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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Florida Nuclear Power Plant Is Leaking Radiation Into the Ocean



Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Is Pumping Polluted Water Into Biscayne Bay

As Florida Power & Light finalized plans to expand its nuclear reactors at Turkey Point three years ago, critics were aghast. The nuclear plant already stands on environmentally fragile land, and upping the power production would seriously threaten the ecosystem, they argued.

Turns out they may have been right. This morning, the county released the results of a study into whether Turkey Point has been leaking dangerous wastewater into Biscayne Bay. County water monitors found more than 200 times the normal levels of tritium a radioactive isotope linked to nuclear power production, in the bay water, a finding environmentalists say justifies their concerns.

"This is one of several things we were very worried about," says South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, who is also a biological sciences professor at Florida International University. "You would have to work hard to find a worse place to put a nuclear plant, right between two national parks and subject to hurricanes and storm surge."

       Turkey Point's cooling canals are leaking radiation into Biscayne Bay, a new study confirms.

The study is just the latest blow to FPL, which lost a state court ruling last month when a judge found the utility had failed to prevent hundreds of thousands of gallons of wastewater from seeping into the bay.

County commissioners and other local politicians are scrambling this morning to get answers about how threatened Biscayne Bay is by the leakage.

"I was shocked to read this," says Commissioner Xavier Suarez, who in a letter demanded answers from FPL "by the end of the day." County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, meanwhile, says the county has "aggressively enforced its regulations" and would demand that the state force FPL to fix the problem.

Adds State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez: “For years our state regulators have failed to take seriously the threat to our public safety, to our drinking water and to our environment posed by FP&L’s actions at Turkey Point. Evidence revealed this week of radioactive material in Biscayne Bay is the last straw and I join those calling on the US EPA to step in and do what our state regulators have so far refused to do - protect the public.”

At the heart of the troubling issue revealed in the new report is a system of canals surrounding the nuclear plant in southeast Miami-Dade. Nuclear cores must be constantly cooled to avoid meltdowns. The canals circulate water through the plant to leach heat off the reactors.

As FPL prepared to expand the plant's reactors in 2013, critics such as Stoddard warned that relying on the canals was a mistake. For one thing, environmentalists argued, the hot, salty canal water would inevitably leak back into Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.

"They argued the canals were a closed system, but that's not how water works in South Florida," Stoddard says.

In the two years since, environmentalists have pointed to a growing litany of concerns, including spiking heat levels in the canals and saltwater plumes exploding from the power plant into nearby groundwater systems. Stoddard says salty water has intruded as far as four miles inland through groundwater.

But FPL resisted new monitoring, Stoddard says, and deflected blame. "FPL has argued and argued and denied and denied there was any connection to their canals," he says. "They've tried to prevent monitoring. They were successful until the county commission finally demanded this study."

FPL hasn't returned New Times' phone calls for comment on the study. The county's numbers are cited in another report released today, which was conducted by University of Miami scientist Dr. David Chin, who analyzed how an influx of new water could affect the cooling canals.

As for those elevated tritium levels, it's not clear whether the isotope itself is dangerous to people or wildlife at that concentration; that's one topic on which the commission will demand answers from FPL, Suarez says.

But the hot, salty water is certainly a problem for the delicate ecosystems in Biscayne National Park and the Everglades. Stoddard — who argues the new study might point to violations of the federal Clean Water Act — says he believes only two solutions are viable: building new cooling towers to replace the canals, or shutting down the plant.


"There's a certain validation to critics in seeing this result in the study," he says. "But more important, it's now crossed the threshold of federal law here."

Update 12 p.m.: While FPL says it needs to review the new county data on tritium levels in Biscayne Bay, the utility strongly defended its work to protect Biscayne Bay. Cruz, the FPL spokeswoman, points out the agency reached an accord with the county last October. In the agreement, FPL promises to clean up its act by pumping wastewater into a deep aquifer, among other steps.

"We'll continue to comply with regulatory agreement we reached with the county in October," Cruz says.

Cruz also emphasized that FPL has collected its own data on impacts to Biscayne Bay and has seen no indication of a larger pollution problem.
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"We've collected this data for many years, and this data has reviewed by independent scientists," Cruz says. "We're going to continue to work closely with regulatory agencies."

Cruz also criticized Stoddard for slamming the agency over the latest report. "He's selecting portions of the data to further his anti-FPL campaign," she says.





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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Winters are Going to Get Colder…Much Colder



The Maunder Minimum (also known as the prolonged sunspot minimum) is the name used for the period roughly spanning 1645 to 1715 when sunspots became exceedingly rare, as noted by solar observers of the time.

Like the Dalton Minimum and Spörer Minimum, the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of lower-than-average global temperatures.

During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, astronomers observed only about 50 sunspots, as opposed to a more typical 40,000-50,000 spots. (Source)

Climatologist John Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, thinks that last year’s winter, described by USA Today as “one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record” is going to be a regular occurrence over the coming decades.

Casey asserts that there is mounting evidence that the Earth is getting cooler due to a decline in solar activity. He warns in his latest book, Dark Winter, that a major alteration of global climate has already started and that, at a minimum, it is likely to last 30 years.

Casey predicts food shortages and civil unrest caused by those shortages due largely to governments not preparing for the issues that colder weather will bring. He also predicts that wickedly bitter winter temperatures will see demand for electricity and heating outstrip the supply.

                                     52% of the territory of the United States is covered with six feet of snow

Casey isn’t alone in his thinking. Russian climate expert and astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov goes one step further and states that we are at the very beginning of a new ice age.

Dr. Abdussamatov points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that:

“A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity as a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”(source)

Don Easterbrook, a climate scientist based at Western Washington University, predicted exactly what Casey is saying as far back as 2008. in his paper ‘Evidence for Predicting Global Cooling for the Next Three Decades’ he states:

Despite no global warming in 10 years and recording setting cold in 2007-2008, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climatic Change (IPCC) and computer modelers who believe that CO2 is the cause of global warming still predict the Earth is in store for catastrophic warming in this century. IPCC computer models have predicted global warming of 1° F per decade, and 5-6° C (10-11° F) by 2100 which would cause global catastrophe with ramifications for human life, natural habitat, energy, water resources, and food production. All of this is predicated on the assumption that global warming is caused by increasing atmospheric CO2 and that CO2 will continue to rise rapidly.

The list of climate scientists that are moving into the global cooling camp is growing; many of them base their views on past climate records, while history suggests a link between diminished solar activity and bitterly cold winters, as well as cooler summers, in the northern hemisphere.


“My opinion is that we are heading into a Maunder Minimum,”  said Mark Giampapa, a solar physicist at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson, Arizona. “I’m seeing a continuation in the decline of the sunspots’ mean magnetic field strengths and a weakening of the polar magnetic fields and subsurface flows.”

David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Solar Physics Center explains:

“We’re at the sunspot maximum of Cycle 24. It’s the smallest sunspot cycle in 100 years and the third in a trend of diminishing sunspot cycles. So, Cycle 25 could likely be smaller than Cycle 24.”

A NASA Science News report of January 2013 details the science behind the sunspot-climate connection and it well worth reading. It should be remembered that since the report was written Solar Cycle 24 has been proven to be not just the smallest cycle in 50 years, but the smallest for more than 100 years. The last one with sunspot numbers this low was 1906, solar cycle 14.


“Indeed, the sun could be on the threshold of a mini-Maunder event right now. Ongoing Solar Cycle 24 [the current short term 11 year cycle] is the weakest in more than 50 years. Moreover, there is (controversial) evidence of a long-term weakening trend in the magnetic field strength of sunspots. Matt Penn and William Livingston of the National Solar Observatory predict that by the time Solar Cycle 25 arrives, magnetic fields on the sun will be so weak that few if any sunspots will be formed. Independent lines of research involving helioseismology and surface polar fields tend to support their conclusion.”


Livingston and Penn are solar astronomers with the NSO (National Solar Observatory) in Tuscon, Arizona. They use a measurement known as Zeeman splitting to gather data on sunspots. They discovered in 1990 that the number of sunspots is dropping and that once the magnetic field drops below 1500 Gauss, that no sunspots will form. (A Gauss is a magnetic field measurement. The Gauss of the Earth is less than one). If the decline continues at its present rate, they estimate that the Sun will be spot free by 2016.

If these scientists are correct, we are heading into a period of bitterly cold winters and much cooler summers. Imagine year after year of ‘polar vortex’ winters that start early, finish late and deliver unprecedented cold across the country. Cool wet summers will affect food production, as will floods from the melting snow when spring finally arrives.

The American Meteorological Society Journal gives the following information regarding cold-related deaths in comparison to heat-related deaths in the United States from 1979-1999. The article is entitled Heat Mortality Versus Cold Mortality.


During the study period from 1979 to 1999 a total of 3,829 people died from excessive heat across the United States – an average of 182 deaths per year. For the same time period, 15,707 people died of cold – an average of 748 deaths a year.

Based on these figures, cold kills four times more people than heat. If these scientists are right, you can expect that figure to rise dramatically as energy demand outstrips supply. Power supplies are also impacted by ice storms and heavy snow which will lead to more outages and the disruption that brings. Generally, the infrastructure will fail to cope with month after month of excessive cold. Transportation is severely impacted by weather events and that has the knock-on effect of hitting the economy as people struggle to get to work. For the unprepared, regular food deliveries not making it to stores will leave many hungry and increasingly desperate.

The consequences of global cooling are huge, and those who fail to consider it as a possibility are risking their lives and the lives of their families.


Sources:

NASA: Science News Journal

American Meteorological Society

Marshall Solar Physics

Physics.org






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