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

Nuclear nation France exerted pressure on European Commission. Climate taxonomy deal threatened by possible inclusion of nuclear as ”virtuous”

The future of the European nuclear industry is playing out in Brussels. https://reporterre.net/Le-nucleaire-tente-de-forcer-la-porte-europeenne-de-la-taxonomie-verte 9 Apr 21, The Commission is due to unveil this month the list of energies that will be considered “green” for investors. But an entry of nuclear and gas into this “taxonomy” risks weakening the ambitions of the EU and its Green Deal.

Brussels (Belgium), correspondence

This is a decision that will weigh on the future. For several months, the European Commission has been working on an important tool, supposed to support the energy sector and the Member States in reducing the continent’s CO2 emissions. This involves establishing a classification (called “taxonomy”) of energy sources that will be considered “virtuous” for the environment and the fight against global warming. While gas and nuclear power were initially ruled out, these two sectors are making an unexpected comeback in the discussions, on the eve of the publication by the Commission of its position, scheduled for April 21.

Initially, what is called “green taxonomy” was established on “scientifically defined” sustainability criteria, explained to Reporterre Neil Makaroff, Europe manager for the Climate Action Network. This is how the nuclear sector was sidelined mainly due to the impact of radioactive waste on the environment. But over the months, and following the adoption this summer of the European recovery plan (of which 30% of expenditure will have to be directed towards actions for the climate), taxonomy has become the object of political and economic interests. States. “It is a tool that should be neutral, but by introducing political issues into it, we are trampling on what scientific experts have established,” said Neil Makaroff.

The financial stakes are indeed very important for the sectors since, even if the classification will not prevent investors from supporting the sectors of their choice, the “green taxonomy” should be widely used as a reading grid by public investors, to start with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Member States subject to their climate targets. For private investors, the criteria of the taxonomy will also be benchmarks for obtaining labels on sustainability and highlighting their environmental commitments. In fact, proposing such a list amounts to directing a windfall of several billion towards the infrastructures officially dubbed for their contribution to the energy transition.

France wants to save its nuclear power hero.

In this context, the nuclear industry would like not to be forgotten by this great banquet. It initially had little hope of being invited, as several European states are hostile to her – Austria in the lead, but also Germany. Since the issue has been politically very sensitive within the Union for a long time, it was expected that nuclear power would be treated separately, later than taxonomy, with another text. Nuclear power was therefore not included in the first version of the green taxonomy project, revealed in November 2020.

However, France, a European country which has by far the largest nuclear fleet, expects that expenditure to support an industry with aging infrastructure will only increase, while private financing is increasingly difficult. to find. There is therefore a general French mobilization to try to influence the Commission. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, thus took the head of a group of seven European leaders to write, in mid-March, a letter to the European executive asking him to carefully consider the low carbon content of the production of atomic energy. “We call on the European Commission to ensure that the EU’s climate and energy policy takes into account all avenues towards carbon neutrality in accordance with the principle of technological neutrality,” wrote the seven authors.

What has given nuclear supporters hope, observers say, is the fact that the Commission seems to be backing down on the gas issue, under political pressure from ten Member States unhappy that it had not been retained as “transitional energy”. As the timetable has thus been delayed, France would like nuclear power to no longer be treated separately – which would risk excluding it from the central tool of green finance – but that it already appears in the second version of the delegated act to be published shortly. She thus found an alliance of interests with gas advocates to serve the nuclear cause. “It is very rare for heads of state to write a joint letter on this kind of subject to the Commission,” said Neil Makaroff. But that France, which shows so much its ambitions in terms of green finance, joins forces with States which want to include fossil energy in the taxonomy, it shows that it is the political game which is weighing on the Commission. “

“A last minute, opaque and politicized process”

Another recent event has also come to show how much the turn of the debate has changed. Wishing to spare the pronuclear a little and save time, the European Commission had ordered a report several months ago from its scientific committee, the Joint Research Center (JRC or JRC in English), on radioactive waste. At the end of March, rumors reported that the JRC had favorably concluded a “green” labeling for nuclear power, which should be recognized as a “transitional fuel”.

In this context, in early April, nine members of the technical expert platform (five NGOs and four experts) who had helped establish the original criteria for the taxonomy threatened to slam the door of the working group with the Commission. Faced with pressure to reintroduce fossil gas and nuclear power, they denounced a “last minute, opaque and politicized process”. “On the concept of what can be considered scientifically sustainable is not for politicians to decide,” said one of the scientists who signed the warning letter.

Originally conceived with the objective of giving clear guidelines, and presented as a world first in the field, taxonomy is therefore now in danger of being blurred by the political and strategic considerations of the Member States. For the defenders of an ambitious climate policy in Europe, if the European executive fails to keep this promise, it could ultimately affect the credibility of its “green deal” and, by extension, the Union itself in the world leadership it intended to take in the fight against global warming. 

April 10, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Japan poised to release Fukushima nuclear cooling water into the sea

Japan set to release Fukushima plant water into sea,  Mainichi, TOKYO (Kyodo) 9 Apr 21, — The Japanese government is poised to release treated radioactive water accumulated at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea despite opposition from fishermen, sources familiar with the matter said Friday.

It will hold a meeting of related ministers as early as Tuesday to formally decide on the plan, a major development following over seven years of discussions on how to discharge the water used to cool down melted fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi plant………..

concerns remain among Japan’s fisheries industry and consumers as well as neighboring countries such as South Korea and China.

The government has said it cannot continue postponing a decision on the disposal issue, given that the storage capacity of water tanks at the Fukushima complex is expected to run out as early as fall next year.


It asserts that space needs to be secured on the premises, such as for keeping melted fuel debris that will be extracted from the damaged reactors, to move forward with the decades-long process of scrapping the complex.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. says it will take around two years for the discharge to start……..

It asserts that space needs to be secured on the premises, such as for keeping melted fuel debris that will be extracted from the damaged reactors, to move forward with the decades-long process of scrapping the complex.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. says it will take around two years for the discharge to start…….

China and South Korea are among 15 countries and regions that continue to restrict imports of Japanese agricultural and fishery products more than 10 years after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, caused by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011……..

The Fukushima Daiichi plant, which suffered core meltdowns following the natural catastrophe in March 2011, continues to generate massive amounts of radiation-tainted water after it is used to cool melted fuel.

The water is treated using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, to remove most contaminants and stored in tanks on the complex premises. The process, however, cannot remove tritium, a radioactive byproduct of nuclear reactors…………… https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210409/p2g/00m/0na/062000c

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Fair” exposes in detail how corporate media uses “Tropes” to win intelligent people over to USA militarism

If well-paid US columnists start becoming preoccupied with human rights in your country, it is a pretty good sign that you are about to get bombed. It is also remarkable how quickly those same pundits will lose their acute interest in human rights in a nation after a US intervention. Therefore, the next time you hear freedom, human rights and democracy in another country being endlessly discussed, be on your guard for ulterior motives; these cold-blooded media figures may just be crying crocodile tears in the service of empire.

Think of the women!  ……… He’s attacking his own people! …….. We have to save democracy! ……..

How media language encourages the left to support wars, coups and intervention   https://fair.org/home/support-the-tropes/comment-page-1/#comment-3189279ALAN MACLEOD,   In an earlier piece (FAIR.org, 3/3/21), we explored some country case study examples of how the press helps to manufacture consent for regime change and other US actions abroad among left-leaning audiences, a traditionally conflict-skeptical group.

Some level of buy-in, or at least a hesitancy to resist, among the United States’ more left-leaning half is necessary to ensure that US interventions are carried out with a minimum of domestic opposition. To this end, corporate media invoke the language of human rights and humanitarianism to convince those to the left of center to accept, if not support, US actions abroad—a treatment of sorts for the country’s 50-year-long Vietnam syndrome.

What follows are some of the common tropes used by establishment outlets to convince skeptical leftists that this time, things might be different, selling  a progressive intervention everyone can get behind.

Continue reading

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biden’s Announcement That Trump Got Military Spending Just Right Is Dead Wrong 

Biden’s Announcement That Trump Got Military Spending Just Right Is Dead Wrong  https://worldbeyondwar.org/bidens-announcement-that-trump-got-military-spending-just-right-is-dead-wrong/

Economic Cost, North America  By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, April 8, 2021

President Joe Biden is proposing a level of Pentagon spending so close to that of Trump’s last year in office that Bloomberg calls it a 0.4% reduction adjusting for inflation while Politico calls it a 1.5% increase and “effectively an inflation-adjusted budget boost.” I call it a disgusting violation of the will of the public spent in the hypocritical name of a grand battle against autocracies by so-called democracies, driven in reality by the influence of war profiteers and contempt for the fate of the planet and the people on it.

The U.S. public, according to polling, would reduce military spending if it had something resembling a democracy.

Just five weapons dealers poured $60 million into U.S. election campaign bribery in 2020. These companies now sell more weapons abroad than to the U.S. government, with the U.S. State Department acting as a marketing firm, and with U.S. weapons and/or U.S. military training and/or U.S. government funding going to the militaries of 96% of the most oppressive governments on earth.

U.S. military spending is $1.25 trillion per year across numerous departments. Even just taking the $700 billion and change that goes to the Pentagon and stands in for the full amount in media coverage, U.S. military spending has been climbing for years, including during the Trump years, and is the equivalent of many of the world’s top military spenders combined, most of which are U.S. allies, NATO members, and U.S. weapons customers.

Still using that artificially reduced figure, China is at 37% of it, Russia at 8.9%, and Iran is spending 1.3%. These are, of course, comparisons of absolute amounts. Per capita comparisons are extreme as well. The United States, every year, takes $2,170 from every man, woman, and child for wars and war preparations, while Russia takes $439, China $189, and Iran $114.


“Takes” is the right word. President Eisenhower once admitted it out loud, saying, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

When a mere $30 billion could end starvation on earth, there is no question that militarism kills first and foremost through the diversion of funds from where they are needed, while of course risking nuclear apocalypse and driving environmental collapse, justifying secrecy, fueling bigotry, and degrading culture.

The madness of militarism is not new, but it is always newly happening in an environmentally riskier world in more desperate need of a redirection of resources, and is happening now in the midst of a pandemic. Meanwhile President Biden proposes to pay for things he wants to spend money on with slight corporate taxes over 15 years, as if no other expenses will come up between now and 2036.

A bill in both houses of Congress called the ICBM Act would move funding from intercontinental ballistic missiles to vaccines. Dozens of Congress Members say they favor moving funding from militarism to human and environmental needs. Yet, not a single one has made a public commitment to voting against any bill that fails to reduce military spending, and not a single one has introduced a war powers resolution to end a single war, now that Trump’s veto cannot be relied on to render such an action harmless.

It is a real shame that President Biden is not a member of the Democratic Party whose 2020 Platform reads: “Democrats believe the measure of our security is not how much we spend on defense, but how we spend our defense dollars and in what proportion to other tools in our foreign policy toolbox and other urgent domestic investments. We believe we can and must ensure our security while restoring stability, predictability, and fiscal discipline in defense spending. We spend 13 times more on the military than we do on diplomacy. We spend five times more in Afghanistan each year than we do on global public health and preventing the next pandemic. We can maintain a strong defense and protect our safety and security for less.”

It’s just bad luck that President Biden does not subscribe to the religion professed by the Pope who remarked last Sunday: “The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nonetheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended and military arsenals are being strengthened.”

According to Bloomberg, the U.S. military arsenal is being strengthened in a proper progressive manner: “The $715 billion Pentagon ‘topline’ is likely to be presented as a compromise to Democrats pressing for cuts in defense spending, as some of the money would be slated for the Pentagon’s environmental initiatives.”

With friends like the Pentagon, the environment has no need of enemies, real or imagined.

According to Politico, wildly out-of-control military spending that Biden believes Donald Trump got just about exactly right is actually a demonstration of restraint because “Pentagon budgeteers” have been hoping for more. Let us weep for them in our own private ways.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia,

There’s a long and devastating history behind the proposal for a nuclear waste dump in South Australia, https://theconversation.com/theres-a-long-and-devastating-history-behind-the-proposal-for-a-nuclear-waste-dump-in-south-australia-158615,,,Katherine Aigner

PhD candidate Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy, Australian National University   On Saturday at the Adelaide Festival there will be a public showing of Australian Atomic Confessions, a documentary I co-directed about the tragic and long-lasting effects of the atomic weapons testing carried out by Britain in South Australia in the 1950s.

Amid works from 20 artists reflecting on nuclear trauma as experienced by Indigenous peoples, the discussion that follows will focus on the ways in which attempts at nuclear colonisation have continued in South Australia, and are continuing right now.

For the fourth time in 23 years South Australia is being targeted for a nuclear waste dump — this time at Napandee, a property near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

The plan is likely to require the use of a port, most probably Whyalla, to receive reprocessed nuclear fuel waste by sea from France, the United Kingdom and the Lucas Heights reactor in NSW via Port Kembla.

The waste will be stored above ground in concrete vaults which will be filled for 100 years and monitored for a further 200-300 years.

Nuclear waste can remain hazardous for thousands of years.

The Barngarla people hold cultural rights and responsibilities for the region but were excluded from a government poll about the proposal because they were not deemed to be local residents.

The 734 locals who took part backed the proposal 61.6%

The Barngarla people are far from the first in South Australia to be excluded from a say about proposals to spread nuclear materials over their land.

It’s not the first such proposal

Australian Atomic Confessions explores the legacy of the nine British atomic bombs dropped on Maralinga and Emu Field in the 1950s, and the “minor trials” that continued into the 1960s.

After failed clean-ups by the British in the 1960s followed by a Royal Commission in the 1980s, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency conducted a cleanup between 1995 and 2000 it assures us was successful to the point where most of the contaminated areas at Maralinga fall well within the clean-up standards applied for unrestricted land use.

But experts remain sceptical, given the near-surface burial of plutonium and contamination remaining across a wide area.

The Tjarutja people are allowed to move through and hunt at the Maralinga site with their radiation levels monitored but are not permitted to camp there permanently.

We are told that what happened in the 1950s wouldn’t happen today, in relation to the proposed nuclear waste dump. But it wasn’t our enemies who bombed us at Maralinga and Emu Field, it was an ally.

In exchange for allowing 12 British atomic bombs tests (including those at the Monte Bello Islands off the northern coast of Western Australia), the Australian government got access to nuclear technology which it used to build the Lucas Heights reactor.

It is primarily the nuclear waste produced from six decades of operations at Lucas Heights that would be dumped onto Barngarla country in South Australia, closing the links in this nuclear trauma chain.


Nuclear bombs and nuclear waste disproportionately impact Indigenous peoples, yet Australia still has not signed up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration requires states to ensure there is no storage or disposal of hazardous materials on the lands of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.

Nor has Australia shown any willingness to sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons which came into force on January 22 this year after a lobbying campaign that began in Australia and was endorsed by Indigenous leaders worldwide.

Aboriginal people have long known the dangers of uranium on their country.

Water from the Great Artesian Basin has been extracted by the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine for decades. Fragile mound springs of spiritual significance to the Arabunna People are disappearing, posing questions for the mining giant BHP to answer.

Australian uranium from BHP Olympic Dam and the now-closed Rio Tinto Ranger mine fuelled the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Senior traditional custodian of the Mirrar people, Yvonne Margarula, wrote to the United Nations in 2013 saying her people feel responsible for what happened.

It is likely that the radiation problems at Fukushima are, at least in part, fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands. This makes us feel very sad.

The Irati Wanti (The Poison, Leave It!) campaign led by a council of senior Aboriginal women helped defeat earlier proposals for nuclear waste dumps between 1998 and 2004.

There remains strong Indigenous opposition to the current nuclear waste proposal.

Over the past five years, farmers have joined with the Barngarla People to protect their communities and the health of the land.

In 2020 the government introduced into the Senate a bill that would do away with traditional owners’ and farmers’ rights to judicial reviews and procedural fairness in regard to the use of land for the facility.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt is deciding how to proceed.

April 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, history, indigenous issues, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Despite the influence of Bill Gates, experts find that nuclear power is the wrong climate solution

“A decade ago, perhaps one could still argue we need new nuclear power plants to combat global warming, and that better approaches were hopefully just around the corner,” Howarth says. “But in 2021, it is very clear that we can completely rebuild the energy economy of the world moving forward built on renewable energy alone, with no need for fossil fuels or nukes. To build our future on renewables is that fastest, safest, and cheapest way to address climate disruption.”

How Bill Gates’ company TerraPower is building next-generation nuclear power, CNBC Make It, , Apr 8 2021 ”…….  Selected by the U.S. federal government to demonstrate the viability of nuclear power through its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), TerraPower aims to build “fully functional advanced nuclear reactor within 7 years of the award,” according to the Office of Nuclear Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy………

TerraPower’s ability to achieve those goals will be in no small part due to the money and influence of the company’s founder.“The most important factor is that Bill Gates is behind this,” principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology department of nuclear science and engineering Charles Forsberg tells CNBC Make It………..

Still, some say nuclear power is the wrong solution,  Despite what Gates and TerraPower see as benefits, the debate over nuclear power is fierce.    On March 18, for instance, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a non-profit group of 250 scientists and related professionals, issued a 140-page rebuke of “advanced nuclear” reactor designs.

“If nuclear power is to play a larger role to address climate change, it is essential for new reactor designs to be safer, more secure, and pose comparable or—better yet—lower risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism than the existing reactor fleet,” says Edwin Lyman, Director of Nuclear Power Safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC, in a statement released with the report. “Despite the hype surrounding them, none of the non-light-water reactors on the drawing board that we reviewed meet all of those requirements.”

The UCS even recommends the Department of Energy (DOE) suspend it jointly funded ARDP demonstration project (in which TerraPower is a particpant) until regulatory agencies determine what kind of prototyping is necessary, and calls on the DOE to have an independent commission to review the project.

“It doesn’t make sense to us for either government or industry to devote a lot of resources to pursuing high-risk, low-reward technologies – or technologies that could be even worse than what we have now,” Lyman tells CNBC Make It.  Instead, more federal government spending to improve conventional reactors is a better tactic, according to the UCS.

“Investment to address the shortcomings of conventional reactors would have a higher chance of success because there is a large base of operating experience and experimental data that researchers can draw upon,” Lyman says………

Still others say focusing on nuclear power at all is the wrong approach.

Nuclear power, which has been around since the 1950s, “has proven to be very slow to deploy, very expensive, and fraught with dangers,” says Robert W. Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University. “And no one has ever solved the problem with what to do with nuclear wastes.”

Safe and affordable nuclear power is “a pipe dream” that “never materialized,” he says.

Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC), argues that nuclear energy “comes with unnecessary risks when better alternatives (i.e. wind, solar, geothermal) are available.”

And “investment in nuclear likely crowds out investment in the safer alternative (renewable energy),” he says.

Both Howarth and Mann are signatories on a declaration that calls for decarbonization through 100% renewable energy, like wind and solar.

“A decade ago, perhaps one could still argue we need new nuclear power plants to combat global warming, and that better approaches were hopefully just around the corner,” Howarth says. “But in 2021, it is very clear that we can completely rebuild the energy economy of the world moving forward built on renewable energy alone, with no need for fossil fuels or nukes. To build our future on renewables is that fastest, safest, and cheapest way to address climate disruption.”

April 10, 2021 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power – a way to stop other, faster, and cheaper, climate solutions

Electric Auke: ‘Don’t use nuclear power to stymie short-term solutions’
Every other week we take a look with sustainability expert Auke Hoekstra at what catches his eye about the preservation of our earth
.

9 April 2021, Innovation origins, MILAN LENTERS  If it were up to the Dutch Forum for Democracy party, Brabant would get a nuclear power plant. Eric de Bie, a provincial executive member, argued for this last week. Even though a study commissioned by the province from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the Nuclear Research Consultancy Group (NRG) shows that nuclear power is currently more expensive than green power. Still, FvD wants to go for nuclear power because of the lack of space. Far more space with solar panels and windmills would be required to generate the same amount of energy as from a nuclear power plant.

What does Auke think about this? Well, he considers building a nuclear power plant as a form of procrastination. “In the short term, a nuclear power plant will not solve the problem we have of too many CO2 emissions. The sooner we emit less CO2, the better. It’s just procrastination. All the extra CO2 that goes into the air in the time that it takes to build it needs to be removed again. Then any efforts into reducing all of that have to go even faster. Which invariably leads to extra costs, and techniques for filtering CO2 from the air are expensive. While you can already reduce CO2 emissions with the use of wind turbines.”

Moreover, the story that FvD is now bandying about is incomplete. The honest story would be quite different, according to Auke. “The potential for misuse cannot be ruled out. In any case, I am not comfortable with it. Terrorists could instigate a meltdown. Or countries that suddenly acquire a dictatorial regime can flout rules and use that knowledge to develop nuclear weapons,” Auke explains.

Higher energy bills as a result of nuclear power
In addition to those concerns, there are also a number of practical issues that FvD is now overlooking, Auke argues. “Building a nuclear power plant takes a long time and it often turns out to be much more expensive than stated in the original tender. In actual practice, it regularly happens that the construction is aborted. The storage of nuclear waste is also a huge problem. If we are going to go for nuclear power plants, let’s get this sorted out once and for all. Do they already have a storage site in mind? I don’t think so, because nobody wants one. Actually, FvD says they don’t want to build ugly windmills, but they forget to mention that our energy will become more expensive.”

Auke shrugs. “In fact, the actual question is: How much extra are we willing to pay in order not to have to look at a windmill? Quite a logical question and they have a point. Those things are hideous. I wouldn’t want one in my backyard either.”

But he quickly comes up with a solution for the question concerning space: “What if we put all those windmills out to sea? Of course, that’s already happening more and more. What’s more, we could install the solar panels on sunny fields vertically so that crops can be grown in between, for example. Mixed land use, that’s another way to use space differently.”…………. https://innovationorigins.com/electric-auke-dont-use-nuclear-power-to-stymie-short-term-solutions/

April 10, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Dodgy European Taxonomy report was favourable to nuclear power – but it’s far from a done deal.

About EU Taxonomy Report , Joint Research Centre , JD Supra 9 Apr 21,
”……..While the JRC report has been well received by the nuclear industry, there are further administrative hurdles to be cleared prior to nuclear energy being deemed sustainable under the EU Taxonomy Regulation. The JRC report needs to be reviewed by two additional expert groups: (a) the group of experts on radiation and protection and waste management under Article 31 of the Euratom Treaty, and (b) the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks, who deal with environmental impacts. These two groups are expected to issue their reports within the next three months and will inform the EU Commission’s final decision on the matter. There could of course be some delay as the Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks remains very occupied with COVID matters at the current time……”

April 10, 2021 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, politics | Leave a comment

An American village made dependent on the nuclear industry. Perry schools’ crisis if the nuclear power station shuts down

After Being “Promised Wealth:” What Happens to Perry if the Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down? Spectrum News, By Micaela Marshall Cleveland, Apr. 08, 2021, PERRY, Ohio — What’s been called the largest corruption and money-laundering scheme in Ohio history has dominated headlines since last summer.

The political back-and-forth surrounding House Bill 6 has led to uncertainty in communities that rely on the two Ohio nuclear power plants caught up in the controversy.

What You Need To Know

The money-laundering scheme surrounding House Bill 6 has been in the headlines for months

House Bill 6 is a bailout for nuclear power plants

The halting of the bailout causes concerns the plants may close

The communities and schools depending on the employment at the plants are worried.

The village of Perry in Lake County is known for two things: The Perry Nuclear Power Plant and Perry Local Schools, and the relationship between the two is vital to the local economy. ……

Less than three miles away [from the schools complex] is the Perry Nuclear Power Plant.

It was commissioned in 1987 and a big promise was made to the people of Perry, in return for the risk of exposure.

“Back in the day, they were promised wealth that would go on through eternity,” Thompson said.

That guarantee held up at first and allowed for the Perry Local Schools District to become home to state-of-the-art facilities. 

“We were able to build and have some amenities that were not common,” Thompson said.

The Goodwin Theatre, and a campus fitness center with an Olympic-sized pool are some of those amenities. 

“You’re not going to see another district that’s built like this,” he said.

Grants have led to upgrades over the years. …..

The two-story building’s architecture is elaborate. There’s even a clock tower.

“It has absolutely zero use other than aesthetics,” Thompson said. 

Many of the features are unique for a school, especially one in rural Ohio.

“You have this outside veranda that is just gorgeous,” he said pointing to the area outside the middle school.

………… “Nothing’s going to replace the revenue that the nuclear power plant has brought this community over the last 30 years,” Thompson said. ………. https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2021/04/08/-they-were-promised-wealth-that-would-go-on-through-eternity–what-happens-to-perry-if-the-nuclear-power-plant-shuts-down-

April 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. – China co-operation on cyber security

China-U.S. Cyber-Nuclear C3 Stability,  Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,  GEORGE PERKOVICH,  ARIEL (ELI) LEVITE,  LYU JINGHUA,  LU CHUANYING,  LI BIN,  FAN YANG,  XU MANSHU, 9 Apr 21,

Cyber threats to nuclear command, control, and communications systems (NC3) attract increasing concerns. Carnegie and partners have developed a platform of unclassified knowledge to enable U.S.-China engagement on this issue.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

This paper was produced through a three-year dialogue led by Carnegie and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, with inputs and review provided by American and Chinese technical and military experts.

FOREWORDS

CHEN DONGXIAO

The impact of cyber on nuclear stability is one of the most forward-looking and strategic topics in the current international security field. The Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) have conducted a joint study around this topic, aiming to provide a reference for the establishment of cyber and nuclear stability mechanisms among nuclear states.

Cyber attacks on nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) systems have become a potential source of conflict escalation among nuclear powers. Yet major powers have not established effective risk-reduction mechanisms in this regard. While information technology strengthens nuclear strategic forces in many ways, including the modernization of NC3, it also poses an increasingly serious cyber threat to nuclear command and control systems. Cyber operations against the strategic command and control systems of nuclear states—including those probing major vulnerabilities in the command and control systems and satellite communications systems, cyber threats from third parties, and the lack of strategic trust in cyberspace—have exacerbated the impact of cybersecurity on nuclear stability.

Because of the unique nature of nuclear weapons, any cyber incidents concerning nuclear weapons would cause state alarm, anxiety, confusion, and erode state confidence in the reliability and integrity of nuclear deterrent. Cyber attacks against a nuclear command and control system would expose the attacked state to significant pressure to escalate conflict and even use nuclear weapons before its nuclear capabilities are compromised. At the same time, compared to the mature experience and full-fledged mechanisms in nuclear deterrence, crisis management, and conflict escalation/de-escalation among the traditional nuclear powers, states not only lack a comprehensive and accurate perception of the threat posed by cyber operations but also lack consensus on crisis management and conflict de-escalation initiatives.

Given that not enough attention has been paid to this new type of threat on the agenda of security dialogue between nuclear powers, SIIS and CEIP launched a joint research project on cyber and nuclear stability in U.S.-China relations in 2017, focusing on exploring the possibility of building consensus and agreement among nuclear states. It is hoped that the cyber-nuclear nexus will awaken national policymakers to the urgency of maintaining cyber stability and that nuclear states will fully recognize the dangers of cyber attacks and their respective vulnerabilities to such attacks, and thus take steps to reduce nuclear instability accompanying advancing cyber technologies and prevent nuclear war.

…………  Obviously, with today’s evolving information technology, it is in the interest of both countries to avoid war and reduce conflicts that may escalate into war, and it is both the international responsibility of major powers and the common expectation of the international community. Hopefully, this joint study will promote in-depth dialogue and security cooperation between China and the United States and establish a corresponding workable and professional mechanism.

This is an important joint study released by two prominent think tanks in China and the United States, hoping to improve mutual understanding between China and the United States on each other’s security concerns, interests and solutions to problems, promote stability in China-U.S. relations, and facilitate the healthy development of overall China-U.S. relations. I also believe it has important reference value for the two governments on how to bridge differences and forge consensus in sensitive areas. ………

THOMAS CAROTHERS

Military and national security experts increasingly warn that the most likely cause of major warfare—conventional or nuclear—between the United States and China is a minor conflict that escalates sharply, even despite the desires and efforts by one or both countries to avert such a spiraling disaster. Cyber operations, whether by China against the United States, or vice versa, are especially prone to provoking an escalation.   It is very difficult for officials who detect an intruder in their country’s strategic computer networks to determine the intruder’s intentions. These intentions might be primarily defensive—seeking to gain warning of a future attack. But they might be offensive—precursors of efforts to disrupt or destroy the functioning of warning systems and/or command and control and communications systems related to a nuclear deterrent. Without knowing what an intruder is seeking to do, those who detect the digital footprints of an intrusion may well assume the worst. Pressure could thus mount quickly to strike first, before the other side can make this more difficult or even impossible.

Such risks are especially evident between the United States and China because these two powers, unlike the United States and Russia, have never defined their strategic relationship as one of mutual vulnerability, with attendant understandings of how to stabilize it. The asymmetry between their nuclear forces and other offensive and defensive capabilities may incline Chinese officials to assume that the United States will at some point act on the temptation to negate China’s nuclear deterrent. Chinese actions, especially in the cyber domain, to try to avoid such a possibility might make U.S. officials fear that China is seeking to impede the U.S. nuclear deterrent. 

These risks will grow as dual-use systems—satellites, missiles, or command and control systems that are used both for potential conventional and nuclear warfare—are deploye  by one side or the other. An adversary may intend only to preempt or retaliate against conventional war-fighting capabilities, but the target of the attack could perceive them to be directed against or at least affecting its own nuclear forces.

This pathbreaking paper, which is being published in English and Mandarin, calls attention to these rising dangers. It is the product of a unique multi-year joint venture between the Shanghai Institute for International Studies and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. It aims to provide a robust open-source foundation for discussion of these issues in both China and the United States, overcoming the barriers of high classification and institutional compartmentation that frequently impede analysis and deliberation. The co-authorship of the paper by Chinese and U.S. teams also aims to overcome (at least partially) barriers of culture and language that render mutual understanding in this domain so difficult.

The paper begins by detailing plausible scenarios of grave concern and providing a framework for analyzing them. It then explores steps that the U.S. and Chinese governments—and, with their encouragement, nongovernmental groups such as think tanks in both countries—could take to diminish inadvertent cyber threats to nuclear command, control, and communication systems. …………. https://carnegieendowment.org/2021/04/08/china-u.s.-cyber-nuclear-c3-stability-pub-84182

April 10, 2021 Posted by | China, politics international, USA | 2 Comments

Scientists urge Biden administration to reduce spending on nuclear weapons.

Science Group Urges Biden Administration to Reduce Spending on Nuclear Weapons   https://www.ucsusa.org/about/news/biden-administration-urged-reduce-nuclear-spending

Statement by Stephen Young, Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2021)—The Biden administration Fiscal Year 2022 budget overview released today indicates that its request for spending on the military will be even higher than the Trump administration’s last defense budget. As the final 2022 budget request develops, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) calls on the administration to make substantial cuts to the proposed $753 billion in military spending by significantly reducing funding for dangerous and unnecessary nuclear weapons, freeing up funds to better meet the nation’s many other challenges and opportunities.

In particular, UCS urges the administration to eliminate funding for the nuclear missile program known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) so it will be better positioned to advance President Biden’s spending priorities such as such as COVID relief, infrastructure, climate change solutions, and economic and racial justice.

In advance of the budget release, Sen. Edward J. Markey and Rep. Ro Khanna set a good example by recently introducing the Investing in Cures Before Missiles (ICBM) Act of 2021 that proposes eliminating all funding for the GBSD and diverting $1 billion of that money toward the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine.

Below is a statement by Stephen Young, senior Washington representative and acting co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“It is far past time for the United States to reconsider its nonsensical plans to spend a trillion dollars to build thousands of new nuclear warheads, hundreds of new long-range nuclear-armed missiles, a hundred long-range nuclear-armed bombers, and a dozen new submarines each carrying 16 nuclear-armed missiles. The world survived one massive nuclear arms race during the Cold War; but we should not tempt fate again. That money could be much better invested in protecting everyone in the United States from this pandemic and the next, from the ravages of climate change, and from the injustice of racial inequality.

“The poster child of wasteful spending is the proposal to spend $264 billion for a new land-based nuclear-armed missile. Those missiles, vulnerable to attack and kept on hair trigger alert, actually increase the risk of nuclear war rather than reduce it.

“The United States must stop relying on the Cold War-created threat of mutually assured destruction to maintain national security. Such a precarious approach risks fatal human error in defiance of all common sense.

“We call on the Biden administration to make major cuts to proposed nuclear weapons programs and start us on the path to actual national and international security.”

April 10, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran nuclear talks to continue next week after breakthrough

Iran nuclear talks to continue next week after breakthrough

Iranian deputy foreign minister says all Trump-imposed sanctions must be lifted to revive deal, Guardian,   Patrick Wintour Diplomatic editor
,  9 Apr 21, Talks on the terms for the US and Iran to come back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal are to resume next week after making sufficient progress since Tuesday’s breakthrough agreement on a roadmap for both sides.

The US has not been in direct talks with the Iranian delegation in Vienna this week but is relaying messages mainly to European members of the body that oversees the deal.

Iran is insisting all sanctions imposed by the US since 2016, including those classified by the US as non-nuclear-related, must be lifted, and it is not clear whether Iran will take its steps to come back into compliance until it is satisfied that the lifting of the sanctions has had a practical impact on its ability to conduct business, including exporting its oil.

The Trump administration imposed a wall of sanctions on Iran before and after it left the deal in 2018. The US has in the past drawn a distinction between its willingness to lift nuclear-related sanctions and to retain those not linked to the nuclear deal, such as human rights or terrorism-related sanctions.

“Lifting all US sanctions imposed under the previous US president is a necessary step in reviving the joint comprehensive plan of action [the Iran deal], and only after verifying the lifting of those sanctions Iran will be ready to stop its remedial actions and return to full implementation of the deal,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Seyed Araghchi, said at the end of the talks on Friday.

Full-scale talks at the level of foreign ministry deputies will recommence on Wednesday, with technical talks between officials continuing in the interim……………… https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/09/iran-nuclear-talks-to-continue-next-week-after-breakthrough

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Iran frees South Korean ship as more nuclear talks planned in Vienna

Iran frees South Korean ship as more nuclear talks planned in Vienna,  WP,  By Loveday MorrisSimon Denyer and Kareem Fahim, April 10, 2021 ,

BERLIN — Iran said Friday it had released a South Korean ship seized three months ago and released its captain, easing a source of tension between Tehran and Washington as their negotiating teams held indirect meetings in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian forces intercepted the South Korean tanker in the Persian Gulf in January, alleging it was captured for “technical” reasons related to environmental pollution, while also complaining that Seoul had frozen $7 billion of its assets to comply with U.S. sanctions.

On Friday, South Korea also said that the ship, the MT Hankuk Chemi, had been freed, while MarineTraffic.com data showed the ship leaving the port of Bandar Abbas.

It was unclear to what extent Iran’s move was linked to the talks in Vienna, which are expected to stretch for weeks. But Iran’s demand for access to its frozen funds is part of broader negotiations over the revival of the nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.

President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions. Iran, in retaliation, began increasing its uranium enrichment beyond permitted levels. The Biden administration and Iran have expressed their desires to revive the agreement but have been at an impasse as to how to do so.

Iran and the United States began indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday. For days, European diplomats have shuttled proposals between the two delegations, holed up in two separate luxury hotels on opposite sides of a tree-lined boulevard in the Austrian capital.

Their hope is to agree to a road map that would lift U.S. sanctions imposed under Trump and recommit Tehran to its agreements under the accord, including limits on uranium enrichment.

Iran and signatories to the deal — excluding the United States — held formal meetings on Friday that “took stock of the discussions held at various levels” over the past days, the European Union said in a statement……….

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/iran-nuclear-talks-vienna-south-korea/2021/04/09/910fd23a-985e-11eb-8f0a-3384cf4fb399_story.html

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

It’s getting too late for an effective missile deal with Iran.

The window for an Iran missile deal is already closing, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By John Krzyzaniak | April 7, 2021 Calls to limit Iran’s missile program have become all the rage in Washington. In early March, a bipartisan group of 140 US lawmakers urged the Biden administration to pursue a more “comprehensive” deal with Iran that goes beyond the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to include not just Iran’s nuclear program but also its ballistic missile program and its support for non-state groups in the Middle East. Despite this and similar appeals, the prospects for even a modest missile deal with Iran are looking slimmer by the day. While the more ambitious proposals were unrealistic to begin with, the most feasible option—to lock in a 2,000-kilometer range limit on Iran’s ballistic missiles—may soon slip out of reach too.

Proposals for a missile agreement. Despite the heightened interest in constraining Iran’s missile capabilities, there have been few concrete proposals to accomplish that goal, and even fewer that are remotely plausible. 

On the more fanciful side, one proposal involves demanding that Iran give up any and all missiles capable of delivering a 500 kilogram (kg) payload to a range of 300 kilometers (km) or more, on the thesis that such missiles are inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons. After all, the prospect of Iran’s missiles serving as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons (if Iran ever decides to build them) is what most worries Western policymakers. Avner Golov and Emily B. Landau advocate for a deal to eliminate Iranian missiles that exceed the 500 kg–300 km threshold in a February 2018 article in Foreign Policy.

Setting aside that the definition of what constitutes a “nuclear-capable” missile is contested, there are three additional problems that make this proposal unworkable. First, depending on how different systems are counted, Iran has at least eight missile types that would be covered by such an agreement, and it would have to give them all up. Second, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates also have missiles that exceed the 500 kg–300 km threshold, and Iran would demand that those countries adhere to the same arrangement. Third, verification of such a deal would present a Herculean task involving an extensive, on-the-ground inspection presence.

None of these conditions seems remotely possible given the current political environment. In fact, Golov and Landau themselves admit that getting Iran to agree to a ban on missiles above the 500 kg–300 km threshold would be “extremely unlikely.”

On the more modest side is the recommendation to lock in a 2,000-km range limit on Iran’s ballistic missiles, including by banning the flight testing of missiles that exceed that range, made by Michael Elleman and Mark Fitzpatrick in a 2018 article in Foreign Policy. Robert Einhorn and Vann Van Diepen also include this among their recommendations in a 2019 report for Brookings…………

 if Western policymakers want to seize this modest but worthwhile option, they will need to act quickly, as recent events suggest that Iran may be preparing to throw off the self-imposed range limit. If Iran blows past 2,000-km ranges with its missiles, it won’t be easy to put the genie back in the bottle.

Why the window may be closing. The first and most glaring reason why a missile deal focused on capping Iran’s missiles at 2,000 km—or any missile deal for that matter—may be beyond reach is that there has been no revival of the 2015 nuclear agreement. Since the deal was agreed, Iranian officials including the supreme leader have signaled that the nuclear deal would be an important test in determining whether Western countries were good-faith negotiating partners or not. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hammered home this point in an interview published in Politico on March 17, when he said, “if the US passes the test of [the nuclear deal] … then we can consider other issues.”

Fast forward six years, and Iranians—both government officials and the broader public—have been embittered by the experience of the 2015 agreement. In Zarif’s eyes, the United States has “miserably failed” the aforementioned test. Even if the deal is revived and the Biden administration lifts sanctions, convincing Iran to negotiate on its ballistic missiles in particular, which Iranian officials have repeatedly insisted are non-negotiable, would be a hard sell.

But it is Iran’s technological progress that is beginning to erode the 2,000-km range limit, increasing the probability that, as time goes by, Iran will officially cast it off……..Fast forward six years, and Iranians—both government officials and the broader public—have been embittered by the experience of the 2015 agreement. In Zarif’s eyes, the United States has “miserably failed” the aforementioned test. Even if the deal is revived and the Biden administration lifts sanctions, convincing Iran to negotiate on its ballistic missiles in particular, which Iranian officials have repeatedly insisted are non-negotiable, would be a hard sell.

But it is Iran’s technological progress that is beginning to erode the 2,000-km range limit, increasing the probability that, as time goes by, Iran will officially cast it off………………https://thebulletin.org/2021/04/the-window-for-an-iran-missile-deal-is-already-closing/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=ThursdayNewsletter04082021&utm_content=NuclearRisk_IranDealWindow_04072021

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese government and Tepco must pay monthly compensation to 3550 Fukushima residents displaced due to continued radioactivity.

International Bar Association 8th April 2021, In mid-February, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the Japanese government and nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) should pay a total of JPY 278m (approximately $2.6m) in damages to a group of survivors of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The ruling came ahead of the ten-year anniversary of the major Tohoku earthquake, which killed and displaced thousands of people. The tsunami caused by the earthquake led to the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, operated by Tepco.

In September 2020, the Sendai High Court ordered the state and the plant operator to pay approximately $9.5m in
damages in total to 3,550 plaintiffs, finding both negligent for not taking measures to prevent the disaster. The plaintiffs had sought $265m in the form of monthly compensation of $470 each until radiation in the affected region subsided.

https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=1462911D-400D-422C-ABDA-99D4D5BF78A8

April 10, 2021 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment