Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

‘Money ta’Money talks’: Outrage at billionaire climate sceptic’s political donations

‘Money talks’: outrage at billionaire climate sceptic’s political donations

Justine Landis-Hanley and Kishor Napier-Raman

Andrew Wilkie, Adam Bandt and Stirling Griff condemn Australia’s donations system which can effectively block action on climate change…. (subscribers only) https://www.crikey.com.au/2020/01/24/michael-hintze-donations-outrage/

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Greta Thunberg says climate demands ‘completely ignored’ at Davos

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Olympic events close to radioactive sites: Fukushima’s nuclear wastes’anxiety hangs over Olympics

In an Olympic year, Japan faces decision over contaminated Fukushima water Aaron Sheldrick  OKUMA, Japan (Reuters)24 Jan 2020, – At the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant north of Tokyo, workers in protective suits are still removing radioactive material from reactors that melted down after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out its power and cooling nearly nine years ago.

On an exclusive tour of the plant, spread over 3.5 million square meters (865 acres), Reuters witnessed giant remote-controlled cranes dismantling an exhaust tower and other structures in a highly radioactive zone while spent fuel was removed from a reactor.

Officials from Tokyo Electric, which owns the plant, also showed new tanks to hold increasing amounts of contaminated water.

About 4,000 workers are tackling the cleanup, many wearing protective gear, although more than 90% of the plant is deemed to have so little radioactivity that no extra precautions are needed. Photography was highly restricted and no conversations were allowed with the workers.

Work to dismantle the plant has taken nearly a decade so far, but with Tokyo due to host the Olympics this summer – including some events less than 60 km (38 miles) from the power station – there has been renewed focus on safeguarding the venues…….

The buildup of contaminated water has been a sticking point in the cleanup, which is likely to last decades, and has alarmed neighboring countries. In 2018, Tepco said it had not been able to remove all dangerous material from the water – and the site is running out of room for storage tanks.

Officials overseeing a panel of experts looking into the contaminated water issue said in December choices on disposal should be narrowed to two: either dilute the water and dump it in the Pacific Ocean, or allow it to evaporate. The Japanese government may decide within months, and either process would take years to complete, experts say……..

Athletes from at least one country, South Korea, are planning to bring their own radiation detectors and food this summer.

Baseball and softball will be played in Fukushima City, about 60 km (38 miles) from the destroyed nuclear plant. The torch relay will begin at a sports facility called J-Village, an operations base for Fukushima Daiichi in the first few years of the disaster, then pass through areas near the damaged station on its way to Tokyo.

In December, Greenpeace said it found radiation “hotspots” at J-Village, about 18km south of the plant.

When Tokyo won the bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that Fukushima was “under control” in his final pitch to the International Olympic Committee.

In 2016, the Japanese government estimated that the total cost of plant dismantlement, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation would be 21.5 trillion yen ($195 billion) – roughly a fifth of the country’s annual budget at the time.

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick: Editing by Gerry Doyle) https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1ZK0CV?__twitter_impression=true

January 24, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Europe, too, is already affected by wildfire climate emergencies

Wildfires show us how the climate emergency is already affecting Europe, Guardian, Imogen West-Knights We look at the devastation of Australia’s bushfires and don’t believe it could happen here. But it already is, 22 Jan 2020  “………  what we’re seeing in Australia. Since the fire season began there, in the middle of last year, 29 people have died, along with more than a billion animals, and an area comparable in size to the whole of England has been ablaze. It’s a vicious reminder that, for all the sophistication of the modern world, something as primitive as fire can still bring us to our knees. As shocking as the scale of the destruction has been, though, it’s easy to see it on our computer screens here on the other side of the world, in the middle of a British winter, and feel disconnected from it. We accept that the climate emergency is now truly upon us yet still feel that it’s mostly happening to other people, elsewhere.wildfires are increasingly a problem for everyone, including in the UK. Last August, there were almost five times as many of them around the world as there had been the previous August. In the EU, the number of wildfires in the first half of 2019 was three times the annual average for the previous decade. And while they used to be a serious problem only in hotter, southern European countries such as Portugal and Spain, now northern Europe is in trouble too.

The Swedish fires of 2018 were by far the most severe in the country’s history, burning an area almost twice as large as the worst previous wildfire, in 2014. In the UK, 2018 and 2019 were the worst two years on record for wildfires, particularly on moors in the north-west of England and parts of Scotland. One fire last year, at Marsden Moor in Yorkshire, destroyed almost three square miles of land. The damage is on a very different scale to the almost 30,000 square miles that have burned in Australia, of course, but this is still a development we can’t afford to ignore.

Aside from all the more immediate effects – the threat to humans, livestock and wildlife – the recent increase in wildfires has been linked to severe air quality problems. People living up to 62 miles (100km) downwind of fires in the Pennines in 2018 were exposed to toxic fumes. And as there is no sign of cooler weather in the years ahead, it is reasonable to expect more fires in 2020. The EU has now established a fleet of firefighting planes, and the European Forest Institute has warned that unless we take steps to protect the countryside – for instance, by planting less-flammable species and creating barriers to the spread of flames – emergency services won’t be able to prevent the rapid spread and firestorms that have characterised the Australian crisis.

This isn’t all because of the climate crisis – changes to land use and increased urbanisation over several decades are also factors. Weather patterns are noisy data, and it’s difficult to attribute any single wildfire to the climate crisis. The scientific consensus, however, is that it is increasing the intensity and frequency of fire-conducive weather across the world.

Even those fires that are eventually linked to human error, like a still-lit disposable barbecue, are increasingly likely due to warming temperatures. Hotter summers mean more barbecues lit in the first place. The climate crisis is going to change the way we behave in every aspect of our lives. And with the probability of another summer of extreme weather coming, we will need to adapt to new dangers that won’t just be on the other side of the planet but, quite literally, in our own backyards.

It’s not at all clear that we’re ready for what might be coming. There is still a cognitive jump yet to be made when those of us in Europe read about the fires in Australia, from mourning the destruction there to recognising that we face some version of the same threat. When we look at Australia, we’re not looking at the future that might await Europe. That future is already here.

• Imogen West-Knights is a writer and freelance journalist

 

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change could unlock new microbes and increase heat-related deaths

Climate change could unlock new microbes and increase heat-related deaths, Science Daily, January 22, 2020, Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

Summary:
Scientists warn that global climate change is likely to unlock dangerous new microbes, as well as threaten humans’ ability to regulate body temperature…..
Ahima, director of Johns Hopkins’ Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, wrote in the journal that “global warming threatens human thermoregulation and survival.”  ……
Casadevall’s article explores “the specter of new infectious diseases” as a result of the changing climate.

“Given that microbes can adapt to higher temperatures,” writes the professor of molecular microbiology and immunology, and infectious diseases, at Johns Hopkins’ schools of medicine and public health, “there is concern that global warming will select for microbes with higher heat tolerance that can defeat our endothermy defenses and bring new infectious diseases.”

Endothermy allows humans and other warm-blooded mammals to maintain high temperatures that can protect against infectious diseases by inhibiting many types of microbes.

Casadevall cites a particular climate threat from the fungal kingdom.

“We have proposed that global warming will lead many fungal species to adapt to higher temperatures,” he writes, “and some with pathogenic potential for humans will break through the defensive barrier provided by endothermy.”….

In all four JCI “Viewpoint” articles, long-term strategies are urged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the trend of rising temperatures. ….https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200122122105.htm
 

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Youth in Bangladesh speak out on need for climate action

What it’s like to grow up as your country succumbs to the impacts of climate change, School students in Bangladesh are speaking out about the need to protect the planet and reduce emissions.  SBS NEWS, 23 JAN 2020, BRETT MASON SBS chief political correspondent Brett Mason reports from Dhaka, Bangladesh

If some of the more severe projections play out, Bangladesh could be ground zero for the climate crisis.

A sea level rise of half a metre by 2050 would see 12 per cent of Bangladesh’s landmass disappear, which would potentially displace 15 million people.

And the impact of a changing planet is already being felt there, with severe floods last year killing 60 people and displacing 800,000 more.

The United Nations has warned that one in three Bangladeshi children are now at risk from climate-linked disasters.

It’s a point that many young Bangladeshis are acutely aware of.

A number of students in the capital Dhaka have joined ‘green clubs’ that are funded by Australian aid.

In one school, a club is using donations to its ‘oxygen bank’ to plant a rooftop garden above its classrooms to try and mitigate emissions and slow the impact of global warming…….

Dhaka is home to 21 million people, with 1,000 more new residents arriving every day.

A staggering 82 per cent of the city is now concrete, with just six square kilometres of open space across the entire city……

The students had a message for the leaders of nations where emissions are rising not falling.

“Many people say the climate is not changing, but the climate is changing, very slowly. We need to be aware of this because our world is going to be destroyed if we aren’t,” Zilani said……… HTTPS://WWW.SBS.COM.AU/NEWS/WHAT-IT-S-LIKE-TO-GROW-UP-AS-YOUR-COUNTRY-SUCCUMBS-TO-THE-IMPACTS-OF-CLIMATE-CHANGE

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

A warning on the disappearance of insect species

Call for action on decline of insects: ‘Without them we’d be in big trouble NZ Herald, By Karoline Tuckey for RNZ, 22 Jan 2020

Governments around the world are being warned more must be done to prevent declining insect numbers, or the consequences could be severe and wide-reaching.

More than 70 scientists from 21 countries have written an appeal for immediate steps to reduce threats to insect species, and a roadmap to recovery, which has been published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

“There is now a strong scientific consensus that the decline of insects … and biodiversity as a whole, is a very real and serious threat that society must urgently address,” the group said.

Waikato University’s Dr Christina Painting contributed to the text, and said a decline in insects could mean “big trouble” for humans because they were crucial to agriculture and healthy ecosystems.

Insect pollinators were needed for growing crops, to keep our forests healthy, and insects were the main food source for many of our native fish and birds, she said.

The group have praised the German government for committing €100 million ($NZ168m) to the problem, which they say is a “clarion call to other nations”.

What do they say should be done?

Painting said there were smart and achievable steps that could be taken to make an immediate difference.

“They’re ideas we think scientists, policymakers, land managers and communities can all use together to help insect conservation.”

High on the list is for natural areas to be planned for within urban and “homogenous” environments, which could provide havens for insects, and support species diversity.

“I think in New Zealand we’re pretty good and very proactive about trying to come up with restoration areas in both urban and in our conservation estate. But perhaps we haven’t really been thinking about what’s good for insects while we’ve been designing those programmes,” she said.

The group have also called for “aggressive steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reversing agricultural intensification, including reduced [use of] synthetic pesticides and fertilisers and pursuing their replacement with agroecological measures.”

Phasing out pesticides could be one of the trickiest challenges, but it was important to start, Painting said.

“There are problems because they’re generally not that specific in the species they target – so if you put a broad-spectrum pesticide out it’s going to knock off not just the pest species you’re worried about for your crop, but also anything else that might be there. ……

more support was needed from the public and for government to recognise just how important insects ewre.

“We fund things that people value, and to date there has been a much lower appreciation of insects than other species, so it makes sense that we’ve seen less money put into insect conservation.”

More public education could lead to more appreciation for insects and the roles they play – and then should translate to more justification for policy-makers to commit funding to protect them, she said.

“Some of us think insects are gorgeous and very cute, but it’s crucial to understand that without them we’d be in big trouble – they’re just so incredible because it’s such an intricate system of interactions between different species and within communities – and we’re just in our infancy of understanding just how those pieces together.

“Those questions and the mystery around that alone, I think, is something we should really be excited about.”………https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12302483

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Human race over-consuming the planet’s natural resources

And don’t let’s forget – the nuclear industry is counting on this!

World’s consumption of materials hits record 100bn tonnes a year,  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/22/worlds-consumption-of-materials-hits-record-100bn-tonnes-a-year Unsustainable use of resources is wrecking the planet but recycling is falling, report finds, Damian Carrington Environment editor @dpcarrington, Wed 22 Jan 2020 . The amount of material consumed by humanity has passed 100bn tonnes every year, report has revealed, but the proportion being recycled is falling.

The climate and wildlife emergencies are driven by the unsustainable extraction of fossil fuels, metals, building materials and trees. The report’s authors warn that treating the world’s resources as limitless is leading towards global disaster.

The materials used by the global economy have quadrupled since 1970, far faster than the population, which has doubled. In the last two years, consumption has jumped by more than 8% but the reuse of resources has fallen from 9.1% to 8.6%.

The report, by the Circle Economy thinktank, was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Continue reading

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear safety costs – $123 billion

Costs for managing Japan’s nuclear plants to total 13 trillion yen,  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/01/8722fafaff9b-costs-for-managing-japans-nuclear-plants-to-total-13-trillion-yen.html
KYODO NEWS – Jan 15, 2020   The total costs to implement government-mandated safety measures, maintain facilities and decommission commercially operated nuclear power plants in Japan will reach around 13.46 trillion yen ($123 billion), a Kyodo News tally showed Wednesday.

The amount, which could balloon further and eventually lead to higher electricity fees, was calculated based on financial documents from 11 power companies that own 57 nuclear reactors at 19 plants, as well as interviews with the utilities. Continue reading

January 23, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Watch the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement on January 23

Watch the 2020 Doomsday Clock Announcement on January 23By Gayle Spinazze, January 8, 2020  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists will host a live international news conference at 10 a.m. EST/1500 GMT on Thursday, January 23, 2020, to announce the 2020 time of the Doomsday Clock. The news conference will take place at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Watch the announcement live on our website or on our Facebook page………. https://thebulletin.org/2020/01/watch-the-2020-doomsday-clock-announcement/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ThursdayNewsletter01092020&utm_content=DoomsdayClock_ClockEvent_01082020

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Vast locust swarm in Africa destroying livelihoods, climate change partly to blame

Locust swarm 37 miles long and 25 miles wide threatens crops across swathes of east Africa, ITV News, 17 Jan 2020, A swarm of locusts measured at 37 miles long and 25 miles wide has been tracked in Kenya – and the insects are now threatening to decimate crops across swatches of east Africa.

The most serious outbreak of desert locusts in 25 years is posing an unprecedented threat to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries, authorities say.

Unusual climate conditions are partly to blame.

Kenya’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development said: “A typical desert locust swarm can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometre.

“Swarms migrate with the wind and can cover 100 to 150 kilometres in a day. An average swarm can destroy as much food crops in a day as is sufficient to feed 2,500 people.”

Roughly the length of a finger, the insects fly together by the millions and are devouring crops and forcing people in some areas to bodily wade through them.

The outbreak of desert locusts, considered the most dangerous locust species, also has affected parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea and IGAD warns that parts of South Sudan and Uganda could be next.

The “extremely dangerous” outbreak is making the region’s bad food security situation worse, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned.

Hundreds of thousands of acres of crops have been destroyed…….  https://www.itv.com/news/2020-01-17/locust-swarm-37-miles-long-and-25-miles-wide-threatens-crops-across-swathes-of-east-africa/?fbclid=IwAR1cn3AzYPruUHLGk_0dgXtQvDvh9bjrehBk7AeCTXeru2AjLKdlmmrYz_g

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Refuting the claims of Jim Hansen about nuclear power

It is not difficult to debunk Thorium-141’s popular mythology using simple physics, as Drs. Arjun Makhijani and Helen Caldicott have, because thorium is not a naturally fissionable element and so must first be mixed with enriched Uranium-235 or Plutonium-239 before it can be fissioned under controlled conditions to make steam for a power plant. To do that mixing, never mind the reacting, is a dangerous, deadly, polluting and extremely expensive process generating loads of long-lasting and unrecoverable poisons. After reaction, the thorium blend leaves dangerous wastes like U-232, a potent high-energy gamma emitter that can penetrate one meter of concrete and will have to be kept safely out of our air, food, and water forever. 
John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020    “……. I greatly admire James Hansen …….  What annoys me, however, about Hansen, then and now, is his insistence, in utter disregard of best science, that nuclear energy can somehow save humanity from climate change because it is clean, safe, too cheap to meter and besides all that, is carbon-free. I watched with pity more than scorn when he took his time to repeat this nonsense at the recent UN climate conference in Madrid. He mounted fallacy upon fallacy in a pyramid of lies that had been heard since the 1940s coming from the Atomic Energy Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency and others in thrall to the atomic devil.
Of course all of those assertions by Hansen are utter nonsense. It just goes to show that being a good climate scientist doesn’t automatically give you a doctorate in health physics. I was blessed to have met many of the world’s preeminent health physicists in the 1970s and 1980s while representing atomic victims in battles for fair compensation and writing my fifth book, Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What We Can Do. ………
So, when James Hansen ignorantly opines that there were no radiation fatalities from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, or Fukushima and that the new generation of thorium metal reactors is inherently safe, I try to not gag ……..

Continue reading

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Marie Curie and John Wayne – victims of nuclear radiation

John Wayne squares off against Jim Hansen, Medium,  Albert Bates, 11 Jan 2020     “…….. In 1896, Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium emitted rays that resembled X-rays. Marie Curie suspected that the radiation was not the outcome of some interaction but came from the atom itself. Her work with uranium disproved the conventional wisdom going back to ancient Greece that atoms were indivisible and set up the later discovery of subatomic particles. Curie discovered that thorium, radium, polonium and radioactive bismuth occurred naturally with uranium. Radium was known to glow in the dark, which made it useful for painting the hour and minute hands on watches and clocks. It was later discovered that radium “radiated” more than just neutrons, but also protons and electrons, becoming another unstable element, radon, and that element radiated its subatomic particles to become others, polonium and bismuth, until those eventually became a  stable element, lead. Indeed, the radium Curie discovered was the progeny of another unstable element, thorium, which was the progeny of yet another unstable element, uranium.

Madame Curie was a physicist, not a medical doctor, so she did not recognize the health effects of handling uranium, thorium, radium and the other radionuclides. Indeed, she suspected the effects would be beneficial. One of the papers she and her husband published in the late 19th century announced that, when exposed to radium, diseased, tumor-forming cells were destroyed faster than healthy cells (the basis for today’s radio-chemotherapy). She carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pockets and stored them in her desk drawer. Although her many decades of exposure to radiation caused chronic illnesses (including near-blindness due to cataracts) and ultimately her death, she never acknowledged the inherent health risks. She likely did not recognize the symptoms when she began to feel weak and lose her hair. She died in 1934 from aplastic anemia without ever knowing that she fought the same mortal enemy as those who had painted the hands on watches and clocks, or those who had mined and processed the uranium on which she worked. After her death, and to this day, her papers and effects are too radioactive to be handled and her laboratory is unsafe to enter.

The famous cowboy actor John Wayne may have been felled by the same foe. From 1951 to 1962 the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) detonated more than 100 bombs in the southwestern US desert, sending huge pinkish plumes of radioactive dust across the stony valleys and canyons of southern Utah and northern Arizona. It gave each “shot” names like Annie, Eddie, Humboldt and Badger. Eleven of those tests were part of a series called Upshot-Knothole in Utah in 1953. In 1954, the Upshot-Knothole site was chosen as the location for a John Wayne film called The Conqueror.

The AEC sent a scientist with a Geiger counter to show Wayne that the location was safe enough for him to bring his wife and children to visit the set. The Geiger counter is said to have crackled so loudly Wayne thought it was broken. Waving it over clumps of cactus, rock and sand produced the same loud result. The Duke, by all accounts, shrugged it off. By 1980, 91 out of 220 cast and crew on The Conquerer had contracted cancer and 46 of them, including Wayne and co- stars Dick Powell, Pedro Armendáriz, Agnes Moorehead, and Susan Hayward had died. Those numbers did not include the families of the cast and crew. John Wayne’s wife and two sons all got cancer. While the two sons survived, the daughter of one of Wayne’s sons also died of cancer. Hayward’s son Tim Barker had a benign tumor removed from his mouth. Many of the Native American Paiute extras went on to die of cancer also……..https://medium.com/@albertbates/john-wayne-squares-off-against-jim-hansen-42a258b2260d

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New study finds that low dose radiation in medical imaging causes cell mutations

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

“Hot” radioactive particles a special risk at Fukushima in 2020 Olympics

Nukewatch 10th Jan 2020, Hundreds of thousands of people—athletes, officials, media, and spectators—will flood into Japan for the 2020 Olympics.
But radiation exposure dangers from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe have not ended since the meltdowns and explosions spread radioactive contamination over large areas reaching down to Tokyo and beyond.
Soon after the start of the meltdowns in 2011, experts began warning of exposure to radioactive micro-particles or “hot particles”—a type of particle that poses a danger unaccounted for by regulatory agencies.
In order to understand the special danger posed by these particles at the Olympics and beyond, we must first understand the current state of radiation exposure standards.

http://nukewatchinfo.org/fukushimas-hot-particles-in-japan-their-meaning-for-the-olympics-and-beyond/

January 20, 2020 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment