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NUCLEAR ENERGY LEADERSHIP ACT Some USA politicians push legislationfor USA to be global chieftan in new nuclear reactors

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June 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | 1 Comment

In US House, Democrats stop Republicans’ push for low-yield nuclear weapons

Democrats rebuff GOP push for low-yield nuclear weapons, By SUSANNAH GEORGE, 12 June 19, WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats rebuffed attempts by Republicans Wednesday to authorize funding for so-called low-yield nuclear weapons that the Trump administration says are key to deterring Russia.

Republicans put forward two amendments to fund the weapons in a defense bill, but both were rejected in a voice vote Wednesday. A formal roll-call vote on the amendments was planned for later.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., eliminated funding in the legislation for low-yield nuclear weapons that could be placed on submarines. He said the weapons increase the likelihood of nuclear conflict. …..

Nuclear policy issues will likely reemerge in the Republican-controlled Senate. The House and Senate will have to negotiate a final version of the annual policy bill before it becomes law……

Republicans and Democrats also disagree over the total amount of money needed to properly fund the Pentagon and nuclear elements of the Energy Department. The White House requested a $750 billion budget, but Smith said a slightly smaller budget of $733 billion would promote efficiency…..https://www.apnews.com/d04a6f8f5edb4c4490013aa32e78417f

June 13, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Danger in Trump’s decision to keep nuclear weapons data classified

June 13, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Yet Another Potential Defect at Nuclear Power Stations: Farley (Alabama), Cooper (Nebraska), Clinton (Illinois), Harris (North Carolina), Wolf Creek (Kansas), Point Beach (Lake Michigan-Wisconsin), Hatch (Georgia), Watts Bar (Tennessee), Sequoyah (Tennessee), Almaraz Trillo (Spain) — Mining Awareness +

Potential Latent Defects Affected sites: Farley (Alabama), SONGS (California), Cooper (Nebraska), Almaraz Trillo Nuclear Power Plant (Spain), Clinton (Illinois), Harris (North Carolina), Wolf Creek (Kansas), Point Beach (Lake Michigan-Wisconsin), Hatch (Georgia), Watts Bar (Tennessee), Sequoyah (Tennessee). SONGS is shut down already. “Home > NRC Library > Document Collections > Reports Associated with Events > Event […]

via Yet Another Potential Defect at Nuclear Power Stations: Farley (Alabama), Cooper (Nebraska), Clinton (Illinois), Harris (North Carolina), Wolf Creek (Kansas), Point Beach (Lake Michigan-Wisconsin), Hatch (Georgia), Watts Bar (Tennessee), Sequoyah (Tennessee), Almaraz Trillo (Spain) — Mining Awareness +

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Living with a nuclear North Korea: how to move beyond the impasse

Living with a nuclear North Korea: how to move beyond the impasse,  NK News,
Demanding complete denuclearization has long been a diplomatic dead-end
. Markus Bell and Geoffrey Fattig ,June 13th, 2019
  Three months after the breakdown of the Hanoi Summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has tested the waters of acquiescence by conducting two rounds of missile tests. In the past, a new round of United Nations sanctions would have followed such launches, escalating rhetoric and mutual condemnation.This had been the pattern, at least until President Trump veered off script by contradicting his National Security Advisor, John Bolton on the issue of whether the missile launches violated existing UN sanctions. During a recent visit to Japan, a presidential tweet dismissed the launches as small weapons that “disturbed some of my people…but not me.”Apart from the rather surreal aspect of witnessing an American President side with the leader of North Korea over his own advisors, it could be argued that Trump is actually the realist in the room, while the hawkish Bolton and Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo are the ones living in a fantasyland.

By clinging to the notion that North Korea can be made to denuclearize through either increased pressure or sanctions relief, they are ensuring the continuation of a long-running policy failure that has allowed the North Korean regime to further the country’s nuclear program while precluding openings for addressing the egregious human rights situation inside the country.

The prevailing belief among Korea watchers, that Kim cannot be induced or coerced into denuclearizing, means that a nuclear North Korea is essentially a fait accompli— a reality to which all the sanctions, summits and handshakes in the world will not change.

TRADING A NUCLEAR NORTH KOREA FOR HUMAN SECURITY IN EAST ASIA

And it is this point that we recently argued: that the international community’s focus needs to shift from traditional security concerns (the nuclear program) to non-traditional (humanitarian concerns) as an avenue to engage in dialogue on improving living conditions for North Koreans.

Since we published our thoughts others have followed suit in agreeing that it is time to shift strategy toward managing North Korea’s ascent into the nuclear club rather than fruitlessly trying to prevent it.

Insisting on complete denuclearization is a recipe for a continued stalemate in future negotiations. And given Kim’s implied threat to restart nuclear tests next year if a deal with the U.S. cannot be struck, tensions could again rise.

A return to the saber rattling of 2017 would wipe away the trust built through the inter-Korean reconciliation efforts of South Korea’s Moon Jae-in administration that began during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.

This would be especially unfortunate, considering that the current security situation on the Korean peninsula represents the best of a bad set of options.

he past 18 months of relative silence from Pyongyang serves as a blueprint for how to manage socializing North Korea into the international community. In refraining from nuclear tests, North Korea has satisfied one of the conditions of the “Three Nos” proposal outlined by Siegfried Hecker, which remains the most realistic path forward for breaking the impasse.

In the interim, this route leads to an agreement – tacit or otherwise – allowing North Korea to maintain its current arsenal in return for a commitment to freeze its nuclear program and not proliferate weapons technology.

While such an outcome is hardly ideal, it is in keeping with the cold reality of the situation. A nuclear North Korea, socialized to international norms, also raises the possibility that the country will begin to act like a ‘normal state,’ bound to its various international obligations.

Such thinking is in line with Alexander Wendt’s “norm adoption,” whereby states accept established international standards of behavior as they experience the benefits of being integrated into the global community.

THE BENEFITS OF A ‘NORMAL’ NORTH KOREA

What kind of benefits might we see from a ‘normal’ North Korean state? Improvements in human rights are top of the wish list, including, for example, adherence to the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P), which compels member states to prevent crimes against humanity in their territory.

In essence, a resolution of the nuclear issue would provide a fresh opening to engage the regime on human rights, and the subsequent opportunity to improve the lives of average North Koreans. ……..

FACING REALITY

A nuclear North Korea is now a reality, and negotiations that demand the country dismantle its nuclear program are unlikely to succeed.

Although the addition of one more state into the nuclear club is problematic, many of the arguments for denying North Korean ascendance into this group are insufficient, and a rigid adherence to this position by the international community could conceivably result in a second Korean War.

Acknowledging this reality and engaging with the country’s leadership offers an alternate path forward, and one that has the potential for bettering the lives of the people of North Korea.  https://www.nknews.org/2019/06/living-with-a-nuclear-north-korea-how-to-move-beyond-the-impasse/

June 13, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Holtec and Ukraine developing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (dodgy underground devices)

Consortium established for SMR-160 deployment in Ukraine, WNN 12 June 2019

The consortium document was signed by Holtec CEO Kris Singh, Energoatom President Yury Nedashkovsky and SSTC President Igor Shevchenko. The signing ceremony – held at Holtec’s headquarters in Camden, New Jersey – was attended by senior Holtec officials and delegations from Mitsubishi Electric, the US Department of Energy and Energoatom.

The consortium is a US company registered in Delaware with each of the three parties owning allotted shares. Its technology operation centre will be based in Kiev, Ukraine…….

The MoU includes the licensing and construction of SMR-160 reactors in Ukraine, as well as the partial localisation of SMR-160 components. The Ukrainian manufacturing hub is to mirror the capabilities of Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Plant in Camden, and will be one of four manufacturing plants Holtec plans to build at distributed sites around the world by the mid-2020s.

Holtec’s 160 MWe factory-built SMR uses low-enriched uranium fuel. The reactor’s core and all nuclear steam supply system components would be located underground, and the design incorporates a wealth of features including a passive cooling system that would be able to operate indefinitely after shutdown….

The SMR-160 is planned for operation by 2026.

The SMR-160 is currently undergoing the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s three-phase pre-licensing vendor design review process. State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine, the nuclear regulatory authority in Ukraine, is expected to coordinate its regulatory assessment of SMR-160 under a collaborative arrangement with its Canadian counterpart.  http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Consortium-established-for-SMR-160-deployment-in-U

Edwin lyman on the safety of these reactors “Holtec SMR-160. The Holtec SMR-160 will generate 160 MWe. Like the NuScale, it is designed for passive cooling of the primary system during both normal and accident conditions. However, the modules would be much taller than the NuScale modules and would not be submerged in a pool of water. Each reactor vessel would be located deep underground, with a large inventory of water above it that could be used to provide a passive heat sink for cooling the core in the event of an accident. Each containment building would be surrounded by an additional enclosure for safety, and the space between the two structures would be filled with water. Unlike the other iPWRs, the SMR-160 steam generators are not internal to the reactor vessel. The reactor system is tall and narrow to maximize the rate of natural convective flow, which is low in other passive designs. Holtec has not made precise dimensions available, but the reactor vessel is approximately 100 feet tall, and the aboveground portion of the containment is about 100 feet tall and 50 feet in diameter (Singh 2013)

For these and other SMRs, it is important to note that only limited information is available about the design, as well as about safety and security. A vast amount of information is considered commercially sensitive or security-related and is being withheld from the public. ….

 in the event of a serious accident, emergency crews could have greater difficulty accessing underground reactors.

Underground siting of reactors is not a new idea. Decades ago, both Edward Teller and Andrei Sakharov proposed siting reactors deep underground to enhance safety. However, it was recognized early on that building reactors underground increases cost. Numerous studies conducted in the 1970s found construction cost penalties for underground reactor construction ranging from 11 to 60 percent (Myers and Elkins). As a result, the industry lost interest in underground siting. This issue will require considerable analysis to evaluate trade-offs…. ” https://nuclearinformation.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/edwin-lyman-on-small-modular-reactors/  erious accident, emergency crews could have greater difficulty accessing underground reactors.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Ukraine, USA | Leave a comment

Trump is more interested in helping nuclear companies to sell to Saudi Arabia, than in the well-being of Americans

WASHINGTON ,WATCH: IS TRUMP HELPING THE SAUDIS GO NUCLEAR?   https://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Washington-Watch-Is-Trump-helping-the-Saudis-go-nuclear-592310,BY DOUGLAS BLOOMFIELD, JUNE 12, 2019

US President Donald Trump recently took another step toward bringing Saudi Arabia into the nuclear club. While Israeli-Saudi ties have warmed in recent years, helping the desert kingdom go nuclear – with its ongoing support for the most extreme Islamic radicals in the world – can hardly be good for the Jewish state.

Secret negotiations with the US Energy Department over many months have led Washington to “transfer highly sensitive US nuclear technology, a potential violation of federal law,” to Saudi Arabia, according to House Oversight Committee sources cited by The Washington Post.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) revealed last week that at least two transfers were approved since the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Saudis say they want to begin building their own nuclear power plants with their own enriched uranium, even though it could be purchased elsewhere more cheaply. That raises suspicions that their real goal isn’t producing electricity. By enriching their own uranium, they could begin diverting it to highly enriched weapons grade, especially if they bar international inspectors, as they’ve insisted.
Given its record of obeisance to Saudi demands for top technology and weapons, it is unlikely the Trump administration would object, but instead continue helping to conceal the kingdom’s plans.   Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the de facto ruler, has said that the kingdom would build nuclear weapons if the Iranians did. He may have taken encouragement from a speech in the UAE last month by Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton.

The Iranians are threatening to leave the nuclear pact with the major powers – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in the wake of the Trump administration’s unilateral exit last year and imposition of sanctions to tighten the economic screws on Tehran.

There’s “no reason” for Iran to walk away from JCPOA, “unless it is to reduce the breakout time to nuclear weapons,” said Bolton, a decades-long advocate of regime change in Iran. Bolton offered no evidence to back his claim.

That should give MBS the rationale he seeks to develop his version of the bomb.

When he turns to Trump for help, he will remind the president that if America won’t sell it to him, there are others who will. Trump is a sucker for that pitch.

North Korea would be a good place to go shopping, since they tried helping Syria build nukes until the Israeli Air Force stopped the plan, something it had done earlier in Iraq. Then there’s Pakistan, which is believed to have built its own nuclear weapons stockpile with Saudi financial help.

THERE MIGHT BE some resistance on Capitol Hill, where Saudi support is low and sinking, but Trump has shown himself more responsive to the wishes of the Saudis than the US Congress.

Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina may moan and groan and make threatening sounds toward Riyadh, but he and majority leader Mitch McConnell are Trump’s poodles, and will make sure the president gets what he wants.

All US administrations – Republican and Democratic – have indulged the Saudi appetite for top technology and weapons. They’ve been driven by pressure from industry and its friends in the Pentagon to sell, sell, sell – and an inexplicable attitude that we need the Saudis far more than they need us. Trump has just raised this to a new level.

Trump’s latest selling spree includes 120,000 conversion kits to produce smart bombs. It is part of an $8.1 billion package that Trump labeled “emergency” to bypass Congressional review.

Most alarming is the Trump administration’s approval for the transfer of highly sensitive weapons technology and equipment to Saudi Arabia so the kingdom can produce electronic guidance systems for Paveway precision-guided bombs, according to congressional sources cited by The New York Times.

The administration assured Congress that it is confident in the Saudi ability to protect the technology, that the need is urgent and that it won’t alter the balance of power in the region – which is exactly what it is intended to do.
Look for Trump to justify massive sales to the Saudis and the UAE as also helping protect Israel from Iran. Historically, all administrations have justified arms sales around the Middle East as harmless to Israel’s qualitative military edge. But they aren’t. Especially when the US is selling the Arabs the same planes, missiles and technology it sells Israel. Trump values his oil-rich customer so much that he has rejected the findings of his own CIA that the crown prince was complicit in Khashoggi’s murder.

Saudi Arabia is the Pentagon’s favorite cash cow. Arms sales are a lucrative business for the US Defense Department, which charges commissions and other fees, and gets economies of scale for its own purchases while selling off old inventory to help pay for replacements. Military attachés around the world are top salesmen for defense contractors as they lay the groundwork for post-uniform careers. Then there are the former – and possibly future – defense industry executives at the highest levels of the Pentagon, starting with the Secretary of Defense.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) said the administration “has effectively given a blank check to the Saudis – turning a blind eye to the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi and allowing their ballistic missile program to expand.”

The United States is not allowed to sell ballistic missiles, so the Saudis have turned to China. CNN reported last week that American intelligence believes Beijing is helping enhance the kingdom’s strategic missile program. In the 1980s, it secretly bought Chinese DF-3 missiles and based them within range of Israel. It bought more advanced missiles in 2007 with the approval of then-president George W. Bush. Unconfirmed published reports suggest they also bought other missiles from Pakistan, which produces a version of the North Korean Nodong missile.

If the Saudis decide to pursue nuclear weapons, they can turn to Trump’s dear friend Kim Jong Un, whose cash-strapped regime has developed its own and the missiles to deliver them.

With Trump looking for business that will create jobs he can claim credit for – and with John Bolton rattling sabers and B-52s, and calling for regime change in Iran – can Saudi Arabia be knocking on an open door to the nuclear club?

June 13, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, politics international, Saudi Arabia, USA | Leave a comment

Rick Perry, USA’s Secretary on Behalf of the Nuclear Industry

June 13, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear Disarmament’s Lessons for Climate Change

Nuclear Disarmament’s Lessons for Climate Change.   https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/06/12/nuclear-disarmaments-lessons-for-climate-change/  If we can ban nukes, we can ban carbon emissions. Here’s how.  BY CHARLI CARPENTER, RONALD MITCHELL, JUNE 12, 2019  T hroughout the Cold War, nuclear weapons were the main existential threat to the planet. But they were also considered vital to powerful nations. With no chance of getting those players to give them up, possession and use of the weapons was simply regulated at the margins. But thanks to the concerted work of a coalition of activists, nuclear weapons were banned outright in a 2017 treaty that has been signed by 70 countries and ratified by 23.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment