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End the silence on nuclear weapons, and the targeted plans for nuclear megadeaths in the Middles East

Netanyahu, How Many People Will Die in a Nuclear War in the Middle East?  Ehud Ein-Gil 

In the early 60s, the U.S. estimated that the number of victims in a nuclear war against the Soviet Union and China would total some 600 million. Twenty years ago, ‘Doomsday Machine’ author Daniel Ellsberg posed a similar question about the Mideast, 


May 28, 2018 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The double standard over Israel’s nuclear weapons

ISRAEL AND DENUCLEARIZATION: NECESSARY PARADOX OR HYPOCRISY IN ACTION? Jerusalem Post,  While Israel maintains nuclear ambiguity, the Jewish state is believed to possess up to 200 atomic weapons.

Although Israel maintains a policy of ambiguity regarding its possession of nuclear weapons, the Jewish state is known to have a sizeable atomic arsenal. David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, established with the help of France a covert nuclear program in the 1950s to combat against what was widely viewed as an existential military threat posed by Arab neighbors. Ever since, information has from time-to-time been leaked regarding the size and potency of Israel’s atomic capabilities, although no independent body has confirmed specific figures.Against this backdrop, the United States—which has the world’s second-largest nuclear stockpile after Russia—is actively promoting global non-proliferation. To this end, President Donald Trump is slated to hold a summit with North Korean ruler Kim Jong-Un to discuss the Peninsula’s denuclearization; and the US leader recently withdrew Washington from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear accord), which, in his estimation, would not have prevented Tehran’s acquisition of the bomb over the long-term.

For many, a clear dichotomy—if not double-standard—emerges when these policies are juxtaposed against the world’s hush-hush approach to—if not tacit approval of—Israel’s nuclear arms program.

According to Shannon Kile, head of the Nuclear Weapons Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Israel exists in a sort of legal limbo given that it is not a party to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which codified into international law regulations governing nuclear development. By contrast, he explained to The Media Line, “the United States has the moral and legal right to pressure North Korea and Iran [in ways that are] set out in the binding treaty.

“The NPT legally recognized legitimate nuclear nations and in the treaty, North Korea and Iran were barred from making nuclear weapons,” Kile elaborated, while qualifying that Pyongyang did pull-out of the NPT in 2003, blaming its decision on “U.S. aggression.”

Nevertheless, Kile noted, there is “a long-running international dispute over [Israel’s] nuclear program. NPT countries, particularly Egypt, have argued for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East that would include Israel. This notion,” he continued, “was a key pillar in the extension of the treaty in 1995. But not all countries seem willing to force Israel to sign up.”
More broadly, Kile believes that there “needs to be a commitment for all nuclear states to fulfill their obligation to denuclearize, as this would bolster the norm against atomic weapons. All NTP signatories have committed to abolishing their nuclear arms yet we see no real progress on that, even in the United States.” …….


May 28, 2018 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

UN chief launches new disarmament agenda ‘to secure our world and our future’  The United Nations chief announced a bold new vision for global disarmament on Thursday, to help eliminate nuclear arsenals and other deadly weapons from a world that is just “one mechanical, electronic and human error away” from destruction.

“The United Nations was created with the goal of eliminating war as an instrument of foreign policy,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, unveiling his new agenda, entitled, Securing Our Common Future, at the University of Geneva, in Switzerland.

“But seven decades on, our world is as dangerous as it has ever been,” he warned.

“Disarmament prevents and ends violence. Disarmament supports sustainable development. And disarmament is true to our values and principles,” he explained.

The launch comes at a time when “arms control has been in the news every day, sometimes in relation to Iran and Syria, sometimes the Korean Peninsula,” said the UN chief.

The new Agenda focuses on three priorities – weapons of mass destruction, conventional weapons, and new battlefield technologies.

First, he stressed that disarmament of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons could “save humanity,” noting that some 15,000 nuclear weapons remain stockpiled around the world and hundreds are ready to be launched within minutes.

“We are one mechanical, electronic or human error away from a catastrophe that could eradicate entire cities from the map,” he warned.

Mr. Guterres said the States that possess nuclear weapons have the primary responsibility for avoiding catastrophe. In that regard, he appealed to Russia and the US to resolve their dispute over the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; to extend the New START treaty on strategic offensive arms, which is due to expire in just three years; and to take new steps towards reducing nuclear stockpiles.

Disarmament prevents and ends violence. Disarmament supports sustainable development. And disarmament is true to our values and principles – UN chief Guterres

Second, he said disarmament of conventional weapons, which include small arms, light weapons and landmines,  could “save lives,” in particular those of civilians who continue to bear the brunt of armed conflict.

The UN chief said that beyond the appalling numbers of civilians killed and injured, conflicts are driving record numbers of people from their homes, often depriving them of food, healthcare, education and any means of making a living.

At the end of 2016, more than 65 million people were uprooted by war, violence and persecution, he said.

“My initiative will have a strong basis in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the world’s blueprint for peace and prosperity on a healthy planet,” he said, noting that excessive spending on weapons drains resources for sustainable development.

In fact, more than $1.7 trillion dollars was spent last year on arms and armies – the highest level since the fall of the Berlin Wall. That is around 80 times the amount needed to meet the humanitarian aid needs of the whole world, he said.

Third, he said that new technologies, when used maliciously, could help start a new arms race, endangering future generations.

“The combined risks of new weapon technologies could have a game-changing impact on our future security,” he said.

Disarmament – including arms control, non-proliferation, prohibitions, restrictions, confidence-building and, where needed, elimination – is “an essential tool to secure our world and our future,” said the UN chief.

“The paradox is that,” he added, “when each country pursues its own security without regard for others, we create global insecurity that threatens us all.”

New impetus needed to achieve a safer and more secure world

The cover of the Agenda, a 73-page document, depicts Orizuru, an origami paper crane. Its significance is that Japanese legend has it that anyone who folds a thousand paper cranes, will have their wish granted by the gods.

In her hospital bed, Sadako Sasaki – a survivor of the atomic bomb explosion at Hiroshima in 1945 – folded more than a thousand paper cranes, praying that she would recover from the deadly leukaemia caused by the blast.

She died at the age of 12, but her story spread around the world and origami cranes have since become symbols of peace.

In the final paragraph of the Agenda, Mr. Guterres quotes the late Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, saying “in this field, as we well know, a standstill does not exist; if you do not go forward, you do go backward”.

The Agenda concludes with an appeal to all “to use every opportunity to carry forward momentum for disarmament where it exists, and to generate new impetus where it is needed, in order to achieve a safer and more secure world for all.”

May 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar – huge solar-powered ship

Business Insider 26th May 2018, This huge seacraft is developed by Swiss company PlanetSolar, who wanted to
create a vessel which was environmentally friendly and produced
zero-emissions. Developed in 2010, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is the
largest solar-powered boat ever built. Its 500 solar panels can provide 120
kilowatts of energy, allowing the ship to travel around 5 knots.

May 28, 2018 Posted by | renewable, Switzerland | Leave a comment

Vogtle nuclear power station in Georgia, only half completed, and 7 years behind schedule

Saporta Report 24th May 2018, A new report on the construction status of the Vogtle nuclear plant,
released Wednesday by Moody’s Investors Service, provides greater detail
than a May 10 statement released by Georgia Power and cites a number of
risks that could further delay the plant’s opening date. Moody’s report
addresses a list of frequently asked questions about the Vogtle project as
it relates to MEAG, the Municipal Electric Authority. MEAG is a partner in
the Vogtle project, along with Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corp., and
the City of Dalton Combined Utility. The first sentence of Moody’s report
observes: “Construction is progressing on the Vogtle Nuclear Units 3 and
4 in Georgia, offering additional credit stability to the owners of the
units, though the work is still only around 50 percent completed and is
several years behind the original schedule.”

May 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Delay in start-up for United Arab Emirates nuclear reactor, marketed by South Korea

UAE’s first nuclear reactor start-up delayed, MEMO, May 27, 2018 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | marketing, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Jordan drops plans for large nuclear reactors, will try small ones from Russia

Jordan Settles for Smaller Russian Nuclear Reactor by 2022 May 27th, 2018 via  

Jordan on Saturday announced a plan for a small modular nuclear reactor with Russia, replacing the $10 billion nuclear power plant for which an agreement was signed in 2015 between the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) and Russia’s Rosatom Overseas.

“Jordan is now focusing on small modular reactors because the large reactors place financial burden on the Kingdom and in light of the current fiscal conditions we believe it is best to focus on smaller reactors,” a government official, who preferred anonymity, told The Jordan Times on Saturday.

The official said the plan for the $10 billion nuclear plant with Russia that entails building two nuclear reactors with total capacity of 2,000 megawatts is over now and that focus will be on smaller reactors, which are safe, require less financial burden and for which Jordan can attract investors, the official said Saturday……..

May 28, 2018 Posted by | Jordan, politics | Leave a comment

Pennsylvania nuclear lobby hoping for nuclear industry salvation via Tax-payer funding

Nuclear plants hope not to close, The Daily Item, By John Finnerty CNHI Harrisburg reporter, May 26, 2018, HARRISBURG — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law this week a $300 million Zero Emissions Certificate program intended to prop up the state’s nuclear power plants.

Nuclear energy industry lobbyists in Pennsylvania hope to see similar state aid here, to hold off announced closings of the Three Mile Island power plant operated by Exelon in Dauphin County and Beaver Valley Power Station, operated by FirstEnergy in Beaver County.

Exelon will not refuel Three Mile Island, as scheduled, in October 2019, unless something changes, David Fein, Exelon’s vice president for state and government affairs, said Thursday. FirstEnergy has filed noticed with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission that Beaver Valley will cease operating in 2021……….

Three Mile Island was the site of what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has described as “the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history” when its reactor partially melted down on March 28, 1979. The incident prompted then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh to announce that women and children within five miles of the nuclear power plant should evacuate. An estimated 140,000 people within 20 miles of the power plant fled the area in the days after the incident, according to an NRC summary of the event.

…….Environmentalists interviewed for this story said the shadow of the 1979 incident “still lingers” in the minds of many people skeptical of the industry.

Tom Schuster, who leads the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Pennsylvania, said he’d recently heard Three Mile Island described as “the least popular nuclear power plant in the country.”

Schuster said it would be bad for climate change if the nuclear plants were replaced by plants running on fracked natural gas.

Still, he’s still not particularly sold on the idea that the power companies will follow through and close the plants if the state doesn’t provide subsidies. Any plan to reward nuclear power for producing cleaner energy should also provide incentives for solar and wind energy, he said.

Eric Epstein, the long-time president of TMI Alert, a local watchdog group, said that taxpayers have repeatedly been asked to subsidize the nuclear power plants and he sees no reason it should continue.

“Nuclear power can’t exist without subsidies,” he said. “The market has ruled. There should be no more subsidies.”

He said the industry suggestion that nuclear power is clean, doesn’t tell the whole story.

“When you look at their green benefits, you have to look at their brown impacts too,” he said, pointing to concerns about handling of the radioactive waste produced at the power plants.

No legislation has yet been introduced in Pennsylvania to spell out how the industry might be propped up here………

May 28, 2018 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment