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Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium, prompting fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. Riyadh says it wants to make nuclear fuel to diversify its energy sources but recent public warnings from Saudi leaders about acquiring a nuclear bomb have raised doubts about their commitment to non-proliferation as the Iran nuclear agreement teeters.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned during a trip to the US in March that if Iran developed a nuclear bomb his country would “follow suit as soon as possible”. That warning was repeated by his foreign minister this
week after Mr Trump withdrew from the deal with Iran and its leaders threatened to resume enrichment. Saudi Arabia would “do whatever it takes to protect our people,” Adel al-Jub eir told CNN. “We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Iran to negotiate with world powers to keep nuclear deal in place

Iran seeks ‘clear future design’ for imperilled nuclear deal  Aljazeera, 14 May 18   FM says Tehran is ‘ready for all options’ as he embarks on tour with pact’s other signatories in wake of US withdrawal. 

Iran’s foreign minister has held talks in China as he began a diplomatic tour with the remaining signatories of a multinational nuclear deal following the recent US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 pact.

Speaking on Sunday in Beijing, Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined Tehran’s readiness “for all options” but expressed optimism that this round of negotiations could save the 2015 deal.

“We hope that with this visit to China and other countries we will be able to construct a clear future design for the comprehensive agreement,” Zarif said, speaking alongside his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

“[But] if the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured.”

Earlier on Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would remain committed to the deal “if the remaining five countries abide by the agreement”.

Diplomatic tour

After the Chinese capital, Zarif will attend talks in Moscow and Brussels with representatives of the pact’s other signatories.

Under the deal signed in Vienna with six world powers – China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany, and the European Union – Iran scaled back its uranium enrichment programme and promised not to pursue nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran has been meeting its nuclear commitments fully………


May 14, 2018 Posted by | Iran, politics international | 1 Comment

Former Republican leader joins Trump and USA businesses in promoting the nuclear industry to Saudi Arabia

A nuclear deal with the Saudis is a good thing, says former GOP leader Eric Cantor

  • Saudi Arabia has been in negotiations with the U.S. and other countries for several years in pursuit of a nuclear energy partnership, with the stated aim of diversifying its energy base.
  • Riyadh has found a willing partner in the Trump administration, which has signaled far greater support for a deal than its predecessors.
  • Months of escalating tensions between the kingdom and its regional arch-rival Iran have raised the stakes for any future nuclear plans.
Natasha Turak………For around five years now, the Saudis have been in informal negotiations with the U.S. and other countries that could sell it nuclear reactors, with the stated aim of diversifying its energy base. In February, the kingdom recruited an American lobbying firm as an advisor on the legal issues surrounding developing a commercial nuclear program.

But what’s made many observers nervous is Riyadh’s refusal to accept a deal that would forbid it from enriching uranium and reprocessing plutonium — the mechanisms necessary not for nuclear energy, but for developing a weapon.

Saudis find support from Trump

Opposition from U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle has historically impeded the kingdom’s aims — Section 123 of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954 mandates that Congress review any sharing of nuclear technology with a foreign country.

Now, however, the Saudis have found a friendlier partner in the Trump administration, which has signaled far greater willingness to strike a deal than its predecessors.

A U.S. trade delegation visited the kingdom in April, led by the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Commerce, Energy, and State. It brought with it 20 companies from across the U.S. nuclear supply chain, to promote “the strong interest of U.S. industry to partner in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious nuclear energy program,” according to the delegation’s press release. 

……..Months of escalating tensions between Iran and its arch-rival Saudi Arabia raise the stakes for any future nuclear plans. In March, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CNBC news that if Tehran was to build a nuclear bomb, so would Riyadh.

U.S. lawmakers and non-proliferation experts have expressed their concern over dual-use technology, and Bin Salman’s unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy has not helped his country’s case……

May 14, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump administration scraps MOX project to generate power from plutonium

Trump administration axes project to generate power from plutonium, Timothy Gardner, WASHINGTON (Reuters) 13 May 18 – The Trump administration plans to kill a project it says would have cost tens of billions of dollars to convert plutonium from Cold War-era nuclear bombs and burn it to generate electricity, according to a document it sent to Congress last week.

The Department of Energy submitted a document on May 10 to Senate and House of Representative committees saying that the Mixed Oxide (MOX) project at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina would cost about $48 billion more than $7.6 billion already spent on it. The United States has never built a MOX plant.

Instead of completing MOX, the administration, like the Obama administration before it, wants to blend the 34 tonnes of deadly plutonium – enough to make about 8,000 nuclear weapons – with an inert substance and bury it underground in a New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Burying the plutonium would cost about $19.9 billion, according to the document, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

“We are currently processing plutonium in South Carolina for shipment (to WIPP) … and intend to continue to do so,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a letter sent to committee leaders.

Legislation passed in February allows the Energy Department to advance burying the plutonium if it showed that the cost would be less than half of completing MOX……..

Edwin Lyman, a physicist at science advisory group the Union of Concerned Scientists concerned about plutonium getting into the wrong hands, said Perry had made a sensible decision. “MOX was a slow-motion train wreck, and throwing good money after bad simply wasn’t an option.”

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

May 14, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, politics, reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment

Latest UK bribe for storing nuclear waste is “completely inadequate”.

Campaigners slam £1m incentive to store nuclear waste

Compensation offered to encourage local communities to allow test boreholes is described as ‘completely inadequate’ 

MPs from both major parties have attacked the government’s latest incentive to entice communities into volunteering to host Britain’s first deep underground store for nuclear waste as “completely inadequate”.

Ministers have offered up to £1m per community for areas that constructively engage in offering to take part in the scheme, and a further sum of up to £2.5m where deep borehole investigations take place.

The aim is to find a permanent underground geological disposal facility (GDF) that could store for thousands of years the waste from Britain’s nuclear energy and bomb-making programmes. The scheme could involve building stores under the seabed to house highly radioactive material. It is predicted that the UK is likely to have produced 4.9m tonnes of nuclear waste by 2125.

But critics say the inducements offered by the government – part of the consultations it launched this year – to ensure local cooperation are “simply not good enough”, and point to the example of France, which has a similar amount of nuclear waste. It offers around €30m (£26.5m) a year as local support for districts neighbouring the site at Bure, in north-east France, and has also offered €60m in community projects.

“The government’s offer in its consultation is simply not good enough. These communities are being asked to perform an important public service and should be properly recompensed,” said Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary.

 In 2012 the government’s attempt to encourage local areas to host nuclear waste facilities ended in failure when councils in Cumbria and Kent rejected proposals for underground stores to be built within their boundaries. These were the only communities to show significant interest at the time and remain the main candidates for sites now that the government has relaunched its nuclear store programme.

However, local campaigners fear that a waste site could affect tourism, on which Cumbria is heavily reliant. “For the sake of a few hundred jobs and a few million pounds, we risk thousands of jobs in the tourism sector, which contributes £2.7bn a year to Cumbria’s economy,” said Geoff Betsworth, chairman of the Cumbria Trust. “Even a 10% dent in tourism would cost £270m a year. The offer of £1m in community benefits, rising to £2.5m when boreholes begin, is absurdly low.”

The government is seeking to dispose of the UK’s nuclear waste underground because current storage facilities are both ineffective and expensive to maintain. A GDF would involve sealing the waste in rock for as long as it remains a hazard.

The plan was also criticised by the Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, who said the UK should stop making nuclear waste and stop building new reactors.

“We are still pouring untold billions of taxpayer money into propping up an industry that the free market would have killed off years ago,” he said. “In return, we will be compounding the catastrophe of a nuclear waste build-up, which we are no closer to solving than we were when the industry was born.”

Nina Schrank, energy campaigner at Greenpeace UK, added: “The lack of seriousness with which the UK government treats nuclear legacy issues makes it predictable that their quest for a suitable site has been so unsuccessful that they are looking again at the Irish Sea, which Sellafield turned into one of the most radioactively contaminated seas in the world.”

A government spokesperson said: “The GDF will be a multibillion-pound project that can provide substantial benefits to host communities. This includes skilled employment for hundreds of people for decades to come, spin-off benefits such as infrastructure investment, as well as positive impacts on local service industries that support the facility and its workforce.”

May 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear war, nuclear pollution nuclear waste, and climate inaction – crimes against future generations

Crimes against future generations By Andreas Nidecker, Emilie Gaillard, and Alyn Ware

May 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Legal | 2 Comments

“When they called me a ‘germ’ I wanted to die”

Beyond Nuclear International

But Fukushima boy fought back, helping win a court victory that brought compensation for evacuees from the nuclear disaster

On October 25, 2017, 15-year old former Fukushima resident Natsuki Kusano (not his real name and he has asked not to be pictured) testified before the Tokyo District Court. He was among a number of Fukushima evacuees seeking compensation from Tepco and the Japanese government and asking the court to hold the company and the government responsible for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, on March 16, 2018, the  Tokyo District Court found the central government and TEPCO responsible for contributing to the psychological stress suffered by 42 evacuees and ordered the defendants to pay a total of about 60 million yen ($566,000) in compensation.

The lawsuit was filed by 47 individuals in 17 households who fled from Fukushima Prefecture to Tokyo in the wake of…

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

USA could punish European nations, with sanctions, if they continue nuclear deal with Iran

Trump adviser says US could sanction European allies if they continue nuclear deal with Iran,  President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said the U.S. could impose sanctions on its European allies if they continue to deal with Iran under the nuclear deal. By ABC NEWS, May 13, 2018 National Security Adviser John Bolton also commented on “This Week” Sunday on the U.S.’s imminent move of its Israeli embassy, saying that relocating the embassy to Jerusalem will make peace “easier” because it recognizes the “reality” that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel……..

May 14, 2018 Posted by | politics international, USA | 1 Comment

Danger of moving nuclear waste to new site in New Mexico – Holtec the only winner.

Dallas, Midland and San Antonio city councils have already made resolutions prohibiting railcars from coming through their towns and exposing the citizens of their towns to this deadly radioactive waste.

The site can be seen from the air and is a beautiful target for terrorists during transit and after arrival at the site.

Nukes are no good for this area, May 13, 2018   Karen Howard-Winters Odessa Online, 

I believe our livelihood is in great danger of becoming destroyed by a company named Holtec International. They have applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a 40-year license for an interim High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste Facility to be built between Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico.

This is not the facility in Andrews. Although, now that Holtec has applied for their license, Waste Management Specialists (WCS) had placed their license request for the High-Level Radioactive Nuclear Waste on hold due to issues regarding the pending sale of their facility to Orano. However, now that the sale is complete and things have settled down, and they are watching what is going on with Holtec. Then, we fear, Orano is going to revise and reapply for a license requesting for the same as Holtec – high-level radioactive nuclear waste to be disposed of in the Andrews site, claiming it to be interim as well.

Why are we concerned and people in Midland and Odessa should be, too?

1. This is the first time anything of this gravity has ever been attempted in this country!

a. Radioactive waste has been moved around, but nothing remotely on this level of danger, nothing on this scope of magnitude and nothing on this level or for this interim duration.

b. Our deep concern is that no permanent site has even been discussed yet!!

c. By the time a “permanent” repository is found (which will probably be never) the canisters/casks will be too fragile to be moved due to deterioration from sun exposure/weathering or just time in general and the site will become a de facto permanent disposal site and another Super Fund site that New Mexico will have to try to maintain forever.

2. The Holtec site is on top of our Permian Basin oil reserves sitting directly on top of the Delaware Basin and our Olgalla Aquifer and don’t let any tell you they’re not as the old maps tell you they are.

3. This deadly waste is responsible for cancers, genetic birth defects and deaths as witnessed in the Tulrosa Basin Downwinders Claims after the atomic bomb experiments at the Los Alamos experimental site prior to the dropping of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended WWII. The town of Trinity was never advised of these trials and the fallout affected the towns’ people with all kinds of different cancers that no one had ever had before.

4. This radioactive waste (even though they tell you it is in solid form and is more easily handled), is to be sent here by rail coming through Odessa. If that train wrecks on Faudree and Hwy 80 would have contained nuclear waste, it would have taken out the Odessa Country Club Golf Course and some of the richest real estate in Odessa as the land will become unusable for 25,000 years or more.

5. What’s going to happen if an accident leaves the land unable to be used for drilling for oil? The Fasken Oil Company came to Roswell to testify in front of the NRC to say that this is a bad idea and vowed to do everything they can to round up all the people in the Permian Basin Oil Industry to fight this licensing.

6. One of the Midland commissioners flew in to Roswell and brought not only Fasken Oil, but a rancher from one of the big area ranches who have been in Midland County for over 102 years who has vowed to fight this with fellow ranchers.

7. One railcar contains the same amount of plutonium as was dropped on Nagasaki.

8. The land on which they have proposed to build this site is geologically unstable and there is a study out by Southern Methodist University (SMU) that, like Winkler County, has a danger of the random occurrence sinkholes at anytime, anywhere.

9. Holtec wants to bring 100,000 metric tons of this high-level radioactive nuclear waste through Odessa over 20 years after they are licensed. Dallas, Midland and San Antonio city councils have already made resolutions prohibiting railcars from coming through their towns and exposing the citizens of their towns to this deadly radioactive waste. Every time a railcar passes by an area, it releases radiation. Cumulative effects could result in birth defects to a fetus as a pregnant woman is exposed to this waste by sitting on a railcar platform waiting to go to work every day as these railcars pass by.

10. The site can be seen from the air and is a beautiful target for terrorists during transit and after arrival at the site. All it would take is a suicide plane to hit this site and it would be worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Holtec is talking about bringing 100,000 metric tons of spent plutonium to the site for a total of 10,000 partially buried canisters of spent fuel rods.

11. If radiation sullies our water or our oil, we might as well, just throw in the towel and move out as our property will have no value at all.

If we lose our oil or water, we lose our city.

If you do not consent to NRC licensing Holtec for this project, please voice your dissent!

The NRC Scoping Period for this Project ends May 29! You may request, no, demand that they extend the Scoping Period to more cities so more people may voice their opinions. The people along the train routes, Midland, Odessa, Albuquerque, El Paso, Dallas, etc. You may demand they extend the Scoping Period time for an additional three to six months.

This is too important for only two months of scoping and only three public hearings in only three towns!

Moving High-Level Nuclear radioactive waste across the nation to a temporary site when no permanent site has been found is unnecessary and irresponsible. The only winner in this is a private company named Holtec. The people of Eddy and Lea Counties who want this project and are being paid a pittance are not winners as they will be stuck with a Super Fund site forever.

If you would like to voice your opinion, you have until May 29 to write to the NRC at:

May Ma Office of Administration , Mail Stop: TWNF-7-A60M , U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 2055-0001

May 14, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | 2 Comments

New reports on humanitarian and environmental impacts of nuclear bomb testing in the Pacific

Just Security 11th May 2018 Two new reports from Pace University’s International Disarmament
Institute (one about Kiribati and the other focused on Fiji) detail the
humanitarian, human rights and environmental impacts of the Kiritimati and
Malden Island nuclear weapons tests.

The reports also show how the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), recently adopted by
122 governments at the United Nations, offers a groundbreaking framework
for assisting victims and remediating environments contaminated by nuclear
weapons testing in the Pacific.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear cargo on the same route as fracking lorries – Springfield UK’s secret danger

Radiation Free Lakeland 11th May 2018 The nuclear industry and Cuadrilla have a vested interest in not putting the spotlight on Springfields. They have a vested interest in not highlighting the thousands of lorryloads of for example uranium hexaflouride arriving at and leaving the plant.

The Springfields site is the spinning spider at the centre of the web of the Government’s new nuclear build and continuing nuclear weapons agenda. Adding fracking to this toxic brew is obsene and it does the campaign against fracking no
favours in keeping quiet about it.

Does the Inspector of the Roseacre Wood inquiry have details of the HGV movements to and from Springfields site –
If not why not? Certainly fracking campaigners have been kept in the dark about it. If only Radiation Free Lakeland have raised the issue of nuclear cargo on the same route as fracking lorries then something is wrong . The recent public inquiry into fracking at Roseacre Wood should have had Springfields dangerous nuclear and chemical transports at the centre of the inquiry.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

The uses of enriched uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Uranium is mined and then processed as nuclear fuel for military or civilian purposes. The ore is ground up and chemically treated to yield “yellowcake”, a coarse powder of uranium oxide. Converted into purified fuel rods, it can be used in pressurised heavy water reactors.

For other uses, the uranium oxide is converted into uranium hexafluoride gas so that it can be enriched. The enrichment process increases the percentage of a particular isotope, uranium-235, which makes up 0.7 per cent of natural uranium. The rest is uranium-238. The commonest method of enrichment is isotope separation by gas centrifuge. Centrifuges rotate at high speed, separating the isotopes by weight and sending the heavier uranium-238 to the outside of the cylinder while the lighter 235 collects at the centre.

The slightly enriched stream is extracted and fed into the next centrifuge, where the process is repeated, enriching it further. Most nuclear power reactors use uranium that has been enriched to a composition of between 3 and 5 per cent uranium-235.  Anything up to 20 per cent uranium-235 is called low-enriched uranium. Uranium enriched to between 12 and 19.75 per cent is used in the production of medical isotopes in research reactors.

Uranium enriched above 20 per cent is called highly enriched uranium, while 20 per cent is the lowest theoretical threshold for weapons-grade uranium. Most weapons use uranium that is 90 per cent enriched. The first stages
require more centrifuges due to the volume of uranium. The process gets easier as purity increases, making the leap from low to high-enrichment easier than the leap from natural uranium to low-enriched. Once the 20 per cent threshold is breached, weapons grade is within reach.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

No banker or insurer would touch Wylfa nuclear power project – only UK bailout can save it

Greenpeace 11th May 2018 , In response to reports in the Japanese media that the UK government has
agreed to guarantee all the 2 trillion yen of loans necessary for Hitachi to build a reactor at Wylfa, and further requests from the company for the government to take a multi-billion pound stake in the project, Hannah Martin, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said –

“No bank, hedge fund or insurer will touch the UK’s new nuclear programme with a bargepole. So
Hitachi have no option but to ask the government for a taxpayer bailout to keep their collapsing reactor programme afloat.

This would leave the British public to carry much of the cost and all of the risk. Any prudent investor would laugh at this request. After the Hinkley debacle, it’s vital that the government stops trying to keep our energy policy a secret and presents any offer of a deal to Parliament before the Hitachi board meeting at the end of May. Otherwise it’s difficult to know where theirgenerosity to the nuclear industry might end.”

May 14, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

In secret meeting, Theresa May promises that UK will cover Hitachi’s nuclear debt for Wylfa staion

The Canary 11th May 2018 , Theresa May has reportedly just agreed to loan a Japanese firm £13.4bn to
spend on a nuclear power plant. But according to Caroline Lucas, she’s doing it “without any transparency or scrutiny”, effectively lending out public money behind closed doors.

The government has given the go-ahead for a replacement plant at the Wylfa Newydd nuclear power site on Anglesey.
It will be constructed by a consortium of three companies: Hitachi Nuclear Energy Europe, US-based Bechtel Management Company, and Japanese firm JGC Corporation (UK). Horizon Nuclear Power will oversee the £14bn project.

On 11 May, the Nikkei Asian Review reported that May has agreed to loan Hitachi $18.2bn (£13.4bn) for the project. She reportedly agreed to the loan during a meeting on 3 May with Hitachi chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi. A report in the Mainichi on 9 May said that the UK government had effectively offered to underwrite the debt.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

London to become clean, green and healthy

Mayor of London 11th May 2018 ,The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today set out his ambitious vision for London’s environment in 2050, presenting his Environment Strategy to the
London Assembly for consideration before final publication in the coming

The strategy outlines Sadiq’s plans for making the city a greener,
cleaner and healthier place by targeting London’s toxic air, increasing
its green cover and making London a zero-carbon city by 2050 with energy
efficient buildings, clean transport and energy and increasing recycling.

All this will boost London’s green spaces, clean up its air, and help
safeguard the health and wellbeing of all Londoners. For the first time,
this strategy brings together approaches to every aspect of London’s
environment in one integrated document. The publication follows one of City
Hall’s largest ever strategy consultations with almost 3,000 Londoners
and 370 stakeholders responding to the draft Strategy launched last August.

May 14, 2018 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment