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Beware the “madness of militarism” – Biden likely to appoint war-loving Michèle Flournoy as Defense Secretary

Hey Joe, Where You Going With That Pentagon in Your Hands?

The pernicious and lucrative aspects of military madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s Defense Secretary. by Norman Solomon,

By all accounts, the frontrunner to be Joe Biden’s pick for Secretary of Defense is Michèle Flournoy. It’s a prospect that should do more than set off alarm bells—it should be understood as a scenario for the president-elect to stick his middle fingers in the eyes of Americans who are fed up with endless war and ongoing militarism.

Warning and petitioning Biden to dissuade him from a Flournoy nomination probably have scant chances of success. But if Biden puts her name forward, activists should quickly launch an all-out effort to block Senate confirmation.

As the Biden administration takes office, progressives have an opportunity to affirm and amplify the position that Martin Luther King Jr. boldly articulated when he insisted that “I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism.” In the present day, the pernicious and lucrative aspects of that madness are personified in the favorite to be Biden’s Defense Secretary.

Days ago, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) published a detailed analysis under the headline “Should Michèle Flournoy Be Secretary of Defense?” The well-documented answer: No.

Citing “extensive defense industry ties,” POGO provided an overview of Flournoy’s revolving-door career. When she wasn’t oiling the war machine in the Clinton and Obama administrations, Flournoy was profiteering from servicing that machine:

  • “In 2002 she went from positions in the Pentagon and the National Defense University to the mainstream but hawkish Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is largely funded by industry and Pentagon contributions.”
  • “Five years later, she co-founded the second-most heavily contractor-funded think tank in Washington, the highly influential Center for a New American Security. That became a stepping stone to her role as under secretary of defense for policy in the Obama administration.”
  • “From there she rotated­­ to the Boston Consulting Group, after which the firm’s military contracts expanded from $1.6 million to $32 million in three years. She also joined the board of Booz Allen Hamilton, a consulting firm laden with defense contracts. In 2017 she co-founded WestExec Advisors, helping defense corporations market their products to the Pentagon and other agencies.”

Running parallel to Flournoy’s financial conflicts of interest was her long record of advocacy for military conflicts.

“Flournoy was widely considered to have been one of Obama’s more hawkish advisers and helped mastermind the escalation of the disastrous war in Afghanistan,” Arwa Mahdawi pointed out in a Nov. 21 Guardian piece. “She has called for increased defense spending, arguing in a 2017 Washington Post op-ed that Trump was ‘right to raise the need for more defense dollars.’ She has complained that Obama didn’t use military force enough, particularly in Syria. She supported the wars in Iraq and Libya. . .”

The president-elect is hardly in a position to hold such a record against prospective appointees. He has never fully acknowledged, much less renounced, his own roles in advocating for disastrous U.S. wars — most notably and tragically, the war in Iraq.

Biden hasn’t gotten his story straight or come clean about supporting the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His specious claims that he didn’t really support the invasion have been gross misrepresentations of the historical record. Actually, Biden was the Democrat in the Senate who exerted the most leverage in support of the Iraq invasion, and he did so with public enthusiasm.

The foreseeable dangers of picking Flournoy to run the Pentagon are compounded by Biden’s selection of Antony Blinken to be Secretary of State. It was Blinken who, 18 years ago, served as staff director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while its chairman, Joe Biden, oversaw the pivotal and badly skewed two-day hearing in summer 2002 that greased the congressional skids for approving an invasion of Iraq.

Blinken, along with Flournoy, co-founded WestExec Advisors, which the Washington Post’s breaking-news coverage of the Blinken nomination gingerly described as “a political strategy firm.” It was a nice euphemism, in contrast to how POGO describes the WestExec Advisors mission — “helping defense corporations market their products to the Pentagon and other agencies.” The term “war profiteering” would be even more apt.

If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, there are ample reasons for apprehension about the top of the military and foreign-policy team that Biden has begun to install for his presidency. But realism should not lead to fatalism or passivity.

Extricating the United States from the grip of the military-industrial complex will require massive and sustained organizing. With that goal in mind, a grassroots campaign to prevent Michèle Flournoy from becoming Secretary of Defense would be wise.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Canada’s environmental groups join to oppose experimental Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

Canadian environmental groups oppose experimental small modular nuclear reactors,   By Janice MacKay   November 24, 2020 A number of groups have joined together to ask the federal government to halt its plans to fund experimental new small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

The Federal Government is preparing to launch the federal government’s SMR ” Action Plan” within weeks.

The SMR Action Plan is expected to include a strategy to fund and support the development of experimental nuclear reactors by private sector companies, the majority based in the US and UK.

In a media release, dozens of organizations from coast to coast have called the proposed new nuclear reactors a dirty, dangerous distraction from tackling climate change. They include Greenpeace Canada, Friends of the Earth Canada, Ralliement contre la pollution radioactive, Équiterre, the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick, the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility and Northwatch..

The Bloc Québécois, the NDP and the Green Party all oppose the government’s “small” modular nuclear reactor plan.

On November 13, Monique Pauze from the Bloc Québécois stated: “The Bloc Québécois denounces the intention of Ottawa to invest in nuclear energy to the benefit, once again, of the Ontario industrial sector, instead of financing the transition towards clean electricity. The Bloc calls for the abandonment of the anticipated deployment of small modular nuclear reactors. The Federal government is leading Canada towards a wall by betting on nuclear energy that is absolutely not clean.”

NDP natural resources critic Richard Cannings said in a statement: “Many Canadians have concerns about impacts of nuclear energy. When it comes to energy generation there are better ways forward. We have options that are cheaper and safer and will be available quicker. I think we should be supporting the development of energy storage solutions to help roll out renewables like solar and wind on a larger scale instead.”

On November 10, all three Green Party of Canada caucus members issued a statement and signed a letter to Minister O’Regan and Minister Navdeep Bains saying that: “Small nuclear reactors (SMRs) have no place in any plan to mitigate climate change when cleaner and cheaper alternatives already exist. The federal government must stop funding the nuclear industry and instead redirect investments towards smarter solutions. Nuclear fails on many grounds, including on the economics.”

Prof. Susan O’Donnell from the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick said: “Building new nuclear reactors does not belong in a climate action plan. Leading researchers have shown that investing in renewable energy is the best path to net zero and that adding nuclear energy to the mix actually hinders rather than helps.”

Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Director of Programs at Greenpeace Canada, said: “The Liberal government is throwing good money after bad. Hypothetical new nuclear power technologies have been promising to be the next big thing for the last forty years, but in spite of massive public subsidies, that prospect has never panned out.”

The release pointed out the proposed reactors are still on the drawing board and will take a decade or more to develop. If built, their power will cost ten times more than wind or solar energy. The most advanced SMR project to date in the US has already doubled its estimated cost – from $3B to over $6B.

The federal government announced its first SMR grant of $20 million to Terrestrial Energy on October 15.

The environmental groups said they are shocked that the government is funding new nuclear energy development with no parliamentary review, while trying to avoid public scrutiny and debate. They called the consultation process leading to date on the SMR Action Plan a sham. Individuals and groups could only comment on the plan if they first signed on to a statement of principles supporting SMR technologies. They say nuclear power and uranium mining will always be dirty and dangerous. Radioactive waste will have to be kept out of the environment for tens of thousands of years, and there is no known means of achieving that.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Destructive potential of over a million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific

Almost Unnoticed Nuclear Pandemic Is Spreading in Japan, Manlio Dinucci,  MONTREAL (IDN) 4 Nov 20,It was not Covid-19, therefore the news went almost unnoticed: Japan will release over a million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. The catastrophic incident in Fukushima was triggered by the Tsunami that struck the north-eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, submerging the power plant and causing the core of three nuclear reactors to melt.

The power plant was built on the coast just 4 meters above sea level with five-meter-high breakwater dams, in a tsunami-prone area with waves 10-15 meters high. Furthermore, there had been serious failures by the private company TEPCO (the Tokyo Electric Power Company) managing the plant, in the control of the nuclear plant: the safety devices did not come into operation at the time of the Tsunami.

Water has been pumped through the reactors for years to cool the molten fuel. The water became radioactive and was stored inside the plant in over a thousand large tanks, accumulating 1.23 million tons of radioactive water. TEPCO is building other tanks, but they will also be full by mid-2022.

TEPCO must continue pumping water into the melted reactors and has decided to discharge, in agreement with the government, the water accumulated so far into the sea after filtering it to make it less radioactive (however, to what extent it is not known) with a process which will last 30 years. There is also radioactive sludge accumulated in the decontamination filters of the plant, stored in thousands of containers, and huge quantities of soil and other radioactive materials.

As TEPCO admitted, the melting in reactor 3 is particularly serious because the reactor was loaded with Mox, a much more unstable and radioactive mix of uranium oxides and plutonium.

The Mox for this reactor and other Japanese ones was produced in France, using nuclear waste sent from Japan. Greenpeace has denounced the danger deriving from the transport of this plutonium fuel for ten thousand kilometres.

Greenpeace also denounced that Mox favours the proliferation of nuclear weapons, since plutonium can be extracted more easily and, in the cycle of uranium exploitation, there is no clear dividing line between civilian and military use of fissile material.

Up to now, around 240 tons of plutonium for direct military use and 2,400 tons for civil use (nuclear weapons can however be produced with them), were accumulated in the world (according to 2015 estimates), plus about 1,400 tons of highly enriched uranium for military use. A few hundred kilograms of plutonium would be enough to cause lung cancer to 7.7 billion inhabitants of the planet, and plutonium remains lethal for a period corresponding to almost ten-thousand human generations.

A destructive potential has thus accumulated, for the first time in history, capable of making the human species disappear from the face of Earth. The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the more than 2,000 experimental nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, at sea and underground; the manufacture of nuclear warheads with a power equivalent to over one million Hiroshima bombs; the numerous accidents involving nuclear weapons and those involving civilian and military nuclear plants, all this has caused radioactive contamination that has affected hundreds of millions of people.

A portion of approximately 10 million annual cancer deaths worldwide – documented by WHO – is attributable to the long-term effects of radiation. In ten months, again according to the World Health Organization data, Covid-19 caused about 1.2 million deaths worldwide.

This danger should not be underestimated, but it does not justify the fact that mass media, especially television, did not inform that over one million tons of radioactive water will be discharged into the sea from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with the result that it will further increase cancer deaths upon entering in the food chain.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

President Joe Biden will have just 16 days from Inauguration Day to rescue the New START Treaty

Biden May Have 16 Days to Stave Off a Nuclear Arms Race,  Preserving the New START treaty with Russia will be one of his earliest missions, Bloomberg, By Peter Coy  , 25 Nov 20, 

The New START Treaty is the last bilateral nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia. It’s scheduled to expire on Feb. 5. Assuming the Trump administration doesn’t agree with Russia on an extension—and it hasn’t done so in nearly four years–President Joe Biden will have just 16 days from Inauguration Day to rescue the pact.

If New START is allowed to expire, a nuclear arms race could break out. Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander of NATO, wrote in a Bloomberg Opinion column on Oct. 30, that a stop to New START would allow both sides to deploy more nukes of current designs as well as make more advanced systems, “all of which would be very destabilizing.”

Some pressure, right? For insight into what Biden and his team will do, I interviewed Jon Wolfsthal, who served from 2014 to 2017 as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. He was also a senior adviser to Vice President Biden on nuclear security and nonproliferation from 2009 to 2012.

Some pressure, right? For insight into what Biden and his team will do, I interviewed Jon Wolfsthal, who served from 2014 to 2017 as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. He was also a senior adviser to Vice President Biden on nuclear security and nonproliferation from 2009 to 2012.

Wolfsthal says he’s optimistic about Biden’s chances of staving off a fresh nuclear arms race……….

Biden and his team will have a long list of nuclear weapons problems to deal with, including the rapid growth of China’s

 arsenal. But what to do about New START will have to be at the top of the list. The treaty limits the U.S. and Russia
to deployment of 1,550 long-range nuclear warheads and 700 long-range delivery vehicles each. Russia is willing to
renew the pact for five years without preconditions, but the Trump administration has balked.

………… Wolfsthal says New START, which went into effect in 2011, is flawed but shouldn’t be left to expire, because

it has allowed us to maintain security at lower level of nukes. It least allows us to know how many weapons Russia
has.” Without the verification that New START permits, he says, “there would be claims of a missile gap,” as there
were under Presidents Eisenhower and Reagan. “We’ve seen that movie play out before,” namely in a costly and
dangerous arms race, Wolfsthal says.

Nuclear arms control doesn’t get as much attention as other priorities for Biden’s first 100 days, but nothing is more

 important for the safety of the human race.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Danger to San Onofre nuclear waste, from ocean’s king tides

November 26, 2020 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Depressing news for the nuclear lobby in Western Europe

Western Europe cools on plans for nuclear power, November 25th, 2020, by Paul Brown  As more reactors face closure, governments in Europe may prefer renewable energy to replace nuclear power.

LONDON, 25 November, 2020 – News that two more reactors in the United Kingdom are to shut down on safety grounds earlier than planned has capped a depressing month for nuclear power in Europe.

The news came after weeks of unfounded speculation, based on “leaks”, that the British government was about to take a stake in a giant new French-designed nuclear power station planned at Sizewell in Suffolk on the east coast of England as part of a “Green New Deal.” Taxpayers’ backing would have enabled the heavily-indebted French company EDF to finance the project.

In the event Boris Johnson, the prime minister, in his 10-point “green” plan  for the UK, boosted a far more speculative alternative scheme from a Rolls-Royce consortium which was helping to pay for research and development into a full-blown proposal to construct 16 small modular reactors (SMRs).

He failed to mention the Sizewell scheme at all, and instead of singing the praises of nuclear power extolled the virtues of offshore wind power, in which the UK is currently the world leader.

Johnson hopes that offshore wind will produce enough electricity to power every home in Britain, leaving little room for a nuclear industry. He has referred to the UK as “becoming the Saudi Arabia of wind power.”

Meanwhile across the English Channel in Belgium the Electrabel company – the Belgian subsidiary of French utility Engie – has cancelled any further planned investment in its seven-strong nuclear reactor fleet because of the government’s intention to phase out nuclear power by 2025.

“The cause of this damage [at Hunterston] is not fully understood, and it is entirely possible that this form of age-related damage may be much more extensive”

Plans will only be re-instated if a Belgian government review fails to find enough alternative electricity supply to replace the reactors’ output. The seven Belgian reactors currently produce half the country’s electricity supply.

These reversals come seven years after British governments promised a nuclear renaissance by encouraging French, Japanese, American and finally Chinese companies to build ten nuclear power stations in the UK. Only one station has been begun, a £22 billion (US$29 bn) joint venture between EDF and Chinese backers.

The French, with a 70% stake and the Chinese with 30%, began work on the twin reactors, to be known as Hinkley Point C, in Somerset in the West of England more than two years ago. The station was due to be completed in 2025, but is behind schedule and has cost overruns.

The two partners wanted to replicate these reactors at the planned Suffolk plant, Sizewell C, but EDF has not found the necessary capital to finance it, hoping that the London government would either take a stake or impose a nuclear tax on British consumers to help pay for it.

The idea was for Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C to replace the 14 smaller reactors that EDF owns in Britain, thus keeping the nuclear industry’s 20% share of the UK’s electricity production. Johnson appears to have dashed these hopes. At best Hinkley Point C will produce 7% of the nation’s needs.

Meanwhile there is a question mark over the future of EDF’s remaining reactor fleet in Britain. Two of the 14, also at the Sizewell site, are French-designed pressurised water reactors opened in 1991, and have plenty of life left in them, but the other 12 are all older British-designed advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) that use graphite blocks to control nuclear reactions.

Premature closure

A serious safety flaw has emerged in this design, involving hundreds of cracks in the graphite, causing doubts over whether the reactors could be turned off quickly in an emergency.

After a long stand-off with the UK’s nuclear safety watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, EDF decided earlier this year to prematurely close two of the worst affected reactors – both in a station known as Hunterston B in Scotland. Now, for the same reason, two further reactors at Hinkley Point B in Somerset will also close. All four reactors will be defuelled in 2022.

Currently six of these 12 AGR reactors are turned off – out of service for maintenance or safety checks. Two of them, at Dungeness B on the south-east coast of England, have been undergoing repairs since 2018 – this time because of corrosion of vital pipework – although cracks in the graphite blocks are also a safety issue here too.

While EDF remains upbeat about its prospects in developing nuclear power and is keeping its remaining ageing AGR reactors going until they can be replaced, it is hard to see where the company will get the money to build a new generation of reactors or attract government subsidies to do so.

The UK’s decision to back the British company Rolls-Royce to develop SMRs means it is unlikely the government has the money or the political inclination to back the French as well.

Rolls-Royce has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic because a large part of its business relies on the struggling aviation business, while it needs support because it makes mini-reactors to power British nuclear submarines. The proposed SMR research programme will allow nuclear-trained personnel to switch between military and civilian programmes. 

Long out of office

The Rolls-Royce SMRs are a long shot from the commercial point of view, since they are unproven and likely to be wildly expensive compared with renewable energy. However, they have the political advantage of being British, and their development lies so far into the future that the current government will be out of office before anyone knows whether they actually work or are economic.

As far as the current crop of reactors is concerned, it is clear that at least those with graphite cores are nearing the end of their lives. Nuclear power has some way to go before it can expect a renaissance in the UK.

Paul Dorfman is a research fellow at University College London. He told the Climate News Network: “It is apparent that the graphite cores of Hunterston B, Hinkley B, and possibly all UK AGR reactors have developed and continue to develop significant structural damage to graphite bricks, including keyway cracks in the fuelled section of the reactor.

“It is also clear that the cause of this damage is not fully understood, and it is entirely possible that this form of age-related damage may be much more extensive.

“Given that weight loss in graphite blocks and subsequent graphite cracking occurs in all UK AGRs, what’s happening with Hunterston B has significant implications for the entire UK AGR fleet.

Dr Dorfman concluded: “Given the parlous finances of EDF, who are already struggling with their own reactor up-grade bills in France, it is entirely likely that UK nuclear generation will be reduced to  just Sizewell B, with electricity generation relying almost entirely on renewables by the time Hinkley C comes online, very late and over-cost as usual.” – Climate News Network

November 26, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The effect on Europe of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear prohibition: Changing Europe’s calculations   Beatrice Fihn |Executive Director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN),Daniel Högsta |Campaign Coordinator of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN),  25 Nov 20, 

On 22 January 2021, nuclear weapons will be placed in the same category as chemical and biological weapons – the other weapons of mass destruction – illegal under international law. On that date, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) will enter into force and will change the legal and normative landscape around nuclear weapons. This has significant implications for any European governments complicit in the practice of deployment and potential use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

A historic milestone for nuclear disarmament

Continue reading

November 26, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – building of ventilation shaft is halted, due to Covid-19 and planning problems

WIPP: New Mexico regulators halt utility shaft project, cite COVID-19, planning problems, Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus, 25 Nov 20,  Construction of a $100 million utility shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant could be halted after the New Mexico Environment Department denied a request to extend state authorization to build the shaft, citing missed deadlines in the planning of the project and the continued spread in COVID-19 cases at the facility.

The shaft, part of an almost $300 million rebuild of WIPP’s ventilation system, along with a series of fans and filter buildings known as the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS), was intended to improve airflow in the WIPP underground and allow for waste emplacement and mining to occur simultaneously along with future expansions of the nuclear waste repository……….

Spike in COVID-19 at WIPP could put workers in danger

NMED also cited a recent rise in COVID-19 cases at WIPP, as the pandemic continued to spread in record-breaking numbers across New Mexico, and the agency’s responsibility to ensure human health is not put at risk by activities under the TA, requesting a plan for COVID-19 mitigation at the facility.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Germany hosts France, Britain for talks on Iran nuclear deal

Germany hosts France, Britain for talks on Iran nuclear deal, DW, 25 Nov 20, 

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass met his counterparts Dominic Raab and Jean-Yves Le Drian in Berlin for talks on the Iran nuclear deal. The trio hopes for a change in US policy once Joe Biden is sworn in.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas held talks with his French and British counterparts in Berlin on Monday, with the partners urging Iran to stop breaching a nuclear deal it signed in 2015.

“From our view, Iran is systematically violating the agreement,” a spokeswoman with the German Foreign Ministry said. “Together with our European partners, we urge Iran to stop these violations and return to fulfilling all its nuclear obligations.”

Maas met with Britain’s Dominic Raab and France’s top diplomat Jean-Yves le Drian ahead of an expected change of policy towards Iran when US President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in as president in January.

Maas’s spokeswoman said she “confident” that a “constructive” US approach would help rein in the Iranian government, German news agency DPA reported.

The agreement, which world powers reached with Iran, sought to limit Tehran’s nuclear program to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons in return for the easing of economic sanctions…….

Changing US policy

Biden, who takes office on January 20, has said he would re-join the accord if Tehran first resumed strict compliance.

He wants to work with allies “to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran’s other destabilizing activities.”…..

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Germany, politics international | Leave a comment

Living with the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty: nuclear weapons states swould be unwise to attack it

Living With the Nuclear Prohibition Treaty: First, Do No Harm,  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, GEORGE PERKOVICH   25 Nov 20 Now that fifty countries have ratified the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), it will enter into force in January 2021…….


Supporters of the prohibition treaty are not crazy. They have good reasons. The 122 countries that adopted the treaty in 2017 were already legally committed not to acquire nuclear weapons, as they had signed the fifty-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

None of them face threats of aggression from the United States, Russia, China, or other countries that nuclear weapons would plausibly deter. Yet, all could suffer great harm from someone else’s nuclear war—especially one involving the still excessively destructive U.S. and Russian arsenals…….

TPNW supporters represent more than half of the world’s population and are understandably frustrated that the nuclear weapon states have not fulfilled their legal obligations and political commitments to pursue nuclear disarmament.  …


A cynical answer is that the TPNW will do little good. The nine governments that wield nuclear weapons will not sign it. Nor have any security allies of nuclear-armed states, including all members of NATO, Japan, and South Korea, for example. In other words, the treaty will not change any country’s reliance on or possession of nuclear weapons.

While that is true, both supporters and critics of the treaty have reason to heed Hippocrates’s injunction to “first do no harm.” The importance of this injunction is especially great in NATO Europe and the United States.

In several NATO states, significant numbers of citizens and civil society organizations and their political representatives strongly support the TPNW. This includes the Netherlands and Germany, which are among the five states that host U.S. nuclear bombs as part of NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangement…………


Here, the United States, the United Kingdom and France—as nuclear weapon states—have vital roles to play. If they do not openly respect the concerns that motivate support for the TPNW, and instead direct critical ire at those who do, they will harden rather than weaken the resolve of TPNW supporters. The United States and France are particularly guilty of this.

A much wiser course, building on opportunities that a new administration in Washington may offer, would be to reinvigorate efforts to stop the incipient qualitative and quantitative arms race between Russia and the United States and NATO. ……

November 26, 2020 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NRC approves financially dodgy sale of Indian Point Nuclear Station to Holtec

Sale of NYC-Area Nuclear Power Plant Gets Federal Approval,, 23 Nov 20, After the plant shuts down in the spring, the current operator plans to transfer its license to another company to dismantle the reactors and clean up the site along the Hudson River by 2033.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved sale of the Indian Point nuclear power plant to a dismantling company without granting requests by lawmakers and environmental groups for public hearings.

The NRC announced Monday that it has signed off on its staff’s recommendation last week to approve Entergy Corp.’s sale of the plant north of New York City to New Jersey-based Holtec International. After the plant shuts down in the spring, Entergy plans to transfer its license to Holtec to dismantle the reactors and clean up the site along the Hudson River by 2033.

The NRC agreed to rescind or modify the transfer after it decides whether to grant New York state and the environmental group Riverkeeper’s requests for hearings about their concerns regarding the sale. New York Attorney General Letitia James has called the Holtec deal “very risky,” questioning Holtec’s financing and experience.

During a Zoom conference Friday organized by the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater environmental group, Assistant New York Attorney General Joshua Tallent said he would like to see money for spent radioactive fuel management set aside in a supplemental fund until the decommissioning is done to reduce the chance that taxpayers are stuck with the tab for cost overruns.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

European Commission approves Romania’s purchase of nuclear reactors

November 26, 2020 Posted by | EUROPE, marketing | Leave a comment

Security concerns delay Czech nuclear expansion

Czech nuclear expansion faces delay amid concerns of opposition, secret services, with Reuters     25 Nov 20, A tender to decide who builds a new unit at a Czech nuclear power plant may face delays after security services and opposition parties raised concerns about the possible participation of bidders from China and Russia, officials said.

According to a document seen by Reuters, a working group of intelligence and foreign policy officials under the Interior Ministry wants conditions imposed to ensure bidders from countries that pose a security risk are disqualified.

The main Czech power utility ČEZ, which is 70% state-owned, has been planning to launch a tender before the end of the year for a 1,200 MW unit at its Dukovany power plant and to pick a winner in 2022.

The project is worth at least $7.24 billion at current prices, making it the country’s biggest investment deal so far, and includes a state commitment to buy power from the plant at profitable terms for ČEZ.

President Milos Zeman has sought closer ties with China and Russia. He has favoured their participation, and the government

and ČEZ have said no bidders should be excluded.

But Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Monday the tender was not yet ready, and suggested it should not be decided just 10 months before an election………

November 26, 2020 Posted by | politics, safety | Leave a comment

Former CEO of failed V.C. Summer nuclear project pleads guilty to fraud charges

Former SCANA CEO pleads guilty to fraud charges for failed nuclear power project, by Tony Fortier-Bensen, Wednesday, November 25th 2020  COLUMBIA, SC (WCIV)     

The former chief executive officer of SCANA pleaded guilty on Tuesday to fraud charges for the failed V.C. Summer project in Fairfield County.

Kevin Marsh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of obtaining false property by false pretenses, according to a plea agreement.

The agreement also said that Marsh would serve 18 to 36 months and has agreed to pay $5 million in restitution.

In June, retired SCANA chief operating officer Steve Byrne entered a guilty plea for his actions in relation to the failed nuclear power plant.

The U.S Attorney’s office alleges Byrne and Marsh conspired with other SCANA executives to deceive state and federal government overseers, stock holders and power customers in order to keep funding coming in to build two nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

The expansion project cost Santee-Cooper and the defunct South Carolina Electric & Gas over $9 billion before the two entities abandoned the project in July 2017.

In addition, Marsh agreed to waive indictment and arraignment and work with authorities to provide further information on the failed project.

Under the plea agreement, Marsh could be sentenced to serve 18 to 36 months in prison. Marsh has also agreed to pay $5 million in restitution.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Cybersecurity breach at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) undetected for over 6 months

Breach at Kudankulam nuclear plant may have gone undetected for over six months: By Nirmal John, , ET  Nov 25, 2020

The cybersecurity breach at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) may have remained undetected for more than six months, reveals a report from Singapore-based cybersecurity firm Group-IB.

Experts from Group-IB, who discovered and analysed an archive containing dtrack, a remote-administration tool attributed to North Korean group Lazarus, says that analysis “revealed that the logs contained data from a compromised machine running Windows that belonged to an employee of the Nuclear P ..

The report, Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2020/2021, further reveals that “all the files in the archive were compiled at different times, but the main file with the compromised data is dated January 30, 2019, i.e. more than six months before they were detected. This suggests that the hackers remained unnoticed in the victim’s network for a long time.”……..
Besides the attack on KKNPP, there may have been two other cyberattacks on nuclear installations last year globally, according to the report. One being an attack on Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, which provides as much as 30% of that country’s power supply. The attack was believed to have been perpetrated by the same North Korean group, Lazarus.
The second attack was one which, it is believed, was mounted by Israel on Iran’s largest uranium-enrichment facility in Natanz and caused a fire  ………..

November 26, 2020 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment