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Saudi Arabia’s nuclear obsession – a cover for nuclear weapons development?

some skeptics think the whole energy argument coming out of Riyadh is merely a cover for its military ambitions.

Trump might be distracted by the prize of winning multibillion-dollar contracts for US nuclear construction companies in desperate need of business. The temptation to settle for a deal that gives the Saudis a path to the bomb might just be too great to overcome.

Saudi Arabia is an outstanding candidate for using solar energy to power much of the country. Its vast and extremely sunny deserts are naturally suited to providing electricity to the country during the day.

Given that Saudi Arabia can build solar power facilities and produce solar energy at incredibly low costs, Romm says, it “doesn’t make a lot of sense from an energy point of view” that Saudi is leaning so much toward the nuclear option, which is notoriously expensive.

Saudi Arabia’s controversial quest for nuclear power, explained  Why the world’s most iconic oil giant wants to go nuclear — and why it could transform the Middle East.  By 

May 2, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Divisions between USA and its Western allies now deepened by Israeli claims about Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions

Israeli claims on Iran divide US, allies  WP,  May 1 JERUSALEM — The Latest on the Israel’s allegations that Iran concealed a nuclear weapons program before signing a deal with world powers in 2015 (all times local):

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest accusations about Iran’s past nuclear activities have received a warm welcome in Washington but a far cooler reception in Europe.

The claims appear to have deepened divisions among Western allies ahead of President Donald Trump’s decision on whether to withdraw from the international nuclear deal later this month.

6:45 p.m.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says the International Atomic Energy Agency should quickly follow up on allegations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who claims that Iranian leaders covered up a nuclear weapons program before signing a deal with world powers in 2015.

Maas told the Bild daily on Tuesday that “the IAEA must as quickly as possible get access to Israeli information and clarify if there are indeed indications of a violation of the deal.”

…….. Netanyahu provided no direct evidence that Iran has violated the 2015 deal, which it signed with the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, China and Russia.3:55 p.m.

Britain’s foreign minister says the alleged new evidence presented by Israel about Iranian nuclear intentions shows why the international nuclear deal with Iran must remain in place.

…… British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, however, said the presentation “underlines the importance” of keeping the deal’s constraints on Iran in place.  He says the deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions, but instead is based on verification and inspections.3:30 p.m.

The U.N. nuclear agency says it believes that Iran had a “coordinated” nuclear weapons program in place before 2003, but found “no credible indications” of such work after 2009.

The agency issued its assessment on Tuesday, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released what he said was a “half ton” of seized documents proving that Iran has lied about its nuclear intentions.

The documents focused on Iranian activities before 2003 and did not provide any explicit evidence that Iran has violated its 2015 nuclear deal with the international community.

Tuesday’s IAEA assessment, which repeated an earlier 2015 report, did not directly mention Netanyahu’s claims.

But it noted that in its 2015 report, its board of governors “declared that its consideration of this issue was closed.”

….. Trump says the discovery vindicated his criticism of the deal.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Iran, Israel, politics international | Leave a comment

How the Iran nuclear deal could be strengthened, rather than scrapped May 1 Credit Israeli intelligence for another coup: Its agents smuggled 100,000 pages of documents out of Iran about that country’s nuclear program. The mullahs will now have to patch a major security leak. But  the revelations contained in those papers are not quite as newsworthy as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in a made-for-American-TV presentation on Monday. “I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Big time,” Netanyahu said. So what did Iranian leaders lie about? That they had a secret nuclear-development program called Project Amad … that was shelved in 2003.
No kidding. Iran’s nuclear-weapons development program was widely known — and it was, in fact, the justification for the United States, Russia, China, the European Union, Germany, Britain and France to conclude the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in 2015, imposing strict limitations on Iran’s ability to enrich and reprocess fissile material.

Netanyahu claims that Iran has violated the JCPOA, a.k.a. the “Iran nuclear deal.” But on that score his evidence is thin. “In 2017,” he said, “Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.” It’s possible that Iran did not come clean about its past nuclear activities, as it was supposed to do under the deal, but no one ever expected that the agreement would eradicate Iran’s nuclear know-how. It was only supposed to stop the actual development of nuclear weapons. Netanyahu is clearly eager to torpedo the nuclear deal, and if he had compelling evidence of Iranian violations he would have presented it — but he doesn’t and didn’t.

There is nothing in Israel’s revelations that contradicts that assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear deal. In February, Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, stated that “the JCPOA has extended the amount of time Iran would need to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon from a few months to about one year” and that it “has also enhanced the transparency of Iran’s nuclear activities.” Just last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that, after reading the entire text of the nuclear agreement three times, he was impressed that “the verification, what is in there, is actually pretty robust.”

These sober assessments hardly justify President Trump’s hyperbolic claims that the Iran nuclear agreement is the “worst deal ever.” It is, in fact, a successful deal that appears to be constricting Iran’s nuclear development — just as intended.

There were, of course, real limitations on the scope of the nuclear deal, which is why I and other critics argued that President Barack Obama should have held out for tougher terms. It doesn’t allow unfettered inspection of all Iranian military bases. It doesn’t ban Iranian nuclear development in perpetuity; the caps on centrifuges will begin expiring in 2026. It doesn’t ban ballistic missile testing. And it doesn’t prevent Iran from destabilizing its neighbors.

But that’s not an argument for blowing up the JCPOA, as Trump seems intent on doing as early as May 12 (the next deadline for reimposing sanctions lifted under the deal). That’s an argument for strengthening it. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in their visits to Washington last week, offered Trump a way to accomplish this goal by negotiating a side agreement with the Europeans. The United States and European Union could state their intent to apply sanctions on Iran if it tests ballistic missiles, continues destabilizing its neighbors, dramatically expands the number of working centrifuges, or attempts to weaponize its nuclear program at any point in the future. The United States could also declare that it will keep troops in eastern Syria to contain Iranian power — something Trump is loath to do.

The beauty of a side agreement is that it would not require the assent of Iran, Russia and China — which is unlikely — and it would give Trump the ability to boast, truthfully, that he had increased the pressure on Iran. But it would require him to cease his incessant denigration of the nuclear deal, which he seems to hate mainly because he wasn’t the one who negotiated it, and force him to admit that he failed to rewrite it.

That would be the grown-up thing to do, which is why our juvenile president is unlikely to do it. As Macron said, he is likely to “get rid of this deal on his own, for domestic reasons.” Netanyahu’s performance on Monday night, clearly coordinated with the Trump administration, is intended to give the president the excuse he needs to act on his impulse.

But has Trump thought about what comes next? Silly question, I know. If the United States reimposes nuclear sanctions on Iran, even though there is no evidence that Iran is cheating on the nuclear deal, Iran may continue abiding by its limitations — or it may not. The Europeans may go along under threat of secondary sanctions — or they may not. No one knows what will happen next, but the likelihood is that nuking the JCPOA will undermine, rather than strengthen, attempts to limit the Iranian threat.

Trump is already dealing with one nuclear crisis in North Korea. It is hard to know why he wants to start another one in the Middle East.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump basking in pre Nobel Prize glory

Trump glows in Noble Peace Prize chatter, The Hill, Peace Prize for his efforts on the Korea peninsula.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

New Study Shows Full Extent of Radiation Damage to Hiroshima Victims  A study decades in the making shows victims may have absorbed double a deadly dose. By 

A weapon drastically different than any other ever used in war, the atomic bomb in Hiroshima instantly killed over 100,000 people and left thousands more dealing with radiation fallout. By the end of 1945, it is estimated that 160,000 people had been killed directly from the bombing. Several historians have argued that while the bombs effectively ended World War II, their unprecedented destructive capabilities started the next global conflict, the Cold War, at the exact same time.

Attempting to measure the damage done to Hiroshima by the atomic bomb overwhelmed science for decades. There were simply no computers or radiation-measuring devices capable of understanding the damage. Personal stories, like those of the survivors describe in John Hershey’s Hiroshima and art works of survivors, took hold as the dominant narratives.

But that didn’t mean scientists weren’t trying. When the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) formed in 1947, the agency quickly realized it would need long term study to understand what had happened. Japanese scientists like E. T. Arakawa and Takenobu Higashimura were releasing studies about the effects of the bombings by the early 1960s.

In 1973, Brazilian physicist Sérgio Mascarenhas was trying to date archaeological items in his home country based on radiation absorption. Radiation occurs naturally in sand through elements like thorium, and techniques like radiocarbon dating use similar principles.

However, Mascarenhas realized that this method might have applications beyond archaeological items. He flew to Hiroshima and, with help from the Institute of Nuclear Medicine in Hiroshima, was able to obtain a jawbone from a bombing victim’s body. While he gained some understanding of what the victim’s body had endured, technical issues stood in his way. He was unable to separate background radiation levels from the bomb blast radiation.

Flash forward four decades later and Angela Kinoshita of Universidade do Sagrado Coração in São Paulo State has reexamined the jawbone using modern technology. Kinoshita’s team was able to determine that the jawbone absorbed 9.46 grays of radiation. A mere 5 grays can be fatal. That number lines up with measurements taken of bricks and other inorganic objects measured at the time. The work is published in PLOS ONE.

Beyond gaining a better understanding of what happened to the victims of Hiroshima, who ranged from prisoners of war to soldiers to civilians, the study offers insight into what might happen if a nuclear weapon was ever used again.

“Imagine someone in New York planting an ordinary bomb with a small amount of radioactive material stuck to the explosive. Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment,” says study co-author Oswaldo Baffa of the University of São Paulo in a press statement. Source: Discover

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Cancers in children near nuclear sites , and the risks to embryos

Ian Fairlie  London N8  Vol. 40 No. 8 · 26 April 2018

Thomas Jones digs up Carol Barton’s research article from 2001, in which she relayed her findings that, between 1972 and 1996, the risk of child leukaemia within ten kilometres of Aldermaston and Burghfield was double the rate for the UK as a whole (LRB, 5 April). Barton was then a consultant haematologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. ‘Until the cause of cancer is fully understood, and what the part of radiation in the process could be,’ she wrote, ‘no firm measures can be taken to redress the balance.’

Research has moved on since then. More than sixty epidemiological studies worldwide have examined the incidence of cancer in children near nuclear power plants (NPPs): most indicate increases in leukaemia. These include the landmark 2008 KiKK study commissioned by the German government, which found relative risks of 1.6 in total cancers and 2.2 in leukaemias among infants living within five kilometres of all German NPPs.

A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain these findings. One is that the increased cancers arise from the exposure of pregnant women near NPPs to radiation. However, any theory has to account for the greater than a thousand-fold discrepancy between official estimates of radiation doses from nuclear emissions and the observed increases in cancer risk. It may be that radiation exposures from spikes in NPP radionuclide emissions are significantly larger than the averages recorded in official estimates. In addition, the risks to embryos and foetuses from radiation exposure are much greater than to adults, and the blood-forming tissues in embryos and foetuses are even more radiosensitive.


May 2, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, Reference | Leave a comment

Hitachi boss to meet Britain’s Prime Minister May in bid for direct government funding of Wylfa nuclear power project

Times 2nd May 2018 , The boss of Hitachi is expected to meet the prime minister tomorrow in an
attempt to secure UK government investment in its proposed nuclear plant on
Anglesey. Hiroaki Nakanishi is scheduled to meet Theresa May as the clock
ticks on the company’s deadline to agree the outlines of a financial
support package by the middle of this year.
Hitachi, the Japanese conglomerate, has spent £2 billion so far on its Horizon venture, which is
developing plans for a new power station at Wylfa. It has threatened to
withdraw funding unless it receives assurances that financial support can
be agreed. The 2.9-gigawatt power station is due to start generating in the
mid-2020s, becoming Britain’s second new nuclear plant after the £19.6
billion Hinkley Point plant being built in Somerset.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | 1 Comment

Holtec’s “temporary” nuclear waste dump could be a permanent problem for this American community

Meeting on Holtec proposal fills conference room; Opinions polarized on plan to store nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico, Roswell Daily Record  By Vistas 

These two words demonstrate how polarized opinions were at a public meeting Monday night at ENMU-Roswell hosted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to hear comments on a proposed interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel: “Benign” and “genocide.”

A conference room in the Campus Union Building was filled to its capacity of 95. There were around 50 people who requested to speak, each given four minutes to offer their support for the project or say why they want the NRC to deny the application by Holtec International, the private corporation requesting a 40-year license to store solid nuclear waste on a site in Lea County about halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the initial request is for storage of up to 8,680 metric tons of waste.

But according to a Holtec official, the “ultimate target” is for up to 100,000 metric tons of spent rods. If the company’s application is approved, the high-level nuclear waste would be stored at the interim facility “until a permanent storage option is available”

Both sides of the issue were represented at the open house.

Bobbi Riedel, a doctoral student in nuclear physics attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, was there with five other UNM students to speak in favor of the proposed storage site.   “We’ve come down here from Albuquerque to inform people about nuclear safety,” she said. “I think this is a perfectly safe project.”  She said storing nuclear facility at the site would save taxpayers about $30 billion a year.

Wearing a blue T-shirt that said, “No Holtec International,” Melanie Deason of Roswell said she is against the project.

“I can sum up Holtec in one word — ‘genocide,’” she said.

Deason said that among her concerns were transportation, geology, water issues and the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate compact to equitably portion the waters of the Rio Grande Basin between New Mexico, Colorado and Texas.

“I don’t think Texas wants radioactivity in their food chain,” she said. Deason also was on the list of speakers…

John Heaton, a spokesperson for the pro nuclear from the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance,  said while Holtec’s proposal is not a permanent solution to nuclear waste storage, when a permanent site is built in will most likely be in the western U.S., possibly Nevada, and not in the east …

“It is going to be benign,” Heaton said. “It just sits there and gets cooler.”…

Al Squire, a member of the Dairy Producers of New Mexico who said he was attending as a private citizen, had a much different opinion on the self-ventilating cooling system. He said the temperature of the fuel rods stored at the site would be between 200 to 700 degrees.

“What happens if it plugs up?” he said. “Murphy’s Law says it will happen. We could have another Chernobyl or Fukushima (a nuclear disaster that occurred in Japan in 2011..

Helen Henderson, a rancher from Chaves County, stressed the impact the facility could have agriculture and gas and oil, which are the stalwarts of the economy in southeast New Mexico.

She said while the Holtec facility would only provide 55 permanent jobs in New Mexico, ranching, farming, gas and oil combined provide 23,000.  If an accident occurred, Henderson said, “It would destroy New Mexico.”….

The first speaker was Sister Joan Brown, a Franciscan nun from Albuquerque.

She said in the Christian tradition the desert is a place where people find God and not a wasteland.

She then spoke of “environmental justice,” not just for humans but for all living things.

“A life is a life and it is not dispensable,” she said. “In this state we have a history of not respecting that.”

Brown referred to a group who call themselves the “Downwinders,” who say that they, along with their preceding generations, have been contaminated by the radioactive fallout from the 1945 test explosion at the Trinity Site near Alamogordo. She added that uranium workers in New Mexico also have been harmed by radiation and that Holtec’s proposed facility is located in an area with predominantly low incomes and a majority Hispanic population.

Founded in 1986, Holtec provides solutions for managing the backend of the nuclear power cycle for commercial nuclear power plants.

The company is headquartered in New Jersey and has locations throughout the world, including Pennsylvania and Florida.

Another public meeting will be held today in Hobbs tonight and third meeting will be held Thursday in Carlsbad.

The public also can mail comments to the NRC at One White Flint North Building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852–2738, or post comments online at The deadline for public comments is May 29.

NRC officials said a transcript of the meetings should be posted on their website within two or three weeks.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com


May 2, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | 2 Comments

Southern Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia permanently polluted with Depleted Uranium

Transcend 30th April 2018 , Iraq was the fertile crescent of antiquity, the vast area that fed the
entire Middle East and Mediterranean, and introduced grains to the world.
It was Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, which propelled us forward
with its invention of writing, domestication of animals and settled life.

Now its groundwater and soil store the radioactivity of 630 tons of
depleted uranium weapons. The waste that has been thrown onto civilian
targets has permanent consequences. It pollutes southern Iraq, Kuwait and
Saudi Arabia with uranium oxide dust that spreads as far as 26 miles,
blowing with sand, weathering into water.

Uranium 238, with a half life 4 ½ billion years, lies on the region in the scattered tons of wreckage.
Contamination is permanent. Its radiological and chemical toxicity exposes
the population to continuous alpha radiation that is breathed into lungs,
absorbed through the skin, touched by the unwashed hands of kids who roam
the scrap metal yards for parts to sell to help their families.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | depleted uranium, MIDDLE EAST | 2 Comments

France’s Macron and Iran’s Rouhani to work on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal

France’s Macron and Iran’s Rouhani agree to work on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, CNBC, 29 Apr 18

May 2, 2018 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry ‘s struggle to survive – launches huge public relations push

Given that offshore wind is expected to continue falling in price and is being built at the moment, unlike nuclear, the economic case for new reactors in the U.K. appears to diminish by the day.

Similar challenges face nuclear elsewhere in Western Europe.

But the situation in the U.S. is even worse.   In America it is now no longer economically viable to keep existing plants running, let alone build new ones. 


How the Nuclear Industry Is Fighting Back, The beleaguered nuclear power sector has launched a charm offensive in a bid to stay relevant. Greentech Media , The West’s nuclear industry has embarked on its biggest public relations push ever in a bid to stay relevant to policymakers increasingly focused on renewables.


May 2, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Frustration and anger: Irish groups concerned at UK govt’s plans for nuclear reactors all too close to densely populated Irish East coast

This has been a lone battle’: Frustration at government approach to nuclear plant plans in UK

An Oireachtas committee is planning to write a submission to UK authorities to express its concern.

AN OIREACHTAS COMMITTEE will express its concerns to UK authorities about plans to build a new power plant on the west coast of England as environmental experts here claim the government has failed to consider the possible consequences for Ireland.

Attracta Uí Bhroin, of the Irish Environmental Network told the Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government that her intention was not to panic people or cause unnecessary concern, but her organisation wants to ensure Irish people’s rights are upheld.

Although the process for the new nuclear site at Hinckley Point in England, which is 250km from the coast of Ireland, began five years ago, it was only in 2016 that the news about the plans broke.

Hinkley Point C was given the final investment approval by French energy giant EDF, which has a two-thirds share and which is building the plant in conjunction with a Chinese company.

Speaking to TDs and senators today, Uí Broin pointed out that of the eight power plants the UK has planned as part of its energy expansion, “five are on the west coast of the UK, facing Ireland on the most densely populated east coast”.

Some of these plants are planned in locations closer than Hinkley Point C.

The potential economic impact of a nuclear leak or meltdown could be very serious, she explained. A 2016 ESRI report considered a scenario where there was a nuclear incident, but with no radioactive contamination reaching Ireland.

“Even then they estimated that impact economically could be in the order of €4 billion,” she said, explaining that an incident such as this would have serious implications for the agrifood and tourism industries in Ireland.

In the event of an incident where there is a risk of contamination, she said there are no detailed plans in place to protect Irish people, the water supply, or the country’s farm animals and produce.

“Not only would you not have fodder, you would not have livestock. You are talking about the national herd.”

She explained that the UK had made two screening determinations as part of its assessment process ahead of construction.

“There are serious questions about the adequacy of the assessment of impacts on Ireland in particular and the complacency of Ireland in respect of that assessment.”

Despite the fact that Ireland is the nearest state to the plant, Uí Bhroin said it was “entirely omitted” from the severe accident assessment.

She pointed out that other countries like Austria, Denmark and Germany had pushed back and insisted on being consulted and included in the assessment process.

Uí Bhroin was joined by Professors John Sweeney and Steve Thomas, who outlined some of the specific concerns around safety assessment and treatment of waste.

Sweeney was critical of the models used in risk assessments – some older models were used in calculations, for example, despite the fact that more modern ones exist.

Thomas spoke about some of the parts of the plant which are being made in France and which French regulatory authorities will not a clear for use in French nuclear plants.

Uí Bhroin said there was an “extraordinary level of frustration, anger and disappointment” among environmental groups at the government’s reaction to these plans.

“This has been a lone battle by Irish ENGOs [Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations],” she told the committee. She also said there had been a “lack of support and expertise from Irish bodies”.

Responding to the evidence from the witnesses, Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan said she was concerned about what impact the committee could have at this late stage.

“We are here not very late in the day.”

The public consultation deadline for the plans is 11 May.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | Ireland, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear reactor ship raises fears of a maritime ‘Chernobyl

Green groups warn of maritime ‘Chernobyl’ as Russia launches floating nuclear power plant, Telegraph UK  1 MAY 2018

A controversial ship-borne nuclear power plant was launched from St Petersburg as part of a Russian plan to power remote seaside settlements.

The Akademik Lomonosov, which green groups have dubbed “a floating Chernobyl,” was towed from the shipyard where it was built in the Gulf of Finland on Saturday.

It will be towed through the Baltic Sea and around the coast of Norway to Russia’s Arctic port of Murmansk, where it will be loaded with nuclear fuel for sea tests……..Rosatom, Russia’s state owned nuclear energy monopoly, now says it will go into service in Chukotka, the far eastern province opposite Alaska, in 2019.

But the project has drawn fierce opposition from environmentalists alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear accident in stormy, ice-filled oceans.

The Lomonosov was originally meant to be tested at the shipyard in St Petersburg, but plans were changed for an arctic test after protests from other Baltic sea countries.

“To test a nuclear reactor in a densely populated area like the centre of St. Petersburg is irresponsible to say the least,” said Jan Haverkamp of Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe in a statement.

“However, moving the testing of this ‘nuclear Titanic’ away from the public eye will not make it less so: Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment which is already under enormous pressure from climate change.”…..

May 2, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

North Korea’s nuclear test site in fact fully operational?

North Korea nuclear test site ‘operational’

Seoul: North Korea’s nuclear test site is fully operational, a specialised website reports, corroborating a similar announcement by the North Korean leader earlier.

Pyongyang offered to permanently close down the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in May in the presence of international observers and journalists after the two Koreas agreed on a complete denuclearisation of the Peninsula during a historical summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday.

“The two mountainous areas accessible by the South and West Portals remain viable, and could support future underground nuclear testing,” the website 38North said after analysing new radar data about the site.

The report also confirmed that the two central tunnels of the site were in good condition, contrary to earlier reports by Chinese experts who said they could have been irreversibly damaged after the sixth and most powerful underground nuclear test carried out by Pyongyang in September.

The report also confirmed Kim’s earlier assertion that Pyongyang was shutting down not defunct but rather operational nuclear facilities, including the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, the centre where it carried out all of its six nuclear tests.

During the historical summit, Kim had proposed that the site should be shut down publicly to highlight Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearisation.

38North said that although the north portal – used by Pyongyang for five of the six tests – seems to have been abandoned, they had detected construction of new tunnels in another section of the site.

38North – a website linked to the John Hopkins University in the United States – said that the new tunnels could allow the use of underground installations, dismissing analysis by other experts who said North Korea had announced the closure because the facility had become completely unusable.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Growing concerns in Scotland over dangers of nuclear weapons “convoys” travelling through towns and cities

Scotsman 30th April 2018 , The Scottish Government will this week face calls to hold a review into
concerns over nuclear weapons “convoys” travelling through towns and cities
in Scotland. The Greens have said the SNP government, which opposes nuclear
weapons, is responsible for community safety and emergency planning and
cannot dismiss the issue as being reserved to Westminster.

MSPs are preparing to debate the issue at Holyrood on Wednesday, where Green MSP
Mark Ruskell will call for a review.

Up to eight times a year, a convoy of heavy trucks containing weapon materials and nuclear warheads travels
between the Aldermaston and Burghfield atomic weapon plants in Berkshire to
the Royal Navy base at Coulport on Loch Long where the UK’s nuclear weapons
are stored. These trucks will often be carrying weapons materials for
maintenance or replacement. But a Freedom of Information request by Green
MSPs last year found that none of the relevant local authorities the trucks
pass through has conducted risk assessments in relation to the convoys.

May 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment