Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

AIPRI Reports on 257 Tons of Corium and 180 Million Curies of Deadly Heavy Metal Poison and Radiation Released From Fukushima

Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

From December 2011, reposting it today so that people won’t think that the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is behind us.

After 280 days of decaying, the 257 tons of lost corium from three of Fukushima’s reactors, which one assumes to have a burn rate of 14GWJ/t (14 kg fissioned per tonne), have produced a probable level of radioactivity of 180.37 million Curies, or 6.674E18 Becquerels (6673.6 PBq). […]

92.17% of this radioactivity is being emitted by fission products, and constitutes 28.07% of overall radiotoxicity. 7.83% of this radioactivity is made by activation products, and constitutes 71.93% of overall radiotoxicity. That is to say that here the radiotoxicity, which according to the eminently official ICRP’s dose factors equals 73.47 Billion potential lethal doses via inhalation and 15.53 Billion lethal doses via ingestion, results chiefly from the activation products, which by and large are alpha emitters.

On the other…

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August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Renewables Boom as China Halts or Eliminates Another 170 Gigawatts of Coal Power Plants

robertscribbler

On Monday, China announced that it was halting or delaying another 150 gigawatts worth of new coal power plant construction through 2020. In addition, the world’s largest coal user also announced that it would eliminate 20 gigawatts of present coal burning capacity. These moves come on the back of China’s previous cancellation and closure of 103 coal-fired plants coordinate with three consecutive years of falling coal consumption from 2014 through 2016.

(China’s annual CO2 emissions primarily come from coal use. Rapidly reducing that coal use is essential to addressing global climate change. Image source: NRDC.)

According to the China News press release, the move was aimed at both avoiding overcapacity and ensuring a cleaner energy mix. China’s National Development Reform Commission went on to state that: “New capacity will be strictly controlled. All illegal coal-burning power projects will be halted.”

China alone burns about half of all…

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August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stand Tall: No Dump Alliance urges South Australian leaders to halt nuclear waste plan.

The No Dump Alliance has today launched a petition targeting Premier Jay Weatherill and Opposition leader Steven Marshall to take a stand and use SA’s existing no dump laws to publicly oppose the federal government plan to build a nuclear waste dump in South Australia.

One site in the Flinders Ranges and two sites near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsular are now being assessed by the federal government to become the nation’s nuclear waste facility.

The majority of this waste is currently in storage at secure federal facilities and no compelling case has been made for its transfer. There is clear community opposition to Canberra’s plan in both affected regions and the Alliance supports the growing national call for an open review of all waste management options, rather than targeting regional communities for a dump site.

In a statement the Alliance outlined that this “is the time to stand up. South Australians have fought and won the nuclear waste battle before.” The Alliance petition is calling on the leaders of both major political parties in SA to commit to using the existing Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibitions) Act, 2000 to send a clear message of active opposition to the federal dump plan.

“We need our state leaders to stand with us against this federal plan, this process had already cause immeasurable damage to our community and it needs to stop. We do not want our agricultural region exposed to the risks this nuclear waste presents and we need our leaders to ensure our that state legislation is upheld.”  said Kimba resident and No Radioactive Waste Dump on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA President, Peter Woolford.

Following the end of plans for SA to host international radioactive waste the No Dump Alliance has refocused its work to support communities targeted by the federal government’s plan to build a nuclear waste dump in SA. This will be a key focus of the Alliance’s work in the lead up to the 2018 state election.

“The Australian Education Union applauded the Premier’s announcement that an international waste dump in SA is no longer in question and will not be progressed by the current or future Labor governments. However, if by his own admission the show of solidarity by the wider community with the Aboriginal community in protest of any nuclear storage on SA land is to have any credence this must be followed with a clear rejection of the Federal government’s proposal to use this state as the nuclear waste bin for the nation” Said Dash Taylor Johnson, Australian Education Union and No Dump Alliance member.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, opposition to nuclear, South Australia | Leave a comment

Endless growth, not climate change, is our biggest problem

Why Climate Change Isn’t Our Biggest Environmental Problem, and Why Technology Won’t Save Us, Post Carbon, Richard Heinberg, August 17, 2017 Our core ecological problem is not climate change. It is overshoot, of which global warming is a symptom. Overshoot is a systemic issue. Over the past century-and-a-half, enormous amounts of cheap energy from fossil fuels enabled the rapid growth of resource extraction, manufacturing, and consumption; and these in turn led to population increase, pollution, and loss of natural habitat and hence biodiversity. The human system expanded dramatically, overshooting Earth’s long-term carrying capacity for humans while upsetting the ecological systems we depend on for our survival. Until we understand and address this systemic imbalance, symptomatic treatment (doing what we can to reverse pollution dilemmas like climate change, trying to save threatened species, and hoping to feed a burgeoning population with genetically modified crops) will constitute an endlessly frustrating round of stopgap measures that are ultimately destined to fail……..

The strategy of buying time with a techno-fix presumes either that we will be able to institute systemic change at some unspecified point in the future even though we can’t do it just now (a weak argument on its face), or that climate change and all of our other symptomatic crises will in fact be amenable to technological fixes. The latter thought-path is again a comfortable one for managers and investors. After all, everybody loves technology. It already does nearly everything for us.

Hello Humanity, it’s me, Technology. We need to talk

During the last century it solved a host of problems: it cured diseases, expanded food production, sped up transportation, and provided us with information and entertainment in quantities and varieties no one could previously have imagined. Why shouldn’t it be able to solve climate change and all the rest of our problems?

Of course, ignoring the systemic nature of our dilemma just means that as soon as we get one symptom corralled, another is likely to break loose. But, crucially, is climate change, taken as an isolated problem, fully treatable with technology? Color me doubtful.

I say this having spent many months poring over the relevant data with David Fridley of the energy analysis program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Our resulting book, Our Renewable Future, concluded that nuclear power is too expensive and risky; meanwhile, solar and wind power both suffer from intermittency, which (once these sources begin to provide a large percentage of total electrical power) will require a combination of three strategies on a grand scale: energy storage, redundant production capacity, and demand adaptation. At the same time, we in industrial nations will have to adapt most of our current energy usage (which occurs in industrial processes, building heating, and transportation) to electricity. Altogether, the energy transition promises to be an enormous undertaking, unprecedented in its requirements for investment and substitution. When David and I stepped back to assess the enormity of the task, we could see no way to maintain current quantities of global energy production during the transition, much less to increase energy supplies so as to power ongoing economic growth. The biggest transitional hurdle is scale: the world uses an enormous amount of energy currently; only if that quantity can be reduced significantly, especially in industrial nations, could we imagine a credible pathway toward a post-carbon future.

Downsizing the world’s energy supplies would, effectively, also downsize industrial processes of resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and waste management. That’s a systemic intervention, of exactly the kind called for by the ecologists of the 1970s who coined the mantra, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle.” It gets to the heart of the overshoot dilemma—as does population stabilization and reduction, another necessary strategy. But it’s also a notion to which technocrats, industrialists, and investors are virulently allergic.

The ecological argument is, at its core, a moral one—as I explain in more detail in a just-released manifesto replete with sidebars and graphics (There’s No App for That: Technology and Morality in the Age of Climate Change, Overpopulation, and Biodiversity Loss”).  Any systems thinker who understands overshoot and prescribes powerdown as a treatment is effectively engaging in an intervention with an addictive behavior. Society is addicted to growth, and that’s having terrible consequences for the planet and, increasingly, for us as well. We have to change our collective and individual behavior and give up something we depend on—power over our environment. We must restrain ourselves, like an alcoholic foreswearing booze. That requires honesty and soul-searching.

n its early years the environmental movement made that moral argument, and it worked up to a point. Concern over rapid population growth led to family planning efforts around the world. Concern over biodiversity declines led to habitat protection. Concern over air and water pollution led to a slew of regulations. These efforts weren’t sufficient, but they showed that framing our systemic problem in moral terms could get at least some traction.

Why didn’t the environmental movement fully succeed? Some theorists now calling themselves “bright greens” or “eco-modernists” have abandoned the moral fight altogether. Their justification for doing so is that people want a vision of the future that’s cheery and that doesn’t require sacrifice. Now, they say, only a technological fix offers any hope. The essential point of this essay (and my manifesto) is simply that, even if the moral argument fails, a techno-fix won’t work either. A gargantuan investment in technology (whether next-generation nuclear power or solar radiation geo-engineering) is being billed as our last hope. But in reality it’s no hope at all.


The reason for the failure thus far of the environmental movement wasn’t that it appealed to humanity’s moral sentiments—that was in fact the movement’s great strength. The effort fell short because it wasn’t able to alter industrial society’s central organizing principle, which is also its fatal flaw: its dogged pursuit of growth at all cost. Now we’re at the point where we must finally either succeed in overcoming growthism or face the failure not just of the environmental movement, but of civilization itself……

machines won’t make the key choices that will set us on a sustainable path. Systemic change driven by moral awakening: it’s not just our last hope; it’s the only real hope we’ve ever had. http://www.postcarbon.org/why-climate-change-isnt-our-biggest-environmental-problem-and-why-technology-wont-save-us/

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

China prefers peace, and no economic collapse in North Korea

China and the North Korean nuclear challenge, In Beijing’s eyes, the status quo is preferable to the upheaval that would result from action to topple Kim, Japan Times, BY RAMESH THAKUR, GUANGZHOU,17 Aug 17, .ON A SUPERFICIAL READING, CHINA IS FEELING THE SQUEEZE TO TAKE EFFECTIVE ACTION TO BRING NORTH KOREA TO HEEL OVER ITS ROGUE NUCLEAR PROGRAM. ON A DEEPER READING, CHINA’S GAINS FROM THE CRISIS EXCEED THE COSTS. ON A WIDER READING, WASHINGTON DAILY VINDICATES PYONGYANG’S NUCLEAR CHOICES……..

Stability and conflict-avoidance in its immediate region remains a vital national interest for China’s development and peaceful rise. Heightened tensions over North Korea’s nuclear antics risk an uncontrolled armed conflict, strengthened U.S.-Japan-South Korea alliances and enhanced prospects of nuclear breakouts by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

But China’s leverage over Pyongyang, although greater than that of others, is limited. Pyongyang has proven indifferent to what others think and impervious to external pressure. With 80 percent of trade with China, more U.N. sanctions amount to more sanctions on China. It is cost-free for Washington and Western countries to engage in virtue signaling by enacting still tougher international sanctions whose costs have to be borne by China.

If the sanctions succeed in destroying North Korea’s economy and engineer a collapse, millions of desperate refugees will flood into China and a crucial geographical buffer against U.S. forces will disappear.

By what right does Washington tolerate nuclear weapons in the hands of its ally Israel but demand that China force a rollback of North Korea’s? In Beijing’s eyes, the U.S. provokes a crisis but holds China responsible for solving it. U.S. threats also stir memories among elderly Chinese of how they were treated in the early year’s of China’s own nuclear program.

Any further weakening of Pyongyang’s links with Beijing and Moscow will feed North Korea leader Kim Jong Un’s siege paranoia and solidify reliance on nuclear weapons as the only assured guarantee of regime and personal survival. The U.S. record of infidelity to political package deals — the 1954 Geneva accords on Indochina, understandings with Russia on Eastern Europe on ending the Cold War, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s abandonment of his nuclear program — inspires distrust. Every fresh bellicose threat from Washington deepens Pyongyang’s dependence on and attachment to a nuclear deterrent that can strike the U.S. mainland.

On balance, therefore, in China’s calculation the status quo of a nuclearized North Korea, however unpalatable, is preferable to the upheaval that would result from military strikes or regime collapse. This is consistent with the sober conclusion of The Economist that all options for dealing with North Korea are bad but blundering into a war would be the worst………

Chinese President Xi Jinping is the very model of a circumspect, calm and statesmanlike leader urging restraint in rhetoric and action by both sides and calling for a phased program (freeze-for-freeze) to reduce tensions. Each new step on the escalation ladder does further damage to the U.S. reputation for responsible leadership while boosting China’s profile and prestige. It also obscures China’s own past culpability in enabling North Korea’s nuclear program while underlining the history of U.S. forcible regime change as the main driver of Pyongyang’s nuclear pursuit.

This, in turn, this amplifies the larger narrative of the diminishing U.S. presence in Asia…..

Japan and South Korea have managed to live for years with the reality of vulnerability to North Korea’s nukes. There is no reason why the U.S. cannot learn to do the same. Kim should be left in no doubt that an attack on any of the three allies would bring instant military strikes and elimination of the regime. But there will be no preventive strikes. Instead a policy of containment — which requires credible threats, not bluster — will be instituted along with risk avoidance and crisis stability measures that served all sides well during the Cold War.

The only genuine progress on eliminating nuclear threats will be a universal ban treaty followed by a verifiable and enforceable plan for destroying and dismantling nuclear weapons programs in all countries.

Professor Ramesh Thakur is director of the Center for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament in the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2017/08/17/commentary/world-commentary/china-north-korean-nuclear-challenge/#.WZYqftIjHGg

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change is already drowning the Solomon Islands

THE DROWNING ISLES, THE SOLOMON ISLANDS ARE AN ARCHIPELAGO FILLED WITH IDYLLIC BEACHES AND PERFECT WAVES, BUT AS TEMPERATURES AND SEA LEVELS RISE, MUCH OF THEIR PRISTINE COAST IS DISAPPEARING, Surfer ,AUGUST 17, 2017 BY ASHTYN DOUGLAS  “…….A few months prior to our visit, I came in contact with Dr. Simon Albert, a marine scientist at the University of Queensland. He and his colleagues had recently discovered, using time series and satellite imagery, that five Solomon Islands had been swallowed by the sea over the last 70 years, and another six islands had severely eroded. The cause was determined to be accelerated sea-level rise.

“Over the last 20 years, rates of sea-level rise in the Solomon Islands have been three times higher than the global average,” said Albert. “That’s about an 8 or 9 millimeter rise each year.” Half of that number, he explained, is the result of El Niño cycles, which naturally siphon the world’s water into the South Pacific. The other culprit is climate change.

In some parts of the country, this rapid sea-level rise, combined with high wave intensity, has eroded beaches and destroyed people’s properties. Even over the short span of five years, many have watched the ocean come into their villages and carry homes away.

“The changes have been really swift,” said Albert. “People living on those islands are feeling very physically and psychologically insecure because they’re feeling like their entire foundation of life is washing away.”….

This island, [ Beneamina, a small, circular island near Santa Isabel] Albert explained, is now only half the size it was 10 years ago. “When I was there in December, an island nearby had one house on it,” he said. “By the time we returned in February, that house had been washed away.”……

Most people talk about sea-level rise and other consequences of climate change using the future tense — as something our coastal-dwelling grandchildren will have to deal with 100 years from now. But according to Albert, that dystopian future has already arrived in parts of the Solomon Islands. “The rates we’re seeing there are the rates we’re likely to see over the next 50 years around the world as things get worse,” says Albert. “In a way, the Solomon Islands provide a window into the future.” http://www.surfer.com/features/the-drowning-solomon-islands/

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Kim Jong-un will target Guam to defy Trump.

Ex-CIA analyst Bruce Klinger predicts Kim Jong-un will target Guam to defy Trump. Australian Financial Review, by John Kehoe, 13 Aug 17, Kim Jong-un will probably defy Donald Trump and soon try to land missiles in waters near the US Pacific island of Guam to show off strength and test the US President’s resolve, according to one of the world’s top North Korean analysts.

Ahead of a trip this week to Australia to speak to government officials about the North Korean nuclear crisis, former senior US Central Intelligence Agency officer for Korea, Bruce Klinger, said President Trump could hasten or delay war in attempting to shoot down any missile around the US military island.

“Given the specificity of what North Korea is saying they are thinking of doing and about the number of seconds the flight would take I would think they will launch the missiles towards Guam,” Mr Klinger said in an interview with The Australian Financial Review.

“I don’t think it’s an attack. It would be a very, very provocative demonstration…….

Mr Klinger, who led the CIA’s Korea branch in 1994 when president Bill Clinton nearly went to war with Pyongyang to stop its nuclear weapons program, said it was debatable whether or not the US or its allies should unleash missile defence systems if a North Korean demonstration missile were targeted just outside US territory………

Mr Klinger will visit Canberra and Sydney and consult with government intelligence and defence officials about the rapidly escalating North Korea nuclear weapon crisis.

 He met North Korean officials in Europe earlier this year and recently testified before Congress…….

Unless there was very strong evidence that Mr Kim was about to strike the US, Mr Klinger opposed a preventative US attack and said it could have “catastrophic” consequences for millions of people.

“The President’s trying to demonstrate resolve to our allies and send a signal to North Korea and China,” Mr Klinger said.

“The wording is over the top and distracting.” http://www.afr.com/news/world/asia/excia-analyst-bruce-klinger-predicts-kim-jongun-will-target-guam-to-defy-trump-20170813-gxv3cc

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

19 August South Australia event “We Say No To Nuclear Waste Dump”

This Saturday August 19 the No Dump Alliance is hosting the ‘We say NO’ event that will hear from speakers from the Flinders Ranges and Kimba region. Event details here: http://www.nodumpalliance.org.au/we_say_no

 

Note: The Alliance was formed in 2016 to challenge the threat of an international nuclear waste dump in SA. Traditional Owners, unions, church, environment and other civil society groups worked together on a successful community campaign to end this threat and have now committed to continuing these efforts in relation to any planned national dump in SA – see: http://www.nodumpalliance.org.au/

August 18, 2017 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Consultation with South Korea Before Any Korea Strike

U.S. General Promises Consultation Before Any Korea Strike, Bloomberg News, August 18, 2017,
  • War with North Korea would be ‘absolutely horrific’: Dunford
  • South Korea leader said Trump would need his consent to attack

    The U.S.’s top general declined to comment on South Korean leader Moon Jae-in’s assertion that he needed to sign off on a war against North Korea, saying President Donald Trump would have the final say on a unilateral military strike.

    “Any military action taken on the Korean peninsula would be in consultation with our allies,” General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. Asked about potential unilateral U.S. action, he said “that’s purely speculative and a decision to do that would be by the president. We certainly haven’t had a conversation about that to date.”

    Earlier Thursday, Moon sought to ease concerns in South Korea over a potential war, saying Trump had agreed to first seek approval. “Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by the Republic of Korea,” Moon told reporters in Seoul, referring to his country’s formal name. “The U.S. and President Trump promised no matter what options they use, they will sufficiently consult with South Korea and get consent. This is a firm agreement between South Korea and the U.S. People can be assured and trust that there will be no war.”……https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-17/south-korea-s-president-says-north-korea-approaching-red-line

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

91 previously unknown volcanoes beneath Antarctica’s ice

Another climate-change nightmare: 91 new volcanoes beneath Antarctica’s ice, WP ,  August 15 “….now it turns out Antarctica has problems we didn’t even know about. Deep problems. Volcanoes-under-the-ice problems, which doesn’t sound healthy.

University of Edinburgh researchers on Monday announced the discovery of 91 previously unknown volcanoes under west Antarctica. They do not sound nearly as alarmed as, say, Quartz, which called the possibilities terrifying.

“By themselves the volcanoes wouldn’t be likely to cause the entire ice sheet to melt,” said lead researcher Max Van Wyk de Vries, whose team published the study in the Geological Society in late May. But if the glacier is already melting because of global warming, he said, “if we start reducing significant quantities of ice … you can more or less say that it triggers an eruption.”

In a worst-case scenario, the researchers say, we could see a feedback loop of melting ice that destabilizes volcanoes, which erupt and melt more ice, and so on until Antarctica’s troubles to date seem halcyon in comparison……

While some are quite worried, de Vries doubted that a little blast of molten rock would do much harm to a massive Antarctic ice sheet. Directly, at least.

But he laid out a worst-case scenario in which lava managed to melt through a glacier, and warm ocean water seeped into the hole, and the whole system began melting even faster, potentially unleashing vast magmatic forces beneath the ice. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2017/08/15/another-climate-change-nightmare-dozens-of-volcanoes-beneath-antarcticas-thinning-ice/?utm_term=.fe9ede7c33c3

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

18 August More REneweconomy news

  • CEFC backs IoT tech to help consumers control energy use, costs
    Clean Energy Finance Corporation makes two new investments in companies focused on one of the easiest ways to reduce consumer power bills.
  • Analysis of toxic emissions from Australia’s coal plants has revealed our per capita mercury emissions are roughly double the global average.
  • Tasmania talks up renewables, ignores battery storage, gets stuck on gas
    Tasmanian Energy Security report reasserts the importance of more diverse renewable energy supply. But ignores battery storage.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

The world will need to get used to North Korea having nuclear weapons

North Korea’s nuclear weapons ‘aren’t going away’, says former US intelligence boss, ABC News Breakfast, 17 Aug 17,  The world will need to get used to North Korea having nuclear weapons for now, according to a former top US intelligence advisor currently visiting Australia.

Gregory Treverton was the chairman of the powerful US National Intelligence Council until he stood down in January, and today said the US may need to back down a bit to avoid conflict.

“We have got to find a way to avoid [war] … That means climbing down on our side,” he told News Breakfast.

“It means, over time, I think [it will be] very, very hard for us, but to recognise those North Korean nuclear weapons aren’t going to go away.

“The best thing we can try and do is cap them, contain them.”

After a week of rising tensions and threats, US President Donald Trump this week praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a “wise and well reasoned” decision not to fire missiles towards Guam. However, Mr Treverton said the threat of war had by no means passed…….

The plain fact is there is no good military option.”

According to Mr Treverton a pre-emptive attack by the US against North Korea was not a feasible option.

He said North Korea had been building hidden facilities and moving its missiles around. And even if the US could target its nuclear facilities, it would still have non-nuclear options that could devastate South Korean targets.

Trump’s diplomacy is ‘erratic’

Mr Treverton said Mr Trump had “painted himself into a corner” after ramping up his threats towards North Korea and that his approach to foreign policy was “really quite erratic”.

“I came to realise that almost nothing he says has any content,” Mr Treverton said.

“It’s really attention, self-aggrandisement, upsetting the apple cart.”……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-17/north-koreas-nuclear-weapons-arent-going-away/8816010

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

East Antarctic ice sheet is remaining stable

Study validates East Antarctic ice sheet to remain stable even if western ice sheet meltshttps://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-08/iu-sve081717.php INDIANA UNIVERSITY, INDIANAPOLIS — A new study from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis validates that the central core of the East Antarctic ice sheet should remain stable even if the West Antarctic ice sheet melts. 

The study’s findings are significant, given that some predict the West Antarctic ice sheet could melt quickly due to global warming.

If the East Antarctic ice sheet, which is 10 times larger than the western ice sheet, melted completely, it would cause sea levels worldwide to rise almost 200 feet, according to Kathy Licht, an associate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI.

Licht led a research team into the Transarctic Mountains in search of physical evidence that would verify whether a long-standing idea was still true: The East Antarctic ice sheet is stable.

The East Antarctic ice sheet has long been considered relatively stable because most of the ice sheet was thought to rest on bedrock above sea level, making it less susceptible to changes in climate. However, recent studies show widespread water beneath it and higher melt potential from impinging ocean water.

The West Antarctic ice sheet is a marine-based ice sheet that is mostly grounded below sea level, which makes it much more susceptible to changes in sea level and variations in ocean temperature.

“Some people have recently found that the East Antarctic ice sheet isn’t as stable as once thought, particularly near some parts of the coast,” Licht said. Recent studies have determined that the perimeter of the East Antarctic ice sheet is potentially more sensitive and that the ice may have retreated and advanced much more dynamically than was thought, Licht said.

“We believed this was a good time to look to the interior of the ice sheet. We didn’t really know what had happened there,” Licht said.

The research team found the evidence confirming the stability of the East Antarctic ice sheet at an altitude of 6,200 feet, about 400 miles from the South Pole at the edge of what’s called the polar plateau, a flat, high surface of the ice sheet covering much of East Antarctica.

To understand how an ice sheet changes through time, a continuous historical record of those changes is needed, according to Licht. The team found layers of sediment and rocks that built up over time, recording the flow of the ice sheet and reflecting climate change. Finding that record was a challenge because glaciers moving on land tend to wipe out and cover up previous movements of the glacier, Licht said.

The big question the team wanted to answer was how sensitive the East Antarctic sheet might be to climate change.

“There are models that predict that the interior of the East Antarctic ice sheet wouldn’t change very much, even if the West Antarctic ice sheet was taken away,” Licht said. According to these models, even if the ice sheet’s perimeter retreats, its core remains stable.

“It turns out that our data supports those models,” she said. “It’s nice to have that validation.”

The team’s research findings are presented in a paper, “East Antarctic ice sheet stability recorded in a high-elevation ice-cored moraine,” that was published today online in the journal Geology. The research presented is in collaboration with Mike Kaplan, Gisela Winckler, Joerg Schaefer and Roseanne Schwartz at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.

August 18, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Auditor General to investigate Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility?

Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility may be investigated by auditor general
NGOs urge audit following Wayne Swan’s warning Naif risks ‘misallocating billions of dollars’ in loan for Adani’s mine rail link,
Guardian, Michael Slezak, 17 Aug 17,  The controversial Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which is mulling a $900m loan for a rail link for Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, may be investigated by the auditor general.

The potential inquiry by the auditor general, who has wide-ranging access and information-gathering powers, follows interventions from a former federal treasurer and environment groups.

In March, Wayne Swan wrote to the auditor general requesting that he urgently begin an investigation into the “unacceptable fiscal risks” Naif posed to the commonwealth.

Swan warned that Naif risked “misallocating billions of dollars of public money,” specifically raising the secrecy around Naif’s consideration of a loan to Adani, its lack of adequate staffing and the pressure imposed on the organisation by “a domineering minister”.

“I am concerned the real risk of maladministration may lead to significant losses to the commonwealth in the future and the misallocation of resources due to political pressure and poor governance, resulting in funds failing to be allocated to more worthy purposes,” Swan said in his letter.

The auditor general replied last month, informing Swan that he had considered the request, and decided to include an audit of Naif among the potential performance audits to be completed in the 2017-18 work program.

The auditor general is independent of the government, and the decision on whether an audit of Naif goes ahead depends on a number of factors, including the priorities of the parliament and public submissions……

Paul Sinclair, ACF’s Director of Campaigns, said: “Naif is a secretive, poorly run organisation. It is critical that the auditor general fully scrutinise its operations, transparency and decision-making processes.”

“Naif’s consideration of the Adani project shows that it cannot be trusted to spend public funds intelligently,” he said. “Northern Australia needs investment that will benefit people and the environment, not Adani’s bank accounts in the Cayman Islands.”

“Without radical reforms, Naif will simply become another vehicle for fleecing Australia of its wealth to line the pockets of a few billionaire mining magnates,” Sinclair said. “Australians can have no confidence in an organisation that has pledged its allegiance to coal mining instead of the Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it.”

Naif has not responded to questions from the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/17/northern-australia-infrastructure-facility-naif-may-be-investigated-by-auditor-general

August 18, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Thorium reactors not likely to save the U.S. nuclear industry

crucially the technology, regulation, and business structures necessary to support a thorium reactor may not yet exist.

A coalition of South Carolina utilities developing what would have been the nation’s first new commercial nuclear reactor recently announced a decision to suspend that project partway through construction, following years of delay, billions of dollars in cost overruns. 

While a thorium reactor might avoid some of these challenges, others are likely systemic to the state of the nuclear power industry from a technological, regulatory, and business perspective, and would be hard for the counties to avoid. The counties may also have more proximate opportunities to achieve similar goals, including by facilitating or developing renewable energy infrastructure.

Will Utah counties fund thorium reactor? JDSUPRA,  PretiFlaherty 17 Aug 17, Could a coalition of rural counties in Utah and a startup company develop a thorium-fueled nuclear reactor for electric power and other purposes?

According to its website, the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition is currently comprised of seven counties in eastern Utah: Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, San Juan, Sevier, and Uintah.  The website describes the Coalition’s main roles and mission as “to identify revenue-producing infrastructure assets that will benefit the region” and “to plan infrastructure corridors, procure funding, permit, design, secure rights-of-way and own such facilities,” with operation and maintenance possibly outsourced to third parties.

Apparently under consideration by the Coalition are energy projects, including a “thorium energy” project and a “hydrogen plant” project.  For example, the “Procurement” section of the Coalition’s website includes a Request for Qualifications for Project Analyst for Potential Thorium Energy and Hydrogen Plant Projects, as well as a Request for Qualifications Project Financial Analyst on Potential Thorium Energy Project. Continue reading

August 18, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment