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Why we must stop investing in nuclear weapons

Why we must stop investing in nuclear weapons, By MIMI LANG, THE MORNING CALL |, JUN 15, 2020 One wonders which threats worry us the most. Certainly, the coronavirus tops the list. My own choice for second place is the threat of nuclear weapons and climate change.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists established the Doomsday Clock in 1970 to warn us about the dangers of nuclear weapons. The closer to midnight the clock, the closer we are to nuclear disaster. Many of the scientists who warned about nuclear dangers had worked on developing the atom bomb.

The clock has been as far away from midnight as 17 minutes. Right now it’s at 100 seconds, the closest it has ever been.

The reason for decreasing the number to 100 seconds is because the risk of climate disaster has been added to the nuclear disaster threat. As we approach the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of this year, the U.S. nuclear program wastes vast amounts of money to maintain its role with Russia as the purveyor of the most weapons of mass destruction.

An article in The Morning Call on May 16 about updating our nuclear weapons states, “the Trump administration’s plan — inherited from the Obama administration — is to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into replacing every major every element of the nuclear weapons complex.”

According to the article, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper feels “nuclear modernization is too important to put off, even in an economic crisis.”
There is strong opposition among those who having been resisting nuclear weapons since their development. In July of 2017, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The treaty bans the use, possession, development, testing, deployment or transfer of nuclear weapons under international law. It is the first legally binding, multilateral agreement to ban nuclear weapons.

So far, 122 countries have signed the document and 37 have ratified it. Once 50 countries have ratified the treaty, it will enter into force. Not surprisingly, the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons have refused to sign the treaty. U.S. allies that do not have nuclear weapons but depend on the U.S. for their defense also refuse to sign.

Members of the local Peace Center, LEPOCO, have worked for years to increase the public’s awareness of the threat nuclear weapons provide to our survival. Each year we have an event remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki to honor those who have continued to work to abolish nuclear weapons.

Along with other peace groups, we have been active in supporting the efforts of the Ploughshares community, a group of brave activists who have spent years of their lives in jail for trespassing onto the facilities where Trident and other missiles await their opportunity to destroy our world.

A current group of seven Catholic Worker activists called the Kings Bay Ploughshares awaits their sentencing in a few weeks. On April 4, 2018, they entered the Kings Bay Naval Base, poured their blood and hammered on monuments dedicated to nuclear weapons and left signs saying that in the face of the threat that the U.S. nuclear arsenal poses to the world, what they had done was not illegal.

Their actions were intended as “symbolic disarmament” — an act of civil resistance.

While our friends spent over a year in jail awaiting their trial, the U.S. announced the deployment of the W76-2, a new, smaller nuclear warhead than the traditional Trident missile. The first to move out with the new weapon was the USS Tennessee, deploying from Kings Bay Submarine Base in Georgia at the end of 2019.

The warhead is designed to be smaller than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Those in favor of the smaller warhead argue that it is needed to counter developments in Russia. Opponents warn of confusion if a submarine has both large and small missiles, forcing an opponent to choose a larger one.

Any investment in furthering our nuclear weapons programs makes our dreams of a nuclear-free world more unlikely. Billions of dollars for nuclear weapons deprive us all of adequate health care, education, housing, living wages, relief from poverty.

Can you make a difference in our country’s nuclear decisions? Consider joining the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. ICAN is a coalition of nongovernmental groups promoting adherence to the United Nations Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The organization received the Noble Prize for Peace in 2017.

You can also join the Don’t Bank the Bomb Campaign ( to stop investments in nuclear weapons. Pressure your local officials to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Please join me in imagining the future of the world without nuclear weapons.

Mimi Lang, who lives in Bethlehem, is a member of Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern.  AT TOP

June 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | 1 Comment

USA taxpayers’ money can now go to private companies overseas building nuclear reactors!

Kinzinger Applauds Rule Change On International Private Nuclear Programs Jun 15, 2020 

    • Congressman Adam Kinzinger is applauding a decision by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation that would allow America to support civilian nuclear power projects around the world.  Kinzinger wrote a letter to the DFC in March expressing his concerns with internal guidelines that prevented the federal organization from cooperating with international civil nuclear projects. Now that the US can invest in foreign private nuclear programs, Kinzinger said this will strengthen our allies in Eastern Europe and deal a blow to the predatory business practices of Russia and China.

June 16, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

UK’s Nuclear Future in Doubt amid Diplomatic Fallout over Huawai.

Telegraph 14th June 2020,  UK’s Nuclear Future in Doubt amid Diplomatic Fallout over Huawai. Boris Johnson’s now faces a test of his diplomatic and political skills against the Chinese state. Eyeing China’s crackdown on Hong Kong protesters, seeking to define the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit, and shaken by the pandemic, the UK is hardening its stance on China – and the communist superpower is responding in kind.

Expectations that the UK will reduce Chinese company Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G network have been met with veiled threats that Chinese companies might pull out of building UK nuclear power plants and other infrastructure – ratcheting up tensions with potentially profound political and economic consequences.

Chinese direct investment in the UK reached almost £50bn between 2000 and 2018, while in
2018 the UK sold £22.6bn worth of goods to China and bought £44.7bn of Chinese goods. It was less than five years ago that David Cameron and Chinese president Xi Jinping popped into the Plough in Cadsden, Bucks, to toast a “golden era” of friendship between the two nations over pints
of IPA and fish and chips.

The visit took place just two days after the Chinese nuclear power giant China General Nuclear and France’s EDF agreed to build the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in Somerset, as part of about £40bn in business deals signed between the UK and China. Hinkley

Point C is now taking shape next to the Bristol Channel, but plans for a second plant with EDF, Sizewell C, and CGN’s own plant, Bradwell B inEssex, as well as other infrastructure investment now appear to be at risk if the UK ousts Huawei.

Plenty argue that would be no bad thing. China’s involvement in the UK’s nuclear power plants has long been controversial due to security concerns, while some experts also argue that large nuclear power plants have had their day as a source of energy. “The energy landscape has changed,” argues Paul Dorfman, of the UCL Energy Institute,
given that offshore wind power and other renewable technologies are getting much cheaper and more effective…….

June 16, 2020 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Covid-19 pandemic – ‘fire drill’ for effects of climate crisis

June 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, health | Leave a comment

South Carolina Electric and Gas lawyers and executives could face gaol for fraud

SCE&G LAWYERS MAY BE CHARGED IN NUCLEAR FRAUD,     More utility executives may face prison time, too

By Jerry Bellune
Former SC Electric & Gas executive Steve Byrne may have company.
His plea agreement on fraud charges reveals that other executives and lawyers for SCANA, the owner of SCE&G, are at risk of being charged,.
Federal officials believe a conspiracy of executives and their lawyers hid a $9 billion  nuclear failure from state officials, investors and the public for years.
An official federal document filed in US District Court in Columbia revealed:
• Byrne and unidentified “others” orchestrated a cover-up of costly errors at the nuclear construction site.
• They “deceived regulators and customers to maintain financing for the project and to financially benefit SCANA” and themselves.
• “As construction problems mounted, costs rose and schedules slipped,” Byrne and others hid the truth.
For the rest of what the federal documents reveal, see Thursday’s Lexington County Chronicle.

June 16, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s environmental watchdogs warn government against new nuclear power

Environmental watchdogs against the procurement for a new nuclear power programme

Environmental watchdogs are warning Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe against a new nuclear power programme. Mantashe’s department has indicated that it will be going ahead with the procurement process for a two thousand 500 megawatt programme. The Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute says going forward with the plan would be unlawful. The institute’s Francesca de Gasparis joins us from Cape Town to discuss. Courtesy #DStv403

June 16, 2020 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

COVID-19 recovery plans – excellent opportunity for global renewable energy develoment

Current 12th June 2020, With renewable energy more cost-efficient than ever before, there is a clear opportunity to forward decarbonisation in COVID-19 recovery plans. A new report entitled Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020, put together by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and BloombergNEF (BNEF), outlines that globally 2019  saw the highest investment in offshore wind in one year and highest solar power capacity additions in one year, while looking into investment trends for 2020.
It argues that in order to get on the right track for keeping climate change to 2 degrees, globally we require the addition of around 3,000GW of renewables by 2030. This may fluctuate somewhat depending on the technology mix.

June 16, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Sizewell C nuclear project threatens nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast

Surfbirds 13th June 2020, The RSPB and Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) have united in a position against Sizewell C stating that the build must not go ahead. The two organisations also highlighted concerns about the timing of proceeding with this decision, amid a public health crisis, which is likely to impact public scrutiny of plans.
The charities have not seen any  evidence from EDF that Sizewell C can be built without detrimentally impacting internationally and nationally important landscapes, habitats and species of the Suffolk coast, at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, Sizewell Belts SSSI, and beyond.

June 16, 2020 Posted by | environment, UK | Leave a comment

35 years in construction, Brazil’s very costly Angra 3 nuclear plant to be delayed yet again

COVID-19: What next for Brazil’s Angra 3 nuclear plant?

Bnamericas Monday, June 15, 2020  The COVID-19 crisis will likely delay the continuation of construction works at Brazil’s 1.4GW Angra 3 nuclear power plant in Rio de Janeiro state, according to a sector expert.The process to resume works have not stopped despite the pandemic but it is behind schedule, Claudio Almeida, president of Brazilian nuclear power association Aben, told BNamericas.

Works on Angra 3 have been ongoing for 35 years and are 62% complete.

The current timetable states that the plant will start operations by 2026, a deadline that has become increasingly unlikely due to COVID-19.

“The expectation was to hold a tender this year but this will depend on how the pandemic evolves, as many of the negotiations with foreign firms cannot be held online. Delays to the start of operations will probably be proportional to those postponements of the tender process,” said Almeida.  ……

“The required investments are very high and a part of it will be made by Eletrobras, but another part will come from the negotiations with the firm that wins the tender. Brazil’s currency has been oscillating a lot and although I believe it will stabilize in the future this will have an impact because part of the works that will be contracted abroad,” Almeida said.    …..

Some of the companies interested in the works to complete Angra 3 include China’s CNNC, Russia‘s Rosatom, US-based Westinghouse, Areva from France, and South Korean firm Kepco.

Access to financing will be a key factor for who wins the tender, according to sector experts.    …..

Construction of the plant started in 1984 and was interrupted for the first time in 1986, as funds became unavailable due to an economic crisis. Works then resumed in 2010 but were halted again in 2015 when corruption allegations emerged as part of the country’s massive Lava Jato corruption investigation.

Former president Michel Temer and former energy minister Wellington Moreira Franco were arrested in March last year for allegedly having received bribes linked to Angra 3 contracts, and those investigations are still ongoing.

Current energy minister Bento Albuquerque, who took office in January last year, has said that Angra 3 would be a priority during his term….. (subscribers only)

June 16, 2020 Posted by | Brazil, politics | Leave a comment