in a time of soaring national debts, should we be asking the Chinese to lend us more money for outdated weapons?
What Nuclear Weapons Cost Us — It’s the Right Time for a Debate , Huffington Post, Joel Rubin, 12/20/11 The debate over the extent to which the U.S. government is committing itself to spending vast sums of taxpayer dollars on nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade is in full force in Congress, inside the administration, and in the media.
An open, transparent debate is essential to ensuring that citizens and policymakers alike have the right information in their hands when deciding about our country’s future spending on both these weapons and their related programs. It’s understandable that there will be differences of opinion throughout this debate – one that’s been made more difficult due to a lack of transparency about what our government actually spends on nuclear weapons and related programs.
It is because of this lack of clear information that Ploughshares Fund is providing its third working paper estimate on what it will cost Americans to produce, build, maintain, and clean-up nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade. To our knowledge, this estimate is the only current comprehensive assessment that projects these costs for the next decade. It is based upon the best publicly available information.
Our conclusion continues to be that current plans for nuclear weapons and related programs over the next decade will cost the American taxpayer approximately $700 billion.
The state of the debate over these estimates
There is significant consensus between this estimate and others being discussed both on Capitol Hill and in the media. Specifically, there is a common view that the taxpayer will spend a combined $358 billion on nuclear incident management, nuclear threat reduction, missile defense, deferred environmental and health costs, and nuclear weapons activities.
These programs are included in our projection because, as the Congressional Budget Office has noted, they are part of the full cost accounting of nuclear weapons and therefore “…might reasonably be attributed” to nuclear force expenditures….
Bringing it all together Having a debate over the numbers creates an opportunity to ask important questions about our country’s national security and fiscal policy.
For example, what does it really cost to protect Americans from terrorism, cyber attack, and nuclear threats from states such as North Korea and Pakistan? Should it cost that same amount as if the Cold War had never ended? Are there better places to invest these limited defense dollars? And in a time of soaring national debts, should we be asking the Chinese to lend us more money for outdated weapons? …. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joel-rubin/what-nuclear-weapons-cost_b_1161443.html
News of a “cold shutdown” sounds like a PR smokescreen.
Redefining “Cold shutdown” doesn’t hide the truth about Fukushima Greenpeace, by Justin McKeating – December 20, 2011 The Japanese authorities stated last Friday that Fukushima is in a state of “cold shutdown. This is not true. At first glance, the announcement that the stricken nuclear reactors are now “stable” sounds like some rare good news from the disaster zone. Not at all. As we all know, first impressions can be deceptive.
The industry definition of “cold shutdown” means that the temperature inside a nuclear reactor has stabilized below 95℃ from the hellish temperatures of the nuclear fission process. In the case of Fukushima, this suggests the crisis is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the Japanese authorities have cheated by redefining “cold shutdown” to suit the situation at Fukushima. Continue reading
The lesson from the US experience in the Iraq war, when Washington claimed there were weapons of mass destruction that never materialized, is for US government figures to speak with more caution,
Panetta refuses to rule out military strike on an Iranian nuclear weapons program National Post, Agence France-Presse Dec 20, 2011, By Dan De Luce WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Tuesday sought to play down remarks by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta who has suggested Iran’s nuclear program could be on a faster track than previously suspected. Continue reading
Nuclear nations wrestle with problem of permanent waste storage CANADA.COM BY IAN MACLEOD, POSTMEDIA NEWS DECEMBER 20, 2011 Ottawa Citizen With more than 400 nuclear power plants in 32 countries, nuclear waste disposal is no longer an afterthought. A global nuclear waste race is underway.
International research and co-operation has exploded. So has public decision-making in the once-private affairs of the nuclear power industry. Deep underground burial in hard rock cavities for hundreds of thousands of years is now considered the best long-term solution for the 240,000 tonnes of highly radioactive spent reactor fuel stacked in temporary storage around the globe.
No nation yet has opened a permanent geological repository. But plans are well advanced in some countries, notably Finland and Sweden. Canada plans to open a deep repository for high-level waste around 2035, though much work lies ahead, including finding a suitable site. Transferring the estimated four million spent fuel bundles into the vault will take an additional 30 years.
The United States, meanwhile, is in an increasingly desperate situation. The Obama administration’s recent decision to cancel the 2015 opening of a repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada’s remote desert country has left jittery and angry American nuclear power producers sitting on enormous amounts of spent fuel crammed into interim storage for an indefinite additional period. The country’s 104 commercial power reactors churn out more every day……..
The biggest issue for any repository design is assessing how it will perform far into future to allow the spent fuel products to decay into harmlessness. No one alive today, or for generations to come, will ever know the answer – hopefully. That means extensive, lengthy and expensive scientific studies. In geology alone, where time scales are measured in billions of years, research requires time.
There’s also hydrology, thermohydrology, hydrogeology, geochemistry, climate change modelling, materials behaviour, radionuclide migration and much, much more. Paying for the repositories is far simpler. Most countries, Canada included, require the radioactive waste producers to finance all the multibillion-dollar costs… http://www.canada.com/Nuclear+nations+wrestle+with+problem+permanent+waste+storage/5889554/story.html
Japan to take over two thirds stake in Tepco: report (Reuters) by Nobuhiro Kubo and James Topham; Editing by Edwina Gibbs, 21 Dec 11– The Japanese government plans to take a stake of more than two-thirds in Tokyo Electric Power Co (9501.T) in a de facto nationalization of the operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Wednesday. Continue reading
No nuclear waste here, North Shore Tribal Council says,SooToday.com, December 20, 2011 Chiefs of the North Shore Tribal Council say no! to a multi-billion dollar nuclear waste disposal project in their territory CUTLER, ON – The First Nations of the North Shore Tribal Council strongly reject the prospect of the North Shore of Lake Huron becoming a site for the long-term storage of nuclear waste for the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). The City of Elliot Lake has publicly expressed interest in possibly becoming one of the sites for the long-term disposal of nuclear waste for Canada’s nuclear industry.
Elliot Lake has a long history of uranium mining that resulted in the boom and bust of the city, as well as significant and lasting environmental damage to the local watershed and nearby ceremonial grounds. In addition, there are dozens of tailings ponds surrounding Elliot Lake currently waiting for a solution for their safe disposal.
“We cannot idly stand by and watch as they inject Mother Earth with this cancer,” says Chief Lyle Sayers, chairman of the North Shore Tribal Council. “We must ensure that the future natural resources of this area are there for our children, generations to come, and businesses alike.”
The half-life of this material is hundreds of thousands of years old and could impact generation after generation. No site can ever be totally safe for nuclear waste storage. “Natural disasters sometimes happen, such as we’ve seen in Japan. It could make this whole area a nuclear wasteland suitable for only that industry,” says Chief Sayers.
Our statement to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization is: Do not waste your financial resources if you plan to conduct a study in this area because a nuclear waste dump is not going to happen here.
The North Shore Tribal Council represents seven First Nation communities across the North Shore of Lake Huron.Chief Lyle Sayers is the chief of the Garden River First Nation and also the chairman of the North Shore Tribal Council. http://www.sootoday.com/content/news/details.asp?c=37141
One of the major concerns is that if this transport goes ahead, it will pave the way for further similar shipments with little government or environment oversight.
Hundreds of municipalities across Ontario, Quebec, U.S. and the U.K. and Sweden have publicly opposed the shipment, citing concerns over the potential for radioactive material to leak into water systems.
Controversial nuclear shipping plan remains on hold Vanvouver Sun, By Linda Nguyen, Postmedia News December 20, 2011 TORONTO — A controversial plan to ship 16 decommissioned nuclear steam generators across Ontario’s Great Lakes and eventually to Sweden for recycling continues to remain on hold, nearly two years after it was first proposed. Continue reading
Obama Admin Pushes Renewable Energy on 2 Coasts ABC News, By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press WASHINGTON December 20, 2011 (AP) The Obama administration moved Tuesday to boost renewable energy on both coasts, approving onshore solar and wind farms in the West and pushing for offshore wind power in the Atlantic Ocean.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said his department has approved a 300-megawatt solar farm on public land in Arizona and a 200-megawatt wind farm in Southern California. The wind farm includes 186 megawatts that would be produced on federal lands.
The projects, southwest of Phoenix and east of San Diego, respectively, are the 24th and 25th renewable energy projects approved on public lands in the past two years, Salazar said, and demonstrate that the administration’s commitment to renewable energy is paying dividends. “Together, these projects will produce the clean energy equivalent of nearly 18 coal-fired power plants, so what’s happening here is nothing short of a renewable energy revolution,” Salazar said.
The Sonoran Solar Energy Project in Arizona, being developed by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, will generate enough electricity to power about 90,000 homes. The Tule Wind Project in California, developed by Iberdrola Renewables, the U.S. division of a Spanish energy company, will be able to power about 65,000 homes….
Salazar has urged Congress to extend the wind credit, which expires next year, calling it a lifeline for domestic producers that could save tens of thousands of jobs and bring financial certainty to the renewable industry… http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/interior-backs-solar-wind-farms-calif-ariz-15199048#.TvKi7zXZ7_M
Fukushima to Canada: Nuclear power creates toxic pollution for 250,00 years http://www.agoracosmopolitan.com/news/canadian_news/2011/12/19/2288.html 19 DECEMBER 2011 The Canadian, BY : BY DAVID SUZUKI Anyone who thinks that Japan can “decontaminate” a region suffering from nuclear fallout in the manner presented in YouTube video has been duped if you read David Suzuki’s insights in the following article.
Nuclear power is experiencing a revival due to growing concerns about climate change. The nuclear industry has reinvented itself as an environmentally friendly option, producing electricity without the air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions of coal, oil or gas.
But a closer look reveals nuclear power is neither an environmentally or financially viable option. Nuclear power creates radioactive waste for which there is no accepted method of safely managing or storing.
It is also prohibitively expensive. Continue reading
Highlights of National Academy of Sciences’ report on uranium mining and milling in Virginia
Uranium report says local sites not viable Fredricksburg.com, By RUSTY DENNEN, 19 Dec 11“.……Virginia Uranium Inc.’s Coles Hill site in Pittsylvania County is the only commercially viable site in the state. Uranium mining and processing carries with it a wide range of
potential adverse human health risks.
A detailed assessment of both the potential site and its surrounding area (including natural, historical and social characteristics) would be needed.
It is not yet possible to predict what specific type of uranium mining or processing might apply to ore deposits in Virginia. A mining project could affect surface water quality and quantity, groundwater quality and quantity, soils, air quality and organisms in
Because of the 1982 moratorium, the state has no experience regulating uranium mining and there is no regulatory infrastructure. Planning should take into account all aspects of the process—including the eventual closure, site remediation and reclamation—prior to initiation of a project, and there should be opportunities for publicinvolvement throughout.
For more on the report, nationalacademies.org —National Research Council of the National Academies http://blogs.fredericksburg.com/newsdesk/2011/12/19/uranium-report-says-local-sites-not-viable/
Pyongyang’s Neighbors Worry Over Nuclear Arms, WSJ, 20 Dec 11 By KEITH JOHNSON WASHINGTON—For years, the biggest questions surrounding North Korea have involved the isolated country’s nuclear devices and its missiles, some of which could reach Alaska.
How the country’s leadership succession will unfold in the aftermath of dictator Kim Jong Il’s death—and what that means for North Korea’s huge military and its nuclear arsenal—has now emerged in sharp relief. Continue reading
Even though it is not yet operational, the plant had already been declared by the World Nuclear Association as one of the most dangerous in the world,
NGOs have no confidence in safety of nuclear plant, Taipei Times, 20 Dec 11 TIME IS TICKING:One NGO director said solutions for several flaws at the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant would be useless unless they were implemented immediately By Shelley Shan Non-governmental organizations (NGO) supervising the construction and operation of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant said they would issue a statement of no-confidence in reaction to a safety
report, to be submitted by Taiwan Power Corp (Taipower) today, which fails to tackle structural issues. Continue reading
The main factor driving demand is the need to conserve energy and produce more of it from renewable sources. Alternating current is generated by rotating engines, but renewable sources such as wind and solar produce DC power.
DC can now be transmitted at high voltage over very long distances, longer than AC. It can be easily used in cables, over ground or under the sea.
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy,” – [Edison said]
Insight: How renewable energy may be Edison’s revenge, Reuters, By Sara Ledwith LONDON | Tue Dec 20, 2011 “……The American inventor, who made the incandescent light bulb viable for the mass market, also built the world’s first electrical distribution system, in New York, using “direct current” electricity. DC’s disadvantage was that it couldn’t carry power beyond a few blocks. His Serbian-born rival Tesla, who at one stage worked with Edison, figured out how to send “alternating current” through transformers to enable it to step up the voltage for transmission over longer distances……
from the late 1800s, AC became the accepted form to carry electricity in mains systems. For most of the last century, the power that has reached the sockets in our homes and businesses is alternating current.
Now DC is making a comeback, becoming a promising money-spinner in renewable or high-security energy projects. From data centers to long-distance power lines and backup power supplies, direct current is proving useful in thousands of projects worldwide… Continue reading
A Response To Attacks On Renewable Energy Environmental defense Funds, By COLIN MEEHAN DECEMBER 19, 2011 “……renewable energy saves money for customers and adds much needed revenue to state budgets.
Obscuring the Facts
A recent analysis found that the five states with the highest amount of renewable energy (states that are encouraged by the policies Norquist asks us to rethink) have lower rates than the states with the least amounts of renewable energy. In 2009 the Texas PUC declaredthat the state’s national leadership in wind energy, driven by their RPS, “has had the impact of lowering wholesale and retail prices of electricity.” The Texas State Comptroller said, “After the RPS was implemented, Texas wind corporations and utilities invested $1 billion in wind power, creating jobs, adding to the Texas Permanent School Fund and increasing the rural tax base.” Continue reading
Uranium report says local sites not viable, Fredricksburg.com, By RUSTY DENNEN, 19 Dec 11 Uranium mining and milling in Virginia would present human health and safety and environmental risks, which could be mitigated with best-management practices, according to a long-awaited National Academy of Sciences study released Monday.
And, of interest to the Fredericksburg area, it concludes that only Virginia Uranium’s proposed Coles Hill site in Pittsylvania County would be commercially viable among Virginia deposits, for now. The site is about 180 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. Continue reading
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