The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

USA Security Adviser John Bolton denies report of ‘nuclear freeze’ agreement with North Korea

July 2, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | 1 Comment

Report that Trump administration is considering accepting North Korea as a nuclear power

New York Times: Trump administration mulling plan that would accept North Korea as a nuclear power, By Devan Cole, CNN July 1, 2019 Washington The Trump administration is mulling a potential deal with North Korea that would accept the country as a nuclear power if it freezes its existing nuclear programs in exchange for the US lifting its “most onerous” sanctions against the country, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The plan would aim to prevent more nuclear weapons from being created in the country, but “it would not, at least in the near future, dismantle any existing weapons, variously estimated at 20 to 60. Nor would it limit the North’s missile capability,” according to the paper.

The Times, which noted that US officials previously said they would never support such a plan, said officials in the administration hope the idea “might create a foundation for a new round of negotiations” with North Korea and noted that the administration’s current goal is still to fully denuclearize the country.

……. As a part of the plan reported by the Times, US negotiators would try to get North Korean negotiators to agree to “expand the definition” of Yongbyon, the country’s main nuclear-fuel production site. Under the potentially new definition of Yongbyon, the site would reach “beyond its physical barriers” to include various facilities around the country, including one where America and South Korea believe the country is producing uranium fuel.

A senior US official involved in North Korean policy told the Times “there was no way to know if North Korea would agree to this,” and noted that in the past, North Korean negotiators “insisted” that only Kim “could define what dismantling Yongbyon meant,” according to the report.

Stephen E. Biegun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea, told the Times on Sunday that the paper’s account of the administration’s potential deal was “pure speculation” and that his team was “not preparing any new proposal currently,” saying, “What is accurate is not new, and what is new is not accurate.”

White House national security adviser John Bolton also disputed the Times report Monday, tweeting that he read the story “with curiosity.”……….

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN’s John Berman that “the general idea of accepting the current nuclear arsenal, whatever it is, is a good start point.”

“I’ve come around to the position some months ago that perhaps as at least an initial plateau, in the interest of getting something done, it might be worth considering capping what the North Koreans have now and then maybe on a much longer term basis trying, you know, to get them to reduce their nuclear holdings to zero, which I think is going to be very difficult,” Clapper said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.”

Clapper, who served in the Obama administration, said the plan reported by the Times would “require some very complex negotiations” and that it would need a verification regime, which “would be a hard pill for the North Koreans to swallow.”

July 2, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power, fossil fuels finished? Los Angeles launches world’s cheapest solar + battery-storage project

New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear, Forbes, Jeff McMahon ,2 July 19. Los Angeles Power and Water officials have struck a deal on the largest and cheapest solar + battery-storage project in the world, at prices that leave fossil fuels in the dust and may relegate nuclear power to the dustbin.Later this month the LA Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve a 25-year contract that will serve 7 percent of the city’s electricity demand at 1.997¢/kwh for solar energy and 1.3¢ for power from batteries.

“This is the lowest solar-photovoltaic price in the United States,” said James Barner, the agency’s manager for strategic initiatives, “and it is the largest and lowest-cost solar and high-capacity battery-storage project in the U.S. and we believe in the world today. So this is, I believe, truly revolutionary in the industry.”

It’s half the estimated cost of power from a new natural gas plant.

Mark Z. Jacobson, the Stanford professor who developed roadmaps for transitioning 139 countries to 100 percent renewables, hailed the development on Twitter Friday, saying, “Goodnight #naturalgas, goodnight #coal, goodnight #nuclear.”

The anti-nuclear activist Arnie Gunderson, who predicted storage prices under 2¢/kwh four years ago on the night Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Powerpack, noted Saturday that his 2015 prediction was too high. He too said, “Goodbye coal, nukes, gas!”………..–battery-price-crushes-fossil-fuels-buries-nuclear/#59a3e2355971

July 2, 2019 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

‘Wonderful chemistry’ between Trump and Kim, as nuclear negotiations remain stalled

Keeping Up With the Plot of the Trump-Kim Nuclear Show, Bloomberg, By Jon Herskovitz and Youkyung Lee, July 1, 2019Three meetings between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea resulted in no concrete plans to end Pyongyang’s atomic ambitions. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have toned down hostile rhetoric since they first shook hands in Singapore in June 2018. They were cordial even after their second summit broke down in Hanoi in February, and took an historic stroll together into North Korea four months later. All the while, Pyongyang’s nuclear program quietly advanced as U.S.-backed sanctions choked its moribund economy. The two countries can’t agree on what the denuclearization of North Korea means and what rewards should be given, if any, in response to Pyongyang’s moves toward disarmament. But Trump has invited Kim to the White House, while a top aide to Kim has touted the “mysteriously wonderful” chemistry between the two leaders.

1. What have they agreed to?

The first summit resulted in a bare-bones declaration that contained four main items: To normalize ties between the U.S. and North Korea, formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, repatriate U.S. war remains and — crucially — “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But “work toward” is undefined. It’s also unclear whether the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea is included. U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo says that Kim accepted the “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.” North Korea points out the agreement referred to the entire peninsula and insists U.S. weapons must go at the same time, or it would be left vulnerable to attack. A meeting between Kim and Trump within the Demilitarized Zone in June 2019 led to an agreement to resume working-level talks that could iron out details of any deal.

2. What does the U.S. want?

To start, the U.S. wants North Korea to provide an inventory of weapons, facilities and fissile material it has produced. Kim’s regime calls that akin to asking for a “target list.” Further steps would include inspections, closing facilities and destroying weapons, and even surrendering nuclear material, according to proliferation experts. Past talks have faltered on the question of inspections and verification.

3. What does North Korea want?

Kim wants “corresponding measures,” or immediate rewards, for any steps his regime makes. In a televised New Year’s address, Kim threatened to take a “new path” if Washington didn’t relax crippling economic sanctions

He signaled that any deal might require weakening the U.S.-South Korean alliance, urging Seoul not to resume military exercises with the American side. And he made clear that he believed the denuclearization pledge includes “strategic assets” such as America’s nuclear-capable planes and warships. But his language was less bellicose than past years, possibly reflecting his limited options.

4. What has North Korea offered?

In Hanoi, North Korea offered to shut down parts of its Yongbyon nuclear complex, which has served as the crown jewel of its atomic program, in return for sanctions relief. The aging facility about 60 miles north of Pyongyang was once the main source of its fissile material, turning out roughly enough plutonium each year for one atomic bomb. But North Korea has since turned to uranium enrichment for weapons. Still, Yongbyon remains its main atomic research facility and a complete closure would affect its nuclear program……..

July 2, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Europe’s heatwave – climate change’s new normal

‘Worst is still to come’: Sizzling Europe battles wildfires, health risks, New records are being set as Europe swelters, sparking forest fires – and debates over public nudity.  SBS News, 29 June 19, Wildfires raged across Catalonia and French authorities stepped up restrictions on water use and driving in cities as swathes of western Europe remained in the grip of an intense heatwave.Temperatures climbed towards 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of northern Spain and southern France, driving many people to seek relief in the sea, rivers, lakes, fountains and swimming pools.

Grid operator RTE said French electricity demand on Thursday was close to a summer record seen two years ago, as people turned on fans and coolers to full blast for relief from the scorching temperatures……….

The stifling heat has elsewhere prompted traffic restrictions in France and fanned debate in Germany over public nudity as sweltering residents stripped off. …….

Exceptional for arriving so early in summer, the heatwave will on Thursday and Friday likely send thermometers above 40 degrees in France, Spain and Greece.

In Spain, hundreds of firefighters and soldiers, backed by water-dropping aircraft, battled on Wednesday to put out a wind-fuelled forest fire that erupted in Torre del Espanol in the northeastern region of Catalonia…….

Scientists warn that global warming linked to human fossil fuel use could make such scorchers more frequent.

“Global temperatures are increasing due to climate change,” said Len Shaffrey, professor of climate science at the University of Reading.

“The global rise in temperatures means the probability that an extreme heatwave will occur is also increasing.”……… European heatwave could be the norm in a climate change affected world……..


July 2, 2019 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Trump says Iran ‘playing with fire’ after exceeding nuclear deal limit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) 2 July 19,  – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday Iran was playing with fire after Tehran said it had exceeded its limit for low-enriched uranium allowed under a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Asked at a White House event if he had a message for Iran, Trump said he did not have a message, but Iran knew what it was doing and was “playing with fire.”  Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Grant McCool .

July 2, 2019 Posted by | politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Iran has breached the limit of its enriched uranium stockpile

Iran says nuclear stockpile limit breached, Perth Now,  AAP News Corp Australia Network July 2, 2019

Iran has breached the limit of its enriched uranium stockpile set in a 2015 deal with major powers, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, defying a warning by European cosignatories to stick to the deal despite US sanctions.

Mr Zarif confirmed to the ISNA news agency that Iran had exceeded the relevant limit of 300kg of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), but Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Iran’s steps to decrease its commitments to the nuclear deal were “reversible”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that its inspectors were verifying whether Iran had accumulated more enriched uranium than allowed……….

After talks on Friday in Vienna, Iran said European countries had offered too little in the way of trade assistance to persuade it to back off from its plan to breach the limit, a riposte to US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to quit the deal and reimpose economic sanctions.

Mr Mousavi urged them on Monday to step up their efforts. “Time is running out for them to save the deal,” state TV quoted Mr Mousavi as saying. The deal between Iran and six world powers lifted most international sanctions against Iran in return for restrictions on its nuclear work aimed at extending the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, from roughly two-three months to a year.

Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, including generating power. Its regional adversary Israel, which Iran does not recognise, says the program presents it with an existential threat. ……

Mr Trump has called for negotiations with Iran with “no preconditions”, but Tehran has ruled out talks until the United States returns to the nuclear pact and drops its sanctions.


July 2, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How Close Is Iran to a Nuclear Bomb, Really?

Experts say Tehran has the capability to build a nuclear weapon within a few years but perhaps not the intent. Foreign, BY LARA SELIGMAN, JULY 1, 2019, 

Iran confirmed on Monday that it has breached the limit on its stockpile of enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear deal, renewing concerns that Tehran could, within months, have enough weapons-grade uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

But experts say the violation is more of a symbolic move than a concrete step toward obtaining a nuclear weapon. Though most agree that Iran has the expertise and capability to eventually build such a device, it is not clear that Tehran has the intent or even sees the necessity of doing so.

This is not a dash to a nuclear bomb,” said Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation policy at the Arms Control Association. “It is a calculated move designed to gain leverage in negotiations with the Europeans, Russia, and China on sanctions relief.”

Tehran has recently ratcheted up pressure on the remaining adherents to the nuclear deal to provide some sort of relief to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Iran has allegedly attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and most recently shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone, nearly provoking a U.S. missile attack that Trump aborted at the last minute. The regime is also threatening to suspend other commitments under the 2015 deal in just days unless European powers provide sanction relief.

The 2015 deal caps Iran’s levels of uranium enriched to 3.67 percent purity—called “low-enriched uranium” and suitable for producing fuel for nuclear power reactors—at 300 kilograms. But there are still a number of steps Iran would have to take in order to build a bomb, Davenport explained………..

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Urgent need for international diplomacy: the world facing a renewed nuclear arms race

Without diplomacy, the world’s major powers risk a renewed nuclear arms race, The Hill, The reaction to the airing of the HBO series “Chernobyl,” dramatizing the most disastrous nuclear power plant accident in history, and to the news of President Trump’s aborted strike on Iran, amply shows the potential for horrific widescale nuclear catastrophe and the public’s desire to know the true extent of the risk.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive materials found in Huntington 14 miles from the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant

Radioactive Materials Like at Piketon School Were Present in Huntington

BY TONY E. RUTHERFORD, NEWS EDITOR   Following the discovery of neptunium and uranium at the Piketon Middle School, surveyors have found evidence of radioactivity up to 14 miles from the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Pant (PGDP). Vina Colley, National Nuclear Workers for Justice (NNWF) and PRESS, disclosed those findings last week with HNN. 

A second class action has been filed on behalf of residents living seven miles of the A plant in Piketon, which sent materials  to the Huntington Pilot Plant on the INCO property in the 1950s.

Colley has revealed that the Piketon plant received weapons  grade atomic bomb matter from its early 50s opening. Some of that material also went to the Huntington site where nickel carbonyl was added and in some cases reactor process materials were recycled.

The HPP was owned by the Atomic Energy Commission and leased to INCO. Certain former employees  of the actual structure which in 1978-1979 was demolished and most contaminated portions buried in a classified unlined landfill.

Contaminated HPP debris were trucked to Piketon for burial. One of the truck drivers perished from exposure: “Kenny Estep worked as a truck driver at the A-Plant. Estep hauled radioactive waste to a plant landfill. In 1978 he was told to dump snow on a leaking cylinder of radioactive uranium hexafluoride. Estep died of a rare form of liver cancer seven years later. Estep’s widow was compensated for her loss after the United States government admitted in 1999 that it had harmed workers at the A-Plant and other atomic plants.

Residents who live in the vicinity of the A-Plant have also experienced more than their share of cancer and other diseases, and animals and plants nearby were found to contain harmful contaminants.”

Although DOE/DOL/NIOSH documents have evaluated the former site, these decisions were based on findings that did not include that Piketon was working with atomic bomb weapons grade materials.

Piketon received product from the secret Oak Ridge K-25 plant.   Colley said that K25 matter had “to be trucked off for disposal. At first, [Oak Ridge]  city workers loaded this for disposal and got contaminated then workers from the K25 took over. They said it was cleaned up , but every once in a while they would find more.” Colley referred to reports from Frank Munger’s column in the Oak Ridge newspaper.   As a result of receiving K-25, Savannah River, and West Valley New York bomb grade materials, Colley told HNN that evidence of contamination has been found within 14 miles of the PGDP. 
She suggests that more Piketon and Scioto schools need radiation testing. 

The OFFICIAL (now potentially disputed for accuracy ) includes the following DRAFT: ……

July 2, 2019 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

FirstEnergy Solutions banking on a nuclear bailout in Ohio

FirstEnergy Solutions says will work with Ohio on nuclear bailout  2 July 19

(Reuters) – FirstEnergy Solutions said on Monday it hopes Ohio lawmakers will pass a bill by July 17 to prevent the early closure of the state’s two nuclear power reactors but cannot buy fuel for the units at this time without legislative certainty.

FirstEnergy Solutions, a bankrupt subsidiary of Ohio energy company FirstEnergy Corp, had said it would shut the Davis-Besse and Perry reactors on Lake Erie in 2020 and 2021 if it did not get some financial help from the state for the money-losing plants by the June 30 fuel purchase deadline for Davis-Besse.

The Midwestern state’s House of Representatives passed a nuclear bailout bill in May, known as “House Bill 6” (HB6).

The Ohio Senate worked on its own version of HB6 over the weekend and was still working on it early on Monday, according to a legislative aide.

State legislators were now working toward final passage of HB6 by July 17, FirstEnergy Solutions said.

Should we receive the long-term certainty that comes with an affirmative vote within this timeframe, we will immediately re-evaluate our options,” FirstEnergy Solutions said in a statement, noting the company remains “on path for a safe deactivation and decommissioning” of Davis-Besse.

Given the expectation that the legislation will be passed in the coming weeks, we have communicated our commitment to doing everything possible to accommodate this process, which will come with increased financial burden associated with missing the June 30th fuel purchasing deadline,” it said.

The House version of HB6 would provide FirstEnergy Solutions with about $150 million a year from 2020 to 2026, according to local newspaper reports.

A version of the Senate bill last week also included subsidies for a couple of coal plants owned by Ohio Valley Electric Corp (OVEC) like the House version of the bill.

OVEC is owned by several utilities, including units of American Electric Power Co Inc and Duke Energy Corp.

Cheap and ample gas from shale fields like the Marcellus and Utica in Ohio has depressed electricity prices nationwide over the past several years, making it uneconomical for generators to keep operating some nuclear- and coal-fired power plants.

July 2, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

A call for Australia to get nuclear weapons

Nuclear arsenal must be on Australia’s agenda, argues defence expert, SMH, By Harriet Alexander, July 1, 2019  Australia can no longer rely on the United States to protect it in Asia and should consider developing its own nuclear weapons for the event that China becomes hostile, former defence strategist and security analyst Hugh White argues in a controversial new book.

Professor White argues in How to Defend Australia the assumption that the United States would protect the nation against any attack by a major power, which has underpinned Australian defence policy since the Cold War, is no longer true as China emerges as the dominant power in Asia.

For Australia to be self-reliant, it would need to boost defence spending from 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent of GDP – or $30 billion – and consider the “difficult and uncomfortable” question of developing its own nuclear capability, said Professor White, a professor in strategic studies at the Australian National University……..

Although most think tanks and strategic policy institutes in the United States continued to assert that dominance in Asia was a strategic priority, America’s global leadership has not figured as a priority for President Donald Trump nor for the contenders to the Democrat nomination, Professor White said. ……

Professor White said Australia should only consider defensive weapons such as submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

“We need to be extremely careful about how we talk about this and very conscious of the extraordinary cost to us of acquiring nuclear weapons,” Professor White said.

“It would make us less secure in some ways, that’s why in some ways I think it’s appalling.”

The last prime minister to canvass the development of nuclear weapons in Australia was Robert Menzies in the 1960s.

Professor White, a former deputy secretary for strategy and intelligence with the Department of Defence, was dismissed as alarmist when he first foreshadowed in 2010 the demise of American influence in Asia. But the Lowy Institute’s international security program director Sam Roggeveen said he had since been proved correct.

Mr Roggeveen said the regional complications of Australia developing nuclear weapons would be huge, with Indonesia probably having to follow suit, but the logic was inescapable.

“If we ever completely decouple from the [US] alliance then it’s hard to see how we could essentially maintain our independence against China’s coercion if we didn’t have nuclear weapons,” Mr Roggeveen said.

The bipartisan political consensus on Australian defence policy is opposed to the development of nuclear weapons, and the domestic shipbuilding program would leave Australia “hopelessly vulnerable” if it ever came to a fight with China, Mr Roggeveen said.

“According to White, we are locking in a defence force for a generation that will be totally unsuited to the world we are entering,” he wrote in a book review for The Interpreter. “That’s the scandal.”

The Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said: “Australia stands by its Non-Proliferation Treaty pledge, as a non-nuclear weapon state, not to acquire or develop nuclear weapons.”

La Trobe Asia executive director Euan Graham said the US alliance was more resilient than Professor White described and China had shown no signs of aggression, but he agreed Australia should think about developing its nuclear capability.

“We’re talking about 15 to 20 years acquisition timeframe and the security environment that we’re facing will almost certainly be more severe then that it is now,” Dr Graham said.

“I think Australia has to be thinking about what will be  be required to move to a nuclear weapon posture because that can’t happen overnight.”

July 2, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Push to bribe Nevada residents to accept Yucca Mt as nuclear waste dump

Proponents of nuclear waste dump have a new strategy: Just buy us off, Las Vegas Sun, By Judy Treichel 2 Jul 19,  A new tactic is coming to light in the decades-long effort by other states to get a nuclear waste dump rammed into Nevada. And like other strategies in that effort, it’s astonishing — in a bad way.

An opinion piece in a national newspaper suggested that the best way to get Nevadans to stand aside and let high-level radioactive waste roll into Yucca Mountain would be to pay rent to each of us once a year for 10 years.

What a terrible deal: We would give up all ability to fight any injustice or infringement of the rules while waste was transported through our state. We’d get just 10 years of rent payments for a facility that is supposed to house waste for a million years.

More preposterous yet, the suggested amount is $500 per year per person, which looks more like a small tax refund than a hedge against a facility that could easily lead to a calamity. If a nuclear waste train passing behind the resort corridor in Las Vegas derailed — as a train in Northern Nevada did recently — the damage to our economy could be very severe and long lasting.

But to even suggest that we would consider a payoff in exchange for accepting the nation’s nuclear waste is offensive. The suggestion assumes that we are stupid.

That’s wrong. We are not only knowledgeable, but also experienced on this issue. Nevada learned a painful lesson during and after atomic weapons testing. It took 50 years of begging and legal action for some of the victims’ families to finally be paid a set sum. We are not going to walk into that situation again, regardless of the amount of the bribe.

Another large fallacy in the thinking of those who would plot to buy Nevadans is the belief that Yucca Mountain is a repository, ready and waiting for the nation’s waste.

Yes, billions were spent there but all that is there is a tunnel where some experiments were done. There are no waste emplacement tunnels or receiving facilities. In addition to the money spent over a 20-year period, the Department of Energy estimates that over $100 billion of new money would be needed.

In addition to the huge amounts of money that Congress would have to appropriate year after year, the time required to get to an operational Yucca Mountain repository is significant. …..

July 2, 2019 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

July 1 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “The Green New Climate Deal” • The GND is wildly popular with the Democratic Party base, but much of the leadership has been influenced by large fossil fuel industry contributions. The Sunrise movement has made headway on this, recruiting over 100 members of congress and most presidential candidates to support the GND. [Common […]

via July 1 Energy News — geoharvey

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference — RenewEconomy

With a “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement largely settled, the focus was on hammering out some contentious issues and laying the groundwork for the upcoming COP25. The post Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference — RenewEconomy

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment