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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Big European bank offers to help Russia retrieve 1000s of radioactive junk from the Arctic 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.

March 19, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Polar ice melting at an accelerating rate

Polar ice caps melting six times faster than in 1990s  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/11/polar-ice-caps-melting-six-times-faster-than-in-1990s

Losses of ice from Greenland and Antarctica are tracking the worst-case climate scenario, scientists warn  Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington,Thu 12 Mar 2020   The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date.

The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is tracking the worst-case climate warming scenario set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists say. Without rapid cuts to carbon emissions the analysis indicates there could be a rise in sea levels that would leave 400 million people exposed to coastal flooding each year by the end of the century.

Rising sea levels are the one of the most damaging long-term impacts of the climate crisis, and the contribution of Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating. The new analysis updates and combines recent studies of the ice masses and predicts that 2019 will prove to have been a record-breaking year when the most recent data is processed.

The previous peak year for Greenland and Antarctic ice melting was 2010, after a natural climate cycle led to a run of very hot summers. But the Arctic heatwave of 2019 means it is nearly certain that more ice was lost last year.

The average annual loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica in the 2010s was 475bn tonnes – six times greater than the 81bn tonnes a year lost in the 1990s. In total the two ice caps lost 6.4tn tonnes of ice from 1992 to 2017, with melting in Greenland responsible for 60% of that figure.

The IPCC’s most recent mid-range prediction for global sea level rise in 2100 is 53cm. But the new analysis suggests that if current trends continue the oceans will rise by an additional 17cm.

“Every centimetre of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet,” said Prof Andrew Shepherd, of the University of Leeds. He said the extra 17cm would mean the number of exposed to coastal flooding each year rising from 360 million to 400 million. “These are not unlikely events with small impacts,” he said. “They are already under way and will be devastating for coastal communities.”

Erik Ivins, of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in California, who led the assessment with Shepherd, said the lost ice was a clear sign of global heating. “The satellite measurements provide prima facie, rather irrefutable, evidence,” he said.

Almost all the ice loss from Antarctica and half of that from Greenland arose from warming oceans melting the glaciers that flow from the ice caps. This causes glacial flow to speed up, dumping more icebergs into the ocean. The remainder of Greenland’s ice losses are caused by hotter air temperatures that melt the surface of the ice sheet.

The combined analysis was carried out by a team of 89 scientists from 50 international organisations, who combined the findings of 26 ice surveys. It included data from 11 satellite missions that tracked the ice sheets’ changing volume, speed of flow and mass.

About a third of the total sea level rise now comes from Greenland and Antarctic ice loss. Just under half comes from the thermal expansion of warming ocean water and a fifth from other smaller glaciers. But the latter sources are not accelerating, unlike in Greenland and Antarctica.

Shepherd said the ice caps had been slow to respond to human-caused global heating. Greenland and especially Antarctica were quite stable at the start of the 1990s despite decades of a warming climate.

Shepherd said it took about 30 years for the ice caps to react. Now that they had a further 30 years of melting was inevitable, even if emissions were halted today. Nonetheless, he said, urgent carbon emissions cuts were vital. “We can offset some of that [sea level rise] if we stop heating the planet.”

The IPCC is in the process of producing a new global climate report and its lead author, Prof Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir, of the University of Iceland, said: “The reconciled estimate of Greenland and Antarctic ice loss is timely.”

She said she also saw increased losses from Iceland’s ice caps last year. “Summer 2019 was very warm in this region.”

March 14, 2020 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Arctic ice melt is changing ocean currents 

February 10, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Permafrost thawing -“fast and dramatic, affecting landscapes in unprecedented ways

 

February 6, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Why Arctic glaciers are melting away at an accelerating rate

How the ocean is gnawing away at glaciers, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200203114350.htm

Date:
February 3, 2020
Source:
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Summary:
The Greenland Ice Sheet is melting faster today than it did only a few years ago. The reason: it’s not just melting on the surface — but underwater, too. AWI researchers have now found an explanation for the intensive melting on the ice’s underside, and published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The glaciers are melting rapidly: Greenland’s ice is now melting seven times faster than in the 1990s — an alarming discovery, since climate change will likely intensify this melting in the future, causing the sea level to rise more rapidly.

Accordingly, researchers are now working to better understand the underlying mechanisms of this melting. Ice melts on the surface because it is exposed to the sun and rising temperatures. But it has now also begun melting from below — including in northeast Greenland, which is home to several ‘ice tongues’. Each tongue is a strip of ice that has slid down into the ocean and floats on the water — without breaking off from the land ice. The longest ice tongue, part of the ’79° North Glacier’, is an enormous 80 km long. Over the past 20 years, it has experienced a dramatic loss of mass and thickness, because it’s been melting not just on the surface, but also and especially from below.

Too much heat from the ocean

A team led by oceanographer Dr Janin Schaffer from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) in Bremerhaven has now identified the source of this intense underwater melting. The conclusions of their study, which the experts have just released in the journal Nature Geoscience, are particularly unsettling because the melting phenomenon they discovered isn’t unique to the 79° North Glacier, which means it could produce similar effects elsewhere. For the purposes of the study, the researchers conducted the first extensive ship-based survey of the ocean floor near the glacier, which revealed the presence of a two-kilometre-wide trough, from the bottom of which comparatively warm water from the Atlantic is channelled directly toward the glacier. But that’s not all: in the course of a detailed analysis of the trough, Janin Schaffer spotted a bathymetric sill, a barrier that the water flowing over the seafloor has to overcome. Once over the hump, the water rushes down the back of the sill — and under the ice tongue. Thanks to this acceleration of the warm water mass, large amounts of heat from the ocean flow past the tongue every second, melting it from beneath. To make matters worse, the layer of warm water that flows toward the glacier has grown larger: measured from the seafloor, it now extends 15 metres higher than it did just a few years ago. “The reason for the intensified melting is now clear,” Schaffer says. “Because the warm water current is larger, substantially more warmth now makes its way under the ice tongue, second for second.”

Other regions are also affected

In order to determine whether the phenomenon only manifests at the 79° North Glacier or also at other sites, the team investigated a neighbouring region on Greenland’s eastern coast, where another glacier, the Zachariæ Isstrøm, juts out into the sea, and where a large ice tongue had recently broken off from the mainland. Working from the surface of an ice floe, the experts measured water temperatures near the ocean floor. According to Schaffer: “The readings indicate that here, too, a bathymetric sill near the seafloor accelerates warm water toward the glacier. Apparently, the intensive melting on the underside of the ice at several sites throughout Greenland is largely produced by the form of the seafloor.” These findings will ultimately help her more accurately gauge the total amount of meltwater that the Greenland Ice Sheet loses every year.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine ResearchNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

February 3, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment

America Almost Stockpiled Nuclear Weapons In Iceland

December 30, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dangers of nuclear crises in the Arctic: countries prepare for emergencies.

Arctic Council creates new expert group on nuclear emergencies  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2019/12/arctic-council-creates-new-expert-group-nuclear-emergencies  

The Arctic countries take major steps to prepare strategies and share information to improve preparedness in case of radiological and nuclear incidents. By Thomas Nilsen, December 11, 2019  

Two fatal accidents during the summer of 2019 was a wake-up call for radiation emergency authorities monitoring northern waters.

On July 1st, the nuclear-powered special purpose submarine Losharik catches fire when on mission outside the Kola Peninsula. Six weeks later, a nuclear-powered cruise missile explodes while being recovered from the seabed outside Nenoksa naval weapons testing site in the White Sea.

While Russia has been very reluctant to share information about what happened at the two accidents, the country is a team-player when the Arctic Council now has agreed to establish a dedicated expert group on radiation and nuclear incidents.

The formal decision was taken at the meeting of the Arctic Council’s Working Group on Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) in Reykyavik on December 4th.

All eight Arctic states will appoint experts and observer states are encouraged to participate. To strengthen the group’s role, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is invited to join the meetings.

Inside the Arctic Circle, the number of nuclear-powered vessels has increased sharply over the last decade.

Tensions between Russia and NATO have led to more sailings with reactor-powered submarines, especially in the Norwegian, Barents- and White Seas, but also under the ice in the high Arctic. Northern Norway saw a record number of 12 visiting NATO nuclear-powered submarines in 2018. And while the Arctic Council members met in Reykjavik last week, Russia’s Northern Fleet still had a number of attack submarines sailing the Norwegian Sea. So did at least one American nuclear-powered submarine as reported by the Barents Observer.

Secondly, increased shipping and industrial activities along Russia’s Northern Sea Route are supported by more and larger nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Unfortunate, the history of operating reactors and deploying nuclear weapons to the Arctic has a bad record with radioactivity released to the environment and exposure to people; nuclear weapons testing at Novaya Zemlya, the crash of a U.S. bomber with plutonium warheads at Thule airbase on Greenland, sinking submarines like the Komsomolets, Kursk and K-259. Several other submarines have suffered serious reactor accidents and in the Kara Sea, thousands of containers wit radioactive waste is dumped together with 16 reactors.

The Arctic Council, though, can not engage in anything related to military activities.

The list of potential incidents with possible releases of radioactivity exposing people living or working in the Arctic is long. How to share knowledge and information about each countries’ preparedness capacities will certainly be on the agenda when the new expert group’s first formal meeting, likely to take place next spring on the Faroe Islands.

Chair of the expert group in the starting period, Øyvind Aas-Hansen with the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, tells the Barents Observer that one interesting topic that might be brought to table is defining the risk potential for emergencies due to nuclear and radiological material and activities that pose a threat in the Arctic.

«We aim at protecting Arctic inhabitants and their livelihoods and the Arctic environment,» Øyvind Aas-Hansen explains.

He said it is needed to «identify minimal preparedness and response arrangements and capabilities applicable to the Arctic region.»

Aas-Hansen said it could be special needs for coordinating emergency prevention and response that are «specific to the Arctic region.»

Both the United States and Russia have serious experiences from dealing with nuclear accidents in cold climate, like the US clean-up work after the Thule accident in 1968 and Soviet clean-up work after the leakages from Building No. 5 in Andreeva Bay in the early 1980s.

More reactors at sea

The Barents Observer has recently published an overview (pdf) listing the increasing number of reactors in the Russian Arctic. The paper is part of Barents Observer’s analytical popular science studies on developments in the Euro-Arctic Region.

According to the list there are 39 nuclear-powered vessels or installations in the Russian Arctic today with a total of 62 reactors. This includes 31 submarines, one surface warship, five icebreakers, two onshore and one floating nuclear power plants.

Looking 15 years ahead, the number of ships, including submarines, and installations powered by reactors is estimated to increase to 74 with a total of 94 reactors, maybe as many as 114. Additional to new icebreakers and submarines already under construction, Russia is brushing dust of older Soviet ideas of utilizing nuclear-power for different kind of Arctic shelf industrial developments, like oil- and gas exploration, mining and research. “By 2035, the Russian Arctic will be the most nuclearized waters on the planet,” the paper reads.

Also, existing icebreakers and submarines get life-time prolongation. The average age of the Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered submarines has never been older than today. Several of the submarines built in the 1980s will continue to sail the Barents Sea and under the Arctic ice-cap until the late 2020s.

In August, Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, “Akademik Lomonosov”, will be towed from Murmansk to Pevek, a port-town on the northeast coast of Siberia.

Other plans to use nuclear reactors in the Russian Arctic in the years to come include many first-of-a-kind technologies like sea-floor power reactors for gas exploration, civilian submarines for seismic surveys and cargo transportation, small-power reactors on ice-strengthen platforms.

In the military sphere, the Arctic could be used as testing sites for both Russia’s new nuclear-powered cruise-missile and nuclear-powered underwater weapons drone. Both weapons were displayed by President Vladimir Putin when he bragged about new nuclear weapons systems in his annual speech to the Federation Council last year.

An Arctic Council summary report, presented to the Ministerial Meeting in Rovaniemi in May as a deliverable by the Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response (EPPR) Working Group highlight the risks: “The presence of radiological and nuclear material in the Arctic poses a risk for serious incidents or accidents that may affect Arctic inhabitants and their communities, the Arctic environment, and Arctic industries, including traditional livelihoods such as fisheries and local food sources.”

For Norway, Russia and Iceland, a nuclear accident in the Barents Sea could be disastrous for sales of seafood. The three countries export of cod and other spices is worth billions of Euros annually.

 

December 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, safety | Leave a comment

Floating small nuclear reactors bring serious risks

nuclear experts have highlighted crucial negatives that cast doubt on the floating nuclear utopia.Jan Haverkamp, Greenpeace Netherlands senior expert nuclear energy and energy policy, sees the three main disadvantages of Akademin Lomonosov to be the big human factors risk, its problematic construction, and the pollution of the Arctic region with nuclear waste.

this project is reintroducing a major pollution risk in an area which functions as a climate regulator for the globe – “the Arctic pristine area, which is a very important natural area for the entire balance on the planet,”

Is floating nuclear power a good idea?  Power Technology  By Yoana Cholteeva, 9 Dec 19,  Floating nuclear power promises to provide a steady source of energy at hard-to-reach locations, but at the same time the dangers inherent in nuclear power make some question whether it’s safe enough for areas where help is hard to find. Is floating nuclear power really a good idea? Yoana Cholteeva investigates.

Russian nuclear company Rosatom announced the arrival of the world’s first floating nuclear power plant, Akademik Lomonosov, in September 2019 when the technology was transported to the port of its permanent location in Russia’s Far East. The 144m-long and 30m-wide vessel has now docked at the port in Pevek, off the coast of Chukotka, where it will stay before its commissioning next year.

Akademik Lomonosov will use small modular reactor technology and is equipped with two KLT-40C reactor systems with 35MW capacity each. It has been designed to access hard-to-reach areas where it can operate for three to five years without the need for refuelling. It also has an overall life cycle of 40 years, which may be extended to 50 years Continue reading

December 10, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, safety, technology | Leave a comment

New ship to handle all nuclear waste from Rosatom’s Arctic operations.

Barents Observer 5th Dec 2019, New ship to handle all nuclear waste from Rosatom’s Arctic operations.
The new special purpose vessel will serve the new icebreakers and the
floating nuclear power plants and possible other reactor installations.

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/industry-and-energy/2019/12/new-ship-will-take-care-all-nuclear-waste-rosatoms-arctic-operation

December 7, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

In framing Julian Assange, The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit

The FBI tried to make Iceland a complicit ally in framing Julian Assange https://independentaustralia.net/life/life-display/the-fbi-tried-to-make-iceland-a-complicit-ally-in-framing-julian-assange,13277

By Sara Chessa | 5 November 2019 Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

Former Icelandic Interior Minister tells Independent Australia how he blocked U.S. interference in 2011 in order to defend WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Sara Chessa reports.

A MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR wakes up one summer morning and finds out that a plane full of United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents has landed in his country, aiming to carry out police investigations without proper permission from the authorities.

How many statesmen would have the strength to say, “No, you can’t do this”, to the United States? Former Icelandic Interior Minister Ögmundur Jónasson, in fact, did this — and for the sake of investigative journalism. He understood that something wrong with the sudden FBI mission in Reykjavik, and that this had to do with the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange. Continue reading

November 12, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Frozen nuclear city to ‘seep radiation into environment’ as ice melts

CAMP CENTURY: CLIMATE AND ICE MONITORING

Next Chernobyl? Frozen nuclear city to ‘seep radiation into environment’ as ice melts

A FROZEN underground city could be threatening to seep radioactive materials into the environment as climate change forces the ice to melt. Express UK By CALLUM HOARE Nov 8, 2019 

Camp Century: Pentagon’s secret mobile nuclear base revealed

Project Icework was a top secret United States Army programme of the Cold War, aimed at building a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites below the Greenland ice sheet due to its strategic location near the Soviet Union. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicised “cover” project, known as Camp Century, was launched in 1960, but six years later it was cancelled due to unstable conditions. The nuclear reactor was removed before the site was abandoned, but hundreds of tonnes of toxic waste remain buried beneath the ice.

Now, climate change is threatening to expose it, as the ice melts at an alarming rate.

YouTube channel Seeker spoke to William Colgan, who is currently running The Camp Century Climate Monitoring Programme, in the hope of preventing the radioactive material from reaching the surface.

He said in 2018: “The people working at Camp Century did not have an understanding of climate change. “They didn’t have solid records, global climate models, these big data sets so you can see an overview of what’s happening to Earth’s climate.

The moving ice sheet started to destabilise the underground tunnels, prompting the US Army to abort Project Iceworm.

“When Camp Century was decommissioned, only the nuclear reactor was taken out for destructive testing, and the rest of the camp was left in place, and they closed the doors.

“It was abandoned on the assumption that climate wouldn’t change, and it would continue to snow at Camp Century forever and the perpetual snowfall would entomb all of the base infrastructures and eventually bury it.”

The narrator of the series explained why Dr Colgan is so invested in the project.

He said: “The climate has changed and temperatures have reached record highs in the Arctic and Greenland’s ice sheet is melting at an unprecedented rate, which could turn Camp Century’s abandoned waste into a major environmental risk.

So a team of scientists, including William, went back to the site.”

Dr Colgan explained what his team is doing.

He added: “In 2017, the government of Denmark, at the request of the government of Greenland, started the Camp Century Climate Monitoring Programme.

“We set up a bunch of instruments that are erected on the ice sheet surface and then we drill in and we put probes into the ice sheet.

“It keeps a real-time data stream coming from the Camp Century site where we monitor a bunch of things, mainly the temperature of the snow, the temperature of the ice and the air temperature…….https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1201199/nuclear-warning-cold-war-camp-century-project-iceworm-radiation-climate-change-spt

November 9, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, environment | 2 Comments

Climate change: Permafrost is now becoming a carbon emitter

October 24, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Safety and security preparations for remote Prevek as floating nuclear power plant enters East Siberian Sea

As floating nuclear power plant enters East Siberian Sea, emergency services in Pevek make a last check Final preparations in the remote Arctic town that will host the floating nuclear installation. Barents Observer, By  Atle Staalesen, September 06, 2019, 

The «Akademik Lomonosov» on the 6th September passed the Sannikov Strait south of the New Siberian Islands and made it into the East Siberian Sea. The floating installation now has only about 3 days left of its extensive voyage across the Northern Sea Route.

According to the Northern Sea Route Administration, the installation and its accompanying vessels are due to arrive in Pevek on the 9th of September.

The «Akademik Lomonosov» on 23rd August set out of the Kola Bay after more than a year of preparations in Murmansk. Towed by icebreaker «Dikson» and accompanied by support ships «Yasnyy» and «Kapitan Martyshkin», the floating power plant had course for the Barents Sea and subsequently made it through the Kara Sea and Laptev Sea.

The voyage from Murmansk to Pevek is about 4,700 km long.

Is Pevek ready?

The formerly desolate town with a population of about 4,200 has been under preparations for years. Visits by federal officials and inspectors have been numerous…….

According to the ministry, a special fire- and rescue department is under construction on site. When completed, the unit can ultimately serve as base for a bigger Arctic rescue center.

On site are also a big number of representatives of nuclear power company Rosatom that be the ones that run the plant…….

Outsourced security

Also law-enforcement authorities are on site preparing to keep an eye on the new strategic object. It is Rosgvardia, the Russian National Guard, that has been commissioned to protect the power plant and its surroundings.

According to the security service, the formation of guarding units were in late August about to be completed and training was ongoing in cooperation with representatives of Rosatom.

Rosgvardia has decided to outsource the protection of the «Akademik Lomonosov» to what it calls «sub-units of non-governmental security.»  The decision to outsource the job has been taken by Rosgvardia Director Viktor Zolotov, the security service informs.

Big risks

The «Akademik Lomonosov» has two KLT40S reactors and will provide heat and electricity to Pevek for the next 12 years. After that, it will have to be towed back either to Rosatomflot’s base in Murmansk, or to a shipyard like in Severodvinsk for unloading the spent nuclear fuel and carry out other maintenance work.

Environmentalists have criticized the project and warned against possible major risks.

Environmental organization Greenpeace has described the project as a “nuclear Titanic” or a “Chernobyl on ice”.  «We are sure it has been built not to cover the needs of Chukotka, but as a working model for possible foreign customers,» says Rashid Alimov, nuclear campaigner with Greenpeace in Moscow told the Barents Observer.
«We think floating nuclear plants are simply a too risky and too expensive way of producing electricity.» https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic-industry-and-energy/2019/09/floating-nuclear-power-plant-enters-east-siberian-sea-emergency

September 7, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, safety | Leave a comment

Who will clean up America’s nuclear wastes in Greenland?

Maine Voices: Long-buried U.S. nuclear waste would complicate any bid for Greenland https://www.pressherald.com/2019/08/24/maine-voices-long-buried-u-s-nuclear-waste-would-complicate-trumps-bid-for-greenland/

Would the U.S. or Denmark be responsible for cleaning up over 47,000 gallons of Cold War-era radioactive waste?

August 26, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Massive wildfires are burning across the world- July was hottest month ever

August 24, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Brazil, climate change | 1 Comment