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Don’t fall for the propaganda touting “New Nuclear Reactors”- theme for September 19

The nuclear lobby is desperately pitching its new gimmicks –  to governments  (nobody else would put their money in)  They come up with all sorts of new titles, with appropriate abbeviations  –  Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) , Small and Medium Reactors,  (also SMRs)  Micro Reactors, Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors  (LFTRs) ,  Integral molten Salt Reactot (IMSR), Virtual Test Reactor,  (VTR) – to name just a few .

So -new nuclear reactors leave a smaller amount of radioactive trash? But it’s so highly toxic that it requires the same volume of space for its final disposal. The reactors themselves become radioactive trash eventually.

Thorium nuclear reactors produce these radioactive wastes:

  • Technetium-99 has a half life of 220,000 years
  • uranium-232 produces thallium-208 (a nasty wee gamma emitter)
  • Selenium-79 (another gamma emitter with a 327,000 year half-life),
  • even Thorium-232 is a problem with its half life of 14 Billion years (and while the T-232 isn’t a major worry, all the time during this 14 Billion years it will be decaying and producing stuff that is!)

Mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel reprocessing turns out to be twice as expensive as burial of nuclear wastes. according to an unreleased US Department of Energy report – and the World Nuclear Association knows this!

zombie rising



April 4, 2019 Posted by | Christina's themes | 9 Comments

Green New Deal must not include nuclear power, which is not a viable solution to climate change

April 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change, USA | 3 Comments

Britains nuclear submarines, intended to harm foreign lands, now pose grave danger at home!


Britain’s ageing nuclear submarines are dangerous, Morning Star 3rd April 2019

REVELATIONS that the Ministry of Defence has failed to dispose of any of the 20 nuclear submarines it has decommissioned in nearly 40 years underlines the unique risks associated with nuclear weapons.

What passes for debate in Parliament on our nuclear arsenal is deeply frustrating.

Ministers airily dismiss concerns about the staggering cost of Trident renewal (over £200 billion), ignore advice from top brass that these “useless” weapons swallow up money that would be better spent on conventional equivalents, sidestep questions about whether the ability to incinerate whole cities at the push of a button is a relevant deterrent to modern threats from terrorism to climate change.

Even Tony Blair has said the utility of a nuclear arsenal was “non-existent in terms of military use,” admitting in his memoirs that he only supported renewal when PM because he felt foreigners would see it as “too big a downgrading of our status as a nation” if we voluntarily abandoned it.

Yet his successors portray any attempt to discuss these questions rationally as evidence of being soft on Britain’s security.

They could not be more wrong, as the National Audit Office’s investigation into how we dispose of decommissioned submarines attests.

We have not disposed of a single one since 1980. The MoD has not been in a position to remove radioactive fuel from retired submarines since 2004, when the Office for Nuclear Regulation ordered it to stop as its facilities for doing so — at the Devonport naval base in Plymouth — were not safe enough.

An original plan to have a new disposal process operational by 2011 has now been postponed to 2026; the MoD stores twice as many mothballed nuclear subs as it operates and some have been cooling off in retirement for longer than they ever roamed the seas.

This is not simply a matter of bad organisation or rising costs.

Dr Philip Webber of Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) warned in 2017 that of the 12 retired submarines docked at Devonport, eight still contained fuelled nuclear reactors.

These “have to be continually cooled using external power and water to avoid overheating, which could lead to a fire, meltdown or a release of radioactive particles and gases.”

The risks involved in defuelling nuclear reactors are considerable – that’s why the MoD has felt unable to do so safely for 15 years — and older reactors (as we would expect to find on vessels that haven’t been operational for up to 40 years) tend to pose a greater risk of igniting, exploding or releasing radiation if anything goes wrong in the process than newer ones.

In an excellent article published in the SGR newsletter of winter 2017, Dr Webber points out that the MoD is actually aware of how dangerous keeping decommissioned subs knocking around is: following freedom of information requests, minutes of a Defence Board Meeting of 2011 were released.

The MoD’s senior nuclear safety regulator Commodore Andrew McFarlane notes that “all pressurised water reactors are potentially vulnerable to … structural failure,” which could lead to “release of highly radioactive fission products outside the reactor core.”

This would be a public safety hazard “out to 1.5 kilometres” (almost a mile) from the submarine.

Dr Webber estimates that 32,000 residents of Plymouth would fall within that range.

Safely defuelling and disposing of these radioactive hulks should be a priority for any government that takes public

safety seriously.

The enormous difficulties of doing so are a warning of exactly what risks we take on by blithely opting to renew our nuclear weapons programme.

It’s tragic that for most of our politicians “national security” rests on our ability to harm the peoples of other nations, rather than keep people on these shores safe.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK, weapons and war | 1 Comment

“Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World”

Deadly Dust: US Spreading Radiation and No One Wants to Raise the Issue – Author   In a new book named “Deadly Dust – Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” German author Frieder Wagner gives a detailed account of how the US has contaminated vast territories using depleted uranium (DU) ammunition and the cover-up strategy of the military, industry and governments, as well as those in the media and politics.

Sputnik: Mr Wagner, in your book “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA: Uranium Weapons Contaminating the World” you talk about the use of uranium ammunition. What is especially dangerous about these weapons?

Frieder Wagner: Weapons containing uranium are produced from nuclear industry’s waste (byproducts of uranium enrichment). If, for example, you want to produce a ton of natural uranium fuel rods for nuclear power plants, you get about eight tons of depleted uranium. It is a source of alpha radiation — radioactive and, moreover, very poisonous. It needs to be stored somewhere, and it is not very cheap.

Sputnik: How can it be used in weapons?

Frieder Wagner: About 30-40 years ago, military scientists made a discovery: uranium is almost twice as dense as lead. If you turn depleted uranium into a projectile and give it proper acceleration, then within a fraction of a second it will pierce through tank armor, concrete or cement.This, of course, was an important discovery. Furthermore, when a shell hits an armored tank the impact produces dust caused by the detonation and the subsequent release of heat energy causes it to ignite and it explodes at a temperature of 3000 to 5000 degrees — incinerating the tank’s interior and destroying it.

Sputnik: But what happens afterwards is also a problem — after the use of DU ammunition, isn’t it?

Frieder Wagner: Yes! After its use depleted uranium, which, as I have already said, is a source of alpha radiation (that is, a radioactive and very toxic substance), burns down to nano-particles that are a hundred times smaller than a red blood cell.

This way, I would say, a sort of metallic gas forms that people can inhale, and which is released in the atmosphere and can be carried anywhere by wind. People who inhale it are at risk for developing cancer.These nano-particles can also penetrate the body of a pregnant woman, overcoming the barrier between a child and a mother, and affect the health of an unborn baby, can infiltrate the brain and by travelling through the bloodstream end up in any human or animal organ. Everything that goes around the planet, sooner or later settles and, of course, contaminates, in particular, drinking water and everything else.

Sputnik: In what wars have DU weapons been used so far?

Frieder Wagner: It was actively used during the first Gulf war in 1991 against Iraq. The military has admitted that about 320 tons were used. Then in the second war in Iraq in 2003 over 2,000 tons were used. In between, it was used during the war in Kosovo, in Yugoslavia (1999), and in Bosnia in 1995, and after 2001 in Afghanistan, where it still used today.

Sputnik: Your book title says Made in the USA, were these weapons only used by the United States? 

Frieder Wagner: They were being developed in several countries at the same time. In Germany, they were also working on these weapons, as, of course, in Russia. However, it was used and on such a large scale, only by the US. They were reckless and they did not pay attention to any possible side effects — just as it was back when the first atomic bombs were used. That’s why I called the book: “Deadly Dust — Made in the USA”.

Sputnik: How did you manage to prove the use of these ammunitions in the course of your research?

Frieder Wagner: For example, the Serbs gave us maps where they showed the locations where depleted uranium was used. When we were in Iraq, we talked to the locals. We traveled to places where large tank battles took place and took soil samples there, as well as dust samples from tanks. Looking at the tank, you can see whether it was hit by an ordinary projectile or a uranium munition.

Uranium munition leaves dust that burns everything around the hole made by the projectile. So you can determine the use of uranium ammunition. In all soil samples, we found depleted uranium. Unfortunately, uranium-236 was also found in most of the soil and dust samples — it is even more intense and poisonous. Its radiation is even stronger and does not occur in nature. It can only be produced artificially during reprocessing of fuel rods. This means that we were able to prove that the military, the United States and its coalition allies used uranium munitions made from spent uranium fuel rods.

Sputnik: Your book is based on the films The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium, and the Dying Children of Basra (Der Arzt und die verstrahlten Kinder von Basra, 2004) and Deadly Dust (Todesstaub, 2007). What did you see in Basra during your work on the documentary?

Frieder Wagner: It was horrific and still sometimes haunts me in my dreams. These were children with deformities, which we saw in orphanages in Basra and Baghdad. Some of them had such deformities that they had almost nothing human anymore.

There were children without a head or a nose, either with one eye or without eyes at all, with internal organs in a kind of “sack” outside their body. These ‘creatures’ can live only for a few hours, experiencing terrible pain, and then die.

putnik: The film “Deadly Dust” is linked to the book, but it is no longer distributed. WDR channel after this film did not make any more orders? Why is that?

Frieder Wagner: My exposes which I sent to WDR, as well as to the ZDF channels were rejected. Then I contacted an editor at WDR, for which I always made good films and with which I always had good relations with, because these films had doubled or trippled their ratings, and asked him: “What’s going on here?”” And after some hesitation he said: “Yes, Frieder Wagner, someone must tell you this. WDR considers you a ‘difficult’ person. And most importantly, the topics you suggest are especially hard. Right now I’ve got nothing more to tell you.” And that when I understood everything. It was in 2005.

I can also tell you the story of how, for example, a female editor at ZDF offered the TV channel a story on the use of these weapons during the war in Yugoslavia and also in Croatia. She wanted to talk about it with me prior so I could share my experiences. But when her boss found out that she wanted to talk to Frieder Wagner, he refused to pay for her trip — without any further explanation.

Sputnik: The so-called “deadly dust” is, as you have already described it, is spread by the wind. So should the use of uranium ammunition, in fact, be considered a war crime and banned?

Frieder Wagner: This is definitely a war crime. The dust from southern Iraq is carried to the north by the constant storms, the so-called desert storms — for example, to Erbil, where it meets the mountains and can’t travel further as the mountains make it difficult for it to go past towards Turkey. So this huge mass of dust settles in Erbil.We, for example, took samples of beef from around Erbil, and this is what we found out: depleted uranium used in ammunition has a characteristic atomic “fingerprint”. In northern Iraq we found the same “uranium fingerprint” as in the south. This means that the uranium dust that had originally settled in the south of Iraq is now also in the north, and children are now getting sick there and are born with deformities. It is now spreading all over the world.

Sputnik: Have the victims of uranium munition use in Kosovo or, for example, in Iraq, tried to go to court?

Frieder Wagner: So far no such attempts have been made in Kosovo or Iraq. Now in Kosovo, a whole group of lawyers are working on a lawsuit against NATO, because after the war they unleashed, people were injured, fell ill and died. The morbidity rate has increased by 20 to 30 percent, and there are more effected each year. So there will be an attempt to file a lawsuit.

Out of the approximately two thousand Italian soldiers stationed in Iraq and Kosovo, 109 have later developed cancer and died — this is proven information. 16 families, out of the 109 dead, filed lawsuits and won their cases. The courts ordered the Italian state or the country’s Ministry of Defence to pay them compensation. Since each cancer was of a different type, the payout amounts differed. But they ranged between 200,000 and 1,4 million euros.

Sputnik: How are things in Germany? Have there been lawsuits filed by the soldiers of the Bundeswehr?

Frieder Wagner: The German Ministry of Defense constantly denies any connection to this. Our soldiers are stationed in Afghanistan and Kosovo. About 100,000 soldiers served in Afghanistan, and we found out that about 30% of those who returned got sick, although at first, of course, they do not notice this. If they subsequently marry and have children, then there’s a great risk that their children will have disabilities.

These children will have the same toxic substances in their DNA as their parents. And this will be passed on for several generations — from children to grandchildren and to great-grandchildren.

Sputnik: But none of these people ever filed a lawsuit?

Frieder Wagner: In Germany there were no such precedents. About 600 servicemen went to court in the United States who could not appeal on their own behalf, but they filed lawsuits on behalf of their children who were born with developmental disabilities. And we’re not talking about a mere 90 or even 900 million pay out, but about billions of dollars now. The United States, of course, will try to delay the adoption of a ruling as much as it is possible and hope for a “biological” resolution of the situation — that is, that the plaintiffs will simply die.  

April 4, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, Iraq, USA | 1 Comment

Senators from both parties want details on USA nuclear co-operation with Daudi Arabia

US Senators Seek Details on Nuclear Power Cooperation with Saudi Arabia  VOA News, 3 Apr 19, U.S. senators from both parties on Tuesday asked Energy Secretary Rick Perry for details about recent approvals for companies to share nuclear energy information with Saudi Arabia, with the lawmakers expressing concern about possible development of atomic weapons.

Saudi Arabia has engaged in “many deeply troubling actions and statements that have provoked alarm in Congress,” Senators Bob Menendez, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, told Perry in a letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

The senators said Congress was beginning to re-evaluate the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and they believe Washington should not be providing nuclear technology or information to Saudi Arabia now.

The Trump administration has been quietly negotiating a deal that would potentially help Saudi Arabia build two reactors.

Last week news reports revealed that since November 2017, Perry has authorized so-called Part 810 approvals allowing U.S. companies to share sensitive nuclear information with the kingdom. The approvals were kept from the public and from Congress.

The senators asked Perry to provide them by April 10 with the names of the companies that got the 810 approvals, what was in the authorizations, and why the companies asked that the approvals be kept secret. U.S. Representative Brad Sherman, a Democrat, also asked the Energy Department in a separate letter what was in the approvals.

While 810 agreements are routine, the Obama administration made them available for the public to read at Energy Department headquarters. Lawmakers say the department is legally required to inform Congress about the approvals.

Perry approved the seven recent authorizations as the administration has tried to hash out nonproliferation standards with Saudi Arabia. Such a pact, known as a 123 agreement, would have to be agreed before U.S. companies can share physical exports of materials and equipment to build reactors.

The kingdom has resisted standards on reprocessing spent fuel and enriching uranium, two potential paths to making nuclear weapons.

The United States has been competing with South Korea, France, Russia and China on a potential deal to help build reactors in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom is expected to announce the winner this year.

Lawmakers from both parties have been concerned about Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaigns in Yemen, which is on the brink of famine, and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Concern in Congress grew last year after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told CBS that “Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible.”

Perry has said the 810 approvals were kept from the public for corporate proprietary reasons……….

At another Senate hearing, the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including Chairman Kristine Svinicki, would not say whether the NRC raised any concerns over the 810 approvals in a required consultation with the Energy Department.

Svinicki said the NRC’s consulting role on the approvals is narrow and delegated to staff.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who asked the question of the NRC at the hearing, told Reuters in an interview that the commissioners’ lack of knowledge about the approvals was “stunning.”

“It’s kind of scary because we do rely on them to provide input into this process and not a single commissioner knew anything about what input they may or may not have provided.”

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Research on gene mutations caused by nuclear radiation – Kazakhstan

Over the years, those who sought care from Dispensary No. 4 or the IRME were logged in the state’s medical registry, which tracks the health of people exposed to the Polygon tests. People are grouped by generation and by how much radiation they received, on the basis of where they lived. Although the registry does not include every person who was affected, at one point it listed more than 351,000 individuals across 3 generations. More than one-third of these have died, and many others have migrated or lost contact. But according to Muldagaliev, about 10,000 people have been continually observed since 1962. Researchers consider the registry an important and relatively unexplored resource for understanding the effects of long-term and low-dose radiation2

Geneticists have been able to use these remaining records to investigate the generational effects of radiation…….

In 2002, Dubrova and his colleagues reported that the mutation rate in the germ lines of those who had been directly exposed was nearly twice that found in controls3. The effects continued in subsequent generations that had not been directly exposed to the blasts. Their children had a 50% higher rate of germline mutation than controls had. Dubrova thinks that if researchers can establish the pattern of mutation in the offspring of irradiated parents, then there could be a way to predict the long-term, intergenerational health risks.

The nuclear sins of the Soviet Union live on in Kazakhstan Wudan Yan 3 Apr 19, Decades after weapons testing stopped, researchers are still struggling to decipher the health impacts of radiation exposure around Semipalatinsk. The statues of Lenin are weathered and some are tagged with graffiti, but they still stand tall in the parks of Semey, a small industrial city tucked in the northeast steppe of Kazakhstan. All around the city, boxy Soviet-era cars and buses lurch past tall brick apartment buildings and cracked walkways, relics of a previous regime.Other traces of the past are harder to see. Folded into the city’s history — into the very DNA of its people — is the legacy of the cold war. The Semipalatinsk Test Site, about 150 kilometres west of Semey, was the anvil on which the Soviet Union forged its nuclear arsenal. Between 1949 and 1963, the Soviets pounded an 18,500-square-kilometre patch of land known as the Polygon with more than 110 above-ground nuclear tests. Kazakh health authorities estimate that up to 1.5 million people were exposed to fallout in the process. Underground tests continued until 1989.

Much of what’s known about the health impacts of radiation comes from studies of acute exposure — for example, the atomic blasts that levelled Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan or the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in Ukraine. Studies of those events provided grim lessons on the effects of high-level exposure, as well as the lingering impacts on the environment and people who were exposed. Such work, however, has found little evidence that the health effects are passed on across generations.

People living near the Polygon were exposed not only to acute bursts, but also to low doses of radiation over the course of decades (see ‘Danger on the wind’). Kazakh researchers have been collecting data on those who lived through the detonations, as well as their children and their children’s children. Continue reading

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Kazakhstan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Local Councils in England, Northern Ireland and Wales reject any involvement in nuclear waste dumping.

NFLA 1st April 2019 The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) has submitted its comments of the
Radioactive Waste Management’s (RWM) ‘Site Evaluation’ criteria.
These criteria are supposed to assist RWM in the process to deliver a
suitable site for a deep underground radioactive waste repository should
prospective volunteer communities / Councils interested come forward.

The RWM consultation has been mired in two parallel processes that have led to
considerable concern and even anger expressed by a number of Councils,
particularly in Wales and Northern Ireland – these include a letter from
the UK Government that has gone to all Councils in England, Wales and
Northern Ireland seeking ‘expressions of interest’ in taking part in a
process to find a volunteer location for a deep underground repository; and
RWM placing downloadable films on their website considering the regions of
the three nations and generic geology that may be suitable for such a

A number of Councils, such as Newry, Mourne and Down and
Fermanagh and Omagh Council in Northern Ireland, and Swansea, Ceredigion
and Powys County Councils in Wales, have passed resolutions expressing
their opposition to such a development in their or neighbouring areas.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Risk of nuclear weapons use is now at a record high

Prospect of nuclear weapons use ‘higher than it has been in generations,’ U.N. disarmament chief says, Japan Times, KYODO. APR 3, 2019

NEW YORK – The head of disarmament at the United Nations warned the international community on Tuesday that the threat of nuclear weapons use has increased because the headway made in the post-Cold War era toward denuclearization has “come to a halt.”

“The disarmament and arms control framework upon which the gains of the post-Cold War era were made is eroding, but we have nothing else yet with which to replace it,” Izumi Nakamitsu, the U.N. undersecretary general and high representative for disarmament affairs, told Security Council members.

The warning was issued at a meeting to discuss the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty ahead of the next NPT review conference to be held in 2020, when the landmark pact marks the 50th year since its entry into force. The NPT is reviewed every five years.

“As a result, the prospect of the use of nuclear weapons is higher than it has been in generations,” Nakamitsu said.

In February, the United States said it is withdrawing from the 1987 bilateral Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia in response to alleged violations by Moscow, a move that could fuel concerns about a new arms race possibly involving other parties such as China.

The situation has been further exacerbated by the trend of nations increasingly modernizing their nuclear arsenals, as well as relying more on rapidly emerging technology that makes acquiring the dangerous weapons easier, the undersecretary general said………

In the run-up to the NPT review conference to be held for a month from April 2020, a preparatory meeting through May 10 will get underway later this month at the U.N. headquarters.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA’s campaign to criminalise whistle-blowing – targets Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

Collateral Murder?

Chelsea Manning and the New Inquisition Truth Dig, Chris Hedges, 3 Apr 19

The U.S. government, determined to extradite and try Julian Assange for espionage, must find a way to separate what Assange and WikiLeaks did in publishing classified material leaked to them by Chelsea Manning from what The New York Times and The Washington Post did in publishing the same material. There is no federal law that prohibits the press from publishing government secrets. It is a crime, however, to steal them. The long persecution of Manning, who on March 8 was sent back to jail for refusing to testify before a grand jury, is about this issue.

If Manning, a former Army private, admits she was instructed by WikiLeaks and Assange in how to obtain and pass on the leaked material, which exposed U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, the publisher could be tried for the theft of classified documents. The prosecution of government whistleblowers was accelerated during the Obama administration, which under the Espionage Act charged eight people with leaking to the media—Thomas Drake, Shamai Leibowitz, Stephen Kim, Manning, Donald Sachtleben, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Edward Snowden. By the time Donald Trump took office, the vital connection between investigative reporters and sources inside the government had been severed.

Manning, who worked as an Army intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009, provided WikiLeaks with over 500,000 documents copied from military and government archives, including the “Collateral Murder” video footage of an Army helicopter gunning down a group of unarmed civilians that included two Reuters journalists. She was arrested in 2010 and found guilty in 2013.

The campaign to criminalize whistleblowing has, by default, left the exposure of government lies, fraud and crimes to those who have the skills or access, as Manning and Edward Snowden did, needed to hack into or otherwise obtain government electronic documents. This is why hackers, and those who publish their material such as Assange and WikiLeaks, are being relentlessly persecuted. The goal of the corporate state is to shroud in total secrecy the inner workings of power, especially those activities that violate the law. Movement toward this goal is very far advanced. The failure of news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post to vigorously defend Manning and Assange will soon come back to haunt them. The corporate state hardly intends to stop with Manning and Assange. The target is the press itself………

Manning has always insisted her leak of the classified documents and videos was prompted solely by her own conscience. She has refused to implicate Assange and WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, although President Barack Obama in 2010 commuted her 35-year sentence after she served seven years, she was jailed again for refusing to answer questions before a secret grand jury investigating Assange and WikiLeaks ……

The New York Times, Britain’s The Guardian, Spain’s El País, France’s Le Monde and Germany’s Der Spiegel all published the WikiLeaks files provided by Manning. How could they not? WikiLeaks had shamed them into doing their jobs. But once they took the incendiary material from Manning and Assange, these organizations callously abandoned them. No doubt they assume that by joining the lynch mob organized against the two they will be spared. They must not read history. What is taking place is a series of incremental steps designed to strangle the press and cement into place an American version of China’s totalitarian capitalism……….

“The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation,” Assange writes, “has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen.”

That is where we are headed. A few resist. Assange and Manning are two. Those who stand by passively as they are persecuted will be next.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Anger at UK’s Ministry of Defence over mucking about with submarine nuclear waste disposal

The Ferret. Rob Edwards,  2nd April 2019 Plans by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to rethink the disposal of radioactive waste from 27 defunct nuclear submarines have come under fierce fire from campaigners.

A recent meeting of local authority advisors was told that the MoD is “considering alternative options for the management of the waste”. This is despite previous decisions made after an exhaustive, 16-year public consultation process.

Those who were involved in the consultations are alarmed that the MoD is thinking of changing what has been agreed – and are pressing for more information. It was “incredibly frustrating”, said one critic.

Since the 1980s seven aged nuclear-powered submarines have been taken out of service and laid up at the Rosyth naval dockyard in Fife. Since the 1990s, thirteen more have been laid up at Devonport naval dockyard in Plymouth, nine of them still containing radioactive fuel.

A further three reactor-driven submarines are due to be retired in the next few years. They will be followed by the four Vanguard-class submarines, currently armed with Trident nuclear missiles and based at Faslane on the Clyde.

The MoD began a public submarine dismantling project in 2000. It announced in 2016 that a nuclear plant at Capenhurst in Cheshire had been chosen as an “interim storage site” for radioactive waste.

A proposal to store the waste on a former nuclear site at Chapelcross near Annan in south west Scotland was rejected after objections from the Scottish Government. The Ferret revealed in December that in the past the MoD has contemplated dumping the submarines on the seabed near Scotland.

Work on dismantling the first “demonstrator” submarine, Swiftsure, began at Rosyth in 2016. The MoD said in December 2018 that over 70 tonnes of radioactive and non-radioactive waste had been removed, and that dismantling of a second submarine, Resolution, would start in 2019.

But now future plans have been thrown into confusion by the MoD reportedly having second thoughts. The change of heart was disclosed by the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NuLeAF), an expert group working with 113 local planning authorities in England and Wales.

A report posted online for a steering group meeting on 20 March outlined NuLeAF’s role in previous submarine dismantling consultations. “The Ministry of Defence, working with the regulators, has now indicated it is considering alternative options for the management of the waste,” it said.

“It is understood that they are in discussion with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority who will be managing an engagement process to gain stakeholder input.”…….

Campaigners have reacted angrily. “Given the amount of time, effort and public money that went into the consultation process, it is alarming to hear that the MoD now appear to be changing its mind,” said Jane Tallents, who was an advisor to the MoD’s submarine dismantling project.

“I can only guess that in the three years that they have been dismantling the first submarine they have come across problems not anticipated by all the experts who informed the public during the consultation.”

She and others had urged the MoD to extend its “unprecedented openness” on the submarine dismantling project to other areas of policy-making. “It would be disappointing if the project itself does not come clean and tell us what alternative options they are now looking at.”

Edinburgh-based nuclear consultant and critic, Pete Roche, accused the MoD of undermining its prolonged public consultations. “Communities and environmentalists thought the MoD had pulled off the impossible and come up with a consensus on what to do with nuclear waste from submarines,” he told The Ferret.

“Now it seems they want to pour all this hard work down the drain. This is incredibly frustrating and makes you wonder if banging your head against a wall would be more fruitful than getting involved in these consultation processes.”

In January a group including former naval staff campaigning to “Save The Royal Navy” described the failure to promptly deal with submarine waste as “a national scandal”. Progress had been “painfully slow” because “successive governments have avoided difficult decisions and handed the problem on to their successors,” it argued.

An article on the group’s website warned that maintaining the submarines safely while they awaited dismantling was “a growing drain on the defence budget”. It estimated the total cost of disposing of 27 submarines to be at least £10.4 billion over 25 years……….

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Former Brazilian President Michel Temer indicted on corruption charges Involving nuclear plant bribes

Former Brazilian President Michel Temer was indicted on Tuesday on corruption charges brought by prosecutors who said he took part in a bribery scheme related to the Angra 3 nuclear power plant complex on the coast near Rio de Janeiro.

The case is part of Operation Car Wash, Brazil’s largest corruption investigation, which has put dozens of businessmen and politicians in jail since 2014.

Federal Judge Marcelo Bretas accepted charges of corruption and money laundering against Temer, his former energy minister, Wellington Moreira Franco, and six other close aides.

Temer, who left the presidency just three months ago, was arrested with the others on March 21 and released four days later. They all deny any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors said the graft at Angra was one action of a “criminal organization” that Temer had run during his four decades in public life, which they alleged received or arranged upward of 1.8 billion reais ($462.5 million) in bribes.

The investigation into kickbacks on the nuclear plant’s construction contract involves the Brazilian subsidiary of Swedish consulting firm AF Poyry, along with Brazilian engineering firms Engevix and Argeplan.

The Swedish company declined to comment on an ongoing investigation. Engevix and Argeplan did not reply to requests for comment…….

April 4, 2019 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Britain’s Ministry of Defence’s failure to dispose of retired nuclear submarines

MoD criticised over failure to dispose of retired nuclear submarines   The Ministry of Defence has been condemned for a “dismal” failure to dispose of decommissioned nuclear-powered submarines.

The MoD has submarines which have been in storage longer than they have been in service and the UK now has twice as many submarines in storage as it does in service.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said the department has not disposed of any of the 20 boats no longer in service since 1980.

Some of these vessels still contain nuclear fuel and the failure to address the issue risks damaging the UK’s international reputation as a “responsible nuclear power”.

The issue was raised during Prime Minister’s Questions by Labour MP Luke Pollard who asked whether the prime minister will extend the nuclear clean up to include all the royal navy submarines.

Mrs May responded to say the MoD will continue to work with the nuclear decommissioning service to achieve “steady state disposal of our laid up submarines.”

The estimated cost of disposing of a submarine is £96 million, the NAO said.

Decommissioned vessels are being stored at Devonport and Rosyth, while arrangements are made to safely dispose of them and the radioactive waste they contain.

No submarines have been defuelled since 2004, when regulators said facilities did not meet required standards.

The process is not due to start again until 2023 and has been delayed for 11 years, with a £100 million cost increase to £275 million, a £12 million annual bill for maintaining and storing the nine fuelled submarines and pressure on dock space at Devonport.

The MoD has put its total future liability for maintaining and disposing of the 20 stored and 10 in-service nuclear-powered boats at £7.5 billion over the next 120 years, underlining the long-term nature of nuclear waste.

The Government said the ministry “needs to get a grip urgently” on the matter.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said: “For more than 20 years the Ministry of Defence has been promising to dismantle its out-of-service nuclear submarines and told my committee last year that it would now address this dismal lack of progress.

“It has still not disposed of any of the 20 submarines decommissioned since 1980 and does not yet know fully how to do it.

“The disposal programmes have been beset by lengthy delays and spiralling costs, with taxpayers footing the bill.

“The ministry needs to get a grip urgently before we run out of space to store and maintain submarines and we damage our reputation as a responsible nuclear power.”

The vessels being stored include the first submarines used to carry the UK’s nuclear deterrent – the Polaris boats HMS Revenge, HMS Renown, HMS Repulse and HMS Resolution.

Attack submarine HMS Conqueror, which sank the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano during the Falklands War is another of the boats in storage.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: ““The disposal of nuclear submarines is a complex and challenging undertaking.

“We remain committed to the safe, secure and cost-effective de-fuelling and dismantling of all decommissioned nuclear submarines as soon as practically possible.”

April 4, 2019 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rewarding failure: Taxpayers on hook for $12 billion Vogtle nuclear boondoggle.

The Hill 2nd April 2019 Rewarding failure: Taxpayers on hook for $12 billion nuclear boondoggle.
Vogtle’s nuclear expansion is billions of dollars over budget, its
completion is far from certain, and the federal government is once again
coming to the rescue. In March, Secretary Perry announced the finalization
of $3.7 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees for the Vogtle
project. This came over repeated objections by taxpayer and consumer
watchdog organizations and despite numerous serious hurdles remaining for
the only new nuclear power project still under construction in the United
States. More importantly, these newly-finalized loan guarantees were on top
of $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees that the project partners,
Southern Company’s Georgia Power, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, and the
Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG Power), previously secured,
bringing the total to $12 billion.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

USA Nuclear Workers Compensation deliberately dragging out process?

Lawsuit filed on behalf of nuclear workers, BY SCOTT TURNER / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER April 2nd, 2019   ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — James Jaramillo and Harold Archuleta are used to having to navigate through government bureaucracy to receive compensation for illnesses they said were caused by radiation exposure during their days as employees at Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Both men had to wait years after filing claims for compensation through the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program.

Jaramillo, 65, worked at Sandia for 24 years. He found out he had cancer of the small intestine in 1998. He filed for compensation in 2003 but was originally denied. Through changes in the program, he was finally awarded compensation in 2012 for medical care and lost wages since he was forced to retire.

Archuleta, 80, worked 38 years, 35 full time, at Los Alamos, where, he said, he ended up with skin cancer after years of exposure to plutonium. He’s also received compensation, but his wife, Angie, said it wasn’t an easy process.

“Congress put forth this act to help them, but then when it comes to actually paying, they put up all of these barriers,” Angie Archuleta said. “It’s just been very frustrating.”

According to a release by the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, changes are being made next week to update some of the regulations, with the goal of increasing efficiency and transparency and reducing administrative costs. The rules would align the regulations regarding processing and paying medical bills with the current system Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs uses to pay medical bills, and set out a new process that the office will use for authorizing in-home health care that will enable the office to better provide its beneficiaries with appropriate care, according to the release.

However, a company that provides health care to workers such as Jaramillo and Archuleta says rule changes involving the program could make it harder for nuclear workers to receive compensation and could delay the medical treatment they need.

The company, Professional Case Management, has filed suit in the District Court of Colorado against the Labor Department to keep the changes to the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program from taking effect. Professional Case Management Vice President Tim Lerew said the new changes could cause delays of 60 days or more in treatment.

“It’s hard to know how long those delays will be,” Lerew said at a town hall meeting in Albuquerque last week. “We estimate it will be about an additional 60 days. For some people, coming out of the hospital with particular illnesses where doctors want them to have additional care … they don’t have that time to wait.”

Lerew said the new rule changes will also add 36 steps to the process between the patient, the doctor and the Labor Department to get pre-authorization for treatment and services, such as home health care.

“If they have you jump through 36 more hoops, how is a guy supposed to do that?” Jaramillo asked.

The rule changes would require patients to fill out most of the paperwork. In the past, health care providers would fill out the majority of it, Lerew and Jaramillo said.

“If you don’t dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t,’ they deny you,” said Jaramillo’s wife, Terry.

“Nurses take all your vitals and with the doctor come up with your plan, and send to the Department of Labor for approval,” James Jaramillo said. “Now, they want the patients to fill out a lot of the paperwork and submit it themselves, and not let medical people get involved with that.”

Lerew said he wondered how a cancer-stricken person in his or her 80s “is successfully going to  navigate that process.”

April 4, 2019 Posted by | employment, health, legal, USA | Leave a comment

China will fall short of its nuclear power generation capacity target for2020

Reuters 2nd April 2019 China will fall short of its nuclear power generation capacity target for
2020, according to a forecast from the China Electricity Council on
Tuesday. Total nuclear capacity is expected to reach 53 gigawatts (GW) next
year, below a target of 58 GW, council vice chairman Wei Shaofeng told the
China Nuclear Energy Sustainable Development Forum in Beijing.

China is the world’s third-biggest nuclear power producer by capacity, with 45.9 GW
installed by end-2018 and 11 units still under construction, but its
reactor building program has stalled since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear
disaster in Japan.

No new approvals have been granted for the past three
years, amid spiraling costs, delays for key projects and safety concerns
about new technologies. Environmental impact assessments for two new
projects in southeast China were submitted to regulators last month,
however, paving the way for a resumption of its atomic energy program.

April 4, 2019 Posted by | China, politics | Leave a comment