a doctrine of mutual assured destruction……..in the case of nuclear arms, retaliation – whereby, in response to half the world being destroyed, you decide to destroy the other half – would not only be morally inexcusable, but irrational. Welcome to the nuclear hall of mirrors…..
there’s one thing that deterrence doesn’t protect against – the possibility of nuclear accident.
If a world without nuclear weapons is achievable, it will require political leadership. A country giving up its own would be a rare and shining thing: an altruistic act in world affairs. The cost would be minimal, the savings great, and it would make us far more convincing when trying to dissuade others from acquiring nuclear capability. Britain should do it.
It’s time to leave the nuclear hall of mirrors, Guardian, David Shariatmadari, 6 Oct 15
Deterrence isn’t enough to keep us safe: the prospect of a nuclear accident alone justifies ridding the world of these weapons. Britain should lead the way “Nuclear weapons can wipe out life on Earth, if used properly.” Despite being found in the liner notes of a Talking Heads album, this is the sentence I think best captures the bizarre contradictions of the atomic age. Human beings have manufactured bombs explicitly designed to unleash destructive forces equivalent to hundreds of thousands of tonnes of TNT. Deploy them and millions die; civilisation as we know it could disappear. And yet, they’re not actually supposed to be used. In fact, their proper function is to remain in the ground, or at sea, or in the air. Launch, fire or drop ‘em and the whole system has failed. Is there any other device so intricately constructed in order to decrease the likelihood of its own use?
Last week, Jeremy Corbyn, a man with at least a chance of being entrusted with the launch codes for 225 British warheads, stated that he would never press the nuclear button. I asked philosopher Jonathan Glover, whose book Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century, includes a study of the Cuban missile crisis, about the comments. He confirmed most analyses so far. “On the assumption that if he’s PM he has full say, that would indeed get rid of any deterrence”. In other words, were Corbyn to gain power, those weapons would become immediately impotent. His shadow defence secretary, Maria Eagle, called the remarks “unhelpful”.
Corbyn had let the air out of the nuclear balloon, given the game away. Continue reading
Serious issues for George Osborne on China’s role in the UK’s nuclear future The Conversation, Jeffrey Henderson Professor of International Development, University of Bristol October 5, 2015 George Osborne will address the Conservative party conference on Monday fresh from a sales trip to Beijing. His efforts to drive more trade between the two nations saw Chinese state-owned companies invited to participate in the development of nuclear generating plants in Britain. They will have the chance to work with French state-owned company, EDF at Hinkley Point, Somerset and will be the sole operators at Bradwell, Essex. The move has already attracted doubts but there are other vital issues that have yet to be aired. These can be crystallised into five clear questions that Osborne and his government must answer.
Two Chinese companies are involved with Hinkley Point: China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN). The latter was responsible, under its previous guise (China Guangdong Nuclear Power) for building and running China’s first nuclear station, Daya Bay, near Hong Kong. It was initially improperly built – with reinforcement rods missing from the concrete base under the reactor – and there have since been reports of minor leakages of radioactive materials (though this is difficult to check, given China’s lack of transparency).
The deeply corrupt environment in which many Chinese companies operate compounds the possibility of these companies being lax on safety measures and it’s simply not good enough to say that Britain has one of the tightest nuclear safety regimes in the world. Confronted with the power of the Chinese government and the British government’s enthusiasm for unceasing flows of Chinese investment, the risk must be that the regulatory agency will be sidestepped or unable to cope………
Who builds what and with which workers?
The public needs to know whether Chinese construction companies will be involved in building Hinkley Point and other power stations and, if so, whether they will seek to use workers from China. ……..
One of the companies involved at Hinkley Point – China National Nuclear – produces China’s nuclear weapons. This means that as well as the Communist Party, CNNC is almost certainly controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (as all Chinese military-related companies are). Given geopolitical uncertainty (with rising tensions between China, Japan and the US over China’s territorial claims in the East and South China Seas), allowing such a company anywhere near Britain – not to mention in an industry as strategic as power generation – verges on the insane. Has MI5 been consulted on this, and if it has, what was its advice?
At its heart, the question of Chinese state (and thus Communist Party) involvement in Britain’s power generation, is a matter of national security. In its desire to help financial services (the only economic sector it privileges) penetrate the Chinese market, the government’s nuclear quid pro quo means it is set to embark on a potentially very dangerous path. Had this deal been negotiated by Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, the media would have been wondering if he were in the pay of the Chinese government. But George Osborne? Surely not.
Osborne may address some of these concerns in Monday’s speech, but it seems unlikely. In any case, before any binding commitments are made, it’s vital that the government’s proposal be opened up to public debate and subject to parliamentary scrutiny. https://theconversation.com/serious-issues-for-george-osborne-on-chinas-role-in-the-uks-nuclear-future-48541
Nuclear power plants ‘highly vulnerable’ to cyber-attacks,Rt.com 6 Oct, 2015 British nuclear power plants are at risk of cybe-attack, thanks to a “culture of denial” regarding the risks, a report by security think tank Chatham House claims.
The “Cyber Security at Civil Nuclear Facilities: Understanding the Risks” report involved a study of cyber-security at plants across Europe and interviews with 30 senior officials in the nuclear industry and the governments of Japan, France, the UK and the US.
“Cyber security is still new to many in the nuclear industry,” Caroline Baylon, the report’s author, told the Financial Times. “They are really good at safety and, after 9/11, they’ve got really good at physical security. But they have barely grappled with cyber,” she said, adding the industry suffers from a “culture of denial.”
The security issues stem from the increasing digitization of nuclear facilities by using relatively easily available technology to trim expenditure.
“The cyber security risk is growing as nuclear facilities become increasingly reliant on digital systems and make increasing use of commercial ‘off-the-shelf’ software, which offers considerable cost savings but increases vulnerability to hacking attacks,” the report argues.
“Meanwhile, hacking is becoming ever easier to conduct, and more widespread: automatic cyber-attack packages targeted at known and discovered vulnerabilities are widely available for purchase.”
The report says there is a real risk of a devastating incident like the one which occurred at the Fukushima plant in Japan in 2011, when an earthquake and resulting tsunami hit and badly damaged the facility………https://www.rt.com/uk/317774-nuclear-terrorism-cyber-attacks/
EDF faces threat of credit downgrade over Hinkley Point Two of the world’s biggest ratings agencies have warned that EDF and its Chinese partners face credit-rating downgrades if they press ahead with a £16 billion nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Amid growing doubts about the deal, Moody’s said the project would have a “credit negative effect” on the companies because of the dangers of big cost overruns and delays to EDF’s untested EPR French reactor technology……. (subscribers only) .http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/utilities/article4574734.ece
David Cameron says that he would use nuclear weapons The PM described nuclear bombs as ‘the ultimate insurance policy’ and said the attack could be ‘justified’, The Independent, Jon stone Sunday 4 October 2015 David Cameron has said there are circumstances in which he would launch a nuclear attack on another country.
The PM described nuclear bombs as “the ultimate insurance policy” and said the attack could be “justified”.
Mr Cameron’s statement comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he would not use nuclear bombs on another country’s population.
“If you … believe like me that Britain should keep the ultimate insurance policy of an independent nuclear deterrent, you have to accept there are circumstances in which its use would be justified,” Mr Cameron told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show on 4 October…….Warheads carried on Britain’s nuclear submarines are eight times more powerful than the atomic bombs used in 1945.
Parliament is set to vote during this parliamentar on whether to renew the Trident nuclear weapons system.
Mr Corbyn opposes renewal, but some Labour MPs have said they disagree with him.
The Opposition’s official policy remains in support of Trident after the party’s leadership failed to secure a policy vote to change it at annual conference last week.
The SNP and Green Party oppose Trident. The Liberal Democrats want a small nuclear weapons system which they say would be less costly. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-says-that-he-would-use-nuclear-weapons-a6679256.html
pity UK taxpayers in decades, centuries and millennia to come.
When the party’s over … the financial spectre at the end of nuclear power http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2985577/when_the_partys_over_the_financial_spectre_at_the_end_of_nuclear_power.html Dr Ian Fairlie 1st October 2015
There are two rules about the end costs of nuclear power, writes Ian Fairlie. It’s far more than you ever knew. And whatever sum of money was ever set aside, it’s nowhere near enough. Germany understands this. That’s why it refused to let E.ON spin off its nuclear liabilities into a hands-off company. But the UK, it seems, has lost the ability to learn from its nuclear mistakes.
Nuclear power has a wide spectrum of disadvantages.
One is that when reactors are shut down for good, a host of financial liabilities continue with no income flow from the sale of nuclear electricity to pay for them.
And enormous new liabilities for decommissioning and final disposal commence at the same time.
This became crystal-clear in April when the German energy giant E.ON proposed to spin off its remaining nuclear activities1 into a separate company, Uniper, in an attempt to protect the parent company from the multiple nuclear liabilities from the impending shutdowns of its nuclear reactors: Germany is phasing out all nuclear power by 2022. Continue reading
Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader has reignited the debate about whether to replace Britain’s nuclear weapons. Here are the facts about the missiles and the submarines that launch them.
1. Next year, Britain will decide whether to build a new generation of nuclear missile submarines.
Since 1998, the only nuclear weapons Britain has are Trident intercontinental ballistic missiles aboard four Vanguard-class submarines.
4. A 100kt bomb detonated in the air over central London would probably kill about 250,000 people, almost instantly.
That’s before taking into consideration the effects of radioactive fallout.
(Technical note: The 250,000 figure has been worked out using Nukemap, thispopulation-measuring map, and a rule of thumb that the total dead caused by a nuclear explosion is roughly equivalent to the population inside the “5psi overpressure” radius.)………
7. According to the Royal Navy, the Trident missilehas a range of 4,000 nautical miles, or 7,500km.
That means that a submarine at its base in Faslane could hit targets in Nevada, or central India.
Within two minutes of launch the missile will be travelling at 6km a second, and can reach a target at maximum range in about 20 minutes……..
9. The Trident missiles are built, and owned, by the US, although the warheads and submarines are British-built.
The US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin builds the missiles, and provides the technical support to keep them operational………
11. When a new prime minister is elected, they give the commanders of each of the four submarines a sealed letter, known as the letter of last resort.
These letters contain orders of what to do in the event that the government has been destroyed, and the prime minister and the “second person” have been killed or incapacitated, in a nuclear attack on Britain.
When the prime minister leaves office, their orders are destroyed unopened. No one knows what Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, or any of their predecessors wrote in their letters of last resort, and what action would have been taken if there had been an attack.
Jeremy Corbyn row after ‘I’d not fire nuclear weapons’ comment, BBC News 30 September 2015 Jeremy Corbyn has faced criticism from senior Labour colleagues for saying he would not fire Britain’s nuclear weapons if he were prime minister.
Shadow defence secretary Maria Eagle said the words were “not helpful”, while shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn said Mr Corbyn should abide by the party’s decision on renewing Trident.
Mr Corbyn said nuclear weapons “didn’t do the USA much good on 9/11”.
He added that he was elected leader on a platform opposing Trident renewal.
Prime Minister David Cameron said Mr Corbyn’s comments showed Labour could not be trusted with Britain’s national security.
Following the shadow cabinet criticism of his comments, Mr Corbyn was asked by the BBC’s John Pienaar what the point of the Labour defence policy debate and review was.
He said: “The point of a policy debate is to try and bring people with me.”
n his conference address on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn said his landslide leadership win gave a “mandate” for his views on disarmament of Britain’s nuclear weapons.
On Wednesday’s BBC Radio 4 Today programme he said: “I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.
“I do not think we should be renewing Trident… I think we should be promoting an international nuclear weapons convention which would lead to a nuclear-free world.”…….http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-34399565?SThisFB
The Citizen Challenge to UK’s Nuclear Weapons. Campaigners Aim to Prosecute British State http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-citizen-challenge-to-uks-nuclear-weapons-campaigners-aim-to-prosecute-british-state/5479142 By Action AWE Global Research, October 01, 2015 On 1st October campaigners will begin a new and ambitious project to institute a citizen’s prosecution of the Government and specifically the Secretary of State for Defence for breaching international law by its active deployment of the Trident nuclear weapon system.
PICAT is co-ordinated by Trident Ploughshares and will involve groups across England and Wales in a series of steps which will hopefully lead to the Attorney General’s consent for the case to go before the courts.
Groups will begin by seeking an assurance from the Secretary of State for Defence that the UK’s nuclear weapons will not be used, or their use threatened, in such a way as to cause wholesale loss of civilian life and damage to the environment.
In the case of no response or an unsatisfactory one groups will then approach their local magistrates to lay a Criminal Information (1). If consent for the case is not forthcoming from the Attorney General the campaign will then consider approaching the International Criminal Court.
Veteran peace campaigner Angie Zelter (2), who has developed the project along with international lawyer Robbie Manson (3), said:
The government has consistently refused to give evidence to prove how Trident or any replacement could ever be used lawfully. This campaign is an attempt to find a court willing to examine objectively if the threat to use Trident
is in fact criminal as so many of us think it is. It is a matter of vital public interest.
The UK, along with the other nuclear weapon states, is becoming increasingly isolated from the growing global momentum to outlaw nuclear weapons, as expressed in the Humanitarian Pledge, which has already attracted the signatures of 117 nations.(4)
Robbie Manson said:
I remain very firmly of the view that it is both an immensely worthy and worthwhile cause to pursue these matters, even in court, and with vigour given the enormity of the humanitarian need, political significance and the scale of the diplomatic hypocrisy upon which our political masters rely for the achievement of their designs.
The project is supported by an impressive list of expert witnesses (5), including Phil Webber, Chair of Scientists for Global Responsibility, Professor Paul Rogers, Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, and John Ainslie of Scottish CND.
Contacts: Continue reading
At a gathering of leading insurers at Lloyd’s of London, Mark Carney pointed out the rapid increase in weather-related catastrophes and the jump in both the physical and financial costs.
He said the challenges currently posed by climate change “pale in significance compared with what might come”……http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34396961
Convener calls time on nuclear weapons http://www.shetlandtimes.co.uk/2015/09/29/convener-calls-time-on-nuclear-weapons 29/09/2015 , by Shetland Times,
The council’s convener has backed international calls for a world free of nuclear weapons.
A joint statement from mayors, religious leaders and parliamentarians from across the world was adopted in Hiroshima in August and presented to the United Nations on Saturday, the international day for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
Malcolm Bell is a member of the Mayors for Peace organisation, which works internationally to raise consciousness around nuclear weapons abolition. It also seeks lasting world peace by working to address starvation, poverty, refugee welfare, human rights abuses and environmental destruction.
Shetland Islands Council is also a member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities group, which works to increase local accountability over national nuclear policy, identify the impact of that on local communities, and to minimise nuclear hazards and increase public safety.
· Highlights the continuing risks of a nuclear catastrophe – whether by accident, miscalculation or intent – and the moral and security imperative to achieve nuclear abolition.
· Notes that ‘mayors are responsible for protecting the safety and welfare of their citizens, as well as for preserving and promoting cultural and environmental values and heritages’.
· Deplores the nuclear weapons budget of ‘$100 billion annually’, and says such funds could be used to reverse climate change, eliminate poverty and address other social and economic needs.
· Affirms ‘UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s description of the abolition of nuclear weapons as a “common good of the highest order”.
Mr Bell said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to endorse the joint statement of fellow civic heads, religious leaders and parliamentarians which commemorates the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the nuclear age, and the foundation of the United Nations.”
Hinkley: a truly major national scandal http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/11893698/Hinkley-a-truly-major-national-scandal.html The new nuclear power station will be the costliest engineering project Britain has ever embarked on, and a total waste of money. By Christopher Booker 26 Sep 2015
Although it was originally claimed that Hinkley Point C would cost only £10 billion and be “cooking Christmas dinners by 2017”, its completion date is now likely to be well after 2023, and its cost has spiralled so fast it will be way over the current figure of £24.5 billion. This would already make it more expensive than the Channel Tunnel and half the estimated cost of the vast, as-yet unapproved HS2 rail project.
But all we might get for this colossal sum would be 3.2 gigawatts of heavily subsidised “low-carbon” electricity, when the latest £1 billion gas-fired power station at Pembroke can already provide 2GW of unsubsidised power at half the price and at less than a 20th of the capital cost. Furthermore, the two obsolete European Pressurised Reactors the French firm EDF plans to install in Somerset have so many design problems that those it is already building in France and Finland have massively overrun on cost and time, while a modern nuclear plant built by South Koreans in Qatar is completed on time and at a fraction of the cost.
Everything about Hinkley Point indicates that it is as absurd a project as any government has ever fallen for. Yet when Channel 4 News reported the story on Monday, Jon Snow could think of no one better to interview on it than that great energy expert Vivienne Westwood, the dress designer, who could only repeat that “renewables” are getting “ever cheaper”, while subsidies to fossil fuels (non-existent) are rising ever higher.
At least when John Humphrys interviewed the Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, that morning on the Today programme, he began by gabbling some of the more obvious objections to Hinkley. But he then gave Rudd a free run to babble about how thankful we should be to the Chinese and the French for helping to give us “low-carbon energy security”. Please, guys, we know you are besotted with climate change and “low-carbon” energy. But even in your own terms, can you not recognise a truly massive national scandal when it is staring you in the face?
- British nuclear submarine spotted at dock in the Emirati dock of Fujairah
- Port is situated less than 100 nautical miles from the coast of Iran
- A 650ft-long metal barrier covers the submarine to avoid detection
- It is believed to be one of Britain’s four Trafalgar Class submarines
By MARK NICOL DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY 27 September 2015 |
A British nuclear submarine has been caught on camera after it apparently became stricken with technical problems while on a top-secret mission in one of the most dangerous parts of the world.
Satellite images show the Royal Navy vessel undergoing repairs at a port less than 100 nautical miles from Iran.
The nuclear-powered submarine is pictured docked at Fujairah, one of the United Arab Emirates, in the politically sensitive seaway of the Gulf of Oman……….
In 2013, The Mail on Sunday revealed how the ageing Trafalgar submarines had been issued with ‘Code Red’ safety warnings after inspectors found radioactive leaks. The report by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator found that cracks in reactors and nuclear discharges were directly attributable to the Trafalgars remaining in service beyond their design date.
The Trafalgars are powered by nuclear reactors and are supposed to stay at sea for up to three months. They are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles and sonar equipment that can hear enemy vessels sailing more than 50 miles away.
The submarines have a typical complement of 120 to 130 personnel, up to 20 of them officers. The Trafalgars are being replaced by Astute Class nuclear submarines.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on submarine operations.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3250393/Stranded-Ageing-British-nuclear-submarine-secret-mission-undergoing-repairs-coast-Iran.html#ixzz3myehgajC
China, UK to fund nuclear research centre http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-China-UK-to-fund-nuclear-research-centre-25091502.html 25 September 2015
China and the UK will work together to co-fund a £50 million ($78 million) nuclear research centre, to be headquartered in the UK. Chinese vice premier Ma Kai and British chancellor George Osborne announced the plan on 21 September during the 7th UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue summit in Beijing.
The Chancellor also announced a regional collaboration agreement between Cumbria and Sichuan Province, deepening commercial ties between the province and the north west of England’s expertise in nuclear decommissioning and waste management. These developments followed a landmark announcement by Osborne the same day that the UK government would provide up to £2 billion ($3 billion) in support for the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, which China may participate in.
The UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) said on 22 September that it will jointly lead the new UK-China Joint Research and Innovation Centre (JRIC) with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
The JRIC – which will incorporate projects in a number of different areas of work across the whole nuclear fuel cycle – will “act as a portal to allow UK companies and academic organizations and their Chinese counterparts to work together on areas of mutual benefit and will support the development of Subject Matter Experts and others with higher level skill in both countries,” NNL said.
Over the coming months NNL and CNNC will work together to establish a program of work for the JRIC and to develop links with other UK bodies including the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), the Nuclear Innovation and Research Advisory Board (NIRAB) and key UK universities working in the nuclear sector.
Professor Andrew Sherry, chief scientist at NNL, wrote in a blog on the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s website that there is a strong case for exploring the potential of next generation nuclear technologies. “There is scope for developing new reactor concepts including small and modular reactors, which can provide both electricity and potentially heat, and also for considering even more advanced reactors which can be powered with reprocessed spent fuel to make more efficient use of the uranium fuel, and generate less nuclear waste,” he said. “These advances will need targeted research across the UK, drawing together universities, national laboratories and industry and linking effectively with the international community.“
MP warning over new nuclear power station in Essex East Anglian Daily Times 25 September 2015 Matt Stott An Essex MP has claimed a new nuclear power station at Bradwell would cause “significant damage” to the marine environment. Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin expressed concern over the impact the site would have on the region’s fishing industries and ecology.
His intervention comes days after Chancellor George Osborne indicated a £2 billion Government guarantee for Chinese investment in the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset could pave the way for further deals, including a majority Chinese-owned nuclear generation facility at Bradwell.
It is thought the site, next to the former nuclear power station, could be shared with between owners EDF and Chinese firms to build and run a new nuclear plant.
Mr Jenkin said: “There should be no new nuclear at Bradwell, unless the concerns about damage to the estuary and storage of nuclear waste on site can both be unequivocally resolved. “There seems no way that a new nuclear power station would avoid significant damage to the marine environment in the estuary.
“When the Magnox station was decommissioned, there was explosive recovery in the marine environment. I have been informed that a new power station would take six times more flow of water than its predecessor.
“The estuary cannot supply the volume of cooling water without severely damaging the natural life-cycle of organisms in it. This jeopardises the ecology, our local fishing industries and goes against the aim of the Marine Conservation Zone.”
He added: “It is also a significant concern… that high level nuclear waste would have to be secured and stored on the site for some decades after a new facility has reached the end of its operating life, before it can be safely transported.
“This raises questions about how could it be stored safely over such a long period.”………http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/mp_warning_over_new_nuclear_power_station_in_essex_1_4246963
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