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University of California being used by the nuclear weapons industry

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Education, USA | Leave a comment

Australian commercial TV station now selling its soul to the nuclear industry?

The 60 Minutes Fukushima nuclear infomercial, Independent Australia Noel Wauchope 23 October 2018  A FEW YEARS AGO, Australian Channel 9’s 60 Minutes did an excellent investigation of the Fukushima nuclear accident.

This Fukushima investigation was compered by Liz Hayes. I recall that, at the time, the program was a much more thorough, serious and well-resourced presentation than anything put forward by even the ABC or SBS.

However, I was pretty appalled at the latest 60 Minutes coverage of the Fukushima issue, which screened on Sunday (21 October) titled, Is nuclear power the solution to our energy crisis?  

The main message of this program is a call to scrap Australia’s legislation against establishing the nuclear industry. The argument given is that we need nuclear power because it is supposedly cheap and dependable. We also need it because it is supposedly essential to combat climate change.

This time, the reporter is not Liz Hayes. It’s Tom Steinfort, who is described as a “seasoned Channel 9 star”. Does a seasoned Channel 9 star just accept without question the claims made in this episode?

Among claims made:

If Mr Steinfort really is a star reporter, I would expect him to have done his homework before swallowing these claims hook line and sinker. ………

So, what do we make of this latest offering about Fukushima, from 60 Minutes? It must have taken a lot of money and a lot of negotiation to get a 60 Minutes camera team inside the Fukushima nuclear station. I assume that the negotiations were largely arranged by Ben Heard, who has influential nuclear contacts overseas — particularly in Russia and South Africa, where he has been a prominent nuclear spokesperson. In Russia, Heard launched Rosatom National Geographic — a nuclear soft sell environmental program.

I think that we can be sure of one thing. As Japan plans for the 2020 Olympics – some sections of which are to take place in Fukushima Prefecture – the Japanese Government is not likely to permit a team with any anti-nuclear perspective access to the crippled nuclear power plant.

The 60 Minutes media team would have had to have the Japanese authorities on side. I would bet, some companies keen to set up the nuclear industry in Australia would also be on side and keen to assist.

There have been rumblings, too, of yet another resurgence for nuclear energy in Australia, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison declaring that he is ‘open to the idea of nuclear power’ and that ‘the source of Australia’s energy doesn’t bother him and he isn’t interested in an ideological debate’.

Is it too much to hope that Channel 9 might do something to correct this nuclear infomercial and give us a different, more comprehensive view, rather than one blessed by Japanese authorities and the nuclear power lobby?,12023

October 25, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment

“Peace comes through strength.” – says Vice President Pence about nuclear weapons in space

Vice President Pence Didn’t Rule Out the Possibility of Nuclear Weapons in Space, By RENAE REINTS October 23, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence chose not rule out the possibility of nuclear weapons in space, telling The Washington Post on Tuesday that “peace comes through strength.”

“What we need to do is make sure that we provide for the common defense of the people of the United States of America, and that’s the president’s determination here,” Pence said, when asked if nuclear weapons should be banned from outer space. “What we want to do is continue to advance the principle that peace comes through strength.”

Weapons of mass destruction, like nuclear weapons, are currently banned from orbit through the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, signed by both Russia and the United States during the Cold War. The treaty states that not only are nuclear weapons banned from outer space, but the moon and other celestial bodies are to be used for peaceful purposes only: this means no military bases, practices, or weapons testing.

President Donald Trump has already threatened to throw out one arms control treaty, however.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed with Russia in 1987, required the destruction of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with certain ranges. Amid concerns that Russia may be developing a medium-range ballistic missile, Trump said Saturday that the United States will end the INF Treaty.

Pence made his comments Tuesday at the “Transformers: Space” policy summit, hosted by the Post. He also said the Trump administration hopes to establish Space Force, a sixth branch of the U.S. military focused on outer space, as soon as 2020.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

It’s imperative for the world to resist the escalation of nuclear weapons

Nuclear escalation must be resisted

The intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (INF) must not be torn up, says Kate Hudson, CND general secretary,  President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty (INF) is a massive blow to global and – in particular – European security (Report, 22 October). Signed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987, the treaty banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km and led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated. It meant cruise missiles were removed from Britain and Pershing and SS20 missiles from continental Europe. Tearing up the INF treaty will mark the end of the restraints on nuclear arsenals achieved in the 1980s. It will open the way for the return to Europe of cruise-type missiles that can have only one purpose – that a US nuclear war against Russia will be fought in Europe.

We understood that in the 1980s and we mobilised against it. The INF treaty was in large part a result of massive international protest against nuclear escalation in the 1980s, including CND protests against cruise missiles which mobilised hundreds of thousands of people. The iconic Greenham peace camp was part of that wave of protest. We stand resolutely against this return to the nuclear escalation of the cold war and we call on all peoples once again to reject these moves.
Kate Hudson
General secretary, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

October 25, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA withdrawal from nuclear weapons treaties -risks creating “another Cuban Missile Crisis”


PRESIDENT Trump risks creating “another Cuban Missile Crisis” if he withdraws the US from key nuclear weapons treaties, leading Russian parliamentarian Alexei Pushkov has warned.

By JAMES BICKERTON, EXPRESS UK, Oct 24, 2018 Mr Pushkov made the troubling comments during an interview with the state-controlled Tass Russian News Agency.

He said: “The danger is that the United States is pushing the world to another Cuban Missile Crisis. “Back then we were lucky to avoid an exchange of nuclear strikes. “Only God knows what all this may end up in now.”

Trump has announced the US will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was established between the US and the Soviet Union in 1987.
The treaty prohibits the development of nuclear missiles with a range of between 500 and 5,000 kilometres.
The US claims Russia is breaching the agreement by continuing to work on mid-range ballistic missiles which could carry nuclear warheads.

There is particular focus on the 9M729 intermediate missile system, which Russia insists does not violate the INF treaty……..

Despite the US’s rhetoric, the Trump administration is yet to start the formal withdrawal process from the INF treaty.

In 2002, President George W Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, thus allowing the country to develop a defensive missile shield.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor and an advocate of withdrawing from the INF treaty, was involved in these negotiations.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan’s draft new nuclear legislation including unlimited redress from utilities for accidents at their nuclear plants

Draft bill omits state burden for nuclear accident compensation, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, October 24, 2018 After more than three years of discussions, the nuclear damage compensation law will be left largely intact, including unlimited redress from utilities for accidents at their nuclear plants and vagueness about the government’s responsibility.

Only minor changes will be made to the law, such as measures to accelerate provisional payments to victims of nuclear accidents.

Science ministry officials on Oct. 23 presented a draft of proposed legislation to revise the law at a committee meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. The legislation is expected to be submitted to the extraordinary Diet session that began on Oct. 24.

An advisory committee on the nuclear damage compensation system within the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) had been discussing possible revisions since 2015 in part because of the huge compensation amount–now more than 8 trillion yen ($71 billion)–facing Tokyo Electric Power Co. over the 2011 accident at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Electric power companies had asked for some sort of limit in the law, given the situation at TEPCO.

One suggestion was to more clearly delineate the responsibility of the central government and the utilities for compensating victims of nuclear disasters.

A committee member who once worked in Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) supported setting a limit, saying the companies would face a serious management problem if they are unable to predict potential compensation risks.

In return, the central government would shoulder the compensation amount above a certain limit, the member proposed.

However, the committee could not reach an agreement, and no change was made to the provision that sets unlimited compensation responsibility on the part of the utilities.

Utilities will have to continue setting aside a maximum 120 billion yen for each nuclear plant it operates as insurance for a major accident.

Although the insurance amount would appear to be a sort of limit on the electric power companies, the utilities must also contribute to the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF), which provides assistance when compensation demands concerning a single nuclear plant exceed 120 billion yen.

The central government also contributes funds to the NDF.

Calls arose to raise the insurance limit for electric power companies beyond 120 billion yen. However, the insurance industry would not agree to any higher amount, and no change was made in the limit.

Some committee members brought up the topic of whether the central government’s responsibility for compensation should be included in a legal revision.

The electric power industry said the central government should shoulder a greater portion of the compensation responsibility for nuclear accidents because it has continued to define nuclear energy as an important base-load energy source.

Members of the advisory committee brushed aside that suggestion, saying the public would never be convinced in light of the Fukushima accident and the various shortcomings revealed about TEPCO’s management.

Other members cited the possibility that utilities would cut back on safety investment if they knew the central government would pay for compensation.

Discussions about the central government’s responsibility never did get off the ground in the advisory committee, even though a number of recent court verdicts in civil lawsuits have awarded compensation while clearly stating the central government’s responsibility for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The minor change to the law to allow electric power companies to more quickly begin provisional payments of compensation was proposed to address problems that arose after the Fukushima accident.

TEPCO took about six weeks to begin provisional payments to disaster victims. The delay, according to TEPCO, was because the utility had no idea about the maximum amount of compensation it would have to pay.

Under the proposed change, the central government will provide loans to utilities so they can immediately begin making provisional payments. Utilities will be obligated to compile guidelines that define the procedures for applying for compensation and making those guidelines widely known.

(This article was compiled from reports by Yusuke Ogawa and Senior Staff Writer Noriyoshi Ohtsuki.)

October 25, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

USA issues stark warning against UK partnering with China on nuclear power stations

US warns Britain against Chinese alliances on nuclear plants, Security official claims evidence of civilian nuclear technology being put to military use,, David Sheppard in London , 25 Oct 18

The US has issued a stark warning to the UK about partnering with China’s largest state-backed nuclear company on a host of new power plants, saying it has evidence that it is engaged in taking civilian nuclear technology and transferring it to military uses. Christopher Ashley Ford, the US assistant secretary for international security and non-proliferation, said that China General Nuclear (CGN), which is a partner on the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear project, among others, was at the forefront of Chinese efforts to militarise civilian nuclear technology.

“It’s quite clear now that essentially the entirety of the Chinese nuclear industry is lashed up with military-civil fusion,” Mr Ford said in a briefing with the Financial Times. “There is a growing pattern of information of which we have become aware over time related to technological theft issues.” Mr Ford said the US had shared evidence, both “open source” and from intelligence gathering, with the UK, showing CGN was involved in the transfer of technology that could be used for a range of military applications. That could include powering China’s new breed of nuclear powered submarines, aircraft carriers and “floating nuclear reactors for the ongoing militarisation of the South China Sea”, Mr Ford

“If CGN is engaged in helping the Chinese navy . . . with missiles that could presumably be pointed at western capitals, including London . . . It’s worth thinking about whether that’s a particularly good idea,” Mr Ford said. The bluntly delivered warning comes as UK prime minister Theresa May has tried to increase scrutiny of Chinese investment in key UK infrastructure compared to her predecessor David Cameron, including over involvement in nuclear power plants.

But the US intervention, given their status as the UK’s key military ally, is likely to increase pressure on Downing Street. The Trump administration is locked in a trade war with China, with tensions ramping up over tariffs and the balance of payments between the two countries. But the US this month also updated its own policies on civilian nuclear co-operation with China to say that there would be a “presumption of denial” for any US company seeking to transfer technology to CGN or its subsidiaries. …..

A contract between China and Westinghouse Electric Company, the US nuclear engineering group sold by Toshiba to Canadian asset manager Brookfield last year, is not, however, broadly affected by the US policy shift, although future deals could be. The second Westinghouse plant in China started up on Wednesday, 11 years after the deal to build four AP1000 reactors was first signed. …..

Last month, CGN told the Financial Times that political sensitivities could prompt it to give up the chance to operate a new atomic power plant at Bradwell in Essex, as the group also outlined ambitious plans for an industrial partnership with Britain. …..

CGN has invested more than £2bn in its British nuclear projects in the past two years, and has committed to spend £9.5bn in this area in total.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | China, politics international, UK, USA | Leave a comment

Countries are safer to not have nuclear facilities? IAEA training to prepare for cyberattacks on them

October 25, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Britain’s Ministry of Defence foresees nuclear attacks on Earth, launched from space

Space stations could launch NUCLEAR attacks on Earth in 30 years – shock MoD report

SPACE stations could launch nuclear attacks on Earth in 30 years, the Ministry of Defence has warned in a shock report on the growing threat of a nuclear space race. The threat of a nuclear space race comes as countries look to expand their arsenal of weapons outside the earths atmosphere.

By LUKE HAWKER, EXPRESS UK Oct 21, The MoD have been alerted to the devastating prospect of a “space-based weapons systems” with nuclear capabilities as early as 2050.

A report called the ‘Future Starts Today’ outlines the “critical point” the world has reached in relation to warfare.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson acknowledged the “dangerous” state of the world.

He said: “This report makes clear that we are living in a world becoming rapidly more dangerous, with intensifying challenges from state aggressors who flout the rules, terrorists who want to harm our way of life and the technological race with our adversaries…………

As the advancement of technology increases the prospect of military space bases has come to fruition with nuclear warheads circling earth.

These weapons would have “global reach” and be unseen by those on Earth.

The destructive power of a nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapon – detonated in the air rather than on the ground – will be developed to knock out whole cities and even countries.

Electromagnetic pulses have the ability to shut down anything running on electrical power therefore, lights, communications, heating systems would all stop working in an instant.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s EPA removes regulation that would protect groundwater from uranium mining pollution

October 25, 2018 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Closing down France’s nuclear power plants

L’express 24th Oct 2018 , Sooner or later, EDF will have to close power plants. In front of the
company is a vast building site with many unknowns. And in the middle
flows the Meuse. Nestled in one of its loops, a few kilometers from the
Belgian border, the two cooling towers of the Chooz nuclear power plant
spew their plumes of white smoke.
On the other side of the river, under the
wooded hillside that has taken the colors of autumn, EDF is leading the
dismantling site of Chooz A. Shut down since 1991this reactor, installed in
an artificial cavern, saw its installations gradually dismantled and
evacuated. Still to settle the fate of the tank. Perched on a metal bridge
over a deep pool where she was diving, a handful of Swedish engineers from
the American company Westinghouse remotely maneuver the articulated arms of
a robot that cut it. A long work, which must occupy until 2022. After
which, the cave Chooz A will be filled with sand, for eternity.

October 25, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor | Leave a comment

Future of Bradwell nuclear project in doubt – Chinese company might withdraw

BANNG 22nd Oct 2018 ,  BANNG has long maintained that there is no need for a new nuclear power
station at Bradwell. The costs, in terms of the long-lasting, physical
damage to the tranquil and vulnerable Blackwater estuary, of the finances,
of the potential for terrorist attacks and of the uncertainties around
investment by a potentially hostile state, are too high.
Nuclear power is an old-fashioned technology and given the continuing success and decreases
in the costs of renewables and storage, there will be no need for it by the
time Bradwell B could be in operation.
In its partnership with EDF, CGN, a Chinese state-owned nuclear company, is the majority two-thirds stakeholder
in the Bradwell B project. However, it seems now that CGN is wavering. In
the Financial Times of 18 September it was reported that CGN ‘has
admitted that political sensitivities could prompt it to give up the chance
to operate a new atomic power plant in the UK’.
The Chinese withdrawal, should it come, would appear to reflect widespread concerns about the
security issues surrounding Chinese investment into a highly sensitive part
of the UK’s national infrastructure. In the Financial Times, Zheng
Dongshan, Chief Executive of CGN’s UK subsidiary, is reported as
acknowledging that it would take time for CGN ‘to show the public, the
government they can trust us’. Andy Blowers, Chair of BANNG, said: ‘The
project may be doomed anyway as the Bradwell B site is totally unsuitable
and is opposed by communities all around the Blackwater estuary.’

October 25, 2018 Posted by | China, psychology and culture, UK | Leave a comment

PR Drivel as Dirty Dangerous Thorp Plant “Celebrated” in “The Art of Reprocessing” The World’s Nuclear Waste —

Spent Fuel Ponds at Sellafield – a result of “Reprocessing” the world’s nuclear wastes – much of the reprocessing waste is discharged through a pipeline to the Irish Sea where it sits on the sea bed till resuspended and brought back on the tide. A new exhibition previews at the Sellafield run Beacon Museum […]

via PR Drivel as Dirty Dangerous Thorp Plant “Celebrated” in “The Art of Reprocessing” The World’s Nuclear Waste —

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The 1950’s Promise of Safe Nuclear Powered Cars. What Happened? — Nuclear Exhaust

Edward Teller in the USA and Ernest Titterton (the Englander with a pretend “She’ll be Right Mate” for Australians – he was the head of the British Bomb Test Safety Committee. Perfectly safe at Maralinga. Wrong.) promised their respective populations electricity too cheap to meter and atomic powered cars. (I’ll leave their promises of atomic […]

via The 1950’s Promise of Safe Nuclear Powered Cars. What Happened? — Nuclear Exhaust

October 25, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA was close to using nuclear weapons in the Vietnam war


OCTOBER 24, 2018.”…….The publication of Michael Beschloss’ new book, Presidents of War, shined light on declassified documents describing the efforts that President Lyndon Johnson’s senior military officers undertook without presidential authorization in early 1968 to prepare for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam.How close did the United States actually get to deploying nuclear weapons in Vietnam in 1968? Who initiated this plan, codenamed “Fracture Jaw,” and when did the president become aware of it? What can today’s leaders learn from this incident, and what implications does this episode have for command and control of nuclear weapons during wartime and the so-called “nuclear taboo” that purportedly dissuades their use?

Drawing on declassified “eyes only” materials housed at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, I seek to situate the revelations in Beschloss’ book in the broader historical context to provide a more detailed account of the military’s planning for Fracture Jaw and just how far Pentagon and White House officials allowed these preparations to progress without the president’s full knowledge………….

The “Nuclear Taboo” and Command and Control Nuclear Weapons During Wartime

From the perspective of the so-called “nuclear taboo,” which dissuades the use of nuclear weapons because of their devastating destructive potential, the Fracture Jaw episode is something of a success story. Johnson consistently made clear to his advisors that he did not want to be put in a position where he would be asked for authority to launch tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam. Although he did not explicitly rule out the use of these weapons categorically, Johnson’s fury in discovering on Feb. 10 that planning had persisted in spite of his earlier directive only reinforces the notion that the president was committed to avoiding their use.

From the vantage point of command and control of the nuclear arsenal, however, this episode is more harrowing. Although the president’s regional and theater commanders expeditiously complied with the commander-in-chief’s directive to shut down Fracture Jaw, their planning had progressed with seemingly little presidential understanding of just how far along Pacific Command had advanced in preparing its tactical nuclear arsenal for possible use……….

In his role as commander-in-chief, the president retains ultimate (and effectively unchecked) authority over whether to deploy nuclear weapons, a choice Johnson described as “one of the most awesome and grave decisions any president could be called upon to make.” In this instance, Johnson did not hesitate to exercise this authority, but only after media speculation made him aware of how far preparations for their use in Vietnam had actually progressed. That the president and the White House staff was insufficiently aware of how far along this contingency planning had progressed rightfully raises important questions about the integrity of the country’s nuclear command and control infrastructure, particularly as the United States contemplates a greater reliance on tactical nuclear weapons in its deterrence posture. And it gives rise to speculation, however remote, about the decision Johnson would have had to confront in weighing a full-fledged nuclear option in Vietnam should Fracture Jaw have come to fruition. In his role as commander-in-chief, the president retains ultimate (and effectively unchecked) authority over whether to deploy nuclear weapons, a choice Johnson described as “one of the most awesome and grave decisions any president could be called upon to make.” In this instance, Johnson did not hesitate to exercise this authority, but only after media speculation made him aware of how far preparations for their use in Vietnam had actually progressed. That the president and the White House staff was insufficiently aware of how far along this contingency planning had progressed rightfully raises important questions about the integrity of the country’s nuclear command and control infrastructure, particularly as the United States contemplates a greater reliance on tactical nuclear weapons in its deterrence posture. And it gives rise to speculation, however remote, about the decision Johnson would have had to confront in weighing a full-fledged nuclear option in Vietnam should Fracture Jaw have come to fruition. ……

October 25, 2018 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment