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Fukushima’s ¥8 trillion cleanup leaves foreign firms in the cold

damaged building housing the No. 4 reactor.jpg

Damaged building housing the No. 4 reactor

Cleaning up the Fukushima nuclear plant — a task predicted to cost 86 times the amount earmarked for decommissioning Japan’s first commercial reactor — is the mother of all salvage jobs. Still, foreign firms with decades of experience are seeing little of the spoils.

Safely dismantling the Japanese power plant, wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, will cost about ¥8 trillion ($70 billion), the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Dec. 9, quadrupling the previous estimate. While a contract to help clean up the facility would be a windfall for any firm with specialized technology, the lion’s share of the work has gone to local companies that designed and built most of Japan’s atomic infrastructure.

The bidding process for Fukushima contracts should be more open to foreigners, as Japan has never finished decommissioning a commercial nuclear plant, let alone one that experienced a triple meltdown, according to Lake Barrett, an independent adviser at Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning. While the Fukushima cleanup is unlike any nuclear disaster in history, foreign firms that have experience decommissioning regular facilities could provide much-needed support, according to Barrett, and even the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

Cultural Resistance’

Internationally, there is a lot more decontamination and decommissioning knowledge than you have in Japan,” Barrett, a former official at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview in Tokyo. “I hope the Japanese contracting system improves to get this job done safely. There is this cultural resistance — it is almost like there is an isolated nuclear village still.”

An opaque bidding process plays to the heart of criticisms put forward by independent investigators, who said in a 2012 report that collusion between the government, regulators and the plant’s operator contributed to the scale of the disaster.

Of 44 subsidized projects publicly awarded by the trade and economy ministry since 2014, about 80 percent went to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning. The group, known as IRID, was established in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and is comprised entirely of Japanese corporations, according to the ministry’s website.

Japan’s trade and industry ministry awarded funds directly to only two foreign firms during the same period. Many of the contracts had only one or two bidders.

Of about 70 contracts awarded since the March 2011 disaster, nine have gone to foreign companies, according to an official in the ministry’s Agency of Natural Resources and Energy who asked not be named, citing internal policy.

To provide opportunities for foreign companies, the ministry has created an English website for bids and also provides English information sessions to explain the contracts, the official said.

Toshiba, Hitachi

IRID’s contracts are given to its members, including Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which have partnerships and joint ventures with foreign firms, spokesman Yoshio Haruyama said by phone. While it doesn’t directly contract work to companies overseas, IRID taps foreign experts as advisers and participates in international collaborative projects, he said.

Mitsubishi Heavy has about five or six contracts through IRID, but can’t share how many partnerships it has with foreign firms, spokesman Shimon Ikeya said by phone. Hitachi has sub-contracts with foreign suppliers related to the Fukushima cleanup, but can’t provide details about these agreements because they aren’t public, a spokesperson said by email.

As of March, IRID had about ¥30 billion worth of ongoing contracts primarily related to research and development of fuel removal and waste treatment. IRID, which aims to “gather knowledge and ideas from around the world” for the purpose of nuclear decommissioning, doesn’t disclose how much of their money ultimately goes to foreign businesses, according to its spokesman. Barrett, its adviser, said he thinks it’s “very low,” but should ideally be 5 percent to 10 percent.

Nuclear Village’

Japan’s biggest nuclear disaster isn’t void of foreign technology. Toshiba, which owns Pennsylvania-based Westinghouse Electric Co., and Hitachi, which has a joint venture with General Electric Co., are tapping American expertise. A giant crane and pulley system supplied by Toshiba to remove spent fuel from the wrecked reactors employs technology developed by Westinghouse.

We bring in knowledge from foreign companies, organizations and specialists in order to safely decommission the reactors,” Tatsuhiro Yamagishi, spokesman for Tepco, said by email. While the company can’t say the exact number of foreign firms involved in the Fukushima cleanup, companies including Paris-based Areva SA, California-based Kurion Inc. and Massachusetts-based Endeavor Robotics are engaged in work at the site, according to Yamagishi.

For foreign firms, however, independently securing contracts is still a tall order.

When it comes to Japan’s nuclear industry, the bidding system is completely unclear,” Hiroaki Koide, a former assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, said in an email. “The system is designed to strengthen the profits of Japan’s nuclear village,” he added, referring to the alliance of pro-nuclear politicians, bureaucrats and power companies that promote reactors.

Tepco’s annual cost to decommission its Fukushima plant may blow out to several hundred billion yen a year, up from the current estimate of ¥80 billion, the trade and industry ministry said in October. As of June, almost ¥1 trillion has been allocated for decommissioning and treating water at Fukushima, according to Tepco’s Yamagishi.

Ripe for Corruption’

With that much money at stake, Japan has become ground zero for a plethora of companies looking to benefit from the cleanup work. The structure of Japan’s nuclear industry and the closed procurement preferred by the utilities that operate atomic plants means that the most lucrative opportunities for foreign companies are in the area of subcontracting, according to a report by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation released in March.

Foreign firms have long argued that the Japanese bidding process is one that is ripe for corruption due to a lack of openness and transparency,” Daniel Aldrich, professor and director of the security and resilience studies program at Northeastern University in Boston, said in an email. For nuclear decommissioning “there is even less clarity and transparency due to security and proliferation concerns,” he said.

Rigging Bids

The Japan Fair Trade Commission raided the offices of five companies last year in relation to rigged bids for maintenance contracts from Tepco, according to Jiji Press. Eleven road-paving companies were fined in September on projects to repair roads following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Jiji reported.

Andrew DeWit, a political economy professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo, agrees that the contract-awarding process isn’t transparent. A lot of foreign companies seek Japanese partners to better their chances, he said.

Purolite Corp., a closely held water purifying company, spent millions of dollars developing and testing a system that could be used to treat radioactive water at Fukushima. Pennsylvania-based Purolite partnered with Hitachi to help win a contract to use its technology at the wrecked facility.

Those plans didn’t pan out. Purolite is suing Hitachi in New York and Tokyo, alleging that Hitachi is using its technology at Fukushima in breach of agreements made in 2011, shutting it out of more than $1 billion in contracts, according to court documents filed in September.

Hitachi doesn’t comment on ongoing legal matters, a spokesperson said by email.

With a smaller pool of competitors, firms can expand their profit margins,” said Northeastern University’s Aldrich. “There are French and Russian firms that have the technical expertise to participate in nuclear decommissioning processes, but it is unclear if they will be able to compete on a level playing field with Japanese firms, which have far more experience with Japanese regulations and expectations.”

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Government to help fund Fukushima decontamination, easing Tepco’s burden

Easing Tepco fuck-ups with taxpayers money!



The Cabinet decided Tuesday that the central government will help pay to decontaminate areas worst hit by the 2011 Fukushima reactor meltdowns, marking a shift from earlier rules requiring Tepco to foot the bill.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s team endorsed a plan to set up a reconstruction hub in the most contaminated, off-limits areas in Fukushima Prefecture and secure about ¥30 billion for decontamination work in the fiscal 2017 budget.

The cost of the work could total around ¥300 billion in the next five years and grow further depending on how it progresses.

The plan is in line with proposals made in August by the ruling coalition, but no government panel review or Diet deliberations have been held on it, raising the prospect that it could be criticized as a bailout for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The government decided to add the decontamination work, including soil and tree removal, to infrastructure projects for making the affected land habitable again, but the special law on decontamination states that Tepco should shoulder the expenses.

The government will have to revise the special law on rebuilding Fukushima to accommodate the shift.

The move to help pay for the decontamination came after the expected price tag surged to ¥4 trillion from the previous estimate of ¥2.5 trillion, which did not include the cost of cleaning the areas with the highest levels of radiation.

If the government-funded cleaning area expands, the use of taxpayer money is likely to balloon to several trillion yen.

Meanwhile, in an effort to turn Tepco’s business fortunes around, the government proposed that the battered utility work together with other companies in operating nuclear power plants and distributing power.

A panel of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry urged the company to launch talks with other power companies next year and set up a joint venture in the early 2020s to eventually consolidate their businesses.

Tepco reform will be the basis of reconstruction in Fukushima and could lead to a new, stronger utilities industry,” said industry minister Hiroshige Seko.

We will profoundly accept the proposal and drastically carry out reform,” said Tepco President Naomi Hirose.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Time for gov’t to come clean on Monju reactor muck-up

monju 6.jpg


Good, and not so good: “With Monju’s shutdown, Japan’s taxpayers are now left with an estimated bill of at least 375 billion yen ($3.2 billion) to decommission its reactor, on top of the 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) spent on the project.
Japan is still committed to trying to make the technology work and will build a new experimental research reactor at Monju, the government said.
“We need to terminate the impossible dream of the nuclear fuel cycle. The fast breeder reactor is not going to be commercially viable. We know it. We all know it,” senior LDP lawmaker Taro Kono said recently at a Reuters Breakingviews event in Tokyo.” “

Japan pulls plug on Monju, ending $8.5 billion nuclear self-sufficiency push

Japan on Wednesday formally pulled the plug on an $8.5 billion nuclear power project designed to realize a long-term aim for energy self-sufficiency after decades of development that yielded little electricity but plenty of controversy.

The move to shut the Monju prototype fast breeder reactor in Fukui prefecture west of Tokyo adds to a list of failed attempts around the world to make the technology commercially viable and potentially cut stockpiles of dangerous nuclear waste.

“We do not accept this,” Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa told ministers involved in the decision.

“This abrupt change in policy breeds deep feelings of distrust for the government,” said Nishikawa who strongly backed the project because of the jobs and revenue it brought to a prefecture that relies heavily on nuclear installations. He said decommissioning work for Monju would not start without local government approval.

Four conventional commercial nuclear stations lie in close proximity to Monju, earning Fukui the nickname “nuclear alley.”

Those like most other nuclear stations in Japan remain closed pending safety reviews or decisions on decommissioning after the Fukushima nuclear crisis of 2011 led to the eventual shutdown of all reactors in the country.

The Fukushima crisis sparked strong anti-nuclear sentiment in Japan, making it harder to pursue projects like the Monju facility which has faced accidents, cover-ups and regulatory breaches since construction began in 1985.

The plant was built to burn plutonium derived from the waste of reactors at Japan’s conventional nuclear plants and create more fuel than it used, closing the so-called nuclear fuel cycle and giving a country that relies on overseas supplies for most of its energy needs a home-grown electricity source.

With Monju’s shutdown, Japan’s taxpayers are now left with an estimated bill of at least 375 billion yen ($3.2 billion) to decommission its reactor, on top of the 1 trillion yen ($8.5 billion) spent on the project.

Japan is still committed to trying to make the technology work and will build a new experimental research reactor at Monju, the government said.

But critics within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) think it will be another futile attempt.

“We need to terminate the impossible dream of the nuclear fuel cycle. The fast breeder reactor is not going to be commercially viable. We know it. We all know it,” senior LDP lawmaker Taro Kono said recently at a Reuters Breakingviews event in Tokyo.

Time for gov’t to come clean on Monju reactor muck-up

On Dec. 19, the central government informed Fukui Prefecture that the Monju fast-breeder reactor would be decommissioned. In its 22-year history, Monju has cost Japanese taxpayers more than a trillion yen, and been in actual operation for a grand total of 250 days.
Nevertheless, on the same day the government broke the news about Monju’s impending end to Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa, it also decided internally to continue attempts to develop fast-breeder reactor technology, and all without any examination or investigation into why Monju failed in the first place.

Fast-breeder technology holds out the promise of “dream reactors” that produce more fuel than they use. However, its cost and complexity have proven too much for other would-be developers, and Britain, the United States and Germany all abandoned their own fast-breeder efforts in the 1990s. Monju reached criticality in 1994 with high hopes that it would prove the technology’s efficacy, and become the “Model T” of fast-breeder reactors.

However, the reactor suffered repeated mishaps including a 1995 sodium leak, and never surpassed 40 percent of its power output capacity. Even so, the government claims that “much technological knowledge was gained (from Monju) that can be put to use for the development of the next test reactor.” That is, the government has not admitted that Monju was a failure.

Or to put it another way, no one is willing to take responsibility for the Monju money pit, and Japan’s taxpayers have been stuck with the bill.

Meanwhile, the government’s committee on fast-breeder development decided unanimously on Dec. 19 to pursue, in cooperation with France and using domestic facilities, the construction of a new experimental reactor. It must be pointed out, however, who sits on this august body. Joining officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency — who run the Monju project — are those from two nuclear fuel cycle boosters, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan. Rounding out the membership is the chief of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which makes nuclear reactors.

The proceedings of these committee meetings — which are, as a rule, “private” and therefore never revealed to the public — have always been based on the presumption that the problem-plagued nuclear fuel cycle policy (reprocessing spent fuel into MOX mixed-oxide fuel) will continue.

Continuing the fuel cycle and the fast-breeder project is costing Japan enormous sums, and if in the end it fails, the Japanese people may very well end up paying for it. To prevent another Monju muck-up, the government should conduct a very public examination of exactly what went wrong.

The Japan Atomic Energy Agency’s Monju fast-breeder reactor is seen in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Both Cesium 134 and 137 in Potato Chips


The ongoing Fukushima radiation contaminating the populace in Japan and abroad is still going unabated. Cleverly, authorities have succeeded in numbing millions of people to the danger of radiation from the Fukushima crisis.

Whether you are continously inhaling it (as they are incenarating radioactive waste under everyone noses for years now) or you are being dosed off in Cs 137 with some rains or snow, the most dangerous ways remains eating contaminated food. Even potato chips!

Kampu, a citizen food testing group found both cesium 134 and 137 in a potato chips bag. The chips were harvested and manufactured in 2015 with the potatoes coming from Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures. Both prefectures not included by the government in the areas having agriculture with risk of contamination.
The potato chip brand, Calbee is being sold in Japan and also globally including to the US. Calbee has a manufacturing plant in the US, so to determine what factory made a product may be a wise precaution.

So while the media prostitute and this lying led government is trying to tell everyone all Is ok, just know contaminated produces (at safe levels they will tell you ? when being caught) is openly being fed to you in restaurants (usually big chains in Japan thx Yoshinoya), convenience stores and super markets. It is also being sold all around the world.

Please note that these potato chips were harvested in Ibaraki and Chiba. .. not Fukushima. They are trying to tell you the contamination is limited to a few km away from the destroyed Nuclear Power Plant. It’s a damn lie and you should know better.

Anyway; Bon appetit!

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s nuclear weapons agenda disturbs even a Fox news host

Trump’s nuclear gambit sobers up Fox host: ‘So we’re all blown up just as we’re counting our money’, Raw Story, 22 DEC 2016 [incl video] News host Neil Cavuto worried on Thursday that Americans would not get to enjoy the fruits of Donald Trump’s economic plans if the new president triggers a nuclear war.

In a tweet on Thursday morning, Trump argued that the “United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time that the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”…….

December 23, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

The huge danger to the world of plutonium space operations

text-from-the-archivesThe problem — a huge one and not mentioned whatsoever by World Nuclear News — involves radiation-warningaccidents with space nuclear power systems releasing radioactivity impacting on people and other life on Earth. That has already happened. With more space nuclear operations, more atomic mishaps would be ahead.

are subject to falling back to Earth and raining deadly radioactivity on human beings and other life on this planet.

The Push for More Spaceborne Nuclear Russian Roulette  HUFFINGTON POST, Karl Grossman, Investigative reporter  07/31/2012 World Nuclear News, the information arm of the World Nuclear Association that seeks to boost the use of atomic energy, last week heralded a NASA Mars rover slated to land on Mars on Monday, the first Mars rover fueled with plutonium.

“A new era of space exploration is dawning through the application of nuclear energy for rovers on Mars and the Moon, power generation at future bases on the surfaces of both and soon for rockets that enable interplanetary travel,” began a dispatch  from World Nuclear News. It was headed: “Nuclear ‘a stepping stone’ to space exploration.”

In fact, in space as on Earth there are safe, clean alternatives to nuclear power. Indeed, right now a NASA space probe energized by solar energy is on its way to Jupiter, a mission which for years NASA claimed could not be accomplished without nuclear power providing onboard electricity. Solar propulsion of spacecraft has begun. And scientists, including those at NASA, have been working on using solar energy and other safe power sources for human colonies on Mars and the moon.

The World Nuclear Association describes itself  as “representing the people and organizations of the global nuclear profession.”….. The problem — a huge one and not mentioned whatsoever by World Nuclear News — involves accidents with space nuclear power systems releasing radioactivity impacting on people and other life on Earth. That has already happened. With more space nuclear operations, more atomic mishaps would be ahead. NASA, before last November’s launch of Curiosity, acknowledged that if the rocket lofting it exploded at launch in Florida, plutonium could be released affecting an area as far as 62 miles away — which includes Orlando. Further, if the rocket didn’t break out of the Earth’s gravitational field, it and the rover would fall back into the atmosphere and break up, potentially releasing plutonium over a massive area. In its Final Environmental Impact Statement for the mission, NASA said  in this situation plutonium could impact on “Earth surfaces between approximately 28-degrees north latitude and 28-degrees south latitude.” That includes Central America and much of South America, Asia, Africa and Australia.

The EIS said the costs of decontamination of plutonium in areas would be $267 million for each square mile of farmland and $1.5 billion for each square mile of “mixed-use urban areas.” The Curiosity mission itself, because of $900 million in cost overruns, now has a price of $2.5 billion.

NASA set the odds very low for a plutonium release for Curiosity. The EIS said “overall” on the mission, the likelihood of plutonium being released was 1 in 220. Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space , which has for more than 20 years been the leading opposition group to space nuclear missions, declared that “NASA sadly appears committed to maintaining its dangerous alliance with the nuclear industry. Both entities view space as a new market for the deadly plutonium fuel. … Have we not learned anything from Chernobyl and Fukushima?”

Plutonium has long been described as the most lethal radioactive substance. And the plutonium isotope used in the space nuclear program, and on the Curiosity rover, is significantly more radioactive than the type of plutonium used as fuel in nuclear weapons or built up as a waste product in nuclear power plants. It is Plutonium-238 as distinct from Plutonium-239. Plutonium-238 has a far shorter half-life  — 87.7 years compared to Plutonium-239 with a half-life of 24,110 years. An isotope’s half-life is the period in which half of its radioactivity is expended.

Dr. Arjun Makhijani, a nuclear physicist and president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, explains that Plutonium-238 “is about 270 times more radioactive than Plutonium-239 per unit of weight.”….

The worst accident of several involving a Soviet or Russian nuclear space systems was the fall from orbit in 1978 of the Cosmos 954 satellite powered by a nuclear reactor. It also broke up in the atmosphere as it fell, spreading radioactive debris over 77,000 square miles of the Northwest Territories of Canada…..

the pressure by promoters of nuclear energy on NASA and space agencies around the world to use atomic energy in space is intense — as is the drive of nuclear promoters on governments and the public for atomic energy on Earth.

Critically, nuclear power systems for space use must be fabricated on Earth — with all the dangers that involves, and launched from Earth — with all the dangers that involves (one out of 100 rockets destruct on launch), and are subject to falling back to Earth and raining deadly radioactivity on human beings and other life on this planet.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, technology | Leave a comment

Donald Trump wants to expand nuclear weapons arsenal

trump-worldDonald Trump: US must greatly expand nuclear weapons  Donald Trump has called for the US to “greatly strengthen and expand” its nuclear arsenal. BBC News 22 Dec 16  The president-elect, who takes office next month, said the US must take such action “until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes”.

He spoke hours after President Vladimir Putin said Russia needs to bolster its military nuclear potential.

The US has 7,100 nuclear weapons and Russia has 7,300, according to the US nonpartisan Arms Control Association. Mr Trump’s announcement, which came via Twitter, was published in a string of several tweets on Thursday morning.

Mr Trump also wrote to criticise a resolution being considered at the UN and to reiterate his vow to “drain the swamp” – a reference to corruption in Washington DC.

His tweet came only hours after President Putin met with his military advisers to recap Russian military activities in 2016………

This is a radical departure from President Obama’s current policy.

Mr Trump has offered no further details on his plans but he has hinted in the past that he favoured an expansion of the nuclear programme.

He was asked in interviews whether he would use weapons of mass destruction against an enemy and he said that it would be an absolute last stance, but he added that he would want to be unpredictable.

In contrast, President Obama has talked of the US commitment to seek peace and security without nuclear weapons.

He has sought to reduce the nation’s arsenal of nearly 5,000 warheads in favour of more special operations forces and precise tactical strikes…….

December 23, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump presidency – particularly good for the nuclear weapons makers

Trump Goes Nuclear, But This Time Lockheed, Northrop, Raytheon Rise  President-elect Donald Trump tweeted about the importance of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, which will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to recapitalize, potentially giving defense giants like Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Raytheon (RTN) and Boeing (BA) some hope that he won’t cost-shame them on that piece of the Pentagon budget America’s nuclear triad of air-, land- and sea-based delivery systems is nearing the end of its life span and needs to be replaced. But that won’t come cheaply.


Over the summer, the Air Force released its requests for proposals for intercontinental ballistic missiles to replace Boeing’s aging Minuteman system. The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent’s estimated cost is $62 billion over 30 years, but a report from the Pentagon’s office of independent cost assessment said the Air Force’s estimate is too low by “billions of dollars,” sources told Bloomberg.

The Air Force is also seeking Long-Range Standoff nuclear cruise missiles to replace Boeing AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missiles. That program’s cost has been estimated at $20 billion-$30 billion.

Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop and Lockheed are expected to bid on the two contracts, and initial contracts could be awarded next year.

Last year, Northrop was awarded a contract to build the B-21 bomber that replaces the Cold War-era Boeing B-52s. The Air Force has put the development-phase cost for the B-21 at $23.5 billion, but analysts have estimated the total acquisition cost at up to $80 billion. The Navy’s program to replace its Ohio-class submarines, which can launch nuclear missiles, will cost the service $100 billion.

Shares of defense contractors reversed higher after early, narrow losses. Lockheed shares edged up 0.1% on the stock market today, Northrop added 0.3%, and Raytheon rose 0.5%. Boeing gained 0.1%. General Dynamics (GD) and Huntington Ingalls (HII), which build submarines, were up 0.3% and 2.1%, respectively.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA Congress quietly prepares for the introduction of nuclear weapons in space

Congress scrapped this one word from the law, opening the door to a space arms race, L.A. Times, David Willman, 22 Dec 16, By removing a single word from legislation governing the military, Congress has laid the groundwork for both a major shift in U.S. nuclear defense doctrine and a costly effort to field space-based weaponry.


Experts say the changes, approved by overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate, could aggravate tensions with Russia and China and prompt a renewed nuclear arms race. The bill awaits action by President Obama. The White House has not said what he will do.

For decades, America’s defense against nuclear attack has rested on twin pillars: The nation’s homeland missile defense system is designed to thwart a small-scale, or “limited,” attack by the likes of North Korea or Iran. As for the threat of a large-scale strike by China or Russia, the prospect of massive U.S. retaliation is supposed to deter both from ever launching missiles.

Central to this strategy was a one-word qualifier – “limited” — used to define the mission of the homeland defense system. The language was carefully crafted to avoid reigniting an arms race among the superpowers.

Now, with virtually no public debate, bipartisan majorities in Congress have removed the word “limited” from the nation’s missile defense policy. They did so in giving final approval over the last month to the year-end defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act.

A related provision of the law calls for the Pentagon to start “research, development, test and evaluation” of space-based systems for missile defense.

A space-based defense program would hinge on annual congressional appropriations and decisions by the incoming Trump administration.

Yet both proponents and opponents say the policy changes have momentous implications.

“These amendments were historic in nature — given the paradigm shift forward that they represent,” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who introduced and shepherded the amendments in the House.

Leading defense scientists said the idea that a space-based system could provide security against nuclear attack is a fantasy.

“It defies the laws of physics and is not based on science of any kind,” said L. David Montague, a retired president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp. and co-chair of a National Academy of Sciences panel that studied  missile defense technologies at the request of Congress.

“Even if we darken the sky with hundreds or thousands of satellites and interceptors, there’s no way to ensure against a dedicated attack,” Montague said in an interview. “So it’s an opportunity to waste a prodigious amount of money.”

He called the provisions passed by Congress “insanity, pure and simple.”

The National Academy study, released in 2012, concluded that even a bare-bones space-based missile defense system would cost about $200 billion to put in place, and hundreds of billions to operate in subsequent years.

Franks, asked whether the country could afford it, replied: “What is national security worth? It’s priceless.”

Philip E. Coyle III, a former assistant secretary of Defense who headed the Pentagon office responsible for testing and evaluating weapon systems, described the notion of a space-based nuclear shield as “a sham.”

“To do this would cost just gazillions and gazillions,” Coyle said. “The technology isn’t at hand — nor is the money. It’s unfortunate from my point of view that the Congress doesn’t see that.”

He added: “Both Russia and China will use it as an excuse to do something that they want to do.”

The word “limited” has guided U.S. policy since the National Missile Defense Act of 1999. The qualifier reflects, in part, the reality that intercepting and destroying incoming warheads is supremely difficult, and that it would be impractical to field enough interceptors to counter a large-scale attack. Any such system, by its very nature, would be limited.

The current homeland anti-missile system — the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD — relies on interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Ft. Greely, Alaska. In flight tests, the system, which has cost taxpayers more than $40 billion, has managed to destroy mock enemy warheads only about half the time……..

The first of his amendments — to eliminate “limited” from U.S. policy — was approved in April by the House Armed Services Committee with no debate and without a recorded roll-call vote.

At a committee hearing May 17, a senior Democrat on the panel, Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, offered mild protest.

“I think it was a mistake to mandate a poorly thought out, unaffordable and unrealistic missile defense policy, including plans for a space-based missile deterrent,” Cooper said.

But neither Cooper nor any other House Democrat sought to overturn the provisions,  and he was among those who voted to pass the overall bill the next day……..

In June, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sought to restore “limited,” saying that the change in U.S. policy would create “the impetus for a new arms race” with Russia and China. Markey offered an amendment on the Senate floor but could not muster enough support to bring it to vote.

The same month, the Obama administration criticized the changes in the Senate bill, saying it “strongly objects” to removing “limited” and to placing anti-missile weaponry in space. The statement stopped short of threatening a veto.

The policy changes were greeted with opposition from another quarter as well.  At a congressional hearing in April, Franks pressed Vice Adm. James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency, for his stance on expanding U.S. capability into space.

Syring pushed back.

“I have serious concerns about the technical feasibility of the interceptors in space and I have serious concerns about the long-term affordability of a program like that,” he said……..

December 23, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump announces new #NuclearArmsRace & T May threatens to kill 100k innocent people 2016 remembered!

UK blogger is not happy about USA and UK nuclear threats from our elected leaders!

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lonnie Clark and Shaun McGee on nuclear media reporting in a Post Truth society

I was interviewed by Lonnie Clark from UCTV, Age of Fission on Science media Journalism in a post truth society of click-bait and emotive science based news. I explain how bloggers and amateur journalists, using well sourced data can make a change to the narrative often given out in a PR guided news cycle and make a difference.

We discuss tactics for activists and I comment on how and what caused me to get into Science based Journalism after the BP Gulf oil and Fukushima disasters.

In the Interview I explain how 2 nuclear related stories that the Main Stream “Post Truth” Media have failed to report on correctly. In fact the reportage of these stories is the complete opposite of the facts!

Interview on this You tube channel 56.00 mins;

Misunderstanding science papers and corporate spin

The first article we discussed was from who reported on an anniversary of Chernobyl that wildlife was thriving and in fact that wildlife was adapting to radiation (often called the Hormesis). In my report we showed how wrong they were by just simply contacting the author of the science paper (Prof T. Mousseau ) and posting his reply that clarified his study that was so badly reported on ScienceDaily and their story was picked up by many news outlets;

How to Spin a radioactive bird during Chernobyl remembrance day using Google and


“Hopefully there will be some more comprehensive coverage of this latest
paper that includes some discussion of the broader picture that includes
the context for how such “positive” responses have evolved and how they
are not unexpected given the intensity of “unnatural” selection (i.e.
Negative effects) imposed by the radioactive contaminants in the area.”


And indeed, a couple of years later Prof T. Mousseau clarified this further by explaining that the antioxidants that were utilised by the small group of birds would stop them evolving in such a scenario as Global warming here in this audio interview and article;

Life after Fukushima and Chernobyl nuclear disasters with Prof. T. Mousseau


His earlier study on birds with Black pigment showed that some resilience in a small amount of bird species was due to them using antioxidants to protect from genetic damage but at some cost. This might limit the lower antioxidant levels left in these birds might cause problems for them to find mates and deal with environmental changes (such as climate change)
“Organisms can use these antioxidants to the mutational load OR use it to advertise to a mate or defend itself against some other diseases but there is this ultimate trade off that limits the success in one way or another”
Thermal regulation might be another factor due to this imbalance he said.


Link to the 2016 interview with Prof Mousseau here;

Professor Tsude and his thyroid study attacked but facts clarified

The second article I discussed was concerning the issue of Thyroid Cancers in Fukushima Prefecture.This came about as I was arguing in the comments section of Japan today with three Nuclear Health Physicists whether or not radiation was causing the increasing and statistically significant increases in Childrens Thyroid cancers. Eventually they came up with a number of problems with the meta-analysis  done by Prof. Tsude, so I contacted the Professor with an email and the points they had made and he quickly contacted me back to refute their claims of innacuracys. In the interview I describe how this occurred and also how such questioning would shorten the peer review process, thus, helping the victims of the disaster from biased viewpoints that would delay the nuclear accident victims getting the proper support and compensation they deserves. Here is the article I did documenting that;


[EDITORS NOTE; Prof. G Thomas did not contact  Prof Toshihide Tsude

but made her claim that she cast doubt on the study? [Sam McGill said on Japan Times comments (link below)  “…In any case, Gerry Thomas – who doesn’t work for the Science Media Centre – isn’t a nuclear engineer anyway. She focuses on health and radiation. So you’ve got that criticism wrong too. And it’s not just Gerry Thomas who’s cast doubt on Tsuda’s study…..]]


Confirming the Toshihide Tsuda Thyroid study findings in Fukushima – Answering the nuclear lobby’s questions!

The video clips are from my interview with Lonnie on the you tube video are from the first Sherlock Holmes 1920`s silent movie and part of a Babe Ruth 1920`s silent movie.

December 23, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment