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Trump administration stops govt practice of disclosing numbers of nuclear weapons

US halts recent practice of disclosing nuclear weapon total,  https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/US-halts-recent-practice-of-disclosing-nuclear-13775654.php Robert Burns, Ap National Security Writer, April 17, 2019  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has halted, without explanation, the recent U.S. government practice of disclosing the current size of the nuclear weapons stockpile.
The decision was revealed in a recent Department of Energy letter to the Federation of American Scientists, a private group that studies nuclear weapons issues and advocates for government openness on national security issues.
The Obama administration, in May 2010, had declassified for the first time the full history of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile from its beginning in 1945. It revealed that the warhead total stood at 5,113 as of Sept. 30, 2009, approximately the number that private experts had estimated and about 84 percent below the official peak number of 31,255 warheads in 1967.

As recently as last year, the Trump administration had disclosed that the stockpile consisted of 3,822 nuclear warheads as of Sept. 30, 2017, down 196 warheads from the year before. The 2017 figure was made public in response to a request by the scientists group, which asked for a 2018 update last October.

“After careful consideration … it was determined that the requested information cannot be declassified at this time,” the Energy Department wrote in an April 5 letter responding to the federation’s request. The department provided no explanation for the decision, which it said was made by the Formerly Restricted Data Declassification Working Group, consisting of officials from the departments of Defense and Energy.

“Formerly Restricted Data” is a category of classification that pertains to information such as nuclear stockpile quantities, warhead yields and locations.

The Russian government does not disclose its nuclear stockpile total. The Federation of American Scientists estimates Russia has about 4,350.

Nuclear warheads are attached to bombs and missiles, such as those carried by strategic bomber aircraft, ballistic missile submarines and land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, which form the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Hans M. Kristensen, director of the federation’s Nuclear Information Project, wrote in an analysis Wednesday that the decision against disclosing the 2018 nuclear stockpile number was “unnecessary and counterproductive.” In his view there is no national security rationale for keeping the number secret.

“The decision walks back nearly a decade of U.S. nuclear weapons transparency policy — in fact, longer if including stockpile transparency initiatives in the late-1990s,” Kristensen wrote.

“With this decision,” he added, “the Trump administration surrenders any pressure on other nuclear-armed states to be more transparent about the size of their nuclear weapon stockpiles. This is curious since the Trump administration had repeatedly complained about secrecy in the Russian and Chinese arsenals. Instead, it now appears to endorse their secrecy.”

The Pentagon did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Conflicts of interest in the Trump group’s push to sell nuclear reactors to Saudi Arabia

April 18, 2019 Posted by | marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

AARP Ohio, on behalf of its 1.5 million members and families, strongly opposes Ohio nuclear subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, opposition to nuclear, politics, USA | Leave a comment

America’s nuclear lobby spending up big to get $millions in State subsidies

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

China gambles on untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, and plans for international sales

China goes all-in on home grown tech in push for nuclear dominance, David Stanway, SHANGHAI (Reuters)17 Apr 19 – China plans to gamble on the bulk deployment of its untested “Hualong One” nuclear reactor, squeezing out foreign designs, as it resumes a long-delayed nuclear program aimed at meeting its clean energy goals, government and industry officials said.

China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, was once seen as a “shop window” for big nuclear developers to show off new technologies, with Beijing embarking on a program to build plants based on designs from France, the United States, Russia and Canada.

But after years of construction delays, overseas models such as Westinghouse’s AP1000 and France’s “Evolutionary Pressurised Reactor” (EPR) are now set to lose out in favor of new localized technologies, industry experts and officials said.

……….Though China has yet to complete its first Hualong One, officials are confident it will not encounter the delays suffered by rivals, and say it can compete on safety and cost.

Beijing has already decided to use the Hualong One for its first newly commissioned nuclear project in three years, set to begin construction later this year at Zhangzhou, a site originally earmarked for the AP1000. [nL3N2152KM]

……… EDF, France’s state-run utility, which helped build the EPR project at Taishan in Guangdong province, declined to comment. Westinghouse, now owned by Brookfield after entering bankruptcy restructuring, also did not respond to a request for comment.

INTERNATIONAL AMBITIONS

China’s ambitions for the Hualong One extend overseas as well. The first foreign project using the reactor is under construction in Pakistan and the model is in the running for projects in Argentina and Britain……..https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-nuclearpower-hualong/china-goes-all-in-on-home-grown-tech-in-push-for-nuclear-dominance-idUSKCN1RT0C0

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, China, marketing, politics, safety | Leave a comment

More countries headed to go into nuclear debt to Russia

Rosatom forges more links with nuclear newcomers, 17 April 2019 Rosatom and its subsidiaries have this week signed a number of agreements with countries planning to introduce nuclear power to their energy mix, including Azerbaijan, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Serbia and Uzbekistan. The documents were signed during the XI International Forum Atomexpo 2019 that the Russian state nuclear corporation is holding in Sochi. It also signed an agreement with established nuclear power country China. ………http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Rosatom-forges-more-links-with-nuclear-newcomers

April 18, 2019 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to nuclear subsidy

Supreme court denies challenge to NY nuclear subsidy, Houston Chronicle, April 15, 2019 WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a power industry trade group’s petition to challenge New York state’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the subsidization of nuclear power plants.

The Electric Power Supply Association claimed in a lawsuit that the New York Public Service Commission had violated federal law requiring power rates be “just and reasonable” when they elected to award $7 billion in rate increases through their zero emissions credit program.

After that argument was rejected by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, the group applied to the Supreme Court for relief in January. As is customary, the Supreme Court’s justices offered no explanation on their decision not to hear the case. …….https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Supreme-court-denies-challenge-to-NY-nuclear-13768307.php

April 18, 2019 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

North Dakota prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state

Bill prohibits, sets guidelines for nuclear waste disposal

April 17, 2019  BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s Legislature has passed a bill that prohibits nuclear waste dumping in the state. The bill passed by the House Wednesday and the Senate a day earlier also sets the regulatory framework for disposal and storage of the radioactive waste if the state is forced to accept it by the federal government…… (subscribers only) https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Bill-prohibits-sets-guidelines-for-nuclear-waste-13775275.php

April 18, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

EDF’s Belleville nuclear power plant to continue to have increased monitoring by France’s nuclear regulator

France’s ASN regulator keeps enhanced monitoring of EDF’s Belleville nuclear power plant  https://uk.reuters.com/article/france-nuclearpower-safety/frances-asn-regulator-keeps-enhanced-monitoring-of-edfs-belleville-nuclear-power-plant-idUKL5N21Z2CQ,  PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) – France’s ASN nuclear regulator said on Wednesday it was maintaining its close supervision of utility EDF’s 2,600 MW Belleville nuclear power plant, due to the need to continue to monitor safety practices despite some improvements.

The regulator placed the plant under enhanced supervision in September 2017, citing failures in safety standards.

It noted that the state of the plant’s installations and safety practices had generally improved in 2018, but there was still work to do.

“However… the progress noted remains to be consolidated and that the performance of the facilities must still improve,” the ASN said in a statement.

The ASN also said it will carry out additional inspections and checks to documentation, while keeping track of EDF’s action plan to fix the issues. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

April 18, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

U.S.nuclear bailouts – Exelon and the death of competitive energy markets

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment