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Burevestnik, SKYFALL nuclear weapons – “of course, it’s a dick-measuring contest,”

The Absurd Strategy Behind Russia’s Nuclear Explosion, A radioactive mess near the Arctic Circle suggests our next superpower arms race will be even more foolish than the last one. New Republic , By ANKIT PANDA, August 22, 2019, The United States and Russia are entering a new arms race, and the costs aren’t just monetary. On August 8, Russian civilians around the remote village of Nyonoksa found themselves downwind of a military nuclear propulsion experiment gone wrong in the White Sea, just outside the Arctic Circle. According to the Russian ministry of defense, a liquid propellant rocket engine had gone awry and exploded.

The exact sort of weapon Russia may have been testing is unknown, but the balance of evidence points to a probable culprit: the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile. Nuclear nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis and his team of researchers out in Monterey, California, have done much of the work in compiling this evidence, which includes the presence of a nuclear fuel carrier ship that was known to have been involved in recovery efforts after a previous failed test of the missile. Known in NATO countries as the SSC-X-9 SKYFALL, the Burevestnik’s atomic propulsion is said by Russian state media to give the missile “almost unlimited range, non-predictable trajectory and high air defense penetration capacity.”……..

In the end, much of what may be driving investment and research on this weapon—beyond Putin’s chest-thumping—may be the sprawling and influential Russian defense bureaucracy. (Overspending on exotic military systems is not an exceptionally American trait.)

That’s the shaky strategic logic behind it. But the common-sense logic, as the radioactive Nyonoksa explosion shows, is even less kind. If a nuclear-powered cruise missile sounds exotic and a little dangerous, that’s because it is. Missiles go boom—usually intentionally, but often enough not—and whatever nuclear power source they might be using onboard wouldn’t be immune.

There’s still little consensus among American experts about how exactly the Burevestnik might leverage nuclear power for propulsion. If you thought nuclear fission weapons were complex, nuclear rocket propulsion is more arcane and mysterious still. In the 1950s and 1960s, U.S. scientists drafted fanciful plans to give missiles nuclear engines, on the assumption that they’d be able to fly longer and farther than any weapon yet conceived. But the Americans eventually gave up; the technical challenges and environmental risks weren’t worth it. The Russians haven’t given up just yet, but they may someday…..

For the Russian leadership, a weapon like Burevestnik is a prestige project, a way to set Moscow apart from its competition……

Of course, Donald Trump couldn’t stomach another head of state flaunting his fancy rocket. The president tweeted on August 12 that the United States has “similar, though more advanced, technology.”  As nuclear chemist Cheryl Rofer observed, this was a rare tweet by Trump’s standards: one that criticized Russia. “And of course, it’s a dick-measuring contest,” Rofer added. (Trump’s done this before, chiding North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Twitter over the size of his “nuclear button.”) To the extent he grasps the salient issues, it’s likely the president has already asked Pentagon officials why the United States doesn’t have a nuclear-propelled cruise missile of its own.

A spokesperson for the Kremlin was blasé about the Nyonoksa explosion, stating that “accidents happen.” Yes, they do, but nuclear-powered cruise missile programs don’t just happen. They represent dangerous and unnecessary choices to goose a nation’s theoretical military supremacy, incentivizing other nations to follow suit, risks be damned. The arms control regimes that once moderated U.S. and Russian decisions are already crumbling, and another big one—the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START—may expire in 2021. What exactly transpired in the White Sea on August 8 may remain fuzzy, but what is becoming increasingly clear is the risk to life associated with a new generation of nuclear arms proliferation between the U.S. and Russia. With ultranationalist leaders and weapon fetishists in control of Washington and Moscow, buttressed by military yes-men and mercenary defense contractors, there’s little to stand in the way of a new, irrationally exuberant buildup of bizarre new nuclear forces.

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

Russia Tells Nuclear Watchdog: Radiation From Blast Is ‘None of Your Business’

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Trump on trade war with China – “I am the Chosen One.”

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

Authorities Seize Crypto Mining Equipment from Nuclear Power Plant

August 22, 2019 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce in talks to sell French nuclear business to Framatome

Rolls-Royce in talks to sell French nuclear business to Framatome

Aero-engine group’s restructuring under chief Warren East continues,  

Rolls-Royce is in talks to sell its French civil nuclear business to Framatome, a company controlled by France’s EDF, in the latest move by the FTSE 100 engineer to reshape its operations. Two people close to the sales process said on Tuesday night that talks with the French company were continuing. The aero-engine group confirmed in March it had hired consultants from KPMG to review options for its international civil nuclear business, estimated by analysts to be worth up to £200m.

The business makes instruments and controls to monitor radiation and temperature. Its operations in France employ about 600 people and produce instrumentation systems for nuclear reactors around the world. It also has sites in North America focused on services such as the provision of data analytics tools. Rolls-Royce initially wanted to dispose of the operations as one package but failed to find a buyer, so decided to market them separately, according to one person familiar with the situation. France’s EDF holds a 75 per cent stake in Framatome. The balance is held by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with a 19.5 per cent stake and another French company, Assystem, holding a 5 per cent share.
  The civil nuclear business is a small part of Rolls-Royce’s overall operations, which generated underlying revenues of £15bn last year. The sale also does not include the bulk of Rolls-Royce’s civil nuclear work in the UK, in particular its work on Hinkley Point in Somerset, the first nuclear power plant to be built in Britain in a generation. It also does not include its project to develop small modular reactors or its nuclear submarine reactor business.  ……..

August 22, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, UK | Leave a comment