The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Lightening Scrammed Nuclear Reactor Loss of Cooling; Off For Weeks; On Again, Now OFF; USNRC Inspection

Mining Awareness +

NASA lightening
FEMA Heavy Rain
One month after a thunderstorm led to a scram, the US NRC announced that there had been a loss of cooling the next day (which could have led to a nuclear meltdown, if not corrected quickly enough) and promised investigation: “The plant was operating at full power when a lightning strike caused a momentary surge in the plant’s offsite power supply, triggering an unplanned shutdown. Operators subsequently took appropriate actions to place the plant in a safe shutdown condition. The following day, operational errors led to a one hour loss of shutdown cooling.

The purpose of this special inspection is to better understand the circumstances surrounding the loss of shutdown cooling, determine if operator response was appropriate…“ See statement at bottom of our blog post.

Note that the Three Mile Island Nuclear Disaster was well underway within 2 hours (6 am) of the reactor trip and SCRAM (4 am)…

View original post 1,167 more words


February 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 19 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ It’s official: 2015 was the hottest year on record, beating out 2014 by the widest margin in 136 years of record keeping, US government agencies announced Wednesday. The last globally record cold year was 1911, while 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have occurred since 2001, according to NASA. [Climate Central]

The top 10 hottest years on record. The top 10 hottest years on record. Temperatures are in Fahrenheit.


Climate protection through nuclear power plants? Hardly. • In 2013 nuclear provided 10.6% of global electricity, and just 1.7% of global final energy consumption. Even if generation in nuclear power plants could be increased significantly, nuclear power will remain a marginal energy source. [Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists]


¶ The world is moving more quickly towards renewable energy than people thought even a year ago, and Australia can expect an imminent boom in large-scale solar…

View original post 591 more words

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TEPCO ordered to pay couple who ‘voluntarily’ fled Fukushima after nuclear disaster

feb 19, 2016

KYOTO–The Kyoto District Court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. to pay 30.46 million yen ($267,000) to a couple for mental illnesses the husband suffered following their “voluntary evacuation” from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
The district court’s unprecedented ruling on Feb. 18 said the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant contributed to the insomnia and depression the husband developed after his family fled Fukushima Prefecture in 2011.
Although the plaintiffs did not live in a government-designated evacuation zone around the plant, the court said evacuating voluntarily is “appropriate when the hazard from the accident and conflicting information remained.”
The ruling was the first to award damages to voluntary evacuees, according to a private group of lawyers involved in lawsuits against TEPCO and the central government over the nuclear disaster.
The man, who is in his 40s, his wife and three children were seeking a total of 180 million yen against TEPCO.
According to the ruling, the husband and wife had managed a company that operated restaurants in Fukushima Prefecture. The family fled their home a few days after the nuclear accident started in March 2011 and moved to Kyoto in may that year.
The court acknowledged the man suffered severe mental stress because he had to leave his hometown and quit his position as representative of the company.
TEPCO had paid a total of 2.92 million yen to the family based on the central government’s compensation standards for residents who evacuated on their own.
The utility argued that its payments were appropriate because they were based on guidelines set by a central government panel addressing disputes over compensation for nuclear accidents. The guidelines dictate uniform and fixed payments for residents who left areas outside designated evacuation zones.
However, the district court said these guidelines “simply show a list of damages that can be broken down and the scope of damages.”
The court concluded that compensation amounts should instead reflect the personal circumstances of evacuees in nuclear accident-related cases.
It ordered TEPCO to compensate the couple for the period through August 2012, when radiation levels dropped to a certain level and information on the nuclear accident became more stable and accurate.
Specifically, the court said the husband and wife are entitled to part of the monthly remuneration of 400,000 yen to 760,000 yen they had received each for having to suspend their business following the nuclear accident.
But the court dismissed the damage claims of the couple’s three children, saying their compensation was already covered by TEPCO’s payments.
About 10,000 evacuees are involved in 21 damages suits filed in Fukushima Prefecture, Tokyo, Osaka and elsewhere.
An estimated 18,000 people from Fukushima Prefecture are still living in voluntary evacuation, according to the prefectural government.

Tepco to compensate couple for damages from voluntary Fukushima evacuation
The Kyoto District Court has ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to pay about ¥30 million to a couple for economic and health damage caused by their decision to voluntarily flee the radiation in Fukushima Prefecture after the disaster.
The husband lost his job and developed a mental illness during the ordeal.
This is believed to be the first time a court has found Tokyo Electric Power Co. liable for damages stemming from a voluntary evacuation after the plant’s triple core meltdown, which was triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011.
The ruling is expected to affect similar lawsuits filed by voluntary evacuees across the country.
According to the Fukushima Prefectural Government, as of the end of October, some 18,000 people in 7,000 households who lived outside the designated evacuation zone remain evacuated outside Fukushima.
The sum awarded is also far more than the ¥11 million proposed by a government-established center that mediates out-of-court settlements for nuclear accident compensation cases. The settlement program is called ADR.
The center is for people who are not covered by Tepco’s direct compensation scheme. The ADR program is also aimed at reaching conclusions more quickly than through Tepco. Some 18,000 applications for settlement have been made, out of which 13,000 cases have been resolved. But the amount awarded through ADR tends to be small, experts say.
Hideaki Omori, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the ruling “set an example that there is no need to give up when evacuees do not feel satisfied with the sum” presented by the dispute resolution center.
The couple — who had moved twice before settling down in the city of Kyoto in May 2011 — had sought ¥180 million in damages.
The plaintiffs, who are in their 40s, expressed relief after the ruling.
“We are relieved that we will be financially alright for a while, but we still can’t imagine our future life,” they said in a statement released through their lawyers.
According to the written complaint, the husband became unable to work because he developed pleurisy (a respiratory disease) and depression after the evacuation. Their children also experienced emotional distress from being harshly treated by classmates because they came from Fukushima Prefecture.
The court also showed for the first time that such compensation should be extended for evacuation through the end of August 2012, rejecting claims for damages after that.
The court cited the gradual fall in radiation levels in the city of Koriyama, where the couple originally lived before the disaster, concluding that from September 2012 on, the levels were not serious enough to damage health.
After three reactors experienced meltdowns during the disaster, residents within 20 km of the nuclear plant and some areas beyond were ordered to evacuate. Many others also fled at their own discretion and remain in temporary housing.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Belgian terror suspect had video of high ranking nuclear official

safety-symbol-SmBelgium Finds Video of Nuclear Official at Home of Terrorism Suspect, NYT By MILAN SCHREUER and ALISSA J. RUBINFEB. 18, 2016 PARIS — A suspect linked to the Nov. 13 Paris attackers was found with surveillance footage of a high-ranking Belgian nuclear official, the Belgian authorities acknowledged on Thursday, raising fears that the Islamic State is trying to obtain radioactive material for a terrorist attack.

The existence of the footage, which the police in Belgium seized on Nov. 30, was confirmed by Thierry Werts, a spokesman for Belgium’s federal prosecutor, after being reported in the Belgian daily newspaper La Dernière Heure.

The news set off an immediate uproar among Belgian lawmakers, who charged that they and the country had been misled about the extent of the potential threats to the country’s nuclear facilities, as well as about the ambitions of the terrorist network linked to the Islamic State that used Belgium to plot the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also confirmed on Thursday a report by Reuters that radioactive material had gone missing since November in Iraq, where the Islamic State controls broad areas of territory, adding to fears that the group may be able to acquire material for an attack with newly disconcerting dimensions.

The Belgian news media, citing sources close to the investigation, said that the surveillance footage had been retrieved from the home of Mohamed Bakkali, who was arrested after the attacks and is in detention on charges of terrorist activity and murder.

Belgian officials have asserted privately that Mr. Bakkali may have been involved in planning several attacks, not only those in Paris. There are currently eight people in detention in Belgium and charged with involvement in the November attacks.

The purpose of the footage retrieved by the Belgian police was not clear. But experts and officials speculated that it could have been part of a plot to abduct the nuclear official, who was not identified but had access to secure areas of a nuclear research facility in Mol, and force him to turn over radioactive material, possibly for use in a dirty bomb.

Sébastien Berg, a spokesman for Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control, confirmed that the agency had been informed right away of the existence of the footage and said that employees had been told to increase their vigilance on the work floor. But he acknowledged that no additional guards had been hired or other measures taken to secure the perimeters of Belgium’s nuclear sites.

“We took increased security measures at all four Belgian nuclear sites, based on the general raised security alert in the country and on concrete indications that showed that the terrorists involved in the Paris attacks had the intention to do something involving one of our four nuclear sites,” Mr. Berg said.

Those sites include two power plants and a private company that produces medical isotopes, in addition to the facility in Mol, where scientists conduct research and experiments on radioactive waste to try to find safer ways to store it and reduce damage to the environment, Mr. Berg said.

One experiment being carried out involves the stocking of nuclear waste in bunkers dozens of meters underground, he said, adding that the facility had large stocks of nuclear waste on hand.

Members of Belgium’s Parliament expressed outrage in a regular session Thursday, saying that the interior minister, Jan Jambon, had told them in January that there was no specific threat to nuclear facilities……..

Extremist organizations have long expressed interest in obtaining radioactive material, and there is a market for stolen nuclear waste. News reports in October documented at least four attempts by Russian gangs to sell radioactive material in Moldova, which were thwarted by local officials in concert with the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency identified the material missing in Iraq as iridium-192, a highly radioactive isotope that is sometimes sought for use in dirty bombs.

Mr. Berg said that, if acquired, the material at the site in Mol could also be used to make a dirty bomb, which would spread radioactive material over the whole impact zone…….

February 19, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

Leukaemia risk increased in exposure even to low dose radiation – World Health Organisation

logo WHOEven low doses of radiation increase risk of dying from leukaemia in nuclear workers, says IARC  Lyon, France, 22 June 2015 A study coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization, shows that protracted exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation can cause leukaemia. The study, published today in The Lancet Haematology, shows that the risk of death from leukaemia increases linearly with the radiation dose.

 “To date, this study provides the most precise evaluation of the risk of developing leukaemia linked to the protracted low doses of radiation received by nuclear workers throughout their careers,” says IARC researcher Dr Ausrele Kesminiene, a study co-author. “It shows that the nuclear workers we studied have a small increase in the risk of dying from leukaemia as their exposure to radiation increases.”
 Low-dose exposures are typical of environmental or occupational exposures, such as exposure of nuclear workers at their workplace, but also of medical exposures, such as patients undergoing multiple computed tomography (CT) scans through medical diagnostic procedures. The study Based on the strongest evidence currently available, the International Nuclear Workers Study (INWORKS), a collaboration1 among international partners, evaluated the exposures of more than 300 000 nuclear workers in France, the United Kingdom, and the USA over a period of time between 1943 and 2005. The study assessed the risk of developing certain cancers, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
The results 
The study results highlight strong evidence for a positive association between exposure to ionizing radiation and risk of death from leukaemia and show that the risk of leukaemia increases linearly with radiation dose. 

Continue reading

February 19, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Paris terrorist attackers had planned to target Belgian nuclear reactors

cyber-attackJihadists who carried out Paris terror attacks had planned to target Belgian nuclear plants, investigators reveal, Daily Mail, 19 Feb 16 

  • Paris terrorist ‘spied on’ Belgian nuclear official using a video camera
  • Target was a director of Belgium’s nuclear research and development
  • It is believed the group were planing attacks on Belgian nuclear plants
  • The attacks in Paris on November 13 left 130 dead and 352 injured
  • For the latest on the Paris attackers visit


The Paris terrorist attackers had also planned attacks on Belgian nuclear plants, local media reports.

Belgian investigators have found hours of video footage of a senior Belgian nuclear official filmed at the person’s home in the Flanders region.

It is believed that the group that carried out the horrific Paris attacks on November 13 last year, killing 130 and injuring 352, had spied on the person as part of research for an attack.

The ten-hour long video footage obtained by Belgian officials showed the front door of the home of a director of Belgium’s nuclear research and development programme.

The footage was discovered ‘as part of seizures made following the Paris attacks,’ the prosecutor added, refusing to divulge the individual’s identity ‘for obvious security reasons’. ………

February 19, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety | Leave a comment

St Louis underground fire moves closer to radioactive trash dump


The fire reportedly has been smoldering beneath a nearby landfill since at least 2010. The Washington Post reports that residents are afraid of what may happen if the fire — which is by some accounts as little as 1,500 feet away –reaches the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., a Superfund site filled with decades-old waste from the federal government’s nuclear weapons program. Angry locals also think the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which manages the site, hasn’t done enough to stop the fire.

In December, the EPA announced that it would install a physical barrier in an effort to isolate the nuclear waste. The agency also said that it would put cooling loops and other engineering controls to prevent environmental impacts if the “subsurface smoldering event,” as it’s called, were to reach the waste. An EPA administrator told the Post that the barrier would take a year to build.

But residents aren’t comforted by that timetable, and think the government, despite years of warning, has done too little to stave off a possible environmental disaster. A 2014 St. Louis County Emergency Operations Plan, obtained by a local TV station, reveals that local officials feared a “catastrophic event” with “a potential for radioactive fallout to be released in the smoke plume and spread throughout the region.”……

About 8.700 tons of nuclear waste, mixed with 39,000 tons of contaminated soil was moved to the Superfund site from another dump between July and October 1973, according to a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report. It was covered by a three-foot-deep layer of uncontaminated soil.

EPA may be running out of time to fix the problem. In early February, the U.S. Senate passed a bill introduced by Sens. Claire McCaskill, (D-Mo.), and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), that would take control over the building remediation measures away from EPA and give it to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The House hasn’t yet taken action on the legislation.

But Congress may bear some responsibility for the agency’s slowness. According to a 2015 Government Accountability Office report , legislators cut EPA’s funding for cleanup of Superfund sites by nearly half since the late 1990s.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Moapa Band of Paiute Indians fear a nuclear waste dump being imposed at Yucca Mountain

The Battle Continues To Stop Yucca Mountain From Becoming A Nuclear Waste Dump Not far from the site of 40 years of nuclear weapons testing, a proposed long-term nuclear waste dump draws opposition from the Shoshone and Paiute Nations, environmental activists and even Nevada state officials. MintPress News, By Derrick Broze February 18, 2016 The Moapa River Reservation is downwind of the Nevada Test Site, and locals have long maintained that radiation has harmed the health of the local population.

“We hope that that stuff [radiation] went up in the air and blew over us,” Vernon Lee, a Southern Paiute with theYucca-Mt, who has lived on the Moapa River Reservation since 1973, told MintPress News. “We know that we got some because we are just east of the testing, but we hope we got less.”

Areas around the test site, particularly those located “downwind,” saw increases in cancers, including leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid cancer and brain tumors, throughout the entire span of the nuclear weapons testing. A 1984 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found increased rates of canceramong Mormon families as far away as southwestern Utah, for example.

For Lee, the decades of environmental degradation and risks to human health reflect a much larger issue. The problem, he believes, is that the U.S. government does not recognize the tribal nations as equals. Officially, the U.S. Department of Interior states that the U.S. government operates under a “federal Indian trust responsibility,”  a legal obligation that includes “moral obligations of the highest responsibility and trust” toward Native American tribes.

“To me, that doesn’t exist. It’s a word on paper, but I don’t think I have ever seen it put into practice,” Lee said.

“Trust responsibility, to me, is that government-to-government relationship that they are supposed to have with the tribes. It’s ridiculous the way the U.S. government treats the sovereign tribes. It’s very unfair.”

Native communities have a long history of resources discovered beneath the reservations being exploited by the U.S. government and supported industries. These communities have suffered exposure to dangerous substances through uranium mining and milling. In Nevada, the lives of generations of Western Shoshone and Moapa Paiute have become intertwined with the history of nuclear weapons testing and, more recently, the disposal of nuclear waste from faraway power plants.

“There are multiple problems. Moving the waste is a problem. High risk, unnecessary risk. If the company is ever going to benefit from nuclear power they should process it and store it themselves. Stop shipping it across the country and exposing the population to a potential disaster,” Lee said, alluding to the controversial long-term nuclear waste repository planned for Yucca Mountain, about a three hours’ drive from the reservation………..

February 19, 2016 Posted by | environment, indigenous issues, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Call on the British govt to hold a public enquiry on the murder of Hilda Murrell

The British Government: To open a public enquiry on the murder of Hilda Murrell Why this is important

An elderly and intelligent woman who did her duty for Britain during WW2 was brutally murdered after the Falklands War. Many people believe that the person found guilty some 21yrs after the event is wrongly imprisoned for a crime that many, including British M.P’s and leading UK barristers not to mention much of the press believe was a cover-up by The U.K.Establishment at the time of The Falklands. Hilda Murrell was a peace campaigner and active opponent of nuclear energy and was due to be a witness at an independent tribunal set up to review Britain’s nuclear energy industry. She was murdered just before she was due to give evidence. Both incompetence at the time by the police services plus reports of MI5 interference have made many now doubt the verdict.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

The unsolved murder of Hilda Murrell, Anti-Nuclear Activist

murder-1flag-UKHilda Murrell, Anti-Nuclear Activist, Abducted & Murdered 31 years ago, Mining Awareness Plus, Hilda Murrell (3 February 1906 – 23? March 1984) was a British rose grower, naturalist, diarist and campaigner against nuclear power and nuclear weapons. She was abducted and found murdered five miles from her home in Shropshire,…”

In the UK House of Commons, 1984:
There is also the evidence of my friend, Mr. Gerard Morgan Grenville, whom I have known for nearly 40 years. Mrs. Morgan Grenville tells me how Hilda Murrell rang them up in a great state at the end of February, and how she fetched her husband. Mr. Morgan Grenville, with whom I have had a good deal to do and who is a deeply serious man, says that her parting words on the telephone were: “If they don’t get me first, I want the world to know that one old woman has seen through their lies“. One is reminded of Scudder, the diarist in John Buchan’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps”. Mr. Morgan Grenville had never heard Miss Murrell speak in that way before. Why should an old lady be prompted to say that? 

There has been speculation that her death was connected with a paper that she had written on the problems of nuclear waste and reactor choice, which she hoped would be read at the Sizewell B inquiry. Arthur Osman, writing in The Observer on 2 December, began his article: Silkwood parallels in English woman’s death … Was anti-nuclear power campaigner Hilda Murrell murdered because she was becoming too much of a nuisance to the industry?” “House of Commons Sitting, Miss Hilda Murrell (Murder) HC Deb 19 December 1984 vol 70 cc458-72 458 3.51 am, Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)” © Parliamentary Copyright, OPL: [1]

Book Review of:
A Thorn in Their Side – The Hilda Murrell Murder
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 01/27/2012 – 10:49 Reviewed by Nigel Chamberlain, January 2012………
anybody who was involved in anti-nuclear activities during the 1980s was placed under Police Special Branch surveillance in their own localities. Those asking the more penetrating questions and those encouraging others to join them in actively opposing the nuclear state were subject to more intensive forms of intimidation – and worse – at the hands of MI5 and their sub-contractors. The ‘civil’ nuclear power industry also had a surveillance arm.

Hilda Murrell was one of those anti-nuclear activists whose research and writing was deemed dangerous enough by the security state to warrant their full attention and to prevent her ideas from spreading and challenging those who held power. Although it is hard to comprehend in our post-Cold War environment and less ideological times, those who held power decided that those who fundamentally challenged it, could legitimately be harassed, have their human rights suspended and be marginalised – all in the name of defending freedom and democracy.

The irony is that those who were campaigning for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the prevention of the expansion of the nuclear power industry were trying to achieve it by almost entirely democratic means. …………..

Read the book, visit the Hilda Murrell website, then make your own judgement.
Author: Rob Green, Publisher: Rata Books
Year published: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-473-19685-1 [The book is available at Amazon, Ibooks, etc. Additional info is found at the Hilda Murrell web site.]……………

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

TEPCO Turning Off Radiation Monitors While Testing Contaminated Waste Incinerators

Fukushima News 2/14/16: Turning Off Radiation Monitors While Testing Contaminated Waste Incinerators

TEPCO begins testing waste incinerator
Nuclear & Energy Feb. 9, 2016 
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is beginning tests of an incinerator that will burn contaminated waste produced in work to decommission the crippled reactors.
About 7,000 workers are engaged in the decommissioning effort each day.
As of the end of 2015, about 66,000 cubic meters of waste had accumulated at the plant. That’s enough to fill more than 100 25-meter swimming pools. The waste includes protective suits, metal sheets, and lumber.
Tokyo Electric Power Company has built an incinerator to burn the waste, and will begin testing it on Thursday or later.
The incinerator is designed to reduce the volume of waste by about 90 percent.
TEPCO officials say it can operate around the clock and dispose about 14 tons of waste per day.
Experts say the ash that results will have a higher concentration of radioactive materials than the original waste.
TEPCO says it will store the ash in drums inside a radiation-proof building. The utility also says it will install filters on the incinerator’s exhaust ducts to prevent the release of radioactive substances.
The test run will continue until February 18th. TEPCO says it will then check radioactivity levels in the exhaust fumes and hopes to launch full-scale operations by the end of March.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | 1 Comment

16 new child thyroid cancers confirmed in Fukushima’s children

thyroid-cancer-papillaryFukushima medical survey confirms 16 new child thyroid cancer cases 17 Feb, 2016 At least 16 cases of thyroid cancer in children have been confirmed in a follow-up medical survey of those exposed to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. According to the prefectural government panel, at least 35 more minors thought to have the disease.

The prefectural government is giving medical checkups to all 380,000 children aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011. Since the latest checkup began in April 2014, 16 children have been confirmed to have the potentially deadly condition that stems from radiation exposure, according to Japan Today.

In addition, the combination of two surveys showed that now at least 116 children are suffering from thyroid cancer with at least 50 other minors suspected of having the disease. Medical testing facilities involved in the study said that 51 children in the second round of the survey had tumors ranging from 5.3 millimeters to 30.1 mm in size.

The medics also estimated that the external exposure of 29 children in the four months following the catastrophe had gone up to 2.1 millisieverts. Ten minors had been exposed to less than 1 millisievert…….

2.66 GB (17%) of 15 GB used
Last account activity: 2 hours ago


February 19, 2016 Posted by | children, Japan | Leave a comment

UK public conned by vested interests, into funding Trident nuclear weapons system

The whole nuclear weapons industry, the flaccid phallic posturing, the stern, brow-furrowing arguments for maintaining it – all are a con of epic proportions. We, the public, are being deceived left, right and centre into allowing fraudulent governments to squander our money on something which merely serves to inflate the wealth of those involved.

weapons1flag-UKTrident: How the banks have their fingers on the button CommonSpace columnist Steve Topple investigates the finance behind nuclear weapons

THE debate surrounding the renewal of the Trident nuclear ‘deterrent’ is a perpetual one that never appears to be out of the news in some way. Take last week. On Monday, Labour went into (another) nuclear-grade meltdown over the ‘thorny’ issue (pun intended) of the party’s stance on the matter, with the GMB Union wading into the debate on Tuesday.

Thursday saw Whitehall sources suggest David Cameron will be delaying the vote on its renewal until after the EU referendum, and on Saturday the US defence secretary blundered in, urging the UK to renew the programme to keep its “outsized” role in the world, like our country was some sort of fast-food meal deal you only get in America.

How much do we really know about the detail of the finance behind Trident and the networks of power?

The UK’s Trident system consists of four submarines, each capable of carrying 16 missiles (but in line with government policy only ever carry eight). These in turn carry up to 12 warheads each (although again, policy deems a maximum of 40). One is on constant patrol, while another is under maintenance and two are either in training or in port.

The cost of the Trident renewal programme is, as is always the case, subjective. The government claims it will be £31bn (up from £25bn last year); activists claim the figure will be a lot higher, and the top-end amount quoted was by Reuters, estimating that over its lifetime the system will cost £167bn.

But how much do we really know about the detail of the finance behind Trident and the networks of power? I delved deeper into the murky waters of vested and financial interests that surround the world’s nuclear weapons – and the results were telling.

To understand why the current UK Government and its predecessors are just so keen on keeping our ‘deterrent’ – ignoring the advice of so many independent bodies – as always the first place to begin is the House of Lords.

Lord Hollick, who was a member of the select committee on economic affairs which gave evidence against Scottish independence, is also a director of a company called Honeywell, which has a contract with the government to develop systems to extend the life cycle of Trident.

I delved deeper into the murky waters of vested and financial interests that surround the world’s nuclear weapons – and the results were telling.

Lord Hague, director of Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (a company which deals in the trading of stocks and shares, including defence) is also chair of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which advises government on defence policy.

Meanwhile, Lord Hutton, adviser to nuclear weapons site security firm Bechtel Corporation, consultant for big-name weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin and chair of the Nuclear Industries Association, was until last year chair of RUSI.

By my calculations (checking every member’s interests against those companies involved with the Trident), over 15 per cent have what can be deemed as ‘vested interests’ in either the corporations involved in the programme or the institutions that finance them, and this is just for our nuclear capability – one suspects the percentage for defence in general would be higher.

While we’re on the subject of RUSI, on 4 February this year Malcolm Chalmers, director of research there, participated in a debate on Newsnight where he asserted it was “most unlikely that [Trident] will be phased out … I see no evidence for that”, while promoting the myth that the main argument against nuclear weapons was a “moral” one – because we couldn’t spend £167bn in a better way, obviously…

This stance from Chalmers on Trident (and RUSI’s previous proposals of merely scaling back the programme) is unsurprising when you consider the links to the House of Lords I mention above – even less so when you take into account that RUSI is sponsored byfour companies directly involved in Trident – Babcock, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Rolls Royce.

The rot surrounding the rabid disease of cronyistic, chumocratical influence in Westminster putridly festers in the banks.

But there’s more. The rot surrounding the rabid disease of cronyistic, chumocratical influence in Westminster also putridly festers in the banks. A report by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (iCan) cited 41 UK-based financial institutions that invested directly in the nuclear weapons industry (including Labour Party bankrollers the Cooperative); institutions which can be found splattered across the House of Lords register, riddling the government external appointments list (note HSBC’s former directors Lord Green, Rona Fairhead of the BBC Trust and Ruth Kelly of the FCA); and on the headers of numerous political party consultations.

But, here’s the real crux of the matter regarding financial institutions and the system as a whole’s involvement in the nuclear weapons industry – they don’t just bat for ‘our team’.

Almaz-Antey is a state-owned Russian defence industry manufacturer, responsible for at least 26 sub-operators, which predominantly develops anti-aircraft defence systems. It gained notoriety after it was suggested that it was one of its BUK surface-to-air missiles that shot down flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014.

Funding for Almaz-Antey generally comes from either the Russian Government directly, or via the state-owned Vnesheconombank (VEB) development bank – for example, in 2012 Almaz received RUB 35bn from the Defence Ministry and 25bn from VEB to develop the S-500 Prometey air and missile defence system – touted to be the most advanced on the planet.

Being ‘state-owned’, however, doesn’t always mean state-funded, as an archived press release from 2011 shows. In April of that year VEB signed an agreement for a syndicated loan worth $2.4bn, from 19 banks – and they were all outside of Russia.

UK institutions included Barclays and HSBC, and other prominent contributors were JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse – five of the very same banks that were also listed on iCan’s report as funding/investing in Western nuclear programmes.

This example is not, however, some fluke. Uralvagonzavod, which develops Russia’s anti-aircraft tanks, deals with the country’s Sberbank. It, in turn, is 43 per cent retained by ‘international legal investors’ (the detail of which I cannot find), and owns £87bn of assets across the OECD countries. Furthermore, Barclays is also involved, having bid forthe contract to supply the bank with an RUB 3.5bn credit line.

Rostec State Corporation (an umbrella company for 663 other organisations, mostly relating to the military) owns and is part-financed by Novikombank – which in turn is financed by Deutsch Bank, Credit Suisse and – yes, you guessed it – Barclays.

Note also that the latter runs investment operations in the country, and has been assisting the Russian Government with the privatisation of state assets. But perhaps the most disturbing part of this is who finances Russia’s Trident equivalent – the Dolgorukiy class submarine programme.

Manufactured by a company called Sevmash, it receives its financing from the state-owned VEB bank. So yes, correct – Barclays and HSBC, both UK banks, are both directly funding Trident via investment and financing arrangements with Rolls Royce, BAE Systems and Babcock in the UK, while also indirectly funding the equivalent nuclear deterrent of UK ‘enemy’ Russia.

Get it yet?

Multinational corporate banks are playing one big chess game – except it’s all make-believe and there will never be a checkmate, because that would be unprofitable. Governments willingly participate – those in charge are invariably shareholders in weapons manufacturing companies or their financiers.

We are not living in some Sean Connery-era James Bond film. The world is intrinsically too financially entwined for either the East or West to ever press ‘the button’ – and to believe they would is, in my opinion, deluded.

You want a comparison of the current state of the planet and a Bond film? Try Spectre. A group of unelected corporate terrorists pulling the strings of government – or the‘military industrial complex’ if you prefer (although Eisenhower’s theory now pales in comparison with the reality).

Perhaps what sticks in the throat the most, however, is one bank I haven’t mentioned: the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The bank that we, the public, hold an 84 per cent stake in after the 2008 financial crash. A bank that invests not only in 10 companies that are involved in Trident, but is also a financier of Russia’s VEB bank. So therefore a bank which invests in Russia’s nuclear deterrent, as well as ours.

We are fundamentally providing the money to pay for both the East and the West’s nuclear weapons – and then to add insult to injury we pay for our own, again, via taxation.

The whole nuclear weapons industry, the flaccid phallic posturing, the stern, brow-furrowing arguments for maintaining it – all are a con of epic proportions. We, the public, are being deceived left, right and centre into allowing fraudulent governments to squander our money on something which merely serves to inflate the wealth of those involved.

There is no threat – except from our own foolhardiness for sleep-walking for decades and allowing this to continue happening.

The sooner we wake up, the better.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The case grows, for stopping Britain’s Hinkley Point nuclear project

text Hinkley cancelledBritain’s nuclear strategy exposed at Hinkley Point EDF’s travails only add to the uncertainty over UK energy policy February 18, 2016

Ten years ago, when the British government first considered launching a new nuclear programme, Areva, the French nuclear technology company, said it could build reactors that would produce electricity profitably at £24 per megawatt-hour.

It seemed an attractive proposition. Not only was this less than previous reactors, it was competitive with other power sources. New technology seemed to have opened the door to affordable carbonless electricity; Britain could meet its ever-tougher climate goals without shaking the public down.

A decade on and a major nuclear accident later, the world knows better. Nuclear projects elsewhere have been scrapped and existing stations shuttered or scheduled for early closure. Meanwhile stringent regulations have exposed Areva’s promise as a chimera. It turns out that the price of new nuclear for Britain is not £24 per MWh but nearly four times as much.

Even at these elevated prices, Britain’s first proposed new station, at Hinkley Point, is in difficulty. Despite agreeing a deal in 2013, EDF, the developer, has yet to commit to the £18bn project. There are concerns about technology and the French group’s financial capacity. Hinkley Point C — if it opens — may be materially delayed.

The government has done its best to make things easy. It eschewed a competitive bidding process and guaranteed to buy electricity from Hinkley Point at a £92.50 per MWh index-linked for 35 years after the station has been commissioned.

That is no small commitment. Few would bet on wholesale energy prices holding steady at more than double their present level for the next three and a half decades. Indeed some expect them to fall. The idea, though, was to get the station built fast, kick-start other nuclear projects and, critically, underpin the government’s self-imposed intention to cut carbon emissions by an EU-beating 60 per cent by 2030.

The French face several obstacles. First, there is the question of EDF’s balance sheet, groaning under a €37bn debt pile. The company’s share price has more than halved in the past year and its market capitalisation is now about €21bn. That is not much more than the company’s 67 per cent share of the cost of Hinkley C.

Linked to this are worries about the reactor technology it is employing. The two projects under construction, including EDF’s at Flamanville in France, are delayed and over budget. It might be difficult to entice lenders while it is possible that problems with Flamanville might cause construction to be halted or scrapped.

Politicians have come this far down the road with Hinkley Point because of the constraints they are under. Despite life-extensions, the UK’s existing nuclear stations are near to closing and its dirtiest coal plants are being shut to comply with EU rules. New capacity is needed. Replacing coal with gas would reduce carbon emissions but not enough to meet the targets the government has set itself.

New nuclear might not be needed were the UK to rethink its costly promises and reduce its carbon targets to match those of other EU states. If new reactors are to be considered, however, they must be subjected to the rigours of competition. That is the only way to get the right technology at acceptable cost.

Britain is saddled with the worst of all worlds. The government has effectively written the French a long-dated option to sell it unproven technology at an extremely generous price. Politically painful it may be, but the case for halting Hinkley Point C is becoming hard to refute.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power protects the climate? Quite the opposite

globalnukeNOClimate protection through nuclear power plants? Hardly. 18 FEBRUARY 2016 Lutz Mez Berlin Centre for Caspian Region Studies Freie Universität Berlin

The electrical power production sector accounts for about 28 percent of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and constitutes by far the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. That is why supposedly carbon dioxide-free nuclear power plants have frequently been praised as a panacea for addressing climate change. However, in 2013 nuclear electricity contributed just 10.6 percent of global electricity generation, and because electricity represents only 18 percent of total global final energy consumption, the nuclear share is just 1.7 percent of global final energy consumption. Even if generation in nuclear power plants could be increased significantly, nuclear power will remain a marginal energy source. Therefore, the turnaround in energy systems has to prioritize energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy technologies and cogeneration plants, which do not cause any more carbon dioxide emissions than nuclear power plants.

From a systemic perspective, nuclear power plants are by no means free of carbon dioxide emissions. Today, they produce up to one third of the greenhouse gases that large modern gas power plants produce. Carbon dioxide emissions connected to production of nuclear energy amounts to (depending on where the uranium used in a reactor is mined and enriched) between 7 and 126 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour, according to an analysis by International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy co-founder Uwe Fritsche. For a typical nuclear power plant in Germany, the specific emission estimate of 28 grams has been calculated. An initial estimate of global carbon dioxide emissions through the generation of nuclear electricity in 2014 registered at about 110,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent—or roughly as much as the carbon dioxide emissions of a country like the Czech Republic. And this data does not even include the emissions caused by storage of nuclear waste.

In the coming decades, indirect carbon dioxide emissions from nuclear power plants will increase considerably, because high-grade resources of uranium are exhausted and much more fossil energy will have to be used to mine uranium. In view of this trend, nuclear power plants will no longer have an emissions advantage over modern gas-fired power plants, let alone in comparison to the advantages offered by increased energy efficiency or greater use of renewable energies.

Nuclear power plants may also contribute to climate change by emitting radioactive isotopes such as tritium or carbon 14 and the radioactive noble gas krypton 85. Krypton 85 is produced in nuclear power plants and released on a massive scale in the reprocessing of spent fuel. The concentration of krypton 85 in Earth’s atmosphere has soared over the last few years as a result of nuclear fission, reaching a new record. Krypton 85 increases the natural, radiation-induced ionization of the air. Thus the electrical balance of the Earth’s atmosphere changes, which poses a significant threat to weather patterns and climate. Even though krypton 85 is “one of the most toxic agents for climate,” according to German physicist and political figure Klaus Buchner, these emissions have not received any attention in international climate-protection negotiations down to the present.

As for the assertion that nuclear power is needed to promote climate protection, exactly the opposite would appear to be the case: Nuclear power plants must be closed down quickly to exert pressure on operators and the power plant industry to redouble efforts at innovation in the development of sustainable and socially compatible energy technologies and especially the use of smart energy services.

February 19, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | 1 Comment