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As Trump trashed nuclear weapons treaty, Putin promises ‘symmetrical response’ to US missile test

Putin promises ‘symmetrical response’ to US missile test after end of nuclear treaty Telegraph UK   23 AUGUST 2019

Vladimir Putin has promised a “symmetrical response” to the US test of a missile banned under a nuclear weapons treaty rubbished this month by the Trump administration amid fears of a new arms race.A new land-based version of the navy’s Tomahawk cruise missile fired from an island in California struck a target more than 310 miles away on Sunday, according to the Pentagon. The recently defunct 1987 US-Russian intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty banned land-based missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,410 miles.

On Friday, Mr Putin told his security council that the test just 16 days after the treaty’s demise proved that the United States had long been developing weapons in violation of the agreement, while accusing Russia of the same as part of a “propaganda campaign”……

He ordered the defence and foreign ministries to “analyse the level of the threat to our country created by the aforementioned actions of the United States and take exhaustive steps to prepare a symmetrical response”.  While he did not say exactly what that would be be, it was reported in February that Russia could begin producing a land-based version of its Kalibr cruise missile with a range of 1,600 miles by the end of the year.

“For a symmetrical response, it would be enough to take Kalibr and put it on land and conduct a launch,” defence analyst Alexander Golts told The Telegraph. “That wouldn’t take a huge effort.”

Donald Trump’s announcement in February that he would withdraw from the INF treaty, which ended the deployment of US ballistic missiles to Europe and of Soviet nukes targeting them, raised fears of a new arms race. …… https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/23/putin-promises-symmetric-response-us-missile-test-end-nuclear/
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August 24, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war | 2 Comments

South Korea might make own food arrangements for Fukushima Olympic events

South Korea concerned over food safety at Olympics with events slated for Fukushima
Talks to take place over food provision at Tokyo Games
Fukushima to host baseball and softball games next year,
Guardian   Justin McCurry in Tokyo, Thu 22 Aug 2019 South Korea is considering making its own arrangements to feed its athletes at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, citing concerns over the safety of food from Fukushima, media reports said.

In addition, South Korean sports authorities have requested that international groups be permitted to monitor radiation levels during the 2020 Games.

Food safety concerns in South Korea have grown since Fukushima city was chosen to host six softball games and one baseball game next summer. Fukushima prefecture will also be the location for the start of the domestic leg of the Olympic torch relay, beginning next March.

Tokyo Olympics organisers said South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village. ……

Bloomberg reported that the Korea Sport and Olympic Committee is to request international organisations such as Greenpeace be allowed to monitor radiation levels at Olympic venues. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/22/south-korea-concerned-over-food-safety-at-olympics-with-events-slated-for-fukushima

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Japan, South Korea | 1 Comment

Radioactive patients – a concern following Russian nuclear accident

Russian nuclear accident: Medics fear ‘radioactive patients’,  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49432681  23 Aug 19, Russian medics who treated radiation victims after a military explosion in the Arctic had no protection and now fear they were irradiated themselves.

Two of the medics in Arkhangelsk spoke to BBC Russian about the victims’ evacuation, on condition of anonymity.

Five nuclear engineers died on 8 August when an “isotope-fuel” engine blew up at the Nyonoksa test range, officials said. Two military personnel also died.

President Vladimir Putin said the test involved a new weapon system.

Six people were injured in the accident, but officials gave few details about it.

On 14 August Russia’s weather service Rosgidromet revealed that radiation levels had spiked 16 times above normal, in Severodvinsk, a city 47km (29 miles) east of Nyonoksa.

According to the official data, the radiation that reached Severodvinsk was not heavy enough to cause radiation sickness.

Experts in Russia and the West say the test was most likely linked to the new 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, called “Skyfall” by Nato. Last year Mr Putin said the technology would give the missile “unlimited” range.


The Arkhangelsk medics, who spoke to the BBC’s Pavel Aksenov, said at least 90 people came into contact with the casualties, but the military did not warn them of any nuclear contamination risk.

Contamination fears

The medics were at the civilian Arkhangelsk regional hospital, which treated three of the injured, while three other casualties were taken to an Arkhangelsk hospital called Semashko, which is equipped for radiation emergencies.

The medics said they were speaking out now because they feared for their own health and did not want any similar “[safety] violations” to recur.

“We don’t want them to bring us next time not three, but ten people, God forbid, and hide the information from us again,” said one.

The degree of secrecy surrounding the explosion has drawn comparisons with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, when Soviet officials were slow to admit the truth.

The Arkhangelsk medics said it was clear that the three brought to their regional hospital were very sick. Doctors examined them in the emergency room, then sent them to an operating theatre.

But the emergency room continued to admit other patients for about an hour, the medics said, until the doctors realised that the three “had received a very high radiation dose”. The hospital handles pregnancy complications and other difficult medical conditions.

“The radiation picture was developing by the hour. Blood tests were being done, and every hour you could see that this or that cell count was plunging. That signified a very high radiation dose,” they said.

The hospital staff kept treating the victims despite knowing about the radiation dose. The staff had to improvise some self-protection – for example, they took face masks from the helicopter crews’ emergency kit.

The next day the three victims were transferred to a hospital in Moscow which has radiation specialists. Their condition now is unknown.

Nuclear decontamination

A military team later carried out decontamination work in the Arkhangelsk hospital.

The medics said the casualties’ clothing was removed, along with stretchers and a “highly radioactive bath”.

“Our cleaners should have been advised, they’re just simple country folk, they were just picking up sacks and bundles and carrying them out,” said one.

The other medic said hospital staff were now mentally stressed, knowing that radiation safety information had been withheld from them during the emergency.

Two weeks after the explosion the Russian health ministry said none of the medics at the Arkhangelsk hospitals had received a hazardous radiation dose. Its conclusion was based on medical examination of 91 staff.

Incomplete data

On Monday an international nuclear agency reported that the two Russian radiation monitoring stations nearest to Nyonoksa had gone offline soon after the explosion. The revelation fuelled suspicions that the radiation could have been heavier than officially reported.

The Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) said the technical failure at those sites was then followed by a failure at two more. It tweeted an animation showing the potential radiation plume from the explosion.

Russia said the weapons test was none of the CTBTO’s business, and added that handing over radiation data was voluntary. Two of the monitoring stations have since started working again.

 

August 24, 2019 Posted by | health, Russia | Leave a comment

Massive wildfires are burning across the world- July was hottest month ever

August 24, 2019 Posted by | ARCTIC, Brazil, climate change | 1 Comment

“ZATO” Russia’s many closed cities, – some site of nuclear accidents

August 24, 2019 Posted by | Reference, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Iran working productively with France, to save nuclear deal

August 24, 2019 Posted by | France, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Trumped Up: Wiki cables show Australia thinks Iran is not the aggressor,

Trumped Up: Wiki cables show Australia thinks Iran is not the aggressor, Michael West, by Prof. Clinton Fernandes — 23 August 2019  Wikileaks cables reveal Iran presents no threat to Australia and little threat to the US. Instead, clear intelligence from the US, Australia and Iran confirms Iran, although portrayed as aggressive, has pursued a defensive military strategy. Clinton Fernandez reports.

August 24, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Iran, politics international, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

UK Office of Nuclear Regulation seems to have increased the number of cracks permitted in Hunterston nuclear reactor.

August 24, 2019 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Massachusetts Attorney General objects to transfer of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station license to Holtec

August 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

White House new system guidelines for nuclear power in space includes weapons grade materials

White House Overhauls Launch Approval Process for Nuclear Spacecraft, AIP, 23 Aug 19, The White House has announced a new launch authorization process for spacecraft that use nuclear-powered systems, instituting a tiered framework that delegates decision-making for less risky missions and provides explicit guidance on acceptable risk levels……

The memo categorizes missions into three tiers based on the amount and type of nuclear material they contain as well as the estimated probability that a launch accident would result in a certain level of exposure to any member of the public. Unlike the prior policy, it also lays out criteria specific to fission reactor systems and non-federal missions.

The least risky missions fall in Tier 1, where the director of the sponsoring agency can approve the launch. In Tier 2, an interagency review process is triggered, though the sponsoring agency director maintains authority over the launch decision. The memo directs NASA to establish a standing Interagency Nuclear Safety Review Board to perform this function, which formerly was handled by an ad hoc committee empaneled on a mission-by-mission basis.

Spacecraft that use fission reactors automatically fall in at least Tier 2, and the memo requires NASA to identify additional safety guidelines for “safe non-terrestrial operation of nuclear fission reactors, including orbital and planetary surface activities.”

Tier 3 missions require presidential authorization, which for non-defense missions is delegated to the OSTP director, who may opt to forward the decision to the president. Due to nuclear nonproliferation considerations, missions that use highly enriched uranium automatically fall in Tier 3.

The memo also establishes a set of safety guidelines that apply to spacecraft across all tiers. It specifies that the probability a launch accident would result in any individual receiving a total effective dose between 0.025 rem and five rem should be no greater than 1 in 100. The probability for exposures between five rem and 25 rem should not exceed 1 in 10,000, and above 25 rem the probability should not exceed 1 in 100,000. For comparison, the average effective doseindividuals receive from natural background radiation in the U.S. is about 0.3 rem per year, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s dose limit for radiation workers is five rem per year…….

According to a 2015 study, the U.S. has launched 47 nuclear power systems and hundreds of heater units on 31 missions since 1961. The most recent scientific missions to employ an RPS were New Horizons, a Pluto fly-by mission launched in 2006, and the Mars Curiosity Rover, launched in 2011. The follow-on Mars 2020 Rover and the recently selected Dragonfly rotorcraft mission to Saturn’s moon Titan are currently the only two approved NASA spacecraft in development that will use an RPS.

The relatively infrequent use of nuclear systems on spacecraft is in part attributed to the complexity and cost of the safety review process, which generally has limited them to flagship-class missions. Low availability of plutonium for civilian uses has also constrained the mission cadence…….

NASA has recently emphasized the potential value of fission reactors for human deep space exploration missions. At the National Space Council meeting this week, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said nuclear thermal propulsion technologies could significantly reduce transit time to Mars. He also pointed to other potential applications, such as using fission to power a space-based laser that could deflect asteroids and deorbit space debris.

NASA is also exploring how nuclear reactors could meet the power demands of planetary bases. One such concept, called Kilopower, could provide up to 10 kilowatts per reactor using highly enriched uranium. Bridenstine visited members of the Kilopower team this week at NASA’s Glenn Research Center.

The concept is not without critics. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), a former Fermilab physicist who advocates using alternatives to highly enriched uranium, pressedBridenstine on the subject at a hearing this year.

A future where every space-faring nation has a big inventory of weapons-grade material to service the reactors that they are using all over the Moon and all over Mars is not a very safe space environment,” Foster said. “There will be some small performance compromises in going with low enriched non-weapons grade material, but I really urge you to look hard at keeping alive the prospect of having an international collaboration to develop workable non weapons grade-based materials that the whole world will use.” …….https://www.aip.org/fyi/2019/white-house-overhauls-launch-approval-process-nuclear-spacecraft

August 24, 2019 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment