News

Radiation & Health

The recently published NCRP Commentary No. 27 evaluated the new information from epidemiologic studies as to their degree of support for applying the linear nonthreshold (LNT) model of carcinogenic effects for radiation protection purposes [1]. The aim was to determine whether recent epidemiologic studies of low-LET radiation, particularly those at low doses and/or low dose rates (LD/LDR), broadly support the LNT model of carcinogenic risk or, on the contrary, demonstrate sufficient evidence that the LNT model is inappropriate for the purposes of radiation protection. An updated review was needed because a considerable number of reports of radiation epidemiologic studies based on new or updated data have been published since other major reviews were conducted by national and international scientific committees. The Commentary provides a critical review of the LD/LDR studies that are most directly applicable to current occupational, environmental and medical radiation exposure circumstances. This Memorandum summarizes several of the more important LD/LDR studies that incorporate radiation dose responses for solid cancer and leukaemia that were reviewed in Commentary No. 27. In addition, an overview is provided of radiation studies of breast and thyroid cancers, and cancer after childhood exposures. Non-cancers are briefly touched upon such as ischemic heart disease, cataracts, and heritable genetic effects. To assess the applicability and utility of the LNT model for radiation protection, the Commentary evaluated 29 epidemiologic studies or groups of studies, primarily of total solid cancer, in terms of strengths and weaknesses in their epidemiologic methods, dosimetry approaches, and statistical modeling, and the degree to which they supported a LNT model for continued use in radiation protection. Recommendations for how to make epidemiologic radiation studies more informative are outlined. The NCRP Committee recognizes that the risks from LD/LDR are small and uncertain. The Committee judged that the available epidemiologic data were broadly supportive of the LNT model and that at this time no alternative dose-response relationship appears more pragmatic or prudent for radiation protection purposes.

Journal of Radiological Protection (accessed) 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Nuclear Terror

The 2016 Nuclear Security Summit brought to a close President Barack Obama’s high-level initiative to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism and secure weapons-usable nuclear materials. The four biannual summits from 2010-2016 played a significant role in bringing high-level political attention to the threat posed by vulnerable nuclear and radiological materials around the world and strengthening the global nuclear security regime. As part of the summit process, states were encouraged to make national commitments, known as house gifts, to take specific actions to strengthen nuclear security. Building on this concept, the 2012 summit began the tradition of offering multilateral joint statements, known as gift baskets, in which groups of states came together to address key gaps in the nuclear security architecture. The national commitments and joint statements resulted in some of the most tangible and innovative nuclear security improvements over the course of the summit process. This report offers a comprehensive assessment of the national commitments states undertook as part of the summit process. While these commitments represent significant advances, effective nuclear security requires continuous improvement to address gaps and new threats. States must continue to build on the accomplishments of the summit process to minimize the risk of nuclear terrorism.

Arms Control Association 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Plutonium

Crooks swipe plutonium, cesium from US govt nuke wranglers’ car. And yes, it’s still missing.

The Register 16th July 2018 read more »

The Hill 16th July 2018 read more »

Independent 16th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Fukushima

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Wednesday resumed television commercials, seven years after a 2011 meltdown that sparked the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation. A retail arm of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) Holdings said it was placing commercials on television, radio stations, and trains, as competition among energy companies intensifies. The decision is controversial, with some activists angered that TEPCO is spending on advertising while it remains on the hook for enormous costs stemming from the disaster, including clean-up, decommissioning and compensation payments.

Daily Mail 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Japan

Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday granted its first approval for a plan to reuse nuclear fuel from decommissioned reactors. The decision will allow Kansai Electric Power Co. to load some nuclear fuel assemblies from the Oi power plant’s scrapped No. 1 and 2 reactors into its No. 3 and 4 reactors, which resumed operation this spring. A nuclear fuel assembly holds fuel rods, and those at the four reactors in Fukui Prefecture are interchangeable.

Japan Times 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

US

A retired professor testified Tuesday he found evidence that billions of particles of plutonium had escaped from a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado and settled on land that is now a wildlife refuge, raising concerns about whether the site is safe for the public. But an attorney for the federal government countered that the study was done in the mid-1970s, and that the Environmental Protection Agency determined years later that the site was safe. The exchange was part of a hearing in federal court over whether the public should be allowed onto Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge west of Denver.

Daily Mail 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Nuclear Weapons

Kate Hudson: As your article on nuclear weapons states, the use of a nuclear weapons is now more likely than at any time since the cold war. Billions are being spent on modernising superpower nuclear arsenals. The old “deterrence” myth – that they will never be used – is still being deployed, but at the same time Trump is unveiling plans for new “usable” nuclear weapons, and outlining more scenarios in which to use them. It’s a year since the UN general assembly voted overwhelmingly to support a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons. The UK government has poured scorn on it, but this is a very real global initiative that presents a way out of the accelerating nuclear crisis. There is much talk of Britain’s standing in the world. This is a way in which Britain could genuinely lead: by supporting the treaty and helping to end the impasse between nuclear weapons states. We ask this of our government, because without such an initiative, the threat of destruction will only grow.

Guardian 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Nuclear Testing

The decision to hold the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne – the first outside the northern hemisphere – was taken in April 1949. Melbourne won over Buenos Aires even though the equestrian events would have to be held in Stockholm because of Australia’s strict horse quarantine regimes. The horses and their riders were well out of it, because large areas of grazing land – the food supplies of major cities such as Melbourne – were ‘top-dressed’ by radiation fallout from the six atomic bombs detonated by Britain in Australia during the six months prior to the November 1956 opening of the Games. This article looks at the sixty years of cover-up that followed in both the scientific and political discourses that included a Royal Commission into British Nuclear Tests in Australia in 1985.

The Rabbitt Review (accessed) 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Renewables

Fall in renewable energy investment threatens climate goals. Slowdown in spending on ‘green’ power generation in 2017 expected to continue this year.

FT 17th July 2018 read more »

Investment in renewable power in India topped fossil fuels for the first time in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This is one of the most striking insights contained within the IEA’s annual update of global energy investment, which was published today. It gives an overview of the global, regional and sectoral shifts in financing. For example, it shows that global energy investment fell by 2% in 2017, including a “worrying” decline for renewables. Carbon Brief breaks down some of the key findings for 2017 from this year’s report.

Carbon Brief 17th July 2018 read more »

Companies from across the UK’s green energy sector have today called on the government to better incentivise flexibility services on the power grid if it wants to “have any chance of a renewable future”. In an open letter to Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry, the group of green energy, battery, and grid flexibility providers outline what they describe as a ‘flexibility first’ approach to grid management in order to aid decarbonisation of power, heat and transport. As more intermittent renewables, energy storage and electric vehicles come online in the UK, services and technologies which can improve the grid’s ability to respond to peaks and troughs in power demand are seen as an increasingly important part of the energy transition.

Business Green 17th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018

Fossil Fuels

An energy technology start-up has raised $50 million to turbo-charge its plan to convert waste material from coalmines into low-cost fuels. Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, and Peabody Energy, the coal group, are investing $10 million each in Arq, valuing the London-based venture at $500 million. The company was founded in 2010 by Julian McIntyre, a banker-turned-entrepreneur, to invest in the coal industry. Four years ago, it began developing its technology and obtained a patent over its coal dust-to-fuel process in November. Arq has devised a method to extract particles of hydrocarbon from the piles of waste that accumulate at coalmines. The slag is converted into a liquid form, which can be blended into crude oil or other liquid energy products. Arq also produces coal-like pellets from the dust, which can be used by the energy company to create electricity.

Times 18th July 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 July 2018