nuclear-news

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

Boris Johnson’s decision to increase nuclear warheads -concern around the world and within UK

UK to Increase Cap on Nuclear Warhead Stockpile, Arms Control Association , ARMS CONTROL TODAY, April 2021
By Kingston Reif and Shannon Bugos

In a significant departure from an earlier pledge, the United Kingdom announced in March that it will raise the ceiling on its nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40 percent above its previous target and would no longer publish information about the number of warheads it maintains in an operational status.

The decision prompted concern around the world and raised questions about the UK’s commitment to its nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).

London will raise the ceiling on its overall stockpile to 260 warheads by the middle of the decade, according to an integrated review of security, defense, development, and foreign policy published March 16. The new ceiling is a 44 percent increase above the level of 180 warheads that was first announced in the UK’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and reiterated again in 2015. (See ACTDecember 2015November 2010.)

The UK currently has about 195 nuclear warheads, of which 120 are operational, according to an estimate by researchers at the Federation of American Scientists. The UK deploys its entire nuclear arsenal aboard four Vanguard-class submarines, each of which is armed with Trident II D5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles. At least one submarine is always at sea on deterrence patrol. London maintains that a submarine on patrol would require several days’ notice to launch a missile………

The Johnson government’s decision to increase the warhead stockpile was controversial within the UK.

Keir Starmer, the head of the Labour Party, said the plan “breaks the goal of successive prime ministers and cross-party efforts to reduce our nuclear stockpile. It doesn’t explain, when, why, or for what strategic purpose.”

Foreign governments also criticized the new direction in policy.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on March 18 that “this move is at odds with London’s many statements about its commitment to obligations to promote nuclear disarmament under the NPT.”

“The British leadership’s decisions underscore the urgent need to directly involve U.S. nuclear allies in the efforts to reduce and limit nuclear weapons, which Russia never ends to point out,” she said.

Asked about the UK decision to grow its nuclear stockpile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, “We don’t want nuclear weapons arsenals to grow. If you don’t want that to happen, you can’t expand them.”

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres, raised similar concerns in a March 17 press briefing. “[W]e do express our concern at the UK’s decision to increase its nuclear weapons arsenal, which is contrary to its obligations under Article VI of the NPT,” he said. “It could have a damaging impact on global stability and efforts to pursue a world free of nuclear weapons.”……………….. https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2021-04/news/uk-increase-cap-nuclear-warhead-stockpile

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No greenwashing’: Fossil gas and nuclear must not be defined as clean, ministers tell IEA summit

No greenwashing’: Fossil gas and nuclear must not be defined as clean, ministers tell IEA summit

Medium- and long-term policy clarity is essential to attract the private finance needed to reach net zero by 2050, event hears  31 March 2021 By Leigh Collins  …………… (subscribers only )  https://www.upstreamonline.com/energy-transition/-no-greenwashing-fossil-gas-and-nuclear-must-not-be-defined-as-clean-ministers-tell-iea-summit/2-1-990406

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Unexploded WW2 bomb on seabed uncomfortably close to Hinkley Point C nuclear station

Hinkley**

An unexploded 250 pound wartime bomb has been found on the seabed near
Hinkley Point power station this week. The Hinkley Point C harbour
authority issued a local notice to mariners on Monday (March 29th) advising
mariners to keep well clear of the device, which is north of the power
station site. “Mariners are advised that a 250 pound bomb thought to date
from World War II has been discovered by the Hinkley Point marine works
principal contractor to the north of Hinkley Point C harbour authority
statutory limits,” says Hinkley Point C harbour master Nick Clarence in
the warning.

Burnham-on-sea.com 30th March 2021

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Universities in UK captured by the nuclear weapons industry

Radiation Free Lakeland 30th March 2021, In February 2021 it was announced that Lancaster University and the
University of Cumbria plan to open a Barrow-in-Furness campus, which ‘will work closely with key businesses, including BAE Systems’. A joint press release was issued, including a quote from Janet Garner, Head of HR, Skills and Academy Principal at BAE Systems Submarine, who says that “The Barrow Learning Quarter will have a transformational impact on our region and will help to provide some of the emerging specific skills required of our future workforce.”

Although we support initiatives to increase Higher Education provision in under-served communities, and generally welcome collaboration between universities, businesses and local communities, the prospect of our universities working closely with BAE Systems is deeply troubling.

As the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) makes very clear, the role of BAE Systems as a supplier of arms to belligerent forces is direct and profound. BAE Systems is believed to have sold £15 billion worth of warplanes, weapons and services to Saudi Arabia in the first five years of the conflict with Yemen. Only 5% of BAE’s sales are fornon-military purposes.

https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2021/03/30/wmd-university-of-cumbria-and-lancashire-uni-go-over-to-the-dark-side-this-would-be-seen-as-outrageous-in-for-example-russia-or-china-but-it-is-here/

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Concerted opposition in Scotland to nuclear weapons, and to banks lending for them.

Herald 30th March 2021 THAT nuclear weapons are now illegal may well have passed some Scots by.
After all, mainstream media didn’t exactly make a fuss about it. Yet there has been opposition to the nuclear weapons based in the Clyde for the half a century or so they have menacingly been situated there.

“Ordinary” Scots, civil society, the STUC, Scotland’s churches, the Scottish Parliament and many of Scotland’s MPs have spoken out, demonstrated and campaigned against them both because of the existential risks they represent and the conviction that the funds invested in them could be better used to build back better and fairer from the pandemic.

From NatWest’s recently-released annual report it is clear that the outstanding loans to these 11 companies are just a drop in the ocean and terminating them now is not likely to make a significant difference to NatWest’s bottom line.

Now there’s a chance for change. NatWest Group is updating its investment policies. That’s why the Church of Scotland, numerous Scottish trade union councils and dozens of other civil society organisations joined a call to NatWest Group to make sure no companies involved in any nuclear weapon programmes can borrow money.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19194302.agenda-biggest-bank-must-change-policy-nuclear-weapons/

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

”Bairns not Bombs”Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon speaks out

Daily Mail 29th March 2021,

‘Bairns not bombs’: Nicola Sturgeon attacks Boris Johnson over plans to
increase the UK’s nuclear weapons stockpile as she accuses of PM of once
claiming Scots were ‘free-riding on English taxpayers’ in election campaign
speech. She blasted plans to potentially increase the UK’s atomic weapons
stockpile. The SNP has long campaigned to have nuclear weapons removed from
Scotland. Also cited PM’s 2001 column accusing Scots of ‘free-riding on
English taxpayers’.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9414139/Bairns-not-bombs-Nicola-Sturgeon-attacks-Boris-Johnson-nuclear-weapons-plan.html

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Work Underway at Israeli Nuclear Site

New Work Underway at Israeli Nuclear Site https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2021-04/news/new-work-underway-israeli-nuclear-site

ARMS CONTROL TODAY

April 2021
By Sang-Min Kim   Satellite imagery analyzed by experts at the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM) in February 2021 shows significant new construction underway in the southwest portion of Israel’s main nuclear weapons complex near the city of Dimona.

The construction activity at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center (NNRC) is within the immediate vicinity of the buildings that contain the facility’s heavy-water nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant, which have been used to produce plutonium for the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal. Israel does not publicly acknowledge possessing nuclear weapons and has not provided an explanation about the construction activities underway.

According to a Feb. 19 update of the original IPFM blog post analyzing the satellite imagery of the site, the new construction likely began in late 2018 or early 2019, but the exact intention of the newly cleared parcel, measuring 140 meters by 50 meters of excavated land, remains unclear.

Avner Cohen, a leading expert on Israel’s nuclear history and senior fellow at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies, posted on Facebook on Feb. 25 that the construction may be for a new reactor or a high-energy proton accelerator system that is used to create the high neutron fluence that leads to tritium. He said the construction activities are more likely for the modernization of “existing capabilities (while rebuilding the infrastructure)” rather than the expansion of nuclear weapons capabilities.

According to the Associated Press on Feb. 27, other experts said that the purpose of the new construction activities may be related to extending the life of the reactor to allow for the continued production of tritium gas, which is used in advanced nuclear weapon designs to boost the explosive yield. Tritium must be replaced more often than the fissile material in a nuclear warhead, and the Dimona reactor, which was built in 1963, may be nearing the end of its lifespan. The AP obtained additional satellite images from Planet Labs Inc. that confirm construction at the site is ongoing.

Initially slated for closure around 2023, Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin announced plans in 2017 to extend the reactor’s operations through 2040. At the time, that announcement prompted pushback from other Israeli officials who cited concerns about the safety of extending the reactor’s lifespan.

According to the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), the official purpose behind the facility is to expand and deepen basic knowledge in the nuclear sciences and its related fields and to provide an infrastructure and foundation for the practical and economic use of nuclear energy. The facility’s history began in the 1950s with clandestine assistance from the French government, and the basic architecture of the Dimona complex has mostly remained unchanged until recent developments.

The NNRC is mainly known for the production of nuclear weapons-grade fissile material, but experts assess that Israel is not currently producing fissile material using the Dimona reactor to expand its nuclear weapons program.

The Federation of American Scientists estimates that Israel has produced enough fissile material for about 200 weapons and has assembled around 90 nondeployed nuclear warheads, which were designed for delivery by its Jericho ballistic missiles and aircraft. Israel may also have modified its Dolphin-class submarines purchased from Germany to establish a sea-based nuclear strike capability.

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Montana bill wrongly overturns right of voters to decide nuclear energy


Letters: Montana bill wrongly overturns right of voters to decide nuclear energy  
https://missoulacurrent.com/opinion/2021/03/letters-nuclear-energy-2/

BY MIKE MALES

I attended the Montana legislature’s hearing on House Bill 273, which would repeal nuclear reactor safeguards and voters’ rights guaranteed by Initiative-80. Initiative-80, which I campaigned for as a Missoula resident in 1978, was approved by 65% of Montana’s voters despite record spending by the nuclear industry.

The hotly-debated I-80 was endorsed by bipartisan Montana leaders, including former senators Mike Mansfield, John Melcher, and Max Baucus, Republican Senate nominee Larry Williams, Congressmember Pat Williams, and numerous legislators and newspapers.

Now, HB-273 proposes to overturn voters’ decision and abolish Montanans’ right to vote on nuclear facilities. HB-273’s backers claim today’s “new” nuclear reactors are safe and economical, yet HB-273 sneakily repeals Montana’s nuclear safety and liability standards and exposes taxpayers and property owners to large, long-term dangers and costs for nuclear accidents, radioactive waste, and reactor decommissioning.

If “new” reactors are safe, why are HB-273’s supporters scheming to abolish lawful safety standards? If nuclear power is economical, why are utilities pulling out of Utah’s 12-reactor NuScale project, plagued by massive delays and billions-dollar cost overruns?
Why the rush to repeal? Montana soon will undertake a comprehensive study of energy. Voters passed I-80; voters, not legislators, should decide whether to repeal it.

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WMD: University of Cumbria and Lancashire Uni go over to the Dark Side – this would be seen as outrageous in for example Russia or China but it is Here! —

Please support the petition started by Emily Heath. Radiation Free Lakeland agree that Arms Manufacturers should not be involved in running Universities. Universities: stop collaborating with BAE Systems! In February 2021 it was announced that Lancaster University and the University of Cumbria plan to open a Barrow-in-Furness campus, which ‘will work closely with key businesses, […]

WMD: University of Cumbria and Lancashire Uni go over to the Dark Side – this would be seen as outrageous in for example Russia or China but it is Here! —

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WAMM Newsletter, Winter 2021: Line 3, Polly Mann on Assange, Biden’s First 100 Days — Rise Up Times

WAMM joins the Water Protectors for Line 3, Biden’s first 100 days, a WAMM campaign on the many sides of military spending, Polly Mann; The Truth Will out despite caging and torture.

WAMM Newsletter, Winter 2021: Line 3, Polly Mann on Assange, Biden’s First 100 Days — Rise Up Times

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Anyone else finding the new WordPress ”BLOCK” editor hellishly difficult to use?

I wonder who else is finding this WordPress new “BLOCK” editing system hellishly difficult to use.  I’m told that it is ”better”, because it is more suitable for business, and making money from your website. 

Tough if your website is designed to just be informational.  Apparently that is a concept no longer acceptable in our money-oriented culture. If it ain’t for making money, then it ain’t no good.

What a sad , narrow, unimaginative culture!

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The massive tax-payer funding for security of nuclear reactors – and this will be just as bad for Small Nuclear Reactors

This article us well worth reading in its full version. Due to problems with WordPress, (the free provider of this site), itis harder to publish this in a ‘viewable size

Nuclear Security Represents $4 Billion Annual Subsidy In US, Trillion For Fleet For Full Lifecycle

This equates to a roughly $4 billion annual subsidy to the US nuclear industry, in addition to the $1.6 billion in permanent tax breaks in the US federal tax code.

Clean Technica, By Michael Barnard 30 Mar 21,The nuclear industry requires, but doesn’t pay much of the price of, several overlapping layers of security on its international and national supply chains, generation sites, and waste management. It’s spread across a hard to fathom number of budget lines, and there doesn’t appear to have been any attempt to consolidate the costs prior to this article. This was covered recently in a CleanTech Talk with Paul Werbos, formerly with the US National Science Foundation, and he agreed that the costs were large and mostly under the radar.[1]

Per reactor annual costs appear to be in the range of $50 million USD per year, with half or less of that paid by the nuclear operator. This equates to a roughly $4 billion annual subsidy to the US nuclear industry, in addition to the $1.6 billion in permanent tax breaks in the US federal tax code.

For this analysis, the expenditures are broken into international fuel and components supply chain security, national/state/municipal security, and finally generation site security.

This will be put in context of costs across the 135 US nuclear reactors that include 94 in operation, 2 in construction, and 39 no longer operating.[2] Nuclear power plants take an average of 10 years to be constructed, operate for 40 years, and are currently taking 100 years to decommission.[3] While these are US costs, they should be reasonably easy to extend to other countries with nuclear generation.

International Costs

There are international security costs for nuclear supply, waste, and materials chains, coordinated through the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). The US provides the majority of the IAEA’s annual budget, about $200 million USD.[4] That turns into roughly $1.5 million per reactor per year, or about $220 million for the full lifecycle of each reactor .

The Department of Defense (DOD) undoubtedly spends part of its $637 billion annual peacetime base budget on security for the global nuclear supply chain.[5] Bernie Sanders’ campaign estimated that $81 billion of DOD’s annual budget was effectively oil and gas security forces globally, with a strong concentration in the Middle East.[6] The nuclear war ships and armaments of the us military share supply chains with civilian nuclear reactor fuel and many components. ………….

US international expenditures on security total $1.1 billion annually, or about $8 million per reactor per year, or about $1.2 billion over the full lifecycle of the reactor.

National, State, & Municipal Security

Nuclear energy is the only form of energy with its own regulatory agency in most countries, and with specific call outs in budgets of other agencies. ……….

adds up to about $1.5 billion more per year for security provisions for nuclear power generation in the US. That money is not recovered from operators, but should be considered a complete subsidy for nuclear generation in addition to the nuclear tax code permanent tax breaks of $1.6 billion annually.

Over the 135 reactors in operation, that turns into a per reactor cost borne by US taxpayers of $11.3 million, and a full 150-year lifecycle cost of about $1.7 billion………….

Nuclear Generation Site Security

Only now do we get to the specific site’s annual costs. The budgets are even less transparent for individual reactors. There are aggregated numbers, but not individual budgets as the companies running them are private and not required to disclose that level of detail………..

There are three levels of security for any nuclear reactor site, and the security is shared across the reactors at the site.[22]

“The large outer perimeter, called the “owner-controlled area,” is far enough from the reactor that only minimal security is needed. Other than signs, the security measures in place for the owner-controlled area are not always visible to the public. The “protected area” is fenced and protected by sophisticated security systems and armed security officers. The innermost circle is called the “vital area.” It contains the reactor and associated safety systems, the control room, the used fuel pool, and the main security alarm stations. Access to the vital area is limited and protected by locked and alarmed security doors.”

Then there are the cybersecurity measures on top of that.

AEA best practices staffing guidelines suggest 20% of staff at nuclear generation facilities are security staff.[23] Plants have 500–1000 staff.[24] For an average facility then, there might be 750 staff and 150 security staff. ……..

Given that the site pays for 90% of NRC licensing costs and its site security, nuclear operators are paying roughly $24 million of the annual $53 million in security costs. The rest, roughly $30 million, can be considered uncounted subsidies of nuclear generation per reactor. That amounts to a $4 billion dollar indirect annual nuclear subsidy in addition to the $1.6 billion in direct tax breaks for the nuclear industry……..

Small Modular Reactors

There is nothing about small modular reactors (SMRs) which would indicate that they would have lower security costs than full sized reactors. They would have to be grouped in reactor sites, but with more SMRs per site, in order to spread the operational costs and the like across the reactors economically. They would still require full international, national, state and municipal overlapping layers of protection. They would still require high levels of site security. There is no evidence that decommissioning them will take less time.     https://cleantechnica.com/2021/03/29/nuclear-security-represents-4-billion-annual-subsidy-in-us-trillion-for-fleet-for-full-lifecycle/

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Mexico sues US over proposed nuclear waste storage plans

New Mexico sues US over proposed nuclear waste storage plans, Sacramento Bee
BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN ASSOCIATED PRESSMARCH 29, 2021 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. New Mexico sued the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday over concerns that the federal agency hasn’t done enough to vet plans for a multibillion-dollar facility to store spent nuclear fuel in the state, arguing that the project would endanger residents, the environment and the economy.

New Jersey-based Holtec International wants to build a complex in southeastern New Mexico where tons of spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants around the nation could be stored until the federal government finds a permanent solution. State officials worry that New Mexico will become a permanent dumping ground for the radioactive material.

The complaint filed in federal court contends the commission overstepped its authority regarding Holtec’s plans and that granting a license to the company could result in “imminent and substantial endangerment” to New Mexico. The state cited the potential for surface and groundwater contamination, disruption of oil and gas development in one of the nation’s most productive basins and added strain on emergency response resources.

The state also raised concerns about a similar project planned just across the state line in West Texas.New Mexico has accused the commission of colluding with Holtec in “rubber-stamping” the proposal. The state argues that almost every interested party that has filed a challenge has been denied standing and an opportunity to meaningfully participate.The NRC’s mandate does not include policy setting or altering the public debate and emphatically cheerleading nuclear industry projects. Yet it is doing both to the detriment of New Mexico,” the complaint says……….

According to the U.S. Energy Department, nuclear reactors across the country produce more than 2,000 metric tons of radioactive waste a year, with most of it remaining on-site because there’s nowhere else to put it.
In all, there’s roughly 83,000 metric tons of spent fuel sitting at temporary storage sites in nearly three dozen states. The fuel is either enclosed in steel-lined concrete pools of water or in steel and concrete containers known as casks.

The first phase of the proposed New Mexico project calls for storing up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium, which would be packed into 500 canisters. Future expansion could make room for as many as 10,000 canisters of spent nuclear fuel over six decades.New Mexico’s complaint highlights a legal quandary for the federal government. Both license applications call for the Energy Department to take ownership of the spent fuel at a future date and contract with the developers of the facilities to store it until a permanent repository becomes available.

However, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act doesn’t allow the Energy Department to take ownership until a permanent repository is in place.”It is fundamentally unfair for our residents to bear the risks of open ended uncertainty,” New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said in a statement……..The state first objected to federal regulators’ preliminary recommendation that a license be granted to Holtec in comments submitted to the commission last fall. Aside from New Mexico’s other concerns, state officials have said regulators failed to consider environmental justice concerns and have fallen short of other requirements spelled out by federal environmental laws.  https://www.sacbee.com/news/article250292530.html

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NRC considers nuclear reactors running for 100 years (saves the big costs of decommissioning)

How long can a nuclear plant run? Regulators consider 100 years,   Utility Dive , 29 Mar 21,


@MatthewBandyk    

This fall, This fall, Exelon plans to retire the Dresden nuclear power plant in Illinois after more than 51 years in operation, one of the longest life spans any commercial nuclear power reactor has ever achieved. The only older operating power reactor in the country, unit 1 at Exelon’s Nine Mile Point plant, came online in 1969, a few months before the older of the two units at Dresden. 

Now, nuclear regulators, industry groups and power plant owners have begun talking about the possibility of doubling these record run times and operating some U.S. nuclear plants for up to 100 years. 

The discussions cut quickly followed the 2019 and 2020 Nuclear Regulatory Commission approvals of the first licenses for reactors in Florida and Pennsylvania to operate for 80 years, which would themselves be unprecedented milestones. According to industry experts, with state governments, utilities and corporations setting emissions reductions targets 20 to 30 years out into in the future, the nuclear industry is experiencing pressure to tackle the technical challenges around long life extensions sooner rather than later……..

Replacing nuclear plants before their licenses expire may not be on the table at all, due to high costs and competitive pressures from other power sources………

From 80 to 100?

The NRC has been tackling technical questions and research around the long-term aging of nuclear reactor components as part of its review of requests from plants to operate for 80 years………..

Four reactors — two at NextEra Energy subsidiary Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point plant and two at Exelon’s Peach Bottom plant in Pennsylvania — have already received approval from the NRC to operate for up to 80 years, while six more — four at Dominion Energy’s North Anna and Surry plants in Virginia and two at NextEra Energy’s Point Beach plant in Wisconsin — have asked for license extensions to 80 years.

But all of these nuclear plants, like Oconee, would have to retire in the early 2050s if the NRC does not allow operation beyond 80 years. ……….

Unknown unknowns”

If the NRC decides to push forward with developing guidance for 100-year licenses, some of the most complicated questions that will have to be tackled are around how nuclear plants can safely operate at advanced ages……..

[Some]  are skeptical, about how certain regulators can be about safety if they are looking so far out into the future. “Would you get on a 747 that is 100 years old?” asked Allison Macfarlane, who served as chairman of the NRC from 2012 to 2014 and now directs the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia. Her concerns are with the number of “unknown unknowns” — safety issues that regulators and plant operators are not even aware could pose problems — that may surface as parts of a nuclear plant are exposed to radiation at lengths of time never before observed. For example, a nuclear plant typically has miles of buried cables and piping, and inspecting them can be difficult due to the costs of digging to access them, Macfarlane said…….  https://www.utilitydive.com/news/how-long-can-a-nuclear-plant-run-regulators-consider-100-years/597294/

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Democrats introduce Bill to stop nuclear missile funding, switch funding to universal Covid vaccine development

Democrats call for $1bn shift from weapons of mass destruction to ‘vaccine of mass prevention’

Democrats call for $1bn shift from weapons of mass destruction to ‘vaccine of mass prevention’  Guardian, Julian Borger in WashingtonSat 27 Mar 2021

Investing in Cures Before Missiles Act would stop funding on ballistic missile and help develop a Covid vaccine   Congressional Democrats are introducing legislation to transfer $1bn in funding from a controversial new intercontinental ballistic missile to the development of a universal Covid vaccine.

The Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act, introduced in the House and Senate on Friday, would stop funding on the proposed new missile, known as the ground-based strategic deterrent (GBSD) which is projected to cost a total of $264bn over its projected lifespan, and discontinue spending on a linked warhead modification program.

Instead, the life of the existing US intercontinental ballistic missile, the Minuteman III, would be extended until 2050, and an independent study commissioned on how best to do that.

“The United States should invest in a vaccine of mass prevention before another new land-based weapon of mass destruction,” Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, co-author of the bill, said.

“The ICBM Act makes clear that we can begin to phase out the cold-war nuclear posture that risks accidental nuclear war while still deterring adversaries and assuring allies, and redirect those savings to the clear and present dangers presented by coronaviruses and other emerging and infectious diseases.”

Arms control experts say static intercontinental ballistic missiles, of which the US has 400 in silos across the northern midwest, are inherently destabilizing and dangerous, because a president would have just a few minutes to launch them on the basis of early warning signals of an impending enemy attack, or risk losing them to a pre-emptive strike. They point to a history of near-launches based on defective data, and the risk of cyber-attacks distorting early warning systems.

“With all of the global challenges we face, the last thing we should be doing is giving billions to defense contractors to build missiles we don’t need to keep as a strong nuclear deterrence,” Ro Khanna, Democratic congressman from California and the bill’s co-author in the House, said.

In September 2020, Northrop Grumman was awarded an uncontested bid for the $13.3bn engineering, manufacturing and development phase of GBSD, after its only rival for the vast contract, Boeing, pulled out of the race complaining of a rigged competition……… https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/mar/26/democrats-missile-funds-vacccine-development

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment