nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

to 11 January – nuclear news this week

Midst all of the Trumpian circus, and the dire problems of the pandemic, it’s hard to find news about the underlying grave problems of the climate. I did vow to stay off that subject.  But that’s hard to do, when global heating has accelerated over 2020, when it should have been a cooler year, with La Nina prevailing.   Not only accelerating – climate change is here with us. The Earthbound Report lists 10 big impacts in 2020.

But – to return to the nuclear, it hasn’t been just a background problem lately, as the Washington mayhem raises anxieties about Donald Trump’s finger on the trigger of nuclear war.

A bit of good news – The good news hidden within one of America’s darkest weeks

Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons: The Road There and the Road AheadBeatrice Fihn: How to implement the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

Multinational effort could help solve U.S.-Russia nuclear issue.

Geopolitics Of Nuclear Generation Delayed Renewables By Decades To Fossil Fuel Industry Benefit, Our Detriment.

Ten compelling reasons to stay away from nuclear power .

Judge’s refusal to extradite Julian Assange is still part of cowardly process to deny freedom of information.

JAPAN.   High court drops TEPCO’s appeal against order for compensation to affected Fukushima worker.  Radiation levels at Fukushima plant found worse and more lethal than previously assumed. Only 30% of Fukushima residents happy with disaster recovery progress.

INDIA.  Military strategy relying on nuclear weapons – a dangerous myth.

CANADA.  Canada vocal about nuclear disarmament, but silent about the Treaty for Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  Canada shows how nuclear reactors are not needed for production of technetium-99m.    Creating jobs and community opportunities -Pickering City Council wants immediate dismantling of nuclear station.

UK. 

USA. 

ITALY. Seven regions in Italy to take legal action against plan for nuclear waste dumping.    Beautiful Italian regions furious at sites recommended for nuclear trash.

IRAN. Iran will expel U.N. nuclear inspectors unless sanctions are lifted.

NORTH KOREA. Kim Jong Un signals plans to develop new nuclear weapons.

INDONESIA.  Indonesia’s nuclear ambitions could prove disastrous for the Southeast Asian region.

FRANCE.  France’s declining nuclear production.  Nuclear in France: why bother? This technology is on the way out.  France conducts enhanced thermonuclear missile test.  Government control over nuclear and radiation information; firing of sociologist Christine Fassert.

ISRAELRestoring Iran nuclear deal is good for Israel.

LEBANON.  Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief says nuclear button with “crazy fool” Trump.

AUSTRALIA.  Australian govt has quiet nuclear deal with China, but condemns Victoria-China medical research.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | Christina's notes | 3 Comments

Could Trump start a nuclear war?- a satchel, a biscuit and a football

A satchel, a biscuit and a football,     https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/3119714732   , Could Trump start a nuclear war?  By Linda Pentz Gunter, 10 Jan 21, 

All that’s involved is a satchel, a biscuit, and a football.

It sounds so benign, doesn’t it? Like schoolboy games. It’s anything but. If the President of the United States opens that satchel with his biscuit to access the football, that simple action could propel us into Armageddon.

The satchel, which goes everywhere the president does, contains the nuclear “football.” Only the president can open the satchel, using an ID card known as the “biscuit”.

As Time magazine explained it — the first time alarm bells rang around the possibility that an unhinged Donald Trump might “press the nuclear button” — the “biscuit enables him to identify himself to officials at the Pentagon with unique codes letting them know he is authorizing a nuclear strike. He would also need to specify the type of attack he wanted to carry out; the different options are delineated in the nuclear football.

“Once Trump has successfully conveyed his orders, Strategic Command, which has operational control over U.S. nuclear forces, would implement them.”

So while there is no actual nuclear button — Trump’s boasts to North Korea about his big one notwithstanding — it would be all too easy for a petulant madman to start a nuclear war. And we have one in the White House.

No one here needs to be reminded of the eye-stretching scenes of mob violence that unfolded at the Capitol on January 6, egged on by Trump on the day itself, and fueled by the reckless rhetoric and actions of the White House and its Republican lackeys over the past four years.

The events of January 6 in part prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to speak to the “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley to discuss available precautions for preventing an unstable president from initiating military hostilities or accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.

“The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” Politico reported Pelosi as saying on Friday.

In a statement issued on January 7, Physicians for Social Responsibility wrote that the scenes of mayhem at the Capitol, brought on by Trump’s “increasingly irresponsible and reckless behavior” should finally “put to rest any doubt about the danger posed by giving any president sole authority for the decision to launch a nuclear weapon. While the incident yesterday did not directly involve that power, President Trump’s alarming conduct demonstrated incontrovertibly why providing a president with the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon needs to be changed—right now.”

How easy would it be for Trump to launch a nuclear strike? Global Zero explains it, chillingly, in this video, which suggests that starting a nuclear war would be “as easy as ordering a pizza.”

In a January 24, 2018 article in The Straits Times, Mark Fitzpatrick, a nuclear non-proliferation expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Washington, was quoted in an interview he gave to the BBC.

“There are no checks and balances on the president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike,” he said. “But between the time he authorizes one and the time it’s carried out there are other people involved.”

We’ve been saved more than once from nuclear disaster, most notably by Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces who, on the night of September 26, 1983 just happened to be in charge of monitoring his country’s satellite system that watched for a potential launch of nuclear weapons by the United States. In the early hours, such a launch appeared to have happened.

Petrov had only minutes to decide if the launch was genuine. He was supposed to report the alert up the chain of command. Doing so would almost certainly have led to a counterstrike, triggering a full-on nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Instead, Petrov decided to check if there was a computer malfunction, later discovered to have been the case. Petrov became known as “the man who saved the world.”

But back at the White House, with only conspiracy-theory believing acolytes left around a man who doesn’t in any case listen to anyone’s advice, we cannot count on there being any Petrovs to save us this time.

Of course, as the PSR statement concluded: “the best way to protect ourselves and the rest of the world from the danger posed by the dysfunctional leadership of a nuclear-armed nation is to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether.

“The incoming Biden administration should embrace the principles of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and lead negotiations that move us toward a nuclear-weapons free world.”

That Treaty will become international law on January 22. Not a moment too soon.

January 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, Trump - personality, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

According to experts, the U.S. military cannot legally prevent Trump’s accessto nuclear codes

January 11, 2021 Posted by | legal, politics, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Donald Trump the Worst President in the History of the United States

Anna Thurlow, 9 Jan 21,   Donald Trump Has Been the Worst President in the History of the United StatesBy Eve ottenburg and Karl Grossman

“For those who concluded from the Covid-19 debacle that Trump simply wasn’t up to the job, it looks unlikely, to say the least, that his China legacy will be anything other than catastrophic. U.S. and Chinese economies are intertwined and, as we’ve already seen, decoupling hurts lots of Americans, starting with farmers. Trump’s executive order on December 28, prohibiting investments in firms reportedly controlled by the Chinese military does little besides ratchet up tensions. Hostilities between the two navies in the South China Sea could explode into regional war at any time. And how that war would be prevented from becoming nuclear is a very well-kept secret. But the geniuses in the Pentagon aren’t concerned. They believe in their new generation of small, “smart” nuclear weapons and “winnable” nuclear wars, as does Trump, the president who arguably has done more to promote nuclear war than perhaps any predecessor since mankind first split the atom.
Donald Trump has been the worst president in the history of the United States.”

Eve ottenburg

The attack by his supporters on the Capitol was a capstone of his presidency — lawless, an attack on democracy, a U.S. counterpart of the rise of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s.

It was a horror representative of his tenure.

Thank heavens and thanks to successful and hard political work, he will in days be out of office. And there must be criminal prosecutions on the state and local levels as well the federal level, which he’ll likely try to wrangle out of with a pardon.

There must be consequences to his horrendous term in office.

“An American Tragedy” was the title of a piece by David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine, right after Election Day 2016. “The election of Donald Trump,” Remnick wrote, “is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism.” There would be “miseries to come”– and there have been.

Remnick warned against an “attempt to normalize” the election of Trump. “Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader”, “a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right…a flim-flam man” with “disdain for democratic norms.”

The attack on the Capitol by the Trumpsters was an attempt at a coup to undo a presidential election in which a record number of voters came out to dump Trump and elect Joe Biden.

It was an act of insurrection incited by Trump.

As he tweeted to followers on December 20th — “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Yes, and indeed it was wild.

And then, in a speech in front of The White House on Wednesday, addressing his backers who had arrived, said: “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…and we’re going to the Capitol.” He added: “You have to be strong.”

His call was preceded by his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, proclaiming “let’s have trial by combat.”

Giuliani, who took an oath to be an attorney and adhere to rule of law, represented Trump in many courts in challenges to his election defeat with claims that judges found totally untrue–but Giuliani opted instead, in violation of that oath, for “trial by combat.”

Remnick warned about an “attempt to normalize” Trump, but so much of media have engaged in “both sides-ing” the situation, as Julie Hollar of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting has written.

When a person tells an out-and-out lie, there is no journalistic obligation to “balance” a story with a falsehood

And Trump, The Washington Post report has recorded, has uttered more than 20,000 falsehoods in his term in office.

And then there have been the Trump disinformation machines led by Fox -about which Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would smile.

But this is far more than a media problem.

Trump tapped into a vein of racism and other poisons in the United States.

He soon will be out of The White House but Trumpism, so horribly, will still be here.

“You have to summon an act of will, a certain energy and imagination, to replace truth with the authority of a con man like Trump,” George Packer wrote in the current issue of The Atlantic.

Trump’s “barrage of falsehoods — as many as 50 daily in the last fevered months of the 2020 campaign — complemented his unconcealed brutality,” writes Packer.

“Two events in Trump’s last year in office broke the spell of his sinister perversion of the truth,” he says: COVID-19 and a free election.

“The beginning of the end of Trump’s presidency arrived on March 11, 2020, when he addressed the nation for the first time on the subject of the pandemic and showed himself to be completely out of his depth. The virus was a fact that Trump couldn’t lie into oblivion or forge into a political weapon — it was too personal and frightening, too real. As hundreds of Americans died and the administration flailed between fantasy, partisan incitement, and criminal negligence, a crucial number of Americans realized that Trump’s lies could get someone they love killed,” says Packer.

He continues: “The second event came on November 3”– the election.

And that is what Trump and his followers who attacked the Capitol sought to undo. And, on the same day, Trump enablers in Congress were trying to undo it by having the votes of the Electoral College denied.

“The election didn’t end his lies — nothing will…But we learned that we still want democracy. This, too, is the legacy of Donald Trump,” Packer concluded.

Yes, most Americans still want democracy, but the history of authoritarian takeovers shows that a relatively small group of fanatics can beat the majority.

And we still are left with those toxic issues that Trump capitalized on.

Another component here is the enabling of Trump by all those Republicans.

Margaret Sullivan wrote a piece earlier this week in The Washington Post, headed “We must stop calling Trump’s enablers ‘conservative.’ They are the radical right.”
She wrote: “These days the true radicals are the enablers of President Trump’s ongoing attempted coup: the media bloviators on Fox News, One America and Newsmax who parrot his lies about election fraud; and the members of Congress who plan to object on Wednesday to what should be a pro forma step of approving the electoral college results, so that President-elect Joe Biden can take office peacefully on Jan. 20.

“But instead of being called what they are, these media and political figures get a mild label: conservative. Instead of calling out the truth, it normalizes; it softens the dangerous edges,” she continued. “It makes it seem, well, not so bad. Conservative, after all, describes politics devoted to free enterprise and traditional ideas. But that’s simply false. Sean Hannity is not conservative. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama are not conservative. Nor are the other 10 (at last count) Senators who plan to object” to the Electoral College vote.

She notes Tim Alberta wrote on Politico that “‘There is nothing conservative about subverting democracy.’ He suggests ‘far right’ as an alternative descriptor. Not bad. But I’d take it a step further, because it’s important to be precise. I’d call them members of the radical right.

“Members of the radical right won’t like this, of course. They soak in the word ‘conservative” like a warm bath.”

“On Jan. 20, we can still presume Trump will be gone from the White House,” she writes. “But his enablers and the movement that fostered him, and that he built up, will remain. That’s troubling. We should take one small but symbolic step toward repairing the damage by using the right words to describe it. It would be a start.”

Journalist Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, says Trump “will be in our history books as a dark, dark stain unlike any president of the United States.” And he investigated Nixon.

 

 

January 11, 2021 Posted by | media, politics, politics international, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Nancy Pelosi urged Pentagon on safeguards against Donald Trump launching nuclear war

Pelosi Pressed Pentagon on Safeguards to Prevent Trump From Ordering Military Action
But short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or impeaching and convicting the president, it would be unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief, experts note.
NYT,  By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, Jan. 8, 2021

Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California on Friday took the unprecedented step of asking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff about “available precautions” to prevent President Trump from initiating military action abroad or using his sole authority to launch nuclear weapons in the last days of his term.

In a phone call to the chairman, Gen. Mark A. Milley, Ms. Pelosi appeared to be seeking to have the Pentagon leadership essentially remove Mr. Trump from his authorities as the commander in chief. That could be accomplished by ignoring the president’s orders or slowing them by questioning whether they were issued legally.

But General Milley appears to have made no commitments. Short of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment or removing Mr. Trump through impeachment in the House and conviction in the Senate, it is unconstitutional to defy legal orders from the commander in chief.

Ms. Pelosi’s request, which she announced to the Democratic caucus as an effort to prevent “an unhinged president” from using the nuclear codes, was wrapped in the politics of seeking a second impeachment of Mr. Trump.

Col. Dave Butler, a spokesman for General Milley, confirmed that the phone call with the speaker had taken place but described it as informational. “He answered her questions regarding the process of nuclear command authority,” he said.  …….

This was not the first time the issue has come up in American history, or in regard to Mr. Trump.

In the last days of Richard M. Nixon’s presidency, the defense secretary, James R. Schlesinger, quietly issued a set of orders that if Mr. Nixon sought to move or use nuclear weapons, commanders should route the request to him or Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Mr. Schlesinger, describing his actions only after Mr. Nixon left office, said he was concerned that the president was drinking, or that he might lash out.

Michael Beschloss, the presidential historian, said Mr. Schlesinger had told him a number of years ago that “he was worried about Mr. Nixon’s physical and emotional state and wanted to make sure there was no danger the nuclear arsenal would be abused.”……

In the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton also raised the issue of Mr. Trump’s suitability to command the nuclear arsenal. “Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis,” she said in her address at the Democratic National Convention. “A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

……….legally the military cannot deny the president access to the codes unless the 25th Amendment has been activated…….. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/08/us/politics/trump-pelosi-nuclear-military.html

 

January 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Trump Still Has His Finger on the Nuclear Button. This Must Change.

Trump Still Has His Finger on the Nuclear Button. This Must Change.
The time has come to take the nuclear football away from this president—and all the presidents that come after him. Politico,
By WILLIAM J. PERRY and TOM Z. COLLINA 01/08/2021 

William J. Perry was secretary of defense from 1994 to 1997. Tom Z. Collina is director of policy at Ploughshares Fund. They are co-authors of the book The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.

Anyone who watched the disturbing events on Capitol Hill and President Donald Trump’s outrageous role as ringleader of the riot, must comprehend a crucial and terrifying fact: The president of the United States is unhinged and a threat not only to democracy, but to our survival. The danger is so acute that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is actively looking for ways to prevent the “unstable president from … accessing the launch codes and ordering a nuclear strike.”

Unfortunately, under existing policy the only sure way to safeguard the nuclear arsenal from an unstable president is not to elect one. Once in office, a president gains the absolute authority to start a nuclear war. Within minutes, Trump can unleash hundreds of atomic bombs, or just one. He does not need a second opinion. The Defense secretary has no say. Congress has no role.

As a nation, we need to ask ourselves: Why are we taking this risk? Do we really think that Trump is responsible enough to trust him with the power to end the world?

January 11, 2021 Posted by | politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment