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The US election is a vote on climate change for the whole world

“Covid will be overcome, the climate crisis cannot be overcome unless we have American leadership.”

The US election is a vote on climate change for the whole world,  By Helen ReganIvana Kottasová and Drew Kann, CNN,  November 2, 2020   The climate crisis has become a key issue not just for American voters in this US election — but people across the world.

What the next president does or doesn’t do over the next four years will have a profound impact on the whether the world is able to avert the worst effects of climate change, scientists, policy makers and activists say.
They say the world needs a US president who cares about climate change, for two main reasons. First, many nations take their cue from US policy, particularly on issues such as the climate crisis, meaning Washington has a unique opportunity to influence. Second, the US is the world’s second-biggest polluter after China, meaning it has a moral obligation to act.
President Donald Trump, during his current administration, has gutted domestic environmental regulations and policies designed to limit global warming. Internationally, he has pulled the US out of the landmark Paris climate accord, the only global pact that seeks to avoid dangerous heating of the planet. And he’s doubted the reasons for climate change. During the final presidential debate on Friday, Trump falsely claimed said the US has “the cleanest air” and “the cleanest water,” and called India and China “filthy,” a skewered rendition of reality.
His Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden, said at the same debate that “global warming is an existential
threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it.”
Biden’s comments echo what the scientists are saying. Global carbon dioxide concentrations — the main culprit warming the planet — are at higher levels than at any time in human history.
It’s too late to stop all the impacts of climate change. They are already happening. Wildfires have torched homes across the Western US this year, unprecedented floods have inundated large swathes of Asia, and the past decade — — featuring deadly heatwaves and droughts — was the hottest ever recorded. The ice caps that bookend our planet are also seeing rapid loss and glacial melt.
Under a US president who pushes for climate policies, however, the world could work toward “marginal, incremental damages” rather than catastrophic ones, said Jonathan Pershing, program director of environment at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, who was the former special envoy for climate change at the US Department of State during the second term of the Obama administration.
Pershing added: “Every succeeding election becomes more and more urgent because the time is shorter to manage those really grievous damages.”
The coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 230,000 and infected 9.1 million people in the US, has exposed that Trump’s administration is hostile to science and decades of research. That endangers lives and livelihoods, according to Kim Cobb, a professor and researcher of paleoclimate and climate change at Georgia Tech.
“It’s not really the planet anymore. It’s really about people. And that’s something that we all have to wake up to. It’s not about saving polar bears and coral reefs, it’s about us,” Cobb said. “We can simply not afford to put our heads in the sand about this other lasting global challenge which is a direct threat to our country.”

Why Paris matters

The Paris Agreement, a pact signed into effect in 2016 by almost all the world’s countries, seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. To do so, countries need to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump announced in June 2017 that the US would be withdrawing from the agreement, it signaled that America would no longer lead the global fight against climate change. Studies have shown the so-called “Trump Effect” has made it easier for other countries to renege on their climate commitments.
“It’s critically important for the entire movement that the US be a part of it,” said Lois Young, Belize’s ambassador to the United Nations. “Other countries that are big emitters are saying, Well if the United States is not accountable, why should I be?”
At UN climate talks in Madrid last year, Young, who is also head of the Alliance of Small Island States, accused big polluters like the US of “ecocide.” She said the Trump administration’s policies on climate have been “a total disaster.” ………..
For some nations, like Australia, the outcome of the US election could determine in which direction they move on their own climate policy.
“What Washington says and wants reverberates very closely in Canberra,” said Frank Jotzo, director of the Centre for Climate and Energy Policy at Australian National University. “If Trump has a second term then we will see a hardening of Australia’s position not to do much, not to take on a stronger targets, not to declare a net zero target for middle of the century,” Jotzo said.
A Biden presidency, he said, would “put pressure for positive climate change policy on all its allies.”
Australia has seen extreme droughts and water shortages provide the fuel for a devastating bushfire season last year. “For Australia it is really quite fundamental, it’s a question about the viability of our cities and agriculture,” Jotzo said……….

Global momentum

The US being part of the Paris Agreement doesn’t ensure the world will avoid dangerous climate change.
Many countries that have signed up are behind on their climate goals, few have updated their commitments in 2020, and many big polluters such as the EU need to set more ambitious goals if they want to comply with the accord, according to Climate Action Tracker.
Indeed, if governments stick to their current targets submitted under the Paris Agreement, the world is set to warm by 2.7°C by the end of the century, according to CAT, bringing more extreme storms, heatwaves, greater sea level rise, and, for many parts of the world, worse droughts and rainfall extremes.
Jotzo said what is likely to make the biggest difference is investment and innovations in clean energy from the private sector.
The price of renewable forms of energy, such as solar power, are now cheaper than the price of coal, and electric vehicles are becoming more affordable. Innovations in green tech are finding other ways to deal with other planet-warming gases like methane and refrigerants, and there has been innovation around zero-carbon steel.
“The long term trajectory is clearly towards very substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” Jotzo said. Zero emission technologies are now cost competitive with polluting technologies and “this creates an incentive for many corporates in many countries to actually push in that direction.”
Trump may be seen as being pro-business but backing the fossil fuel industry has not created the jobs he promised. There is now an increasing awareness that the choice for policy makers, politicians and businesses is not between solving climate change or having a strong economy. You can have both.
Keeping fossil fuels in the ground, reducing emissions and stopping subsidies for coal and oil, as well as ramping up use of renewables is vital for limiting climate disasters and avoiding economic impacts worse than the coronavirus pandemic has wrought, Young said.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | climate change, election USA 2020 | Leave a comment

315 nuclear bombs and ongoing suffering: the shameful history of nuclear testing in Australia and the Pacific

315 nuclear bombs and ongoing suffering: the shameful history of nuclear testing in Australia and the Pacific,, Tilman Ruff, Associate Professor, Education and Learning Unit, Nossal Institute for Global Health, School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Dimity Hawkins, PhD Candidate, Swinburne University of Technology
November 3, 2020
     The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons received its 50th ratification on October 24, and will therefore come into force in January 2021. A historic development, this new international law will ban the possession, development, testing, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.Unfortunately the nuclear powers — the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea — haven’t signed on to the treaty. As such, they are not immediately obliged to help victims and remediate contaminated environments, but others party to the treaty do have these obligations. The shifting norms around this will hopefully put ongoing pressure on nuclear testing countries to open records and to cooperate with accountability measures.

For the people of the Pacific region, particularly those who bore the brunt of nuclear weapons testing during the 20th century, it will bring a new opportunity for their voices to be heard on the long-term costs of nuclear violence. The treaty is the first to enshrine enduring commitments to addressing their needs.

From 1946, around 315 nuclear tests were carried out in the Pacific by the US, Britain and France. These nations’ largest ever nuclear tests took place on colonised lands and oceans, from Australia to the Marshall Islands, Kiribati to French Polynesia.

The impacts of these tests are still being felt today.

All nuclear tests cause harm

Studies of nuclear test workers and exposed nearby communities around the world consistently show adverse health effects, especially increased risks of cancer.

The total number of global cancer deaths as a result of atmospheric nuclear test explosions has been estimated at between 2 million and 2.4 million, even though these studies used radiation risk estimates that are now dated and likely underestimated the risk.

The number of additional non-fatal cancer cases caused by test explosions is similar. As confirmed in a large recent study of nuclear industry workers in France, the UK and US, the numbers of radiation-related deaths due to other diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes, is also likely to be similar.

Britain conducted 12 nuclear test explosions in Australia between 1952 and 1957, and hundreds of minor trials of radioactive and toxic materials for bomb development up to 1963. These caused untold health problems for local Aboriginal people who were at the highest risk of radiation. Many of them were not properly evacuated, and some were not informed at all.

We may never know the full impact of these explosions because in many cases, as the Royal Commission report on British Nuclear Tests in Australia found in 1985: “the resources allocated for Aboriginal welfare and safety were ludicrous, amounting to nothing more than a token gesture”. But we can listen to the survivors.

The late Yami Lester directly experienced the impacts of nuclear weapons. A Yankunytjatjara elder from South Australia, Yami was a child when the British tested at Emu Field in October 1953. He recalled the “Black Mist” after the bomb blast:

It wasn’t long after that a black smoke came through. A strange black smoke, it was shiny and oily. A few hours later we all got crook, every one of us. We were all vomiting; we had diarrhoea, skin rashes and sore eyes. I had really sore eyes. They were so sore I couldn’t open them for two or three weeks. Some of the older people, they died. They were too weak to survive all the sickness. The closest clinic was 400 miles away.

His daughter, Karina Lester, is an ambassador for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons in Australia, and continues to be driven by her family’s experience. She writes:

For decades now my family have campaigned and spoken up against the harms of nuclear weapons because of their firsthand experience of the British nuclear tests […] Many Aboriginal people suffered from the British nuclear tests that took place in the 1950s and 1960s and many are still suffering from the impacts today.

More than 16,000 Australian workers were also exposed. A key government-funded study belatedly followed these veterans over an 18-year period from 1982. Despite the difficulties of conducting a study decades later with incomplete data, it found they had 23% higher rates of cancer and 18% more deaths from cancers than the general population.

An additional health impact in Pacific island countries is the toxic disease “ciguatera”, caused by certain microscopic plankton at the base of the marine food chain, which thrive on damaged coral. Their toxins concentrate up the food chain, especially in fish, and cause illness and occasional deaths in people who eat them. In the Marshall Islands, Kiritimati and French Polynesia, outbreaks of the disease among locals have been associated with coral damage caused by nuclear test explosions and the extensive military and shipping infrastructure supporting them.

Pacific survivors of nuclear testing haven’t been focused solely on addressing their own considerable needs for justice and care; they’ve been powerful advocates that no one should suffer as they have ever again, and have worked tirelessly for the eradication of nuclear weapons. It’s no surprise independent Pacific island nations are strong supporters of the new treaty, accounting for ten of the first 50 ratifications.

Negligence and little accountability

Some nations that have undertaken nuclear tests have provided some care and compensation for their nuclear test workers; only the US has made some provisions for people exposed, though only for mainland US residents downwind of the Nevada Test Site. No testing nation has extended any such arrangement beyond its own shores to the colonised and minority peoples it put in harm’s way. Nor has any testing nation made fully publicly available its records of the history, conduct and effects of its nuclear tests on exposed populations and the environment.

These nations have also been negligent by quickly abandoning former test sites. There has been inadequate clean-up and little or none of the long-term environmental monitoring needed to detect radioactive leakage from underground test sites into groundwater, soil and air. One example among many is the Runit concrete dome in the Marshall Islands, which holds nuclear waste from US testing in the 1940s and 50s. It’s increasingly inundated by rising sea levels, and is leaking radioactive material.

The treaty provides a light in a dark time. It contains the only internationally agreed framework for all nations to verifiably eliminate nuclear weapons.

It’s our fervent hope the treaty will mark the increasingly urgent beginning of the end of nuclear weapons. It is our determined expectation that our country will step up. Australia has not yet ratified the treaty, but the bitter legacy of nuclear testing across our country and region should spur us to join this new global effort.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | environment, health, history, indigenous issues, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

No guarantee that Britain’s £20 billion Sizewell nuclear project will actually go ahead

Planet Radio 1st Nov 2020, No one should assume Sizewell C is now a foregone conclusion’. Campaign group Stop Sizewell C say there are still many obstacles to overcome, following reports that the Government is ‘close’ to giving the project the green light. The group say they’ve written to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary of State, Alok Sharma, to seek assurances about the due process behind the Sizewell C project.
Alison Downes, who’s from the campaign group, said: “No one should assume Sizwell C is now a foregone conclusion. “There are numerous obstacles, including very serious concerns from DEFRA agencies like Natural England, which says it would not be lawful to permit the project as proposals stand, and no guarantees that £20 billion can be found or the RAB funding model legislated for.
“By the time these issues are resolved – if indeed they can be – our energy landscape will have changed yet again and Sizewell C will be shown as too slow and expensive to help our climate emergency. Meanwhile opposition is strong and growing, encompassing a wide range of stakeholders.”

November 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Before the UK’s govt White Paper, approval to be given for Sizewell nuclear development

November 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes from Sellafield UK to arrive in Germany

Nuclear waste shipment arrives in Germany, protests likely, Mon., November 2, 2020  BERLIN — A shipment of reprocessed nuclear waste arrived Monday at a port in northern Germany, and authorities were braced for likely protests as it is transported across the country to a storage site.

A ship carrying six containers of waste from the Sellafield reprocessing plant in England docked in the early morning in Nordenham, news agency dpa reported. From there, it is to be transported by train to the now-closed Biblis nuclear power plant south of Frankfurt, several hundred kilometres (miles) away.

Germany has a strong anti-nuclear movement and waste transports have often drawn large protests. Activists question the safety of the waste containers and storage sites.

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan nine years ago, Germany decided to phase out its own nuclear power generation by the end of 2022. The Biblis plant is one of several that was taken offline in 2011, but the site remains in use as a provisional storage facility for nuclear waste.

Germany recently launched a new search for a permanent site to store its most radioactive waste. A final decision is slated for 2031 and the aim is to start using the selected site in 2050.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | Germany, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

Bill Gates and ORANO (formerly the bankrupt AREVA) aim to start nuclear shipping, despite its history of failures.

UK-Based Startup Proposes a Renaissance for Nuclear-Powered Shipping,  The Maritime Executive 11-02-2020, A UK-based startup with backing from some of the biggest names in nuclear energy has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for cost-sharing support for the development of a new generation of nuclear power for commercial ship propulsion.Nuclear-powered civilian shipping had a small heyday during the Cold War, when the United States, the Soviet Union and Japan invested in demonstration vessels that could operate for years without refueling. In the U.S., the Eisenhower administration conceived of a nuclear-powered “peace ship” that would carry passengers and cargo in small quantities to serve as a demonstration of the potential for civilian nuclear energy projects. The result, the NS Savannah, entered service in 1962 and operated until 1972, when the Maritime Administration decommissioned her over cost concerns.

Japan’s entrant, the freighter Mutsu, entered service in 1974. She suffered a minor reactor shield fault on her maiden voyage, which led to a wave of negative publicity, and her operators had to negotiate with port communities in order to find her a new berth. She was not fully repaired until 1982 and did not set sail again until 1991. She was decomissioned one year later, and her reactor core was removed so that she could be converted into a conventionally-powered oceanographic research vessel.

The Soviet-built icebreaking LASH vessel Sevmorput is the only remaining nuclear-powered merchant cargo ship in civilian use. Operated by Atomflot, the agency charged with running Russia’s nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, Sevmorput carries containerized cargo and project cargo along Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR). Shortly after she entered service in 1988, four Russian ports in the Siberian Far East refused to allow her to enter over fears that her nuclear reactor posed a public safety hazard. Similar concerns have been raised by foreign port operators, and she has generally been deployed on domestic intra-Russian routes only; however, this year she was dispatched to resupply Russia’s Antarctic research station. (As of Monday, she was broadcasting restricted maneuverability and moving north at a slow bell off the port of Luanda, Angola.)

Despite the past difficulties encountered by nuclear vessel operators, nuclear innovation company TerraPower – chaired by Microsoft founder and serial entrepreneur Bill Gates – has decided to partner with utility firm Southern Company and nuclear tech company Orano USA to back a new reactor designed to power commercial ships. The reactor’s developer, UK-based Core Power, sees molten salt reactor (MSR) nuclear “batteries” as a sustainable alternative for decarbonizing the world’s merchant fleet in the decades ahead.   …..

November 3, 2020 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

84% of Finland’s population support signing up to the U.N. Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

It is time to end our reliance on nuclear weapons Nuclear non-proliferation is a fundamentally European issue which is not yet part of any EU agenda, Erkki Tuomioja, View from the Council 2 November 2020,    Finland did not participate in the negotiations leading up to the treaty, and it did not vote for it. Public opinion is, however, in favour of the treaty, with one poll showing that 84 per cent of Finns would support signing up. Three parties in Finland’s coalition government also want the country to join. Foreign ministry officials have argued in hearings of the Finnish parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee that joining would weaken the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – a faulty reasoning that the Committee unanimously rejected.

It is worth quoting at length the statement published on 21 September this year by 56 former leaders and foreign or defence ministers of NATO and US ally countries, including two former NATO secretaries-general:

“The prohibition treaty is an important reinforcement to the half-century-old Non-Proliferation Treaty, which, though remarkably successful in curbing the spread of nuclear weapons to more countries, has failed to establish a universal taboo against the possession of nuclear weapons. The five nuclear-armed nations that had nuclear weapons at the time of the NPT’s negotiation — the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China — apparently view it as a licence to retain their nuclear forces in perpetuity.  Instead of disarming, they are investing heavily in upgrades to their arsenals, with plans to retain them for many decades to come. This is patently unacceptable.”

It is precisely the frustration at the lack of progress with nuclear disarmament – to which the nuclear weapons states committed themselves in the grand bargain to get the non-nuclear countries to accept the NPT treaty signed in 1968 – that gave decisive impetus to the prohibition treaty. Obviously, without the participation of the nuclear weapons states, not one nuclear weapon will be dismantled. But without pressure from the non-nuclear weapons states in the form of this treaty, neither will they engage in serious efforts at disarmament. Nuclear weapons states will instead continue the present trend of modernising existing and developing new nuclear weapons systems.

Support in NATO countries for doing away with all weapons of mass destruction is growing, as evidenced by the signatories to the statement above. This is important because one argument made in Finland and Sweden, although it is rarely made in public, for opposing joining the prohibition treaty is the displeasure the US would show at such a step, which could hinder the deepening of these countries’ partnership relations with NATO. Given the growing demand in non-nuclear NATO countries to sign the treaty this is just as spurious as the NPT argument against joining.

The time has come for all states in the world to bring an end to the misguided, illegitimate, and immoral reliance on nuclear weapons. An all-out nuclear war is a threat to human life as a whole and would immediately bring about all the disasters we are trying to avoid with our efforts to curtail climate change and implement the Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030.

No responsible leader disputes this. Yet we continue to conduct exercises in preparation for a nuclear war. The risk of accidental or miscalculated nuclear weapon use may today be even greater than at the height of the cold war. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is, as the statement quoted says, “a beacon of hope in a time of darkness”.

There is one nuclear weapons state in the EU (formerly two) and 21 EU member states in NATO, but nuclear weapons and related issues have never formed part of the EU’s agenda. This is a fundamentally European issue, given the likelihood that Europe would face the greatest level of destruction in the event of a conflict and because of the European preference for achieving change through rules-based processes. All EU member states should address it and join the treaty banning all nuclear weapons. Three member states in the EU have already done so; others should follow them.

Erkki Tuomioja is ECFR member and former Minister for Foreign Affairs in Finland.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | Finland, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cuban missile crisis -a reminder that nuclear war could so easily still happen

Yes, nuclear war could still happen, BY JOHN DALE GROVER, — 11/02/20  The recent anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis should be a reminder to American citizens and policymakers that nuclear war is not impossible. For 13 days from Oct. 16, 1962, to Oct. 28, 1962, America and the Soviet Union nearly killed each other in a nuclear war. Today, the passing of that anniversary should warn us that through a crisis that spirals out of controlsheer accident, or miscommunication, Washington could still find itself in a nuclear exchange with Moscow, Beijing, or Pyongyang.

Today, relations with China are strained and tensions with North Korea — though on an uneasy pause — will likely resume sooner rather than later. America’s relationship with Russia is also contentious and only one arms control treaty remains in place between Washington and Moscow. The 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is set to expire in February 2021, but last-minute negotiations are underway to extend that treaty for another year.

History shows that dealing with a hostile nuclear power requires dual firmness: a strong military to deter any attack and a strong diplomatic corps to diffuse any crisis or misunderstanding. The problem is that without diplomacy, miscommunication, changing redlines, and accidents could start a nuclear war. In fact, the Cuban Missile Crisis is a perfect example of that.
In April 1961, President John F. Kennedy tried to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, just one of several events that prompted Castro to ask Moscow for help. Complicating the situation, the U.S. stationed Jupiter nuclear missiles in its ally Turkey, which were very close to the Soviet Union. As a result, Moscow feared an attack and wanted to do the same thing to Washington by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba.

Kennedy considered many options, including bombing the missile sites or invading Cuba, but thankfully decided against military action. Instead, he ordered a “quarantine” of Cuba. While America enforced its de-facto blockade, negotiations commenced, and a secret agreement was made: Moscow would remove its nuclear missiles from Cuba if Washington removed its Jupiter missiles from Turkey. However, Washington kept its end of the deal quiet to make it look as if Moscow had backed down — a decision which has incorrectly given the impression to later generations of policymakers that hard power is all that matters when facing a crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis nearly spiraled into a nuclear war as accidents, errors, and miscommunication was commonplace. For example, the CIA incorrectly estimated that only around 12,000 Soviet troops were in Cuba. In reality, there were over 40,000 and if any of them had died, Moscow would surely have retaliated.

Kennedy considered many options, including bombing the missile sites or invading Cuba, but thankfully decided against military action. Instead, he ordered a “quarantine” of Cuba. While America enforced its de-facto blockade, negotiations commenced, and a secret agreement was made: Moscow would remove its nuclear missiles from Cuba if Washington removed its Jupiter missiles from Turkey. However, Washington kept its end of the deal quiet to make it look as if Moscow had backed down — a decision which has incorrectly given the impression to later generations of policymakers that hard power is all that matters when facing a crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis nearly spiraled into a nuclear war as accidents, errors, and miscommunication was commonplace. For example, the CIA incorrectly estimated that only around 12,000 Soviet troops were in Cuba. In reality, there were over 40,000 and if any of them had died, Moscow would surely have retaliated.
In addition, according to the U.S. National Archives, the CIA “was also unaware that the Soviets had on hand 35 LUNA battlefield nuclear weapons that would have devastated any American landing force.” The Archives also noted that during the crisis, “Several anti-Castro groups, operating under a CIA program… went about their sabotage activities because no one had thought to cancel their mission, which could have been mistaken for assault preparations.”

The list goes on. Shortly after being ordered to Defcon 2, General Thomas Powers, commander of America’s nuclear bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) dangerously broadcast some of his orders without code and out in the open. America also conducted a routine ICBM test even though such a move may have looked like an attack.

A guard at Duluth Air Base mistook a bear for a saboteur and pulled an alarm, which accidentally rang the nuclear attack warning at Volks Field in Wisconsin. The nuclear-armed fighter jets nearly took off but were halted by an officer who drove onto the runway with his lights flashing.
There were also not one — but two — simultaneous U-2 spy plane incidents. One American spy plane accidentally got lost over the Soviet Union for at least an hour and a half, while another U-2 over Cuba was actually shot down by Russian troops that acted unilaterally without authorization from Moscow.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Britain to nationalize its nuclear weapons industry

Britain to nationalize its nuclear weapons industry.   By Ed Adamczyk   Nov. 2 (UPI) — Britain announced on Monday that management of its nuclear weapons facilities will return to government control instead of leadership by an industry consortium.

Atomic Weapons Establishment PLC builds nuclear weapons inBritain and has been operated since 2000 by a groupof manufacturers led by Lockheed Martin.

The contract was expected to be completed in 2025 but British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace told Parliament this week that the AWE will be wholly owned by the Ministry of Defense, beginning in June 2021.

“Following an in-depth review, the MOD concluded that AWE plc will become an arms-length Body, wholly owned by the MOD,” Wallace wrote in a Ministry of Defense statement.

“The change in model will remove the current commercial arrangements, enhancing the MOD’s agility in the future management of the U.K.’s nuclear deterrent, whilst also delivering on core MOD objectives and value for money to the taxpayer,” Wallace wrote.

AWE is based at Aldermaston, England, and develops nuclear warheads for the Royal Navy’s submarines.

In February, the ministry announced plans to develop new nuclear warheads, and nationalizing the British nuclear weapons industry reflects the government’s interest in creating a better alignment between AWE and the ministry’s priorities.

The end of the lucrative 25-year contract can be seen as a blow to Lockheed Martin, Serco Group and Jacobs Engineering, all AWE owners. In 2019, AWE paid $105 million to shareholders, despite controversial cost overruns and worker safety violations, and has been the subject of criticism from Britain’s National Audit Office.

The Ministry of Defense has also been a target of demands by the government, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s leadership, to control wasteful spending.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A USA Senator reflects on the anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis

November 3, 2020 Posted by | history, politics international, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate Policy – Scotland

The National 2 Nov 2020 , EXTINCTION Rebellion have walked away from the Scottish Government’s
Climate Assembly, accusing ministers of allowing “vested interests” to
take over. They claim the civil service has tried to water down the urgency
of the summit due to start this weekend.

November 3, 2020 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Shares in nuclear weapons company Serco crash, As UK govt nationalises the industry

Serco shares crash as outsourcer loses role on nuclear weapons consortium, City A.M. Edward Thickness, 2 Nov 20, 
Shares in Serco plummeted this morning after the outsourcing giant confirmed that the government had taken back management of its atomic weapons development facility.

Shares dropped nearly 12 per cent as markets opened as traders digested the news.

Yesterday Sky News reported that the government was due to announce that it would take over the running of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) from next year.

AWE has been run by a consortium made up of US defence giant Lockheed Martin, Serco and Jacobs since 2000.

The contract was due to expire in 2025, so the government’s decision to renationalise the facility is a considerable blow to the FTSE 250 company.

Serco said that it was expecting to make £17m in profit from its 24.5 per cent stake in AWE this year. In its last full year results the firm reported profit of £120m.

However, it said that it would stick to its full year financial forecasts for 2020/21……..

AWE, which makes nuclear warheads for the UK’s submarines, will pass back into government ownership on 30 June.

Earlier this year the facility came under fire from spending watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO).

November 3, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nukes in space

New Los Alamos spin-off aims to put nuclear reactors in space,   LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 2, 2020—A new agreement hopes to speed along a nuclear reactor technology that could be used to fuel deep-space exploration and possibly power human habitats on the Moon or Mars. Los Alamos National Laboratory has signed an agreement to license the “Kilopower” space reactor technology to Space Nuclear Power Corporation (SpaceNukes), also based in Los Alamos, NM……

November 3, 2020 Posted by | space travel, USA | Leave a comment

Russian company with powerful connections withdraws from Turkish nuclear plant operation

November 3, 2020 Posted by | politics international, Russia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Bill Gates has another go at getting taxpayer funding, for another nuclear venture (ships this time)

Bill Gates joins nuclear-powered shipping push, Splash Sam ChambersNovember 2, 2020  Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the world, has turned his attention to getting ships powered by nuclear energy.

The Microsoft co-founder, who turned 65 last week, is also chairman of TerraPower, a nuclear tech company that today announced a new venture with Mikal Bøe’s CORE POWER, French nuclear materials handling specialist Orano and American utilities firm Southern Company. The four companies plan to develop molten salt reactor (MSR) atomic technology in the United States………

The four companies have submitted an application to the US Department of Energy to take part in cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme to build a prototype MSR, as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.

…….  we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change,” Bøe commented today…….

Thorium is a weakly radioactive metallic chemical element found most commonly in India and is a substance that Gates’ TerraPower has been studying closely of late.

Admitting the technology would not be cheap to install on ships, Bøe has proposed a leasing model for his batteries, similar to those deployed for aircraft engines……….

November 3, 2020 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, thorium | Leave a comment