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Nuclear political battles ahead for Japan’s PM Abe in 2017

text politicsflag-japanAbe’s Nuclear Japan Goals Face More Ballot-Box Battles in 2017, Bloomberg  SStapczynski October 19, 2016

  • Anti-nuclear candidates win in Niigata, Kagoshima prefectures
  • Three gubernatorial races next year in regions facing restarts

    “Even as the Abe administration remains committed to including nuclear power as part of Japan’s energy mix, implementing this vision will require overcoming ever-more-dogged resistance from local communities and their representatives,” Tobias Harris, a vice president with Teneo Intelligence in Washington D.C., said in a note Monday. “The restart process will continue to proceed unevenly at best.”

     Almost all the country’s reactors remain shut because of new safety regulations and public opposition following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Only 2 of Japan’s 42 operable reactors are producing power commercially as of Oct. 6, when Kyushu Electric Power Co. shut its Sendai No. 1 unit for maintenance.

    Local Approval

    Sendai’s return to service may be delayed due to the recently elected Kagoshima governor’s strong opposition to its operation. Local government approval — including endorsement from the governor — is traditionally sought by Japanese utilities before returning plants to service.

    Elections will be watched closely as support from local governments are crucial to get more nuclear reactors back online, according to Syusaku Nishikawa, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Co. About 57 percent of the Japanese public oppose restarts, according to an Asahi newspaper poll earlier this month. Lawsuits have also threatened reactor operations.

     Public opposition and the slow pace of returning reactors will be a challenge to Abe’s goal of having nuclear power provide at least 20 percent of Japan’s electricity by 2030, Harris said.

    Gubernatorial races are held within about 30 days of when the current term ends, which will happen in 2017 in the following prefectures, according to the local-government websites and data compiled by Bloomberg:

  • Shizuoka…….

  • Miyagi……

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October 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Britain’s old dead nuclear submarines – no way to dispose of them for decades

HMS Astute, first of the class of nuclear hunter killer submarine built at Barrow in FurnessNavy’s old nuclear submarines ‘will not be finally disposed of until after 2040’, Telegraph,    defence correspondent 18 OCTOBER 2016
A lack of money, expertise and disposal sites mean derelict British nuclear submarines containing radioactive material will not be fully dismantled and disposed of for 25 years, officials have admitted.

The Royal Navy has 19 old nuclear-powered submarines stored in ports waiting to be dismantled, with another eight due to retire and join them in the coming years.

HMS Dreadnought, the Navy’s first nuclear-powered submarine, has been waiting to be dismantled since it retired 36 years ago. Ministry of Defence officials told MPs that radioactive parts on board could not be finally disposed of until an underground dump for all of the UK’s nuclear waste has been chosen and built. That site is not due to be ready until 2040.

The submarines are currently stored at Devonport, near Plymouth, and at Rosyth, on the Firth of Forth.

Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary at the MoD, told the Commons defence committee that a lack of money and skills meant it was impossible to speed up the process……..Ministry of Defence officials told MPs that radioactive parts on board could not be finally disposed of until an underground dump for all of the UK’s nuclear waste has been chosen and built. That site is not due to be ready until 2040.

The submarines are currently stored at Devonport, near Plymouth, and at Rosyth, on the Firth of Forth.

Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary at the MoD, told the Commons defence committee that a lack of money and skills meant it was impossible to speed up the process…..http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/10/18/navys-old-nuclear-submarines-will-not-be-finally-disposed-of-unt/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Public distrust inside and outside Belarus about troubled nuclear power project

safety-symbol1Controversial new nuclear plant ignites Belarus Thirty years after Chernobyl catastrophe, construction of new nuclear station on border with Lithuania stirs debate. Aljazeera by  Minsk, Belarus , 19 Oct 16, – Thirty years after an explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power station devastated the countryside on the southern border of Belarus, leaving behind lasting consequences for millions of people, the construction of a new nuclear station is stirring discord between government officials, opposition politicians, the local populace and foreign diplomats.

The death of a 43-year-old Russian contractor last month, after an explosion at the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP) construction site near Astravets in northern Belarus on its border with Lithuania, is only the latest in a string of little-publicised incidents that has raised concerns at home and abroad about the how the station is being constructed.

On July 10 of this year, the 330-tonne reactor casing dropped from a height of between two and four metres in an incident that only came to the public’s attention two weeks later when a member of the Belarus United Civil Party, Mikalai Ulasevich, leaked the news to the local press.

The Ministry of Energy eventually released a statement acknowledging the incident, and Rosatom – the Russian state nuclear corporation and the primary contractor for the project, said that tests had revealed the dropped casing to be safe.

Concerns and opposition

However, with the memory of Chernobyl looming large, both the energy ministry and Rosatom, which agreed to replace the casing to “mitigate rumours and panic among the population” have so far failed to reassure all Belarusians of the station’s safety.

“They are building a crematorium,” Ulasevich says, driving through the rural village of Varniany where BelNPP’s stacks loom over the horizon.

“The only way to guarantee the safety of the plant is to cease its construction.”

Anti-BelNPP activists, including Ulasevich, are concerned by the government’s decision to build the plant in an ecologically pristine region of the country’s north, surrounded by agricultural land and lakes not affected by Chernobyl.

They have also accused the Belarusian government of violating both the Aarhus andEspoo environmental protection conventions in the planning and the construction of the station in Astravets……..

Threatened neighbour

News of the spate of accidents has been met with concern in neighbouring Lithuania. The country’s interior ministry recently indicated that plans were being drafted, in the event of an accident at Astravets, for the evacuation of the capital, Vilnius, which is only 50km from the BelNPP construction site.

Meanwhile, Lithuania has called for Belarus to carry out IAEA stress tests at the site, during which experts both from the EU and Lithuania may be present.

A Lithuanian delegation for the plant said that until the tests are carried out, Belarus should halt the construction work. In August, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite described the project as an “existential” threat to European security……..

Public mistrust

By June of this year, the Belarussian public was largely split on BelNPP. A poll conducted by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies suggested that a slight majority – 35 percent or respondents – disapproved of the project.

Tatyana Korotkevich, who was an independent candidate in the country’s parliamentary elections in September, told Al Jazeera in her offices in central Minsk that Belarusians in her electorate feel their questions about the plant have not been sufficiently addressed by the government………

Who will profit?

Energy analysts and activists alike say that the government’s economic arguments for the station are outdated since the Belarusian economy entered into a decline that the World Bank forecasts will continue into 2017 [PDF].

They say there is little evidence to suggest that the country’s economy would benefit from or even require the energy surplus the $11bn BelNPP will produce.

Minsk, which in July owed Moscow almost $300m in energy debts, hopes its nuclear project will help to levy energy independence. But anti-nuclear activists and independent analysts note that Russia, the primary contractor, will be the sole supplier of fuel for the project once completed…..

Like thousands of Belarusians following Chernobyl, anti-nuclear activist Tanya Novikova was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She, like other anti-nuclear activists in Belarus, including Ulasevich, report having been detained and harassed in their opposition to the plant. But Novikova won’t be deterred, she told Al Jazeera.

“I personally know that the consequences of Chernobyl may be more scary, more dramatic than being arrested,” she said. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/09/controversial-nuclear-plant-ignites-belarus-160926094703537.html

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Belarus, safety | Leave a comment

South Australian government pushes the global nuclear lobby’s agenda

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.

australia-nuclear-toilet

South Australia to become global nuclear waste capital https://redflag.org.au/node/5521 Sixty years ago, Maralinga went up in a mushroom cloud. The British government had been given permission to test atomic weaponry in South Australia.

That is to say, they had been given permission by the right wing Menzies government. The local Maralinga Tjarutja people had no say in it at all. Many of them were not even forewarned of the first blast. Thunderous black clouds condemned them to radiation exposure, illness and death, the survivors being driven from their homeland during the long years of British testing and fallout.

South Australia has a dark history with the nuclear industry. Maralinga remains contaminated, despite cheap clean-up efforts. Uranium tailings have leaked from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs. Fukushima’s reactors held South Australian uranium when catastrophe struck in 2011.

Today, Jay Weatherill’s state Labor government is trying to open a new radioactive chapter. He wants South Australia to construct the world’s first international high-level nuclear waste dump. This would mean no fewer than 138,000 tonnes of waste (one-third of the world’s total) being shipped from the world’s reactors into South Australian ports, to be permanently buried in Aboriginal land.

This would be history’s largest nuclear dumping operation, and make South Australia the hazardous waste capital of the world.

Weatherill, aware of most people’s instinctive and rightful mistrust of anything nuclear, has launched a meticulous, expensive PR campaign. He is trying to fit a Hello Kitty mask onto Mr Burns.

The propaganda machine was put into motion by the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, at a cost of $7.2 million. Headed by Kevin Scarce, a former naval officer and South Australian governor, the commission imagines a lip-licking profit to be made by importing and burying the waste. It also recommends expanding uranium mining and laying the groundwork for nuclear power generation.

To soothe concerns, the government is periodically erecting “Know Nuclear” stalls across the state. These stalls spread misinformation. For instance, the government pamphlet “What is Radiation?” boasts that bananas contain potassium-40, a low-level radionuclide found in nature. But they make no comparison to human-made fission products such as strontium-90, which releases almost 20 million times more radiation than your friendly fruity isotope.

In August, more than 150 high school students were whisked to a secretly organised forum about the future of nuclear industry in the state. Secrecy was justified by the suggestion that violent anti-nuclear protesters might endanger the pupils.

Why does the state need to pour such big bucks into this festival of confusing roadshows, misleading science, TV ads and youth re-education sessions? Because most people who know anything about nuclear waste will recognise the danger posed by the proposed dump.

We live in a country in which black lung disease has re-emerged. Mining companies, in a world of competition, refuse to pay for basic safety measures to prevent excessive coal dust inhalation. This logic of cutting costs infuses all business under capitalism; nuclear waste dumps are no exception. As the MUA correctly stated: “Maritime workers – seafarers and wharfies – will be the first exposed to this toxic waste … Nowhere on this planet has a country designed a safe repository for nuclear waste”.

Indeed, the most technologically advanced repositories in the world, no matter how deep underground, have failed. Over many years, German radioactive waste had been disposed of in a deep facility in Lower Saxony. In 2008, it was discovered that some of the 126,000 barrels of waste had been leaking into ground water for decades. In 2014, New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant suffered a burst drum, contaminating the whole facility, including ventilation and surrounding air. Soon after, workers at the plant tested positive for radiation exposure.

This is the most hazardous waste ever produced by industry or the military. The royal commission explains that this stuff “requires isolation from the environment for many hundreds of thousands of years”. That makes the Roman Empire seem like yesterday; it is longer than the human race has existed.

Moreover, previous projects have involved only national waste storage; to transport waste by sea to an international dump has never been attempted and involves multiple dangers of accidental spillage.

Ultimately, this dump is about helping the global nuclear industry. The current build-up of site-by-site waste acts as a brake on investment. They want somewhere to dump it forever so they can go on producing more of it.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Call to halt Pipeline Construction and Operation Next to Indian Point Nuclear Plant

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAMedical and Disaster Experts Investigate Pipeline Construction Next to Indianreactor-Indian-Point Point Nuclear Plant: Prompts Strong Call to Immediately Halt Pipeline Construction and Operation, Physicians For Social responsibility  October 18, 2016 Buchanan, NY – With a sense of utmost urgency, health care professionals, nuclear and disaster experts, public officials and members of the public had a first hand look this morning at the dangerous siting of the 42 inch diameter, high pressure Spectra AIM gas pipeline only 105 feet from vital structures at the aging Indian Point nuclear power plant located near two major earthquake fault lines in the most densely populated region in the nation. The pipeline construction which is nearing completion is targeted for operation on November 1st further heightening experts’ warnings and deep concerns regarding the unacceptable risk the pipeline poses to more than 20 million people in the region and the imperative to immediately halt construction and operation of the pipeline project to avert a potential nuclear disaster. The tour and press conference, hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a national organization comprised of medical professionals, that has been advocating for public health and safety for over 50 years, featured Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Earth Institute at Columbia University and Paul Blanch, a nuclear power expert.

Leading nuclear and pipeline safety experts have repeatedly warned that a pipeline rupture at Indian Point could result in catastrophic nuclear releases worse than the Fukushima nuclear disaster endangering millions of people throughout the New York tri-state area who live within the 50-mile impact radius. Numerous documents in the record submitted by safety experts to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and other state and federal agencies reflect serious concerns regarding the lack of pipeline thermodynamics expertise and the complete absence of comprehensive independent risk, health and safety assessments of the co-location of these two major hazardous sites despite repeated urgent calls for such evaluations before any consideration of approval of the pipeline project. Serious concerns have also been raised about the considerable national security implications of the vulnerability of multiple, proximate sources of critical power infrastructure. However, FERC disregarded all of those concerns and requests and granted approval for the project in March 2015 allowing construction to begin in October 2015. The unacceptable risk to New York’s vast population compounded by the total lack of emergency protocols, safety training and preparedness, evacuation plans and public education in emergency scenarios have prompted public officials on local, state, and federal levels to join health and safety experts and the public in their demand for FERC to immediately halt construction and operation of the Spectra AIM pipeline.

Requests by safety experts and public officials for emergency protocols and safety preparedness indicate no evidence of planning for a pipeline rupture or explosion adjacent to the nuclear plant. The lack of emergency training and preparedness reflects the lack of recognition of the safety experts’ concerns regarding the perilous impact of a pipeline accident at that location and the imminent and permanent danger the AIM pipeline poses to the nuclear plant and the entire New York metropolitan area. Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) confirms that pipeline accidents are commonplace and have been significantly increasing in frequency in recent years including in newly constructed pipelines. There were 143 gas transmission line accidents in 2015.

Major concerns regarding lack of health and safety assessments, emergency procedures, training and preparedness before pipeline project approvals are considered have been echoed by other health professionals, public officials and emergency first responders in other regions across the Spectra AIM pipeline route in New England and for other pipeline projects across the United States……..http://www.psr.org/news-events/press-releases/medical-and-disaster-experts-halt-pipeline-indian-point.html?referrer=https://t.co/PrdY14d7r1

October 19, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Hans Blix warns on nuclear power stations as terrorist bait

elephant-terror-in-roomNuclear power plants are terrorist bait, need extra protection – ex-IAEA chief to RT Rt.com.  11 Oct, 2016 Nuclear power plants are one of the best protected facilities in the world, but they still remain likely targets for terrorists and therefore require extra protection, Hans Blix, former IAEA chief, told RT.

“One has to be very careful, of course, about installations like nuclear power plants and enrichment plants,” said Blix, who headed the International Atomic Energy Agency between 1981 and 1997…..

Blix stressed that modern nuclear facilities “are getting more digitalized – earlier, they weren’t – and they now have to be given a special new protection” from potential cyber-attacks.

He recalled the hack at Iran’s uranium enrichment facility at Natanz back in 2010 “where a malware called ‘Stuxnet’ was smuggled in and managed to stop several hundred enrichment centrifuges.”…….

According to Blix, the risk of radicals creating a so-called ‘dirty bomb,’ which combines radioactive material with conventional explosives, shouldn’t be ignored either.

“Caesium [which is extracted from waste produced by nuclear reactors] is something that is used in hospitals in many places and if it’s stolen or goes astray it can also be used in a dirty bomb and exploded somewhere in the center of a city – whether Moscow, New York or Washington. We have to be careful everywhere,” he said……

Also on Tuesday, current IAEA head, Yukiya Amano, warned that risks of terrorist attacks against nuclear power plants or militants eventually making a “dirty bomb” are very real. He stressed that terrorist groups, such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), pose a serious threat to nuclear power stations.

There was an attempt to smuggle enriched uranium as well a cyberattack, which disrupted a nuclear plant’s operations, in recent years, Amano said without elaborating. https://www.rt.com/news/362428-nuclear-plants-terrorists-iaea-blix/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

American governments’ huge new clean energy purchase

Statue-of-Liberty-solarThe U.S. government just made its biggest clean energy purchase ever , WP,   October 14  On Friday in Maricopa County, Ariz., the U.S. government will hit a clean energy milestone: What officials are calling the largest procurement ever of renewable energy by the federal government, in this case from a desert solar array.

The new 150-megawatt, or million-watt, Mesquite 3 solar array is located in Arizona, but the electricity it generates will be sent to California’s electric grid and will power roughly one-third of the electricity needs of 14 naval installations in the state, including San Diego’s naval base and the Marines’ Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton………

The move is being celebrated not only by the Navy, but also the Energy Department, which contends that the dramatic growth of large-scale solar plants in the Southwest is a direct result of major investments made by its Loan Programs Office as part of the stimulus legislation passed in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008-2009……..

The over 10 gigawatts of installed utility scale solar photovoltaic capacity in the United States today is just one part of the tremendous solar boom the country has seen. None of this takes into account more medium-sized arrays or individual rooftop solar installations. The Energy Department has also given loans for a different type of large-scale solar array, called concentrated solar power, many of which also have been built.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, there are 31.6 total gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed in the United States, capable of providing enough electricity for 6.2 million homes……. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/10/14/the-u-s-government-just-made-its-biggest-clean-energy-purchase-ever-it-was-for-the-navy/?utm_term=.f407e98b78ca

October 19, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Admiral Rickover “father” of the U.S. nuclear navy called for outlawing nuclear reactors

text-NoBailing out aging nuclear power plants can impact development of renewable energy technologies, Enformable,  17 Oct 2016 “………Rickover: “Outlaw Nuclear Reactors”
The bottom line when it comes to nuclear power comes from Admiral Rickover, considered the “father” of the U.S. nuclear navy as well as being in charge of building Shippingport. When he retired from the Navy in 1982 he addressed a Congressional committee and said—his remarks are included in Cover Up—that until several billion years ago “it was impossible to have any life on Earth; that is, there was so much radiation on Earth you couldn’t have any life—fish or anything. “ Then, “gradually, “the amount of radiation on this planet and probably in the entire system reduced and made it possible for some form of life to begin.”

“Now,” he went on, by utilizing nuclear power “we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible…every time you produce radiation,” a “horrible force” is unleashed, “in some cases for billions of years.” In other words, nuclear power plants recreate the very radioactive poisons that precluded life from existing. “And,” said Rickover, “I think there the human race is going to wreck itself.”
We must, for the sake of life, Rickover told the Congressional committee, “outlaw nuclear reactors.”
Rickover, deeply involved in nuclear technology, finally saw—as we all must—the light.http://enformable.com/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | radiation, USA | Leave a comment

Amy Goodman case dismissed -–No Thanks to Corporate Media

justiceCharges Dropped Against Amy Goodman–No Thanks to Corporate Media, Common media-propagandaDreams, byJim Naureckas , 18 Oct 16 

North Dakota District Judge John Grinsteiner stood up for the First Amendment by dismissing “riot” charges against Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!,10/17/16). That’s more than you can say for most of Goodman’s corporate media colleagues.

After Goodman reported on the use of pepper spray and attack dogs against Native American demonstrators opposing the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (Democracy Now!9/4/16), North Dakota State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson charged her with criminal trespassing. Realizing that he couldn’t make that charge stick, he sought to charge her instead with participation in a “riot”—based on Erickson’s contention that Goodman “was not acting as a journalist” because “everything she reported on was from the position of justifying the protest actions” (FAIR.org10/15/16).

Few corporate media journalists took note of a fellow reporter being charged with trespass for doing her job (FAIR.0rg9/15/16). When the prosecutor upped the ante by trying to build a criminal charge based on his perception of a reporter’s point of view, this still did not provoke much attention—let alone outcry—from outlets whose lucrative commercial enterprises are dependent on the protection of the First Amendment.

A handful of journalists at commercial outlets did weigh in to defend Goodman.  Will Bunch, columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News (Philly.com10/16/16), wrote that “the First Amendment was created to prevent exactly this: the jailing of a writer for his or her political point of view.” The LA Times‘ Michael Hiltzik (10/17/16) called out the charges as “an attempt to quash legitimate news reporting.” Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (10/13/16) noted the odd fact that Erickson is an avowed fan of Taibbi’s work—but nonetheless urged him to stop prosecuting Goodman, saying she is “as close to the ideal of what it means to be a journalist as one can get in this business.”

That’s about it for journalists in the corridors of corporate media who defended Democracy Now!‘s reporter. A few others took note of the threat she was under; AP‘s James MacPherson and Blake Nicholson wrote a piece that was picked up by    outlets like the Minneapolis Star TribuneIdaho StatesmanFresno Bee and Arizona Daily StarPublic Radio International‘s The Takeaway (10/17/16) ran a 12-minute interview with Goodman.

A few new media outlets covered the riot charges, like Jezebel (10/15/16) and TechCrunch(10/16/15). Some journalism sites also weighed in, like The Wrap (10/15/16) and Poynter(10/17/16)—though Poynter’s James Warren buried the item under ten other items, heading his one-paragraph report “Post-Pipeline Protest Hoopla,” a headline that may accurately convey the degree of importance corporate journalism accords to First Amendment threats to alternative reporters.

That would explain why people who wanted to be informed about an independent journalist facing criminal charges based on her presumed opinions mostly had to go to overseas outlets (BBC10/17/16 ; Independent10/17/16) or to alternative sources likeThe Nation (10/15/16) and  Common Dreams (10/15/16)………

If there are any regretful reporters at the New York TimesWashington Post, the broadcast or cable news outlets, or any of the other media properties that neglected to cover Goodman’s case when she stood accused of thoughtcrime, they can make up for it by reporting on the still-pending case of documentary filmmaker Deia Schlosberg, who is facing up to 45 years in prison based on three felony counts derived from her reporting on the Dakota Access protests (Reuters10/13/16). The First Amendment you save may be your own. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/10/18/charges-dropped-against-amy-goodman-no-thanks-corporate-media

October 19, 2016 Posted by | media, USA | Leave a comment

USA practises war games – dropping dummy nuclear bombs

US Prepares For Nuclear War, Air Force Drops Two Faux Nukes, Popular Resistance, by Marcus Weisgerber, www.defenseone.com October 8th, 2016 The tests in the Nevada desert come as tensions rise with Russia and the Pentagon seeks to replace its aging nuclear arsenal.

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers dropped two 700-pound faux nuclear bombs in the middle of the Nevada desert within the past few days. Now the Pentagon wants to tell you about it.

Conducted “earlier this month,” according to an Oct. 6 press release, the test involved two dummy variants of the B61, a nuclear bomb that has been in the U.S. arsenal since the 1960s. One was an “earth penetrator” made to strike underground targets, the other a tactical version of the B61. Neither carried an actual warhead.

“The primary objective of flight testing is to obtain reliability, accuracy, and performance data under operationally representative conditions,” said the statement from the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Energy Department arm that oversees such tests. “Such testing is part of the qualification process of current alterations and life extension programs for weapon systems.”

But why now? Perhaps it has to do with tensions with Russia, which are higher than they have been in decades, and which have sparked fears of a new nuclear arms race. Earlier this week, the Russian government announced it would conduct a massive drill to prepare its citizens for nuclear war.

But it may also have to do with the Pentagon’s quest to replace its decades-old nuclear arsenal with new bombs and delivery vehicles, an endeavor whose price tag tops several hundred billion dollars. The Air Force, for one, has been making its case for new intercontinental ballistic missiles and a nuclear cruise missile. At an Air Force Association conference in the Washington suburbs last, Boeing touted its work on the Minuteman III ICBM, mounting large-scale models of the long-range missiles front and center in its sprawling display area………

Last year, the Air Force inked a deal with Northrop Grumman to build a new long-range, stealth bomber — recently named the B-21 Raider — that will eventually be equipped to carry nuclear weapons. At the same time, the Navy is preparing to buy 12 newColumbia-Class submarines that will replace the Ohio-Class, which can launch nuclear missiles.

The total price tag for the all of the new nuclear weapons is projected to cost between $350 billion to $450 billion over the next two decadeshttps://www.popularresistance.org/us-prepares-for-nuclear-war-air-force-drops-two-faux-nukes/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America has nuclear offensive strategies, but not defensive ones

The Hidden Defect In U.S. Nuclear Strategy That Could Spell America’s Doom, The National Interest, 18 Oct 16 

“………aside from a very minimal collection of radars and interceptors on the West Coast designed to deal with North Korea, America has no strategic defenses.

What it has is offenses — about 1,500 nuclear warheads distributed in hardened silos, stealthy submarines and long-range bombers. These forces are known as the nuclear “triad;” along with flying command centers, secure communications satellites and aerial-refueling tankers, the triad is designed to make any act of nuclear aggression potentially suicidal for the perpetrator. The plan is to respond proportionately to any level of nuclear aggression, and make that plan abundantly clear to any nation that might contemplate an attack.

The assumption is that no sane leader would deliberately launch an attack knowing the retribution that would follow. That seems logical enough, but think about the other ways a nuclear exchange might occur. What if we find ourselves facing an irrational adversary with nuclear weapons? What if the other side is rational, but suffers a mechanical failure in its command system? What if it misreads U.S. intentions in a crisis such as war in Eastern Europe? What if parts of its nuclear arsenal are seized by elements intent on fomenting war?

These are not just science-fiction scenarios. The Russian early-warning network of satellites and ground-based radars is so fragile that it could easily fail, or result in mis-interpretation of threat data. If Moscow seriously thought it was under attack, it would be strongly incentivized to launch quickly before its weapons were destroyed on the ground. That might well signal the end of American civilization,…….

If Washington had spent as much money over the last 15 years on protecting our homeland as it has spent on trying to fix Afghanistan, America would be well on its way to having defenses against nuclear attacks — no matter how or where they originated. Instead, the United States remains vulnerable to the one threat that could destroy our civilization before sunset. This may be the greatest strategic mis-calculation in history, and the next president needs to focus on correcting it.

Loren B. Thompson is Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-hidden-defect-us-nuclear-strategy-could-spell-americas-18083?page=2

October 19, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The consequences of a nuclear plant meltdown – as they would apply to NewYork’s nuclear plants

exclamation-taxpayer bailoutBailing out aging nuclear power plants can impact development of renewable energy technologies, Enformable,  17 Oct 2016  “…………Beyond Dollars—It’s About Life

And this, most importantly, is beyond dollars—it’s about life.

The most comprehensive study of the consequences of a nuclear plant meltdown with loss of containment was done for the U.S. Nuclear Regulation Commission, which succeeded the Atomic Energy Commission, by Sandia National Laboratories in 1982. It’s title: Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences or CRAC2.

The study projected “peak early fatalities,” “peak early injuries,” peak cancer deaths” and “scaled costs” in the billions of dollars for such a meltdown at every nuclear plant in the United States. In “scaled costs” the study itemizes “lost wages, relocation expenses, decontamination costs, lost property” but it is noted that “the cost of providing health care for the affected population” is not included. The nuclear industry and nuclear promoters in government were so upset with the release of this analysis that I doubt there will ever be anything like it again. I’ve distributed a breakdown of the CRAC2 numbers done by the House Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations for your review.

The figures—and we’re speaking here of lives not mere numbers—for the four nuclear plants that would be bailed out under the Cuomo plan are:
Ginna — 2,000 fatalities, 28,000 injuries, 14,000 cancer deaths and $63 billion in costs—based on the value of the 1980 dollar. It would be three times that now.
FitzPatrick – 1,000 fatalities, 16,000 injuries, 17,000 cancer deaths and $103 billion in costs.
Nine Mile Point which consists of two nuclear power plants.
Unit 1 — 700 fatalities, 11,000 injuries, 14,000 cancer deaths, $66 billion in costs.
And Nine Mile Point 2 – 1,400 fatalities, 2,600 injuries, 20 000 cancer deaths, $134 billion in costs.

Also, as we have seen from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukishima, nuclear accidents are not rare events, like the BNL scientists told me, and not minor. With a little more than 400 nuclear power plants in the world, 100 in the U.S., disaster has occurred nearly every decade.

And if the next nuclear disaster is to strike anywhere, it could easily happen at these four old nuclear plants. Nuclear plants were only seen as operating for 40 years. After that, the metals would become embrittled from radioactivity creating unsafe conditions. So they were given 40-year operating licenses. But the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has gone ahead in recent times and given 20-year license extensions to now more than 80 of the nuclear plants in the U.S.—including the four upstate plants. This would allow them to run for 60 years. And the NRC is considering having an additional license extension program to allow nuclear plants to run for 80 years. It’s just asking for disaster. Considering taking a 60-year car on to the LIE or an Interstate and driving it at full speed—and that’s also part of the NRC program, allowing the nuclear plants given extensions to “uprate”—run hotter and harder to produce more electricity.

In terms of age, Nine Mile Point Unit 1 went online in 1969 and is one of the two oldest nuclear plants in the U.S., tied with Oyster Creek in New Jersey. Ginna started operating in 1970. FitzPatrick in 1975. These are from-the-past machines prone to mishap.

Excelon: 800 Pound Nuclear Gorilla
But there’s an 800 pound nuclear gorilla heavily involved in the bail-out plan—a company called Excelon. It’s the major owner of three of the plants—Ginna and the two Nine Mile Point plants—and Excelon has made a $110 million deal to buy FitzPatrick from Entergy with the bail-out deal in mind……….http://enformable.com/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

UK suppresses freedom of speech, blocks RT bank accounts

civil-liberty-2smflag-UKUK’s Attack on RT’s Accounts is a ‘Basic Crackdown on Freedom of Speech‘ https://sputniknews.com/world/201610171046421488-russia-britain-rt-bank-accounts/ The blocking of RT’s bank accounts is nothing but a crackdown on freedom of speech, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, told Sputnik. n an interview with Sputnik, Steve Topple, independent journalist and commentator, lashed out at the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom which he slammed as a crackdown on freedom of speech.
The interview came as Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said on Monday that the RT broadcaster’s accounts have been blocked in Britain. “The decision is not subject to revision’. Long live freedom of speech!” Simonyan wrote in her Twitter page. She was echoed by Steve Topple who minced no words when commenting on the matter.

“This is a basic crackdown on freedom of speech. If RT UK incited terrorism or cultural violence, the blocking of its bank accounts could have been understandable,” he said. In this vein, he pointed to the UK’s current bad record of press  freedom, saying that among such countries as Latvia, Ghana and Uruguay in terms of backsliding on human rights.

Citing anti-Russian feeling in the UK, Topple did not rule out that the move is part of the West’s efforts to contain Russia in Syria.

“It looks like another stage in a propaganda war between the two sides,” he pointed out. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on the issue by saying that London has seemingly abandoned all of its freedom of speech obligations. According to RT UK, National Westminster Bank said its parent organization Royal Bank of Scotland Group would refuse to service the broadcaster and was “not prepared to enter into any discussion.” Earlier, a member of the Russian Lower House’s International Affairs Committee told Sputnik that Russian lawmakers will demand an explanation from UK authorities over the actions. “We will also demand that international organizations, including the United Nations and the Council of Europe, clarify their stance on the issue,” Sergey Zheleznyak said.

Simonyan, for her part, said that the blocking of the accounts of the RT broadcaster in the United Kingdom will not lead to the company halting its operations in the country.

Following Simonyan’s statement on Twitter earlier in the day, RT UK said it had been informed by National Westminster Bank that it “will no longer provide” banking arrangements for the broadcaster. RT operates a number of cable and satellite television channels in a multiple languages and is directed at a foreign audience. The channels provide 24-hour news coverage, as well as airing documentaries, talk shows and debates.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

French nuclear company EDF lobbies Scottish party SNP. Environmental groups strongly oppose it

text-Noflag-ScotlandCharities reject case for nuclear extensions as EDF begins lobbying of SNP, Common Space, Nathanael Williams  18 Oct 16 As the SNP ends its autumn conference, green groups resist attempts to extend nuclear power in Scotland

ENVIRONMENTAL groups have come out in opposition to attempts by the energy company EDF to persuade the SNP to extend the lives of Scotland’s two nuclear power stations.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Scotland has also dismissed claims by the energy giant that the only way for Scotland to meet its energy demands was to invest more in nuclear power.

Instead, campaigners have emphasised the importance of renewables as the main source of economic growth, jobs and sustainability.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland.” Lang Banks

Speaking to CommonSpace, Lang Banks, the director of WWF Scotland said: “Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.

“Independent analysis has shown that our electricity system could be powered almost entirely by renewables within two decades without the need for any gas, coal or nuclear power in Scotland. The analysis also shows that Scotland would maintain security of supply and its position as an electricity-exporting nation.

“From opinion polling, we know that the majority of the Scottish public support the view that all of our nation’s electricity should be generated from pollution-free renewables.

The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

“Embracing such a vision would ensure that we secure the maximum economic and social benefits that would come from a transition toward a zero-carbon society.”

“Despite EDF’s claims, there’s simply no need for the two remaining nuclear power stations in Scotland to have their lives further extended.” Lang Banks

WWF was responding to the French energy company, which owns two Scottish nuclear power stations, announcing at an SNP fringe event that it will re-started its lobbying the Scottish Government for an extension of the lives of both power stations.

Paris-based EDF took over the plants at Torness and Hunterston when previous operator British Energy plc went into administration over mounting costs of storing the highly radioactive residue created………

“The Scottish Government’s forthcoming energy strategy provides the perfect opportunity to set out a bold vision of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.” Lang Banks

Last month, WWF Scotland was among a number of charities including Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) which protested the decision to give a go-ahead to the new nuclear plant at Hinkley in Sussex. The main reason for campaigners objections to the Hinkley plant were the vast costs of construction and the better deals for customers if solar and hydro were invested in.

They additionally argue that Scotland’s progress in renewables capacity warrants further development of wind, hydro, solar and tidal and a rejection of nuclear. WWF Scotland’s research showed that this year, renewables generated 57 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption. The Scottish government in turn has set a target that by 2020 the equivalent of 100 per cent of gross annual electricity consumption will be renewables derived.

From a legal perspective, the building of any new nuclear power station in Scotland would require consent from Scottish Government Ministers under the Electricity Act of 1989.

The Scottish Government at the moment has stated it will not seek new nuclear facilities but has not been explicit in its rejection of extensions to existing ones. However, they were not avalible to comment when contacted by CommonSpace.  https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9670/charities-reject-case-nuclear-extensions-edf-begins-lobbying-snp

October 19, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

China helps Pakistan build nuclear reactors, despite radical Islamist groups operating in the country

exclamation-Smflag-pakistanTerror-Plagued Pakistan Just Turned On Another Nuclear Reactor, Daily Caller ANDREW FOLLETT, Energy and Science Reporter  , 18 Oct 16  

Pakistan’s fourth nuclear power plant began providing electricity to citizens Sunday with some help from China, despite concerns about radical Islamist groups operating in the country.

Engineers began final testing of the new 340 megawatt reactor at the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant, which is expected to reach its full capacity in December with the help of China. Local Pakistani Islamic radical groups and the Islamic State have expressed interest in stealing nuclear material from the country’s reactors to build a dirty bomb.

Pakistan has a small nuclear power program, capable of only generating 725 megawatts of electric power, but is building numerous new reactors with financial and technical assistance from China. The country invested about $860 million into its new reactor, with $350 million provided by China, according to a report by the World Nuclear Association……..http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/17/terror-plagued-pakistan-just-turned-on-another-nuclear-reactor/

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Pakistan, safety | Leave a comment