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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear weapons, path to global suicide – theme for August 2016

“In the end, there beckons, more and more clearly, general annihilation” – Albert Einstein 1945

Hiroshima-drawingToday, I read an article about how superior we are to other species. Really, I thought?  What other species is poisoning the planet’s air, land and water, with its carbon and chemical pollution? And we are SO intelligent compared to other species: we can write, and build computers, and fly into space!

And what other species delights in enriching a few greedy individuals by paying them to build wonderful nuclear bombs that can destroy ALL the species on the planet, as well as their own? How clever is that?

Hiroshima-drawing-1And if the weapons industries are criticised, why – the reasoning is – they provide JOBS. What sort of jobs, particularly in the nuclear weapons area?  Jobs that have already killed 33,480 workers due to ionising radiation. And that’s just in America alone.

Meanwhile – thousands of clean, positive jobs could be provided by using the obscene amounts of tax-payers’ money that go into buying nuclear, and other weapons.

And yet, and yet, our species IS capable of learning – even the sociopathic types of people that rise to leadership positions can learn, as well as the billions of normal humans who want peace and a humanitarian society.

At left,  drawings by Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing, August 1945

 

 

July 16, 2016 Posted by | Christina's themes | 2 Comments

Nuclear weapons, disarmament – nuclear and climate news this week

a-cat-CANNUCLEAR.  Articles on weapons and disarmament dominate the nuclear news this week.On Monday 29 August,  an international conference entitled ‘Building a Nuclear Weapons Free World’ will take place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. That day will also be the 25th anniversary of of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site – largest in the world, where 456 weapons tests happened, leaving  a terrible legacy for the people.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for eradication of nuclear weapons.   The nuclear working group at the UN concluded its work in Geneva, and the majority of governments voted to recommended that the UN General Assembly set up a conference in 2017 to negotiate a new treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, despite the Australian government’s best efforts to sabotage this. This is one of those times when I am ashamed to be Australian.

CLIMATE. A new study declares that human-caused climate change began at around 1830.  (I’ve always thought that it was 1801, because of the 1801 painting Coalbrookdale by Night – attached). Research indicates that the difference between 1.5 C and 2C  rise in global  temperatures will be significant, and in only 20 years’ time. Huge volume of Greenland Ice Sheet lost each year, due to global warming.  Again this year, Indonesia’s blanket of smoke is back.  India floods: Over 300 dead, millions affected  Louisiana National Guard Rescues 19,000 in Flood-Affected Areas.

UN Security Council warned on danger of nuclear drone terror attacks.

Global nuclear industry ponders ways to get taxpayers to pay up for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

USA

UK. New report shows that Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is not essential. UK figuring out how to get out of the Hinkley nuclear power deal.  Britain’s nuclear industry in turmoil over botched contracts. UK Nuclear Submarine HMS Ambush: Smashing Collision With Merchant Vessel.

JAPAN.

NORTH KOREA ‘s submarine – launched missile. North Korea’s ‘Military First’ celebration enhanced by nuclear missile test.

SOUTH KOREA ‘s nuclear weapons advocates are now more vocal since North Korea’s missile test

CHINA. Public opposition threatens China’s grandiose nuclear power plans. China really part of the global nuclear marketing conglomerate.

TAIWAN‘s First Nuclear Decommissioning Project

SOUTH AFRICA nuclear electricity company non compliant with govt rules on advertising. Nuclear is not the cheapest source of electricity for South Africa. African countries are the least compliant in implementing global nuclear security safeguards.

FRANCE   to launch 6 tenders for solar energy projects

GERMANY ‘s green power going strong, with more renewable energy than it ever had nuclear

BULGARIA  Bulgaria seeks solution for costly blowout for Belene nuclear power plant

UKRAINE . Westinghouse puts on hold plans to build nuclear fuel plant in Ukraine

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

29 August Building a #NuclearWeapons free world

world-disarmament-1Building a #NuclearWeapons free world. EU Reporter, text-relevant | August 26, 2016 The international community, including the EU, is being urged to step up its contribution to create a nuclear-free world, writes Colin Stevens.

The issue was thrust back into the spotlight most recently when North Korea testfired a submarine-based ballistic missile from its east coast on 25 August.

The exercise drew international condemnation and Daniel A. Pinkston, a professor at Troy University, said the fact that the rocket travelled as far as it did suggests the North Koreans are “making quite rapid progress, and probably more rapid progress than anyone had predicted”.

The call to remove such threats by seriously scaling down nuclear programmes comes as Kazakhstan marks the 25th anniversary of the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on 29 August.

On Monday in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, an international conference entitled ‘Building a Nuclear Weapons Free World’ will take place.

It will be attended by political and religious leaders, experts in the field of disarmament, as well as representatives of civil society, international and regional organisations. Those present will include nations that possess nuclear weapons, as well as non-nuclear-weapon states.

The date, 29 August, is the anniversary of Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev’s decision to shut down Semipalatinsk and the date which has since been designated the UN International Day against Nuclear Weapons.

Kazakhstan suffered 450 Soviet nuclear weapons tests at the Semipalatinsk site between August 29, 1949 and 1991 when Nazarbayev finally gave the order to shut down the site.

The 42 years of testing, however, inflicted great suffering on both the Kazakh people and its environment. Tests negatively affected the health of more than 1.5 million Kazakh citizens including many who, to this day, in the first and the second generations, suffer early death, lifelong debilitating illness and horrific birth defects……..

Also on Monday, a special ceremony will take place in Ypres, Belgium to mark the landmark.

The Flemish city is known for the death and destruction it witnessed in World War I. The ceremony will take place in the town’s Cloth Hall close to a memorial which is dedicated to the many tens of thousands who fell in the Great War.

Almas Khamzayev, the ambassador of Kazakhstan’s embassy in Belgium, will join Jan Durnez, the Mayor of Ypres and vice president of Mayors for Peace, an organization that seeks to raise global awareness of the need to abolish nuclear weapons. The leaders will observe a minute’s silence in honour of victims of weapons of mass destruction and open a photographic exhibition to showcase Kazakhstan’s efforts in non-proliferation.

In 2012 the country launched The ATOM Project, a global initiative to help bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and show world leaders that the public worldwide is united in its desire to eliminate the nuclear weapons threat.

It specifically seeks to help bring into force the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and is an example of how Kazakhstan has led the way for the rest of the world on this issue.

The project puts a human face on this global issue by telling the stories of the survivors of nuclear testing. To this day, children are born with severe deformities, illnesses and a lifetime of health challenges as a result of exposure generations ago to nuclear weapons tests.

More than 260,000 people from over 100 countries have, so far, signed the petition. It is hoped to reach 300,000 signatures by the end of this month.

Ridding the world of nuclear weapons is also an effort supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has noted that the world has “witnessed a substantial growth of interest in better understanding the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear weapons”.

He said: “Achieving global nuclear disarmament is one of the oldest goals of the United Nations.  It was the subject of the General Assembly’s first resolution in 1946. It has been on the General Assembly’s agenda along with general and complete disarmament ever since 1959.

“It has been a prominent theme of review conferences held at the UN since 1975 of States parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was identified a priority goal of the General Assembly’s first Special Session on disarmament in 1978, which attached a special priority to nuclear disarmament.  And it has been supported by every United Nations Secretary-General.”……….

Kazakhstan’s recent history shows that nations do not necessarily need a nuclear arsenal to feel safe. Its policy of eliminating nuclear weapons and strengthening the regime of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has earned the recognition of the international community.

Despite this, the uncertainty about the intentions of states such as North Korea and terrorist groups such as Islamic State suggests there should be no let-up in efforts to rid the world of the nuclear threat once and for all. https://www.eureporter.co/energy/2016/08/26/building-a-nuclearweapons-free-world/

August 27, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

America could take a practical first step towards nuclear disarmament

It is time to turn nuclear common sense into national policy. A declaration that the United States would never use nuclear weapons when conventional weapons could destroy the target could reduce the number of nuclear weapons we need for legitimate deterrence purposes.

Flag-USAhighly-recommendedThe common-sense fix that American nuclear policy needs, WP,  By Jeffrey G. text-relevant
Lewis and Scott D. Sagan August 24

Jeffrey G. Lewis is director of the East Asian Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Scott D. Sagan is the Caroline S.G. Munro professor of political science and senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. This op-ed was adapted from an article that will appear in the fall issue of Daedalus.

President Obama, in his final months in office, is considering major nuclear policy changes to move toward his oft-stated goal of a world without nuclear weapons. One option reportedly under consideration is a “no first use” pledge, a declaration that the United States would not be the first state to use nuclear weapons in any conflict. While we think that such a pledge would ultimately strengthen U.S. security, we believe it should be adopted only after detailed military planning and after close consultation with key allies, tasks that will fall to the next administration.

There is, however, a simpler change that Obama could make now that could have as important, or even greater, benefits for U.S. security. The president could declare, as a matter of law and policy, that the United States will not use nuclear weapons against any target that could be reliably destroyed by conventional means.

This might seem like common sense, but current U.S. doctrine allows the use of nuclear weapons against any “object” deemed to be a legitimate military target. In 2013, the Obama administration did issue a guidance directing the U.S. military to “apply the principles of distinction and proportionality and seek to minimize collateral damage to civilian populations and civilian objects” and pledged that “the United States will not intentionally target civilian populations or civilian objects.”

This was a good step forward. But Obama’s guidance omitted an important legal concept derived from just-war doctrine — the “principle of necessity,” which suggests that war planners must use only the minimum amount of military force necessary to destroy a target. Ignoring the necessity principle leaves a loophole large enough to fly a nuclear-armed bomber through. To give one egregious example, although the U.S. military does not target civilian populations directly, following the principle of noncombatant immunity, it insists that it can legally target civilian airports in an adversary’s cities because they could be converted to military airports during a war — and there is no restriction in place against using nuclear weapons against such a civilian airport………

It is time to turn nuclear common sense into national policy. A declaration that the United States would never use nuclear weapons when conventional weapons could destroy the target could reduce the number of nuclear weapons we need for legitimate deterrence purposes. Placing conventional weapons at the center of debates about the future of deterrence would also help focus the policy discussion on plausible scenarios with realistic plans for the use of U.S. military power. And it would more faithfully honor the just-war principles of distinction, necessity and proportionality, by placing them at the heart of our deterrence and security policies, where our highest ideals belong. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-common-sense-fix-that-american-nuclear-policy-needs/2016/08/24/b9692dd0-6596-11e6-96c0-37533479f3f5_story.html?utm_term=.a6cc17bf50cf

August 27, 2016 Posted by | politics international, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA taxpayers up for #billions for WIPP nuclear waste cleanup?

A typo and a bag of kitty litter might cost US taxpayers billions in nuclear waste cleanup, Business Insider, DAVE MOSHER AUG 27, 2016, A typo and a bag of organic kitty litter may end up costing United States taxpayers more than $2 billion in nuclear waste cleanup, according to a new report by Ralph Vartabedian at the Los Angeles Times.

waste drum burst WIPP

Back in February 2014, a drum of nuclear waste burst open inside the cavernous Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), Waste Isolation Pilot Plant WIPPwhich is drilled out of a salt deposit nearly half a mile below the deserts of Carlsbad, New Mexico.

The US Department of Energy (DOE), which funds the company that runs the nuclear waste dump, quickly suspended operations and launched an investigation to figure out the cause.

In their 277-page report, investigators determined the blast vaporized nearly 7.5 lbs of the material inside a single barrel, labelled “Drum 68660.” That material included some radioactive isotopes of americium, plutonium, and uranium — byproducts of Cold War-era nuclear weapons production.

Although no one was inside WIPP when the drum burst, the facility’s air ventilation system spread some of the gases outside, exposing 21 workers to low doses of radiation.

Investigators also discovered the trigger of the “thermal runaway event,” also known as an “explosion”: a dangerous combination of nitric acid and salts, triethanolamine, and“sWheat Scoop” organic kitty litter. (The DOE mentions the brand almost 400 times in its report.)

The cleanup itself will cost hundreds of millions, but that’s not where the mishap’s ledger ends.

The “organic” part of the kitty litter in question is crucial.

That’s because wheat, which makes up the pee-absorbing bulk of organic kitty litter, contains plant cellulose that can burn. Standard kitty litter, meanwhile, is inorganic, since it’s primarily made of clay.

So when drum-packing workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) followed instructions to add an organic variety to soak up radioactive fluids, they were unknowingly packing up what Sarah Zhang at Gizmodo called “the ingredients of a bomb.”………

Whatever the case, WIPP isn’t entombing any nuclear waste while cleanup work continues — which means the US government’s grand scheme to seal it all up has a major wrench in its gears.

The Times reports the facility may need 7 years of additional operation to handle the backup of waste. At $200 million per year, according to the Times’ analysis, that could add up to $1.4 billion in extra costs triggered by the mishap……

In the meantime, the DOE might also have to pay temporary storage and inspection costs for all of the waste that WIPP can’t entomb until the cleanup work is finished. The DOE couldn’t confirm or deny this, nor the cost.

“The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is critical to the Department of Energy’s mission to cleanup nuclear waste generated by atomic energy activities,” a DOE spokesperson told Business Insider in an email. “WIPP is the nation’s only repository for the disposal of nuclear waste known as transuranic (TRU) waste. The Department is committed to the recovery, and resumption of TRU disposal operations at WIPP when it is safe to do so.”…..http://www.businessinsider.com.au/kitty-litter-nuclear-waste-accident-2016-8?r=US&IR=T

August 27, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Halt Sendai nuclear reactors, says Kagoshima Governor , following nearby earthquakes

150811-sendai-power-plant-jpo-336a_8f3e8a62970a0e116c7ec9def419fa8f.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000Governor asks utility to halt nuclear reactors in Kagoshima THE ASAHI SHIMBUN August 26, 2016 KAGOSHIMA–New Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono on Aug. 26 asked Kyushu Electric Power Co. to immediately shut down its Sendai nuclear power plant for a fresh safety inspection following the earthquakes that rocked neighboring Kumamoto Prefecture.

“We will consider your request and discuss it with many people,” Michiaki Uryu, president of Kyushu Electric, told Mitazono at the Kagoshima prefectural government building.

The utility plans to make an official response by early next month, but it is set to reject the governor’s request, sources said.

The two reactors at the Sendai plant in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, on the southern main island of Kyushu, are the only ones online in Japan.

A governor does not have the legal authority to order a shutdown of a nuclear power plant. But under safety agreements, a prefectural government can call for measures deemed necessary to ensure the safety of the plant based on an inspection of the site…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/photo/AS20160826003329.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

New report shows that Britain’s Hinkley Point C nuclear station is not essential

Hinkley planHinkley Point C nuclear plant not essential – think tank, BBC News 26 Aug 16, The Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant is “not essential” for the UK to meet its energy and climate change targets, according to a think tank.

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) also said opting for “established” approaches instead would save bill payers £1bn a year in total.

EDF Energy, which has agreed to back Hinkley, said the ECIU report did not offer “credible alternatives”.

The government is due to make a final decision on Hinkley in the autumn………

One of the report’s authors, former Npower chief executive, Paul Massara – who now runs North Star Solar – said: “You are looking at a deal which is two and half times the current price, it goes on for 35 years and effectively this report today shows we can transition to a low carbon, affordable secure option without Hinkley and that’s what we should be doing.”

Mr Massara said a more “flexible” cost saving approach was needed that “includes things like demand-side management, which means people can turn down their electricity demand and manage their demand, with smart meters and batteries which are going to come in the next five to six years”…….

In its report, the not-for-profit ECIU made the assumption that “the total annual cost of Hinkley will probably be about £2.5bn”.

It then calculated the cost of a basket of alternative measures to meet the country’s energy and climate change targets, and concluded that bill payers, both domestic and business, would end up paying a total of £1bn less per year for their energy if they were adopted than if Hinkley C were built.

‘Not essential’

The think tank’s alternative proposals include building more wind farms and gas-fired power stations than are currently planned and laying more cables connecting the UK grid with other countries.

“Our conclusion is that [Hinkley Point’s] not essential,” said ECIU director, Richard Black.

“Using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost,” he added……..http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37191222

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

Illness legacy of 456 nuclear weapons tests at Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan

studies have detected among area residents heightened levels of leukemia and cancer of the breast, colon, esophagus, liver, lung and thyroid. They have also revealed higher levels of cardiovascular and blood diseases, chromosomal aberrations and congenital anomalies.

Kazakhstan: Living with Semipalatinsk’s Nuclear Fallout, EurasiaNet August 26, 2016 –  by Joanna Lillis   In the village of Znamenka in northeastern Kazakhstan, adults have vivid memories of nuclear explosions rocking text-relevantthe steppe.

 “We saw mushroom clouds — big and terrifying ones,” recalled Galina Tornoshenko, 67, shaking her head at the traumatic memory and gesturing upward at the clear blue sky. “I was small at the time, but I remember it well.”…….Over the next 40 years, 456 blasts were detonated there, releasing energy 2,500 times that of the first atomic weapon dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The tests turned swaths of Kazakhstan into a toxic wasteland and ravaged the health of locals, who were, in effect, human guinea pigs……..
The site was mothballed in 1991, the year of the Soviet Union’s collapse. But for the people still suffering from the fallout, the atomic legacy is living on. Now renamed Semey, Semipalatinsk lies 120 kilometers east of the former ground zero, which is marked by a poignant monument in a city park depicting a woman nursing a child under an exploding mushroom cloud.In a small apartment on the outskirts of Semey, Mayra Zhumageldina is massaging her daughter’s twisted limbs. “If you don’t do massage, they freeze up,” Zhumageldina told EurasiaNet.org, smiling down fondly at her disabled daughter. “I took a special massage course to do this.”

Zhannur Zhumageldina, 25, was born in the village of Olzhabay, 200 kilometers from the polygon, the year after it closed and three years after it conducted its last explosion.

anencephaly
At 15 months old, she was diagnosed with microcephaly, a rare neurological condition in which the head is abnormally small, impeding brain development, and scoliosis, curvature of the spine. Both conditions were caused by radiation exposure. Her diagnosis came as a bolt from the blue to her mother, pregnant at the time with her second child, a son who was born healthy.

“I didn’t even know the polygon existed until Zhannur was 15 months old,” said Zhumageldina, a single mother who cares full-time for her severely disabled daughter, who cannot walk or talk. “I was in shock.”

Across the city, in a cramped apartment in another drab suburb, Berik Syzdykov whiles away his days listening to music videos and strumming on his dombra, a traditional stringed instrument. Syzdykov, 37, was born blind and with severe facial deformities in Znamenka, the village where adults remember mushroom clouds exploding on the horizon.

“Once, there was a big explosion,” said his 73-year-old mother Zina Syzdykova, leaning back and closing her eyes. “It was the winter of 1979 and I was pregnant. Two months later, Berik was born like this.”

“Polygon,” she said with a shrug. “We didn’t know anything about it… When Berik was born, I cried and cried, but how would I know what was wrong with him?”
………Over four decades, nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk affected 1.5 million Kazakhstanis in some form, Nazarbayev has asserted. Due to poor record-keeping and Soviet official secrecy, it is still not known precisely how many people received dangerous doses of radiation, Togzhan Kassenova of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Nuclear Policy Program told EurasiaNet.org. Data cited in one Kazakh-Japanese study suggests a quarter of a million people may have received elevated doses.

Dr. Zhaxybay Zhumadilov, a scientist from Astana’s Nazarbayev University who has researched the impact of the tests with experts from Hiroshima University, says studies have detected among area residents heightened levels of leukemia and cancer of the breast, colon, esophagus, liver, lung and thyroid. They have also revealed higher levels of cardiovascular and blood diseases, chromosomal aberrations and congenital anomalies.

Determining exposure and drawing meaningful conclusions is complicated, because “for years, what happened at the Semipalatinsk test site, [and] its effects on human health and the environment, were treated as classified information,” Zhumadilov told EurasiaNet.org. There is no international analogy for such “repeated acute external and long-term internal chronic exposure.”………

the Semipalatinsk victims grapple with the consequences of the tests a quarter of a century on. Lump sum compensation paid out in the 1990s, mostly amounting to a few hundred dollars, is long since spent. Many sufferers now must make due on social welfare payments.Showing files of records of her dogged – mostly futile – approaches to officialdom and charities for assistance, Zhumageldina counts herself lucky to have state-subsidized housing costing just $8 for her one-room apartment, from the $150 in monthly welfare that the family lives on. She notes that it took her 19 years of lobbying before she was granted the subsidy benefit.

The state provides free medical care for the test victims: Zhumageldina’s daughter has recently undergone treatment in Astana to alleviate her condition, for which there is no cure. Still, Zhumageldina strikes an upbeat note. “Zhannur means everything to me,” she said with a gentle smile, flicking through an album showing photos of her disabled daughter growing up. “Everyone said I should abandon her – the doctors, my husband, my mother-in-law. … I said no. I’m going to look after her.”

Syzdykov received financial support from the government and an Irish charity for multiple operations in Kazakhstan and Europe, but still this man robbed of his sight by the Semipalatinsk tests dreams of seeing what the world looks like.

“If I could see, it would be good,” he said. “If not, there’s no need for any more surgery.” http://www.eurasianet.org/node/80311

August 27, 2016 Posted by | children, health, Kazakhstan | Leave a comment

Public opposition threatens China’s grandiose nuclear power plans

Protest-No!flag-ChinaProtests threaten China’s nuclear energy plans,  Global Risk Insights, 26 Aug 16  NIMBYism is on the rise in China, and without better dialogue between stakeholders, threatens to undermine Beijing’s nuclear plans and efforts to meet its COP21 goals.

Over the past two weeks, thousands of residents of Lianyungang, a town in Jiangsu province, have gathered, halting preparations for a proposed nuclear waste reprocessing plant. Lianyungang is one of six sites under consideration for the project, but the two companies developing the plant, China National Nuclear Co. (CNNC) and France’s Areva, have not yet decided on a final location.

China’s ambitious nuclear plans The proposed fuel reprocessing center would recycle spent fuel to create new fissile material. This process also reduces the final volume of nuclear waste that needs to be stored. Currently, spent fuel is stored onsite at the power plant, usually first in cooling pools and then in dry casks. Long term storage facilities, such as the controversial Yucca mountain repository in Nevada, have been unsuccessful in gaining regulatory approval. However, on-site waste storage is not viable in the long term, and fuel reprocessing centers, like the proposed $15 billion CNNC-Areva project, will be critical to the viability of nuclear energy in China.………

Chinese state media has attributed the movement in Lianyungang to “nimbyism.” The NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) mentality has led to the suspension or cancellation of other industrial projects in China, such as praxylene or waste incinerator plants.

Lack of public input fuels opposition There is growing advocacy in China for an expanded role for public input in planning these projects – currently decisions at the planning stages are made with little input from residents: “for many local residents, there is no absolute guarantee that those projects, if built in their neighborhood, can be 100 percent safe. If there is some harm, they will bear the brunt of the costs and risks…..” http://globalriskinsights.com/2016/08/nimbyism-threatens-china-nuclear-plans/

August 27, 2016 Posted by | China, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear industry in turmoil over botched contracts

judge-1flag-UKUK nuclear industry hit by fresh turmoil, Ft.com Gill Plimmer August 26, 2016  Britain’s nuclear industry has been hit by fresh turmoil after the government said it was planning to appeal against a ruling that it had botched a £7bn contest to clean up toxic power plants, while another company threatened to bring legal action.

A High Court judge ruled on July 29 that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had acted unlawfully in the way it awarded a contract to dismantle and make safe 12 of the UK’s first-generation nuclear power stations. The decision leaves the government agency exposed to multimillion pound claims for damages.

The initial court challenge was brought by Energy Solutions, the US-based company that lost the contract after managing the nuclear sites for 14 years, but on Friday another US contractor, Bechtel , said it would also take legal action. Other losing companies or consortiums, such as Ch2MHill and Serco, are expected to follow.

Bechtel is understood to be seeking compensation for the loss of future earnings but others may just seek to recoup bid costs, which are estimated at £15m per consortium……….

 The fiasco raises fresh questions over the way government entities hand out multibillion-pound contracts as well as casting further doubt on the UK’s nuclear industry at a time when the government is reviewing the £18bn Hinkley Point project.It has also prompted concerns over the future of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which was already under scrutiny after the government scrapped the outsourced management contract to run Britain’s biggest nuclear waste site — Sellafield in Cumbria.

John Clarke, chief executive of the NDA, announced this month his intention to retire next year………http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0c4e74e4-6b80-11e6-a0b1-d87a9fea034f.html#axzz4ITV1TlFn

August 27, 2016 Posted by | Legal, UK | Leave a comment

Nortyh Korea’s submarine – launched missile

submarine-missileNorth Korea puts ‘another piece in puzzle’ towards nuclear text-relevantcapability, CNBC, @cnbcdavy
26 Aug 16  North Korea’s latest missile test has security analysts admitting that the military-led country is closer than ever to possessing a nuclear missile system capable of attacking another country.
On Wednesday, a North Korean submarine-launched missile flew about 500 kilometers east, landing for the first time in Japan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).

Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency reported that regime leader Kim Jong Un supervised the test and described it as “the greatest success and victory”.

Research Analyst in Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at RUSI, Emil Dall, said to CNBC that Wednesday’s launch appears to be North Korea’s most successful missile test.

“It demonstrates Pyongyang’s continued determination to develop a fully-workable nuclear weapon capability, and this is another piece in that puzzle.

Dall said Thursday it was also probable the rogue state now has a nuclear bomb that can fit on the missile.

“Whether North Korea has been able to construct a nuclear warhead small enough to fit on to an intermediate-range missile is uncertain, but should be assumed at this point,” he said via email…….http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/26/north-korea-will-soon-be-able-to-launch-nuclear-weapons.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korea’s nuclear weapons advocates more vocal since North Korea’s missile test

flag-S-KoreaSouth Korean Nuclear Proponents: Conventional Deterrence is Failing, VOA, Brian Padden, 25 Aug 16   text-relevant Youmi Kim in Seoul contributed to this report. SEOUL — South Korean advocates of nuclear deterrence say the government in Seoul must pursue its own nuclear weapons programs to defend against North Korea’s growing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.

Song Dae-sung, a political science professor at Kunkuk University in Seoul and author of the book Let’s Have Nuclear Power makes the case for a nuclear armed South Korea. “If North Korea becomes a nuclear-armed state and its adversary does not own nuclear power, then the non-nuclear state becomes a slave or hostage of the nuclear state. This is a basic principle of international politics,” said Song.

National Assembly Representative Won Yoo-chul, a leader within of the ruling Saenuri Party, has also been a strong nuclear advocate.

Won has put together a study group in the parliamentary National Defense Committee to assess the risks and benefits of South Korea pursuing its own nuclear program. “The most efficient way to deter nuclear warfare is to have nukes for our self-defense,” Won has said.

Growing threat

Seoul’s nuclear proponents argue that the international sanctions imposed on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test and most recent long-range rocket launch have so far not deterred Pyongyang……..

Negative consequences

However, South Korean President Park Geun-hye supports the current deterrence and containment regime that involves a close military alliance with the United States and increasing international pressure on the North Korean government.

Opponents of arming South Korea with nuclear weapons say it would unravel the security architecture that has maintained peace in the region for decades.

“Those guys arguing for the possession of nuclear weapons are first, shortsighted, second, they do not understand the negative consequences of that kind of move, and third, that would lead to a nuclear domino on the Korean Peninsula in Northeast Asia,” said Moon Chung-in, a political science professor with Yonsei University.

While some supporters contend that a nuclear South Korea would exert pressure on North Korea or China, opponents argue it would actually dissipate international support for North Korean sanctions.

“Who I think would absolutely be thrilled with such a development would be North Korea, because if the ROK (Republic of Korea) were to pursue its own nuclear deterrence then it would justify everything they have done,” said regional security analyst Daniel Pinkston with Troy University in Seoul.

NPT

The United Nations might also impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on South Korea for developing nuclear weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it signed as a non-nuclear weapons state.

North Korea’s withdraw from the NPT in 2003 is a major justification for the current sanctions in place against it……….

Critics argue that Japan would also likely follow suit and acquire its own nuclear weapons, further increasing regional tensions and the potential for nuclear war in Asia. http://www.voanews.com/a/south-korea-nuclear-proponents-say-conventional-detterence-is-failing/3480128.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Australia’s reliance on Extended Nuclear Deterrence (END) is now out-dated

The revival of concern about the humanitarian impacts of these weapons is shifting old assumptions.

Australia’s reliance on END keeps us on the wrong side of history. And it has led previous governments and the current government to actively oppose the growing calls for a ban on nuclear weapons.

Instead of blindly following US nuclear policies into whatever a future president might envisage, Australia should carefully consider its non-nuclear defence and challenge all claims, surrogate or otherwise, to nuclear weapons.


Aust-weaponsAustralia’s stance on nuclear deterrence http://www.swinburne.edu.au/news/latest-news/2016/08/australias-stance-on-nuclear-deterrence-.php
 26 text-relevantAugust 2016

IN SUMMARY Analysis for The Conversation by Swinburne PhD candidate
Dimity Hawkins and Swinburne senior lecturer Julie Kimber
.CONTACT Lea Kivivali  +61 3 9214 5428      lkivivali@swin.edu.au  

For Australia, the US election should provide an opportunity to rethink defence relationships, especially as they relate to nuclear weapons.

There has been much hand-wringing at the thought of Donald Trump becoming US president. If, by some miracle, Trump succeeds in November, he will have his hand on the nuclear trigger.

But this concern, while great political fodder, is dangerously simplistic. It presupposes there are “safe hands” when it comes to nuclear weapons. There are not.

The US has around 7,000 nuclear weapons. Hundreds of these can be launched within minutes. While the global community has outlawed other indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons are yet to be banned.

The Cold War’s MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) doctrine has morphed over the years into a framework of nuclear deterrence. Many governments globally have played a double game: supporting nuclear disarmament on the one hand, while relying on a nuclear defence on the other.

One such government is Australia’s. Despite consecutive governments insisting they support nuclear disarmament, Australia’s reliance on Extended Nuclear Deterrence (END) means it is frustrating attempts at a total ban.

  • When defence conflicts with deterrence END is based on the assumption the US would offer a nuclear response to Australia as a select protégé ally in the event of a nuclear threat or attack. These arrangements are publicly documented between the US and NATO states, Japan and South Korea.
  • The first official articulation of the position in Australia is in its 1994 Defence White Paper. This professes a reliance on, and support for, a US nuclear capability to “deter any nuclear threat or attack on Australia”.Importantly, the paper also noted that reliance on END was an “interim” measure until a total ban on nuclear weapons could be achieved. Each subsequent defence white paper has continued to assert this reliance on US nuclear weapons.The 2016 Defence White Paper created more ambiguity about the END arrangement. It claimed:

    Only the nuclear and conventional military capabilities of the United States can offer effective deterrence against the possibility of nuclear threats against Australia.

  • After 22 years of white paper reliance on END, it is no longer a temporary aberration. The risk is we normalise both the need for and use of nuclear weapons.Australian defence white papers offer no clarification on the conditions under which nuclear weapons would be used on our behalf. Given the known humanitarian, environmental and cultural devastation caused by their use, significant questions remain – including under what circumstances policymakers and defence experts would consider justifying the deployment of nuclear weapons in Australia’s name.The global trend of nuclear renewal Anyone watching US President Barack Obama’s speech in Hiroshima in March 2016 might be mistaken for thinking his pledges to end the nuclear weapon threat were sincere. He said:

    Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.This would seem to undermine the utility of nuclear deterrence, but the reality is different.

  • The US plans to spend US$348 billion during 2015–24 on maintaining and comprehensively updating its nuclear forces. Other estimates for the modernisation program are as high as $1 trillion over the next 30 years.Despite Trump’s assertion that countries under the US END umbrella should be developing their own nuclear capacity, neither Trump nor his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, are likely to discontinue the nuclear renewal programs.For Australia, the change in the US presidency provides an opportunity to rethink defence relationships, especially those relating to nuclear weapons.

    An opportunity to re-evaluate our stanceWith some arguing a Trump presidency would undermine alliance relationships, Australia has a chance to strike a new path. The uncomfortable presumption of END in our defence policies is one area we should be actively challenging.

    While Australia is a highly militarised middle power in the region, it has few, if any, discernible nuclear threats of its own to counter. It has forsworn such weapons through international law agreements and has at times been a strong voice on efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.

    The revival of concern about the humanitarian impacts of these weapons is shifting old assumptions. Growing impatience with the slow pace of change and continual delays in meeting even the most basic of expectations in relation to nuclear disarmament have meant support for a ban on such weapons has grown internationally to include the majority of UN member countries.

    Australia’s reliance on END keeps us on the wrong side of history. And it has led previous governments and the current government to actively oppose the growing calls for a ban on nuclear weapons.

    Instead of blindly following US nuclear policies into whatever a future president might envisage, Australia should carefully consider its non-nuclear defence and challenge all claims, surrogate or otherwise, to nuclear weapons.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea’s ‘Military First’ celebration enhanced by nuclear missile test

N. Korea missile test adds to ‘Military First’ celebration, Jakarta Post.  ERIC TALMADGE, Associated text-relevantPress PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) | Associated Press | Pyongyang, North Korea , August 26 2016 North Korea marked its “Military First” holiday on Thursday with mass dancing, outdoor concerts and boasts of a successful — and potentially game-changing — submarine-launched ballistic missile test it hopes will serve as a warning to Washington and Seoul to stop holding joint military exercises Pyongyang sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

Television news broadcasts and the front pages of morning newspapers Thursday showed images of the launch, conducted in the early hours the day before. The test, which brought immediate condemnation from the United States and North Korea’s neighbors, sent a “Pukguksong” missile soaring from a submerged position off the North’s port city of Sinpo. It flew an estimated 500 kilometers (310 miles) toward the seas around Japan, the longest distance North Korea has yet achieved in a submarine launch.

Kim was shown smiling and hugging officials after watching the test from an observation deck. He was quoted by state media as calling it the “success of all successes.”……..

“This shows that our national defense strength has reached a new level,” said Choe Kum Chol, a 42-year-old factory worker. “We are a nuclear power and everything is ready, so we have nothing to fear.”

The test came as the US and South Korea are conducting their annual, 12-day Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone.

Though North Korea has protested such exercises for decades, prompting regular spikes in tensions on the divided peninsula, it has been particularly alarmed by reports that the maneuvers have recently started to include training for an invasion of the North and precision strikes, or “beheading operations,” against its top leaders.

North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons development programs have brought heavy international sanctions down on its head, but it says they are justified because of the threat posed by the US and South Korea.

“They are not military exercises, but war preparations to invade our country,” said Kim Kyong Ik, a 44-year-old Pyongyang resident. “Our country is getting more prosperous and they don’t like that, so they are stepping up their moves to stifle us.”

He said South Korea should “wake up and kick the Americans out.”………http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/08/26/nkorea-missile-test-adds-to-military-first-celebration.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China really part of te global nuclear marketing conglomerate

global nuclear conglomerate

China plans to make nuclear energy tech a major export, Electric Light and Power 08/25/2016 By Joe McDonald  Associated Press   The Hualong One, developed by two state-owned companies, is one multibillion-dollar facet of the Communist Party’s aspirations to transform China into a creator of profitable technology from mobile phones to genetics.

Still, experts say Beijing underestimates how tough it will be for its novice nuclear exporters to sell abroad. They face political hurdles, safety concerns and uncertain global demand following Japan’s Fukushima disaster.

China’s government-run nuclear industry is based on foreign technology but has spent two decades developing its own with help from Westinghouse Electric Co., France’s Areva and EDF and other partners. A separate export initiative is based on an alliance between Westinghouse and a state-owned reactor developer……..

China’s status as an important market for global suppliers gives Beijing leverage in acquiring technology. Westinghouse, which was acquired by Japan’s Toshiba Corp. in 2006, Areva and France’s EDF have had partnerships with Chinese researchers since the early 1990s.

“I see them as customers, competitors and partners,” said Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse’s senior vice president for new plants and major projects. Other global suppliers include GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, South Korea’s KEPCO, Canada’s Candu Energy Inc. and Russia’s Atomstroyexport.

Westinghouse transferred technology for its latest reactor, the AP1000, to China’s State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. in 2007 as part of a transaction that included the sale of four reactors.

The AP1000 became the basis for future Chinese reactor development and Westinghouse agreed to sell reactors with SNPTC. The Chinese partner, which merged with another state company to form the State Power Investment Corp. last year, also developed its own, bigger version, the CAP1400.

The two companies are in talks with Turkey about selling four reactors based on the AP1000. The AP1000 has been approved by U.S. and British regulators, Benjamin said, while the CAP1400 is just beginning the review process. “We look forward to participating in the China market for many years to come,” he said. Abroad, “there will be markets either SPIC on their own or Westinghouse on our own might not have access to, but together we can gain access.” http://www.elp.com/articles/2016/08/china-plans-to-make-nuclear-energy-tech-a-major-export.html

August 27, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, China, marketing | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear station unnecessary – wind and solar can do the job faster and cheaper

poster renewables not nuclearflag-UKWhy Use Nuclear When We Have Wind and Solar Power? http://trendintech.com/2016/08/26/why-use-nuclear-when-we-have-wind-and-solar-power/  By T.Henry August 26, 2016  The Hinkley Point nuclear project has been a topic of discussion recently with the time getting closer for a decision to be made about the future of the project.  While once upon a time, nuclear power was thought to be the best form of renewable energy, with the recent developments in solar and wind energy, this isn’t the case any longer.  Cheap lithium-air batteries can also be used that are long life and can store five times the energy as the lithium-ion ones that are used today.
One of the main arguments against Hinkley going ahead is not its £18.5 billion price tag, but its constant power generation is no longer what we are looking for.  With the cost of renewables like wind and solar reducing daily and the ability to store extra energy produced, doesn’t it make more sense to invest in these forms instead of nuclear?  If the UK was to accelerate renewables, we could achieve 100 percent renewable power well before 2050 advises Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury.

There are already 1000 cities and 60 giant corporations across the globe that are committed to a 100 percent renewable supply.  Portugal showed how it could be done in May when it ran for four days on an only wind, solar, and hydropower.  Britain also made the headlines that same month as it produced more electricity via solar energy than coal-fired stations.  In Brussels, wind energy alone reached an installed capacity of over 430 gigawatts, which is more than the 382 gigawatts of nuclear.

Senior research fellow at the Energy Institute at University College London, Paul Dorfman, states, “Hinkley will not come online in time to help with the critical UK electricity gap or with our carbon emission commitments.  In fact, due to inevitable delays and cost overruns, Hinkley will block scarce resources going to necessary UK renewables, grid upgrades, and energy efficiency.  Don’t believe the hype: it’s not ‘nuclear and renewables’ – because of the sheer cost of nuclear, it’s ‘nuclear or renewables.’”

Even the people at The Economist have lost faith in Hinkley and headlined a recent article, “Hinkley Pointless”, pointing out that it makes much more sense to use the time and resources set aside for it to improve electricity storage. But, on the other end of the scale, Tom Greatex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association and former MP feels that we need to use all available technologies to meet our energy needs and that includes both renewables and nuclear.  Hinkley Point is projected to supply around 7 percent of the UK’s electricity needs with a look to more than double this by the mid-2020’s.

August 27, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, UK | Leave a comment

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