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Why Trump’s Words on North Korea Matter – normalising nuclear war

No Laughing Matter: Why Trump’s Words on North Korea Matter, New Yorker, By Evan Osnos1 Oct 17 When I visited North Korea in late August, I left with a sense that, for all the hostility, the confrontation with the United States would lead to talks, not violence. I’m less hopeful of that now, because of President Trump’s seemingly irresistible urge to mock and threaten North Korea’s leader, against the advice of his national-security aides. For months, aides who briefed the President on the conflict had advised him not to personalize the dispute. Unlike in the American arenas where Trump had honed his faith in his instincts—reality television, business deals, political primaries—in North Korea a nickname would not be received as merely a playground jab. At first, Trump complied; in May, he even complimented Kim, calling him a “smart cookie,” and expressed a willingness to meet with him. In Pyongyang, a government official told me that his peers had taken notice of Trump’s tendency to criticize other opponents, but not Kim, a fact that they interpreted as a deliberate effort to maintain the basis for an eventual negotiation.

Then, in mid-September, Trump jumped the guardrails erected by his advisers. He started to mock Kim, calling him Rocket Man, even during a formal address at the United Nations, in front of scores of heads of state—an especially humiliating setting for Kim. In a line that was reportedly added after national-security officials had read the draft, Trump said, “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime”; Trump threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States or its allies were attacked, and in a tweet, a few days later, Trump said North Korea’s leadership may not “be around much longer” if it continues its threats. By extending the taunts to his own Secretary of State, Trump might imagine that he is playing the bad cop to Tillerson’s good cop. At its best, it might be a ham-fisted effort to make Pyongyang more pliable to Tillerson’s entreaties. But this is not a police procedural. In national-security terms, Trump was undermining Tillerson’s credibility in the eyes of his North Korean counterparts. Why should they offer concessions to Tillerson when his boss clearly doesn’t support him?

Trump‘s personalization of the conflict has introduced a new playbook that seems almost perfectly engineered to trigger Kim’s paranoia and animosity.

Kim responded to Trump’s U.N. speech by calling him a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard,” a comment that drew laughs here for invoking an obscure term. But, to American specialists on North Korea, it was ominous: Kim’s rhetorical blasts are usually sent out by the state media, but Kim personally delivered this message in a video that was broadcast on North Korean television. It was an unprecedented gesture that has staked his name and his stature on his refusal to back down. More than anything else, Kim’s personal rebuttal signals that the two leaders—each a national-security neophyte navigating his first crisis of this scale—are now locked in a war of egos…….

The most far-reaching effect of Trump’s language may be the one that is easiest to dismiss as just rhetoric: the gradual normalization of talk about nuclear weapons. ……..

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

North Korea threatens Japan – with ‘nuclear clouds over suicidal Japan’

ENGULFED IN FLAMES’  Kim Jong-un warns of ‘nuclear clouds over suicidal Japan’ as he brands the country’s Prime Minister a ‘headless chicken’ North Korea’s state media said ‘the Japanese archipelago will be engulfed in flames in a moment’ The Sun UK, By Jon Lockett, 3rd October 2017, 

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Japan, North Korea, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Donald Trump signs Bill to make it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns

Donald Trump described the Las Vagas shooter as “demented”, but Trump was happy to sign a Bill that will permit mentally ill people to have guns. Also he’s supporting a move to permit silencers – (that would have enabled to Las Vaegas shooter to kill many more people)

Trump Signs Bill Revoking Obama-Era Gun Checks for People With Mental Illnesses, President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.

The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.

Had the rule fully taken effect, the Obama administration predicted it would have added about 75,000 names to that database.

President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.

The original rule was hotly contested by gun rights advocates who said it infringed on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Gun control advocates, however, praised the rule for curbing the availability of firearms to those who may not use them with the right intentions.

Both the House and Senate last week passed the new bill, H.J. Res 40, revoking the Obama-era regulation.

Trump signed the bill into law without a photo op or fanfare. The president welcomed cameras into the oval office Tuesday for the signing of other executive orders and bills. News that the president signed the bill was tucked at the bottom of a White House email alerting press to other legislation signed by the president.

The National Rifle Association “applauded” Trump’s action. Chris Cox, NRA-ILA executive director, said the move “marks a new era for law-abiding gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.”

Everytown For Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said he expected more gun control rollbacks from the Trump administration. In a statement to NBC News, he called the action “just the first item on the gun lobby’s wish list” and accused the National Rifle Association of “pushing more guns, for more people, in more places.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, called out Republicans over the move.

“Republicans always say we don’t need new gun laws, we just need to enforce the laws already on the books. But the bill signed into law today undermines enforcement of existing laws that Congress passed to make sure the background check system had complete information,” he said in an emailed statement.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s National Rifle Association briefly suspends advertisements for guns

NRA pulls attack ads, hopes everyone forgets about mass slaughter in 8 days

After the mass shooting in Las Vegas, the NRA is pulling ads supporting Republican candidates in Virginia, but not for long. The NRA is cynically pulling campaign ads in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas — but only temporarily.

The gun extremists appear to believe that the country only needs eight days to forget about the worst mass shooting in modern American history, allowing them to exploit the gun issue to assist an ally.

According to Medium Buying, a firm that tracks ad spending, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund has postponed running ads that it planned to run in Virginia. Instead, the NRA will begin running its advertising on Oct. 10.

The group has endorsed Republican Ed Gillespie for Governor, along with his running mate Jill Vogel. The NRA is also backing John D. Adams, the Republican candidate for Attorney General.

The NRA praised Gillespie in an endorsement release in August, hailing him as “a leader in the growing national movement to expand our Second Amendment freedoms.”

Ralph Northam, the Democrat in the governor’s race, is an Army veteran and a hunter who has described himself as “a staunch advocate for commonsense gun safety laws.”

The NRA has often gone silent after mass shootings, as it has this time, with the hopes that it can wait out grief after the tragedy. Then, when the conditions are more favorable for its violent messages, the NRA promotes advertising that calls on gun owners to confront protesters with a “clenched fist.”

As the NRA cowers and tries to wait out the situation, groups like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America are stepping up. Founder Shannon Watts released a statement on the shooting.

“I am sickened and heartbroken that, once again, American families will be torn apart by gun violence,” she said. “My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones, whose lives will never be the same.”

She added, “While details are still unfolding, one thing is for sure: It doesn’t have to be this way. Americans should be able to go to concerts, to night clubs, to elementary schools and movie theaters without worrying about the threat of gun violence. While we grieve for the 50 people shot and killed and the more than 400 who are hospitalized, we must also act in their honor. Gun violence is preventable.”

The NRA doesn’t want anything done about gun violence in America because their ideal world is one in which the country is awash in firearms, no matter the risk to children and families. They go silent while still intending to back candidates who will enact their agenda unquestioningly.

But millions of Americans want something to be done, to stop attacks like the ones in Las Vegas, Charleston, Newtown, and so many other American cities and towns. And they will not be silenced.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | marketing, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The American nightmare myths: guns =freedom, masculinity=violence

The American Impulse to Equate Guns With Freedom and Masculinity With Violence Is Killing Us

And Trump is exactly the wrong leader for this reality. The Nation, 3 Oct 17 By Joan Walsh On Sunday morning, the president of the United States humiliated his secretary of state, derided diplomacy as “wasting time,” mocked North Korea’s national leader as “Little Rocket Man,” and renewed his macho threat to “do what needs to be done” to thwart North Korea’s nuclear program—at the UN last month he said he might “need” to “destroy” the country. As always, analysts struggled to make sense of Trump’s tweets—geopolitically, psychologically—but the conclusion seemed inescapable that he is itching for a military conflict with a nuclear-armed adversary.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | culture and arts, USA | Leave a comment

Bill Gates partners with China’s government nuclear companies to develop his small nuclear reactor dream

China nuclear energy and coal company partner to make traveling wave nuclear reactor, brian wang, next big Future October 2, 2017, The China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has signed an agreement with the Shenhua Group, China’s biggest coal producer, to promote the development of advanced “traveling wave” reactor technology, the state nuclear giant said.

The new organization will be a partnership with four Chinese energy companies and will have /A> starting capital of CNY1bn ($153.2 million).

TWR, one of several new “fourth-generation” reactor designs, uses depleted uranium and is more fuel-efficient and cheaper to run than conventional nuclear reactors.

Leading developers of TWR include the Bill Gates-backed Terrapower, which is working on large scale projects aimed at providing base-load electricity. CNNC said its chairman, Wang Shoujun, met with Gates in July to discuss cooperation.

TerraPower’s traveling wave design is a breeder reactor that produce more atomic fuel than they consume, reducing the need to add costly processed nuclear elements.

In 2006, Intellectual Ventures launched a spin-off named TerraPower to model and commercialize a working design of such a reactor, which later came to be called a “traveling-wave reactor”. TerraPower has developed TWR designs for low- to medium- (300 MWe) as well as high-power (~1000 MWe) generation facilities. Bill Gates featured TerraPower in his 2010 TED talk.

In 2010 a group from TerraPower applied for patent EP 2324480 A1 following WO2010019199A1 “Heat pipe nuclear fission deflagration wave reactor cooling”. The application was deemed withdrawn in 2014.

In September, 2015 TerraPower and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop a TWR. TerraPower plans to build a 600 MWe demonstration Plant, the TWR-P, by 2018–2022 followed by larger commercial plants of 1150 MWe in the late 2020s |.
………….Shenhua, which is in the middle of a merger with state power giant Guodian, is seeking to diversify away from coal and coal-fired power, and it has already been in talks with CNNC and CGN to invest in nuclear projects.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | China, technology | Leave a comment

James Hansen – great on climate change – wrong on Generation IV nuclear reactors

The risks…… fact, thorium has been used to produce fissile material (uranium-233) for nuclear weapons tests.

Waste…. “Even integral fast reactors (IFRs), which recycle most of their waste, leave behind materials that have been contaminated by transuranic elements and so cannot avoid the need to develop deep geologic disposal.”

Generation IV economics…..The US Government Accountability Office’s 2015 report noted that technical challenges facing SMRs and advanced reactors may result in higher-cost reactors than anticipated, making them less competitive with large light-water reactors or power plants using other fuels.

James Hansen’s Generation IV nuclear advocacy: a deconstruction of nuclear fallacies and fantasies, Dr Jim Green, 3rd October, 2017 

Climate scientist James Hansen’s claims about Generation IV nuclear concepts simply don’t stack up, argues JIM GREEN Dr James Hansen is rightly admired for his scientific and political work drawing attention to climate change. His advocacy of nuclear power ‒ and in particular novel Generation IV nuclear concepts ‒ deserves serious scrutiny.

In a nutshell, Dr Hansen (among others) claims that some Generation IV reactors are a triple threat: they can convert weapons-usable (fissile) material and long-lived nuclear waste into low-carbon electricity. Let’s take the weapons and waste issues in turn. Continue reading

October 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Anerica’s Defense Secretary Mattis suggests sticking with Iran nuclear deal

Defense Secretary Mattis suggests sticking with Iran nuclear deal, NIdrees Ali, Phil Stewart, 4 Oct 17,  WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Tuesday the United States should consider staying in the Iran nuclear deal unless it were proven that Tehran was not abiding by the agreement or that it was not in the U.S. national interest to do so.

Although Mattis said he supported U.S. President Donald Trump’s review of the agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program, the defense secretary’s view was nonetheless far more positive than that of Trump, who has called the deal agreed between Iran and six world powers in 2015 an “embarrassment”.

Trump is weighing whether the deal serves U.S. security interests as he faces a mid-October deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with the pact, a decision that could sink an agreement strongly supported by the other powers that negotiated it.

“If we can confirm that Iran is living by the agreement, if we can determine that this is in our best interest, then clearly we should stay with it,” Mattis told a Senate hearing. ”I believe …, absent indications to the contrary, it is something that the president should consider staying with,” Mattis added.

Earlier, when Mattis was asked whether he thought staying in the deal was in the U.S. national security interest, he replied: “Yes, senator, I do.”

The White House had no immediate comment on Mattis’ remarks, which once again highlighted the range of views on key policy issues within the Trump administration.

If Trump does not recertify by Oct. 15 that Iran is in compliance, Congress would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the accord.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Proposed STRANDED nuclear waste bill, to compensate communities for economic losses due to being stuck with radioactive trash

Proposed federal bill would give millions to cities storing nuclear waste, Chicago TribuneMary McIntyre, News-Sun, 3 Oct 17,  A  bill that could provide millions of dollars annually to cities throughout the country storing nuclear waste had its beginning in Zion.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill., and U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Deerfield, spoke Sunday in Hosea Park to announce the proposed STRANDED (Sensible, Timely Relief for America’s Nuclear Districts’ Economic Development) Act, federal legislation which they said was developed with the help of Zion Mayor Al Hill.

“Zion is the impetus,” Schneider said.

The bicameral bill will be introduced by Schneider in the House and Duckworth in the Senate, and would pay communities storing nuclear waste $15 per kilogram annually. Currently, Zion has 1,020 metric tons of waste stored on its lakefront from the closed nuclear plant, which operated from 1973 to 1998. That would mean Zion would get more than $15 million a year under the proposal.

Hill referred to the potential economic value of the lakefront property were it not for the waste. “The 300-pound gorilla along the lakefront are the spent fuel rods which single-handedly prohibits future development of the site, and robs the Zion area of dollars, jobs and economic vitality,” Hill said.

In addition to the payments, the bill would commission a study by the Department of Energy to consider other options for land with stranded nuclear waste, a task force for such communities to help them find grants, tax credits for new homebuyers in those communities and business incentives for new companies to open in those communities.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Deerfield, speaks Sunday in Hosea Park to announce the proposed STRANDED Act, federal legislation that would provide money to communities storing nuclear waste.
Cities storing nuclear waste throughout the country would be paid under the bill, Schneider said.

“It’s time the federal government makes right with these communities,” he said…….

October 4, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA needs to negotiate, exchange some concessions for limited concessions from North Korea

NORTH KOREA BENEFITS FROM NUCLEAR WEAPONS. GET USED TO IT. War on the Rocks, Markl S Bell, 2 Oct 17 It is often said that nuclear weapons offer little beyond the ability to deter. But if nuclear weapons deter, they also necessarily offer benefits to states that go well beyond simply deterring attack. North Korea today is in the process of reaping those benefits, and this will constrain American foreign policy in the region. As much as American policymakers might want to wish this away, it is better to adjust the sails than to hope the wind disappears. War with North Korea should now be off the table and the denuclearization of North Korea is similarly unrealistic. If the United States wants to tamp down the current crisis, it needs to get used to North Korean nuclear weapons and the constraints they impose on U.S. foreign policy.

It is true that nuclear weapons deter. But because they deter attack, they also act as a shield that reduces the risks and costs of pursuing a host of other foreign policy behaviors. My research shows that nuclear weapons can facilitate a range of objectives that states of all stripes may find attractive. Possessing nuclear weapons can allow states to act more independently of allies, engage in aggression, expand their position and influence, reinforce and strengthen alliances, or stand more firmly in defense of the status quo. States with nuclear weapons are aware of these benefits, and use nuclear weapons to pursue them. This applies as much to democratic states committed to the status quo as it does to authoritarian or revisionist states.

Consider the case of Britain. A declining, status quo state when it acquired nuclear weapons in the 1950s, Britain was increasingly dependent on the United States for its security, facing growing challenges to its role as the preeminent power in the Middle East, while its commitments to allies were becoming increasingly uncredible. What did it do when it acquired nuclear weapons? As I show in a 2015 International Security article, Britain used nuclear commitments instead of conventional military commitments (which it could no longer afford) to reassure allies that were increasingly skeptical of Britain’s ability to come to their aid. Similarly, Britain’s nuclear weapons reduced the risks of acting more independently of the United States and of using military force to resist challenges to its position in the Middle East……..

Today, North Korea is taking advantage of its nuclear weapons, just as past nuclear states have done. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. So, if North Korean nuclear weapons are useful even if they never get used, what might Kim Jong Un’s regime want to use them for?

North Korea faces serious military threats from South Korea and the United States. South Korea is vastly more economically powerful and has the support of the most powerful state the world has ever known. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States —unconstrained by the absence of a peer competitor — has shown a repeated inclination to pursue regime change around the world, labelled North Korea as part of the “Axis of Evil”, imposed punishing sanctions on North Korea, and kept tens of thousands of forces stationed in the region……

 North Korea would like to be able to stop the United States from flying military aircraft close to its territory (particularly the B-1B Lancer flights from Guam) and weaken the U.S.-South Korean alliance. It would like to show that Washington’s threats of regime change or military intervention on the Korean peninsula are empty talk, and demonstrate that the United States is unable to shoot down its missiles. And North Korea may want to be able to more credibly threaten military action against South Korea. All of these make good strategic sense for North Korea as it seeks to reduce the threats it faces and strengthen its position on the Korean peninsula in the face of massive U.S. conventional military superiority.

How do North Korean nuclear weapons help it achieve these goals? By raising the dangers of escalation, North Korea seeks to drive wedges between the United States and South Korea and raise fears of “decoupling” as well as to make it riskier for the United States to fly planes close to its airspace or engage militarily on the Korean peninsula. North Korea launches missiles, daring the United States to try (and quite likely fail) to shoot them down; it refuses to back down when challenged; and it raises the possibility of more provocative nuclear tests.

These actions are predictable, because they advance North Korean national interests. But they are also dangerous, raising the risk of escalation. This is a feature, not a bug, of North Korean strategy. Raising escalation risks is exactly how North Korea hopes to convince the United States to back off and, therefore, to improve its position on the Korean peninsula. And in the process of such escalation, North Korea might be entirely rational to use nuclear weapons first if things got bad enough.

What should the United States do?

 North Korea would like to be able to stop the United States from flying military aircraft close to its territory (particularly the B-1B Lancer flights from Guam) and weaken the U.S.-South Korean alliance. It would like to show that Washington’s threats of regime change or military intervention on the Korean peninsula are empty talk, and demonstrate that the United States is unable to shoot down its missiles. And North Korea may want to be able to more credibly threaten military action against South Korea. All of these make good strategic sense for North Korea as it seeks to reduce the threats it faces and strengthen its position on the Korean peninsula in the face of massive U.S. conventional military superiority.

How do North Korean nuclear weapons help it achieve these goals? By raising the dangers of escalation, North Korea seeks to drive wedges between the United States and South Korea and raise fears of “decoupling” as well as to make it riskier for the United States to fly planes close to its airspace or engage militarily on the Korean peninsula. North Korea launches missiles, daring the United States to try (and quite likely fail) to shoot them down; it refuses to back down when challenged; and it raises the possibility of more provocative nuclear tests.

These actions are predictable, because they advance North Korean national interests. But they are also dangerous, raising the risk of escalation. This is a feature, not a bug, of North Korean strategy. Raising escalation risks is exactly how North Korea hopes to convince the United States to back off and, therefore, to improve its position on the Korean peninsula. And in the process of such escalation, North Korea might be entirely rational to use nuclear weapons first if things got bad enough.

What should the United States do?

Any serious policy demands a dose of reality. Denuclearization and regime change are no longer achievable without risking tens (and potentially hundreds) of thousands of American lives. North Korea has nuclear weapons, benefits from having them, and has no interest in giving them up. Denying this reality is not only delusional, but encourages North Korea to take more belligerent actions, accelerate its nuclear program further, and exacerbate the spiral of escalation.

A better approach would be to seek limited concessions from North Korea in exchange for limited concessions by the United States. For example, as James Acton has proposed, North Korea might agree to eschew missile tests over the territory of South Korea and Japan, if the United States limited flights of B1-B bombers close to North Korean territory. Such a deal would acknowledge that North Korea’s capabilities impose constraints on U.S. foreign policy and grant North Korea benefits. At the same time, it reduces the risks of miscalculations or accidental escalation, diminishing North Korean fears of a surprise attack by the United States, and lending some stability to U.S.-North Korean relations. And if North Korea violated the deal, the U.S. could easily resume those flights……..

Ultimately, there are no free lunches in international politics. If the United States wants North Korea to constrain its nuclear program, it will need to offer North Korea something in exchange. And if the United States tries to pursue regime change or denuclearize North Korea by force, it must accept that North Korean nuclear capabilities allow it to force the United States to pay a high price for doing so.   Mark S. Bell is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Minnesota.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Urals nuclear disaster 1957


On 29 September 1957 at 16 o’clock on the territory of the chemical plant “Mayak”, which was in the closed city of Chelyabinsk-40 (now Ozersk), was the first in the USSR radiation accident — an explosion of capacity to store radioactive waste. The catastrophe was called the Kyshtym accident — the name closest to Chelyabinsk-40 by city.

The blast occurred in containers, of a capacity of 300 m? because of the failure of the cooling system. In the tank contained a total of about 80 m? highly radioactive nuclear waste. At the time of construction in 1950-ies the strength of the structure is not in doubt. She was in the pit, in a concrete shirt thickness meter.

Cover the container weighed 560 tons, over it was laid a two-meter layer of earth. However, even this failed to contain the explosion.

According to another, unofficial version, the accident occurred due to human error of the plant that in the tank-evaporator with hot plutonium nitrate solution by mistake added a solution of plutonium oxalate. The oxidation of oxalate nitrate allocating a large amount of energy, leading to overheating and explosion of the tank.

During the explosion in the atmosphere were about 20 million curies of radioactive substances, some of which rose to a height of up to two miles, and formed an aerosol cloud.

Over the next 11-12 hours of radioactive fallout on the territory with a length of 300-350 km on northeast from the explosion.

In the area of radioactive contamination got 23 thousand km2 with a population of 270 thousand people in 217 settlements of the Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Tyumen regions. During the liquidation of consequences of the accident were required to relocate 23 villages with a population of 10-12 thousand a man, all the buildings, property and livestock were destroyed.

Liquidators were hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians

Only in the first ten days the number of deaths from radiation have gone on hundreds, during the works in varying degrees, suffered 250 thousand liquidators.

According to the international scale of nuclear testing accident was estimated at six points. For comparison, the seventh level, the maximum was rated accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima-1.

To avoid scattering of radiation by government decision was established the sanitary-protective zone in which economic activity was banned. In 1968 this territory was formed of the Eastern Ural state reserve.

It is forbidden to visit — the level of radioactivity is still too dangerous for humans.

October 6, 1957 in the newspaper “Chelyabinsk worker” appeared devoted to his note, in which, however, about the accident not a word was said:

On Sunday night… many residents of Chelyabinsk watched the special glow of a starry sky. It’s pretty rare in our latitudes, the glow had all the signs of the Aurora. Intense red, time moves to slightly pink and light blue glow first covered a large part of the South-Western and North-Eastern surface of the firmament. About 11 o’clock it was possible to observe in the North-Western direction… In the sky appeared a relatively large colored area and the quiet lanes that had at the last stage of lights North-South direction. The study of the nature of the Aurora, has begun Lomonosov continues in our days. Modern science has confirmed the basic idea of the University, that the Aurora occurs in the upper layers of the atmosphere by electrical discharges of the Aurora…… can be observed in the future at the latitudes of the southern Urals”.

Kyshtym accident has long been a state secret. For the first time openly about her was said in a shot at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, the film Director and biologist Elena Sakanyan, dedicated to the fate of Soviet genetics and biologist Nikolai Timofeev-Ressovsky.

The films were shown on television only after Sakanyan directly asked about the show to Boris Yeltsin.

But in the foreign press leaked the information in April 1958. For the first time about the accident said one of the Copenhagen Newspapers. Subsequently, information about the accident appeared in the report of the National laboratory, USA, biologist Zhores Medvedev dedicated incident book entitled “Nuclear disaster in the Urals”, published in the US, an analysis of the causes of the accident and its causes held by a group of American scientists from the atomic center at oak ridge.

“About the explosion at the “Mayak” for long periods of time, the public knew almost nothing. Later, for some reason, the accident was replicated in the media as the “Kyshtym accident”.

In Kyshtym on this occasion, even recently, was the obelisk, although the city to this event is irrelevant.

And the East-Ural radioactive trail, formed after 1957, did not affect Cistema and its residents,” — said in an interview in 2009, one of its liquidators.

Only the “Lighthouse” there were more than 30 incidents of radioactive emissions and human victims.

October 4, 2017 Posted by | history, Reference, Russia | Leave a comment

Canada, formerly a supporter of nuclear disarmament, now failing to sign UN nuclear weapons ban treaty

Canada is missing its chance to shut the gate on nuclear weapons everywhere The Conversation, MV Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British ColumbiaLauren Borja, Incoming post-doctoral fellow, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia, University of British ColumbiaLast month, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (or the Ban Treaty) opened for signatures to all member states at the United Nations. The treaty is a product of sustained activism by civil society and key non-nuclear weapon states.

As researchers who study nuclear policy, we see this development as a landmark in the struggle to eliminate nuclear weapons.

The Ban Treaty would make it illegal for signatories to develop, produce, test, possess, use, threaten to use, or transfer nuclear weapons, among other restrictions.

Within days of being opened for signature, 53 countries have signed the treaty, and three have ratified. After signature and ratification by at least 50 countries, it comes into force.

Canada, a historical supporter of nuclear disarmament, has neither signed nor even participated in the negotiations that led to the treaty, which could become the most significant step toward nuclear disarmament since the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1970.

Humanitarian shift in nuclear arms control

The Ban Treaty was motivated by a clear recognition that the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons use and testing should be at the forefront of all discussions about these weapons. Dr. Tilman Ruff, co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear Wartestified at the United Nations in March: “An understanding of what nuclear weapons do invalidates all arguments for continued possession of these weapons and requires that they urgently be prohibited and eliminated as the only course of action commensurate with the existential danger they pose.”

The Ban Treaty, therefore, represents a shift in nuclear arms control, away from talking about nuclear weapons in terms of security and deterrence to focusing on the horrendous consequences of nuclear warfare.

This shift is reflected in the language of the Preamble of the Treaty which highlights concerns that the “catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons” would “transcend national borders” and “pose grave implications for human survival.” The Treaty also posits that “complete” elimination “remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances.”

Canada abandons traditional arms control emphasis

An emphasis on the humanitarian consequences, however, is not unique within arms control. Other forms of warfare, such as land mines, biological and chemical weapons, have also been outlawed because of such concerns. And such humanitarian concerns have often guided Canada’s diplomacy in the past, as illustrated by its leading role in the appropriately named Ottawa Convention to ban landmines……….

Looking ahead on nuclear disarmament

There has been widespread political support within Canada for being more active in furthering nuclear disarmament. In 2010, both the Senate and House of Commons unanimously adopted a resolution encouraging the Government of Canada “to engage in negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention” and “deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation and increasing the rate of nuclear disarmament.” The dynamic set off by the Ban Treaty offers a suitable opening for launching such an initiative.

In April of this year, Chrystia Freeland issued the following statement to mark the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention: “Twenty years ago today, the international community was united in denouncing the use of chemical weapons by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstance.”

Isn’t it time for the same to be said about nuclear weapons?

October 4, 2017 Posted by | Canada, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How America tested radiation on its citizens, during the Cold War.

Cold War radiation testing in U.S. widespread, author claims Three members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar’s new book revealed details of how the U.S. government sprayed, injected and fed radiation and other dangerous materials to countless people in secret Cold War-era testing.

The health ramifications of the tests are unknown. Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College who wrote “Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,” acknowledged that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult.

 But three congressmen who represent areas where testing occurred — Democrats William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Brad Sherman of California and Jim Cooper of Tennessee — said they were outraged by the revelations.

Martino-Taylor used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including army records. She also reviewed already public records and published articles. In an interview, she said she found that a small group of researchers, aided by leading academic institutions, worked to develop radiological weapons and later “combination weapons” using radioactive materials along with chemical or biological weapons.

Her book, published in August, was a follow-up to her 2012 dissertation that found the government conducted secret testing of zinc cadmium sulfide in a poor area of St. Louis in the 1950s and 1960s. The book focuses on the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s.

An army spokeswoman declined comment, but Martino-Taylor’s 2012 report on testing in St. Louis was troubling enough to spur an army investigation. The investigation found no evidence that the St. Louis testing posed a health threat.

Martino-Taylor said the offensive radiological weapons program was a top priority for the government. Unknowing people at places across the U.S. as well as parts of England and Canada were subjected to potentially deadly material through open-air spraying, ingestion and injection, Martino-Taylor said.

“They targeted the most vulnerable in society in most cases,” Martino-Taylor said. “They targeted children. They targeted pregnant women in Nashville. People who were ill in hospitals. They targeted wards of the state. And they targeted minority populations.”

The tests in Nashville in the late 1940s involved giving 820 poor and pregnant white women a mixture during their first pre-natal visit that included radioactive iron, Martino-Taylor said. The women were chosen without their knowledge. Blood tests were performed to determine how much radioactive iron had been absorbed by the mother, and the babies’ blood was tested at birth. Similar tests were performed in Chicago and San Francisco, Martino-Taylor said.

Cooper’s office plans to seek more information from the Army Legislative Liaison, said spokesman Chris Carroll.

“We are asking for details on the Pentagon’s role, along with any cooperation by research institutions and other organizations,” Carroll said. “These revelations are shocking, disturbing and painful.”

In California, investigators created a radiation field inside a building at North Hollywood High School during a weekend in the fall of 1961, Martino-Taylor said. Similar testing was performed at the University of California, Los Angeles and at a Los Angeles Police Department building.

Sherman said he wants a survey of people who graduated from the school around the time of the testing to see if there was a higher incidence of illness, including cancer. He also said he will seek more information from the Department of Energy.

“What an incredibly stupid, reckless thing to do,” said Sherman, whose district includes North Hollywood High School.

Among those who recall the testing is Mary Helen Brindell, 73. She was playing baseball in a St. Louis street in the mid-1950s when a squadron of green planes flew so low overhead that she could see the face of the lead pilot. Suddenly, the children were covered in a fine powdery substance that stuck to skin moistened by summer sweat.

Brindell has suffered from breast, thyroid, skin and uterine cancers. Her sister died of a rare form of esophageal cancer.

“I just want an explanation from the government,” Brindell said. “Why would you do that to people?”

Clay said he was angered that Americans were used as “guinea pigs” for research.

“I join with my colleagues to demand the whole truth about this testing and I will reach out to my Missouri Delegation friends on the House Armed Services Committee for their help as well,” Clay said in a statement.

St. Louis leaders were told at the time that the government was testing a smoke screen that could shield the city from aerial observation in case of Soviet attack. Evidence now shows radioactive material, not just zinc cadmium sulfide, was part of that spraying, Martino-Taylor said.

Doris Spates, 62, was born in 1955 on the 11th floor of the Pruitt-Igoe low-income high-rise where the army sprayed material from the roof. Her father died suddenly three months after her birth. Four of her 11 siblings died from cancer at relatively young ages. She survived cervical cancer and suffers from skin and breathing problems.

“It makes me angry,” Spates said. “It is wrong to do something like that to people who don’t have any knowledge of it.”

According to Martino-Taylor, other testing in Chicago; Berkeley, California; Rochester, New York; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, involved injecting people with plutonium-239.

She said her book shines a light on the team of mostly young scientists tasked with developing radiological weapons. They worked in a closed world with virtually no input from anyone “who could say, ‘This isn’t right,’ or put some sort of moral compass on it,” she said.

She hopes her book prompts more people to investigate.

“We haven’t gotten any answers so far,” Martino-Taylor said. “I think there’s a lot more to find out.”

October 4, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, Reference, USA | 1 Comment

USA’s diplomacy undermined, unreliable, because of Trump’s tweets

Are Trump’s tweets undercutting U.S. diplomacy? Beyond apparent policy disagreements between the president and Rex Tillerson, the State Department struggles to absorb mixed signals. The Atlantic, KRISHNADEV CALAMUR 3 OCT 17, President Trump’s tweets Sunday, declaring it a waste of time to try to negotiate with North Korea, appeared to contradict the sentiments of his own chief diplomat, who is at least formally taking the lead on the administration’s North Korea policy. It wasn’t the first time the two men seemed to express different positions on significant foreign-policy issues. But there’s a deeper story beyond whatever temperamental or policy gulf may exist between Trump and Tillerson as individuals—and that is how the contradictions affect the sprawling foreign-policy apparatus Tillerson is supposed to run.

“One can never be sure whether the policies we’re working on will be supported by the president or not,” a State Department official, who was not authorized to speak to the press and asked for anonymity, told me. “It creates a great deal of uncertainty and obviously further harms morale in an environment in which morale is already very low.”……

at the State Department, reports about poor morale have abounded since Tillerson assumed his position in February. The secretary was described as aloof, his plans to reorganize the State Department were criticized, and the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the department’s budget by 30 percent was met with horror. A hiring freeze at the department, combined with the fact that most of the senior positions requiring Senate confirmation are still vacant, have also resulted in multiple news reports about dysfunction.

Added to all this is the perception that Trump doesn’t care about the work the State Department is doing. The president has not only appeared to contradict Tillerson publicly on Qatar, NATO, and Iran—besides North Korea—he has also appeared to suggest that his “America First” message is not simpatico with multilateral cooperation with America’s traditional allies.

At one point, he thanked Russia for its expulsion of U.S. diplomats in retaliation for a similar step by the Obama administration, as well as its seizure of Russian compounds in the U.S., because, in Trump’s words, “we’re trying to cut down our payroll.”…..

October 4, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

New CEO of EDF, Simone Rossi , facing a thankless task in trying to develop Hinkley Nuclear Power Station   2 Oct 17  Within the next month Simone Rossi will take over as the chief executive of EDF Energy in the UK. With the job comes responsibility for Britain’s first (and according to one of the energy industry’s leading players, perhaps last) new nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C. The plant is set to be one of the most expensive structures ever built, with the costs estimate pushed up again in July to £19.6bn. HPC is least eight years behind schedule (it was originally supposed to be providing the power to cook our Christmas turkeys this year) but is not expected to be commissioned before 2025, with the possibility that even that target won’t be met. Mr Rossi could be thought to have the most thankless job in the world. HPC is unloved and unwanted, a project which gives dinosaurs a bad name. That is true in Britain where the decision to proceed last year was only taken because the prime minister’s staff could not identify an alternative source of power – they should have asked more widely and not relied on those already fully committed to one outcome. Instead they gave EDF the go-ahead but placed the entire construction risk on EDF. Since the company is state owned the ultimate burden rests with French taxpayers. Unsurprisingly HPC is as unpopular in Paris as it is in the UK.

At an intriguing conference on the “Global Positive Future” held under the “high patronage” of President Emmanuel Macron at the beginning of September there was no mention of nuclear power. If Mr Macron accepts the tighter financial discipline implied by the proposed eurozone reforms, repeated payments to EDF will become impossible. Many in EDF, once a great company at the heart of the post-1945 reconstruction of France, see the project as an albatross. Control over EDF’s activities in the UK has been moved back to Paris.
Despite all this Mr Rossi could still emerge as a hero. As a new arrival he can look again at the project and decide that instead of throwing good money after bad, it is time to call a halt and look for lower cost solutions. Price has become the key issue since the original deal on HPC was agreed in 2013. A price of £92.50 per megawatt hour, index linked for 35 years from whenever the project is commissioned, was ridiculous then and is even more so now. Given the inflation we have seen since 2013 that starting price is now over £100 per MWh. The deal symbolised the inability of well intentioned but inexperienced ministers and civil servants to negotiate complex commercial deals. The deal involved no competition and no provision for review if market circumstances changed. The decision demonstrated the unaccountable power of well funded lobbyists.
Circumstances have changed. Over the last four years the price of every available alternative has declined. The cost of offshore wind has fallen to below £60 per MWh in the UK and to just €43 per MWh in Spain. Gas is plentiful and there is no reason to think that a balanced mixture of wind power and natural gas cannot meet future energy needs. …….

October 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment