nuclear-news

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

Radioactive water release – Fukushima nuclear disaster continues to haunt the world

Radioactive water: Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster haunts the world a decade later,  Geo News, 7 May 21, ”…. In a recent development, Japan decided to dump radioactive water stored at the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.


Scores of Pakistani fishermen recently protested this decision of Japan outside the Gawadar Press Club……….

Radioactive water could contaminate fish exports from Pacific ocean

Geo News got in touch with renowned Pakistani physicist Dr AH Nayyar to talk about Japan’s decision.

Dr Nayyar recalled the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster while discussing the Fukushima disaster.

“They could not stop Chernobyl and radioactive clouds once they hovered over Europe from Soviet Union. Radioactivity found its way inside human skin and the world paid the price,” he said, adding that as far as Fukushima is concerned, it will be a first experiment of its own kind.

Dr Nayyar pointed out releasing radioactive water into the ocean could mean that if radioactive elements sit in marine life, it will soar chances of it infiltrating into humans via catchments and exports. “When radioactive particles decay, they cause cancer in the human body,” he said.

“People were skeptical in buying fresh milk and powder imported from Europe post 1986 Chernobyl disaster. It could be the same with fish coming from the Pacific ocean. They will have to be carefully examined if they carry radioactive particles. However, waters from the Pacific Ocean will not intrude into the Arabian Sea,” Dr Nayyar concluded……….

Currently, it is stored in gigantic water tanks, but the plant’s operator, Tepco, appraised that these tanks are expected to fill up by 2022.

The water is contaminated as it comes in contact with fuel before leaking into damaged basements and tunnels, where it mixes with groundwater that flows through the site from hills above. The combination results in excess contaminated water that is pumped out and treated before being stored in huge tanks crowding the site. 

About 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive water – or enough to fill 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools – are currently stored in these tanks, In 2018, Tepco admitted it had not filtered all dangerous materials out of the water, despite saying for years they had been removed, according to a Reuters report.

Unacceptable and irresponsible, say China, South Korea to Japan

In a statement, China’s foreign ministry called the move “extremely irresponsible” and said it reserved the right to take further action.

South Korea’s government said the plan was “totally unacceptable” and that it would lodge a formal complaint with Japan.

Voices are rising within Japan as well. Greenpeace Japan said it “strongly condemned” the decision.

“The Japanese government has once again failed the people of Fukushima,” Kazue Suzuki, a climate change and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, said in a statement. “The government has taken the wholly unjustified decision to deliberately contaminate the Pacific Ocean with radioactive wastes. Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the longer term, they have opted for the cheapest option.” https://www.geo.tv/latest/349126-radioactive-water-japans-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-haunts-the-world-a-decade-later

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

The toll on marine life of radioactive water poured into the Pacific Ocean.

Beyond Nuclear 2nd May 2021, Tepco and the Japanese government are once more preparing to “dispose” of 1.25 million tonnes — translating to hundred of millions of gallons — of radioactive water accumulating at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site by pouring it into the Pacific Ocean. I say “accumulating” because this water, needed to constantly cool the stricken reactors that exploded and melted down during and after March 11, 2011 — and that also runs down neighboring hillsides and across the site, picking up radioactive contamination — will continue to accumulate.

This is not a one-stop-toss. Citizens groups and fishing unions have been up in arms about this ever since it was first mooted. The actual dumping of the water always seems to be about two years away, and is always threatened as
the only “solution,” which it is not. It is almost certainly the cheapest solution, but not the only choice.

Even if we never ate the fish that comes out of the Pacific; and even if the fish and higher marine mammal predators never ate each other; contaminating sea life with radioactive toxins is wrong. We made it. Why dump it on creatures who had nothing whatever to do with its production and never needed to turn on a light?

This is not the only instance of total disregard for marine life when it comes to nuclear power. Just by using what is known as the “once-through” cooling intake system at coastal nuclear power plants, the toll on sea life is immense.

Billions of fish, fingerlings and spawn are drawn into the plant with the cooling water (the water rate can be as high as a million gallons a minute) and duly pulverized. Their “remains” are discharged at the other end as sediment. No fishing license required. New nuclear power plants promise to be even bigger marine predators.

https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/05/02/fission-folly/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Millions of fish to be destroyed by UK’s new nuclear stations, but Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) is in the pay of nuclear firm EDF.

Climate News Network 4th May 2021, The high fatality rate which the cooling systems of two British nuclear
power stations may impose on marine life is worrying environmentalists, who describe the heavy fish toll they expect as “staggering”.

The twostations, Hinkley Point C, under construction on England’s west coast,
and Sizewell C, planned for the eastern side of the country, will, they
say, kill more than 200 million fish a year and destroy millions more sea
creatures. But the stations’ builders say their critics are exaggerating
drastically.

Objectors to the fish kill had hoped that the UK government
agency tasked with conserving fish stocks in the seas around Britain, the
Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), would be
on their side. They have been disappointed to learn that Cefas is a paid
adviser to the French nuclear company EDF, which is building the stations,
and would raise no objections to the company’s method of cooling them
with seawater.

https://climatenewsnetwork.net/uk-nuclear-plants-will-exact-heavy-fish-toll/

May 6, 2021 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons have triggered a new geological era

NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE ANTHROPOCENE

Nuclear weapons have triggered a new geological era, but what does that really mean ?  Inkstick Media: Peter Waring, 3 May 21, There were a few possible contenders when a working group established by the International Commission on Stratigraphy began searching for a “golden spike” — a geological inflection point marking the end of one era and the beginning of another. ………  

  from a geological perspective, no marker better captures humanity’s impact on the physical environment than the fallout from decades of atmospheric nuclear testing.

In 2019, the Working Group voted overwhelmingly to recommend establishing a new era — the Anthropocene — to record the beginning of the period where humans have drastically altered the planet. The proposed start day was July 16, 1945, the day of the Trinity Test.

The beginning of the nuclear age marks a new stratigraphic boundary in Earth’s history. The “bomb spike,” as it came to be known, represents the level of carbon 14 and plutonium 239 in the atmosphere, both of which peaked in the mid-1960s at the height of the Cold War. And though levels have subsequently reduced — as states limited and finally halted atmospheric testing  — evidence of the spike is now a matter of geological record. In other words, it will exist for as long as the Earth does. But what does this really mean for our security and our environment?

RACING TOWARD CATASTROPHE 

Humanity and the environment are now “mutually transformative — and potentially mutually destructive,” a fact which forces us to confront the possibility that the era of climate stability, known as the Holocene, has ended and that our own collective and individual actions are to blame. Apart from its prominent geological signature, the “bomb spike” is also emblematic of the so-called Great Acceleration, the exponential growth in various metrics of human activity since the mid-twentieth century, which include: population, technology, economic development, industrial output, energy consumption, carbon emissions, and international tourism. These measures have been thrust ever upwards by the spread of extractive capitalism, endless technological innovation, and an underlying assumption that somehow the realm of human activity exists outside and separate from nature. Today, we are not witnessing the failure of this world view. Rather, we are witnessing the consequences of its success.

Nuclear arsenals are regularly justified as a bulwark against threats to the postwar, liberal international order. But it is precisely this global system that has served as the launching pad for the Great Acceleration. And as such, it is difficult to separate our conceptions of wealth, progress, and liberty — the very things nuclear weapons are meant to secure — from the causes of human-induced climate change. We have been led to believe that this skyward trajectory is a good thing, that all of our problems will disappear if only there were more progress, more technology, more freedom. But like Icarus, have we flown too close to the sun?

OUR WORST ENEMY

The Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic weapons, has been described as a “full stop on modernity” — or in other words, the natural terminus of a worldview that separated humankind from our environment. It is the belief that we can do whatever we want to nature and that the Earth exists to support humanity. The Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic weapons, has been described as a “full stop on modernity” — or in other words, the natural terminus of a worldview that separated humankind from our environment. It is the belief that we can do whatever we want to nature and that the Earth exists to support humanity. 

Modernity in this sense is not merely technology or our institutions but rather a mode of thought premised on a belief in human supremacy. Nuclear weapons are the apotheosis of modernity. We can take whatever we want from the Earth and we can destroy it too. Here is the intersection some nuclear threat experts have been looking for,  between the environmental movement and the nuclear movement. Between a cause with seemingly endless cultural cachet and one that appears like a mid-century relic.

The nuclear weapons industry is undoubtedly the source of much environmental damage: There are uranium minesplutonium production facilities, and former test sites. But the true impact exists on a different register altogether. It is more than just the material effects, more even than the devastating ecological impact of a nuclear blast. 

 Atomic weapons are the most extreme example of our world-possessing pretensions. Their existence and central role in our security apparatus is representative of a mode of thought that portrays humanity as the chief protagonist in the story of Earth. The Anthropocene is the point at which the plot changes.

It is also clear that on a planet increasingly defined by human activity the old dichotomies of friend and foe — of good and evil — are no longer relevant. But constructing enemies is at the core of nuclear thinking as only the most extreme adversaries can justify the most extreme weapons.  During the Cold War this was a relatively simple task, albeit one pursued with a kind of cartoonish zeal by politicians on both sides. And while there is a worrisome element of deja vu about the rising discord between Russia and NATO, talk of a new Cold War seems oddly out of place in a world of pandemics and catastrophic climate change. Yet it remains an inescapable feature of the Atomic Age that enemies must be suitably evil and suitably different from us. They must “hate freedom” and they must reject the so-called “rules-based” global order. More significantly, the enemies themselves are largely inconsequential: When they crumble or retreat into the background, we create new ones. As long as the weapons exist there will be myths to justify them. Arundhati Roy perhaps said it best:

“Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness.”

The Anthropocene forces us to grapple with this madness and to reconsider our need for enemies. It demands that we confront unsettling truths and come to terms with the prospect that the greatest threat to our security and way of life is our way of life.

ADJUSTING OUR POLITICS

The long half-life of the Atomic Age is as much the product of outdated thinking as it is bureaucratic inertia or military strategy. The scholarship surrounding nuclear weapons is held back — stuck — by a kind of thinking that belongs to a different epoch. International Relations (IR) and its dominant paradigms of realism and liberalism have lost whatever explanatory power they once had. They are no longer fit for purpose as either an academic discipline or a collection of governing institutions. They have become a trap of our own making. In fact, IR fails even to acknowledge the threat posed by the Anthropocene or the consequences of inaction.  The global apparatus constructed to manage twentieth-century challenges, such as genocide, nuclear conflict, and world wars has proved disastrously ill-suited to our new era.

This has been particularly true with regards to the supposed preeminence of the nation-state, which serves as the very basis of world governance. But it is precisely this belief — the privileging of the national above the international, of the human above the planetary — that has drawn attention away from the devastation occurring all around us. 

 Viewed from the perspective of deep geological time, the pantomime of global politics and state rivalry has been little more than a distraction. What good are states if their future consists of flooded cities, devastated ecosystems, and uninhabitable wastelands? And can states defend the interests of future generations, both human and non-human?

If indeed the domain of the human and the natural are now indistinguishable, then it follows that our notions of international security and geopolitics must change. What is needed is not more realism or liberalism or business-as-usual diplomacy but rather an altogether new way of organizing the world — a theory of IR based on the belief that the Earth itself matters. …….   https://inkstickmedia.com/nuclear-weapons-in-the-anthropocene/

May 4, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, weapons and war | 3 Comments

How Chernobyl’s radioactive dust blanketed Europe in 1986


Radiation high over Europe after Chernobyl disaster – archive, 1986

3 May 1986: Mainland Europe experiences higher than normal radiation, with Poland, East Germany and Sweden bearing the brunt of contamination 
 Michael SimmonsFrom the Guardian archive Mon 3 May 2021 By dusk last night, every country in mainland Europe had experienced higher than normal radiation as a result of the Chernobyl disaster. Only the Iberian peninsula was still clear, as governments in East and West, having recovered from the initial panic, started to count the medium-term costs.

Changes in wind direction from the epicentre at Kiev created fresh uncertainties throughout the day. The consensus among meteorologists was that the south-east wind which had done its worst earlier in the week in parts of Poland and Scandinavia was now veering towards due east, affecting Greece, Yugoslavia, and south-west Germany.
France reported “a minor increase” in atmospheric radioactivity, while Holland reported yesterday that, for the first time since the disaster, radiation levels were markedly higher than normal. In that country, government plans to air details of a proposed shift to nuclear power in the 1990s were shelved indefinitely.

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week……..

The brunt of the contamination continued to be borne by the countries closest to the disaster area – notably Poland and East Germany – as well as Sweden, which has been seeking to take remedial measures since the beginning of the week.

The Swedish authorities ordered farmers to keep their cattle indoors – possibly for some weeks – and said people should not drink rainwater or eat wild vegetables or mushrooms. One fear in Stockholm is that the wind could veer back towards Sweden early next week…….

Italy yesterday prohibited the sale of salad greens and barred a variety of imports from northern Europe. The Health Minister, Mr Costante Degan signed an order that forbade vendors from selling fresh leafy vegetables.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/03/radiation-high-over-europe-after-chernobyl-disaster-1986

May 4, 2021 Posted by | environment, EUROPE, history, wastes | Leave a comment

Paul Beckwith on the failure of universities to address real world problems

1 May 21, I have often wondered how humanity, in our present day and age, can be facing total and utter catastrophe from abrupt climate system change, and still have the vast multitudes of citizens, governments, and nations not even want to recognize the grave dangers that we face. These are not long term risks, in fact we face the imminent complete loss of Arctic Sea Ice, enormous outbursts of methane gas, mass extinctions of our plants and animals, and global food shortages leading to deadly widespread famine within a decade. How is this possible? How can society be so stupid? Why am I cursed to recognize the imminent and complete collapse of our society?

Having been within the university system and academia for many years, I have been constantly puzzled as to why there is no sense of societal danger and risk of near term collapse. The Ivory Towers of Academia have been completely oblivious to the existential crisis, and has done absolutely nothing to educate the public to these risks. The university is essentially a knowledge-factory to push forward the boundaries of knowledge in a vast array of independently siloed fields, while it has completely lacked the wisdom to recognize let alone address the real world problems that are right in front of our face. As a result, with zero wisdom from our esteemed institutes of learning, our society is teetering on the brink of complete and utter collapse from abrupt climate system change. The best paper that I have read on this failure of our university system to address real world and imminent global problems was published two weeks ago and is called “How Universities Have Betrayed Reason and Humanity – And What’s to Be Done About It” by Nicolas Maxwell.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Education, environment | Leave a comment

Malaysia needs to speak out on releasing nuclear waste into the sea 

Malaysia needs to speak out on releasing nuclear waste into the sea   https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/malaysia-needs-speak-out-releasing-nuclear-waste-seaBernama/Bernama
May 02, 2021   KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia needs to play its role as a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) by speaking out on the long-term effect of releasing treated water from nuclear power plants into the ocean.

Co-founder of Project Ocean Hope, Mogesh Sababathy said actions need to be taken to ensure environmental sustainability, especially for marine life, is not threatened.

“Even though the nuclear waste will be diluted in water, its radioactive concentration should also be considered. And even when diluted, toxic is still toxic and it can still affect everyone.

“Hence, Malaysia needs to play its role and speak out on this issue at an international level, as this involves people’s security and health, as well as marine life in the region,” he told Bernama.

The Japanese government has recently approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of treated water from the ruined Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

The plan also has the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which says the release is comparable to the disposal of waste water from other nuclear plants globally.

Mogesh argued that this method will affect the world’s food chain security.  “Nuclear radioactive is capable of affecting marine life and killing organisms, thus threatening the economic source of those who rely on it.

“It’s undeniable that Malaysia is far removed from Fukushima but we still share the same ocean. It is not impossible for the waste to drift to our country,” he said.

He hopes the relevant international bodies will study and develop safer alternative to dispose radioactive nuclear waste without harming the environment.

May 3, 2021 Posted by | Malaysia, oceans, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

South Korean fishermen protest against the dumping of Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean

S.Korean fishermen hold boat protests against Japan nuclear plans, Reuters 30 Apr 21,  Hundreds of South Korean fishermen across the country held protests on Friday calling on Japan to reverse its decision to release contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

About 800 fishermen participated in rallies at ports in nine cities, according to South Korea’s National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives.

At one port, at Gungpyeong on the west coast, fishermen held anti-Japan banners and chanted slogans such as “Withdraw Japan’s decision” and “Condemn irresponsible nuclear attack”. Twenty fishing boats with banners denouncing Japan’s decision sailed near the port.

“My father bequeathed this sea to me and I’m going to pass it on to my son, who is also fishing,” said Park Re-seung, chief of Yongdu-ri fishing village, who has worked in the fishing industry for 38 years. “Why is Japan doing this? How could they do such a bad thing against the sea? Don’t they eat fish?”…….

“For us, this issue is about making our living,” Park added. “If the customers continue to see the news of the water release, they wouldn’t be even buying fishes that we caught here.”  https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/skorean-fishermen-hold-boat-protests-against-japan-nuclear-plans-2021-04-30/

May 1, 2021 Posted by | oceans, South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

High level of radioactivity near France’s uranium processing factory

France Info 29th April 2021, Residents of the largest uranium processing site in France, in Narbonne
(Aude), are worried: samples taken near the plant and analyzed in the laboratory show a high level of uranium. The site manager, however, says there is no danger to residents.

The most important uranium processing site in France is located three kilometers from Narbonne (Aude). Concerned local residents regularly check the level of radioactivity in the vicinity of the plant.

At the barrier that limits access to the site, the meter is racing and exceeds four times the natural level of radioactivity. The Orano Malvési plant is the entry point for nuclear power in France. Uranium arrives from all over the world in the form of yellow powder and must be purified and transformed into nuclear fuel. In 60 years, already more than 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste have been produced and are contained in basins, in the form of sludge.

https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/environnement-et-sante/narbonne-les-riverains-de-lusine-duranium-orano-malvesi-inquiets-des-taux-de-radioactivite_4604407.html

May 1, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, Uranium | 1 Comment

Sizewell C nuclear plant could kill 500m fish

Sizewell C nuclear plant could kill 500m fish, campaigners say

Environmental groups claim planned Suffolk power station will devastate marine life and key bird habitat, Guardian,
Karen McVeigh  27 Apr 21,

 More than 500 million fish, including protected species, could be sucked into the cooling system of a proposed £20bn nuclear power plant in Suffolk if construction goes ahead, environmental campaigners say.

A local campaign group, Together Against Sizewell C (Tasc), claims the subsequent deaths of millions of fish is “inhumane and unacceptable” and flies in the face of the government’s green agenda. Also opposing the development, the bird conservation group RSPB expressed concern over predicted levels of fish loss on the marine birds that feed on them…….

environmental campaign groups, including Greenpeace, argue that nuclear reactors are unnecessary and expensive, compared with a combination of renewable energy and battery storage technology. The RSPB and the local community group Stop Sizewell C said the reactor poses a risk to the natural habitats along the Suffolk coast and the adjacent Minsmere nature reserve.

Planning documents published by EDF have revealed that almost 8 million fish were “impinged” – or sucked into the cooling system – by the existing plant Sizewell B each year between 2009 and 2013. Extrapolating from these figures, Tasc has estimated that 28 million fish could be impinged in the cooling system of both plants each year, which is 560 million over the two decades the plants are expected to operate, between 2035 and 2055. The proposed plant is larger than Sizewell B and will take in 2.5 times the amount of seawater, Tasc said.

Pete Wilkinson, the chair of Tasc and a co-founder of Greenpeace UK, said the estimates were “staggering”. Such wildlife loss was the “tip of the iceberg”, he said, as it did not take into account fish fry, eggs, crustacea and other aquatic life.

“Tens of millions of fish, crustaceans and other marine biota will be sacrificed for the purposes of cooling a plant which is not needed to keep the lights on, which will do nothing to reduce global carbon emissions, which will be paid for from the pockets of all UK taxpayers and bill-paying customers, leaving future generations with a lasting legacy of an impoverished environment,” he said.

Wilkinson said he expected Cefas (The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) to condemn the impact on fish at the inquiry stage of the Sizewell C planning process.

“Cefas’s stated aim is ‘to help keep our seas, oceans and rivers healthy and productive, and our seafood safe and sustainable … ’ Instead, it seems that Cefas appears quite at ease presiding over the deaths of millions of fish and clearly feels the huge number of fish deaths is acceptable in that the overall health of fish stocks will not be compromised.”

Adam Rowlands, the RSPB’s Suffolk area manager, said: “It is our position that the project should not go ahead. The potential impacts on the environment are too great. Fish impingement is one of our concerns. These fish provide a valuable food supply to rare birds nesting and breeding in the area.”

Protected species breeding in the area include little and common terns and in the winter there are a number of internationally important red-throated divers. “They won’t feed on dead fish,” Rowlands said…….

If the plant goes ahead, it will be built on part of Sizewell marshes, a site of special scientific interest. It will also be adjacent to the southern boundary of the RSPB-owned Minsmere nature reserve, a Ramsar (internationally important wetland) site and special protection area. Minsmere is one of only five sites in Britain to receive the Council of Europe European Diploma for protected areas award, whose renewal depends on Sizewell C not causing any damage………

The Sizewell C planning process began in May 2020 and an examination is now under way by the Planning Inspectorate. This stage of the process is expected to take about six months, during which local people and organisations can make representations.  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/28/sizewell-c-nuclear-plant-could-kill-500m-fish-campaigners-claim

April 29, 2021 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Not to be forgotten – the 1957 nuclear explosion in Mayak centre, Russia, that continues to poison the region.

Reporterre 26th April 2021, While the Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurred thirty-five years ago,
another explosion, which occurred in Russia in 1957 in the Mayak military
nuclear center, continues to poison the region. A look back at this
disaster kept secret for more than twenty years.

https://reporterre.net/Trente-ans-avant-Tchernobyl-la-catastrophe-nucleaire-de-Kychtym

April 29, 2021 Posted by | environment, history, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Nuclear fallout from the Cold War might be killing our bees

Nuclear fallout from the Cold War might be killing our bees,  The Takeout, 26 Apr 21    It’s no secret that humankind has been a massive dick to bees, even though they’re responsible for the pollination and survival of 80% of the world’s plants and are directly linked to more than one third of the world’s food supply…………

we’ve been killing billions of them every year with pesticides, chemicals, and god knows what else. Over the past few decades, the world’s bee population has been decreasing thanks to a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder;; fingers have been pointed at the aforementioned pesticides, malnutrition, starvation, and a whole slew of other things, but science still does not have a definitive answer as to what is killing the bees. Now, according to a study published last month in the scientific journal Nature Communicationsthere’s another potential culprit in the mix: Cesium-137.

What is Cesium-137, you ask? Well, it’s an isotope produced when radioactive elements like uranium and plutonium become bombarded by neutrons, which split apart their unstable atoms and releases an absolute ungodly amount of energy. In other words: it’s a radioactive byproduct of atomic bombs. Though the atomic bomb has only been used as a weapon twice, during the Cold War more than 2,000 were detonated in military technology tests around the world. Though most of these tests were conducted in New Mexico and Russia, lots of that sweet, radioactive cesium-137 got into the stratosphere where it was blown eastward, ended up in rain clouds, then came pouring down on the east coast of the U.S., where it was greedily sucked up by plants, which transformed it into nectar. Since nectar makes up 100% of bees’ food supply, they’ve been feasting on cesium-137 for decades and have been passing trace amounts into their honey. Of the 122 honey samples gathered from hives up and down the East Coast, cesium-137 was found in 68 of them.

Before you run frantically into the kitchen to grab all your honey and bury it deep underground, Jim Kaste, an associate professor at the College of William & Mary and one of the study’s co-authors, said in a statement that the levels of cesium-137 he’s found in honey are not high enough for humans to start freaking out about. Bees, however, should totally be freaking out, and they have every right to.

“What we see today is a small fraction of the radiation that was present during the 1960s and 1970s,” said Keste. “And we can’t say for sure if cesium-137 has anything to do with bee colony collapse or the decline of population.”   https://thetakeout.com/radioactive-honey-bees-cesium-137-atomic-bomb-colony-co-1846749211  

April 27, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

France tested 41 nuclear weapons in the Pacific, and grossly underestimated the radioactive fallout

Science 11th March 2021, From 1966 to 1974, France blew up 41 nuclear weapons in above-ground tests
in French Polynesia, the collection of 118 islands and atolls that is part of France. The French government has long contended that the testing was done safely.

But a new analysis of hundreds of documents declassified in 2013 suggests the tests exposed 90% of the 125,000 people living in French Polynesia to radioactive fallout—roughly 10 times as many people as theFrench government has estimated.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/03/france-grossly-underestimated-radioactive-fallout-atom-bomb-tests-study-finds

April 27, 2021 Posted by | environment, OCEANIA, radiation | Leave a comment

‘If it’s safe, dump it in Tokyo’ – Pacific Islanders don’t want Fukushima waste water

Guardian 26th April 2021, If it’s safe, dump it in Tokyo. We in the Pacific don’t want Japan’s
nuclear wastewater. To Pacific peoples, who have carried the
disproportionate human cost of nuclearism in our region, this is yet
another act of catastrophic and irreversible trans-boundary harm that our
region has not consented to.

While Japan’s plan is for the water to be
diluted first and discharged over the course of about 30 years, and the
Japanese government has tried its hardest to convince the wider public of
the treated water’s safety through the use of green mascots and backing
from American scientists, Pacific peoples are once again calling it for
what it is: an unjust act.

“We need to remind Japan and other nuclear
states of our Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific movement slogan: if it
is safe, dump it in Tokyo, test it in Paris, and store it in Washington,
but keep our Pacific nuclear-free,” said Motarilavoa Hilda Lini, Vanuatu
stateswoman and veteran activist of the Nuclear Free and Independent
Pacific (NFIP) movement, after Japan’s announcement. “We are people of
the ocean, we must stand up and protect it.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/26/if-its-safe-dump-it-in-tokyo-we-in-the-pacific-dont-want-japans-nuclear-wastewater

April 27, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | 2 Comments

Getting the facts straight about Chernobyl, nuclear disasters, and ionising radiation

Fact check: 5 myths about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. What happened in the former Soviet Union on April 26, 1986, is no longer a secret.  DW, 

Is Chernobyl the biggest-ever nuclear disaster?

The 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine is often described as the worst nuclear accident in history. However, rarely is this sensational depiction clarified in more detail. 

The International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) does classify nuclear events on a scale of zero to seven, breaking them down into accidents, incidents and anomalies. It was introduced in 1990 after being developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (NEA/OECD). Level seven denotes a “major accident,” which means “major release of radioactive material with widespread health and environmental effects requiring implementation of planned and extended countermeasures.”

Both the Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima disaster have been categorized as such. But INES does not allow for nuclear events to be classified within a level.

If the term nuclear disaster is not only used to describe events, or accidents, in nuclear reactors but also radioactive emissions caused by humans then there are many occasions when human-caused nuclear contamination has been greater than that of the Chernobyl disaster, explained Kate Brown, professor of science, technology and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Let’s take the production of plutonium,” she told DW, referring to the American and Soviet plants that produced plutonium at the center of a nuclear bomb. “Those plants each issued as part of the normal working everyday order at least 350 million curies [a unit of radioactivity — Editor’s note] into the surrounding environment. And that was not an accident.

“Let’s look at, even more dire, the issuance of radioactive fallout in the detonation of nuclear bombs during the periods of nuclear testing ground, which were located throughout the world, ” she continued. “Those just take one isotope, one radioactive iodine, which is harmful to human health because it’s taken up by the human thyroid, causing thyroid cancer or thyroid disease.

“Chernobyl issued 45 million curies of radioactive iodine just in two years of testing, in 1961 and 1962. The Soviets and the Americans issued not 45 million curies, but 20 billion curies of radioactive iodine,” she said. And these tests, she added, were by design — not due to an accident or human error.

Are there mutants in the exclusion zone?

………….. “The influence of ionizing radiation may cause some restructuring in the body, but mostly it simply reduces an organism’s viability,” he explained, giving the example of high embryo fatalities in rodents due to genomic defects that prevented the organism from functioning. Those animals that survive the womb sometimes have disabilities that prevent them from staying alive in the wild. Vishnevsky and his colleagues have conducted research into thousands of animals in the exclusion zone, but have not found any unusual morphological alterations.

“Why? Because we were always dealing with animals that had survived and had won the fight for survival,” he said. He added that it was difficult to compare these animals with creatures that scientists had deliberately exposed to radiation in laboratories.

“That’s a very seductive idea, that human messed up nature and all they have to do is step away and nature rewrites itself,” she said. In reality, however, biologists say that there are fewer species of insects, birds and mammals than before the disaster. The fact that some endangered species can be found in the exclusion zone is not evidence of the area’s health and vitality.

Has nature reclaimed the site of the disaster?

Reports entitled “Life Flourishing Around Chernobyl” and photo series suggesting that the exclusion zone has become a “natural paradise” might give the impression that nature has recovered from the nuclear disaster. But Brown, who has been researching Chernobyl for 25 years, is adamant that this is “not true.”

“That’s a very seductive idea, that human messed up nature and all they have to do is step away and nature rewrites itself,” she said. In reality, however, biologists say that there are fewer species of insects, birds and mammals than before the disaster. The fact that some endangered species can be found in the exclusion zone is not evidence of the area’s health and vitality.

On the contrary: there has been a significant increase in the mortality rate and a lowered life expectancy in the animal population, with more tumors and immune defects, disorders of the blood and circulatory system and early ageing.

Scientists have attributed the apparent natural diversity to species migration and the vastness of the area. “The exclusion zone comprises 2,600 square kilometers [about 1,000 square miles]. And to the north are another 2,000 square kilometers to the north is Belarus’ exclusion zone,” said Vishnevsky. “There are also areas to the east and west where the human population density is extremely low. We have a huge potential for preserving local wild fauna.” That includes lynxes, bears and wolves which need a great deal of space.

But even 35 years after the disaster the land is still contaminated by radiation, a third of it by transuranium elements with a half-life of more than 24,000 years.

Is it safe for tourists to visit Chernobyl?

The exclusion zone was already a magnet for disaster tourists, but in 2019 annual numbers doubled to 124,000 after the success of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl. The State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management has set up a number of routes so tourists can visit the region by land, water or air. It has also drawn up a number of regulations to protect visitors, stipulating that people must be covered from head to toe. They shouldn’t eat any food or drink outside, and they should always follow official paths. It’s estimated that the radiation dose received over a one-day visit does not exceed 0.1 millisievert (mSv) — roughly the same dose that a passenger would be exposed to on a long-distance flight from Germany to Japan, according to Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation

Are there people living in the area?

Today, Pripyat, the closed city built to serve the nuclear plant and house its employees, is often described as a ghost town, as is the nearby city of Chernobyl.

However, neither has been entirely empty since 1986. Thousands of people, usually men, have stayed there, often working two-week shifts and ensuring that the crucial infrastructure in both cities continues to function. After the explosion in reactor No. 4, reactors 1, 2 and 3 continued to operate, closing down only in 1991, 1996 and 2000. Special units of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry police the zone. There are also stores and at least two hotels in Chernobyl, which are mainly for business visitors.

There are also a number of unofficial inhabitants, including people who used to live in the area and have chosen to return. They have settled in villages that were evacuated after the disaster. The exact number of people is unknown: when DW asked the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management how many people lived in Chernobyl, the official answer was “nobody.” 

In 2016, about 180 people were thought to be living in the entire exclusion zone. Because they tended to be older, this number may well have fallen. Even though these locals are officially only tolerated, the state does support them in their everyday lives. Their pensions are delivered once a month, and every two to three months they are supplied with food by a mobile store.   https://www.dw.com/en/fact-check-5-myths-about-the-chernobyl-nuclear-disaster/a-57314231

Below – a video from past years tells the earlier story of the chernobyl disaster

April 26, 2021 Posted by | environment, radiation, Reference, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment