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Revealed by Wikileaks – facts about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry

What we know about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry thanks to WikiLeaks,  https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/can-europe-make-it/what-we-know-about-nuclear-weapons-and-nuclear-industry-thanks-wikileaks/    The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Why I support the nomination of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.” Felicity Ruby, 7 October 2019  The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded on 11 October. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been nominated for the prize again this year, as they have since 2010. As the first staffer of the campaign that won the Peace Prize in 2017, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), I support this nomination for a number of reasons.

The vast majority of governments on this planet want nuclear disarmament negotiations to occur and produce results. ICAN has been mobilising this willingness to push for a new treaty to ban nuclear weapons. From the outset, the campaign deployed accurate information to mobilise public opinion and reeducate a new generation. In facing the truth about nuclear dangers, answers became available and courageous action was taken. Facing the truth about climate change similarly involves the public having accurate information and courageously acting on it.

WikiLeaks and Assange have made a great deal of information available about nuclear weapons and the nuclear industry. A search on the WikiLeaks site for the word ‘nuclear’ brings up 284, 493 results. These documents traverse the nuclear fuel cycle – from uranium mining to nuclear waste – with many thousands exposing nuclear energy industry giants, and nuclear weapon threat assessments, numbers, doctrines and negotiations.

Ten examples

Below are just ten examples of where WikiLeaks exposed wrongdoing on the part of governments and corporations that meant citizens could take action to protect themselves from harm, or governments were held to account:

– Chalk River nuclear reactor shut down – released 11 January 2008 – Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on Chalk River reactor.

After the Chalk River nuclear reactor was shut down for routine maintenance on 18 November 2007, inspectors verified the reactor’s cooling systems had not been modified as required by an August 2006 licensing review. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) did not start the reactor but said upgrades could be done as part of maintenance while still operating safely. This impasse lasted a month, with the government intervening to grant an exemption to the reactor to allow its restart.  The responsible Minister for Natural Resources, Gary Lunn MP, fired Linda Keen, the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission. Their exchange of letters revealed much about the safety standards and routine practices of the Canadian nuclear regulatory system, and particular problems with the ageing Chalk River reactor previously unknown to the public.

– Footage of the 1995 disaster at the Japanese Monju nuclear reactor – released 25 January 2008
Following the 2008 announcement that the Japanese Monju fast breeder nuclear reactor would be reopened, activists leaked the suppressed video footage of the sodium spill disaster that led to its closure in 1995. Named after the Buddhist divinity of wisdom, Monju, located in Japan’s Fukui prefecture, is Japan’s only fast-breeder reactor. Unlike conventional reactors, fast-breeder reactors, which “breed” plutonium, use sodium rather than water as a coolant. This type of coolant creates a potentially hazardous situation as sodium is highly corrosive and reacts violently with both water and air. On December 8, 1995, 700 kg of molten sodium leaked from the secondary cooling circuit of the Monju reactor, resulting in a fire that did not result in a radiation leak, but the potential for catastrophe was played down the extent of damage at the reactor and denied the existence of a videotape showing the sodium spill. Further complicating the story, the deputy general manager of the general affairs department at the PNC, Shigeo Nishimura, 49, jumped to his death the day after a news conference where he and other officials revealed the extent of the cover-up.

– Serious nuclear accident lay behind Iranian nuke chief’s mystery resignation – released 16 July 2009

WikiLeaks revealed that a source associated with Iran’s nuclear program confidentially told the organisation of a serious, recent, nuclear accident at Natanz. Natanz is the primary location of
Iran’s nuclear enrichment program and the site targeted with the Stuxnet worm that contained 4 zero days and was designed to slow down and speed up centrifuges enriching uranium. WikiLeaks had reason to believe the source was credible, however contact with this source was lost.

– 180 confirmed US tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe – released 7 December 2010

In advance of the nuclear posture review, a briefing was provided by US Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Jim Miller to NATO in July 2009. Federation of American Scientists nuclear weapons expert Hans Kristensen stated, “Whether Miller was providing certified U.S. intelligence numbers or simply referenced good-enough nonofficial public estimates is less clear. But his use of a specific number (180) for Europe rather than a range suggests that it might an official number.”

– Italian nuclear industry corruption – released 18 March 2011    American diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks revealed how, “bribes could have a major impact on the future of the country’s energy industry,” in a four-year US campaign, which began in 2005, to encourage Italy to re-start a nuclear power program with a view to reducing its energy dependence on Russian gas and limiting the influence of the partnership between Italian energy company ENI and Russia’s Gazprom.

– Cash payments were made to Indian MPs for support of US India nuclear deal – released 18 March 2011     WikiLeaks revealed a cable by US Charge d’Affaires Steven White dated 17 July 2008 that indicated that the ruling Congress Party in India had bought MPs a vote on the 2008 India-US nuclear deal. Nachiketa Kapur, a political aide to Congress leader Satish Sharma showed a US Embassy employee “two chests containing cash” saying it was part of a bigger fund of Rs. 50 crore to Rs. 60 crore that the party had assembled to purchase the support of MPs.

– The IAEA warned Japan about safety issues at nuclear plants in 2009 – released 17 March 2011 In 2009, years before the Fukushima disaster, Japan was warned that its power plants could not withstand powerful earthquakes. The US was highly critical of Japan’s senior safety director at the International Atomic Energy Association “particularly with respect to confronting Japan’s own safety practices.”

– Safety and security issues with the UK Trident nuclear weapon system – released 17 May 2015

In an exclusive report to WikiLeaks, Trident nuclear weapons submariner, Royal Navy Able Seaman William McNeilly, aged 25, stated, “Please make sure this information is released. I don’t want to be in prison without anyone knowing the truth,” about the detailed nuclear safety problems he says he has been “gathering for over a year… This is bigger than me, it’s bigger than all of us. We are so close to a nuclear disaster it is shocking, and yet everybody is accepting the risk to the public… Our Nuclear weapon systems are the prime target and we are wide open to attack. We must unite globally in order to eliminate the biggest threat the world has ever seen.”

– Western and Chinese companies expose workers in African uranium grab – released 5 February 2016       WikiLeaks released a collection of documents that open up a corrupt multi-billion dollar war by Western and Chinese companies which grab uranium and other mining rights in the Central African Republic (CAR) and escape paying for the environmental consequences. French giant Areva failed to protect miners from high levels of radiation who processed soil samples with no radiation protection, and neglected local employees when pulling out of a financially and politically disastrous venture in the CAR.

– Uranium One links with the Clinton Foundation – released 7 October 2016

As Russian Rosatom company Uranium One gained control of 1/5th of the US uranium production between 2009 – 2013, its chairman used his family foundation to make donations of over USD$ 2 million to the Clinton Foundation. Because uranium is a strategic asset, such a deal had to be approved by a Committee, whose decision was signed off by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Uranium One paid $20,000 to The Podesta Group to lobby the State Department for this deal, a lobbying firm founded by Hillary Clinton campaign Chairman, John Podesta.

WikiLeaks and Assange have brought forward many truths that are hard to face, publishing well over 10 million documents since 2006. Often forgotten is that each one was provided by a whistleblower who trusted this platform to publish, and who sought reform of how political, corporate and media power elites operate. Each release has shared genuine official information about how governments, companies, banks, the UN, political parties, jailers, cults, private security firms, war planners and the media actually operate when they think no one is looking.

Assange is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize because of these many releases of information, used as evidence in court cases, freeing prisoners and exposing scandals, torture, murder and surveillance for which redress is only possible when the wrongdoing is dragged into the light. For publishing this true information, Assange, an Australian based in the UK at the time of publication, is on the health ward of Belmarsh Prison, facing extradition and charges attracting 175 years in a US jail, an effective death sentence.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Reference | Leave a comment

Mainstream media fails to cover news on military carbon emissions

Although the authors of both studies acknowledge that the US military has been cutting its emissions over the years, they both note how “existing military aircraft and warships” are “locking the US military into hydrocarbons for years to come,” and that the “Pentagon does not acknowledge that its own fuel use is a major contributor to climate change.” That shouldn’t be surprising. Given corporate media’s propagandizing for starting and staying in wars
Major Media Bury Groundbreaking Studies of Pentagon’s Massive Carbon Bootprint    https://fair.org/home/major-media-bury-groundbreaking-studies-of-pentagons-massive-carbon-bootprint/
JOSHUA CHO 10 Oct 19  In 2010, Project Censored (10/2/10found that thebUS military is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet, yet this information and accompanying documentation goes almost entirely unreported.
Almost a decade later, Project Censored’s observations are still applicable, with two major studies published in June remaining buried by most major media outlets. The first study, “Pentagon Fuel Use, Climate Change, and the Costs of War,” by Neta Crawford for Brown University’s Costs of War Project, confirmed previous findings that  the US military is “the single-largest producer of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world,” and that the Pentagon is responsible for between “77% and 80% of all US government energy consumption” since 2001, and that from the beginning of the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to 2017, the US military emitted approximately 1.2 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent.
The second study, “Hidden Carbon Costs of the ‘Everywhere War’: Logistics, Geopolitical Ecology, and the Carbon Bootprint of the US Military,” published by Oliver Belcher, Benjamin Neimark and Patrick Bigger from Durham and Lancaster universities in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (6/19), found that if the US military were a country, its “fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal.” Yet these groundbreaking studies received no coverage in virtually all the US’s biggest newspapers and TV news channels. An initial search in the Nexis news database from June 1 to October 4 of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, NPR, PBS, ABC, MSNBC, CBS and CNN turned up nothing.
A broader Nexis search of all the English-language outlets only confirmed that the biggest media outlets in the country, with much better resources for reporting, are burying the study.

Here’s a list of the outlets, according to the Nexis news database, that mentioned the Costs of War study:


  • Arab American News
     (US)
  • Indian Agriculture News (India)
  • Yerepouni Daily News (Armenia)
  • Pressenza International Press Agency (Ecuador)
  • Washington Examiner (US)
  • Defense Monitor Worldwide (US)
  • International Business Times India (India)
  • The Conversation (US)
  • Straits Times (Singapore)
  • Here’s a list of the outlets, according to Nexis, that mentioned the study published in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers:
  • Daily Mail (UK)
  • Asian News International (India)
  • Science Daily (US)
  • To be fair, Nexis isn’t able to catch every report or reprints in other outlets. On my own, I found nothing that contradicts the finding that these studies are being buried by most of the biggest media outlets in the US. But these studies were mentioned by Reuters (6/12/19), Grist (6/12/19), Gizmodo (6/13/19), Bloomberg (6/13/19), USA Today (6/14/19), Forbes (6/13/19), GQ (9/13/19), The Hill (6/13/19), New York Post (6/13/19), CNBC (6/13/19), UK Independent (6/13/19), Intercept (9/15/19), TomDispatch (6/23/19) and Mic (6/26/19). The Real News Network (7/10/19) provided exemplary reporting on these two studies by featuring their authors in an interview to discuss their findings.

    Aside from the findings, these studies are also especially significant because they’re the first to use comprehensive data based on the publicly available emissions data from the Department of Energy, and on multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the US Defense Logistics Agency managing the US military’s supply chains, which includes hydrocarbon fuel purchases and distribution. Most greenhouse gas accounting focuses on how much energy and fuel civilians use, because it has always been difficult to obtain reliable and consistent data on the Pentagon’s carbon bootprint; the Pentagon doesn’t publicly and regularly report its fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions.

    Despite not signing the 1992 Kyoto Protocol international agreement to fight climate change, the US succeeded in obtaining an exemption for all countries’ militaries from having to report, let alone cut, their carbon emissions, which Congress later locked in. Although that exemption was later removed by the 2015 Paris Accord—despite the Obama administration’s longstanding policy of undermining international climate agreements—the Trump administration has the US due to withdraw from the Paris Accord in 2020 (New York Times6/1/17), which would make it harder to collect data and conduct future studies like the ones above. This is why it’s especially important for media outlets to cover studies like this when they’re published.

    Although the authors of both studies acknowledge that the US military has been cutting its emissions over the years, they both note how “existing military aircraft and warships” are “locking the US military into hydrocarbons for years to come,” and that the “Pentagon does not acknowledge that its own fuel use is a major contributor to climate change.” That shouldn’t be surprising. Given corporate media’s propagandizing for starting and staying in wars (FAIR.org10/23/179/11/19) and for neverending arms races (FAIR.org5/17/197/12/19), one should expect corporate media to bury evidence that the US military is a threat to itself and its citizens with its massive carbon output.

 

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A million tonnes of radioactive water and nowhere to go – Fukushima

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water,  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water-11972442 FUKUSHIMA, 11 Oct 19, : In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: Tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a long-standing proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: Some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator TEPCO in charge of dismantling the site.

TEPCO has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possible.

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to burned after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained TEPCO risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

TEPCO has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: Tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

“ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT”

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and further afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near-term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that TEPCO cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Google publicly decries climate change, privately donates to climate denialism

Google and other companies were engaged in a “functional greenwashing” given the contradiction in their public pronouncements and private donations.

Revealed: Google made large contributions to climate change deniers https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/11/google-contributions-climate-change-deniers

Firm’s public calls for climate action contrast with backing for conservative thinktanks.  The obscure law that explains why Google backs climate deniers,   Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington @skirchy  Email      11 Oct 2019

Google has made “substantial” contributions to some of the most notorious climate deniers in Washington despite its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis.

Among hundreds of groups the company has listed on its website as beneficiaries of its political giving are more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections.

The list includes the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative policy group that was instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement and has criticised the White House for not dismantling more environmental rules.

Google said it was disappointed by the US decision to abandon the global climate deal, but has continued to support CEI.

Google is also listed as a sponsor for an upcoming annual meeting of the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella organisation that supports conservative groups including the Heartland Institute, a radical anti-science group that has chided the teenage activist Greta Thunberg for “climate delusion hysterics”.

SPN members recently created a “climate pledge” website that falsely states “our natural environment is getting better” and “there is no climate crisis”.Google has defended its contributions, saying that its “collaboration” with organisations such as CEI “does not mean we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda”

It donates to such groups, people close to the company say, to try to influence conservative lawmakers, and – most importantly – to help finance the deregulatory agenda the groups espouse.A spokesperson for Google said it sponsored organisations from across the political spectrum that advocate for “strong technology policies”.“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” the spokesperson said.

Amazon has, like Google, also sponsored a CEI gala, according to a programme for the event reported in the New York Times.CEI has opposed regulation of the internet and enforcement of antitrust rules, and has defended Google against some Republicans’ claims that the search engine has an anti-conservative bias.

But environmental activists and other critics say that, for a company that purports to support global action on climate change, such tradeoffs are not acceptable.“You don’t get a pass on it. It ought to be disqualifying to support what is primarily a phoney climate denying front group. It ought to be unacceptable given how wicked they have been,” said Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island who is one of the most vocal proponents of climate action in Congress.“What all of corporate America should be doing is saying if you are a trade organisation or lobby group and you are interfering on climate, we are out. Period,” he added.On its website, Google says it is committed to ensuring its political engagement is “open, transparent and clear to our users, shareholders, and the public”.

Bill McKibben, a prominent environmentalist who has been on the frontline of the climate crisis for decades, said Google and other companies were engaged in a “functional greenwashing” given the contradiction in their public pronouncements and private donations. He said Google and other technology companies had also not used their own lobbyists to advocate for change on climate.

“Sometimes I’ll talk to companies and they will be going on and on about their renewable server farm or natural gas delivery, and I say thank you, but what we really need is for your lobbying shop in Washington to put serious muscle behind it. And they never do,” McKibben said. “They want some tax break or some regulations switch and they never devote the slightest muscle behind the most important issue of our time or any time.”A spokesperson for Google said: “We’ve been extremely clear that Google’s sponsorship doesn’t mean that we endorse that organisation’s entire agenda – we may disagree strongly on some issues.“Our position on climate change is similarly clear. Since 2007, we have operated as a carbon neutral company and for the second year in a row, we reached 100% renewable energy for our global operations.”The company said it called for “strong action” at the climate conference in Paris in 2015 and helped to sponsor the Global Climate Action summit in San Francisco last year.But that position is at odds with the support it gives to CEI.The group’s director of energy and environment policy, Myron Ebell, helped found the Cooler Heads Coalition 20 years ago, a group of libertarian and rightwing organisations that have sowed the seeds of climate denial with funding from the fossil fuel industry.

When Donald Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, Ebell joined the transition team and advised the new president on environmental issues, successfully lobbying Trump to adhere to a campaign promise and abandon the Paris agreement.

Kert Davies, the founder of the Climate Investigations Center, a research group that examines corporate campaigning, said Ebell had led the anti-climate-action crusade for decades.

“They’re extremists,” he said, referring to the Cooler Heads Coalition. “They are never finished,” he said. “Myron has taken a lot of credit for Trump’s actions and is quite proud of his access.”

Recently, however, Ebell – who declined a request for an interview – has criticised the White House for not rolling back environmental protections aggressively enough, even though the Trump administration has gutted every major environmental act established under Obama.

His wishlist now includes reversing a 2009 finding by the Environmental Protection Agency that CO2 and other greenhouse gases endanger the health and welfare of Americans.

CEI said it “respects the privacy of its donors” and declined to answer questions about Google. A CEI spokesperson told the Guardian: “On energy policy, CEI advances the humanitarian view that abundant and affordable energy makes people safer and economies more resilient. Making energy accessible, especially for the most vulnerable, is a core value.”

One source who is familiar with Google’s decision-making defended the company’s funding of CEI.

“When it comes to regulation of technology, Google has to find friends wherever they can and I think it is wise that the company does not apply litmus tests to who they support,” the source said.

 

October 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Massive Carbon Tax is needed- International Monetary Fund

The world needs a massive carbon tax in just 10 years to limit climate change, IMF says  The international organization suggests a cost of $75 per ton by 2030, WP,  By Chris Mooney and Andrew Freedman, October 10A global agreement to make fossil fuel burning more expensive is urgent and the most efficient way of fighting climate change, an International Monetary Fund study found on Thursday.

The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.

The group found that a global tax of $75 per ton by the year 2030 could limit the planet’s warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), or roughly double what it is now. That would greatly increase the price of fossil-fuel-based energy — especially from the burning of coal — but the economic disruption could be offset by routing the money raised straight back to citizens.

“If you compare the average level of the carbon tax today, which is $2 [a ton], to where we need to be, it’s a quantum leap,” said Paolo Mauro, deputy director of the fiscal affairs department at the IMF.

In the United States, a $75 tax would cut emissions by nearly 30 percent but would cause on average a 53 percent increase in electricity costs and a 20 percent rise for gasoline at projected 2030 prices, the analysis in the IMF’s Fiscal Monitor found.

But it would also generate revenue equivalent to 1 percent of gross domestic product, an enormous amount of money that could be redistributed and, if spread equally, would end up being a fiscally progressive policy, rather than one disproportionately targeting the poor.

The impact of a $75-per-ton tax would also hit countries differently depending on burning or exporting coal, which produces the most carbon emissions per unit of energy generated when it is burned.

In developing nations such as China, India and South Africa, a $75 carbon tax reduces emissions even more — by as much as 45 percent — and generates proportionately more revenue, as high as 3.5 percent of GDP in South Africa’s case, the IMF found………

the latest science suggests the world will sustain massive damage, such as the loss of nearly all coral reefs, even if it holds warming to, or just under, 2 degrees Celsius. To keep warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, the carbon tax would have to be even higher, the IMF’s Mauro noted, though he said he is not sure how high because the group did not do that analysis.

“The climate crisis is so dire, and public/popular determination to attack it is suddenly so strong and unquenchable, that even $75/ton by 2030 seems far too moderate a target,” wrote Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center, in an emailed response to the IMF study……..   https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2019/10/10/world-needs-massive-carbon-tax-just-years-limit-climate-change-imf-says/

October 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Physics Nobel Laureate predicts NO Migration to Other Planets

Humans will not ‘migrate’ to other planets, Nobel winner says,  https://phys.org/news/2019-10-humans-migrate-planets-nobel-winner.html?fbclid=IwAR2JOS8NV_Z1FWLWspae0m611nKzYdZaHB7DQGvVEYIpDnYqYKgsDnPQCDc  10 Oct 19   Humans will never migrate to a planet outside of Earth’s solar system because it would take far too long to get there, Swiss Nobel laureate Michel Mayor said Wednesday.

Mayor and his colleague Didier Queloz were on Tuesday awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for their research refining techniques to detect so-called exoplanets.

“If we are talking about exoplanets, things should be clear: we will not migrate there,” Mayor told AFP near Madrid on the sidelines of a conference when asked about the possibility of humans moving to other planets.

“These planets are much, much too far away. Even in the very optimistic case of a livable planet that is not too far, say a few dozen light years, which is not a lot, it’s in the neighbourhood, the time to go there is considerable,” he added.

“We are talking about hundreds of millions of days using the means we have available today. We must take care of our planet, it is very beautiful and still absolutely liveable.”

The 77-year-old said he felt the need to “kill all the statements that say ‘OK, we will go to a liveable planet if one day life is not possible on earth’.”

“It’s completely crazy,” he added.

Using custom-made instruments at their observatory in southern France, Mayor and Queloz in October 1995 discovered what had previously only existed in the realm of science fiction—a planet outside Earth’s solar system.

Mayor was a professor at Geneva University and Queloz was his doctorate student, when they made the discovery which started a revolution in astronomy. Since then over 4,000 exoplanets have been found in our home galaxy.

“It was a very old question which was debated by philosophers: are there other worlds in the Universe?,” Mayor said.

“We look for planets which are the closest (to us), which could resemble Earth. Together with my colleague we started this search for planets, we showed it was possible to study them.”

Mayor said it was up to the “next generation” to answer the question of whether there is life on other planets.

“We don’t know! The only way to do it is to develop techniques that would allow us to detect life at a distance,” he said.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | Leave a comment

U.S. Congress ponders reckless decision to increase production of plutonium bomb cores or “pits.”

Expanding nuclear weapon production is reckless   https://thehill.com/opinion/national-security/464904-expanding-nuclear-weapon-production-is-reckless?fbclid=IwAR2OYVMTWmvWeV-GxEZm4v8jXbLp1MePAtgBaFPwEpig31H5jui9vFuefHc

BY MARYLIA KELLEY AND JOSEPH RODGERS,  10/08/19Behind closed doors, Congress is in the process of making a decision that will have a profound impact on nuclear risk levels and global security. Hanging in the balance is a decision to recklessly increase production of plutonium bomb cores or “pits.” The NDAA conference committee must not make that mistake.

Pits are the triggers for thermonuclear weapons. Currently, the United States does not manufacture plutonium pits on an industrial scale. In its fiscal 2020 budget request the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) seeks authorization to produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year by 2030 at two facilities separated by some 1,500 miles. The Senate NDAA fully funds the request. The House instead authorizes 30 pits per year, all at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM. Los Alamos is presently authorized to produce 20 pits annually.

Plutonium pit production at such a large scale represents a major departure from our post-Cold War nuclear weapons policy. Since the Rocky Flats Plant in CO closed in 1989 following a raid by the FBI environmental crimes unit, the United States has produced pits at an annual rate of 11 or fewer. Further, there have been no orders for newly manufactured pits in nearly a decade.

Instead, the government has been utilizing some of the approximately 20,000 plutonium pits in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas to conduct its ongoing warhead maintenance and refurbishment programs. These pits have very long lifetimes. JASON, a DOD organized group of independent scientific experts, estimated that plutonium pits will last 100 years or more.

Clearly, the Senate NDAA is not meant to maintain the safety and reliability of the existing nuclear weapons stockpile. Instead, future production is intended to enable modified pit designs for new-design warheads, contrary to longstanding U.S. arms control objectives. Given the current moratorium on explosive testing of nuclear weapons, those pits cannot be full-scale tested or, alternatively, could prompt the United States to return to nuclear testing. This would have international proliferation consequences beyond anything we’ve seen since the most dangerous days of the Cold War.

As if to confirm that this is the ultimate plan, NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Lab has already begun to create a warhead, called the W87-1, that goes beyond previously-tested limits. The design that Livermore is pursuing contains a novel plutonium pit, unlike any pits in the stockpile or in storage at Pantex.  The W87-1 is slated go on top of a new-design intercontinental ballistic missile, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent. It too is controversial due to unknowns regarding its pending cost, schedule, and significant integration challenges to accommodate the new warhead.

Further, the 80 pit per year capability will not be reachable in the time frame NNSA posits, and its facilities may not be able to operate properly at that production rate. A Pentagon-funded report by the Institute for Defense Analyses in 2019 concluded that 80 pits per year is not achievable “on the schedules or budgets currently forecasted” by the NNSA. This problem is compounded by the fact that the Savannah River Site in SC, NNSA’s proposed location to produce 50 of the 80 pits annually, has been plagued with decades of cost overruns and mismanagement. Additionally, Los Alamos’s pit production capability has been crippled by safety lapses, even at the lower rate.

Placing a novel warhead design in the active nuclear weapons stockpile with a substantially untested pit is irresponsible. Rapidly increasing production at sites with spotty records compounds that error with added safety hazards. Increasing plutonium pit production to a rate of 80 or more annually is both reckless and unnecessary.

The Conference Committee can follow the Senate approach that heedlessly increases our country’s risk levels. Alternatively, it can follow a more rational approach to nuclear security by supporting the House NDAA that restricts select funding for nuclear weapons production and deployment — including for expanded plutonium pit production.

Marylia Kelley is the executive director of the Livermore, CA-based Tri-Valley CAREs. For 36 years she has monitored the programs, capabilities and budgets of U.S. nuclear weapons complex, including at Livermore Lab. She has provided testimony on nuclear weapons design and production before the House Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Congress and the California State Legislature. In 2002, she was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

North Korea threatens to resume nuclear, long-range missile tests

North Korea threatens to resume nuclear, long-range missile tests
Pyongyang’s warning follows the weekend breakdown of North Korea-US nuclear talks in Sweden.
Aljazeera, 10 Oct 2019 North Korea has called outside condemnation of its weapons launches a “grave provocation” and has threatened to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The warning on Thursday by Pyongyang’s foreign ministry followed the weekend breakdown of North Korea-United States nuclear negotiations in Sweden, the first such talks between the two countries in more than seven months.

North Korea said the talks collapsed because the US didn’t have any new proposals, and whether it maintains its moratorium on major weapons tests was up to Washington………

US-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear programme had been stalemated since the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in February ended without any agreement.

That summit fell apart after Trump rejected Kim’s demands for major sanctions relief in return for limited steps towards denuclearisation.  https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/10/north-korea-threatens-resume-nuclear-long-range-missile-tests-191010091337349.html

October 12, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Continued strong public opposition to nuclear power in India

The Biggest Hurdle In India’s Nuclear Energy Push Oil Price.com By Ag Metal Miner – Oct 05, 2019,  Nuclear energy is, for now, playing a minuscule role in India’s energy story, contributing to about 2 percent of the country’s electricity needs.  ndia is looking at adding another 5.4 GW to the nuclear power plants in the next decade, adding to the current total output of 6.7 GW.But new nuclear plants have been opposed by the local populace in almost every part of the country where they have been proposed to be set up.

Now, an in-principle approval given by the Indian government to initiate exploratory mining for more uranium across the two southern provinces of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has locals up in arms.

The location also includes a nature reserve not only rich in flora and fauna, but also with a large tiger population. The technical go-ahead was given a few months back for Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to begin exploration for uranium, but an earlier protest led to a temporary pause in the process.

Andhra Pradesh is the largest producer of uranium in India. Tummalapalle village, located in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, is considered to have one of the largest uranium reserves in the world.

Next to the mine there is a processing plant that converts the uranium ore into sodium diuranate for use in nuclear power plants. Over the years, local farmers and environmentalists have alleged that it had led to the contamination of soil and groundwater, in addition to the destruction of water bodies.

A rethink by the government to go ahead with the fresh exploration has once again raised the hackles of environmentalists in India, who argue that whatever the procedure used to extract uranium, the wholesale mining for uranium would produce large amounts of radioactive waste that would pollute a major river nearby (as well as the surrounding areas).

They claim even if the waste is treated before disposal, uranium mining can still lead to the contamination of water and soil, eventually harming the flora and fauna of the region.

Officials of the Atomic Minerals Directorate tried to take samples after drilling a bore well for exploration and research, but were prevented by villagers, according to the News Minute.

The villagers have also been joined by opposition parties in the protests.

India’s nuclear plants are controlled by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), a state-owned corporation. India currently has seven nuclear power plants, but there are plans to add more.

But toward that goal, the government faces an uphill task………. https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/The-Biggest-Hurdle-In-Indias-Nuclear-Energy-Push.html

October 12, 2019 Posted by | India, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Submarine launched missiles in Israel’s probably 300 Nuclear Weapons

Israel May Have 300 Nuclear Weapons (Including Submarine-Launched Missiles) National Interest  Sébastien Roblin   11 Oct 19,  Israel has never officially admitted to possessing nuclear weapons.

Unofficially, Tel Aviv wants everyone to know it has them, and doesn’t hesitate to make thinly-veiled references to its willingness to use them if confronted by an existential threat. Estimates on the size of Tel Aviv’s nuclear stockpile range from 80 to 300 nuclear weapons, the latter number exceeding China’s arsenal.

Originally, Israel’s nuclear forces relied on air-dropped nuclear bombs and Jericho ballistic missiles. For example, when Egyptian and Syrian armies attacked Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a squadron of eight Israeli F-4 Phantom jets loaded with nuclear bombs was placed on alert by Prime Minister Golda Meir, ready to unleash nuclear bombs on Cairo and Damascus should the Arab armies break through.
Though Israel is the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, Tel Aviv is preoccupied by the fear that an adversary might one day attempt a first strike to destroy its nuclear missiles and strike planes on the ground before they can retaliate. Currently, the only hostile states likely to acquire such a capability are Iran or Syria.

To forestall such a strategy, Israeli has aggressively targeted missile and nuclear technology programs in Iraq, Syria and Iran with air raids, sabotage and assassination campaigns. However, it also has developed a second-strike capability—that is, a survivable weapon which promises certain nuclear retaliation no matter how effective an enemy’s first strike.

Most nuclear powers operate nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines which can spend months quietly submerged deep underwater and at any moment unleash ocean-spanning ballistic missiles to rain apocalyptic destruction on an adversary’s major centers. Because there’s little chance of finding all of these subs before they fire, they serve as one hell of a disincentive to even think about a first strike.
But nuclear-powered submarines and SLBMs are prohibitively expensive for a country with the population of New Jersey—so Israeli found a more affordable alternative………https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/israel-may-have-300-nuclear-weapons-including-submarine-launched-missiles-87131

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Russia’s fatal Skyfall missile test- a fatal nuclear accident

Putin’s Skyfall missile failed a test and exploded in a deadly nuclear accident, the US says. Business Insider, ELLEN IOANES, OCT 12, 2019, 

  • A report from a US State Department official on Thursday provides a clearer picture as to how the August 8 Skyfall accident occurred at a secret Russian military testing range.
  • “The United States has determined that the explosion near Nyonoksa, Russia, was the result of a nuclear reaction that occurred during the recovery of a Russian nuclear-powered cruise missile,” the official wrote. “The missile remained on the bed of the White Sea since its failed test early last year, in close proximity to a major population centre.”
  • Amid confusion and obfuscation from Russia and speculation from analyst, the report gives a clearer picture of how the accident, which killed seven Russians, occurred.
An August 8 nuclear accident near Nyonoksa, Russia, was caused by a nuclear reaction that occurred while Russians were attempting to recover a nuclear-powered cruise missile submerged in the White Sea after a failed test last year.

report to the UN General Assembly First Committee on Thursday by Thomas G. DiNanno, the deputy assistant secretary and senior bureau official at the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, ended months of speculation about the exact cause of the accident, which killed seven Russians.

While experts at the time determined that the cause was a nuclear-reactor explosion and tied it to the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, which NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall, DiNanno’s report gives a clearer picture of how the accident occurred.

“Russia also has much to answer for regarding the August 8th ‘Skyfall’ incident,” DiNanno wrote. …….

After the accident, Russia’s explanations and reactions to it varied greatly, from ordering an evacuation of the area to canceling it hours later. Four radiation sensor sites also went mysteriously offline after the accident, pointing to a potential cover-up. Russian officials said they were not obligated to share the data, which could have helped point to the cause of the accident, The New York Times reported.

Officials also declined to tell doctors treating engineers affected by the blast that they had been exposed to nuclear radiation and requested hospital staff sign a nondisclosure agreement, The Moscow Times originally reported……. https://www.businessinsider.my/us-putins-skyfall-missile-failed-test-and-exploded-during-recovery-2019-10/

October 12, 2019 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Flamanville nuclear reactor repairs will cost $13.6 billion

EDF Cost Overrun at French Plant Piles Pressure on Nuclear Giant, by
Francois De Beaupuy, October 9, 2019, 
  •  Repairs at Flamanville reactor will lift cost to $13.6 billion
  •  Plant won’t load nuclear fuel until end of 2022 at earliest
Electricite de France SA said repairs of faulty welds at a nuclear plant under construction in western France will boost the project’s cost by 14% to 12.4 billion euros ($13.6 billion), adding further financial strain to the cash-strapped atomic power giant.

The latest budget hike at the Flamanville-3 reactor is yet another blow to the French state-controlled utility, which raised its cost estimate for two similar reactors it’s building in the U.K. just weeks ago. It also fuels doubts about nuclear’s future in France, where the government has been reluctant to approve new projects before Flamanville-3 is online….. (subscribers only) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-09/edf-lifts-cost-of-french-nuclear-reactor-by-14-to-13-6-billion

October 12, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety | Leave a comment

The woman who was first to scientifically show, in 1856, how atmospheric C02 caused global warming

Climate-science sexism reheated, Canberra Times, Ian Warden  11 Oct 19
  The climate crusading Greta Thunberg, a famous contemporary target of sexist criticism and misogyny, may be interested to learn of the struggles of Eunice Foote who in 1856 published the first scientific paper to link CO2 and global warming.

One of my favourite obscure journals, The Public Domain Review, in touch with our climate-debating times, has just dusted off Eunice Foote’s paper Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays. It was published in the November 1856 American Journal of Art and Science.

The Review explains that In a series of experiments conducted in 1856, Eunice Newton Foote – a scientist and women’s rights campaigner from Seneca Falls, New York – became the first person to discover that altering the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would change its temperature.

“Foote’s seminal experiment was ingeniously homemade. Using four thermometers, two glass cylinders, and an air pump, she isolated the component gases that make up the atmosphere and exposed them to the sun’s rays … Measuring the change in their temperatures, she discovered that carbon dioxide and water vapour absorbed enough heat that this absorption could affect climate.”

“[Foote’s] discovery of the relationship between carbon dioxide and the Earth’s climate has since become one of the key principles of modern meteorology, the greenhouse effect, and climate science. However, no one acknowledged Foote was the first to make this discovery for more than a century, in large part because she was a woman.

Entirely because she was a woman, Foote was barred from reading the paper describing her findings at the 1856 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Albany, New York. Instead, Professor Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian had the honour of introducing her, announcing that science was ‘of no country and of no sex. The sphere of woman embraces not only the beautiful and the useful, but the true.’ Perhaps this was Henry’s attempt to shield Foote and her findings from sexist criticism .”

It would not surprise if, just as Greta Thunberg is so often accused of only reading speeches written for her by some grown-up Green Svengali (for she is surely too much of a girly flibbertigibbet to really be as knowledgeable and articulate as she pretends) Eunice Foote was suspected of having lots of (unacknowledged by her) cerebral male help with her paper.

Likell thinking Australian atheists/agnostics I am both appalled and fascinated by our prime minister’s extreme religiosity……https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6430152/climate-science-sexism-reheated/?cs=14246

October 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change, history, Women | Leave a comment

Russia has a pointless, but scary Seaborne Nuclear Weapon

Russia Has a Terrifying Seaborne Nuclear Weapon, Sebastien Roblin

The National Interest•October 11, 2019  

Key point: Moscow’s deadly weapon is pointless but is still apart of mutually-assured-destruction.On May 22, 2018, the Russian submarine Yuri Dolgoruky slipped beneath the waves of the Arctic White Sea. Hatches along the submerged boat’s spine opened, flooding the capacious tubes beneath. Moments later, an undersea volcano seemingly erupted from the depths.

Amidst roiling smoke, four stubby-looking missiles measuring twelve-meters in length emerged one by one. Momentarily, they seemed on the verge of faltering backward into the sea before their solid-fuel rockets ignited, propelling them high into the stratosphere. The four missiles soared across Russia to land in a missile test range on the Kamchatka peninsula, roughly 3,500 miles away.

You can see the launch sequence in this video.

Like the nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) operated by United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, and India, the primary purpose of Borei-class submarines is almost unimaginably grim: to bring ruin to an adversary’s cities, even should other nuclear forces be wiped out in a first strike.

Each of the submarine’s sixteen R-30 Bulava (“Mace”) missiles typically carries six 150-kiloton nuclear warheads designed to split apart to hit separate targets. This means one Borei can rain seventy-two nuclear warheads ten times more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on cities and military bases over 5,800 miles away.

The Borei is the most advanced SSBN in the Russian Navy, and is designed to replace its seven Soviet-era Delta-class SSBNs. Throughout most of the Cold War, Soviets submarines were noisier than their Western counterparts, and thus vulnerable to detection and attack by Western attack submarines. …….

The Bulava has an unusually shallow flight trajectory, making it harder to intercept, and can be fired while the Borei is moving. The 40-ton missiles can deploy up to forty decoys to try to divert defensive missiles fire by anti-ballistic missiles systems like the Alaska-based

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Appeal against acquittal of Tepco executives over Fukushima nuclear disaster

With appeal of Tepco acquittal, thousands hit by Fukushima nuclear disaster seek closure, KAHOKU SHIMPO, JAPAN TIMES, OCT 11, 2019

Plaintiffs have appealed a ruling handed down by the Tokyo District Court in mid-September that found three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives not guilty of professional negligence. A class action lawsuit against the executives claimed they had failed to apply the proper safety measures to prevent the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, despite being aware of the devastating effect tsunami would have.

Ruiko Muto, the 66-year-old leader of the class action lawsuit against former Tepco executives, has tirelessly conducted talks around the country since the nuclear disaster in 2011, which saw three of the six core reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant go into meltdown after massive tsunami struck the facility.

“Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see,” she said, adding, “awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.”

Muto has campaigned for the end of nuclear power for over 30 years. Seeing the devastating effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union catapulted her into the anti-nuclear movement…..

The disaster upended daily life as local residents knew it and tore apart the social fabric of societies and communities around the area. Eight and a half years on, the victims are still grappling with the loss of their homes, and are turning to the courts for answers and closure….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/tepco-acquittal-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-closure/#.XaDi30YzbIU

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment