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The UK is searching the sea for a nuclear dump site with huge risks to marine life

 ”Protections clearly mean nothing when the nuclear waste industry wants to pave the way to a deep nuclear dump.”

By Charlie Jaay  •  euro news green,  22/06/2022

A new report delivers a damning verdict on the proposed seismic blasting in the Irish Sea.

The UK government’s Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) is set to carry out seismic surveys off the Cumbrian Coast between July and August this year. 

They are looking for a place to dispose of the waste produced by Britain’s nuclear reactors.

The report, commissioned by Radiation Free Lakeland, calls for these plans to be postponed, claiming the impact assessment by NWS is “deeply inadequate” and “lacking in appropriate scientific and academic rigour”.

What is seismic blasting?

Seismic blasting is a process that allows scientists to find out more about the geography of the sea bed. Loud, repetitive blasts of sound are produced from an underwater airgun – like a powerful horn – and their echoes are measured to map the underwater rocks

The airgun will fire every 10 to 15 seconds, throughout the survey period of around one month.

The surveys, commissioned by NWS, will be looking into the possibility of locating a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). Deep under the seabed, this facility will be used to dispose of the UK’s toxic legacy of high level nuclear waste – the highly radioactive byproducts of nuclear reactors. 

Shearwater GeoServices, the company which last year saw the high court put an end to its work on South Africa’s ecologically sensitive Wild Coast, is carrying out the investigations.

According to a freedom of information request, a licence of exemption to carry out these surveys was given to NWS for ‘scientific research’. But Radiation Free Lakeland says the survey is not for ‘scientific research’ but a plan to dispose of nuclear waste.

“We commissioned an independent report because we need to counter the PR spin from the nuclear waste industry who are calling the seismic testing ‘non-invasive scientific research,’” says Marianne Birkby, Founder of the campaign group.

She argues that, rather than seismic blasting for scientific purposes, the plans facilitate a commercial venture for a “deep nuclear dump for heat generating nuclear waste.”

A limited company that wants to enable ever more nuclear waste from new nuclear builds, Radioactive Waste Management, is behind it, Birkby claims.

“Despite the marine protections this part of the Irish Sea has, it is an outrage that independent environmental impact assessments have not been carried out. Protections clearly mean nothing when the nuclear waste industry wants to pave the way to a deep nuclear dump.”

In response to the claims, NWS says “there is no requirement to undertake a public consultation for these surveys.”……

Seismic surveys can devastate marine life

Low frequency sounds generated by a single seismic airgun can extend over large distances, particularly in deeper waters.

They have been recorded at locations up to 4,000 kilometres from the source, and can blanket areas of up to 300,000 square kilometres with noise. Studies have shown that, because seismic surveys can disturb, injure or kill a wide variety of marine life, they can impact entire ecosystems.

Zooplankton are the base of the marine food chain and are extremely important to our ocean’s health. They are also very vulnerable to these loud noises, according to scientists.

Researchers have found that seismic surveys significantly increase the death rates of zooplankton in the 1.2 kilometre range they tested, killing all larval krill in the range.

Radiation Free Lakeland’s report says the surveys will take place when zooplankton populations are expected to be high. These creatures provide a food source for a wide variety of organisms including baleen whales, basking sharks and fish which, in turn, feed many other species.

Many other marine animals rely on sound for survival too. Seismic testing can interfere with basic functions such as communication, navigation, feeding and mating.

“Noise exposure can be a problem for a wide variety of Cetaceans-dolphins, porpoises and whales,” according to the Zoological Society of London’s Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme.

“Noise related impacts have also been causally linked to many cetacean stranding and mass stranding events globally.”

The NWS investigation will focus on a survey area five to 20 kilometres off the Cumbrian coast in the north west of England in an area of approximately 250 square kilometres. The proposed GDF may extend over an area of 25 kilometres square, deep beneath the seabed.

This region is one of a number of designated Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea. It has protected habitats and is home to a number of European protected species, such as sea turtles, minke whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, and harbour porpoises…………………

Marine habitats are already under huge pressure from pollution, irresponsible development and bottom trawling – as well as the consequences of climate change, she explains.  Joan Edwards. Director of Policy at the Wildlife Trusts

We are concerned about the implications of seismic testing in the Irish Sea, which evidence shows can be devastating for marine life.”

The report claims many of the hugely important marine species found in the area have not been studied for their sensitivity to seismic surveys.

A ‘marked lack of transparency’ from Nuclear Waste Services

Marine radioactivity researcher and consultant Tim Deere-Jones is the author of Radiation Free Lakeland’s report. He says that NWS’s licence application for the seismic survey is characterised by “a marked lack of transparency.”

We are concerned about the implications of seismic testing in the Irish Sea, which evidence shows can be devastating for marine life.”

The report claims many of the hugely important marine species found in the area have not been studied for their sensitivity to seismic surveys.

A ‘marked lack of transparency’ from Nuclear Waste Services

Marine radioactivity researcher and consultant Tim Deere-Jones is the author of Radiation Free Lakeland’s report. He says that NWS’s licence application for the seismic survey is characterised by “a marked lack of transparency.”

The UK government, similar to many others, favours deep geological disposal to deal with the most radioactive waste – whether deep below ground or deep beneath the seabed.

However, there are still many concerns about this £53 billion (€62 billion) facility in the Irish Sea, which has not been tried or tested and provides no guarantees of safety. https://reliefweb.int/report/world/let-us-move-towards-world-without-nuclear-weapons

June 23, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Extreme torture — Beyond Nuclear International

24/7 blasting for nuke waste dump will devastate marine life, Beyond Nuclear 19th June 2022

Extreme torture — Beyond Nuclear International magine being subjected to ear-shattering blasts every ten seconds, twentyfour hours a day for four straight weeks? By any metric, that would qualify
as the most appalling form of torture. But that is exactly what is about to
be inflicted on whales, dolphins, seals and other marine creatures in the
Irish Sea if a new wave of opposition cannot stop it. The Irish Sea is
already the most radioactive sea in the world, in large part a result of
decades of radioactive discharges from the Sellafield reprocessing facility
on the Cumbrian shoreline. Now, Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) has contracted
a company called Shearwater Geosciences to blast its undersea seismic
airguns off the Cumbria coast this summer, calling it “scientific
research”.  https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2022/06/19/extreme-torture/


June 21, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Antarctic “doomsday glacier” melting at faster rate than in past 5,500 years

 Two Antarctic glaciers are now losing ice at a faster rate than any time
over the past 5,500 years, with “potentially disastrous” implications for
sea level rise, new research has found. The Thwaites Glacier, known as the
“Doomsday glacier”, due to the grave risk its melting poses to the world,
is around the size of Great Britain, and its neighbour, the Pine Island
Glacier is only slightly smaller. The two glaciers form part of the Western
Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is being impacted by warming temperatures due to
the climate crisis, and are already contributing to global sea level rise.

 Independent 16th June 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/antarctica-doomsday-glacier-ice-melt-b2102698.html

June 18, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Nuclear Free Local Authorities oppose Nuclear Waste Authorities’ seismic testing in the Irish Sea

On World Oceans Day (8 June), the Nuclear Free Local Authorities have
joined environmental and anti-nuclear campaigners in opposing proposals to
carry out seismic testing in the Irish Sea as part of plans to develop an
offshore, undersea nuclear waste dump.

A joint letter, whose signatories
include renowned environmentalist Jonathan Porritt, has been sent to the
head of the Marine Management Organisation opposing an exemption to the
requirement to obtain a Marine Licence which has been claimed by Nuclear
Waste Services to enable them to plough ahead with their summer plans to
carry testing in the waters off West Cumbria.

The NWS, an operating
division of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, is responsible for
finding a site for a so-called Geological Disposal Facility, either below
ground or beneath the seabed. This nuclear waste dump will be filled with
the toxic radioactive waste that is the legacy of Britain’s seven decades
of the civil nuclear power production; much of it will remain radioactive
for many tens of thousands of years.

Three search areas in Cumbria, falling
within the local authority areas of Allerdale and Copeland and offshore up
to 22kms, are under consideration. Seismic testing will enable NWS to
determine if the geology beneath the bed of the Irish Sea is suitable to
host a repository for the nuclear waste. This involves firing blasts of
sound from air guns below the waves every 10 seconds for four weeks or
longer. This sound penetrates under the ocean floor to help scientists
discover more about the suitability of the geology to store nuclear waste.

Seismic testing can seriously impair the health of marine life, which in
the Irish Sea includes whales, dolphins, porpoises, and seals, but some
scientific reports also suggest that even tiny shellfish and plankton can
be adversely impacted, hazarding the whole marine ecosystem. 


NFLA 8th June 2022
, https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nuclear-free-local-authorities-oppose-seismic-testing-on-world-oceans-day/

June 11, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind

Nuke Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind,  https://nation.com.pk/2022/06/07/nuke-contaminated-water-from-fukushima-should-never-be-out-of-ones-mind/ By Zhou Dingxing.  Jun 7, 2022,  In 2011, the “3/11” earthquake in Japan caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactor core, unleashing enormous amounts of radioactive material. The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), decided to pour in seawater to cool the reactor and contain the leakage. And because the used seawater became highly contaminated with radioactive material, TEPCO had to put it in storage tanks. A decade on, the nuclear contaminated water generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are about 150 tons per day in 2021, and will reach the upper limit of the storage tank capacity of 1.37 million tons in the spring of 2023.

According to estimates by the Japan Centre for Economic Research, it will cost 50-70 trillion yen (about $400-550 billion) to scrap and decontaminate the reactor, the bulk of which goes to the treatment of contaminated water. So in April 2021, the Japanese government announced that the problem of increasing amounts of nuclear contaminated wastewater would be addressed by dumping it into the sea. On May 18, 2022, the Japan Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission granted initial approval for TEPCO’s ocean dumping plan.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese government set up the “Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation” (NDF), which is an official agency with 50.1 percent of TEPCO’s voting rights, in order to prevent TEPCO from going bankrupt. In other words, TEPCO is now under direct jurisdiction and control of the Japanese government. It is not hard to see that both TEPCO and the Japanese government are the masterminds behind the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, because for them, this is the most expedient, cost-effective and trouble-saving way. Japan would need to spend only 3.4 billion yen (about $27 million) according to this plan. But the threat to nature, the environment and human life as a result of such reckless actions was probably never on their minds.

NUCLEAR CONTAMINATED WATER IS NOT NUCLEAR TREATED WATER

Monitoring data collected in 2012 showed that the concentration of Cesium in the waters near Fukushima was 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter, which is 100 times higher than what was detected in the Black Sea after the Chernobyl nuclear leak. Ten years later in 2021, 500 becquerels of radioactive elements per kilogram of weight could still be detected in the flat scorpionfish caught by Japanese fishermen off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, or five times higher than Japan’s own standards. In the 11 years since the nuclear disaster, one or two thyroid cancer cases have been reported for every 60,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture, much higher than the normal rate.

The Japanese government and TEPCO have repeatedly claimed that nuclear contaminated water is “safe” to be dumped into the ocean because it would go through the multi-nuclide removal system (Advanced Liquid Processing System, ALPS). But it is only the radioactive substance called “Tritium” that has reached this standard. And what Japan doesn’t say is that, even after treatment, the water still contains other radioactive substances such as Strontium 90 and Carbon 14 that cause genetic mutation in the ecosystem.

Since the release of the ALPS-related report, the Japanese government has not held any briefings or hearings for the public. And in order to justify the dumping plan, the Japanese government contacted citizen and groups to ask them to stop using the words “nuclear contaminated water”, and use “nuclear treated water” instead. Vigorous public relations (PR) efforts have also been carried out to whitewash the plan. In the 2021 budget of the Japanese Reconstruction Agency, PR expenses related to the Fukushima nuclear accident have increased to 2 billion yen (around $16 million), over four times than the previous year figure. The money has been used on professional teams to weaken and remove negative public opinion in Japan and abroad about the nuclear contaminated water through various propaganda programs.

Furthermore, TEPCO’s track records for handling the nuclear accident have been filled with deception and distortion. In 2007, TEPCO admitted that it had tampered with data and concealed potential safety hazards in a total of 199 regular inspections of 13 reactors in its nuclear power plants since 1977, including the cooling system failure in the Fukushima nuclear accident. One week after the 2011 nuclear accident when experts had already made the judgment that the cores of Units 1 to 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant had melted, the company still refused to announce the truth to the public, and instead chose to use “core damage,” a term that was significantly less alarming. With a past so bad it is hard to make one believe that TEPCO will dump “safe” nuclear contaminated water into the sea.

WAVES OF OPPOSITION AT HOME AND ABROAD

The Japanese government has so far failed to provide sufficient and credible explanations on the legitimacy of the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, the reliability of nuclear contaminated water data, the effectiveness of the purification devices, and the uncertainty of the environmental impact. To promote the plan under such circumstances has only brought about wide criticism and questions by various communities in Japan and beyond.

Up to 70 percent of the people in Fukushima Prefecture have expressed opposition to the dumping plan. Konno Toshio, former president of Fukushima University, was opposed to advancing the ocean dumping plan without prior understanding at home and abroad, because this plan could affect future generations and must be treated with great caution. The fishery cooperatives and local councils in Miyagi Prefecture, which is adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture, believe that the dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean may affect the safety of local aquatic products and cause significant economic losses to related industries. Already, 180,000 people in Japan have signed the petition to the Japanese government to adopt disposal options other than ocean dumping.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, academician at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, said that radioactive substances in the nuclear contaminated water can only be partially filtered, and the treated water still contains extremely dangerous radionuclides, which will pollute marine life and spread to the entire ocean through fish migration. This will gravely harm the global marine environment and cause serious harm to the health of people in the periphery. According to a research model established by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, half of the Pacific Ocean will be polluted in less than 57 days if nuclear contaminated water is dumped at the speed announced by Japan.

Voices of justice

Japan’s ocean dumping plan of nuclear contaminated water is a serious threat to the marine environment, and it damages marine interests of the neighbors and other littoral countries. It also violates multiple international conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Assistance in Nuclear Accidents or Radiation Emergencies, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety as well as principles of the international law. Many countries, including China, have expressed concern over or opposition to it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the Japanese government for not consulting with or providing any related information to its neighbors when the decision was made, and expressing grave concern over Japan’s dumping of nuclear polluted water into the ocean. The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to make a serious protest against Japan’s unilateral decision while large crowds gathered in front of the Japanese embassy to protest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched an assessment of Japan’s plan.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly pointed out that Japan’s dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean is extremely irresponsible, and demanded that Japan fully consult with neighbouring countries, other stakeholders, and relevant international institutions to find a proper way to dispose of the nuclear contaminated water, before which the dumping into the ocean shall not be initiated.

The ocean is a treasure for all mankind and our home for survival. It is essential for sustainable development and our future. To dump nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean is a major issue that bears on the environment for human survival and health, it is not just Japan’s internal affairs. Although keenly aware of the grave harm to the global marine environment caused by the dumping of such water into the sea, Japan has attempted to push through the plan without exhausting all other safe methods. Such an opaque and irresponsible approach is unacceptable, let alone trusted by countries in the region and the larger international community.

The author is a scholar on international studies

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Vulnerable island ecology threatened as developed countries dump waste, conduct nuclear test in Pacific

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202205/1266827.shtml, By Global Times. May 29, 2022 Pacific island countries are not only direct victims of climate change, but have become the dumping ground of various forms of waste or a testing ground for nuclear weapons by developed countries in past decades, leaving tragic and dangerous consequence for local ecology, and even to the survival of people.

Starting from the 1940s, the South Pacific region has been the worst- affected area by nuclear pollution. The US carried out 67 nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958, which caused irreparable damage to inhabitants’ health and the ecological environment, according to Hua Chunying, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson.The US has dumped nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean, causing a large increase in cancer rates, leukemia and birth defects in newborns, and other illnesses among those living in the Marshall Islands.
The plutonium-239 and -240 concentrations in soil samples taken at the Bikini Atolls islands are 1,000 times higher than samples from Chernobyl or Fukushima, said Hua.

Six decades have passed, and American warships and test personnel have left lasting trauma and pain on the vast stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

However, the harm is never-ending. The Japanese government officially decided to dump nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea in April 2021. 

“The amount, duration, and scope of affected areas and the risk level are unprecedented. Here I would like to raise three questions for the Japanese side to answer,” said Zhao Lijian, China’s spokesperson for the foreign ministry on a press conference in April 2021. “The oceans are not Japan’s trash can; and the Pacific Ocean is not Japan’s sewer. Japan should not expect the world to pay the bill for its treatment of wastewater,” he said.

May 30, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Nuclear expert reaffirms harm of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into ocean, calls on Japan to stop pressuring opposition voices

By Zhang Changyue, May 22, 2022 

Nuclear expert reaffirms harm of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into ocean, calls on Japan to stop pressuring opposition voices  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202205/1266269.shtml

Experts have reaffirmed the inevitable radioactive pollution to be caused by the dumping of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean after Japan on Wednesday initially approved the discharge plan.  

They demanded the Japanese government to stop pressuring those opposed to the plan and to truly listen to concerns from domestic public and international community, as a 30-day public comment period will finally determine the fate of the plan.

The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) haven’t conducted a comprehensive environmental impact assessment as required by international law, Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace, a global environmental protection organization, told the Global Times.

Their assessment made fundamental mistakes in radiation protection by ignoring the evidence that many different radionuclides would be discharged from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. For example, how much radioactivity in total is planned to be discharged has not been provided,” Burnie pointed out.

“The contaminated water contains radioactive cesium, strontium, tritium and other radioactive substances, which could be incorporated and concentrated in marine biota and end up in the bodies of humans. Some could cause damage to DNA, while others result in higher risks of diseases such as leukemia and blood cancer,” said Burnie.

“To assess the consequences of the tank releases, we need a full accounting of what isotopes are left in each tank after any secondary treatments. This is not just for the nine isotopes currently reported but for a larger suite of possible contaminants, such as plutonium,” explained Burnie. The expert added that since different radionuclides behave differently in the environment, models of tritium’s rapid dispersion and dilution in the ocean cannot be used to assess the fate of other potential contaminants.

Some isotopes are more readily incorporated into marine biota or seafloor sediment, said Burnie. For example, the biological concentration factor for fish for carbon-14 is up to 50,000 times higher than for tritium. Cobalt-60 is up to 300,000 times more likely to end up associated with seafloor sediment.

Also, the discharge could in reality continue for many decades longer than the period of 30 years claimed by the Japanese government – potentially for the rest of this century and beyond, Burnie noted. 

Although the Japanese government and TEPCO agreed in 2015 that the consent of the Fukushima Fishermen’s Association would be a condition for any future discharges, they are trying to pressure those opposed to say yes, said Burnie, encouraging efforts in Japan and the international community to continue to stop the unlawful and unjustified dumping plan.

May 23, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, radiation | Leave a comment

Scientists: Japan’s Plan To Dump Nuclear Waste Into The Pacific Ocean May Not Be Safe

CIVIL BEAT, By Thomas Heaton   , 25 Apr 22,

A panel of scientists has identified critical gaps in the data supporting the safe discharge of wastewater into the Pacific.

Independent scientists are questioning Japan’s plans to dump just over 1 million tons of nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean, following a review of the available evidence.

The panel of multi-disciplinary scientists, hired by the intergovernmental Pacific Islands Forum, has not found conclusive evidence that the discharge would be entirely safe, and one marine biologist fears contamination could affect the food system.

Last year Japan announced that wastewater from the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, destroyed in March 2011 following the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami, would be dropped into the Pacific in 2023.

The announcement triggered immediate concern from nations and territories in the Asia-Pacific region and led the Pacific Islands Forum to hire a panel of five independent experts to review the plan.

Previously, it was broadly believed that dropping the wastewater into the ocean would be safe, given it had been treated with “advanced liquid processing system” technology, which removes radioactive materials from contaminated water.

But panel scientist Robert Richmond, director of the University of Hawaii Kewalo Marine Laboratory, says the panel unanimously believes that critical gaps in information remain.

Previous discussions over the safety of Japan’s plans emphasized the chemistry of the discharge, but not how it could interact with marine life, he said.

“If the ocean were a sterile glass vessel, that would be one thing,” Richmond said. “But it’s not, you know, there’s lots of biology involved.”

Richmond has been particularly concerned about the potential for tritium – a key compound of concern – being absorbed into the food system because the radioactive isotope can bind to phytoplankton.

Through phytoplankton, Richmond says, the radioactive element could then find its way into the greater food system as the microscopic plants are consumed by mollusks and small fish, which are later consumed by other fish and eventually humans.

“Things like mercury in fish are now of an international concern. Radionuclides will be the same,” Richmond said.

The situation is dynamic too, as climate change affects the temperature of waters and weather patterns change.

As temperatures go up, many chemicals become more interactive, they become a little bit different in terms of break down,” he said. “So these are all the things we need to consider.”

…………………………………….  the information seen by the panel showed less than 1% of the tanks of wastewater had been treated and less than 20% had been adequately sampled, Richmond says.

Based on those numbers alone, we’re uncomfortable in making predictions of where things are going to end up,” Richmond said.

The Pacific Perspective

Community groups and environmental organizations were quick to respond to the news last year, raising concerns about the longterm effects to their region, with its legacy of nuclear testing and the fallout. And coastal communities and fishermen in Japan have also raised concerns.


The U.S. expressed its support for the plan in April last year, which has since been criticized by U.S. territories and affiliated states.

Rep. Sheila Babauta of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands introduced a resolution to CNMI’s House of Representatives opposing any nuclear testing, storage or waste disposal in the Pacific.

It was passed in December, months after the U.S. stated its position and after other Pacific groups and governments condemned the move.

“I’m really disappointed in the lack of engagement, the lack of information and the lack of free, prior and informed consent,” Babauta, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee, said.

The mistrust that is harbored by many in the Pacific stems back to U.S nuclear testing in the Republic of Marshall Islands following World War II, British testing in Kiribati and the French in French Polynesia, which had flow-on effects to the environment and long term health of Pacific people. And in 1979, Japan provoked backlash when it revealed plans to dump 10,000 drums of nuclear waste in the Marianas Trench.

Babauta says she introduced the resolution as a show of solidarity for the rest of the Pacific.

“The ocean is our oldest ancestor. The ocean is our legacy,” Babauta said. “It’s what we’re going to leave for our children.”  https://www.civilbeat.org/2022/04/scientists-japans-plan-to-dump-nuclear-waste-into-the-pacific-ocean-may-not-be-safe/

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Free Local Authorities join in Wales’call to Japan not to dump radiactive wastewater at sea

 The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) have joined with leading Welsh
anti-nuclear environmental campaign groups in writing to senior Japanese
Government ministers urging them not to dump radioactive waste from the
Fukushima disaster at sea.

Operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company
(TEPCO), the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was hit by an earthquake
and a tsunami on 11 March 2011. A disaster unfolded with three nuclear
meltdowns, three hydrogen explosions and a release of radiation from three
reactors, and Government authorities were forced to evacuate 154,000 people
from the surrounding area over a 20-mile radius. An average of 150 tons of
radioactive water was produced each day last year as rainwater and
groundwater flowed into the damaged reactor buildings mixing with seawater
which has been used to cool the melted nuclear fuel.

One million tons of this water is now stored in barrels on the site. Although the contaminated
water is treated it cannot remove deadly tritium, a beta-emitting
radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and other radioactive materials.

 NFLA 21st April 2022

April 22, 2022 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Future of Antarctica’s Larsen C ice-shelf will have consequences for sea level rise world-wide

 Scientists know the surface of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica is
melting, making it vulnerable to collapse. For the first time, we can rank
the most important causes of melting over the recent past.

In a new two-part paper in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, we show how
the amount of energy reaching the ice from the sun is the dominant factor,
followed by warm winds, clouds and weather patterns. These drivers of
melting can interact and overlap to reinforce or counteract each other, so
it is a complex picture.

Understanding what is causing melting over Larsen
C is vital as it will help predict the future of the ice shelf, which will
have knock-on consequences for sea levels worldwide. In 2002, Larsen C’s
neighbouring ice shelf, Larsen B, experienced melting so severe that it
eventually caused the shelf to collapse completely. Larsen C restrains
glaciers that contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by around 22mm. 

Carbon Brief 14th April 2022 https://www.carbonbrief.org/guest-post-ranking-the-reasons-why-the-larsen-c-ice-shelf-is-melting

April 21, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years.

The U.S. Must Take Responsibility for Nuclear Fallout in the Marshall Islands, Congress needs to fund independent research on radioactive contamination and how to clean it up   https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-u-s-must-take-responsibility-for-nuclear-fallout-in-the-marshall-islands/, By Hart RapaportIvana Nikolić Hughes on April 4, 2022

In many ways, Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has resurfaced our global nuclear history. Fighting continues near nuclear power plants, including Chernobyl, the site of one of the largest nuclear energy accidents in history, invoking fear of their accidental or intentional weaponization. Russia’s placement of its nuclear weapon arsenal on high alert has unearthed anxieties and memories of the Cold War.

As governments across the world consider their own roles in lessening the risk of nuclear war, the United States cannot excuse itself. We can (and should) talk about stemming a future nuclear impact, but equally important is reckoning with our past. Not only is this reckoning a stark reminder of the dangers of nuclear weapons, but it is also a matter of justice.

Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. nuclear testing program drenched the Marshall Islands with enough nuclear firepower to equal the energy yield of 7,000 Hiroshima bombs. Cancer rates have doubled in some places, displaced people have waited decades to return to their homes, and radiation still plagues the land and waters of this Pacific-island nation.

The U.S. must prioritize the restoration of these islands and the resettlement of its people as a matter of human rights and environmental justice. We are among the few independent researchers who have studied the radiological conditions on these islands. We call on our government to commit to the kind of research program that will help to uncover the full scope of the existing contamination and how best to mitigate it. What the U.S. has done so far is simply not enough, especially as the Marshall Islands are still a close American ally. We owe them that much.

The weapons tests most gravely affected four atolls in the north of the nation: Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik. Testing imposed substantial radiation on these islands, endangering human and other life. In the first two cases, members of the U.S. military resettled communities prior to testing that took place on those atolls, while people on Rongelap and Utirik left after fallout from tests conducted on Bikini, such as the infamous Bravo test, reached them. Today, only Enewetak and Utirik have substantial permanent populations (even while radioactivity remains close at hand for Enewetak residents), while refugees from Bikini and Rongelap, scattered across Majuro, Kili and other islands, in addition to the U.S., have waited for decades to return to their homes.

But the nuclear story of the Marshall Islands is not just one of bygone actions. If the U.S. doesn’t better manage this situation, we could have another radioactive incident on our hands. The structural integrity of the Runit Dome, a concrete shell covering over 100,000 cubic yards of nuclear waste on an island of Enewetak Atoll, is at risk because of rising sea levels. Leakage from the dome—already occurring—is likely to increase and higher tides threaten to break the structure open in the coming decades.

To better understand the effect of nuclear testing on the islands, scientists from the Department of Energy have conducted a wide range of studies, most often on environmental contamination. Members of the military have taken action based on these findings, most notably cleaning up parts of Enewetak Atoll. However, we believe that the DOE’s work has missed critical pieces of the puzzle. For example, its scientists have consistently relied upon simulations rather than direct values of background gamma radiation, the simplest of the measurements one can make. Such a failure has contributed to the mistrust by the Marshallese towards the DOE and its findings, which was borne out of the fact that it was the department’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, that harmed them in the first place.

We are a member (Rapaport) and the director (Nikolić Hughes) of Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies. For several years now, our group has gone to the Marshall Islands to research the fallout of this nuclear testing. We have published our findings to ensure that independent, reliable information exists to advise Marshallese communities and leaders so that they can help chart a path forward.

Considerable contamination remains. On islands such as Bikini, the average background gamma radiation is double the maximum value stipulated by an agreement between the governments of the Marshall Islands and United States. This is even without taking into account other pathways that could lead to radiation exposure for the Marshallese. Moreover, our findings, based on gathered data, run contrary to the DOE’s, which rely on simulations that predict far lower radiation levels.

One conclusion from our work is clear: absent a renewed effort to clean radiation from Bikini, it does not seem likely that people forced from their homes will be able to safely return until the radiation naturally diminishes. This is a process that could take decades if not thousands of years. For Rongelap, further research is needed to understand the large amount of background gamma radiation on one of the northern islands, called Naen, as well as the presence of plutonium isotopes in the soil. Although Rongelap was not used as a testing site, it may be that cleanup efforts will be needed there as well, given its proximity to the detonations.

But, beyond plutonium and uranium, what other radioisotopes are at play here? One is strontium-90, which can cause cancer in bones and bone marrow, as well as leukemia. It has long been a source of health concerns at other sites of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima. Despite international research interest, U.S. government scientists have largely ignored the effects of strontium-90 in the Marshall Islands. The DOE’s recent report to Congress, for example, mentioned strontium-90 only once. Their recently published data are similarly lacking in an examination of this dangerous nuclear isotope.

In a recent study, we tested sediment from two bomb craters in the northern Marshall Islands, and found consistently high values of strontium-90. Though the presence of this radioisotope in sediment does not neatly translate into contamination in soil or food, the finding does suggest the possibility of danger to ecosystems and people.

The scientific community needs to reexamine the general dismissal of strontium-90, given our findings. More than that, we need a full picture of the extant contamination on these islands, which will require categorical, regularly updated surveys beyond those that have been conducted by the U.S. government. A full understanding of potential dangers to humans, plants and animals would be a first step toward alleviating health impacts and resettling people following appropriate measures.

Unfortunately, a commitment from the United States to both ends of this equation—research and action—does not exist. We call on the federal government to do what it did in the 1970s in Enewetak Atoll. This atoll, home to hundreds of people, was where scientists first tested the hydrogen bomb in 1952. The U.S.-led cleanup was successful; contamination levels in parts of the atoll are now largely below international health guidelines.

Similar success is possible elsewhere in the Marshall Islands. Here’s a playbook for how this could happen. Congress should appropriate funds, and a research agency should initiate a call for proposals to fund independent research (through an agency like the NSF) with three aims:

(1) to further understand the current radiological conditions on Enewetak, Rongelap and elsewhere;

(2) to explore innovations for future cleanup activity on Bikini and possibly elsewhere; researchers and policy makers should look to other nuclear cleanups for methods and technologies that could be employed in the Marshall Islands;

(3) to train Marshallese scientists, such as those working with the nation’s National Nuclear Commission. This point is particularly critical in rebuilding the trust in science and scientists that the U.S. lost in conducting the testing in the first place.

On top of that, we need to modernize cleanup protocols first written in the 1970s to take into consideration the complexity of the radioactive waste involved and the enormous progress in technology developments that has been achieved some 50 years later.  

Wherever nuclear weapons have been used, lives were irrevocably altered. By using the collective work of dozens of researchers, rather than a small group of scientists from the DOE, the world will benefit. Given that other countries engaged in nuclear testing—whether in other Pacific islands or elsewhere—what the U.S. learns about the Marshall Islands can inform remediation efforts the world over. The Marshallese people and other affected communities have been telling us for decades just how dangerous nuclear weapons are. Let’s acknowledge and address their sacrifices and heed their warning before it is too late.

Hart Rapaport is a researcher at Columbia University’s K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

Ivana Nikolić Hughes is a senior lecturer in chemistry at Columbia University and the director of Frontiers of Science, a required course for Columbia College students. Ivana is also the director of the K=1 Project, Center for Nuclear Studies.

April 5, 2022 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of world’s largest ice sheet

Hotter Antarctic summers posing increasing threat to stability of
world’s largest ice sheet, satellite observations show. The East
Antarctic ice sheet is the biggest land-based piece of frozen water on the
planet. It holds about 80 per cent of all ice in the world, stretching up
to 4,800 metres in thickness in some places, and containing enough water to
raise global sea levels by 52 metres. Humans are generally keen for it to
stay in place. But new research shows that warmer summers due to the
worsening climate crisis are seriously threatening the floating ice shelves
which fringe the ice sheet, helping hold it in place.

 Independent 31st March 2022

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/antarctic-heat-ice-sheet-threat-b2048301.html

April 2, 2022 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

”Save the Severn Estuary” fights to stop EDF dumping Hinkley Point’s nuclear mud into this Marine Protected Area.

oinPlans by energy firm EDF to dump hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment
from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in the Severn Estuary are
facing a backlash. A campaign group called Save the Severn Estuary,
supported by a Welsh pop star, has launched a crowdfunding site to finance
a legal challenge.

The estuary is a designated Marine Protected Area and
campaigners, including Cian Ciaran of rock band Super Furry Animals, fear
the dumped waste, including chemical and radioactive materials, will spread
on the strong tidal currents all around the Estuary, depositing on its mud
banks and beaches. EDF, with its UK base in Gloucester, is planning to
start its second phase of sediment dumping at Portishead, near Bristol.

 Punchline Gloucester 8th March 2022

https://www.punchline-gloucester.com/articles/aanews/edf-faces-backlash-over-severn-estuary-mud-dumping

Plans by energy firm EDF to dump hundreds of thousands of tons of sediment
from the Hinkley Point nuclear power station in the Severn Estuary are
facing a backlash. A campaign group called Save the Severn Estuary,
supported by a Welsh pop star, has launched a crowdfunding site to finance
a legal challenge.

The estuary is a designated Marine Protected Area and
campaigners, including Cian Ciaran of rock band Super Furry Animals, fear
the dumped waste, including chemical and radioactive materials, will spread
on the strong tidal currents all around the Estuary, depositing on its mud
banks and beaches. EDF, with its UK base in Gloucester, is planning to
start its second phase of sediment dumping at Portishead, near Bristol.

 Punchline Gloucester 8th March 2022

https://www.punchline-gloucester.com/articles/aanews/edf-faces-backlash-over-severn-estuary-mud-dumping

March 10, 2022 Posted by | oceans, opposition to nuclear, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

 New USA Federal Report Warns of Accelerating Impacts From Sea Level Rise.

New Federal Report Warns of Accelerating Impacts From Sea Level Rise. The
global average sea level is rising 2 inches per decade and speeding up, but
in some regions, the rate is more than twice that fast. Many residents of
coastal Southern Mexico don’t know that the sea around them is likely to
rise another 15 to 20 inches in just the next 30 years.

Those projections
were confirmed Tuesday by an updated report from the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration and NASA using new satellite data and climate
models along with improved evaluations of historic data from tide gauges
dating back more than 100 years.

“What we’re reporting today is
historic,” said NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad, who told Americans that,
on average, sea level at their coasts will climb 10 to 12 inches in the
next 30 years and 2 feet by the end of the century.

 Inside Climate News 16th Feb 2022

February 22, 2022 Posted by | climate change, Iraq, oceans | Leave a comment

The case for Saving the Severn Estuary from the dumping of radioactive wastes

A   grave threat to the oceans and the wellbeing of our communities could be
averted with your support for the Save The Severn Estuary Judicial Review
Case Fund – how? Just by quickly copying, pasting and sharing the
information below amongst your networks so that as many people are aware of
the impending danger as  possible and have the opportunity to put their
opposition into practice.

Energy giants EDF dumped contaminated mud in the
Severn near Cardiff in 2018; now, rebuffed in Wales, they were given a
licence to dump at Portishead. The legal action is to stop them resuming
dumping in April. This should be stage-1 in the battle to end EDF’s licence
for mass slaughter of fish sucked in the river of seawater for cooling
purposes.

Save The Severn is a science-led independent coalition who have
assembled a case and engaged leading environmental lawyers to challenge
MMO’s licence. We obtained Court permission to proceed in December and have
a hearing scheduled for 8-10 March in the High Court. EDF are supporting
MMO while we have some assistance from the Conservation and Fisheries
authority.

The Severn Estuary has the highest conservation status, recently
becoming a Marine Protection Area where damaging operations are ended. The
Welsh Marine Plan accepts this but not England’s Marine Management
Organisation (MMO. Some of the Hinkley mud dumped at Cardiff and Portishead
smothered the seabed ecology, while most dispersed around the Estuary.
Increased radioactivity was detected up the coast and not only near Cardiff
following the 2018 dumping. EDF are choosing not to protect marine life for
their own profits, and they need to be stopped. We have three weeks to save
the Severn Estuary, with the Court Case hearing on 8 March 2022. Save The
Severn fundraising page here:
https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-the-severn-estuary/

 Save the Severn (accessed) 18th Feb 2022

https://www.save-the-severn.com/petition-text.asp–

February 21, 2022 Posted by | oceans, opposition to nuclear, UK, wastes | Leave a comment