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Hiroshima survivors tell of that day on 6th August 1945


‘I still hate the glow of the sun’: Hiroshima survivors’ tales,  May 26, 2016, Hiroshima (Japan) (AFP) – For survivors of the world’s first nuclear attack, the day America unleashed a terrible bomb over the city of Hiroshima remains seared forever in their minds.

Though their numbers are dwindling and the advancing years are taking a toll, their haunting memories are undimmed by the passage of more than seven decades.

On the occasion of Barack Obama’s offering of a floral tribute on Friday at the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park — the first ever visit by a sitting US president — some of them share their stories with AFP.

Emiko Okada

Emiko Okada, now 79, was about 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) from ground zero and suffered severe injuries in the blast. Her sister was killed.

“All of a sudden a flash of light brightened the sky and I was slammed to the ground. I didn’t know what on earth had happened. There were fires everywhere. We rushed away as the blaze roared toward us.

“The people I saw looked nothing like human beings. Their skin and flesh hung loose. Some children’s eyeballs were popping out of their sockets.

“I still hate to see the glow of the setting sun. It reminds me of that day and brings pain to my heart.

“In the aftermath, many children who had evacuated during the war came back here, orphaned by the bomb. Many gangsters came to Hiroshima from around the country and gave them food and guns.

“President Obama is a person who can influence the world. I hope that this year will be the beginning of knowing what actually happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the mushroom clouds.”

Keiko Ogura

Keiko Ogura, now 78, has devoted her life to keeping alive the memory of the devastating day. Continue reading

August 4, 2018 Posted by | history, Japan, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

To 5th August – nuclear and climate news

6th August Hiroshima 9th August Nagasaki  – so far these anniversaries are being ignored by the media. But not in Japan.   Japanese children will pass on the history of Nagasaki’s horror nuclear bombing on 9 Aug 1945

The heatwave continues in the Northern hemisphere, but rarely is that awful left-wing term “climate change”mentioned in news reports. It’s affecting all the Northern countries, though there is more news coverage about USA and Europe. Human-caused climate change made heat wave five times more likely.

Much nuclear news about the heatwave, too. The nuclear lobby’s poster boy, France, is copping it, with nuclear reactors having further cuts to their production, their cooling systems being unable to cope. Other countries’ reactors are similarly affected.

Large retrospective study shows the connection between low level radiation and leukemia.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) now recognised as unviable: governments still pouring money into them.

The insidious toll of climate change heat on workers, and on the economy.

EUROPE.  Centre for Security Studies explains NATO Nuclear SharingNordic nuclear power plants hit by unprecedented heat wave. Europe’s nuclear reactors affected by heat waves.

JAPAN.   Ahead of Olympic Games, Fukushima nuclear power plant gets an extreme makeover. Japan’s NRA plans nuclear wastes burial at least 70 meters deep for about 100,000 years. Fukushima Unit 2 Refueling Floor Work Poses Risks. TEPCO’s Plan For Some Of The More Dangerous Work At Daiichi.  No Long Term Storage Location for Fukushima Daiichi Spent Fuel.

UK£10bn Moorside nuclear power plant plunged into further doubt. Wylfa nuclear power to be very expensive for both taxpayers and consumers. Sorry history of UK’s Moorside nuclear project, and why it might well be abandoned.  Climate change will bring sea level rise – bringing danger to Hinkley Point C nuclear site.


CANADA. Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada bribing struggling towns to have nuclear waste dump. Secret transport of nuclear wastes from Illinois to Port Huron?  Canadian university develops new particle accelerator to supply medical isotopes. University of Alberta’s Medical Isotope Cyclotron Facility – medical radioisotopes without nuclear reactor.

SOUTH AMERICA. Latin American and Caribbean nations lead the way towards nuclear disarmament

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

With more hot weather coming,, France forced to more cuts to nuclear power production

French nuclear power supply cuts extended as hot weather lingers, AuthorAnuradha Ramanathan, EditorJeremy Lovell


1,335 MW St Alban-1, 910 MW Bugey-2 offline until next Saturday

Reduced available capacity at St Alban-2, Bugey-3, Fessenheim-2

Prompt power price rally continues due to supply pressures

London — With France bracing for more hot to very hot weather in the coming week, nuclear power plant operator EDF said Friday it plans to halt production completely at two of its reactors near the river Rhone, water from which is used for cool them, and reduce available capacity at other units next week.

In its latest update on Friday, EDF said production capacity at the 1,335 MW St Alban-1 and 910 MW Bugey-2 reactors would drop to zero until Saturday next week, reducing capacity from Friday afternoon. The 910 MW Bugey-3 will also remain unavailable for power generation from late Friday but with an expected restart on Wednesday.

Out of the 1,335 MW St Alban-2 installed capacity, 950 MW will remain available to the market over the weekend, EDF said, while 600 MW will be available from its 880 MW Fessenheim-2 nuclear reactor over the weekend and until Monday midnight.

EDF, however, warned that the planning and duration of the unavailability due to environmental issues will be reassessed according to the weather forecast. These supply restriction warnings due to hot weather began late July at the onset of the heatwave which is currently covering Europe.

Furthermore, forecasters predict temperatures in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to stay above seasonal averages next week, with forecaster MeteoFrance expecting Portugal temperatures to hit 48 degrees Celsius over this weekend.

The hot weather and the resulting nuclear supply restrictions sent the prompt power prices in the wholesale market to winter levels as countries are ramping up the more expensive fossil fuel power plants, analysis shows.

French day-ahead baseload for Monday delivery was last heard trading at Eur66.50/MWh on the over-the-counter market, reaching a new summer high and the highest in more than five months, data showed.

–Anuradha Ramanathan,   Jeremy Lovell,

August 4, 2018 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

Trump attorney Michael Cohen was offered $10 Million to push for a nuclear project

Trump Donor Agreed to Pay Michael Cohen $10 Million for Nuclear Project Push

Consulting deal with Franklin L. Haney could have been among the most lucrative struck by president’s then-personal attorney, WSJ, By Michael RothfeldRebecca Ballhaus and Joe Palazzolo, 2 Aug 18.

A major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The donor, Franklin L. Haney, gave the contract to Trump attorney Michael Cohen in early April to assist his efforts to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama, known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant, these people said.

Had he been paid the success fee, Mr. Cohen’s deal with Mr. Haney could have been among the most lucrative of the known consulting agreements he secured after Mr. Trump’s election by emphasizing his personal relationship with the president, according to people familiar with his pitches.

The president has since severed ties with Mr. Cohen, who is under federal investigation in New York in connection with his work for Mr. Trump and private business dealings.

Authorities are investigating whether Mr. Cohen engaged in unregistered lobbying in connection with his consulting work for corporate clients after Mr. Trump went to the White House, according to people familiar with the probe.

Investigators are also examining potential campaign-finance violations and bank fraud……..

Under the contract, Mr. Haney agreed to pay Mr. Cohen a monthly retainer in addition to the $10 million success fee if he could help obtain the funding, including approval of the full amount of the project’s application under a U.S. Department of Energy loan program, the people familiar with the deal said.

Mr. Cohen’s fee would be reduced proportionally if he helped obtain less funding than the contract stipulated, according to a person familiar with the agreement.

A loan application by Mr. Haney’s company is still pending at the Energy Department. Mr. Cohen hasn’t communicated with Energy Secretary Rick Perry about Mr. Haney’s project, according to the Energy Department. Mr. Cohen made several calls to officials at the Energy Department in the spring to inquire about the loan guarantee process, including what could be done to speed it up, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Wall Street Journal couldn’t determine how much Mr. Haney may have paid Mr. Cohen, if anything, in monthly retainer fees…….

Mr. Cohen’s work for Mr. Haney included participating in an April 5 meeting during which he helped the donor pitch the vice chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, on a possible investment in the nuclear plant, the Journal reported in May, citing people familiar with the matter. …..

Mr. Haney’s company, Nuclear Development, entered into a $111 million contract in November 2016 to purchase the partially completed Bellefonte Nuclear Plant from the Tennessee Valley Authority. Mr. Haney has until November to close on the purchase.

A month after the purchase agreement, in December 2016, Mr. Haney donated $1 million to the Trump inaugural fund through a corporate entity, Federal Election Commission records show.  ….

Nuclear Development and Mr. Haney’s main company, Franklin L. Haney Co., have spent nearly $1.1 million since the end of 2016 lobbying the federal government and Congress on issues related to nuclear power, according to federal lobbying records. ….

August 4, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 2 Comments

Asteroid explosion near a US early warning radar base – could have triggered a nuclear war

An asteroid exploded near a US early warning radar base and we’re lucky it didn’t spark nuclear Armageddon Jasper Hamil  3 Aug 2018

An asteroid has exploded in a ‘fireball’ near an American early warning radar base, prompting a top scientist to reflect on how a similar ‘freak’ incident could cause nuclear war. The meteor was only detected after it detonated close to Thule Airbase, Greenland, on July 25. A prominent nuclear expert later discussed how the US military could have mistaken the explosion for a Russian ‘first strike’ and launched up to 2,000 nukes in retaliation.

Thule is a base in Greenland which incorporates a Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site designed to spot nuclear doomsday weapons flying towards America. Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, tweeted: ‘We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. ‘There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch.’ Kristensen told Metro that a ‘freak incident like this could potentially trigger an alert that caused the United States to overreact’, although he stressed such an event was unlikely.

‘The potential risks are about what could happen in a tense crisis where two nuclear powers were at each other’s throats and a conventional shooting war had broken out and part of the command and control system degraded,’ he said. ‘The early warning systems are supposed to be able to differentiate and in most cases probably would be able to do so. ‘But with large number of nuclear weapons on high alert, the concern would be that an overreaction could trigger a series of events that escalated the conflict significantly. ‘There have been cases during the Cold War where atmospheric events caused early warning systems to falsely report nuclear attacks. Fortunately, military officers figured out that they were false alarms.’ He said tensions were low at the moment, making it very unlikely that an asteroid strike would trigger a nuclear war.

‘I don’t think there is any risk that such an event could trigger a nuclear launch under normal circumstances,’ Kristensen continued. ‘There are no other indicators that nuclear adversaries at this point are about to launch nuclear weapons against the United States.’ The asteroid hit on July 25 and exploded with a force of about 2.1 kilotons, Nasa confirmed. This is about an eighth of the 15 kiloton yield of the Little Boy bomb, which was used to destroy Hiroshima in World War II. In 1968, a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed into sea ice near Thule, causing a huge explosion and forcing a massive clean-up operation.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | ARCTIC, incidents, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Latin American and Caribbean nations lead the way towards nuclear disarmament

Disarmament over deterrence: Nuclear lessons from Latin America,  By Christopher Dunlap, August 1, 2018

In late May, the National Security Archive released newly declassified US documents from more than 50 years ago showing Mexico’s support for nuclear disarmament far beyond the boundaries of Latin America and the Caribbean. The documents reveal that Mexico’s ambassador to United Nations negotiations in Geneva sought to contribute unambiguous language on disarmament, peaceful nuclear use, and nuclear-weapon-free zones to the text of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), finalized in 1968. The NPT bears many of the same philosophical and legal imprints as the Treaty of Tlatelolco finalized the previous year, which banned nuclear weapons development, storage, or deployment south of the Rio Grande and in the Caribbean basin.

Today the world is closer to nuclear war than at any time since the 1960s. The deterioration of United States relations with at least three nuclear hotspots across the world – North Korea, Russia, and Iran – explains a great deal of the grave assessment that “major nuclear actors are on the cusp of a new arms race.”

The vast majority of the world’s nations, however, have renounced nuclear weapons. In 2017, 122 of the United Nations’ 193 member countries voted to approve the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which calls for complete global nuclear disarmament on humanitarian grounds. These countries believe that nuclear weapons, no matter which nations possess them, pose an unacceptable threat to human life and to an increasingly fragile planet. For them, security is disarmament. For political and military leaders in nuclear-armed countries, on the other hand, security is deterrence, in which the threat of destruction by nuclear weapons keeps the world’s strongest militaries from initiating war.

If these mutually exclusive languages of disarmament and deterrence can be translated into some common vocabulary, and if the politics of fear dissipate, a complete global ban on nuclear weapons has a chance to succeed. A half-century ago, a similarly ambitious plan faced long odds and a bumpy road from idea to reality.

Success story. The Treaty of Tlatelolco, finalized in February 1967, created a regional microcosm of a nuclear-weapon-free world. In addition to banning nuclear weapons, Latin American and Caribbean diplomats and heads of state obtained guarantees from the world’s nuclear-armed nations (and its lingering overseas empires, among them, Britain, France, and the Netherlands) to abide by the same rules. Remarkably, almost all of these guarantees in the treaty’s additional protocols – including those made by the United States and the Soviet Union – were ratified within 15 years, lightning speed in the world of nuclear diplomacy, and long before the treaty itself entered into force with Cuba’s accession in 2002.

It is no wonder, then, that Latin American and Caribbean nations dominate the list of the 58 early signatories of last year’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The region’s percentage of signatory nations (33 percent) is roughly double that of its share of total member countries of the United Nations (17 percent). The most likely explanation for such disarmament enthusiasm almost certainly centers on what happened at Tlatelolco. After Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev removed nuclear missiles from Cuba in 1962, Mexican diplomat Alfonso García Robles led a long and contentious negotiation process, concluding in 1967 with an agreement that stands today as both a landmark of nuclear nonproliferation and a model for global disarmament.

The Treaty of Tlatelolco served as both a call and a blueprint to create four additional nuclear-weapon-free zones in the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and Africa. Nearly three-fifths of the world’s countries now belong to these zones.

Different priorities. Disarmament ranked well above nonproliferation as the motive force for creating the Treaty of Tlatelolco, the world’s first nuclear weapons ban in a populated area. Appearing before any other specific legal provision in the treaty’s text, “general and complete disarmament under effective international control” stood as Tlatelolco’s ultimate goal. Secondarily, the treaty aimed to check the spread of nuclear weapons to countries not already possessing them. Lastly, the agreement’s preamble sought to preserve the uninhibited use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, defending Latin American and Caribbean nations’ “right to the greatest and most equitable possible access” to the atom’s immense potential for economic and social development.

The NPT’s Article VI, which calls for all parties “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament,” traces back to a more specifically worded draft proposal from Mexico, requiring nations with nuclear weapons to prohibit their testing, manufacturing, and storage “with all speed and perseverance,” and to work toward “the liquidation of all their existing stockpiles.” (Last year’s Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is in fact the fulfillment of the last clause of Article VI of the NPT, an agreement to pursue a “treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”)

But nuclear weapon states sought a role for continued deterrence in the NPT by inserting a division that the architects of Tlatelolco had rejected, parting the world into nuclear “haves” and “have-nots” with separate and unequal sets of rights and responsibilities. In the view of Argentine diplomat Julio César Carasales, the NPT represented the “disarmament of the disarmed,” conferring almost unlimited privileges on nuclear-armed powers while subjecting the rest of the world to onerous restrictions, even on peaceful technology. And while the NPT vaguely promised general and complete disarmament through Article VI, it did not mandate any timeline or procedure by which nuclear-armed countries would actually dismantle their weapons. From 1975, when the first NPT Review Conference took place among the treaty’s parties, until 2010, when the preparatory committee for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons began meeting, non-nuclear weapon states had only one shot every five years to try to hold weapon nations accountable to their promises of disarmament.

A 50-year-old road map. With the adoption of last year’s ban treaty, the 184 UN member countries and two observer states that do not possess nuclear weapons now have an agreement with the potential to gradually discredit nuclear weapons (and their role in deterrence) as illegitimate tools of global security. By following the lead of international treaties prohibiting other classes of weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical, land mines, and cluster munitions – the proponents of the 2017 agreement are hoping that, someday, the leaders of nuclear-armed states might agree that global security lies in disarmament instead of deterrence.

It certainly won’t be easy. Like the architects of the Tlatelolco agreement that entered into force 35 years after it was finalized, the UN diplomats and civil society organizations that hashed out the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons crafted an ambitious, audacious document that they may not live to see made into law. At least two prominent American nuclear policy and disarmament experts view the UN treaty as a series of lost opportunities to educate citizens of nuclear-armed nations about the threats posed by those arms of mass destruction. Worse, three historical allies among the world’s small club of nuclear-armed countries—the United States, France, and the United Kingdom—immediately rejected the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons for failing to “address the security concerns that continue to make nuclear deterrence necessary.”

Indeed, there is no reason to think that nine nuclear-armed nations will be persuaded anytime soon to dismantle the weapons of mass destruction that they rely on for deterrence. But a path to disarmament-based security is viable. Latin American and Caribbean visionaries gave us the road map at Tlatelolco a half-century ago. They were correct on at least two points: A world free of nuclear weapons is not only possible; it is fundamental to our long-term survival.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

State of New Mexico not able to stop Holtec’s nuclear waste plans

New Mexico powerless to stop N.J. company’s nuclear waste plans  By The Associated Press

August 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

Centre for Security Studies explains NATO Nuclear Sharing

NATO Nuclear Sharing, Centre for Security Studies,  The CSS Blog Network,  By Tim Street  , 3 Aug 18

August 4, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pentagon had a plan for “dirty nuclear bombs”

We Now Know the Army Tested Its Own Nuclear ‘Dirty Bombs’. This Is What Happened.Was it a waste of time? National Interest by Joseph Trevithick, 3 Aug 18 

We don’t know how long the Army continued to work on these dirty bombs. The Pentagon only declassified these two reports in 2000 as part of larger project to determine how many servicemen and women might have been exposed to dangerous radiation in such experiments over the years. The information had been kept secret under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.

From television to Hollywood blockbusters, the “dirty bomb” – a device designed to spew radioactive material rather than set off a massive atomic explosion – has captured the public imagination as a potential terrorist weapon. But the U.S. Army once tried to make it into a real weapon of war.
In 1952, the ground combat branch conducted at least two live tests of prototype munitions at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The experimental E-83 “radiological bomb” consisted of more than 70 pounds of tantalum 181 pellets wrapped around a high explosive charge, as technicians explained in one report :

……….We don’t know how long the Army continued to work on these dirty bombs. The Pentagon only declassified these two reports in 2000 as part of larger project to determine how many servicemen and women might have been exposed to dangerous radiation in such experiments over the years. The information had been kept secret under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946.

But the Pentagon seems to have quickly passed over the radiological weapons for increasingly powerful nuclear bombs. By the 1960s, American and foreign scientists had discovered how to produce similar “enhanced radiation” effects with small hydrogen bombs, more commonly known as neutron bombs.

Like a dirty bomb, the neutron bomb uses lethal doses of radiation to kill or otherwise incapacitate people. With these designs available, it’s unlikely — as far as we know — that the Pentagon would ever return to experimenting on cruder radiological weapons.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate change fears add urgency to environmental fight over Florida nuclear power plant

Environmentalists Fight FPL Plan to Keep Nuclear Plant Open Until 2053, Miami New Times  | AUGUST 2, 2018 

August 4, 2018 Posted by | climate change, opposition to nuclear, USA | Leave a comment

Small Australian town to vote on nuclear waste dump, but Aboriginal land owners excluded from vote

Traditional owners “locked out” of nuclear waste vote,  InDaily, 3 Aug 18  Stephanie Richards   The head of the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association says the majority of Adnyamathanha people have been denied a vote on a proposed radioactive waste management facility near the town of Hawker in the Flinders Rangers.

Wallerberdina Station, located approximately 30km northwest of Hawker on Adnyamathanha country, has been shortlisted by the Federal Government for a facility that will permanently hold low-level nuclear waste and temporarily hold intermediate level waste.

It is one of three sites, the other two situated close to Kimba, that were shortlisted by the Federal Government to store nuclear waste.

The selection process is entering its final stages, with a postal ballot beginning on August 20 to measure community support for the three nominated sites.

But ATLA CEO Vince Coulthard said the voting guidelines were disrespectful to traditional owners, as the majority of Adnyamathanha people do not live close enough to the proposed Wallerberdina site to be eligible to vote.

The voting range includes residents of the Flinders Ranges Council and those who live within a 50km radius of the Wallerberdina site.

According to Coulthard, there are approximately 2500 Adnyamathanha people in total but only about 300 Adnyamathanha people who live in the voting range.

Coulthard said about 50 Adnyamathanha people who lived outside the voting range had expressed interest in voting, but when ATLA asked Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan during a consultation trip to Hawker last week if those people could be granted a vote, Coulthard said Canavan told him that only those living in the prescribed voting range could participate.

“It’s a crazy situation,” Coulthard said.

“This is Adnyamathanha country and it is a very important place to the Adnyamathanha nation.

“People have strong connections to land. There’s a large amount of people, many who don’t live on the land but they go back on a regular basis to travel around the land.”

……… Coulthard said he was disappointed that Canavan had not consulted with all ATLA members during his consultation visit.

He said Adnyamathanha people had been “locked out” from the vote, despite holding native title rights over the land.

“Canavan is saying this will strengthen our culture, that this will be good for us, but what it is actually doing is punishing the environment.

“This is a place where we have gone to get bush tucker, where we have come as traditional owners for thousands of years.

They’ve shown us disrespect and this is very hurtful.”

The proposed site holds sacred meaning for Adnyamathanha people, as it is located close to the Hookina Waterhole and ancient burial sites.

…….. Last month, the Federal Government tripled the incentive package for the community that hosts the nuclear waste repository.

The Government had promised to spend more than $10 million in the district where the facility is built, but under new incentives announced by Canavan, the Government increased funding to $31 million.

……. The Government has previously indicated it wants to choose a preferred site before the end of this year.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada bribing struggling towns to have nuclear waste dump

Morrison cited several fears some of the townsfolk have about the project, such as negative impact on tourism, water contamination from the DGR boring project and the risk of accident while transporting high level  waste along the highway.

Morrison said money has already come into Hornepayne because of its progression into the project. NWMO’s Learn More Project provides funding to cover travel expenses for individuals who represent the community to meet with the NWMO at its office in Toronto. It also funds the hiring independent experts to advise the community ($15,000 or less) and pays to support authorities to engage citizens in the community to learn about the project ($20,000 or less).

“Businesses that are for the project get some of that money from council and businesses that aren’t don’t get any.”

Nuclear waste debate divides Northern town   Ben Cohen Special To The Sault Star, August 3, 2018  Hornepayne, Ont., a community of 980 people about 400 kilometres northwest of Sault Ste. Marie, is one of the five finalists to see who becomes home to a nuclear waste facility.

In 2011, the town entered a bid to become a repository for 5.2 million log-sized bundles of used nuclear fuel. They were joined by 21 other Canadian communities that have since been whittled down due to internal protest or geological unsuitability.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada’s plan is to take this used fuel, known as “high-level nuclear waste,” contain it in steel baskets stuffed into copper tubes and encased in clay, and place that in a Deep Geological Repository (DGR), a 500-metre deep hole reinforced with a series of barriers. This is where it will stay for the 400,000 years it remains radioactive.

Bradley Hammond, senior communications manager for NWMO, told the Sault Star that the project only moves forward if it receives “broad social acceptance” within the selected communities.

“We won’t proceed in an area with opposition,” he said, adding that he has complete confidence that NWMO will find a suitable town by 2023.

When asked if there was a plan in place if all five of the finalist communities, Huron-Kinloss, Ont., Ignace, Ont., Manitouwadge, Ont., and South Bruce, Ont., back out of the project, Hammond indicated there isn’t, because that would be impossible.

A rally is being held in Hornepayne Aug. 14 to oppose the town being used for nuclear waste storage. Those at the helm of the rally said the project “exploits” their small town. Continue reading

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Canada, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Wolf Creek, Kansas, to be stuck with stranded nuclear wastes for 60 years or more

New plan would leave spent nuclear fuel at Wolf Creek until 2105  TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — The Kansas Corporation Commission revised the decommission plans for the Wolf Creek Generating Station. The KCC approved a different method than before on Thursday.

Previously the commission had approved what is called the DECON method which assumes that the U.S. Department of Energy will take the spent fuel at the decommissioning time and costs $814 million.

The nuclear plan in Burlington has been operating since 1985 and will decommission in 2045.

The plan approved Thursday, SAFSTOR, keeps the spent fuel at the facility until the unit is removed 60 years later in 2105. It will cost $1.09 billion.

Westar is part of the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operation Corporation (WCNOC) and rates for their customers will increase with the plan.

Spokesperson for Westar and KCP&L Jeremy McNeive said SAFTSOR is actually the better option for Westar customers.

“The change to the decommission plan would be about $800,000 annually which is less than 1 percent for Westar customers,” McNeive said. “Without the change, the decommission cost would have been $1.2 million annually. This is a positive thing, obviously, for Westar customers.”

The WCNOC also includes Kansas City Power & Light, Kansas Gas and Electric and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative.

The decommission order goes under review every three years to make adjustments for inflation and any other factors.

August 4, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Nato Nuclear Sharing – modernisation and the politics of this

NATO Nuclear Sharing, Centre for Security Studies,  The CSS Blog Network,  By Tim Street  , 3 Aug 18

“……….What modernisation is planned?

Despite former President Obama’s much-publicised rhetoric on the need for concrete action towards a nuclear weapons free world, work on the modernisation of US B61 bombs began under his administration and is receiving continued support from President Trump. In addition, NATO has embarked on improvements to its security and infrastructure, which alliance members will pay for. These are taking place at the USAF base at Incirlik, in Turkey and at the USAF base at Aviano, Italy.

The B61 bomb modernisation programme is being driven by the US National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which aims to upgrade and expand the lives of about 400 of the 520 B61 bombs in its inventory for approximately twenty years, through a Life Extension Program (LEP). More precisely, the NNSA plans to consolidate the four existing types or ‘MODs’ of the B61 bombs into one MOD—the B61-12. Key results of the planned modernisation will be to: make the existing ‘dumb’ bombs three times more accurate by adding a new tail kit and internal guidance system; allow the use of the weapons for both tactical and strategic missions; and for delivery by both fighter jets and long-range bombers. Completion of the first new B61-12 bomb is set for 2020, with work on the remaining bombs planned for 2024.

Such improvements, which, NATO argues, have been made to decrease the risk of radioactive fallout and result in fewer civilian casualties, have led to critics arguing that these weapons could be seen as more usable. Analysts such as Hans Kristensen have therefore concluded that the increased military capabilities provided by the new B61 bombs will signal to Russia that “it is acceptable for it to enhance its non-strategic nuclear posture in Europe as well”. Russia could do this by deploying its own TNW closer to NATO’s eastern border as well as keeping nuclear capabilities, which are, the US argues, in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Critics have also pointed to the major costs involved in the LEP, estimates for which range up to $25 million per bomb. Some also argue that the programme is unnecessary given the capabilities of the existing arsenal, simpler options for life extension and the possibility that the weapons could soon be withdrawn from service.

Controversy has also dogged the replacement of nuclear host countries’ nuclear-capable aircraft, which are all set to retire in the 2020s. The Lockheed Martin F-35A is seen as particularly suitable for nuclear missions and can be modified to carry B61-bombs. However, whilst several NATO members, including Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey, have committed to purchasing the F-35A, nuclear host nations Belgium and Germany have proved more reluctant, both for cost reasons and because of their interest in procuring alternative, European-made aircraft. Like the Greeks in 2001, failure to procure suitable new aircraft could lead to them ceasing to participate and host TNWs.

What are the political dynamics of NATO nuclear sharing?

As NATO’s Strategic Concept of 1999 explains, “the fundamental purpose of the nuclear forces of the Allies is political” since these weapons “provide an essential political and military link between the European and the North American members of the Alliance”. The two key aspects of this ‘link’ are that it is: i) hierarchical, with Washington leading; ii) legitimating, so that political elites in NATO member states visibly assent to the dominant US presence and role in Europe.

A common objection raised by those who argue that NATO nuclear weapons should be removed from the continent is that the alliance’s conventional superiority in relation to Russia means that there is no military need for these weapons. If these weapons no longer have a meaningful military role, it is argued, then they are no longer justifiable from a political perspective.

In response, the value of NATO TNW as a bargaining chip in arms control and disarmament negotiations with Russia is sometimes raised. Arguably, Moscow does not maintain its TNW in order to balance against NATO TNW, but because of the disparity it suffers in terms of conventional military forces in Europe. NATO’s unwillingness to scrap its TNW also tends to warrant Moscow’s inaction and opacity regarding its own TNW.

Various studies and opinion polls show that several alliance member governments as well as many experts, civil society groups and significant numbers of citizens want TNW removed from their countries. The Belgian, German and Dutch governments have all officially acknowledged that they favour the withdrawal of TNW from their territories. Yet they have qualified this position by stating that withdrawal can only take place if there is consensus on the move by all 28 NATO members. However, there is a range of different positions within NATO on nuclear matters, for example, on the value of deterrence and disarmament. Such dynamics help explain the alliance’s inherent caution and conservatism regarding nuclear decision-making.

Other areas of political controversy involve safety and security issues. For example, the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey led critics to question how secure nuclear weapons were at the Incirlik airbase, which is also close to the Syrian border. Another possibility is that the command and control protocols for the weapons preventing unauthorised use could be overridden. Such concerns have led opponents of the weapons, such as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to describe them as ‘absolutely senseless’ and potential targets for terrorists.

Another notable dimension to nuclear sharing is that US allies in other regions—such as North East Asia—closely observe how Washington handles its extended deterrence relations with NATO. Some analysts have thus proposed that US nuclear sharing be extended to South Korea and/or Japan given current instability in the region. Again, the rationale of disincentivising these allies from independently developing nuclear weapons in response to nuclear-armed rivals (i.e. North Korea) has been advanced.

How does nuclear-sharing fit with arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament regimes?

A common view in Europe and beyond is that the continued deployment in Europe of US TNW is a contravention of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which commits its members to “further diminish the role and significance of nuclear weapons in all military and security concepts, doctrines and policies”. Despite pressure within several nuclear sharing states for change, both the conventional and nuclear arms control and disarmament agenda are frozen. This is mainly due to the poor relations between the US and Russia, as well as the lack of political will in NATO governments to push these issues forward. Civil society groups have long called for the US to realise its NPT non-proliferation and disarmament obligations by repatriating its TNW to US soil prior to their dismantlement.

Russia has a far larger number of TNWs than the US (approximately 1,830) and Moscow insists upon the removal of US TNWs from Europe before it engages with Washington and NATO on accounting for and reducing these weapons. For its part, the US sees Russian TNW as threatening to its NATO allies, particularly in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. Russian and US experts have proposed a series of measures that could overcome existing reluctance and allow TNW to be included in wider nuclear arms reduction talks. For example:

  • Former US Ambassador Steven Pifer has previously recommended that the two nations take: i) confidence-building and transparency measures; ii) parallel unilateral steps to freeze or reduce TNW stockpiles; and iii) begin negotiations aimed at a legally-binding TNW treaty with verification measures.
  • Nuclear experts Pavel Podvig and Javier Serrat have recently argued that TNW should continue not being deployed during peacetime and that this should be codified into a “legally-binding, verifiable arrangement” to reduce crisis escalation and the risks of nuclear war.
  • Other analysts such as Dr Andrew Futter have also highlighted the existence of other options, such as moving US TNW to bases in new countries or concentrating them in Italy and Turkey, but note that these ideas raise several problems.
  • Russian analysts, meanwhile, argue that conventional arms control—such as an updated Conventional Forces in Europe treaty—would need to be implemented if Moscow is to further reduce its TNW.

In March 2011, NATO created a new Committee on WMD Control and Disarmament to provide oversight and policy discussion in this area, but it is unclear what this body has hitherto accomplished.

About the Author

Tim Street is an Associate Fellow of the Oxford Research Group’s Sustainable Security Programme, specializing in nuclear security and disarmament issues.

For more information on issues and events that shape our world, please visit the CSS website

August 4, 2018 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

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