nuclear-news

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

The past week in nuclear/climate news

It’s hard to stay focussed on nuclear news, as the climate news really can’t be ignored. As always, non European, non anglophone, and poor countries are copping it most – Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages. But right now, much media focus is on the Northern hemisphere – new heat records being set across Europe, wildfires, heat records in Alaska.

Climate change problems, and effective remedies, are often ignored. Air-conditioning is both a partial remedy, but also a big cause of global warming. Energy efficiency is the single best answer to climate change, but often a neglected one.

On the nuclear theatre- well, it seems to be all theatre – with Donald Trump basking in the spotlight entering North Korea – no actual  negotiation achievement – but then the spotlight itself was the goal. More of a worry is the escaling tension and confusion over Iran, as it builds up enriched uranium, and Europe struggles to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.

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

Bonn climate talks: Key outcomes from the June 2019 conference. Despite Donald Trump, the G20 nations (except USA) are sticking to the Paris climate agreement.

EUROPE. European Parliament excludes nuclear energy from EU’s green investment fund.

FRANCE. Nuclear reactors in France face temporary shutdown due to extreme heat.

USA.

IRAN. How Close Is Iran to a Nuclear Bomb, Really? No solution found to the nuclear issue, after European talks with Iran end.  Iran doesn’t want to leave the nuclear agreement, calls on Europe for trade help. HBO TV series ” Chernobyl” causing great interest in Iran.

UK.

UKRAINE. Chernobyl military survivor reveals secrets.  Chernobyl survivors confirm the accuracy of the TV series, about nuclear radiation.

RUSSIA. Putin talks of Russia, USA , resuming negotiations on nuclear arms reduction treaty. Russia threatens military response to any NATO action over nuclear-ready missile. NATO says it will act unless Russia destroys nuclear-ready missile.  Russia’s nuclear power station for the Arctic– a floating Chernobyl? Doubts on the “usability” of Russia’s Submarines Armed with Nuclear Drone-Torpedoes.

INDIA. India’s nuclear power programme unlikely to progress. Ocean energy is a better way.  Anxiety over Belarus nuclear reactor starting up: Lithuania buys iodine tablets.

BELARUS. Belarus nuclear physicist warns on the unsafety of new nuclear plant.

TURKEY. Turkey’s President Erdoğan admits that Sinop nuclear power plant has been halted (too costly).

JAPAN. New research identifies Fukushima reactor material in the environment.  TEPCO ordered to compensate ex-plant worker.  Voices of Fukushima power plant disaster victims strengthens call to ban nuclear energy.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Fire on Russian nuclear submarine: heroic crew prevented nuclear catastrophe.

Russia’s nuclear submarine disaster will test President Vladimir Putin and his navy. ABC News, By Alexey Muraviev  4 July 19, Russia’s Ministry of Defence has officially acknowledged an incident this week with one of its deep-submergence vehicles (DSV) within Russian territorial waters.

The incident seems to point to one of Russia’s most closely guarded naval assets — the Project 10831 AS-31 (AS-12) Kalitka (Norsub-5), more commonly known as Losharik.

It is named after a popular Soviet cartoon character because of its design specifications — a series of titanium spheres under the hull designed to withstand extreme water pressure.

A secret assignment    According to the latest reports, all those killed onboard were assigned to a secret naval unit stationed in St Petersburg, which is responsible for operations of Project 18510 Nel’ma (X-Ray) “autonomous deep-sea stations” — Russia’s official description of the DSV-type platforms — the AS-21 and the AS-35.

However, the declared number of casualties and the seniority of the deceased personnel is unclear. It is assumed the tragedy occurred onboard the AS-12, which has an estimated crew of some 25 officers.

All these special-purpose submarines are assigned to the 29th “deep water” Submarine Division based at the Gadzhievo submarine base on the Kola peninsula.

Formally assigned to the Russian Northern Fleet, the “deep-water” submarine division is under the direct control of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s GUGI Directorate, which oversees covert marine and naval activities ranging from deep-sea oceanographic research to covert testing of advanced sea-based combat systems, to undersea special operations.

Covert trials of a nuclear-armed torpedo?   While official word suggests the submarine was undertaking scanning of the seabed in one sector of the Barents Sea, the actual mission being undertaken may be different.It is possible the submarine was taking part in the covert sea trials of the Poseidon sub-sea strategic combat system (a large calibre nuclear torpedo) .

The tragedy would be the first reported large-scale fatality sustained by GUGI’s secret force.

But it cannot be compared with previous disasters involving Russian nuclear-powered submarines such as the RFS Kursk Oscar II class catastrophe back in 2000 or the incident onboard RFS Nerpa Akula IIclass back in 2008.

This disaster has happened within a unit designed specifically to operate in extreme physical environments where the safety and professionalism of the crew is a key to survival and success.

The crew comprises only middle-to-senior rank officers…….

Was a nuclear disaster averted?

It is understood that the fire onboard led to the fatal intoxication of more than half of the crew — about 14 out of some 25 onboard — and serious injuries of another four or five onboard.

Any submariner would concur that a fire onboard a submarine on deployment poses a serious risk. Fire onboard a nuclear-powered submarine is even worse.

While it is unknown what triggered that fatal fire, a mechanical failure or a human error, the fact is clear: the crew, at the cost of their lives, prevented a potentially major environmental disaster if the DSV had sunk to the bottom of the ocean, or exploded…… https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-03/russias-nuclear-submarine-disaster-test-vladimir-putin-navy/11274964

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Religion and ethics, Russia | Leave a comment

Far from stopping climate change – nuclear reactors are being stopped by climate change

Nuclear Power, Once Seen as Impervious to Climate Change, Threatened by Heat Waves
The nuclear power sector is often portrayed as resistant to unpredictable weather associated with climate change. Heat waves, however, are punching holes in that narrative.   U
S News,
By Alan Neuhauser, Staff WriterJuly 1, 2019,   THERE’S A REASON nuclear plants are built close to water.

Harnessing the enormous power of nuclear fission, plants generate steam, which shoots through pipes to spin a turbine that generates massive amounts of electricity. To keep from getting dangerously hot, the plants suck up surrounding water from the nearby rivers, lakes or oceans around which they’re built to cool the steam.

Now, increasingly, more frequent heat waves and hotter average temperatures are making those waters so warm that engineers are concerned that it can’t do the job. Analysts say climate change is to blame.

In little-noticed but publicly available reports to regulators, nuclear plant owners revealed that unusually hot temperatures last year forced them to reduce the plants’ electricity output more than 30 times – most often in the summer, when demand from nuclear plants is at its highest. In 2012, such incidents occurred at least 60 times. At one plant in Connecticut a reactor was taken offline for nearly two weeks when temperatures in the Long Island Sound surged past 75 degrees.

The incidents, submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reflect a sharp uptick from even a decade ago, when plants appear to have submitted only nine such reports in 2009. In 1988, 1989 and 1991, there was just one such report. The dramatic increase mirrors the rise in average U.S. and global temperatures spurred by climate change.

“I’ve heard many nuclear proponents say that nuclear power is part of the solution to global warming,” says David Lochbaum, a retired nuclear engineer who compiled the reports based on data submitted to the NRC, and former director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union for Concerned Scientists. “It needs to be reversed: You need to solve global warming for nuclear plants to survive.” 

Regulations set strict temperature limits for the water around each plant: 75 degrees for Millstone Generating Station in Connecticut, 85 degrees for Braidwood Generating Station outside Chicago, as high as 90 degrees for Turkey Point Generating Station south of Miami. Nuclear plants are now more regularly bumping up against those limits.

And even when water temperatures only approach those thresholds, plants can still be forced to dial down their output if the water used to cool their reactors will cause the temperatures in surrounding waterways to rise so much that it will endanger the habitats of fish and plants.

Limerick Generating Station outside Philadelphia, for example, reported turning down its output 79 times between 2008 and 2016……..

Climbing temperatures are not the first climate impact to strike nuclear power plants: The sector has also faced challenges from periodic but increasingly frequent droughts that can cause local water sources to run low.

And it’s not just water temperatures that plants have to contend with. Air temperatures can also cause conditions inside the plant to get too hot to operate. So desperate was a power plant in France during last year’s heat wave that it began spraying water on the outside of the building to keep the interior from overheating. Plants in the U.S., meanwhile, have regularly slashed their output by anywhere from 3% to 60%.

Such dynamics could cause output from nuclear plants to fall by as much as 16% in the coming decades, according to a 2012 analysis. Moreover, climate concerns threaten to pierce nuclear’s carefully constructed – and increasingly embattled – narrative that it’s the only reliable source of zero-emissions power. Already, the country’s aging fleet of nuclear plants is facing stiff competition from cheap natural gas and, more recently, falling prices for solar and wind paired with battery storage.

Rising temperatures, by forcing nuclear plants to reduce their output, have “made this already problematic resource even less viable in the current energy environment and economy, says Dan Kammen, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of California-Berkeley…… https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-07-01/nuclear-power-once-seen-as-impervious-to-climate-change-threatened-by-heat-waves

July 4, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe is not over.

You’ve seen the TV series, now understand the Chernobyl catastrophe is far from over.  https://www.smh.com.au/national/you-ve-seen-the-tv-series-now-understand-the-chernobyl-catastrophe-is-far-from-over-20190625-p5217u.html By Helen Caldicott, 4 July 19   It is 33 years since the radioactive accident at Chernobyl. The HBO miniseries Chernobyl has re-awakened interest in this dreadful moment in history. But Chernobyl is by no means over. And with commentators once again flagging the idea of overturning Australia’s long-standing opposition to a home-grown nuclear industry – and even suggesting our own nuclear weapons – it is timely to revisit its consequences.

The Chernobyl death toll is highly contentious, from the absurdly low 31 following the initial blast trauma to 4000 (the conclusion of a joint consortium of the United Nations and the governments of UkraineBelarus, and Russia in 2005 and 2006) to 93,000 (Greenpeace’s prediction in 2006).
However, there is the study Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009, which covers more than 5000 medical and epidemiological papers from the Ukraine, Russia, Europe and Britain. It was authored by three noted scientists: Russian biologist Dr Alexey Yablokov, former environmental adviser to the Russian president; Dr Alexey Nesterenko, a biologist and ecologist in Belarus; and Dr Vassili Nesterenko, a physicist and, at the time of the accident, director of the Institute of Nuclear Energy of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

Their book – while the subject of both positive and negative reviews, and not peer-reviewed by Western standards – concludes some 985,000 people died prematurely, mainly of cancer, as a result of the Chernobyl accident. Despite its limitations, it “is a treasure trove of data that if taken as a whole is overwhelming”, according to the noted evolutionary biologist Tim Mousseau.

Millions were initially exposed to very high doses of radiation from short-lived isotopes. But the report indicates that medical effects will continue to impact millions of exposed people because 40 per cent of the European land mass is polluted , and will remain contaminated for thousands of years by long-lived isotopes – plutonium 239, 238 and 241, americium 241, cobalt 60 and technetium 132. Parts of Turkey and Britain also received high fallout, which affected their crops and livestock.

A large body of literature now records the medical impact. In Belarus and nearby regions, 90 per cent of children were once healthy, now only 20 per cent, says the Chernobyl study. A million children still live in highly radioactive areas.

The study reports ongoing abnormalities of the immune system led to increased cases of bacterial and fungal infections, chronic joint and bone pain, osteoporosis, periodontal disease and fractures. Strontium 90 and plutonium concentrate in bones and teeth.

Premature ageing with heart attacks, hypertension, strokes and type 2 diabetes and alopecia are recorded in children. Multiple endocrine abnormalities including diabetes, hypo and hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease, as well as menstrual disorders, have increased as cesium concentrates in endocrine organs and cardiac muscle.

Intellectual retardation was recorded in babies who were in utero at the time of the accident. A noted embryologist, Wladimir Werteleki, recorded high incidences of microcephaly and microphthalmia in babies and severe neural tube defects in the Polissia region of the Ukraine related to very high levels of cesium 137 and 134 in the food eaten by pregnant women. Increased incidence of congenital cataracts, retinal pathology and adult cataracts occur in many European countries.

The Chernobyl study indicated that thyroid carcinoma arose two to four years after the accident, in Belarus increasing to 7000 cases by 2000 and, despite surgery, 30 per cent were aggressive and had metastasised. Congenital thyroid cancer in newborns also was documented.

Increases in a wide range of cancers – including stomach, colon, bladder, pancreas, breast and leukemia – are still recorded in the Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Germany, the UK, Greece, Rumania and Europe.

Many thousands of children have been born with severe teratogenic deformities and homes around the Chernobyl area house hundreds of these children.

The Chernobyl study also found that of the 830,000 mainly young men known as ‘‘liquidators’’ – who were recruited from all over the Soviet Union to help clean up the contaminated area and were exposed to massive doses of radiation –112,000 to 125,000 died within the first 19 years.

Tim Mousseau has also conducted surveys of wildlife and birds in the exclusion zones, revealing genetic and chromosomal abnormalities, sterility in male swallows, small brains, tumours, and other anatomical abnormalities.

A huge and ill-informed debate persists about how many people have died as a result of Chernobyl. Sadly, the World Health Organisation has supported the International Atomic Energy Agency, which promotes nuclear power, in the estimate of about 4000 deaths related to Chernobyl.

Much of the data is more than a decade old. There is an urgent need for further extensive epidemiological studies on the exposed populations in Russia, the Ukraine, Europe, England, Turkey and other countries, and for treatment and support to be instituted for the many thousands of victims now and in the future. Because the long-lived radiological contamination of the soil and subsequent bio-concentration of the radioactive isotopes in the food chain will continue to poison children and adults for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Dr Helen Caldicott is an Australian physician, author and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which was among the international groups of doctors awarded the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | children, environment, health, history, Reference, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Dramatic rise in cancer rates in Basra, where depleted uranium weapons were used

Cancer hits Iraqi oil city of Basra,   https://menafn.com/1098716339/Cancer-hits-Iraqi-oil-city-of-Basra  MENAFN – Iraq Business News) By Mustafa Saadoun forAl Monitor 3 July 19, The deputy governor of Basra province, Zahra al-Bijari, claimed June 6 that cancer rates have been growing dramatically in the province as a result of pollution, both from oil production and from depleted uranium dust that a doctor says is causing “another Hiroshima.”
The province of Basra is registering 800 new cases of cancer per month, according to Iraq’s High Commission for Human Rights, which attributed the cause to ‘multiple reasons, including environmental pollutants, whether in the air such as emanating from oil combustion, in water and soil, and resulting from effects of war.’

July 4, 2019 Posted by | depleted uranium, health, Iraq | Leave a comment

Local fishermen saw the Russian nuclear submarine accident

Fishermen witnessed nuclear submarine drama, The sub quickly surfaced and there were subsequent signs of panic on the deck, the local fishermen say. The accident might have been caused by a gas explosion. Barents Observer, By  Atle Staalesen,July 03, 2019

They were out doing illegal fishing and do not want to reveal their names. But the men who late Monday evening were onboard a small local fishing boat off the coast of the Kola Peninsula told news agency SeverPost that they witnessed what appeared as a state of emergency.

Eye witnesses

It happened around 9.30 pm near the Ura Bay, one of the witnesses says.

«We were heading towards Kildin, and then, about half past nine in the evening, a submarine surfaces. Suddenly and completely surfaces. I have never seen anything like it in my life. On the deck, people were running around and making fuss,» he told SeverPost.

The fishermen hid in nearby bay from where they saw that a navy vessel and two tugs quickly arrived on site. Around 11 pm, the vessels accompanied the submarine away from the area. There was no sign of smoke, they say.

Other locals later reported that they saw bodies being taken out of the submarine and to an approaching ship.

A source in the Russian Navy later told SeverPost that the submarine seen by the local fishermen was most likely the «Podmoskovie», the mother vessel of the special purpose submarine «Losharik» (AS-31). The «Podmoskovie» is a rebuilt Delta-IV class submarine designed to carry the much smaller «Losharik».

Sources in the Navy on Tuesday told Russian media that the accident had happened in the «Losharik». …… https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/security/2019/07/fishermen-witnessed-nuclear-submarine-drama

 

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Russia’s nuclear submarine fire: what is known so far

What We Know About Russia’s Deadly Nuclear Sub Fire So Far https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/03/what-we-know-about-russias-deadly-nuclear-sub-fire-so-far-a66264 3 July 19   Fourteen sailors were killed in a fire on board a Russian Defense Ministry research vessel while carrying out a survey of the sea floor off Russia’s Arctic coast.

President Vladimir Putin has dispatched Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to Severomorsk, the Russian naval base on the Barents Sea where the submarine is now located, to find out what caused the incident and report back to him.

Here’s what we know so far:

— The incident took place on Monday — nearly a day before the news was released — in Russian territorial waters in the Barents Sea, Shoigu reported to Putin.

— The 14 sailors died of smoke inhalation, Shoigu told Putin late on Tuesday.

— He said the crew extinguished the fire “through their decisive action.”

— A Navy commission has been tasked with investigating the cause of the tragedy and a military branch of Russia’s Investigative Committee has openedan inquiry into the deaths.

— The Defense Ministry had informed Putin of the accident on the day it occurred, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

The submarine

— Russian officials have not commented on the type of vessel involved in the deadly fire.

— An unnamed source in the security forces told the RBC news website the incident took place on the AS-31, a secretive deep-sea nuclear submarine.

— Launched in 2003, the submarine nicknamed Losharik was designed for research, rescue and special military operations, and can hold up to 25 crew members. — It is made from a series of interconnected spheres, making it stronger than conventional submarine designs and allowing it to resist water pressure at great depths.

— Analysts believe the vessel is a key asset of GUGI, the Defense Ministry’s Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, and not part of the Russian Navy. St. Petersburg’s fontanka.ru news website and the Kommersant business daily reported that Losharik’s crew members allegedly belong to a military unit that reports to GUGI.

Casualties

— The Defense Ministry has not released the names of those on board the vessel.

— Putin noted that of the 14 casualties, seven held the rank of captain 1st rank and two had held the Hero of Russia award, the highest military honor issued in the post-Soviet period. — Shoigu confirmed that there were survivors, but did not specify how many. Anonymously sourced reports suggested four to five crew members survived the fire.

— RBC, citing social media, listed four names of possible casualties. They include the son of the military unit leader; a submarine commander who holds captain 1st rank and Hero of Russia; and a second captain 1st rank.

— An Orthodox cathedral in Murmansk, a city north of Severodvinsk, has listed 14 names in its announcement of a service “for the fallen seamen-submariners” on Wednesday evening.

Reactions

— Putin called the incident “a great loss for the [Northern] Fleet, and indeed for the Army.”

— Acting governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov and Murmansk region governor Andrey Chibis expressed their condolences to the victims. — “The Losharik incident will likely have a deep operational impact on [GUGI], given how advanced and relatively few these submarines are,” a former U.S. National Security Council staffer told the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news outlet.

— The United States has allegedly not received requests for assistance from the Russian government, a U.S. 6th Fleet spokesperson told the U.S. Naval Institute’s USNI News website.— Norwegian officials said they had been in touch with their Russian counterparts and were monitoring, but had not detected abnormally high levels of radiation.

— Colleagues around the world, including the U.S., will mourn the loss of 14 Russian sailors because of a “special bond between all submariners,” wroteWashington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan.

Past accidents

— This is the largest accident to take place on a Defense Ministry submarine since 2008, when a freon gas leak on the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa killed 20 and injured 21.

— In August 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank to the floor of the Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard. That accident, soon after Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been underfunded and neglected after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Nuclear power – unsustainable – half Scotland’s reactors offline – but renewables supplying the load

The simple reason why nuclear power is finished – Dr Richard Dixon https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/the-simple-reason-why-nuclear-power-is-finished-dr-richard-dixon-1-4957211

Half of Scotland’s nuclear reactors are off-line over safety concerns, but the lights still stayed on, writes Dr Richard Dixon. July 3  2019

Nuclear power is the ultimate unsustainable form of energy. For some electricity today, we are leaving a thousand generations of future humans dangerous radioactive waste.

During the 1990s public inquiry into the Hinkley Point C nuclear station, I saw a poster showing a Roman legionary standing outside a nuclear plant and carrying the message “If the Romans had had nuclear power, we would still be guarding the waste”.

I thought it was terribly clever but it took me quite a while to realise that Roman Britain was far too close at hand. To cover the generally accepted 25,000 years, it would need to have referred to Cro-Magnon humans.

The politics of Scotland mean that new reactors here are almost unthinkable and the price of the renewable energy alternatives has fallen so far below the cost of nuclear that you would have to be crazy to go for new nuclear.

Labour’s Jack McConnell was the First Minister who said he would block new nuclear plants until there was a solution to the waste problem (14 years later, there is none). And while it is in the SNP’s DNA to oppose nuclear power. EDF and some unions do still try to lobby Scottish Ministers and officials, but to no avail. Meanwhile the industry is doing a great job of showing how terrible a bet nuclear is.

The nuclear industry is almost unique in that every new reactor costs more than the last, while everything else gets cheaper, including offshore wind power which is now coming in at just over half the price of nuclear for a unit of energy.

Hinkley Point C, the only nuclear station under construction in the UK, was supposed to be cooking the Christmas turkey in 2017. It is now expected to be producing electricity at the end of 2025 at the earliest. The only way it could be built was for the UK Government to agree that electricity consumers would pay bills well over the odds for the next 35 years.

The same sort of reactor is being built in Finland. It may start producing electricity next year – 11 years late. The other one of the same design is in France and is currently running 12 years late, at twice the original budget.

The latest wheeze the industry has come up with is to ask the UK Government to agree to pay any costs more than 30 per cent above the original budget for any more reactors. Not a good bet given their history.

Of course we already have four reactors in Scotland. The two at Torness are the second newest in the UK, having been opened by Margaret Thatcher in 1989. The two at Hunterston in Ayrshire are already well past their sell-by date, having started up in 1976. They were supposed to have closed in 2006 but have had three extensions with planned closure now in 2023. Because of a large number of cracks in their cores one reactor stopped generating in March last year and the other in October. Owners EDF are arguing with regulators about whether they can safely restart.

Did you notice the lights going out across Scotland with Hunterston not producing a single electron for eight months? No, thanks largely to renewables having a record first quarter of 2019 and supplying nine out of ten households in Scotland.

We certainly don’t need new nuclear and, with renewables rapidly on the rise, we should not take the unnecessary risk of starting up the Hunterston reactors ever again.

Dr Richard Dixon is director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear power projects not economically viable, and adding to global warming

Nuclear power is helping to drive the climate crisis, Guardian, 3 July 19  Linda Rogers says the CBI has its head in the sand over nuclear reactors and Iain Climie wants politicians prepared to fund action to combat the climate emergency

Has the Confederation of British Industry got its head in the sand, or in the record levels of carbon-intensive concrete just poured at the Hinkley C nuclear site (Build more nuclear reactors to help climate crisis, says CBI, 28 June)? Nuclear power, apart from destroying biodiversity throughout its life cycle, produces up to 37 times the CO2 emissions of renewable energy sources, owing partly to the mining and refining of uranium. The impact of this process on people and the environment is not included in the rationale for nuclear power in the UK.

As the CBI looks for investment from abroad, UK taxpayers will pick up the bill for the likely time and cost overruns of new nuclear build under the regulated asset-based funding proposals so welcomed by the CBI. Nuclear has failed to achieve the investment needed so far because it is no longer seen as economically viable. Even Hitachi (one of the world’s largest multinationals) cannot magic Wylfa Newydd into a commercially viable business. In January this year, Hitachi announced it had failed to squeeze the UK government for the very high levels of subsidies desired by large investors upfront for Wylfa. Nobody can afford the costs or the many risks attached to building new nuclear power stations.
Linda Rogers

July 4, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Weapons and the 2020 USA Presidential Candidates

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The Other Existential Threat: Nuclear Weapons & the 2020 Presidential Campaign https://blog.ucsusa.org/sean-meyer/nuclear-weapons-candidates-primaries

SEAN MEYER, | JULY 3, 2019   The 2020 presidential campaign kicked off in earnest with last week’s Miami debates, and many of the “high profile” topics were covered: climate change, immigration, gun control. One topic was a little more unexpected: nuclear weapons. On the first night, three of the ten candidates on stage said nuclear weapons or the threat of nuclear war is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the United States.

This should not be surprising: recent polling shows that in key primary states, including New Hampshire and Iowa, over 80% of respondents want to know what candidates think about nuclear weapons. We also know from recent national polling that more than 80% of people support arms control treaties with Russia.

Unfortunately, current US policies put the public at danger from nuclear use. Today, the United States retains the right to use nuclear weapons first in a crisis and maintains hundreds of land-based missiles on hair trigger alert. New, more usable nuclear weapons are being developed as part of a trillion-dollar plan to re-build and maintain the entire nuclear arsenal (a proposal mind you that dates to the Obama administration). For its part, the Trump administration has pulled out of crucial nuclear agreements that have kept us safe, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and seems poised to walk away from the New START Treaty as well.

These kinds of policies should be a major topic of discussion among candidates in the 2020 election, and candidates are already being asked about their positions on the campaign trail. Their responses and comments show a range of thought and understanding on the topic. You can see videos of the conversations with the presidential candidates about nuclear weapons on our YouTube channel.We’ll keep adding videos to this channel as members of the public and activists around the country continue to have these conversations with the candidates in the months ahead.

Indeed, voters have a critical role to play by raising the profile of these discussions and helping to elevate this important conversation and debate—both within our communities and online.

Nuclear weapons and climate change are the two existential threats facing humanity. They are serious. They are growing. They are urgent.  And our country and leaders must act—before it’s too late.

So that’s where “we the people” come in. Let’s educate others. Let’s raise our voices. Let’s insist that those who wish to lead our country do just that—lead us on a path that reduces the risks these horrible weapons pose.

The Union of Concerned Scientists aims to increase public discussion about the use of nuclear weapons; we are posting these videos to highlight such discussion by candidates for president. As a 501c3 nonpartisan organization, UCS does not support or oppose any candidate for election.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Dark money and the planned nuclear power bailout in Ohio

Who paid all that money to buy all those nuclear bailout ads raining on Ohio? https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/07/02/who-paid-all-money-buy-all-those-nuclear-bailout-ads-ohio-house-bill-6/1443145001/

Josh Goad, Cincinnati Enquirer  July 3, 2019 If you’re an Ohioan with a TV or radio, you’ve probably heard about a nuclear power bailout bill that lawmakers are considering in Columbus. But what you can’t find out is exactly how much money is being spent on those ads – or who originally gave the money for them.


House Bill 6
 seeks to tax Ohioans 80 cents a month through their utility bill to bailout First Energy Solutions’ nuclear power plants in Northern Ohio. Critics say the bill, which also will boost costs for commercial and industrial customers, will discourage the use of renewable energy for businesses across the state. Proponents say the bill will help Ohio stay energy independent and keep badly needed jobs in the communities around the plants.

The bill, which has the backing of powerful House Speaker Larry Householder, triggered up to $8.3 million in ads and other campaign spending, published estimates show. For comparison, a record $45 million was spent in the 2018 Ohio gubernatorial race.

Yet an Enquirer analysis of ad purchases for and against House Bill 6 and reported to the Federal Communications Commission shows just $2.7 million in sales. The Cincinnati market, the state’s third largest, was the leader in ads on the bailout bill.

Why the gap between the $2.7 million hard figure and the $8.3 million estimate? Some broadcasters, including Cincinnati’s WCPO-TV, are choosing not to post billings for the ads – and under FCC rules, they don’t have to do so.

The big money behind the bill hasn’t been reserved for ads this year. Groups allied with Householder put $800,000 into ads for Ohio’s 2018 campaigns, boosting candidates who put Householder into the speaker’s seat. A couple of the winning candidates also are key sponsors of House Bill 6.

But donors behind the campaign money, and for many of the ads you’ve seen about the bill, can’t be pinpointed.

The money backing the bill primarily started with a 501(c)(4) or “dark money” organization called Generation Now that doesn’t have to list donors. Generation Now then gave to a political action committee, which must disclose donors. So while it’s clear which candidates got the “dark money” boosting the nuke plant bailout went, it’s uncertain who originally contributed it or the money that bought airtime.

Who runs Generation Now and is on its board isn’t clear. But the Columbus address of a longtime Householder adviser, Jeff Longstreth, is listed as the principal office in documents filed to the Ohio Secretary of State. So far, the 501(c)(4) hasn’t filed paperwork with the IRS – a step that such nonprofits seeking to stay in existence take. Paperwork that’s normally filed with broadcasters, listing the board members of groups airing political ads also is missing.

How much is being spent?

Generation Now has spent over $1.9 million on ads supporting House Bill 6, documents filed with the FCC show. This is out of around $2.7 million reported being spent on ads across Ohio on the proposal.

First Energy, which owns the plants being bailed out, backs the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance. The alliance has spent around $275,000 on ads in support of the bill and has stuck to Facebook for distribution.

The opposition to House Bill 6 has put $400,000 into its ads. The total from Ohio Consumers Power Alliance, American Energy Action and Ohioans Against Nuke Bailout compares to the roughly $1.3 million Generation Now has spent in Cincinnati alone.

Why isn’t all the spending being reported?

The FCC requires stations to make ad spending records available for the public record, but only if the ads are focused on a specific candidate or a national issue. State and local issues are not on the short list of requirements. 

Some stations choose to file everything for the sake of transparency. Others don’t.

FCC public inspection files show 41 stations in markets across Ohio – Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland-Akron, Toledo, Zanesville and Wheeling-Steubenville – were contacted by Generation Now or other interested parties because they are required to file such contracts by FCC rules.

But 13 stations, including every commercial TV broadcaster in Dayton, did not report how much Generation Now and other organizations spent on ads.

Where did the money come from?

‘Dark money’ is inherently difficult to track. While we don’t know the source, the money can be followed when it changes hands. 

Other than the money Generation Now spent in 2019 on ads, the nonprofit also donated over $1 million to the Growth & Opportunity PAC in 2018. The political action committee is based in Lexington, Kentucky, but operates throughout the Midwest.

According to documents filed with the FEC, the PAC only raised around $1.1 million in 2018. Almost all of that money would go on to pay for ads for Ohio Republican candidates during the midterm elections. Though Generation Now did not directly pay for those ads, it did provide the majority of funds necessary through three sizable donations to the PAC.

When the donations were made last year, Generation Now and the PAC had something in common: A treasurer from Dinsmore Agent Co, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based law firm Dinsmore and Shohl.

Eric Lycan, the treasurer and former lawyer at Dinsmore’s Lexington office, would have overseen the donation. He still serves as the treasurer for both the organization and the PAC, and several documents filed to the FEC include his Dinsmore email address. 

The only Ohio-based organization that is easily traceable is Ohio Citizen Action, founded in Cleveland in 1976. Through its education fund, Ohio Citizen Action created the Ohio Consumers Power Alliance, who has paid for $8,000 in anti-House Bill 6 ads.

As nonprofits, Ohio Citizens Action and its education fund report their annual revenues to the IRS but not their donors. The last available filing for the education fund was for 2017, which was posted in January 2019. 

Where did the ‘dark money’ go?

Reps. Jamie Callender, R-Concord, and Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, both primary sponsors of House Bill 6, directly benefited from the ads purchased by the Growth & Opportunity PAC.

Of the 22 Republican candidates that received either mail or radio ads, 19 would go on to win a seat in the House. Callender received more in ad spending than any other winning candidate, with $93,000 spent on seven different ad buys.

Householder also had nearly $50,000 worth of ads paid for by the PAC during his election to his Southeast Ohio seat. Another $25,000 was donated directly to Householder by FirstEnergy’s PAC.

Karen Kasler, of public radio’s Statehouse News Bureau, asked Householder earlier this year if House Bill 6 was a priority to him because of his connections to Eric Lycan and the Growth & Opportunity PAC.

It’s a priority bill for me because I’ve always cared about the energy in the state of Ohio,” said Householder. “I’ll tell you who’s paying for these ads: it’s working men and women from Ohio, who want to save their jobs and it’s Ohio corporations, headquartered in Ohio, that want to stay here. That’s who’s paying for it.”

Why is ‘dark money’ hard to track?

It can be as simple as Generation Now, and other dark money groups, not filing the appropriate paperwork to the IRS.  If a tax-exempt organization doesn’t file for three consecutive years, it loses its status. Since Generation Now was incorporated in January 2017, the three-year deadline is approaching. 

Though Householder says that hardworking men and women donated money to the organization, Generation Now doesn’t have a donation portal on its website.

While reaching out to Generation Now for comment, Curt Steiner, CEO of Columbus-based Steiner Public Relations, answered instead. He said that he represents Generation Now and that he couldn’t speak on why there is no donation portal. 

Why have the ads run recently?

Many of the ads about House Bill 6 played on Ohio’s airwaves talked about getting the bill passed before the end of June.

Some of the ads feature an ominous voice talking about what Ohio’s future might look like under the bill, others showcase somebody who talks about their life and what FirstEnergy has done for them.

So why the deadline for passage? FirstEnergy Solutions needed to know whether to place an order for $52 million worth of fuel for one of its nuclear power plants. It takes months for such an order to be filled.

Action on FirstEnergy Solutions restructuring plan, filed through the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, has been posted four times, moves that a FirstEnergy spokeswoman described as “not unusual.” 

Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, told Statehouse reporters on Saturday he isn’t worried about the delayed fuel purchase.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with (FirstEnergy) going back several months about what the timeline was and there’s always been a little bit of flexibility,” Obhof said.

Meanwhile, House Bill 6 is still awaiting a vote in the Ohio Senate.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Russian commentators criticise secrecy on details of nuclear submarine accident

Critics Accuse Russia of Covering Up Nuclear Sub Fire, Compare to Chernobyl.  https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/03/critics-accuse-russia-of-covering-up-nuclear-sub-fire-compare-to-chernobyl-a66267 3 July 19       Russian commentators have challenged officials for not releasing full details about an accident on board a military submarine that killed 14 sailors.

The incident took place on Monday, according to the Defense Ministry, but was not officially disclosed until late on Tuesday. Nearly two days on, there was still no word on whether the submarine was nuclear-powered.

Some Russian media accused officials of starving the public of details and drew parallels with the dearth of official information during the meltdown of a Soviet nuclear reactor in Chernobyl in 1986.

The type of vessel was not specified by the ministry and there were few details of the circumstances beyond the fact that it had been in Russian territorial waters and the fire had been extinguished.

“Absolutely nothing is known at the moment — who, what… I don’t understand one thing: why did a day go by and only then did they make the statement about the deceased?” said Yevgeny Buntman, an anchor for the Ekho Moskvy radio station. “Why don’t we know their names? Is this normal?”

The Bell, a news site often critical of the government, wrote: “Nearly a day without information about the accident in a nuclear facility and the need to look out for Norwegian statements about the level of radiation should have given a shudder to those who remember the Chernobyl nuclear power station.”

Secret sub   Norway’s authorities said on Tuesday they had not detected any abnormal radiation.

Asked on Wednesday if the vessel had a nuclear reactor on board, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov referred the question to the Defense Ministry.

He told reporters in a conference call that details of the submarine were classified, but that information had been provided in good time. Several hours before the official statement, blogger Yevgeny Karpov reported a fire on a vessel belonging to the Northern Fleet, but he then took down the report at the fleet’s request, he told the Meduza news site.

The fire is one of the deadliest submarine accidents since August 2000, when the nuclear-powered Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea, killing all 118 men aboard.

Authorities then, and in particular President Vladimir Putin, who was at the beginning of now almost two decades as president or prime minister, came under fire for their slow response and shortcomings in the rescue operation.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | media, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub

14 Russian Sailors Killed in Fire on Nuclear Sub  https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/07/02/14-russian-sailors-killed-in-fire-on-nuclear-sub-reports-a66257  3 July 19 Fourteen submariners on board a Russian Defense Ministry research vessel were killed in a fire while carrying out a survey of the sea floor off Russia’s Arctic coast, the ministry was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

The incident took place on the AS-31 deep-sea nuclear submarine nicknamed Losharik, an unnamed source in the security forces told the RBC news website. Launched in 2003, Losharik was designed for research, rescue and special military operations and can hold up to 25 crew members.

The fire broke out at 8:30 p.m. on Monday, RBC cited its source as saying, nearly a day before the ministry released the news. “On July 1 in Russian territorial waters a fire broke out on board a deep-water scientific research vessel that was studying the marine environment of the world ocean on behalf of the Russian navy,” Interfax cited a ministry statement as saying.

“Fourteen submariners died as the result of smoke inhalation … Work is underway to establish the cause of the incident. The investigation is being conducted by the commander-in-chief of the navy.”

The fire has been extinguished and the submarine is now at the Russian Northern Fleet’s base in Severomorsk on the Barents Sea, Interfax quoted the ministry as saying. The statement as cited by the agencies did not identify the type or model of the underwater vessel.

This is the largest accident to take place on a Defense Ministry submersible since 2008, when a freon gas leak on the nuclear-powered submarine Nerpa killed 20 and injured 21.

In August 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered submarine Kursk sank to the floor of Barents Sea after two explosions in its bow, killing all 118 men aboard.That accident, soon after President Vladimir Putin took office, focused official attention on the state of the military and its hardware, which had been subject to underfunding and neglect after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Putin has overseen a massive increase in military funding that has allowed the armed forces to renew their equipment and improve training and morale.

However, accidents have continued to happen as the military, used by the Kremlin to project its growing international muscle, has ramped up its activities and extended into new theatres of operation.

In December 2016, a Russian military plane carrying 92 people, including dozens of Red Army Choir singers, crashed into the Black Sea en route to Syria where Russian forces are deployed. Everyone on board was killed.

July 4, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Is Holtec Orrvilon in Hong Kong a Holtec International Shell Company? What is its Purpose? Holtec Orrvilon is in Ohio! — Mining Awareness +

Is this a Holtec Hong Kong shell company? Orrvilon is in Ohio. So, for what purpose does this Hong Kong company exist? Why Orrvilon Delaware? Delaware is often called a tax haven, due to its secretive nature. Hopefully New Jersey investigators will find the answer to these questions. https://opencorporates.com/companies/hk/2299149 https://opencorporates.com/companies/hk/2299149 Orrvilon is in Orrville, Ohio, […]

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Was Holantic Holdings in Cyprus a Holtec International Shell Company? For What Purpose Did It Exist? — Mining Awareness +

Was this a Holtec Cyprus shell company? For what purpose did it exist? Hopefully New Jersey will figure this one out in their investigations. https://opencorporates.com/companies/cy/HE184324 http://pogoarchives.org/m/nss/mf/ig-interview-bongrazio-20080206.pdf Holtec is a privately held company, and no one knows much about it. And, yet it has a near monopoly on high level nuclear waste canisters for the United […]

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