Month: February 2018

New evidence of nuclear fuel releases found at Fukushima

Uranium and other radioactive materials, such as caesium and technetium, have been found in tiny particles released from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors.

This could mean the environmental impact from the fallout may last much longer than previously expected according to a new study by a team of international researchers, including scientists from The University of Manchester.

The team says that, for the first time, the fallout of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor fuel debris into the surrounding environment has been “explicitly revealed” by the study.

The scientists have been looking at extremely small pieces of debris, known as micro-particles, which were released into the environment during the initial disaster in 2011. The researchers discovered uranium from nuclear fuel embedded in or associated with caesium-rich micro particles that were emitted from the plant’s reactors during the meltdowns. The particles found measure just five micrometres or less; approximately 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The size of the particles means humans could inhale them.

The reactor debris fragments were found inside the nuclear exclusion zone, in paddy soils and at an abandoned aquaculture centre, located several kilometres from the nuclear plant.

It was previously thought that only volatile, gaseous radionuclides such as caesium and iodine were released from the damaged reactors. Now it is becoming clear that small, solid particles were also emitted, and that some of these particles contain very long-lived radionuclides; for example, uranium has a half-life of billions of years.

Dr Gareth Law, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at the University of Manchester and an author on the paper, says: “Our research strongly suggests there is a need for further detailed investigation on Fukushima fuel debris, inside, and potentially outside the nuclear exclusion zone. Whilst it is extremely difficult to get samples from such an inhospitable environment, further work will enhance our understanding of the long-term behaviour of the fuel debris nano-particles and their impact.”

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is currently responsible for the clean-up and decommissioning process at the Fukushima Daiichi site and in the surrounding exclusion zone. Dr Satoshi Utsunomiya, Associate Professor at Kyushu University (Japan) led the study.

He added: “Having better knowledge of the released microparticles is also vitally important as it provides much needed data on the status of the melted nuclear fuels in the damaged reactors. This will provide extremely useful information for TEPCO’s decommissioning strategy.”

At present, chemical data on the fuel debris located within the damaged nuclear reactors is impossible to get due to the high levels of radiation. The microparticles found by the international team of researchers will provide vital clues on the decommissioning challenges that lie ahead.



Reference: The paper ‘Uranium Dioxides and Debris Fragments Released to the Environment with Cesium-Rich Microparticles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’ is being published in Environ Sci Technol. 2018 Feb 13. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06309.

Energy is one of The University of Manchester’s research beacons – examples of pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships that are tackling some of the biggest questions facing the planet. #ResearchBeacons

via Watts Up With That?

February 28, 2018 at 01:03PM

HuffPost Rely On Twitter Trolls For News Now!

HuffPost Rely On Twitter Trolls For News Now!

February 28, 2018

By Paul Homewood


HuffPost have been making even bigger fools of themselves:





Nigel Farage has lamented the apparent lack of gritters in central London whilst suggesting the ‘Beast from the East’ weather system currently dumping snow across the UK is proof global warming isn’t real.

The former Ukip-leader’s tweet posted on Wednesday morning provoked a tide of scientific debunking mixed with utterly scathing put-downs.

Firstly, some science – Farage is wrong to imply global warming results in solely warmer weather and any freak cold spells prove the phenomenon’s absence.

The Arctic is currently experiencing “crazy” high temperatures, as much as 20C above normal levels.

<strong>'Warm' air where there should be none.</strong> (Climate Reanalyzer)

‘Warm’ air where there should be none. (Climate Reanalyzer)

This warm air is pushing colder air and blizzards south which is what the UK is currently experiencing. It could prove to be a freak event but it could also mean global warming is eroding the polar vortex and even scientists’ most pessimistic forecasts of the effects of climate change may need to be revised.

Either way, Farage is way off the mark, as Twitter wasted no time in pointing out.


They then go on to show some of the supposed scientific twitter responses:






Leaving aside the fact that a brief temperature spike in the Arctic is a weather event and not climate change, and is not unprecedented anyway, there is clearly an implication that we never used to have cold weather like this in the UK.

This is palpable nonsense:


UK Mean temperature - Winter


And up to yesterday, the mean CET in this latest spell of cold has only gone as low as minus 0.7C, well within the 95th percentile:



The record low mean in February was –8.8C in 1816.

We should also remember that all of the experts have been forecasting milder winters as a result of climate change, along with promises that “children will no longer know what snow is”.

A couple of morons then go on to claim that the gulf stream is disappearing, with one even suggesting Nigel watches The Day After Tomorrow, to check up on the latest climate science!


We all know that there are many idiots out there, who broadcast their ignorance on twitter. But HuffPost is sinking to new lows, which is really saying something, if the best response to Farage’s perfectly reasonable message is to publish some of them, instead of doing some fact checking themselves.

Farage’s whole point was that local authorities may have become complacent with regards to gritting, because of the obsession with global warming.


HuffPost finish with this:




Perhaps they should learn to check the facts in future:




February 28, 2018 at 12:25PM

Climate models: useful, but not for policymakers

Compared to the situation five years ago,  much of the heat has gone out of the climate debate. This often happens between assessment reports, but it’s also true that most of the arguments have been had and few have been settled. Only more data will change that.

However, the lack of heat in the debate while we are all waiting does have an upside: papers that might have been seen as impossibly sceptical a few years back now get to see the light of day. I guess with less attention on the field there is less likelihood of a backlash if you say something vaguely heretical. This at least was my thought when I read the paper by Carslaw et al. on the Eos website. It feels like vindication to me. For example, what sceptic wouldn’t agree with this, the paper’s standfirst?

Model simulations of many climate phenomena remain highly uncertain despite scientific advances and huge amounts of data.

Or, more potently, this sentence, just a few lines further on:

Without…reductions in uncertainty, the science we do will not, by itself, be sufficient to provide robust information for governments, policy makers, and the public at large.

Appearing on the radio a few months ago, I was badmouthed by a former chief scientist for Scotland, for my temerity in suggesting just this: I was not apparently worth paying any attention to. Yet here are a group of mainstream (and to the best of my knowledge, non-sceptic) scientists saying quite clearly exactly the same thing: that climate models do not currently provide robust information for the political process.

I think you would get a lot of agreement across the climate debate that climate models are interesting and perhaps even useful scientific tools. If we can get agreement across the trenches that they are not useful policy tools then we are getting somewhere.

via The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

February 28, 2018 at 11:49AM

Latest Data Show Winters In European Alps Are Cooling, Proving Climate Scientists Wrong!

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne here.

Over the years we’ve all heard the dire predictions of snow becoming a thing of the past and that especially in the Alps the ski industry would in large part disappear. Warmer temperatures would put an end to snow as we know it.

Yet an analysis of the data tells a very different story, according to Austrian ski industry researcher Günther Aigner in a video presentation dubbed: Will the Arlberg see snow disappear? An analysis of historical temperature and snow datasets:

In the video Aigner shows what’s going on concerning winters in the Alps. He begins by presenting some predictions of disappearing snow made by renowned scientists such David Viner and Mojib Latif. Other sicnetists such as Andreas Reiter, a future studies researcher, predicted Tirol would soon become mostly just a wine region. Other scientists made even more absurd predictions, Aigner shows.

Yet these bold prognoses are now proving to be deceptive at best, and bordering on outright fraud at worst.

At the 7-minute mark Aigner shows the 123-year temperature series for Säntis ski area, 2500 m elevation in Switzerland:

Falling winter temperatures

Though we see that ther overall trend since the 1940s has been upwards, the trend over the past 30 years has been downward. The Alps have been cooling, and not getting warmer. The situation, Aigner says, is simialr at all the stations he’s looked at in the Alps region.

Aigner notes that for the Säntis station, the 10 year running average is currently only 0.4°C above the long-term mean.

Looking at the last 48 winters (since 1970) for Arlberg, Aigner points out the current level for the 10-year running mean is precisely where it was almost 50 years ago (see 11:55). Aigner summarizes:

There’s been no significant change in winter temperatures from 1971 – 2018.”

1.4°C colder than 30 years ago

At the 13-minute mark, Aigner looks at the past 30 years. Here the result is nothing short of surprising.

The winters have gotten colder not only at Galzig, but also at every mountain station that I have examined in the eastern Alps, western Alps and in the German central mountains.”

At the Galzig station the mean temperature has in fact dropped 1.4° C over the period!

Snow depths unchanged

Next Aigner examines maximum snow levels in the Alps (15:06). Here as well maximum snow depth has seen so significant trend. And this year there’s a strong possibility that a new record snow depth will be set, which would break the record set back in 1941. The Austrian researcher summarizes:

At a single glance we can say the annual maximum snow depth over the past 92 years has not changed at all.”

Aigner also examined “fresh snow” amounts, i.e. the new snow one finds each morning at 7 a.m. and whose amounts are tallied up (18:38). Over the past 72 years we see total accumulated snow fall ranged from just over 300 cm to over 1300 cm. The 10-year running average here as well shows no significant trend change.

Winters in the Alps today as long as 75 years ago

Finally Aigner looks at the dataset for days with snow on the ground for Lech am Arlberg (20:34) going back to 1946. The location sees snow on the ground an average of 196 days per year. Once again, Aiger here says: “No change at all.”

Last winter was slightly above normal.

Interestingly days without snow on the ground were more common back in the 1940s and 50s! Overall, Aigner summarizes, winters are just as long today as they were 75 years ago. The length of the ski season has also not changed over the past 72 years.

Aigner then shows the stats for ski resort Zürs, where the trends behave similarly.

What has changed, Aigner shows, are the June-July-August temperatures (29:34). Here we see that they ‘ve increased since 1975. Yet when looking at the chart, most of the increase occurred between 1975 and 1995.

At 31.45 Aigner shows why summers have warmed up in the Alps: the number of hours with sunshine rose a whopping 25%.

via NoTricksZone

February 28, 2018 at 11:09AM