Australian news, and some related international items

International Atomic Energy Agency very concerned at dangers at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex.

Atomic agency: Danger signs at ‘occupied’ nuclear site in Ukraine

Rafael Grossi tells AP the Zaporizhzhia facility requires repairs and the current situation there is ‘not sustainable’.  Aljazeera, 

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) director-general says the level of safety at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which is currently under Russian military occupation in Ukraine, is like a “red light blinking” as his organisation tries in vain to gain access to the site.

Rafael Grossi said that the IAEA needs access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine so its inspectors can, among other things, reestablish the site’s connections with the Vienna-based headquarters of the UN agency.

Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors gives it one of the largest nuclear power capacities in the world, and Russia’s invasion has essentially turned parts of country into a nuclear minefield.

Again and again since the invasion, nuclear experts have watched in alarm as Russian forces have come uncomfortably close to multiple nuclear plants in Ukraine.

Grossi said the Zaporizhzhia plant requires repairs.

“There are two units that are active, in active operation … others that are in repairs or in cool down. And there are some activities, technical activities and also inspection activities that need to be performed,” Grossi said.

“So the situation as I have described it, and I would repeat it today, is not sustainable as it is,” he said.

“So this is a pending issue. This is a red light blinking.”…………

The IAEA chief said he is continuing to press Russia’s government for access to the Zaporizhzhia plant………

“There cannot be any military action in or around a nuclear power plant,” Grossi said, adding that he has appealed to Russia about this.

“This is unprecedented to have a war unfolding amidst one of the world’s largest nuclear infrastructures, which, of course, makes for a number of fragile or weak points that could be, of course, exploited wittingly or unwittingly,” he added.

“So this requires a lot of activity on our side and cooperation. Cooperation from the Russian side. Understanding from the Ukrainian side so that we can avoid an accident.”…………..

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with US and European support for Ukraine in the conflict, have increased tensions between Russia and the West, but it’s “imperative for us to look for common denominators in spite of these difficulties”, Grossi said.

“We cannot afford to stop. We have to continue. It’s in the world’s interest,” he said of global nuclear safety.

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The facts on mobile phones, non-ionising radiation and your health

Your Smartphone Could Be Emitting Dangerous Levels of Radiation

These are the top offending smartphones based on research from Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection. BY CAROLINE DELBERT, APR 26, 2022   

  • Cell phones are tested for their radiation exposure to your head and other body parts.
  • Cell networks use frequencies near radio waves, which are non-ionizing radiation.
  • All radioactivity is radiation, but not all radiation is radioactivity.

Rumors have swirled for years, but we finally have some firm numbers on the amount of radiation emitted by different smartphones from Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BFS). Which phones are glowing the most, and how are these measurements taken? Hold your phone at a respectful distance and read on.

You may hear the word “radiation” and jump to something like radioactivity. That’s a slight category error. Radiation is any directional energy that travels at the speed of light, like the sun’s rays, as well as radioactive energy. The spectrum of electromagnetic radiation includes microwaves, radio waves, the visible colors of light, infrared, ultraviolet, and X-rays and gamma rays.

Some waves pass through people or walls, or else you couldn’t use your radio inside the house or car, right? X-rays pass through soft tissue, but not bone. Other waves—like infrared, ultraviolet, and the visible light spectrum—don’t pass through most materials. The sun’s rays, for instance, cast a shadow when they hit solid objects.

Some waves pass through people or walls, or else you couldn’t use your radio inside the house or car, right? X-rays pass through soft tissue, but not bone. Other waves—like infrared, ultraviolet, and the visible light spectrum—don’t pass through most materials. The sun’s rays, for instance, cast a shadow when they hit solid objects.

Another key difference is ionizing versus non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation, like gamma and X-rays, sweeps through materials and steals their electrons. This ability to basically chemically alter materials like living tissue means ionizing radiation is harmful—it’s why you cover the rest of your body with a lead apron at the dentist’s office.

Non-ionizing radiation, like radio and microwaves, can travel through certain materials, but does not chemically alter the materials it touches. You may have seen some hocus pocus about “microwaved water” that we can assure you is just clickbait, because microwaved water is just water with more heat energy.

When you use a cell phone, it’s constantly sending and receiving information over the air in the region of the electromagnetic spectrum near radio waves. This is why cell towers are huge antennae similar to those used by radio and TV broadcasters, with waves that definitely travel through our walls. At the same time, it’s why early cell phones struggled more with coverage in brick buildings or in basements.

Now you’re totally up to speed on the topic du jour. Back to cell phones. Radiation energy absorbed by the body is measured as the specific absorption rate (SAR). This is a value stated as watts per kilogram, where the kilograms are body tissue or other materials that can absorb radiation. Even though radio waves are ambient and quite harmless, targeted, localized radiation is potentially harmful.

A dose of two watts per kilogram is considered the beginning of the harmful range of radiation. This radiation can affect us when we talk on the phone, holding the device close to our heads. It can also affect us from inside our pockets or when holding phones in our hands.

So which phones are the worst offenders? According to data from Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection—citing figures for the European Union market—the 2020 Motorola Edge is by far the worst offender with radiation coming in at 1.79 watts per kilogram, flirting with the harmful range. The Google Pixel 6, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 12 all have just about 1.00 watts per kilogram of radiation. Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra has just 0.71 watts per kilogram of radiation, and the Google Pixel 5A has a very low .47 watts per kilogram. The complete list with data for hundreds of phones is available here.

If you’re really worried about radiation exposure, consider choosing a lower-radiation phone model or even just storing your phone on your desk or in your purse instead of carrying it in a pocket. And when possible, put the phone on speaker or use headphones and set it on the desk or table while you talk. But overall, remember that this small amount of radiation is still in the safe range below two watts per kilogram.

Update, April 27, 2022: This story has been updated to reflect that the smartphone radiation figures are for devices in the European Union.

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

 Severe Indian heatwave will bake a billion people and damage crops.

 Severe Indian heatwave will bake a billion people and damage crops. An
unusual heatwave forecast across much of India will see temperatures in the
mid-to-high 40s°C. More than a billion people are facing a severe heatwave
across India this week, which will have wide-ranging consequences for the
health of the most vulnerable and will damage wheat harvests. Temperatures
in the mid-to-high 40s°C are forecast for much of the country in the
coming days, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing
heatwave warnings for several states. The UK Met Office says that
temperatures are currently above average in India and that this will
probably continue into the coming week. India is entering a season ahead of
the monsoon’s arrival when heatwaves are common, the Met Office says, but
this year it follows a period of unusually early sweltering conditions in

 New Scientist 26th April 2022

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Clean” Nuclear is a Fraudulent Scam

Clean” Nuclear is a Fraudulent Scam, Trading Standards Told by
Hundreds on Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster. Hundreds of people have
signed a PETITION calling on Trading Standards to enforce removal of the
word “Clean” from the UK’s nuclear fuel manufacturing plant.

Cumbriannuclear safety group Radiation Free Lakeland started the petition to
counter the “clean” claims of the nuclear industry. The petition will
be delivered to Trading Standards at Lancashire County Council on the
anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster on 26th April. The nuclear fuel
factory is three miles from Preston City Centre and in what campaigners
call a “blatant fraud” has in the last couple of years been calling
itself the “Clean Energy Technology Park (CETP).

 Radiation Free Lakeland 26th April 2022

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Solar beats nuclear at many potential settlement sites on Mars

Thanks to today’s light, flexible solar panels, photovoltaics may be more practical for long stays,

Science Daily April 27, 2022, Source:University of California – BerkeleySummary:While most missions to the moon and other planets rely upon solar power, scientists have assumed that any extended surface mission involving humans would require a more reliable source of energy: nuclear power. Improvements in photovoltaics are upending this calculus. A new study concludes that a solar power system would weigh less than a nuclear system, and would be sufficient to power a colony at sites over nearly half the surface.

The high efficiency, light weight and flexibility of the latest solar cell technology means photovoltaics could provide all the power needed for an extended mission to Mars, or even a permanent settlement there, according to a new analysis by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley………………………………

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Despite deteriorating situation, Ukrainian parliament still insisting on NATO accession

RT, Tue, 26 Apr 2022   The Rada’s chair says accession to the military alliance is Ukraine’s “prospective vision of its future”
The Ukrainian parliament will not vote to remove the passage about the country’s ambition to join NATO from the constitution, the Rada’s chairman, Ruslan Stefanchuk, has revealed.

n an interview with Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravda published on Monday, Stefanchuk was asked whether Ukrainian lawmakers were going to amend the country’s constitution with respect to Kiev’s ambition to become a NATO member state. The official replied in the negative, adding that “changing the constitution is not an end in itself.” He went on to say that just because some changes are made does not necessarily mean that they have an effect in real life. Stefanchuk warned against “declaratory norms.

The official emphasized that at this point the Ukrainian authorities’ main focus is on ensuring the security of each and every Ukrainian citizen. “Real guarantees are important to us,” Stefanchuk noted.

“For me as a representative of the political leadership of the state precisely this is a priority, so that people no longer die and pay with their lives for the European dream, for the dream of security and the rest,” the Rada’s chairman said.

However, Kiev would not settle for just any kind of guarantees, according to Stefanchuk, who cited the 1994 Budapest Memorandum as an example of empty promises that have failed to materialize. He called for a well-defined agreement which would be able to put Ukraine at ease.

Going back to “what is written in our constitution regarding NATO and the EU,” Stefanchuk described accession to the two organizations as Ukraine’s “prospective vision of its future.”

On March 29, during the last in-person meeting between the Ukrainian and Russian negotiators in Istanbul, Kiev proposed penning an international agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine.

Ten days prior, Stefanchuk indicated that he did not rule out removing the passage on NATO membership from Ukraine’s constitution, depending on “what path the negotiators will take.” The official added that the Rada could start looking for a “model that will either not contradict the constitution or we will change the constitution in this respect.”

The amendment in question, which was added to the Ukrainian constitution back in February 2019, obliges the country’s government to stick to the goal of NATO membership, with the president being the senior guarantor.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state. The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.  AT TOP

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Net zero by 2050 will hit a major timing problem technology can’t solve. We need to talk about cutting consumption

Mark Diesendorf

Many climate activists, scientists, engineers and politicians are trying to reassure us the climate crisis can be solved rapidly without any changes to lifestyle, society or the economy.

April 28, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment