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

July 7 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change to heavy seasonal rainfall in the Sahel, a region that so far has been characterized by extreme dryness. They detect a self-amplifying mechanism which might kick in beyond 1.5° to 2° C of global warming, the limits of the Paris Climate Agreement. [Eurasia Review]

The Sahel region (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

¶ Flooding is already one of the most costly perils for the re/insurance community and a recent report by AIR Worldwide shows flooding costs are set to skyrocket; it’s the risk with the most evidence from climate science supporting forecasts of an increase in frequency and intensity of both coastal and inland flood events. [Reinsurance News]

World:

¶ An Australian state will install the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in a “historic” deal with electric car firm Tesla and energy company…

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July 7, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amid the escalating tension between USA and North Korea, calm calls for Engagement and Dialogue

‘The U.S. military drills are a reminder that both sides are acting to escalate this crisis,” says Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, by Common Dreams  by Andrea Germanos, staff writerJuly 05, 2017As tensions continue to rise following Pyongyang’s testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and subsequent military exercises carried out by the U.S. and South Korea, anti-war voices are calling de-escalation and restraint, with one advocacy group charging Wednesday that “both sides are acting to escalate the crisis” and that only way forward is through diplomacy.

Rising tensions were evident on Wednesday as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed the U.N. Security Council. “Time is short. Action is required,” Haley said as she also threatened possible use of “considerable military forces” to address the situation.

“We condemn the missile test and we urge the DPRK government to put an end to further missile tests. The U.S. military drills are a reminder that both sides are acting to escalate this crisis.”
—Kate Hudson, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The London-based Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), however, pointed to the Iran nuclear deal reached in 2015 as evidence that diplomacy can deliver meaningful results.

“We condemn the missile test and we urge the DPRK government to put an end to further missile tests. The U.S. military drills are a reminder that both sides are acting to escalate this crisis,” said CND general secretary Kate Hudson.

“We call on the international community to strengthen efforts to seek an end to the growing tensions in the region,” she said. Referring to now-collapsed six-party negotiations aimed at Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament—which involved the U.S., North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Russia, and China—Hudson said those talks “need to be resumed as a matter of urgency. The Iran nuclear deal shows what can be achieved through engagement and dialogue.”

“Russia and China are promoting a joint freeze on North Korean missile tests and further U.S. and South Korean military drills. The British government should support this initiative, which acknowledges the security fears on both side of the conflict,” Hudson added.

As Martin Hart-Landsberg, former economics professor and member of the Board of directors of the Korea Policy Institute, wrote last month, “it is important to realize that what is happening is not new.” He wrote:

The U.S. began conducting war games with South Korean forces in 1976 and it was not long before those included simulated nuclear attacks against the North, and that was before North Korea had nuclear weapons. In 1994, President Bill Clinton was close to launching a military attack on North Korea with the aim of destroying its nuclear facilities. In 2002, President Bush talked about seizing North Korean ships as part of a blockade of the country, which is an act of war. In 2013, the U.S. conducted war games which involved planning for preemptive attacks on North Korean military targets and “decapitation” of the North Korean leadership and even a first strike nuclear attack.

Given that background Christine Ahn, founder and international coordinator of peace group Women Cross DMZ, told Democracy Now! Wednesday that Pyongyang likely conducted the missile test “as a way to advance their capability to defend in the case of any kind of preemptive strike from the United States.” According to Ahn, the North Koreans “want to put the pressure on the United States, on the Trump administration, to say, ‘We need to negotiate some kind of peace settlement,’ because they feel threatened.”

Ahn also pointed to the China- and Russia-backed proposal for a missile test and military drill freeze, saying “it originally came from the North Koreans in 2015,” and called it “the most viable proposal that is on the table.”…… https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/07/05/us-and-north-korea-escalate-tensions-saner-voices-call-engagement-and-dialogue

July 7, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

World’s nations about to decide on treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

Poised to outlaw nuclear weapons for the first time http://thebulletin.org/poised-outlaw-nuclear-weapons-first-time, Tim Wright, 5 July 17 This Friday at the United Nations, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations will decide—by acclamation or vote—whether to adopt a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons. Since June 15, they have been intensively negotiating its various provisions. Their aim: a robust, effective instrument that will lead us toward the total elimination of these abhorrent weapons.

Civil society organizations—groups outside of government and business working in the interests of citizens—were pivotal in bringing about this historic treaty-making process, and have helped shape governments’ negotiating positions throughout.

Hundreds of campaigners have met with diplomats in New York and officials in capitals around the world in an effort to strengthen the draft text of what promises to be a landmark international agreement.

Many thousands of ordinary citizens—gravely concerned about the looming specter of nuclear war—have taken to the streets to voice their support for the ban, mostly in nations that have refused to join the negotiations. And more than three million people have signed a petition (link in Japanese), initiated by Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors, urging states to adopt a strong treaty.

The negotiations are part of a broader “humanitarian disarmament” agenda that places human beings at its center and challenges abstract notions such as deterrence and geostrategic stability—which have long dominated discussions on nuclear weapons and entrenched the dangerous status quo. Morality and ethics have, at last, entered the diplomatic discourse on this subject.

Humanitarian concerns feature prominently in the draft preamble of the treaty, which acknowledges “the unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons.” The operative part includes obligations to provide victim assistance and remediate environments contaminated by the use and testing of nuclear weapons.

In presenting a near-final draft of the treaty on Monday, Elayne Whyte Gomez, the Costa Rican ambassador presiding over the negotiations, said: “We have more points of convergence than differences. The text establishes a bridge that reflects the will that the states have expressed at this conference. We need to work hard to have some good news for the world on Friday.”

If consensus cannot be reached, states will have the option to adopt the treaty by vote. It will then open for signature on September 20th in New York, after which states will pursue ratification. Once 50 states have completed this process, the treaty will become binding international law—permanently. Our task then will be to promote its full implementation and universalization.

This post is part of Ban Brief, a series of updates on the historic 2017 negotiations to create a treaty banning nuclear weapons. Ban Brief is written by Tim Wright, Asia-Pacific director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, and Ray Acheson, director of Reaching Critical Will.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It’s possible that North Korea has miniaturised nuclear warheads

N.K. might have miniaturized nuke warheads for ICBMs: ex-IAEA official http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/northkorea/2017/07/06/41/0401000000AEN20170706005700315F.html, 2017/07/06 11:07  SEOUL, — A former senior international nuclear watchdog official has raised the possibility of North Korea having nuclear warheads small enough to fit on intercontinental ballistic missiles, a U.S. broadcaster reported Thursday.

It is possible for the North to have held considerably elaborate and miniaturized nuclear warheads with less than 500 kilograms given its technology and manpower, Olli Heinonen, former deputy director-general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Radio Free Asia. He said that more than a decade has passed since the North conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

The North has pressed ahead with its nuclear program as a major task, into which it has put talented manpower and huge resources, Heinonen pointed out, while recalling that it has produced plutonium since the 1980s, even before the nuclear test.

However, the North’s ICBM deployment is likely to be possible one or two years from now, he said.

The North’s sixth nuclear test, if carried out, will have an importance more in political purposes than in improving technology, he said.

It may be the last chance to make nuclear negotiations with the North by mobilizing both incentives and restrictions, he added.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia test-fires cruise missile from nuclear submarine in Barents Sea

Russia’s nuclear submarine test-fires cruise missile successfully in Barents Sea http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-07/05/c_136419955.htm, Editor: Yang Yi MOSCOW, July 5 (Xinhua) –– Russia’s Project 949A submarine Smolensk has carried out a test launch of a cruise missile and successfully hit its designated target during combat drills scheduled in the Barents Sea, the Northern Fleet’s press service said Wednesday.

“A Granit missile was fired against a marine target at depths of about 400 kilometers in the sea. According to the flight recorder’s data, the target was hit successfully,” said Northern Fleet’s spokesman and Captain Vadim Serga.

Built in 1990, Russia’s submarine Project 949A Antey (also known as the Oscar II class submarine) displaces 24,000 tons and has an underwater speed of 32 knots with a crew of 107.

They are armed with 24 launchers of Granit cruise missiles with a range of about 500 km and six torpedo tubes.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear facilities targeted by hackers – say USA Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I.

Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and F.B.I. Say, NYT, JULY 6, 2017, Since May, hackers have been penetrating the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the United States and other countries.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Nuclear marketing agreement between Russia and Vietnam, (but Vietnam turning away from nuclear)

Russia signs MOU for Vietnam nuclear research centre,WNN, 04 July 2017 A memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been signed by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology on the construction of a nuclear science and technology centre in Vietnam. An inter-governmental agreement to build the centre was signed between Russia and Vietnam in 2011.

The MOU was signed in Moscow on 29 June by Rosatom director general Alexey Likhachov and Vietnam’s deputy minister of science and technology Tran Dai Thanh. The signing was witnessed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the President of Vietnam Tea Dan Quang.

Vietnam and Russia intend to promote further cooperation in the construction of the nuclear science and technology centre, in particular to work out the next steps once the Vietnamese government approves the project’s pre-feasibility study. The MOU also provides for consultation on the terms and conditions for financing the project. In addition, the two sides will develop a plan for further cooperation in the development of Vietnam’s nuclear infrastructure.

The nuclear science and technology centre will be equipped with Russian-designed research reactors, a multipurpose cyclotron, as well as research laboratories, an engineering complex, equipment and infrastructure to ensure the safe operation of the centre. It will be used for training staff for Vietnam’s nuclear power program………

The Ninh Thuan 2 plant at Vinh Hai, on Cam Ranh Bay about 20 kilometres northeast of Phouc Dinh, was to be developed under a partnership with Japan.

However, last November Vietnam’s legislature endorsed the government’s decision to abandon plans to build the country’s first two nuclear power plants in favour of renewable energy and power imports amid lower crude oil and coal prices……http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Russia-signs-MOU-for-Vietnam-nuclear-research-centre-0407175.html

July 7, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics, Vietnam | Leave a comment

USA President just as irresponsible with nuclear weapons as North Korean dictator is

Don’t assume Trump is more responsible with nuclear weapons than North Korea, Guardian, Anna Weichselbraun, 6 Jul 17  It’s never been safe to rely on assurances of nuclear deterrence from ‘responsible’ nuclear powers. The US elections are a reminder of that
Anna Weichselbraun is a nuclear security postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation
Who can be trusted with nuclear weapons? Received wisdom has it that only the leaders of the world’s established nuclear weapons states are responsible guardians of their nations’ nuclear arsenals. At the same time, only the belligerent leaders from developing countries with nuclear aspirations present a security threat.

But as the current historical context shows, the belief that the president of the United States is somehow more responsible than the North Korean dictator is ill founded.

Advocates for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons currently being negotiated at the United Nations argue that nuclear weapons are not safe in anybody’s hands. The aim of the prohibition treaty is to delegitimize nuclear weapons by creating a new international norm that recognizes these weapons as a planetary threat.

The eight states who are known to possess nuclear weapons – China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, the US and the UK – are boycotting these negotiations because they don’t want their status quo disturbed.

As my own research shows, the US and its allies have long sought to make nuclear weapons normal, even boring, placing international oversight of nuclear technology in the hands of anonymous bureaucrats at the International Atomic Energy Agency and constraining the spread of nuclear weapons via the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

This treaty legitimizes the status of five states – which also happen to be the permanent members of the UN Security Council – as nuclear armed, and commits other signatories to permanently forgo the development of nuclear weapons.

This treaty’s structure has come to imply that five nuclear weapons states can be “trusted” to refrain from launching nuclear attacks. The normalization of five nuclear weapons states as legitimate is based on the tacit premise that all other states are untrustworthy, and that nuclear weapons should especially be prevented from falling into the hands of “rogue” states: those considered to be unstable, undemocratic, and hostile to the prevailing geopolitical order.

Generations of US leaders have claimed that our nuclear weapons need not be feared because our system of government and our military command and control system ensure rationality in their employment.

Mere weeks after the first atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Truman called US guardianship over this terrible new weapon a “sacred trust”. This premise was already questionable even before the latest crisis on the Korean peninsula. ……

now that the recent US election has brought to power a president that exhibits irrational and authoritarian tendencies, the time is ripe for those committed to reducing the nuclear danger to get serious about disarmament….. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/06/trump-nuclear-weapons-north-korea

July 7, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA and Russia are not keeping to privisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

The original treaty [Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ]is quite clear. Article VI reads as follows (emphasis mine):

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

The “nuclear club” countries, however, have lately reneged on their end of the “let’s move toward disarmament” plan. The most recent news in the U.S., of course, is that both of our major political partieshave supported a massive, trillion-dollar “modernization” program that would significantly enhance rather than reduce existing stockpiles……..

North Korea Isn’t the Only Rogue Nuclear State  Nuclear weapons are about to be made illegal worldwide, but good luck hearing about it at home, Rolling Stone, By , 6 July 17As if the last few years weren’t bad enough, we now have a real nuclear crisis.

North Korea’s loony regime of Kim Jong-un conducted a successful missile launch test – landing about 60 miles south of the Russian city of Vladivostok, according to some reports – marking a frightening nuclear escalation that has heightened tensions across the planet.

That this first serious confrontation in ages is happening now is ironic, given that a little-reported showdown about the use of nuclear power will soon take place in the U.N.

A draft of a U.N. treaty to ban all nuclear weapons is about to be voted on. It has the support of 132 nations and is very likely to pass, at which point the United States will soon once again be in technical violation of a major international agreement, as it long has been with regard to the International Treaty banning land mines.

While practically the ban may not accomplish much, it matters a little when we violate treaties, at least intellectually speaking. North Korea’s violation of similar international agreements is at the crux of the international consensus against allowing the country to have a nuclear program in the first place.

This is what Steve Snyder, the senior fellow on U.S.-North Korea relations for the Council of Foreign Relations, wrote last year about why North Korea must never be allowed to have nukes:

“The United States cannot accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state for normative reasons; North Korea had signed onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear state and then abandoned the treaty in order to pursue nuclear capabilities. Tolerating North Korea’s nuclear status would be equivalent to setting a precedent for other NPT signatories to violate the treaty.”

The problem with this argument is that from the point of view of many non-nuclear countries, the United States itself, along with other nuclear club countries (particularly Russia), has been in continuing violation of the original nuclear non-proliferation treaty, as drafted in 1968.

The treaty has been mostly very successful. Since 1970, when it went into effect, only four more countries – Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – are known to have developed nuclear weapons, and only one, North Korea, was at any time a signatory.

Israel, India and Pakistan were three of just four U.N. member states to originally refuse to sign the treaty. North Korea, meanwhile, pulled out of the treaty in 2003, almost exactly a year after it was put in the crosshairs by George W. Bush in the infamous “Axis of Evil” speech. It had long been suspected of pursuing a secret development program.

One of the reasons the NPT was long seen as successful is that over the decades, it did inspire the main actors – particularly the United States and Russia – to move toward disarmament. Through a variety of programs, nuclear stockpiles have been drastically diminished, down to about 14,900 warheads worldwide, or two-thirds less than their high point in the mid-Eighties.

Russia and the United States didn’t just reduce their stockpiles out of goodwill. They did so in part because moving toward global disarmament was a major component of the original bargain of the non-proliferation treaty.

The original treaty is quite clear. Article VI reads as follows (emphasis mine):

“Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

The “nuclear club” countries, however, have lately reneged on their end of the “let’s move toward disarmament” plan. The most recent news in the U.S., of course, is that both of our major political partieshave supported a massive, trillion-dollar “modernization” program that would significantly enhance rather than reduce existing stockpiles……..

A lack of dialogue on the nuclear front between Russia and America is an extremely negative development, given that our two countries have nearly blown up the planet by accident multiple times, in underreported incidents.

The most serious of these was probably 1983, when a Soviet satellite mistakenly detected the launch of five American minuteman missiles headed toward Russia. Only the high-stress judgment of a 44-year-old Soviet lieutenant colonel named Stanislav Petrov prevented a massive counter-launch and the probable deaths of millions.

“I had a funny feeling in my gut,” Petrov said years later, explaining his determination that the signal was faulty. “When people go to war, they don’t do it with five missiles.”…….

Nut-jobs like Kim Jong-un, and Trump for that matter, are the exact reason why 132 countries are right, and the only truly safe number of nuclear weapons is zero. Surely only dumber leaders await us in the future, and we should do our best to leave them with as small an arsenal as possible. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-north-korea-isnt-the-only-rogue-nuclear-state-w491060

July 7, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia now slowing down its plans for development in the Arctic

Russia makes new big cuts in Arctic spending The country’s Ministry of Economic Development wanted 209 billion rubles (€3.1 billion) for the new national Arctic Program. It might get only 12 billion (€177 million). Barents Observer, By Atle Staalesen July 05, 2017 

The revised funding scheme for the Arctic program, which is to cover the period until year 2020, is 17 times lower than the original sum, RBC reports.

That is a serious blow to Russia’s ambitious development plans for the region.  The Ministry of Economic Development originally wanted to include a number of grand investment projects in the program, among them the development of the new class of nuclear-powered icebreakers, the «Lider», as well as a fleet of vessels for Arctic environmental protection and shelf research. As much as 80 billion (€1.2 billion) was to be spent on the «Lider» alone.

None of that will come, for now. The increasingly strained Russian economy does not allow for the previously announced Arctic super-projects.

The key investment object in the revised program is the development and building of an ice-class drifting platform for Arctic research. The platform, which will get the name «North Pole», is to be used by the State Hydrometeorology Service for Arctic studies and ice measurements.

The platform has a preliminary price tag of seven billion rubles and will consequently consume more than half of the program budget.

The platform is increasingly needed by researchers as Arctic ice layers are getting thinner and traditional drifting ice stations can no longer be applied, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources says.

Another one billion rubles of the revised program is reported to be spent on regional anti-terrorist measures managed by the Russian National Guard. …….https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2017/07/russia-makes-new-big-cuts-arctic-spending

July 7, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Russia | Leave a comment

Radioactive pollution “flowing freely” into the Columbia River, from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear facility

Groundwater contaminated with radioactive waste from the decommissioned Hanford nuclear facility in Washington state is still “flowing freely” into the Columbia River, a program manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said at a meeting of the Hanford Advisory Board.

Radioactive Waste Still Flooding Columbia River, EPA Says, By Karina Brown, Global Research, July 04, 2017 Courthouse News Service 8 June 2017  KENNEWICK, Wash. (CN) –

The announcement came as part of a five-year review of cleanup measures taken at the Superfund site. Officials with the EPA and the Department of Energy said at a meeting Wednesday that the review showed most of the cleanup actions at Hanford were properly “protective,” meaning the public was shielded from the worst of the site’s estimated 500 million gallons of potentially radioactive waste.

Radioactive sludge in shuttered reactors, contaminated soil in landfill sites and equipment that was once used to refine the uranium that fueled the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki were all properly contained, according to the report.

But there was a glaring exception: groundwater contaminated with hexavalent chromium and strontium-90 was still flowing into the nearby Columbia River, according to a presentation from Mike Cline, director of the Department of Energy’s Soil & Groundwater Division.

“Contaminated in-area groundwater is still flowing freely into the Columbia,” EPA Project Manager Dennis Faulk told members of the board.  ……..http://www.globalresearch.ca/radioactive-waste-still-flooding-columbia-river-epa-says/5597591

July 7, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes, water | Leave a comment

Suspicion falls on Russia, in the hacking of USA nuclear sites

Russians Are Said to Be Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings, Bloomberg, By Michael Riley, Jennifer A Dlouhy, and Bryan Gruley 6 July 2017
  • Attacks could pave way to disrupt U.S. electric grid
  • Kansas site is among those trying to eject intruders
  • Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

    The rivals could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

    The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks. One of those networks belongs to an aging nuclear generating facility known as Wolf Creek — owned by Westar Energy Inc., Great Plains Energy Inc. and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative Inc. — on a lake shore near Burlington, Kansas.

  • The possibility of a Russia connection is particularly worrisome, former and current officials say, because Russian hackers have previously taken down parts of the electrical grid in Ukraine and appear to be testing increasingly advanced tools to disrupt power supplies…….
  • Several private security firms are studying data on the attacks, but none has linked the work to a particular hacking team or country…….
  • Many of the power plants are conventional, but the targeting of a nuclear facility adds to the pressure. While the core of a nuclear generator is heavily protected, a sudden shutdown of the turbine can trigger safety systems. These safety devices are designed to disperse excess heat while the nuclear reaction is halted, but the safety systems themselves may be vulnerable to attack.

    Homeland Security and the FBI sent out a general warning about the cyberattack to utilities and related parties on June 28, though it contained few details or the number of plants affected. The government said it was most concerned about the “persistence” of the attacks on choke points of the U.S. power supply. That language suggests hackers are trying to establish backdoors on the plants’ systems for later use, according to a former senior DHS official who asked not to be identified.

    Those backdoors can be used to insert software specifically designed to penetrate a facility’s operational controls and disrupt critical systems, according to Galina Antova, co-founder of Claroty, a New York firm that specializes in securing industrial control systems.

    “We’re moving to a point where a major attack like this is very, very possible,” Antova said. “Once you’re into the control systems — and you can get into the control systems by hacking into the plant’s regular computer network — then the basic security mechanisms you’d expect are simply not there.”

  • The situation is a little different at nuclear facilities. Backup power supplies and other safeguards at nuclear sites are meant to ensure that “you can’t really cause a nuclear plant to melt down just by taking out the secondary systems that are connected to the grid,” Edwin Lyman, a nuclear expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a phone interview.

    The operating systems at nuclear plants also tend to be legacy controls built decades ago and don’t have digital control systems that can be exploited by hackers. Wolf Creek, for example, began operations in 1985. “They’re relatively impervious to that kind of attack,” Lyman said….. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-07/russians-are-said-to-be-suspects-in-hacks-involving-nuclear-site

July 7, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Former AECL scientists condemn plan for nuclear waste dump at the Chalk River site

Globe & Mail 27th June 2017, Former AECL scientists are condemning a plan to build a nuclear waste
facility at the Chalk River site on the Ottawa River, saying it would be
ill-equipped to handle the level of radioactive material planned for it.

The government-owned, private sector-operated Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
(CNL) is proposing to build a $325-million facility to dispose of a large
quantity of low- and intermediate-level waste generated from the demolition
of aging buildings and other contaminated material generated over the past
65 years.

But several former senior scientists who worked there say the CNL
proposal is seriously flawed and represents a threat to human health and
the environment.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/scientists-decry-plan-for-ontario-nuclear-waste-site/article35482638/

July 7, 2017 Posted by | Canada, wastes | Leave a comment

United States got more electricity from renewable sources than from nuclear power in March and April

Renewable energy surges past nuclear for 1st time in decades, Star Tribune

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Thursday that electricity production from utility-scale renewable sources exceeded nuclear generation in both March and April, the most recent months for which data is available. That’s the first time renewable sources have outpaced nuclear since 1984.

The growth in renewables was fueled by scores of new wind turbines and solar farms, as well as recent increases in hydroelectric power as a result of heavy snow and rain in Western states last winter. More than 60 percent of all utility-scale electricity generating capacity that came online last year was from wind and solar.

In contrast, the pace of construction of new nuclear reactors has slowed in recent decades amid soaring costs and growing public opposition. Nearly all nuclear plants now in use began operation between 1970 and 1990, with utilities starting to retire some of their older reactors……..http://www.startribune.com/renewable-energy-surges-past-nuclear-for-1st-time-in-decades/432955983/

July 7, 2017 Posted by | renewable | Leave a comment

Nevada ready for the legal battle against Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump plan

Nevada poised to fight Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump https://lasvegassun.com/news/2017/jul/05/nevada-poised-to-fight-yucca-mountain-nuclear-wast/, By Cy Ryan (contact), July 5, 2017 | CARSON CITY — Nevada is poised to thwart a federally proposed high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain, but there could be battles ahead in Congress, a lawyer leading the fight said.

 “We are in good shape,” said Marta Adams, a private attorney hired to fight the legal battle, told the state Board of Examiners today. Experts were ready to testify at any hearings by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, she said.

Adams fought against the Yucca Mountain project for 20 years with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office before she retired. She received a $300,000 contract as a private attorney to continue the battle, and that amount was raised to $450,000 a year by the Board of Examiners. This is federal money.

President Donald Trump’s administration has included $120 million in its budget for the Federal Regulatory Commission to restart hearings on licensing Yucca Mountain.

Gov. Brian Sandoval, chairman of the Board of Examiners, said the federal government was trying to do “an end run” around the authority of the state. He said the site sits atop an aquifer, and the stored radioactive material could get into the water.

Adams said the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not as ready as it thinks it is to begin the licensing process, with hearings that could last five years. She said the Nevada Legislature stands behind the state’s opposition.

July 7, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment