Australian news, and some related international items

New York could be attacked with a terrorist nuclear bomb

What a nuclear attack in New y

York would look like This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like (picture of a somewhat rusting ordinary van) Ny Mag. 12 June 18

If America is attacked, the strike probably won’t come from North Korea. And it will be even scarier than we imagine. …….

There are currently at least 2,000 tons of weapons-grade nuclear material stored in some 40 countries — enough to make more than 40,000 bombs approximately the size of the one that devastated Hiroshima. Stealing the material would be challenging but far from impossible. Russia stockpiles numerous bombs built before the use of electronic locks that disable the weapons in the event of tampering. Universities that handle uranium often have lax security. And insiders at military compounds sometimes steal radioactive material and sell it on the black market. Since 1993, there have been 762 known instances in which radioactive materials were lost or stolen, and more than 2,000 cases of trafficking and other criminal activities.

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June 19, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Leaky nuclear reactor in Antarctica

New Zealand warns its Antarctic veterans about radiation risks from leaky US Navy reactor  By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES  June 19, 2018

The New Zealand government is warning personnel who worked in Antarctica in the 1960s and ‘70s about radiation from a leaky U.S. Navy reactor.

Alerts were posted online by the New Zealand Defence ForceAntarctica New Zealand and other government entities in January and reported by local media last month.

They advise people to contact the New Zealand Office of Radiation Safety or their doctor if they think they may have been exposed to radiation from the reactor used to power McMurdo Station, Antarctica, from 1962 to 1979.

The U.S. Department of Defense has assessed the risk of radiation exposure for those who worked near the power plant as low.

However, the Department of Veterans Affairs ruled in November that retired Navy veteran James Landy’s “esophageal, stomach, liver, and brain and spine cancers, [were] incurred in active duty service.”

Landy worked at McMurdo as a C-130 flight engineer from 1970 to 1974 and from 1977 to 1981 before dying at age 63 in 2012, said his widow, Pam Landy.

“He had pain in his kidneys and went to the doctor and they sent him to an oncologist who said he had cancer from radiation exposure,” she said in a phone interview Monday from her home in Pensacola, Fla.

Veterans who served in Antarctica should have been warned about the radiation risk, Pam Landy said.

“The government knew that thing was there. If they had given people a heads up he could have been diagnosed early and might have a shot at being alive,” she said. “I got a payout from the VA, but it’s a pittance compared to a life.”

The McMurdo reactor had many malfunctions, but personnel might also have been exposed during its decommissioning when soil and rock from the site was trucked through the base to be shipped off the continent, she said.

Peter Breen, 64, was a New Zealand Army mechanic about 2 miles from McMurdo at Scott Base from 1981 to 1982. Rock and soil from the reactor site was taken to a wharf in open trucks, and Breen fears he could have been exposed to contaminated dust blown by the wind or on ice harvested from nearby cliffs.

He’s campaigning for New Zealand Antarctic veterans to be recognized with a medal and offered health checks.

“It is not compensation that guys are after,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Tauranga, New Zealand. “They want a health-check program.”
Twitter: @SethRobson1

June 19, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fatal consequences for the nation that first strikes with nuclear weapons

Paper Reveals Amount Of Nuclear Weapons Fatal To Own Citizens Of The Firing Nation    By Athena Yenko Tech Times 

In a scenario where the United States launches a nuclear attack against a country, Americans won’t be spared from the fatal consequences of that same strike.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing a nuclear war is how it could obliterate the target country. A new paper, therefore, examined the consequences of a nuclear strike on the very nation firing the weapons.

The Consequences Of A Nuclear Strike

The repercussions were imagined in “best-case scenario,” where the target nation would not engage in any counterattack. For example, if the United States fired a nuclear weapon, its very own people would suffer an effect called “nuclear autumn” or environmental blowback.

There would be a drastic drop in temperature because of the “soot” or chemical remnants from nuclear blasts that would block the sun from reaching the Earth’s surface. A decreased in precipitation would follow.

As days go by, there would be an increased ultraviolet radiation because of the damaged atmosphere. Eventually, starvation would happen as a result of non-functioning supply chains.

“If we use 1,000 nuclear warheads against an enemy and no one retaliates, we will see about 50 times more Americans die than did on 9/11 due to the after-effects of our own weapons,” reads one example given by Joshua Pearce, one of the authors of the paper.

The paper essentially warned that any nation who plans to launch a nuclear war must first assess whether it could survive the problems of its own making.

A Nuclear War Perspective

According to the paper, Americans would only be saved from the nuclear autumn if the United States would limit its strike to a use of 100 nuclear missiles. The problem, however, is that countries such as the United States and Russia possess thousands of nuclear arsenals.

In its calculation, the paper assumed that the United States would launch nuclear bombs with yields amounting to 15 kilotons. This would just be the same amount of explosive dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

However, the nuclear bombs owned by the countries at present are five to 25 times more lethal than what was used during the World War II. The explosive yields of nuclear weapons at present range from 100 to 500 kilotons.

The largest, however, has an explosive yield of 5,000 kilotons. The United States, in fact, has one with an explosive yield of roughly 1,400 kilotons.

Amount Fatal To Americans If The US Initiates Nuclear Attack

The paper published in the journal Safety on June 14 calculated the potential damage if the United States were to fire 7,000 nuclear missiles, 1,000 nuclear missiles, and 100 nuclear missiles. The nuclear attacks were imagined to be launched against China.

The 7,000 warheads would produce 30 trillion grams of soot. It could result in a nuclear autumn on a worldwide level and, later on, could starve as much as 5 million Americans. The 1,000 nuclear arsenal fired would produce 12 trillion grams of soot, which could starve 140,000 Americans.

Meanwhile, Americans would be saved from starvation if the United States were to fire 100 nuclear missiles. On the other hand, it could kill as much as 30 million people in China, which in return, could set off a counterattack.

An Appeal To Department Of Defense

The authors of the study argued that there would be no logical reason for any country to maintain nuclear arsenals greater than 100. They now call for the U.S. Department of Defense to include the potential environmental blowback to the American people when designing its nuclear policies

“The U.S. government should greatly increase focus on producing alternative food to provide for survivors in the case of nuclear war,” said David Denkenberger, one of the authors of the paper.

More importantly, the authors of the paper call for worldwide country leaders to reduce the nuclear weapon arsenals they keep in their possessions.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rural community in Czech Republic votes overwhelmingly against hosting a nuclear waste facility


The inhabitants of Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou, a village in the Vysočina region between Bohemia and Moravia, voted overwhelmingly against the construction of a nuclear waste storage site on their land in a referendum on Saturday.

Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou is one of nine Czech locations being considered by experts for the purposes of a nuclear waste store. About 45 percent of the village’s inhabitants took part in the vote, which makes the referendum valid.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Concerns about the safety of Holtec nuclear waste storage casks

What is Holtec? Company touts experience in nuclear storage, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 16 June 18

    CARLSBAD — A proposed temporary storage facility for thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico was met by waves of protests from environmentalist and activists.

Many cited the perceived danger of storing the fuel on an interim basis, when a permanent repository was not in existence.

Some worried about radiation leaking out of the storage casks meant to hold the waste for about 40 years, per the license application……….

What’s at risk?   Jimmy Carlile, health, safety and environment and regulatory supervisor at Fasken Oil, an oil extraction company based in Midland, Texas, testified before New Mexico lawmakers last month that if the facility leaked, it could have devastating impacts on the state’s extraction industry.

He argued extraction is an essential industry in New Mexico and west Texas and cannot be put at risk of radioactive contamination.

“Any release of high-level nuclear waste cannot be positive for the Permian Basin community regardless of what side of the state line you’re on,” he said……..

Linda Squire, a dairy farmer from Hagerman, said a radiological event could cripple the local dairy industry, which she argued generates 17,000 area jobs and is an essential part of the region’s economy.

“We are very concerned about a worst-case scenario. Bad things can happen if you let your guard down,” Squire said. “If there were a worst-case scenario, the beef would be unsaleable, the milk would be unsaleable.”

June 18, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Kim and Trump can continue to hold the world hostage under threat of nuclear annihilation

The scary truths about Trump’s nuclear summit In which Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un compared the size of their nuclear buttons. Violet Blue@violetblue   

In the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, Donald Trump met with Kim Jong-un, on June 12, 2018, in Singapore. The two leaders smiled warmly, posed for cameras as friends, shook hands, and Trump spoke in glowing terms of admiration about Kim at the news conference.

The summit came after a year and a half of both men terrorizing the world with open threats of thermonuclear annihilation and childish public insults. Trump derisively nicknamed the North Korean dictator “Rocket Man” and called him “fat and short,” while Kim Jong-un called Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” This week’s historic meeting was nearly scrapped by Trump in a threatening, yet passive-aggressive letter to Jong-un that tried to make the cancellation look like it was North Korea’s idea.

On behalf of the United States, Trump conceded to Kim the discontinuation of joint military exercises with South Korea and to withdraw troops stationed there; he also gave Jong-un international standing and lavished him with compliments. He echoed North Korean rhetoric, which characterizes the military exercises as “very provocative.”

In response to accusations about giving away the farm for a handful of rocks and rusty Nuka Cola bottle caps, USA Today reported that other than agreeing to a meeting, Trump said “I gave up nothing.”

In return, we got a crazy-vague joint statement wrapped in a PR stunt. All North Korea gave us was a meeting. The signed agreement had no specificsabout denuclearization. The 1 1/2 page document ignored North Korea’s existing stockpile of nuclear weapons, had no verification provisions whatsoever, and failed to address ongoing issues of its attacks, kidnappings, and physical threats on Japan and South Korea.

North Korea has historically avoided true nuclear disarmament, preferring to qualify any agreements instead as denuclearization of the peninsula. “That has always been interpreted as a call for the United States to remove its “nuclear umbrella” protecting South Korea and Japan,” wrote Reuters. The country has promised denuclearization since the 1990s and has repeatedly ignored that promise as a rule.

Emerging from the summit as a victorious bringer of peace on Earth, Trump tweeted that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”

It was a stunning concession when Trump announced, “We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money.” It shocked and baffled South Korea and other allies, the Pentagon, US military officials, and members of the Republican Party. This came hot on the heels of Trump saying it would be better if South Korea and Japan protect themselves.

South Korea and Japan are not feeling the same love in the air as Trump and Jong-un. “His announcement was a surprise even to President Moon Jae-in’s government in Seoul,” wrote Reuters. “One South Korean official said he initially thought Trump had misspoken.” South Korea’s largest newspaper Chosun Ilbo openly worried that the North will keep its nuclear weapons program permanently as a result of Trump’s concessions, describing the summit as “dumbfounding and nonsensical.”

You see, we’ve allied ourselves to help protect South Korea for some pretty big reasons. If, like Trump, you’re encountering a North Korea-US summit with no prep whatsoever, here’s a quick bit of background.

North and South Korea have been divided since 1945; for a short period Russia occupied the North while the US occupied the south; during the war, China aided the north and the US aided the south (we lost 54,246 lives and 7,704 American soldiers are still unaccounted for). The Korean War ended with an armistice agreement but no peace settlement, so technically the war has never ended. American military remains in the South as part of a mutual defense treaty.

Fast forward to 1963 and the world finds out that the North has begun building a nuclear reactor. Then a nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. The first time North Korea committed to denuclearization was 1992’s Joint Declaration of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula — though historically, nuclear inspectors have been barred from surveying North Korean facilities.

Earlier this year, a team of Stanford University experts — one who visited North Korean nuclear facilities multiple times — formulated a detailed planfor the dismantlement of the North Korean program with a 10- to 15-year estimate. In statements surrounding the summit, Trump — who has no science advisor — said “I think whoever wrote that [estimate] is wrong.”

Before going into the summit Trump bragged about his lack of preparation and said that he “will know, just [by] my touch, my feel” how to assess Kim Jong-un’s nuclear plan.
Trump, who coasted into the White House on his sole qualification as a dealmaker, came straight to the North Korean denuclearization summit after failing to make a deal about milk with Canada. That was at the G-7 summit in Quebec, to which he arrived late and left early and wholly tanked by withdrawing the US from the signed trade declaration, all while somehow managing to piss off the one country known as the world’s friendliest. He spent the weekend petulantly talking smack about the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, whom he called “very dishonest and weak.”

He ran from G-7 straight into the arms of Kim Jong-un, with whom he seemed genuinely pleased. As a token, Trump commissioned a gift for North Korea’s leader in the form of a fake Hollywood movie trailer about the two of them, starring together, bringing peace and happiness to the world. It included lines like “featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un … in a meeting to remake history.” He played it on an iPad for the dictator in their private meeting. Washington Post reported that when it aired in the press room, journalists assumed the video was North Korean propaganda.

Reuters explained that prior to Trump’s elevation of Kim, he “was an international pariah accused of ordering the killing of his uncle, a half-brother and hundreds of officials suspected of disloyalty.” They added, “The North Korean leader had been isolated, his country accused by rights groups of widespread human rights abuses and under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

The Washington Post noted the UN’s report “described the country as a ruthless police state where as many as 120,000 people are kept in political gulags under horrific conditions; other prisons, effectively labor camps, hold people for ordinary crimes. Telephone calls are monitored and citizens are punished for watching or listening to foreign broadcasts.”

Now put that in the context of nuclearization. According to U.S. military intelligence, defense experts and North “watchers” (cited in Newsweek), in 2017 it was estimated that North Korea has “enough plutonium stored up to create a minimum of six nuclear weapons, but other estimates were as high as 10 to 16 nuclear weapons.”

So if Kim is a dictator with nukes and very aggressive hackers, there’s no reason to doubt that both Kim and Trump are fine with holding the world hostage under threat of nuclear annihilation for whatever their real endgames really are. Last August Trump warned that any North Korean attack “will be met with fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

For North Korea’s grand finale to its founder’s 105th birthday party in April 2017, it celebrated with a propaganda video showing missiles being launched.

“Eventually the nukes found their target, San Francisco, and exploded in massive fiery eruptions, engulfing the city in flames. The audience appeared to applaud San Francisco’s destruction,” wrote nervous Bay Area press. “The image of flickering flames overlaid shots of an American flag and a military cemetery.”

Let’s just hope they stick to comparing the size of their buttons.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

World is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming – leaked UN draft report

Guardian 15th June 2018 The world is on track to exceed 1.5C of warming unless countries rapidly implement “far-reaching” actions to reduce carbon emissions, according to a draft UN report leaked to Reuters. The final draft report from the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) was due for publication in
October. It is the guiding scientific document for what countries must do to combat climate change.

Human-induced warming would exceed 1.5C by about 2040 if emissions continued at their present rate, the report found, but countries could keep warming below that level if they made “rapid and far reaching” changes.

Under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, almost 200 countries signed up to limit global temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C. Climate scientist and Climate Analytics director Bill Hare said the draft report showed with greater clarity how much faster countries needed to move towards decarbonisation under various temperature situations and that the impacts of climate change greatly increased between 1.5C and 2C of warming.

Necessary actions include making the transition to renewable energy, powering the transport sector with zero carbon electricity, improving agricultural management and stopping deforestation.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists not optimistic about the future of USA- North Korea nuclear negotiations

Now, it’s time to deliver

A Bulletin editorial  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists favors all dialogue aimed at reducing nuclear risks, and it therefore supports US President Donald Trump’s decision to engage with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

But media pomp and video symbolism cannot substitute for arms control substance. The high-level goals listed in the joint statement Trump and Kim issued after their meeting are extremely vague, but concrete steps are required, if the nuclear risk that North Korea poses to the United States and the international community is to be reduced. The vagueness of the joint statement creates a distinct possibility that it will quickly evaporate, with regrettable—and possibly catastrophic—results for the region and the world.

The Bulletin is deeply concerned the United States has already committed to cease large-scale military exercises in Northeast Asia without, apparently, first consulting its South Korean allies. This move is part of a deeply problematic pattern, in which the Trump administration aligns with dictators at the expense of longtime US allies and important multinational agreements. It is a pattern that must end, if negotiations with North Korea are to have any chance of succeeding.

As a next step, the United States and North Korea need to agree in specific terms on the characteristics of a “freeze” in activities that would continue during negotiations that could well take years to complete. The United States should insist that the North formally agree to cease all nuclear weapons tests, missile launches, and fissile material production while talks continue. Without such an agreement, talks could drag on fruitlessly for years, perhaps even acting as a cover for continued development of North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

The Bulletin encourages the United States and North Korea to seek assistance from a wider range of scientific and policy experts, within and outside their governments, during negotiations. Such technical advice is absolutely necessary, if North Korea’s nuclear program is to be dismantled in a verifiable way that serves the security interests of both countries and, just as important, the interests of South Korea and Japan, longstanding US allies who are vital to securing peace in Northeast Asia.

Notwithstanding the gauzy verbiage of the Singapore joint statement, we think it unlikely that negotiations will soon achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea (if that goal is ever reached). But the nuclear risk that North Korea poses to the world can be reduced and managed, if negotiations follow a concrete, verifiable, step-by-step roadmap. Frankly, that roadmap should have been drawn long before the Singapore meeting occurred. It should be drawn now.

We are hopeful that yesterday’s meeting in Singapore was a first step toward a safer Korean Peninsula, but we remain doubtful about prospects for progress in this regard, given the Trump administration’s erratic approach to international affairs. When top-level scientific experts from the US national laboratories and elsewhere are brought into the North Korean talks—as they were for the Iran nuclear deal that President Trump has tried so hard to sabotage—we will know his administration is as serious about the substance of addressing North Korea’s nuclear program as it is about the styling of grand public relations events.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that USA- North Korea talks will take place next week

The Latest: Trump’s claim of no nuke threat seen as dubious WASHINGTON (AP) 14 June 18,  — The Latest on the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s confident that U.S. talks with North Korea will resume “sometime in the next week.”

Pompeo says he doesn’t know the exact timing. Speaking in Seoul, he says he expects it to happen fairly quickly after he and the North Koreans return to their nations. Pompeo returns late Thursday to the U.S.

He says President Donald Trump is “in the lead” but that “I will be the person who takes the role of driving this process forward.”

He says much more work has been done by the U.S. and North Korean that couldn’t be encapsulated in the Trump-Kim Jong Un statement. So he says teams will now work to make more progress on those items……..


June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Russia suspends nuclear waste transport due to safety fears with World Cup visitors

World Cup puts break on nuclear transport  A load of containers with spent nuclear fuel from Andreeva Bay on the Kola Peninsula will have to wait because of a general ban on transport of dangerous goods in Russia during the Football World Cup.  Thomas Nilsen, 14 June 18,

Russia puts priority to safety and doesn’t want any potential lethal substances moving around during the four weeks with World Cup when tens of thousands of football fans are commuting by railway to different cities.

In the north, the ban now delays a shipment of nuclear waste that otherwise would be on its way to Mayak north of Chelyabinsk in the South Urals.

Head of Rosatom State Nuclear Corporation’s international technical assistance project, Anatoly Grigoryev, says three railway sets already have departed to Mayak this year. «The fourth is ready, but we can’t send it because transport of dangerous goods during the World Cup is prohibited,» Grigoriyev says to Interfax in an interview reposted by Rosatom.

From Andreeva Bay near Russia’s border to Norway, the containers with old uranium fuel from Cold War submarines are shipped to Murmansk, where they are loaded over to a set of special rail-wagons. From Murmansk, the train follows Russia’s railway lines south through Karelia towards St. Petersburg and Yaroslav before heading east towards the Urals, a distance of more than 1,600 kilometers.

Mayak reprocessing plant is located between the cities of Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg. The last is one of the cities where football matches will be played.

Anatoly Grigoryev assures that the load of nuclear waste containers from the Murmansk region will be shipped to Mayak as soon as the World Cup is over by mid-July.

Last June, a top brass of Russian and Norwegian politicians, diplomates and nuclear safety experts cheered and waved as the first load of containers set out to sea from Andreeva Bay. Since the 1990s, Norway has spent tens of millions of euros to support preparing for the nuclear waste removal from the site to start.

In Murmansk, nuclear safety expert with the Bellona Foundation, Andrey Zolotkov, says this is the first time to his knowledge transport of nuclear waste has been put on break for such reason as a international tournament.

«I don’t recall any such thing. This is most likely due to keeping the railway routes free from such cargos because of all the [football] fans on the move,» Zolotkov says to the Barents Observer. Additional to Bellona, Zolotkov has for many years been working on board the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet’s transport- and storage vessel «Imandra».

From Murmansk, the nuclear waste cargo-train follows the same tracks, and through the same big cities, as ordinary passenger trains.

«After all, we are just talking about a one month delay,» Andrey Zolotkov explains pointing to the many-years it will take to remove all spent nuclear fuel elements from Andreeva Bay.

A total of about 22,000 such uranium fuel elements where stored in three rundown concrete tanks. That is equal to about 100 submarine reactor cores.

Anatoly Grigoryev with Rosatom estimates it will take about 10 years to remove it all from the Kola Peninsula to the Mayak plant.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Why Are Nations Throwing Cash At Nuclear ‘White Elephants’?

Jeremy Leggett: Why Are Nations Throwing Cash At Nuclear ‘White Elephants’?, 14 June 18 

In recent weeks we have seen evidence on the one hand of the fast advance of renewable energy, and on the other the incredible resilience of the energy-incumbency defence against that advance, including big oil and nuclear.

Celebrations of the fast growth of renewables I will leave to the inestimable REN21 report, published on 4 June. All clean-energy advocates should spend some time immersed in it, arming themselves with bullish ammunition. The point I want to make in this column is about the residual strength of the incumbency rearguard action.

In the last week of May and the first week of June the UK, US, and Canadian governments all tried to bail out uneconomic or stranded fossil fuel and nuclear projects with many billions in public funds. I have dubbed it “The Week of the White Elephants.”

First, the Canadian government bailed out a stranded Kinder Morgan oil pipeline system for US$3.5 bn. They hope to sell this, the Trans Mountain pipeline, in due course. Analysts doubt they can, so economically unattractive and risky is the proposition. In the interim, protestors have labelled Canadian PM Justin Trudeau – who says he aspires to be a climate hero – a climate criminal.

Second, US President Donald Trump ordered emergency federal action to stem coal and nuclear plant shutdowns. Proposals in a leaked memo included forcing utilities to buy electricity from coal and nuclear operators for two years, despite the fact that renewables and gas are both better value. The Economist describes Trump’s gambit as follows: “The plan would benefit a handful of firms the president favours at the expense of consumers: it entails up to $12bn worth of ‘cash for cronies’.”

Third, in a remarkable U-turn, the UK government agreed to a £5bn injection of taxpayer money into a Welsh nuclear power station, Wylfa. The total cost, to be shared with Hitachi and Japanese government, is £16 bn. The price of power will be £75-77 MWh (they say). That is more than solar and wind.

These are all very strange things to do when you consider not just the economics but the general direction of travel in all relevant areas

……..As for the UK nuclear decision, in France nuclear regulators now fear an “epidemic” safety-culture collapse at Flamanville, the supposed precursor of the British Hinkley Point C reactor. 150 weld failures mean the nuclear plant scheduled online in 2012 at €3.5bn is now probably delayed to 2020, at €10.5bn and counting. This is not the same type of reactor that Hitachi intends for Wylfa, but the horror show at Flamanville shows how badly, and quickly, things can go wrong in modern nuclear.As the formerly pro-nuclear The Economist put it in 2016, in a analysis entitled “Hinkley Pointless”, “Britain should cancel its nuclear white elephant and spend the billions on making renewables work.”…….

June 15, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Trump – Kim nuclear summit – great PR show, with meaningless blather result

U.S. President Donald Trump, and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un seem to have both achieved their goals at the much hyped ‘nuclear summit’ in Singapore on June 12.

Kim achieved a kind of international recognition as an equal world leader, without having to give up anything, in the showy but fairly meaningless negotiation that went on .

Trump achieved his over-riding aim –  having the eyes of the world on him, his endless craving for attention being satisfied, for the moment, anyway.

The body language is more interesting than the waffly document outcome. We saw Trump’s super-long super-strong handshake, and pats on Kim’s back –  signs of dominance. We saw Kim’s eyes move sideways – a little nervous shiftiness?

It all could have been worse. Trump could have chosen, instead of his effusive praise for Kim, to say there is “a special place in hell” for Kim, (as Trump recently said of USA’s ally, Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau). And with Trump’s new and dangerously bellicose security adviser John Bolton, hovering about,  could have set off the “fire and fury” that he previously promised  North Korea.  I guess that Trump saved that for a later occasion, when he feels that he is not getting enough world attention.

The most interesting one, North Korea commits to work towards “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” Not a word about  “complete, verifiable and irreversible”. As the Washington Post commented, that one is “empty blather” too.

The fourth point is a weak statement on North Korea returning the remains of U.S. prisoners of war, from the Korean war.

Why on earth would Kim Jong Un want to give up his biggest bargaining chip – the ability to send nuclear weapons to neighbouring States, and even to the USA?  He saw what happened to Iraq and Libya. He can see how America is now backtracking from the nuclear agreement with Iran.

June 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | 1 Comment

Full text of nuclear summit document from Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

Singapore summit: Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un document released after historic meeting 12, 2018, Sentosa Island

The text from the document signed by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un has been made available. Here it is in full:

President Donald J Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a first, historic summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un conducted a comprehensive, in-depth, and sincere exchange of opinions on the issues related to the establishment of new US-DPRK relations and the building of a lasting and robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Convinced that the establishment of new US-DPRK relations will contribute to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and of the world, and recognising that mutual confidence-building can promote the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un state the following:

  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new US-DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.
Having acknowledged that the US-DPRK summit — the first in history — was an epochal event of great significance and overcoming decades of tensions and hostilities between the two countries and for the opening of a new future, President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un commit to implement the stipulations in this joint statement fully and expeditiously.

The United States and the DPRK commit to hold follow-on negotiations led by the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and a relevant high-level DPRK official, at the earliest possible date, to implement the outcomes of the US-DPRK summit.

President Donald J Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong-un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have committed to cooperate for the development of new US-DPRK relations and for the promotion of peace, prosperity, and security of the Korean Peninsula and of the world.


June 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Where will climate refugees go?

Universal migration predicts human movements under climate change, Physics World, 12 Jun 2018 

Climate change is expected to displace millions of people through impacts like sea level rise, crop failures, and more frequent extreme weather. Yet scientists still cannot predict where these expected climate-induced migrants are likely to go in the coming decades.

A new study, published today in Environmental Research Letters, seeks to address this need by incorporating climate impacts into a universal model of human mobility.

To demonstrate the efficacy of the new approach, the study focused on the case of sea level rise (SLR) and human migration in Bangladesh, where the authors estimate that more than two million Bangladeshis may be displaced from their homes by 2100 because of rising sea levels alone.

The study, led by Columbia University, New York, used a probabilistic model combined with population, geographic, and climatic data to predict the sources, destinations, and flux of potential migrants caused by sea level rise.

Lead author Dr Kyle Davis, from Columbia University, explained: “More than 40 per cent of Bangladesh’s population is especially vulnerable to future sea level rise, as they live in low-lying areas that are often exposed to extreme natural events.

“However, SLR is a very different type of migration driver from short-lived natural hazards, in that it will make certain areas permanently uninhabitable.”

The team’s results using Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) scenarios showed that mean SLR will cause population displacements in 33 per cent of Bangladesh’s districts, and 53 per cent under more intensive conditions. By mid-century, they estimated nearly 900,000 people are likely to migrate because of direct inundation from mean SLR alone.

Under the most extreme scenario, of up to 2 metre mean SLR, the number of migrants driven by direct inundation could rise to as many as 2.1 million people by the year 2100. For all RCP scenarios, five districts – Barisal, Chandpur, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, and Shariatpur – are the source for 59 per cent of all migrants.

Their analysis considered mean SLR without normal high tides, so the results – both in terms of inundated area and displaced population – are conservative.

The researchers also estimated the extra jobs, housing and food needed to accommodate these migrants at their destinations. They found that to cope with the numbers likely to be displaced by 2050, 600,000 additional jobs, 200,000 residences and 784 billion food calories will be needed.

These results have clear implications for the places that are likely to receive incoming migrants…….

June 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Antarctic Ocean Discovery Warns of Faster Global Warming 

Climate Central   By Mikayla Mace, Arizona Daily Star  10 June 18

A group of scientists, including one from the University of Arizona, has new findings suggesting Antarctica’s Southern Ocean — long known to play an integral role in climate change — may not be absorbing as much pollution as previously thought.

To reach their contradictory conclusion, the team used state-of-the-art sensors to collect more data on the Southern Ocean than ever before, including during the perilous winter months that previously made the research difficult if not impossible.The old belief was the ocean pulled about 13 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change — out of the atmosphere, helping put the brakes on rising global temperatures.

Some oceanographers suspect that less CO2 is being absorbed because the westerlies — the winds that ring the southernmost continent — are tightening like a noose. As these powerful winds get more concentrated, they dig at the water, pushing it out and away.

Water from below rises to take its place, dragging up decaying muck made of carbon from deep in the ocean that can then either be released into the atmosphere in the form of CO2 or slow the rate that CO2 is absorbed by the water. Either way, it’s not good. Continue reading

June 13, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment