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Murdoch media monopoly – an ‘arrogant cancer on our democracy’

A cancer’: Kevin Rudd calls for royal commission into ‘Murdoch monopoly’, The New Daily,  Cait Kelly, 10 Oct 20, 

October 12, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, media, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear experts not impresssed with Trump’s boasts about USA nuclear weaponry

Trump says the US nuclear arsenal is now ‘tippy top’ thanks to him, but nuke experts say he’s out of touch with reality, Business Insider RYAN PICKRELL, OCT 10, 2020, 

  • President Donald Trump said Friday that the US nuclear arsenal is now “tippy top” thanks to him.
  • Nuclear weapons experts said that the only substantial change to the nuclear arsenal was the introduction of the low-yield W76-2.
  • Other efforts to modernise the ageing US nuclear triad began during the Obama administration and have continued to receive funding under Trump, but it will still be some time before the US military starts to see some of the new systems in the works.

President Donald Trump boasted Friday that the US nuclear arsenal is “tippy top” thanks to him, but nuclear weapons experts told Insider that the arsenal hasn’t changed much during his presidency.

Trump told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that “our nuclear is all tippy top now,” adding that China and Russia dream of the weapons the US military has. Trump regularly boasts about US military strength, sometimes with somewhat nonsensical phrases such as “super-duper missile.”

Trump has repeatedly called for a stronger nuclear force both before and during his presidency.

At a campaign rally in 2016, Trump enviously praised Russia’s military while expressing concerns about the US. “Putin has built up their military again and again and again,” he said. “Their military is much stronger. He’s doing nuclear, we’re not doing anything. Our nuclear is old and tired and his nuclear is tippy top from what I hear.”………

The US military has been working to modernise the ageing nuclear triad, but that work began before Trump took office. …….

“Boastful, detached from reality rhetoric from Trump about weapons systems is commonplace,” Kingston Reif, a disarmament expert, told Insider after Trump’s “tippy top” remarks.

“But, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Trump has proposed a significant expansion of the role and capability of the US nuclear arsenal,” he added. “Though much of the proposed expansion is still in the early stages, it is unnecessary, poses a crushing affordability challenge, and would increase nuclear risks — especially when coupled with the administration’s trampling of arms control.”

Vipin Narang, a security studies expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Insider that the Trump’s approach to nuclear policy and arms control has put US security in jeopardy.

“The administration added the W76-2, but took away the [Iran nuclear deal], [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty], and is now threatening to rip up New START so, on balance, has probably made us less safe in the nuclear domain,” Narang said, pointing to international agreements that Trump has ended or threatened during his time in office.  https://www.businessinsider.com.au/trump-says-he-made-nuclear-arsenal-tippy-top-experts-disagree-2020-10?r=US&IR=T

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cracks in France’s ageing Tricastin nuclear reactor

Liberation 8th Oct 2020, EDF’s small calculations to make people forget Tricastin’s faults. The
40-year-old Drôme plant is in the process of obtaining a ten-year
operating extension. But cracks in the reactor vessel number 1 alarm
scientists, who point to “Liberation” the risks in terms of safety.

https://www.liberation.fr/france/2020/10/08/nucleaire-les-petits-calculs-d-edf-pour-faire-oublier-les-defauts-de-tricastin_1801822

October 12, 2020 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Trump’s false claim about the Green New Deal

October 12, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Greta Thunberg: ‘Get everyone to vote for Joe Biden’

Greta Thunberg: ‘Get everyone to vote for Joe Biden’   The New Daily, 11 Oct 20, Teen climate crusader Greta Thunberg is still too young to vote, but she knows presidential candidate Joe Biden has made the future of the planet his running-mate in the upcoming US election.

The Swedish 17-year-old said in a tweet that she never engages in party politics, but “the upcoming US elections is above and beyond all that”.

“From a climate perspective it’s very far from enough and many of you of course supported other candidates. But, I mean … you know … damn! Just get organized and get everyone to vote #Biden,” she wrote.

Thunberg, who sparked a global climate protest movement after striking outside the Swedish parliament in 2018, could encourage participation among younger voters typically less likely to vote than older Americans.

After Thunberg was named Time‘s Person of the Year in 2019, US President Donald Trump mocked the teen activist………

Trump has focused on dismantling former US President Barack Obama’s climate agenda to free the energy and auto industries from the costs of regulations meant to protect health and the environment, while Biden has a focus on a new massive green infrastructure. https://thenewdaily.com.au/life/science/environment/2020/10/11/greta-thunberg-get-everyone-to-vote-for-joe-biden/

October 12, 2020 Posted by | election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

Belarus postpones launch of nuclear reactor

Radio Free Europe 9th Oct 2020, Belarus says it has postponed the full launch of the first reactor at its
Astravets nuclear power plant by two years to 2022. The plant, located near
the Lithuanian border, was scheduled to be launched on October 6 until the
cabinet order on October 9. Built by the Russian state firm Rosatom and
financed by Moscow with a $10 billion loan, the project is opposed by
neighboring EU member Lithuania, whose capital, Vilnius, is just 50
kilometers away. Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are moving to a full
decoupling from their Soviet-era common power system by 2025.

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-postpones-launch-of-nuclear-plant-near-lithuania-to-2022/30884232.html

October 12, 2020 Posted by | Belarus, politics | Leave a comment

U.S. and Russian negotiators try tosalvage arms control pact

The National 11th Oct 2020, US and Russian negotiators have agreed in principle to continue freezing
their nuclear warhead stockpiles in a bid to salvage their last remaining
arms control pact before it expires next year, a source has said.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18785398.us-russia-agree-freeze-nuke-stockpile/

October 12, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big doubts about the economics of small nuclear reactors for the UK

FT 11th Oct 2020, The big challenge facing small nuclear reactors. When Britain unveiled its
first commercial nuclear reactor back in 1956, Calder Hall in Cumbria had
the ability to generate 50 megawatts of electricity. Fast-forward four
decades to the last reactor the UK completed, at Sizewell in Suffolk. Still
functioning, it has a capacity of 1,200MW. Spot the theme? Yup, ever bigger
reactors.

Size has steadily increased because of simple nuclear economics.
Sizewell B may be able to generate 24 times as much power as a 50MW
reactor. But it doesn’t need 24 times the material inputs and staffing to
generate that extra power. Which all makes it seem faintly
counter-intuitive that Britain is considering downsizing and spending money
on a fleet of so-called small modular reactors.

The government is considering plans to put up to £2bn into developing the technology. A
number of companies, including Britain’s Rolls-Royce and GE Hitachi, are
pitching to sell their products. The aim is to fund prototypes with a view
to kick-starting a new SMR industry.

This would build perhaps dozens of
mini-reactors to [supposedly] help the UK meet its net zero emissions target while also
keeping the lights on, as well as exporting this technically advanced kit.

Large nuclear hasn’t exactly a spotless record when it comes to cost
containment. So why make it harder by forgoing those scale advantages?

Research by a team led by Tony Roulstone at Cambridge university looked at
the relative costs of building a “first of a series” SMR against a
comparable large reactor. It concluded that if you used the same project
techniques as for conventional plants, the SMR would cost (once the
interest costs incurred in construction were taken into account) roughly 70
per cent more per kilowatt (kW) to build than the larger one.

Squeezing that cost back down requires a wholly different approach to construction.
Instead of building everything in the open on a massive building site, as
with large reactors, it means making as much as possible in factories
before shipment to site. The same Cambridge team estimated that with ever
more prefabrication and standardisation of parts, you could ultimately
squeeze the cost down roughly to parity with the larger reactor.

A glance at the history of overruns and delays that plagued the Advanced Gas-cooled
Reactor project in the 1960s should suffice as a reminder. For SMRs to
avoid a similar miserable fate, the government must pick a single
commercial technology which can bring in sufficient private sector
investment and attract export orders. This cannot be some “made in
Britain” industrial exercise. If that’s what’s in prospect, then,
honestly, big is probably best.

https://www.ft.com/content/99307126-bb21-48e3-87aa-301749dec870

October 12, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Conflict of interest – UK’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS)

Stop Hinkley Press Release 8th Oct 2020, EDF’s Hinkley C Nuclear Power Station will be wiping out fish stocks in
Severn Estuary for 60 years. The Stop Hinkley Campaign is accusing
EDFGenco, the French and Chinese owned Company building Hinkley Point C, of
trying to bully the UK Environment Agency into allowing them to destroy
environmentally precious fish stocks for the 60 year lifetime of the
nuclear power station.

A condition placed on EDFGenco by the Environment
Agency was that permission to build Hinkley C was dependent on Acoustic
Fish Deterrents (AFDs) being placed on the two massive cooling water intake
heads 3 kilometres offshore from the Nuclear site.

Now EDFGenco is trying
to renege on its commitment to install AFDs and is seeking a variation on
the planning conditions imposed. EDFGenco claims that the Centre for
Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) the government’s
marine and freshwater science expert body – is happy for them to go ahead
without AFDs. The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust points out that “CEFAS’s
relationship as a paid contractor to EDFGenco and an agent of Government
raises unavoidable questions of conflict of interest”.

http://www.stophinkley.org/PressReleases/pr201008.pdf

October 12, 2020 Posted by | environment, politics, UK | Leave a comment

China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new MidEast forum

China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new MidEast forum Bangkok Post, : 11 OCT 2020 BEIJING: China’s foreign minister Wang Yi has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in the Middle East after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart where he reiterated Beijing’s support for Tehran.

Wang and Javid Zarif also reaffirmed their commitment to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, according to the Chinese foreign ministry, an implicit rebuke of the United States for abandoning the accord during their Saturday meeting in China’s southwestern Tengchong city.

Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major Middle Eastern power, over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.

“China proposes to build a regional multilateral dialogue platform with equal participation of all stakeholders,” said the Chinese foreign ministry statement. …… https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/2000307/china-backs-iran-nuclear-deal-calls-for-new-mideast-forum

October 12, 2020 Posted by | China, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un showcases North Korea’s biggest intercontinental missile

Kim Jong Un unveils North Korea’s biggest intercontinental missile
Pyongyang advances its weapons technology despite impact of sanctions and coronavirus,
Edward White, 11 Oct 20,

 Kim Jong Un has unveiled North Korea’s biggest ever intercontinental ballistic missile, highlighting his determination to develop the nation’s nuclear weapons capability despite tough international sanctions. The new long-range missile was revealed at a two-hour military parade, held at Kim Il Sung Square that also showcased new technology across smaller weaponssystems.  
………Mr Kim’s showcasing of his military prowess comes as international experts say North Korea is facing its worst economic crisis in at least 10 years. Strictly enforced coronavirus-related border closures have led to a plunge in trade with China and the country has been hit by extreme flooding, exacerbating the severe hit to state finances stemming from several years of tough US and UN sanctions.  ………

  The reminder of the nuclear threat posed by Mr Kim comes against a backdrop of stalled talks between Pyongyang and Washington — despite three meetings in two years with US president Donald Trump. The two sides have failed to agree on a plan that encompasses US demands for Mr Kim to give up his nuclear weapons and North Korea’s insistence that the Trump administration and the UN ease sanctions. With the US election just weeks away there is rising uncertainty over the US approach to North Korea under a potential Biden administration.  ……… https://www.ft.com/content/2a7b7ec0-1cd5-4b4a-bb03-0a0f5333ea37

October 12, 2020 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment