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U.S. and Russia Race to Build Nuclear Weapons They Can Actually Use Against Each Other


The U.S. and Russia have reversed decades of non-proliferation efforts in order to modernize and potentially expand their nuclear weapons arsenals, which both President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have touted as vital to the national security of their respective countries.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Wednesday that his country’s nuclear stockpile, the largest in the world, should be almost entirely fitted with new, advanced weaponry in the next few years. While the Russian military remains a fraction of its Soviet-era size, Putin’s efforts to revolutionize his armed forces into a leading warfighting power capable of tackling conflicts abroad and defending the massive Eurasian country’s borders have included a renewed focus on weapons of mass destruction.

“The main focus should be made on further bolstering strategic nuclear power. The share of advanced armaments in the Russian nuclear triad should constitute at least 90 percent by 2021,” Shoigu said at a ministry meeting, according to the state-run Tass Russian News Agency.

“The task was set to provide the unconditional fulfillment of the state arms program. The army will be receiving more precision-guided weapons and cutting-edge systems of reconnaissance, communications and electronic warfare, as well as modern military gear,” he added.

Shoigu said back in November that Russia’s non-nuclear strategic forces would become fully capable of defending the country by 2020, but development and additions to Russia’s nuclear triad have persisted. Putin said last month that the nuclear modernization effort had already reached 79 percent and that the 90 percent of advanced arms in 2021 would include “missile systems that are capable of confidently overcoming existing and even projected missile defense systems.”

At sea, Russia was developing new submarines equipped with R-29RM Bulava nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and, on land, it has reportedly improved its nuclear-capable Topol-M ICBM with the ability to penetrate missile defense systems not unlike those deployed by the U.S. in Europe. Despite numerous setbacks, Russia was also expected to soon test its “Satan 2” Sarmat ICBM, said to be capable of wiping out the entire state of Texas. The Tupolev Tu-160M2, Russia’s latest nuclear bomber, was set to make its first test flight next month.

Citing Pentagon officials and nuclear experts, The Washington Free Beacon reported last month that Russia was believed to be expanding its arsenal of nuclear weapons to 8,000 warheads by 2026. These findings were anticipated to be included in the Nuclear Posture Review expected to be released sometime around Trump’s first State of the Union address later this month.

Like Putin, Trump has expressed an eagerness to bolster his nuclear arsenal and made it clear early on in his tenure as president that he wanted a bigger, stronger U.S. force, requesting a tenfold increase in nuclear weapons according to one report. While the Trump administration’s debut Nuclear Posture Review has yet to be released, at least one former official who saw a copy of the document said Tuesday the Pentagon was now looking to develop smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons and deter other nuclear powers.

“What I’ve been told by the people who wrote the thing was what they were trying to do was to send a clear deterrent message to Russians, the North Korean and the Chinese,” Jon Wolfsthal, who served as an arms control and nuclear nonproliferation adviser to former President Barack Obama, told The Guardian.

Trump’s alleged plan to loosen restrictions on the use of nuclear weapons included a new, low-yield nuclear warhead to be fitted on the U.S.’s submarine-launched Trident II D5 ballistic missile. While both Russia and the U.S. have accused each other of violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, they have also each flirted with the idea of creating these so-called tactical nuclear weapons that have a smaller impact, but some say increase the likelihood of a conflict going nuclear.

Russia and the U.S. have both adopted forms of a “launch under attack” policy, meaning they would not necessarily be opposed to conducting a pre-emptive strike, but only if an existential threat was detected. In a fact sheet updated earlier this week, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons estimated that Russia possessed 7,000 nuclear warheads and the U.S. had 6,800.

Like the leading two powers, nuclear states China, France and the U.K. were all signatories of the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea were all believed to also possess nuclear weapons despite not signing the landmark pact.


January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recent Cold Spell Cited In Debate About Millstone’s Future

A decision that could change the way Connecticut’s only nuclear plant sells its power is expected in the coming weeks. Now, dozens of legislators are using the state’s recent cold snap as evidence the Millstone Power Station needs to stay online.

Millstone is looking for approval to sell its power alongside certain renewables like solar and wind.

It says the change is needed to allow the industry to compete against relatively cheap natural gas.

But in a letter to state officials, dozens of legislators cautioned against an overreliance on that fuel. Calling natural gas “volatile,” lawmakers said  the recent extreme cold illustrates how demand can congest the pipes moving gas around, and result in “quick and dramatic price spikes.”

Millstone — a baseload generator that’s basically always on — is insulated from such instability, the legislators wrote.

Millstone made a similar argument in a letter to state regulators this week.

“Cheap natural gas is an attractive option for those seeking to build electric plants in New England since prices have been so low,” the legislators wrote. “While long periods of cheap natural gas appear good for customers, they also have the impact of forcing the premature shutdown of non-gas baseload resources such as nuclear.”

Vermont Yankee ceased operations in 2014. And the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass. is expected to retire in May 2019.

Meanwhile, a preliminary report from state energy officials in December concluded Connecticut’s Millstone is expected to remain profitable through 2035.

In its recent letter, Millstone says that assessment “dramatically” underestimated the station’s real costs.

But environmental groups say letting the station change the way it sells its power could dampen the development of renewable resources like solar and wind.

“Allowing Millsone to compete with up-and-coming renewable technologies like wind and solar power would unfairly force CT ratepayers to foot the bill for an antiquated, and yet highly profitable power source,” wrote Louis Burch with Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The state is expected to issue its decision by February 1.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

North Korea’s Yongbyon Facility: Additional plutonium for nuclear weapons

Thermal imagery analysis of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicates that from September 2016 through June 2017:

* The Radiochemical Laboratory operated intermittently and there have apparently been at least two unreported reprocessing campaigns to produce an undetermined amount of plutonium that can further increase North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile. This suggests batch rather than continuous processing of spent fuel rods from the 5 MWe Reactor during the period of analysis.

* Increased thermal activity was noted at the Uranium Enrichment Facility. It is unclear if this was the result of centrifuge operations or maintenance operations. Centrifuge operations would increase the North’s enriched uranium inventory; however, based on imagery alone, it is not possible to conclude whether the plant is producing low or highly enriched uranium.

* The thermal patterns at the probable Isotope/Tritium Production Facility have remained consistent, suggesting that the facility is not operational, or is operating at a very low level. This means, the facility is likely not producing tritium, which is an essential isotope used in the production of boosted yield nuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs.

* From December 2016 through January 2017, the thermal pattern over the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) was elevated. While that might indicate that the reactor was operational, the likelihood is low since the pattern does not appear in subsequent imagery over the last six months. It is possible that there are alternative explanations for the elevated pattern, for example, short-term activity at the ELWR such as the heating of pipes to prevent freezing. Regardless, any activity at the ELWR is cause for concern and bears continued monitoring.

* The 5 MWe Reactor has either been intermittently operating at a low-level or not operating. The notable exception to this was during December 2016 and January 2017 when thermal patterns suggests a higher level of operations.


While commercial satellite imagery is now widely used to analyze important developments overseas, including in North Korea, thermal imagery can provide additional important insights. Landsat 7 imagery from September 2016 through June 2017 was used for this analysis, although heavy cloud cover precluded the use of imagery from last November and no night-time imagery was available for the entire time period of this study. A total of 19 images are available and of these, 10 were chosen with approximately one-month time intervals between them to provide a consistent periodicity for the analysis. Seven images were deemed too cloudy for analysis and thus weren’t considered.

Developments noted at key Yongbyon installations were as follows:

Radiochemical Laboratory

Examination of the thermal patterns associated with the Radiochemical Laboratory (reprocessing facility) show significant deviations from month to month. Concentrated heat patterns were observed with stronger temperature differences from the surrounding area between September to October of last year.

The thermal patterns then returned to lower levels until March 2017, when a distinct increase in thermal activity is observed that has continued through last month. These intermittent surges in thermal activity suggest North Korea has conducted batch rather than continuous processing of spent fuel rods from the 5 MWe Reactor.

It is typical to allow the spent fuel rods to rest for a while in cooling ponds to both cool and allow less stable plutonium isotopes (PU-238, etc.) to bleed off. These reprocessing campaigns do not necessarily occur immediately after spent fuel rods are removed from the 5 MWe reactor.

The June 2017 thermal activity coincides with an increase in activity noted in a March 2017 analysis based upon natural color imagery.

The thermal patterns at the Uranium Enrichment Facility were elevated during September and October 2016, then decreased in November 2016 and remained low until March 2017 when it increased slightly. It is unclear if the period of elevated activity from September through November was related to centrifuge operations or the maintenance activity that was observed during this period.

Experimental Light Water Reactor

The same elevated thermal patterns over the 5 MWe Reactor observed in imagery during December 2016 and January 2017 also extended over the area of the ELWR.

This was likely the result of steam being released into the air when the turbines adjacent to the 5 MWe Reactor were being run, operation of the 5 MWe Reactor itself, mid-winter heating of both structures, prevailing weather patterns, or some combination of the above. We cannot completely, however, eliminate the possibility that this elevated thermal pattern was the result of short-term activity at the ELWR itself—for example, heating the structure to prevent pipes from freezing, allowing ongoing internal construction work, or pre-startup testing. [3] It is important to note that no other significant patterns of thermal activity were observed over the ELWR throughout the study period. Importantly, the ELWR did not operate at all from February through June 2017.

Any activity at the ELWR is cause for concern and its operational status bears continued monitoring as it would be an indicator of North Korean ongoing intentions and capabilities.

5 MWe Reactor

The thermal patterns observed at the 5 MWe Reactor remain relatively consistent with those observed in the previous report indicating either intermittent low-level or no operation of the reactor. There was a notable deviation in the December 2016 and January 2017 images, suggesting a period of higher level reactor operation that lends support to a previous analysis based upon natural color imagery.

Isotope/Tritium Production Facility: The thermal patterns at the probable Isotope/Tritium Production Facility have remained consistently low throughout the period under study, suggesting that the facility is not operational, or is operating at a very low level.

– 38 North

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Japanese ex-prime ministers push bill to kill nuclear power

January 11, 2018 5:41 am JST

Liberal opposition party signals support for Koizumi’s calls for cooperation

TOKYO — A private group advised by two former Japanese prime ministers on Wednesday unveiled the outline of a bill calling for an immediate shutdown of country’s nuclear power stations in favor of natural energy sources.

Moving Japan away from nuclear power “is difficult under the [Shinzo] Abe administration,” former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told a press conference at the Diet. But that goal, he said, “will absolutely be realized in the near future, with support from a majority of citizens.”

The group would “cooperate with any party that makes serious efforts to advance denuclearization and natural energy,” added Koizumi, who headed Japan’s government from 2001 to 2006.

Fellow adviser Morihiro Hosokawa, who served as prime minister from 1993 to 1994, also attended the press conference. The group called for wide-ranging cooperation among ruling and opposition parties with the aim of submitting a bill to the regular Diet session set to convene Jan. 22.

The leader of the anti-nuclear group later took part in an energy-policy discussion with the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. During lower-house elections late last year, the party promised to deliver a bill to wean Japan off nuclear energy.

Bringing Japan’s nuclear power to zero is a “moral responsibility for the future of the people,” said Tetsuro Fukuyama, secretary-general of the Constitutional Democrats.


January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Federal nuclear watchdog agency publishes government shutdown plan

Federal nuclear watchdog agency publishes government shutdown plan, Brittany Crocker, USA TODAY NETWORK – TennesseeKnox News, Jan. 9, 2018 A federal oversight board charged with protecting workers and communities surrounding nuclear weapons complexes like Oak Ridge’s Y-12 National Security Complex has published a plan for closing out the agency if the government shuts down.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is made up of five nuclear safety experts who provide analysis, advice and recommendations on public health and safety to the secretary of energy.

Congress has until Jan. 19 to pass a spending bill that will keep the government funded through the fiscal year. The board is ensuring it’s prepared for the worst, according to a December letter to the White House’s management and budget office.

The board told the Office of Management and Budget it would take just half a day to completely shut down its operations and let go all but 14 of its 117 employees, a number that does not include the five sitting board members.

“If the board reaches the point where no funding is available, normal oversight activities will cease, including receiving safety complaints from workers at DOE sites and the public,” the plan said.

At that point, according to the plan, board Chairman Sean Sullivan could designate resident inspectors to continue working at nuclear sites like Y-12, along with a few administrative staff members. He also would retain the ability to recall the staff in case of an emergency at a nuclear facility.

Under fire

The letter provides a chilling insight into what could result from government attempts to curtail the board’s watchdog role over the already $10.8 billion-per-year nuclear weapons program the Trump administration has considered expanding.

Sullivan, who was appointed board chairman by Trump, has sought to limit the board’s advisory role, garnering the opposition of his fellow board members.

In May, Sullivan voted against a board letter to Energy Secretary Rick Perry advising against the removal of certain safety occurrence reporting requirements that affect Department of Energy nuclear sites.

The letter asked for a DOE report on supplemental actions to make sure the proposed removals would not affect worker safety………

January 10, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Time for new movies to raise awareness of nuclear bombing

Millennials need new movies about nuclear war, a ninth-grader says, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 8 JANUARY 2018 Cassandra Williams Movies hold the power to teach and to persuade. Today, there is one subject that appears to be largely absent from popular movies: nuclear war. Nuclear war movies were huge in Hollywood from the 1960s to the 1980s. Today, however, they are rare.

Nuclear war is, and will be, a threat for as long as nuclear weapons exist. Everyone needs to understand this threat, especially millennials. They are the future, after all. But many millennials are too young to have seen the eye-opening movies of an earlier era, which revealed what would happen in the event of a nuclear war. These movies include On the Beach from 1959, Testament from 1983, and many more.

The movie that really had people talking was the 1983 film The Day After. This movie affected many people, including President Ronald Reagan. In his diary, he wrote about the sorrow the movie left him feeling. While the movie got mixed reviews, there is no denying that it made millions of people think more deeply about the possibility that nuclear war could occur. Because nuclear war movies are outdated, they don’t hold the attention of millennials today; we need new movies to warn of the nuclear war threat………

The movie [The Day After] left me completely stunned. (The 1984 British film Threads, which follows a similar narrative, is reportedly even more unsettling.) I had learned about the power of nuclear weapons, but never had I seen just how devastating nuclear war could be. You can read about it, and you can hear about it, but actually seeing it is a different story. To see thousands of people vaporized in less than a second, buildings toppling on people faster than they can react, and everyone slowly dying of cancer is as eye-opening as it gets.

The words that filled the screen at the end of the film made it even more disturbing: “The catastrophic events you have just witnessed are, in all likelihood, less severe than the destruction that would actually occur in the event of a full nuclear strike against the United States. It is hoped that the images of this film will inspire the nations of the earth, their peoples and leaders, to find the means to avert that fateful day.” Based on the tense relations in the world today, and the unpredictable behavior of North Korea and our current US president, I fear this fateful day may be closer than we think……

Modern movies. Why don’t Americans see these kinds of movies anymore? Nuclear weapons still exist. World relationships are still tense. President Donald Trump tends to make some questionable and reactionary decisions based on emotion, as does North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Because these leaders are unpredictable, the public needs something to make us think about how devastating a nuclear war would be. We need something that will affect people as much as The Day After………

January 10, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, media | Leave a comment

USA Energy Dept must pay $1million daily for MOX facility failure, and non removal of plutonium wastes

Aiken Standard 7th Jan 2018, South Carolina’s $1million daily penalty tally against the Department of
Energy started over Jan. 1, and state leaders said they will pursue payment of the daily penalty as well as claims for penalties accrued in 2016 and 2017.

According to federal law, the DOE was required to finish the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in Aiken County by 2014, or remove at least one metric ton of plutonium from the state by Jan. 1, 2016. When the Energy Department failed to meet those deadlines, a $1 million daily penalty was instated. The penalties add up to a maximum of
$100 million annually for each of the first 100 days of the year. When the fees reach the maximum mark, state leaders said residents can expect to see a claim follow quickly thereafter.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

New study planned into effectiveness of Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s work at Sellafield

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority,

Scheduled Summer 2018
Sector EnergyEnvironment
NAO Team Director: Michael Kell

Audit Manager: Zaina Steityeh

Media contact Steve Luxford
Direct line: 020 7798 7861 Mobile: 07985 260074 Email:

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The NDA is responsible for the operation, decommissioning and clean-up of 17 nuclear reactor and research sites in the UK.

Of the 17 sites, Sellafield is the largest in terms of size and annual expenditure. It is also one of the most complex and hazardous nuclear sites in Europe. In 2015, the NDA announced that the management arrangements it had in place for the Sellafield site were ineffective; in April 2016, Sellafield Ltd became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NDA. The NDA says these new arrangements will enable faster hazard and risk reduction at the site, and a more effective management of major projects. Alongside these changes, Sellafield is readying itself for the end of its reprocessing activities in 2020, meaning its operational focus will be on reducing high hazard reduction and decommissioning nuclear facilities. Sellafield has set out a transformation plan to support these changes.

This study will examine whether the new arrangements at Sellafield are effective in reducing high risk and hazard on the site, and whether the NDA is making progress with the performance of its major projects.

If you would like to provide evidence for our study please email the study team on, putting the study title in the subject line.

The team will consider the evidence you provide; however, please note that due to the volume of information we receive we may not respond to you directly. If you need to raise a concern please use our contact form.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Opponents of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to demand its closure

 Pilgrim foes to demand plant’s closure, By Sean F. Driscoll Cod Times, Jan 7, 2018 Opponents of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station will hold a “speakout” and deliver a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker at 2 p.m. today, calling for him to use his authority to demand the Nuclear Regulatory Commission revoke the plant’s operating license following an emergency shut down during the Jan. 4 snowstorm, according to a statement from the Cape Downwinders.

The shutdown, known as a “scram,” occurred because of loss of offsite power, according to Entergy Corp., the plant’s owner.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the federal agency that oversees the nation’s 99 nuclear reactors, has reduced the number of resident inspectors at Pilgrim from three to two, despite the plant’s classification as one of the three worst performers in the country. Federal regulations require two resident inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at every nuclear reactor; the NRC boosted the number at Pilgrim to three in 2015 due to its poor performance.

Pilgrim is set to permanently shut down May 31, 2019.

“The decision to close Pilgrim should be a public safety issue not a business decision,” Diane Turco, director of Cape Downwinders, said in the statement. “The recent scram highlights the continuing risk Entergy is willing to take at our expense. Pilgrim should be the poster child for public safety and closed now, not in 2019.”

For more information on the speakout, visit

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Last Message of TANIGUCHI Sumiteru,a Hibakusya of Nagasaki

Nagasaki Atomic bomb Survivors Council 長崎原爆

Published on 19 Sep 2017

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chromosome defects found among N. Korean defectors who lived near nuke test site

HIROSHIMA — Chromosome abnormalities similar to those of A-bomb survivors have been found among two North Korean defectors who lived near the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site in Kilju County in North Korea’s North Hamgyong province, it has been learned.

The finding surfaced after experts in Hiroshima analyzed data collected by researchers in South Korea. The maximum accumulated radiation exposure faced by one of the defectors was estimated to be 394 millisieverts. It is thought that radiation from North Korea’s nuclear tests is to blame. The estimate is on par with the early-stage radiation exposure of A-bomb survivors in Hiroshima at a distance around 1.6 kilometers from the hypocenter when the city was bombed on Aug. 6, 1945. In recent years an increasing number of residents near the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site have complained of poor health apparently resulting from nuclear weapons testing, and calls have arisen for a probe into the extent of the damage.

In July and August 2016, and in September last year, the private Seoul-based South and North Development (SAND) research institute, which works with defectors from North Korea, questioned 21 people who had resided in Kilju County. It found that many of them were complaining of common symptoms such as headaches and nausea.

In 2016, SAND asked the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences (KIRAMS) to test the defectors, and a radiation exposure survey was subsequently conducted. It found that a woman in her 40s who escaped from North Korea in 2011, after the North’s nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, had a chromosome abnormality in the lymphocytes in her blood, similar to that resulting from exposure to radiation. The woman’s estimated accumulated radiation exposure was 320 millisieverts.

Receiving assistance from KIRAMS, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification conducted a separate test of 30 people from Kilju in November last year. This test found a chromosome abnormality in a man in his 40s who defected from North Korea in 2012, likewise after the nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. The man was born and raised in an area about 20 kilometers away from the nuclear test site, and his estimated accumulated radiation exposure was 394 millisieverts. South Korean officials, however, said there was no information available to evaluate the effects of the living environment in North Korea, so it was not possible to conclusively say that the abnormalities were caused by nuclear testing.

Masaharu Hoshi, a professor emeritus at Hiroshima University and specialist in radiation biology and physics, who analyzed the data from South Korea, commented, “It’s possible that people were exposed to dust and gas containing radioactive substances. We also need to check data relating to internal contamination, such as cesium levels.”

Hoshi was involved in a survey around the Semipalatinsk Test Site in northeast Kazakhstan, where the Soviet Union conducted over 450 atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons tests between 1949 and 1989.

“The conditions are similar to those at Semipalatinsk, and I guess this is the first result thought to stem from North Korea’s nuclear testing,” he said. An accumulated radiation level of 400 millisieverts was detected in bricks in the village of Dolon, located about 110 kilometers from the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site.

Since the possibility of radioactive substances being dispersed in the air is relatively lower for underground nuclear weapons tests compared with those conducted in the atmosphere, Hoshi commented, “There’s a possibility that radioactive materials are leaking from North Korea’s test site.”

Choi Kyung-hui, president of the SAND institute, underscored the need to grasp the extent of the damage.

“Nuclear development is seen as problematic, but no attention was paid to the possibility of radiation exposure. Even today, there may be many people around the testing site who were exposed to radiation and are suffering,” Choi said.

January 10, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment