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First Western journalist to reach and report on Douma site – Concludes “They Were Not Gassed”

Robert Fisk: There was no chlorine attack in Douma

Famed War Reporter Robert Fisk Reaches Syrian ‘Chemical Attack’ Site, Concludes “They Were Not Gassed” by Tyler Durden 04/17/2018 


April 18, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Syria | Leave a comment

Bushfires near Australia’s nuclear reactor are still dangerous

Firefighters Warn NSW Is “Not Out Of The Woods” On Third Day Of Bushfires, Pedestrian. 16 Apr 18   More than 250 firefighters continue to battle bushfires in NSW’s southwest, which has spread more than 2,400 hectares since Saturday afternoon.

The blaze, which is believed to have originated in the vicinity of Casula, was fanned further by strong winds on Sunday.

More than 500 firefighters from the Rural Fire ServiceFire & Rescue NSW and the Australian Defence Force attempted to contain the blaze over the weekend with help from volunteers and 11 water-bombing helicopters.

The fire tore trough Holsworthy military range, and while approaching suburban areas, has been staved off. Several residents report fighting off embers with hoses and water buckets.

The fire was downgraded from “emergency level” to “watch and act” on 5.30pm Sunday, then again downgraded to “advice” around 2am Monday.

While lower wind conditions are expected to help with containing the fire, RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers warned that the high temperatures remain an issue.

Still quite a difficult day ahead (on Monday),” Rogers told the Nine Network“I think we’ve got a long way to go before we’re out of the woods.”

There’s also a risk that winds could also pick up to 35km/h later today.

The RFS is currently advising residents in Pleasure PointSandy PointAlfords PointBarden Ridge  [ie; Lucas Heights] Voyager PointIllawongMenai & Bangor to “remain vigilant throughout the day and keep themselves up to date by checking the NSW RFS website……..

AUSTRALIA is struggling to contain a growing bushfire that is racing towards a nuclear reactor, amid fears that the blaze could expand beyond their controlBy OLI SMITH Apr 16, 2018 

Apocalyptic blaze surrounding nuclear reactor sets off emergency

More than 500 Australia firefighters are struggling to tackle a massive bushfire, with several residents urged to seek shelters as evacuation is now “too late”.

Scenes of the blaze, which started yesterday, have been described as “apocalyptic” after the fire ripped through nearly 2,500 hectares of land close to the suburbs of Sydney.

Firefighters failed to stop the out-of-control blaze from burning through a major military base – and a nuclear reactor is the next at-risk location.

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said it was concerned that flying embers could spark even more blazes……

The unseasonably hot Autumn in south-eastern Australia has been blamed for worsening the bushfire after record temperatures for April.

Shane Fitzsimmons, of the RFS, warned that strong 60km per hour winds are expected to push towards residential homes.

He said that the country’s largest army barracks at Holsworthy, where stockpiles of fuel, ammunition and explosive materials are kept, had been hit by the fire.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, safety | Leave a comment

Communities that hosted nuclear reactors now stuck with stranded radioactive trash

The township will be stuck with 753 metric tons of nuclear waste because the U.S. has no plan for its disposal.  Oyster Creek’s used nuclear fuel now goes to the plant’s spent fuel pool, a specially designed area where the fuel cools for five years. After that, it’s moved to dry cask storage in metal canisters safely contained within a massive concrete structure. 

Gary Quinn, Lacey’s former mayor and a current committeeman, said the town never anticipated having to deal with the spent fuel, which stays radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.

With nuke plant shutting down, N.J. community inherits 1.7M pounds of waste WHYY By Catalina Jaramillo April 16, 2018 

As nuclear power plants around the country continue to shut down — 20 reactors are already on their way out, and several more are expected to follow — questions remain about what to do with the nuclear waste they leave behind.

The U.S. Department of Energy made the commitment to remove and dispose spent nuclear fuel from reactors starting in 1998, but a federal plan to store that waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada never came to fruition. And there are no plans in place for a permanent spent fuel repository.

Meanwhile, communities hosting nuclear plants — including Lacey Township, New Jersey — face an uncertain future. Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear generating station, the oldest operating in the country, will retire in October. The plant, which sits alongside Barnegat Bay, in Ocean County, has served as the town’s main economic driver for 50 years. Residents are anxious about what will happen next.

“Is it going to bring the town down? As far as empty houses, … lost business and things like that,” asked Richard Rom, community president of Pheasant Run, a senior complex with more than 400 residents. “I’m concerned.” ……..

Lacey is not only losing the economic benefits of hosting the nuclear plant. The township will be stuck with 753 metric tons of nuclear waste because the U.S. has no plan for its disposal.  Oyster Creek’s used nuclear fuel now goes to the plant’s spent fuel pool, a specially designed area where the fuel cools for five years. After that, it’s moved to dry cask storage in metal canisters safely contained within a massive concrete structure.

Gary Quinn, Lacey’s former mayor and a current committeeman, said the town never anticipated having to deal with the spent fuel, which stays radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.

“When it was first built, it was never agreed upon that it would become a spent fuel storage facility — which … at this point in time appears to be what we’re facing,” Quinn said.

In the case of Oyster Creek, which by the end of 2018 will have approximately 1.66 million pounds of nuclear waste, that would work out to $11.2 million a year for Lacey Township. That’s exactly what the town could be losing in energy tax receipts.

But the bills, which have been referred to committees, have gained no traction……..

right now there’s no guarantee the town will get anything but the radioactive waste, which sits in a concrete structure, next to a parking lot, a few miles from the beach. …..

April 18, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

“No New Nuclear Plants To Be Built in the U.S” – says top Exelon official

Exelon Official: No New Nuclear Plants To Be Built in the U.S. Because of the plants’ size and security needs, the costs become prohibitive.U.S. News  By Alexa Lardieri, Staff WriterApril 16, 2018, 

A SENIOR OFFICIAL WITH America’s largest nuclear plant operating company is predicting a dim future for nuclear power in the U.S.

William Von Hoene, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Exelon, said last week that he doesn’t foresee any new nuclear plants being built in the United States due to their high operating costs.

“The fact is – and I don’t want my message to be misconstrued in this part – I don’t think we’re building any more nuclear plants in the United States. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” S&P Global quoted Van Hoene as saying at the annual U.S. Energy Association’s meeting in Washington, D.C. “I’m not arguing for the construction of new nuclear plants. They are too expensive to construct, relative to the world in which we now live.”………

“I think it’s very unlikely that absent some extraordinary change in environment or technology, that any nuclear plants beyond the Vogtle plant will be built in my lifetime, by any company,” S&P Global quoted Van Hoene as saying, referring to a plant currently under construction in Georgia.

Von Hoene says because of nuclear plants’ sizes and the security required to monitor them, the costs become prohibitive.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Scared ex-Soviet general warns NUCLEAR war is INEVITABLE

World War 3 IMMINENT! Scared ex-Soviet general warns NUCLEAR war is INEVITABLE

A SCARED former Russian army general issued a harrowing warning that a nuclear war is “inevitable” and it is an “illusion” if leaders feel they can control a military conflict between the US and Russia.  Express UK By THOMAS HUNT, Apr 17, 2018   Former Russian general: Use of nuclear weapons is inevitable

Evgeny Buzhinskiy, a retired Lieutenant-General, claimed the Cold War was rather comfortable in comparison to the current conflict and the West should be prepared because Vladimir Putin “will not accept defeat” if World War 3 started.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, he said: “I think it’s worse than the Cold War, which we have been waging for 40 years after the Second World War.

“In the Cold War time I was in the armed forces and I was quite comfortable I’d say.

“There were definite duels and definite red lines – everybody knew what to do.There were no threats, no sanctions, no isolation, no cornering, no nothing.

“There was just ideological confrontation, but people on both sides knew how far they could go.”

The military veteran was then asked by the presenter whether rising tensions could lead to a third world war.

The General responded: “Of course. I repeat, you cannot control military confrontation between Russia and the United States.

Of course Russia cannot wage a war against the United States. For years, economically it cannot.

“In the general purpose forces, we are a bit lagging behind the United States.

“And of course, Russia will no accept any kind of defeat.

“So the involvement of nuclear weapons is inevitable.”

When asked if he is just trying to scare viewers, Mr Buzhinskiy said he was scared for the possible repercussions. He added: “I am scared myself because I have children and I have grandchildren so I am scared for their fate.”


April 18, 2018 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s EDF faces handicap to exporting nuclear reactors, with flaws found in European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs)

France’s nuclear plans under pressure, Petroleum Economist, 17 Apr 18

Flaws found at a flagship reactor could curb EDF’s technology export ambitions

Piping weld issues reported at Électricité de France’s Flamanville nuclear reactor project last week threaten to delay similar reactor builds across Finland and the UK, eroding confidence in the technology’s future role in western Europe’s energy mix.

State-owned EDF admitted on 10 April that inspectors had found “quality deviations” on 150 welds in a system used to transport steam to turbines at the Flamanville European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a third generation pressurised water reactor in northwestern France.

Those inspections were prompted by an initial finding in February that 38 of 66 weldings on a secondary cooling circuit were not in line with standards, which were passed on at the time to France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

Because the ASN has already demanded that a study be completed into the initial problems by the second half of 2018, it’s likely the new discovery will exacerbate problems with the long-delayed plant’s timetable and costs—it is seven years behind schedule and €7bn ($8.6bn) over budget.

The impact of the substandard weldings will also likely be felt further afield, particularly on timings for other long-delayed EPRs that the firm is currently building: Hinkley Point C in the UK, and Olkiluoto 3 in Finland.

Construction of the first EPR in Olkiluoto started in 2005 and was initially set to be completed by 2009, but in October 2017, the project was again delayed to May 2019, when it is intended to become western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for 15 years. Meanwhile, construction is slated to start on the 3.2-gigawatt Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, southwest England, in 2019. The plant was first proposed in 2008 and is expected to take at least a decade to bring online, at a cost of £20.3bn ($28bn).

“Repeated construction delays further undermine the credibility of nuclear power as a viable option for electricity generation in the context of urgency to combat climate change”, Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, told Petroleum Economist. “Nuclear power turns out to be not only increasingly expensive, but far too slow to compete with other options.”

Fukushima in focus

Despite the delays, the need to ensure strict standards in a post-Fukushima environment was underlined by an incident last December at China’s Taishan1 reactor, which was constructed by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (GCN) with EDF. Taishan1’s deaerator, which removes oxygen and other gases from boiler feedwater circuits, cracked during performance testing due to defective welding.

Safety issues have loomed over nuclear power’s future in western Europe since the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake triggered a 46-foot tsunami that hit the plant, leading to the leakage of radioactive materials and shutdown of the plant. ……..

On 31 March, the Belgian government confirmed that its future energy strategy included a plan to shut down all nuclear power plants by 2025, and Germany, Spain and Switzerland have also made plans to phase out nuclear power by the 2020s. Even President Emmanuel Macron’s French election campaign included a promise to cut nuclear power generation from 72% to 50%.

“In a strict commercial sense, nuclear power is a tough proposition in western Europe. Unlike emerging economies and regions, demand is flat in the continent,” said Jane Nakano, a senior energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In mature markets it is tough to make a business case for massive projects that require huge upfront investment.” …….

April 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

HBO miniseries will examine the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine

Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard Join Jared Harris in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’ Miniseries  The five-parter for HBO and Sky will examine the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine. – MARCH 19, 2018  by Etan VlessingEmily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard are headed to Chernobyl.

The Breaking the Waves stars have boarded the five-part miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine with Mad Men star Jared Harris, the Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Chernobyl will see Watson play the role of a Soviet nuclear physicist looking to solve the mystery beyond the natural disaster, while Skarsgard will perform the role of a Soviet-era bureaucrat in the energy ministry. Watson and Skarsgard co-starred in Lars Von Trier’s 1996 drama Breaking the Waves, which earned Watson a best actress Oscar nomination.

Harris was earlier announced to star as Valery Legasov, the Soviet scientist chosen by the Kremlin to investigate the accident. The Chernobyl project dramatizes the true story of one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history, and tells of the brave men and women who sacrificed to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

The limited series is described as a “a tale of lies and cowardice, of courage and conviction, of human failure and human nobility,” that will look closely at how and why the nuclear disaster happened as well as the heroes who fought and fell during that time.

Craig Mazin (The Huntsman: Winter’s War) will write and Johan Renck (Breaking BadThe Walking Dead), will direct.Mazin will exec produce with Carolyn Strauss (Game of Thrones) and Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch), with Renck and Chris Fry (Humans) attached to co-exec produce.

The project continues HBO’s investing in miniseries and limited series, and comes several months after the cabler struck a $250 million production partnership with Sky. The two had previously worked together on the Jude Law-starrer The Young Pope, which has been renewed for a second season.

Watson is repped by UTA and Independent Talent Group, while Skarsgard is repped by ICM Partners and Curtis Brown Group.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | Resources -audiovicual | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Director General of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme

ENERGY DEPT: NO NEW NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME, Eyewitness News,  Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year. Lindsay  Dentlinger 17 Apr 18  CAPE TOWN The Department of Energy says there’s no new nuclear build programme.

The R816 million allocated in 2018’s national budget is purely for the ongoing work of the country’s nuclear institutions.

Members of Parliament’s energy committee on Tuesday sought clarity around the future of the country’s nuclear programme, but committee chairperson Fikile Majola says Minister Jeff Radebe should rather be called to do the explaining.

The Director General of Energy Thabane Zulu says the government doesn’t plan to spend any money on advancing its nuclear programme in this financial year.

He can’t say when the department will be ready to submit the long-awaited, updated Integrated Resource Plan to Cabinet, which will outline the country’s energy needs……

April 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

UK government will need to lift the bribes for communities to accept nuclear wastes

Derby Telegraph 16th April 2018 , Why fears have been raised that Derbyshire might end up hosting a nuclear
waste facility. “It was an area suggested for such a facility around 25
years ago.” A geological formation in Derbyshire could be considered for a
nuclear waste facility, it is feared.

The Government is scouring the UK for
a suitable location for a new £12 billion geological disposal facility
(GDF). Cumbria was being lined up to to store an estimated 750,000 cubic
metres of radioactive material produced by 50 years of nuclear power and
defence activity – but its county council rejected the idea in 2013,
forcing the Government to search for a new location.

Now a neighbouring council has discussed hosting the nuclear waste dumping facility in a
sedimentary basin known as the Widmerpool Gulf – which extends across
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. A response to a Government
package of incentives designed to get communities to agree to ‘host’ a
storage complex has been discussed by Leicestershire County Council,
reports the Leicester Mercury.

Any facility would look to bury waste at least 200 metres below ground somewhere in a geological area which
stretches from the eastern fringes of Derby across the countryside to the
south of Nottingham and on to the west of Melton Mowbray in north
Leicestershire. Leicestershire County Council has said there are no
specific proposals for a GDF in Leicestershire at this stage but it has
asked for further information on the issue from the Department of Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The council’s head of planning LonekWojtulewicz said: “The underlying principle is these sort of facilities
will only come forward if communities are prepared to accept them.” The
Government has said £1 million a year could be offered to a community
willing to host a GDF rising to £2.5 million as a scheme progresses.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Workers allege fraud in the clean-up operations on radioactive shipyard contamination

Workers’ Group Alleges Legislators Aren’t Doing Enough On Shipyard Radiation Contamination. Bay City News Service
SF Gate, April 16, 2018 
A public workers’ advocacy group at a rally in San Francisco today criticized Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, for allegedly failing to do enough about the cleanup of radiological contamination at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Members of United Public Workers for Action also charged that the two legislators have failed to protect whistleblowers and called for a criminal investigation of their alleged lack of action.

“This is the largest eco-fraud in the United States,” group member Steve Zeltzer told a crowd of about 30 supporters in front of the Federal Building.

“Why are most of the politicians silent?” he said.

The claimed fraud concerns the U.S. Navy’s former contract with Tetra Tech EC of Pasadena to remove contamination, including radioactive soil and materials, from about 500 acres of the former shipyard slated for development for industry, offices and housing.

 A preliminary investigation by the Navy concluded in September that there was evidence of data manipulation or falsification on soil samples taken from two parcels after the cleanup of those sections was supposed to have been completed. The two parcels make up about 40 percent of the property.

The Navy said that 49 percent of the soil samples for one parcel were suspect and 15 percent were suspect for the other parcel.

A second review of the information by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and two state agencies in December revealed more widespread alleged falsification.

 The EPA review concluded that a total of 97 percent of the samples in one parcel and 90 percent in the other were suspect. The two agencies joining the EPA were the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and Department of Public Health.

“In summary, the data analyzed showed a widespread pattern of practices that appear to show deliberate falsification, failure to complete the work in a manner required…or both,” John Chesnutt, a regional EPA Superfund manager, wrote to the Navy on Dec. 17, 2017.

Chesnutt’s letter was made public last week by Washington, D.C.-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility after that organization obtained it in a Freedom of Information Act request.

……….The Navy began investigating Tetra Tech in 2012 after learning that some purported soil samples came from outside the cleanup locations.In 2016, according to a Navy fact sheet, former cleanup employees additionally alleged that potentially contaminated soil samples were swapped for clean samples, potentially contaminated soil was placed in open trenches in other areas around the shipyard, misleading data reports were prepared and computer data was tampered with to indicate lower levels of radiation.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

USA government keen to promote Westinghouse sales of nuclear power projects to India

U.S. backs Westinghouse to finish nuclear power projects in India, Reuters Staff, Reporting by Nidhi Verma and Sudarshan Varadhan; Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Susan Fenton  NEW DELHI (Reuters) 17 Apr 18  – Westinghouse Electric, which filed for bankruptcy last year, is now “lean and mean and ready to get to work” on its projects to build nuclear reactors in India, U.S. energy secretary Rick Perry said on Tuesday.

The show of support by Perry came after Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing had raised doubts about the proposed construction of six nuclear reactors in India’s Andhra Pradesh state.

 The agreement to build reactors, announced in 2016, was the result of a decade of diplomatic efforts as part of a U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement signed in 2008.

“Nobody in the world makes better reactors than Westinghouse,” Perry told journalists after a meeting with India’s oil and gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi.“They had some challenges in the past from its business practices. We leave that where it is. The bottom line is, that’s all behind them. They are lean and mean and ready to get to the work.”

Westinghouse, owned by Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) which is to be bought by a unit of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management Inc (BAMa.TO) (BAM.N), is one of the world’s leading suppliers of nuclear fuel and provides some form of service to 80 percent of the world’s 450 commercial reactors.

Perry and Pradhan released a joint statement to “reaffirm their strong commitment to early and full implementation of our civil nuclear partnership, including the Westinghouse civil nuclear project”. They also said the two countries would deepen cooperation on oil and gas, power, renewable energy and coal.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | India, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

International experts unsure on origin of last year’s radioactive cloud over Europe

Experts fail to find origin of nuclear pollution cloud over Europe,Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, OSLO (Reuters) – International experts have not been able to find what caused a cloud of radioactive pollution that spread over Europe last year and prompted fears of a nuclear leak, Swedish authorities said on Monday.

April 18, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment