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Need for a prcactical treaty to cap and eliminate nuclear cruise missiles

Nuclear ‘cruise control’ can stop a spiraling new arms race, The Hill, The genius of the mortally wounded Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was that it sharply reduced the risk of nuclear war. It made Europe more secure by eliminating an entire class of surprise-attack nuclear weapons designed for use on its territory. We are now on a glide path to repeat the existential nightmare that such weapons created.Russia and the United States once again are investing heavily in sea-, air- and ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles, and talking cavalierly about using them in “limited,” “low-yield” nuclear attacks. What makes this type of nuclear weapon so dangerous is that it can be launched without warning in decapitating sneak attacks.

These cruise missiles also can be armed with conventional explosives, and there is no way to distinguish nuclear from non-nuclear ones when they are in flight. Such ambiguity erases the line between conventional and nuclear weapons, and increases the likelihood of accidental Armageddon. This is precisely why, in 1987, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev urgently made progress in eliminating them.

We can, and must, seek to repeat their historic achievement today. We need to remember that arms control is not a pollyannaish exercise, but rather a potent tool of hard national security……….

Recently, Russia’s top arms control diplomat said Russia stands ready for talks on a possible successor to the INF Treaty. “We are ready for dialogue,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “If the U.S. is interested, it should spell out its proposal.”

Since it appears nobody has done so, let’s spell it out. Our next agreement should focus less on overall numbers and, instead, seek to cap and eliminate the single most dangerous and destabilizing class of nuclear weapons: all nuclear-tipped cruise missiles of any range. We should start “cruise control” negotiations bilaterally between the United States and Russia, and leave room for other countries that have not yet deployed such systems — including China, India and Pakistan — to join now or later.

For three years, my colleagues and I have been laying the groundwork for such an ambitious global effort to cap and eliminate nuclear cruise missiles. In private talks with current and former senior officials from the United Kingdom, Russia, China, Germany, Japan and other key countries, we have found broad support and enthusiasm for this approach.   ……… https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/433075-nuclear-cruise-control-can-stop-a-spiraling-new-arms-race

March 12, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Taiwan conference urges phasing out of nuclear power

Lee Yuan-tseh pushes nuclear phase-out http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/03/12/2003711332  By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter Local industries should upgrade their production techniques to curb carbon emissions, and the nation should phase out nuclear power to avoid leaving more nuclear waste to future generations, former Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) told an energy conference in Taipei.The conference was hosted by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) and other anti-nuclear groups, following another energy forum on Sunday organized by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) that called for maintaining nuclear power.

Advocates of nuclear power have gained more momentum after most people voted in favor of abolishing the “nuclear-free homeland by 2025” policy in a referendum on Nov. 24 last year.

Attendees — including Democratic Progressive Party Legislator-at-large Chen Man-li (陳曼麗) and New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) — first prayed for victims of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster on March 11, 2011.

Phasing out nuclear power is not only a security concern, but would also curb nuclear waste, said Lee, Taiwan’s first Nobel laureate in chemistry in 1986, adding that the older generation should not leave nuclear waste to future generations for their own convenience.

The nation needs to develop small-scale renewable energy generation systems to curb fossil fuel pollution and global warming, he said.

The global community might start tracking companies’ carbon footprints in two or three years, so local firms should start cutting their use of fossil fuels, he said, reiterating his suggestion that the government implement a carbon tax to curtail emissions.

The TEPU is working on two referendum proposals, including one recommending that the mothballed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant compound be converted into a site for renewable power research and development, union founding chairman Shih Shin-min (施信民) said.

The second proposal asks: “Do you agree that any construction or extended operation plans for nuclear power plants can only begin after they are approved by local referendum voters within the 50km-radius of the plants?”

The proposals are aimed at countering two referendum proposals by nuclear power advocates that seek to continue construction of the mothballed plant and to extend the permits of three operational nuclear power plants, Shih said.

The annual parade against nuclear power is scheduled for April 27, which would focus on renewable power development, Green Citizens’ Action Alliance deputy secretary-general Hung Shen-han (洪申翰) said.

Separately, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook that the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster pushed Taiwanese to seriously consider energy issues and the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration to mothball the plant.

While people hold varied views about when the nuclear-free homeland policy should be achieved, it is the nation’s common goal to ensure that the next generation has safe power generation, Tsai wrote.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

It’s time to disrupt nuclear weapons; The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has created an opening

https://techcrunch.com/2019/03/09/its-time-to-disrupt-nuclear-weapons/

Beatrice Fihn Beatrice Fihn is the executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. “Atomic bombs are primarily a means for the ruthless annihilation of cities.”

Those are the words of Leo Szilard, one of the scientists who pushed for the development of nuclear weapons. He wrote them as part of a petition signed by dozens of other scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project pleading with President Harry Truman not to use the nuclear bomb on Japan.

Mere months after its introduction in 1945, the architects of today’s nuclear world feared the implications of the technology they had created.

Nearly 75 years later it’s time again to ask technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs and academics: will you be party to the ‘ruthless annihilation of cities’? Will you expend your talents in the service of nuclear weapons? Will you use technology to create or to destroy?

Our moment of choice

Humanity is at another turning point.

A new nuclear arms race has begun in earnest with the US and Russia leading the way; tearing up the promise of lasting peace in favor of a new Cold War. Russia’s latest weapon is built to destroy entire coast lines with a radioactive tsunami. The US is building new nuclear weapons that are ‘more likely to be used’.

Meanwhile, North Korea appears to again be building its nascent nuclear weapons program. And India and Pakistan stand on the verge of open nuclear conflict, which climate modeling shows could lead to a global famine killing upwards of 2 billion people.

How do we stop this march toward oblivion?

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has created an opening — a chance to radically change course with the power of international law and shifting norms. The nuclear ban treaty will become international law once 50 nations have ratified it. We are already at 22.

The financial world is also recognizing the risk, with some of the world’s biggest pension funds divesting from nuclear weapons. But there is something even more powerful than the almighty dollar; human capital.

The nuclear weapons industrial complex relies on the most talented scientists, engineers, physicists and technologists to build this deadly arsenal. As more of that talent moves into the tech sector, defense contractors and the Pentagon  is seeking to work with major technology companies and disruptive startups, as well as continue their work with universities.

Without those talented technologists, there would be no new nuclear arms race. It’s time to divest human capital from nuclear weapons.

A mistake to end humanity?

Just over one year ago Hawaiians took cover and frantically Googled, “What to do during a nuclear attack”. Days later many Japanese mobile phone users also received a false alert for an inbound nuclear missile.

The combination of human error and technological flaws these incidents exposed makes accidental nuclear attacks an inevitability if we don’t move to end nuclear weapons before they end us.

The development of new machine learning technologies, autonomous weapons systems, cyber threats and social media manipulation are already destabilizing the global political order and potentially increasing the risk of a nuclear cataclysm. That is why it’s vital that the technology community collectively commits to using their skills and knowledge to protect us from nuclear eradication by joining the effort for global nuclear abolition.

We need to stop this foolish nuclear escalation in its tracks. Our commitment must be to a nuclear weapons-free world, by disrupting the trajectory we are currently heading on. Business as usual will likely end in nuclear war.

It took innovation, technological disruption, and ingenuity to create the nuclear dawn. We will need those same forces in greater measure to bring about a nuclear dusk — the complete disarmament of nuclear-armed states and safeguards against future proliferation.

The belief that we can keep doing what we have done for seven decades for another seven decades is naive. It relies on a fanciful, misplaced faith in the illogical idea of deterrence. We are told simultaneously that nuclear weapons keep the world safe, by never being used. They bestow power, but only make certain states powerful.

This fallacy has been exposed by this moment in time. Thirty years after the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons have proliferated. Key treaties have been torn up or are under threat. And even more states are threatening to develop nuclear weapons.

So I am putting out a call to you: join us with this necessary disruption; declare that you will not have a hand in our demise; declare that you will use technology for good.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Prejudice against Fukushima nuclear evacuees

‘You’re Contaminated’: The Stigma Against Japan’s Fukushima Survivors, Broadly, 12 Mar 19,

A 2011 quake and tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, killing thousands and displacing more. Two ‘nuclear refugees’ explain why returning home is more complicated than it seems.


…….. While the nuclear disaster is becoming a distant memory for most Japanese, for some others it is their everyday reality. Nuclear refugees and evacuees face discrimination, separation from loved ones, and in some cases, they are even forced to return to the former evacuation zone.

The government, worried about people getting exposed to radiation, declared a 20-km evacuation zone around the plant and uprooted close to 165,000 people. As of today, there are still 50,000 people who haven’t returned to Fukushima.

Keiko Owada, 66, is one of them. When I meet her in Tokyo, she refers to the Japanese capital as her home for the past seven years. That will soon change due to the government’s decision to withdraw her free housing subsidies.

Because decontamination work has made progress and food declared safe from radiation, it has been deemed safe to return to most villages within the evacuation zone. The same goes for Owada’s village Naraha, where the evacuation order was lifted two years ago.

Owada is not excited about the prospect of returning to Naraha. “Would I continue to get financial support for my apartment here in Tokyo, I would have stayed here, yes. I’ll tell you why: there is no hospital in Naraha, only a small hospital for first aid. There is no supermarket, only a small convenience store. And the reason is simple: only a few people have returned.”

Life as an evacuee hasn’t always been easy, Owada explains. “It wasn’t like people were treating me any different, but my neighbors never greeted me. I think it’s because of the compensation I received and the free housing. They knew I was from Fukushima, that’s why.”

According to Owada, some of the other evacuees in Tokyo she knows have faced harsher treatment. “I know of others whose cars were damaged on purpose because they had a Fukushima license plate. That’s why I never parked my car in the middle of the parking lot, but always in a corner, so no one could see it.”

If anything, Owada’s story illustrates how many evacuees continued to live in fear. Displaced from their homes, dropped in a new community—the disaster is anything but over for them. ……….

When Kamata got in touch with relatives living in other parts of Japan, she was shocked to hear one sister-in-law’s initial response. “After the disaster, I wanted to flee to Chiba [a prefecture next to Tokyo], my sister-in-law picked up the telephone and told me I didn’t have to come to their house. ‘You’re contaminated,’ she told me.”……….
As Kamata remembers what life was like back in Fukushima, she uses a handkerchief to wipe a tear from her cheek. She barely speaks to her friends anymore.

“The disaster divided our communities, both physically as well as mentally. ………https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/mb5zny/japan-fukushima-earthquake-survivors-stigma

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, psychology - mental health, social effects | Leave a comment

Technical Note on Safety Problems at Reactors 3 and 4 at Hunterston B, Nr Ardrosson Scotland —

On the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster there are events taking place by campaigners in the UK and around the world to Remember Fukushima. It seems however that lessons have not been learned by the regulators and by the nuclear industry. The precautionary principle which should apply with solid brass bells on, to […]

via Technical Note on Safety Problems at Reactors 3 and 4 at Hunterston B, Nr Ardrosson Scotland —

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Germany sources 65% of electricity production from renewables in last week — RenewEconomy

Renewables accounted for 65% of Germany’s electricity production last week. The post Germany sources 65% of electricity production from renewables in last week appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Germany sources 65% of electricity production from renewables in last week — RenewEconomy

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment