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Los Alamos Study Group takes legal action against National Nuclear Security Administration on costs of plutonium pits

Lawsuit seeks LANL study detailing costs, risks of plutonium work http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/lawsuit-seeks-lanl-study-detailing-costs-risks-of-plutonium-work/article_89fdccf6-41fd-5ff0-9577-fc9a94fb1844.html By Rebecca Moss | The New Mexican, 15 Mar 18

      An Albuquerque-based nonprofit that advocates for nuclear disarmament filed a lawsuit this week asking a U.S. District Court judge to order the release of federal documents detailing the costs and risks of plutonium work planned at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In its lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the federal District Court in Albuquerque, the Los Alamos Study Group accuses the National Nuclear Security Administration of improperly withholding a study that it says should be released upon request under the federal Freedom of Information Act.

While congressional staff members and some lab officials have been briefed on the document, argues the nonprofit — a longtime critic of the lab and the U.S. Department of Energy — the unclassified study has not been released to the public and has not been provided to the group, despite a request made under the public records law more than three months ago.

 The National Nuclear Security Administration in November completed the roughly 400-page study comparing the potential costs, time frame and risks of creating a proposed assembly-line factory for plutonium pit production at various Energy Department sites.

The Los Alamos lab has been producing pits — the grapefruit-size fission triggers that ignite nuclear weapons — on a smaller scale for decades, and New Mexico’s congressional delegation has been pushing to keep that work in the state as the nation’s mission to modernize its nuclear weapons arsenal ramps up.

A summary of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s study, leaked in December, shows that Los Alamos and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina are the final contenders for the pit factory, expected to cost up to $7.5 billion and take 10 to 20 years to complete.

According to the leaked material, which was reviewed by The New Mexican, the work would take longer to complete in Los Alamos and costs would be higher there.

The Los Alamos Study Group also contends the risks of pit production at Los Alamos are significant and should be disclosed to the public.

The nonprofit’s director, Greg Mello, said in a statement Thursday, “We believe [pit production] is proceeding ‘under cover of darkness’ on purely ideological grounds, and not on any defensible managerial basis. … It is a vast waste of resources, though lucrative for a few contractors.”

The organization believes the U.S. already has an excess of pits in its weapons stockpile and that future production would present a grave risk to the public while wasting public funds. The U.S. arsenal contains 23,000 pits, the group says in its suit, at least a third of which its says are viable and would last through 2063.

 Los Alamos began producing plutonium pits after the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado was shut down in the early 1990s, following a federal raid that found the plant rife with environmental contamination and nuclear safety violations.

Residents in the Rocky Flats area spent more than two decades entangled in a lawsuit with the plant’s operators after plutonium was found to have traveled to thousands of homes.

Los Alamos has had its share of nuclear safety violations, as well.

The lab’s plutonium facility, which restarted pit production in 2015 following a yearslong pause over safety concerns, was cited for a series of violations in the last year alone. Several workers were contaminated with radiation in 2017, and a small fire burned one worker. The lab was fined several million dollars for mishandling an out-of-state shipment of plutonium, and federal inspectors raised concerns recently about how the lab manages the toxic metal beryllium.

Contact Rebecca Moss at 505-986-3011 or rmoss@sfnewmexican.com.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | legal, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British nuclear submarine joins American naval exercises under Arctic ice

Britain Sends Nuclear Sub Under Arctic Ice As Tensions With Russia Heat Up, Sputnik News, 16 Mar 18,     One British and two US nuclear submarines are taking part in a joint naval exercise currently underway in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean.

Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Spearfish heavy torpedoes, the HMS Trenchant is the first British nuclear sub to be deployed under the Arctic ice in a decade.

It joined a pair of the US Navy’s fast attack submarines the USS Hartford and USS Connecticut, both of which surfaced in the Arctic Circle on March 10 as part of the multinational maritime Ice Exercise 2018……..https://sputniknews.com/military/201803161062602535-uk-submarine-arctic/

March 17, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s NuScale, and UK firms trying to sell Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to France

France considers developing mini nuclear reactors, eyes cost Euro News ,  15/03/2018 PARIS  – The French nuclear industry is considering developing Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), but will have to ensure these miniaturised generators are not only technically feasible but also financially viable, executives said.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | France, marketing, UK | Leave a comment

Now revealed: Queen Elizabeth’s speech for World War 3 is ready

Queen Elizabeth’s WWIII speech revealed, AS RELATIONS between the UK and Russia plummet and talk of a new Cold War spreads, these are the chilling words we hope are never said. News.com.au, 15 Mar 18, Alexis Carey alexis.carey@news.com.au QUEEN Elizabeth has a pre-written speech prepared for the outbreak of World War 3.

And as tensions between the UK and Russia continue to escalate, some believe the threat of nuclear war is more real than it has been since the Cold War.

The current crisis began on March 4, when former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury, England.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said they had been poisoned by a nerve agent called Novichok, one of the world’s deadliest.

While the pair remain in hospital, their prognosis is grim.

Novichok has been made in Russia for many years, and Ms May said it was “highly likely” Russia was involved in the poisoning. She demanded that Russia explain what happened, but when the country didn’t comply, she said: “There is no alternative conclusion other than that the Russian State was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter — and for threatening the lives of other British citizens.”

As a result, the government has ordered 23 Russian diplomats to leave UK soil by next Wednesday, which is the UK’s biggest removal of foreign representatives in three decades.

UK government ministers and members of the Royal Family will also not attend the World Cup in Russia in June in a further show of retaliation.

As the dispute grows, UK media have republished Queen Elizabeth’s speech, which she will deliver if a nuclear war is ever declared.

The monarch’s speech was initially written in 1983 during the peak of the Cold War.

It had previously been kept a strict secret under the National Archives’ 30-year rule.

The sombre speech was written as if it was delivered at midday on Friday, March 4, 1983 — and while some aspects are now outdated, such as the reference to Queen Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew serving in the Royal navy, the majority remains relevant.

The speech begins by referencing Queen Elizabeth’s recent Christmas message, before detailing her childhood during World War II.

It goes on to encourage British citizens to “fight off the new evil”.

The speech was previously published by the BBC and has been reproduced here in full:

THE SPEECH:………http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/leaders/this-is-the-speech-queen-elizabeth-will-deliver-if-world-war-3-is-declared/news-story/f991a88bce798e4fcebe046640910

March 17, 2018 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UK Labour in tune with young people’s enthusiasm for renewable energy: Tories are tone deaf

Dave Toke’s Blog 14th March 2018, How Labour can really put the wind up the Tories. Labour is well placed to
embarrass the Tories by attacking the Government’s war on the onshore
wind industry in the UK.

Despite onshore wind now being the cheapest widely
available electricity source the Government is actively sabotaging the
industry by refusing to allow long term contracts to be issued to wind
developers.  Meanwhile large subsidies are being offered to gas, coal and
nuclear power stations.

Under the last Labour Government incentives were
given to build up a large increase in onshore wind power, which now
supplies around a tenth of UK’s electricity supply, with offshore wind
and solar farms now supplying around another ten per cent of UK
electricity.

But right wing English Tory pressure has prevented any move
towards enabling long term contracts to be issued so that new windfarms can
be financed. Meanwhile the UK risks becoming increasingly dependent on
supplies of gas from places like Russia and Qatar.

The Labour frontbench is beginning to realise that young people in particular want to see green
energy being given a chance, and, for example, John McDonnell has recently
attacked the Tories for failing to doing anything to revive support for the
feed-in tariff scheme that helped people install solar panels on their
roofs.

But attention ought also to be turned to promoting onshore
windfarms. Doing so would embarrass the Government and also sow division
inside the Tory ranks. More practically, it would offer hope to people who
are working in the industry that they might have a future.

Places like Grimsby are benefitting from offshore wind projects which are still being
built, but onshore wind factories are being closed down, the latest being
the Glasgow based Gaia Wind. The Minister of State for Energy, Claire
Perry, has, in recent months, been making some encouraging noises about
providing some ‘contracts for differences’, but appears to lack the
required political clout to do much that changes anything, especially to
overcome the vocal hostility of the climate-and-wind sceptical group of
Tory MPs.
http://realfeed-intariffs.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/how-labour-can-really-put-wind-up-tories.html

March 17, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Much hype about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – but are they viable?

Interest in Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Is Growing. So Are Fears They Aren’t Viable
SMRs are the future of nuclear. Will they always be the future?
Greentech Media 

March 17, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment