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Greenland to reinstate its ban on uranium mining

Within weeks, Greenland’s parliament, the Inatsisartut, is expected to
pass a bill reinstating a ban on uranium mining that was lifted in 2013
following pressure from mining companies. “The Greenlandic minister with
responsibility for minerals has publicly stated that a ban on uranium
mining will put an end to all future uranium mining, full stop,” Mariane
Paviasen, a Greenland MP and leading activist in the anti-uranium mining
movement, Urani? Naamik (Uranium? No), told Green Left.

 Green Left 20th Oct 2021

October 23, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, politics | Leave a comment

Russian and American nuclear wastes in the Arctic may release radiation as global heating melts the ice.

Climate change: Arctic’s unknown viruses’ and nuclear waste,  A rapidly warming Arctic could cause the spread of nuclear waste, undiscovered viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria, a report has found. BBC, 2 Oct 21,

It said potential radioactive waste from Cold War nuclear submarines and reactors and damage from mining could be released as the ice melts.

The nine million square miles of Artic dates to about a million years old.

Co-author Dr Arwyn Edwards from Aberystwyth University said much of the Arctic is still unknown.

Writing in Nature Climate Change, Dr Edwards co-authored report with academics from universities in the United States and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

The Arctic houses a diverse range of chemical compounds whether through natural processes, accidents or deliberate storage.

Nuclear waste, viruses and chemicals

Thawing permafrost, or permanently frozen land, has widely been seen as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as massive stores of Arctic soil carbon are released to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, as well as causing abrupt change to the landscape.

However, the research found the implications are more widespread and less understood – with potential for the release of nuclear waste and radiation, unknown viruses and other chemicals of concern.

Between 1955 and 1990, the Soviet Union conducted 130 nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere and near surface ocean of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago off the coast of north-west Russia.

The tests used 224 separate explosive devices, releasing about 265 megatons of nuclear energy and more than 100 decommissioned nuclear submarines were scuttled in the nearby Kara and Barents seas.

Despite a Russian government launching a strategic clean-up plan, the review notes the area has tested highly for the radioactive substances caesium and plutonium, between undersea sediment, vegetation and ice sheets.

The United States’ Camp Century nuclear-powered under-ice research facility in Greenland also produced considerable nuclear and diesel waste.

Decommissioned in 1967, waste was left in the accumulating ice, which faces a longer term threat from changes to the Greenland Ice Sheet.

The 1968 Thule bomber crash in the same country also dispersed huge amounts of plutonium on the Greenland ice sheet……………………..

The report said despite its findings, it is still poorly understood and largely unquantified and further in-depth research in the area is vital to gain further insight into the risks………..

October 2, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, environment, radiation | Leave a comment

Greenland moves toward a stricter ban on uranium mining.

Greenland has taken the first step towards outlawing uranium mining after lawmakers there proposed a stricter version of a ban that the country’s national assembly overturned in 2013. Only July 2, the elected government began a month-long public consultation period for a proposed bill that, in addition to mining uranium, would prohibit the feasibility studies and exploration activities that must be completed before a mining project can be considered for a license to begin operation.

According to proposal, Naalakkersuisut, the elected government, is hoping that a reinstatement of what was known as the zero-tolerance policy, to achieve its goal of ensuring that “Greenland neither produces nor exports uranium.”

 Artic Today 14th July 2021

July 19, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, opposition to nuclear, politics | 1 Comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The EBRD has provided 54 million euros from the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership Fund (NDEP).

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

Ice sheets melting, ocean currents, and the risk of climate tipping points

Ice sheets and ocean currents at risk of climate tipping points can
destabilise each other as the world heats up, leading to a domino effect
with severe consequences for humanity, according to a risk analysis.

Tipping points occur when global heating pushes temperatures beyond a
critical threshold, leading to accelerated and irreversible impacts. Some
large ice sheets in Antarctica are thought to already have passed their
tipping points, meaning large sea-level rises in coming centuries.

The new research examined the interactions between ice sheets in West Antarctica,
Greenland, the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream and the Amazon rainforest. The
scientists carried out 3m computer simulations and found domino effects in
a third of them, even when temperature rises were below 2C, the upper limit
of the Paris agreement.

Yhe study showed that the interactions between
these climate systems can lower the critical temperature thresholds at
which each tipping point is passed. It found that ice sheets are potential
starting points for tipping cascades, with the Atlantic currents acting as
a transmitter and eventually affecting the Amazon.

 Guardian 3rd June 2021

June 5, 2021 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Australian-Chinese company Greenland Minerals to be thwarted in its bid for uranium and rare earth mining in Greenland.

Telegraph 17th April 2021, Overlooking the small fishing town of Narsaq, next to painted houses and slow-moving icebergs, lies one the last great untapped deposits of rare earth materials. About a quarter of the world’s rare earth minerals are thought to be found here, deep in the southern fjords of Greenland, providing key ingredients needed to build everything from wind turbines or electric vehicles. These deposits are crucial to Britain’s dream of developing the technologies required to become a green economy while reducing our rare-earth reliance on China.

But one man could be about to scupper the UK’s plans. Múte Bourup Egede, the 34-year-old leader of the Left-wing Inuit Ataqatigiit party, won a snap election in Greenland lastweek. At the heart of his election campaign was a pledge to halt the Kvanefjeld project by Greenland Minerals, an Australian company with Chinese ownership.

But for Greenlanders, strategic relevance was eclipsed by concerns surrounding the mine’s uranium contents. The territory’s anxieties around radioactive materials can be traced back to the 1968 Thule plane crash, when a US plane carrying nuclear bombs crashed into the sea ice in Greenland’s north. Even though the nuclear material did not
detonate, as part of clean up efforts the US Air Force collected 1.6m gallons of contaminated snow.

April 19, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, AUSTRALIA, politics, Uranium | Leave a comment

Opposition to uranium and rare earths mining – party wins Greenland election

Left-wing party opposed to rare earth mining project wins Greenland election,  A left-wing environmentalist party opposed to a controversial mining project won a clear victory in Greenland’s parliamentary election, according to results released Wednesday. 7 Apr 21,

With 36.6 percent of the vote, Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) was ahead of Siumut, a social democratic party that has dominated politics in the Danish territory since it gained autonomy in 1979.

“Thank you to the people who trusted us to work with the people in the centre for the next four years,” IA leader Mute Egede said on KNR public television after the results were announced.

IA, which was previously in opposition, is expected to grab 12 out of the 31 seats in the Inatsisartut, the local parliament, up from eight currently.

But without an absolute majority, the most likely scenario is that IA joins forces with smaller parties to form a coalition.   Siumut, which headed the outgoing government, was partly weakened by internal struggles. It gained 29.4 percent of the vote, still two percentage points higher than its results in the 2018 election.

The dividing line between the two parties was whether to authorise a controversial giant rare earth and uranium mining project, which is currently the subject of public hearings.

The Kuannersuit deposit, in the island’s south, is considered one of the world’s richest in uranium and rare earth minerals — a group of 17 metals used as components in everything from smartphones to electric cars and weapons.

IA has called for a moratorium on uranium mining, which would effectively put a halt to the project.

Divisions over Kuannersuit originally triggered the snap election in the territory after one of the smaller parties left the ruling Siumut coalition.

Opponents say the project, led by the Chinese-owned Australian group Greenland Minerals, has too many environmental risks, including radioactive waste.

Egede told KNR he would immediately start discussions to “explore different forms of cooperation” before forming a coalition government.

The 34-year-old, who has been a member of the Inatsisartut since 2015, took over the reins of the left-green party a little over two years ago.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Putin amassing, testing, huge military arsenal in the Arctic

Daily Mail 5th April 2021, Satellite images appearing to show Russia beefing up its military presence
in the Arctic have emerged just days after three of Moscow’s nuclear ballistic missile submarines smashed through the polar region in a show of strength. The images show the Russian military has been rebuilding and expanding numerous facilities across the Arctic in recent years.

revamping runways to deploying additional surveillance and air defence assets, the satellite images reveal a continuous effort to expand Moscow’s capabilities in the polar region.

April 8, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia planning to dispose of highly dangerous nuclear reactor cores of submarine at bottom of Kara Sea

March 22, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Uranium mining plunder of Greenland, and the threat to the sub-arctic environment

January 25, 2021 Posted by | ARCTIC, environment | Leave a comment

Russia marketing small nuclear reactors to the Arctic , (who cares about the toxic wastes?)

Rosatom to build small-scale land-based Arctic nuclear plant by 2028

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom said Thursday that it has reached another milestone in its plans to build a small-scale land-based nuclear plant near the community of Ust-Kuyga in the eastern Russian Arctic. Barents Observer, Radio Canada International 
December 25, 2020, By Levon Sevunts 

Rosatom said it has reached an agreement with the government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) setting out parameters for pricing energy that will be produced by the nuclear plant, which is expected to be completed by 2028……….

“I am convinced that a small-scale nuclear power plant will give a qualitative impetus to the development of the Arctic regions of Yakutia, stimulate the development of industry in Ust-Yansky ulus and improve the living standards of local residents,” said in a statement Head of the Sakha Republic Aysen Nikolayev.

The nuclear plant is expected to operate for 60 years but the press release did not specify how Rosatom plans to deal with the nuclear waste produced by it.

Rosatom officials said the small-scale nuclear plant is based on a proven technology that has already been tested in Arctic conditions.

RITM-200 reactors are already being used on the recently commissioned Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker and six other 22220 design heavy Russian icebreakers that are being built, Rosatom officials said…….

“The implementation of this project strengthens the leading position of Rosatom in the world market of small nuclear power plants.”…….

Rosatom is also actively marketing the technology for export overseas, Likhachev said.

December 26, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, marketing, Russia, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Greenhouse gas emissions transforming the Arctic into ‘an entirely different climate’

Guardian 8th Dec 2020.
The Arctic’s rapid transformation into a less frozen, hotter and
biologically altered place has been further exacerbated by a year of
wildfires, soaring temperatures and loss of ice, US scientists have
reported. The planet’s northern polar region recorded its second hottest
12-month period to September 2020, with the warmest temperatures since 1900
all now occurring within the past seven years, according to an annual
Arctic report card issued by the National Ocean and Atmospheric
Administration (Noaa). The Arctic is heating up at a rate around double
that of the global average, due to the human-caused climate crisis.

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

Putin’s Russia keen to exploit the Arctic for fossil fuels: more nuclear-powered icebreakers on the way

October 31, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, business and costs, climate change, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

Release of methane off East Siberian coast has been triggered,

‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find

Exclusive: expedition discovers new source of greenhouse gas off East Siberian coast has been triggered,    Guardian,  Jonathan Watts Global environment editor  28 Oct 20 Scientists have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean – known as the “sleeping giants of the carbon cycle” – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast, the Guardian can reveal.High levels of the potent greenhouse gas have been detected down to a depth of 350 metres in the Laptev Sea near Russia, prompting concern among researchers that a new climate feedback loop may have been triggered that could accelerate the pace of global heating.

The slope sediments in the Arctic contain a huge quantity of frozen methane and other gases – known as hydrates. Methane has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over 20 years. The United States Geological Survey has previously listed Arctic hydrate destabilisation as one of four most serious scenarios for abrupt climate change.

The international team onboard the Russian research ship R/V Akademik Keldysh said most of the bubbles were currently dissolving in the water but methane levels at the surface were four to eight times what would normally be expected and this was venting into the atmosphere.

“At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered. This East Siberian slope methane hydrate system has been perturbed and the process will be ongoing,” said the Swedish scientist Örjan Gustafsson, of Stockholm University, in a satellite call from the vessel.

The scientists – who are part of a multi-year International Shelf Study Expedition – stressed their findings were preliminary. The scale of methane releases will not be confirmed until they return, analyse the data and have their studies published in a peer-reviewed journal.

But the discovery of potentially destabilised slope frozen methane raises concerns that a new tipping point has been reached that could increase the speed of global heating.

The Arctic is considered ground zero in the debate about the vulnerability of frozen methane deposits in the ocean.

With the Arctic temperature now rising more than twice as fast as the global average, the question of when – or even whether – they will be released into the atmosphere has been a matter of considerable uncertainty in climate computer models.

The 60-member team on the Akademik Keldysh believe they are the first to observationally confirm the methane release is already under way across a wide area of the slope about 600km offshore………………

Temperatures in Siberia were 5C higher than average from January to June this year, an anomaly that was made at least 600 times more likely by human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. Last winter’s sea ice melted unusually early. This winter’s freeze has yet to begin, already a later start than at any time on record.

October 29, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Unwanted nuclear submariness and military operations in the Arctic

Unwanted Nuclear Subs and Military Ops in the Arctic, High North News, 

Increased interest in the Arctic: “The U.S. Army has made a significant pivot”  There is a pivot in the U.S. Army to train and operate more in Alaska to rebuild skills, according to Major General Peter Andrysiak, commander U.S. Army Alaska. He says the U.S. Army soon will release its own Arctic strategy.

HILDE-GUNN BYE    23 Oct 20 As the Arctic region sees increased interest, the Army has made a “significant pivot and investment,” Major General Peter Andrysiak, commanding general of U.S. Army Alaska said during the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) annual convention last week……. HTTPS://WWW.HIGHNORTHNEWS.COM/EN/INCREASED-INTEREST-ARCTIC-US-ARMY-HAS-MADE-SIGNIFICANT-PIVOT

October 26, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, weapons and war | Leave a comment