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The Myths, the Silence, and the Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons in Existence — limitless life

The Myths, the Silence, and the Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons in Existence By David Swanson, http://davidswanson.org/the-myths-the-silence-and-the-propaganda-that-keep-nuclear-weapons-in-existence/ Remarks in Poulsbo, Washington, August 4, 2019 This week, 74 years ago, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were each hit with a single nuclear bomb that had the power of a third to a half of what […]

via The Myths, the Silence, and the Propaganda That Keep Nuclear Weapons in Existence — limitless life

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear power will ‘lumber into extinction,’ ex-regulator says

STEVE SEBELIUS: Nuclear power will ‘lumber into extinction,’ ex-regulator says,    By Steve Sebelius August 3, 2019  For Gregory Jaczko, the nuclear power question comes down to a basic quandary: For a nuclear reactor to be designed, built and operated safely, it has to be small, too small to make it useful as a commercial source of electricity.And given that other, less complicated and risky sources of renewable energy are available, spending time and money on solving the large-scale nuclear issue isn’t necessary, he argues.

Jaczko’s conclusions are controversial, especially in the energy industry, where he ruffled feathers as a former member and chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But Jaczko, who holds a doctoral degree in theoretical particle physics from the University of Madison-Wisconsin, is convinced the equation is relatively simple.

“The longer you operate nuclear power plants, the more accidents are going to happen,” he said. “The more power plants you upgrade, the more accidents you’re going to have.”……

Jaczko, whose rocky tenure atop the NRC is discussed in his book, “Confessions of a Rogue Nuclear Regulator,” documents his opinions carefully, and suggests that even if nuclear plants could be designed more safely to avoid catastrophic accidents, the expense wouldn’t be worth it because of the availability of cheaper, renewable alternatives such as solar power, wind farms, geothermal plants and the like.

“Today, there’s not a debate anymore because you can solve the climate problem without nuclear,” he said. “So you don’t have to deal with any of these other issues anymore. And you can solve them with things that are cheaper. They do not create the same kinds of challenges.”

And the challenges aren’t just in designing, building and operating nuclear plants safely, or in finding a way to dispose of or reuse the spent fuel from those reactors. They’re also political, he says.

“In hindsight, the Fukushima incident revealed what has long been the sad truth about nuclear safety: the nuclear power industry has developed too much control over the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and Congress,” Jaczko writes in his book. “In the aftermath of the accident, I found myself moving from my role as a scientist impressed by nuclear power to a fierce nuclear safety advocate. I now believe that nuclear power is more hazardous than it is worth.”

Other countries are moving away from nuclear power: Countries such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy have decided to phase out nuclear power, although it remains the largest source of power in France. After the Fukushima disaster, Japan shut down all of its nuclear power plants, although some have since been restarted.

China, however, is building new plants and adding to its overall nuclear capacity.

Jaczko also makes the point that continued use of nuclear power puts pressure on regulators and the government to find a place to dispose of spent nuclear fuel. Currently, there’s only one target, the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada, which has seen renewed interest from Republicans during the Trump administration.

But that site has long been opposed by most state officials out of concerns about safety, concerns that have been increased after recent California earthquakes. Not only that, but revelations that the government secretly shipped plutonium for temporary storage to the Nevada National Security Site, and may have mixed in reactive waste products with lower-level waste in other shipments, have stirred serious concerns among Nevada officials.

“As waste piles up, we leave behind dangerous materials that later generations will eventually have to confront,” Jaczko wrote in his book. “The short-term solution — leaving it where it is — can certainly be accomplished with minimal hazard to the public. But such solutions require active maintenance and monitoring by a less-than-willing industry.”

He adds: “There is only one logical answer: We must stop generating nuclear waste, and that means we must stop using nuclear power. I wish that as chairman (of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) I’d had the courage to say this, but my courage had its limits. I knew the backlash that would come if the chairman of the NRC were to admit our country should stop producing nuclear power.”

But now, like many former elected officials or political appointees, he’s freed from the shackles that responsibility imposed upon his candor. He predicts that nuclear power will “lumber into extinction” in favor of cheaper, safer, cleaner and more readily viable technologies and that “we will likely begin to think of electricity much as we do hot water; as something we make in our homes on demand.”

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter.   https://www.reviewjournal.com/opinion/opinion-columns/steve-sebelius/steve-sebelius-nuclear-power-will-lumber-into-extinction-ex-regulator-says-1818297/

August 5, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | 2 Comments

Japan’s govt urges Fukushima evacuees to return – in drive to promote 2020 Olympics

Expert says 2020 Tokyo Olympics unsafe due to Fukushima | 60 Minutes

Fukushima: Despite health threats, the Japanese government urges residents to return https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1161500/fukushima-japanese-government-encourages-residents-returnFAMILIES who fled nuclear meltdown in Fukushima are being urged to return to their homes ahead of the Tokyo Olympics., By DAVID PILDITCH, Aug 4, 2019  Alarming levels of radiation up to 20 times higher than official safety targets have been recorded in areas where locals are being encouraged to go back. We found ghost towns eight years after three reactors went into meltdown at Daiichi power plant 140 miles north east of Tokyo in March 2011. Tokyo 2020 is being hailed as the “Reconstruction Olympics” signalling new hope following the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster and left more than 18,000 people dead.

Now evacuees are being urged to return as the global spotlight focuses on the recovery of the region. The government has lifted most evacuation orders and all but a handful of hot spots have been declared safe. 

But parents believe their children are in danger, saying officials are downplaying the dangers and safety is compromised in a cynical attempt to convince the world the crisis is over.

Families have accused the government of speeding up their return to showcase safety standards ahead of the Olympics.

We found once-vibrant communities now post apocalyptic wastelands like something from a Hollywood movie after the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Schools, shopping malls, supermarkets, libraries and petrol stations lie decaying along with thousands of homes. Many are set behind guarded barricades in exclusion areas known officially as “difficult to return to zones”.

Others lie in areas which the government says are safe to live in but whose few residents – wild boar and monkeys – demonstrate signs of mutation. Along roadsides sit giant black bags containing contaminated soil.

In Tomioka, five miles from the power plant, a school sports hall is scattered with footballs left when children fled.

It’s in stark contrast to arenas being built for the £20billion Games. Fukushima is hosting the first event, a softball match on July 22, two days before the opening ceremony.

The Japanese leg of the torch relay starts on March 26 at a soccer training centre 12 miles south of the crippled plant. The J Village, a base for emergency workers, only fully reopened last month.

In Okuma our Geiger counter sounded furiously, recording four microsieverts an hour. The government safety target is 0.23 microsieverts per hour.

It came days after evacuation orders were lifted for parts of the town which had 10,000 residents. The centre remains a no-go zone and just 367 former residents have registered to go back.

Ayako Oga, 46, who suffered a miscarriage, says: “The Olympics are putting lives in danger. The government is forcing people to leave the public homes they have been in. They are putting a heavy burden on people still suffering mentally and financially.”

In Namie, which had 21,000 residents, evacuation orders were lifted in 2017. It is said 800 people returned but we found desolation, only traffic lights working.

The Wild Boar bar last served a drink on disaster day. Owner Sumio Konno, in a group legal action against the government, says his son, who was five, still suffers nosebleeds. “He is sick all the time,” he says. “Every month he needs to go to the doctor.”

Ryohei Kataoka, of the Citizens Nuclear Information Centre, says: “The government’s insistence in lifting evacuation orders where heightened radiation-related health risks undeniably exist, is a campaign to show that Fukushima is ‘back to normal’ and to try to make Japan and the world forget the accident ever happened.”

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Another French nuclear plant having difficulties due to hot weather, and poor river flow

Reuters 3rd Aug 2019 French utility EDF may curb power generation at its 3,000 megawatt Chooz nuclear reactor in the north of France due to the low flow rate of the
Meuse river which it uses to cool the two reactors at the plant. “Due to
flow forecasts of Meuse river, production restrictions are likely to affect
EDF’s nuclear generating fleet on Chooz production units starting
Thursday August 8,” the company said. EDF’s use of water from rivers as
coolant is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life. It is obliged
to reduce output during hot weather when water temperatures rise, or when
river levels are low.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-fr

August 5, 2019 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

M6.4 earthquake hits Fukushima – more quakes likely to come

M6.4 quake hits Japan’s Fukushima, no reports of major damage   https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/08/749a3bf09b4c-breaking-news-m62-quake-hits-off-japans-fukushima-weather-agency.html

 KYODO NEWS  An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 hit Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Fukushima and its surrounding areas on Sunday, but there is no danger of a tsunami, the weather agency said.

The epicenter of the quake, which occurred at around 7:23 p.m. at a depth of about 45 kilometers, was out at sea off the prefecture, the agency said.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties, according to authorities.

No abnormalities were found at nuclear power plants in the region, including both Fukushima Daiichi and Daini, according to their operators.

The quake registered lower 5 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, and Ishinomaki and Watari, both in Miyagi Prefecture, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

An official at the agency, speaking at a press conference, cautioned that quakes of similar intensity could hit the region over the following week or so.

The agency first announced the magnitude was 6.2 and the depth of the epicenter was 50 km, but later revised them to 6.4 and 45 km.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Senator Elizabeth Warren causes a stir with her proposal for a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons

Warren’s pledge to avoid first nuclear strike sparks intense pushback, The Hill

Republicans slammed the proposal as sending a dangerous signal to both allies and enemies about a lack of U.S. resolve — previewing a potential attack line from President Trump should the two face off in the general election.

Some Democrats do back the idea. But others say a “no first use” policy like the one Warren proposed is too simplistic for a complex world……

The United States has long reserved the right to be the first country to launch a nuclear weapon in a conflict.

Former President Obama reportedly thought of declaring a no first use policy toward the end of his tenure, but was talked out of it by advisors who argued it would worry allies and embolden adversaries.

“No first use. To reduce the chances of a miscalculation or an accident, and to maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world, we must be clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal,” she said in a November foreign policy speech.

Arms control advocates hold that declaring a no first use policy would improve U.S. national security by lowering the risk for miscalculation.

Warren made no first use a key part of her foreign policy early on in her run.

The speech was delivered before she officially jumped in the race but was considered an early sign she was running.

In January, she introduced the Senate version of a bill to make no first use official U.S. policy. The bill has six co-sponsors, including follow presidential contenders Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), a longtime no first use advocate, also introduced the bill in the lower chamber. The House version has 35 co-sponsors, including presidential candidates Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio.).

Only Warren, though, was asked to defend the policy at this week’s Democratic debates.

“We don’t expand trust around the world by saying, ‘You know, we might be the first ones to use a nuclear weapon,’” Warren said Tuesday night from the stage in Detroit.

“That puts the entire world at risk and puts us at risk, right in the middle of this,” she said.

She also noted that Trump’s policies, including pulling out of a nuclear deal with Iran, had gotten the world “closer and closer to nuclear warfare.”

“We have to have an announced policy that is one the entire world can live with,” she concluded……..

n response to criticism of the policy, Warren’s campaign sent The Hill seven tweets and articles from nonproliferation advocates in support of Warren. The support included former Defense Secretary William Perry, who tweeted that “our nuclear arsenal is intended to deter a nuclear attack, not to initiate a nuclear war.”

Warren campaign spokeswoman Saloni Sharma added that “our bill sends a clear signal to the world that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal.” https://thehill.com/policy/defense/456006-warrens-pledge-to-avoid-first-nuclear-strike-sparks-intense-pushback

August 5, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran can follow the Israeli nuclear example, or the Egyptian one

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Iran, politics | Leave a comment

NuScale’s Small Modular Nuclear power is too risky

NuScale nuclear power is too risky,  [artist’s model above]  https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/letters/2019/08/04/letter-nuscale-nuclear/    By Robert Goodman | The Public Forum, 4 Aug 19, NuScale’s nuclear power project is too much of a financial and environmental risk when there are cleaner energy alternatives.

Not only will NuScale’s virtually untested nuclear technology be an estimated 40% more costly than renewable energy portfolios, the project in Idaho Falls, Idaho, will also likely go exceedingly over budget.

Many recent nuclear projects nationwide have resulted in extreme cost overruns and project cancellations, the burden of which has often fallen on ratepayers. For instance, ratepayers in South Carolina will end up owing more than $6,000, to be paid in monthly installments for the next four decades for a failed nuclear power plant. And just this year, the Department of Energy gave $3.7 billion in taxpayer money to the ailing Southern Co.’s nuclear power project near Waynesboro, Ga.

Yes, UAMPS has promised a rate cap in order to protect ratepayers. But if the new, first-of-a-kind project goes over budget, will that rate cap stay? Will NuScale Power, an Oregon-based LLC, step up and pay the extra expense?

City officials in UAMPS districts should look beyond NuScale Power’s promotional presentations and consider economically competitive, safer and more sustainable energy portfolios through a more transparent, independent and robust procurement process.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | 3 Comments

Bernie Sanders supports Elizabeth Warren’s ‘no first use’ nuclear policy 

Sanders backs Warren after Liz Cheney attacks ‘no first use’ nuclear policy   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/03/bernie-sanders-elizabeth-warren-liz-cheney-nuclear-no-first-use  

Sanders rejects ‘national security advice from a Cheney’
Congresswoman is daughter of Iraq war architect Dick Cheney  
Lois Beckett @loisbeckett 4 Aug 2019  Bernie Sanders has defended his rival for the Democratic presidential 2020 nomination, Elizabeth Warren, after her policy against pre-emptive use of America’s nuclear weapons was attacked by the daughter of one of the architects of the Iraq war.

Warren reiterated her support for a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons during the second round of Democratic presidential debates this week.

“It makes the world safer,” the Massachusetts senator said during the debate. “The United States is not going to use nuclear weapons pre-emptively, and we need to say so to the entire world.”

Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, attacked Warren’s policy on Twitter, asking “which American cities and how many American citizens are you willing to sacrifice with your policy of forcing the US to absorb a nuclear attack before we can strike back?”

Cheney is the daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, a key advocate of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies.

The Bush administration’s primary justification for the pre-emptive war, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that his regime presented an escalating threat, was discredited after the invasion.

The war in Iraq, now in its 16th year, has resulted in an estimated 200,000 documented civilian deaths from violence, according to Iraq Body Count, although estimates vary widely, particularly estimates that factor in hundreds of thousands of additional war-related civilian deaths. More than 4,000 members of the US military have been killed.

“Taking national security advice from a Cheney has already caused irreparable damage to our country,” Sanders wrote on Friday, in response to Cheney’s attack on Warren.

The Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was 13 years old when the Iraq war began in 2003, also responded to Cheney’s attack on Warren, criticizing Cheney for offering hawkish foreign policy advice “as if an entire generation hasn’t lived through the Cheneys sending us into war since we were kids”.

August 5, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment