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Argentina’s nuclear power industry in trouble

FT 24th Sept 2018 , Argentina’s long-established nuclear power industry is facing financial
difficulties as the government seeks to balance the budget. This could
delay important projects, not least as Argentina aims to be a player in
what may well develop into a growing global market for small-scale
reactors. The national industry began much thanks to a German scientist
described by some as a fantasist and a scammer. In the late 1940s, Ronald
Richter convinced Argentina’s President Juan Domingo Perón to underwrite
research, at a secret lab in Patagonia, into building what he called a
Thermotron. After three years and spending about $410m in today’s money,
the project proved a failure that eventually landed Richter in jail for
fraud.
https://www.ft.com/content/d138b4a8-95b4-11e8-95f8-8640db9060a7

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September 26, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Latin American and Caribbean nations lead the way towards nuclear disarmament

Disarmament over deterrence: Nuclear lessons from Latin America, https://thebulletin.org/2018/08/disarmament-over-deterrence-nuclear-lessons-from-latin-america/  By Christopher Dunlap, August 1, 2018

In late May, the National Security Archive released newly declassified US documents from more than 50 years ago showing Mexico’s support for nuclear disarmament far beyond the boundaries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The documents reveal that Mexico’s ambassador to United Nations negotiations in Geneva sought to contribute unambiguous language on disarmament, peaceful nuclear use, and nuclear-weapon-free zones to the text of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), finalized in 1968. The NPT bears many of the same philosophical and legal imprints as the Treaty of Tlatelolco finalized the previous year, which banned nuclear weapons development, storage, or deployment south of the Rio Grande and in the Caribbean basin.

Today the world is closer to nuclear war than at any time since the 1960s. The deterioration of United States relations with at least three nuclear hotspots across the world – North Korea, Russia, and Iran – explains a great deal of the grave assessment that “major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race.”

The vast majority of the world’s nations, however, have renounced nuclear weapons. In 2017, 122 of the United Nations’ 193 member countries voted to approve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for complete global nuclear disarmament on humanitarian grounds. These countries believe that nuclear weapons, no matter which nations possess them, pose an unacceptable threat to human life and to an increasingly fragile planet. For them, security is disarmament. For political and military leaders in nuclear-armed countries, on the other hand, security is deterrence, in which the threat of destruction by nuclear weapons keeps the world’s strongest militaries from initiating war.

If these mutually exclusive languages of disarmament and deterrence can be translated into some common vocabulary, and if the politics of fear dissipate, a complete global ban on nuclear weapons has a chance to succeed. A half-century ago, a similarly ambitious plan faced long odds and a bumpy road from idea to reality.

Success story. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, finalized in February 1967, created a regional microcosm of a nuclear-weapon-free world. In addition to banning nuclear weapons, Latin American and Caribbean diplomats and heads of state obtained guarantees from the world’s nuclear-armed nations (and its lingering overseas empires, among them, Britain, France, and the Netherlands) to abide by the same rules. Remarkably, almost all of these guarantees in the treaty’s additional protocols – including those made by the United States and the Soviet Union – were ratified within 15 years, lightning speed in the world of nuclear diplomacy, and long before the treaty itself entered into force with Cuba’s accession in 2002.

It is no wonder, then, that Latin American and Caribbean nations dominate the list of the 58 early signatories of last year’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The region’s percentage of signatory nations (33 percent) is roughly double that of its share of total member countries of the United Nations (17 percent). The most likely explanation for such disarmament enthusiasm almost certainly centers on what happened at Tlatelolco. After Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed nuclear missiles from Cuba in 1962, Mexican diplomat Alfonso García Robles led a long and contentious negotiation process, concluding in 1967 with an agreement that stands today as both a landmark of nuclear nonproliferation and a model for global disarmament.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco served as both a call and a blueprint to create four additional nuclear-weapon-free zones in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Africa. Nearly three-fifths of the world’s countries now belong to these zones.

Different priorities. Disarmament ranked well above nonproliferation as the motive force for creating the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the world’s first nuclear weapons ban in a populated area. Appearing before any other specific legal provision in the treaty’s text, “general and complete disarmament under effective international control” stood as Tlatelolco’s ultimate goal. Secondarily, the treaty aimed to check the spread of nuclear weapons to countries not already possessing them. Lastly, the agreement’s preamble sought to preserve the uninhibited use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, defending Latin American and Caribbean nations’ “right to the greatest and most equitable possible access” to the atom’s immense potential for economic and social development.

The NPT’s Article VI, which calls for all parties “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” traces back to a more specifically worded draft proposal from Mexico, requiring nations with nuclear weapons to prohibit their testing, manufacturing, and storage “with all speed and perseverance,” and to work toward “the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles.” (Last year’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is in fact the fulfillment of the last clause of Article VI of the NPT, an agreement to pursue a “treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”)

But nuclear weapon states sought a role for continued deterrence in the NPT by inserting a division that the architects of Tlatelolco had rejected, parting the world into nuclear “haves” and “have-nots” with separate and unequal sets of rights and responsibilities. In the view of Argentine diplomat Julio César Carasales, the NPT represented the “disarmament of the disarmed,” conferring almost unlimited privileges on nuclear-armed powers while subjecting the rest of the world to onerous restrictions, even on peaceful technology. And while the NPT vaguely promised general and complete disarmament through Article VI, it did not mandate any timeline or procedure by which nuclear-armed countries would actually dismantle their weapons. From 1975, when the first NPT Review Conference took place among the treaty’s parties, until 2010, when the preparatory committee for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons began meeting, non-nuclear weapon states had only one shot every five years to try to hold weapon nations accountable to their promises of disarmament.

A 50-year-old road map. With the adoption of last year’s ban treaty, the 184 UN member countries and two observer states that do not possess nuclear weapons now have an agreement with the potential to gradually discredit nuclear weapons (and their role in deterrence) as illegitimate tools of global security. By following the lead of international treaties prohibiting other classes of weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical, land mines, and cluster munitions – the proponents of the 2017 agreement are hoping that, someday, the leaders of nuclear-armed states might agree that global security lies in disarmament instead of deterrence.

It certainly won’t be easy. Like the architects of the Tlatelolco agreement that entered into force 35 years after it was finalized, the UN diplomats and civil society organizations that hashed out the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons crafted an ambitious, audacious document that they may not live to see made into law. At least two prominent American nuclear policy and disarmament experts view the UN treaty as a series of lost opportunities to educate citizens of nuclear-armed nations about the threats posed by those arms of mass destruction. Worse, three historical allies among the world’s small club of nuclear-armed countries—the United States, France, and the United Kingdom—immediately rejected the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for failing to “address the security concerns that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary.”

Indeed, there is no reason to think that nine nuclear-armed nations will be persuaded anytime soon to dismantle the weapons of mass destruction that they rely on for deterrence. But a path to disarmament-based security is viable. Latin American and Caribbean visionaries gave us the road map at Tlatelolco a half-century ago. They were correct on at least two points: A world free of nuclear weapons is not only possible; it is fundamental to our long-term survival.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

THIS IS WHAT THE REAL FUKUSHIMA AND LARGE SURROUNDING AREA IS LIKE.

It is in the water, the soil, the food, the air, the people, their houses, the animals, the plants, their cars. It is everywhere.in Japan.

From the Beyond Nuclear story abput the cesium 137 tragedy in Brazil:
On September 13, 1987, Brazilian scrap metal dealer, Devair Ferreira, unwittingly opened Pandora’s box. Out spilled a bright blue crystalline powder that fell glowing to the floor. Fascinated by the magical iridescence, Ferreira invited family members to his home to see the mysterious substance for themselves. They were entranced. They touched it and passed it around to other friends and relatives.
What none of them knew was that they had just set in motion Latin America’s worst nuclear accident. The blue powder was cesium chloride, encased inside a cesium-137 teletherapy unit that had been left behind in an abandoned cancer treatment hospital in the City of Goiânia, the capital of the State of Goiás. Two jobless youngsters had picked it up, pulled out the heavy lead cylinder containing 19 grams of cesium-137, and sold it to Ferreira.
Ferreira, and his friends and family, soon became sick. His brother Ivo took some of the powder to his house where his six-year old daughter Leide played with the glowing radioactive crystals on the floor just before dinner. When she ate boiled eggs with her contaminated fingers, the deadly cesium-137 entered her body. Twenty two Ferreira family members had direct contact with the cesium-137. But they unwittingly went on to contaminate others.

It is amazing how much damage, 19 gr
Of this evil blue shit cesium 137 did in this town in Brazil. The shit, like cobalt 60, strontium 90, iridium is such a strong gamma emitter it has to be tightly contained in a thick lead box. Yet tons of it and other shit was blown all over japan by the reactor explosions.Decontamination of houses and streets in Goiânia
At least 40 people were hospitalized, and by October 28 four had died. They were Ivo’s daughter Leide and Devair Ferreira’s wife Gabriela — who had first sounded the alarm about the sudden mysterious sicknesses in her extended family — along with two of Devair’s employees.
All of those affected were at first treated at the local hospital like regular patients and were allowed to circulate freely through the city, contaminating others they met, as well as the doctors and nurses who cared for them. For 16 days, no one knew that the cause of their sickness was radiation exposure.
When it finally came to light, Brazil’s National Nuclear Energy Commission sent a team to Goiânia, to quarantine and isolate those contaminated and to start the clean-up.
A total of 112,800 people remained isolated in the Olympic Stadium of Goiânia until December 1987, and were examined there for radiation by the CNEN. Radiation technicians ultimately registered a total of 249 contaminated people, 129 of them with cesium-137 in their body, a man-made isotope produced in nuclear reactors that, when ingested, binds with muscle and irradiates people internally.
According to the government of Goiás and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Goiânia’s cesium-137 accident claimed only four lives, but the Goiás Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Association of Cesium Victims (AVCesio) say that at least 1,400 people were contaminated and that 66 have died as of 2017.

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan,Time magazine produced a list of 12 of the Worst Nuclear Disasters. Goiânia was one of them. Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA,pointed out in a March 25, 2012 Washington Postcolumn, that the Goiânia incident “involved the unintended release of radioactivity, but it remains the best real-world indicator of what could happen on a larger scale if terrorists were to detonate a dirty bomb in a large city or at a major public event.”

On September 13, 1987, Brazilian scrap metal dealer, Devair Ferreira, unwittingly opened Pandora’s box. Out spilled a bright blue crystalline powder that fell glowing to the floor. Fascinated by the magical iridescence, Ferreira invited family members to his home to see the mysterious substance for themselves. They were entranced. They touched it and passed it around to other friends and relatives.
What none of them knew was that they had just set in motion Latin America’s worst nuclear accident. The blue powder was cesium chloride, encased inside a cesium-137 teletherapy unit that had been left behind in an abandoned cancer treatment hospital in the City of Goiânia, the capital of the State of Goiás. Two jobless youngsters had picked it up, pulled out the heavy lead cylinder containing 19 grams of cesium-137, and sold it to Ferreira.
Ferreira, and his friends and family, soon became sick. His brother Ivo took some of the powder to his house where his six-year old daughter Leide played with the glowing radioactive crystals on the floor just before dinner. When she ate boiled eggs with her contaminated fingers, the deadly cesium-137 entered her body. Twenty two Ferreira family members had direct contact with the cesium-137. But they unwittingly went on to contaminate others.

Decontamination of houses and streets in Goiânia
At least 40 people were hospitalized, and by October 28 four had died. They were Ivo’s daughter Leide and Devair Ferreira’s wife Gabriela — who had first sounded the alarm about the sudden mysterious sicknesses in her extended family — along with two of Devair’s employees.
All of those affected were at first treated at the local hospital like regular patients and were allowed to circulate freely through the city, contaminating others they met, as well as the doctors and nurses who cared for them. For 16 days, no one knew that the cause of their sickness was radiation exposure.
When it finally came to light, Brazil’s National Nuclear Energy Commission sent a team to Goiânia, to quarantine and isolate those contaminated and to start the clean-up.
A total of 112,800 people remained isolated in the Olympic Stadium of Goiânia until December 1987, and were examined there for radiation by the CNEN. Radiation technicians ultimately registered a total of 249 contaminated people, 129 of them with cesium-137 in their body, a man-made isotope produced in nuclear reactors that, when ingested, binds with muscle and irradiates people internally.
According to the government of Goiás and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Goiânia’s cesium-137 accident claimed only four lives, but the Goiás Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Association of Cesium Victims (AVCesio) say that at least 1,400 people were contaminated and that 66 have died as of 2017.
After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan,Time magazine produced a list of 12 of the Worst Nuclear Disasters. Goiânia was one of them. Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA,pointed out in a March 25, 2012 Washington Postcolumn, that the Goiânia incident “involved the unintended release of radioactivity, but it remains the best real-world indicator of what could happen on a larger scale if terrorists were to detonate a dirty bomb in a large city or at a major public event.”
Main article from beyond nuclearhttp://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2018/6/20/one-of-the-worlds-worst-nuclear-accidents-was-in-brazil.html

June 29, 2018 Posted by | Brazil, environment | Leave a comment

Chile’s problematic lithium industry

Chile’s lithium – blessing or curse?, DW, 11 May 18  Salar de Atacama is rich in lithium, essential to electric cars and other low-carbon tech. But indigenous people are fighting its extraction, saying private interests are cashing in at the expense of their environment.

The Salar de Atacama’s geysers, volcanoes and flamingos attract tourists from around the world. But beneath its dramatic vistas, the Chilean salt flats hide something of far greater economic potential that’s drawing a different kind of interest – from the world’s chemical companies.

Lithium batteries are essential to all kinds of gadgets from laptops and mobile phones to the electric cars and power storage facilities that are to help wean the world of fossil fuels. As the world shifts to renewables, more and more sectors are to be electrified, and demand for lithium is expected to double by 2025.

Salar de Atacama contains some of the world’s richest lithium deposits. Which means Chile is sitting on a goldmine. But exploiting it could come at a terrible environmental cost, protestors say.

The Chilean government wants to boost lithium production and potentially manufacture batteries in the country, breaking classic supply model where Latin American countries provide materials for products produced elsewhere.

To this end, it signed over lithium concessions to Chilean mining company SQM in January – a deal that’s to see extraction triple by 2030.

But environmentalists and mining unions are outraged. “For us, the contract is illegal,” said Miguel Soto, chairman of the Lithium for Chile movement that organized demonstrations against it on the streets of Santiago de Chile.

……….The full extent of environmental damage mining operations could have is still unclear. Domingo Ruiz, a chemist at the University of Santiago who works on lithium-ion technology, says the government should make an environmental impact study and adopt regulations.

More research and regulation needed

“There are no regulations up to now. That is why a lot of people are worried about how the rising production quotas will impact the fragile ecosystem of the Salar de Atacama,” he told DW……..http://www.dw.com/en/chiles-lithium-blessing-or-curse/a-43721539

May 14, 2018 Posted by | RARE EARTHS, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

In new technique, scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing

Scientists calculate radiation dose in bone from victim of Hiroshima bombing  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-04/fda-scr042718.php

In an article published in PLOS ONE, Brazilian researchers describe the first retrospective dosimetric study by electron spin resonance spectroscopy using human tissue from nuclear attack victimsFUNDAÇÃO DE AMPARO À PESQUISA DO ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO

The bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 was the first and only use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets. A series of studies began in its aftermath to measure the impact of the fallout, in terms of both the radiation dose to which the victims were exposed and the effects of this exposure on DNA and health in general.

Continuing research that started in the 1980s under the leadership of physicist Sérgio Mascarenhas, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazilian scientists have published an article in the journal PLOS ONE describing a method of precise measurement of the radiation dose absorbed by the bones of victims of the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan.

The investigation was conducted during the postdoctoral research of Angela Kinoshita, currently a professor at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in Bauru, São Paulo State. Her supervisor was then Oswaldo Baffa, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (FFCLRP-USP).

“We used a technique known as electron spin resonance spectroscopy to perform retrospective dosimetry. Currently, there’s renewed interest in this kind of methodology due to the risk of terrorist attacks in countries like the United States,” Baffa said.

“Imagine someone in New York planting an ordinary bomb with a small amount of radioactive material stuck to the explosive. Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment.”

As Kinoshita explained, the study is unique insofar as it used samples of human tissue from victims of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

“There were serious doubts about the feasibility of using this methodology to determine the radiation dose deposited in these samples, because of the processes involved in the episode,” she said. “The results confirm its feasibility and open up various possibilities for future research that may clarify details of the nuclear attack.”

The equipment used in the investigation was purchased during a project coordinated by Baffa and supported by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.

Origins

In the 1970s, when he was teaching at the University of São Paulo’s São Carlos Physics Institute (IFSC-USP), Mascarenhas discovered that X-ray and gamma-ray irradiation made human bones weakly magnetic. The phenomenon, known as paramagnetism, occurs because the hydroxyapatite (crystalline calcium phosphate) in the mineral portion of bone tissue absorbs carbon dioxide ions, and when the sample is irradiated, the CO2 loses electrons and becomes CO2-. This free radical serves as a marker of the radiation dose received by the material.

“I discovered that we could use this property to perform radiation dosimetry and began using the method in archeological dating,” Mascarenhas recalled.

His aim at the time was to calculate the age of bones found in sambaquis (middens created by Brazil’s original inhabitants as mounds of shellfish debris, skeletons of prehistoric animals, human bones, stone or bone utensils, and other refuse) based on the natural radiation absorbed over centuries via contact with elements such as thorium that are present in the sand on the seashore.

On the strength of this research, he was invited to teach at Harvard University in the United States. Before leaving for the US, however, he decided to go to Japan to try to obtain samples of bones from victims of the nuclear bombs and test his method on them.

“They gave me a jawbone, and I decided to measure the radiation right there, at Hiroshima University,” he said. “I needed to prove experimentally that my discovery was genuine.”

Mascarenhas succeeded in demonstrating that a dosimetric signal could be obtained from the sample even though the technology was still rudimentary and there were no computers to help process the results. The research was presented at the American Physical Society’s annual March Meeting, where it made a strong impression. Mascarenhas brought the samples to Brazil, where they remain.

“There have been major improvements in the instrumentation to make it more sensitive in the last 40 years,” Baffa said. “Now, you see digitally processed data in tables and graphs on the computer screen. Basic physics has also evolved to the extent that you can simulate and manipulate the signal from the sample using computational techniques.”

Thanks to these advances, he added, in the new study, it was possible to separate the signal corresponding to the radiation dose absorbed during the nuclear attack from the so-called background signal, a kind of noise scientists suspect may have resulted from superheating of the material during the explosion.

“The background signal is a broad line that may be produced by various different things and lacks a specific signature,” Baffa said. “The dosimetric signal is spectral. Each free radical resonates at a certain point on the spectrum when exposed to a magnetic field.”

Methodology

To make the measurements, the researchers removed millimeter-scale pieces of the jawbone used in the previous study. The samples were again irradiated in the laboratory using a technique called the additive dose method.

“We added radiation to the material and measured the rise in the dosimetric signal,” Baffa explained. “We then constructed a curve and extrapolated from that the initial dose, when the signal was presumably zero. This calibration method enabled us to measure different samples, as each bone and each part of the same bone has a different sensitivity to radiation, depending on its composition.”

Thanks to this combination of techniques, they were able to measure a dose of approximately 9.46 grays (Gy), which is high in Baffa’s view. “About half that dose, or 5 Gy, is fatal if the entire body is exposed to it,” he said.

The value was comparable with the doses obtained by other techniques applied to non-biological samples, such as measurement of the luminescence of quartz grains present in brick and roof tile fragments found at the bomb sites. According to the authors, it was also close to the results of biological measurement techniques applied in long-term studies using alterations in survivors’ DNA as a parameter.

“The measurement we obtained in this latest study is more reliable and up to date than the preliminary finding, but I’m currently evaluating a methodology that’s about a thousand times more sensitive than spin resonance. We’ll have news in a few months,” Mascarenhas predicted.

About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. For more information: http://www.fapesp.br/en.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Brazil, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Theft of radioactive material in Mexico

Mexico Under High Alert After Theft of Radioactive Material https://www.inverse.com/article/41158-mexico-radioactive-material-theft, It’s at least the eighth such robbery since 2013, By Eileen Guo, February 10, 2018

February 12, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Solar power – now a winner for Chile

FT 7th Dec 2017, About 200 megawatts per hour pulse from Latin America’s largest solar
power station into nearby transmission lines that stretch more than 600km
south to the capital Santiago from its location in the Atacama Desert, one
of the driest and sunniest places on earth.

“This is the face of the future of Chile,” says José Ignacio Escobar, general manager in Latin
America for Spain’s Acciona, which built and operates El Romero. “Chile
may be poor in old energy, but it is very rich in renewables. Can you see a
single cloud?” he asks, gesturing towards the indigo sky that is so clear
that the world’s most powerful telescopes are built in the Atacama.

It is only recently that Chile began to harvest the formidable power of the
Atacama’s sun. Just five years ago, the country produced negligible
amounts of renewable energy and was heavily dependent on imports from its
unreliable neighbours, suffering from blackouts and some of the highest
energy prices in the world. But this shortage of fossil fuels has
stimulated an unprecedented boom in investment in renewable — and
especially solar — energy since then, despite a contraction in investment
in almost all other sectors during a period of economic stagnation at the
end of the commodities boom.
https://www.ft.com/content/f175ba48-d96e-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482

December 9, 2017 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

New record low for solar PV in Chile energy auction

Renew Economy 7th Nov 2017, The latest energy auction in Chile has set a new record low for solar PV,
with one bid by the local subsidiary of Italian outfit, Enel, coming in at
just $US21.48/MWh The result beats the previous record low of $US24.20 set
in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, although it could be beaten
by Saudi Arabia’s first auction, should the early results of a tender
that secured an offer of $US17.90/MWh be verified later this month. Either
way, the Chile government is happy with the result, which secured an
average price of $US32.5/MWh for 600MW of solar and wind capacity, expected
to produce around 2,200GWh. This is a 75 per cent fall since its auction
program began in 2015. The Chile government says it will mean consumer
prices fall by nearly 50 per cent once all the new projects are completed
and online in 2024.
http://reneweconomy.com.au/chile-solar-auction-sets-new-record-low-for-solar-pv-85114/

November 8, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Latin America

Russian Nuclear Company Sees Success in Latin America, 1 October 2017New branches of the company will be constructed in El Alto, Bolivia and should be in operation by 2020.

Two years since its move to Latin America, Rosatom, Russia’s main nuclear power company, has seen great success, the company’s Latin American representative, Ivan Dybov, said.

“Rosatom has several projects in Latin America, but the main one is in Bolivia. Last September 19 we signed the contract for the construction of the Center for Research and Development in Nuclear Technology,” Dybov said.

The new branches will be constructed in El Alto and should be in operation by 2020…..https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Russian-Nuclear-Company-Sees-Success-in-Latin-America-20171001-0005.html

October 2, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Argentinia’s Catholic Bishops announce opposition to construction of nuclear power station

Catholic Culture 11th Aug 2017, The bishops of Patagonia, the southernmost region of Argentina, have
announced their opposition to the construction of a Beijing-financed
nuclear power plant at an unannounced location in Rio Negro Province. A
nuclear power plant “produces dangerous refuse which remains radioactive
for a long period of time and implicates a very high cost,” the bishops
stated.   http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=32338

August 14, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Vulnerable to Climate Change – Manaus, Brazil

From heatwaves to hurricanes, floods to famine: seven climate change hotspots  Global warming will not affect everyone equally. Here we look at seven key regions to see how each is tackling the consequences of climate change, Guardian, John Vidal, 23 June 17

“…. Manaus, Brazil

When Carlos Nobre, one of Brazil’s leading climatologists, lived in Manaus in the 1970s, the population was a few hundred thousand and the highest temperature ever recorded in the city had been 33.5C. The city was surrounded by cool, dense forest and the greatest river on Earth. Heat waves were rare and floods regular but manageable.

Today Manaus has more than 2 million people, and it and the wider Amazon region are changing fast. In 2015, Nobre says, the temperature in Manaus soared to 38.8C. “The Amazon is tropical and very hot, but when I lived there the hot spells were rare,” he says. “Now we see many more of them.” Not only that, he says, but dry seasons are longer by a week than they were a decade ago and weather is more erratic.

Nobre notes that tree loss is exacerbating the effects of climate change. “In many parts of continental South America one sees about 1C warming in the Amazon, which can [be] mostly attributed to global warming. In areas like Rondônia, where there has been widespread deforestation, we see an additional 1C warming due to replacement of forest – which is a high-evaporating vegetation – to pasture, which is less evaporating.”

Hot spells in such a humid climate are a real hazard to health. Yet adaptation to climate change in a teeming, poor city like Manaus is non-existent for the many people who must struggle just to survive. For the middle classes, air conditioning is now essential. The most city authorities can do is plant trees to cool the streets and protect the river banks from flooding.

The great uncertainty is how far the drying of the Amazon could affect the rest of the world. “If you change the rainfall in the Amazon, you could transport the impacts very far away,” Nobre says. “According to my calculations, there will be a lot of impacts in southeastern Brazil and also over equatorial Africa and the US. But we cannot pinpoint what will happen.”

Perhaps most ominous is the fact that a positive feedback loop appears to be in play. As the Amazon dries, Nobre says, tropical forest will gradually shift to savanna, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and further adding to global warming.

“When we see a dry season of over four months, or deforestation of more than 40%, then there is no way back. Trees will slowly decay, and in 50 years we would see a degraded savanna. It would take 100–200 years to see a fully fledged savanna.”

The Amazon then would be unrecognizable, along with much of Earth. …https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/23/from-heatwaves-to-hurricanes-floods-to-famine-seven-climate-change-hotspots?CMP=share_btn_tw

June 24, 2017 Posted by | Brazil, climate change | Leave a comment

Nicaruagua wanted a stronger global climate accord

Paris climate agreement: Why aren’t Nicaragua and Syria signatories http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-02/paris-climate-accord-why-arent-nicaragua-and-syria-signatories/8582950  When President Donald Trump announced the US would be withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, he put America in the company of just two other countries that are not signatories to the agreement: Nicaragua and Syria.

Syria has been torn apart by a civil war which has raged since 2011. With thousands dead and accusations of atrocities committed by both sides, the country is under sanctions which make it difficult for its leaders to travel abroad.

But the reason for Nicaragua refusing to sign the deal is less obvious. The small Central American nation refused to sign in 2015 because it did not think the deal went far enough.

Nicaraguan lead envoy Paul Oquist called the Paris agreement “a path to failure” that lets big polluters off the hook when speaking to Climate Home on the sidelines of the 2015 talks.

“We don’t want to be an accomplice to taking the world to 3 to 4 degrees and the death and destruction that represents,” Mr Oquist said.

“It’s a not a matter of being trouble makers, it’s a matter of the developing countries surviving.”

Mr Oquist said the world’s 10 biggest carbon polluters accounted for 72 per cent of historical emissions, while the 100 smallest were responsible for just 3 per cent.

Nicaragua contributes 0.03 per cent of global emissions, according to the European Commission’ Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research.

The Central American nation is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, ranking fourth in the world most affected by extreme weather events, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2017.

Between 1996 and 2015 Nicaragua was hit with 44 extreme weather events, including floods, droughts and forest fires.

June 3, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics international, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Climate change facilitated the spread of the Zika disease

climate-changeZika outbreak ‘fuelled by’ El Niño and climate change, Skeptical Science  13 January 2017 The combination of a strong El Niño event and human-caused climate change created optimal conditions for the recent outbreak of the Zika virus in South America, a new study says.

The spread of Zika during 2015-16 caused hundreds of thousands of infections, a surge in cases of birth defects linked to the disease, and saw athletes withdrawing from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The warm conditions of 2015-16 were “exceptionally conducive” to mosquitoes spreading the disease across the continent, the researchers say, helped by the lack of natural immunity in the South American population.

And their results suggest there is a significant risk of summer outbreaks of Zika in the southeastern states of the US, southern China and southern Europe………

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that the outbreak was very likely fuelled by the unusually high temperatures of the last two years – a result of a very strong El Niño event on top of ongoing human-caused climate change.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that originates in the Pacific Ocean, which tends to increase global temperature for a couple of years by releasing heat from the ocean to the atmosphere. The El Niño that developed in 2015 – and petered out in June 2016 – was one of the strongest on record.

Climate influence

An outbreak of Zika needs three main ingredients, says lead author Dr Cyril Caminade, a research associate in the Institute of Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool. He tells Carbon Brief:

“The minimum requirement for a vector-borne disease outbreak is the presence of competent mosquito vectors (Aedes mosquitoes), the presence of the pathogen (Zika is believed to have entered Brazil in 2013 but the World cup in 2014 must have helped too), and the presence of a suitable host (humans).”

There are then a series of factors that affect how far and how quickly an outbreak can spread. Some are socio-economic – such as poverty, access to sanitation, and the availability of healthcare and vaccines – but the climate ultimately “sets the background” to disease transmission, Caminade says……..

climate change has the potential to push vector-borne diseases like Zika into higher latitudes and altitudes, says Caminade. Though the scale of any outbreak will depend on other non-climate factors too, he adds……..https://www.skepticalscience.com/zika-outbreak-fuelled-el-nino-climate-change.html

January 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019

Solar leading the charge in Mexico’s clean energy push BN Americas By Adam Critchley – Tuesday, December 27, 2016  Mexico’s installed solar capacity is expected to increase 20-fold by 2019 to 5.4GW, the energy ministry (Sener) said.

Key growth drivers are two supply auctions held in March and September, which will result in 1,691MW and 1,853MW being added, respectively.

Solar dominated the September auction, accounting for 54% of electric power sold and 53% of clean energy certificates (CEC) issued. It was followed by wind with 43% of power and 41% of CECs. Hydroelectric and geothermal accounted for 3% of power and 2% of CECs, respectively.

Mexico’s solar PV capacity is expected to grow 275% this year, or by 390MW, US consultancy GTM Research has said.

Mexico’s installed clean energy capacity grew 6.3% year-on-year in June to 20.2GW, and these types of sources now account for 28.4% of the country’s energy generation mix, Sener said.

Growth has so far been led by wind and co-generation. Wind power capacity is expected to triple over the coming years, largely due to the development of the projects awarded contracts in this year’s auctions. Wind power capacity is expected to total 2,456MW by the end of 2018 and 3,857MW by the end of 2019.

In the first half of 2016 Mexico generated 30,586GWh of clean energy, 19.68% of the total generated, with a 34.9% increase in generation by co-generation plants and 11.9% growth by wind……http://www.bnamericas.com/en/news/electricpower/solar-leading-the-charge-in-mexicos-clean-energy-push

December 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE WORLD – the work of Latin American nations towards achieving this

world-nuclear-weapons-freeLATIN AMERICA COMMITTED TO A NUCLEAR WEAPON-FREE WORLD https://www.vcreporter.com/2016/11/30/latin-america-committed-to-a-nuclear-weapon-free-world/

December 2, 2016 Posted by | SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment