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Nuclear power a very bad option for the Philippines

Greenpeace: Proposal to add nuclear to country’s energy mix ‘plain irresponsible, irrational’  Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) – March 4, 2020 MANILA, Philippines — The inclusion of nuclear power in the Philippines’ energy mix will only bring more problems and debt to Filipinos, an environmental organization said as it urged the government to reject the proposal of the Energy department.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi sought President Rodrigo Duterte’s nod for a proposed executive order to add nuclear power to the country’s energy sources, Malacañang said Tuesday.Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cusi claimed that tapping nuclear power can help solve the country’s energy gap.’

According to environmental group Greenpeace Philippines, there is no rational reason for the Energy department to push a nuclear power agenda.

“Nuclear power is the most dangerous source of electricity and throughout their life cycle, nuclear plants contribute significantly to climate change. In other parts of the world, nuclear facilities are being decommissioned and phased out from energy plan,” Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said.

From the 1960s until the mid 1980s, Ferdinand Marcos adopted a nuclear energy program and built the Bataan Nuclear Plant, called by critics the “monster” of Morong town. It was mothballed after President Corazon Aquino assumed office in 1986 due to safety concerns.

Nuclear power a costly option

Yu also said that nuclear is the most costly option for power generation.

In 2003, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated the cost of a plant without financing would be US$2,000 per kilowatt. In their updated study released in 2009, the estimated cost was at US$4,000.

“Nuclear power will bring more problems and debt to the Filipino people,” Yu said, adding that pushing it as an energy source is “plain irresponsible and irrational.”

Safety concerns

Another big issue is the absence of safe and permanent storage of radioactive spent fuel, Yu said.

In 2018, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla stressed the need to put forward radioactive waste management for discussion.

“It’s (nuclear power development) like putting up a mansion without toilets if you’re not talking of radioactive wastes,” Arcilla said then.

Duterte in 2018 said safety should be the priority when deciding whether to tap nuclear energy for the power needs of Filipinos.

Focus on renewable energy instead……https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/03/04/1998107/greenpeace-proposal-add-nuclear-countrys-energy-mix-plain-irresponsible-irrational

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Philippines, politics | Leave a comment

Trump picks nuclear envoy – Marshall Billingslea, formerly involved in torture program

Trump picks official involved in Bush-era torture program as his nuclear envoy

  • Marshall Billingslea oversaw Guantánamo detainees’ treatment
  • Trump wants to negotiate new deal with Russia and China, Julian Borger in Washington,  5 Mar 2020  The Trump administration has chosen a special envoy for nuclear talks, with the principal task of negotiating a new arms control agreement with Russia and China, according to congressional sources and former officials. The proposed special negotiator, Marshall Billingslea, is currently the under-secretary for terrorist financing at the US Treasury. His nomination last year for a top human rights job at the state department was stalled by controversy over the extent of his involvement in the torture programme established by the George W Bush administration, in which he oversaw the conditions of detainees in Guantanamo Bay.
    Neither the state department nor the Treasury responded to a request for comment, but congressional staffers and former officials said Billingslea had accepted the post.

    The Trump administration has been trying to recruit a high-level arms control negotiator for several months, but several former Republican officials with significant experience in the field turned down the offer.

    Billingslea, who has a long record as a hawk on nuclear weapons issues, faces a daunting task. Donald Trump wants to negotiate a new agreement to reduce the vast nuclear weapons arsenals of the major powers, to replace the New Start deal with Russia agreed by Barack Obama.

    Trump wants China to be included in a new agreement but Beijing has so far refused on the grounds that the Chinese arsenal is a small fraction (estimated at about a 20th) of its US and Russian counterparts.

    Trump has accepted an invitation from Vladimir Putin to take part in talks on nuclear arms control and other strategic issues at a summit meeting of the five permanent members of the UN security council, most likely at the time of the UN general assembly in September.

    One of Billingslea’s tasks would be to prepare for the summit, but in the absence of a major shift by China, he would have to advise Trump on whether or not to extend the New Start deal – the last nuclear arms control agreement to have survived the Trump era – as an interim measure. That is something the president is highly reluctant to do, because the 2010 agreement is part of the Obama legacy Trump has been eager to expunge.

    Billingslea is a former aide to the late Republican senator Jesse Helms, who was a fervent opponent of arms control efforts during the cold war, for example blocking US ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and campaigning for the US withdrawal from the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty.  AT TOP https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/mar/04/trump-nuclear-talks-envoy-marshall-billingslea

March 5, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Tennessee Valley Authority violated whistleblower protections for nuclear workers

March 5, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Bill in California to call nuclear power “renewable”!

March 5, 2020 Posted by | politics, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Trump gives huge funding increase to nuclear agency that develops nuclear warheads

The White House gave this nuclear agency a giant funding increase. Can it spend it all? Defense News By: Aaron Mehta 4 Mar 20, WASHINGTON — Members of Congress used a hearing Tuesday to question whether the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous arm of the Department of Energy that handles development of nuclear warheads, can spend an almost 20 percent funding increase requested by the Trump administration.

As part of its national security budget request, the White House asked for more than $46 billion for nuclear programs in fiscal 2021. That includes $28.9 billion for the Department of Defense, which develops the delivery systems such as the B-21 bomber and the new replacement for intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as $15.6 billion for NNSA’s nuclear weapons accounts and another $1.7 billion for nuclear reactor work, run through the NNSA on behalf of the Navy.

That NNSA total represents a major increase in agency weapons funding over levels projected in the previous budget request, something that several members noted during an appearance by NNSA head Lisa Gordon-Hagerty at the House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee…….

Allison Bawden, director of the natural resources and environment team within the Government Accountability Office, who also appeared before the committee. Bawden warned that the “spend rate has to go up very quickly” for NNSA to be able to spend all the money coming its way.

Asked directly by Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., if NNSA could successfully execute a roughly $3 billion increase from its FY20 to FY21 request, Bawden said it would be “very challenging” to do so.

Expect agency officials to face similar questions about how to spend its money on Wednesday, when they appear in front of the House Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, the appropriations panel with the most direct control of the NNSA’s budget.

The chairwoman of that subcommittee, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, told Defense News this week that the administration is “again proposing a nuclear weapons budget that does not establish clear priorities.”

“The proposed $3.1 billion increase for weapons is simply sprinting toward failure, and Congress should right-size NNSA’s workload to match what the complex can realistically do,” Kaptur said……….

an estimated $81.37 billion to be spent on nuclear weapons programs, including modernization of a number of warheads. Combined with the Pentagon’s plan to spend about $87 billion over that same time frame on nuclear modernization, the overall price tag for the Future Years Defense Program could be at least $163 billion.

Stephen Young, an expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the nuclear “bow wave” of spending that has long been predicted is finally arriving. But he agrees that the NNSA is likely to be challenged in spending its significant increase in dollars.

“The problem is, the NNSA will almost certainly fail to achieve its admittedly aggressive timelines, even though it is throwing money at the problem. If the United States does not have an achievable, realistic warhead plan, the Pentagon will face difficult choices going forward,” Young said. “The good news is, because the U.S. nuclear arsenal is so robust, even if the NNSA has significant failures, the U.S. deterrent will remain robust.” https://www.defensenews.com/smr/nuclear-arsenal/2020/03/04/the-white-house-gave-this-nuclear-agency-a-giant-funding-increase-can-it-spend-it-all/

March 5, 2020 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear – a failing technology, example Canada’s risky CANDU reactors

Ontario Clean Air Alliance The Star By Angela Bischoff, March 3, 2020

Ask yourself: Would we build a massive nuclear power station in the middle of Canada’s largest urban area today? The answer, of course, is a common sense “no.”

It’s common sense because nuclear energy, despite its boosters’ assurances, is not without risk. And while the risk of something going wrong may be small, the consequences could be catastrophic. Just ask the people of Japan.

There is a persistent myth that there is something “special” about CANDU (Canada’s nuclear) technology. But that’s just wishful thinking. CANDU’s are just as prone to risk as any other type of system for splitting atoms.

In fact, the inability of nuclear engineers to address some of the risks built into the CANDU process led to the shelving of both the CANDU 6 “advanced” reactor design and the Maple small reactors that were to supply medical isotopes (a role that is now being increasingly filled by non-nuclear technologies). Those failures cost us billions in wasted taxpayer dollars.

Furthermore, with their miles and miles of corrosion-prone piping and complex designs, CANDUs are notoriously hard to maintain, and all our reactors have had to undergo significant rebuilding well before reaching the end of their promised lifetimes………

The total radioactivity in Pickering’s spent nuclear fuel is 200 times greater than the total radiation released to the atmosphere by the Fukushima accident in 2011.

Maybe the risk involved in storing 15,000 tonnes of radioactive waste next to the source of our drinking water and surrounded by millions of people would be worth it if we had no alternatives. But we have plenty of options to keep our lights on and our beer cold. What we don’t have is any viable solution for the long-term storage of highly radioactive waste that will have to be kept absolutely secure for hundreds of thousands of years.

There’s no shortage of happy talk about deep geologic waste disposal or even miraculous waste-consuming mini breeder reactors (a technology long since dismissed by countries around the world due to its horrendous risk profile). What you won’t find are any actual operational solutions — or even any ready-to-implement plans on the near horizon.

And then there’s the danger to your wallet. Nuclear power — with risks so huge that no commercial insurance industry will touch it for any amount of premium — is no bargain. Today, Ontario Power Generation is charging 9.5 cents per kilowatt hour for nuclear power; within 5 years that will jump to 16.5 cents as OPG deals with the huge cost of rebuilding Darlington’s reactors.

That is three times the cost of renewable power we could secure from Quebec, twice what Ontario was paying for wind power (and about equal to solar) four years ago, and eight times what we pay to help our industries and businesses improve their energy efficiency and reduce their need for power (and their bills).

So, the calculus is simple. On one hand we have a fading technology — nuclear now generates half the power it did worldwide 10 years ago — with rising costs and security concerns, and a long history of bringing in projects behind schedule and massively over budget.

On the other, a 100 per cent renewable system where costs continue to plummet, technology — including storage — is leaping ahead, and safety is about making sure workers wear harnesses, not radiation monitors. Which one would you choose for your neighbourhood?

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Canada, safety | Leave a comment

Russia’s Poseidon thermonuclear torpedo being tested

Russia’s New Nuclear Torpedo Is A Threat To More Than Just America’s Aircraft CarriersBut its coastal cities as well. National Interest. by Michael Peck, 4 Mar 20, Key point: Or is this just more hype? You make the call. Russia has begun underwater tests of its Poseidon thermonuclear torpedo.

The Poseidon is an 80-foot-long nuclear-powered submersible robot that is essentially an underwater ICBM. It is designed to travel autonomously across thousands of miles, detonate outside an enemy coastal city, and destroy it by generating a tsunami.

“In the sea area protected from a potential enemy’s reconnaissance means, the underwater trials of the nuclear propulsion unit of the Poseidon drone are underway,” an unnamed Russian defense official told the TASS news agency.

The source also said the “the reactor is installed in the hull of the operating drone but the tests are being held as part of experimental design work rather than full-fledged sea trials at this stage.”

TASS also reports the Poseidon, — the name was chosen in a Web contest held by Russia’s Ministry of Defense – will be armed with a 2-megaton warhead. That’s more than enough to destroy a city. But that leaves the question of why Russia would choose to nuke an American city with an underwater drone – even one that allegedly travels 100 miles an hour – when an ICBM can do the job in 30 minutes.

Russia suggests the Poseidon is a retaliatory weapon that would revenge a U.S. first strike even if American missile defenses were capable of stopping hundreds of Russian ICBMs. But even in the unlikely event that the U.S. could intercept 500 or more Russian ballistic missiles, a delivery system that could take days or weeks to reach its target seems hardly an efficient deterrent.

TASS also reports the Poseidon, — the name was chosen in a Web contest held by Russia’s Ministry of Defense – will be armed with a 2-megaton warhead. That’s more than enough to destroy a city. But that leaves the question of why Russia would choose to nuke an American city with an underwater drone – even one that allegedly travels 100 miles an hour – when an ICBM can do the job in 30 minutes.

Russia suggests the Poseidon is a retaliatory weapon that would revenge a U.S. first strike even if American missile defenses were capable of stopping hundreds of Russian ICBMs. But even in the unlikely event that the U.S. could intercept 500 or more Russian ballistic missiles, a delivery system that could take days or weeks to reach its target seems hardly an efficient deterrent…..

The puzzle is why a giant robot submarine would be needed to detonate a nuclear warhead near a U.S. aircraft carrier ….. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russias-new-nuclear-torpedo-threat-more-just-americas-aircraft-carriers-129207

March 5, 2020 Posted by | Spain, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear power project Bradwell B public consultation to go live this week

Nuclear power project Bradwell B public consultation to go live this week, Maldon Standard , 4 Mar 20, By Pape Gueye  @PMGueye  “……… Proposals for Bradwell B were unveiled today as the first stage of consultation gets under way.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks until May 27, with exhibitions taking place at 15 venues across Essex…..

The proposals for Bradwell B will be developed over several years before the project submits an application to the UK Planning Inspectorate.

The final decision whether to grant permission will be taken by the Secretary of State.

A group campaigning against Bradwell B is urging residents to attend the EDF energy and Chinese General Nuclear stage one consultation events and make their views known.

Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) has been campaigning against the power station plan.

A spokesman said: “Any support will be gratefully welcome, ranging from just turning up to spending the whole time at a venue demonstrating your concern.”

The first consultation takes place tomorrow at Steeple Village Hall from 2pm until 8pm.

To see the other consultation dates, visit banng.info.   https://www.maldonandburnhamstandard.co.uk/news/18280459.nuclear-power-project-bradwell-b-public-consultation-go-live-week/

Visit bradwellb.co.uk.

March 5, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Poland’s nuclear power development with USA to cost $15.56 billion

March 5, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment