter freshwater gets stuck on the surface of the ocean and can’t sink to the bottom when it reaches the cooler north. When this happens, the overturning process that drives the current back down south again can’t occur.

“There is a critical point when this becomes an unstoppable vicious circle,” Rahmstorf wrote. “This is one of the classic tipping points in the climate system.”

The resulting climate consequences, compared to the uncorrected model, are also dramatic. Without the usual transport of warm water into the north, the corrected model predicts a marked cooling over the northern Atlantic, including in the United Kingdom, Iceland and northwestern Europe, as well as in the Arctic, where sea ice begins to expand.

Because the AMOC is part of a larger global conveyor system, which ferries warm and cold currents between the equator and both poles, the model predicts disruptions in other parts of the world as well. Without cold water moving back down south again, the corrected model indicates a stronger warming pattern south of the equator than what’s predicted by the uncorrected model, causing a polarization in precipitation patterns over the Americas — more rain for places like northeastern Brazil and less rain for Central America. The model also predicts a greater reduction in sea ice for the Antarctic.

All this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we thought we knew about the future climate is wrong……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/04/scientists-say-the-global-ocean-circulation-may-be-more-vulnerable-to-shutdown-than-we-thought/?utm_term=.59c29620139f

January 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

A personal story of Chernobyl’s environmental effects

text-from-the-archivesthe Prypiat River [Ukraine] flowing through the empty town and nuclear power plant was already a black, dead waterway. Not one bird flew or stray cat mewed….Reindeer [Norway] with ultra-high levels of radioactivity were killed that winter’s day. Many were calves.

Nuclear not for Tassie   – The Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania, 26 March, 2011, Two of my own most memorable experiences as a journalist over the past three decades are linked to nuclear energy.
Chernobyl 1986The first was in late 1986 when, just a few months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine region of the then-Soviet Union, I visited the site as one of the first Australian journalists allowed into the area.The burnt and melted-down nuclear reactor had not then been encased in its final concrete sarcophagus; Geiger counters and special suits were mandatory, and the closest we could go was the nearby deserted town of Prypiat.
But it was Prypiat rather than glimpses of the Chernobyl power plant 4km away that left the most chilling impression.

A thriving town of 49,000 people think all of Hobart’s Eastern Shore suburbs combined prior to the April 25, 1986, nuclear catastrophe.

Its residents all had to abandon their homes the following day after radiation reached fatal levels.

Not that the Soviet authorities immediately told locals a disaster was unfolding on their doorsteps, despite the new “glasnost” era of openness and transparency just proclaimed by new-look president Mikhail Gorbachev.

It was only when elevated radiation levels were detected in clouds above Sweden that night that Soviet officials finally admitted an accident and a fire had occurred at Chernobyl’s number 4 nuclear reactor earlier in the afternoon.

Visiting Prypiat a few months later was a haunting experience. Mouldy lunches and mugs still sat on kitchen tables, dusty coats were thrown over armchairs and bedrooms with their crumpled blankets and family snaps looked as if their occupants might return at any moment.

Prypiat-1990s-before-forest

Children’s toys and bikes were scattered around outside the concrete apartment blocks, as rampant weeds reclaimed the ghost town’s city square.

But the Prypiat River flowing through the empty town and nuclear power plant was already a black, dead waterway. Not one bird flew or stray cat mewed.

Just two months later, I was on assignment in the snowy wilds of northern Norway with a family of traditional reindeer herders, in the dark December days of early winter.

For these families, who have for generations grazed their herds up on the mountain tops and who eat reindeer meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner as part of their reindeer-centric tradition 1986 was a terrible watershed year.

Chernobyl’s radioactive cloud had drifted over Norway for several days in late April, dropping its deadly heavy caesium molecules in spring rain and mist.

The lichen that grow above the snowline absorbed the radioactive load; turning these hardy plants into deadly fodder for the deer, which rely on them as food.

For the first time, the semi-wild reindeer herds had to be removed from the mountains, possibly for decades, as the lichen would not be fit to eat for many years. Instead they were ordered into barns to be fed hay brought in from other areas of Norway.

Reindeer with ultra-high levels of radioactivity were killed that winter’s day. Many were calves.

And later that night Norwegian Government experts delivered another fatal blow. They told the same herders reindeer meat could not be safely eaten more than twice a week until years later, when their herds would be free of all radioactive contamination.

It has been impossible not to reflect on my own two sombre brushes with nuclear power gone wrong, as the world has held its breath over the past two weeks wondering how close Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has been to the total core meltdown experienced at Chernobyl.

Already water and milk on parts of Japan has been declared unsafe for drinking, leafy vegetables and crops in surrounding farms banned from sale and seaweed from nearby waters found to be contaminated…….

Nuclear not for Tassie Editorial – The Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania

December 24, 2016 Posted by | environment, history, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Record loss of sea ice in November

Sea ice hit record lows in November, EurekAlert, 6 Dec 16 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER Unusually high air temperatures and a warm ocean have led to a record low Arctic sea ice extent for November, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the Southern Hemisphere, Antarctic sea ice extent also hit a record low for the month, caused by moderately warm temperatures and a rapid shift in circumpolar winds.

“It looks like a triple whammy–a warm ocean, a warm atmosphere, and a wind pattern all working against the ice in the Arctic,” said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.

Arctic sea ice extent averaged 9.08 million square kilometers (3.51 million square miles) for November, 1.95 million square kilometers (753,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average for the month. Although the rate of Arctic ice growth was slightly faster than average, total extent actually decreased for a brief period in the middle of the month. The decrease in extent measured 50,000 square kilometers (19,300 square miles) and was observed mostly in the Barents Sea, an area of the Arctic Ocean north of Norway, Finland, and Eastern Russia.

NSIDC scientists said the decrease in extent is almost unprecedented for November in the satellite record; a less pronounced and brief retreat of 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) happened in 2013. November 2016 is now the seventh month this year to have hit a record low extent in the 38-year satellite monitoring period. The November extent was 3.2 standard deviations below the long-term average, a larger departure than observed in September 2012 when the Arctic summer minimum extent hit a record low………

In the Southern Hemisphere, sea ice surrounding the continent of Antarctica declined very quickly early in the month and set a record low. The average extent for November was 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles), 1.81 million square kilometers (699,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. This was more than twice the previous record departure from average set in November 1986 and was 5.7 standard deviations below the long-term average.

NSIDC scientists said that higher-than-average temperatures and a rapid shift in Antarctic circumpolar winds appear to have caused the rapid decline in Antarctic sea ice……..

NASA scientist and NSIDC affiliate scientist Walt Meier said, “The Arctic has typically been where the most interest lies, but this month, the Antarctic has flipped the script and it is southern sea ice that is surprising us.” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/uoca-sih120616.php

December 7, 2016 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

UN General Assembly climate meetings ignored the oceans – the primary drivers of climate.

ocean-heatingThe Big Blue Elephant in the Room, A Medium Corporation Dr. Sylvia A. Earle & John Bridgelan, 26 Nov 16 

Although the recent UN General Assembly meetings in New York City included the largest gathering of world leaders ever to address climate change, the largest factor in our climate cycle was missing from the discussions — the ocean.

Disregard for the ocean as the primary driver of climate and weather might be forgiven 50 years ago, but now we know: the living ocean governs planetary chemistry; regulates temperature; generates most of the oxygen in the sea and atmosphere; powers the water, carbon, and nitrogen cycles; and holds 97 percent of Earth’s water and 97 percent of the biosphere. Quite simply, no ocean, no life. No blue, no green. If not for the ocean, there would be no climate to discuss or anyone around to debate the issues……

Whatever the rationale, it is not rational that Earth’s dominant feature is not sufficiently addressed in important policy discussions about energy, the environment, economy, health, and security. It is especially perplexing that the ocean is getting short shrift in the current climate policy discussions.

Much attention is given to the impact of burning of fossil fuels on accelerated warming, inundated shorelines, and adaptation strategies for where and how people will live in the future. Far less note is being accorded to the changes in ocean chemistry as excess carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean is increasing the acidity of the water. This is why it is so important to have Years of Living Dangerously helping to document the climate change impacts in our oceans and sharing it with the public. In Episode 5, Joshua Jackson travels to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to look at the devastating impacts of ocean warming on the world’s largest reef system, and he explores the predicted impact of ocean acidification. In the Philippines, he looks at the impact of climate change in a place where hundreds of millions of people rely on healthy reefs for food, income and protection from storms……..https://medium.com/@yearsoflivingdangerously/the-big-blue-elephant-in-the-room-29d1a0c5f423#.p6e58alfv

November 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Arctic ocean protection: Obama blocks new oil, gas drilling

Obama,BarackObama blocks new oil, gas drilling in Arctic Ocean, USA Today  November 18, 2016 WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administrationis blocking new oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean, handing a victory to environmentalists who say industrial activity in the icy waters will harm whales, walruses and other wildlife and exacerbate global warming.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | ARCTIC, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

20,000 Tons of Heavy Metals and Explosives Dumped Into the Oceans by USA Military

US Military Plans to Dump 20,000 Tons of Heavy Metals and Explosives Into the Oceans Tuesday, 15 November 2016 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report The US Navy has been conducting war-game exercises in US waters for decades, and in the process, it has left behind tons of bombs, heavy metals, missiles, sonar buoys, high explosives and depleted uranium munitions that are extremely harmful to both humans and marine life.

Truthout recently reported that the Navy has admitted to releasing chemicals into the oceans that are known to injure infants’ brains, as well as having left large amounts of depleted uranium in US coastal waters. Now, the Navy’s own documents reveal that it also plans to use 20,000 tons of heavy metals, plastics and other highly toxic compounds over the next two decades in the oceans where it conducts its war games.

According to the Navy’s 2015 Northwest Training and Testing environmental impact statement (EIS), in the thousands of warfare “testing and training events” it conducts each year, 200,000 “stressors” from the use of missiles, torpedoes, guns and other explosive firings in US waters happen biennially. These “stressors,” along with drones, vessels, aircraft, shells, batteries, electronic components and anti-corrosion compounds that coat external metal surfaces are the vehicles by which the Navy will be introducing heavy metals and highly toxic compounds into the environment.

Just some of the dangerous compounds the Navy will be injecting into the environment during their exercises are: ammonium perchlorate, picric acid, nitrobenzene, lithium from sonobuoy batteries, lead, manganese, phosphorus, sulfur, copper, nickel, tungsten, chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, trinitrotoluene (TNT), RDX [Royal Demolition eXplosive] and HMX  [High Melting eXplosive], among many others.

“None of these belong in the ocean’s food web, upon which we all depend,” Karen Sullivan, a retired endangered species biologist who cofounded West Coast Action Alliance, which acts as a watchdog of Naval activities in the Pacific Northwest, told Truthout. “Nor will the Navy be willing to clean it up, or even contribute to medical tests for people whose health may suffer.”……http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/38374-us-military-plans-to-dump-20-000-tons-of-heavy-metals-and-explosives-into-the-oceans

November 16, 2016 Posted by | oceans, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Russia’s top secret nuclear sacrifice zone revealed

REVEALED: Putin’s top secret deadly nuclear city where spies observe ‘poisoned’ locals http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/727223/Putin-s-top-secret-deadly-nuclear-city-where-spies-observe-poisoned-locals

A CITY of almost 82,000 people are living on a nuclear time bomb in one of the most toxic places on earth. By SIOBHAN MCFADYEN, Oct 31, 2016 And the residents of the Russian walled city of Ozyorsk in Chelyabinsk Oblast code named City 40 are living in fear of their lives with their every move being watched by Kremlin spies.

Brave locals are living in an experiment zone, on a toxic lake where almost of all of Vladimir Putin’s nuclear arsenal is stockpiled.

And for the first time they have opened up about their experiences residing in the birthplace of the Soviet nuclear weapons programme. The city is officially closed to the outside world and for those who live there every day is a battle.

Around 15,000 people are employed by the Mayak plant, a plutonium handling facility which rose to prominence during the Cold War. The plant itself covers an area of approximately 50 miles and reprocesses spent fuel from the country’s nuclear submarines.

A new documentary called City 40 now available on Netflix shows for the first time the challenges being faced by the people who live there – many of whom are suffering from cancer. The narrator says: “Growing up as a kid I was aware of a strange place a closed place, a top secret place

“This is where almost all the reserve of Russia’s nuclear materials is stockpiled. “To get in there you would need a full-scale army operation. “Unauthorised access there cannot even be imagined.” The city itself is constantly under surveillance with very little information leaking out to the mainstream.

A narrator adds: “It’s cozy and a beautiful town but a closed one.  “There are spies all over sneaking around gathering information. “My mother used to warn me ‘darling, never say where you are from. “‘Or a Black Maria will take us away and you’ll never see your parents again’.

“Once there was a spill of powder, the radioactive kind of powder. “An underground container of liquid radioactive waste exploded.”

According to reports around 10,000 people have disappeared off the census list in just eight years.

The last census was taken in 2010, it is unknown whether the people have died however many residents are extremely sick.  A city dweller adds: “The local people will tell you that this lake is nicknamed the ‘lake of death’ because it has been so heavily contaminated with plutonium.

“Mostly people were dying of carcinogenic diseases. “Once can say this city was built on dead and ruined human bodies.”If someone refused to work they’d be taken to a prison camp and executed because they were introduced to state secrets.

“They created their own ideology. “We’re the saviours of the world, creators of the nuclear shield.” While the undercover film team have managed to gain access to the locals it is unknown whether they will go unpunished for revealing themselves to camera.

Tensions between the USA and Russia have peaked over recent weeks and it is believed the facility will no doubt be in full production mode. A narrator adds that most of the locals wouldn’t dream of leaving – not because they want to but because they can’t.

They added: “We are used to it and this is how we want to live. “It may be for the better, it may be for the worse, but for now just leave us alone please.”My mother told me ‘let state secrets stay secrets.”

November 2, 2016 Posted by | environment, health, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment