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Drying and Warming of Our Earth

Jim Steele | August 23, 2021

Describes how enlightened land management can make landscapes more resilient to drying and heatwaves. It reports the most recent research showing heatwaves are not made worse by rising CO2 but by altering the earth’s surface

September 16, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | Leave a comment

Japan Outraged Over US Release of Toxic Water in Okinawa

By Ilya Tsukanov – Sputnik – 04.09.2021

In April, Japan’s neighbours expressed outrage in over Tokyo’s plans to release 1.23 million tonnes of contaminated wastewater from a storage facility at destroyed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the Pacific Ocean. Japanese authorities have insisted that the wastewater is safe, but environmental groups have contested such claims.

China Global Television Network (CGTN), a Beijing-based English-language TV news service, has poked fun at Japanese authorities over the apparent hypocrisy shown by Tokyo when it comes to the dumping of hazardous wastewater.

In recent weeks, Japanese media, government officials and environmental activists have been up in arms over plans by US forces in Okinawa to dump potentially dangerous chemicals into the local sewage system.

The scandal began to gather steam in June, when the Pentagon reported the leakage of water containing toxic materials from a US Army storage facility in Uruma and other locations across the strategically situated islands. In July, the US military informed Okinawa authorities of plans to release treated but potentially hazardous wastewater to prevent the danger of another leak.

The US military insisted that the wastewater was treated to Japanese government standards and safe to drink, and began dumping it into the local sewage system on 26 August. The water was known to contain trace concentrations of organofluorine compounds, including perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid. Scientific studies have indicated that these chemicals can affect the health of wildlife, with the potential to cause reduced immunoglobulin levels and brain asymmetry in offspring, and to result in increased risk of chronic kidney disease and other ailments among humans. The chemicals’ resistance to natural breakup and tendency to accumulate in organisms have led them to be dubbed “forever chemicals.” Japan banned the production of the acids in 2010, and established strict guidelines on safe levels of the substances of less than 50 nanograms per liter of water last year.

The US military informed Japanese authorities of their plans to dump the chemical-laced water less than an hour before starting, and insisted that their wastewater contained less than 2.7 nanograms of the acids.

Okinawa authorities had asked for an immediate halt to the dumping, but the US military apparently ignored their protest, releasing at least 64,000 liters of the potentially toxic wastewater into the sewage system, with the water then dumped into the ocean due to the system’s inability to treat it. Before proceeding with the dump, US forces turned down a local company’s offer to treat the water, deeming it prohibitively expensive.

At a news conference organized on the day the water was dumped, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki expressed outrage over the release of the contaminated water. “I feel strong outrage that the US military unilaterally dumped the water even while they knew that discussions were proceeding between Japan and the United States on how to handle the contaminated water,” he said.

Last week, Japan’s national authorities formally intervened, with Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi issuing a strong protest and saying that US Marines’ decision to dump the water was “extremely regrettable.”

“Local residents are feeling very anxious,” Koizumi complained, while promising to work with the relevant ministries and Okinawa authorities “to ensure this is handled in an appropriate manner, as well as reconfirm the details with the United States.”

In a separate statement, Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that he had asked US forces to please stop dumping any more contaminated water.

Environment Ministry and Defence Ministry officials visited Okinawa this past week to discuss the problem, offering a rare public apology to Masanori Matsugawa, the mayor of Ginowan, Okinawa, the city potentially most heavily affected by the dumping. “We extend our deepest apology,” Makoto Ikeda, the head of the Defence Ministry’s environmental policy division told Matsugawa. “We also consider it extremely regrettable that the water was dumped so suddenly,” he added.

Chinese Media: ‘What goes around comes around’

China’s CGTN poked fun at the Japanese government over the calamity on Saturday, tweeting a political cartoon showing a Japanese man nonchalantly dumping nuclear wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean, and then complaining as a Marine is pictured dumping hazardous water into Okinawa’s sewage system.

September 4, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Toxic Horror Show Geelong Grid Backup Battery Fire Finally Extinguished

By Eric Worrall | Watts Up With That? | August 3, 2021

Imagine if people were crazy enough to install these difficult to extinguish battery incendiary devices in their homes or automobiles, or near populated areas. Imagine what such foolishness could do to insurance premiums, once companies catch on to the risk of batteries acting as potent initiators and accelerants in house fires, or realise they might have to unexpectedly cover the cleanup cost of adjacent homes and gardens contaminated with poisonous residues from the battery smoke.

Blaze at Tesla Big Battery extinguished after three days

By Lucy Battersby and Cassandra Morgan
Updated August 2, 2021

Fire crews have extinguished a blaze at Victoria’s new Tesla Big Battery, the largest lithium-ion battery in the country, after taking more than three days to bring it under control.

One of the Tesla megapack batteries at the site in Moorabool, near Geelong, caught fire during testing shortly after 10am on Friday.

The Victorian Big Battery, with a capacity of 300 megawatts and 450 megawatt-hours, is three times bigger than the initial size of billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla big battery built in South Australia in 2017.

The authority said that, because of the nature of the fire – a 13-tonne battery – firefighters couldn’t put water on it or employ ordinary suppression methods. Instead, they had to let it “burn out” and wait for the container to cool down enough to open its doors.

Authorities had warned of toxic smoke billowing from the site on Friday. Victoria’s Environment Protection Authority has been monitoring air quality at the site over the weekend, and determined it was “good” by Monday afternoon.

Read more: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/blaze-at-tesla-big-battery-extinguished-after-three-day-battle-for-control-20210802-p58f6x.html

At the very least in my opinion these batteries should be sited well away from densely populated areas, and the practice of storing large batteries near or inside homes should cease. As political vanity causes grid scale battery packs to grow in size, the potential for long term harm to anyone unlucky enough to breath the smoke or eat produce grown in battery smoke fallout contaminated soil will also rise.

August 4, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | Leave a comment

Under the cosh of Green Reason

By Edward Gifford | The Conservative Woman | July 15, 2021

INCREASINGLY ‘Green Reason’ – citing the environment – will be used as a justification for any kind of measure, no matter how illogical or absurd. Since March 2020 this type of justification has been used to prop up a whole range of bizarre Covid measures. But the actual substance of the argument – health or environment – is neither here nor there, it is the solipsistic quality that is most valued; these justifications invite silence. Quiet acquiescence is intrinsic to its power. Any dissent is not taken at its rational value but is rather shot down in a barrage of emotionally charged statements.

As yet there is no widespread, subconscious response to a Green Reason announcement as there is to Covid one: it does not create a sense of immediate personal danger; somehow the environment is more abstract than a microscopic pathogen. But we should not be surprised as the chains of reasoning are built up to such a degree that the majority will feel immediately insecure and clamour for the State to step up and protect them.

I recently came across Green Reason whilst travelling south on the ‘smart’ M1, around Sheffield. A gantry announced: ‘Speed limited to 60mph to improve air quality.’ I had never seen or heard of such a command before; looking askance at the other passengers in the car, they too looked puzzled.

Although the motorway was reasonably quiet as we pootled through this long section, compliance was absolute. The smart motorways employ a plethora of enforcement measures, speed traps at every gantry and, in addition to the usual copper loop sensors embedded in the road surface, ‘side-fire radar’ combined with automatic number plate recognition. These will ‘improve tracking and reaction operations’, according to Highways England.

A reasonable first question would be: who benefits from the supposed higher quality air?

A 10mph reduction does not seem to offer much, especially from an automotive point of view: at higher speeds internal combustion engines burn cleaner and more efficiently. A reduction in speed then seems counter-productive. Secondly, who on the motorway benefits from that marginal reduction in particulate matter in the immediate air surrounding their car? The high-quality filters on cars again negate that difference. Or perhaps instead it is for the improvement of the surrounding area? Possibly, but one imagines that re-planting the trees hewn down to build the expanded motorway could render greater benefit than a limited speed reduction scheme.

Although those reasons may in themselves render the scheme hopeless, they are beside the point. One can imagine the officials responsible for the sign laughing at how clever they have been; who would not want to improve air quality? Anyone who questions this measure cannot go far beyond the original statement, so plain, innocent and laudable, before being pigeon-holed as an ‘anti-environmentalist’. The narrative will be constructed to be unassailable.

Gas boilers, wood-burning stoves and flying (via stealth fuel duties – though of course private jets are exempted) are all coming under the cosh of Green Reason; and though measures are needed to protect the countryside, they must be considered rationally in accordance with tradition, in the cold light of day subject to debate and plebiscite.

‘Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.’ – C S Lewis

July 15, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

‘No state cover-up’: French government refuses to apologize over Pacific nuclear test radiation levels

RT | July 2, 2021

France’s junior defense minister Genevieve Darrieussecq has denied her country engaged in a “state cover-up” to conceal the extent of the impact of nuclear tests conducted by the country in the Pacific between 1966 and 1996.

Speaking following the conclusion of a two-day roundtable meeting, Darrieussecq declared that “there was no state cover-up,” rejecting allegations France sought to conceal the extent of the fallout from the nuclear tests, and ruling out any official apology.

The event had been arranged by France’s President Emmanuel Macron to confront the legacy of the 193 nuclear tests at Moruroa and Fangataufa atolls in the Pacific Ocean, between 1966 and 1996. The sites remain inaccessible to this day and only 63 civilians have received compensation for being exposed to radiation from the tests.

Earlier this year, after examining thousands of declassified documents about the nuclear tests, an investigation by media outlet Disclose claimed that “French authorities have concealed the true impact of nuclear testing.”

Macron personally attended the meeting on Thursday but he did not issue a public statement about the event or the allegations around France’s actions.

Edouard Fritch, the president of French Polynesia, expressed disappointment at the reluctance of Paris officials to make amends for the nuclear tests or to acknowledge the full scale of the impact. “We felt that the president of the republic had a real desire to turn this painful page for all of us, with the resources that will need to be put in place in the future, so that Polynesians can rebuild the faith that we have always had in France,” Fritch said, after the two-day event.

Previously, France has accepted that the tests did have some “impact,” with then-president Francois Hollande recognizing the effect it had on the health of residents and the regional environment. However, he defended the decision to conduct the tests, claiming “France would not have nuclear weapons and therefore would not have a nuclear deterrent” without them.

July 2, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

All British children have plutonium in their teeth, from Sellafield nuclear plant

By Antony Barnett | The Guardian | November 30, 2003

The Government has admitted for the first time that Sellafield ‘is a source of plutonium contamination’ across the country. Public Health Minister Melanie Johnson has revealed that a study funded by the Department of Health discovered that the closer a child lived to Sellafield, the higher the levels of plutonium found in their teeth.

Johnson said: ‘Analysis indicated that concentrations of plutonium… decreased with increasing distance from the west Cumbrian coast and its Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant – suggesting this plant is a source of plutonium contamination in the wider population.’ Johnson claimed the levels of plutonium are so minute that there is no health risk to the public. But this is disputed by scientists, MPs and environmental campaigners who have called for an immediate inquiry into how one of the world’s most dangerous materials has been allowed to continue to contaminate children’s teeth. There have long been claims of clusters of childhood leukaemia around Sellafield.

In the late 1990s researchers collected more than 3,000 molars extracted from young teenagers across the country during dental treatment and analysed them. To their surprise they found traces of plutonium in all the teeth including those from children in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Alarmingly, they discovered that those living closer to Sellafield had more than twice the amount of those living 140 miles away.

Plutonium is a man-made radioactive material and the only source of it in Britain is from Sellafield. The plant, which reprocesses nuclear fuel from reactors, still discharges plutonium into the Irish Sea.

The original research was carried out in 1997 by Professor Nick Priest who was working for the UK Atomic Energy Authority. At the time the conclusions of the research received little attention because the study concluded that the contamination levels were so minuscule they were thought to pose an ‘insignificant’ health risk.

But earlier this year the Committee Examining Radiation Risks from Internal Emitters, looking at health risks posed by radioactive materials, examined Priest’s study. Some of the committee’s members have now cast doubt on the conclusions that plutonium in children’s teeth posed no health risk. Professor Eric Wright, of Dundee University Medical School, is one of the country’s leading experts on blood disorders and a member of the committee. He believes that the tiny specks of plutonium in children’s teeth caused by Sellafield radioactive pollution might lead to some people falling ill with cancer.

He said: ‘There are genuine concerns that the risks from internal emitters of radiation are more hazardous [than previously thought]. The real question is by how much. Is it two or three times more risky… or more than a hundred?’

Wright believes that, while the plutonium contamination is unlikely to pose a health risk to much of the British population, it might be a problem for some individuals.

He said: ‘If somebody has a bad collection of genes which means their body cannot deal with small levels of internal radioactive material, then there could be an issue.’

Wright’s comments, coming on top of the admission from the Health Minister, have led to calls for an independent inquiry. Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker said: ‘[This] stinks of a cover-up. They have known for six years that Sellafield has contaminated the population with plutonium but done nothing. Yet the plant continues to discharge plutonium into the Irish Sea. It shows the wanton disregard the nuclear industry has for public health and there needs to be an independent inquiry.’

Janine Allis-Smith of the campaign group Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment said: ‘There is no safe amount of plutonium. The plant must be closed down immediately.’

May 30, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Joe Biden’s Offshore Wind Energy Mirage

The reality is a lot of turbines, not much energy.

By Craig Rucker | Real Clear Energy | May 6, 2021

President Biden recently announced ambitious plans to install huge offshore industrial wind facilities along America’s Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific coasts. His goal is to churn out 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts) of wind capacity by 2030, ensuring the U.S. “leads by example” in fighting the “climate crisis.”

Granted “30 by 2030” is clever PR. But what are the realities?

The only existing U.S. offshore wind operation features five 6-MW turbines off Rhode Island. Their combined capacity (what they could generate if they worked full-bore, round the clock 24/7) is 30 MW. Mr. Biden is planning 1,000 times more offshore electricity, perhaps split three ways: 10,000 MW for each coast.

While that might sound impressive, it isn’t.  It means total wind capacity for the entire Atlantic coast, under Biden’s plan, would only meet three-fourths of the peak summertime electricity needed to power New York City.  Again, this assumes the blades are fully spinning 24/7. In reality, such turbines would be lucky to be operating a top capacity half the time. Even less as storms and salt spray corrode the turbines, year after year.

The reason why is there is often minimal or no wind in the Atlantic – especially on the hottest days. Ditto for the Gulf of Mexico. No wind means no electricity – right when you need it most.

Of course, too little wind isn’t the only issue. Other times, there’s too much wind – as when a hurricane roars up the coast. That’s more likely in the Gulf of Mexico. But the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 had Category 4 winds in Virginia, Category 3 intensity off Cape Hatteras (NC), Long Island and Rhode Island, and Category 2 when it reached Maine. It sank four U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships.

When storms or hurricanes hit, turbines can be destroyed. Repairing or replacing hundreds of offshore turbines could take years.

If the White House is planning to generate all that power using common 6-MW turbines, our coastlines would need a hefty 5,000 of the 600-foot tall monsters dotting them. The Washington Monument is 655 feet tall.

Going instead with 12-MW turbines, like the 850-foot-tall GE Haliade-X turbines Virginia is planning to install off its coast, America would still need 2,500 of the behemoths – just to complete Phase One of Biden’s plan. 30,000 megawatts by 2030.  Even if these were all plopped in the Atlantic, it still would not be enough to meet New York State’s current electricity needs.

And what about the environment?

How many millions of tons of steel, copper, lithium, cobalt, rare earth elements, concrete, petroleum-based composites (for turbine blades) and other raw materials would be required to manufacture and install the turbines and undersea electrical cables, especially where deep-water turbines are involved?

How many billions of tons of ore would have to be mined, crushed, processed and refined – considering that it takes 125,000 tons of average ore for every 1,000 tons of pure copper metal?

Not only would nearly all of this mining and manufacturing require fossil fuels, but much of it would be done in China, or in other countries by Chinese-owned companies. Haliade-X turbines are also manufactured in China. And much of the mining and processing is done under horrid workplace safety and environmental conditions, often with near-slave and child labor.

More turbines will also kill countless birds and bats. Turbine infrasound and other noise have been implicated in disorienting and stranding whales and dolphins. The numbers, height and low-frequency turbine noise also interferes with surface ships, submarines, aircraft and radar.

Nuclear power or billions of batteries (or retained fossil fuel power plants) will have to back up every megawatt of intermittent, unreliable wind power, so that society can function every time the wind fails. That means more raw materials, transmission lines and costs.

Even with massive taxpayer subsidies, electricity generated by offshore turbines will cost many times what we are paying today, even in New York and California. That will have especially heavy impacts on energy-intensive industries, hospitals, and poor, middle-class, minority and fixed-income families.

Economic, environmental and climate justice reviews must fully, carefully and honestly assess every one of these factors. No “expedited” or “climate emergency” shortcuts should be permitted.

President Biden likes to say offshore wind energy is clean, green, renewable and sustainable. Wind itself certainly is. But harnessing the wind (or sun), to meet the needs of modern civilization is not – especially in ocean environments.

Claiming otherwise is a mirage – a scam. Maybe that’s why the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management already canceled two wind projects off Long Island. The costs and impacts are enormous, and local opposition was high. Do climate activists in and out of the Biden Administration expect otherwise anywhere else?

Craig Rucker is president of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org).

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Progressive Hypocrite | | Leave a comment

80 Groups Blast US Interference in Mexico’s Phaseout of Glyphosate and GM Corn

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams | April 29, 2021

A coalition of 80 U.S. agricultural, consumer, environmental, public health, and worker groups sent a letter Thursday to key figures in the Biden administration calling for them to “respect Mexico’s sovereignty and refrain from interfering with its right to enact health-protective policies” — specifically, the phaseout of the herbicide glyphosate and the cultivation of genetically modified corn.

“Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador quietly rocked the agribusiness world with his New Year’s Eve decree,” Timothy A. Wise of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (ITAP) noted earlier this year. “His administration sent an even stronger aftershock two weeks later, clarifying that the government would also phase out GM corn imports in three years and the ban would include not just corn for human consumption but yellow corn destined primarily for livestock.”

“Mexico imports about 30% of its corn each year, overwhelmingly from the United States,” Wise added. “Almost all of that is yellow corn for animal feed and industrial uses. López Obrador’s commitment to reducing and, by 2024, eliminating such imports reflects his administration’s plan to ramp up Mexican production as part of the campaign to increase self-sufficiency in corn and other key food crops.”

The groups’ letter on the Mexican policies and U.S. interference—published in English (pdf) and Spanish (pdf)—is addressed to recently confirmed U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Its lead author is Kristin Schafer, executive director of Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA).

“We call on Secretary Vilsack and Trade Representative Tai, as key leaders in the new administration, to respect Mexico’s decision to protect both public health and the integrity of Mexican farming,” Schafer said in a statement. “It is completely unacceptable for U.S. public agencies to be doing the bidding of pesticide corporations like Bayer, who are solely concerned with maintaining their bottom-line profits.”

Fernando Bejarano, director of Pesticide Action Network in Mexico, explained that “we are part of the No Maize No Country Campaign, a broad coalition of peasant organizations, nonprofit NGOs, academics, and consumers which support the presidential decree and fight for food sovereignty with the agroecological transformation of agricultural systems that guarantee the right to produce and consume healthy, nutritious food, free of pesticides and transgenics.”

“We reject the pressure from corporations such as Bayer-Monsanto—and their CropLife trade association—which are working in both the United States and Mexico to undermine the presidential decree that phases out the use of glyphosate and transgenic corn,” Bejarano said.

The letter highlights Guardian reporting on U.S. government documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity through a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents revealed that CropLife America and Bayer AG—which acquired glyphosate-based herbicide developer Monsanto in 2018—worked with U.S. officials to lobby against Mexico’s plans.

According to journalist Carey Gillam’s mid-February report:

The emails reviewed by the Guardian come from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and other U.S. agencies. They detail worry and frustration with Mexico’s position. One email makes a reference to staff within López Obrador’s administration as “vocal anti-biotechnology activists,” and another email states that Mexico’s health agency (Cofepris) is “becoming a big time problem.”

Internal USTR communications lay out how the agrochemical industry is “pushing” for the U.S. to “fold this issue” into the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal that went into effect July 1. The records then show the USTR does exactly that, telling Mexico its actions on glyphosate and genetically engineered crops raise concerns “regarding compliance” with USMCA.

Citing discussions with CropLife, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined in the effort, discussing in an inter-agency email “how we could use USMCA to work through these issues.”

Full article

May 2, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

New ‘dangerous chemical’ leak detected at NUCLEAR WASTE site in Washington state

RT | April 30, 2021

A nuclear waste storage tank at a defunct plutonium reactor in Washington state has sprung a leak, the Department of Energy said, as local officials warn the aging vessel will emit 1,300 gallons of chemicals over the next year.

The leaking tank, located at the Hanford site in southeast Washington, just 8 miles west of the Columbia River, was announced on Thursday by the Energy Department. A breach in the 75-year-old storage reservoir was suspected more than a year ago but only confirmed recently, one of several decrepit tanks at the facility.

“It’s a serious matter whenever a Hanford tank leaks its radioactive and dangerous chemical waste,” the state’s ecology director, Laura Watson, said in a statement, adding that that officials do not believe the breach poses “increased risk to workers or the public,” though it does contribute to “the ongoing environmental threat at Hanford.”

“This leak is adding to the estimated one million gallons of tank waste already in the soil across the Hanford site. This highlights the critical need for resources to address Hanford’s aging tanks, which will continue to fail and leak over time.”

While the problematic tank, designated B-109, is only the second officially confirmed leak at Hanford, (the first was detected in 2013), many of the site’s 149 storage tanks are suspected to have issues, with the Washington Ecology Department estimating that more than 200,000 gallons of waste have escaped from the “B Farm” alone, where B-109 is located. Across the whole Hanford facility, they believe 1 million gallons have poured from compromised tanks.

With B-109 leaking an estimated 3.5 gallons each day, or 1,300 gallons per year, the concerns are compounded by the tank’s close proximity to the water table, sitting just over 200 feet above, as well as the Columbia River.

A formal leak assessment was launched last year after the tank’s levels were found to be dropping, and though a breach was discovered, local officials’ hands remain tied under an agreement governing clean-up operations at Hanford. Environmental agencies can only take “immediate action” in response to a leak if it is deemed “necessary to abate an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or welfare or the environment.” For now, the state, as well as federal agencies, have assessed no immediate danger from B-109, despite the confirmed leak.

“Contamination in this area is not new and mitigation actions have been in place for decades to protect workers, the public and the environment,” Energy Department spokesman Geoff Tyree told the Associated Press, adding “There is no increased health or safety risk to the Hanford workforce or the public.”

Hanford has seen a years-long, multi-billion-dollar clean-up effort due to its ailing equipment, which itself has become controversial. In 2019, the federal government sued arms dealer Lockheed Martin, which was awarded a $3.2 billion contract in the clean-up project alongside another private company, alleging it defrauded American taxpayers with illegal kickback payments.

The site’s management has also come under fire in recent years, with workers accused of deliberately dumping toxic waste into the environment in 2017.

The Hanford facility has a rich history stretching back to the days of the Manhattan Project, becoming the site for the world’s first large-scale plutonium production reactor. Plutonium manufactured there was used in the first nuclear bomb test at the Trinity site, as well as in Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in the waning days of World War II.

The B-109 tank came online in 1946, running for 30 years before it was shut down, while the entire facility was shuttered in 1987, leaving behind 53 million gallons of waste. Since then, local authorities have worked to stabilize the remaining storage vessels, but problems keep piling up, as thousands of gallons of hazardous materials continue to flow into the soil unabated.

April 30, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 2 Comments

US Honey Still Contains Radioactive Fallout From 1950s Nuclear Weapons Tests, Study Finds

By Morgan Artyukhina – Sputnik – 23.04.2021

While the damage done to honeybee hives by pesticides is well documented, the effects of radioactive fallout is less well understood. However, bees near Ukraine’s Chernobyl exclusion zone were observed to have lower reproduction after the 1986 reactor disaster scattered fallout across the region.

Early atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons scattered radioactive fallout far and wide, tainting land, waterways, and the foods they produced for decades. However, nearly three quarters of a century later, scientists are still finding new places where the evidence of those fiery explosions persists, with the latest being in honey.

“While most of the radiation produced by a nuclear weapon detonation decays within the first few days, one of the longest-lived and more abundant fission products is [cesium-137] , which has a radioactive half-life of 30.2 years,” a study recently published in Nature Communications notes.

To demonstrate this to his undergraduate students, James Kaste, a geologist at Virginia’s College of William & Mary, assigned them the task of gathering local produce from wherever they went on spring break and bringing it back to the lab to be tested for cesium, according to Science Magazine. Most of the results were as expected – very low – but one sample, some raw honey made in Raleigh, North Carolina, was found to have cesium levels 100 times higher than the other samples.

Kaste decided to chase the lead, joining with two others to collect 122 honey samples from up and down the US East Coast to test for the radioactive cesium isotope. In 68 of those samples, they found above 0.03 becquerels per kilogram of the material, with the highest being 19.1 becquerels from a Florida sample. None of those are remotely close to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) safety cutoff of 1,200 becquerels per kilogram.

“I’m not worried at all,” Kaste told the outlet. “I eat more honey now than I did before I started the project. And I have kids, I feed them honey.”

The study notes that several decades ago, the quantity of cesium in the honey was likely much higher, but due to its radioactive instability, much of it has decayed, turning into different elements.

Between 1951 and 1963, the US performed 100 above-ground nuclear weapons tests at the Nevada Test Site, and another 928 underground tests before 1973, after which the US signed the Threshold Test Ban Treaty, sharply limiting the size of underground nuclear tests. The dust from these tests carried radioactive materials far and wide, sprinkling them across the United States, where they made their way into the ecosystem and often into people’s food.

Cesium-137 is just one of several radioactive isotopes uniquely created by nuclear bombs. According to the study, cesium mimics potassium, a common element used in biological processes, which is how it becomes a part of the plants from which the bees collect honey. However, others, such as strontium-90, mimic calcium, making products such as milk an easy pathway for human consumption, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Another, iodine-131, is also passed through milk and readily causes thyroid cancer.

A 2017 study by the University of Arizona found that radioactive fallout from those tests was responsible for an extra 340,000 to 690,000 American deaths. A New York Times article from 1986, amid the Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet Union, recalled that although the US Atomic Energy Commission tracked radiation fallout in food for decades and claimed the exposure was no worse than a person received standing in sunshine, “farm animals died from radiation exposure and human cancer rates [in Utah] near the test site increased tenfold. Plutonium was found in the soil in Salt Lake City, Denver and Houston. Stillbirth rates in New York showed increases in 1954, 1956 and 1959 – the years following intensive testing.”

“Federal officials have taken the stance that absolutely no increased cancer rates, no medical damage of any kind has occurred as a result of nuclear testing,” the Times continues.

However, those Native American communities directly downwind of the nuclear explosions experienced the most intense fallout, with the very first nuclear test, the July 1945 “Trinity” explosion, pouring a colossal amount of radioactive dust onto the “Tularosa downwinders” in New Mexico’s Jornada del Muerto. While some downwinders have received financial compensation from the US government, they have been left out of such legislation as of yet.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Disposing of Fukushima’s nuclear water is ‘not Japanese housework,’ countries have every right to claim compensation, China says

RT | April 23, 2021

The Chinese Foreign Ministry says neighboring countries will bear the brunt of the problems created by Japan’s decision to dump radioactive wastewater into the ocean, adding that Tokyo should be ready to compensate.

Speaking on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Tokyo can no longer pretend to be deaf and dumb over the issue of releasing its supposedly treated nuclear wastewater from the now-defunct Fukushima power plant into the ocean.

Citing an expert who claimed that Japan’s neighbors would be most impacted by their decision, Zhao stated, “as the neighboring countries that bear the brunt of the sewage from Japan’s nuclear accident, China, South Korea and other countries have every right to claim compensation from Japan.”

The spokesman continued, saying Japan must not put its own private interests above international and public interests. “The disposal of nuclear contaminated water in Fukushima, it is definitely not Japan’s housework. If the nuclear sewage is not polluted, why doesn’t Japan keep it for itself?”

Zhao added that Japan is making a dangerous first step, claiming its government will pay the price for its irresponsible behavior, leaving a stain on history.

Last week, Japan announced it would be releasing the wastewater from the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean “in around two years.” The plan, which had been widely rumored to be Tokyo’s preferred option, was met with condemnation by Japan’s neighbors.

Concerns have been raised about how safe the water is despite years of treatment. Last year, Greenpeace reported that the wastewater from the plant was more dangerous than the Japanese government had suggested. Their publication titled, ‘Stemming the tide 2020: The reality of the Fukushima radioactive water crisis’ claimed the supposedly treated water still contains “dangerous levels of carbon-14,” a radioactive substance that has the “potential to damage human DNA.” The water is also known to contain radioactive tritium.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Norwegian City ‘Ill-Prepared’ to Welcome NATO Nuclear Submarines

By Igor Kuznetsov – Sputnik – 23.04.2021

Despite treating a nuclear accident as an unlikely scenario, the Norwegian Armed Forces warned that it may lead to death, damage overall health over time and do great radioactive harm to nature and the environment.

While the first NATO nuclear submarines are set to dock soon outside the Norwegian city of Tromsø due to a contested recent agreement, the municipality has no plans for the mass evacuation of people in the event of a radioactive leak or other emergency, national broadcaster NRK reported.

Among other things, there is a conspicuous lack of material and competence for rescue and health personnel who may have to assist in the event of an accident.

“As is said in the contingency plan, which will be ready 1 May, we lack the necessary training on everything in the plan, and we also lack the necessary equipment,” the director of Tromsø municipality, Stig Tore Johnsen, told NRK, admitting that the authorities don’t have what is needed if something goes wrong when the nuclear submarines arrive.

“We don’t plan for the entire city of Tromsø to be evacuated in the event of an incident. It is a not very relevant scenario, and not very likely to happen, so we cannot plan for it,” Johnsen said.

According to Johnsen, the municipality currently lacks information about when the first submarine will arrive. However, in two weeks, a digital public meeting under the auspices of the Armed Forces will be held about the planned calls.

While the contingency plan is almost finished, this doesn’t mean that everything is in place.

“The plan doesn’t necessarily mean that we have done all the exercises, acquired expertise in incidents that may occur or other material. There are things that will remain after 1 May,” Johnsen admitted.

Earlier this year, the Norwegian Armed Forces completed a classified 80-page risk and vulnerability analysis for the arrival of nuclear submarines. According to NRK, though, the Armed Forces treat a nuclear accident as an unlikely scenario. But it can happen, and in the event of an accident, the consequences can be death, damage to health over time and great radioactive harm to nature and the environment. The Armed Forces’ own analysis shows that may ultimately be relevant to evacuate large parts of Tromsø. In the words of the national broadcaster NRK, “If a nuclear accident occurs, it can have fatal consequences for Tromsø.”

Municipal council representative Jens Ingvald Olsen of the Reds party, previously a staunch opponent of port calls by nuclear-powered vessels in Norway, is highly critical of how the authorities handle this issue.

“It is quite obvious that the municipality, the University Hospital of Northern Norway, and the police are ill-prepared to handle submarine reception as of today. What is happening now confirms what we have been criticising over the past five years,” Olsen told national broadcaster NRK.

Deputy mayor of Tromsø, Mads Hegge Jakobsen of the Centre Party, said that the position in the municipal council has been taken and that is unlikely for it to turn around on this issue.

Previously, the upgrade of the port facilities in Tromsø triggered popular and political opposition, as well as criticism from environmentalists, including Greenpeace.

Tromsø, 76,000, is the largest urban area in Northern Norway and the third largest north of the Arctic Circle in the entire world, trailing only Russia’s Murmansk and Norilsk.

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment