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University boffins discuss the eternal problem of nuclear wastes

Amazing – still none of these scientists suggests stopping making this radioactive trash!

The problem of nuclear waste, The Naked Scientists, 07 April 2020    Interview with Claire Corkhill, University of Sheffield

Part of the show The Rise of Radioactivity

  Our issues with radioactivity though are obviously not behind us. A major headache today is how to handle and safely store nuclear waste. Here in the UK, we’ve got 650,000 cubic metres of the stuff – enough to fill Wembley Stadium – and it’ll be radioactive and dangerous for 100,000 years. ……..
Chris – So what do we do with all this stuff? We end up with these barrels of what looks like glass or concrete; that sounds fine. What do we do, just bury them?
Claire – Well, they’re currently packaged in specially-engineered containers and stored in over 20 different secure nuclear sites around the country, and most of it is at Sellafield in Cumbria. And these stores are designed to withstand extreme weather and earthquakes. But the problem that we have is that the waste is so radioactive, we can’t actually go anywhere near it. If you were to touch the outside of one of the glass waste containers, the radiation dose that you’d receive is 200,000 times more than a fatal dose of radiation. So whilst it’s okay to store the waste securely for the time being, it’s clear that we need a more permanent solution that requires less security. So remember, these wastes will be radioactive for over a hundred thousand years and they’ll be highly radioactive for several thousands of years, so we can’t just leave them in their warehouses and hope that future civilizations will know what to do with them.
 ……………………These nuclear waste materials will change over the hundred thousand years that they’ll be radioactive. And there are some different ways that this might occur. One would be corrosion, so the natural corrosion of the materials once they’re buried deep under the ground, which is their final disposal route; if they slowly corrode in groundwater they may release their radioactivity. But the other issue is, as you rightly noted, that the radioactivity inside the waste might actually cause the waste itself to break down. And you can think of this as a highly energetic particle, a bit like was described before with breaking DNA; instead of breaking DNA we’re actually breaking the intrinsic chemical bonds inside our nuclear waste material, and this will essentially cause the waste to disintegrate. And this is something that we have to understand.

Chris – So what you’re saying is, if we’ve got say something that looks like glass, because it’s spitting out all these energetic particles of radiation all the time, it’s slowly going to shatter the glass. It’s almost like shaking the glass very, very hard for hundreds of thousands of years; it’s eventually going to fall to pieces and it will no longer be any good at retaining and constraining the radioactive products inside.

Claire – Essentially yes…….

Adam – How do we design something in the future so that this stuff stays where it is, and isn’t archeologist bait, and they suddenly dig up a radioactive cube of glass?

Claire – At the present time we are thinking that we will not mark when nuclear waste is kept. It’s going to be buried deep below the ground and nobody will know it’s there. The worry about putting a marker on the surface is that it will automatically draw, humans particularly because we’re very inquisitive, to that site to find out what’s going on. …… the plan at the moment is to not mark the waste and hope that people forget about it; and that if in the future they decide to dig there, they have the technology to dig that deep – so we’re talking between 500 metres and a kilometre below the ground – and if they have that technology, then they will also have some technology to be able to detect the radiation and know that they shouldn’t go there. https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/interviews/problem-nuclear-waste

April 9, 2020 Posted by | Reference, wastes, Women | Leave a comment

Male dominated climate talks falter, while women’s perspective is excluded

December 17, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Women | Leave a comment

The toxic gender norms in the nuclear weapons establishment

discussion of nuclear weapons is informed by and perpetuates toxic gender norms. In this world, strength, force, rationality, and destruction are masculine. Things like weapon design, targeting, and nuclear strategy fall into this category. Weakness, emotion, the very concept of peace, and the human costs of nuclear weapons are feminine.

 

December 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

The woman who was first to scientifically show, in 1856, how atmospheric C02 caused global warming

Climate-science sexism reheated, Canberra Times, Ian Warden  11 Oct 19
  The climate crusading Greta Thunberg, a famous contemporary target of sexist criticism and misogyny, may be interested to learn of the struggles of Eunice Foote who in 1856 published the first scientific paper to link CO2 and global warming.

One of my favourite obscure journals, The Public Domain Review, in touch with our climate-debating times, has just dusted off Eunice Foote’s paper Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays. It was published in the November 1856 American Journal of Art and Science.

The Review explains that In a series of experiments conducted in 1856, Eunice Newton Foote – a scientist and women’s rights campaigner from Seneca Falls, New York – became the first person to discover that altering the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would change its temperature.

“Foote’s seminal experiment was ingeniously homemade. Using four thermometers, two glass cylinders, and an air pump, she isolated the component gases that make up the atmosphere and exposed them to the sun’s rays … Measuring the change in their temperatures, she discovered that carbon dioxide and water vapour absorbed enough heat that this absorption could affect climate.”

“[Foote’s] discovery of the relationship between carbon dioxide and the Earth’s climate has since become one of the key principles of modern meteorology, the greenhouse effect, and climate science. However, no one acknowledged Foote was the first to make this discovery for more than a century, in large part because she was a woman.

Entirely because she was a woman, Foote was barred from reading the paper describing her findings at the 1856 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Albany, New York. Instead, Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian had the honour of introducing her, announcing that science was ‘of no country and of no sex. The sphere of woman embraces not only the beautiful and the useful, but the true.’ Perhaps this was Henry’s attempt to shield Foote and her findings from sexist criticism .”

It would not surprise if, just as Greta Thunberg is so often accused of only reading speeches written for her by some grown-up Green Svengali (for she is surely too much of a girly flibbertigibbet to really be as knowledgeable and articulate as she pretends) Eunice Foote was suspected of having lots of (unacknowledged by her) cerebral male help with her paper.

Likell thinking Australian atheists/agnostics I am both appalled and fascinated by our prime minister’s extreme religiosity……https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6430152/climate-science-sexism-reheated/?cs=14246

October 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change, history, Women | Leave a comment

Another expensive nuclear weapons race about to take off

Are We Headed for Another Expensive Nuclear Arms Race? Could Be.   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/world/europe/arms-race-russia-china.html, By Steven Erlanger,Aug. 8, 2019   BRUSSELS — After the recent death of the treaty covering intermediate-range missiles, a new arms race appears to be taking shape, drawing in more players, more money and more weapons at a time of increased global instability and anxiety about nuclear proliferation.

The arms control architecture of the Cold War, involving tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, was laboriously designed over years of hard-fought negotiations between two superpowers — the United States and the Soviet Union. The elaborate treaties helped keep the world from nuclear annihilation.

Today, those treaties are being abandoned by the United States and Russia just as new strategic competitors not covered by the Cold War accords — like China, North Korea and Iran — are asserting themselves as regional powers and challenging American hegemony.

The dismantling of “arms control,” a Cold War mantra, is now heightening the risks of a new era when nuclear powers like India and Pakistan are clashing over Kashmir, and when nuclear Israel feels threatened by Iran, North Korea is testing new missiles, and other countries like Saudi Arabia are thought to have access to nuclear weapons or to be capable of building them.

The consequence, experts say, is likely to be a more dangerous and unstable environment, even in the near term, that could precipitate unwanted conflicts and demand vast new military spending among the world’s biggest powers, including the United States.

If there’s not nuclear disarmament, there will be proliferation,” said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear analyst and president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. “If big powers race to build up their arsenals, smaller powers will follow.”

As long as the big boys cling to their toys, others will want them,” he added, quoting the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Not only are the big boys clinging to them, there are more big boys now, and they want more toys. Continue reading

August 10, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

The IEA supports nuclear power, BUT realises that its future prospects are poor

June 3, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Women | Leave a comment

Despite misogyny, women continue to fight the reckless spending on nuclear weapons

May 25, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

Women poorly represented in, and disparaged by, the nuclear security “priesthood”

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

image – New York Times

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

To be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”


Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/women-national-security.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Hanoi nuclear summit: Where were the women?

Hanoi Summit: Where were the women?Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists  By Rachel Emond, March 7, 2019 Based on the pictures from the second Trump-Kim summit, it looks like the women who spent the most time in the room where the leaders met were the interpreters.

This is a far cry from previous administrations that had women running or helping to run nuclear negotiations—Madeleine AlbrightCondoleezza RiceWendy Sherman, and Rose Gottemoeller, to name a few.

No doubt, there were women present at the margins in Hanoi. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was in the room with Vietnamese officials when the Trump administration pitched arms exports from the United States to their hosts. Kim Yo-jong—Kim Jong-un’s younger sister—was spotted holding an ashtray for the North Korean leader and mostly stayed not more than a few feet from her brother throughout the summit. Other women were serving in support roles back in Washington, but that’s not the same as being at the table.

So who are the women that have been most involved in the Trump-Kim summit process so far?……..

By excluding women from active negotiating roles, Washington and Pyongyang reduced their possible chances for success. There is no excuse for this, as there are scores of women experts on North Korea nuclear policy, and more who focus on the peace process. For example, Women Cross DMZ—a group of female activists working to achieve a peaceful end to the Korean conflict—places a special emphasis on the role that women should play in peace negotiations. Their philosophy is not baseless. According to research, peace agreements that are signed by women feature higher-quality content and higher rates of implementation than those not signed by women, and therefore lead to longer-lasting agreements. On the whole, women are also more likely to insist that parties stay at the table until an agreement is made. There were a lot of factors that played into the outcome (or lack thereof) of the summit in Hanoi, but to ensure future success, leaders in Washington and Pyongyang should think about bringing more women to the next negotiations. …… https://thebulletin.org/2019/03/hanoi-summit-where-were-the-women/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=WomenatSummit_030720

March 12, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

The over-looked solution to climate change – equality for women

Gender equity is the most overlooked solution for climate change https://www.fastcompany.com/90274155/gender-equity-is-the-most-overlooked-solution-for-climate-change

Gender and climate are inextricably linked.” BY ADELE PETERS, 30 Nov 18

The list of solutions to climate change usually focuses on technology: solar power, electric cars, devices that suck carbon out of the atmosphere. But one impactful solution is often overlooked.

At TEDWomen, TED’s conference focused on women and girls, environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson explained why gender equity is a critical piece of addressing climate change. “Gender and climate are inextricably linked,” said Wilkinson, one of the authors of Project Drawdown, a book that takes a deep dive into the most effective ways to fight global warming, and found that empowering women and girls was one of the top solutions.

Women and girls face more risks as the climate changes, from higher odds of being killed during a natural disaster to a greater risk of being forced into an early marriage or prostitution if prolonged drought or floods destroy a family’s finances. But improving gender equity can also directly impact emissions.

In lower-income countries, female farmers grow most of the food on small farms. But women don’t have the same access to resources as men who farm–from credit to training and tools. “They farm as capably and efficiently as men, but this well-documented disparity in resources and rights means women produce less food on the same amount of land,” said Wilkinson. When farms are less productive, that leads to deforestation, as farmers clear more land to grow the same amount of food. If women had the same tools as male farmers, Project Drawdown calculates that they could grow 20-30% more food on the same amount of land. That translates into 2 billion tons of emissions that could be avoided between now and 2050.

Gender equity in education also matters for the climate. One-hundred-thirty million girls still don’t have the right to attend school. When girls go to school, it changes many things–their health, their financial security, and their agency. But it also means that they’re more likely to marry later and choose to have fewer children. Family size is also obviously impacted by access to contraception; hundreds of millions of women say that they want to decide when to have children, but aren’t using contraception. If women have the right to choose to have smaller families, it could lead to one billion fewer people inhabiting Earth by midcentury, and dramatically reduced demand for food, electricity, and other basic services. That could mean avoiding 120 billion tons of emissions.

“If we gain ground on gender equity, we also gain ground on addressing global warming,” Wilkinson said.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Women | Leave a comment

Study shows that women care more than men do, about climate change

Gender Differences in Public Understanding of Climate Change, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication By Matthew BallewJennifer MarlonAnthony Leiserowitz and Edward Maibach , 21 Nov 18, While political views play a strong role in Americans’ opinions on climate change, there are many other individual, social, and cultural factors that influence public understanding of the issue. Here we explore how views on climate change differ between men and women. A large body of research shows a small—but consistent—gender gap in environmental views and climate change opinions. On average, women are slightly more likely than men to be concerned about the environment and have stronger pro-climate opinions and beliefs. Scholars have proposed several explanations for this gender gap, including differences in gender socialization and resulting value systems (e.g., altruism, compassion), perceptions of general risk and vulnerability, and feminist beliefs including commitment to egalitarian values of fairness and social justice. Some researchers also note that some of the strongest gender differences are found in concern about specific environmental problems, particularly local problems that pose health risks.In our research, we find that, although a similar proportion of men and women think global warming is happening and is human-caused, women consistently have higher risk perceptions that global warming will harm them personally, and will harm people in the U.S., plants and animals, and future generations of people (Fig. 1 on original). Also compared with men, a greater proportion of women worry about global warming, think that it is currently harming the U.S., and support certain climate change mitigation policies, specifically regulating CO 2 as a pollutant and setting strict CO 2 limits on coal power plants……….

on average, women scored lower than men in scientific knowledge on climate change ……..Women were also more likely than men to express uncertainty about a variety of questions. For instance, respondents were asked how much several factors contribute to global warming (e.g., deforestation, nuclear power plants, burning fossil fuels, the sun, cars and trucks). Across many of these questions, a greater proportion of women said “don’t know” than did men

Closing gender gaps in knowledge and understanding of the problem, therefore, ought to receive more attention in climate education and outreach efforts to further engage and empower women in climate issues. This is especially important because women are more likely than men to be harmed by environmental problems like climate change—both nationally and globally. In a recent BBC News Science & Environment article, U.N. data show that globally women make up 80% of people who are displaced by climate change. Because women in many countries tend to have roles as primary caregivers and food providers—and tend to have less socioeconomic power than men—they are more vulnerable to climate problems including natural hazards like flooding, droughts, and hurricanes. In the U.S., for instance, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that 83% of low-income, single mothers did not return to their homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. In terms of public health, air pollution is considered a leading threat to pregnant women and their babies-to-be.

Women play an essential role in responding to climate change. In fact, out of 100 substantive climate solutions identified through rigorous empirical modeling, improving the education of women and girls represents one of the top solutions (#6) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming—similar in ranking to restoring tropical forests and ranking above increased solar energy generation. Women in leadership positions can also foster climate policy solutions. A study on gender equality and state-level environmentalism found that, across 130 countries, women in government positions were more likely to sign on to international treaties to reduce global warming than men. Promoting the participation of diverse women in leadership positions, as well as climate science, can also inspire young women to participate too.

……… For more information on survey methods, please review the 2010 Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change report and 2018 Climate Change in the American Mind reporthttp://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/gender-differences-in-public-understanding-of-climate-change/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA, Women | 1 Comment

Study of 120,000 hibakusha atomic bomb survivors shows raised risk of breast cancer

October 29, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women, Women | Leave a comment

Gender and radiation impact project 

 https://www.genderandradiation.org/basics

“For too long, girls and women have been invisible in the construction of radiation standards to protect heath. We are ready to expand the research base and collective will to change this – starting right now.”

— Mary Olson, Founder

THE BASICS

It is widely known that ionizing radiation – radioactivity powerful enough to strip electrons from atoms, break chemical bonds of molecules, and even break chromosomes – can be extremely harmful to humans. Even at low levels, ionizing radiation has the potential to cause DNA damage resulting in an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells, or what is commonly known as cancer.  

While this public health threat impacts us all, the risk is dramatically greater for women and girls.

For every two men who develop cancer through exposure to ionizing radiation, three women will get the disease.Further, while children as a whole are more harmed by radiation than adults, infant and young girls, when exposed, run the highest risk of cancer across their lifetime, and teenage girls will suffer almost double rates of cancer compared to boys in the same juvenile group and the same level of exposure.

The information above, derived from data contained in the 2006 National Academy of Sciences Report Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII, or BEIR VII, clearly shows that gender is a major factor in determining who suffers harm from exposure to ionizing radiation, yet this fact has not been widely reported and is not reflected in regulations or practice.

Yet, there is reason to hope. With the participation of 135 nations, the preamble of the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was written to include the following stanza:

Cognizant that the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons cannot be adequately addressed, transcend national borders, pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and the health of current and future generations, and have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, including as a result of ionizing radiation (emphasis added)

The fact this treaty was crafted to include language referring to impact on girls and women demonstrates we have a window to examine why this is the case, which will lead to better and healthier solutions for everyone.

It is time to ask the right questions and educate the public about the policy and lifestyle choices related to ionizing radiation.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Women | 1 Comment

Trump to address U.N. on nuclear non proliferation (pardon my mirth)

September 21, 2018 Posted by | weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

Korean women lead the peace movement , supported by international delegation of women

Seventy Years After Korea’s Division, Women Lead Push for Peace Truthout,  May 25, 2018By Jon Letman,    When scores of Korean women representing a coalition of some 30 peace groups and NGOs entered South Korea’s National Assembly on the banks of Seoul’s Han River, they weren’t alone. This week, the Korean peace makers were joined by an international delegation of women peace activists for a symposium focused on ending the Korean War. A women’s peace walk along the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is scheduled for May 26.

For the fourth time since 2015, these activists gathered to strategize how to most effectively advance peace on the Korean Peninsula and support diplomatic efforts to that end. #WomenPeaceKorea delegates’ efforts include engaging with South Korean government officials, foreign diplomats and US embassy officials.

Most of the international delegates are members of Women Cross DMZ and the Nobel Women’s Initiative who have traveled to Seoul to lend their support and raise awareness of the vital role women play in ending conflict.

Multiple studies have shown that when women participate in negotiations, the likelihood of achieving peace increases substantially and that peace lasts longer.

Ahn Kim Jeong-ae, one of the symposium’s organizers, said the diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea makes this week’s events even more crucial.

Ahn Kim noted that 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of separate governments in Seoul and Pyongyang. This spring was also the 70th anniversary of the April 3 incident in which some 30,000 civilians on South Korea’s Jeju Island were massacred over a seven-year period when US military-backed right-wing forces violently purged opponents of a divided and occupied Korea.

“We want to commemorate these historical facts on May 24, International Women’s Day for Disarmament and Peace,” Ahn Kim said, noting that because women suffer disproportionately in war, they have a critical role to play in conflict resolution.

A Change in Tone

Christine Ahn is the international coordinator for Women Cross DMZ, which crossed from North to South Korea in 2015. She said the fact that this year’s symposium was held at the National Assembly (the South Korean equivalent of the US Congress), was “hugely significant.”

Unlike in 2015, when Women Cross DMZ was barely acknowledged by South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, this year’s symposium was financed by the South Korean Ministry of Gender, Equality and Family, Ahn said.

The difference reflects a dramatic change from the administration of deposed South Korean President Park Guen-hye to the progressive administration of current President Moon Jae-in, who favors engagement with the North.……..http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/44590-seventy-years-after-korea-s-division-women-lead-push-for-peace

 

May 26, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Women | Leave a comment