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Michael Flynn covered up his nuclear marketing trip to the Middle East, among other business and lobbying trips

Flynn started a private lobbying and consulting practice that did business in foreign countries including Russia and Turkey. Flynn didn’t disclose those contacts and payments, as required, when applying for his security clearance to work in the Trump White House.

Top House Democrats have pointed out that Flynn failed to disclose a 2015 Middle East business trip tied to a plan to build nuclear plants in the region using money from Saudi and Russian investors. The Democrats called the omission a crime.

Flynn Said to Have Reached Out to Russia at Kushner’s Behest, By David Kocieniewski, Greg Farrell, Andrew M Harris, and David McLaughlin, Bloomberg, 

  • Ex-security adviser pleads guilty and agrees to cooperate

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents and is providing cooperation that promises to take Special Counsel Robert Mueller deep into Donald Trump’s administration. 

 Speaking in court as part of his plea agreement, Flynn, 58, described a series of conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak, in late December as the Trump team prepared to enter the White House. The talks were instigated by a “very senior member” of the Trump transition team. That person was Jared Kushner, the president’s son in law and adviser, as reported by Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake……..

Flynn now says he lied to the FBI in January about the conversations, but that he had fully informed the transition team of the talks.

“This shows a Trump associate negotiating with the Russians against U.S. policy and interests before Donald Trump took office and after it was announced that Russia had interfered in our election,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, said in a statement, adding that it’s critical to find out “who knew and approved his actions.”……..

In cooperating with Mueller’s inquiry, Flynn is seeking leniency for himself and possibly his son, who worked with him in his private business. The charge doesn’t delve into Flynn’s work on behalf of Turkey, which is also under investigation, or his failure to promptly disclose such work to U.S. authorities. At the hearing, Flynn admitted to lying about contacts with Turkey. In admitting to false statements, he faced a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but is likely to get no more than six months and $9,500 under his plea agreement……

After he left the administration, Flynn filed an updated foreign registration form showing that he hadn’t disclosed multiple contacts and payments from foreign entities while serving as an campaign adviser to Trump starting in February 2016….

Flynn  retired [from military service] in 2014 after Obama fired him as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Afterward, Flynn started a private lobbying and consulting practice that did business in foreign countries including Russia and Turkey. Flynn didn’t disclose those contacts and payments, as required, when applying for his security clearance to work in the Trump White House.

Top House Democrats have pointed out that Flynn failed to disclose a 2015 Middle East business trip tied to a plan to build nuclear plants in the region using money from Saudi and Russian investors. The Democrats called the omission a crime.

Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., also worked for the consulting firm and is under investigation by the special counsel. The son gained attention during the 2016 president election for promoting conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton on social media.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

$billions to clean up radioactive waste in tanks at Hanford

Hanford Tank Waste Among Top Federal Challenges For 2018, Cleaning up radioactive waste contained in tanks at the Hanford nuclear reservation is one of the top challenges facing the U.S. Department of Energy, according to a new special report by the department’s Inspector General.

The independent oversight arm of the U.S. Department of Energy didn’t mince words.
It said there were about 88 million gallons of radioactive tank waste across the nation that need to be cleaned up. Most is at Hanford.

The report noted that the factory meant to treat all of Hanford’s waste isn’t going so well — it’s behind schedule and will cost billions more than planned.

The report also highlighted problems that Hanford has had with its subcontractors. Specifically, several companies have agreed to pay a $125 million settlement for using substandard materials. Hanford’s tank waste and treatment plant were ranked at the top of the Department of Energy’s concerns along with cyber security and safeguarding the nation’s nuclear stockpile.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Michael Flynn claims that the Trump campaign ordered him to contact Russia

Michael Flynn says senior Trump campaign officials directed his communications with Russians
The former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI,
Independent UK,  Emily Shugerman New York, 1 Dec 17,  Donald Trump’s former national security adviser has claimed the Trump campaign ordered him to contact Russia during their transition to the White House.

Michael Flynn alleged in a plea deal that a senior campaign official directed him to make contact with Russian officials. The plea deal did not name the senior official.

Mr Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to making a false statement to the FBI regarding the investigation. The ex-adviser lied to agents about his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, telling them he had not counselled Mr Kislyak on how to respond to sanctions imposed by then-President Barack Obama during the transition.

The former national security adviser is the first senior member of the Trump transition team to plead guilty as a result of the Russia investigation.

In a statement, Mr Flynn called his actions “wrong,” and said he had chosen to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’sinvestigation “in the best interests of my family and of our country”. Mr Mueller is investigating possible collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice by the Trump team……..

The 58-year-old is the fourth Trump campaign associate to be charged in Mr Mueller’s Russia probe. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were charged with various financial crimes last month. Both pleaded not guilty.

George Papadopolous, a former campaign adviser also charged by Mr Mueller, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia sources

December 2, 2017 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry keen to sell to ANYBODY – pushing for Saudi Arabia sales

U.S. firms push Washington to restart nuclear pact talks with Riyadh: sources Reem ShamseddineSylvia Westall RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) 1 Dec 17,  – U.S. firms attracted by Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear reactors are pushing Washington to restart talks with Riyadh on an agreement to help the kingdom develop atomic energy, three industry sources said.

Saudi Arabia has welcomed the lobbying, they said, though it is likely to worry regional rival Iran at a time when tensions are already high in the Middle East.

One of the sources also said Riyadh had told Washington it does not want to forfeit the possibility of one day enriching uranium – a process that can have military uses – though this is a standard condition of U.S. civil nuclear cooperation pacts.

“They want to secure enrichment if down the line they want to do it,” the source, who is in contact with Saudi and U.S. officials, said before U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry holds talks in Riyadh early next week.

Another of the industry sources said Saudi Arabia and the United States had already held initial talks about a nuclear cooperation pact.

U.S. officials and Saudi officials responsible for nuclear energy issues declined to comment for this article. The sources did not identify the U.S. firms involved in the lobbying.

Under Article 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act, a peaceful cooperation agreement is required for the transfer of nuclear materials, technology and equipment.

In previous talks, Saudi Arabia has refused to sign up to any agreement with the United States that would deprive the kingdom of the possibility of one day enriching uranium.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil producer, says it wants nuclear power solely for peaceful uses – to produce electricity at home so that it can export more crude. It has not yet acquired nuclear power or enrichment technology.

Riyadh sent a request for information to nuclear reactor suppliers in October in a first step towards opening a multi-billion-dollar tender for two nuclear power reactors, and plans to award the first construction contract in 2018.

Reuters has reported that Westinghouse is in talks with other U.S.-based companies to form a consortium for the bid. A downturn in the U.S. nuclear industry makes business abroad increasingly valuable for American firms.

Reactors need uranium enriched to around 5 percent purity but the same technology in this process can also be used to enrich the heavy metal to a higher, weapons-grade level. This has been at the heart of Western and regional concerns over the nuclear work of Iran, which enriches uranium domestically.

Riyadh’s main reason to leave the door open to enrichment in the future may be political – to ensure the Sunni Muslim kingdom has the same possibility of enriching uranium as Shi‘ite Muslim Iran, industry sources and analysts say.


Saudi Arabia’s position poses a potential problem for the United States, which has strengthened ties with the kingdom under President Donald Trump.

Washington usually requires a country to sign a nuclear cooperation pact – known as a 123 agreement – that forfeits steps in fuel production with potential bomb-making uses.

“Doing less than this would undermine U.S. credibility and risk the increased spread of nuclear weapons capabilities to Saudi Arabia and the region,” said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

It is not clear whether Riyadh will raise the issue during Perry’s visit, which one of the industry sources said could include discussion of nuclear export controls.

Under a nuclear deal Iran signed in 2015 with world powers – but which Trump has said he might pull the United States out of – Tehran can enrich uranium to around the level needed for commercial power-generation.

It would be “a huge change of policy” for Washington to allow Saudi Arabia the right to enrich uranium, said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas office at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

“Applying the ‘golden standard’ of not allowing enrichment or preprocessing (of spent fuel) has held up a 123 agreement with Jordan for many years, and has been a key issue in U.S. nuclear cooperation with South Korea,” said Fitzpatrick, a nuclear policy expert.

The United States is likely to aim for restrictions, non-proliferation analysts say.

These could be based on those included in the 123 agreement Washington signed in 2009 with the United Arab Emirates, which is set to start up its first South Korean-built reactor in 2018 and has ruled out enrichment and reprocessing.

“Perhaps Saudi Arabia is testing the Trump administration and seeing if the administration would be amenable to fewer restrictions in a 123 agreement,” ISIS’s Albright said.

It would be “a huge change of policy” for Washington to allow Saudi Arabia the right to enrich uranium, said Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas office at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank.

“Applying the ‘golden standard’ of not allowing enrichment or preprocessing (of spent fuel) has held up a 123 agreement with Jordan for many years, and has been a key issue in U.S. nuclear cooperation with South Korea,” said Fitzpatrick, a nuclear policy expert.

The United States is likely to aim for restrictions, non-proliferation analysts say.

These could be based on those included in the 123 agreement Washington signed in 2009 with the United Arab Emirates, which is set to start up its first South Korean-built reactor in 2018 and has ruled out enrichment and reprocessing.

“Perhaps Saudi Arabia is testing the Trump administration and seeing if the administration would be amenable to fewer restrictions in a 123 agreement,” ISIS’s Albright said.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | marketing, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

A Terrorist State? Saudi Arabia? (and it might get nuclear weapons)

Is Saudi Arabia also amongst the terrorists? The News, Nigeria Dec 1 2017 By Owei Lakemfa.

I am fascinated by Saudi Arabia. It does not care what others say or think. It simply pursues its own goals and policies, submitting to no other than its master, the United States of America. To it, women are legally inferior to men and no amount of human or women rights campaigns will change that………

When I was in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Body, there were constant complaints against Saudi Arabia violating all known labour laws against migrant workers. They simply sack or deport tens of thousands especially Indians, Filipinos, Ethiopians and Pakistanis, without paying them backlog of salaries. In one operation, after rounding up migrant workers for deportation without salaries, the Saudis simply forgot them for days, leaving them stranded without water or food.

Many do not sanction capital punishment, but for the Saudis, it is a way of life. A human being can be beheaded for a sundry of reasons including murder, treason, espionage and rape. But there are others like apostasy and blasphemy. If you are an atheist, and so disclose, your head is severed. It is difficult to prove sorcery and witchcraft, but if a person is in possession of talisman, according to the Saudis, he is guilty, and is a candidate for execution. Execution is primarily, beheading with a sword called SULTHAN and the most infamous star in that art is Muhammad Saad al-Beshi, who described his first execution in 1998: “The criminal was tied and blindfolded. With one stroke of the sword I severed his head. It rolled metres away…People are amazed how fast [the sword] can separate the head from the body.”……….

the Israeli Energy Minister, Yuval Steinitz disclosed that Israel had held covert meetings with Saudi Arabia on how to jointly fight Iran. There is no love lost between Saudi Arabia which sees itself as the custodian of the Sunni Movement, and Iran which sees itself as the guardian of the Shiite Movement. So can this be the policy of ‘My enemy’s enemy, is my friend’? It should come as a surprise that a Muslim country is working out an alliance with a Jewish state to attack a sister Muslim country.

Saudi Arabia does not waste time rolling out its military might to achieve political goals. For this, it invaded Bahrain in 1994, and when there was a popular revolt against the Al-Khalifa Monarchy, Saudi Arabia on March 14, 2011, again invaded Bahrain and crushed the protests.

But it is in Yemen Saudi Arabia has most displayed it its military prowess. There had been an uprising against the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. A combination of Houthi rebels and Yemeni military loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, had removed Hadi. An angry Saudi Arabia fell on Yemen bombing large parts into near extinction. Everything is game to the Saudi bombers which first obliterated schools and hospitals then turned its fury on any gathering; markets, weddings, even funerals. It also imposed a blockade. Over 12,000 Yemeni civilians have been killed. 3.3 million children and nursing mothers are suffering from acute malnutrition, and cholera is rampant, yet Saudi Arabia and its allies will not relent. The cemeteries are over flowing so much that a good foreign investment in Yemen would be the building of new cemeteries.

Nobody is talking about crimes against humanity because the Saudis have powerful friends in the United Nations and “international community’ Many want a slice of the huge Saudi arms budget. When American President Donald Trump visited Riyadh this May, he smiled home with a $350 Billion arms contract for his country. With this, it was not difficult to get America endorse Saudi Arabia’s illegal blockade and sanctions against tiny Qatar who was told to either accept a 13-Point Saudi Demand including the closure of Al Jazeera, or face annihilation……….

December 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

US threatens to ‘utterly destroy’ N. Korea regime


The United States on Wednesday warned that North Korea’s leadership will be “utterly destroyed” if war breaks out as it called on countries to cut all diplomatic and trade ties with North Korea — including Chinese oil shipments to Pyongyang.

Washington urged tough action at an emergency meeting of the Security Council called to respond to North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

“The dictator of North Korea made a choice yesterday that brings the world closer to war, not farther from it,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the council.

“If war comes, make no mistake: The North Korean regime will be utterly destroyed.”

US President Donald Trump derided Kim Jong-Un as a “sick puppy” and threatened “major” new sanctions after Pyongyang tested its third ICBM — which it claimed was capable of striking anywhere in the United States.

The test ended a two-month lull in missile tests that had raised hopes for the opening of diplomatic talks.

North Korean leader Kim said the test of the Hwasong-15 weapons system had helped his country achieve the goal of becoming a full nuclear power, as the international community expressed outrage.

“We call on all nations to cut off all ties with North Korea,” Haley told the council.

The US ambassador said Trump had called Chinese President Xi Jinping and urged him to “cut off the oil from North Korea”, a move that would deal a crippling blow to North Korea’s economy………

There are concerns in Seoul that Trump might be considering military action against the North that could trigger a full-scale war.

Seoul is home to 10 million people and only about 50 kilometers from the border — well within range of Pyongyang’s artillery.

Russia urged the United States to scrap military exercises planned with South Korea in December, arguing they would exacerbate tensions.

“It is essential to take a step back,” said Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who urged Washington “to revise its policy of mutual threats and intimidation.”

China once again pressed its proposal that the North stop missile and nuclear tests in exchange for a freeze of US military exercises — a proposal Washington has repeatedly rejected……..

December 2, 2017 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

An immense glacier is melting, in Antarctica

UNFROZEN IN TIME, Huffington Post, Video and Pictures: Tom Compagnoni | Words: Josh Butler, 1 December 17 There’s a glacier in Antarctica so immense that, if it melted, would raise sea levels globally by 3.5 metres.

It’s melting. Right now.

“The facts around climate change are undeniable. It’s happening,” Australian glaciologist Ben Galton-Fenzi told The Huffington Post Australia. “The research we do now isn’t about trying to convince ourselves it’s real, because it’s irrefutable. What we’re trying to do is understand what the response time of the system is going to be into the future, so we can adapt to it.”

The Totten glacier is the biggest in east Antarctica. The glacier itself is around 120 kilometres long, 30 kilometres wide and drains some 538,000 square kilometres of the continent. That’s an area bigger than California. The ice is kilometres thick, but it’s melting at 70 metres a year in some spots. A study released in December reported warmer water was melting the Totten ice from below.

Galton-Fenzi and his small team will spend the next few months trying to work out exactly how fast the glacier is melting, gathering data to build better models to predict melt rates and how that will affect sea levels.

“The majority of the heat that has gone into the global climate system has gone into the ocean, about 90 percent over the last few decades of measurements,” he said. “The hypothesis is ocean temperatures around Antarctica will keep warming and drive the melting of the glaciers. If the glaciers flow faster, sea levels will rise, and that has profound implications for global civilisation.”……..“Climate change is a reality. There’s the whole debate around how we deal with it, and the work we do in Antarctica is influencing our ability to look forward and genuinely understand how much things are going to change,” Australian Antarctic Division director, Dr Nick Gales told HuffPost Australia from Hobart, the base of operations for the AAD.

“It is alarming. There is huge change going on there. The more we learn, the more we see change happening at rates faster than we predicted. It’s fundamentally important to support the science, communicate the science really well, and make sure the policy makers are aware of the science so they can take account of that in forming mitigation and adaptation strategies around the world.”
The AAD is the government body that administers Australian operations in Antarctica, from delivering workers and equipment to the continent, to selecting the research applications to be undertaken each season, to making sure the kitchen at Casey is well stocked with chocolate.

“When we started doing science in Antarctica, it was important and interesting because we were learning about things we simply didn’t know about.”

“Nowadays, the science is really critically important to what we do in the future.”

It’s critical to our wellbeing and our ability to understand what’s coming, and adapt and mitigate the effects. What about the droughts? Are they going to become more regular? What will happen to our low-lying areas and Pacific islands in relation to sea level rise? The science we do is critical for informing that.”This season, the AAD will support almost 100 projects in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. More than 500 expeditioners will make their way down each year for major “season-defining” projects such as Galton-Fenzi’s Totten glacier work, and smaller-scale operations. Gales said around two-thirds of the Australian-led research in Antarctica is related to climate science.

It is a continent almost entirely covered by ice, the largest ice sheet in the world and the planet’s largest single reserve of fresh water. It’s almost entirely untouched by humans, uninhabited but for the research teams (and a whole lot of amazing animal life, as we soon discovered); a continent literally devoted to science.

The 1959 Antarctic treaty, signed by the 12 countries which had been active in Antarctica — Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and United States — agreed to set aside territorial claims and enshrine the continent as a place for peace, science and international collaboration. Scientists work together, sharing resources, manpower and findings, for the good of humanity under this treaty, which states:

– Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only (Art. I)
– Freedom of scientific investigation in Antarctica and cooperation toward that end … shall continue (Art. II).
– Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available (Art. III).

“It’s unique. It’s extraordinary that, in a place like that, the world can agree to set aside differences and focus on those really important issues,” Gales said………
Johnstone and Black are cutting through the frozen sea ice for experiments on ocean acidification. As the Earth continues to emit carbon dioxide, the oceans soak up a large percentage of that extra CO2; around 30 percent, Black said.

Rob King, an AAD biologist based in Hobart, said around eight billion tonnes of CO2 is going into oceans each year.

“It increases the acidity of the ocean and lowers the pH. The global ocean average is about 8.2pH, and we’re expecting by the year 2100 with the current emissions scenarios we have, the pH will drop to 7.8,” Black said.
That’s a massive change for the ocean, with the water becoming far more acidic. That’s bad news for many tiny organisms and plankton that make up the bottom of the oceanic food chain, upon which larger creatures like penguins, fish, dolphins, seals, sharks and whales depend. Black and Johnstone have planted tiny chambers on the ocean floor to simulate how the water and the organisms will react to more acidic waters. They will also collect water and loads of these tiny organisms for experiments in the lab.

“As we acidify the water, anything with a calcium carbonate structure in its shell, like shellfish, pteropods and other organisms, will actually have trouble forming that shell and maintaining it,” Black said.

“When we look at the relative biomass of different organisms, we get about 600 million tonnes of phytoplankton down here. That’s the most biomass of any organism in the Southern Ocean. While they seem small and insignificant, they are the most important part of the ecosystem. Any change in that under climate change conditions will have flow on effects up the food chain.”……….
“Under the sea ice you’ve got a really stable environment. It’s always the same temperature, even though it’s a really harsh temperature of minus 1.85C all year, but it doesn’t vary much so they only have to adapt to one temperature,” the marine biologist said.’

“There’s very little current under here, because for 10 months of the year, there’s a covering of sea ice. They don’t have to deal with big tidal currents or waves or storms or wind action, or temperature changes. The conditions are relatively stable through the year.”

The word ‘frozen’ is often used to denote something which has stopped; static, not moving. It is synonymous with lifelessness, death, a barren wasteland. Antarctica is a frozen continent, but it is by no means dead. It grows and shrinks like a living organism. With the yearly melt and refreeze, as the continent effectively doubles in size during the winter as sea water becomes ice, it is arguably the most alive continent on Earth. The life that exists down here — human, animal and plant alike — is some of the hardiest, most resilient on the planet. It’s an entire continent devoted to peace and science, to work for the betterment of the entire planet.

It’s alive with purpose……….

December 2, 2017 Posted by | ANTARCTICA, climate change | Leave a comment

India kickstarts process to build 6 nuclear-powered attack submarines

 Dec 01, 2017, NEW DELHI: India has kick-started an ambitious project to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines that is expected to boost the Navy’s overall strike capabilities in the face of China’s naval build-up and increasing military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific region. ………

December 2, 2017 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Celebrations in North Korea over launch of long-range Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile

North Korea celebrates becoming a nuclear state with huge rally and firework display

Troops cheered, laughed and smiled as a beautiful firework display lit up Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang
North Korea is celebrating the declaration by dictator Kim Jong-Un that the Stalinist state is a nuclear power
It comes after the dramatic launch of the long-range Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday

By Iain Burns Daily Mail. UK, 

Thousands of North Korean soldiers have appeared at a rally today to celebrate after dictator Kim Jong-Un declared the Stalinist regime a nuclear power.

Troops cheered, laughed and smiled as a huge firework display lit up Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang following the successful test of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile on Tuesday.

State media reported that North Korea‘s leader Kim Jong-Un had declared the country had achieved the ‘historic cause’ of becoming a nuclear state on November 29……..

The Pentagon said the test missile traveled about 620 miles and landed within 200 nautical miles of Japan’s coast.

In a broadcast on state TV, North Korea said the missile reached an altitude of around 2,780 miles – more than 10 times the height of the international space station – and flew 600 miles during its 53 minute flight.

North Korea deliberately fires its missile on a near-vertical trajectory to artificially limit the range.

If the Hwasong-15 had been fired on a typical trajectory, analysts believe it would have a maximum range of around 8,000 miles (13,000km) – leaving only South America and a small part of Africa beyond it’s reach.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New Jersey dilemma: should tax-payers prop up the nuclear industry?

Questions on outlook for nuclear plants  by Tom Johnson, NJ SPOTLIGHT

In what is likely to be the opening salvo of a nasty legislative battle, lawmakers are to convene early next week to discuss how to prevent New Jersey’s nuclear plants from shutting down prematurely.

 The bigger question is whether they also are planning to act on a yet-to-be-introduced bill that some say could provide billions of dollars in ratepayer subsidies to Public Service Enterprise Group over the next decade.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee and Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee plan to hold a rare joint session Monday on economic challenges facing nuclear power plants, an issue that is splintering the energy sector not only in New Jersey but in Washington and elsewhere.

 News of the joint hearing this week jolted a coalition opposed to efforts to prop up nuclear units. They fear the proceedings foreshadows a legislative initiative to award lucrative financial incentives to PSEG and Exelon (a co-owner of two of the plants) during the lame-duck session, which ends early in January.

“We’ve seen this special-interest strategy before on bad bills,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an opponent of subsidies to nuclear plants. “It’s how a bad bill gets passed in a lame-duck session.”………

New Jersey would not be the first state to financially back nuclear power plants. Both New York and Illinois have approved ratepayer subsidies to keep nuclear units operating in those states. In the former, the subsidies amount to nearly $1 billion over two years.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is pushing a plan to bail out coal and nuclear units before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is supposed to act on the proposal within two weeks.

For more than a year, PSEG has been lobbying policymakers and legislators for financial help to keep its three nuclear plants in South Jersey afloat…….

December 2, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

Dangerous wastes moved from Hanford’s plutonium production site to Hanford’s hazardous-waste landfill

Workers finish cleaning up nuclear burial ground, Star Tribune By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press, NOVEMBER 30, 2017  SPOKANE, Wash. — Workers on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state have finished cleaning up one of the nation’s most contaminated radioactive waste sites, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday.

The dangerous wastes at the site known as the 618-10 Burial Ground stem from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons and took eight years to clean up, the agency said………

The 580-square-mile site Hanford site is located in southeast Washington state.

During the cleanup, workers retrieved more than 2,200 55-gallon drums, plus other waste, some of it buried more than 20 feet underground.

In total, workers removed more than 512,000 tons of contaminated soil and waste debris, which was taken to Hanford’s hazardous-waste landfill.

The 7.5-acre burial ground contained highly radioactive waste from Hanford laboratories and fuel development facilities in the 1950s and 1960s. Poor record-keeping at the time meant many of the waste types were unknown, the department said……

Hanford was created by the Manhattan Project during World War II as the nation raced to create an atomic bomb. It produced most of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War and contains the nation’s largest volume of nuclear waste.

The cleanup work costs more than $2 billion per year and is expected to take decades. The lawmakers said they will press the federal government to continue funding the work.

Progress is being made.

The Energy Department recently announced that it was essentially finished removing radioactive wastes from 16 of Hanford’s 177 underground storage tanks.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Moody’s Warns Cities to Address Climate Risks or Face Downgrades

Bloomberg By Christopher Flavelle  
  • Communities in Texas, Florida, other coastal states at risk
  • Credit rating agency says it’s adding climate to credit risks

Coastal communities from Maine to California have been put on notice from one of the top credit rating agencies: Start preparing for climate change or risk losing access to cheap credit.

 In a report to its clients Tuesday, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. explained how it incorporates climate change into its credit ratings for state and local bonds. If cities and states don’t deal with risks from surging seas or intense storms, they are at greater risk of default.
“What we want people to realize is: If you’re exposed, we know that. We’re going to ask questions about what you’re doing to mitigate that exposure,” Lenny Jones, a managing director at Moody’s, said in a phone interview. “That’s taken into your credit ratings.”
In its report, Moody’s lists six indicators it uses “to assess the exposure and overall susceptibility of U.S. states to the physical effects of climate change.” They include the share of economic activity that comes from coastal areas, hurricane and extreme-weather damage as a share of the economy, and the share of homes in a flood plain.

Based on those overall risks, Texas, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi are among the states most at risk from climate change. Moody’s didn’t identify which cities or municipalities were most exposed……..

December 2, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Appeal filed against commissioning of the tank of the Flamanville nuclear plant.

Le Monde 30th Nov 2017, [Machine translation] Nuclear: appeal filed against the agreement given to
the commissioning of the tank of the Flamanville plant. Several NGOs
believe that the Nuclear Safety Authority should have vetoed the use of the
tank of the future EPR, which has anomalies.

The state of the tank of the European pressurized reactor (EPR) Flamanville (Channel) continues to
generate strong reservations and concerns. On Thursday, November 30th,
several NGOs, including Réseau sortie du nucléaire and Greenpeace, who
denounce anomalies in the construction of this tank, said they filed an
appeal before the State Council asking for the cancellation of the
agreement recently given by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

“This tankwas not manufactured according to the rules of the art, there were bad
workmanship (…). ASN should have vetoed the possible use of this tank,
“said Charlotte Mijeon, Spokeswoman of the Network out of the nuclear.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Disturbing faults, safety dysfunction in France’s Paluel nuclear power plant in Normandy.

Bastamag 1st Dec 2017 [Machine translation] A new accident reveals serious dysfunctions in terms
of nuclear safety in France. In March 2016, during a replacement operation,
a 465-ton steam generator fell in the heart of the Paluel nuclear power
plant in Normandy. A serious and unprecedented accident, which miraculously
does not cause serious injury or radioactive contamination. Since then,
experts have investigated the causes of the accident.

Consulted by Bastamag, their report, the conclusions of which will be summarized to
employees this 1st of December, reveals major dysfunctions in the
preparation and supervision of the site, largely related to the massive use
of subcontracting. Disturbing faults, while the renovation projects of the
power stations will multiply.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Candu nuclear reactor to be buried.

Decommissioning of Candu protoype moves forward, WNN, 01 December 2017

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has extended the deadline for public comments on Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for decommissioning the country’s first ever nuclear power reactor by two weeks to 13 February. The Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor was the prototype for the Candu reactor design……

CNL’s NPD Closure Project aims to safely carry out the decommissioning of the NPD facility and complete the closure of the site, using an in-situ approach. This would see the reactor systems and facility structure entombed in place using specially formulated grouts. The structure would then be capped with a reinforced concrete cap and covered with an engineered barrier. The decommissioned facility would be considered to be a licensed disposal facility under Canada’s Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

The CNSC is currently accepting public comments on CNL’s draft EIS for the project, which provides an analysis of potential environmental effects and measures to mitigate those impacts. The public comment period opened on 15 November and had originally been due to end on 29 January…..

December 2, 2017 Posted by | Canada, decommission reactor | Leave a comment