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Theresa May kept quiet, but SHE KNEW about the test missile mishap

may-theresaNo.10 admits Theresa May did know about nuclear test where missile ‘veered towards America’ Downing Street describes the operation as ‘successful’ – because the submarine and crew returned to service – but refuses to say what happened to the missile, Independent, Rob Merrick  @Rob_Merrick  24 January 2017

Theresa May did know about last year’s controversial test firing of a Trident missile, but No.10 is refusing to confirm that it veered off course.

Instead, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman insisted the operation had been “successful” – because both the submarine and the crew were able to return to service.

 Her spokeswoman described repeated questions about allegations that the unarmed missile went astray as “minutiae and specifics”.

The admission that Ms May was informed about the results of last June’s test comes 24 hours after she refused – four times – to say if she had been aware of it.

She has been accused of covering up the test, which came just weeks before MPs backed the £40bn renewal of Trident by 472 votes to 117…….

January 25, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system completely dependent on Trump’s America

Trident II USG photo of UK subThe UK now relies on Trump for our nuclear weapons – we need to spend more than ever before to free ourselves Britain’s Trident missiles are in a common pool shared with the US and maintained at Kings Bay, Georgia. Without the cooperation of the Trump administration, Trident wouldn’t last longer than a couple of months, Independent Benedict Spence  Tuesday 24 January 2017 The report that a Trident missile test went awry, veering not toward its intended target on the west coast of Africa, but toward Florida – just weeks before parliament voted for its renewal – has forced the question of Britain’s nuclear deterrent firmly back into the public agenda.

Number 10 has confirmed that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, was aware of this malfunction before the vote, raising questions over whether she should have revealed information at the time. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, for one, believed there should have been “full disclosure”, whilst the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament suggested such information “would have impacted the debate in parliament.”

  • The Times’ article reporting the incident, however, came at a curious moment, in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s inauguration. The brave new world we find ourselves in calls for Britain to keep her head whilst all around are losing theirs. It may seem strange to use “keep your head” as justification for spending £42bn to renew a weapon capable of rendering the world a barren wasteland, but we have to take into consideration that the man holding the nuclear codes is known for firing off ill-thought out 3am tweets.
  • Worse still, Britain’s nuclear capabilities are hostage to this shot-gun social media enthusiast’s goodwill. Britain’s Trident missiles are in a common pool shared with the US and maintained at Kings Bay, Georgia. Furthermore, our nuclear warheads are designed and maintained with the help of the US. As Trump beats the isolationist drum, and withdraws from Nato, we may be left militarily out in the cold. It isn’t a stretch for him to withdraw US support for UK nuclear capabilities too. Without the cooperation of the Trump administration, Trident wouldn’t last longer than a couple of months……..

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

On February 14, Toshiba will reveal extent of U.S. nuclear business writedown

nuclear-costsToshiba to unveil extent of U.S. nuclear business writedown on February 14 , Reuters 24 Feb 17 Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it will unveil the extent of the writedown on its U.S. nuclear business on Feb. 14 when it reports its results for the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The laptops-to-engineering conglomerate, still recovering from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal two years ago, shocked investors in December by announcing major cost overruns at the U.S. nuclear business it bought in 2015. …….

Last week, media reported the troubled Japanese firm may unveil a writedown of as much as 700 billion yen ($6.18 billion) for its nuclear business……… rating agency Standard and Poor’s downgraded Toshiba’s debt to CCC+, or vulnerable to nonpayment, from B, and put the company’s credit watch on negative.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Russia keen to market nuclear power to South Africa

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia’s Rosatom submits bid for South African nuclear project – TASS, Reuters Jan 24 Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom has submitted a bid for a nuclear power project in South Africa, TASS news agency cited the company’s General Director Alexei Likhachev as saying on Tuesday.

Rosatom had been considered the leading candidate for a tender to build 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear power capacity in South Africa by 2030, but South African nuclear state agency Necsa said last year it was no longer “the frontrunner”. (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Jack Stubbs)

January 25, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia, South Africa | Leave a comment

Trump’s nuclear weapons boast – back to the ‘Star Wars’ Budget Buster?

space_weaponsTrump’s Nuclear Defense Plan: Another ‘Star Wars’ Budget Buster? The Fiscal Times, By  January 24, 2017 President Ronald Reagan cowed the Soviet Union and eventually brought its leaders to the bargaining table with the threat of a costly space-based nuclear missile system dubbed “Star Wars.” In March 1983, Reagan formally launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) to develop and deploy an “impenetrable shield” to protect the U.S. from a Soviet missile attack.

Although the U.S. ultimately spent more than $200 billion on a system that was never successfully developed and deployed, Reagan’s high-stakes defense gambit was credited by many for helping to hasten the end of the Cold War…….

Now a new addition to Trump’s evolving defense posture, the website declared that the United States would develop a “state of the art missile defense system” to guard against attacks from North Korea, Iran, and other rogue states.

The announcement was bereft of details about the technical capabilities or the potential cost to taxpayers for a more sophisticated missile defense system than the land-based and seaborne systems currently deployed in California and Alaska and aboard Navy destroyers in the Pacific.

In addition to the missile shield, the Trump White House said a new military budget would be submitted to Congress outlining a plan to rebuild the military and increase cyber-warfare capabilities. “We will make it a priority to develop defensive and offensive cyber capabilities at our U.S. Cyber Command, and recruit the best and brightest Americans to serve in this crucial area,” the statement declared.

Since then, Trump and his aides have had little more to say about their proposed missile defense initiative, leaving defense policy experts to scratch their heads and speculate on what the new president has in mind. ……..

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and the nuclear doomsday clock

doomsday-clockDonald Trump, Nuclear Weapons & The Ominous Tick Of The Doomsday Clock, Chicagoist The metaphorical minute hand on the Doomsday Clock, currently set at 11:57, didn’t move forward last January, the most recent time the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists convened for their annual reflection on just how close humanity teeters toward global catastrophe. But it didn’t move back either. And if something dubbed the Doomsday Clock being set at three minutes to midnight sounds alarming, well, that’s precisely the point.

The Doomsday Clock was created as a figurative reminder to the public of the catastrophic capabilities posed by nuclear armament—a risk that, despite obvious self-evidence, has required a surprising degree of reiteration. But the concern over nuclear weapons is all of a sudden once again on high alert, in no small part thanks to a pattern of alarming and sometimes confounding statements from President Donald Trump. When the Bulletin makes it’s next clock-update announcement, this Thursday morning, they’ll deliver it to an American public that already seems more anxious about the topic than at any point since the Soviet era.

The clock’s origins, rooted in Chicago, stretch back to 1947, when some of the researchers who helped develop the atomic bomb introduced the symbol. …….

Three days before Christmas, Donald Trump dropped a metaphorical bomb of his own. “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” he tweeted.

The eyebrow-raiser didn’t come out of nowhere, following as it did directly on the heels of Vladimir Putin’s pledge to build a new Russian weapons systems. But it was a characteristically jumbled, counterintuitive thought—not what one hopes to see in terms of nuclear-weapons policy. (Trump reportedly double-downed on the build-up claim according to Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC. She claimed that he told her: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”) It was of a pattern, too, part of a string of confounding—sometimes terrifyingly so—statements about nuclear capabilities. The Bulletin must’ve thought: Since the Cold War, has the need for a reminder of the potential for atomic catastrophe ever seemed simultaneously so essential and so redundant?

In fact, gestures toward nuclear expansion, like Trump’s, were previously called into question by his own Secretary of Defense nominee, James Mattis.

“Is it time to reduce the triad to a diad, removing the land-based missiles?” Mattis asked in 2015, referencing the common belief that air and sea deployment options are more than sufficient without ICBMs. The retired general’s skepticism of the Cold War-style configuration of course calls to mind the fact that Trump, as recently as December, 2015, seemed to have no idea what the nuclear triad even is.

When Lester Holt pressed the issue in a September presidential debate, Trump offered more inscrutable logorrhea. That time, he seemed to caution against building up the nation’s nuclear stockpile, but also fallaciously claimed that the arsenal has been allowed to rot under Obama’s administration. Obama began an expensive modernization effort to overhaul the nuclear program, that could cost as much as a trillion dollars—and that figure would balloon even further if Trump did choose to bulk up.

The list of alarming incidents runs on, too: There’s Trump’s claim that proliferation among Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be such a bad thing. And there’s the Joe Scarborough claim that Trump repeatedly asked at a foreign policy briefing, “If we have them, why can’t we use them?”

There are also troubling reports that the head and deputy positions of the agency in charge of developing and maintaining the American atomic stockpile will be vacant for an unknown amount of time, due to Trump’s refusal to allow key personnel to retain roles after inauguration, but before staffing transitions take place. One of the most devastating examples was the most recent: that Rick Perry—nominee to head the Energy Department, (the same guy who once advocated we eliminate the Energy Department)—believed his job was to advocate for oil and gas, when in fact it included management of the nation’s nuclear armory.

Part of the Clock-setters’ task is to cut through the noise, but such uncertainty is hardly desirable in what is already, in many ways, a fraught geopolitical landscape.

“We’re very leery about acting on things people say. People say all sorts of things,” said Robert Rosner, a University of Chicago Physics professor and co-chair of the Science and Security Board for roughly two years. “The main thing I’m worried about (in terms of Trump) is [he’s] very unclear.” (The Issues pages of the updated White House website don’t offer much elucidation.) Other dangerous global factors are less opaque, however.

“Our relationship with Russia is an issue, aggression in the South China sea, sabre-rattling and warfare in the Middle East, climate—after the Paris Agreement, not much happened,” Rosner said. The threat of nuclear exchange as a result miscalculation on the Indian subcontinent is a particular strong concern of Rosner’s, he said. Add the fact that the very concept of deterrence is being met with increasing skepticism among experts and observers and the backdrop only gets darker.

While not referencing any one particular issue (the Science and Security Board has embargo limitation ahead of the announcement), Jennifer Sims said 2016 was an “unusual clock year, because so much [transformation] is happening.”…..

January 25, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear and radiological insecurity in South Asia

safety-symbol-SmThe terrifying geography of nuclear and radiological insecurity in South Asia, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 22 JANUARY 2017 Hannah E. Haegel and Reema Verma Terrorism involving nuclear or radiological materials remains one of the gravest threats to humanity and to global stability. It was a central concern throughout President Obama’s tenure, with efforts to harness international initiatives coming to the fore at the Nuclear Security Summits. The incoming administration, however, should take a fresh look at a region of the world that hosts two states with nuclear weapons and a serious terrorism problem: South Asia.

Analysis on South Asia tends to occur in silos that focus on either nuclear risks or terrorism risks; fewer studies investigate the overlap between the two.

But we’ve mapped the geography of high-risk locations and violence by non-state actors—that is, the target threat environment—in South Asia’s two states with advancing nuclear weapons programs, India and Pakistan. The low probability but high potential cost of an incident of nuclear or radiological terror merits greater attention from citizens and policy makers alike, and the requisite means, motive, and opportunities for an incident of terror via weapons of mass destruction or disruption converge in South Asia.

The upcoming Summit on Countering WMD Terrorism, to be hosted by India in 2018, offers an opportunity bring attention to the issue. But preparations must begin well in advance of that summit, if the slow-moving machine of bureaucratic change is to be turned to address the institutional and governance problems India and Pakistan exhibit in regard to countering WMD terrorism.

Means to achieve mass destruction or disruption. South Asia is home to expanding and maturing nuclear weapons programs and widespread, frequent, and organized domestic and cross-border terror attacks. Recent incidents include a September 18 assault by terrorists who crossed the border from Pakistan to attack an Indian Army camp at Uri. This incident was followed by Indian retaliation, in the form of a publicly touted “surgical strike.” But this clash is one of many. Overall, the region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) was host to 22,077 terrorist incidents between 2010 and 2015, some 36 percent of the global total. Nearly half of all terrorist attacks in 2015 occurred in four countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, India, and Pakistan. India and Pakistan alone suffered a total of 13,322 incidents and 5,471 fatalities between 2010 and 2015. The Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland classified 30 percent of those attacks as armed assaults.

The different modalities of nuclear or radiological terrorism include: an attack on a nuclear facility, theft of nuclear or radiological material and construction of a “dirty bomb,” and theft of a nuclear weapon. A fourth, and often overlooked, path by which terrorists could precipitate a nuclear incident is to stage escalatory attacks that draw two states into a nuclear crisis or conflict.

The conditions for all four routes are prime in South Asia’s nuclear and radiological threat environment.

The motive for a nuclear or radiological terror attack. A number of violent non-state actors have alluded to their interest in pursuing WMD or precipitating a nuclear event. Some have been even more explicit, demonstrating intent to target a nuclear facility…….

January 25, 2017 Posted by | ASIA, safety | Leave a comment

Israeli court convicts Mordechai Vanunu – again!

Vanunu,MordechaiIsraeli Nuclear Whistleblower Vanunu Convicted of Violating Restraining Orders, 24 Jan 17 
Jerusalem court convicts the man who spent 18 years behind bars of holding unauthorized meetings with two American citizens three years ago and failing to report his move to another apartment inside the same building.
Jerusalem Magistrates Court has convicted Mordechai Vanunu of violating restraining orders imposed since his release a decade ago after spending 18 years in prison for leaking Israeli nuclear secrets to the media.
In its verdict on Monday the court also acquitted Vanunu of violating two other orders.
Vanunu had been jailed for leaking information to the media from his place of employment at the Dimona nuclear reactor in the 1980s.
The restraining orders barred Vanunu from meeting with foreign citizens, required him to report about any change of address and barred him from reporting any information he had received as a reactor employee.
The indictment accused him of three violations: Holding unauthorized meetings with two American citizens in Jerusalem three years ago, and changing his address without notification, for moving to a different apartment in the same building and reporting about it as part of an interview with Channel 2 television.
Regarding the change of address Judge Yaron Mintikovich called it a “minor change of moving from one apartment to another inside the same building.”
The judge called it a technical violation rather than criminal. He was acquitted of a third offense because the state had failed to prove that he had found out about information he provided to Channel 2 while working at the reactor, rather than afterwards.
No sentence was immediately given.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, Israel | 3 Comments

Nuclear worker from Idaho National Laboratory receives care After exposure to Hazardous materials


Published on 24 Jan 2017

Many former workers of the Idaho National Laboratory get healthcare form Nuclear Care Partners in Idaho Falls. Scott Brockway who has MS type symptoms from his exposure to contaminants from the site shares his story.

Conner Board is the Morning Anchor/Producer/Reporter at the NBC affiliate KPVI News 6 in Pocatello/Idaho Falls, Idaho

January 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Manshan nuclear power plant Taiwan continues to have problems and is now on a panicked Orange Alert

Wed, Jan 25, 2017

The power supply system yesterday flashed an “orange” alert due to a breakdown at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) in Pingtung County’s Hengchun Township (恆春), state-run utility Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) said.

A malfunction of a cooling water pump at the plant’s first reactor at 6:26am caused the reactor to shut down, Taipower said. The electricity supply was consequently limited to a maximum of 28.62 gigawatts (GW), with consumption expected to hit a high of 27.35GW, triggering an orange alert, Taipower said. Taipower uses a five-color system to indicate the status of power reserves and the stability of the nation’s power supply.

“Green” indicates an operating reserve of more than 10 percent of total supply, “yellow” signals a reserve of between 6 percent and 10 percent and orange represents a reserve of less than 6 percent. A “red” alert flashes when reserve capacity falls below 900,000 kilowatts (kW) and a “black” light indicates that reserve capacity has fallen under 500,000kW, the point at which Taipower prepares for power rationing.

The plant is repairing the pump, and Taipower notified the Atomic Energy Council and the county government about the situation, the company said. The firm said it has suspended all unnecessary tests on other nuclear power plant units to focus on measures to ensure sufficient power supply.

Ma-anshan nuclear plant reactor given green light

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter
Tue, Jan 12, 2016

The Atomic Energy Council yesterday gave permission to Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) to reactivate the second reactor at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County after halting its operation for two months due to a faulty screw bolt.

The reactor underwent a regular overhaul from Nov. 9 to Dec. 1, but the discovery of a faulty anchor bolt in the reactor lid prevented the reactor from resuming operations.

The bolt was removed and replaced on Dec. 25 and the council approved Taipower’s reactivation plan on Sunday after an inspection, the council said, adding that there are no safety implications or risks of radiation leaks.

The screw bolt was one of 58 on the reactor lid, and abrasion and dust accumulated on the screw threads caused the bolt to become stuck, Taipower said.

The incident was the first in Taiwan, although multiple cases have been reported in other nations and Taipower asked international companies to help resolve the problem.

The reactor is yet to go through a series of tests before it can start generating power, Taipower spokesperson Lin Te-fu (林德福) said, adding that the reactor could be back online today at the earliest.

The reactivation of the reactor would see five of the six reactors at the nation’s three functioning nuclear plants running, the exception being the first reactor at Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), which has been offline since December 2014 pending a probe into a loose handle on a fuel rod cask.

Tue, Dec 15, 2015

Defective metal parts found at Ma-anshan plant

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) yesterday confirmed that two mechanical problems at the Ma-anshan Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County were uncovered during the annual overhaul of the plant’s No. 2 reactor last month.

A control rod driver had become crooked, and a screw bolt on the steam generator had fractured, the company said, adding that they were the first such incidents in Taiwan.

News of the problems came weeks after Taipower reported workers had had problems recovering an addition to an anchor bolt from the reactor lid during the 35-day-long maintenance project, officials said.

Taipower spokesperson Lin Te-fu (林德福) said the control rod’s drive mechanism consists of 52 drivers and controls the fission rate of the nuclear fuel rods. Only one driver had become deformed, and it was replaced, Lin said.

However, such deformation could lead to the misplacement of a control rod when it is inserted into the central core of the reactor, Lin said.

A screw bolt on the steam generator was fractured as it was being removed, and the bolt has also been replaced, he said.

Employees of Westinghouse Electric, which built the reactor, were able to recover the stuck screw bolt used to secure the reactor’s cover lid, he said.

The stuck bolt was the focus of a heated question-and-answer session at the legislature earlier this month, with lawmakers criticizing Taipower for failing to immediately report the incident to the Atomic Energy Council and the Pingtung County Government.

The bolt was recovered through an intrusive method whereby it was cut and hollowed, and holes drilled into the reactor wall to crank out the bolt, but the holes would be repaired and a new bolt sleeve would be installed, Lin said.

Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said the government is running out of time to come up with alternatives to its reliance on nuclear power.

“The nation’s three operating nuclear plants are at the end of their service life, and it is when safety risk is highest. The government must review alternative energy options so that it can decommission the plants before their 40-year lifespan ends, or at least not extend their lifespans.”

The deactivation of reactor No. 2 at Ma-anshan for maintenance marked a period where half of the nation’s six operating reactors were off-line.

The two reactors of the Jinshan Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Shimen District (石門) have been deactivated for annual maintenance since December last year. However, one is scheduled to be reactivated on Jan. 3.

Taiwan joins global anti-nuclear trend


January 18, 2017

“…..In Taiwan, the six reactors in the three active nuclear power plants will reach their 40-year operation limit by May 2025. The No 1 reactor in the Jinshan plant will reach this deadline in December 2018. The amendment ruled out any extension to operations at all nuclear reactors, and they must be closed by 2025.

Changes to the law will also see the state-run Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) privatized within six to nine years, with its operations split between electricity generation and distribution.

Taipower currently controls power generation, transmission and distribution (grid), and power sales, but the changes will now allow new players to enter the market eliminating the monopoly that has existed for six decades. Renewable energy such as solar and wind power will be given priority to go on the grid.

The move is the government’s attempt to promote renewable energy, aiming to increase the current share of 2% to 20% of the island’s total energy generation by 2025…..”

January 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment