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China concerned about Japan dumping Fukushima nuclear waste water into the Pacific.

China says concerned over Fukushima waste disposal  https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/china-says-concerned-over-fukushima-waste-disposal/2206069
Beijing asks Japan to take ‘responsible attitude’ towards Fukushima nuclear plant’s radioactive water disposal

Riyaz Ul Khaliq   |12.04.2021   
ANKARAChina on Monday expressed concern over the disposal of waste from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea.“China has expressed grave concern to Japan through diplomatic channels, asking the country to take a responsible attitude towards Fukushima nuclear power plant’s radioactive water disposal,” the local newspaper People’s Daily reported, quoting the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Last week, Japan said it plans to dispose of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean.Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government will move ahead with the idea despite opposition within and outside the country and may announce the decision as early as Tuesday.

The wastewater, though treated, may still contain radioactive tritium.Japanese authorities want to dilute the waste to “acceptable global standards” and start dumping it into the ocean two years from now.

Japan’s fishery industry and some provincial authorities have voiced concerns over the plan, which has also drawn criticism from China and South Korea.However, the Japanese government said it “will work to address their concerns and bring in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other partners.”“We will seek the cooperation of global organizations such as the IAEA and local governments to thoroughly check the plan’s safety and maintain transparency,” Kajiyama Hiroshi, Japan’s economy, trade, and industry minister, said last week.

April 13, 2021 Posted by | China, Japan, oceans, politics international | Leave a comment

The horror of Russia’s nuclear submarines and nuclear trash dumped at sea

CTY Pisces – Photos of a Japanese midget submarine that was sunk off Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. There’s a hole at the base of the conning tower where an artillery shell penetrated the hull, sinking the sub and killing the crew. Photos courtesy of Terry Kerby, Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. August 2003.

The Terrifying History of Russia’s Nuclear Submarine Graveyard, Popular Mechanics The equivalent of six-and-a-half Hiroshimas lies just beneath the ocean’s surface. Cory Graff , 17 Jan 2021, In the icy waters north of Russia, discarded submarine nuclear reactors lie deteriorating on the ocean floor—some still fully fueled. It’s only a matter of time before sustained corrosion allows seawater to eat its way to the abandoned uranium, causing an uncontrolled release of radioactivity into the Arctic.

For decades, the Soviet Union used the desolate Kara Sea as their dumping grounds for nuclear waste. Thousands of tons of nuclear material, equal to nearly six and a half times the radiation released at Hiroshima, went into the ocean. The underwater nuclear junkyard includes at least 14 unwanted reactors and an entire crippled submarine that the Soviets deemed proper decommissioning too dangerous and expensive. Today, this corner-cutting haunts the Russians. A rotting submarine reactor fed by an endless supply of ocean water might re-achieve criticality, belching out a boiling cloud of radioactivity that could infect local seafood populations, spoil bountiful fishing grounds, and contaminate a local oil-exploration frontier.

“Breach of protective barriers and the detection and spread of radionuclides in seawater could lead to fishing restrictions,” says Andrey Zolotkov, director of Bellona-Murmansk, an international non-profit environmental organization based in Norway. “In addition, this could seriously damage plans for the development of the Northern Sea Route—ship owners will refuse to sail along it.”

News outlets have found more dire terms to interpret the issue. The BBC raised concerns of a “nuclear chain reaction” in 2013, while The Guardian described the situation as “an environmental disaster waiting to happen.” Nearly everyone agrees that the Kara is on the verge of an uncontrolled nuclear event, but retrieving a string of long-lost nuclear time bombs is proving to be a daunting challenge.

Nuclear submarines have a short lifespan considering their sheer expense and complexity. After roughly 20-30 years, degradation coupled with leaps in technology render old nuclear subs obsolete. First, decades of accumulated corrosion and stress limit the safe-dive depth of veteran boats. Sound-isolation mounts degrade, bearings wear down, and rotating components of machinery fall out of balance, leading to a louder noise signature that can be more easily tracked by the enemy. …….

The Soviet Union and Russia built the world’s largest nuclear-powered navy in the second half of the 20th century, crafting more atom-powered subs than all other nations combined. At its military height in the mid-1990s, Russia boasted 245 nuclear-powered subs, 180 of which were equipped with dual reactors and 91 of which sailed with a dozen or more long-range ballistic missiles tipped with nuclear warheads………

A majority of the Soviet’s nuclear submarine classes operated from the Arctic-based Northern Fleet, headquartered in the northwestern port city of Murmansk. The Northern Fleet bases are roughly 900 kilometers west of the Kara Sea dumping grounds. A second, slightly smaller hub of Soviet submarine power was the Pacific Fleet, based in and around Vladivostok on Russia’s east coast above North Korea. Additional Soviet-era submarines sailed from bases in the Baltic and Black Seas.

…….. the disposal of these submarines posed more problems than previous conventional vessels. Before crews could chop the vessels apart, the subs’ reactors and associated radioactive materials had to be removed, and the Soviets didn’t always do this properly.

Mothballed nuclear submarines pose the potential for disaster even before scrapping begins. In October of 1995, 12 decommissioned Soviet subs awaited disposal in Murmansk, each with fuel cells, reactors, and nuclear waste still aboard. When the cash-strapped Russian military didn’t pay the base’s electric bills for months, the local power company shut off power to the base, leaving the line of submarines at risk of meltdown. Military staffers had to persuade plant workers to restore power by threatening them at gunpoint.

The scrapping process starts with extracting the vessel’s spent nuclear fuel from the reactor core. The danger is immediate: In 1985, an explosion during the defueling of a Victor class submarine killed 10 workers and spewed radioactive material into the air and sea. Specially trained teams must separate the reactor fuel rods from the sub’s reactor core, then seal the rods in steel casks for transport and storage (at least, they seal the rods when adequate transport and storage is available—the Soviets had just five rail cars capable of safely transporting radioactive cargo, and their storage locations varied widely in size and suitability). Workers at the shipyard then remove salvageable equipment from the submarine and disassemble the vessel’s conventional and nuclear weapons systems. Crews must extract and isolate the nuclear warheads from the weapons before digging deeper into the launch compartment to scrap the missiles’ fuel systems and engines.

When it is time to dispose of the vessel’s reactors, crews cut vertical slices into the hull of the submarine and chop out the single or double reactor compartment along with an additional compartment fore and aft in a single huge cylinder-shaped chunk. Once sealed, the cylinder can float on its own for several months, even years, before it is lifted onto a barge and sent to a long-term storage facility.

But during the Cold War, nuclear storage in Soviet Russia usually meant a deep-sea dump job. At least 14 reactors from bygone vessels of the Northern Fleet were discarded into the Kara Sea. Sometimes, the Soviets skipped the de-fueling step beforehand, ditching the reactors with their highly radioactive fuel rods still intact.

According to the Bellona, the Northern Fleet also jettisoned 17,000 containers of hazardous nuclear material and deliberately sunk 19 vessels packed with radioactive waste, along with 735 contaminated pieces of heavy machinery. More low-level liquid waste was poured directly into the icy waters.

But during the Cold War, nuclear storage in Soviet Russia usually meant a deep-sea dump job. At least 14 reactors from bygone vessels of the Northern Fleet were discarded into the Kara Sea. Sometimes, the Soviets skipped the de-fueling step beforehand, ditching the reactors with their highly radioactive fuel rods still intact.

According to the Bellona, the Northern Fleet also jettisoned 17,000 containers of hazardous nuclear material and deliberately sunk 19 vessels packed with radioactive waste, along with 735 contaminated pieces of heavy machinery. More low-level liquid waste was poured directly into the icy waters.

Another submarine is perhaps a bigger risk for a radioactive leak. K-159, a November class, suffered a radioactive discharge accident in 1965 but served until 1989. After languishing in storage for 14 years, a 2003 storm ripped K-159 from its pontoons during a transport operation, and the battered hulk plunged to the floor of the Barents Sea, killing nine crewmen. The wreck lies at a depth of around 250 meters, most likely with its fueled and unsealed reactors open to the elements.

Russia has announced plans to raise the K-27, the K-159, and four other dangerous reactor compartments discarded in the Arctic. As of March 2020, Russian authorities estimate the cost of the recovery effort will be approximately $330 million.

The first target is K-159. But lifting the sunken sub back to the surface will take a specially built recovery vessel, one that does not yet exist. Design and construction of that ship is slated to begin in 2021, to be finished by the end of 2026. Now, in order to avoid an underwater Chernobyl, the Russians are beginning a terrifying race against the relentless progression of decay.  https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a34976195/russias-nuclear-submarine-graveyard/

January 18, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

India must oppose dumping of radioactive waste into the Pacific, but IAEA and Indian govt downplay the dangers

Silence on Fukushima Disaster Exposes our Approach to Nuclear Safety and Why India must Oppose Dumping of Radioactive Water Into the Pacific, BYSONALI HURIA,  JANUARY 17, 2021  Next year, the operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant would start releasing radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. A number of nations are up in arms against it, but Indian authorities are not rising to the occasion to protect its most vulnerable against the impending disaster.

SONALI HURIA explains what is at stake for people and the environment. 

THE new year has begun on a grim note with a toxic gas leak at the Rourkela Steel Plant in Odisha on 6 January, which claimed the lives of four contractual workers. This is the latest in a disconcerting string of industrial accidents in India over the last few years, which have remained peripheral to the mainstream media narrative.

It appears that India has learned precious little from the Bhopal gas disaster, which has ebbed from public memory even as the accident site remains contaminated and survivors continue to await an elusive justice.

Against this backdrop, as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it may be pertinent to think of what a nuclear accident might mean for the country’s already shoddy industrial safety record and systemic inadequacies, especially as the Fukushima disaster now poses a formidable new challenge to which India’s response, so far, has been active denial and muted silence.

“Fukushima” has become synonymous with the devastating and ongoing nuclear accident that occurred off the eastern Pacific coast of Japan in 2011.

Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) reportedly stated as recently as in December 2020 that the reactor buildings of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continue to record “lethal” levels of radiation, thus posing a “serious challenge” to decommissioning efforts.

DISPOSING CONTAMINATED WATER 

Among the many vexing problems precipitated by the accident is the disposal of the contaminated water from the beleaguered nuclear plant.

The acerbic debate within Japan on the disposal of this radioactive water came to a head recently when the Japanese government made it clear that beginning 2022, the operator of the Fukushima plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), would start releasing radioactive water from the wrecked plant into the Pacific Ocean—a task envisaged to be accomplished over the next several years as part of larger decommissioning efforts.

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku triggered a meltdown at the three units of the nuclear plant in March 2011, cleanup efforts have required, among other things, the pumping of tens of thousands of tons of water to cool the smouldering reactor fuel cores.

However, this has led to a steady on-site accumulation of heavily contaminated water—as of 2020, TEPCO has nearly 1.23 million metric tons (and counting) of highly radioactive wastewater on its hands that has been stored in nearly 1,044 tanks…………

LOOMING DANGERS

Greenpeace International has warned that carbon-14, which TEPCO affirmed is present in the contaminated tank-water for the first time in August 2020, has the “potential to damage human DNA”.

Tokyo’s decision has understandably ruffled feathers globally.

The Republic of Korea, China, and Chile, state parties to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, have repeatedly called for international deliberation and resolution of the problem, even as South Korea, which has banned all seafood imports from the region since the accident, has formally called upon the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to dissuade Japan. While the North Korean state media described the proposed discharge as a “criminal act”, a coalition of environmental and citizens’ groups from Taiwan petitioned the Japanese government in November 2020, expressing their objections.

The IAEA has confined itself to assisting the Japanese government rather than question or evaluates the proposed water disposal plan. It has demonstrated yet again that it is not the international nuclear watchdog many believe it to be.

UN Special Rapporteurs on hazardous wastes, right to food, rights to assembly and association, and the rights of indigenous people have also urged Japan not to use the present pandemic as a “sleight of hand” to release the radioactive water without any credible consultation within and outside Japan regarding a decision that will have a long-lasting impact on the environment and human health.

DANGERS FOR INDIA

The stakes for India cannot be overstated either.

In an unanticipated moment of candidness, nuclear health scientists from within the Indian establishment—the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)—have warned that the release of the Fukushima wastewater containing “radioactive isotopes such as cesium, tritium, cobalt and carbon-12” will prove disastrous for human and aquatic health across the world’s coastal belts by crippling fishing economies and causing a “spectrum of diseases, including cancer”……..

the Indian government, in particular, its nuclear establishment, has consistently downplayed the risks associated with nuclear energy to public and environmental health, even labelling public concerns surrounding radiation “myths”, and whose first reactions to the Fukushima nuclear accident were of impudent denial.

…  EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary to the Government of India, has exhorted the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to apprise the Prime Minister’s Office of the “far-reaching implications” of the proposed release of the radioactive Fukushima water, and for India to take a firm stand at the IAEA against this unilateral decision of the Japanese government.

TEPCO has reportedly already been draining hundreds of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. Noting with dismay the abject silence of the DAE and India’s Environment Ministry in this regard, Sarma identifies the lack of a robust nuclear regulatory body or mechanism in India as responsible for this lack lustre approach to an issue of great import for the health of the people of the country and the larger marine ecology of the region.

Domestically, it is time to pause and think whether India is equipped to handle an accident of the scale of Fukushima—a nuclear Bhopal?

Sarma’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary also underscores the need for the government to recognise the magnitude of the devastation wrought by nuclear accidents, the inability of TEPCO to handle the disaster even a decade since its occurrence, and thus to pause its own plans “to import reactors on a large scale and enlarge nuclear power generation capacity”.

…..…DOWNPLAYING THE DANGERS

In effect, therefore, the IAEA has demonstrated yet again that it is not the international nuclear watchdog many believe it to be. In her fascinating new account of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Manual for Survival, the environmental historian, Kate Brown, explores the IAEA’s complicity in downplaying the accident and denying radiation impacts in exposed Chernobyl children and even asserting that “radiation anxiety” stems from “irrational fears”, as nuclear technocrats across the globe are prone to doing.

In the tenth year of the ongoing Fukushima accident, therefore, it is imperative that a dialogue be initiated on the need for an effective international nuclear monitoring regime that isn’t also tasked with the responsibility of promoting nuclear energy.

Domestically, it is time to pause and think whether India is equipped to handle an accident of the scale of Fukushima—a nuclear Bhopal?

At the very least, it is time India’s government demonstrates that it is willing and able to deploy its purportedly surging international stature and influence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the country’s environment and the health of its vulnerable communities against the Fukushima water release, which appears a near certainty now. https://www.theleaflet.in/silence-on-fukushima-disaster-exposes-our-approach-to-nuclear-safety-and-why-india-must-oppose-dumping-of-radioactive-water-into-the-pacific/#

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, India, oceans, politics international | Leave a comment

Hinkley Point C mud dredging – radioactive mud could be dumped off Somerset instead of south Wales.

Hinkley Mud. BBC 7th Jan 2021,  Mud dredged as part of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant construction could start being dumped off Somerset instead of south Wales. Developer EDF
Energy is considering two sites in the Bristol Channel.
They include Cardiff Grounds, where sediment dumping in 2018 provoked extensive protests
over concerns the mud was contaminated by nuclear waste. But a private disposal site off Portishead, on the England side of the channel, is also under consideration. A public outcry over the original mud dumping led to protests and petitions attracting hundreds of thousands of signatures online, a full Senedd debate and an acknowledgment by both the developers
and Natural Resources Wales that better communication with the public was needed over the plans.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-55577848

January 9, 2021 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The Irish sea – plagued by dumped munitions and radioactive trash

Belfast Telegraph 13th Nov 2020, A report highlighting the dangers of underwater explosions and radioactive
waste has cast doubt on the viability of any Irish Sea bridge. The UK and Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) study focused on Beaufort’s Dyke, one of the deepest sections of water in Europe and a training sitefor nuclear submarines. Munitions from both world wars and radioactive waste, when it was permitted in Europe, are known to have been dumped in the stretch of sea.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/seabed-blasts-cast-doubt-on-the-viability-of-boris-johnsons-bridge-from-northern-ireland-to-scotland-39740984.html

November 17, 2020 Posted by | oceans, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

The accumulating radioactive water is another Fukushima disaster crisis

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, oceans | Leave a comment

Ocean ecosystems – future in doubt

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

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

The study, which has now been published in the journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elevated levels of radiation

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

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

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

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

Fish industry worried

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read moreJapan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

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

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

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

Neighbors’ concerns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delayed freezing of Arctic sea due to continued freakish warm weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a matter of political will’

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

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

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

The way that Antarctica goes, so does the world’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The missing piece

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

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

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

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

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

The safety of the world requires a nuclear-free planet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accelerating rate of ice sheet loss from Greenland

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