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USA war crimes – mass deaths in Fallujah, depleted uranium effects linger

there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children.

Ghosts of Fallujah Haunting America

June 21, 2019 Staff A U.S. legislator has arrogantly admitted publicly that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians in Fallujah. Will these war crimes continue to go unpunished?

By Richard Walker

The admission by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that his Marine Corps unit may have killed hundreds of civilians, including women and children, in the city of Fallujah in Iraq in April 2004 once again raises the question of whether U.S. forces committed war crimes and used chemical and other unnamed weapons during major battles in Iraq that year.

Hunter was an artillery officer in what became known as the First Battle of Fallujah in April 2004, a city known for its beautiful, ancient mosques 30 miles from Baghdad. It was transformed into a war zone when protesters killed four Blackwater contractors and hung their bodies from a bridge. An operation was launched to find those responsible, but it developed into a full scale engagement. What is remarkable about this First Battle of Fallujah is that it did not last long, so the revelation by Hunter encourages additional scrutiny since it was not the battle that garnered the most controversy. Nevertheless, we have now learned that one artillery unit, by Hunter’s reckoning, may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.

It is worth noting that there is no credible official figure for civilian casualties because the U.S. commanders and the Pentagon played down the killing of civilians in the Iraq conflict, though some estimates place deaths in the Mideast country at between a half-million and 1 million.

While the first battle was bloody, the Second Battle of Fallujah, in November 2004, was the one that we at American Free Press focused on most, believing correctly that the mainstream media was relying too much on official accounts of what transpired and was being denied the truth. AFP followed the story conscientiously, and we continued to do so in succeeding years. We were confident our reporting would be proved accurate and that new facts would emerge to confirm the claims we made that Marines used chemical weapons and depleted uranium munitions.

The U.S. military suffered 71 dead and over 250 injured in the Fallujah battles, leading to comparisons being made with some of the major exchanges of the Vietnam War.

In November 2004, Fallujah was sealed off from the outside world and quickly became a free-fire zone. This would be the Second Battle of Fallujah. There were many Iraqi fighters in the city, but there were civilians, too, who did not want to leave or had been unable to escape.

The battle was akin to what one might associate with the Second World War battle for Leningrad, with many snipers on both sides. In Fallujah, however, Marine Corp commanders had more firepower than the Iraqi fighters and used it to devastating effect. Some might argue that they used it with abandon.

Within a month, in what was dubbed Operation Phantom Fury, 36,000 homes were leveled, as well as 60 schools and 65 mosques. The city resembled a wasteland. At the time, and later, AFP reported that the Marines used white phosphorus bombs similar to ones the Israelis used later in Gaza, but it was the widespread deployment of depleted uranium (DU) munitions that was to have lasting human damage.

In 2004, and for several years afterwards, the Pentagon admitted having used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon that should not be used against civilians but denied that DU munitions were on the battlefield.

The truth emerged in 2010, however, when a British scientist and his team revealed that levels of radiation illnesses in Fallujah were comparable to, if not higher, than those found in Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the atoms bombs were detonated there in 1945.

It is still believed that other chemical weapons were used in Fallujah by the Marine Corps, but never identified. For example, aside from evidence of radiation, traces of mercury and other poisonous substances were found that could not be linked to known weapons.

The British scientific report entitled “Cancer, Infant Mortality, and Birth-Sex Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009” confirmed that DU was in shells and also in bullets that were fired in large, unreported quantities, causing radiation contamination. DU’s effects can last for a long period and resulted over time in physical deformities among children. The DU bullets were reported to have cut through walls like a hot knife through butter. The Pentagon has been reluctant to confirm whether experimental weapons were used on that battlefield.

Daniel DePetris, a conservative columnist, believes America has learned little from the Iraq War even though most Americans believe it was a disaster that caused thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of casualties.

He offers opinions on what our leaders should do before going to war, but perhaps his best piece of advice to them is “. . . deliver a case to the American people about why military action is appropriate and make them fully aware of what can go wrong.”

He knows, like the rest of us, that in Iraq everything that could go wrong did go wrong, especially in Fallujah.

Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | children, depleted uranium, Iraq, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Pre-emptive Nuclear War: The Role of Israel in Triggering an Attack on Iran, Global Research  (contributed by  Amel Polarte )  Prof Michel Chossudovsky   14 June 19

The text below is Chapter III of Michel Chossudovsky’s book entitled:  The Globalization of War. America’s Long War against Humanity, Global Research Publishers, Montreal, 2015.  

This chapter provides a historical perspective of US war plans directed against Iran, including the use of a preemptive nuclear attack, using low yield, “more usable” tactical nuclear weapons.

While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.”

The stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems directed against Iran started in the immediate wake of the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. From the outset, these war plans were led by the U.S. in liaison with NATO and Israel.

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”. U.S. military sources intimated at the time that an aerial attack on Iran could involve a large scale deployment comparable to the U.S. “shock and awe” bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:

American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq.1
“Theater Iran Near Term” (TIRANNT)

Code named by U.S. military planners as TIRANNT, “Theater Iran Near Term”, simulations of an attack on Iran were initiated in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.”2

The scenarios identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg:

The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “Theater Iran Near Term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now [April 2006] exists in draft form.

… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.3
Different “theater scenarios” for an all-out attack on Iran had been contemplated:

The U.S. army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of U.S. Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).4
In 2004, drawing upon the initial war scenarios under TIRANNT, Vice President Dick Cheney instructed U.S. Strategic Command (U.S.STRATCOM) to draw up a “contingency plan” of a large scale military operation directed against Iran “to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States” on the presumption that the government in Tehran would be behind the terrorist plot. The plan included the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state:

The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than four hundred fifty major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing –that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack– but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | Iran, Israel, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Latest Chernobyl Shelter Implementation Plan operating this year, at cost of nearly £2billion

Chernobyl: The staggering amount it cost to install protective roof over reactor core

THE CHERNOBYL nuclear power plant has had a new roof installed to contain radioactive waste, 33 years after the April 1986 disaster. By ABBIE LLEWELYN    Jun 21, 20196
The roof has been in construction since 2010, moved into position in 2016 and systems began operation in February this year. The huge structure was placed over the original sarcophagus, which was hastily put together in 1986 after Reactor 4 exploded and released huge amounts of radiation into the atmosphere. The New Safe Confinement (NSC) aims to prevent the release of radioactive material for the next 100 years.

The Shelter Implementation Plan, of which the roof is the main element, has cost around £1.9billion – the roof alone costing around £1.3billion.

The NSC is designed to withstand temperatures ranging from -43C to 45C, a class-three tornado and an earthquake with a magnitude of 6 on the Richter scale.

The first container that encased the offending reactor was assembled in just five months. But by 1996, the original sarcophagus was damaged beyond repair from prolonged exposure to the radiation.

Rain water was leaking through the roof and came into contact with radioactive material before dripping into the soil, posing a serious threat to the environment.

Radiation levels in the area had risen to 10,000 roentgens per hour – normal levels are around 20-50 roentgens per hour.

The first sarcophagus was meant to last 30 years and repairs and maintenance was carried out until as recently as 2011, but ultimately it was decided that a second sarcophagus would be necessary.

The new roof is 162m long, 257m wide and 108m tall: the arch could house the Statue of Liberty or Notre Dame Cathedral – before the fire.

It was built so large in order to allow for machines to enter and remove the old sarcophagus.

After the nuclear disaster, a 30km exclusion zone was put in place, and 335,000 forced to evacuate – 115,000 from the surrounding area in 1986 and 220,000 more people from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine after the fact.

However, there has still been an increase in the incidence of cancer amongst those living near Chernobyl.

There have even been studies suggesting that the DNA of birds in the area has been altered.

Interest in Chernobyl has skyrocketed in recent weeks due to the HBO historical drama series ‘Chernobyl’.

The programme, available in the UK on Sky Atlantic, shows the events of that fateful day unfold, as well as the attempted cover-up by the Soviet Union.

It has been rated the highest of any programme on IMDB.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

By 2029, America Will Have a New ICBM That Can LAUNCH a NUCLEAR WAR – oh goody!

The program is a cooperative effort between the Air Force and the Navy that will share common-use technologies and take advantage of the Navy progress on its Trident II D5 nuclear armed submarine launched missile. National Interest,

by Kris Osborn ,21 June19, The Pentagon will have new, upgraded nuclear-armed Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles operational by 2029, launching a new era in nuclear weapons technology — to include improved targeting, guidance technology and overall resilience against enemy attacks and attempted intercepts.

The Air Force plans to fire off new prototype ICBMs in the early 2020s, assessing new ICBMs with improved range, durability, targeting technology and overall lethality when compared to the existing arsenal. The new arsenal of ICBMs will serve well into the 2070s – called Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, or GBSD. The service has at times been discussing the progress of the program, but is now specifying when the new weapons will be ready.

The goal of the program is both clear and self-evident, as described in an Air Force report by Maj. Gen. Shaun Morris, Strategic Systems Program Executive Officer. In the service’s official 2018 Annual Acquisition Report, Morris described the purpose of the program as “ensuring our strategic deterrent is never doubted and always feared.” “Fear,” in fact, forms the basis of strategic deterrence – as knowledge of assured retaliatory destruction keeps potential enemies from contemplating a first strike. For this reason, Morris’ reasoning does, the threat of nuclear attack must be modern, effective and sustainable…….
Northrop Grumman and Boeing teams were awarded Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction deals from the Air Force last year as part of a longer-term developmental trajectory aimed at developing, testing, firing and ultimately deploying new ICBMs. Following an initial 3-year developmental phase, the Air Force plans an Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase, and award a single contract in late fiscal year 2020. ….
Overall, the Air Force plans to build as many as 400 new GBSD weapons to modernize the arsenal and replace the 1970s-era Boeing-built Minuteman IIIs.  ……
The new ICBMs will be deployed roughly within the same geographical expanse in which the current weapons are stationed. In total, dispersed areas across three different sites span 33,600 miles, including missiles in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Minot, North Dakota and Great Falls, Montana.  ……

June 22, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

No justice for Marshall islands, with rising seas and nuclear trash

Nuclear waste, rising seas and Trump: Marshall Islands struggles to stay above water, Yahoo News, Marshall Islands President Heine speaks with Reuters in Geneva By Tom Miles, 21 June 19, GENEVA (Reuters) – The Marshall Islands is literally struggling to stay above water but its President Hilda Heine told Reuters she had saved her breath rather than try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to hear its climate change message.

Heine met Trump at the White House last month, along with the presidents of Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia, both of which are also under threat from rising sea levels.

But they did not talk about climate change.

“We made a conscious decision to discuss those things that we think we could accomplish, rather than spend time talking about something that we know is not going to happen,” she said.

“We know that we’re not going to be able to change his mind in 30 minutes about climate change.”

The Marshall Islands, comprising 31 tropical atolls between Australia and Hawaii, risks being underwater in 10-20 years.

“If that’s not scary enough, I don’t know what is. For us, it’s of course an existential issue,” said Heine, who was in Geneva to open a diplomatic mission, address the International Labour Organization and press her country’s case for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The scene of massive U.S. nuclear tests in the 1950s, it is also at risk of disaster from radioactive debris the U.S. military left behind.

Her government has put a line item in its budget to cope with environmental costs, with about 5% of spending set aside to fund sea walls to save at least its two most populated areas.

On climate change, Heine said she had a simple message for the world: “Get real. Climate change is here. It’s not anything to just talk about and think, that is going to happen. It’s happening.”

The official statement from the White House meeting cited “the region’s most pressing issues, including responding to natural disasters”, but not climate change or rising sea levels.

The main topic was renewal of U.S. financial grants and the rollover of a Cold War-era defence and security agreement.

The Marshall Islands was occupied by Allied forces in 1944 and placed under U.S. administration in 1947. Between 1946 and 1958, the United States detonated 23 atomic and hydrogen bombs on Bikini and Enewetak atolls, debris from which was left buried under a shallow concrete dome on Enewetak.

“We’re told it’s seeping into the lagoon,” Heine said, adding that the government wanted help to assess the damage and impact on marine life and potential costs of making it safe.

Asked if it was potentially a nuclear disaster on top of a climate emergency, she said: “It could be.”


The Marshall Islands gained independence in 1986 and later tried in vain to sue nuclear powers in a David-and-Goliath case at the International Court of Justice.

It now has a “nuclear justice strategy” to cope with displacement and higher cancer rates, but cannot back a treaty banning nuclear weapons because of one provision that would force it to take care of its own clean-up, Heine said.

“The United States would be … off the hook.”……

June 22, 2019 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s EDF struggling with the costs of fixing ever-delayed Flamanville EPR nuclear project

French energy group EDF reviews costs of delayed nuclear project     Flamanville plant’s faulty weldings must be fixed, says watchdog   David Keohane in Paris JUNE 20, 2019

French energy group EDF says it is reviewing the start-up schedule and costs of its flagship Flamanville nuclear project after the regulator said it would have to fix faulty weldings, which have already delayed the project.

ASN, the nuclear watchdog, said on Wednesday that nuclear-focused EDF needs to repair eight of the joins at Flamanville in northern France.

“EDF is currently analysing the impact of this decision on the Flamanville EPR [nuclear reactor] schedule and cost, and, in the upcoming weeks, it will give a detailed update on the next steps in the project,” said the company in a statement on Thursday.

“This is negative news but it does not come as a surprise,” said analysts at Société Générale, since EDF had already flagged the likelihood of a delay. EDF’s shares fell 1.8 per cent by midday in Paris.
The ASN said in October that the weldings were being reviewed. While, in July, EDF said there would be further delays and cost overruns due to problems with the connections. It pushed back the loading of nuclear fuel and the target construction costs at the late and over-budget plant.

   EDF had said the loading of nuclear fuel was scheduled for the end of 2019 with commercial activity starting in 2020 and costs revised up again from €10.5bn to €10.9bn. Initially, Flamanville was expected to cost €3.3bn and start operations in 2012. ASN suggested in its communication to EDF that the plant would not be operational before 2022.

The Flamanville plant in France is one of three being built in Europe using the next-generation European Pressurised Reactor technology. The other two projects are the Olkiluoto project in Finland, which is more than a decade late, and the UK’s Hinkley Point, which is mired in controversy over the high cost of the project.

More broadly, EDF is expected to brief trade unions on Thursday about plans to reorganise the company. The plan, codenamed Hercules, say people familiar with the matter, would involve a holding company 100 per cent-owned by the state and two subsidiaries sitting beneath it. EDF Bleu, or EDF Blue, would house all nuclear and hydroelectric assets and EDF Vert, or EDF Green, would hold the renewables, services and network assets.

  EDF Vert would then be floated to raise funds.

The company will also propose a regulated pricing mechanism for 100 per cent of France’s nuclear production to replace the current mechanism, said analysts at Bernstein. The plan to split the company stems from this move since, as Bernstein add, a “100 per cent regulated price for nuclear production in France would likely be considered state aid by the EU”.

The plan thus still has to clear the European Commission as well as probable public pushback to higher regulated prices and heavy union opposition. French trade unions remain particularly powerful within EDF and has used threats of power cuts in the past.

 In a joint statement this week, the unions said they “oppose a strictly financial reorganisation that would lose sight of the industrial project, the social ambition and the general interest” of the group.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment

Let Congress Intervene on Nuclear Arms   An antinuclear advocate calls on Congress to stop the Trump administration’s undermining of our nuclear treaties.  Mark Muhich. Jackson, Mich. The writer is chairman of the Sierra Club Nuclear Free Core Team. June 21, 2019  Will Arms Control Foes Target Another Treaty?,” by Carol Giacomo (Editorial Observer, June 5), chronicles the move to wreck numerous nuclear weapons treaties by John Bolton, the national security adviser, and the Trump administration.

The United States is poised to spend billions of dollars for the upgrade of its nuclear arsenal. The detonation of a few nuclear weapons could destroy most life on earth.

Congress must intervene. The existing nuclear treaties — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the New Start Treaty, the Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty — must be supported by Congress. Legislation outlawing the first use of nuclear weapons and funding for programs that violate existing treaties should be debated and passed.

Mr. Bolton is dangerous. Strengthening our nuclear arms treaties will be an essential antidote for his apocalyptic policies.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission blesses takeover of New Jersey nuclear plant by Holtec

NRC approves transfer of NJ nuclear plant to Holtec International, which will dismantle it

June 22, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Veteran of Chernobyl nuclear clean-up: HBO TV episode was very accurate

Chernobyl Episode 4 Scene | HBO | Graphite Clearing

This man knows what it’s really like shovelling radioactive debris on top of Chernobyl’s reactor ABC News 

Key points:

  • At age 32, Jaan Krinal was forced to go to Chernobyl and clean the roof of the reactor
  • He says men were initially enthusiastic to help eliminate the radiation
  • One-third of the men of his town he served with in Chernobyl have died

When he left his wife and two children on May 7, 1986 and went to work, Jaan Krinal didn’t know he would be one of those people.

The 32-year-old was working on a state-owned farm in Soviet-occupied Estonia.

Because he’d been forced to complete the Soviet military’s retraining a year before, he was confused when officers surprised him at work and said he’d been called up again — immediately.

Jaan and 200 other men were taken to a nearby school. Once they’d walked through the door, no-one was allowed to leave.

The men’s passports were seized before they were loaded onto buses and taken to a forest, where they were told to slip into brand new army uniforms.

“That’s when I first questioned what’s really going on here,” Jaan recalls………

Workers told radiation could have health benefits

It all happened fast.

Hundreds of men boarded a Ukraine-bound train on May 8. By the next evening, they were setting up camp on the edge of Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.

They were just 30 kilometres away from the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster — the still-smouldering wreckage of a reactor torn apart by a series of explosions and spewing radiation in a plume across Europe.

Jaan was among the first group sent to clean up in the aftermath of the catastrophe.

Tasked with hosing down radiation on the houses in nearby villages, he was thrown into the thick of it……

Despite the apparent uselessness of the job, they continued to work 11-hour days without a day off until the end of June. After that, they had two days of downtime a month.

As the weeks rolled on, suspicions grew.

“We started to have doubts. But all the officers said, ‘Why are you fretting, the radiation levels aren’t that high.”

In a cruel irony, the commanders told the men that being exposed to radiation would actually have health benefits.

“They joked that whoever has cancer can now get rid of it — because the radiation helps,” Jaan says.

Men unaware of deadly reason behind roof time limit

By the end of September, whatever enthusiasm the men initially felt had faded.

As many developed a cough, concerns grew about whether they were being lied to about the radiation being harmless. The respirators the men were given wouldn’t stay on because of the heat and were used until they got holes in them.

Later they found they should have been replaced every day…….

A rumour had it that the very last leg of the assignment was going on the roof of the reactor to clean up as much debris as possible.

Humans were going to be given a task that remote-control robots had previously attempted, but failed. The machines simply stopped working due to the unprecedented levels of radiation.

“When they told us, ‘You have to go to the roof’, we thought, ‘Oh, this means we can go home soon’,” he says.

On the day, he changed his army uniform for a protective suit, glasses and a gas mask, and a metal groin guard.

“We were all lined up and told, ‘who doesn’t want to go on the roof, step forward’. But only a couple of us did,” he says.

“There was no mass rejection. Most people went up there.

“It had to be done. We couldn’t just leave it. I think everyone realised the longer the reactor would have stayed open, the more dangerous it would have become.”

Jaan was shown on a small screen exactly which piece of debris he had to pick up with a shovel and throw off the roof of the reactor, but strictly warned against going too close to the edge.

He had two minutes to complete the assignment — a bell would ring to tell him when to run back.

The two-minute timeframe was to limit exposure to radiation, which could kill a man.

But this wasn’t communicated to the men at the time.

Jaan says the roof-cleaning scene depicted in HBO’s mini-series Chernobyl mirrored real life events…….

A staggering one-third of the men of his town who went to Chernobyl have died.

The average age of death has been 52.

“Over the past couple of years, just a couple of us have died. But not too long ago it was around 10 men a year,” he says.

“There have been cancers. There have been suicides too, but thankfully not too many.”……

he hopes tourists won’t start flocking to the ghost city.

“I hope they’ll never start sending large groups of tourists there. It’s still a dangerous zone,” he says.

He hasn’t seen the mini-series, but welcomes the attention Chernobyl disaster is getting — he thinks it acts as a warning to the human kind.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Resources -audiovicual, Ukraine, wastes | Leave a comment

Why India’s Hypersonic Missile Could Trigger A Nuclear War

New missile, new threats? National Interest,  by Michael Peck, 21  June  19  1ndia’s test of a hypersonic missile signifies more than the advance of Indian weapons technology.

It also is one step closer to triggering a nuclear war with Pakistan.

Ironically, the first launch of the Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, or HSTDV, was a failure. The HSTDV, which is shaped almost like a sailing ship, is supposed to be a testbed for developing future hypersonic weapons such as cruise missiles. It is launched atop an Agni 1, an Indian ballistic missile…….

While that doesn’t necessarily mean the HSTDV has a problem, it’s not good news for India’s strategic nuclear deterrent. “The Agni 1 is a nuclear-capable missile that is in service with the strategic forces and has been successfully tested several times in the past,” noted the Economic Times. “Its failure to reach the desired altitude is a reason for concern and is being studied.”

Yet unproven or not, the existence of an Indian hypersonic project is an ominous step for India’s cold war with its neighbor Pakistan. Hypersonic missiles—defined as rockets with a velocity of at least Mach 5, though Russia and America are developing Mach 20 weapons—are dangerous because of their speed. Though the weapons have yet to be tested in combat, the U.S. military is concerned that Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapons may travel so fast that they can’t be intercepted. At the tactical level, this means that aircraft carriers and air bases could be destroyed by a salvo of missiles.

But on the strategic level, hypersonic weapons are truly frightening. A hypersonic missile can deliver a nuclear warhead more quickly than a ballistic missile. Or, a hypersonic missile armed with a conventional warhead might be able to destroy an opponent’s nuclear missiles in a first strike, but without the attacker having to resort to nuclear weapons.

Whether or not such a strike would be successful, or whether anyone would be confident enough to risk a nuclear exchange by using hypersonics, isn’t the point. Unlike the United States versus Russia and China, whose homelands are separated by thousands of miles of ocean, the distance between New Delhi and Islamabad is just over 400 miles. A Mach 5 or 10 weapon missile launched from India or Pakistan could hit its target in minutes (Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glider reportedly has a speed of Mach 20, with the United States working on a weapon equally as fast).

Knowing that India has hypersonic weapons could make Pakistan feel trapped in a “use them or lose them” mindset regarding its nuclear weapons.

June 22, 2019 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant seen as a risk by Turkey

Turkey holds drill over risk stemming from Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear plant, DAILY SABAH, ISTANBUL, 20.06.2019
  Fearing impact from a possible accident from an aged nuclear power plant in neighboring Armenia, residents of a border village held a drill on Wednesday coordinated by the local governorate.

As part of the drill, medical rescue teams and gendarme troops evacuated residents of Orta Alican, one of eight villages of the eastern province of Iğdır, which are located in close proximity of Metsamor. It is the first comprehensive drill of its kind in the region against the danger the plant poses.

“Survivors” of the nuclear accident were taken to a tent camp set up in central Iğdır by crews and they were “decontaminated.” Iğdır Gov. Enver Ünlü said it was their responsibility to conduct such a drill against “a disaster that might happen.”

He said Metsamor was assessed as one of the world’s most dangerous nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and according to data by European Union…….

Following an earthquake in 1988, Metsamor was closed. However, in spite of widespread international protests, it was reactivated in 1995. Armenia earlier rejected the EU’s call to shut down Metsamor in exchange for 200 million euros to help meet the country’s energy needs.

Turkey, which has not had diplomatic relations with Armenia since the 1990s over the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh, has urged Armenia to shut down the plant due to the imminent danger the outdated plant posed to Turkey……

June 22, 2019 Posted by | safety, Turkey | Leave a comment

Salt Lake City-based Energy Strategies – study shows NuScale’s small nuclear reactors too costly for Utah

Environmental group says new nuclear power plant too pricey for Utah’s municipal utilities, By Lisa Riley Roche,  Jun 21st, 2019  SALT LAKE CITY — A group opposed to a new type of nuclear plant being developed said Thursday the price of power produced there would be more than other carbon-free energy sources, making it a bad investment for Utah’s municipal utilities.

“We feel the numbers are independent and speak for themselves,” Michael Shea, a senior policy associate for the Healthy Environmental Alliance of Utah, told reporters at a news conference discussing the findings in a new study.

The study, by Salt Lake City-based Energy Strategies, found power produced by the small modular nuclear reactors to be built in Idaho would cost more than $66 per megawatt hour, compared to as low as just over $38 for wind and solar power.

“It does not make economic sense from a market perspective for a group like (the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) to be investing in what is essentially a subsidized science project that has not ever been proven,” Shea said…….

Longtime consumer protection watchdog Claire Geddes spoke at the news conference about her confidence in the study and her concerns about the impact of higher costs on the public.

Geddes, who said she has worked on utility issues since 1992, suggested the local governments supervising municipal utilities don’t have the resources to adequately vet the project.

“It’s really not fair to the public,” she said. “I would stress that these cities understand, before they go into it, what the risks are to their citizens and their businesses.”

Both the environmental alliance and Geddes called for further study by the municipal power system before local governments make a final decision next year on what would be a 40-year contract. ……

Besides the cost concerns, Williams said the new type of nuclear plant can’t be presumed to be safe and would still produce at least as much nuclear waste as a traditional plant.

The intent is for the municipal power system to purchase all 12 modular reactors at the plant being built by an Oregon-based company, NuScale Power, system spokesman LaVarr Webb said.

The power generated would be used by the 46 members, mostly municipalities, in Utah and other states, Webb said, and would sold to other users including the federal government for use by the Idaho National Laboratory and the Department of Energy……..

June 22, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

U.S. nuclear utilities upset about Trump’s plan for tariffs on uranium

NUCLEAR UTILITIES SCRAMBLE TO STAVE OFF TRUMP URANIUM QUOTAS, by John Siciliano & Josh Siegel June 20, 2019  Washington Examiner, : Major U.S. nuclear utilities are warning President Trump it would be a big mistake to impose strict limits on the amount of uranium the nation imports from Canada and other allies, risking thousands of layoffs and other calamitous effects at nuclear power plants.

Trump is expected to meet with his Cabinet in the next few days to discuss recommendations the Commerce Department provided to him in April on placing firm quotas on uranium imports as a matter of national security.

Utility lobbyists representing Exelon, Duke Energy, and other owners of nuclear power plants, say the idea of placing limits on the amount of fissile fuel the nation imports is misguided, and Trump should reject any proposal that recommends such action.

Uranium mining firms had petitioned for the quotas to protect U.S. jobs in the mining sectors under trade provisions aimed at protecting national security……..

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, however, is expected to push back against the idea of imposing quotas at Thursday’s bilateral meetings at the White House. ……

June 22, 2019 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment