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USA show of force -flying nuclear bombers over Iran

US flying nuclear bombers over Iran to deter NYE attack, 9 news, By CNN Dec 31, 2020  The US have flown nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in the latest show of force meant to deter Iran, as defense officials remain divided over the risk posed by the regime and the Iraq-based militias it supports.

Pentagon officials say the military muscle-flexing is meant to warn Tehran off attacking American interests or personnel in the days surrounding the January 3 anniversary of the Trump administration’s assassination of the powerful Iranian leader General Qasem Soleimani.
At the same time, acting Secretary of Defence Christopher Miller decided yesterday against a push to extend the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz’s deployment to the Persian Gulf, sending it out of the region in an explicit de-escalation signal to Iran, according to a senior defense official.
The conflicting messages could reflect divisions within the Pentagon, where a second senior defence official tells CNN that the current threat level from Iran is the most concerning they have seen since Soleimani’s death.

Officials cite new intelligence that Iran and allied militias in Iraq may be plotting attacks against US forces in the Middle East.
For example, Iran has been moving short range ballistic missiles into Iraq, prompting the US to deploy additional military assets to the region.
Yet others in the Pentagon contend that the threat is being exaggerated, with the first senior defence official – who is directly involved in discussions – telling CNN that there is “not a single piece of corroborating intel” suggesting an attack by Iran may be imminent.
US President Donald Trump has fuelled some of the uncertainty, reportedly asking in a mid-November meeting for military options he could use against Iran.
He then threatened Iran after a December 21 attack on the US embassy in Baghdad that senior US officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, attributed to Iraqi militias affiliated with Tehran.
“Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets,” Mr Trump tweeted from aboard Air Force One after a December 23 White House meeting on Iranian threats.
“Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN.”
Mr Trump then offered “some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.”

……… The B-52 flight was the second time this month the Pentagon has sent the nuclear-capable bombers to the region. It follows the Navy’s rare December 21 announcement that it had sent a nuclear-powered submarine through the Persian Gulf, accompanied by guided-missile cruisers.  ,,,,,,,

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Iran, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Get ready for a 2021 barrage of pro nuclear spin, from a desperate industry

 ”Utilities Middle East” and Russia’s Rosatom held a webinar extolling the “benefits” of nuclear power. The panellists went on at length on how nuclear power is “clean” ”safe” ”economic” – and of course the ”waste problem is solved”, and nuclear is the ”cure for climate change.”

At the end of this hymn of praise, however, there’s a cautionary note.

There’s a  question mark over “public acceptance”which  means that it is  “make or break” time for the industry’s future.

Clearly the world, especially “developing countries”, is in for a barrage of glossy, expensively produced, pro nuclear spin.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | 2 Comments

Fukushima nuclear clean-up hugely affected by discovery of lethal radiation levels

January 2, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Joe Biden must end the cover-up of, and the huge money to, Israel’s nuclear weapons

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Dr Helen Caldicott as mentor for anti-nuclear activists

My Six Mentors,  “…….Helen Caldicott, MD,  by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 20121

Helen Caldicott deserves a much greater place in our histories of the Cold War and ending the USA / USSR arms race than she generally gets. This is, perhaps, because she is powerful and a woman. A pediatrician, who in the 1970’s would not tolerate the radioactive fallout she and her patients were suffering from nuclear weapons tests in Australia, Helen and her family came to the USA. She and another physician named Ira Helfand revived what had been a local Boston organization of physicians and created a Nobel Prize winning organization called Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), which later participated in the creation of another Nobel Prize winning group, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW). These two along with hundreds of other organizations committed to peace and nuclear disarmament formed the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which has helped to create the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (see ) and also won the Nobel Prize (2017).

Helen herself is a powerful communicator and will move audiences at a level that can change the course of someone’s life and work. She followed her own destiny to winning meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the Soviet Union, where she educated him about Nuclear Winter and the fact that nuclear is not a war that anyone can win. She also met with President Reagan in the era and diagnosing early-stage dementia… Her ability to bring the reality of the world to these men, and reality of these men to the world set her aside, in a class by herself—and was an enormous contribution to us all.

I first met Helen in the body of her Cold War block-buster book “Nuclear Madness.” I was in the midst of an existential crisis that could have become an even bigger health crisis.  After college I needed a job (not yet a career) because I was broke, broken up from my first “true” love, and far from home. I got a job as a research assistant in a lab at a prestigious medical school; it was 1984.

Within 2 weeks, I was inadvertently contaminated with radioactivity (without my knowledge) by carelessness of a lab-mate. The radioactive material, Phosphorus-32 is used in research to trace biochemical activity in living organisms. This type of radioactivity is not deeply penetrating, so there was some reason not to panic, however the I was exposed continuously for over a week, and I also found radioactivity at home– my toothbrush was “hot”—so I had also had some level of internal exposure. I was terrified. The lab used concentrations of the tracer thousands of times higher than is typical.

The institution told me there was no danger, but because I was upset, they helped me transfer to a different job. No accident report was filed, and in the midst of transition, my radiation detection badge was never processed. It is not possible to know the dimensions of my exposure—I began having symptoms that were not normal for me. Many people, including some family members told me I was imagining things. No one in my circle understood how terrified I was.

I was fortunate that Helen had already written “Nuclear Madness”—the first edition came out in 1978, just before the March 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown in Harrisburg PA—an event that propelled the book into multiple printings including a Bantam Paperback edition that I found. It turned out that 7 years later I helped Helen to revise and update the same text for the 1994 WW Norton edition. It was Helen’s deep commitment to truth, to speaking and writing that truth, to empowering people to take action for good. Helen’s words accurately described radiation and its potential for harm, and in my panic about the unknown, this calmed me.

Every other authority I had encountered was trying to tell me there was no problem—when I knew they had no right to dismiss what had happened to me.  I am quite certain that had I remained alone with my fear, despair, and confusion my panic would have resulted in behaviors that would have compounded any harm bodily from that radioactive contamination. Reading Helen’s work let me know there was at least one woman walking the Earth who did know what I was going through… it made it possible for me to choose recovery and walk away from a legal battle that would have forced me to maintain, hold and prove a myself a victim. Instead, following in Helen’s wake, I chose Peaceful Warrior. Thank you Helen! : ………..


January 2, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear, Reference, Women | Leave a comment

India and Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations

The exchange was made in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India.   Hindustan Times, INDIA  Jan 01, 2021,  Press Trust of India by Kunal Gaurav Islamabad   

Pakistan and India on Friday conducted the annual practice of exchanging the list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral arrangement that prohibits them from attacking each other’s atomic facilities.

The exchange was made in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India, signed on December 31, 1988, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement here.

It said that “the list of nuclear installations and facilities in Pakistan was officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, at 1100 hrs (PST).” “The Indian Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi handed over the list of Indian Nuclear installations and facilities to a representative of the Pakistan High Commission at 1130 hrs (IST),” it added.

The agreement contains the provision that both countries inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on January 1 every year.

This has been done consecutively since January 1, 1992, according to the FO.

The exchange of information comes despite the ongoing tensions between India and Pakistan……..

January 2, 2021 Posted by | India, politics international, safety | Leave a comment

This is the sort of letter that citizens need to be writing – in support of the nuclear weapons ban

Sudbury letter: Council should support banning of nuclear weapons, of the article:

Letter to the editor, Jan 01, 2021 To Mayor Brian Bigger and city council:

The United Nations has passed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and it will become international law on Jan. 22, 2021. Some 86 countries have signed this agreement. Unfortunately, Canada is not one of them.

As it is cities that will be targeted by nuclear weapons, Sudbury, a producer of nickel, would likely be a target. The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICANw) is asking cities to support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons by passing the following motion (many Canadian cities have already passed this motion including Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver and Victoria):

“Our city of Sudbury, Ont., is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have a right to live in a world free from this threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment. Therefore, we support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and call on our governments to sign and ratify it.”

The world has about 14,000 nuclear weapons with about 1,500 on hair-trigger alert. The firing of these weapons could happen by accident, miscalculation, terrorism or an unstable government. The catastrophe would be immediate.

I would urge Sudbury city council to pass the motion and support the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

Richard Denton


January 2, 2021 Posted by | Canada, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Mary Olson pays tribute to Rosalie Bertell, the great explainer of radiation impacts on health

My Six Mentors,   by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 20121 

“……………. Rosalie Bertell, PhD

It was Rosalie who most let me know that I am able to contribute original work towards the day that People, to decide not to split atoms any more. Human beings began splitting atoms in Chicago, in 1942. Rosalie, a PhD in mathematics and member of the Order of Gray Nuns, knew more than anyone else I have worked with, that all of it—every last nuclear license, and radioactive emission, all the waste and all the bombs and all the money congress gives to nuclear activities are choices. People made, and continue to make these decisions…and we can change our mind.

Rosalie studied radiation impacts and was committed to service on behalf of future generations. She won the Right Livelihood award for her work with communities impacted by nuclear industry. Often called the “alternative Peace Prize” – she was one of the first women to be honored. As a laureate, she was encouraged to find and mentor students. Rosalie hoped that I, and my coworker Diane D’Arrigo would go to graduate school and she could be our mentor. We decided since we were already in our 50’s to simply study with her, informally. We traveled, 5 or 6 times to the Mother House where she resided and she generously met with us in the last two years of her life. She was always small in stature, but at that point her back was bent and she barely came up to my chest, but still had the intensity of a wolverine!

It was Rosalie Bertell who helped me tackle one of the biggest challenges I have faced. After a public talk on radioactive waste policy that I gave during this time, a woman asked me if radiation was more harmful to women, to her, compared to a man. Even though I had studied and known many of the top independent radiation researchers, including Bertell, I had never heard that biological sex could be a factor for harm—other than in reproduction (pregnancy)—but that is more about the embryo and fetus than the woman. I told her that I was sorry, I did not know and would get back to her. In fact, I forgot.

Two years later, when nuclear reactors exploded in Japan at a site called Fukushima Daiichi, I remembered that question and knew it urgently needed an answer. I was unaware that Dr Arjun Makhijani and a team had written on sex differences in radiation harm in 2006 (see ) and also did not turn that up as I searched for any information on differences between males and females. My findings, five years later are an independent confirmation of the IEER work.

Since I found nothing on a basic google dive, I called Rosalie, who was at that point nearing the end of her life, to ask if she had studied biological sex. She had not, and the one report she pointed me to was out of print. It was my second call, a week later, that prompted her to tell me that I would have to look at the data myself.

I had no idea that the National Academy of Science (NAS) had published tables with 60 years of data on cancers and cancer deaths among the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Rosalie told me to find out for myself. I was shocked. I had stopped any formal study of math in the 6th grade…she was a mathematician—I asked her to do it, and she reminded me that she was dying. I protested again. It was her next words that pushed me. Rosalie said, “The data is divided by males and females so you can look at this question—and if there is a difference, it will be a simple pattern. It is good you do not have more math because if there is a difference, you will find it and not make it more complicated than it is.” She said to get a few pencils, a sharpener, an eraser and lots of paper, and go to it. I did.

The result was my first paper on the topic, “Atomic Radiation is More Harmful to Women,” (October 2011) published to the web in time for Rosalie to congratulate me. Three years later the paper was the basis for my invitation to speak at the global Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Consequences of Nuclear Weapons. Three years later as the new Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was in the work, I founded the Gender and Radiation Impact Project. Rosalie is the one who put rocket fuel in my determination to help. If the world decides to base radiation protection on Refence Little Girl—make every regulation in terms of protecting females who are infants—five years old, future generations have a chance. Rosalie is the one who modeled for me that it is possible to reach for the best possible outcome, and, indeed, we have an obligation to do so………..……


January 2, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history, PERSONAL STORIES, radiation, Reference, women, Women | Leave a comment

Exceedingly high radiation levels found inside Fukushima’s crippled reactor buildings

Asahi Shimbun 30th Dec 2020, Exceedingly high radiation levels found inside crippled reactor buildings
at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant were labeled by nuclear regulators as an “extremely serious” challenge to the shutdown process and overall decommissioning of the site.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said a huge amount of radioactive materials apparently had attached to shield
plugs of the containment vessels in the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors. Radiation levels were estimated at 10 sieverts per hour, a lethal dose for anyone who spends even an hour in the vicinity, according to experts.

The finding would make it exceptionally difficult for workers to move the shield plugs, raising the prospect that the plan to decommission the reactors will have to be reassessed.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

In Indonesia – small nuclear reactors as a prelude to nuclear weapons?

Indonesia’s Nuclear Dream, Revived?  Does the Joko Widodo government have nuclear aspirations? The Diplomat, By Sung-Mi Kim, December 31, 2020   Is Indonesia looking to go nuclear under the Joko Widodo government? In February 2020, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister of maritime affairs and former chief of staff to President Widodo, publicly complained that powerful countries like the United States do not consider Indonesia a serious international player because of its lack of nuclear weapons, seizing some local news headlines. The political heavyweight, a retired four-star army general, is behind a recent bout of interest in cutting-edge nuclear reactor technologies to capitalize on the country’s abundant mineral resources. …..
………the Defense Ministry signed an agreement with U.S.-based nuclear company ThorCon International in July 2020 to collaborate on the research and development of a small thorium molten salt reactor. Initially, ThorCon had made an ambitious proposal in March 2019 to invest $1.2 billion to develop a larger, 500 megawatt floating nuclear power plant in Indonesia by 2027. To this end, ThorCon has been engaging with key state-owned enterprises such as shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia, electricity provider PT PLN, and tin miner PT Timah through a series of MOUs and high-level engagements.  ………

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Indonesia, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Mary Olson on 4 mentors about radiation -Diana Bellamy, Sharon Barry, Judith Johnsrud, Joanna Macy

My Six Mentors,   by Mary Olson, Gender and Radiation Impact Project, 1 January 20121 

…in these atomic times…

[September, 2020] I was born in 1958—full-on Cold War… my family lived upwind of the Nevada nuclear weapons test site in California and even there air quality was the reason my parents gave when they moved our family back to the Midwest… I was in kindergarten in a tiny town in Illinois during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when a bomb drill caused me to become aware of nuclear annihilation at that age. I opted out: that very night I got sick and stayed chronically ill dropping out of kindergarten and was mostly homeschooled for the next 12 years. I am fortunate that my brilliant parents were my teachers and I learned a lot on that journey. When I emerged well enough to go college and work, I learned even more from amazing women. These six, my MENTORS:

Diana Bellamy, MFA

At Reed College I majored in Biology—focused on evolution, and History of Science. As a Junior I fulfilled an arts requirement by taking a theater course, for the first time. Professor Diana Bellamy was a working actor, and in her Introduction to Acting class I discovered that embodiment of an experience is something that others can see and recognize, and at times, experience with the actor. My ability was spotted by Bellamy. She invited—urged me–to change my major and come to the Theater Department, even so late in my coursework. I was shocked into an evaluation of my own priorities and goals.

The following summer was a deep-dive into determining whether to stay the course in my original science major, or jump. The process of discernment, largely via discussions with my father, brought me to a deep understanding of WHY I was studying science: I knew that society’s decisions and actions would be, more and more, made in the worlds of research and technology, and I also knew that ordinary people do not speak those languages. I wanted to become fluent enough in that world to be able to help translate for those who are affected, but outside that bubble. Eventually, ten years out, I attained that role…and have stayed with it.

Diana’s recognition of my ability to project experience challenged me to find the reason I would stay in Biology besides a more stable work-life. It was an empowerment for me to find how to use my gift as a communicator.  I bow to her every time I take the stage to speak to 10’s or to 1000’s of people, and help them experience the vital importance of what I am there to say. …………

Sharon Barry, CPA

As I left research behind at age 25, I needed stability, clean air and water, and a different kind of stress as I rebuilt my health. In 1986 I got a job running the retreat, conference center, and camp in Michigan where my parents had been summer staff when I was a toddler—and I had attended camp. Circle Pines Center is both legendary, and unknown. I created, and served on a Management Team for five years and built a strong tool-box of non-profit organizational skills. That portfolio includes business management and administration. It was my dear friend and mentor, Sharon who helped me learn. Our relationship was not easy—but Sharon stood by me as she taught me the craft, and helped with the art by serving on the Finance Committee of the Board. We rebuilt the Center which had been in tough shape…to its strongest financial footing in decades. Sharon went on to win her own CPA and has been part of my financial life ever since as my accountant. I am not wealthy, but I am also deeply committed to accountability. Sharon taught me, and continues to support me in this. It is her strength I pull on to get through my own tough times. THANK YOU!

Judith Johnsrud, PhD

I met Judy in 1990 at the Backyard Eco Conference in Michigan. I left my submersion job at Circle Pines and drove to the gathering, expressly to hear Johnsrud speak about radioactivity in the environment. I had been recovering from my radiation exposure, and learning about new proposals from the federal government to deregulate a large share of the radioactive waste generated in the processing of uranium for nuclear fuel, and the operation of nuclear reactors for energy and nuclear weapons materials production. The Below Regulatory Concern Policy would put metals, building materials, soil and many other materials that were measurably radioactive into unregulated county landfills and also allow recycle into consumer products, with no warning or label. The deregulation is what I wanted to talk to her about. It seemed to me that what happened in the lab with a tiny plastic petri dish might happen in a Walmart to someone who never knew what had happened since radioactivity is invisible, has no smell or taste…

When I got to the conference, event organizers were looking for a volunteer to drive Judy across the state to the airport near Detroit. I immediately volunteered—it was a 5 hour drive and that gave us plenty of time to get to know each other. Judy remained my friend, my confidant and my teacher for the next 20 years as I moved into working at the national and global level for the peaceful end of the nuclear era—ending the production of more nuclear waste and better protection for our living systems from the waste we already have made. Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) was founded by a small group, including Judy Johnsrud. I was hired in 1991 as Staff Biologist and Radioactive Waste Specialist, and Judy was always there—and in the first decade, we were often the only women in the room. Judy died in 2014; I retired from NIRS, five years later, in 2019.


Joanna Macy

The paths of Joanna Macy and I have crossed and re-crossed—I first met her work in her first book, ‘Despair and Personal Power in the Nuclear Age,’ published in 1983, before my radiation accident…I actually met her in-person, briefly at that time because of her leadership in the Buddhist Peace Fellowship… and our paths crossed again, briefly, when she and her husband Fran introduced me to their concept of Nuclear Guardianship. It was not until a younger friend and protégé of mine convinced me to attend a short-course at Schumacher College in Devon England (1998) led by both Fran and Joanna that I got to know her…a little. It was a two-week session rooted in community work that formed the later book, ‘Coming Back to Life’ (1998). I include Joanna here, as a Mentor, even though we have spent little time together, because when I open my mouth to speak, it is most often her influence I hear. The basic insight that we are all one is a foundation for me—and she brings that insight to the nuclear work. I honor her, and in doing so, I hear echoes of her in me……


January 2, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, PERSONAL STORIES, Reference, women, Women | Leave a comment

How the USA and Soviet Union planned to use nuclear radiation as a weapon.

 This was initially seen as a great idea –  you could kill all the people while leaving the omfrastructure intact for your own use.
Death Dust: The Little-Known Story of U.S. and Soviet Pursuit of Radiological Weapons,  Three international security experts chart the rise and fall of radiological weapons programs in the United States and the Soviet Union. The MIT Press Reader

By: Morgan L. Kaplan, 31 Jan 20, 

For decades, the thought of radiological weapons has conjured terrifying images of cities covered in “death dust.” Classified as a weapon of mass destruction — alongside chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons — it has remained a point of mystery as to why these devastatingly indiscriminate weapons were not pursued in earnest by more state and non-state actors alike.

What did early radiological weapons (RW) programs look like? How and why did they arise, and what accounts for their ultimate demise? Aside from a handful of known cases, why have RW programs not proliferated with the same alacrity as other weapons programs?

Thanks to the rigorous and rich historical work of Samuel Meyer, Sarah Bidgood, and William Potter of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, we now have more answers. Focusing on the United States and Soviet Union in the 1940s and 1950s, the authors, in a recent study published in the journal International Security, trace the unique origins of these RW programs, as well as explain why they were subsequently abandoned. Their study, “Death Dust: The Little-Known Story of U.S. and Soviet Pursuit of Radiological Weapons,” reveals a fascinating web of causes, including organizational and bureaucratic politics, international competition, economic and technological constraints, and even the powerful initiatives of well-placed individuals.

While the authors’ work examines the past, it speaks directly to the present and future trajectory of RW programs. If you are interested in military innovation, the history of weapons of mass destruction, the sociology of technology, and science fiction (yes, science fiction!), the exchange featured below is for you.

Morgan Kaplan: First things first, what are radiological weapons? Do any countries or non-state actors have them today?

Samuel Meyer, Sarah Bidgood, and William C. Potter: We define a radiological weapon as one intended to disperse radioactive material in the absence of a nuclear detonation. ……..

……….. May 1941 — the first reference to RW appeared in a U.S. government document: the Report of the Uranium Committee. The report identified three possible military aspects of atomic fission, the first of which was “production of violently radioactive materials … carried by airplanes to be scattered as bombs over enemy territory.” (The other two possible applications noted in the report were “a power source on submarines and other ships” and “violently explosive bombs.”) ………

Technological advances were among the major drivers of RW programs in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and RW were initially pursued in tandem with nuclear weapons and chemical weapons (CW) programs. The anticipated promise of RW as a weapons innovation, however, never materialized in either country due to a combination of factors, including technical difficulties in the production and maintenance of the weapons, diminution in the perceived military utility of RW relative to both CW and nuclear weapons, and low threat perceptions about adversary RW capabilities. ……..

the parallelism in many respects between the rise and demise of the U.S. and Soviet RW programs; and (5) the serious but ultimately unsuccessful effort by the United States and the Soviet Union to secure a draft convention at the Conference on Disarmament prohibiting radiological weapons.

MK: Are radiological weapons a thing of the past or do they remain an attractive option for some countries and non-state actors today?

The authors: We are encouraged that no country has either used RW in war or has incorporated them into a national military arsenal. We are concerned, however, that the Russian Federation, despite its own unsuccessful history with RW, has shown renewed interest in advanced nuclear weapons that seek to maximize radioactive contamination. We also worry that some countries may conclude that RW serve their perceived national interests, especially in the absence of international legal restraints. It therefore is important, we believe, to revive U.S.-Russian cooperation to ban radiological weapons and strengthen the norm against their use.

Morgan L. Kaplan is the Executive Editor of International Security and Series Editor of the Belfer Center Studies in International Security book series at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | history, radiation, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How the nuclear industry avoids a proper safety analysis

The Nuclear Industry’s Really Bad Safety Analysis, Clean Technica. December 31st, 2020 by George Harvey 

Before we allow small modular reactors, mini reactors on barges, reactors for making hydrogen, reactors to be set up on the Moon, or just about any nuclear reactors to be built, we should get an explanation from the nuclear industry of why some of its calculations have been so bad. I am talking about numbers that are so bad, off by an order of magnitude, that they are functionally deceptive. And if they are not intentionally deceptive, that is not an excuse. They fool people into thinking things are true when they are not, and they are very much to the advantage of the nuclear industry.

In my experience, nuclear industry numbers come in three flavors. The first of these is just about spot-on, just about 100% of the time. These numbers relate to such things as calculations of energy potentials. If a company says a reactor can provide 1,000 MW of power, you can count on it that the output of that plant will be 1,000 MW.

There is a second type of calculation that the industry provides. This relates to the costs and timelines for construction of new reactors. Calculations in these areas seem to underestimate both by about half. If the figure for a new reactor is $5 billion and its construction is to take 5 years, I would figure on a $10 billion cost and a 10-year timeline. I acknowledge that I have not done a careful study of this, but I have often noted that real world results that were double what was estimated, and I only remember one that was correct. (I am speaking of US and UK reactors here, not those that are built in China, with which I am much less familiar.)

It is the third type of number that really bothers me, however, and this is something I have studied since the Fukushima Disaster. For some purposes regarding safety, the industry numbers are off by an order of magnitude, with its calculations appearing to make the reactors ten times as safe as they are.

I admit that some safety numbers are controversial. There is huge disagreement about how many people died as a result of the Chernobyl Disaster, for example. I will start with that.

got an email some time back from a nuclear industry advocate. In it he said the explosion of a reactor at Chernobyl proved that nuclear energy was safer than coal or other fossil fuels. I will grant you that our use of coal has caused a large number of deaths, both in the mines and among the general public. But the email was revealing in its very specific number. How it was calculated, I don’t know, but the figure given was 17 deaths.

Though that was the lowest I have seen, other figures from nuclear advocates are equally specific. A list at Wikipedia says provides the old Soviet Union’s official list of 31 people who were killed. I have seen that figure used recently. Elsewhere in the same article, however, it is stated that a total of 60 people died, according to a later source, including later deaths of radiation-induced cancer. Again, the same article speaks of UN estimates of 4,000 people who might have died of health effects in the Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, with a total of 16,000 when other parts of Europe are factored in, and maybe as many as 60,000 when worldwide effects are considered. Greenpeace has projected death tolls possibly going up to a million.

So what are we to believe? To answer that question, I will say we should not believe any specific figure, but instead note that the low figures from the nuclear industry and the high figures from anti-nuclear activists differ by over four orders of magnitude.

I would also note that the figures from the nuclear industry are not believable, because they do not even admit the possibility of more deaths than the low numbers they specify. And I will not say the high figures are unbelievable in quite the same way, though I would not believe them just because they come from Greenpeace. The point is that the differences themselves are disturbing…………..

The Fukushima Daiichi plant was protected by a 5.7 meter (18.7 feet) sea wall. The Tohoku tsunami that hit it, which arose from the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Japan, was 14.5 meters (47.6 feet) tall at the plant. To get a grasp on what this means, remember that a tsunami of this type is not an ordinary wave that quickly crashes and withdraws, it is a rise in the water level than keeps going on for a period of time, possibly several minutes. So for a period that must have felt terrifyingly long to those who witnessed it, water kept rising until it was nearly 8.8 meters (28.9 feet) higher than the sea wall. Videos of the Tohoku tsunami show the effect.

The nuclear industry’s response to this could be summed up in the question: Who could have predicted such a thing? But that fails utterly to recognize some facts. The sea wall was clearly too low, based on the region’s history.

To start with, the earthquake was the most powerful on record, but the records only go back to 1900. The 14.5-meter wave at Fukushima Daiichi was not the highest that the tsunami produced. The highest wave it had was 40.5 meters (133 feet) in Iwate Prefecture. But we should recognize this was not really the unique event it seemed. Limiting our look to other tsunamis on the northeastern coast of Japan, we could count the 1896 Sanriku Earthquake, which had waves of up to 30 meters (100 feet), and the 1933 Sanriku Earthquake, which had waves of up to 28.7 meters (94 feet).

Both of these events happened less than 100 years before the Fukushima power plant was designed in the early 1970s. They should have been taken into account for construction of sea walls. In fact, they were taken into account for building a 15.5-meter (51 feet) flood gate at Fudai, Iwate, a village of roughly 2,600 people. The waves were higher there than at Fukushima Daiichi, but they barely topped the flood gate, and no one it protected was killed.

So why did Fukushima Daiichi have a 5.7-meter sea wall? I would say it was clearly a matter of human failure. Though I have to admit that reality might have been very different, I can picture someone walking into a room with a group of engineers in it, and asking how tall the sea wall was going to be. And the answers comes back as a question, “What is the budget?”

I have never seen the nuclear industry address the question of why their safety analysis calculations are off by an order of magnitude. Until they do, and I think it should include a gigantic mia culpa, my own choice would be not to allow any of their fantastical designs to be built.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

New delay in planning decision for £16bn Wylfa nuclear development on Anglesey

Business Live 31st Dec 2020, A planning decision on Wylfa Newydd has been delayed for another four
months for talks with potential new investors to continue. Japanese
multi-national Hitachi announced in September they were pulling out of
funding the £16bn nuclear development on Anglesey. At that point BEIS
Secretary of State Alok Sharma delayed the Development Consent Order (DCO)
decision for the application to December 31. Now following a letter from
Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Wylfa developer Horizon Nuclear Power,
that date has been extended to April 30.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment