A nuclear waste dump in the Pacific ocean is leaking – and climate change is to blame

This Stuff headline “A nuclear waste dump in the Pacific ocean is leaking – and climate change is to blame” caught my eye.

Nuclear waste dump dome on Runit Island – www.abc.net.au

Is there nothing that ultimately cannot be blamed on poor old “climate change”?? It gets such a bad rap!

The article goes on

[…]A nuclear waste dump in the Pacific is leaking radioactive material – and it’s going straight into the ocean.??According to a report from ABC News, Runit Island – the site of the largest nuclear clean-up in US history – is being hit hard by?rising oceans, caused by climate change.? It’s that waste that rising seas are beginning to penetrate, the report continued.[…]

The article then throws in a scary picture of a mushroom cloud and really tells the reader very little at all.? Quite a light-weight piece of click-bait. (It got my click!)

For a slightly more informative article, I clicked on the NZ Herald link. This had a more balanced headline “Marshall Islands: Concrete dome holding nuclear waste could leak.”

They still threw in the scary “climate change” nightmare angle …

[…]Now rising sea levels and climate change threaten to unleash highly radioactive plutonium into the Pacific Ocean in a nightmare scenario for those who live in the Marshall Islands where dozens of nuclear blasts took place in the 1940s.[…]

But provided a bit of balance as to where the problem really lay …

[…]A 2013 report commissioned by the US Department of Energy confirmed the dome was leaking.? ?While the US paid for the clean-up, Willacy said initial plans to lining the bottom of the dome with concrete didn’t go ahead and the soil was permeable, which meant seawater gets inside.??”The dome was only meant to be a temporary solution until the US came up with a permanent plan,” he said. “Instead it was a shoddy cost cutting exercise.”[…]

So which is it that is causing radioactive material to leach out into the surrounding waters?? Sea level rise caused by that nasty climate change or cheap-jack shoddy workmanship? Either way, it is not a good scenario but surely there should be some attempt at facts and accuracy?? No, probably not – click bait is more important.

It does not take long with a search engine to find a comparison of sea-level data for?Kwajalein, another atoll in the Marshalls that is approx 400km away from Runit and the dome.

Graph from sealevel.info

The measurement from 1946 is -0.045m, the figure July 2016 is +0.182m, a total change over 70 years of 22.7cm.? Shock Horror!? If you take the Oct 2015 as the cherry picked point then there is a drop of a few mm over 69 years.? The graph also shows a drop of 31.8cm between July 2012 and Oct 2015 but that clearly does not fit the climate change induced sea level rise narrative does it?

Obviously radioactive waste leaking into the sea is a massive concern, especially for the people living there and nearby and it is right that activists bring it to the world’s attention.? But why blame it on climate change?? Is that the only way to get funding to address the radioactive pollution or is it simply the band-wagon du jour?

 

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