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Trump’s planned summit meeting with Kim Jong Un in doubt

North Korea Threatens to Call Off Summit Meeting With Trump, NYT, By Choe Sang-Hun and Mark Landler, 查看简体中文版查看繁體中文版  SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea threw President Trump’s planned summit meeting with its leader, Kim Jong-un, into doubt on Wednesday, threatening to call off the landmark encounter if the United States insisted on “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

The warning, made by the North’s disarmament negotiator, caught Trump administration officials off guard and set off an internal debate over whether Mr. Kim was merely posturing in advance of the meeting in Singapore next month or was erecting a serious new hurdle.
The abrupt change in tone began early Wednesday, when North Korea indefinitely postponed high-level talks with South Korea over the North’s sudden objection to joint military drills by the South and the United States that began last week. The North also raised the possibility of scrapping the meeting with Mr. Trump.

Then hours later, the North broadened the source of its anger and sharpened the threat to the summit with Mr. Trump.

Kim Kye-kwan, a vice foreign minister, rejected the administration’s demand that it quickly dismantle its nuclear program as Libya had done 15 years ago, singling out John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, for condemnation.


May 16, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

After closing test site, North Korea could later still resume nuclear bomb tests

 Why Closing Kim’s Test Site Won’t Hinder His Nuclear Plans, Bloomberg By David Tweed and Kanga Kong May 15, 2018, 

A decade ago, the last time North Korea took talks with the U.S. so far, then-leader Kim Jong Il blew up a cooling tower at the Yongbyon nuclear plant as part of a deal to limit its weapons program. Within months, he was reassembling the reactor — a key source of weapons-grade plutonium. That’s one reason why arms-control experts are watching with caution as his son, Kim Jong Un, now moves to publicly dismantle the remote subterranean testing site used by the regime to detonate six nuclear bombs.

…….Does North Korea need more tests?

Possibly not. Both India and Pakistan established themselves as nuclear powers after a similar number of tests — and neither has detonated a bomb since 1998. In his April 20 statement announcing the Punggye-ri closing, Kim said the country’s efforts to build a warhead small enough to fit on a ballistic missile had progressed to the point where tests were no longer necessary. Still, it’s unclear whether North Korea has figured out how to prevent a warhead from burning up during re-entry from space.

Would the site’s closing be permanent?

No. A 38 North analysis of satellite images taken May 7 showed that several support buildings outside the northern, western and southern portals had been razed while some mining cart rails had been removed. Such facilities can be replaced as easily as the Yongbyon cooling tower. Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute, argues that the tunnel’s horizontal layout would also make it relatively easy to “pop” open the sealed entrances and regain access after their closing.


What about building a new tunnel?

A new test site could be constructed in three to six months, depending on how much labor was thrown at the job, according to Suh Kune Y., a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University. Future detonations — most likely to test warhead miniaturization — might only require a simple straight tunnel with one right angle at the end, he said.

What about other sites?

North Korea, which is believed to manage a vast subterranean network in part to frustrate U.S. and South Korean spies and military planners, probably has other locations that could house tests. Suh pointed out that North Korea refers to the Punggye-ri facility as its “northern test site,” possibly implying there are others. And, of course, tests don’t need to be underground. In September, North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho suggested that his country could detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | South Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea promises ‘total ban’ on nuclear tests: satellite photos show removal work at its test site

Satellite photo offers clue as N Korea promises ‘total ban’ on nuclear tests , SMH, 16 May 18, Geneva: North Korea will join international efforts to ban nuclear tests, its ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Han Tae Song, told the Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

North Korea, which is believed to have tested six nuclear weapons, has said it will dismantle its only known nuclear test site this month ahead of a meeting on June 12 between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un.

It comes as a satellite photo appeared to back up North Korea’s claim, showing that buildings have already been dismantled at the country’s only test site…….

An analysis on Monday by the 38 North website said commercial imagery taken last week showed several operational support buildings had been razed, and rails for mining carts apparently removed.

North Korea said it will dismantle its Punggye-ri test site between May 23 and 25 in the presence of local and international media. The site was used for each of its six underground nuclear test explosions………

The analysis said no tunnel entrances at the test site appeared to have been permanently closed yet.

The pictures, taken on 7 May, are “the first definitive evidence that dismantlement of the test site was already well underway,” 38 North, a website run by former US diplomats, said.


May 16, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

India’s dust storms intensified by climate change

Climate change could be intensifying dust storms in India, experts say, Mongabay, by Mayank Aggarwal on 14 May 2018   In the past couple of weeks, severe dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning have hit several parts of India, resulting in the deaths of more than 150 people and injuries to at least 300 others.
With the rise in global temperatures, the intensity of dust and thunderstorms is expected to increase in the future, experts say.
But even though dust storms and thunderstorms are a common feature in India, there has been no focused work on studying the trends related to it.

India could witness an increase in the severity and frequency of dust storms and thunderstorms due to rising global temperatures, experts say.

“[The] intensity of sandstorms is increasing across the world,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general at the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based think tank. He cited studies from the U.S. Midwest, the Middle East and the Sahara, all of them linking the phenomenon to sudden increases in surface temperature.

“All of them are saying that as the climate gets warmer the temperature gradient is going to become very steep. This steep increase in temperature gradient will lead to two things — heat waves and sand storms,” Bhushan said.

“There is enough research happening [to predict] that the intensity of sandstorms is going to become more intense as the temperature increases further. It is indeed linked to climate change.”

On May 2, severe dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning hit several parts of India, resulting in the deaths of at least 124 people and injuries to 300 others. More than 10,000 utility poles and hundreds of power transformers were damaged, while farmers suffered losses to their cattle and poultry stocks. Similarly, on May 13, fierce dust and thunderstorms led to the deaths of some 40 people, while several others were injured.

Bhushan said the enormity of losses from dust storms was shocking, but that they would only become more intense in the future. With higher global temperatures, he said, the soil would become drier. That will result in an increase in the amount of dust carried by the wind, and consequently the intensity of dust storms.

“Climate change is intensifying all extreme weather events,” Bhushan said…….

May 16, 2018 Posted by | climate change, India | Leave a comment

North Korea threatens to cancel US summit over military drills 

SBS, 16 May 18  North Korea on Wednesday called into question a much-anticipated and unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported.

Pyongyang also cancelled high-level talks due Wednesday with Seoul over the Max Thunder joint military exercises between the US and the South, Seoul said.

The US will “have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus”, Yonhap quoted the North’s official news agency KCNA as saying.

The drills between the two allies’ air forces were a rehearsal for invasion and a provocation at a time when inter-Korean relations were warming, it cited KCNA as adding.

The language used is a sudden and dramatic return to the rhetoric of the past from Pyongyang, which has long argued that it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the US. …….

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that Pyongyang had called the June 12 summit into question over joint military exercises between the US and the South.

The US will “have to undertake careful deliberations about the fate of the planned North Korea-US summit in light of this provocative military ruckus,” Yonhap quoted the North’s official news agency KCNA as saying.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) is lying about renewable energy: it’s really dedicated to nuclear power

Greenpeace France 14th May 2018 [Machine Translation] On the eve of EDF’s Annual General Meeting,
Greenpeace France points to the deception that EDF’s CEO has been driving for several months and will present the shareholders of the company tomorrow.

With a lot of communication on the energy transition, the company is far from developing renewable energies and directs almost all of its investments in nuclear power. That is a losing strategy, both for the company, and for France, which is lagging far behind the implementation of its energy transition.

Faced with EDF shareholders, Jean-Bernard Lévy will no doubt say tomorrow that the company plays a central role in the energy transition, with its solar plan for 2035 presented in December 2017. ” In reality, when we compare the calendars and EDF budgets, we realize that the company will mainly give priority to investments in the nuclear fleet and
postpone its investments in solar …

In general, the company is already behind the targets that she fixed herself. And yet, in 2017, it devoted only 10% of its investments to renewables! ” Exclaims Alix Mazounie, energy campaigner for Greenpeace France.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Timothy Mousseau to lead research into radiation in Chernobyl dogs

South Carolina researcher wants to learn about radiation by researching stray dogs near Chernobyl By Mary Katherine Wildeman May 14, 2018 

    • When Timothy Mousseau, a researcher with the University of South Carolina, started visiting Ukraine nearly 20 years ago, he studied birds, insects and plants, “basically anything we could catch.” It was an excuse to go somewhere unusual and study something unconventional: How creatures large and small deal with exposure to nuclear radiation.

But as humans’ interaction with radiation grows more common, Mousseau has found the need for this kind of research has grown. This summer, the USC evolutionary biologist is shifting his focus to canines. And he will be bringing a group of pre-veterinary students with him.

The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was constructed during the 1970s in Ukraine. More than 32 years ago, one of the Chernobyl plant’s reactors exploded, causing “the largest peacetime nuclear disaster in history,” according to a report by The Guardian. The nearby town of Prypiat has remained uninhabited.

Although there are few people in the area, dogs left behind after the disaster bred, and today there are about 250 strays roaming the area, according to the Clean Futures Fund, a nonprofit aid group that is working to bring veterinarians to the site to vaccinate the dogs for rabies, as well as to spay and neuter them.

The USC team is also partnering with the Clean Futures Fund in their research.

The researchers, led by Mousseau, will be examining the animals for signs of tumors. The animals will be sedated, Mousseau said. They also will look for signs of eye cataracts, another sign of radiation poisoning, he said.

The students will be tasked with looking for changes in the animals’ genetics and microbiome. The dogs will also be outfitted with meters.

“What we’re really hoping to get at is a better idea of how much radiation it takes to cause significant genetic damage,” Mousseau said.

Mousseau is no stranger to media attention. His work has been featured in The New York TimesNBC and most recently, National Geographic. He breezes through an interview with ease. He said especially following the Fukushima disaster in Japan, there has been heightened interest in the effects of radiation on creatures.

Not to mention that radiation is creeping into Americans’ daily life, he said. He said the average dose Americans receive each year has more than doubled in the last 20 years. And more exposure could be on the horizon: A handful of companies are working to make commercial space travel happen.

In the medical field, diagnostic tools such as CT scans and portable devices used in a dentist’s office emit radiation. Then there is the radiation used to treat cancer, and it also has uses in medical research, according to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

CT scans can produce a little less than the same amount of radiation as the lowest doses seen in Japanese atomic bomb survivors, according to the Food & Drug Administration. Still, the FDA states a typical CT scan’s risk for causing cancer is “very small.”

All “nuclear materials” in medicine are regulated. But Mousseau said more research needs to be done to understand the body’s response to even tiny amounts of radiation. He thinks the dogs, with their naturally shorter life spans, will make for good test subjects.

“You can see the effects in a shorter period of time,” Mousseau said. “We can look at consequences much more quickly.”

The canines, with their lifetime exposure to radiation, make for desirable research subjects. But the researchers plan to help take care of the dogs, too, by monitoring their health.

Courtney Rulison, 21, said she found out about the opportunity when fliers were passed around to USC biology students.

Rulison, who aspires to become a veterinarian, explained she will help prepare the animals for spaying and neutering. She said she was picked because of her interest and expertise in the animals.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take for this volunteer organization not to be needed anymore,” she said. “Or if these dogs can ever be adopted or leave Chernobyl. For right now, they have to stay there because they’re contaminated.”

Reach Mary Katherine Wildeman at 843-937-5594. Follow her on Twitter @mkwildeman.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | radiation, Ukraine | Leave a comment

USA tells North Korea it must ship out nuclear weapons soon after nuclear summit

Telegraph 14th May 2018 ,The United States has told North Korea that is must start shipping nuclear
weapons, fissile material and some of its long-range missiles out of the
country within a couple of months of the June summit between Kim Jong-un,
the North Korean leader, and President Donald Trump, according to South
Korean media.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

In UK Parliament Greens Party demands the government comes clean about funding Hitachi for nuclear project

Daily Post 14th May 2018 , Demands have been made by the Green Party for an ‘urgent debate’ on whether
the UK Government is offering a package of financial support to build Wylfa Newydd.

The Daily Post reported this month that Prime Minister Theresa May
was meeting Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi for crunch talks on funding
for nuclear reactors. There were warnings Hitachi could withdraw from the
multi-billion pound Horizon Nuclear Power ventures on Anglesey and in
Gloucestershire unless assurances were made on finances.

There have been reports in the Japanese press that the UK government has agreed to offer
financial guarantees for the project. But a spokesman for the Department
for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy(BEIS), said: “We don’t
recognise these reports.”

Now Green MP Caroline Lucas has demanded a
meeting to clarify the Government’s position. She tweeted: “This is
absolutely outrageous. “The government is planning to plough billions of
pounds of taxpayers’ money into failing nuclear without any transparency
or scrutiny. I’m calling for an urgent debate on this in parliament.”

May 16, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

More early closures of nuclear stations as many USA plants cannot cover their operating costs

One-Fourth of U.S. Nuclear Plants Are at Risk of Early Retirement, Bloomberg, By May 16, 2018, 

Cheap electricity, high fixed costs pressure nuclear fleet
Outlook is particularly bleak in Midwest thanks to wind power

More than a quarter of U.S. nuclear power plants don’t make enough money to cover their operating costs, raising the threat of more early retirements.

Of the 66 nuclear power plants operating in the U.S., 24 are either scheduled to close or probably won’t make money through 2021, according Nicholas Steckler, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. These at-risk sites have total generating capacity of 32.5 gigawatts, more than a quarter of the entire fleet, Steckler wrote in a reportTuesday.

It would cost about $1.3 billion a year to plug the revenue gaps for these struggling sites, Steckler and co-author Chris Gadomski said in the report. The study follows a similar analysis in March that showed that half of U.S. coal-fired power plant capacity is on shaky ground. …..

the industry has had success convincing policy makers in New York, Illinois and New Jersey to take steps toward bailing out struggling plants  …… the U.S. Energy Department is currently weighing a March request from FirstEnergy Corp.’s competitive power unit for government aid to help keep money-losing nuclear and coal-fired power plants online.

That said, the industry is increasingly challenged by sluggish power demand, cheap natural gas and the rise of renewable energy — especially in the Midwest where wind power is ascendant

May 16, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bernie Sanders says – America headed for war – as Trump ends the Iran nuclear deal

By ending the Iran deal, Trump has put America on the path to war, GuardianBernie Sanders  13 May 18 We need to try to talk with Iran’s government, seek a better relationship with the Iranian people, and a more constructive role for Iran in the region.

Last week, Donald Trump made one of the most reckless moves of his presidency: withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action(JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement. With this decision, the president discarded years of hard work by our diplomats, who had obtained an extremely rigorous set of restrictions and inspections guaranteeing that Iran would not obtain a nuclear weapon. He also slammed the door on a once-promising possibility of detente between the US and Iran.

It’s important to understand that the JCPOA is not just an agreement between the US and Iran, but one negotiated alongside our partners in the P5+1 – the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany – and endorsed by the United Nations security council. Trump’s withdrawal further deepens tensions with our most important democratic allies, France, the UK and Germany, who all continue to support the agreement and have consistently said that it is in their own national security interests to see it upheld.

Trump also rejected the advice of his own top national security officials like the joint chiefs chairman, Gen Joseph Dunford, and defense secretary, James Mattis, both of whom have repeatedly stated that staying in the agreement is in the national security interests of the US. Nuclear non-proliferation and national security professionals around the world share that assessment. Just as he has done on the issue of climate change with his withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, Trump has chosen to ignore the overwhelming expert consensus and sided instead with a small ideological faction, with disastrous consequences for our global security.

Withdrawing from the JCPOA also seriously harms the US’s ability to negotiate future non-proliferation agreements, such as one with North Korea. Why would any country in the world sign such an agreement with the US and make the tough concessions that any such agreement requires if they thought that a reckless president might simply discard that agreement a few years later? ……..

It is folly to imagine that, having unleashed these problems through the misuse of military force, we can solve them in the same way. Yet President Trump’s bellicose speech last week clearly seemed to shift American policy toward the same goal of regime change that underlay the Iraq war. Real American leadership, and real American power, is not shown by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring parties together, to forge international consensus around shared problems, and then to mobilize that consensus to address those problems. That is what the JCPOA did. Unfortunately, President Trump has now chosen to put us on a very different, more dangerous path.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | general | 1 Comment

North Korea ‘will never fully give up nuclear weapons’

   A top defector believes North Korea will never completely give up it’s nuclear weapons, SBS, 16 May 18 

North Korea will never completely give up its nuclear weapons, a top defector said ahead of leader Kim Jong-un’s landmark summit with US President Donald Trump next month.

The current whirlwind of diplomacy and negotiations will not end with “a sincere and complete disarmament,” but with “a reduced North Korean nuclear threat,” said Thae Yong-ho, who fled his post as the North’s deputy ambassador to Britain in August 2016.

“In the end, North Korea will remain ‘a nuclear power packaged as a non-nuclear state,'” Thae told the South’s Newsis news agency……..


May 16, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Fraudulent data by a Navy contractor leads to questions over radioactive clean-up of Hunters Point

Supes question Navy over cleanup fraud, SF Bay, By Scott MorrisMay 14, 2018, San Francisco elected officials Monday called for re-testing for radioactive material at an inhabited parcel of a former U.S. Navy shipyard in Hunters Point after revelations of fraudulent data by a Navy contractor.

At a meeting of the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the project area, as well as Supervisors Jane Kim and Sandra Lee Fewer called the credibility of the Navy’s cleanup efforts into question following the criminal conviction of two employees of a federal contractor for falsifying records. ……

May 16, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

The future is not looking good for uneconomic Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Will Soon Face a Moment of Reckoning, NuScale is bringing small nuclear alive. But will the concept survive? GreenTech Media , 

May 16, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Trump administration abandons costly MOX failed nuclear energy project

Trump Abandons Nuclear Energy Project, Failed ‘Test’ Cost 38 Times More Than Russian Success, Western Journal , By Michael Bastasch , May 14, 2018 

The Trump administration will abandon a nuclear energy project that was supposed to satisfy de-nuclearization treaty obligations with Russia and will instead bury diluted nuclear weapons underground.

Energy experts have long pointed to bureaucratic inefficiencies holding back nuclear energy projects, but the now-abandoned Mixed Oxide, or MOX, project illustrates just how expensive building these facilities has become.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry wrote to Congress in early May, detailing the administration’s plan to abandon the project. Perry wants to blend weapons-grade plutonium with inert substances and then bury them underground in New Mexico, according to a copy of the letter obtained by Reuters.

The federal government has already spent about $7.6 billion on the MOX project at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site, but Perry said completing the facility meant to convert nuclear weapons into fuel would cost another $48 billion.

In total, MOX is projected to cost nearly $56 billion and is still decades away from completion. Federal officials initially expected MOX to cost less than $5 billion and begin operations this year……

May 16, 2018 Posted by | reprocessing, USA | Leave a comment