Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

The economic collapse of the nuclear industry

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 17th Oct 2017, Mark Cooper: In 2008, the “nuclear renaissance” hype was in full swing. South Carolina was one of the first states to hop on the bandwagon. Public
and investor-owned utilities rushed to sign a contract for two new reactors at the V. C. Summer nuclear station before the design for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors was finalized, to avoid the price run-up that was expected to occur when orders for dozens of reactors were signed.

There was no rush of orders, but there were 17 formal revisions before the design was
finalized, and perhaps many hundreds more made in a more informal manner.

Adecade later, the nuclear industry is in shambles. Billions of dollars were spent on the two now-abandoned reactors at V. C. Summer, and only two other reactors remain under construction, at a plant in Georgia. The South Carolina reactors were so far behind schedule and over budget that they
triggered the bankruptcy of the reactor vendor (Westinghouse), the near-bankruptcy of its corporate parent (Toshiba), and the resignation of the CEO of the utility (Santee Cooper) that owns 45 percent of the V. C. Summer project.

The nuclear industry’s collapse is stunning, but it should come as no surprise. This is exactly what happened during the first round of nuclear construction in the United States, in the decade between
1975 and 1985. History is repeating itself because of a dozen factors and trends that render nuclear power, new and old, inevitably uneconomic.
https://thebulletin.org/dozen-reasons-economic-failure-nuclear-power11196

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October 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

South Korea developing missiles to destroy North Korea nuclear facilities

 https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/10/19/South-Korea-developing-missiles-to-destroy-North-Korea-nuclear-facilities/3121508418413/, By Elizabeth Shim   South Korea is preparing for full-scale war with North Korea by developing missiles that could destroy North Korea nuclear and missile facilities in the event of a conflict.

Gen. Kim Yong-woo, chief of staff of the South Korean army, said a plan to reduce to ashes North Korea’s weapons facilities, has been created, local newspaper Segye Ilbo reported Thursday. Kim, who submitted his report for an annual parliamentary audit by the National Assembly’s defense committee, said the objective of the plan is to decimate Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction while minimizing casualties.

“We will develop the concept of operations that suppresses North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction in the early stages, while minimizing damage,” Kim said Thursday.

The concept of operations includes the development of three types of all-weather, ultra-precise, high-power missiles, the formation of a special maneuvering unit, a combat bot and drone system, and “game changers” or cutting-edge military systems.

The three types of missiles include a tactical surface-to-surface missile, the Hyunmoo-2, and the Hyunmoo-4 missiles, according to local news network YTN. The Hyunmoo-4, capable of carrying a 2-ton nuclear warhead and of targeting North Korea’s underground military facilities, will begin development once U.S.-South Korea missile guidelines are revised.

Included in the plan is an air-ground task force that includes airborne and mechanized troops, that would be deployed to make a push into enemy territory and to neutralize nuclear and missile facilities, Seoul said.

In a separate statement on Thursday, the South Korean navy said the Korea-based three-axis system that includes Kill Chain, Seoul’s pre-emptive strike system, is under review.

October 20, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Rising soil temperatures cause release of carbon, increasing climate change

Warming soils release carbon to further accelerate climate change, Independent Australia  Climate News Network 26-year study find rising temperatures could cause soils to release carbon on a scale with the potential to accelerate climate change even further. Tim Radford reports.

As the world’s soils warm, they may surrender potentially dangerous amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Rising temperatures could mean rising levels of carbon dioxide respired by the microbes underfoot.

The world’s longest-running soil-warming experiments deliver no easy assurances forests will continue to absorb atmospheric carbon that pours from vehicle exhausts, power stations and factory chimneys as humans burn fossil fuels, raise greenhouse gas levels and send the planetary thermometer ever higher.

The conclusion is based on a set of experiments described in the journal, Science.

Carbon budget

Since 1991, researchers have been measuring the soil carbon traffic in Harvard Forest, Massachusetts, in the United States. In this forest are sets of plots six metres square. Some are left wild. Some have electric cables dug into the soil to deliver 5°C warmth of the kind that might be expected later this century. Some have soil disturbed but not warmed. Researchers tried every combination and compared the soil carbon loss over time.

They measured phases of substantial carbon loss from the warmed soils, alternating with phases of no detectable loss. That is: they measured soil carbon loss to the atmosphere, and stasis, but never observed evidence that warmed soils might store carbon more efficiently. Altogether, the warmed soils lost 17% more of the carbon stored in the top 60 centimetres than unheated soils.

“We know that microbial soil respiration is a major, and natural, source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Using the long-term warming experiment as a window into future climate change, we see that warming has a profound but discontinuous effect on greenhouse gas emissions,” says one of the authors, Kristen DeAngelis, assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The carbon budget – the flow of carbon into and from the atmosphere – is at the heart of all climate change forecasting. ……. https://independentaustralia.net/environment/environment-display/warming-soils-release-carbon-to-further-accelerate-climate-change,10837

October 19, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

FACT CHECK: Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’?

Did Hillary Clinton Tell FBI’s Mueller to Deliver Uranium to Russians in 2009 ‘Secret Tarmac Meeting’? Snopes, 19 October 17, 

Hyperpartisan web sites mischaracterized a State Department cable alerting the U.S. Embassy in Russia of a transfer of criminal evidence obtained in a sting operation.

CLAIM:  Then-Secretary of State Clinton ordered then-FBI Director Robert Mueller to deliver highly enriched uranium to the Russians in a secret plane-side meeting in 2009.

RATING –    MIXTURE
WHAT’S TRUE:  On behalf of the U.S. government, Robert Mueller delivered a sample of highly enriched uranium confiscated from smugglers in Georgia to Russian authorities for forensic examination in 2009.

WHAT’S FALSE:  There was nothing nefarious in the transfer of the ten-gram sample, which was done at the request of Russian law enforcement and with the consent of the government of Georgia, whose agents had participated in its confiscation.

Continue reading

October 19, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Chinese slowdown may end nuclear’s last hope for growth

 Energy Post,  by Jim Green This year has been catastrophicfor nuclear power, and just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse for the industry, it did, writes Jim Green, editor of Nuclear Monitor: there are clear signs of a nuclear slow-down in China, the only country with a large nuclear new-build program. According to Green, if this program stalls, nuclear power looks headed for an irreversible decline. Courtesy Nuclear Monitor.

China’s nuclear slow-down is addressed in the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report and also in an August 2017 article in trade publication Nuclear Engineering International by former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd.

China’s nuclear program “has continued to slow sharply”, Kidd writes, with the most striking feature being the paucity of approvals for new reactors over the past 18 months. China Nuclear Engineering Corp., the country’s leading nuclear construction firm, noted earlier this year that the “Chinese nuclear industry has stepped into a declining cycle” because the “State Council approved very few new-build projects in the past years”.

Kidd continues: “Other signs of trouble are the uncertainties about the type of reactor to be utilised in the future, the position of the power market in China, the structure of the industry with its large state owned enterprises (SOEs), the degree of support from top state planners and public opposition to nuclear plans.”

Over-supply has worsened in some regions and there are questions about how many reactors are needed to satisfy power demand. Kidd writes: “[T]he slowing Chinese economy, the switch to less energy-intensive activities, and over-investment in power generation means that generation capacity outweighs grid capacity in some provinces and companies are fighting to export power from their plants.”

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030 were “not unusual only a few years ago,” he writes, but now seem “very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒ nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Kidd states that nuclear power in China may become “a last resort, rather as it is throughout most of the world.” The growth of wind and solar “dwarfs” new nuclear, he writes, and the hydro power program “is still enormous.”

Chinese government agencies note that in the first half of 2017, renewables accounted for 70% of new capacity added (a sharp increase from the figure of 52% in calendar 2016), thermal sources (mainly coal) 28% and nuclear just 2%. Earlier this month, Beijing announced plans to stop or delay work on 95 GW of planned and under-construction coal-fired power plants, so the 70% renewables figure is set for a healthy boost……http://energypost.eu/chinese-slowdown-may-end-nuclears-last-hope-for-growth/

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

Tony Abbott has betrayed the bush, on climate change

Forget Abbott’s wishful thinking, climate change is here http://www.armidaleexpress.com.au/story/4993119/forget-abbotts-wishful-thinking-climate-change-is-here/?cs=2452 , Gregor Heard@grheard 

With this in mind, his recent claims in London regarding climate change can only be viewed as a betrayal of the bush by someone who has always seen themselves as a champion of our farming communities.

To stand up before an audience and suggest climate change was probably not real, and flippantly then say even if it was, it would probably be a good thing because the cold is more deadly than the heat is an insult to farmers across Australia’s cropping belt.

It’s a difficult thing to debunk the myriad myths presented in the speech, but let’s make a start.

Climate change is real, and we, through inland Australia are placed to cop some of the worst effects of this change.

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

Grim future for the nuclear industry in China, in USA, and globally

More disastrous news for the nuclear power industry. In 2017 alone:
– clear signs of a major nuclear slow-down in China – the last remaining hope for the industry.
– the US nuclear power industry is in the middle of a full-blown crisis
– a seriously anti-nuclear government has been elected in South Korea
– Taiwan has reaffirmed a nuclear phase-out by 2025
– the South African nuclear power program was ruled illegal by the High Court and probably won’t be revived
– Switzerland voted in a referendum to phase out nuclear power (while all of Germany’s reactors will be closed by the end of 2022 and all of Belgium’s will be closed by the end of 2025).
– huge problems in the UK and France
– India’s nuclear power program is going nowhere and the government has implicitly acknowledged that plans for French EPR reactors and US AP1000 reactors will likely be shelved
– Japan’s nuclear power program remains in a miserable state
– Russia’s Rosatom has acknowledged that the pipeline for new reactors is fast drying up
Meanwhile, the growth of renewables has been spectacular and will grow even faster over the coming years. Renewables will be producing 3 times as much electricity as nuclear power by 2022.

—————————————————————————————————————————
Nuclear power’s deepening crisis, Jim Green, 16 Oct 2017, www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=19354&page=0

This year has been catastrophic for nuclear power and just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any worse for the industry, it did. There are clear signs of a nuclear slow-down in China, the only country with a large nuclear new-build program.

China’s nuclear slow-down is addressed in the latest World Nuclear Industry Status Report and also in an August 2017 article by former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd. China’s nuclear program “has continued to slow sharply”, Kidd writes, with the most striking feature being the paucity of approvals for new reactors over the past 18 months. China Nuclear Engineering Corp., the country’s leading nuclear construction firm, noted earlier this year that the “Chinese nuclear industry has stepped into a declining cycle” because the “State Council approved very few new-build projects in the past years”.

Kidd continues: “Other signs of trouble are the uncertainties about the type of reactor to be utilised in the future, the position of the power market in China, the structure of the industry with its large state owned enterprises (SOEs), the degree of support from top state planners and public opposition to nuclear plans.”

Over-supply has worsened in some regions and there are questions about how many reactors are needed to satisfy power demand. Kidd writes: “[T]he slowing Chinese economy, the switch to less energy-intensive activities, and over-investment in power generation means that generation capacity outweighs grid capacity in some provinces and companies are fighting to export power from their plants.”

Kidd estimates that China’s nuclear capacity will be around 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, well below previous expectations. Forecasts of 200 GW by 2030, “not unusual only a few years ago, now seem very wide of the mark.” And even the 100 GW estimate is stretching credulity ‒nuclear capacity will be around 50 GW in 2020 and a doubling of that capacity by 2030 won’t happen if the current slow-down sets in.

Kidd states that nuclear power in China may become “a last resort, rather as it is throughout most of the world.” The growth of wind and solar “dwarfs” new nuclear, he writes, and the hydro power program “is still enormous.”

Chinese government agencies note that in the first half of 2017, renewables accounted for 70% of new capacity added (a sharp increase from the figure of 52% in calendar 2016), thermal sources (mainly coal) 28% and nuclear just 2%. Earlier this month, Beijing announced plans to stop or delay work on 95 GW of planned and under-construction coal-fired power plants, so the 70% renewables figure is set for a healthy boost.

Crisis in the US Continue reading

October 16, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Britain’s giant Hinkley Point nuclear station beset with structural problems

Times 15th Oct 2017, Part of the giant Hinkley Point nuclear plant will have to be demolished
and rebuilt after inspectors found problems with its concrete foundations,
in the latest setback for the £20bn project.

EDF, the owner, is understood to have found weaknesses in a small area of the foundations that have been laid on the Somerset coast. The French energy giant insisted the problem is
isolated to 150 cubic metres where pipes and cables are due to be laid, and
said it will not delay construction. Yet the discovery will raise concerns
about the plant, which will house Britain’s first new nuclear reactors in
a generation.

EDF admitted in July that costs at Hinkley, which is being
bankrolled by the French and Chinese governments, would rise by £1.5bn to
£20.3bn and that it may be completed 15 months later than its December
2025 deadline.

Hinkley’s two sister plants, Flamanville in France and
Olkiluoto in Finland, have suffered hefty cost hikes and long delays. The
problems were found in a patch of “substitution” concrete that forms
the foundations of the first of the site’s 5 miles of “galleries” —
a series of deep trenches that will house the plant’s pipes and electric
cables. The inspection found problems including “weak concrete”,
“poor-quality cleanliness” and an area of concrete that was not wide
enough.

Fixing the problem will mean demolishing another layer of
“slab” concrete that had been poured on top of the foundations. ….
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/hinkley-nuclear-planthit-by-concrete-flaws-found-by-owner-edf-gq5j3lbqg

October 16, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nobel Peace Prize winner ICAN says Trump is ‘igniting new conflict rather than reducing risk of war

Iran nuclear deal: Nobel Peace Prize winner says Trump is ‘igniting new conflict rather than reducing risk of warhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/iran-nuclear-deal-latest-trump-ican-nobel-peace-prize-igniting-conflict-war-a7999741.html

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons strongly criticises the President, Shehab Khan @shehabkhan 14 Oct 17 The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Winner has said Donald Trump is “igniting new conflict rather than reducing the risk of nuclear war” after the President’s announcement to withhold certification of the Iran nuclear deal.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (Ican), the 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate, strongly criticised Mr Trump’s decision, who in his speech condemned Iran as a “fanatical regime”.

Speaking out against the move, Beatrice Fihn, the executive director of Ican, said Mr Trump’s move was a reminder of the immense nuclear danger facing the world.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a demonstration of how well diplomacy ccan work, and like the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, it reflects the urgent global imperative to eliminate nuclear weapons and the grave threat they pose,” Ms Fihn said. 
“President Trump’s attempt to disrupt the Iran deal, despite the fact that the IAEA has repeatedly certified that Iran is complying with its terms, is a jarring reminder of the immense nuclear danger now facing the world and the urgent need for all states to prohibit and eliminate these weapons.”

“If ever there were a moment for nations to declare their unequivocal opposition to nuclear weapons, that moment is now. There is an urgent need to strengthen existing and develop new norms against the use and possession of nuclear weapons by joining the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,” she added.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Trump accuses Iran of spreading “death, destruction and chaos around the globe”

Iran nuclear deal: Trump decertifies Obama-era agreement and accuses Tehran of spreading ‘death and chaos’ The President’s more confrontational strategy toward Iran is likely to complicate relations with European allies, Independent UK,  Alexandra Wilts Washington DC, 14 Oct 17   Donald Trump has struck a blow against the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – in defiance of other world powers – by choosing not to certify that Tehran is complying with the deal.

During a speech at the White House, Mr Trump accused the “fanatical regime” in the Iranian capital of spreading “death, destruction and chaos around the globe” as he again called the nuclear pact “one of the worst” agreements the US has ever entered into.

However, he stopped short of scrapping the agreement altogether, saying he wanted his administration to work with Congress and other nations to address the “deal’s many serious flaws”. ……Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief and one of the deal’s chief negotiators, said the agreement will remain valid regardless of Mr Trump’s decision. ……

The move by Mr Trump was part of his “America First” approach to international agreements which has led him to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico……

Mr Trump’s more confrontational strategy toward Iran is likely to complicate relations with European allies while strengthening ties with Israel.A vocal opponent of the agreement when it was signed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Mr Trump’s “courageous” decision.

“I congratulate President Trump for his courageous decision today. He boldly confronted Iran’s terrorist regime,” the prime minister said in a video statement he released in English.

But both UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron this week had tried to persuade Mr Trump to re-certify the deal. Ms May has called the agreement “vital”, while Mr Macron has said it is “essential for peace”. …….

Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for threatening and aggressive rhetoric such as that displayed by Mr Trump and said such methods were “doomed to fail”, in a statement issued after Mr Trump’s speech……

ohn McLaughlin, a former acting CIA director under Republican President George W Bush, called the decertification of the Iran deal one of Mr Trump’s “worst decisions”.

The decision “feeds Iran hardliners, splits allies, shreds US credibility, roils congress [and is a] gift to Russia,” he wrote on Twitter. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/iran-nuclear-deal-donald-trump-decertifies-agreement-2015-policy-obama-a7999451.html

October 14, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Donald Trump now attacking the freedom of the press

Trump finds the First Amendment ‘frankly disgusting’ https://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/348184/trump-finds-the-first-amendment-frankly-disgusting/In News by Jordan Freiman / October 11, 2017 Donald Trump on Wednesday continued his ongoing feud with NBC over a report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the president a “fucking moron” during a meeting at the Pentagon back in July. That comment was reportedly in response to Trump demanding that the U.S. increase its nuclear stockpile 10-fold, an absurd request considering we have plenty of nukes to wipe out every single person on the planet many times over.

Trump, as he did with the initial “fucking moron” report (which has been corroborated by multiple sources), called the nuke story “Fake News.” Defense Secretary James Mattis chimed in to call the latest report “absolutely false” as well, but Trump took things a step further during a press conference on Wednesday.

“That was just fake news by NBC, which gives a lot of fake news lately,” Trump told reporters, claiming he just wanted to make sure the U.S.’s nuclear arsenal was in good shape. For what it’s worth, Trump previously boastedabout how the nuclear arsenal has in fact been “modernized,” despite it not being possible to complete such an undertaking in just six months.

“It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” the president of the United States said, “and people should look into it.”

Well, people have looked into it. Turns out we’ve got this whole First Amendment thing which includes freedom of the press. There are obviously limits on that freedom, and those are typically hashed out in court. Under normal circumstances, the president is supposed to uphold the constitution. It’s in the oath of office, after all. Instead, Trump continues to threaten to pull NBC’s broadcasting license.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

600 South Korean thyroid cancer patients living near nuclear power say “No” to new nuclear power

Thyroid cancer patients say no to nuclear power plants http://m.koreatimes.co.kr/phone/news/view.jsp?req_newsidx=237600음성듣기, By Kim Se-jeong, 12 Oct 17

More than 600 thyroid cancer patients living near nuclear power plants in the country came together earlier this week, calling on the government to keep its construction of new nuclear power plants halted.They also asked the government to help them cope with their ordeals. Their calls came while the public debate on the construction of two Shin-Kori reactors is at its peak.

“Nuclear power plants are government projects,” a group of thyroid cancer patients and activists said in a press conference at the National Assembly, Wednesday. “We have contributed to the national growth by enduring many side effects of nuclear power plants. Now that we’re sick, we’re left to fight for survival alone.”

There are two ongoing lawsuits raised by the thyroid patients against Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., the operator of the nuclear power plants, and Wednesday’s calls also meant to push the courts which are expected to deliver verdicts within this year.

One was filed in 2012 by a family of three ― a father, mother and son suffering colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer and a developmental disability, respectively. The lower court ruled partially in favor of the family, stating thyroid cancer had been caused by exposure to radioactive iodine from the power plant. The case is currently being reviewed by an appeals court.

The other lawsuit was filed in 2015 by 618 thyroid patients against the operator, demanding recognition and compensation. The patients are awaiting a verdict. What they want from the government are the following. For long-term action, they want no nuclear power plants so there will be no more such patients in Korea,” said Choi Soo-young, a Korean Federation for Environmental Movement activist. “For a short-term solution, they want to relocate themselves and want the government to pay for it.”

Exposure to radioactive iodine is one of the main causes of thyroid cancer.

A couple of epidemiological surveys in Korea have also found a high number of thyroid cancer patients in the areas close to nuclear power plants in Korea. Yet, the KHNP disputed this, saying the high number was a result of overtreatment.

Korea’s 24 nuclear power plants generate almost 30 percent of the nation’s electricity. Eighteen of them are concentrated in the southeastern region of Busan, Ulsan and Gyeongju.

“We want our voices to be heard by the group of citizens who are debating the new nuclear power plant construction. No more new nuclear power plants should be allowed,” Choi said. The group of almost 500 citizens is starting the three-day major debate on Friday in the final phase of the three-month-long debate. A decision on whether to resume the construction of the Shin-Kori reactors is expected on Oct. 20.

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change and California’s Wildfires

Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires
Strong winds and months of record-high temperatures have fueled the destructive fires, 
Scientific American, By Debra KahnAnne C. MulkernE&E News on October 12, 2017 

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — As wildfires engulf nearly 170,000 acres of Northern California wine country, questions are swirling about the role of climate change in causing damage of historic proportions.

The fires, which started late Sunday night in the hills of Napa and Sonoma counties, quickly ballooned to 22 separate conflagrations in eight counties, killing at least 21 people by Tuesday evening. The Tubbs Fire, in Sonoma County, has been responsible for at least 11 deaths so far, making it the sixth-deadliest fire in state history. Nearly 300 people are still reported missing and 25,000 have been evacuated in Sonoma County alone, with more than 3,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

Strong winds were responsible for the fires’ quick incursion into urban areas, but months of record-high temperatures, preceded by heavy rainfall last winter, also fueled the destructive power of the fire that burned through the region, climate experts said.

Residents of inland Northern California are now experiencing the confluence of these trends. The fires are expected to persist for weeks, until the rainy season begins next month. Strong winds are predicted to return as soon as tomorrow, giving firefighters a narrow window to get the blazes under control…….

Temperatures soared in the San Francisco Bay Area in early September, hitting 106 degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco, a new record, and 108 in San Rafael, north of the city. It was the warmest summer in more than 100 years of record keeping, said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with UCLA: “It beat the previous record by a pretty wide margin.”

Those high temperatures dried out vegetation throughout the area, he said. While fires are a part of life in California, this one became more destructive because it had so much dry brush and grassland — fed by last winter’s rains — to burn.

Powerful winds pushed the flames farther, Swain said. Known locally as the Diablo wind, they’re similar to the Santa Ana wind in Southern California, and they reached an unusually high speed of 79 mph Sunday night. Coupled with relatively low humidity, the wind patterns quickly created havoc.

“This is very much a weather-driven fire, but there is definitely a climate component to the overall story, too,” Swain said.

The dead brush and trees were the result not just of this year’s hot temperatures, but also of the state’s historic drought, which officially ended with the rainfall last winter, said LeRoy Westerling, a management professor at the University of California, Merced’s School of Engineering.

Scientists typically hesitate to say any specific event happened because of climate change, Westerling said. Yet, he said, “we know that these events are affected by the weather and the climate and how dry it is. The climate system has been altered by people … all the weather we’re experiencing and what’s driving these wildfire events is climate change.”…… https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-see-climate-change-in-californias-wildfires/

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Maralinga’s nuclear legacy features in Tarnanthi Aboriginal art festival

Tarnanthi Aboriginal art festival shines light on Maralinga’s nuclear legacy, ABC News,  By Nicola Gage , 12 Oct 17, More than 60 years have passed since the first nuclear bomb tests were carried out at Maralinga, but many affected are only now speaking out about what happened.

That’s the case for some artists who have created an installation for Adelaide’s Tarnanthi Festival, which showcases contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works.

“For a lot of the artists it’s the first time they’ve spoken publicly about their personal experiences of living through the atomic bomb testing,” festival curator Nici Cumpston said…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-13/tarnanthi-festival-shines-light-on-maralinga-bomb-blasts/9045144

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

When Donald Trump wanted eightfold increase in nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him a “moron”

Donald Trump’s nuclear demand led to Rex Tillerson’s moron jibe THE AUSTRALIAN, RHYS BLAKELY,RICHARD LLOYD PARRY 11 Oct 17 A call by Donald Trump for an eightfold increase in the number of US nuclear warheads led to his secretary of state calling him a moron, according to new reports of a meeting at the Pentagon.

Mr Trump made the request in July during a wide-ranging review of America’s military position and after being shown a slide depicting the size of the US nuclear arsenal, three officials who were in the room told NBC News.

He is said to have pointed out the highest number on the chart — about 32,000 nuclear warheads in the late 1960s — and told his advisers that he wanted to have a similar number once more. The US is estimated to have about 4,000 warheads.

Senior advisers explained that the request would break an array of weapons treaties and risk triggering a new global arms race. The meeting included Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Jim Mattis, the defence secretary, and Rex Tillerson, the secretary of state.

After Mr Trump had left, Mr Tillerson allegedly called the president a moron.

Mr Trump yesterday dismissed the story as inaccurate, tweeting: “Fake @NBCNews made up a story that I wanted a ‘tenfold’ increase in our US nuclear arsenal. Pure fiction, made up to demean.”

He added on Twitter: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their Licence? Bad for country!”

Broadcast licenses are administered by the Federal Communications Commission and are not usually revoked unless a holder commits serious illegal conduct.

Mr Trump had described the alleged “moron” comment as fake news on Tuesday but added that he and Mr Tillerson should perhaps compare IQ scores…….. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/the-times/donald-trumps-nuclear-demand-led-to-rex-tillersons-moron-jibe/news-story/bf43b88334e0e0e63579f9a60b3b7d6b

October 13, 2017 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment