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

Hanford’s radioactive underground structures likely to collapse

February 27, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

New Mexico’s elected leaders waver on Holtec’s nuclear waste plan

February 27, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

U.S. Pentagon toys with a plan to win a “limited nuclear war” against Russia

US staged ‘limited’ nuclear battle against Russia in war game

The Pentagon has briefed about the simulated exchange in a move that could signal readiness to fight and win nuclear conflict,  Guardian,  Julian Borger in Washington, Tue 25 Feb 2020 The US conducted a military exercise last week which simulated a “limited” nuclear exchange with Russia, a senior Pentagon official has confirmed.The war game is notable because of the defence department’s highly unusual decision to brief journalists about the details and because it embodied the controversial notion that it might be possible to fight, and win, a battle with nuclear weapons, without the exchange leading to an all-out world-ending conflict.

The exercise comes just weeks after the US deployed a new low-yield submarine-launched warhead commissioned by Donald Trump, as a counter to Russian tactical weapons and intended to deter their use.

According to a transcript of a background briefing by senior Pentagon officials, the defence secretary, Mark Esper, took part in what was described as a “mini-exercise” at US Strategic Command in Nebraska. Esper played himself in the simulated crisis, in which Russia launched an attack on a US target in Europe……

The official said that “in the course of [the] exercise, we simulated responding with a nuclear weapon”, but described it as a “limited response”.

The limited response could suggest the use of a small number of nuclear weapons, or an existing low-yield weapon, or the new W76-2 low-yield submarine-launched missile which was deployed in the Atlantic for the first time at the end of last year. The deployment only became public at the end of January……

The briefing was first reported by National Defense, a trade magazine of the National Defense Industrial Association.

Hans Kristensen, the director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, pointed out that it was extremely rare for the Pentagon to give such detailed briefings about nuclear exercises and suggested it could have been a marketing exercise for the new weapons being added to the US arsenal.

“Remember, it’s only a few weeks ago that we had the official confirmation that this new low-yield warhead had been deployed,” Kristensen said. “And we’re now moving into a new budget phase where they have to go to Congress and try to justify the next new nuclear weapon that has a low-yield capability which is a sea-launched cruise missile. So all of this has been played up to serve that process.”……

Arms control advocates are concerned that the leadership in both the US and Russia are developing a mindset in which their vast nuclear arsenals are not just the ultimate deterrent but weapons that could be used to win “limited” conflicts.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/24/limited-nuclear-war-game-us-russia

February 25, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Is Cumbria about to become the world’s plutonium dump?

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A half-hearted attempt was made to claim that there was no breach of trust, since plutonium did not form part of the UK’s nuclear waste inventory, which while technically correct at the time, it was widely understood that plutonium was expected to be reclassified as waste at a later stage.  So while the NDA claim was true in a literal sense, it was also entirely disingenuous.  It was clear at the time that the NDA were embarrassed by this, particularly as they were about to ask Copeland, Allerdale and Cumbria to vote to continue the search process for a GDF site.  That process ended in January 2013 when Cumbria County Council vetoed the decisions of the two borough councils which had voted to proceed.
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While there have been a few smaller transactions of this type, it now appears that the NDA is offering to take ownership of a much larger quantity – 19 tonnes (21 US tons) of plutonium from Japan, in exchange for a substantial payment.  The UK and Sellafield where it is stored will then be faced with the problem of what to do with it.  It is almost inevitable that it will be reclassified as waste at some point, but it generates too much heat to begin to be buried until the year 2136 according to the NDA.
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The UK’s search for a GDF site has failed on three occasions, with a lack of public trust being one of the key reasons for the failures.  With this latest move by the NDA, public trust is likely to be further diminished.  Any claim that a UK GDF is for UK nuclear waste is clearly not to be trusted.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | - plutonium, politics, UK | Leave a comment

USA fails to stop G20 finance ministers and central bank governors warning on climate change

February 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | Leave a comment

USA at G20 tried to stop any mention of climate change

US blocking mention of climate change in G20 statement, diplomats say Independent UK, Oliver O’Connell, New York, 24 Feb 20, 
1 day ago  G20 diplomats say the US is against mentioning climate change in the communique of the world’s financial leaders.

A new draft of the joint statement shows the G20 considering including it as a risk factor to growth.

Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies are discussing the main challenges to the global economy in RiyadhSaudi Arabia, this weekend.

G20 sources told Reuters that the US was reluctant to accept language on climate change as a risk to the economy.

The US is represented at the meeting by treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin…….. G20 diplomats say the US is against mentioning climate change in the communique of the world’s financial leaders.

A new draft of the joint statement shows the G20 considering including it as a risk factor to growth. Finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 largest economies are discussing the main challenges to the global economy in RiyadhSaudi Arabia, this weekend.

G20 sources told Reuters that the US was reluctant to accept language on climate change as a risk to the economy.The US is represented at the meeting by treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/climate-change-g20-us-global-economy-paris-agreement-trump-a9352891.html

February 25, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Communist Party of India (CPI (M) oppose purchase of U.S nuclear, with Jared Kushner’s vested interest

February 25, 2020 Posted by | India, marketing, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Terrorism risks in Pakistan’s upgraded nuclear weapons

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons Get a Longer Range and Greater Precision

How difficult would it be for one of the nation’s ruthless terrorist groups to gain control over its nuclear arms?  The Trumpet BY JEREMIAH JACQUES • FEBRUARY 24  2020

Pakistan successfully test-fired a new version of its Ra’ad ii nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missile on February 16, in the latest sign of the nation’s thermonuclear weapons advancement.

The Pakistan military’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ispr) said in a statement that the new version of the Ra’ad ii can travel up to 375 miles, nearly twice the range of the earlier model. It noted that the missile is “equipped with state-of-the-art guidance and navigation systems ensuring engagement of targets with high precision.” The combination of the longer range and the precision navigation “significantly enhances” the military’s “air delivered strategic standoff capability on land and at sea,” the ispr said…….

Pakistan has steadily developed more powerful, more compact and more numerous nuclear warheads—and, as evidenced by the new Ra’ad ii variant, more deft systems to deliver them.

Meanwhile, parts of Pakistan have become hotbeds of intensifying Islamic radicalism, which calls the security of these unfathomably destructive weapons into question. “Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world,” Michael Morell, a former acting Central Intelligence Agency director, told Axios in 2018. “[A]nti-state jihadist extremism is growing in Pakistan, creating the nightmare society down the road: an extremist government in Islamabad with nuclear weapons.”

The Pakistani military has control over the nation’s 70 to 90 nuclear weapons. But the military routinely works with some of the most dangerous terrorist groups on the planet, including the ruthless Haqqani branch of the Afghan Taliban. The Brookings Institution noted, “Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid” to the Haqqani, which has resulted in “the deaths of U.S. soldiers, Afghan security personnel and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.” …….. https://www.thetrumpet.com/21979-pakistans-nuclear-weapons-get-a-longer-range-and-greater-precision

February 25, 2020 Posted by | Pakistan, safety, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Question USA’s need for a New Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile

Does the US Need a New Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile?

The case for a new sea-launched cruise missile raises worrying questions.The Diplomat By Robert Farley, February 24, 2020  According to a new report from Defense News, the United States is moving forward on development of a dangerous new nuclear capability. Aaron Mehta of Defense News reported on February 21 that the Department of Defense intends to create a program of record for a submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM) equipped with a nuclear warhead. The request comes in response to Trump administration preferences set forth in the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, which also called for the deployment of low-yield nuclear warheads on submarine launched ballistic missiles.

The United States has not deployed a nuclear armed SLCM since the retirement of the TLAM-N in 2013. ……..

The deployment of a newer, more survivable SLCM would not exactly create a new problem so much as reintroduce an old one. Nuclear cruise missiles take up space on a ship and require different kinds of crew expertise. Their storage alongside conventional missiles creates an obvious potential for accidents. Discrimination would also become a problem. The United States has launched a great many cruise missiles from submarines as part of the War on Terror and associated conflicts. China, Russia, and other nuclear powers can credibly recognize such launches as carrying conventional munitions. If attack submarines reacquire the capability to launch nuclear weapons, then Beijing and Moscow need to worry about every missile launch within range of their territory.

This would become more, not less, problematic in context of a direct conflict between the United States and China. The U.S. has promised to hold targets within China at risk during a general conflict, presumably with cruise missiles. Heretofore China has not needed to account for the possibility that these missiles might carry nuclear warheads, but if the U.S. deployed nuclear SLCMs then any strike might be interpreted as a nuclear attack…….https://thediplomat.com/2020/02/does-the-us-need-a-new-nuclear-sea-launched-cruise-missile/

February 25, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Poor quality nuclear spent fuel casks at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station

Push for better storage of spent Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station fuel, Cape Cod Times,  Christine Legere Feb 23, 2020
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station was permanently shut down in May, but more than 4,000 radioactive spent fuel assemblies will continue to be stored at the Plymouth site for the foreseeable future.

Citizen activists in Barnstable County communities will ask voters at spring town meetings, or via local election ballots, to support an advisory question that would direct Gov. Charlie Baker and state legislators to require that the radioactive waste is stored in “better quality” dry casks than those planned for use, and that the casks are protected by earthen berms or within enclosures with heightened security.,

Diane Turco, a Harwich resident and president of Cape Downwinders, said radioactive spent fuel is a national problem, not just a local issue.

The Cape Downwinders wrote the advisory question.

“Fifty percent of Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear power plant,” Turco said. “Safety is a right. Our petition is to raise consciousness: educate the public about ongoing issues at Pilgrim.”

The selectmen in Orleans and Brewster voted to put the advisory question on their respective spring election ballots, Turco said. In Bourne, the question will go on the town meeting warrant.

Other Barnstable County communities will be presented with the advisory in the coming weeks.

Entergy Corp., Pilgrim’s longtime owner, sold the plant to Holtec International, a New Jersey-based company that will handle decommissioning, spent fuel management and site cleanup.

Turco and other Pilgrim critics have complained that Holtec has a conflict of interest since the company uses dry casks that it manufactures. The Holtec Hi-Storm 100s the company uses are concrete-encased stainless steel canisters that are a little over a half-inch thick.

“That’s just three-eighths of an inch thicker than a Yeti cup,” Turco said.

There is no way to monitor the steel canisters once they are sealed, critics say, and there is no aging management plan.

Concern also has been expressed over Holtec’s plan to store spent fuel on a concrete pad just a short distance from a well-traveled road. A vanity fence, rather than earth berms or enclosures, will block the view from the street.

“In this day and age, Pilgrim is an open door for any bad actors who want to cause serious damage to our country,” Turco said. “Nuclear waste is a predeployed nuclear weapon. Its safe storage is being ignored.”………

tate Attorney General Maura Healey filed a motion to intervene in the license transfer several months ago, but the motion remains under review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Frustrated by the lack of action, Healey sued the NRC last fall in U.S. District Court for approving the transfer of Pilgrim’s license from Entergy Corp. to Holtec International without first listening to what state officials and the public had to say about it. The case is pending.

Healey contends that Holtec is inexperienced in decommissioning and will likely run out of money before the job is done. Holtec will use the plant’s decommissioning trust fund, which contains $1.1 billion in ratepayer money.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel, which is made up of local officials, representatives from state agencies and members of the public, has been frustrated by Holtec’s lack of response during monthly meetings regarding decommissioning and spent fuel.

Holtec’s continuing refusal to answer the advisory panel and the public’s questions about the safety and expected longevity of the company’s dry cask storage technology is not only disturbing, it’s outrageous,” Sean Mullin, chairman of the advisory panel, wrote in an email. “The citizens of the Commonwealth have a right to know how, for example, Holtec can accurately monitor the sealed casks for problems and, if detected, how these can be repaired.”

The NRC director of the Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, a senior health physicist, senior materials engineer and chief of the NRC’s Storage and Transportation Licensing Branch will attend an advisory panel meeting set for 6:30 p.m. Monday in Plymouth Town Hall to discuss the region’s concerns.

Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @ChrisLegereCCT.   https://www.capecodtimes.com/news/20200223/push-for-better-storage-of-spent-pilgrim-nuclear-power-station-fuel

February 25, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | 1 Comment

New tech takes radiation out of cancer screening

New tech takes radiation out of cancer screening, Science Daily, February 24, 2020, University of Waterloo

Summary:
Researchers have developed a new, inexpensive technology that could save lives and money by routinely screening women for breast cancer without exposure to radiation. The system uses harmless microwaves and artificial intelligence (AI) software to detect even small, early-stage tumors within minutes.

Researchers have developed a new, inexpensive technology that could save lives and money by routinely screening women for breast cancer without exposure to radiation.

The system, developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo, uses harmless microwaves and artificial intelligence (AI) software to detect even small, early-stage tumors within minutes.

“Our top priorities were to make this detection-based modality fast and inexpensive,” said Omar Ramahi, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Waterloo. “We have incredibly encouraging results and we believe that is because of its simplicity.”

A prototype device — the culmination of 15 years of work on the use of microwaves for tumor detection, not imaging — cost less than $5,000 to build.

It consists of a small sensor in an adjustable box about 15 centimetres square that is situated under an opening in a padded examination table………

In addition to reducing patient wait times and enabling earlier diagnosis, Ramahi said, the device would eliminate radiation exposure, improve patient comfort and work on particularly dense breasts, a problem with mammograms.

It would also save health-care systems enormous amounts of money and, because of its low cost and ease of use, dramatically increase access to screening in the developing world.

Researchers have applied for a patent and started a company, Wave Intelligence Inc. of Waterloo, to commercialize the system and hope to begin trials on patients within six months. Three rounds of preliminary testing included the use of artificial human torsos known as phantoms. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/02/200224111415.htm

February 25, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, health | Leave a comment

President Trump, eyeing the election campaign contradicts his administration on Nevada nuclear waste dump

One Side of a Nuclear Waste Fight: Trump. The Other: His Administration.

The president, eyeing the battleground state of Nevada, has made clear he opposes a nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain, reversing a policy that was made in his name.

In a tweet earlier this month, Donald Trump appeared to have reversed his position to now oppose creating a national nuclear waste dump at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, NYT, By Maggie Haberman,, Feb. 23, 2020

    Mr. Trump, who in recent weeks seemed to end his administration’s support for moving nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain, a proposal that had been embraced by his appointees for three years despite his own lack of interest

  • “Why should you have nuclear waste in your backyard?” Mr. Trump asked the crowd at a rally in Las Vegas on Friday, to applause, noting that his recently released budget proposal did not include funding to license the site, as previous ones had.  applause, noting that his recently released budget proposal did not include funding to license the site, as previous ones had.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear station Sizewell C will cause environmental damage on an unprecedented scale

Telegraph 23rd Feb 2020 Suffolk Wildlife Trust: We have serious concerns over the effect  upon wildlife of Sizewell C and, despite years of working closely with EDF, we are far from convinced that the electricity giant is taking the impacts seriously.

We also believe that it will be impossible wholly to mitigate or
compensate for much of the negative impact on wildlife. The current plans
suggest that we will lose between 20 and 30 acres of nationally important
land that is supposedly protected by its Site of Special Scientific
Interest status. This equates to covering roughly 10 football pitches of
rare fen habitat in concrete. Invariably there will be devastating habitat
loss for birds such as kingfisher and for rare mammals such as water vole
and otters. EDF has made little attempt to minimise these losses.

Suffolk Preservation Society: The proposed nuclear power plant at
Sizewell C will cause environmental damage on an unprecedented scale in a
highly sensitive location, much of which is designated an Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty. The construction phase will bring massive
disruption to communities in East Suffolk over many years and will
permanently change our landscapes. Suffolk’s environment is remarkably
undeveloped and is characterised by a sense of remote wildness. The
tranquillity provides a high quality of life for residents and is a major
draw for tourists. However, this isolation is fragile and could easily be
lost forever. The impact of a development such as Sizewell C upon heritage
sites – including an abbey, churches, farmhouses and other vernacular
buildings that contribute to the special qualities of Suffolk – will be
considerable. The intrusion of new roads to cope with a massive increase in
HGV traffic, spoil heaps, borrow pits, and accommodation for up to 3,000
workers will be felt across numerous locations. Development of the Sizewell
site cannot be at unlimited cost to the quality and character of our county
and its communities.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2020/02/23/letterstory-supporting-constituencies-wont-happy-see-hs2-completed/

February 25, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

Safety check records falsified at SC nuclear plant,

February 25, 2020 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

No vote on high level nuclear waste storage in New Mexico, despite Memorial opposing the dump

New Mexico lawmakers unopposed to high-level nuclear waste storage as House kills memorial. Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus Feb. 24, 2020   A measure that would have called on the New Mexico Legislature to formally oppose the transportation and storage of high-level nuclear waste, as a project was ongoing to do so the southeast corner of the state, died while in committee as the 2020 session closed without a vote.

House Memorial 21 did pass the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on a 8-5 vote during a Feb. 1 hearing, but was never brought to a vote on the House floor and thus did not proceed to be signed into law.

HM 21, sponsored by Matthew McQueen (D-50) cited an “unacceptable risk” created by the storage of high-level waste from the eastern United States, which the memorial cited as holding “90 percent” of nuclear reactors.

The memorial also said the risk would be spread to “40 other state” through the transportation of spent nuclear fuel by rail.

The facility that the memorial blamed for creating such as risk was proposed by Holtec International, which applied for a license to build a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel rods in a remote location between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The facility would hold nuclear waste temporarily as a permanent repository was developed.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard both voiced opposition to the project last year, with the Lujan Grisham calling it “economic malpractice” as it could disrupt nearby oil and gas agriculture industries.

“The creation of a high-level radioactive waste storage facility in New Mexico jeopardizes the state’s existing industrial, agricultural and ranching businesses, runs counter to the promotion of tourism and the diversification of New Mexico’s economy and threatens the health and safety of New Mexico residents,” read the memorial….

McQueen worried the facility, although it was proposed as a temporary or “interim” facility could become permanent as a permanent repository was unlikely to be opened during the 40-year term of Holtec’s license application.

“I also believe this is a temporary benefit for really long-term or permanent liability for Mew Mexico. The facility threatens our existing economic activity, not only in the area but statewide,” he said during the Committee hearing.

“It’s amazing how something that temporary pretty much becomes permanent. I believe New Mexico should not be the nation’s nuclear waste dumping ground.”

A New Mexico Senate bill aimed at expanding the State’s oversight to include privately-owned storage for high-level waste also died after it was voted down last week on the Senate floor…… .  https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/local/2020/02/24/new-mexico-lawmakers-unopposed-high-level-nuclear-waste-storage/4856468002/

February 25, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, wastes | Leave a comment