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Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Scientists still don’t know how far melting in Antarctica will go – or the sea level rise it will unleash

Chen Zhao and Rupert Gladstone

The Antarctic ice sheet is the largest mass of ice in the world, holding around 60% of the world’s fresh water. If it all melted, global average sea levels would rise by 58 metres. But scientists are grappling with exactly how global warming will affect this great ice sheet.

September 21, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia developing more floating nuclear power plants

 A Russian plan to build more floating nuclear power plants advanced this
month after two subsidiaries of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear
corporation, signed a cooperation agreement to power a remote mining
facility on Siberia’s northeastern tip. The new waterborne facilities
will come on the coattails of the Akademik Lomonosov, the audacious
experiment on floating nuclear power that Rosatom connected to a remote
port in Chukotka in 2019 after spending more than a decade constructing it,
amid objections from environmentalists.

 Bellona 17th Sept 2021

https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2021-09-russia-advances-on-plans-for-new-floating-nuclear-plants

September 21, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Nuclear-powered submarines have ‘long history of accidents

Nuclear-powered submarines have ‘long history of accidents’, Adelaide environmentalist warns,  ABC By Daniel Keane 17 Sept 21,

The plan to build nuclear-powered submarines in South Australia has alarmed anti-war and environmental campaigners, one of whom says the vessels have a “long history” of involvement in accidents across the globe.

Key points:

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the nuclear submarines would be built in Adelaide
  • The Greens and other environmental groups say that raises serious public safety concerns
  • SA’s former nuclear royal commissioner says the risks can be managed

Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a deal to construct the new fleet of at least eight submarines, declaring a new era of strategic alignment with the United States and United Kingdom, and a new trilateral security partnership called AUKUS.

All Australians benefit from the national interest decisions to protect Australians and to keep Australians safe,” Mr Morrison said.

But Friends of the Earth Australia’s anti-nuclear spokesperson Jim Green said the plan was more likely to compromise public safety than enhance it.

I’m worried about the security and proliferation aspects of this, I’m deeply concerned as an Adelaidean. A city of 1.3 million people is not the place to be building nuclear submarines,” he said.

“North-western Adelaide could be a target in the case of warfare. Of course, that’s a very low risk but if it does happen, the impacts would be catastrophic for Adelaide.

“You should build hazardous facilities away from population centres, partly because of the risk of accidents and partly because of the possibility that a nuclear submarine site could be targeted by adversaries.”

Dr Green said the question of what would become of the spent fuel remained unanswered, and there was “a long history of accidents involving nuclear submarines”.

Many — but not all — of those occurred in submarines built in the former Soviet Union, including the infamous K-19, which was subsequently dubbed “The Widowmaker” and became the subject of a Hollywood film.

After its reactor suffered a loss of coolant, members of the crew — more than 20 of whom died in the next two years — worked in highly radioactive steam to prevent a complete meltdown.

Two US naval nuclear submarines — USS Thresher and USS Scorpion — currently remain sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, at depths of more than two kilometres, after sinking during the 1960s.

More than 200 mariners died in the disasters, and neither vessels’ reactors, nor the nuclear weapons on board the Scorpion, have ever been recovered.

Two years ago, 14 Russian naval officers were laid to rest after they were killed in a fire on a nuclear-powered submersible in circumstances that were not fully revealed by the Kremlin.

Dr Green said Australia’s “nuclear power lobby” had “been quick off the mark”, and was already using the Prime Minister’s announcement to push for further involvement with the nuclear fuel cycle, including atomic energy and waste storage.

“The South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle [Royal] Commission, in its 2016 report, estimated a cost of $145 billion to construct and operate a nuclear waste repository,” he said.

“No country in the world has got a repository to dispose of high-level nuclear waste, and the only repository in the world to dispose of intermediate-level nuclear waste, which is in the United States, was shut for three years from 2014 to 2017 because of a chemical explosion.”…………….https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-17/nuclear-submarines-prompt-environmental-and-conflict-concern/100470362

September 18, 2021 Posted by | incidents, oceans, technology, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia aims to dominate the Arctic, with nuclear ice-breakers

Moscow eyes ‘mastering’ Arctic waters with nuclear icebreaker fleet, Daily Sabah, BY FRENCH PRESS AGENCY – AFP, 8 Sept 21,

 ABOARD THE ’50 YEARS OF VICTORY’ TRANSPORTATION SEP 08, 2021 11:24 AM GMT+3   
s ice cover in the Arctic recedes with climate change, Russia is hard at work to secure supremacy in the warming region with a fleet of giant nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Moscow sees the development of the Arctic as a historic mission and already has huge projects to exploit its natural resources.

Its next big plan is for year-round use of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), a shipping lane through Arctic waters Russia hopes could rival the Suez Canal.

Here are some key facts about Russia’s plans for the Arctic:

Historic ambitions

As an icebreaker called the “50 Years of Victory” left the port of Murmansk for the North Pole this summer, its captain told an Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist on board that Russia has a special role to play in the Arctic.

“A third of our territory lies above the Arctic Circle. Our ancestors have long mastered frozen waters. We are continuing this successfully,” Dmitry Lobusov said.

President Vladimir Putin has made the development of the Arctic a strategic priority and state companies such as Gazprom Neft, Norilsk Nickel and Rosneft already have major projects in the Arctic to extract oil, gas and minerals.

“The Arctic region has enormous potential,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this month.

“In terms of resources, we’re talking about 15 billion tons of oil and 100 trillion cubic meters of gas. Enough for tens if not hundreds of years,” he said.

Suez alternative

The NSR links the Pacific to the Atlantic through Russian Arctic waters.

It is not currently navigable year-round without the help of icebreakers, though in summer some specialized classes of ships can pass through.

With the ice cover receding, Moscow is aiming for year-round navigation by 2030…………..

Growing fleet

Rosatom, which already has a fleet of five icebreakers and a container ship, is building four more nuclear-powered vessels within the next five years.,,,,,,,,,,,

Environmental worries

Environmental groups have slammed the race for hydrocarbons and the increased presence of nuclear reactors in the Arctic – an already fragile ecosystem dramatically affected by climate change.

Greenpeace has said that “the incident-ridden history of Russian nuclear icebreakers and submarines” should cause alarm.,,,,   https://www.dailysabah.com/business/transportation/moscow-eyes-mastering-arctic-waters-with-nuclear-icebreaker-fleet

September 9, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, technology | Leave a comment

Pacific environmentalists call on Japan not to empty radioactive wastewater into the Pacific

 This year marks the 76th anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons
for the purpose of war. As the world solemnly observes the tragic
anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we wish to highlight
the Pacific’s own and often overlooked nuclear history that followed.

Asguardians of the world’s largest ocean, we emphasise again our continuing
concern for our region and the irreparably damages on our people and the
environment from 318 nuclear weapons tests undertaken by the United States,
United Kingdom and France.

Today, we acknowledge that our region has still not healed from this trauma and that we did not consent. Given this legacy, we call on Japan to not repeat this brutality through its proposed act of
discharging over a million tonnes of radioactive wastewater from Fukushima.

 Pasifika Environews 6th Sept 2021

September 7, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

200 million fish + millions of other sea creatures will be killed by cooling systems of Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C nuclear power stations

 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 twonstations, 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. In a detailed rebuttal of the objectors’ arguments, Cefas
denies any conflict of interest between advising EDF about the damage the
stations would do to the marine environment and its own duty to protect
fish stocks – and it claims that the loss of millions of fish would not
affect stocks overall.

 Good Men Project 16th Aug 2021

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/uk-nuclear-plants-will-exact-heavy-fish-toll/

August 19, 2021 Posted by | oceans, UK | Leave a comment

Collaboration between Russia and Europe finally cleans up the most dangerous nuclear ship in the Arctic.

After 27 Years, Lepse No Longer Poses a Nuclear Threat to the Arctic,  High North News, PETER B. DANILOV 17 June 21, Last week, the Russian service ship Serebryanka delivered the last spent-fuel bundles from the Lepse floating maintenance base to an Atomflot storage site in Murmansk, completing the final stage of securing the nuclear waste……. To ensure the dismantling of the Lepse floating maintenance base, it was necessary to specially develop new technologies and equipment and make innovative decisions,” said FSUE Atomflot Director General Mustafa Kashka.

In July 2020, the Lepse floating maintenance base’s main batch of spent nuclear fuel was unloaded at the Nerpa shipyard. A total of 620 spent-fuel bundles were extracted and unloaded.

Lepse was regarded as the most dangerous nuclear vessel in the north and the Norwegian environmental NGO Bellona began the work of securing the spent nuclear fuel onboard the vessel in 1994.

……….. The project to dismantle and dispose of the Lepse Floating Maintenance Base is multilaterally implemented.

In 1996, the project was included in the EU’s TACIS program (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States), which involved the allocation of funds for the inspection of the state of spent nuclear fuel.

Since 2008, the project has been carried out in the framework of a Grant Agreement between the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Rosatom, and JSC NFC Logistics Centre (the project’s customer and coordinator).

The EBRD has provided 54 million euros from the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership Fund (NDEP). https://www.highnorthnews.com/en/after-27-years-lepse-no-longer-poses-nuclear-threat-arctic

June 19, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, oceans, politics international, Russia, safety, wastes | Leave a comment

NFLA report on UK plutonium policy amid new concerns over plutonium dumped in the Irish Sea

 

   

NFLA publishes report on UK plutonium policy amid new concerns over plutonium remobilisation in the Irish Sea     https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nfla-report-uk-plutonium-policy-concerns-plutonium-remobilisation-irish-sea/

The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today on its website an expert overview of national plutonium policy and recent concerns over the potential for plutonium remobilisation in the Irish Sea. (1)

The report was developed by the NFLA Policy Advisor, Pete Roche, and was first published on the website ‘No2nuclearpower.org.uk’. (2) Recent research on this area was also presented by Pete to the most recent meetings of the NFLA English Forum and NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum. (3)

The report notes that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) expects the Magnox Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield to close this year (2021) – one year later than previously planned. This follows on from the closure of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) in November 2018. Reprocessing, which NFLA has always argued has been completely unnecessary, is the chemical separation of plutonium and unused uranium from spent nuclear waste fuel.

When reprocessing ends there will be around 140 tonnes of separated civil plutonium stored at Sellafield – the world’s largest stockpile. Since 2008, the NDA has been discussing how to deal with this embarrassment, given that it is highly toxic, poses a permanent risk of proliferation, and will cost taxpayers around £73 million a year to store for the next century. (3) 13 years later, after much dithering, the UK Government has failed to make any decisions, but still appears to favour the re-use option, which would probably involve transporting weapons-useable plutonium or Mixed Oxide Fuel (MoX) fuel to reactor sites, such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B (and C if it is ever built) with an armed escort.

The report looks at this sorry saga and the options for dealing with this stockpile. NFLA believe that the plutonium should be immobilised and stored safely. NDA is continuing to investigate how immobilisation and reuse might be implemented, arguing that using the material as MOX fuel in light water reactors is the most mature option from a technical and licensing perspective. The UK government says it can only make a decision when it can be underpinned with sufficient evidence.

When reprocessing ends there will be around 140 tonnes of separated civil plutonium stored at Sellafield – the world’s largest stockpile. Since 2008, the NDA has been discussing how to deal with this embarrassment, given that it is highly toxic, poses a permanent risk of proliferation, and will cost taxpayers around £73 million a year to store for the next century. (3) 13 years later, after much dithering, the UK Government has failed to make any decisions, but still appears to favour the re-use option, which would probably involve transporting weapons-useable plutonium or Mixed Oxide Fuel (MoX) fuel to reactor sites, such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B (and C if it is ever built) with an armed escort.

The report looks at this sorry saga and the options for dealing with this stockpile. NFLA believe that the plutonium should be immobilised and stored safely. NDA is continuing to investigate how immobilisation and reuse might be implemented, arguing that using the material as MOX fuel in light water reactors is the most mature option from a technical and licensing perspective. The UK government says it can only make a decision when it can be underpinned with sufficient evidence.

The NFLA report also highlights its concerns that plutonium particles dumped in the Irish Sea from Sellafield could remobilise. Low-level aqueous radioactive waste has been discharged from the Sellafield site into the Irish Sea for more than 50 years.

Unfortunately, it has since emerged that a proportion of such sediment associated radioactivity has remobilised, and is being actively transported around the Irish Sea, while the remainder is temporarily “sequestered” in the seabed but subject to any future disturbance mechanisms such as storm, wave and seismic activity. In addition, a proportion of dissolved nuclides did not necessarily remain dissolved in liquid form in the water column, but it could become incorporated into organic particles and deposited into sedimentary environments where they could be temporarily sequestered, but subsequently recycled back into the environment by dredging, trawling storm and seismic activity.

For NFLA, there remains real concern that this ‘Sellafield Mudpatch’ in the Irish Sea could be disturbed if either a deep-underground coal mine is developed off the coast of Cumbria, or similarly if a deep-underground radioactive waste repository is built under the Irish Sea again off the Cumbrian coast. It calls for the NDA and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) to study these issues urgently before any such development is ever considered to be developed.

FLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:

“This report on the NFLA policy outlines one of the most embarrassing and perplexing elements of UK nuclear policy – what to do with its world record plutonium stockpile. The NFLA report highlights there are no easy answers, but delays on pursuing sensible immobilisation options have cost money and lead to further storage challenge. This report also highlights ongoing scientific and environmental alarm about building deep-underground facilities off the Cumbria coast that could remobilise plutonium and other dangerous particles that lie on the Irish Sea. Real caution and detailed research are required before any decisions are made. I urge councillors and council waste management officers to reads this important report.”

Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 07771 930196.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | oceans, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean was once a garbage dump for nuclear waste, now Japan’s doing it again

Pacific Ocean was once a garbage dump for nuclear waste, now Japan’s doing it again. CGTN, Zeng Ziyi  11 June 21, ”………… Japan’s plan, which looked to dilute the contaminated water and pump them into the Pacific Ocean, drew swift condemnations from neighboring countries and environmental organizations. Kazue Suzuki, an energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, said the government’s decision has discounted radiation risks and looked over the fact that enough storage space is available in Fukushima and surrounding districts.

“Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option, dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean,” Suzuki said.

In March, a panel of UN experts said that Japan’s nuclear wastewater poses major environmental as well as human rights risks, and any decision to discharge it into the Pacific Ocean cannot be an “acceptable solution.” The panel also pointed out that there’s a lack of meaningful public participation in the decision-making process, especially the populations and communities who are most affected.

The Japanese government insists that radioactive elements in the water will be treated and diluted to safe levels before releasing. So far, this plan has received support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which points out that other countries have done so in the past. Besides, Japan’s allies, including the U.S., have also back Tokyo’s decision.

The assurance buys little confidence among Pacific nations, whose economies depend heavily on the environment of the ocean. In a statement rebuking Japan’s decision, the Republic of Marshall Islands government pointed out that its entire nation consists of coastal communities whose primary food source comes from surrounding marine life.

Sheila Jack Babauta, House member of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, said the Pacific Ocean already faces major threats such as unregulated commercial fishing and the activities of the U.S. military, which have severely damaged the environment of the ocean.”We are part of the Pacific, we are intimately connected to the ocean, and therefore, we must be included in all decisions that impact ocean health, ocean sustainability, and ocean recovery,” Babauta told CGTN.

“The dumping of nuclear waste is extremely irresponsible and disrespectful to our Pacific Ocean.”Since the dawn of the nuclear age, people of the Pacific island countries have suffered the horrific consequences of nuclear experiments carried out at their doorstep. Continued exposure to radiation has caused many survivors of the initial blasts to develop different types of illnesses, most commonly cancer and reproductive health issues. Even today, their descendants are still suffering the effects of radiation.

.The U.S. detonated dozens of nuclear devices in a series of nuclear weapons tests at several test sites sprawling across the atolls of RMI between the 1940s and 1950s, including in the air and underwater. The detonations vaporized at least three atolls – ringlets of islands made of coral – and rendered many more uninhabitable.

Ocean dumping of nuclear waste continued to be carried out by Britain, France, and others until 1972 when growing public pressure worldwide gave birth to the London Convention, which prohibited the practice.”The threat of nuclear contamination continues to be of significant concern to the health and security of our Blue Pacific continent,” said Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, in an address to the IAEA earlier this month.”Our 50-year history as the Forum has been overshadowed by our nuclear legacy issues, which continue to impact affected communities today, and we should not accept anything less.”………https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-06-11/How-the-Pacific-became-a-garbage-dump-for-nuclear-waste-110rY09VsqY/index.html

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Fukushima waste water dumped in Pacific Ocean – a critical environmental issue threatening marine pollution

Is Japan’s Nuclear Wastewater Dumping Reckless?  THE ASEAN POST, Anna Malindog-Uy6 June 2021

 it is important to speak about one of the most critical environmental issues that might cause marine pollution in the Pacific Ocean and beyond soon. 

It can be recalled that a few months back, Japan alarmingly announced that it will release around 1.25 million tons of contaminated water or wastewater from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. These 1.25 million tons of wastewater can fill up around 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

What’s pretty disquieting is the fact that, thus far, there has never been any precedent in the world or actual practice of discharging such a huge volume of wastewater into the sea. Even the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), though not opposed to Japan’s decision, has no relevant experience in this regard. 

Accordingly, it will be hard to assess the long-term effects of such dumping of radioactive waste into the sea. Likewise, according to some reports, no independent testing of the water will be allowed as previously promised.  ………

Perplexing

But one perplexing thing about all this is the fact that the United States (US) seems to be in agreement with this decision. In a tweet, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken said “We thank Japan for its transparent efforts in its decision to dispose of the treated water.” This is a bit idiosyncratic and out of the ordinary given that the US continues to ban the import of farm and seafood products from the Fukushima region just like some other countries, precisely because of fears that these marine and agricultural products are contaminated with radioactive materials.,……….

Protests

Nevertheless, countries in East Asia like South Korea, China, and even Taiwan are protesting against Japan’s unilateral decision to dump radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean. This is because it will be hazardous to marine ecosystems and resources, and will affect the fishing industries of these countries. ……….

Roque, an expert on international law said that “I can only repeat the principles of International Environmental Law that I hope all countries will comply with. The first principle is we are one ecosystem. The second principle is that we are interconnected and the third principle is that the polluter must pay.”……….

 it’s not only neighbouring countries that have expressed their opposition and resistance to the plan of dumping wastewater into the sea. Even the Japanese people themselves are opposed to it. 

For instance, the local fisherfolks of Fukushima have publicly announced their opposition to the plan saying, “…the said plan will undo the years of work rebuilding their industry’s reputation since the plant was destroyed and ruined by the huge tsunami in March 2011.” 

In a Yahoo Japan survey, 41.5 percent of the 31,035 respondents disagreed with the government’s plan. 

Conclusion

The unilateral plan of the Japanese government to dump wastewater in the Pacific Ocean needs to be reconsidered and studied further. Japan should at least show the necessary courtesy to consult and discuss its decision with its immediate neighbours like South Korea, China, Taiwan, and even beyond East Asia given the seriousness of the matter. 

It should be noted that the bodies of water in Asia are very much connected and pollutants originating from the Fukushima water will no doubt reach other nearby areas, affecting local marine and the coastal environments and people’s health. Thus, as a responsible member of the community of nations, Japan should think twice before proceeding with its plan and prudently consult with countries that will directly be affected by such a decision.

However, Japan being a privileged country may not heed the call of its neighbours probably because it has the backing of the US. But if something goes wrong with the said plan, developing countries like the Philippines will surely be adversely affected and left on their own to suffer the negative consequences.  ……

It is also quite shocking that the international media and even the mainstream media in the Philippines is downplaying this issue which is of great importance. 

Another baffling issue is why has the IAEA sanctioned Japan’s decision when not much study has been done yet on the effects of dumping such a huge volume of radioactive wastewater into the sea. ……..https://theaseanpost.com/article/japans-nuclear-wastewater-dumping-reckless

June 7, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, oceans | 1 Comment

Pacific Islands forum wants answers on the effects of Japan’s Fukushima waste water to be dumped into the Pacific Ocean

Forum head calls for answers on Japan’s plans to dump nuclear waste,  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/444115/forum-head-calls-for-answers-on-japan-s-plans-to-dump-nuclear-waste  5 June 21  The head of the Pacific Islands Forum wants more answers from Japan on its plan to dump wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant in the Pacific.

Secretary General Henry Puna called for a frank discussion ahead of a meeting with the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, after that organisation said Japan’s dumping plan was technically feasible.

The Japanese government has said it plans to release more than a million tonnes of contaminated wastewater from the wrecked plant into the sea.

Puna has demanded clarity over what impact those plans will have on the Pacific Ocean, with Pacific countries united in their outrage at the plan.

The legacy of nuclear testing hangs over the region, with the associated health and environmental issues caused by United StatesBritish and French testing largely unresolved today.


“The threat of nuclear contamination continues to be of significant concern to the health and security of our Blue Pacific continent,” Puna said.

He said the Pacific was entitled to clear answers, including evidence-based scientific assessments, to underpin Japan’s plan.

“Our 50-year history as the Forum has been overshadowed by our nuclear legacy issues, which continue to impact affected communities today, and we should not accept anything less,” Puna said.

Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga has said dumping the water is unavoidable.

June 5, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, politics international | 1 Comment

Australian government’s scandalous silence on the Japanese plan to release Fukushima nuclear waste water into the Pacific Ocean

Christina Macpherson <christinamacpherson@gmail.com>1:30 PM (6 minutes ago)
to me

Morrison Government needs to act on Japan’s Fukushima waste decision, Independent Australia, By Nullah Goodes | 4 June 2021  The Morrison Government hasn’t given any public response to the Japanese Government’s decision to dump radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea, writes Nullah Goodes.

ON 13 APRIL, the Japanese Government formally announced a Cabinet decision that it would dump more than 1 million tonnes of radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. This plan will be implemented in two years…………

On 15 April, three independent U.N. human rights experts expressed deep concern over Japan’s decision, warning that it could impact millions across the Pacific region: 

“The release of one million tonnes of contaminated water into the marine environment imposes considerable risks to the full enjoyment of human rights of concerned populations in and beyond the borders of Japan,” said Marcos Orellana, Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights, Michael Fakhri,  Special Rapporteur on Right to Food and David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment in a joint statement.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace, said the claim by the Japanese Government was “clearly false”:

“The water in the tanks is indeed treated, but it is also contaminated with radioactivity. The Japanese Government has been deliberately seeking to deceive over this issue, at home and abroad.”

The Japanese Government insists that the wastewater is treated and safe. However, it still has radioactive elements.
Although most of the radioactive elements can be filtered out by a system known as the A.L.P.S. (Advanced Liquid Processing System), tritium, a mildly radioactive form of hydrogen, cannot be removed.

Nigel Marks, an Associate Professor of physics and astronomy at Curtin University in Perth, said:
“It takes around 60-100 years to completely convert into harmless helium. In the spectrum of radioactive elements, tritium is at the mild end.”

Greenpeace suggested carbon-14, a radioactive isotope of carbon, might also remain in the water.

In addition to tritium and carbon-14, more dangerous isotopes with longer radioactive lifetimes, such as rutheniumcobaltstrontium and plutonium, sometimes slip through the A.L.P.S. process, which was acknowledged by TEPCO in 2018. These additional nuclides are now confirmed present in 71 per cent of its radioactive wastewater tanks at Fukushima.

Ken Buesseler, a marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said:

“These radioactive isotopes behave differently than tritium in the ocean and are more readily incorporated into marine biota or seafloor sediments.”

According to a previous study by Germany’s GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, once being dumped into the sea, the Fukushima contaminated nuclear wastewater will pollute half of the Pacific Ocean in 57 days and in three years, Canada and the U.S. will be affected by the nuclear radiation pollution. Since all the oceans are interconnected, Australia will inevitably be impacted in the long term.

Despite all the above facts and concerns, the Morrison Government hasn’t given any response or taken any action like it doesn’t care about the fishery industry’s livelihood, Australians’ well-being and the health of the ocean ecosystem. There are few discussions on Australian media outlets as though people don’t even know about this. That’s odd and shocking.

The Morrison Government needs to take action. Firstly, raising concerns over the decision of the Japanese Government. Secondly, doing scientific research about any potential impacts of the contaminated water if dumped into the sea. And thirdly, developing an appropriate crisis response plan for multiple scenarios. As Prime Minister, Scott Morrison must do the best to protect Australians’ wellbeing and benefits which should always be a PM’s priority. 

Nullah Goodes is a community worker from Cape York Peninsula. His community has been living on Torres Strait Fisheries since a long time ago. He has been devoting himself to Indigenous people’s rights and livelihood.   https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/morrison-government-needs-to-act-on-japans-fukushima-waste-decision,15154

June 5, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia launches a mission to investigate te Komsomolets, Soviet nuclear submarine sunk 32 years ago .

Bellona 25th May 2021, Russian scientists have embarked on a mission to the Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear submarine that sank 32 years ago during an onboard fire off Norway’s northern coast, killing 41, in a bid to determine whether the wreck presents threats to the undersea environment.

The scientists, from Rosgidromet, Russia’s state weather agency which also measures radiation, set sail from Arkhangelsk last week aboard the Professor Molchanov research vessels, reaching the accident site over the weekend, Russian media reported.

https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2021-05-russia-launches-mission-to-the-sunken-komsomolets-nuclear-submarine

May 27, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

China says Japan ‘repeatedly betrayed public trust’ in Fukushima response

China says Japan ‘repeatedly betrayed public trust’ in Fukushima response
Beijing says Tokyo’s handling of Fukushima disaster casts doubt over ‘so-called safe methods, credibility of data’  
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/china-says-japan-repeatedly-betrayed-public-trust-in-fukushima-response/2253463
Riyaz Ul Khaliq   |25.05.2021   ANKARA

China on Tuesday repeated its criticism of Japan’s plan to dump treated nuclear waste from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

“Japan has repeatedly betrayed public trust over its handling of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” Lijian Zhao, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference in Beijing, according to state-run daily Global Times.

He said Japan’s response to the Fukushima disaster of 2011 has left “a big question mark over the rationality and scientific nature of its so-called safe methods, as well as authenticity and credibility of the data it had provided.”

Apart from China, South Korea, North Korea, the island nation of Taiwan, and other international bodies, including the UN, have previously voiced concern over Tokyo’s idea to release treated wastewater from the destroyed nuclear plant into the ocean in the next two years.

The US, however, has backed Japan’s proposal, which come after years of talks on how to get rid of more than 1 million tons of water accumulated at the Fukushima nuclear complex since the meltdown triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has vowed to play a “central and permanent role in monitoring the discharge.”

Tokyo has said it aims to have an action plan by the end of 2021.

“We will proactively take swift measures to deepen understanding of people in Japan and overseas,” Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary, said last month.

Virus-free. www.avast.com

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s Arctic Council leadership now facing up to the problem of nuclear reactors dumped in the ocean

Reactors are dumped at several locations in the Kara Sea in addition to the two submarines K-159 and K-278 that sank in the Barents- and Norwegian Seas. Map: Barents Observer / Google Earth

Tackling dumped nuclear waste gets priority in Russia’s Arctic Council leadership   https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/05/lifting-nuclear-waste-kara-sea-gets-priority-russias-arctic-council

The reactors from the submarines K-11, K-19, and K-140, plus the entire submarine K-27 and spent uranium fuel from one of the old reactors of the Lenin-icebreaker have to be lifted from the seafloor and secured. 
Thomas Nilsen

Russia’s Foreign Ministry invites international experts from the other Arctic nations to a June 2022 conference on how to recover the sunken radioactive and hazardous objects dumped by the Soviet Union on the seafloor east of Novaya Zemlya.

No other places in the world’s oceans have more radioactive and nuclear waste than the Kara Sea.

While mentality in Soviet times was «out of sight, out of mind», the Kara Sea seemed logical. Ice-covered most of the year, and no commercial activities. That is changing now with rapidly retreating sea ice, drilling for oil-, and gas and increased shipping.

The submarine reactors dumped in shallow bays east of the closed-off military archipelago of Novaya Zemlya were all brought north for a good reason, they had experienced accidents and posed a radiation threat at the navy yards where people were working.

Dumping the reactors in shallow waters, someplace at only 50 meters, meant they could be lifted one day when technology allowed.

There is momentum now. For environmental and foreign policy reasons, Russia needs to take action now,” says nuclear safety expert Andrey Zolotkov. He works with Bellona Murmansk, an advocacy group promoting international cooperation to secure hazardous radioactive objects in Russia’s Arctic region. Zolotkov is pleased to see Moscow highlighting steps to secure the sunken reactors in the Kara Sea.

“Ecology is one of the few topics where Russia and foreign partners can conduct constructive dialogue nowadays,” he says.

However, Zolotkov underlines, “the issue of urgency can only be discussed after at least one expedition to the flooded objects.”

A worst-case scenario would be a failed lifting attempt, causing criticality in the uranium fuel, again triggering an explosion with following radiation contamination of Arctic waters.  

Technical survey needed 

With Russia now holding the chair of the Arctic Council, Zolotkov hopes such expedition can take place within the next two-year period.

A Russian-Norwegian expedition to the K-27 submarine in Stepovogo bay in 2012 took samples for studying possible radioactive leakages. Now, the Bellona expert, calls for an expedition to thoroughly study the strength of the hull and look for technical options on how to lift the heavy submarine and reactor compartments.

“Decades on the seafloor do not pass without impacts,” Andrey Zolotkov explains.

A previous study report made for Rosatom and the European Commission roughly estimated the costs of lifting all six objects, bringing them safely to a yard for decommissioning, and securing the reactors for long-term storage.

The estimated price-tag for all six is €278 million, of which the K-159 in the Barents Sea is the most expensive with a cost of €57,5 million. Unlike the submarines and reactors that are dumped in relatively shallow waters in the Kara Sea, the K-159 is at about 200 meters depth, and thus will be more difficult to lift.

In addition, about 17,000 objects were dumped in the Kara Sea in the period from the late 1960s to the early 1990s.

Most of that is containers with solid radioactive waste from the naval yards on the Kola Peninsula and in Severodvinsk. Some radioactive waste also originated from the repair and maintenance of the fleet of civilian nuclear-powered icebreakers in Murmansk. 

Most of the objects are metal containers with low- and medium-level radioactive waste. The challenge today, though, are the reactors with high-level waste and spent uranium fuel, objects that will pose a serious threat to the marine environment for tens of thousands of years if nothing is done to secure them.

According to the Institute for Safe Development of Nuclear Energy, part of Russia’s Academy of Science, the most urgent measures should be taken to secure six objects that contain more than 90% of all the radioactivity.

The Arctic Council in late 2019 took a formal decision to establish a Working Group on radiation Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR).

May 24, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment