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How to avoid nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan

WILL INDIA AND PAKISTAN BE ABLE TO STEP BACK FROM NUCLEAR DANGER? Arms Control Wonk, by Michael Krepon | May 13, 2019    Dark clouds are gathering. The Trump administration seems headed toward pre-emptive strikes against Iran. This progression began when Donald Trump walked away from the deal struck by President Obama, the European Union, Russia and China freezing advances in Iran’s nuclear weapon-related activities. Next, not unexpectedly, was Tehran’s threat to get back in the business of serious uranium enrichment in response to the U.S. walk out and Europe’s likely inability to circumvent Washington’s secondary sanctions. If Tehran follows through or if there is another prompt, the following step in this progression would be to set back Iran’s nuclear program several years by bombing the hell out of it. Conciliators be damned: Cue to the mission accomplished banners and drop the confetti.

If India’s new government has the wisdom to try once more to move away from confrontation, there is no shortage of confidence-building and nuclear risk-reduction measures to pursue. Every Indian and Pakistani diplomat worth his or her salt can quickly identify a half-dozen worthwhile measures that would not diminish security while helping to place time and space before another clash. If enough time and space are added, there may not be another clash.

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May 14, 2019 Posted by | India, Pakistan, politics international | Leave a comment

Unnecessary to bail out Ohio’s nuclear and coal plants, but a bonanza for FirstEnergy Solutions

May 14, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Highly radioactive chimney at Fukushima No 1 plant to be taken apart

TEPCO to slice dangerous chimney at Fukushima plant    http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201905100045.html, By CHIKAKO KAWAHARA/ Staff Writer, May 10, 2019 Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to start work on May 20 to dismantle a 120-meter-tall, highly contaminated chimney that could collapse at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

It will be the first highly radiated facility at the plant to be taken apart, the company said May 9.

The stack, with a diameter of 3.2 meters, was used for both the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors. TEPCO plans to remove the upper half of the chimney within this year to prevent the structure from collapsing.

The dismantling work will be conducted by remote control because the radiation level around the base of the chimney is the highest among all outdoor areas of the plant. Exposure to radiation at the base can cause death in several hours.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck in March 2011, pressure increased in the containment vessel of the No. 1 reactor. Vapors with radioactive substances were sent through the chimney to the outside.

TEPCO also found fractures in steel poles supporting the chimney. The damage was likely caused by a hydrogen explosion at the No. 1 reactor building when the nuclear disaster was unfolding.

Since then, the chimney has been left unrepaired because of the high radiation levels.

Immediately after the nuclear accident, a radiation level exceeding 10 sieverts per hour was observed around the base of the chimney. In a survey conducted in 2015, a radiation level of 2 sieverts per hour was detected there.

TEPCO will use a large crane that will hold special equipment to cut the chimney in round slices from the top.

The company set up a remote control room in a large remodeled bus about 200 meters from the chimney. Workers will operate the special cutting equipment while watching footage from 160 video cameras.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

If America launched a nuclear war -335 million people killed within the first seventy-two hours.

Overall, an all-out U.S. attack on the Soviet Union, China and satellite countries in 1962 would have killed 335 million people within the first seventy-two hours.

As devastating as these projections are, all readily admit they don’t tell the entire story. While these three studies model the immediate effects of a nuclear attack, long-term problems might kill more people than the attack itself. The destruction of cities would deny the millions of injured, even those who might otherwise easily survive, even basic health care. What remains of government—in any country—would be hard pressed to maintain order in the face of dwindling food and energy supplies, a contaminated landscape, the spread of disease and masses of refugees.

While the threat of nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union has ended, the United States now faces the prospect of a similar war with Russia or China. The effects of a nuclear war in the twenty-first century would be no less severe. The steps to avoiding nuclear war, however, are the same as they were during the Cold War: arms control, confidence-building measures undertaken by both sides and a de-escalation of tensions.

335 Million Dead: If America Launched an All-Out Nuclear War   https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/335-million-dead-if-america-launched-all-out-nuclear-war-57262 “Under SIOP, “about 1,000” installations that were related to “nuclear delivery capability” would be struck.” by Kyle Mizokami 13 May 19, A major draw of U.S. nuclear weapons to Soviet cities would have also been the presence of local airports, which would have functioned as dispersal airfields for nuclear-armed bombers. On the other hand, the Soviet attack would largely hit ICBM fields and bomber bases in low-population-density regions of the Midwest, plus a handful of submarine bases on both coasts.

It is no exaggeration to say that for those who grew up during the Cold War, all-out nuclear war was “the ultimate nightmare.” The prospect of an ordinary day interrupted by air-raid sirens, klaxons and the searing heat of a thermonuclear explosion was a very real, albeit remote, possibility. Television shows such as The Day After and Threadsrealistically portrayed both a nuclear attack and the gradual disintegration of society in the aftermath. In an all-out nuclear attack, most of the industrialized world would have been bombed back to the Stone Age, with hundreds of millions killed outright and perhaps as many as a billion or more dying of radiation, disease and famine in the postwar period.

During much of the Cold War, the United States’ nuclear warfighting plan was known as the SIOP, or the Single Integrated Operating Plan. The first SIOP, introduced in 1962, was known as SIOP-62, and its effects on the Soviet Union, Warsaw Pact and China were documented in a briefing paper created for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and brought to light in 2011 by the National Security Archive. The paper presupposed a new Berlin crisis, similar to the one that took place in 1961, but escalating to full-scale war in western Europe.

Although the war scenario was fictional, the post-attack estimates were very real. According to the paper, the outlook for Communist bloc countries subjected to the full weight of American atomic firepower was grim. The paper divided attack scenarios into two categories: one in which the U.S. nuclear Alert Force, a percentage of overall nuclear forces kept on constant alert, struck the Soviet Union and its allies; and a second scenario where the full weight of the nuclear force, known as the Full Force, was used. Continue reading

May 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign: paving the way for war against Iran?

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is only lukewarm about action on climate change

A Biden Presidency Would Be a ‘Death Sentence,’ Climate Activists Warn   https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/a3x39g/climate-activists-dont-like-joe-biden  12 May 19

The former vice president’s campaign has them very, very worried.   Joe Biden backed one of the first climate bills in US history, has a relatively strong score from the League of Conservation Voters, and calls fighting global temperature rise “a matter of survival.” The former vice president—who became the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination shortly after entering the race last month—has the profile, on paper, of someone who should be able to tout his bona fides on climate change and the environment.

But Biden appears to be running as a moderate on these issues. On Friday, Reuters reported that while he would support re-joining the Paris climate agreement, he was also open to boosting natural gas and technologies to capture and bury emissions from industrial facilities. That was alarming to some climate activists, who already didn’t trust him on the issue—and that might be putting it mildly.

It’s difficult to find many climate thinkers or activists these days who are all that excited about Biden’s entry into the Democratic primaries—and some interviewed for this story worry that if he wins he could actually slow down progress at a time when the planet is least able to afford it.

“This is an existential threat that we are talking about for all life on Earth, all Americans,” said Leah Stokes, a political scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who closely follows the politics of climate change and energy. “I don’t trust him at all… I think he’s got some explaining to do about what exactly his plan is to deal with the climate crisis.”

Biden’s campaign website contains only three sentences about the greatest crisis ever to face humankind, and these are located midway down a secondary page. “We must turbocharge our efforts to address climate change and ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, clean air, and an environment free from pollutants,” the site reads. His campaign did not respond to VICE’s request for more details on the actual policies this would entail.

There are virtually no specifics about how Biden plans to cut emissions in half by 2030—which is what United Nation scientists calculated is required to stabilize the world at or below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming and keep cities like Houston, London, Shanghai, Jakarta, Bangkok, Lagos, Manila and Dhaka above water.

But the Reuters story sheds light on what a Biden presidency might include when it comes to climate—a return to Barack Obama’s policies of regulating emissions and working with the international community, but not the kind of aggressive action favored by experts and advocates. One of the sources for the Reuters article, Heather Zichal, previously advised Obama on climate change and is now an informal advisor to Biden. She is affiliated with Cheniere Energy, a major liquefied natural gas producer based in Houston.

Unsurprisingly, activists were alarmed by this news.

“A ‘middle ground’ policy that’s supportive of more fossil fuel development is a death sentence for our generation and the millions of people on the frontlines of the climate crisis,” Varshini Prakash, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, which has been leading the push for a Green New Deal, said in a statement.

Even before the Reuters story, there were plenty of reasons for people like Prakash to be skeptical of Biden on climate. When he launched his campaign for president on April 29 in Pittsburgh he didn’t mention climate change once. Instead, he gave a lengthy shout-out to union leaders in the audience, promising to “restore,” “rebuild,” and “unify” America after four years under Donald Trump. Buried deep in his 40-minute speech, Biden made a passing reference to low-carbon growth, pledging his support for “rebuilding America’s clean, renewable energy.” He went on to brag that “North American energy makes us independent,” a phrase often used in reference to oil and gas production.

Ed Fallon, a former Iowa legislator turned radio talk show host and climate activist who once played a game of pool with Biden, wasn’t impressed. He found the former vice-president to be “an eloquent speaker and an all-around likable guy.” But with Iowa recovering from two months of historic flooding linked in part to global carbon emissions, and Democrat supporters rating climate change as a top concern, Fallon wanted to know how seriously Biden takes human survival on our planet.

So when Biden spoke in Des Moines on May 2, Fallon and 11 others put on penguin masks and stood directly in front of Biden’s podium holding signs that read “Climate is a crisis.” Biden addressed Fallon’s group directly. “Don’t worry, I’ll get to climate change,” he said, adding, “I introduced climate legislation way, way back in 1987,” a reference to a bill he’d pushed urging President Ronald Reagan to back a task force studying global warming. “You’re preaching to the choir,” Biden said.

But Fallon isn’t so sure. Biden at one point told the crowd that “the United States is soon going to be the largest producer of energy of any nation in the world by the end of the 2020s. My lord, what are we so afraid of?” Biden appeared to be referring to the fact that US oil production has rocketed over recent years to 12.1 million barrels per day, surpassing the output of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

He’s proud of that,” Fallon told VICE. “Joe’s boasting about being the biggest oil producer. You can’t be proud of that and fight climate change.”  

Several days later Biden travelled to Los Angeles to speak at some of his campaign’s first fundraising events. At the home of UCLA School of Medicine faculty member Cynthia Telles and media executive Joe Waz, Biden discussed global warming “in passing,” according to notes emailed to reporters from his campaign. Notes from an event at the Jonathan Club, a private Los Angeles social club, don’t mention climate change at all.

“This is not a second-tier problem,” Stokes said. “This is not something we can pretend will be easy to do and we’ll talk about later, this is a fundamental conversation that has to be happening.”

Biden has at times seemed willing to discuss climate change with the urgency it requires. Earlier this year he told the Conference of Mayorsthat the US could easily quadruple the wind power it generates and that half of electricity in North America should come “from non-polluting sources” with six years. If rising seas force millions of people out of their homes, he said, “that’s how wars start.”

Biden received an 83 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters for his support of environmental policy as a US senator, a score that may have been higher if he hadn’t missed votes while several times competing in Democratic presidential primaries, said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the group’s senior vice president for government affairs.

But she said with the impacts of climate change becoming clearer and more deadly all the time, “all candidates who are serious about running for president need to make climate change an absolute top-tier priority.” They must prove every day to voters, Sittenfeld went on, that they’ll “move forward in ambitious ways on combating climate change starting on day one in the Oval Office.” The world as we know it could literally be depending on it.

Geoff Dembicki is the author of Are We Screwed? How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change. Follow him on TwitterThis article originally appeared on VICE US.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

European Union countries face deadline to save nuclear deal with Iran

May 14, 2019 Posted by | EUROPE, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

UN chief Antonio Guterres to Pacific islands, warning rich nations about climate impacts

May 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s ghost towns

Nuclear wasteland Inside the ghost towns of Fukushima,  Eight years on from the tsunami and nuclear meltdown, much of Japan’s Fukushima province remains derelict and deserted. Telegraph, 13 May 19 

There was a chilling silence in the town of Tomioka in the days after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Shoes were left in porches, half-read newspapers lay abandoned next to cups of tea, long gone cold. As night closed in on the seaside town, lights glared out from a few bare windows, while news of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant just six miles away drifted from a solitary radio.

Nobody was home.

Eight years on, little has changed. Before March 11, 2011 – the day the tsunami engulfed the nuclear facility, forcing the evacuation of more than 150,000 residents across the region – the town had a population of 15,960. Now, just a few hundred people have returned despite the lifting of the evacuation order in April 2017.

“Officially 835 have returned, but many are plant and other clean-up workers who are renting out abandoned houses,” says Takumi Takano, a local councillor who splits her time between Tomioka and temporary digs in Koriyama an hour’s drive away that she and her husband Kenichi have lived in since evacuating.

Of the remaining locals most are either elderly, or only return during the day, she says. Most worryingly, just 14 are children. When night falls, they return to “temporary” homes elsewhere, she says. “It’s like a ghost town.”

A similar situation is found throughout the entire evacuated region, where only 12,859 of the 100,510 residents who were living in the zone before the disasters have returned, a Cabinet Office official says. Like Tomioka, many of them are clean-up workers, local residents say.

…… After almost eight years, residents, especially those with young families, have settled elsewhere, securing new jobs and starting new schools or moving out of Fukushima entirely,  says  says Kenichi, a former worker at the devastated nuclear plant.. Many are put off returning by the severe shortage of medical facilities in the region.

Then there’s the radioactivity,” he says, as the couple sit outside their caravan, set up on the land of their recently demolished home, which backs on to a 130-square-mile “difficult-to-return-zone” that is still considered too highly contaminated to inhabit.

Eight years on, radioactivity levels have fallen in the reopened parts of Tomioka, though remain 20 times higher than before the disaster. “It’s much higher over there,” he says, pointing to the blockaded zone, where radiation levels exceed 3.8 microsieverts per hour – the designated threshold for issuing evacuation orders.

That zone is a legacy of the nuclear disaster, when multiple reactor meltdowns and explosions, triggered by a magnitude nine earthquake and towering tsunami, spread radioactive materials for hundreds of miles around……..

despite clean-up operations there to reduce radiation levels below the government-set target of 0.23 microsieverts (µSv) per hour, other legacies of the disaster – the crumbling houses and shops, corroding vehicles and overgrown fields, not to mention 16.5 million containers of contaminated earth collected at some 140,000 sites around the region – are impossible to avoid.

The 0.23 µSv figure is significant in that it adds up to an annual dosage level of one millisievert (mSv) (calculated on the premise that a resident spends eight hours a day outdoors), stipulated by the International Atomic Energy Agency as being safe for members of the public.

But while maintaining that level is complicated by recontamination from surrounding woodland, some experts argue the figure says little about the true dangers, or safety, of radiation exposure. That the Japanese government raised this to 20 mSv in the aftermath of the disasters adds weight to their argument…….

Misao Fujita, a doctor who performs thyroid scans at a clinic in Iwaki, about 30 miles south of the nuclear plant, says a connection between the cancers and radiation exposure cannot be ruled out and the screening effect is no reason to disregard the examinations.

“What we do know is that after Chernobyl, many children developed thyroid cancer, and if you take that into account and consider the high risk that Fukushima children were exposed to radiation then I think we should carry out such tests,” Dr Fujita says, adding that thyroid cancer normally occurs in one in one million children.

Noriko Tanaka, whose son is one of Dr Fujita’s patients, says exams revealing cysts in her son’s thyroid are a concern, not least because iodine-131 – a substance that causes thyroid cancer – was contained in the plume released by the Fukushima plant that landed on Iwaki after the disasters. At the time, she was pregnant with her son. “I worry because nobody knows for sure what the future holds,” she says……….

The issue of the one million tons of contaminated water being stored at the stricken nuclear plant is another worry for residents. After receiving assurances from Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO ) that the water had been successfully treated and stripped of all but one radioactive material, tritium, the government announced in 2017 it would start releasing the water into the ocean, despite protests, especially from local fisheries.

TEPCO released convoluted data to demonstrate the water’s safety, but was forced to backtrack last September when further tests showed the sums didn’t add up and 80 per cent of the water was in fact up to 20,000 times higher than the official safe threshold. Furthermore, it contained harmful radionuclides such as iodine, caesium and strontium.

Moreover, while the initial suggestion was that tritium was relatively harmless some studies have shown it to be a cause of infant leukaemia, says Ayumi Iida of NPO Tarachine, which independently analyses seawater samples taken from the ocean near Fukushima’s two nuclear plants.

“Tritiated water is easily absorbed and hazardous when inhaled or ingested via food or water,” she says. “There’s already data indicating infant leukaemia rates are higher near to nuclear plants, and tritium is known to cause DNA damage, so while there are claims that tritium is harmless, there are counterclaims it can adversely affect health, especially among young children.”…….

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear expert with Greenpeace says that discharging the water into the ocean is “the worst option” available, and one whose main consideration is economic.

“The only viable option, and it’s not without risks, is the long-term storage of the water in robust steel tanks over at least the next century, and the parallel development of water processing technology,” he says. ……….

“The reality is there is no end to the water crisis at Fukushima, a crisis compounded by poor decision-making by both TEPCO and the government,” says Mr Burnie.

Among more pressing issues, Mr Burnie says, is 400,000 cubic meters of sludge being stored within the Fukushima plant grounds that contains high concentrations of strontium – known as a “bone-seeker” because, if introduced into the body, it can accumulate in the bones in the same way as calcium does.

With the plant still generating waste, this sludge is expected to nearly double over the next 10 years, he adds.

Strontium releases into the environment from the plant were relatively small following the 2011 disaster, but significantly greater 30 months later, when in 2013 a large strontium-laced plume contaminated land as far away as Minamisoma – a city about 20 km from the plant, Mr Burnie says. Such an event could re-occur, he says.

“Is it a good idea to lift the evacuation orders? Absolutely not. The public are right to be concerned about the possibility of further offsite releases.”

They can also be forgiven for being sceptical over official reassurances that foodstuffs are safe, says Ms Iida of Tarachine, which also runs a produce-testing laboratory and has found “plenty” of items with levels of contamination exceeding the safe limits.

Meanwhile tests on samples of soil – which has no official safe threshold in Japan – have also revealed high levels of radiation in the area, she adds.

Namie’s Obori district, about six miles northwest of the nuclear plant and within the difficult-to-return-zone, is one place where soil radiation levels remain high. In woodland backing the pretty hamlet, which is famed for its pottery but has slowly surrendered to nature, the Telegraph recorded up to 127 µSv per hour – over 350 times the IAEA’s safe threshold……

May 14, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Donald Trump likes strutting on the global ‘nuclear summit’ stage, but is not interested in genuine arms control

Beyond the spectacle of summits, Trump isn’t truly dedicated to nuclear arms control  https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/beyond-the-spectacle-of-summits-trump-isnt-truly-dedicated-to-nuclear-arms-control/

14 May 2019|Evan Karlik In the words of President Donald Trump, ‘nobody’s happy’ with the dimming prospects for further US–North Korea talks; last week Pyongyang renewed short-range missile tests and the US Justice Department impounded North Korea’s second-largest cargo vessel for sanctions violations. But this wasn’t the first instance of backsliding after negotiations broke down. In March, mere days after Kim Jong-un dined with Trump at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, satellite imagery suggested renewed activity at the Sohae satellite-launch and rocket-testing facility.
The Hanoi summit’s unsatisfying conclusion stemmed from dissimilar definitions of ‘complete denuclearisation’. US officials later clarified that North Korea’s ballistic missile capabilities and chemical and biological weapons programs must also be eliminated. More significantly, US National Security Advisor John Bolton rejected North Korea’s preference for a step-by-step, reciprocal approach to talks, in which negotiating carrots such as sanctions relief, economic development, a peace declaration, or diplomatic normalisation could keep pace with corresponding progress towards weapons dismantlement and a verification framework.

After three decades of intermittent negotiations with North Korea, direct engagement between heads of state was a fresh approach, for which Trump should be commended. But his administration’s indigestion when contemplating anything less than an all-encompassing, landmark accord should have been tempered with a seasoned helping of negotiating flexibility. And looking beyond Hanoi, it’s evident that Trump and his team are hardly committed to nuclear arms control writ large.

Only weeks after the US declared its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which forbids both nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,000 kilometres, the Pentagon announced its plans to test a ground-mobile version of the sea-launched Tomahawk cruise missile in August, followed by a 4,000-kilometre-range ballistic missile in November.

Russia and the US have each critiqued the other for treaty noncompliance. Washington has continued to cite the operating range of Russia’s 9M729 missile and Moscow’s failure to course-correct since 2014, whereas Moscow has countered that the US Aegis Ashore missile defence site in Romania could perhaps be repurposed to launch offensive cruise missiles instead of only defensive interceptors.

At a January meeting in Geneva, Russia purportedly offered an inspection of the 9M729 system in exchange for a demonstration that the Aegis launchers couldn’t be converted to accommodate offensive missiles. American diplomats rejected this proposal, and, with the US Defense Department wasting no time to prepare for tests of INF Treaty–violating weapons soon after the agreement becomes void on 2 August, the Trump administration appears all too willing to dispense with existing arms limitations.

US officials have also yet to communicate their stance on prolonging the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). In a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin in January 2017, Trump reportedly disparaged the treaty as a ‘bad deal’ after Putin mentioned possible extension beyond 2021. Top US Air Force generals have testified before Congress and spoken publicly in unequivocal support of New START, calling bilateral and verifiable arms-control treaties ‘essential’, ‘of huge value’, ‘unbelievably important’ and ‘good for us’.

Regrettably, Bolton was a strident critic of New START before his appointment to lead Trump’s National Security Council, and the US State Department’s top diplomat for arms control remains noncommittal, explaining that the administration’s consolidated position towards treaty extension is still meandering through bureaucratic interagency review. ‘It gives reason to suspect our American counterparts of setting ground’ to let the treaty expire quietly, said Russia’s deputy foreign minister. Without the INF Treaty and the binding, verifiable limits contained in New START, American and Russian nuclear weaponry could soon be unconstrained for the first time since 1972.

And signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have just concluded their final preparatory meeting in advance of the treaty’s review conference next year. Non-nuclear states have expressed irritation that the US and Russia have further created ‘doubt about their intention ever to fulfil their disarmament obligations’. Instead of faithfully pursuing another stepwise reduction in its numbers of launchers and warheads, the US proposed multilateral working groups to discuss specific disarmament challenges. Among the 122 countries that voted in July 2017 for a nuclear-weapons ban, this American initiative, called ‘Creating an Environment for Nuclear Disarmament’, smells like much high-minded talk without any meaningful effort towards US arms reductions.

If Trump desires credibility, dialogue with Russia promises fertile ground. At the outset, his political opponents may deride such overtures as cosying up to Putin. But as highlightedby former admiral Mike Mullen, the top American military officer from 2007 to 2011, ‘even in the darkest days of the Cold War’ the US had regular interchanges with the Soviet Union, but ‘we don’t have them now—it’s not even close’.

And responsibly trimming American and Russian arsenals would make any future pressure on North Korea all the more compelling.

Commitment to arms-control talks could help Washington and Moscow further comprehend areas of shared concern, such as China’s economic clout in central Asia and its adventurism in the Arctic, short of a thaw in relations. If mutually beneficial agreements with Moscow stimulate Trump’s appetite for open-minded negotiations and incremental processes, and achieve appreciation and esteem from the international community, perhaps step-by-step progress with Kim would then become palatable.

Evan Karlik is a lieutenant commander in the US Navy. He spent his early childhood in Western Samoa and the Philippines, and was stationed in Hawaii from 2011 to 2014. He served last year as a Defense Fellow in the US House of Representatives.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fraud and falsification regarding nuclear safety in France’s EDF reactors?

May 14, 2019 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The monstrous destructive power of America’s Ohio-class submarine with up to 192 nuclear warheads

May 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Funds being cut from US Air Force nuclear, space programs

US Air Force nuclear, space programs take hit in border wall reprogramming, Defense News, Joe Gould , Aaron Mehta , and Valerie Insinna 13 May 19,  WASHINGTON — In the wake of the Pentagon reprogramming $1.5 billion in fiscal 2019 funds to support President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico, only the U.S. Air Force appears to be losing money appropriated for equipment updates.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s federal government is not likely ever to secure local consent for disposal of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors

Former DOE Nuclear Waste Chief Critical of Consent-Based Siting    https://www.exchangemonitor.com/former-doe-nuclear-waste-chief-critical-consent-based-siting/

BY EXCHANGEMONITOR   13 May 19, The federal government is not likely ever to secure local consent for disposal of spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors, but that approach could nonetheless be tested in a plan for temporary storage of the radioactive material, according to a former head of the Energy Department’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM).

“Consent-based siting does sound very appealing. I just don’t see it leading to a successful leading to a successful conclusion. Of course, I may be wrong,” Ward Sproat, who managed OCRWM from June 2006 to January 2009 before it was dismantled by the Obama administration, wrote in a May 2 letter to Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Among the obstacles to consent, Sproat wrote: history, as illustrated by failed Private Spent Fuel storage project in Utah; politics, including the potential for elected officials who support a facility to be replaced by opponents; and the need for at least two layers of local approval to analyze a selected location and then to begin licensing.

Still, Sproat indicated support for assessing the viability of a consent-based approach for interim storage discussed before the committee by an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Geoff Fettus, senior attorney for the NRDC’s nuclear program, was among the witnesses for a May 1 hearing on a draft bill from Barrasso that is intended to advance interim storage and permanent disposal of U.S. spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste. Among the measures, the legislation would authorize the secretary of energy to site, build, and operate at least one monitored retrievable storage facility and to store DOE-held waste in a privately operated facility.

In his prepared testimony, Fettus said the NRDC supports changing existing federal laws to give states more authority for regulating radioactive waste as part of a consent-based approach. A pilot program for interim storage should specifically involve a hardened structure at an operational nuclear power plant, Fettus said.

May 14, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | 2 Comments

Nuclear power is subject to human error — and that makes it a poor solution to climate change

May 14, 2019 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment