Newsletter XVII 2024

April 21-27

***


  2024 2023 2022 2021
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Current news+ Background knowledge

The PDF file "Nuclear Power Accidents" contains a number of other incidents from various areas of the nuclear industry. Some of the events were never published through official channels, so this information could only be made available to the public in a roundabout way. The list of incidents in the PDF file is therefore not 100 % identical with "INES and the disturbances in nuclear facilities", but represents an addition.

3 April 1960 (INES 4) NPP WTR-2 reactor, Waltz Mill, USA

6 April 1993 (INES 4 | NAMS 4,8) Nuclear factory Tomsk 7, RUS

7 April 1989 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-278 Komsomolets sunk south of Bear Island, USSR

8 April 1968 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-129 sunk 2900 km nw Hawaii, USSR

10 April 2003 (INES 3 | NAMS 3,9) NPP Paks, HUN

April 10th to May 15st, 1967 (INES ? Class.?Nuclear factory Mayak, USSR

10 April 1963 USS Thresher Submarine SSN-593 sunk 350 km off Cape Cod, USA

April 11-12, 1970 (Broken ArrowSubmarine K-8 sunk in Bay of Biscay, USSR

19 April 2005 (INES 3) Nuclear factory Windscale/Sellafield, GBR

21 April 1957 (INES 4) Nuclear factory Mayak, USSR

26 April 1986 (INES 7 | NAMS 8) NPP Chernobyl, USSR

28 April 2011 (INES ? Class.?) NPP Asco, ESP

 

We are always looking for up-to-date information. Anyone who can help, please send a message to:
nuclear-world@reaktorpleite.de

 


27. April


 

Biodiversity | water temperature | corals

Ocean temperatures are triggering global coral bleaching

The most biodiverse marine ecosystems, coral reefs, are facing the largest bleaching event ever observed. Over half of the world's reefs are already affected.

Colorless coral skeletons from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef in eastern Australia - everywhere coral reefs are bleaching due to high water temperatures.

In mid-April, NOAA, the US weather and ocean agency, reported that 54 percent of reefs were affected. About one percent is added every week.

This is the fourth observed coral bleaching event on a global scale. To be classified as a global event, at least twelve percent of coral reefs must be affected and there must be evidence of bleaching in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean.

The first of the events took place in 1998 and affected 20 percent of the reefs. In 2010, 35 percent of the world's corals were suffering from heat stress and between 2014 and 2017 the figure was 56 percent. As current coral bleaching continues to expand rapidly, researchers believe it is reaching a new, sad peak.

The vast and diverse coral landscapes of the seas are among the planet's biodiversity hotspots. Although they only cover about one percent of the ocean floor, they are home to a quarter of all marine species.

Hundreds of millions of people depend on these ecosystems, as Earth system researcher Tim Lenton from the British University of Exeter explained. They play a key role in conserving fish and shellfish species that are essential to the survival of many coastal communities. The reefs also act as natural breakwaters, protecting coastal areas from storms...

*

United States | Severe weather | Tornadoes

Storm warning for millions of people

Tornadoes devastate places across the United States

At least 60 hurricanes have caused severe damage in the USA. However, most residents of the affected areas got off largely unscathed. According to experts, further storms could follow.

Several tornadoes have caused extensive damage in the American Midwest. The city of Omaha and its surroundings in the state of Nebraska were hit particularly hard. Hundreds of houses were damaged there, local media reported, citing the police. Of some houses only rubble remains. Photos and videos showed buildings of which only a mountain of rubble remained. In addition, the power went out in thousands of households.

[...] Severe weather warnings were in effect for more than 50 million residents. In addition to storms and heavy rain, hail is also expected in some places. Experts attribute the increase in natural disasters in the USA - storms, floods and forest fires - to the consequences of climate change.

*

Russia | Ukraine | Peace treaty

Secret peace treaty could have ended war in Ukraine after just a few weeks

After the start of the war, Moscow and Kiev were essentially prepared to negotiate a solution. How did NATO contribute to the escalation? What a now public draft contract reveals.

A pair of Secret draft treaty that could have ended the war between Russia and Ukraine after just a few weeks, was negotiated by negotiators on both sides. This emerges from a document reported by Welt am Sonntag this weekend.

The start of the war and the first peace talks

The draft agreement of April 15, 2022, which was negotiated by Russian and Ukrainian negotiators immediately after the outbreak of war, shows that Kiev and Moscow had largely agreed on conditions for an end to the war, the paper writes: Only a few points remained open, which were supposed to be negotiated personally by Presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky - a meeting that never took place.

[...] A member of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation at the time told the paper that the deal at the time still seemed advantageous in retrospect. If the costly war had been ended after around two months, it would have saved countless people's lives and a lot of suffering.
The tragic reality of war: casualty numbers are rising

Figures from the United Nations Children's Fund also indicate this. The number of children killed in Ukraine has increased by almost 40 percent this year compared to last year, warns Unicef. Between January 1 and March 31, 2024, attacks resulted in the deaths of 25 children, the youngest just two months old.

"Any attack sets back recovery and reconstruction efforts and prolongs the deterioration of children's quality of life," said Regina De Dominicis, Unicef ​​regional director for Europe and Central Asia, during her visit to Ukraine.

According to official UN data At least 2022 children have been killed in attacks since the war escalated in 600 and more than 1.350 children injured. The actual number of children killed and injured is probably significantly higher.

Unicef ​​is working across Ukraine to preserve learning opportunities for children by rehabilitating schools and shelters, providing home learning kits and online learning support. In 2023, Unicef ​​reached 1,3 million children with formal and informal learning.

*

Lobby | PropagandaTransport policy | Auto industry

“Promoting cars is generally questionable”

With the massive subsidies for combustion engines, Germany is heading into economic decline, warns Helmut Holzapfel. The traffic researcher about small and large electric cars, the mistakes of VW and Co and the power of the oil lobby.

Climate reporter°: Mr. Holzapfel, the transition from combustion engines to electric drives is going slower than hoped; after a good year in 2023, sales have collapsed. VW is cutting an entire shift at its electric car factory in Zwickau, Mercedes is building more combustion engines again. Are we facing a renaissance of petrol and diesel cars?

Helmut Holzapfel: Many car buyers are now opting for what is supposedly tried and tested. We are also seeing something similar with heating: gas boilers are booming, and will soon trigger shocks in many households due to rising CO2 prices.

This will soon backfire on the car too. Stockholm has now become the first municipality to obtain permission from the EU to completely ban combustion engines in parts of the city. Numerous other cities in Europe are planning to be CO2030-free as early as 2035 or 2, which is not possible with combustion engines. Corresponding bans are already being prepared.

What good is an eight-cylinder if I have to leave it at home? The combustion engine has no future, but there is a lack of information about it. Otherwise demand would already change more sharply.

The auto industry blames politics primarily for this: too few charging stations, capped funding, delayed battery development. But isn't she also partly to blame?

There are various lobby groups that continue to support the combustion engine. The most powerful is the oil industry, its influence on politics is huge. She directs completely absurd propaganda against electric cars.

Stupid rumors are spread, such as that an electric car doesn't work in winter. CO2 comparisons are made that include the upstream chains of all components for an electric car, but do not include the contribution of oil production, processing and transport for a combustion engine. Otherwise the result would be devastating for petrol and diesel engines.

However, the auto industry, especially in this country, has also been too slow in developing electric cars. Good, affordable vehicles are just now coming onto the market. And the industry association VDA only makes a vague statement; it must finally make a clear commitment to phasing out combustion engines.

[...] Shouldn't politics particularly promote smaller, more economical electric cars? For a transport transition, especially in e-mobility, such vehicles are needed rather than large SUV fleets because of the heavy batteries.

Funding cars is generally questionable, even if they are electric. There are no e-bikes either. Currently, combustion engines are mainly being promoted, for example as company cars. Even stopping this funding would send a signal. E-SUVs should certainly not be funded.

A future with less CO2 in transport must be promoted, otherwise our country will be left behind economically worldwide and may then be able to sell the last combustion engines to technically backward areas of the world.

 


26. April


 

Nuclear phase-out | Propaganda | Cicero

Accusations about the nuclear phase-out:

Tricks from Habeck and Lemke?

Did the Green ministers manipulate the nuclear phase-out? The Union is thinking loudly about a committee of inquiry.

The coalition’s ranks stood – for once. It was “completely logical” how Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) decided, said the climate policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Olaf in der Beek, after one of the special committee meetings that were hastily convened in the Bundestag on Friday. The opposition was less tame: there was “distortion of facts instead of open-ended examination” in Habeck and in the environmental ministry, which is also responsible and also led by the Green Party, complained Union politicians. They even threatened a committee of inquiry.

Did “the Green Party's masterminds manipulate the decision to extend the life of German nuclear power plants in 2022”? Did Habeck and party colleague Steffi Lemke cheat on the Green core issue of nuclear phase-out in order to present the party base with a success - three decommissioned nuclear power plants? This is what research by the monthly magazine Cicero suggests

[...] Cicero comes to the conclusion: “The experts in the ministry were hardly listened to. Their assessments were ignored or distorted.”

The magazine also quotes experts from Habeck's department who wrote at the beginning of March 2022 that it was "unclear whether enough natural gas can be stored for next winter" to enable "gas power plants to operate for days" in addition to other gas consumers. In retrospect, however, this was successful, not least thanks to the extremely quickly built LNG terminals on the North and Baltic Seas.

Habeck and Lemke rejected the allegations. “This is not a game, we are talking about nuclear safety,” said the Environment Minister. Habeck explained: “The documents tell a different story than was rumored, namely that the ministry and myself, even before the Russian war of aggression, actively approached the operators of the nuclear power plants with the question: Can your things run longer? For him, “security of supply was an absolute priority” and his ministry worked “without any restrictions.” After the nuclear power plant operators said that the fuel rods could run a little longer, the running time was extended to April 15, 2023.

*

Chemical industry | Bisphenol A | Environmental hormones

Bisphenol A: How harmful is the environmental hormone?

The environmental hormone bisphenol A (BPA) is not only found in plastic bottles, but also often in cans. How does this affect the body? Which packaging contains BPA? And how can we avoid it? All answers in our FAQ.

In clothing, packaging, canned goods and cosmetics: environmental hormones can be found almost everywhere - chemical substances that can disrupt the human hormonal balance. This also includes bisphenol A (BPA).
What does bisphenol A do in the body?

Bisphenol A is one of the best-known environmental hormones. These are chemical substances that can act like a hormone. Various animal studies have shown that BPA can have similar effects to the hormone estrogen. An excess of these chemicals in the body can lead to metabolic disorders. Therefore, they are associated with overweight, obesity or impaired fertility.

In addition, bisphenol A is suspected of causing thyroid diseases and also diabetes. Some scientists suspect the widespread use of this chemical as the cause of the increase in hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, testicular and prostate cancer.

However, bisphenol A is by no means the only substance that is said to have hormone-like effects. This also includes phthalates, the so-called plasticizers in plastic. Or parabens, which are preservatives in cosmetics and foods. Many agricultural pesticides also contain hormone-like chemicals...

*

Renewables | Power Supply

56 percent at the beginning of the year

Renewables are producing more and more electricity in Germany

Despite all the prophecies of a renaissance in nuclear power, renewable energy is still on the rise in Germany. In the first quarter, 56 percent of the electricity consumed came from solar, wind, etc. Compared to the same period last year, there has been another massive increase.

Renewable energies covered around 2024 percent of electricity consumption in Germany in the first quarter of 56. This emerges from projections by the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) and the Federal Association of the Energy and Water Industry (BDEW).

In total, renewable energy systems generated around 75,9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from January to March, around nine percent more than in the same period last year. Onshore wind turbines alone would have covered more than a quarter of Germany's electricity needs with 39,4 billion kilowatt hours...

*

Radiation | Exclusion zoneChernobyl NPP

Exclusion zone boss about Chernobyl:

“Russians have mined the zone”

38 years after the GAU, the area around Chernobyl is still contaminated. The war of aggression threatens new dangers, warns exclusion zone boss Andrij Tymtschuk.

taz: On April 26, 1986, reactor 4 of the nuclear power plant named after Lenin near Chernobyl exploded. You are deputy head of the state agency that manages the exclusion zone around the destroyed power plant. What is the situation today?

Andriy Tymchuk: The most dangerous radiation, which was released in 1986, has now degraded; fission elements of cesium, for example, have a half-life of 30 years. Nevertheless, an area with a radius of 30 kilometers around the power plant will remain uninhabitable for humans for many hundreds of years. That is why special laws and rules apply in this zone.

Nevertheless, thousands of people still work in this restricted area. Why?

Because we need them. There are a total of ten state-owned companies that currently employ 4.800 people in the zone. With 2.500 employees, the company is the largest employer dedicated to the dismantling of the power plant - currently blocks 1 to 3. The second largest is a company that takes care of the interim storage of radioactive waste. Thirdly, there is Radon-Enterprice, a state-owned company that provides technology and know-how for radioactive accidents in Ukraine and beyond.

[...] The Russians have mined parts of the zone, and unexploded bombs are lying around everywhere. Safely averting this danger will be a greater challenge.

Your job is not only to manage the special economic zone, but also to develop it. What are the most important tasks that lie ahead?

Of course, the dismantling of the damaged reactor 4. Since 2019, a new shell has been installed above it to ensure that radioactivity cannot escape into the environment. But of course the ruins can't stay like that: Over the next two years, we want to develop a process for dismantling and disposing of them, so that by 2030 we can have the reactor and building broken down into its individual parts...

*

Radioactivity | DisasterChernobyl NPP

38 years after the disaster

Chernobyl today: between war, dismantling and radiation exposure

What exactly happened in Chernobyl on April 26, 1986? How did German authorities react back then? How is Chernobyl today? How dangerous is radiation? We give the answers.

A minute that changed everything: At exactly 1.23:26 a.m. on April 1986, 4, what was later described as the first catastrophic reactor accident occurred in reactor unit 50 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The reactor exploded after a failed experiment, at least 4.000 people died immediately after the disaster in the nuclear power plant, and thousands became ill from the radiation released: estimates of the victims vary between 100.000 and XNUMX. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forcibly relocated, and large areas in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia have been contaminated.

This is what this article is about:

  • What exactly happened on April 26, 1986?
  • How did the German authorities react to the nuclear disaster in 1986?
  • War makes dismantling more difficult
  • German society is helping with the clean-up work
  • This is how dangerous radiation is 38 years after the nuclear disaster
  • How long will it take until Chernobyl is habitable again?
  • Chernobyl's wildlife is adapting
  • Tourism in the restricted area

To this day, a radius of 30 kilometers around the scene of the accident is uninhabitable, but some of the flora and fauna have adapted to the conditions. Particularly before the war in Ukraine, a kind of disaster tourism developed, although elevated radiation levels were still being measured in many places. Dismantling is now underway, but is being made more difficult by the Russian attack on Ukraine. Corona also contributed to the fact that the decommissioning work could not be carried out as planned. We look back at what exactly happened in April 1986, how the German authorities reacted back then and what the situation is with Chernobyl today...

*

26 April 1986 (INES 7 | NAMS 8) NPPINES Category 7 "Catastrophic Accident" Chernobyl, USSR

There were about 5,2 million TBq of radioactive radiation released.
(Cost approx. US$260000 million)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Wikipedia de

Chernobyl nuclear disaster

A major meltdown (INES level 7) in unit 4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine resulted in a core meltdown and subsequent explosions. Large amounts of radioactivity were released through the exposure and fire of the reactor core, and the immediate surroundings were heavily contaminated; In addition, there were numerous direct radiation victims among the relief workers. The catastrophe was proven by radioactivity measurements and fallout in Sweden and other European countries. A large restricted area was set up and the area was evacuated...
 

The nuclear chain

Chernobyl, Ukraine

Catastrophe in a nuclear power plant

The Chernobyl nuclear meltdown in April 1986 was by far the largest accident in the history of the civilian nuclear industry. Entire areas of the country were contaminated and made uninhabitable for generations. The radioactive fallout led to tens of thousands of cases of cancer, deaths, miscarriages and deformities - and not just in the former Soviet Union.

background objects

The first nuclear reactor was built in Chernobyl between 1971 and 1977. By 1983, the plant had been expanded to include three more reactors. In the neighboring town of Pripyat, almost all of the approximately 18.000 residents lived from jobs in the nuclear industry. The Chernobyl disaster began during a system test on April 26, 1986. A sudden increase in reactor power made an emergency shutdown necessary. This led to the achievement of a supercritical mass and thus to the start of an atomic chain reaction within the reactor. The 1.000-ton roof was lifted by the force of the explosion and the graphite-containing inventory caught fire. A cloud of radioactive smoke swept over large parts of Eastern and Central Europe and covered entire areas with radioactive fallout. Large amounts of radioactivity fell, especially north of the power plant, in parts of Belarus, but parts of Scandinavia, Asia Minor and the Bavarian Forest were also covered with radioactive iodine-131 or cesium-137. The catastrophe was kept secret from the population for days. Evacuation and protection measures were severely delayed.
Consequences for the environment and health

The first victims of the nuclear disaster were the approximately 800.000 liquidators, mostly young recruits, who were brought to Chernobyl from all over the Soviet Union to bring the disaster under control. They had to carry radiant rubble across the site with their bare hands and build a gigantic sarcophagus over the damaged reactor block. An estimated 14 to 15% of them had already died in 2005, 19 years after the accident; More than 90% of them are sick, many probably due to their high levels of radiation exposure...
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

Chernobyl (Ukraine)

On April 26, 1986, the catastrophic INES level 4 accident occurred in Chernobyl's reactor 7, in which large amounts of radioactive substances were released into the surrounding area and atmosphere following a core meltdown and hydrogen explosions...
 

Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE)

Nuclear accidents

In the history of the civil use of nuclear energy, there have been serious accidents in nuclear facilities. The causes of the accident were very different. Nuclear accidents can occur, for example, due to the failure of technical components, human errors or natural disasters. A nuclear accident causes a greatly increased release of radioactive substances...
 

Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BFS)

Nuclear accidents: Chernobyl

The Chernobyl accident led to the revision of programs to protect the population from radioactive radiation in many countries...

 


25. April


 

Members of parliament | Corruption | bribery | commission

Addition to the Criminal Code

Bribery MPs face harsher penalties

After allegations in the course of so-called mask deals, members of the Bundestag went unpunished. Now the current law has been tightened. In the future, “impermissible representation of interests” could result in up to three years in prison. 

Bribery and corruption of members of parliament should be punished more severely in the future - this is what the Bundestag has decided. Accordingly, MPs who use their position and the prestige of their mandate to exercise influence for money, for example over ministries, are liable to prosecution. They and their clients now face a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine.

Specifically, the Bundestag decided - with votes from the traffic light factions and the AfD - to add an additional paragraph 108f ("inadmissible perception of interests") to the criminal code. Its rules also apply to members of state parliaments and the European Parliament as well as to members of the parliamentary assembly of an international organization.

Today's decision is a consequence of the so-called mask scandals during the corona pandemic. The Left group abstained from the vote.

[...] The criminal code previously only provided for penalties if members of parliament received money or other benefits for certain behavior in the exercise of their mandate, for example for a speech or specific voting behavior in the Bundestag. Criminal liability is now being extended to cases that have nothing to do with the actual work in parliament.

With their initiative, the SPD, Greens and FDP also responded to the so-called mask scandals of former CSU representatives. In the early phase of the corona pandemic, they brokered mask deals for the state and received millions in commission for doing so. Despite later investigations into suspicion of bribery, they could not be punished for this under the current legal situation. The traffic light parties had therefore agreed to tighten the law in their coalition agreement.

*

CatastropheChernobyl NPP

Litschauer on the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster:

We must finally learn from the catastrophe

Nuclear power plants are a danger during operation - even more so during war

Vienna (OTS) - “The Chernobyl disaster showed us that nuclear power plant technology is unpredictable and incidents cannot be predicted. “There are actually still people who believe that it was a mistake and an experiment that led to the accident on April 26, 1986, releasing a radioactive cloud that contaminated large parts of Europe,” says Martin Litschauer, anti-nuclear spokesman of the Greens, on the occasion of tomorrow's 38th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

It was physical effects that were previously unknown to the operating personnel that led to the catastrophe. Over 20.000 fuel rods are still stored on the site of the former nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. If the cooling fails there, the next catastrophe can occur...

*

Right-wing extremists | Neo-Nazi | Arrest warrant

Almost 800 outstanding arrest warrants:

Where have all the neo-Nazis gone?

It's a slight decline, but overall the number of right-wing extremists wanted has been rising for years. The left is calling for more pressure to investigate. 

BERLIN taz | They are wanted for theft or fraud, but also for politically motivated acts of violence. The number of right-wing extremists who are wanted with outstanding arrest warrants remains at a high level. As of the most recent deadline on September 29, 2023, there were 776 arrest warrants nationwide against a total of 597 people. This emerges from the response of the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a left-wing question in the Bundestag.

This means that the number is behind that of autumn 2022, when it was 915 open arrest warrants against 674 people from the right-wing spectrum - the previous high. Until then, the number of arrest warrants had continued to increase over the years: in 2012, the number of people wanted was 266. The numbers are snapshots as of the respective deadline, which is queried every six months. 

The currently open arrest warrants related to politically motivated violent crime in 27 cases. There was no terrorist act among them, and no threat was sought. A further 132 arrest warrants were outstanding because other right-wing crimes were committed, such as incitement to hatred or the use of unconstitutional license plates. The remaining arrest warrants related to general crime.

It was discovered that 18 people were in Poland, 12 were said to have been in Austria and seven in Switzerland. One arrest warrant had already been outstanding for ten years, and there were a total of 104 for at least two years.

[...] In its response, the Ministry of the Interior asserts that searches were initiated in all cases. In the case of violent crimes, the cases were also discussed in the Joint Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Center. In addition, a total of 2022 arrest warrants were executed from March 2023 to September 392. This shows that the police are carrying out the searches “vigorously and successfully”. At the same time, however, new arrest warrants were added.

Left-wing MP Renner also pointed out that, according to the Interior Ministry, there were recently 244 arrest warrants against 179 Reich citizens and 621 arrest warrants against 449 people in the “Other classification” area, which includes corona protesters. Together with these numbers, the total number of wanted people from the right-wing spectrum increases “again drastically,” said Renner.

*

Wealth | Inequality | Justice

Global billionaire tax

Tax the super rich!

High inequality corrodes democracy. It is time for the international community to declare war on it – with a global tax on billions in wealth.

When the governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund met for their spring meetings last week, the really big questions were on the agenda. What can the international community do to advance decarbonization and combat climate change? How can highly indebted countries regain fiscal space to invest in poverty reduction, social services and global public goods? What does the international community need to get on track towards the Sustainable Development Goals? How can multilateral development banks be strengthened to promote these goals?

Overcoming all of these global challenges is made even more difficult by another: inequality. While the gap between the richest and poorest countries has narrowed slightly, it remains alarmingly high. Furthermore, inequalities within most countries have increased significantly over the last two decades. The income gap between the richest ten percent of the population and the poorest 50 percent has almost doubled. Current global economic developments pose a serious threat to progress toward greater equality.

[...] It has already succeeded once

A common objection is that billionaires can easily move their wealth to countries with low tax rates to avoid taxation. This is exactly why such a tax reform belongs on the G20 agenda. For such a tax to be effective, international cooperation and global agreements are needed. What the international community has achieved with the global minimum tax for multinational companies, it can also implement for billionaires.

The fight against inequality requires political will – and a commitment to the goals of inclusive, fair and effective international tax cooperation. Of course, this must go hand in hand with broader approaches to reduce not only the unequal distribution of wealth, but also social and environmental inequalities. There are major challenges ahead of us. We are ready to address them in a coordinated multilateral effort.

*

Health | Bisphenol A | Chemicals

Warentest advises caution

There is a troubling chemical lurking in these doses

The tin can has been in use for around 200 years and is an integral part of many households as an iron food reserve. If you want to reduce your health risk, you should eat less canned food, advises Warentest. Bisphenol A is found in many cans.

Stews, tuna, coconut milk, vegetables, condensed milk - all of this and much more is available in cans. Which in itself is practical because of its durability. But the image of the can as a place to store food has taken a hit. A pollutant is to blame: Bisphenol A, or BPA for short. It can migrate from the can coating into the contents. The chemical is considered particularly worrying because, among other things, it can impair fertility and has a hormone-like effect. Humans primarily absorb BPA through food, and canned food is one of the main sources.

The bad news is that many canned foods are actually contaminated with bisphenol A, according to a study by the Stiftung Warentest of 58 canned goods has shown. Including 10 times stews, 5 times soups, 7 times peas and carrots, 10 times coconut milk, 6 times condensed milk, 10 times tuna and 10 times tomatoes; including 12 organic products.

[...] Since the chemical can endanger your health in the long term, Warentest advises limiting your intake as a precaution. This means: the less canned food, the better. However, eating contaminated products once is not a problem. But in the long run it is a risk. Especially since humans can also absorb BPA from other sources, such as water pipes that have been renovated with epoxy resin (made from bisphenol A). The substance has long been banned throughout the EU in baby bottles and receipt paper. A ban on food packaging is currently being discussed at EU level.

*

South Africa | Eskom | ANC | WDR story

Series: Super election year 2024

South Africa: Elections in a “Failed State”

A dilapidated energy infrastructure in South Africa leads to constant power outages and the decline of entire sectors of the economy. What there is to know about the upcoming elections in the country, which is still heavily dependent on coal.

“We have had devastating wildfires in the Western Cape, destructive floods in KwaZulu-Natal, unbearable heatwaves in the Northern Cape, prolonged drought in the Eastern Cape and severe storms in Gauteng.” In sober words, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa listed the consequences of climate change for the country's provinces in his address to the nation at the beginning of February.

In the speech, which marked the start of the election campaign of his African National Congress (ANC) party, the 71-year-old discussed all the major topics: the green transformation, which is intended to create millions of jobs, the fight against power outages, corruption and crime.

On May 29, 30 years after the first democratic elections in South Africa, the country will vote on a new parliament and thus indirectly a new president.

[...] When there is talk of mismanagement and corruption in South Africa, one name comes up particularly often - Eskom. The state-owned energy supplier has been failing to ensure a reliable power supply for years.

Since 2007, there have been large-scale controlled power cuts in South Africa to prevent blackouts. The situation has continued to worsen over the years. Power outages occur almost daily across the country. Sectors of the economy are dying because companies lack electricity for production, and entire districts sometimes have to go without electricity for several days.

This is due to a poorly developed power grid and ailing coal-fired power plants, which are still responsible for 85 percent of electricity production. State money that should have flowed into the expansion of the electricity infrastructure often seems to have been lost somewhere.

All parties see the problem with the electricity system, but offer different solutions...

 


24. April


 

PFAS | Eternity poisons | health

Hearing on PFAS ban:

Union prolongs eternal strife

Environmental and consumer advocates are pushing for strong regulation of perpetual chemicals. The CDU wants to weaken a planned ban.

BERLIN taz | A planned EU ban on PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, is not making progress. It is recommended by the European Chemicals Agency (Echa). German authorities such as the Federal Environment Agency also support it. But now the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in line with the chemical industry, is demanding that the federal government in Brussels advocate for a weakening.

“The restriction proposal that is on the table today is appropriate, sensible and actually already overdue,” argued Martin Scheringer in favor of the ban on Wednesday at a hearing in the Bundestag. Scheringer is a professor of environmental chemistry at ETH Zurich.

PFAS are per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds that do not occur in nature. They are called eternal chemicals because they do not break down in the environment or only with difficulty. So they accumulate not only in soil and water, but also in people. This absorbs the compounds through air, drinking water and food. At the same time, PFAS are popular because they are durable and often water, grease and dirt repellent. That's why they are found in many products, including everyday products. The PFAS group includes several thousand individual substances...

*

Spain | Judge | Corruption | Oversight

Spain accidentally lets drug lord go who wanted to kidnap Princess Amalia

Karim Bouyakhrichan is said to have planned to kidnap Dutch Princess Amalia and assassinate Prime Minister Mark Rutte. He was arrested in Spain - and then accidentally released.

Just the summary of the case sounds completely absurd: A notorious Moroccan-Dutch drug lord is in prison in Spain because he is said to have laundered money. And also because he is said to have planned to kidnap the Dutch Princess Amalia in 2022. And he allegedly even wanted to have the country's Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, murdered.

But the very rich drug lord has only had to answer for the former, in Spain. Instead of extraditing him to the Netherlands for his conspiracy plans, the Spanish justice system released him after paying a bail of 50 euros, as the magazine Politico reports.

Bouyakhrichan paid the money and immediately left Malaga, where he was imprisoned. He hasn't been seen since.

This is how the accidental release occurred

The release was a big mistake. A quick flashback: After Spanish authorities arrested Bouyakhrichan in Marbella, in the south of the country, in January, the Netherlands immediately requested the criminal's extradition. Finally, Bouyakhrichan, a leader of the “Mocro Maffia,” is at the top of the list of the country’s most wanted people. “Mocro Maffia” is the name for the organized drug cartels in the Netherlands, which consist mainly of Moroccans.

[...] But there is no delivery.

Because the Spanish courts are failing to issue another arrest warrant for Bouyakhrichan. Because this does not exist, a provincial judge in Malaga decided to release Bouyakhrichan on bail after the first hearing in the money laundering trial. The drug lord, who is said to have billions in assets, paid them immediately, left Malaga - and has not been seen since.

According to the Spanish newspaper "El País", when Bouyakhrichan was released, the judges ordered him to surrender his passport and report to the court every 15 days. The drug lord was the first to comply with these requirements. But since April 1st there has been no trace of him...
 

IMHO

Does anyone believe the story about the oversight? Are the judge, the prosecutor, the police officers present who did not arrest this mafia billionaire right in front of the courthouse in custody? If not, why not?

*

Electromobility | E-car

IEA: Global electric car fleet will grow strongly in 2023 - further growth in 2024

Paris - The International Energy Agency (IEA) has presented an update of its report on the global development of electromobility. Expansion around the globe increased significantly in 2023 and reached a new record level. Although there are currently disruptive factors, the agency expects the sector to continue to grow strongly, with core markets in China, the USA and Europe.

In its new edition of the annual Global EV Outlook, the IEA predicts that more than one in five cars sold worldwide in 2024 will be electric. Despite short-term challenges in some markets, under the current policy environment, by 2030, almost one in three cars on the road in China will be electric, and almost one in five in the United States and the European Union. Rising demand forecast over the next decade will transform the global auto industry and significantly reduce oil consumption in road transport.

The electromobility industry will have a record-breaking year in 2023

According to the electromobility report published by the IEA, the industry recorded a record-breaking year in 2023. Overall, global sales of electric cars have increased by 35 percent to almost 14 million vehicles...

*

Searches in Saxony due to left-wing violence

Saxony "Soko LinX" searches several buildings in Leipzig

Leipzig once again became the scene of several major police operations on Wednesday. A special commission was called in to conduct searches. The background is several crimes.

Leipzig (dpa/sn) - In connection with several politically motivated crimes, the special left-wing extremism commission ("Soko LinX") searched various buildings in Leipzig on Wednesday. As the Saxony State Criminal Police Office (LKA) announced, the searches were aimed at seven male and two female suspects between the ages of 20 and 53. She is being investigated on allegations of grievous bodily harm committed together. A total of ten buildings were searched - including in the Connewitz and Mockau districts. According to the Leipzig public prosecutor's office, which commissioned the operation, there were no arrests.

The aim of the searches was to secure evidence.

[...] The "Soko LinX" had a pool of around 150 people in mind, it was said at the time. “These are people who are strongly suspected of having committed acts of violence or of supporting others in doing so.”

Connewitz is considered a left-wing, alternative district. There are repeated clashes with the police there. In addition to clashes with the police, arson and paint attacks on newly built houses have made headlines in the past. The police attribute these acts to the left-wing extremist spectrum. In Connewitz there are debates about rent increases and displacement.

*

Annual report | Amnesty InternationalDouble standards

Amnesty International annual report:

Amnesty criticizes double standards

Human rights organization accuses the federal government of remaining silent about war crimes committed by Israel's army. This weakens the international order.

BERLIN taz | Amnesty International has heavily criticized the German government for its stance in the Gaza war. Presenting the organization's annual report, Julia Duchrow, secretary general of Amnesty International (ai) in Germany, said the government was contributing to the "erosion of the international order" by remaining silent about the Israeli army's war crimes.

“She is losing her credibility,” says Duchrow. “Double standards are not compatible with the human rights-based foreign policy that Annalena Baerbock has announced.” Amnesty has been sharply criticizing the Israeli government for years, including over its settlement policy.

Hamas and other armed groups committed war crimes with their brutal attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, Duchrow said on Tuesday. “Nothing can put the victims’ suffering into perspective.”

However, the military operation of the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza Strip has “lost all measure”. It involves numerous war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law.

[...] Setbacks also in the fight for gender equality

2023 will be marked by setbacks in the fight for gender equality and the rights of LGBTI+ people, for example through new abortion bans in the USA or new threats of punishment for homosexuals, for example in Uganda.

The so-called human rights defenders, such as trade unionists, environmental activists and indigenous groups, have also come under further pressure. Many governments have restricted freedom of expression or assembly in 2023, and violence against protesters, for example with weapons and ammunition such as rubber bullets or stun grenades, has “led to thousands of injuries, permanent disabilities and numerous deaths worldwide,” said Duchrow...

 


23. April


 

Great Britain | Nuclear wasteRepository Drigg south of Sellafield

British nuclear waste storage facility is said to have violated environmental regulations

The UK Environment Agency (EA) has written to the Drigg low-level waste repository (LLWR) in Cumbria expressing concern about delays in securing waste at the site, the BBC reports. Nuclear Waste Services (NWS), the operator of Drigg, said the delays had no impact on the surrounding area and that it had taken the time to ensure the right solutions were found to safely dispose of nuclear waste.

The letter, written by the EA in January and obtained by the BBC through a Freedom of Information request, sets out new conditions that LLWR must comply with. LLWR had failed to make sufficient progress on measures to secure the radioactive waste through a process known as sealing, thereby violating the terms of its environmental permit.

Martin Walkingshaw, Chief Operating Officer of the NWS, said: “The placement of the technical cap over the old radioactive waste repositories at the UK LLWR is a first for the UK.” He confirmed that the NWS and the EA are discussing progress.

“Covering is an important part of disposal and we are currently implementing the required design by sourcing, importing and storing thousands of tonnes of covering material, in accordance with our planning conditions and strict quality requirements,” he said.

The EA also told the LLWR that it had failed to meet a deadline for a previously imposed improvement condition, which related to the requirement for a written plan to protect waste in certain areas, including coverage of any of those areas. Although the plan was presented, there were delays in its implementation. The original completion date was 2028, but discussions are now underway to extend the deadline as LLWR believes more time is needed...

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

*

Russia | FloodingUranium mine Dobrovolnoye sw Kurgan

Russian flood region is threatened with radioactive contamination

Melting snow and rain have been flooding numerous Russian regions for two weeks. River levels are reaching record levels in no time. But the big catastrophe could still follow in Siberia. According to reports, uranium is at risk of ending up in rivers there.

According to reports, the floods could be followed by an even greater catastrophe in the Russian regions of Tyumen and Kurgan: the contamination of rivers with uranium. Russia has been struggling with severe flooding for two weeks now, initially in the region around the city of Orenburg, and later also in the Siberian regions of Kurgan and Tyumen. As a result of the melting snow and extensive rainfall, the levels of some rivers rose massively, sometimes reaching record levels. Russian media spoke of a “flood of the century of apocalyptic proportions.” Several thousand houses were under water and many thousands of people fled or had to be evacuated.

[...] water threatens to flood uranium mines in the region. There is a risk that a river will become radioactively contaminated.

Agentstwo based its report on a map released by authorities on April 11, the Moscow Times reports. There, the Sverinogolovsky district is marked as a flood zone. There is a uranium mine called Dobrovolnoye in this district. It is therefore operated by companies that belong to the state atomic energy authority Rosatom. Alexei Shvarts, former head of Alexei Navalny's regional office in Kurgan, explained that there are hundreds or thousands of drill holes in the deposit. He suspects that as a result of the floods, radioactive substances could leak out and enter the Tobol River. Since many hundreds of thousands of people live along the river, the effects could be devastating...

*

SubsidiesTransport transitionCO2 price

Ariadne analysis

The state prevents the CO₂ price from having an effect

Climate-damaging subsidies in transport completely undermine CO2 pricing, shows a study for the Federal Research Ministry. There is a reward of up to 690 euros for one ton of CO2 emitted.

Since 2021, a CO2 price has also been charged for fuel, which is gradually increasing. The last Merkel federal government introduced it in order to achieve greater cost accuracy in transport. The surcharge is currently 45 euros per ton of greenhouse gas emitted.

A new study financed by the Federal Ministry of Research now shows that the subsidies paid for transport, such as diesel or company car privileges, completely cancel out the effect of this CO2 pricing and even have the opposite effect.

The subsidies essentially mean “negative CO2 prices” of between minus 70 and minus 690 euros per ton of CO2.

[...] The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is also in favor of reducing environmentally and climate-damaging subsidies, including in the transport sector. During the recent budget crisis, the authority made concrete suggestions regarding diesel privileges and commuter allowances.

UBA President Dirk Messner calculated that six billion euros could be saved with the diesel privilege, namely 8,2 billion of the total subsidy less compensation for the higher vehicle tax paid by diesel drivers.

Regarding the distance allowance, which costs the state six billion euros annually, Messner suggested that in the future it should only be paid to the bottom 30 percent of income earners, which would result in savings of around four billion.

However, these suggestions from the federal authority were not taken up by Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) and the traffic light government as a whole.

*

Human rightAsylum

Asylum law:

British Parliament passes controversial Rwanda law

Migrants who arrive in Great Britain by boat may in future be deported to Rwanda. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hopes for the first deportation flights in ten weeks.

Great Britain will be able to deport irregular migrants to Rwanda in the future. Parliament in London passed a corresponding law after a long debate. The controversial regulation declares Rwanda a safe third country and is intended to prevent objections to deportations.

The bill had been pushed back and forth between the two chambers of Parliament for over two months. The upper house tabled several amendments, which in turn were rejected by the lower house. The upper house also approved the bill that night. Now King Charles III still has to. bring the law into force with his signature.

[...] The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had so far stopped the project by means of an interim injunction. In the future, Sunak wants to ignore objections from the Court of Justice - and still does not see his country violating European law because of the new law.

But the Supreme Court in London had also declared the project illegal because it did not consider Rwanda a safe third country. The court argued that it could not be guaranteed that people there would receive a fair asylum procedure. It cited reports from the UN refugee agency and previous British information about extrajudicial executions, deaths in custody, torture and a high level of rejection of asylum applications from conflict areas such as Syria.

[...] There are also calls for a Rwanda model in Germany - they come primarily from the Union and the FDP. The Greens reject the demands, and the SPD is also skeptical. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and the heads of government of the federal states agreed in November that the federal government would examine whether asylum procedures were possible outside of Europe. A result should be available by June. What has so far been controversial is whether this could actually be about sending people from Germany to another country for their asylum procedure - or just about enabling them to undergo an asylum procedure there on their way to Europe. 

 


22. April


 

Propaganda | GazaUNRWA

Organization in the Gaza Strip

Report finds no evidence of many Hamas supporters at UN Palestinian Relief Agency

Israel accuses the UN Palestinian Relief Agency of employing hundreds of Hamas members. A study cannot find any evidence of this. However, she criticizes weaknesses in maintaining the neutrality of the organization. 

An investigation has found no evidence to support Israel's claim that there are many supporters of terrorist organizations among the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Israel was unable to provide any evidence of this. This emerges from a report, which is reported by several media outlets. Israel said in March that more than 450 UNRWA employees were agents of terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Israel had already claimed in February that twelve UNRWA employees were involved in the attacks on Israel on October 7th. A UN investigation into this is currently ongoing.

Following the allegations, numerous countries interrupted or suspended payments worth millions to UNRWA. This has severely affected the aid organization, which is also fighting the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. UN Secretary General António Guterres called on all countries on Monday to continue to actively support the aid organization. It is vital for the refugees...

*

Skandal | Justice | Cum-Ex

Tax scandal Cum-Ex

Chief investigator unexpectedly quits and criticizes

Their investigations led to the first verdicts in the Cum-Ex tax scandal and left Chancellor Scholz in need of an explanation: According to WDR information, Anne Brorhilker is leaving the judiciary to fight against financial crime elsewhere.

According to information from WDR-Investigativ, Germany's most important cum-ex investigator is leaving the judiciary. Anne Brorhilker then submitted a “request for dismissal from civil service” to the public prosecutor’s office on Monday morning. The 50-year-old senior public prosecutor heads the main department set up specifically for Germany's largest tax scandal, which is currently investigating more than 1.700 suspects.

The cum-ex transactions are said to have cost taxpayers an estimated twelve billion euros. Bankers, consultants and stock traders were reimbursed for taxes that no one had ever paid - a dig into the state treasury.

Investigations for twelve years

Brorhilker has been investigating cum-ex cases since 2012. With her team, she managed to get key witnesses who revealed the hidden deals for the first time. Her indictment led to the first final verdict in 2019. Investigators later brought “Mr. Cum-Ex” Hanno Berger, who once fled to Switzerland, to court in Germany. The tax lawyer was finally sentenced to eight years in prison before the Bonn regional court.

Brorhilker's investigations also received public attention because they reached high politics. The findings surrounding the Hamburg private bank MM Warburg ultimately also put Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in need of an explanation, although there is no initial suspicion against him.

“Weak judiciary”

In an interview with WDR Investigative said Brorhilker about her decision: "I have always been a prosecutor with heart and soul, especially in the area of ​​economic crime, but I am not at all satisfied with the way financial crime is prosecuted in Germany. It often involves perpetrators with a lot of money and good contacts, and they encounter a weak judiciary." In addition, defendants could often simply buy their way out of proceedings if, for example, proceedings were dropped in return for a fine. "Then we have the conclusion: You hang the little ones, you let the big ones go." As an individual prosecutor, there is little you can do to change this.

According to Brorhilker's conclusion, politicians have still not reacted adequately eleven years after the first cum-ex cases became known. Tax theft has not stopped by a long shot; there are successor models, like a “hare and hedgehog game”. The reason is a lack of controls over what is happening at banks and on the stock markets. "If there is no control by state organs, then people grab the displays. But if there is a video camera installed above the display, then you think three times about whether to access them."...

*

UkraineFuel assembliesWestinghouseEnergoatom | Khmelnitsky NPP

With support from US companies:

Ukraine is relying on new nuclear power plants

Several new reactors – Ukraine is expanding its nuclear economy. Support comes from two US companies. But there are concerns.

MÖNCHENGLADBACH taz | Ukraine wants to massively expand nuclear energy. The US companies Holtec and Westinghouse will be supporting her as partners. Last week, the head of the Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom, Petro Kotin, and the chairman of the nuclear power plant operator Holtec, Kris Singh, signed a framework agreement on the transfer of Holtec technology to produce components for “small modular reactors” in Ukraine.

An example of a mini-nuclear power plant is the floating nuclear power plant “Akademik Lomonosov”., which has been supplying the Siberian port city of Pevek and neighboring mines with electricity and heat since May 2020. Furthermore, in this agreement, Energoatom and Holtec agreed to build a Ukrainian production facility for components of the dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel.

[...] The US company wants to build a total of nine nuclear reactors in Ukraine, explained US Ambassador Brink. Two of them are also to be built in Khmelnitsky. With the completion of the planned four additional reactors with six reactors, the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant would be the largest nuclear power plant in Europe...

*

Armaments | SipriMilitary spending

Stockholm Peace Research Institute

Military spending is at a new high worldwide

For the ninth time in a row, defense spending is rising worldwide - this time particularly sharply, according to the Sipri peace institute. However, the reason for this is not just the war in Ukraine.

Behind the abbreviation Sipri there is the optimistic wording International Peace Research Institute Stockholm. But the researchers at Sipri have had little to say about peace for years - this is also the case in the latest report released on Monday. For the ninth time in a row, global military spending has exceeded last year's spending. The numbers are reaching a new high.

Accordingly, spending in 2023 rose by 6,8 percent, adjusted for inflation 2.443.000.000.000 US dollars (2,4 trillion US dollars or around 2,28 trillion euros) – the largest year-on-year increase since 2009. In 2022 it was still 2,24 trillion dollars (around 2,04 trillion euros). The ten largest donors have all significantly increased their spending.

The USA remains undefeated at the top. At 916 billion US dollars (almost 859 billion euros), they alone accounted for more than a third (37 percent) of global military spending - around three times as much as second-placed China with an estimated 296 billion dollars...

*

ChemicalsPesticidesBrain development

Study warns: Common environmental chemicals appear to be damaging brain development

Chemicals found in disinfectants and flame retardants affect brain performance. They are probably responsible for motor disorders in children.

Certain chemicals found in disinfectants and flame retardants have a toxic effect on oligodendrocytes, so-called helper cells of neurons. This is the conclusion reached by a recent study published in the journal “Nature Neuroscience”.

Chemicals in disinfectants and flame retardants damage brain cells

Oligodendrocytes are glial cells in the central nervous system. They wrap around the central nervous system and enable the brain to think at high speeds. They also supply the neurons with energy and play a key role in the transmission of electrical signals.

A US research team examined the effects of 1.823 chemicals on mouse oligodendrocytes in cell culture dishes. Result: 292 of the chemicals killed the cells, 47 more inhibited their formation, and 22 promoted oligodendrocyte generation.

Toxic chemicals and their potential effects on children

The substances could cause children to develop motor disorders and require special education. The cells develop throughout life, but the critical period is from the prenatal stage to the third year of life, the scientists write. The results are supported by follow-up studies in mice and cultured human oligodendrocytes...

*

Climate protectionFossilOil production stop

These oil reserves must remain unused

World map shows the location of oil reserves that should no longer be mined and burned

Hands off: If climate protection is to work, humanity must leave part of the world's oil and gas reserves unused in the ground. But which? A new atlas of “unburnable oil” now shows this for petroleum reserves. In it, researchers classified the existing oil reserves according to how much their exploitation would damage nature and the population living in these areas. They also determine how much petroleum we are actually allowed to burn.

In order to stop or at least limit climate change, humanity must only emit a limited amount of greenhouse gases. According to the current world climate report, this CO2 budget is 67 gigatons of CO1.150 for a 2 percent chance of achieving the two-degree climate target, and 1,5 gigatons for the 400-degree target. But this also means that humanity is no longer allowed to mine and use the majority of fossil fuels such as crude oil, coal or natural gas.

Where does the oil tap have to stay?

Specifically, this means: “For the 1,5 degree target, 97 percent of the existing coal deposits, 81 percent of the conventional natural gas deposits and 71 percent of the conventional petroleum deposits would have to remain unburned,” report Lorenzo Pellegrini from Erasmus University Rotterdam and his colleagues. These fossil reserves, which have already been explored, correspond to emissions of almost 11.000 gigatons of CO2. For crude oil, around 1,5 gigabarrels of conventional reserves would have to remain unburned to meet the 1.524 degree target.

But which of these deposits are still allowed to be exploited and which are not? “The allocation of the fossil resources remaining to be mined is a morally and politically controversial issue,” the researchers state. Countries with rich oil or gas reserves will not voluntarily leave their resources unused. Therefore, objective criteria that specify priorities for the mining that is still permitted and the mining quantities are necessary, according to the team. This could then lead to an international system that regulates compensation...

 


21. April


 

ChinaElectric carAutomotive industryImport duties

Dispute over import tariffs

Bring on the cheap Chinese e-mobiles!

Volker Wissing, the Mercedes boss and the automobile industry association agree: Everyone rejects import tariffs on Chinese electric cars. Partly for the wrong reasons – but rightly so!

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) usually comes off rather poorly in this column (for example last week). The same applies to the German automotive industry: it has overlooked the electric car for too long, its lobbying efforts in favor of combustion engines and against pollution limits make it just as unsympathetic as the insufficiently processed diesel scandal surrounding technical fraud systems.

However, on an important current controversial issue, both Volker Wissing and the Association of the German Automotive Industry (VDA) are, for once, correct: Both the Transport Minister and the VDA fundamentally reject punitive tariffs for Chinese electric cars. VDA association leader Hildegard Müller (once a close confidant of Angela Merkel), explained a week ago, Countermeasures such as additional tariffs would not solve the challenges facing the European auto industry.

[...] Creative names, international connections

So the minister is probably not in favor of cheap electric cars from China, not least out of fear of penalties for doing nothing. The automotive industry, in turn, is primarily concerned about retaliatory tariffs against import tariffs. Mercedes is probably also because the group is 20 percent owned by the Chinese companies Geely and BAIC. The latter is easily confused with SAIC, with which VW runs a joint venture. Both companies are creatively called “Automobile Industry Corporation”. B in BAIC stands for “Bejing”, the S in SAIC for “Shanghai.” Germany's auto industry has long been intertwined with China's.

It is in the general interest to have electric cars that are as cheap as possible and therefore no import duties if possible, but for a much more important reason: Any car that is replaced by an electric car, is another step towards a world in which fossil fuels no longer play a role. The oil companies and the petrostates would undoubtedly find even higher import tariffs for Chinese electric cars fantastic - because they inhibit competition and thus increase prices. And if people continue to drive combustion engines, they will continue to buy expensive, climate-damaging fuel.

*

Jülichnuclear transportsAhaus interim storage facility

Ahaus: Demo against planned Castor transports

An alliance of citizens and organizations wants to prevent the planned transport of nuclear waste from Jülich to the Ahaus interim storage facility. They fear that the responsible federal office could soon grant approval.

The citizens' initiative "No Nuclear waste" in Ahaus called for a protest on Sunday. Around 100 people followed. With large banners and decisive words they wanted to show: "Not with us!". It's about 152 Castor containers that are still stored at the Jülich experimental reactor.

Build an interim storage facility in Jülich?

Representatives of the large churches and the North Rhine-Westphalia regional association of BUND took part in the rally at the “Mahner”, a central square in Ahaus. They also consider the planned transports to be too dangerous - and unnecessary. In their view, an interim storage facility in Jülich would be the best solution.

[...] Repository question open

Fuel elements may be stored in the interim storage facility in Ahaus until 2036. By then it should actually be clear where a final storage facility for nuclear waste can be built in Germany. But the responsible federal company has so far made little progress on this issue. The search for a final storage facility will probably take longer than the law requires.

*

Neo-Naziarson attackObstruction of punishment

Right-wing terror: A cold case with ten deaths and the call for clarification

A neo-Nazi confessed to the Lübeck arson attack in 1996. Survivors gave information. However, a roommate was suspected. Will there be a new investigation soon?

"These people are still at large," says Esperanca Bunga. She is one of the survivors of an attack that was most likely carried out by neo-Nazis and was never solved.

Racism as a likely motive

Ten people with a migrant background died after an arson attack on January 18, 1996 at Hafenstrasse 96 in Lübeck. To date, no one has been convicted of this murder. A “cold case” with ten deaths – still unsolved to this day.

For this, Safwan Eid, a roommate of the victims from Lebanon, was charged as an alleged arsonist, was held in custody and was acquitted twice.

His dedicated lawyer Gabriele Heinecke also made sure of this. Along with Esperanca Bunga, she is also one of the most important protagonists of the research project "Hafenstrasse", which is currently being shown at the Theater Lübeck.

[...] Disturbing police behavior: obstruction of punishment in office?

There is even talk of thwarting of punishment in office by the Lübeck police and judiciary. Three neo-Nazis with burn marks on their faces were found near the scene of the fire on the night of the crime and were arrested at short notice. But a short time later they were released again. After all, one of the residents was supposed to be the arsonist.

After Safwan Eid was acquitted, no further charges were brought, although two of the neo-Nazis even confessed to the crime. One of them even repeated his statement to the police. But that didn't lead to charges. Because the police officers are said to have successfully convinced the young right-winger to withdraw his statement...

*

United StatesDrinking waterPFAS

USA decides on strict PFAS maximum values ​​for drinking water

After 23 years of legal and political tug-of-war, this brings about the strictest possible regulation of toxic chemicals.

The USA set nationwide PFAS limits for drinking water for the first time in April. A long-awaited breakthrough considered historic by many experts and environmental organizations.

The new drinking water limits are intended to protect millions from toxic fluorochemicals.

PFAS is currently found in about half of US drinking water; the “forever chemicals” are in the blood of almost all residents. The new regulation applies to five PFAS chemicals. It is stricter than the laws in the EU and Switzerland that currently apply or will soon come into force.

After 23 years, a long battle over the regulation of PFAS in the USA is coming to an end. US Attorney Rob Bilott discovered the toxicity of PFAS by accident in 1999, when a family friend asked him for help with an unexplained cattle disease. He had no idea that it would become a life's work.

Two years later, on March 6, 2001, Bilott wrote a now famous letter to the chemical company DuPont in which he first pointed out the dangers of the chemical PFOA that the company used in Virginia...

*

INES Category 4 "Accident"21 April 1957 (INES 4) Nuclear factory Mayak, USSR

 11 people were exposed to radiation and became ill, one of the workers died 12 days later.
(Costs ?)

Nuclear Power Accidents
 

Over the years, some 235 radioactive incidents have occurred at Mayak, only a few of which became known before 1989...

Wikipedia de

April 21, 1957: Criticality accident in container with highly enriched uranium

Too much uranium solution had collected in a container in a glove box, making it critical. The container then burst open and parts of the solution ran into the glove box. One worker received a radiation dose of 30 to 46 Gray and died 12 days later. Five other workers in the same room were exposed to over 3 Grays each and subsequently became radiation sick. Five other people received doses of up to 1 Gray.
 

Wikipedia en

Major accidents at Mayak, 1953–1998

April 21, 1957 - Criticality accident. An operator dies from a radiation dose of over 3000 rad. Five others received doses of 300 to 1.000 rem and suffered temporary radiation poisoning.

Translation with https://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

The nuclear chain

Mayak/Kyshtym, Russia

Nuclear factory

The Russian nuclear industry plant in Mayak contaminated more than 15.000 km2 with highly radioactive waste products through a series of accidents and radioactive leaks. The Kyshtym accident contaminated a large area of ​​the eastern Ural region in 1957. Thousands of people had to be relocated. To this day, the affected region is one of the most contaminated places on earth. 

background objects

The Mayak production cooperative was the first and, with an area of ​​more than 200 km2, the largest nuclear industrial plant in the Soviet Union. Between 1945 and 1948, five nuclear reactors were built at this site between Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk to produce plutonium for the Soviet nuclear weapons program. The plant was continuously expanded until 1987, when production was stopped and operations were gradually phased out. From 1949 to 1956, a total of 100 peta becquerels (peta = quadrillion) of radioactive waste were discharged into the tributaries of the Techa - including strontium-90, cesium-137, plutonium and uranium.1 For comparison: the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean by the Super The Fukushima disaster is estimated to be around 78 PBq. In addition, there were at least eight critical accidents in Mayak by 1968...
 

AtomkraftwerkePlag

The Mayak plutonium factory 

In 1957, the first major accident occurred in the use of atomic energy, which is comparable in its dimensions to the catastrophes in Fukushima and Chernobyl, but only became known to the world public in 1989.

The Mayak nuclear complex, 15 kilometers east of the city of Kyshtym in Chelyabinsk Oblast on the eastern side of the southern Urals, was an important part of Stalin's 1945 plans to rapidly produce weapons-grade plutonium and close the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons deficit. In 1948 the first reactor was switched on, in 1949 the first atomic bomb was detonated and Stalin had caught up with the USA.
 

Youtube

Uranium economy: Facilities for processing uranium

All uranium and plutonium factories produce radioactive nuclear waste: Uranium processing, enrichment and reprocessing plants, whether in Hanford, La Hague, Sellafield, Mayak, Tokaimura or wherever in the world, all have the same problem: with every processing step More and more extremely toxic and highly radioactive waste is being produced...

 


Current news+  Background knowledge Top

 

Current news+

 

Climate Protection ActSolar package | Wissing

Reform of the climate protection law:

One step forward, two backward

It's good that installing private solar systems will become easier. The bad news is that the traffic light weakens the climate protection law.

First, the traffic light parties argued about it for many months, now it's going hop, hop: On Monday, the parliamentary group leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP announced the agreement on changing the climate protection law and the solar package, and the following week both should be passed by the Bundestag and the Federal Council will be whipped. The traffic light is like this heating law Once again it is not clear that internal negotiations in no way replace the usual parliamentary procedure.

After all, large parts of the solar package are a great achievement. Countless private individuals and companies are waiting for the reduction in bureaucracy in order to achieve one Install photovoltaic system easier and have it connected. The installation of solar systems is booming, despite the previous blockade. Citizens from all political camps want to use solar energy much more after previous governments made it difficult for them to do so.

If obstacles such as long approval processes are removed, there will be a big boost and the energy transition will accelerate. This will soon be seen on roofs, over supermarket parking lots and in many other places. Tenants of a house can easily share a common area. This will be cheaper because there are no requirements for expensive technology. Registration requirements and network connection are simplified – and much more.

But despite all the cheers: the solar package also has a major drawback. After Russia's attack on Ukraine, there seemed to be a social consensus that dependence on one country for energy issues is fatal. That's it. This time it's about China, which is flooding the European markets with its solar systems and putting local manufacturers in distress. Local solar system manufacturers have already had to give up due to wrong political decisions.

But despite all the cheers: the solar package also has a major drawback. After Russia's attack on Ukraine, there seemed to be a social consensus that dependence on one country for energy issues is fatal. That's it. This time it's about China, which is flooding the European markets with its solar systems and putting local manufacturers in distress. Local solar system manufacturers have already had to give up due to wrong political decisions.

FDP is steering – in the wrong direction

In view of the boom in demand, a small renaissance had just emerged - which will now end. The few companies producing in Germany have been waiting for a sign from politicians that they will be helped to compete with subsidized Chinese products. This would be necessary in order to at least keep the know-how in Europe and to be able to quickly ramp up production if necessary. But the FDP prevailed Solar package does not provide any help.

The Free Democrats believe that solar systems for Germany can also be purchased elsewhere. However, this rejection cannot remain the same - especially since the components for wind turbines are also imported, largely from China. It's hard to believe: The Federal Republic, the fourth largest industrial country in the world, is left with nothing in one of the most important economic sectors of the future - the construction of solar and wind systems.

Not wanting to change anything about this is an aberration in industrial policy. The FDP is at the wheel and sets the direction. The Greens and the SPD must now ensure that a different path is taken. The FDP used the sensible parts of the solar package as collateral to put pressure on climate policy - here too for the wrong side. The traffic light therefore takes a huge step backwards. It gets rid of the climate protection obligations introduced under Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) in 2019.

Fatal offsetting of emissions

These requirements stipulate that CO2 emissions must be reduced by certain amounts in individual areas such as transport, buildings, energy or industry. Until now, the following applies: If the goals are not achieved, adjustments must be made. Not anymore. The emissions from the different areas will be offset against each other in the future. This softening is a gift Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), who makes no effort to do anything to reduce CO2 emissions in transport.

Reducing emissions could certainly be achieved, for example with a speed limit, cheaper train prices or partial driving restrictions for particularly emission-intensive cars. Now there is no pressure on Wissing to develop at least a little imagination and even worry about reducing CO2 emissions in transport. Climate activists, environmental associations and scientists are outraged about this.

They fear that by weakening the current rules, the federal government will give itself carte blanche so that it no longer has to tackle any major climate protection projects during this legislative period. This fear is justified. With the federal government's delay policy, the achievement of the Climate goals by 2030 increasingly unlikely.

 


Current news+  Background knowledge Top

 

Background knowledge

The map of the nuclear world

This world map somehow looks as if our very last transport ministers Scheuer and Wissing had hatched this plan together. The question of meaning is of course completely out of place. The main thing is to spend a lot of money...

*

The “Internal Search”

Climate Protection Act | Minister of TransportSolar package

April 12, 2024 - FDP intrigues regarding the climate protection law

March 24, 2024 - Transport Minister wants to invest 150 million euros in a German air taxi startup

December 12, 2023 - Traffic light postpones solar package and climate law

September 28, 2023 - Illegal: The truth about the Federal Republic's CO2 budget

May 9, 2023 - Photovoltaic Strategy - Fewer hurdles for solar expansion

April 17, 2023 - Expert advice on traffic and construction - Bad climate report for the traffic lights

**

The search engine Ecosia is planting trees!

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=Klimaschutzgesetz

https://www.ecosia.org/search?q=Deutschlands Verkehrsminister

*

Wikipedia

Climate Protection Act

A climate protection law is a framework law that sets out principles and obligations for climate policy in a state or sub-state entity. Climate protection laws are the core of climate protection legislation within climate protection law - those norms that are intended to protect the climate as a protected asset from human influences. Their framework regulations must be supplemented by additional standards and implemented with concrete climate policy measures and instruments. Important elements of climate protection laws are climate targets, especially emission reduction targets, and regulations for monitoring, reporting and control.

Climate protection laws are usually linked to international agreements on climate protection - such as the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Climate Treaty or other international agreements - and translate obligations and goals from these agreements into those for the legislature's territory. Climate protection laws are often integrated into a national climate protection program.

[...] Germany 

During the election campaign for the 90 federal election, the SPD and Alliance 2013/The Greens made drafts and election promises for a national climate protection law. A German climate protection law has long been seen by several environmental organizations and development associations as a central contribution to global climate protection efforts, including the Climate Alliance...
 

I included this following list from Wikipedia just for pure enjoyment, without any meaning or ulterior motive.

List of German transport ministers

Transport ministers are or were those members of the federal or Reich government who deal with the issues of transport.

**

YouTube

Search:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Klimaschutzgesetz+Solarpaket+2
 

Will open in a new window! - YouTube channel "Reaktorpleite" playlist - radioactivity worldwide ... - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJI6AtdHGth3FZbWsyyMMoIw-mT1Psuc5Playlist - radioactivity worldwide ...

This playlist contains over 150 videos on the topic of atoms*

 


Back to:

Newsletter XVI 2024 - April 14th to 20th

Newspaper article 2024

 


For work on 'THTR Rundbrief','reaktorpleite.de' and'Map of the nuclear world' we need up-to-date information, energetic, fresh colleagues and donations. If anyone can help, please send a message to: info@reaktorpleite.de

Donation appeal

- The THTR circular is published by the 'BI Environmental Protection Hamm' and is financed by donations.

- The THTR circular has meanwhile become a much-noticed information medium. However, there are ongoing costs due to the expansion of the website and the printing of additional information sheets.

- The THTR circular researches and reports in detail. In order for us to be able to do that, we depend on donations. We are happy about every donation!

Donation account: BI environmental protection Hamm

Purpose: THTR circular

IBAN: DE31 4105 0095 0000 0394 79

BIC: WELADED1HAM

 


Current news+ Background knowledge Top

***