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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Donald Trump: USA ready to act militarily against North Korea: Merkel calls for de-escalation of the rhetoric

Donald Trump says US military solutions ‘locked and loaded’ against North.  Korea.news.com.au , AUGUST 12, 2017 US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will “regret it and regret it fast” if he attacks the US air bases in Guam or any of America’s allies.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Germany, Pakistan, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

In brief: the USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) global climate report

More Climate Change Stories, Less Graphs And Maps,  Marshall Shepherd ,   FORBES, 11 AUG 17  …… On Thursday, the State of the Climate report was released. This report is an annual climate check-up led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and distributed by the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Scientists from around the world contribute to the report. The report basically says the same thing that all recent reports say: Earth’s climate is warming, and that we are beginning to see impacts and trends across the globe……..
The basic findings from the State of the Climate report, which diagnosed 2016, are summarized at NOAA’s website:

  • Greenhouse gases were the highest on record.
  • Global surface temperature was the highest on record.
  • Average sea surface temperature was the highest on record.
  • Global upper-ocean heat content neared record high.
  • Global sea level was the highest on record.
  • Arctic sea ice coverage was at or near record low.
  • Tropical cyclones (globally) were above-average overall.
 These finding continue with a story that has emerged in report after report (at least those done carefully and credibly). There are opinion or grey literature (not peer-reviewed) efforts out there that say odd things and advance certain agendas. However, the message is pretty clear if you consume peer-reviewed science reported by National Academies, NASA, NOAA, National Climate Assessment, American Association for the Advancement of Science, IPCC, and the majority of published journal studies……

New data does suggest that public is paying attention. The recent report, Climate Change in the American Mind (May 2017) says

More than half of Americans (58%) believe climate change is mostly human caused. That’s the highest level measured since our surveys began in 2008. By contrast, only 30% say it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment, matching the lowest level measured in our November 2016 survey……. https://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2017/08/11/more-climate-change-stories-less-graphs-and-maps/#763882ea1cac

August 12, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Extraordinarily high temperatures in 2016 in Arctic, Greenland and Alaska

The crazy climate records from 2016 you haven’t heard much about http://reneweconomy.com.au/crazy-climate-records-2016-havent-heard-much-12340/ [good graphics] By Andrea Thompson on 11 August 2017 Climate Central

By now, we’ve all heard that 2016 was the hottest year on record, and that heat-trapping greenhouse gases hit their highest concentration ever, surpassing 400 parts per million for the first time in nearly 1 million years. But there are other climate change-related records that have flown more under the radar. Several of those records were highlighted Thursday in the annual State of the Climate report, released in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society:

For example, during August, ice-free areas of the Barents Sea (north of Norway and Russia) were up to 20°F (11°C) above average, a figure that stunned climate scientists.

 The Chukchi Sea off Alaska and the waters to the west of Greenland were 13°F to 14°F above average. Those warm waters were linked to the smallest annual winter peak in sea ice levels and the second lowest annual minimum.

The average land surface temperature for the Arctic was 3.6°F (2.0°C) above the 1981-2010 average — a 6.3°F (3.5°C) rise in temperatures since 1900. Record-high temperatures were measured below the surface of the permafrost, or permanently frozen ground, across the North Slope of Alaska.

“2016 was a year in the Arctic like we’ve never seen before,” Jeremy Mathis, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Arctic research program and an author of the report, said.

The rate of warming in the Arctic, which is happening at twice the rate of the rest of the globe, has major impacts on local ecosystems, but also further drives the warming of the planet, as the sea ice that would reflect the sun’s rays back to space is lost.

And for the 37th consecutive year, alpine glaciers retreated across the globe. These glaciers are a major source of water for local communities, and their loss has led to concerns about water security, particularly in places like Southeast Asia.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

Unexploded bomb found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

Bomb found at Fukushima nuclear plant — Officials concerned device could explode — “Military unit is headed to the site” — “Police have cordoned off the surrounding area” http://enenews.com/breaking-bomb-found-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant-military-unit-is-headed-to-the-site-police-have-cordoned-off-the-surrounding-area

August 10th, 2017
By ENENews Mainichi, Aug 10, 2017 (emphasis added): Suspected bomb found on premises of Fukushima power plant: TEPCO — What appears to be an undetonated bomb has been discovered on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 10. The device was discovered buried in the ground at a parking lot currently undergoing maintenance in the western corner of the premises… Police have cordoned off the surrounding area

Kyodo, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded ordnance found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

NHK, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded bomb found near Fukushima plant — Police are checking what appears to be an unexploded bomb found near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant… Police were sending the pictures of the object to the Self-Defense Forces to determine whether it could explode

BBC, Aug 10, 2017: Fukushima disaster: ‘WW2 bomb’ found at Japan nuclear site — A suspected unexploded bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant… Tepco said construction work was immediately suspended after the object was found and a temporary exclusion zone put in place while bomb disposal experts were deployed…

AP, Aug 10, 2017: Officials say the rusty object is about 85 centimeters (33 inches) long and 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide. A military unit is headed to the site

AFP, Aug 10, 2017: Japan’s Jiji Press reported that under such circumstances police call in bomb disposal experts from Japan’s military.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

What Washington should do about North Korea

Washington Should Step Back In Korea: Is Donald Trump Or Kim Jong-Un More Dangerous? Forbes, 11 AUG 17 “……..,What should Washington do?

  • President Trump should stop competing in the crazed rhetoric contest. Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un shouts to get noticed and divert attention from his country’s many weaknesses. America’s president needs do neither. To the contrary, by doing so the U.S. leader demeans himself and his country.
  • The U.S. should begin phasing out both its security treaty with and military garrison in the ROK. Seoul long has been able to defend itself. America’s defense commitment is what puts this nation in the middle of one of the world’s worst geopolitical hotspots. Protecting prosperous and populous friends is not worth the risk of nuclear war.
  • Washington should sit down with the People’s Republic of China, acknowledge its interests, and offer to make a deal. For instance, propose an American military withdrawal from the Korean peninsula in exchange for greater Chinese pressure on the North. The U.S. cannot expect the PRC to drop its only ally and aid American attempts at regional containment because that’s what Washington desires.
  • American policymakers should consider whether encouraging South Korean and Japanese development of countervailing nuclear arsenals is better than maintaining an increasingly frayed “nuclear umbrella” over Washington’s allies. Frankly, neither Seoul nor Tokyo is worth risking the loss of Los Angeles or Seattle. There are no good solutions to a nuclear DPRK. Further proliferation might be the best “second best” answer available.
  • Negotiate with North Korea. Talking would reduce the sense of threat felt by the North. Dialogue also would explore areas of potential agreement even if Pyongyang refuses to consider abandoning its nukes and missiles. For instance, a verifiable freeze would be uncomfortable, but the U.S. and world would be better off facing a North with a stable nuclear arsenal of 20 weapons than one of, say, 100 weapons and growing, which some analysts fear could be the case in just a few more years.
  • Despite the global freak-out over the war of words between Supreme Leader Kim and President Trump, there is good news. Pyongyang wants to avoid, not wage, war against America. (Hopefully the Trump administration also wants to avoid a conflict.) If the U.S. was not “over there,” seemingly threatening military action and regime change, the DPRK almost certainly would ignore Washington. But as long as the U.S. is present militarily, prepared to intervene in any conflict, and ever-ready to oust offending governments for any number of reasons, the Kim regime will look to deterrence as its only sure defense.

    Peace should remain America’s overriding objective regarding the Korean peninsula. That would most likely be achieved by Washington calming its rhetoric and stepping back militarily. If President Trump really wants to put America first, he will move the U.S. out of the firing line in Korea and Northeast Asia.https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2017/08/11/washington-should-step-back-in-korea-is-donald-trump-or-kim-jong-un-more-dangerous/#20326a737df1

August 12, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

No Climate Money for Nuclear Power

 https://www.nirs.org/press/no-climate-money-nuclear-power/  International Coalition Says “NO!” To Nuclear Industry Attempts to Raid $100 Billion Global Climate Fund Tim Judson, NIRS +1 212-729-1169 (mobile) TimJ@nirs.org, Peer de Rijk, WISE-International, + 31 20 6126368, Director@wiseinternational.org, August 8, 2017 Gedelitz, Germany – An international coalition lead by organizations from nine countries launched a new campaign today–“Don’t Nuke the Climate”–to ensure nuclear power and other false climate solutions do not derail global efforts to reduce the extent of global warming. The coalition is mobilizing for the COP 23 global climate conference in November, where the nations of the world are meeting to make critical decisions on how to solve the problem of climate change. Specifically, the fate of $100 billion per year of investment is at stake the Green Climate Fund. Nuclear power companies are attempting to gain access to the fund to finance uneconomic power projects, which their own governments and the private sector will not or cannot fund.

The coalition’s website and petition can be found on the website: http://www.dont-nuke-the-climate.org

The Paris Climate Agreement, signed by 195 countries, established a global consensus for the goal of limiting global warming to at most 2.0 C (3.8 F), with an ambition to go no higher than 1.5 C (2.7 F). The Paris Agreement’s targets are not arbitrary: a global average temperature rise of 1.5-2.0 C will still have enormous human, economic, and environmental impacts: sea-level rise, severe storms, drought and food shortages, resource conflicts, refugee crises, etc. Achieving these goals is literally a matter of life and death, but there is much uncertainty about the global community’s ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions quickly enough to meet those goals.

The Don’t Nuke the Climate coalition is mobilizing for Bonn with the simple message: we can and must meet the goals of Paris–real, viable climate solutions are at hand–but not if we waste time and money on false solutions like nuclear power. The coalition mobilized in 2015 for the COP 21 climate conference in Paris, and grew to a total of 500 organizations worldwide supporting the “Don’t Nuke the Climate” call.

“We urgently need to tackle climate change. But we have to do this in a just way,” said Peer de Rijk, director of WISE-International. “This means we must actively exclude false solutions like nuclear power, as we otherwise will be thrown back in time and  increase the environmental crisis.”

“Nuclear power is a serial human rights violator and its promotion will worsen the very climate justice problems the Green Climate Fund is supposed to solve,” said Tim Judson, executive director the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, based in the U.S.A. “Nuclear corporations target First Nations and Global South countries are for radioactive contamination and resource destruction, radiation has a disparate impact on women and girls, and these persistent pollutants are hazardous for hundreds of thousands of years, creating indiscriminate impacts on future generations. The Green Climate Fund must never be used to finance such violations of human rights and principles of climate justice,” Judson concluded.

The coalition is opposing intensified efforts by the nuclear power industry to gain access to financing for nuclear power projects through the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The GCF was founded through global climate talks in 2009, and the 2015 Global Climate Agreement set a target of $100 billion per year in financing to Global South countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (labeled “mitigation” measures) and infrastructure to withstand the impacts of climate change (labeled “adaptation” measures).

“South-Africa is in urgent need for robust climate action,” said Makoma Lekalakala That means money for adaptation but also clean, affordable, safe new energy for everyone. A choice for nuclear would only increase the financial burden put upon millions of South-Africans.”

“The Indian state often blocks international negotiations on climate citing the needs of its poor,” said Kumar Sundaram, director of Dianuke in India. “But that in reality is nothing more than the Indian elite and industries demanding for the right to be equally irresponsible with the climate. Domestically, the government policies are only widening the energy access gap and imposing nuclear, coal and big dam projects that threaten to destroy fragile ecologies and most vulnerable communities. It’s unfortunate that the Indian government’s climate policy reinforces the myth of nuclear power being safe and clean. India is standing on the wrong side of history in the post-Fukushima world – setting up world’s biggest, costliest and most unsafe imported nuclear plants by undermining safety and environmental clearance norms and brutalizing massive but peaceful grassroots. India cannot be allowed to be a liability-free market where the declining global nuclear lobby rehabilitates itself.”

Nuclear power’s economic failures are worsening, with major firms such as Westinghouse and Areva going bankrupt, reactors being shut down, and new reactors canceled due to excessive costs, chronic construction delays, and aging infrastructure. Without access to massive amounts of public dollars such as the GCF, the industry faces inevitable decline, and cannot compete against true climate solutions, such as solar, wind, and energy efficiency and conservation.

As a result of, the industry has intensified its lobbying effort since Paris, and now includes industry trade associations, such as Foratom; the International Atomic Energy Agency; major nuclear corporations, including Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation, which is targeting developing nations for nuclear development; and nuclear professional organizations and front groups, including the World Nuclear Society and Nuclear for Climate.

“Nuclear is dying – without taxpayer subsidies,” said Reinhard Uhrig, Head of Campaigns for Global 2000, the Austrian affiliate of Friends of the Earth International. “It now promotes itself as ‘green’, carbon-free electricity (which it is not) to get at public money such as in the climate funds established to combat global warming in particular in the global south. We cannot let the nuclear lobby get away with this – no subsidies for nuclear!”

“Nuclear is too expensive and takes too long to build, and we need real climate solutions today,” said Vladimir Sliviak, executive director of Ecodefense, based in Russia. “The effective approach is developing renewable energy and energy efficiency. We don’t have money or time to spend on false solutions.”

The coalition is urging nations participating in the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to prohibit the use of the Green Climate Fund on technologies that make the societal and environmental impacts of climate change worse, like nuclear power, so-called “clean” coal, large-scale hydro-power, hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, food- and forest-based biomass, and REDD+ — which are broadly considered false solutions and frequently entail human rights violations.

“There is no acceptable solution worldwide for high level radioactive waste, the only consequence is to stop nuclear power right now,” said Kerstin Rudek from Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg, based in Germany.

“It’s a shame that Germany failed to include the uranium enrichment facility in Gronau and the fuel element factory in Lingen in its nuclear phaseout policy. Both facilities export to nuclear power plant in Belgium and in France. Germany needs a complete nuclear phaseout and has to start immediately with phasing out coal as well.”

Organizations leading the “Don’t Nuke the Climate” coalition represent nine nations spanning four continents:

 

Global/International

World Information Service on Energy – International

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War

Africa

Earthlife (South Africa)

Asia

Dia-Nuke (India)

Ecodefense (Russia)

KFEM (South Korea)

Europe

Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow-Dannenberg (Germany)

Global 2000 (Friends of the Earth – Austria)

North America

Nuclear Information and Resource Service (U.S.A.)

August 12, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirms 2016 as hottest year on record

Independent 10th Aug 2017, The Trump administration has released a report confirming that 2016 was the
hottest year since records began. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), a leading environmental agency which is part of the
US federal government, found that global temperatures were warmer last year
than in 137 years of recordkeeping for a third consecutive year –
surpassing the previous record of 2015.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/donald-trump-administration-report-2016-hottest-year-record-noaa-state-of-climate-a7886971.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Facing reality: North Korea already is a nuclear weapons state

Treating North Korea as another rival nuclear power would involve using the tools the U.S. has employed for decades to deal with such adversaries: containment, deterrence, and measures designed to lower the risk of a small incident escalating into an all-out confrontation. It might be the least bad option there is left

Is It Time to Accept the Reality of a Nuclear-Armed North Korea? By John Cassidy, 12 Aug 17, “…….A year ago, the Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Pyongyang had between thirteen and twenty-one nuclear warheads; since then, the number has likely grown. Last month, the North Koreans carried out two tests of ballistic missiles that, at least in theory, could hit parts of the U.S. mainland. The tests were apparently successful. And, according to a recent report in the Washington  Post, the Defense Intelligence Agency believes that Kim’s regime has developed a miniature nuclear warhead that could soon be fitted to these long-range missiles……In a presentation to the Asia Society last week, John Park, a director of the Korea Working Group at the Belfer Center, pointed out the Kim had been entirely consistent in his desire to obtain a nuclear deterrent, which, in addition to safeguarding his regime, would enable North Korea to avoid a costly conventional-arms race and focus on economic development. Park said that many Chinese officials privately sympathized with the North Korean policy………

August 12, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK government invested heavily in fossil fuel projects overseas, with only a small investment in renewables

Independent 11th Aug 2017, The Government has been accused of undermining its own efforts to tackle
climate change after new research revealed it is investing twice as much in
fossil fuel projects overseas as it is in renewables.

Almost half (46 per cent) of the money the UK spent on energy overseas went on fossil fuels
while barely more than a fifth (22 per cent) was spent on renewable energy
sources. The research, commissioned by Catholic charity CAFOD and carried
out by the Overseas Development Institute, analysed spending between 2010
and 2014 – the last period for which data is available.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-fossil-fuels-renewable-energy-uk-export-finance-climate-change-global-warming-co2-a7887376.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

BBC lets Nigel Lawson get away with anti science on climate change

Independent 10th Aug 2017, The BBC has been criticised for inviting a climate change denier to come on
air and voice his belief that global warming isn’t happening. Science
broadcasters including Brian Cox and Jim al-Khalili criticised the decision
to bring on famous denialist Nigel Lawson, apparently to make sure that
there was a balanced debate.

Both pointed out that there is very little debate about global warming – an established fact on which almost every
mainstream scientist is agreed. Lord Lawson was able to make a number of
claims, which went mostly unchallenged. He said, for instance, that the
world had actually become colder over the last 10 years – despite the fact
that 2014, 2015 and 2016 have been the hottest years on record.

Environmental experts including Carbon Brief fact-checked each of the
claims and found that none of them were true. But apparently because Lord
Lawson had been invited on as an opposing voice in a debate – to follow an
interview with Al Gore about his latest climate change film – he was mostly
asked to disagree with the science on global warming and his opinions were
little picked up on.
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/today-programme-nigel-lawson-al-gore-climate-change-denier-global-warming-bbc-radio-4-inconvenient-a7886426.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, UK | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear industry getting desperate – seeks money from Trump

The U.S. Nuclear Industry’s Last Hope Seeks Help From Trump, Bloomberg , By Ari Natter and Mark Chediak

August 12, 2017,
  • Cost of delayed Georgia nuclear project may be $25 billion
  • Energy Secretary Perry turned down Scana’s bid for bailout

  • President Donald Trump has vowed to revive America’s dying nuclear industry. Backers of a troubled Georgia nuclear project want him to prove it.

    They have asked the administration to come to the aid of a project to build two reactors to the Southern Co.’s Vogtle power plant, according to people familiar with the talks. That could include increasing or speeding up disbursements of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees to the companies behind the nuclear plant, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing ongoing negotiations.

    A Georgia public service regulator was in Washington to make a case for the project, the last nuclear plant under construction in the U.S., and Southern has hosted congressional staff members at the construction site. The company also wants Congress to extend tax breaks for nuclear power….

    With Southern set to tell regulators in Georgia by the end of this month whether it plans to continue with construction plans for the plant, federal support could be crucial. Last week, Southern said it estimated its portion of the cost to complete the reactors was at least $11.5 billion, excluding $1.7 billion in guaranteed payments from Toshiba. Given Southern’s 46 percent stake in the project, that would put the total cost of building the two reactors at $25 billion……

  • After Energy Secretary Rick Perry turned down a request for $3 billion in aid for Scana Corp.’s nuclear plant in South Carolina, it’s not clear how much the federal government will help. Scana abandoned its V.C. Summer nuclear projects last month after it concluded the two reactors would end up costing it more than $20 billion to build.

    In general, the Trump administration has said it’s studying the nuclear issue…..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-11/troubled-georgia-nuclear-project-is-said-to-seek-aid-from-trump

August 12, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Why Washington should step back in Korea

Washington Should Step Back In Korea: Is Donald Trump Or Kim Jong-Un More Dangerous? Forbes, 11 AUG 17, President Donald Trump has put all of Asia and much of the world on edge. All week he’s gone mano-a-mano with Kim Jong-un, blustering like the frightened head of an international micro-state instead of the representative of the world’s most important and powerful nation. Who imagined that people around the globe would be left wondering who was more stable: the 33-year-old “Supreme Leader” of the world’s only communist monarchy or the duly elected president of the United States, long considered the leader of the free world?

There is no contest between the two nations, which helps explain North Korea’s bluster as it attempts to develop a deterrent against U.S. attack. America’s GDP last year was almost $19 trillion, around 650 times that of the North. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s 25 million produce about as much as the residents of Anchorage, Alaska, or Portland, Maine. A weltmacht the DPRK is not.

Although North Korea devotes something like a quarter of its GDP to the military, its conventional armed forces are characterized more by quantity than quality. The DPRK probably has around 20 nukes, though they are of uncertain status and deliverability. Its practical missile capabilities are greatest at shorter ranges. Although Pyongyang is developing missiles capable of reaching America, they are not yet capable of successfully carrying warheads or targeting cities or bases.

In contrast, Washington spends upwards of 100 times as much as Pyongyang on the military. One carrier group possesses sufficient firepower to devastate the DPRK. And the U.S. sports the world’s most sophisticated nuclear arsenal. Only a few of America’s 1411 warheads would be necessary to turn Kim Jong-un’s kingdom into a proverbial “lake of fire,” which Pyongyang has so often threatened to do to others.

Of course, critical to deterrence is whether Kim recognizes the actual balance of power. Some Americans worry that he may believe his government’s bombastic, splenetic, confrontational, and fantastic rhetoric. But the near hysterical language with which Pyongyang addresses the world is not new. Even without deployable nuclear weapons and capable missiles the DPRK promised to destroy its opponents. A few years ago the North circulated a video purporting to show the planned destruction of New York City. Brinkmanship long has been the chief hallmark of North Korean policy.

 Moreover, there is no evidence that the North’s Supreme Leader is blind, ignorant, or suicidal, even though he is calculating, cruel, and ruthless. But so far he has played a weak hand well. He succeeded his father in December 2011 when just shy of his 28th birthday. Surrounded by experienced, tough, and older associates of his father, he out-maneuvered them all, even executing some 140 top officials, including his uncle and supposed mentor.

Kim’s byungjin policy, essentially “parallel development” of both the economy and nuclear weapons, so far has succeeded. Far more than his father he has pursued economic reform, with positive results which I observed while visiting the capital in June. In fact, the Bank of [South] Korea reports that 2016 saw the North’s fastest growth in 17 years. (Overall the DPRK remains poor, especially the countryside, where those of dubious ideological reliability are contained.) Moreover, nuclear and missile developments proceed faster than ever. Kim clearly prefers his virgins in this world rather than the next, and thus can be deterred.

Nor is the regime’s desire for nukes and missiles evidence of insanity. (The fact that a political system is criminal does not mean that it is irrational.) The DPRK once matched South Korea but over the last half century has fallen dramatically behind: the Republic of Korea possesses about 40 times the GDP and twice the population of the North. The ROK is technologically advanced, integrated into the international system, beneficiary of abundant economic and diplomatic support, and, most important, backed by the globe’s super/hyperpower.

In Pyongyang North Korean officials denounced Washington’s “hostile policy,” backed by “military threats” and “nuclear threats.” All of which is true, though, of course, the U.S. responded to the DPRK’s own “hostile” behavior. The U.S. intervened to defend the Republic of Korea after the 1950 North Korean invasion and would have liberated the entire peninsula had China not entered the conflict. Gen. Douglas MacArthur then advocated using nuclear weapons, a threat also employed by the incoming Eisenhower administration to “encourage” Beijing to conclude an armistice.

Once that agreement was reached, the U.S. forged a “Mutual Defense” treaty (in practice it runs only one way, of course) with the South and maintained a garrison, backed by nuclear weapons on the peninsula (since withdrawn), joint military exercises with the South, and ample reinforcements nearby. Such measures obviously threatened the North Korean regime.

Ironically, the end of the Cold War enhanced the danger facing Pyongyang. First Moscow and then Beijing opened diplomatic relations with South Korea, while the U.S. and Japan continued to isolate the DPRK, leaving the latter truly alone, without any real allies or even friends, other than fellow impoverished but brutal hellholes such as Cuba.

Moreover, after the demise of the Soviet Union America no longer restrained itself militarily. Indeed, no nation has used force more often over the last three decades. Washington ousted governments in Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya; threatened an invasion to overthrow Haiti’s government; sought to capture de facto rulers in Somalia; dismantled Serbia; and backed the overthrow of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Washington used non-military means to support “color revolutions” in Georgia and Ukraine and later encourage a street revolution against the latter’s elected president. Kim has good reason to be paranoid, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

At the time Pyongyang took special note of America’s and Europe’s willingness to take advantage of Libyan Muammar Khadafy’s weakness and enable his ouster by armed opponents. This after he was rewarded by Washington and feted in Europe for trading away his government’s missiles and nukes and battling al-Qaeda. So much for Washington keeping its deals.

Nuclear weapons obviously offer North Korea a useful tool to defend itself in a dangerous and uncertain part of the world. Even China is at best a frenemy and Kim wants to rule an independent nation, not a de facto Chinese province. Nukes also give Pyongyang status, enable neighborly extortion, and please the military. While alone they provide local deterrence, Kim no doubt fears the attitude expressed by a shockingly callous Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who assumed the U.S. could freely attack the North since the conflict would be in Northeast Asia, “not here in America.” Long-range missiles would allow North Korea to share the slaughter with the U.S. homeland…….https://www.forbes.com/sites/dougbandow/2017/08/11/washington-should-step-back-in-korea-is-donald-trump-or-kim-jong-un-more-dangerous/#20326a737df1

August 12, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | 2 Comments

Proposed nuclear waste site – too close to Ottawa River

Bloc Quebecois, environmentalists wary of proposed nuclear waste disposal plan, Mylene Crete, The Canadian Press , August 11, 2017 CHALK RIVER, Ont. — A proposed nuclear waste disposal site on land around Chalk River Laboratories is too close to the Ottawa River, says Bloc Quebecois Leader Martine Ouellet.

A significant percentage of Quebecers use the river for their drinking water and a leak could be catastrophic, Ouellet told reporters while touring the nuclear facilities in Chalk River, Ont., earlier this week.

“Radioactivity, just like heavy crude oil, doesn’t go away,” she said. “You can’t say, ‘we have contamination, we are going to clean it up.’ It can’t be cleaned.”……

Ottawa subcontracts the management of the site to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a consortium of four engineering and tech companies including SNC-Lavalin and Rolls-Royce.

CNL says it wants to consolidate all the nuclear waste around the site in one location, so it can be monitored, contained and isolated…….

Ouellet said CNL didn’t look for other disposal sites further away from the river.

“I have not been reassured because their so-called best site, it’s located on their territory of Chalk River and they didn’t look outside the area because of the costs involved,” she said. Kehler said CNL did look for other locations.

“We have considered the possibility of moving radioactive material elsewhere, but people wouldn’t be in favour of that,” Kehler said. “And the waste is already here.”

CNL’s plan is to create a facility that can hold up to 1,000 cubic metres of nuclear waste for up to 50 years.

Benoit Delage, an environmentalist in Quebec’s Outaouais region, said it’s a bad idea.

“The idea of building a nuclear waste depot one kilometre away from a river that feeds a large part of the Quebec population, there is something missing there,” he said. “Anyone can tell you it doesn’t make sense.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission needs to conduct an environmental review of CNL’s depot proposal.

Public consultations will also take place. Quebec’s environment minister has asked the federal government to hold the hearings in Quebec in order for them to be close to the people potentially impacted by the plan. http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/bloc-quebecois-environmentalists-wary-of-proposed-nuclear-waste-disposal-plan-1.3542320

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Canada, wastes, water | Leave a comment

North Korea could collapse if it gives up nuclear weapons

Paul Keating: North Korea could collapse if it gives up nuclear weapons, SMH,  James Massola, 

Fergus Hunter, 12 Aug 17,   Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating has warned that North Korea will never abandon its nuclear weapon program and that this new reality will have to be addressed in the same way as the west sought to contain the former Soviet Union.

 

The former prime minister, one of Australia’s most-respected foreign policy thinkers and a strong advocate for a more independent foreign policy, has disagreed strongly with the language and approach being taken the US President Donald Trump towards the rogue state…….

Mr Keating said his criticism could be extended to Australia’s pledge to enter any potential conflict between the US and North Korea. He also disagreed with former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott that Australia should pursue a missile defence system against North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles.

His comments about the growing tensions on the Korean peninsula come on the same day that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declared Australia would assist America if it was attacked by North Korea……..

Mr Keating decided to speak publicly after being contacted by Fairfax Media and his views will be expanded in a major essay for a new magazine, Australian Foreign Affairs, to be published in October.

“I have long believed, especially after the unprovoked Western attack on Iraq and the ransacking of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, that North Korea would not desist from the full development of its nuclear weapons program, despite threats and sanctions from the West and even from China,” he said

“I said in April, we should regard North Korea as a full and capable nuclear weapons state – a state that would, in future, need to be contained, in the way the Soviet Union was contained during the Cold War. Developments since April have only confirmed my view.”

“More than that, it may be, that because the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea has, in a sense, become the raison d’etre of the state, were Kim Jong-Un and his generals to agree to the West’s demands, they may not politically survive that acquiescence.”……http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/paul-keating-north-korea-could-collapse-if-it-gives-up-nuclear-weapons-20170811-gxua4x.html

August 12, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

President Donald Trump’s “loose rhetoric” on North Korea could have deadly consequences

Trump’s rhetoric could see U.S. ‘blunder into a war’ with North Korea, warns former negotiator, CBC Radio, 11 Aug 17 U.S. President Donald Trump’s “loose rhetoric” on North Korea could have deadly consequences, says the former U.S. defence secretary who negotiated with Pyongyang for the Clinton administration.

“In any war with North Korea, North Korea would surely lose. They know that, so they’re not seeking a war,” William Perry told As It Happens guest host Rosemary Barton.

“But we could blunder into a war, and this kind of loose rhetoric probably makes that more likely than less likely.”

‘Even with conventional weapons, it could be at least as bad as the first Korean War, in which more than a million people died.’– William Perry, former U.S. defence secretary 

Perry says he came close to brokering a deal with the regime in 1999 to not develop a nuclear arsenal, but negotiations came to a halt when George W. Bush took over the White House from Bill Clinton.

He spoke with Barton about the escalating threats being exchanged by Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un. Here is part of their conversation. …….

Unlike the first Korean War, this one always has the potential of escalating into a nuclear war.

I do not believe that North Korea would initiate any attack with nuclear weapons because I do not believe the leadership is suicidal. They’re not seeking martyrdom; they’re seeking to preserve the regime in power. But they’re playing a very dangerous game.

Do you think, as some have suggested, there would be any consideration or benefit to an American pre-emptive strike?

That would be exceedingly dangerous. It would almost certainly lead to a North Korean military response on South Korea

That could very well then escalate into a general Korean war, with the horrible consequences of the first Korean War and beyond that.

We have learned today, according to an Associated Press report, that the Trump administration has had some backchannel diplomacy with North Korea for a number of months with Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea. What does that tell you?

I would certainly hope it were true that besides dealing with this with bluster, we’re dealing with it with a sober, cautious attempt to enter into a dialogue with North Korea to see if we can resolve this crisis through diplomacy instead of through a military conflict. That’s why Yun is over there — to see if he can find a peaceful solution…….http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-friday-edition-1.4201412/trump-s-rhetoric-could-see-u-s-blunder-into-a-war-with-north-korea-warns-former-negotiator-1.4201420

August 12, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment