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Our Oceans Are Not Sewers


Our Oceans Are Not Sewers   
https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify/our-oceans-are-not-sewers

December 26, 2021

Reckless endangerment of the world’s oceans and seas by governmental agencies and industry continues, By The Fairewinds Crew

Whether it’s plastic, mercury, or radioactivity, the entire world has treated our planet’s oceans as its sewage dump. As if we need more proof that Radioactivity Knows No Borders, three recent events discussed below prove the reality of our statements. The global authorities that regulate atomic power and nuclear waste often assure us that there are no significant risks to communities near radioactive disasters and operating facilities. Yet, communities must determine the actual dangers themselves.

Demystifying Nuclear Power

in 2015, Arnie Gundersen traveled to Cumbria, adjacent to the Irish Sea in the UK. Fairewinds went to the UK to work with citizen scientists collecting local samples. When Fairewinds testified at the House of Commons,  Arnie detailed radioactive contamination emanating from the Sellafield reprocessing plant, Chernobyl, and the 1957 Windscale nuclear disaster. He was sampling in the summer resort community of Seascale near the

Sellafield Nuclear Site along the Irish Sea, where the beaches are frequented by families with children.

Unfortunately, the nuclear power and weapons industries have continued to use the Irish Sea as a dumping ground for British atomic waste since the 1950s.  

Thanks to the Unfriending the Atomorganization and program, we recently found out that Arnie’s winter coat has plutonium in its pockets – even after being dry cleaned from travel abroad. While working with citizen scientists, he wore this coat to collect samples on public open-space estuary-land. Also, view the whole Unfriending the Atom Zoofor more images of “exotic data from mundane objects”. 

Arnie’s time sampling near Sellafield is part of our worldwide campaign to protect families and communities from the devasting and lasting impact of radiation exposure. Currently, we have begun the process of researching and documenting our Irish Sea data for another peer-reviewed journal article. When this paper has been accepted by a publisher, we will share this open and accessible data for our community-volunteer citizen-scientists and the public.  

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) back in 1999. As you will see in the map [on original], the IAEA identified that our planet’s oceans have been used as a sewer for radioactive waste. BTW (By the Way), for our readers today who do not know this, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) was created by the United Nations. And, when it was founded, the IAEA was charted to regulate and promote nuclear power! Imagine regulating AND promoting.

Secondly, this week, there was more breaking news of additional radioactive dumps into the world’s oceans.  A ship bound from India was detained last week in Kenya when authorities uncovered a large cargo of radioactive waste (Red alert as nuclear ship docks in Mombasa). Authorities believe that the toxic radioactive waste was destined for illegal dumping in the Atlantic Ocean! You must be wondering, as Fairewinds is, how long this has been going on? Once again, atomic regulators have failed to protect our Earth and its people. Unfortunately, dumping in the Atlantic Ocean is not a new issue, and the United States is far from blameless. Read about the U.S. Atomic Sailors here!

Third, we have more to discuss with you about Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), where the infamous Japanese nuclear meltdown occurred. Once again, TEPCO is seeking permission from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to discharge hundreds of thousands of tons of highly-toxic radioactive wastewater into the Pacific. 

Organizations and individuals worldwide have publicly and privately criticized TEPCO’s plan and the apparent approval of the NRA and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Representatives from South Korea, China, and the Marshall Islands have been particularly vocal about this disaster-in-waiting. They are requesting much greater transparency in their dialog with Japan. However, Japanese regulators are still not cooperating with the neighboring communities, severely impacted by these releases.

Moreover, Greenpeace submitted a damning public comment to TEPCO. Three days after the public comment period was officially closed, TEPCO announced it filed for approval to discharge nuclear waste into the sea. They plan to release this toxic liquid radioactivity directly into the ocean via a pipe they are preparing to construct. 

  • Where is the accountability?  
  • When will regulators get serious about preventing the dumping of radioactive nuclear waste by the nuclear industry, its contractors, and the military, who has radioactive waste from weapons manufacturing? 

Treaties, conventions, and laws are not enough to prevent the illegal dumping of highly toxic waste of any kind into our communities. However, since firm statutory regulations are already in place, the enforcement of these laws is key to protecting our oceans worldwide. This is why Fairewinds community-based citizen-science is so critical.

Fairewinds will keep you informed in 2022. As we have said over and over again, Radiation Knows No Borders.

January 1, 2022 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans | Leave a comment

China opposes Japanese decision to release nuclear-contaminated water into ocean

 BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) — China is seriously concerned about and firmly opposes Japan’s unilateral decision to discharge the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and its proceeding with the preparatory work, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Zhao Lijian made the remarks when asked to comment on a media report that Tokyo Electric Power Company has submitted an application to Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority with a detailed plan of discharging nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the sea.

Since April this year, the international community has raised concerns to the Japanese side over the legitimacy of the discharge into the sea, the rationality of the discharge plan, the credibility of the data about the nuclear contaminated water and the reliability of the equipment to purify the nuclear-contaminated water, Zhao said.

The work of the IAEA technical working group on the handling of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is still undergoing, he added.

“In total disregard of the legitimate and reasonable concerns of the international community, the Japanese side only continues to proceed with the preparations for the discharge both policy-wise and technology-wise,” Zhao said.

“Obviously, it wants to impose its wrong decision on the entire international community, and it is all the littoral countries of the Pacific Ocean that will have to take the risk for such move. The Japanese side is extremely irresponsible in doing so.”……….. http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/asiapacific/20211015/C9A4AEDD72B00001F26810B030601260/c.html

December 24, 2021 Posted by | China, oceans | Leave a comment

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ”air – conditioners” – the North and South poles.

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

Climate change has crashed Earth’s ‘air-conditioners’, risking rest of planet, The Age , By Sarah Kaplan, 16 Dec 21,   The ice shelf was cracking up. Surveys showed warm ocean water eroding its underbelly. Satellite imagery revealed long, parallel fissures in the frozen expanse, like scratches from some clawed monster. One fracture grew so big, so fast, scientists took to calling it “the dagger”.

“It was hugely surprising to see things changing that fast,” said Erin Pettit. The Oregon State University glaciologist had chosen this spot for her Antarctic field research precisely because of its stability. While other parts of the infamous Thwaites Glacier crumbled, this wedge of floating ice acted as a brace, slowing the melt. It was supposed to be boring, durable, safe.

Now climate change has turned the ice shelf into a threat – to Pettit’s field work and to the world.

Planet-warming pollution from burning fossil fuels and other human activities has already raised global temperatures more than 1.1 degrees Celsius. But the effects are particularly profound at the poles, where rising temperatures have seriously undermined regions once locked in ice.

In research presented this week at the world’s biggest earth science conference, Pettit showed that the Thwaites ice shelf could collapse within the next three to five years, unleashing a river of ice that could dramatically raise sea levels.

Up north, aerial surveys document how warmer conditions have allowed beavers to invade the Arctic tundra, flooding the landscape with their dams. Large commercial ships are increasingly infiltrating formerly frozen areas, disturbing wildlife and generating disastrous amounts of rubbish. In many Alaska Native communities, climate impacts compounded the hardships of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to food shortages among people who have lived off this land for thousands of years.

“The very character of these places is changing,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and co-editor of the Arctic Report Card, an annual assessment of the state of the top of the world. “We are seeing conditions unlike those ever seen before.”

The rapid transformation of the Arctic and Antarctic creates ripple effects all over the planet. Sea levels will rise, weather patterns will shift and ecosystems will be altered. Unless humanity acts swiftly to curb emissions, scientists say, the same forces that have destabilised the poles will wreak havoc on the rest of the globe.

“The Arctic is a way to look into the future,” said Matthew Druckenmiller, a scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre and another co-editor of the Arctic Report Card. “Small changes in temperature can have huge effects in a region that is dominated by ice.”

This year’s edition of the report card, which was presented at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting on Tuesday, describes a landscape that is transforming so fast scientists struggle to keep up. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the global average. The October to December 2020 period was the warmest on record, scientists say.

Separately on Tuesday, the World Meteorological Organisation confirmed a new temperature record for the Arctic: 38 degrees in the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk on June 20, 2020.

These warm conditions are catastrophic for the sea ice that usually spans across the North Pole. This past northern summer saw the second-lowest extent of thick, old sea ice since tracking began in 1985. Large mammals like polar bears go hungry without this crucial platform from which to hunt. Marine life ranging from tiny plankton to giant whales are at risk.

“It’s an ecosystem collapse situation,” said Kaare Sikuaq Erickson, Inupiaq, whose business Ikaagun Engagement facilitates cooperation between scientists and Alaska Native communities.

The consequences of this loss will be felt far beyond the Arctic. Sea ice has traditionally acted as Earth’s “air conditioner”; it reflects as much as two-thirds of the light that hits it, sending huge amounts of solar radiation back into space.

By contrast, dark expanses of water absorb heat, and it is difficult for these areas to refreeze. Less sea ice means more open ocean, more heat absorption and more climate change.

“We have a narrow window of time to avoid very costly, deadly and irreversible climate impacts,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Rick Spinrad said.

Record highs have also sounded the death knell for ice on land. Three historic melting episodes struck Greenland in July and August, causing the island’s massive ice sheet to lose about 34 trillion kilograms. On August 14, for the first time in recorded history, rain fell at the ice sheet summit…….

Though the Greenland ice sheet is more than a mile thick at its centre, rain can darken the surface, causing the ice to absorb more of the sun’s heat, Moon said. It changes the way snow behaves and slicks the top of the ice.

The consequences for people living in the Arctic can be dire. …………..

In Antarctica, University of Colorado-Boulder glaciologist Ted Scampos said “climate change is more about wind changes and ocean changes than warming – although that is happening in many parts of it as well.”

Though the continent stays frozen for much of the year, rising temperatures in the Pacific have changed how air circulates around the South Pole, which in turn affects ocean currents. Warm, deep ocean water is welling up towards coastlines, lapping at the ice sheet’s weak frozen underbelly, weakening it from below.

“This is triggering the beginnings of a massive collapse,” Scampos wrote in an email from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, where he is preparing for a field trip to Thwaites Glacier’s failing ice shelf………………………………….

For many Arctic residents, climate change is a threat multiplier – worsening the dangers of whatever other crises come their way. Another essay in the report card documents the threats to Alaska Natives’ food security caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantine restrictions prevented people from travelling to their traditional harvesting grounds. Economic upheaval and supply chain issues left many supermarkets with empty shelves.

But the essay, which was co-written by Inupiaq, Hadia, Ahtna and Supiaq researchers, along with experts from other Native communities, also highlights how Indigenous cultural practices helped communities stave off hunger. Existing food sharing networks redoubled their efforts. Harvesting traditions were adapted with public health in mind………………….

Though no place on Earth is changing as fast as the Arctic, rising temperatures have already brought similar chaos to more temperate climes as well. Unpredictable weather, unstable landscapes and collapsing ecosystems are becoming facts of life in communities around the globe.

None of this represents a “new normal,” Moon cautioned. It’s merely a pit stop on a path to an even stranger and more dangerous future.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to keep rising. Governments and businesses have not taken the steps needed to avert catastrophic warming beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. There is every reason to believe that instability at the poles – and around the planet – will get worse.

But achieving the best case climate scenarios could cut the volume of ice lost from Greenland by 75 per cent, research suggests. International cooperation could prevent garbage from getting into the oceans and alleviate the effects of marine noise. Better surveillance and early warning systems can keep people safe when melting triggers landslides and floods.

“There’s such a big range and difference in what the future of the Arctic and the future anywhere on our globe can look like,” Moon said. “It all depends on human actions.”

The Washington Post   https://www.theage.com.au/world/north-america/climate-change-has-crashed-earth-s-air-conditioners-risking-rest-of-planet-20211215-p59hny.html

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could ”shatter like a car windscreen” in the next 5 to 10 years

 An Antarctic glacier the size of Britain could “shatter like a car windscreen” in the next five to 10 years, causing a significant rise in global sea levels, scientists have warned. The Thwaites glacier in the western Antarctic is the widest on earth at 80 miles across.

A huge part of it is now in danger of breaking off and releasing hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice into the ocean. Data from a comprehensive study by the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) shows that this colossal glacier is particularly vulnerable to climate change, and the effects of its collapse would be devastating.

Thwaites – also known as the ‘Doomsday glacier’ – has already lost an estimated 900 billion metric
tons of ice since 2000. Its annual ice loss has doubled in the past 30 years, and it now loses approximately 45 billion metric tons more ice than it receives in snowfall per year, according to The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC).

If the glacier were to break up entirely and release all its water into the ocean, sea levels worldwide would rise by more than 2 feet (65 centimetres), said ITGC lead coordinator Dr Ted Scambos. “And it could lead to even more sea-level rise, up to 10 feet (3m), if it draws the surrounding glaciers with it,” Dr Scambos said in a statement.

 Telegraph 14th Dec 2021

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/12/14/antarctic-glacier-size-britain-could-shatter-like-car-windscreen/

December 16, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

 Radionuclides found from Hinkley nuclear mud Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey .

 

 Radionuclides found…! Bristol Channel Citizens Radiation Survey, Tim Deere-Jones, Stop Hinkley C. A new survey has concluded the spread of man-made radioactivity from reactor discharges into the Bristol Channel is far more extensive and widespread than previously reported.

The research has also detected a high concentration of radioactivity in Splott Bay, which could be linked to the controversial dumping of dredged waste off the Cardiff coast in 2018.The survey was undertaken over the summer by groups from both sides of the Bristol Channel after EDF Energy refused to carry
out pre-dumping surveys of the Cardiff Grounds and Portishead sea dump sites where they have disposed of waste from the construction of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

The survey found that shoreline concentrations of two radio nuclides (Caesium 137 and Americium 241)
typical of the effluents from the Hinkley reactors and indicators of the presence of Plutonium 239/240 and 241, do not decline significantly with distance from the Hinkley site as Government and Industry surveys had previously reportedOverall, the study found significant concentrations of Hinkley derived radioactivity in samples from all 11 sites, seven along the Somerset coast and four in south Wales and found unexpectedly high concentrations in sediments from Bristol Docks, the tidal River Avon, the
Portishead shoreline, Burnham-on-Sea and Woodspring Bay.

 Public Enquiry 11th Dec 2021

Research finds ‘significant concentrations’ of radioactivity in
samples taken from across the Somerset and south Wales coast. Nation Cymru 9th Dec 2021

December 13, 2021 Posted by | oceans, radiation, Reference, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

France quietly benefiting from the neglect of international commitments to protect the seas from radioactive discharges.

  SafeEnergy E Journal  No.92. December 21, Radioactive Discharges The OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic has discreetly postponed its commitment to reduce radioactive discharges at sea from 2020 to 2050. Following a meeting on October 1st, the participating ministers discreetly postponed until 2050 the commitment made in 1998 in Sintra to reduce radioactive discharges into the sea to levels close to zero by 2020.

Once again, international commitments to the environment are being disregarded. This does not bode well for the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow. France is the first beneficiary of this 30-year postponement because, with its reprocessing plant at La Hague, it has the highest radioactive discharges to the sea in Europe. And these discharges are not decreasing, as shown by the results of the citizen monitoring of radioactivity in the environment carried out by Association pour le Contrôle de la Radioactivité dans l’Oues (ACRO) for over 25 years. (1)   


  The “Cascais Declaration” signed at a Ministerial Meeting in October 2021 said:“We aim to achieve zero pollution by 2050 and commit to reduce single-use plastic items and maritime related plastic items on our beaches by 50% by 2025 and 75% by 2030. We will take action to eliminate anthropogenic eutrophication and continue to reduce hazardous and radioactive substances to near background levels for naturally occurring substances and close to zero for human made substances.” (2)

 Remi Parmentier, who was the lead Greenpeace International campaigner when the Sintra Decalation was signed in 1998 tweeted:   

  “30 yrs backward presented as progress. The OSPAR Commission is using Orwellian language: “We *aim* to achieve zero pollution by 2050” [“aim”, not “commit”], wiping out the previous target date (agreed in 1998) which was…2020.” 
Meanwhile, the NDA is now saying all Magnox reprocessing will be completed in 2022. The Magnox reprocessing plant was expected to close in 2020 before delays caused by Covid. (3  

  1. ACRO 19th Oct 2021 https://www.acro.eu.org/the-ospar-convention-for-the-protection-of-the-north-eastatlantic-discreetly-postpones-its-commitment-to-reduce-radioactive-discharges-at-sea-from-2020-to-2050/

2. OSPAR Cascais Declaration October 2021 https://www.ospar.org/site/assets/files/46205/cascaisdeclaration2021.pdf
 3. NDA Mission Progress Report 2021. 4th Nov 2021 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/103121https://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/SafeEnergy_No92.pdf

November 27, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, Reference, wastes | 1 Comment

Europe to pay half for raising Russia’s dangerous sunken submarines, – while Russia builds new ones!

The sunken submarines K-27 and K-159 are the potential source of contamination of the Arctic, the riskiest ones,”

As Moscow this spring took the Chair of the Arctic Council, the need to lift dangerous nuclear materials from the seabed was highlighted as a priority.

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

Europe to pay half … it is a dilemma that international partners are providing financial support to lift old Cold War submarines from the ocean, while Russia gives priority to building new nuclear-powered submarines threatening the security landscape in northern Europe. 

EU willing to co-fund lifting of sunken nuclear subs from Arctic seabed  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/11/europe-offers-pay-russia-raise-sunken-nuclear-subs The Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP) has decided to start a technical review aimed to find a safe way to lift two Cold War submarines from the Barents- and Kara Seas. By Thomas Nilsen   

“We are proceeding now,” says a smiling Jari Vilén, Finland’s Ambassador for Barents and Northern Dimension.

Projects aimed to improve nuclear safety are some of the few successful arenas for cooperation still going strong between the European Union and Russia.

“In roughly two years time we will have the understanding on what and how it can be done, what kind of technology has to be used,” Vilén elaborates with reference to the two old Soviet submarines K-159 and K-27, both rusting on the Arctic seabed with highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel elements in their reactors.

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November 23, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE, oceans, politics international, Reference, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Global agreements against the dumping of nuclear waste into the world’s oceans

Did you know that there are global agreements against the dumping of
nuclear waste into the world’s oceans? They are called the London
Convention and London Protocol (LC/LP) and the latest meeting of the
government signatories and observers, including Greenpeace International,
has just finished under the auspices of the United Nations International
Maritime Organization (IMO).

It was an uncomfortable experience for
Japanese diplomats trying to defend the decision to dispose of nuclear
waste from Fukushima Daiichi into the Pacific Ocean. But it also triggered
memories of a different time and a different policy nearly three decades
ago when Japan at the IMO took on the role of protecting the marine
environment from radioactivity.

 Greenpeace 17th Nov 2021

November 18, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, wastes | 1 Comment

Fukushima farmers fear nuclear-tainted water’s impact on business

A decade on, Fukushima farmers fear nuclear-tainted water’s impact on business, Channel Newa Asia, 5 Nov 21,  WAKI, Japan: Fukushima farmers fear the Japanese government’s planned release of water from the crippled power plant could revive concerns about contamination and again hit the price of their produce, undoing a decade of slow recovery from nuclear disaster.

Japan plans to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the plant in the country’s northeast into the sea after treating it, as the site reaches storage limits for the water. Although international authorities support the plan, it has sparked concern from neighbours China and South Korea and worried local fisherman and farmers.

“We’re just about seeing our prices go back to normal after a big drop following the disaster, but now we will have to deal with the potential reputational damage all over again because of the release of the water,” said Hiroaki Kusano, a pear farmer and vice-leader of the local agricultural co-operative.

The water is to be processed to remove radioactive contamination other than from tritium, which cannot be removed. Water with the radioactive isotope diluted to one-seventh of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for drinking water will be released into the Pacific a kilometre out from the plant around spring 2023, under a government plan.

Nuclear plants worldwide routinely release water containing tritium, considered the least-toxic byproduct of atomic power…………….

DECOMMISSIONING

The Daiichi plant is being decomissioned as part of a clean-up by operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (Tepco) expected to take decades,

Some 1,000 tanks, each 12m tall, crowd the site and hold enough radioactive water to fill around 500 Olympic-sized swimming polls. The release of water that once passed through contaminated areas of the plant marks a milestone in decommissioning and will free up space for the clean-up.

……………… Tepco will compensate for damages related to the water release, said Junichi Matsumoto, a company official overseeing decommissioning work. Tepco says it has so far paid out some ¥10.1 trillion (US$89 billion) in damages from the crisis…

There are additional concerns because the Fukushima water has been sitting around for years, said Toru Watanabe, a radioactivity researcher at the Fukushima Fisheries and Marine Science Research Center.

“The water has been in those tanks for a long time. The quality of that water needs to be thoroughly understood before it’s released,” he said.

Farmers say there is not much they can do once the water is released. They worry about their tough customers – Japanese shoppers are famously picky about produce and pay close attention to freshness and place of origin…   https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/decade-fukushima-farmers-fear-nuclear-tainted-waters-impact-business-2293361

November 6, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Members of US congressional oversight committee press the Biden administration on the Marshall Islands’ legacy of nuclear waste contamination

It’s a thorny point for the Marshallese, who are worried about the lingering effects of the nuclear waste left in their nation, decades of persistent health concerns, and a fear that United States officials have not been forthright or transparent about the risks the nuclear waste poses to their health and environmental well-being.

According to a U.S. government presentation delivered in 2019, Runit Dome is vulnerable to leakage caused by storm surge and sea level rise, and its groundwater, which is leaking into the lagoon and ocean, is severely contaminated with radioactive isotopes. Testing of sea creatures in the surrounding lagoon, including giant clams, shows high levels of radioactivity.

Rep. Katie Porter presses Biden team on Marshall Islands nuclear waste, gets few answers,  https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2021-10-22/marshall-islands-nuclear-waste-congressional-hearing-compact, SUSANNE RUST  OCT. 22, 2021

For months, U.S. refusal to accept responsibility for a leaking dome of radioactive waste in the Marshall Islands has complicated negotiations with the Marshallese government on an international compact viewed as crucial for blunting Chinese influence in the central Pacific.

On Thursday, members of a congressional oversight committee scolded representatives of the Biden administration for not making more progress on negotiations and taking the Marshallese position more seriously. During the hearing, administration officials offered conflicting statements on U.S. obligations to the Marshall Islands, making it unclear where the White House stands on America’s history in the region. In addition, the U.S. State Department declined to participate.

“The point of the hearing today was to examine why the United States is not willing to discuss the nuclear legacy with the Marshallese,” said Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), who along with a bipartisan panel of lawmakers stressed the critical role the Republic of the Marshall Islands plays in U.S. national security and safety.

Porter, who heads the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said negotiations will be difficult “unless we act on the moral and national security imperative that we have to address the nuclear legacy.”

The hearing was timed for the 35th anniversary of the signing of the agreement between the two nations, which is set to expire in 2023. It also comes as China develops friendly relations with nations of the central and South Pacific, part of a broader strategy to stem U.S. influence off its shores and worldwide.

The Marshall Islands’ Kwajalein Atoll is home to the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site — where the U.S. tests its long- and mid-range missile defense system. Its location halfway across the Pacific allows the U.S. military to monitor hostile foreign forces, and it is also an important hub for the American space program.

Realizing its leverage, the Marshallese government is increasingly pressing U.S. officials to take ownership for cleaning up Runit Dome. The leaking nuclear repository holds 3.1 million cubic feet of radioactive waste, a byproduct of U.S. weapons testing during the Cold War, and a focus of a Times investigation in 2019.

For decades, the U.S. government has deflected. Instead, it insists the Marshall Islands is solely responsible for the waste site, even though Congress has required the Department of Energy, with funding from the Department of the Interior, to monitor it indefinitely.

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October 23, 2021 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans, politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic discreetly postpones its commitment to reduce radioactive discharges at sea

The OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlanticdiscreetly postpones its commitment to reduce radioactive discharges at sea from 2020 to 2050. Following the Cascais meeting of the OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic, which took place on October 1, the participating ministers discreetly postponed until 2050 the commitment made in 1998 in Sintra to reduce radioactive discharges into the sea to levels close to zero by 2020.

Once again, international commitments to the environment are being disregarded. This does not bode well for the
upcoming COP26 in Glasgow.

France is the first beneficiary of this 30-year postponement because, with its reprocessing plant at La Hague, it has the
highest radioactive discharges to the sea in Europe. And these discharges are not decreasing, as shown by the results of the citizen monitoring of radioactivity in the environment carried out by ACRO for over 25 years.

 ACRO 19th Oct 2021

The OSPAR Convention for the Protection of the North-East Atlantic discreetly postpones its commitment to reduce radioactive discharges at sea from 2020 to 2050

October 21, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

Backlash against Japanese Prime Minister’s haste to dump Fukushima nuclear water into the ocean


Kishida triggers backlash by saying dumping Fukushima nuclear water can’t be delayed, Global Times, By Xu Keyue: O
ct 19, 2021   Only two weeks after taking office, Japan’s new prime minister Fumio Kishida pressed two hot buttons on the same day on Sunday – sending a ritual offering to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine, and claiming the Fukushima wastewater release cannot be delayed, despite opposition from home and abroad.


Instead of taking full advantage of its own science and technology to process the Fukushima wastewater and deliver a qualified answer to the world over the water treatment, Japan has opted for its irresponsible plan to dump the wastewater as soon as possible and provided self-contradictory explanations for the decision, said Chinese experts.Speaking at his first visit to the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant since taking office, Kishida said the planned mass disposal of wastewater stored at the facility cannot be delayed, claiming his government would work to reassure residents nearby the plant about the technical safety of the wastewater disposal project, Asahi Shimbun reported Monday.

South Korea has expressed concern over Kishida’s plan to release the radioactive wastewater, according to South Korean media on Monday.

“Japan’s decision [to discharge the wastewater] was made without enough consultations with neighboring nations,” a senior South Korean foreign ministry official said. “We have expressed serious concerns and opposition to its plan, which could affect our people’s health and security as well as the ocean environment.”

The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO) has planned to build a one-kilometer undersea tunnel to release contaminated radioactive water out to sea, amid condemnation from fishermen, media reported in late August.

The plan again showed that Japan’s “explanation” over the safety of the water is “self-contradicting,” Liu Jiangyong, vice dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times on Monday.
Assuming the wastewater has been processed without any side effects or pollution as the Japanese government claimed, and that people can even drink it, why does the Japanese government not simply discharge the water into the sea but plan to dump the water 1 kilometer away from the local residents? asked Liu. He also questioned the claim that it will have no impact on the marine environment and life chain, and asked why the water could not be recycled on land if the wastewater can be processed so cleanly and safely.

Japan can’t answer any of these questions, said Liu, noting that dumping the nuclear water shows that the water is “unusual.”…………. https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=rm&ogbl#inbox?compose=DmwnWsTJtkLTcgrqMkBKSqBpmgbKhMHpzMMgttqhvJHgDJrfsKrtFCCwkflZJkjjhwgvJbPrQhFV

October 19, 2021 Posted by | Japan, oceans, politics international, wastes | Leave a comment

US nuclear submarine accident sparks safety fears in South China Sea

US nuclear submarine accident sparks safety fears in South China Sea  https://www.scmp.com/news/china/military/article/3152181/us-nuclear-submarine-accident-sparks-safety-fears-south-china?module=perpetual_scroll&pgtype=article&campaign=3152181Busy waterway’s complex underwater terrain and shipping litter make it a challenging environment for the giant vessels


Collision has also highlighted the difficulties in safely disposing of the reactors from decommissioned subs, with no agreed guidelines, experts say.    Minnie Chan 16 Oct, 2021   

The damage to a US nuclear attack submarine which collided with a mystery object in the South China Sea earlier this month has raised concerns about their operational safety, as well as what happens to damaged and decommissioned nuclear reactors.

Defence experts have warned that nuclear submarines – among the world’s deadliest weapons – are also vulnerable in the event of an underwater accident causing a nuclear leak, regardless of whether they are general-purpose attack subs (SSN) or platforms for the launch of ballistic missiles (SSBN).

October 18, 2021 Posted by | China, incidents, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s perilous job in raising sunken nuclear submarines

In both cases, experts fear that a nuclear chain reaction could occur should water leak into the submarines’ reactor compartments.  Russian scientists have kept a close eye on the K-159, launching regular expeditions to monitor for potential radiation leaks. According to their data, should the submarine depressurize, radionuclides could spread over hundreds of kilometers, heavily impacting the local fishing industry.

Yet the subs represent just a fraction of the radiation hazards that the Soviet Navy dumped at sea. Between 1959 and 1992, the Soviets carried out 80 missions to sink radioactive debris in Arctic water. In total, some 18,000 objects considered to be radioactive waste were plunged to Arctic depths. Aside from the K-159 and the K-27, the Soviet Navy scuttled reactor compartments, solid radioactive waste, a number of irradiated vessels, as well as old metal structures and radioactive equipment.

Rosatom official puts deadline on raising old nuclear submarines  https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2021-10-rosatom-official-puts-deadline-on-raising-old-nuclear-submarines

An official with Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, has announced a deadline for raising two Soviet-era nuclear submarines that have been lying for decades at the bottom of seas in the Arctic over fears their reactors could contaminate fertile international fishing grounds.  October 6, 2021 by Charles Digges

An official with Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, has announced a deadline for raising two Soviet-era nuclear submarines that have been lying for decades at the bottom of seas in the Arctic over fears their reactors could contaminate fertile international fishing grounds.

As indicated in the strategy for the development of the Arctic, 2030, not earlier,” Anatoly Grigoriev, head of Rosatom’s international technical assistance project, told Interfax late last month.

The announcement confirms what unnamed officials had earlier told Russian state media more than a year ago. Since then, Bellona has urged Russia, during its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, to pursue retrieving the submarines to avoid the contamination risk their reactors, and the spent nuclear fuel they contain,  pose to the ocean environment.

Grigoriev’s remarks concerned the K-27 and K-159, both of which went down still loaded with their uranium fuel. Both submarines, say experts, are in a precarious state. But the submarines sank under different circumstances.

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October 7, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Russia aims to lift old dead nuclear submarines from the bottom of the Barents and Kara Seas by 2030

Russia to Lift Radioactive Time Bombs From Ocean Floor in 2030,   https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/10/04/russia-to-lift-radioactive-time-bombs-from-ocean-floor-in-2030-a75207 Two rusty nuclear submarines will be raised from the sea beds of the Barents and Kara Seas and brought to a shipyard for safe decommissioning. By The Barents Observer  4 Oct 21,  The November-class K-159 submarine sank in late August 2003 while being towed in bad weather from the closed naval base of Gremikha on the eastern shores of the Kola Peninsula toward the Nerpa shipyard north of Murmansk.

Researchers have monitored the wreck ever since, fearing leakages of radioactivity from the two old nuclear reactors onboard could contaminate the important fishing grounds in the Barents Sea. A joint Norwegian-Russian expedition examined the site in 2014 and concluded that no leakage has so far occurred from the reactors to the surrounding marine environment.

However, the bad shape of the hull could eventually lead to radionuclide leakages. A modeling study by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research said that a pulse discharge of the entire Caesium-137 inventory from the two reactors could increase concentrations in cod in the eastern part of the Barents Sea up to 100 times current levels for a two-year period after the discharge. While a Cs-137 increase of 100 times in cod sounds dramatic, the levels would still be below international guidelines, but tell that to the market buying the fish.

Now, Russia’s nuclear corporation Rosatom has announced the date for lifting the K-159 to 2030.

“As indicated in the strategy for the development of the Arctic, 2030, not earlier,” Anatoly Grigoriev, head of Rosatom’s international technical assistance project, told Interfax.

Grigoriev said Atomflot, the state operator of civilian nuclear-powered icebreakers whose technical base is just north of Murmansk, could become the contractor for the lifting.

The Rosatom official added that the K-27, a submarine dumped in the Kara Sea in 1982, is also included on the list of nuclear objects on the Arctic seabed to be salvaged by 2030.

The submarine was dumped at a depth of 33 meters in the Stepovogo fjord on the eastern shores of Novaya Zemlya.

Last month, divers from the Center for Underwater Research of the Russian Geographical Society conducted a survey of the submarine’s hull. Metal pieces were cut free and the thickness of the hull was measured, along with other inspections of the submarine that has been corroding on the seabed for nearly 40 years. 

Based on the examination, a detailed plan will be worked out on how to conduct the salvage with destabilizing the uranium fuel in the reactors in such a way that a new chain reactor could be restarted with a worst-case scenario of triggering direct contact between the uranium fuel and seawater. 

October 5, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment