Peak of Fukushima radiation now moving to West Coast — Levels much higher than predicted — Huge red blob of nuclear waste near shore — San Francisco area being hit hardest — Concern over Iodine-129 with 15 million year half-life (MAPS)

 

Feiro Marine Life Center, Apr 18, 2017 (emphasis added): Speaker Series: Studying Fukushima Radiation off the Coast of North America — The Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) project is a partnership between academic, government, non-governmental organizations, and citizen scientists to monitor the arrival of Fukushima-derived contamination, cesium-134 (t1/2 = ~2 years), cesium-137 (t1/2 = ~30 years), and iodine-129 (t1/2 = 15.7 million years) in the open Pacific and Arctic Oceans and North American coastal waters. In response to public demand, monitoring began in the fall of 2014, when models predicted the arrival of radionuclide contamination from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Monitoring efforts will capture the peak of the radionuclide contamination, predicted to occur in our waters… Contamination levels continue to be below levels that are known to represent a significant threat to human or ecosystem health. Continue reading

Russia Preparing Patrols of Arctic Shipping Lanes

MOSCOW — Russia on Saturday announced an initiative to address climate change. But it had nothing to do with smokestacks.

Russia’s military said it planned to sail regular naval patrols along shipping lanes in its territory in the Arctic Ocean that opened to commercial vessels only in the last few years, as Arctic ice began melting at a record pace. Continue reading

Russian Oil Behemoth Rosneft Has Unlocked the Arctic

Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.

Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.

Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading

UK and ‘mini-NATO’ for the Arctic: can it work?

An interesting proposition for the emergence of a distinctly northern European security arrangement has been circulating the airwaves: a UK-led initiative that would see London align security and defence policies in the Arctic in tandem with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The goal is to establish a framework that addresses ‘common interests’ between each nation. This article is going to look at the possible architecture of such a structure, what its goals might be, and the reasons the UK has to begin this partnership. Continue reading

We Own It: Russian Bishop ‘Consecrates’ Arctic Ocean

However bizarre it may be… While the US sits idly and continues to regulate its own energy industry to death, Russia continues its Artic land grab. It’s also slant-drilling into US oil reserves off of Cuba and near the borderlines of Alaska.

Russia has taken a bizarre step to declare its “ownership” of the Arctic Ocean region by having a Russian Orthodox bishop “consecrate” the North Pole on behalf of the church.

According to the Daily Telegraph, a bishop named Iakov of the northern Naryan-Mar (which lies north of the Arctic Circle) placed a “holy memorial capsule” into the icy sea while aboard the Rossiya, a nuclear-powered icebreaker during a polar expedition arranged by Russia’s Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute.

The capsule featured an inscription that read: “With the blessing of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the consecration of the North Pole marks 1,150 years of Russian Statehood.”

Full article: We Own It: Russian Bishop ‘Consecrates’ Arctic Ocean (International Business Times)

Japan Scrambles Fighters to Meet Russian Bombers

According to the ministry, a total of five Russian planes, including two Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, two Su-24 Fencer reconnaissance planes and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft skirted Japanese territory on Wednesday.

“They flew over the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan off Hokkaido and the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan,” Japanese officials said, adding that it was the first time a Russian AWACS plane was spotted near Japan.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans in August 2007.

Full article: Japan Scrambles Fighters to Meet Russian Bombers (RIA Novosti)