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2019 For a clean nuclear-free climate – theme for January

It would be nice to just wish everyone a happy New Year. We can do that. And for the Earth, we can wish that the human species would stop polluting it.  We can say, along with Dr Pangloss  – “Everything for the best, in the best of all possible worlds”.

But, I’m afraid that we’re kidding ourselves, if we think that we can do any more than to slow the onset of climate change. “Disruptive impacts from climate change are now inevitable”. Jem Bendell, A British Professor of Sustainability now says that nothing in our civilization is sustainable.  The emphasis must now also be on adaptation to climate change. Elizabeth May, Leader of Canada’s Green Party, has recently stressed, on Radio Ecoshock,   that not only grandchildren, and later generations will be affected, but today’s children will experience the social, and health disruptions of climate change.

The Power of One Green – Elizabeth May in 2018

As for the nuclear threat – it’s no wonder that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock stays now at 2 minutes to midnight, with aggressive leaders like Trump and Putin, with weapons’ companies and military brass salivating about new, advanced weapons, even space warfare.

Still, nations continue to sign up to the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty. It’s a start.

For the “peaceful” nuclear industry – the good news is that it’s becoming  a failing economic disaster. It would die a faster death, if it were not so valuable to the nuclear weapons industry.   Colossal waste problems in USA, Japan, UK, are stalling plans for new reactors . Russia and China are not publicly divulging information on their wastes, but both are keen to export nuclear technology, rather than develop it at home.

The nuclear industry continues its lies about nuclear solving climate change -lies that are mindlessly regurgitated by the mainstream media. Media also faithfully parrot the promises of “new nukes” – the “Generation IV” nuclear designs that do not yet exist, and would be prohibitively expensive, requiring huge tax-payer subsidies..

Anyway, I promise to include some good news, some positive stories, in 2019, because, after all, good people continue to do good things. And, we just can’t afford to give up hope – as Greta Thunberg tells us “Look for action – then the hope will come”

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Christina's themes | 17 Comments

UK has no idea how to dispose of 38 nuclear submarines – saw Scotland as a “nuclear dustbin”

Revealed: UK’s secret plan to dump 22 nuclear submarines in Scotland, The Ferret , Rob Edwards on December 30, 2018  The UK government secretly planned to dump the radioactive hulks of 22 nuclear submarines in the sea off north west Scotland, documents released by the National Archives reveal.A survey for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1989 identified six sites for “seabed storage” of defunct naval submarines near the islands of Skye, Mull and Barra for up to 60 years – and probably longer.

Detailed and highly confidential MoD studies concluded the plan was “feasible” and would “obviate the international problems which we would face were we to dispose of these vessels in international waters.”

According to one MoD official the aim was “to remove submarines from public view”. Another hoped that “everyone will forget about these submarines and that they will be allowed to quietly rot away indefinitely.”

The revelations have sparked anger and outrage from politicians and campaigners, who accused the MoD of seeing Scotland as a “nuclear dustbin”. The MoD stressed that current submarine disposal plans met the strictest standards of safety and security.

The 1989 sea-dumping plan ended up being quietly dropped. But the MoD has still not solved the problem of what to do with the accumulating number of nuclear submarines that have now been taken out of service.

Since the 1980s seven defunct submarines have been laid up at the Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife. Since the 1990s, thirteen have been laid up at Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth, nine of them still containing radioactive fuel.

There are a further eight nuclear submarines in service, one in overhaul and nine due to come into service at Faslane on the Clyde, including the proposed new generation of four Trident-armed submarines. That’s a total of 38 nuclear submarines that will eventually require disposal……..https://theferret.scot/nuclear-submarines-dump-scotland/

December 31, 2018 Posted by | UK, wastes | 2 Comments

North Korea’s Kim Yong Un wants more nuclear summits with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in

Kim Wants More Summits With Moon to Tackle Nuclear Issue ,Bloomberg, By Sam Kim and Youkyung Lee. December 30, 2018,

Kim intent on resolving nuclear impasse, Blue House says  North Korean leader sent personal letter to South Korea’s Moon

Kim Jong Un is intent on resolving the nuclear impasse that has stalled negotiations with the U.S. and wants to hold more meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon’s office said.

The North Korean leader sent Moon a personal letter of well wishes on Sunday, expressing a willingness to meet often in 2019 to advance peace talks and achieve “denuclearization on the Korean peninsula,” Moon spokesman Kim Eui-keum said. Moon thanked him for the letter, tweeting that the North Korean leader “again made clear” that he would act on his agreement with the U.S. and South Korea.

The missive came amid increased skepticism over Kim’s willingness to dismantle his arsenal of nuclear weapons, months after a historic summit with President Donald Trump in which the two leaders agreed to work toward denuclearization. Kim’s letter made no mention of Trump or the U.S.

…….Earlier this month, North Korea told the U.S. that sanctions and pressure won’t work to force Pyongyang into action on its nuclear program. North Korean state media said the removal of the U.S.’s nuclear weapons from the region was a condition of its own disarmament, raising the stakes for Trump’s efforts to hold a second summit with Kim………https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-30/kim-wants-more-summits-with-moon-to-tackle-nuclear-issue

December 31, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

Climate change: six positive news stories you probably missed this year.

The Conversation 28th Dec 2018 

Renewable energy is being set up faster than ever;  Chernobyl fights against
climate change; A new mobilising force for climate action; Global economic
growth may have peaked; Glimmer of hope in emissions reduction; Local
community energy is doing well.
https://theconversation.com/climate-change-six-positive-news-stories-you-probably-missed-this-year-108785

December 31, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Solar power for 97 Spanish grand hotels

Observer 30th Dec 2018 Spain’s state-owned chain of paradores, the grand hotels often housed in ancient castles and monasteries, has announced that all 97 of its establishments will use only electricity from renewable sources from the start of the new year.

The 90-year-old chain said the decision to switch to green electricity had been made for both environmental and symbolic
reasons. “Paradores is a company that supports sustainable tourism in every sense of the word,” said its chair, Óscar López Águeda. “What’s more, as a public company, we also want to set an example when it comes to investments that encourage energy saving and responsible  consumption.”
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/30/spain-paradores-solar-power-pledge

December 31, 2018 Posted by | decentralised, Spain | Leave a comment

Nuclear power will exacerbate climate change, not solve it

Fairwinds 29th Dec 2018 Relicensing old nuclear power plants and building new nukes will not
resolve any climate change issues. View our well-researched film,
Smokescreen, created with data from university analyses and independent
international economic reports. Also, check out Arnie’s speech at McGill
University where he discusses how building new nuclear power plants will
actually exacerbate climate change as well as his Truthout article
https://www.fairewinds.org/demystify//climate-change-is-real-nuclear-is-not-the-answer

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

South Carolina’s twin disasters: NUCLEAR NIGHTMARE and HURRICANE FLORENCE

2018 in South Carolina: Tragedy, floods, more nuclear money, abc4 News, by JEFFREY COLLINS, Associated Press, 30 Dec 18, The year ends in South Carolina with hundreds of people rebuilding homes flooded for the second time in three years and hundreds of thousands of people still paying for nuclear reactors that never generated power.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Why has Britain not participated in international disarmament talks? Why are relevant documents kept secret?

David Lowry’s Blog 29th Dec 2018, I agree with academic researcher Sue Rabbitt Roff that researchers into the UK’s nuclear history should be alarmed that the publicly-funded Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority has ordered certain sensitive documents to be withheld from the regular release of official  documents that always takes place in the final week of the year from the National Archives.

The Soviet Union/Russia has participated successively in the SALT, START and INF
nuclear disarmament negotiations. Meantime, the UK has not taken part in any multilateral or bilateral nuclear reduction or disarmament talks.

Future researchers may wish to find out from the atomic Archives why not.
Will they be able to do so?
http://drdavidlowry.blogspot.com/2018/12/why-british-atomic-archives-should-not.html

December 31, 2018 Posted by | politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff wants regulators to declare SCE&G lied about nuclear project

SC utility watchdog wants regulators to declare SCE&G lied about nuclear project, The State, BY TOM BARTON AND AVERY G. WILKS, DECEMBER 28, 2018, COLUMBIA, S.C. 

South Carolina’s utility watchdog has asked the S.C. Public Service Commission reconsider its decision not to rule that SCE&G intentionally misled regulators years ago about its doomed nuclear plant construction project.

The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff filed a petition late Friday asking the PSC for an explicit finding that SCE&G imprudently moved ahead with construction of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station expansion in March 2015 despite warnings about the project’s cost and flaws.

Earlier this month, the PSC issued a ruling allowing Virginia-based Dominion Energy to buy SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA, and slash SCE&G’s nuclear-bloated electric rates by about $22 a month. But after some internal debate, the PSC stopped short of calling out SCE&G for withholding important information to win rate-hike cases and keep the foundering project alive.

Regulatory Staff wrote Friday “it is beyond dispute that SCE&G failed to disclose any iteration of the Bechtel Report to ORS or the Commission.” The agency said the “Commission cannot side-step the issue of prudence or imprudence” but instead must “make a clear finding” that SCE&G could have acted to anticipate, avoid or minimize nuclear construction costs.

Regulatory Staff Director Nanette Edwards said such a finding is needed “to restore public trust and hold the utility accountable.”

A SCANA spokesman said the utility would need to review the petition and would not comment Friday night.

“The commission’s thoughtful, well-reasoned order speaks for itself,” Dominion Energy spokesman Ryan Frazier said.

Ratepayers have paid more than $2 billion in higher power bills for the unfinished reactors in Fairfield County. And SCE&G’s roughly 730,000 customers will pay another $2.3 billion for the failed project over the next 20 years under the approved Dominion deal.

Regulatory Staff also want the PSC to clarify that Dominion must track and pass down to customers all of its savings from the recent federal tax cuts. It also is pushing the PSC to lower slightly how much profit Dominion can earn while paying down the nuclear debt, and return close to $400 million previously collected from customers for costs that are now disallowed.

Regulatory Staff wrote that it wants the PSC to impose conditions requiring a review prior to any possible expansion by Dominion’s of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline into South Carolina.

……… The PSC has 20 days to grant or refuse Regulatory Staff’s request. https://www.thestate.com/news/politics-government/article223663510.html

December 31, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Dismay of environmentalists as Connecticut nuclear reactors classed as “clean”

Two nuclear plants win ‘zero carbon’ energy contracts in Connecticut

Gov. Dannel Malloy on Friday announced the winners of a major clean energy procurement, and the selection of Millstone Power Station in Connecticut and Seabrook Nuclear Power Station in New Hampshire effectively secured the role of atomic power in the state’s climate strategy. ……..

The clean energy procurements, mandated by the state legislature, are equal to 45 percent of Connecticut’s total electric load. More than 80 percent of the new carbon-free energy will be sourced from nuclear power………

Some on Friday criticized the nuclear-heavy choices.

“We’re glad the state will see some new solar and wind come online as a result of this procurement, but are still very concerned that as a whole, these choices don’t put Connecticut on the road to a clean energy economy,” Claire Coleman, attorney at Connecticut Fund for the Environment, told the Connecticut Mirror.

“The future is off-shore wind, solar, geothermal, and smart strategies for efficiency and energy storage – but the small investments in these newer resources compared to the heavy investment in nuclear largely don’t reflect that. Instead the state has doubled down on the energy sources of the past,” Coleman said. ……..https://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/12/nuclear_solar_offshore_wind_wi.html

December 31, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Scientists support feasibility of 100%renewable-electricity systems, refute the nuclear lobby’s “Burden of Proof” paper

 

Christina’s note: “Burden of Proof”comes from a very small, but very vocal, Australian pro nuclear shill.

 

Response to ‘Burden of proof: A comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems’ Science Direct Volume 92, September 2018, Pages 834-847 lT.W.BrownabT.Bischof-NiemzcK.BlokdC.BreyereH.LundfB.V.Mathieseng   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2018.04.113

December 31, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Regulators File Complaint Against Holtec about its nuclear waste casks

Regulators File Complaint Against Maker Of Nuclear Fuel Cask https://www.wamc.org/post/regulators-file-complaint-against-maker-nuclear-fuel-cask  • DEC 29, 2018 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has filed a complaint against the manufacturer of casks used at the closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan tells the Brattleboro Reformer that Holtec International adopted a new design for its steel and concrete casks without a written evaluation, violating federal safety regulations. Officials say the company made changes after it discovered a loose bolt at San Onofre nuclear power plant in California.

Holtec said Friday that the NRC has confirmed the safety of the canisters. It says it doesn’t agree with the severity level of the apparent violation.

The casks are used at other nuclear plants to store spent fuel.

Last month, regulators approved the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar. The company plans to start decommissioning the plant no later than 2021.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Desperate effort to find a buyer for the Santee Cooper after its nuclear fiasco

Inside the hurried effort to find a buyer for Santee Cooper, Herald Sun, BY AVERY G. WILKS, DECEMBER 30, 2018 , COLUMBIA, SC 

A day before state regulators approved Dominion Energy’s bid to buy SCANA Corp., representatives from at least six firms gathered in a secret meeting in North Charleston to discuss a possible solution to the other half of South Carolina’s $9 billion nuclear construction fiasco.

The gathering revolved around the possible sale of Santee Cooper, the state-owned utility that racked up more than $4 billion in debt before abandoning a joint effort with SCANA to expand a nuclear power plant in Fairfield County.

ICF International — a Virginia-based firm hired by the General Assembly — hosted the invitation-only meeting as part of a hurried, ongoing effort to solicit and study bids from some of the largest names in the utility industry.

There to ask questions about Santee Cooper’s assets and operations — and to scout out the competition — were two dozen legal and financial experts representing Charlotte-based Duke Energy, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Virginia-based Dominion, Greenville-based Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, New York-based LS Power and South Carolina’s electric cooperatives — who together buy three-fifths of Santee Cooper’s electricity.

SCANA’s chapter of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station debacle is winding down with the Cayce-based company’s impending sale to Dominion. But 17 months after the project’s collapse, the buzz surrounding Santee Cooper’s future is only now ramping up.

This summer, S.C. lawmakers slashed the nuclear-bloated electric rates for customers of SCANA’s electric subsidiary, SCE&G. That $22-a-month rate cut was made permanent by state regulators earlier this month.

Now, the nearly 2 million S.C. residents who get their power from Santee Cooper — either directly or through one of the state’s 20 electric co-ops — are wondering whether they will get a rate cut, too. That will be one of the biggest questions facing the General Assembly when it reconvenes in Columbia in January.

……….. The presentation on Santee Cooper’s assets and operations, and a question-and-answer period were scheduled to last all day. But with each of the bidders hesitant to ask a question that could tip their hands, the event wrapped up about lunchtime instead, sources said.

ICF declined to comment through a public relations agency.

State Rep. Murrell Smith, the Sumter Republican who co-chairs the Legislature’s Santee Cooper sale study committee, told The State in a recent interview he is confident in the timeline set for the process.

ICF told Smith’s committee there would be enough time for “meaningful and thorough bids,” particularly since potential buyers have known for more than a year that Santee Cooper could be on the auction block, he said.

Those bids are due Jan. 14. https://www.heraldsun.com/news/state/south-carolina/article223631625.html

December 31, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 1 Comment

Russian commentator Yakovenko says “Putinism is 21st century fascism with nuclear weapons”

Putinism is 21st century fascism with nuclear weapons, Yakovenko says https://www.stopfake.org/en/putinism-is-21st-century-fascism-with-nuclear-weapons-yakovenko-says/  This article represents personal opinions of the author. Stopfake editors may not share this opinion.  By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia, 30 Dec 18

Putin’s Russia manifests in one way or another all of the 14 signs of “eternal fascism” Umberto Eco has outlined, “from the cult of tradition, the rejection of modernism, and reliance on historical traumas to the ideas of international and domestic conspiracy, and a cult of death,” according to Igor Yakovenko.

But it is distinctive from 20th century models of fascist regimes in “about 20 ways,” the Russian commentator said in a December 26 talk to the Parnas Political University in Moscow, of which seven are the most important (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C27592F3D167).  They include the following:

  1. The absence of ideology and as a result the absence of propaganda. “The Putin media are not only not journalism but also not propaganda … They are weapons of an information war. They do not disseminate information and ideas: their product is feelings and emotions, including hatred, anger, and aversion to the West, Ukraine and the opposition. And love for Putin.”
  1. It is parasitic on the West.  Putinism relies on economic and technological resources created by the West. That makes it very different from the USSR or Nazi Germany, “Parasitic fascism” does not have plans for “the seizure of the planet.” Were it to do so, Yakovenko argues, it would immediately “die” as a system.
  1. It uses ‘spider’ wars which seek to exhaust opponents by spider-like attacks on its neighbors and the destruction of its opponents from the inside. All of Putin’s wars “bear a ‘spider’ character.” That is, they seek to kill the organism they are attacking and then consume it once it is dead.
  1. Lies are the foundation of the regime and information forces are the most important weapons it has.  In the fascist regimes of the 20th centuries, military force was predominant and propaganda played a supportive role. In Putin’s regime, the reverse is true.
  1. Putin’s fascism bears “a fake character.” It professes to be anti-Western but its “children and money are in the West;” and it claims to be a democracy but in fact is the most brutal of dictatorships. The Stalinist and Hitlerite elites also lived “not in complete correspondence with their ideologies, but the Putin elite lives by rules which directly oppose those it declares as the norms for the population.” It is thus, to use Yekaterina Schulmann’s, term, “’a reverse cargo cult.’”
  1. Putinism in contrast to 20th century fascism seeks the unlimited enrichment of its elites, either via corruption or economic machinations.
  1. Putinism is fascism with nuclear weapons, which makes it more dangerous because it is in a position, however weak otherwise, to inflict unacceptable damage on its opponents.

According to Yakovenko, the Putin regime will inevitably lose because it is fascist “and fascism always loses.” Putin himself has accelerated this process by destroying the previous social contract with the population, by breaking the agreement with the elite for wealth in return for loyalty, and by destroying cooperation with the West via aggression.

Four categories of people oppose the Putin regime: the politically active emigres, the supporters of street protests, the supporters of elections, and those who cooperate up to a point with the regime but ultimately oppose it like Kudrin. Unfortunately, for success, they need to cooperate but each of them dislikes the others more than it dislikes the Putin regime.

That makes the direct cooperation of the four “impossible,” Yakovenko says. But success may come if they appreciate the need for all four, and each acts so as to not interfere with the others even if it can’t cooperate with them.  That is a real possibility if all understand what they are up against, the commentator concludes.

 

December 31, 2018 Posted by | politics, Russia | Leave a comment

Los Alamos National Lab’s plan for deep nuclear tunnelling underground or undersea

December 31, 2018 Posted by | technology, USA | 1 Comment