Australian news, and some related international items

Iran’s top diplomat presses efforts to save nuclear deal

May 18, 2019, TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister traveled Friday to China on his Asian tour aimed at keeping world markets open to Tehran amid an intense sanctions campaign from the U.S. as tensions across the Persian Gulf remain high.

Concerns about a possible conflict have flared since the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran that has seen America order nonessential diplomatic staff out of Iraq……

mposing sanctions while seeking talks is like “pointing a gun at someone and demanding friendship,” said Iranian Gen. Rasool Sanaeirad, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency.

That comment was echoed by Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

“They want to have the stick in their hands, trying to intimidate Iran at the same time calling for a dialogue,” Ravanchi told CBS. “What type of dialogue is this?”…..


May 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

 Scotland stepped up its response to the Climate Emergency

Business Green 17th May 2019 Scotland stepped up its response to the ‘climate emergency’ earlier this
week as Glasgow and Edinburgh adopted zero-carbon targets in swift
succession and the Scottish Parliament provided further details on how it
plans to meet its new target of building a net zero emission economy by

ScottishPower pledged on Monday to help make Glasgow the first UK
city to reach net-zero carbon emissions, setting a target for meeting the
goal of 2045. In related news, SSE announced this week that the last of 84
offshore wind turbines was commissioned this week at Beatrice, Scotland’s
largest offshore wind farm. The company said the project – which is a joint venture development led by SSE Renewables, Copenhagen InfrastructurePartners and Red Rock Power Limited – has been completed on time and under
budget after three years of construction. The final 7MW Siemens Gamesa
turbine was installed in the Outer Moray Firth, around 13km off the coast
of Caithness, bringing the site’s total installed capacity to 588MW –
enough to provide clean, low carbon energy to over 450,000 homes.

May 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

British climate activists urge ad industry to use its power for good

Extinction Rebellion urges ad industry to use its power for good, Guardian, Seth Jacobson, 19 May 2019   Letter to senior figures urges them to use their power to influence public opinion on climate change   Environmental activists Extinction Rebellion have turned their fire on the advertising industry in a public letter, encouraging it to use its expertise in manipulating public opinion for good or risk mass public protests against it.

Speaking to the Guardian, one of the authors of the letter, which was written by Extinction Rebellion members with decades of experience of the advertising industry, said the group was not “singling out advertising, as we previously disrupted fashion week and are systematically challenging all industries who have the platform, influence and skills to tackle this epoch-defining crisis but are failing to do so in any meaningful way”.

“Though our letter is addressed to the boardroom, we ask everyone within the industry to ‘Tell the Truth’ about the climate and ecological emergency,” he continued. “This is the first of Extinction Rebellion’s demands, to business and governments; the vital step required to wake everyone up and drive action to deal with this crisis…….

May 20, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Comment from USA on Australia’s election result

Gloria, 2o0 May 19,   Not so much time left. If they start burying nuclear waste and parking Hi level wastein Australia, time to act. You have a very crooked government there. it would not surprise me if they push it through.

Trrump is doing it here. I hope people will act.

Jeffrey St. Clair, an old time antinuclear advocate, now says the nuclear issue is more serious, than the climate issue. It is in America for sure.

The northern midwest, has been flooding around several nuclear reactors in Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa where there are nuclear reactors. Many close calls this spring . The ground there is saturated with water.

The same for the south. Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee. 5 feet of water in Houston. Small towns wiped out, all the way to the STP reactor on the coast of Texas.

Hurricane season is starting . Many places with reactors have flooded with high and have high, geound saturation levels. Trump and Perry have gutted supervision, of reactors in the USA. A fukushima event or two here, will effect the whole world. It will effect australia too.

May 19, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA community resists federal govt’s plan for a radioactive waste dump

This Town Didn’t Want to Be a Radioactive Waste Dump. The Government Is Giving Them No Choice. Earther,  Yessenia Funes , 17 May 19,PIKETON, OHIO—David and Pam Mills have grown tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and okra on their secluded Appalachian property for about 18 years now. This will be the first year the retired couple doesn’t. They just can’t trust their soil anymore. Not with what’s being built barely a five-minute walk away.
Past the shed and through the gray, bare trees that grow in the backyard, bulldozers and dump trucks are busy scooping tan-colored dirt atop an overlooking hill on a brisk January afternoon. They’re constructing a 100-acre landfill for radioactive waste. …..On a short metal fence marking where the Mills property ends, a sign reads, “U.S. PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING,” in big, bold letters with red, white, and blue borders.

The Department of Energy (DOE) owns what sits on the other side: the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The DOE built the 1,200-acre facility, located just outside town of Piketon about an hour’s drive south of Columbus in southcentral Ohio, in 1954, as one of three plants it was using to enrich uranium and develop the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Now, the agency is trying to clean it up.

The landfill—or “on-site waste disposal cell,” as the department calls it—would extend about 60-feet down and house 2 million tons of low-level radioactive waste comprised of soil, asbestos, concrete, and debris. It’ll be outfitted with a clay liner, a plastic cover layer, and a treatment system for any water that leaches through it. When finished, it will be one of the largest nuclear waste dumps east of the Mississippi.

Waste could begin entering it as soon as this fall…….

“It’s gonna contaminate everything,” David says, after he shows me how close the landfill sits to his property. “It’s just a matter of time.”

The couple is far from alone in their fears. The 2,000-strong Village of Piketon passed a resolution in August 2017 opposing the landfill. So did the local school district and the Pike County General Health District, where Piketon resides. The rural, low income, and largely white county is home to more than 28,000 people across a number of small towns and cities, some of which have passed their own resolutions against this project. Driving through neighborhoods behind Piketon’s main highway, lawn signs covered in red stating “NO RADIOACTIVE WASTE DUMP in Pike County” can be seen everywhere……
The Zahn’s Corner Middle School, which sits barely a 10-minute drive away from the plant, closed on May 13 after university researchers detected enriched uranium inside the building, and traces of neptunium appeared in readings from an air quality monitor right outside the school. While the DOE believes everything’s fine, the Pike County General Health District has been calling for the department to halt work while it investigates the matter. Townspeople worry this contamination is a direct result of recent activity at the plant.
All of this highlights deep public distrust over the nuclear facility’s cleanup plan. And after reviewing thousands of pages of documents—including independent studies, the project’s record of decision, and the remedial investigation and feasibility studies that went into writing it—to understand the risks, it’s clear the public isn’t worried for nothing.
Here’s the thing: Nothing is technically illegal about the landfill. The DOE, though the polluter, is taking the lead on cleaning up the facility, and the Ohio EPA supports its plan. Whether their decision is morally right given local opposition is another matter. But this is what often happens when a corporation or governmental entity needs to dispose of toxic waste: It gets left in an overlooked town no one’s heard of……..
What they, and everyone really, didn’t understand at the outset of the Cold War was the lasting impacts uranium enrichment could have. Sure, scientists understood radioactive material could cause cancer, but they thought that it’d take a lot of radiation, explained Edwin Lyman, a senior scientist and acting director of the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Nuclear Safety Project. Now, we know any exposure poses a risk……
Now,  the DOE is left with the task of cleaning up the more than 2 million tons of low-level radioactive waste and thousands more tons of hazardous waste the plant’s operations left behind. Completing the landfill is estimated to take another 10 to 12 years, with the entire clean-up projected to go on until 2035. ……
Money aside, shipping radioactive waste off-site has other benefits. Some 24 wetlands and 38 streams sit near the landfill. To bury the waste on-site, the DOE must waive a requirement that prevents it from constructing the landfill within 200 feet of these kinds of water bodies. The department can do so because even though it’s not technically a Superfund, it’s being regulated as one, a common practice for such DOE facilities. ……
the local hydrology is a key point of concern among community members. The region has a rainy climate, and it’s been seeing above-average levels of precipitation in recent years. More than anything, it’s the idea of rainfall causing the landfill’s contents to leak into the groundwater that makes people so nervous…….
Despite the fancy cut-outs put together by DOE contractor Fluor-BWXT, Chillicothe city council members passed a resolution that day against the waste cell. And it wouldn’t be the last: at least 11 counties, townships, city councils, and school boards in southcentral Ohio have come out against the project. Unfortunately, the plan was set by the time these resolutions passed.
Here’s the thing: Many residents didn’t even know about the landfill until after the DOE had already decided on it. The public had between November 2014 and March 2015 to comment on the project. The department published its record of decision in favor of the landfill on June 30, 2015. Then, the backlash hit……..

A lot of community members worry that the town will continue to be impoverished and devoid of business opportunities so long as it’s home to the landfill. Who’s going to want to invest in a place that’s a nuclear dumpsite?

And Piketon officials don’t trust the DOE at all. Neither does the plant’s former chief scientist, David Manuta, who worked there for nearly 11 years and has seen firsthand the operations that went on.

“DOE has a history in this community of not listening,” Manuta told Earther. “DOE is not a popular government agency in this community.”……

As the Ferguson Group points out in its analysis, fractures deeper than 20 feet exist throughout the entirety of where the landfill will be built, with some reaching as deep as 70 feet.

“This is the craziness of it all. They go out there and investigate this what we call ‘ideal site,’ right?” Karl Kalbacher, the Ferguson Group consultant Piketon hired for this analysis, told me. “There’s groundwater just oozing out of the ground, which tells you there’s a very shallow water table. They document that there are streams that are flowing through the proposed site area.”……..
To opponents of the landfill, all these fractures and discrepancies raise concerns about the DOE’s commitment to keeping the region contaminant-free. So does the recent independent analysis from Northern Arizona University that prompted the closure of Piketon’s Zahn’s Corner Middle School this week. That analysis found that the Scioto River and village creeks, as well as dust and soils from the school and private homes, are currently contaminated with enriched uranium, neptunium, and plutonium—all radioactive carcinogens. While the analysis did not measure concentrations, it found that much of this contamination could, indeed, be traced back to the plant……..

Regardless of whether the DOE is concerned, the evidence suggests demolition of the plant and construction of the landfill may already be spreading some contaminants via the air. Add in the threat of the landfill impacting groundwater, and opponents see several additional health risks in a regional already overburdened by cancer.

Pike County’s cancer rate of 487.9 per 100,000 incidences is higher than the state average of 459.8 per 100,000 incidences. In fact, all the counties surrounding Portsmouth—Vinton, Ross, Highland, Adams, Scioto—have some of the highest rates in the state.

Jeanie Williams, a 63-year-old who’s lived in a spacious trailer home since 1972 right alongside the plant—not far from where the Mills live—knows that statistic all too personally. Cancer took Williams’ brother in 1999. Her dad worked at the plant and died of lung disease about 10 years ago. Her stepfather worked there and died last year from cancer. Her daughter is battling colon cancer.

May 17, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Women excluded, disparaged, in the “priesthood” that runs nuclear security

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

o be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”

Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..


May 16, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

If America launched a nuclear war -335 Million Dead, and that’s only in the immediate attack

Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours.

As devastating as these projections are, all readily admit they don’t tell the entire story. While these three studies model the immediate effects of a nuclear attack, long-term problems might kill more people than the attack itself. The destruction of cities would deny the millions of injured, even those who might otherwise easily survive, even basic health care. What remains of government—in any country—would be hard pressed to maintain order in the face of dwindling food and energy supplies, a contaminated landscape, the spread of disease and masses of refugees.

While the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union has ended, the United States now faces the prospect of a similar war with Russia or China. The effects of a nuclear war in the twenty-first century would be no less severe. The steps to avoiding nuclear war, however, are the same as they were during the Cold War: arms control, confidence-building measures undertaken by both sides and a de-escalation of tensions.

335 Million Dead: If America Launched an All-Out Nuclear War “Under SIOP, “about 1,000” installations that were related to “nuclear delivery capability” would be struck.” by Kyle Mizokami 13 May 19, A major draw of U.S. nuclear weapons to Soviet cities would have also been the presence of local airports, which would have functioned as dispersal airfields for nuclear-armed bombers. On the other hand, the Soviet attack would largely hit ICBM fields and bomber bases in low-population-density regions of the Midwest, plus a handful of submarine bases on both coasts.

It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threadsrealistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period.

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used. Continue reading

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The ghost towns of Fukushima

Nuclear wasteland
Inside the ghost towns of Fukushima, 
 Eight years on from the tsunami and nuclear meltdown, much of Japan’s Fukushima province remains derelict and deserted. Telegraph, 13 May 19 

There was a chilling silence in the town of Tomioka in the days after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Shoes were left in porches, half-read newspapers lay abandoned next to cups of tea, long gone cold. As night closed in on the seaside town, lights glared out from a few bare windows, while news of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant just six miles away drifted from a solitary radio.

Nobody was home.

Eight years on, little has changed. Before March 11, 2011 – the day the tsunami engulfed the nuclear facility, forcing the evacuation of more than 150,000 residents across the region – the town had a population of 15,960. Now, just a few hundred people have returned despite the lifting of the evacuation order in April 2017.

“Officially 835 have returned, but many are plant and other clean-up workers who are renting out abandoned houses,” says Takumi Takano, a local councillor who splits her time between Tomioka and temporary digs in Koriyama an hour’s drive away that she and her husband Kenichi have lived in since evacuating.

Of the remaining locals most are either elderly, or only return during the day, she says. Most worryingly, just 14 are children. When night falls, they return to “temporary” homes elsewhere, she says. “It’s like a ghost town.”

A similar situation is found throughout the entire evacuated region, where only 12,859 of the 100,510 residents who were living in the zone before the disasters have returned, a Cabinet Office official says. Like Tomioka, many of them are clean-up workers, local residents say.

…… After almost eight years, residents, especially those with young families, have settled elsewhere, securing new jobs and starting new schools or moving out of Fukushima entirely,  says  says Kenichi, a former worker at the devastated nuclear plant.. Many are put off returning by the severe shortage of medical facilities in the region.

Then there’s the radioactivity,” he says, as the couple sit outside their caravan, set up on the land of their recently demolished home, which backs on to a 130-square-mile “difficult-to-return-zone” that is still considered too highly contaminated to inhabit.

Eight years on, radioactivity levels have fallen in the reopened parts of Tomioka, though remain 20 times higher than before the disaster. “It’s much higher over there,” he says, pointing to the blockaded zone, where radiation levels exceed 3.8 microsieverts per hour – the designated threshold for issuing evacuation orders.

That zone is a legacy of the nuclear disaster, when multiple reactor meltdowns and explosions, triggered by a magnitude nine earthquake and towering tsunami, spread radioactive materials for hundreds of miles around……..

despite clean-up operations there to reduce radiation levels below the government-set target of 0.23 microsieverts (µSv) per hour, other legacies of the disaster – the crumbling houses and shops, corroding vehicles and overgrown fields, not to mention 16.5 million containers of contaminated earth collected at some 140,000 sites around the region – are impossible to avoid.

The 0.23 µSv figure is significant in that it adds up to an annual dosage level of one millisievert (mSv) (calculated on the premise that a resident spends eight hours a day outdoors), stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency as being safe for members of the public.

But while maintaining that level is complicated by recontamination from surrounding woodland, some experts argue the figure says little about the true dangers, or safety, of radiation exposure. That the Japanese government raised this to 20 mSv in the aftermath of the disasters adds weight to their argument…….

Misao Fujita, a doctor who performs thyroid scans at a clinic in Iwaki, about 30 miles south of the nuclear plant, says a connection between the cancers and radiation exposure cannot be ruled out and the screening effect is no reason to disregard the examinations.

“What we do know is that after Chernobyl, many children developed thyroid cancer, and if you take that into account and consider the high risk that Fukushima children were exposed to radiation then I think we should carry out such tests,” Dr Fujita says, adding that thyroid cancer normally occurs in one in one million children.

Noriko Tanaka, whose son is one of Dr Fujita’s patients, says exams revealing cysts in her son’s thyroid are a concern, not least because iodine-131 – a substance that causes thyroid cancer – was contained in the plume released by the Fukushima plant that landed on Iwaki after the disasters. At the time, she was pregnant with her son. “I worry because nobody knows for sure what the future holds,” she says……….

The issue of the one million tons of contaminated water being stored at the stricken nuclear plant is another worry for residents. After receiving assurances from Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO ) that the water had been successfully treated and stripped of all but one radioactive material, tritium, the government announced in 2017 it would start releasing the water into the ocean, despite protests, especially from local fisheries.

TEPCO released convoluted data to demonstrate the water’s safety, but was forced to backtrack last September when further tests showed the sums didn’t add up and 80 per cent of the water was in fact up to 20,000 times higher than the official safe threshold. Furthermore, it contained harmful radionuclides such as iodine, caesium and strontium.

Moreover, while the initial suggestion was that tritium was relatively harmless some studies have shown it to be a cause of infant leukaemia, says Ayumi Iida of NPO Tarachine, which independently analyses seawater samples taken from the ocean near Fukushima’s two nuclear plants.

“Tritiated water is easily absorbed and hazardous when inhaled or ingested via food or water,” she says. “There’s already data indicating infant leukaemia rates are higher near to nuclear plants, and tritium is known to cause DNA damage, so while there are claims that tritium is harmless, there are counterclaims it can adversely affect health, especially among young children.”…….

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace says that discharging the water into the ocean is “the worst option” available, and one whose main consideration is economic.

“The only viable option, and it’s not without risks, is the long-term storage of the water in robust steel tanks over at least the next century, and the parallel development of water processing technology,” he says. ……….

“The reality is there is no end to the water crisis at Fukushima, a crisis compounded by poor decision-making by both TEPCO and the government,” says Mr Burnie.

Among more pressing issues, Mr Burnie says, is 400,000 cubic meters of sludge being stored within the Fukushima plant grounds that contains high concentrations of strontium – known as a “bone-seeker” because, if introduced into the body, it can accumulate in the bones in the same way as calcium does.

With the plant still generating waste, this sludge is expected to nearly double over the next 10 years, he adds.

Strontium releases into the environment from the plant were relatively small following the 2011 disaster, but significantly greater 30 months later, when in 2013 a large strontium-laced plume contaminated land as far away as Minamisoma – a city about 20 km from the plant, Mr Burnie says. Such an event could re-occur, he says.

“Is it a good idea to lift the evacuation orders? Absolutely not. The public are right to be concerned about the possibility of further offsite releases.”

They can also be forgiven for being sceptical over official reassurances that foodstuffs are safe, says Ms Iida of Tarachine, which also runs a produce-testing laboratory and has found “plenty” of items with levels of contamination exceeding the safe limits.

Meanwhile tests on samples of soil – which has no official safe threshold in Japan – have also revealed high levels of radiation in the area, she adds.

Namie’s Obori district, about six miles northwest of the nuclear plant and within the difficult-to-return-zone, is one place where soil radiation levels remain high. In woodland backing the pretty hamlet, which is famed for its pottery but has slowly surrendered to nature, the Telegraph recorded up to 127 µSv per hour – over 350 times the IAEA’s safe threshold……

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA government is not likely ever to secure local consent for disposal of spent nuclear fuel

Former DOE Nuclear Waste Chief Critical of Consent-Based Siting

BY EXCHANGEMONITOR   13 May 19, The federal government is not likely ever to secure local consent for disposal of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors, but that approach could nonetheless be tested in a plan for temporary storage of the radioactive material, according to a former head of the Energy Department’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM).

“Consent-based siting does sound very appealing. I just don’t see it leading to a successful leading to a successful conclusion. Of course, I may be wrong,” Ward Sproat, who managed OCRWM from June 2006 to January 2009 before it was dismantled by the Obama administration, wrote in a May 2 letter to Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Among the obstacles to consent, Sproat wrote: history, as illustrated by failed Private Spent Fuel storage project in Utah; politics, including the potential for elected officials who support a facility to be replaced by opponents; and the need for at least two layers of local approval to analyze a selected location and then to begin licensing.

Still, Sproat indicated support for assessing the viability of a consent-based approach for interim storage discussed before the committee by an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Geoff Fettus, senior attorney for the NRDC’s nuclear program, was among the witnesses for a May 1 hearing on a draft bill from Barrasso that is intended to advance interim storage and permanent disposal of U.S. spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Among the measures, the legislation would authorize the secretary of energy to site, build, and operate at least one monitored retrievable storage facility and to store DOE-held waste in a privately operated facility.

In his prepared testimony, Fettus said the NRDC supports changing existing federal laws to give states more authority for regulating radioactive waste as part of a consent-based approach. A pilot program for interim storage should specifically involve a hardened structure at an operational nuclear power plant, Fettus said.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Tepco to start taking apart one highly radioactive chimney at Fukushima


TEPCO to slice dangerous chimney at Fukushima plant, By CHIKAKO KAWAHARA/ Staff Writer, May 10, 2019 Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to start work on May 20 to dismantle a 120-meter-tall, highly contaminated chimney that could collapse at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

It will be the first highly radiated facility at the plant to be taken apart, the company said May 9.

The stack, with a diameter of 3.2 meters, was used for both the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. TEPCO plans to remove the upper half of the chimney within this year to prevent the structure from collapsing.

The dismantling work will be conducted by remote control because the radiation level around the base of the chimney is the highest among all outdoor areas of the plant. Exposure to radiation at the base can cause death in several hours.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011, pressure increased in the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor. Vapors with radioactive substances were sent through the chimney to the outside.

TEPCO also found fractures in steel poles supporting the chimney. The damage was likely caused by a hydrogen explosion at the No. 1 reactor building when the nuclear disaster was unfolding.

Since then, the chimney has been left unrepaired because of the high radiation levels.

Immediately after the nuclear accident, a radiation level exceeding 10 sieverts per hour was observed around the base of the chimney. In a survey conducted in 2015, a radiation level of 2 sieverts per hour was detected there.

TEPCO will use a large crane that will hold special equipment to cut the chimney in round slices from the top.

The company set up a remote control room in a large remodeled bus about 200 meters from the chimney. Workers will operate the special cutting equipment while watching footage from 160 video cameras.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Beyond the Anthropocene – humans aim for planetary powers

Accidental changes are entirely different from deliberate ones.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Call for a carbon tax for UK

FT 13th May 2019 Nick Butler: There is a very simple measure the UK’s Committee on Climate
Change could have flagged. We need a carbon tax to change consumer
behaviour. Introduced at a level designed to alter behaviour (perhaps £50
a tonne), a carbon tax would encourage consumers of all kinds – from
manufacturers to domestic customers – to switch to lower-carbon energy
supplies and encourage the development of technology to make that possible.

Charged at this level a tax would be far more effective than the current
EU-based measures and would allow energy users to identify low-cost
alternatives, or where necessary develop them. In the process, it would
demonstrate whether the most expensive options, such as carbon capture and
the reconstruction of the way we heat buildings, are really necessary.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Majority of UK voters want to slash greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050

Independent 12th May 2019 A majority of voters would support radical action to slash greenhouse gases
to nearly zero by 2050 at a cost of tens of billions of pounds, a new poll
has found. The public has thrown its weight overwhelmingly behind calls by
the government’s independent climate change advisers to make a legally
binding commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by the middle of
the century. The exclusive survey by BMG Research found 59 per cent of
voters would support such action, with only 8 per cent opposing it and 34
per cent who had no view.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Mothers in Fukushima set up a radiation testing lab because they didn’t trust government results

May 13, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

USA government, like the Australian govt ignores the danger of transporting nuclear wastes across the country

Federal panel rejects all objections to proposed New Mexico nuclear dump

 • MAY 7, 2019  On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board had rejected every objection made by intervenors challenging Holtec International’s application to build a storage facility for high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico.

Among the requests the panel refused to consider was the objection raised by Sierra Club that U.S. law clearly prohibits nuclear waste being moved to interim facilities before a permanent storage site has been identified. No such permanent sites exist in the U.S.

“This ‘interim’ storage facility could well become a permanent repository without the protections of a permanent repository,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in response to Tuesday’s ruling. “Now it is up to the people and public officials in New Mexico to protect New Mexicans from this boondoggle.”

“New Mexico citizens should be very concerned about this project,” Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Nuclear-Waste Co-Chair John Buchser said. “Energy Secretary Rick Perry has indicated he is OK with the storage-site proposal in Texas, just across the New Mexico border, becoming a permanent facility.  The Sierra Club is very concerned about possible radioactive releases from containers designed for short-term storage. The transport of this highly radioactive waste is even more risky, and the nation’s rail system is not safe enough to transport this waste.”

Taylor, representing the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, and attorneys for Beyond Nuclear, Fasken, AFES and transportation intervenors raised nearly 50 different contentions before the three-judge board during oral arguments in January in Albuquerque.

The panel, charged with ruling on petitioners’ standing and the admissibility of their contentions under NRC regulations, agreed that some of the six petitioners, including the Sierra Club, had standing, but ruled that not not a single one of nearly 50 contentions raised were admissible for even an evidentiary hearing.

“The board won’t even consider transportation risk,” Buchser said.

“This decision is a perfect example and a lesson for the citizens of New Mexico and the United States of how the NRC process is shamelessly designed to prevent the public from participating,” Taylor said.

“It’s clear from the hearings across the state that the people of New Mexico don’t want this. They need to join forces and make that clear to New Mexico officials,” Taylor said. “State officials can pass and enforce laws that would require permits or other protections from the dangers posed by the transport of high-level radioactive waste to southeast New Mexico.”

The next step for Sierra Club is to appeal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

May 13, 2019 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment