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Ocean ecosystems – future in doubt

The uncertain future of the oceans, Science Daily October 26, 2020

Source:
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Summary:
Marine food webs and biogeochemical cycles react very sensitively to the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) – but the effects are far more complex than previously thought. Data were combined from five large-scale field experiments, which investigated how the carbon cycle within plankton communities reacts to the increase of CO2.
The ocean plays a key role in the current climate change, as it absorbs a considerable part of the atmospheric carbon dioxide emitted by humankind. On the one hand, this slows down the heating of the climate, and on the other hand, the dissolution of CO2 in seawater leads to acidification of the oceans.
This has far-reaching consequences for many marine organisms and thus also for the oceanic carbon cycle. One of the most important mechanisms in this cycle, is called the biological carbon pump. Part of the biomass that phytoplankton forms in the surface ocean through photosynthesis sinks to the depths in the form of small carbonaceous particles. As a result, the carbon is stored for a long time in the deep sea. The ocean thus acts as a carbon sink in the climate system. How strongly this biological pump acts varies greatly from region to region and depends on the composition of species in the ecosystem.

The study, which has now been published in the journal

Nature Climate Change, is one of the most comprehensive studies so far on the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. Scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel have now been able to show for the first time that ocean acidification influences the carbon content of sinking organic material, and thus the biological pump. Surprisingly, the observed changes were highly variable. The carbon content of sinking particles increased or decreased significantly with increasing CO2, depending on the composition of species and the structure of the food web. Since the underlying data cover a wide range of ocean regions, this seems to be a global phenomenon. These findings allow a completely new assessment of the effects of ocean acidification……….https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201026114214.htm

October 27, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Angry reactions to Japanese government’s plan to release Fukushima nuclearwaste water into the Pacific

Plan to release Fukushima water into Pacific provokes furious reaction   https://www.dw.com/en/tepco-fukushima-contaminated-water/a-55334567 25 Oct 20, The Japanese government has reportedly decided to pump highly radioactive cooling water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean. The plan has been slammed by environmental groups, locals and neighboring nations.Environmental groups have reacted furiously to reports that the Japanese government is set to approve plans to dump more than 1 million tons of highly radioactive water stored at the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, with their concerns shared by the governments of neighboring countries and people living in northeastern Japan.

A government panel set up to determine the best way of disposing the radioactively contaminated water is scheduled to announce its decision by the end of the month.

Three Fukushima reactors suffered meltdowns following a 2011 tsunami that destroyed wide swaths of the coastline in northern Japan’s Miyagi prefecture.

According to reports leaked to Japanese media, the panel will recommend releasing the approximately 1.23 million tons of water currently stored in tanks in the grounds of the nuclear plant.

The alternatives that have been considered are to evaporate the water into the atmosphere or to mix it into concrete and store it underground.

According to reports from national broadcaster NHK and other news outlets, the panel will call for the water to be again put through a process designed to reduce the radioactivity to below “regulatory standards” and dilute it with sea water before it is pumped into the ocean.

The three damaged reactors require constant cooling with water, which becomes highly radioactive, and mixes with around 170 tons of groundwater that seeps into the subterranean levels of the reactor buildings every day.

That water is pumped into hundreds of huge tanks on the site every day, with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco), the operator of the power plant, estimating that even with more waste tanks being constructed, storage capacity will be reached fully in the summer of 2022.

Environmental groups insist that there is no reason why more storage tanks cannot be constructed outside the perimeter of the plant. They accuse the government of seeking the cheapest and quickest solution to the problem, as authorities have promised the site will be safe in 40 years.

And that deadline, they say, is completely unrealistic. Complications include recovering the molten fuel that escaped from the reactor chambers. This kind of recovery has never before been attempted and the technology required does not yet exist.

They also accuse the Japanese authorities of playing down the radiation levels in the water planned for release.

Environmental groups insist that there is no reason why more storage tanks cannot be constructed outside the perimeter of the plant. They accuse the government of seeking the cheapest and quickest solution to the problem, as authorities have promised the site will be safe in 40 years.

And that deadline, they say, is completely unrealistic. Complications include recovering the molten fuel that escaped from the reactor chambers. This kind of recovery has never before been attempted and the technology required does not yet exist.

They also accuse the Japanese authorities of playing down the radiation levels in the water planned for release.

Elevated levels of radiation

A study by the Kahoko Shinpo newspaper confirmed that levels of iodine 129 and ruthenium 106 exceeded acceptable levels in 45 out of 84 samples collected in 2017.

Iodine has a half-life of 15.7 million years and can cause cancer of the thyroid, while ruthenium 106 is produced by nuclear fission and high doses can be toxic or carcinogenic when ingested.

Tepco subsequently confirmed that levels of strontium 90 were more than 100 times above legally permitted levels in nearly 65,000 tons of water that had already been treated,

They were 20,000 times above safety levels set by the government in several storage tanks at the Fukushima site.

Fish industry worried

Precisely what is in the water that is due to be released into the ocean cannot be confirmed, however, as Tepco and the government have refused to permit independent testing on samples.

Residents of Fukushima Prefecture are also against the plan, with 42 of the 59 local authorities in the prefecture passing resolutions either expressing outright opposition to the plan or deep concern.

The fishing industry — which was devastated by the original natural disaster and has since struggled to reestablish itself — is also hostile to the proposals, with representatives of fishing cooperatives meeting with government officials last week to express their concerns.

“We are terrified that if even one fish is found to have exceeded the [radiation] safety standards after the treated water is released, people’s trust in us will plummet,” a fisherman from the city of Soma told Kyodo News. “Our efforts to fight false information and address other challenges could be wasted.”

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens Nuclear Information Center, echoed those calls.

“Release of the contaminated water into the ocean should not be allowed when fishing unions from Fukushima and neighboring Ibaraki and Iwate prefectures are opposed,” he told DW.

“If it is dumped in the ocean, it will become an international problem and it is possible that bans on exports from this area will continue or that new export restrictions may be introduced.”

Read moreJapan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

“It is highly unlikely that the highly radioactive waste can be removed from the site of the nuclear plant, so instead of rushing to remove the fuel debris, the overall decommissioning schedule should be reviewed and measures taken so that the contaminated water can be stored on land,” he said.

In a statement issued to DW, Tepco said it is “not in a position to make a decision on this matter.”

“The government has been listening to the opinions of various stakeholders, including local municipalities and those involved in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries, and it is the government that will make a decision on the disposal method,” the company said, adding Tepco will follow the disposal guidelines as instructed following the official decision.

Neighbors’ concerns

The residents of Japan’s neighboring countries and their governments are equally concerned, with an editorial in the Korea Times on Monday warning of an “environmental disaster” that could “destroy the marine ecosystem.”

The South Korean government has also demanded that Japan provide a full accounting of its plans for the contaminated water, including an accurate accounting of the different radionuclides that it contains.

In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry, Seoul said it places the highest priority on protecting the environment and the Korean public’s health.

Scientists and academics in China are demanding independent testing and verification of radiation levels in the water, while environmental and citizens’ groups in Taiwan have previously expressed concerns about the impact of any large-scale release of contaminated water on their health and well-being.

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Japan, oceans, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Warnings on releasing Fukushima’s radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean

Warning over Fukushima nuclear power plant water release, 7 News,  CNN,  Allie Godfrey,  Sunday, 25 October 2020 Contaminated water that could soon be released into the sea from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contains radioactive carbon with the potential to damage human DNA, environmental rights organisation Greenpeace has warned.

The environmental group claims that the 1.23 million metric tons of water stored at the plant – scene of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster – contains “dangerous” levels of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 and other “hazardous” radionuclides, which it says will have “serious long-term consequences for communities and the environment” if the water is released into the Pacific Ocean.

To cool fuel cores at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has pumped in tens of thousands of tons of water over the years. Once used, the water is put into storage.

But nine years on from Japan’s worst nuclear disaster, storage space is running out, and the government is still deciding what to do with the water.

Authorities, including the country’s environment minister, have indicated the only solution is to release it into the ocean – a plan facing opposition from environmental campaigners and fishing industry representatives.

On Friday, the Japanese government postponed a decision on what to do with the water. ……….“Any radioactive discharge carries some environmental and health risk,” Francis Livens, a professor of radiochemistry at the University of Manchester told CNN, adding that the risk would be relative to how much carbon 14 would be released into the ocean. “An awful lot really does depend on how much is going to be discharged.”

“If it’s (carbon-14) there and it’s there in quantity, yes, there probably is a risk associated with it,” Livens, who is not associated with the Greenpeace study, said. “People have discharged carbon-14 into the sea over many years. It all comes down to how much is there, how much is dispersed, does it enter marine food chains and find its way back to people?”……..

Corkhill told CNN the contaminated water is becoming a pressing concern: If the Japanese government does not deal with the contaminated water, it will have “several millions of cubic meters of water that’s radioactive all sat on the Fukushima site,” she said. https://7news.com.au/technology/warning-over-fukushima-nuclear-power-plant-water-release-c-1453141

October 26, 2020 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Delayed freezing of Arctic sea due to continued freakish warm weather

October 24, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | 1 Comment

Not only Fukushima – UK nuclear reactors also empty radioactive water into the sea

October 24, 2020 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Vital need to protect Antarctic seas: groups aim for new protected areas

‘No other choice’: Groups push to protect vast swaths of Antarctic seas, Mongabay
BY ELIZABETH CLAIRE ALBERTS ON 19 OCT, 2020

  • A coalition of conservation groups is advocating for the establishment of three new marine protected areas (MPAs) in East Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea, which would encompass 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) of the Southern Ocean, or 1% of the global ocean.
  • These proposals will be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), which is due to take place online because of the pandemic.
  • Conservationists anticipate that China and Russia may not support these MPA proposals due to fishing interests in the region, although they are optimistic that the MPAs will eventually be approved.
‘……………… While Antarctica’s land mass is currently protected through the Antarctic Treaty (although this expires in 2048), vast swaths of its marine region are open to industrial fishing for species such as Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) and Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). Conservationists say these fishing activities are endangering the Southern Ocean’s delicate marine ecosystem that hosts more than 15,000 species, and a region that plays a vital role in regulating the world’s climate.

A coalition of conservation groups, including Pew, ASOC, SeaLegacy, Antarctica2020, Ocean Unite, and Only One, are working together to advocate for the formation of three marine protected areas (MPAs) in East Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the Weddell Sea. Together, these areas would protect about 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles), encompassing 1% of the world’s ocean. That’s two and a half times the size of Alaska, and nearly three times the size of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaiʻi, which is currently one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries.

“If these three marine protected areas … [are] created at the same time, it would form the largest marine protection in the history of humanity,” Cristina Mittermeier, National Geographic wildlife photographer and co-founder of SeaLegacy, told Mongabay. “[It would be] a piece of good news that the planet needs.”

This is a matter of political will’

The body responsible for making decisions surrounding Antarctica’s marine region is the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an international commission with 25 member states and the European Union, as well as 10 acceding states. Originally established to manage krill fisheries in the Southern Ocean, the commission meets each year in Hobart, Australia, to negotiate total allowable catches for fisheries, and to discuss other matters related to Antarctica’s marine region, including the designation of MPAs.

Any decision requires a consensus among all members, and proposals can take a long time to be approved. For instance, it took more than five years for the commission to approve a proposal to turn a region of the Ross Sea into an MPA, according to Werner. But it finally went ahead in 2016: now 1.55 million km2 (nearly 600,000 mi2)of the Ross Sea is classified as an MPA, with 1.12 million km2 (432,000 mi2) of the region fully protected from commercial fishing.

“In CCAMLR, everything is possible,” said Werner, who acts as an official observer and scientific representative at the commission. “You can have a proposal blocked for years like the Ross Sea, and then one day [it happens].”…………

The way that Antarctica goes, so does the world’

One of the most important species living in the Southern Ocean is krill. These tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans are the foodstuff for many species, such as whales, seals, penguins, squids, fish and seabirds. Without krill, the pelagic food web would entirely collapse.

Krill is also heavily harvested for human consumption, mainly for fish meal and omega-3 dietary supplements.

The establishment of the three proposed MPAs — which would include no-take zones, but also areas that would allow regulated fishing — would help protect krill populations from overharvesting and enable fishing activities to continue in other areas, Cousteau said. According to one study, MPAs help increase fish mass………

But it’s not just fishing that’s a threat to krill — climate change is wreaking havoc on the species as high temperatures melt the ice it vitally depends upon. …….. https://news.mongabay.com/2020/10/no-other-choice-groups-push-to-protect-vast-swaths-of-antarctic-seas/

October 22, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, oceans | Leave a comment

14 million tonnes of plastic on ocean floor – more on the coasts

A confronting amount’: CSIRO study finds 14 million tonnes of plastic on ocean floorhttps://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2020/10/05/micro-plastics-ocean-floor/   Samantha Dick
Every drink bottle we buy, face scrub we use and chip packet we finish results in tiny plastics entering the ocean.But where are these tiny micro-plastics, exactly?

Are they floating around on the ocean’s surface, waiting to be scooped up by a surfer?

Or are they stuck in the tummies of turtles or seabirds?

A new study by the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has estimated up to 14 million tonnes of micro-plastics have sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor.

The peer-reviewed research, published on Tuesday, is the first global estimate for micro-plastics on the seafloor.    Dr Britta Denise Hardesty, team leader with CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere, said 14 million tonnes of micro-plastics was a “huge amount, especially when you think about how tiny all those bits are”.Dr Britta Denise Hardesty, team leader with CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere, said 14 million tonnes of micro-plastics was a “huge amount, especially when you think about how tiny all those bits are”.

Every drink bottle we buy, face scrub we use and chip packet we finish results in tiny plastics entering the ocean.

But where are these tiny micro-plastics, exactly?
Are they floating around on the ocean’s surface, waiting to be scooped up by a surfer?

Or are they stuck in the tummies of turtles or seabirds?

A new study by the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, has estimated up to 14 million tonnes of micro-plastics have sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor.

The peer-reviewed research, published on Tuesday, is the first global estimate for micro-plastics on the seafloor.

Dr Britta Denise Hardesty, team leader with CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere, said 14 million tonnes of micro-plastics was a “huge amount, especially when you think about how tiny all those bits are”.

To put it into perspective: Imagine five carrier bags stuffed with plastic dotted along every single metre of coastline around the world, excluding Antarctica

The piles of bags would sit on every Australian beach, along Italy’s Amalfi Coast, around Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, and all around Canada’s coastlines and beyond.

Now imagine someone pushing those bags into the ocean, and letting them sink into the darkness.

“It’s a confronting amount, and hopefully it provides a reasonable wake-up call,” Dr Hardesty told The New Daily.

“We’re finding them hundreds of kilometres offshore and thousands of metres deep – more micro-plastics than has been found by lots of other studies.”

“Micro-plastics come from the same place as plastics,” Dr Hardesty said, adding “micro just means they’re smaller than 5mm”.

“It’s really just small plastic from single-use items, consumer goods, industry or fishing-related goods, cosmetics, micro-beads, agriculture, aquaculture, household waste, everything.”Many of these tiny plastics end up in our oceans via stormwater drains, sewage systems, sea-based activities, littering, things falling off the backs of trucks, and improper waste management where people intentionally dump rubbish straight into the sea or rivers.

They often end up in the stomachs of marine animals like dolphins or fish, while bigger pieces of plastic can be just as dangerous.

“Masks that have those little straps can tangle the feet and legs of sea birds and things like that,” Dr Hardesty said.

“Rubber gloves might be more likely to look like a jellyfish that could be mistakenly eaten by turtles if they end up in the ocean.”

The World Economic Forum estimates one garbage truck of plastic alone is dumped into the ocean every minute of every day.

It estimates there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

The missing piece

Although the CSIRO’s findings are troubling, perhaps what’s more concerning is the answer to the following question: Where is the rest of the missing plastic?

Compared to the tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every day, Dr Hardesty said 14 million tonnes on the ocean floor was “just a drop in the ocean”.

“Where is all the missing plastic? Is it in the stomachs of animals? Is it floating on the surface?” she said.

“I’d say most of it is on our coastlines.”

October 6, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, Reference | Leave a comment

The safety of the world requires a nuclear-free planet

power: A gargantuan threat, Independent Australia   By Karl Grossman | 4 October 2020, At the start of 2020, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds to midnight — the closest to midnight, doomsday, since the clock started in 1947.

There are two gargantuan threats — the climate crisis and nuclear weapons/nuclear power.

The only realistic way to secure a future for the world without nuclear war is for the entire planet to become a nuclear-free zone — no nuclear weapons, no nuclear power. A nuclear-free Earth.

How did India get an atomic bomb in 1974? Canada supplied a reactor and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission provided heavy water for it under the U.S. so-called “Atoms for Peace” program. From the reactor, India got the plutonium for its first nuclear weapon.

Any nation with a nuclear facility can use plutonium produced in it to construct nuclear arms.

Nuclear technology continues to spread around the world — a recent headline‘Trump Administration Spearheads International Push for Nuclear Power.’ Russia, despite Chernobyl, is pushing hard at selling nuclear plants.

Can the atomic genie be put back in the bottle? Anything people have done other people can undo. And the prospect of massive loss of life from nuclear destruction is the best of reasons.

There is a precedent: the outlawing of poison gas after World War I when its terrible impacts were tragically demonstrated, killing 90,000. The Geneva Protocol of 1925 and the Chemicals Weapons Convention of 1933 outlawed chemical warfare and to a large degree the prohibition has held.

There are major regions of the Earth – all of Africa and South America, the South Pacific and others – that are Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones based on the United Nations provision for such zones.

But if we are truly to have a world free of the horrific threat of nuclear arms, the goal needs to be more. A world free of the other side of the nuclear coin – nuclear power –is also necessary.

Radical? Yes, but consider the even more radical alternative: a world where many nations will be able to have nuclear weapons because they have nuclear technology. And the world continuing to try using carrots and sticks to try to stop nuclear proliferation — juggling on the road to nuclear catastrophe…………

It took decades of struggle to make the place where I live – Long Island, New York – nuclear-free. The Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant was stopped and the six to ten more the Long Island Lighting Company wanted to build, prevented. The two reactors at Brookhaven National Laboratory leaking radioactive tritium into its underground water table have been shut down.

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, let us strive for the goals of defeating global warming and having all the Earth nuclear-free. These are existential threats that must be overcome.

A version of this article was given as a presentation at the Long Island Earth Day 2020 Program on 21 September.

Karl Grossman is a full professor of journalism at the State University of New York. He is also an award-winning investigative reporter. Click here to go to Karl’s website.  https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/nuclear-power-a-gargantuan-threat,14372

October 5, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Accelerating rate of ice sheet loss from Greenland

October 1, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breakers lead towards military domination of the Arctic

Russia’s Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker Is a Step Toward Military Domination

The country is fast becoming an icebreaking superpower.  BY KYLE MIZOKAMI, SEP 24, 2020   Russia’s newest icebreaker, the nuclear-powered Arktika, is headed to its new homeport in St. Petersburg, Russia. The ship, painted in the colors of the Russian state flag, will operate north of the Arctic Circle in anticipation of a year-round shipping route across the icy far north. Arktika is part of Moscow’s emerging policy of exploiting a warming arctic region—and protecting its stake in the region from competitors.

  • Russia’s first new nuclear-powered icebreaker in decades, Arktika, is joining the country’s large fleet of icebreaking ships.
  • Arktika is capable of smashing through ice that’s nearly 10 feet thick.<
  • Millions of Russians live above the Arctic Circle, and warming ocean temperatures could create ice-free shortcuts between Asia and Europe.Russia’s newest icebreaker, the nuclear-powered Arktika, is headed to its new homeport in St. Petersburg, Russia. The ship, painted in the colors of the Russian state flag, will operate north of the Arctic Circle in anticipation of a year-round shipping route across the icy far north. Arktika is part of Moscow’s emerging policy of exploiting a warming arctic region—and protecting its stake in the region from competitors.

<Arktika is the first of a new class of nuclear-powered icebreakers. Construction began at the Baltic Shipyards in St. Petersburg in 2012 with a scheduled launch in 2017, but delays pushed the completion back to 2020. This past February, a short circuit damaged one of the ship’s three 300-ton electric motors, disabling one of the three propellers. Russian authorities ordered the ship to continue, however, and the ship is currently moving on just two propellers.

In 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country would ultimately have a fleet of 13 icebreakers, the majority of them nuclear-powered. …………..

Iceabreakers like Arktika could also allow Russia to militarily dominate the Northern Sea Route, smashing a route for Russian warships and transports full of Russian Marines. Warming temperatures will mean other countries, such as Canada and the U.S., will likely move to unlock natural resources previously trapped under sheets of sea ice, and Russia will be in a position to threaten oil, gas, and mineral exploration and exploitation…………. https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a34128219/russia-nuclear-powered-icebreaker-arktika/

 

September 26, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, Russia, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Marshall Islands in danger of being overcome by rising sea levels

Star of the day: David Kabua, President of the Marshall Islands, believes his territory will disappear under rising sea levels,       https://pledgetimes.com/star-of-the-day-david-kabua-president-of-the-marshall-islands-believes-his-territory-will-disappear-under-rising-sea-levels/ by Bhavi Mandalia, September 22, 2020   The Marshall Islands facing rising waters. (HILARY HOSIA / AFP)

David Kabua, 71, president for nine months of the Marschall Islands is worried. This small confetti of land lost in the Pacific Ocean, 180 km², perched just two meters from sea level, is threatened by rising waters. There is not much on the 30 atolls that make up the archipelago, nothing to covet, nothing to export, no natural resources, only small farms, fishing boats and a huge radioactive waste storage site. , memory of the American nuclear tests of the 1960s.

This little piece of land, so coveted during the wars for its strategic location, no longer has any leverage to attract attention. And yet, it will soon no longer appear on the world maps. This is the warning cry launched by David Kabua on Monday September 21 at the UN, a simple cry: “My country will disappear if the world does not keep its promises, those made during the Paris agreement.” He recounted the impact of climate change, the increasingly devastating tides, population evacuations, the intense droughts which generate another plague: swarms of mosquitoes carrying various diseases. And then there is the money that is lacking to build the necessary infrastructure to protect its 75,000 inhabitants. Money promised five years ago, and which does not arrive. Finally, there is worse:“The fact, he said, that industrialized countries continue to finance fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal. We are doing our part, but alone we can do nothing. “

David Kabua addresses the United Nations. The UN that the Marschall Islands joined in 1991 but that they could well leave, in fact, not voluntarily, but by force of circumstances, because the atolls will end up submerged. So he concluded by asking: “Will we still be here for the UN’s 100th anniversary in 2045? How about you? Are you going to help us keep our islands in this world?” In the assembly, the question created a long silence. David Kabua, for his part, has nothing more to give than a warning, a prophecy for all. We know. But we look elsewhere. Hope does exist, however, it is in the motto of the Marschall Islands: “Achievement through joint effort“. And we have 25 years ahead of us.

 

September 24, 2020 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

53 million tons of plastic could end up in rivers, lakes and oceans every year by 2030

September 21, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

Arctic sea ice becomes a sea of slush

September 15, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Importance of the ocean’s biological carbon pump

September 14, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

The threatening presence of highly radioactive material in Russia’s sunken nuclear submarines

Do Russia’s Sunken Nuclear Submarines Pose Environmental Danger?  There’s radioactive fuel hanging at the bottom of the seahttps://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a33902569/russia-sunken-nuclear-submarines/   BY KYLE MIZOKAMI, SEP 4, 2020   

  • Two ex-Soviet nuclear submarinesK-27 and K-159, lie at the bottom of the Barents Sea.
  • The wrecked ships still have their radioactive fuel sources aboard, which experts worry could leak into the environment.
  • The Russian government has vowed to clean up the wrecks, but the work is not a priority.

Governments and environmental groups are worried a rupture of nuclear fuel supplies could cause a nuclear catastrophe, impacting local fishing areas. The Russian government is working to solve the problem, which some experts are calling a potential “Chernobyl in slow motion on the seabed.

A legacy of the Cold War threatens Russia’s people and environment, potentially irradiating a large portion of the Barents Sea and closing it to commercial fishing. Two Soviet nuclear-powered submarines are sitting on the bottom of the ocean and could unleash their radioactive fuels into the surrounding waters.

The Soviet Union built four hundred nuclear-powered submarines during the Cold War. The vast majority were either scrapped, or still serve with the Russian Navy today. A few subs, however, are trapped in precarious circumstances, lying on the seabed floor with their uranium fuel supplies still intact. The BBC reports on efforts to render two such ships, K-27 and K-159, safe.

The first ship, K-27, was a Soviet Navy submarine prototype equipped with a new liquid metal reactor. In 1968, the six-year-old sub suffered a reactor accident so serious, nine Soviet sailors received fatal doses of radiation. The submarine was scuttled off the Russian island of Novaya Zemlya in 1982 with its reactor still on board.

The second ship, K-159 (shown above before sinking, on original), was a November-class submarine that served a fairly typical career with the Soviet Northern Fleet before retirement in 1989. In 2003, however, the K-159 sank while in the process of being dismantled, killing nine sailors. The ship still resides where it was lost, again with its reactor on board.

Environmentalists in Norway and Russia are concerned that eventually the reactors on both submarines will break down, releasing huge amounts of radiation.

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The effects of these leaks could range from increasing local background radiation to declaring local fish and animals off limits, particularly Barents Sea fishing stocks of cod and haddock, costing local fishermen an estimated $1.5 billion a year.

While Russia’s state nuclear agency, Rosatom, has been tasked with cleaning up the ships, the effort is underfunded, resulting in a race against time (and saltwater corrosion).

September 5, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment