Nuclear, climate, energy and sustainability news

Plastic does not go away

Indian nuclear programme - A global migraine - - American experts have been incessantly warning their government of the dire consequences of exempting India from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) requirements. On December 8, while testifying in front of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, Henry D. Sokolski said, "The US persuaded the NSG to allow India to import uranium for its civilian nuclear program but, as predicted, this has only allowed India to dedicate more of its meager domestic uranium production to military purposes. India, in short, with the deal now can make more bombs."


Radiation-contaminated water at Fukushima plant on the rise - - Efforts to reduce the amount of radiation-contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant have proven helpless, and the overall amount of such water has actually increased, it has been learned.


Virtual reality to be used to help decommission Fukushima plant - - A virtual reality system to assist in decommissioning the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is preparing for full-scale operations this spring.


Hillary Clinton suggests she may oppose Obama’s $1 trillion nuclear arms upgrade - - Hillary Clinton has signalled the potential for a major national security policy reversal this week after she told an activist in Iowa that the planned $1 trillion nuclear weapons modernization program "doesn't make sense."


North Korea 'H-bomb test': What do we know? - - North Korea claims to have carried out an underground test of a hydrogen bomb, a more powerful weapon than the atomic bombs it has tested before. The BBC spoke to nuclear and defence experts Ankit Panda, James Acton and Bruce Bennett about the latest test.


Nuclear forensics: how scientists can tell whether North Korea is lying about its bomb test - - The science of determining the veracity of Kim Jong-Un's claims.


'Climate change and weeds' putting South Australia's plant biodiversity at risk - - South Australia has six plant biodiversity hotspots but threats to conservation including climate change and weed invasion are putting them at risk, researchers say.


Surging popularity of rooftop solar in Western Australia -- Western Power's poles and wires risk losing value as solar surges in popularity, analysts say. Western Power's poles and wires are the Western Australian Government's best electricity assets to sell in a market trying to adjust to the surging popularity of rooftop solar 


Greening the Big Apple - - When Mitch Silver was a boy, Prospect Park in his neighbourhood of Brooklyn was a haven- a special place to escape to and a place that would provide strong memories of childhood. Now Parks Commissioner for New York City, Silver has been charged with reinvigorating the city's green spaces. With almost 2000 parks under his charge, ranging from Central Park all the way down to suburban playgrounds, it is a mammoth task. Silver joins Michael Williams in the studio to share his thoughts on the importance of green space.


Humans have pushed Earth into a new geological epoch - - Human impact has pushed Earth into the Anthropocene, scientists say. New study provides one of the strongest cases yet that the planet has entered a new geological epoch.


Hydro dam boom threatens a third of the world's freshwater fish - - Plans to build huge dams in the Amazon, Mekong and Congo could devastate freshwater biodiversity in these tropical river basins, say ecologists.


“America has been duped on climate change” - - “Future generations will look back on our tepid response to global climate disruption and wonder why we did not act sooner and more aggressively.”


U.S. coal production dropped to 30-year low in 2015 - - Coal production in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level in 30 years thanks in part to low natural gas prices and climate policies encouraging utilities to switch to natural gas to generate electricity.


Heat and drought decimate cereal yields - - New study finds extreme heat and drought have wiped 10 per cent off average national cereal crop production globally. Researchers say heat and drought have knocked 10 per cent off average crop production.


Governments should relocate those in flood-prone areas, study finds - - Researchers at the London School of Economics have found that governments are losing money and potentially lives by not moving people to higher ground.


Electric cars won't save our cities - - These 'green' vehicles may cut pollution but still rely on fossil fuels and do not end the inactivity causing our obesity crisis.


Farmers want Australian Greens to rethink Greens' GMO ban - - The National Farmers Federation is urging the Greens to move away from their opposition to genetically modified crops. “Australian” [Murdoch] Editorial: GM crops have much to offer - The Greens need more rational policy positions.


Australian cotton farmers battle one of the worst cropping seasons on record - - The future of cotton growing in Australia is hanging in the balance, as the industry battles one of the worst cropping seasons on record. Water shortages, coupled with preventable pesticide damage, are bringing farmers to breaking point.


Infographic on microplastics harming the marine environment - - Every month there is a new scientific report on the extent of the problem of plastic pollution and how it is harming the marine environment and entering the human food chain - 90% of all seabirds have ingested plastic; corals mistake microplastic for food; and fish and sea salt contain plastic. Most of the plastic in our near oceans comes from our activity – whether litter (bottles and bags breaking up); flushed down our sewerage system as microbeads and clothes fibres; waste from plastic manufacturing plants; and other sources such as paint and cigarette butts. 70% of future marine plastic pollution can be eliminated by taking four steps.


Marine life being killed and injured by plastic bags washed out to sea from suburbs - - Plastic bags and other rubbish strewn through suburban Sydney are wiping out some of Australia's most precious marine species, including turtles and penguins.


Antarctic scientists head to biological hotspot studying climate change in Southern Ocean - - For the first time since Sir Douglas Mawson's Antarctic expeditions in the 1920s and 1930s, scientists will be conducting climate studies in the area known as the Kerguelen Plateau, in the Southern Ocean.


Key facts about the Western Australian bushfires - - Read summary and watch WA fire disaster videos.


Brazil mine disaster: Samarco downgrades Rio Doce waste levels - - Satellite imagery has prompted Samarco to claim the volume of waste material is less than first thought.


Beijing to shut 2,500 firms this year to fight pollution - - Beijing will close 2,500 small polluting firms this year in its latest effort to combat pollution, state news agency Xinhua reported, citing the municipal government.


Scientists develop nanotech waterless toilet - - A toilet that does not need water, a sewage system or external power but instead uses nanotechnology to treat human waste, produce clean water and keep smells at bay is being developed by a British university.


Australian senator: “End the obsession with whales” - - Australian anti-whaling crusaders are again railing against Japanese whaling. “It's an obsession and long past its use-by date.”


How smelly is a hippo fart? Sydney Zoo at Blacktown undergoes study on environmental impact of animals - - JUST how damaging to Western Sydney is a hippopotamus fart? It's a question Sydney's newest zoo had to answer to achieve its ambitious quest to develop one of the world's greenest wildlife parks.


Great Barrier Reef coral reproduces in London tap water - - A coral reef bursts into sexual reproduction on just a couple of nights of the year depending on moonlight, temperature and a few other important variables.