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

ISIS and nuclear Armageddon? – Exclusive to

arclightISIS and nuclear Armageddon? – Exclusive to

“…However we look at it, as we hear the PR call for more and/or better nuclear weapons, the issue of nuclear weapons grade materials escaping from countries like the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Pakistan etc and also the possibility of theft from large nuclear reprocessing complexes in the west like Sellafield, La Hague, Hanford, Negev Nuclear Research Center etc means that huge resources will have to be spent defending these places that will not be accounted for in costing nuclear power and reprocessing to the tax payer with no guarantee that corrupt practices now or in the future will not circumvent them…..”


Following the article (Link ref 1 below) I picked up from India and posted to, I shared it to Fukushima 311 Watchdogs (F311W) . As an Admin on F311 W I later checked the statistics and found a small number of posts not getting any hits. Its as though they were being blocked. I had discovered in 2013 that this was possible and did a video (Link ref 2 below) showing that evidence.

I then did a video (Link ref 3 below) showing the issue of the blocked posts on the Uranium story and also showed that the Uranium story was being ignored by all the western Main Stream Media and that Google was blocking the story About 5 hours after posting the video the Google block to the story became unblocked.

I then checked out the stats on the video (Screenshot ref 4 below) and saw that some parties in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were interested in that post. Also i noted that Pakistan came up on the stats earlier but with no observable clicks (maybe Pakistan Secret Service computer whizz kids were trying to cover their tracks?). It looks like ISIS are seeking and succeeding in their efforts to acquire nuclear materials

So, what did I conclude with on all this? Firstly a non story about Donald Trump was beginning to go “viral” and in this Post Truth world I wondered why? The USA and Russia had already said they would be renewing and expanding their nuclear weapons arsenal and also with “safer” mini nukes earlier on in the year.

The fact that many outlets in India were posting articles on the story led me to think that the western Trump Tweet story was being manufactured to hide the Indian story that was going viral there.

Also, Mordechai Vannunu was having his latest court case in Israel and the judgment is going to be made in the next few weeks. So, there are two good reasons for the swamping of the internet on “other” nuclear stories to hide these two important facts. In Fact i had just done an article that described how large PR companies managed to manufacture narrative in a Post Truth world.

So, what is so important on the Thane Uranium Black market story? Firstly, the details of the purity of the Uranium. The Indian Police had done some homework and had the purity and the cost of the Uranium and this was in the article i posted. But the costs was in RS Core and the conversion from that to US Dollars was not easy.

So I did the conversion and also checked the upper level of purity (which was “85 percent” pure) and compared that to the purity of US nuclear weapons grade Uranium 235 (which is 93 percent). Now it has to be said that the Indian article did not specify U235 or U238 but when judging purity of Uranium it is valued at the amount of U235 with the rest being the more common U238. So it was looking likely we were talking nuclear weapons grade uranium but with a slightly lower value than the US standard.

So was this rejected weapons grade uranium or was it a lower standard of uranium for nuclear weapons? I do not think we will see the actual tests to confirm the particular isotope of uranium but it does beg the question, How safe are all the hundreds of thousands of tons of high and intermediate level waste and the millions of tons on low level waste and how easy it is for terrorists to get hold of it? Why make more when we have such a problem already? We need to secure this material and shut down the sprawling sites that already exist! Someone please tell the IAEA to stop promoting nuclear as it is just too dangerous!

Enriched uranium is a critical component for both civil nuclear power generation and military nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency attempts to monitor and control enriched uranium supplies and processes in its efforts to ensure nuclear power generation safety and curb nuclear weapons proliferation. From Wiki

“…However we look at it, as we hear the PR call for more and/or better nuclear weapons, the issue of nuclear weapons grade materials escaping from countries like the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Pakistan etc and also the possibility of theft from large nuclear reprocessing complexes in the west like Sellafield, La Hague, Hanford, Negev Nuclear Research Center etc means that huge resources will have to be spent defending these places that will not be accounted for in costing nuclear power and reprocessing to the tax payer with no guarantee that corrupt practices now or in the future will not circumvent them…..”

Wind, Solar, Hydro electricity are looking like much saner options with all the above in mind.

There is also the issue of transparency and Human Rights as we see countries with nuclear weapons currently criminalising activists (as we see in France) and energy developers and innovators (as we see in the UK).

In a recent Atlantic Alliance meeting (from March 2016), I heard them say that European left leaning peace and social justice citizens would need to be reigned in as they were “doing the work of Putin whether they knew it or not” We are living in dangerous times and the left and right peace activists need to come together to make a change. Some food for thought for the coming year perhaps?

Have a great Christmas and a good nuclear free New Year


Shaun McGee

Sources for article

French Human Rights abuses regarding nuclear energy

France, Areva and the case of the Uranium book burning!

This internal investigation which makes the management of EDF tremble!

Greenpeace France reacts to EDF/Government threats with a threat!

My article on Post Truth and Science Media Journalism here;

Ref 1

Thane police (India) seize 9 kg of radioactive depleted uranium

Ref 2

Over 4 million Dollars of Depleted Uranium being sold on Black market #UNSCEAR #IAEA -Censored

Ref 3

Naomi Wolf Facebook blocked in Europe, The Guardian article of Lee Rigby censored

Ref 4



December 24, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Arclight's Vision, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 3 Comments

A personal story of Chernobyl’s environmental effects

text-from-the-archivesthe Prypiat River [Ukraine] flowing through the empty town and nuclear power plant was already a black, dead waterway. Not one bird flew or stray cat mewed….Reindeer [Norway] with ultra-high levels of radioactivity were killed that winter’s day. Many were calves.

Nuclear not for Tassie   – The Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania, 26 March, 2011, Two of my own most memorable experiences as a journalist over the past three decades are linked to nuclear energy.
Chernobyl 1986The first was in late 1986 when, just a few months after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine region of the then-Soviet Union, I visited the site as one of the first Australian journalists allowed into the area.The burnt and melted-down nuclear reactor had not then been encased in its final concrete sarcophagus; Geiger counters and special suits were mandatory, and the closest we could go was the nearby deserted town of Prypiat.
But it was Prypiat rather than glimpses of the Chernobyl power plant 4km away that left the most chilling impression.

A thriving town of 49,000 people think all of Hobart’s Eastern Shore suburbs combined prior to the April 25, 1986, nuclear catastrophe.

Its residents all had to abandon their homes the following day after radiation reached fatal levels.

Not that the Soviet authorities immediately told locals a disaster was unfolding on their doorsteps, despite the new “glasnost” era of openness and transparency just proclaimed by new-look president Mikhail Gorbachev.

It was only when elevated radiation levels were detected in clouds above Sweden that night that Soviet officials finally admitted an accident and a fire had occurred at Chernobyl’s number 4 nuclear reactor earlier in the afternoon.

Visiting Prypiat a few months later was a haunting experience. Mouldy lunches and mugs still sat on kitchen tables, dusty coats were thrown over armchairs and bedrooms with their crumpled blankets and family snaps looked as if their occupants might return at any moment.


Children’s toys and bikes were scattered around outside the concrete apartment blocks, as rampant weeds reclaimed the ghost town’s city square.

But the Prypiat River flowing through the empty town and nuclear power plant was already a black, dead waterway. Not one bird flew or stray cat mewed.

Just two months later, I was on assignment in the snowy wilds of northern Norway with a family of traditional reindeer herders, in the dark December days of early winter.

For these families, who have for generations grazed their herds up on the mountain tops and who eat reindeer meat for breakfast, lunch and dinner as part of their reindeer-centric tradition 1986 was a terrible watershed year.

Chernobyl’s radioactive cloud had drifted over Norway for several days in late April, dropping its deadly heavy caesium molecules in spring rain and mist.

The lichen that grow above the snowline absorbed the radioactive load; turning these hardy plants into deadly fodder for the deer, which rely on them as food.

For the first time, the semi-wild reindeer herds had to be removed from the mountains, possibly for decades, as the lichen would not be fit to eat for many years. Instead they were ordered into barns to be fed hay brought in from other areas of Norway.

Reindeer with ultra-high levels of radioactivity were killed that winter’s day. Many were calves.

And later that night Norwegian Government experts delivered another fatal blow. They told the same herders reindeer meat could not be safely eaten more than twice a week until years later, when their herds would be free of all radioactive contamination.

It has been impossible not to reflect on my own two sombre brushes with nuclear power gone wrong, as the world has held its breath over the past two weeks wondering how close Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear plant has been to the total core meltdown experienced at Chernobyl.

Already water and milk on parts of Japan has been declared unsafe for drinking, leafy vegetables and crops in surrounding farms banned from sale and seaweed from nearby waters found to be contaminated…….

Nuclear not for Tassie Editorial – The Mercury – The Voice of Tasmania

December 24, 2016 Posted by | environment, history, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and his staff contradicting each other on nuclear arms race

nuclear-weapons-3A tense new battle over nuclear arms erupts between Donald Trump and his staff, WP   December 23 It began, it seems, with a speech from Vladimir Putin on Thursday, during which the Russian president argued that his country’s nuclear arsenal needed to be upgraded. In short order a tense two-day stand-off began — between Donald Trump and the communications staffers on his transition team.

Trump weighs in.

Trump’s initial comment about nuclear proliferation was clear in its intent if vague in its boundaries.

“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” is not subtle, implying that as president Trump aims to match whatever it is that Russia does. That, as we pointed out on Thursday, means a new nuclear arms race, contravening decades of American foreign policy.

His team pushes back.

Not so fast, though. On Thursday afternoon, transition spokesman Jason Miller sent out a statement about Trump’s declaration.

“President-elect Trump was referring to the threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it—particularly to and among terrorist organizations and unstable and rogue regimes,” Miller wrote in an email to The Post. “He has also emphasized the need to improve and modernize our deterrent capability as a vital way to pursue peace through strength.”

“[T]he threat of nuclear proliferation and the critical need to prevent it” is language that comports with existing policy — but it does not comport with what Trump himself said. The word “expand” is hard to avoid, but in the spirit of generosity one might allow that the president-elect misspoke on Twitter.

Trump suggests he meant what he said.

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday, co-host Mika Brzezinski reported on a conversation she’d had directly with Trump.

CO-HOST JOE SCARBOROUGH: The president-elect told you what?

BRZEZINSKI: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass.”

SCARBOROUGH: “And outlast them all.”

BRZEZINSKI: “And outlast them all.”

SCARBOROUGH: OK. You can put that down as breaking news.

The conversation continued with the question of whether Trump was simply posturing in order to seem unpredictable. The Post’s David Ignatius, who was part of that discussion, noted that it was more likely that Trump was reverting to his old pattern: Being criticized for something he’d said and then doubling down on it in response.

The transition team assures us he didn’t mean what he said.

The conversation moved to NBC proper, where “Today” show host Matt Lauer spoke with Sean Spicer, recently identified as the incoming White House press secretary………

Spicer and Miller are caught in the middle between what Trump is saying and what Trump’s team wants him to say. As with all great conflicts, this one defies easy resolution.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Science under threat, as Trump demands lists of climate science workers

censorshipA dark time is coming to American climate science

Trump questionnaire recalls dark history of ideology-driven science, Skeptical Science 21 December 2016 by By Paul N. Edwards, Professor of Information and History, University of Michigan

President-elect Trump has called global warming “bullshit” and a “Chinese hoax.” He has promised to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate treaty and to “bring back coal,” the world’s dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuel. The incoming administration has paraded a roster of climate change deniers for top jobs. On Dec. 13, Trump named former Texas Governor Rick Perry, another climate change denier, to lead the Department of Energy (DoE), an agency Perry said he would eliminate altogether during his 2011 presidential campaign.

Just days earlier, the Trump transition team presented the DoE with a 74-point questionnaire that has raised alarm among employees because the questions appear to target people whose work is related to climate change.

For me, as a historian of science and technology, the questionnaire – bluntly characterized by one DoE official as a “hit list” – is starkly reminiscent of the worst excesses of ideology-driven science, seen everywhere from the U.S. Red Scare of the 1950s to the Soviet and Nazi regimes of the 1930s.

The questionnaire asks for a list of “all DoE employees or contractors” who attended the annual Conferences of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – a binding treaty commitment of the U.S., signed by George H. W. Bush in 1992. Another question seeks the names of all employees involved in meetings of the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon, responsible for technical guidance quantifying the economic benefits of avoided climate change.

It also targets the scientific staff of DoE’s national laboratories. Continue reading

December 24, 2016 Posted by | civil liberties, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Research shows that human activities have brought about freakish weather in the Arctic

Antarctica's Larsen C Ice Shelf (Youtube)Yes, the Arctic’s freakishly warm winter is due to humans’ climate influence, The Conversation, December 22, 2016 For the Arctic, like the globe as a whole, 2016 has been exceptionally warm. For much of the year, Arctic temperatures have been much higher than normal, and sea ice concentrations have been at record low levels.

The Arctic’s seasonal cycle means that the lowest sea ice concentrations occur in September each year. But while September 2012 had less ice than September 2016, this year the ice coverage has not increased as expected as we moved into the northern winter. As a result, since late October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at record low levels for the time of year.

These record low sea ice levels have been associated with exceptionally high temperatures for the Arctic region. November and December (so far) have seen record warm temperatures. At the same time Siberia, and very recently North America, have experienced conditions that are slightly cooler than normal………

Arctic attribution

Our World Weather Attribution group, led by Climate Central and including researchers at the University of Melbourne, the University of Oxford and the Dutch Meteorological Service (KNMI), used three different methods to assess the role of the human climate influence on record Arctic warmth over November and December.

We used forecast temperatures and heat persistence models to predict what will happen for the rest of December. But even with 10 days still to go, it is clear that November-December 2016 will certainly be record-breakingly warm for the Arctic.

Next, I investigated whether human-caused climate change has altered the likelihood of extremely warm Arctic temperatures, using state-of-the-art climate models. By comparing climate model simulations that include human influences, such as increased greenhouse gas concentrations, with ones without these human effects, we can estimate the role of climate change in this event.

This technique is similar to that used in previous analyses of Australian record heat and the sea temperatures associated with the Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching event.

To put it simply, the record November-December temperatures in the Arctic do not happen in the simulations that leave out human-driven climate factors. In fact, even with human effects included, the models suggest that this Arctic hot spell is a 1-in-200-year event. So this is a freak event even by the standards of today’s world, which humans have warmed by roughly 1℃ on average since pre-industrial times.

But in the future, as we continue to emit greenhouse gases and further warm the planet, events like this won’t be freaks any more. If we do not reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we estimate that by the late 2040s this event will occur on average once every two years.

All of our analysis points the finger at human-induced climate change for this event. Without it, Arctic warmth like this is extremely unlikely to occur. And while it’s still an extreme event in today’s climate, in the future it won’t be that unusual, unless we drastically curtail our greenhouse gas emissions.

As we have already seen, the consequences of more frequent extreme warmth in the future could be devastating for the animals and other species that call the Arctic home.

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Marc Macias-Fauria, Peter Uhe, Sjoukje Philip, Sarah Kew, David Karoly, Friederike Otto, Myles Allen and Heidi Cullen all contributed to the research on which this article is based.

You can find more details on all the analysis techniques here. Each of the methods used has been peer-reviewed, although as with the Great Barrier Reef bleaching study, we will submit a research manuscript for peer review and publication in 2017.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Trump ready to restart costly and dangerous nuclear arms race

Trump Welcomes Nuclear Arms Race: “We Will Outmatch Them at Every Pass”, Slate 23 Dec 16 By Daniel Politi President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on a statement that alarmed non-proliferation experts around the globe, essentially saying he’s cool with a nuclear arms race. “Let it be an arms race,” Trump told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski when she asked him to clarify comments about expanding the country’s nuclear weapons capabilities. In the off-air conversation with the co-host of Morning Joe, the president-elect expressed confidence that the United States would come out on top anyway so there’s nothing to fear. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all,” Trump reportedly said.

Trump’s statement came a day after the president-elect shocked the world by writing on Twitter that the United States “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”…….

Donald Trump Says U.S. Should ‘Greatly’ Expand Nuclear Arsenal

The New York Times agrees there seems to be little doubt that at least based off on Trump’s statements, the president-elect seems willing to “restart the costly and dangerous Cold War-era nuclear weapons competition between the United States and the old Soviet Union.”……

The Russian leader said that his country’s military is stronger than any potential aggressor, even if he recognized the United States has a larger military. “Of course the U.S. has more missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, but what we say is that we are stronger than any aggressor, and this is the case,” he said, adding that Russia has weapons that can penetrate U.S. defense systems.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

#NuclearIsDirty – Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) campaign

radation sign dirty#NuclearIsDirty  Nuclear Information and Resource Service By all rights, nuclear power is on its way out. And that is thanks to the actions of thousands of activists  all across the country. This year’s fifth anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster was the warning — and the #NuclearIsDIrty! campaign is the answer!

The only way to guarantee another such disaster never happens again is simple: we need to get rid of nuclear power, and stop making radioactive waste.

But powerful nuclear corporations are not willing to accept that fate. They are waging a war against renewable energy, in a last-ditch effort to block solar and wind and steal every last penny that could be invested in a clean energy future.

We’ve won a lot of battles to stop them, but we’re in danger of losing the war. Nuclear corporations know a basic truth of public relations: repeat a lie often enough and long enough, and people will start to believe it. And the lie they are telling over and over and over again is … Nuclear Energy Is Clean.

That is why we launched this new campaign: #NuclearIsDirty.  

We are going to expose the industry’s lies, arm people with the truth about nuclear power, and make sure when anyone hears the word “nuclear,” they know it is one of the most poisonous, dangerous, and polluting technologies on the planet.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Women face up to climate change threat, some choosing not to have children

climate-doomsdayWomen are breaking the climate taboo and questioning whether to have kids in such a world, Fusion, By Renee Lewis, 20 Dec 16, Climate change has caused a reproductive justice crisis, activists say, as its projected impacts lead some to question how they could have a baby with such an uncertain future.

Nearly 200 nations came together to sign a climate treaty in Paris last year, but even their collective efforts to reduce emissions will not be enough to keep the planet at a safe level of temperature rise.

President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to expand fossil fueldevelopment, meanwhile, scientists say the world may have entered its sixth mass extinction event.

 All of these things point to a precarious future for our species—a business-as-usual scenario will mean some six feet of sea level rise and some regions of the world becoming uninhabitable or disappearing under rising seas by the end of the century.

With little time to spare, many are trying to take matters into their own hands and consider their options. A group of 21 youth recently sued the federal government for its role in creating the climate crisis and for leaving them to inherit a polluted planet—calling it generational injustice.

Others worry more about future generations.

“Decision makers have repeatedly put big business and fossil fuels over a future for our children,” said Meghan Kallman, co-founder of Conceivable Future. The women-led network hopes to bring awareness to the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice, and to end U.S. subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

Kallman and co-founder Josephine Ferorelli brought up a taboo question—how this affects a person’s decision on whether or not to have kids.

“How does this affect people of childbearing age?” Kallman asked.

The response they’ve received has been overwhelming, with many people commenting on articles written about the group: ‘That’s my reason!’

Women as well as men are consciously deciding not to have children, knowing that their kids could inherit a future that is unlivable.

“People are still shocked when they ask why I don’t have children, and I tell them ‘for environmental reasons,’” Shannon O., 38 years old,said in a testimonial for Conceivable Future. Having a child, especially in America where consumption levels are so high, adds another carbon footprint. For example, an American woman who makes lifestyle changes such as recycling and driving a fuel-efficient car saves almost 500 tons of CO2 emissions in her lifetime. But choosing to not have a child would dwarf that, preventing almost 10,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere………

The testimonies are part of Conceivable Future’s strategy to build a conversation—and a movement—around this question. Ferorelli said they hope the movement will become powerful enough to enact change at the local level—especially with Trump’s statements on expanding the fossil fuel industry.

“Now more than ever, we need to organize at the grassroots level, because the possibility of federal action is pretty severely limited,” Ferorelli said.

The group encourages anyone who’s interested in talking about these issues to host a house party. There, they can discuss these often taboo topics openly in a comfortable environment.

Across the country, people have hosted house parties and sent in nearly 70 testimonies……..

December 24, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA, women | Leave a comment

Will Trump rule by fear? His tweets indicate this pattern

TrRepublican hawk (Trump)ump’s Nuclear Weapons Tweet is Further Proof He Intends to Rule by Fear
With a single tweet, we can kiss goodbye to the diplomatic years of the Obama administration where consensus and collaboration ruled and America sought to engage peaceably with the international community. 

Every dictator throughout history has ruled through the use of fear. The constant threat of violence is not always overt, and the best strongmen have used the prospect of physical force sparingly. But it is always present, and everyone around them understands that if they step too far out of line, they will be dealt with brutally. …….
With a single tweet, we can kiss goodbye to the diplomatic years of the Obama administration where consensus and collaboration ruled and America sought to engage peaceably with the international community. ……

December 24, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s position on nuclear weapons would lead to catastrophe – say experts

trump-world‘Total catastrophe’: Experts say Trump’s position on nuclear proliferation would be a disaster   PAMELA ENGEL DEC 23, 2016 President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that the US needs to “greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability” until “the world comes to its senses” regarding nuclear weapons.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another delay in removing spent nuclear fuel from Fukushima reactor

Fuel removal at Fukushima reactor again faces delay THE ASAHI SHIMBUN December 23, 2016 Work to retrieve spent nuclear fuel in the No. 3 reactor building storage pool of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will again be postponed due to a delay in clearing radioactive debris at the site.

TEPCO planned to begin removing 566 spent nuclear fuel assemblies in the storage pool in January 2018. However, the government and the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., decided on the postponement, sources said on Dec. 22. They will decide on a new timetable in a few weeks.

The work was initially scheduled for fiscal 2015, but had been pushed back because of high radiation readings in and around the No. 3 reactor building. The building was heavily damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the days following the disaster, triggered by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

TEPCO had attempted to lower radiation levels by clearing the radioactive debris remaining at the site.

But the clearing work took longer than expected due to contamination being more widespread than previously thought, forcing TEPCO and the government to again put off the retrieval.

Radiation levels have now dropped as almost all of wreckage at the site has been cleared, TEPCO said. The government and TEPCO have said fuel retrieval at the No. 1 and No. 2 reactor buildings will start in fiscal 2020 or later.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | Leave a comment

Illegal lobbying by USA nuclear weapons firms

money-lobbyingNuclear weapon firms pay to settle illegal lobbying cases

Altogether, the three companies making these settlement payments since 2013 are involved in the operation of six of the eight active sites in the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons program. Actions by the Energy Department’s contractors – including any misspending – have substantial impact there, since contract work consumes roughly 90 percent of its total spending.

Although work on energy generation and consumption garners more public attention and President-elect Donald Trump has nominated an oil-state politician – former Texas governor Rick Perry – to become the department’s new top manager, nuclear weapons-related work accounts for nearly two-thirds of all the Energy Department’s activities.

The latest case emerged from a civil lawsuit that accused two companies of both performing substandard work at a nuclear weapons-related waste site and said one of them had improperly spent government funds to lobby for more. The companies declared on Nov. 23 they would settle the allegations by making the payment, mostly to the federal government, for a total of $125 million, a massive amount for alleged Energy Department-related malfeasance.

The settlement involves work by Bechtel National Inc. and its parent Bechtel Corp., and URS Corp. and its subsidiary URS Energy and Construction Inc., which together have been trying to clean up the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Washington. That’s where raw uranium was enriched into fuel for nuclear bombs during the Manhattan Project and the Cold War.

The firms have denied doing anything improper. But the settlement is part of an emerging pattern.

Lockheed Martin Corp., which operates one of three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories – Sandia, agreed in August 2015 to pay $4.7 million to settle a complaint by the Justice Department that it used federal funds to lobby for a no-bid contract extension, while Fluor Corp. paid $1.1 million in April 2013 to settle accusations that it used federal funds to lobby government agencies for more business at its Hanford training facility.

Worries about the mission being underminedBesides overseeing the Hanford cleanup, Bechtel and URS (now owned by a company called AECOM) help operate the other two U.S. nuclear weapons labs — Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore, which perform the bulk of U.S. nuclear weapons design work. Altogether, the firms that have reached the settlements since 2013 are involved with operations at Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico, Livermore in California, the Pantex Plant in Texas, the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee.

The recent settlement “demonstrates that the Justice Department will work to ensure that public funds are used for the important purposes for which they are intended,” Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s civil division, said in a written statement released on Nov. 23.

Money allocated by Congress for Hanford  “is intended to fund the Department of Energy’s important mission to clean up the contaminated Hanford nuclear site, and this mission is undermined if funds are wasted on goods or services that are not nuclear compliant or to further lobbying activities,” Mizer said.

Both Bechtel and AECOM in written statements said the settlements were made to avoid messy litigation and keep the waste plant project moving. “We have performed our work…ethically and professionally,” Bechtel National Inc. spokesman Fred deSousa said in a written statement, without going into details.

In its own written statement, AECOM — which acquired URS in 2014 — complained that the Department of Justice joined the whistleblowers’ “unwarranted lawsuit against URS” based on events that preceded AECOM’s acquisition of the company. “We take our responsibilities as a government contractor very seriously and have a demonstrated track record of serving our customers with honesty and integrity,” the company’s statement said.

The Justice Department’s involvement in the case originated in civil allegations of mismanagement and wrongdoing in Hanford’s Waste Treatment and Isolation Plant project, commonly called “WTP.” Under its contract with the Energy Department, Bechtel designed and is constructing machinery to convert nuclear-tainted wastes there into a stable, glassy substance suitable for safe disposal.

Three whistleblowers — Walt Tamosaitis, Donna Busche and Gary Brunson — filed a lawsuit on Feb. 4, 2013, accusing Bechtel and URS bosses of mismanagement and misappropriation of funds over a dozen years that together cost the government more than $1 billion. They also said safety lapses at the site, motivated by a desire to meet Energy Department deadlines and collect financial bonuses, were serious enough to risk a nuclear accident.

The whistleblowers’ complaint triggered an investigation by the Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General, which collected emails sent between Bechtel’s project leaders, the company’s top congressional lobbyist for nuclear projects, and Energy Department employees. The whistleblowers’ attorneys subsequently obtained the emails through the civil discovery process and incorporated them into an amended complaint. The Justice Department, in turn, used the complaint as the basis for its own investigation of Bechtel and URS.

Getting $45 million in new work

In the complaint, the whistleblowers said that when they originally lodged accusations of mismanagement – several years earlier — Bechtel project leaders launched a coordinated lobbying campaign to defend itself and also to collect new revenues for additional work on the waste treatment plant project. It then billed the department for the costs of this lobbying, the complaint said.

In an email sent by one Bechtel manager to another — along with a chart detailing the work that the company could say the additional revenue would finance — the manager said “in reality if we did not receive the additional $50m … most of these activities would still likely happen,” according to the whistleblowers’ complaint. The company subsequently got $45 million added to its contract.

The full emails detailing these actions have not been publicly released, by either the government or the plaintiffs, because the messages are part of an investigation that remains “open and ongoing,” according to Felicia Jones, spokeswoman for the Energy Department Office of Inspector General. She declined to say whether her colleagues consider the whistleblowers’ description of the emails accurate.

The Justice Department’s statement affirmed that it had “alleged that Bechtel National Inc. and Bechtel Corp. improperly claimed and received government funding for lobbying activities.” But Justice Department spokeswoman Nicole Nava declined to comment about the whistleblower’s account of specific emails.

Lobbying Congress for new work isn’t against the law. But billing the government for lobbying is, according to the federal Byrd Amendment, approved by Congress in 1989. Court records state that Bechtel will pay $67.5 million of the settlement, and AECOM will pay $57.5 million; the amount of money that will go to the whistleblowers – who are entitled to a portion of any funds they help the government recover — has not been determined yet.

Charles Curtis, who oversaw the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons work from 1994 to 1997 while serving as undersecretary and then deputy secretary, said he was not aware of any improperly-funded lobbying during his tenure. But he expressed surprise that multiple contractors within the past three years have been caught doing it. “These are for-profit enterprises. They can use their shareholders’ money for lobbying, but to use congressionally appropriated money [is] a diversion of funds,” Curtis said. “It’s not only unethical … it’s illegal.”

 Three years ago, it was the Fluor Corporation and its subsidiary Fluor Hanford Inc., which at the time held the contract to manage the Hanford site, that agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a separate complaint that its officials lobbied with government money from 2005 to 2010 to drum up business for a federally funded training facility there.   Loydene Rambo, a Fluor employee, triggered the settlement by filing her own whistleblower suit, based on what she described as records of the lobbyists being paid with federal funds. She received a $200,000 reward, and Fluor denied any wrongdoing.

The Justice Department’s August 2015 settlement with Lockheed Martin Corporation, which runs Sandia, similarly followed improper billing of the government for a more complex and elaborate lobbying effort to extend its management contract, according to a special investigation report released by the Energy Department Office of Inspector General. Lockheed agreed to pay $4.7 million in 2015 to settle the Justice Department’s complaint about the billing. Like Fluor before it and Bechtel and URS since, Lockheed Martin in a written statement denied it had done anything wrong.

Asked by the Center about how the lobbying settlements have affected the department’s relationship with its nuclear weapons contractors, Energy Department spokeswoman Bridget Bartol said in an email that “the Department has taken and will continue to take vigorous action against any contractor who spends federal funds on improper lobbying activities.”

Bechtel remains the primary contractor on the WTP project, and Lockheed Martin still holds the contract to operate Sandia National Laboratories.

Cleanup of the Hanford site was authorized 25 years ago, and as of 2000 it was expected to cost $4.3 billion and be completed in 2011. The Department now estimates it may not be fully operational until 2037, according to pleadings filed in federal court by government lawyers defending the Energy Department in a lawsuit brought by the state of Washington to force an acceleration of the cleanup. If the job is funded at its current level of about $690 million a year until 2037, the cost would exceed $15 billion.

President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team is mindful of the project’s problems and growing price tag. A recent memo to top Energy Department officials from the transition team he appointed asked them to describe “your alternatives to the ever increasing WTP cost and schedule, whether technical or programmatic.”

The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit, investigative newsroom in Washington, D.C. More of its national security reporting can be found here.


December 24, 2016 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump’s aim for more nuclear weapons sends uranium stocks upward

Donald Trump Is the Stock Market’s Most Interesting Man, Bloomberg, by Joseph Ciolli  and 

Lily Katz 23 Dec 16, 
  • Uranium ETF surges right after post as underlying shares soar
  • Icahn pick moves stocks the investor has previously rebuked

Donald Trump’s still the most interesting man in the world for U.S. stock investors.

A Twitter post from the President-elect signaling support for beefing up America’s nuclear arsenal sent shares in uranium miners surging……..

Trump’s call for expanded nuclear capability erased a loss of 2 percent in an exchange-traded fund tracking a basket of uranium miners. Uranium Energy Corp. climbed as much as 14 percent intraday to lead gains in the fund, while Mega Uranium Ltd. and Laramide Resources Ltd. are on pace to gain more than 3.7 percent…….

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. shares have surged 32 percent, touching the highest since 2007 this week, to lead financial shares higher on speculation Trump will roll back industry regulations. Goldman alumni dot the billionaire’s inner circle, with his picks for Treasury secretary, economic adviser and chief strategist all having ties to the investment bank………

December 24, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s nuclear comments are ‘nothing special’ , says Putin

Russia’s Vladimir Putin says Donald Trump’s nuclear comments are ‘nothing special’  Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not dispute that the US military is the world’s most powerful, and that US President-elect Donald Trump’s statement about the need to boost his country’s nuclear weapons capability was perfectly normal.

Mr Trump on Thursday called for an expansion of the United States’ nuclear capabilities, in a tweet that alarmed non-proliferation experts who said that a boost to the US arsenal could fuel global tensions.

Mr Putin told a news conference in Moscow he was surprised by the fuss Mr Trump’s tweet had caused and how it had been linked to his own statements about Russia’s plans to modernise its nuclear arsenal. He said Mr Trump’s statement about overhauling US nuclear forces was “nothing special”.

“[Trump] spoke during his election campaign about the need to beef up the US nuclear arsenal and the armed forces,” said Mr Putin.

Mr Putin said on Thursday Russia’s military was “stronger than any potential aggressor”.

The Russian leader made clear on Friday he did not regard the United States as a potential aggressor.

“I was a bit surprised by the statements from some representatives of the current US administration who for some reason started to prove that the US military was the most powerful in the world,” said Mr Putin.

“Nobody is arguing with that.”

December 24, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Petition to take America’s nuclear missiles off high alert

sign-thisKeep Donald Trump’s Finger Off The Nuclear Button   Joe Cirincione President, Ploughshares Fund; Author, ‘Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late’ 12/21/2016  It’s too late to stop Donald Trump from becoming president. But it is not too late to stop him from impulsively blowing up the planet.

With the stroke of a pen, President Barack Obama could take our nuclear missiles off high alert, making sure that President Trump could not launch them rashly. If he doesn’t do this, we will all regret it.

It’s like wishing you had locked the door before you left the house. Or made sure the gun wasn’t loaded before you put it on the shelf. Or wishing you hadn’t stored gasoline quite so close to the furnace.

President Obama should take our nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert before Donald Trump gets control of them. Ploughshares Fund has launched a new petition to do just that.

The Danger On January 20, the military officer carrying the nuclear codes who follows the President everywhere, will follow Barack Obama to the inaugural platform. When he leaves, the officer will start following President Donald J. Trump. From that moment on, Trump will have the unfettered ability to launch one or one thousand nuclear warheads whenever he pleases. Four minutes after he gives the order, the missiles will fly. No one can stop him, short of a full-scale mutiny. Once launched, the missiles cannot be recalled.

Almost 1,000 nuclear warheads, each many times the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, are kept on missiles ready to launch in minutes. This is called high alert, or launch-on-warning, or, more commonly, hair-trigger alert.

It is a relic of the Cold War. Nuclear commanders wanted the ability to launch their land-based missiles before an enemy attack could destroy them. For years, experts have warned that this was a dangerous practice, subject to false alarms, mistakes, misunderstanding and human error. And it is not necessary. The weapons in our alert subs and bombers are not vulnerable to surprise attack. We have more than enough weapons to deter an attack or respond to one.

While running for the presidency in 2008, Obama said:

“Keeping nuclear weapons ready to launch on a moment’s notice is a dangerous relic of the Cold War. Such policies increase the risk of catastrophic accidents or miscalculation. I believe that we must address this dangerous situation — something that President Bush promised to do when he campaigned for president back in 2000, but did not do once in office.”

Obama didn’t do it, either. Many of the very people he appointed to implement his reforms sided with the nuclear bureaucracy to stop him. The State Department posted a condescending explanation about why we need to be able to destroy the world within 4 minutes, assuring us that this was safe and reasonable. Rereading the post now, one can see the how much of the argument rests on supreme confidence in the judgment of the president of the United States.

Few people have that confidence now. Obama has thirty days to fix his mistake. Thirty days to prevent the worst disaster imaginable.

The Solution

Yes, this will be hard. Yes, much of the defense bureaucracy will argue against him. Yes, Obama has said he doesn’t want to “box in” his successor.

Yet, the press reports that in the last few days:

“Obama has used his final weeks in office to press for new rules on coal mining pollution, offshore drilling and the venting of planet-warming methane — all of which are likely to be challenged or repealed by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress.”

If the president can do this for parts of the environment, he can take this one simple step to safeguard the entire planet.

Scores of leading nuclear scientists wrote to the President asking him to take nuclear missiles off hair-trigger alert. You can now add your voice.

Ploughshares Fund has started a public petition to President Obama. Join us.

Tell the president to end this obsolete policy. President Trump could still launch nuclear weapons in an emergency, but it would take hours or days. This gives time for consultations, consideration, time to check mistakes and blunt the impulses of the moment. More time doesn’t weaken our national security; it strengthens it.

Please sign the petition now. It says:

“Now more than ever, we call on you to ensure calmer heads prevail. Taking this critical step would bring profound security benefits for all Americans by reducing the risk of nuclear disaster.”

Urge the President to lock the nuclear door before he leaves.

December 24, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | 2 Comments