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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Soaring deficit for USA in Trump’s $4.4 Trillions Budget with huge weapons expenditure

President Trump’s $4.4 Trillions Budget Features Soaring Deficits 2 News 13 Feb 18

President Donald Trump is sending Congress a $4.4 trillion spending planthat provides a huge increase in defense spending while cutting taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The result is soaring budget deficits.

Trump’s first budget last year projected that the government would achieve a small surplus by 2027. But the new budget never gets to balance. It proposes $7.1 trillion in red ink over the next decade, basically doubling last year’s forecast……..

Trump last week signed a $300 billion measure to boost defense and domestic spending, negating many of the cuts in his new budget plan. …..

Meanwhile, the Trump administration wants NASA out of the International Space Station by 2025, and private businesses running the place instead.

Under the proposed budget released, U.S. government funding for the space station would cease by 2025. The government would set aside $150 million to encourage commercial development…..

Altogether, the budget seeks to increase NASA’s budget slightly to $19.6 billion.

And – the Pentagon is proposing to spend hundreds of millions more in 2019 on missile defense.

The budget calls for increasing the number of strategic missile interceptors from 44 to 64. The additional 20 interceptors would be based at Fort Greely, Alaska. Critics question the reliability of the interceptors, arguing that years of testing have yet to prove them effective against sophisticated threats.

The Pentagon also would invest more heavily in the ship-based Aegis system and the Army’s Patriot air and missile defense system. Both are designed to defend against missiles with ranges shorter than the intercontinental ballistic missile that is of greatest U.S. concern in the context of North Korea.

Trump’s proposed 2019 budget calls for slashing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by more than one third, including ending the Climate Change Research and Partnership Programs.

The president’s budget would also make deep cuts to funding for cleaning up the nation’s most polluted sites, even as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says that’s one of his top priorities. Trump’s budget would allocate just $762 million for the Hazardous Substance Superfund Account, a reduction of more than 30%.

Current spending for Superfund is down to about half of what it was in the 1990s. Despite the cut, the White House says the administration plans to “accelerate” site cleanups by bringing “more private funding to the table for redevelopment.”

……Congressman Ruben J. Kihuen issued the statement after the release of President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal which supports plans for an interim storage program and the licensing of the Yucca Mountain geologic repository:

“I am disappointed that President Trump’s latest budget request dedicates $120 million to revive the long-dead nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, money that would be much better spent on research and development of the renewable energy technology that we need to power our clean-energy future. Rather than pursue a realistic attempt to develop a substantive nuclear waste management program, this is a colossal waste of funding that goes directly against the will of Nevadans. I have been proud to help lead the fight against dumping nuclear waste in Nevadans’ backyards, and I will continue working to ensure this project remains dead.” 

U.S. Senator Dean Heller released this statement:

“Despite Congress’ refusal to fund the Yucca Mountain project, the Administration is once again prioritizing it. Whether it’s the threat that Yucca Mountain poses to the people of southern Nevada or its potentially catastrophic effect on our tourism economy, I’ve made it clear why Nevada does not want to turn into the nation’s nuclear waste dump,” said Heller. “Under my leadership Congress has not appropriated funding for licensing activities at Yucca Mountain as requested in the last budget, and I’m going to continue to fight to make sure that this project doesn’t see the light of day.”  

U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement: 

“It’s a disgrace that president trump and some members of congress find it acceptable to continue throwing away tax payer money on a failed project.” 

http://www.ktvn.com/story/37484935/president-trumps-44-trillions-budget-features-soaring-deficits

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February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA’s Energy Dept ‘s $30.6 billion budget request beefs up nuclear weapons, downgrades renewables

Rick Perry beefs up nuclear weapons spending over renewables in fiscal 2019 budget, Washington Examiner, by John Siciliano | 

Nearly half of the agency’s budget, $15.1 billion, would be directed “to modernize and restore the nuclear security enterprise aligned with the Nuclear Posture Review and National Security Strategy,” according to a summary. That’s about $1 billion above last year’s proposal.

The Energy Department is clearly emphasizing its national security and nuclear weapons responsibilities over its energy research and development mission in fiscal 2019.

The budget proposal would give the agency’s renewable energy office a $1.3 billion haircut below the fiscal 2017 enacted levels to $696 million……..

nuclear energy gets $757 million, a $259 million boost compared to fiscal 2017 enacted levels, it emphasizes. It’s a boost from Trump’s 2018 fiscal proposal of just $703 million.

The money would be used to “revive and expand” the nation’s nuclear energy sector through early stage research and development that prioritizes support for advanced manufacturing methods, instrumentation, and reactor technologies, including advanced small modular reactors, which the industry calls a “game-changing” technology…….. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/rick-perry-beefs-up-nuclear-weapons-spending-over-renewables-in-fiscal-2019-budget/article/2648852

February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

A new arms race – Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review gives the signal

The Nuclear Posture Review Signals a New Arms Race https://www.thenation.com/article/the-nuclear-posture-review-signals-a-new-arms-race/

We need to revive momentum for reducing nuclear weapons, not for “modernizing” them.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a “false’ radiation alert scare

‘False’ Radiation Alert Causes Scare In Russia https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-yaroslavl-radiation-scare/29037176.html  Residents of Russia’s Yaroslavl region got a scare when local TV and radio stations broadcast a radiation warning, but the Emergency Situations Ministry said the broadcast was a mistake.

The prerecorded warning, which aired at about 9 a.m., alerted residents to what it said were high levels of radiation in the atmosphere in the region 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow.

It advised people to protect themselves, tightly close their homes or offices and stay inside, and secure food and water from possible contamination by radiation.

In a statement, the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said that a technical glitch caused the “false” warning to be broadcast. It urged residents to “remain calm” and said radiation levels were “within the norm.”

In a short video statement, the senior regional emergency official, Yevgeny Shumilin, said the authorities were investigating what caused the message to be broadcast.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | media, Russia | Leave a comment

Trump’s budget proposes cuts to renewable energy, increase in nuclear weapons spending

Trump budget cuts renewable energy office, ups nuclear weapons spending, Reuters, Timothy Gardner, 13 Feb 18, WASHINGTON   – U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts spending by more than 65 percent for a research office on renewable energy and efficiency, reductions a Department of Energy official said reflected the success the bureau has had with electric vehicle batteries and wind and solar technologies…..

The budget is primarily a political document and is not likely to be embraced by Congress, but it represents a starting point for the administration on negotiations. …..

the budget calls for the “termination” of the loans programs and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, while maintaining the existing loan portfolio and making sure existing awards are completed.

And it calls for a more than 19 percent boost to the fossil energy research and development office to $502 million for making advanced power systems based on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas more efficient.

A nonpartisan research institute decried the proposed cuts.

 The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said the cuts “would undercut progress toward cheaper, cleaner energy in the United States and damage the nation’s prospects for global leadership in key growth industries of the 21st century.”

The White House proposed an overall DOE 2019 budget request of $30.6 billion, a $500 million boost from current levels. That included a nearly $1.2 billion hike, compared to last year’s request, for the National Nuclear Security Administration, to help pay for a revamp of the United States nuclear weapons arsenal.

But the budget cuts funding for the nuclear energy office by $259 million below enacted 2017 level to $757 million. The department handles research and development for advanced reactor technologies.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Can the president be prosecuted for war crimes in the event of a nuclear strike?

 https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/02/12/can-president-prosecuted-war-crimes-event-nuclear-strike, Anthony J. Colangelo, 

Can U.S. nuclear strike planners and executors be prosecuted for war crimes? Short answer, yes. And the planners are more vulnerable to prosecution than world leaders, such as President Donald Trump.

A preliminary question, of course, is what would constitute an illegal nuclear strike order. It is fairly clear that any use of nuclear weapons to achieve military objectives that conventional weapons can otherwise achieve would be illegal.

The reason is that the nuclear option would violate principles of the law of war, or what’s called humanitarian law, by causing indiscriminate and disproportionate loss of life and superfluous injury, since nuclear weapons are far more catastrophic than conventional weapons. If conventional weapons could achieve the same military objectives, then any order to use nuclear weapons instead would be manifestly illegal, leading to allegations of war crimes. But heads of state like Trump are generally immune from prosecution, at least while they remain in office, even for serious violations of international law like war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, the whole reason heads of state enjoy immunity is that the state would be unable effectively to represent itself in its dealings with other states if these individuals were stuck in foreign states’ docks. Thus high-ranking members of the U.S. Strategic Command and other planning bodies likely fall outside the scope of immunity, and the farther down the chain one goes, the less immunity applies. In turn, only heads of state and perhaps other extremely high-ranking officials would have immunity.

But where could these planners and executors be prosecuted? One option would be in U.S. domestic courts or military tribunals, especially if there is a change in administration. Another option would be foreign tribunals. Because war crimes are subject to what’s called universal jurisdiction, any nation in the world may prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. This is not just theoretical or academic.
The practice of universal jurisdiction has spiked in recent years when it comes to serious violations of international law, such as torture, crimes against humanity and certain acts of terrorism.

Nuclear strike planners have a duty under international and domestic U.S. law to reject illegal nuclear strike orders. If they do not, they can be held liable in both domestic and foreign courts. Immunity will not shield them from prosecution.

Anthony J. Colangelo is a law professor at Southern Methodist University and a senior associate at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News. Email:colangelo@smu.edu

February 14, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear weapons macho men

Kim Jong-un’s rocket men: North Korea’s ‘key men’ behind nuclear weapons arsenal, Express UK MEET the Megaton Twins – the two scientists Kim Jong-un can thank for his terrifying nuclear arsenal, according to experts. Michael Madden, who works with the 38 North watchdog, said Hong Sung-mu and Ri Hong-sop were crucial to the weapons programme’s success. Feb 13, 2018 

With their help, North Korea went from detonating suspected duds in 2006 to its current nukes, which are up to 18 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

And with the regime’s latest missile – the Hwasong-15 – theoretically able to reach Washington DC, their weapons are more threatening than ever.

Mr Madden said there were a number of people who’d contributed to North Korea’s nuclear weapons over the years.

But he said Ri Hong-sop, the head of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapons Institute, and Hong Sung-mu, were the “key people” now……. https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/918460/North-korea-news-nuclear-war-weapons-kim-jong-un-world-war-3-donald-trump-rocket-man

February 14, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

‘Men only’ attitude in decision-making is slowing Britain’s transition to clean energy

Lack of women in energy ‘holding back fight against climate change’
Gender imbalance at energy firms and industry events is slowing transition to greener power, claims expert, Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 13 Feb 18, 

The lack of women in energy companies is holding back the sector’s efforts to tackle climate change, a leading industry watcher has warned.

Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said poor gender diversity meant the industry was less open to new ideas, in particular the move to a lower-carbon energy system.

“I absolutely do think that the fact that the industry is so dominated by men and particularly older white men it is slowing down the energy transition,” said Mitchell, who has worked on energy issues for more than 30 years and advises the government, regulators and businesses.

An energy conference featuring women-only panels is being held next month to address the lack of visibility of female leaders in the sector……

The lack of women in energy companies is holding back the sector’s efforts to tackle climate change, a leading industry watcher has warned.

Catherine Mitchell, a professor of energy policy at the University of Exeter, said poor gender diversity meant the industry was less open to new ideas, in particular the move to a lower-carbon energy system.

“I absolutely do think that the fact that the industry is so dominated by men and particularly older white men it is slowing down the energy transition,” said Mitchell, who has worked on energy issues for more than 30 years and advises the government, regulators and businesses.

An energy conference featuring women-only panels is being held next month to address the lack of visibility of female leaders in the sector……. Some in the industry are making an effort to address the problem, such as the big six lobby group Energy UK, which has banned men-only panels at its events. “The energy sector is undergoing a huge period of transition, which brings with it a huge opportunity to increase gender balance,” said the group’s external affairs director, Abbie Sampson https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/11/the-energy-industrys-power-problem-too-few-women

 

February 14, 2018 Posted by | UK, Women | Leave a comment

China again delays building Westinghouse-designed AP1000 nuclear reactor, because of safety worries

China nuclear reactor delayed again on ‘safety concerns’ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/12/china-nuclear-reactor-delayed-again-on-safety-concerns.html

  • Fuel loading at the world’s first Westinghouse-designed AP1000 nuclear reactor on China’s east coast has been delayed due to “safety concerns” — the latest in a long line of setbacks for the project.
  • Officials with the U.S.-based Westinghouse had expected fuel loading to start last year, and it would have been followed by around six months of performance tests before the reactor could go into full operation in 2018.

Fuel loading at the world’s first Westinghouse-designed AP1000 nuclear reactor on China’s east coast has been delayed due to “safety concerns” — the latest in a long line of setbacks for the project, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.

The third-generation reactor, located in Sanmen in Zhejiang province, was originally expected to make its debut in 2014.

Officials with U.S.-based Westinghouse had expected fuel loading to start last year, and it would have been followed by around six months of performance tests before the reactor could go into full operation in 2018.

 But fuel loading has now been suspended as China tries to ensure the project meets the highest possible safety standards, the China Daily said, citing a spokesman with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

Westinghouse was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters on Tuesday.

Westinghouse, owned by Japan’s Toshiba, signed an agreement in 2007 to build four AP1000 reactor units at two sites in China, hoping the projects would serve as a shop window for the firm.

But the company filed for bankruptcy last March, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the United States.

China was originally seen as the lifeline for the global nuclear sector, with the country keen to approve dozens of new reactor projects to ease its dependence on polluting coal-fired electricity.

China is currently targeting total installed nuclear capacity of 58 gigawatts by the end of 2020, up from 35.8 gigawatts by the end of last year. It also said it would aim to have another 30 gigawatts under construction by the end of the decade.

But the pace of planned nuclear construction in the country was scaled back in 2011 in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Delays to the Sanmen and Haiyang AP1000 projects, as well as the French-designed European Pressurised Reactor units at Taishan in Guangdong province, have held back the sector, and no new nuclear project has been approved in China in two years.

China’s nuclear firms are currently building their own homegrown third-generation reactor design known as the Hualong One.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment

New types of nuclear weapons being developed by Pakistan

Pak developing new types of nuclear weapons: US, Economic Times, Feb 13, 2018,

  Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical ones, that bring more risks to the region, America’s intelligence chief warned today.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats’ remarks came days after a group of Pakistan -based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists struck the Sunjuwan Military Camp in Jammu   on Saturday , killing seven people including six soldiers.

“Pakistan is developing new types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons,” Coats told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on worldwide threats organised by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Pakistan continues to produce nuclear weapons and develop n ew types of nuclear weapons, including short-range tactical weapons, sea-based cruise missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, and longer-range ballistic missiles, he warned.

“These new types of nuclear weapons will introduce new risks for escalation of dynamics and security in the region,” Coats said, reflecting on the risks involved in developing such types of nuclear weapons. …….https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/pak-developing-new-types-of-nuclear-weapons-us/articleshow/62907167.cms

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British judge slams Julian Assange, refuses Assange’s bid for freedom

As an Australian, I am appalled and ashamed that my government is so hellbent on kowtowing to the USA that it will not lift  a finger to help its own citizen, Julian Assange.  Why does the Australian government helps drug dealers and murderers banged up abroad, – but not someone who exposes the truth.

 Julian Assange loses bid to have UK arrest warrant withdrawn , ABC News 14 Feb 18A British judge has upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange, saying the WikiLeaks founder should have the courage to come to court and face justice after more than five years inside Ecuador’s London embassy.

Key points:

  • Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not say whether he would
  • He faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador’s London embassy
  • His attorney argues that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest

Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected arguments by Mr Assange’s lawyers that it is no longer in the public interest to arrest him for jumping bail in 2012 and seeking shelter in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.

Prosecutors there were investigating allegations of sexual assault and rape made by two women, which Mr Assange has denied.

Judge Arbuthnot did not mince words in her ruling at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, saying that by jumping bail, Mr Assange had made “a determined attempt to avoid the order of the court”.

She said Mr Assange appeared to be “a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice”.

Mr Assange can seek to appeal, though his lawyers did not immediately say whether he would.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation last year, saying there was no prospect of bringing Mr Assange to Sweden in the foreseeable future.

But the British warrant for violating bail conditions still stands, and Mr Assange faces arrest if he leaves the embassy.

Mr Assange’s lawyers had asked for the warrant to be withdrawn since Sweden no longer wants him extradited, but the judge rejected their request last week.

His attorney had gone on to argue that arresting him was no longer proportionate or in the public interest.

Lawyer Mark Summers argued the Australian was justified in seeking refuge in the embassy because he had a legitimate fear that US authorities want to arrest him for WikiLeaks’ publication of secret documents.

Judge Arbuthnot dismissed another plank of Mr Assange’s case — a report from a UN working group which said the 46-year-old was being arbitrarily detained.

“I give little weight to the views of the working group,” the judge said, noting that Mr Assange had “restricted his own freedom for a number of years”.

Julian Assange’s bid for freedom
While court hearings for Julian Assange’s bid for freedom are interesting steps in a long running saga, the end game is far more complicated, writes Lisa Millar.

Mr Assange’s lawyer had argued that the five-plus years Mr Assange had spent inside the embassy were “adequate, if not severe” punishment for his actions, noting that he had health problems including a frozen shoulder and depression….

..The ruling leaves the long legal impasse intact. Apart from the bail-jumping charge — for which the maximum sentence is one year in prison — Mr Assange suspects there is a secret US grand jury indictment against him for WikiLeaks’ publication of classified documents, and that American authorities will seek his extradition.

Mr Assange’s lawyers say he is willing to face legal proceedings in Britain, but only if he receives a guarantee that he will not be sent to the US to face prosecution. That is not an assurance Britain is likely to give. ……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-14/julian-assange-loses-bid-to-have-uk-arrest-warrant-withdrawn/9444540

 

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

J-Village soccer center in Fukushima to partially reopen in July

Feb 13, 2018
The president of the J Village is Governor of Fukushima.
A vice-president is Tepco’ member.
n-jvillage-a-20180214.jpg
Construction work continues at J-Village, a national soccer training center that was used by workers dealing with the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, in this photo taken in March last year. The facility is set to be partially reopened in July.
FUKUSHIMA – The J-Village national soccer training center in Fukushima Prefecture will partially reopen on July 28, more than seven years after the facility was forced to close due to the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, its operator said Tuesday.
After the reopening, six soccer grounds — five with natural grass and one with synthetic turf — will be available, as well as a lecture hall with a capacity of some 300 people. The capacity of accommodation facilities will be increased to 200 rooms, about twice the pre-disaster level.
J-Village, located in the Fukushima towns of Naraha and Hirono, was used by thousands of workers dealing with the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
“We’ll make efforts so that J-Village will become a place that attracts many people with the power of sports again and serves as a symbol of reconstruction in Fukushima,” Eiji Ueda, vice president of the operator, Japan Football Village Co., said at a news conference.
J-Village is expected to fully reopen in the spring of 2019

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Drone to probe Fukushima N-plant interior

February 10, 2018
feb 10 2018 drone inspection of reactor 3.jpg
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. plans to use a small unmanned aerial vehicle to closely inspect conditions inside the No. 3 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant as early as this month.
TEPCO will use the drone to examine the location of scattered debris and the level of radiation inside the reactor building, among other things.
It will be the first drone-based research conducted inside the plant’s Nos. 1, 2 and 3 reactor buildings, in which nuclear meltdowns occurred.
The drone, called Riser, was developed by a British company. It measures 83 centimeters by 93 centimeters and weighs about four kilograms.
Riser is equipped with cameras and a dosimeter that can measure up to 2.5 sieverts of radiation per hour.
Even in indoor spaces inaccessible to GPS signals, the drone is capable of determining its position and avoiding obstacles using lasers.
The same model was used for decommissioning work at the Sellafield nuclear facility in Britain.
TEPCO’s plan is for the drone to enter the No. 3 reactor building through a bay for large cargo on the first floor, then fly upward through a series of openings from the first to the fifth floor.
The drone will check areas including the building’s third floor, which has not been sufficiently monitored because radiation levels are too high.
According to TEPCO, key equipment such as that used to cool spent nuclear fuel pools are located on the third floor.
Confirming the location of possible obstacles and the level of radiation is necessary before decommissioning work can progress.
Riser also has a mapping function that enables it to produce three-dimensional graphic images of its surroundings using lasers.
Combining these images with measurements of radiation levels allows for the production of maps outlining contamination levels inside the reactor buildings. TEPCO will consider making this kind of distribution map in the future.
A hydrogen explosion inside the No. 3 reactor building on March 14, 2011, destroyed the building’s upper structures.
Work is currently under way to construct a dome-shaped roof over the building to facilitate the removal of fuel that remains in the spent fuel storage pools.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Small fire breaks out at Fukushima No. 2 nuke plant

fukushima dai ni sept 2017.jpg
The Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant is seen on Sept. 4, 2017
 
FUKUSHIMA — A minor fire set off an alarm in a building at the Fukushima No. 2 Nuclear Power Plant on Feb. 8, sparking an investigation.
At about 9 a.m. on Feb. 8, an alarm went off in a building handling the processing of waste from reactor Nos. 1 and 2 at the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. (TEPCO). A worker from a cooperating company noticed smoke coming from a room for cooling equipment and rushed to put out the fire, which was confirmed extinguished about 40 minutes later.
The Futaba Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire. Officials said a monitoring post on the perimeter of the nuclear plant grounds showed no change in airborne radiation levels.
The six-story building where the fire started is made of reinforced concrete. In addition to handling the processing of waste liquid containing radioactive materials from the plant’s No. 1 and 2 reactors, it has a laundry facility for workers’ clothes. The cooling equipment room is in a radiation control area, and is outfitted with air conditioning and other equipment.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | | Leave a comment

Because the aftermath of a real nuclear war is unthinkable, we’ve largely refused to think about it.

The inevitable nuclear war, The Indiana Gazette,  John M. Crisp, Feb 13, 2018 

We don’t do enough thinking about catastrophe, so let’s pause to note that everything on our national political stage — tax reform, immigration, health care, the Mueller investigation — and in our private lives, for that matter, occurs against two apocalyptic backdrops: climate change and nuclear war.

That’s too much to think about in 700 words, so let’s allow climate change to simmer on the back burner for a while. Despite already catastrophic effects, we’re doing very little about it, anyway; on the contrary, we’ve elected national leadership that doesn’t take it seriously.

So let’s consider instead the possibility of nuclear war:……..

Current conditions are reminiscent of the world of 1913, just prior to the start of the First World War:

The Great War didn’t have a proximate cause, and historians still puzzle over why it happened at all. How could such a cataclysmic worldwide event be triggered by an isolated assassination in Sarajevo in 1914?

The answer resides in the tensions and rivalries among the great international powers of the day and in their response to them, which was to prepare for war. For example, in 1900 Germany decided to build a fleet to match Britain’s Royal Navy, and by 1906 a full-fledged race for battleship superiority was underway……

in 1913 war was a matter of horses and swords and single-shot, bolt-action rifles. Certainly, soldiers got hurt and many died, but Europe didn’t have the collective imagination to envision the devastation of a modern war fought with modern weapons. Few could have predicted 40 million casualties in just four years.

 We suffer from both of these conditions today: We’ve never really absorbed the stark lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we’ve failed to extrapolate the devastation of the two comparatively modest nuclear weapons discharged in 1945 to a significant exchange of today’s much more powerful weapons.

Because the aftermath of a real nuclear war is unthinkable, we’ve largely refused to think about it.

Further, the weapons themselves threaten our capacity to control them. Nuclear weapons are precarious, as indicated by the recent panic in Honolulu when a defense drill got out of hand. And while we might hope that the use of nuclear weapons could be constrained by rationality, somehow in our country we’ve allowed the so-called nuclear football to fall into the hands of a man who is characterized by emotion, insecurity, impulse and bluster. And then there’s Kim Jong-un.

One other factor works against us, just as it did in 1913: Next year’s Pentagon budget will be $716 billion, the largest ever. Weapons demand to be used. We’ve never invented a weapon that we’ve declined to use. All of this implies that a nuclear war is inevitable, and the ensuing calamity will be unimaginable. The only silver lining is that the devastation of climate change will fade into insignificance.

February 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment