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« Minor drying in Iran causes farmers to flee Syria | Main | Desperate Dana - Josh 345 »
Tuesday
Sep082015

Greenpeace warns of ice age dangers

Greenpeace are fond of telling us that the planet is going to fry because of our evil addiction to fossil fuels. How then to explain their submission to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which maintains a register of issues and potential problems with the nation's nuclear waste repositories?

The long-term effects of glaciation on repository safety could be very serious, potentially involving a large release of radionuclides due to glacial flushing from a damaged repository zone. Future glaciations could cause faulting of the rock, rupture of containers and penetration of surface and/or saline waters to the repository depth.

Surely some mistake?

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Reader Comments (44)

They are just trying to cover all their bases/arses.

Sep 8, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ah. This is clearly a reference to the next ice age which will not be caused by global cooling but by global warming. Honestly! We deniers will just never get it.

Sep 8, 2015 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Words fail.....

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Since Greenpeace have no credibility whatsoever, this doesn't surprise me in the least.

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

I suspect that if half the planet is covered in ice then a little bit of radiation will be the least of our worries.

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterDominic

Good spot. They probably also think it could drive mammoths to the brink of extinction...

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:17 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Rules of engagement by Greenalists:Forecast & predict every bad imaginary scenario you can think of, then you're always right, job done!

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

If we managed to fire the radioactive waste into space, Greenpeace would still be worrying about the inhabitants of Mars or Jupiter!

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEnglish Pensioner

to be fair having your cake and eating it is normal pratice fir Greenpeace.

Sep 8, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

These nuclear containers are filled with cement btw so container rupture doesn't matter. Rust would eat the container away long before any ice age.

Sep 8, 2015 at 1:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Green is rapidly becoming blue........

Sep 8, 2015 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E

As we will all have fried before the next nucleation, it shouldn't be much of a problem anyway - except perhaps to the surviving cockroaches, and they are pretty good at resisting radiation!

Sep 8, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

With a few million years of evolution and development, nuclear powered mammoths could replace cars for short journeys. Longer journeys would still require more comfortable seating, but the flexible air intake would make flooded roads passable.

Sep 8, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Won't that eventuality also release all the CO2 they are considering carefully, and expensively (and pointlessly) burying in repositories below the sea?

Sep 8, 2015 at 2:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

Greenpeace, the Electric Monk of the 21st century. They can believe seven mutually contradictory things at once, just for you.

Urban dictionary - "An Electric Monk is a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers wash tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watch tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believe things for you, thus saving you what is becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expect you to believe.

"Excuse me sir, would you like to hear about the blessings of our lord and savio--"
"Tell it to the electric monk."

The Indians are on the warpath.

Pointman

Sep 8, 2015 at 2:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

the worst poisonous waste should be sent in space: lets try to convince the greenp*ss lot they are "essential" astronauts!

we will be "proud" of them! ( my obbamnia language skills are improving i

Sep 8, 2015 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCo2

I like the idea of dropping the barrels into subduction zones. That will take a while to recycle, even if we do get another ice age. So lets ship all the nucular (sic) waste to California.

Sep 8, 2015 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta_uk

Apparently global warming is going to last centuries because of the amount amount of CO2 we emit. It also (apparently) takes centuries for CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. After all this it will take centuries to to cool back to pre-industrial.

So lets pull a figure out of our **** and say that with all that this nasty molecule CO2 does and with all us evil "deniers" stopping the world from "doing the right thing" the earliest we can have glaciation that will affect the repository is 1500 years.

In that case the solution is simple. Invest £1 million in a fund designed to average at least 1% more than inflation and in 1500 years we will have £3,034,315,069,532.12 at today’s value to use to move it somewhere safer.

Sep 8, 2015 at 4:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Someone on a forum I visit made the following amazing find.

From an archived copy of the Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal - 28 September 1910:

Except over a small area, it is generally understood, the glaciers of the world are retreating to the mountains.

How about that. A 1910 "consensus" that the glaciers of the world were retreating (except over a small area)

Sep 8, 2015 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Oops, sorry.

Linkie:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/100784966

Sep 8, 2015 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Oh look. More fun with retreating glaciers.

From 1929

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22917712?searchTerm=&searchLimits=l-publictag=Glaciers+melting|||l-format=Article

SCIENTIFIC observations of the movement of Swiss glaciers, which have been made for the last 49 years, centred upon 92 glaciers in 1928. The result of these studies indicates that 14 glaciers were increasing, 5 remained stationary and 73 were decreasing. Of 100 glaciers under observation in 1927, 22 were found to be advancing, 7 were stationary and 71 were retreating. Thus the tendency for the present at least is a shrinking movement

And this one throws in a "world wide drought" from 1934 - again pre-AGW:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36712632?searchTerm=&searchLimits=l-publictag=Glaciers+melting|||l-format=Article

Apropos of the world-wide drought, scientific observation of the Swiss glaciers indicates that the earth is gradually growing warmer and drier. Only fifteen of 100 glaciers were observed last year to have increased; four remained stationary; and 81 decreased.


Loads more examples here:

http://trove.nla.gov.au/result?l-publictag=Glaciers+melting&q&l-format=Article

Sep 8, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

Surely greenpeace should be supporting Liquid Salt Reactors which use Thorium as a fuel. Thorium is more common than lead in the crust and such a reactor can be used to 'burn' all the waste we have already created with no production of plutonium to boot.

Sep 8, 2015 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

I often wonder about 'nuclear waste facilities'.

You see, highly radioactive items lose their radioactivity rapidly - it's basic physics. Radionuclides may be highly radioactive, or very long-lived, but they cannot be both.

It seems to me that requiring safe storage for hundreds of thousands of years is a pointless aim. Safe storage for high-level waste needs only to function for a few hundred years to drop the radioactivity levels to fractions of their former levels, and one might assume that the superior technology of two hundred years in the future would be as capable of dealing with any issues as we are capable of dealing with contaminated Victorian factory buildings...

Sep 8, 2015 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

@ JamesG: POI, the thick steel nuclear waste containers are filled with concrete, which is a mixture of cement, fine & coarse aggregate, sand, & water. Cement is the binder.

Sep 8, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Those who agree with VenusnotwarmerthanearthduetoCO2 should recommend Golfcharlie as a nuclear mammouth mahout to emplace radwaste for safe burial by Earth's surely advancing glaciers.

Sep 8, 2015 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Jamesg/Alan: In the concrete used in the nuclear industry, the sand and aggregate are mainly replaced by barite and magnetite due to their radiation-shielding properties.

Sep 8, 2015 at 8:33 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

It is no mistake and there is no inconsistency in the Greenpeace view of the world. The planet is perfectly balanced on a knife-edge equilibrium that human beings are tampering with. Whilst human emissions are most likely to cause massive catastrophic global warming, the key element, that climate scientists have been trying to communicate for many years, is that uncontrolled human emissions are destabilizing the Earth's climate system beyond the acceptable range of the climate models, creating vast uncertainties of future outcomes. Those uncertainties include the less than likely, but still highly plausible in the collective mind of the expert scientific consensus, even possible in the real world, scenario that destabilization from the climate knife-edge will send us on a climate roller coaster that will first plunge us into a short-lived severe ice age more cataclysmic than the world has ever seen (certainly in living memory), before hurling temperatures upwards way beyond anything imaginable.

Sep 8, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

Kevin,

Please substantiate your "dramatic" claims with scientific evidence.

How do you manage to get out of bed in the morning? Your expressed fear regards these "uncertainties" must be causing PTSD, your fortitude in the face of these potential catastrophes is remarkable.

Sep 9, 2015 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

beyond the acceptable range of the climate models

But fortunately not beyond the range of the actual world, which is not like the models at all.

And even then there is an inconsistency in the Greenpeace world. Scientists are to be believed if they suggest run-away warming or cooling. Scientists are not to be believed if they say GMOs are safe.

Scientists are to be believed by Greenpeace if they suggest "renewables" will work to power a modern economy. But when they suggest that nuclear is the obvious solution -- then they don't know what they are talking about.

Sep 9, 2015 at 2:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterMooloo

Kevin Marshall,
Quite a good concept for a fantasy and science fiction story. I love the plunging and upward hurling roller coaster. The contrast between "the world has ever seen" and in "living memory" is a nice touch.
The fiction-writing group meets a 7 PM in the basement of the university chapel. Remember, if it is your story being discussed, you are responsible for snacks and drinks. See you there?

Sep 9, 2015 at 5:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn F. Hultquist

Some roller coaster, some knife.

Sep 9, 2015 at 7:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Alan the Brit
Re your pedantic poi:
In the UK and European waste disposal business in the UK we call it cement-based grout and the process is called cementation. Perhaps someone elsewhere erroneously calls it concrete:
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Nuclear-Wastes/Appendices/Radioactive-Waste-Management-Appendix-1--Treatment-and-Conditioning-of-Nuclear-Wastes/

Sep 9, 2015 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Hi Mike,
I was just replicating the language of Greenpeace. Plenty of metaphors and devoid of empirical content. The opposite of how I view climatology could become a science.
http://manicbeancounter.com/2015/08/14/can-climatology-ever-be-considered-a-science/
Directionally following this diagram. https://manicbeancounter.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/090515_1425_degeneratin11.png

Do you think I would get a job in a Greenpeace PR department?

Sep 9, 2015 at 8:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

@JamesG: Clearly, concrete is too short a word for todays jargonized society. Technically speaking, any discrete particles brought together with a binder is a "concrete". I though radiation protective concrete used more boron than anything else. At RAL in Oxfordshire we used to lace crushed pyrex wit reduced levels of sand, but it was all quite experimental at the time, & the radiation levels encountered were very low from the particle accelerators.

Sep 9, 2015 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

@JamesG:
The quoted document states: "In general the solid wastes are placed into containers. The grout is then added into this container and allowed to set. The container with the now monolithic block of concrete/waste is then suitable for storage and disposal."
It may seem pedantic to some, but as an engineer, I have endured over many years, many a knowledgable member of the public telling me they want, as just one example, (use of the term cement as opposed to concrete, another) an RSJ designed, when very few have been rolled over the years & few still are, because of their impracticalities having tapered flanges, requiring all sorts of wedged/tapered washers to accommodate the taper when fixing elements to it, whereas universal beams, rolled since the 1960s, possess parallel flanges making fixing other elements to them much easier & thus cheaper! These terms get engrained in the mids of members of the public & they use the terms to show they have "technical" knowledge, they think they know what they mean. I was just trying to be helpful!

Sep 9, 2015 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

The document should have said 'concrete'/waste since it isn't really concrete except in the sense of being an aggregate.

Sep 9, 2015 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

@JamesG: Technically speaking, James, the document misuses the word "set", also. Concrete in general sets within a couple of hours or so, however it may take anything up to 24 hours to actually harden into concrete.

Sep 9, 2015 at 12:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"Surely some mistake?"

A mammoth mistake.

Sep 9, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

@Kevin Marshall: "I was just replicating the language of Greenpeace."

LOL. I thought something had happened to you. Glad to see you're okay. :)

Sep 9, 2015 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteradeverard

"[..] Future glaciations could cause faulting of the rock, rupture of containers and penetration of surface and/or saline waters to the repository depth.[..]"
----
Who cares?

By the time this becomes a problem humanity will have left the northern hemisphere anyway. It involves glaciers covering Northern America and Eurasia.

People will have fled these places decades before causing massive migration towards Africa and Southern America.
All nuclear weapon are in the north. Will we take them south or will we use them to create livingspace in the south? The result will be global war and the end mankind.

Sep 10, 2015 at 9:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterTwan Hendriks

Sep 8, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin Marshall

I thought you were doing a submission for a film script to Cameron, Kevin. I was going to reject it as it is not extreme enough.

Then I thought if we could get Emma Thompson as the world weary, but lovable, deeply scarred (emotionally) climate scientist whose quest is blocked by Mike Myers as the evil genius Dr Murdoch and his cat ( played by Pamela Anderson) we might have a goer. Costume designs by Vivienne Westwood and soundtrack by Bob Geldof ( Theme song, "15 years to live"). With a cameo appearance by Arny Schwarzenegger the last remaining tree.

Call me when the script is ready.

Sep 10, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

What you seem to be saying is that Greenpeace are wrong to believe that it will be possible to reduce or reverse the effects of man made climate change even over the next several centuries, or that nature has no chance of overcoming man made climate change even of a time scale of several tens of thousands of years.

It does seem to be the case that many "sceptics" are short-term thinkers.

Sep 11, 2015 at 4:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Milesworthy

@ Steve Milesworthy

Your claim that 'It does seem to be the case that many "sceptics" (sic) are short-term thinkers' surprises me. I've happily discussed concepts ranging from the big bang to the heat-death of the Universe with many a sceptic. That's sufficiently long term a span of time to satisfy anybody, I should think.
I consider it likely that I've spoken with many more sceptics than you have. All those of my acquaintance have been comfortably long-term thinkers.Of course, it might simply be that your experience has differed from mine. Yet I note that your understanding of the lead post differs bizarrely from mine. I understood His Grace to be referring to the apparent hypocrisy of Greenpeace, forecasting both thermogeddon and ice age as suits their whim.
Likewise, I have never seen anything that suggest that Greenpeace believes it is possible to '... reverse the effects of man-made climate change'. So if you're wrong in one interpretation, perhaps you're wrong in others. I'm left to wonder if in fact it's not merely your experience differing from mine, but that your interpretation has been wrong. Specifically, prejudiced by seeing what you want or expect to see, rather than what is actually there.
So I'll ask "Do you have any evidence that sceptics as a group are short-term thinkers, apart from your interpretation that something appears (to you) to be that way?" Of course, actual evidence that we are, contrary to my expectation and experience, short term thinkers would also be evidence that you would interpret to appear that way, so I'm just asking for other evidence that you think would satisfy any reasonable objective observer. However, do keep in mind that disagreeing with you about the course of the future is a very different thing from not thinking about it.
Strangely enough, my actual experience has been very different from yours, with the environmentalists of my acquaintance having no coherent understanding of deep time at all. I could cite multiple instances of bizarre and confused thinking about time from acquaintances who are unsceptical, though of course that amounts to nothing more than those particular individuals are very short-term thinkers. Strange how our experiences should be so dissimilar.

@ Bishop Hill Community
the discussion to date has included many rational observations. Radioactive material is indeed either long-lived or very radioactive but not both. My understanding is that, after a few centuries, it will be less radioactive than the uranium ore it was extracted from.
Greenpeace asserts it will remain radioactive for millions of years, and this is true- but if we encase it in synthetic rock and bury it back in the uranium mines it came from, it will be less radioactive than the natural ore around it in only a few centuries. (This is because we have extracted energy from it.)
So if we do that, Greenpeace can rest easy, in view of the fact that the risk of radioactive contamination of the far future is reduced by this plan to lower than .if we don't use nuclear energy.

Sep 11, 2015 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLeo Morgan

Okay

Jun 29, 2016 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpascal

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