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In India’s pandemic nightmare, India and Pakistan need to invest in health, not nuclear weapons.

Oxygen is more important than uranium,  DW, 1 May 21,  India and Pakistan can afford to buy weapons and test ballistic missiles, but they can’t cope with the COVID crisis. DW’s Shamil Shams says it is time for both to invest in public health and focus less on warmongering.

Dr. Mubarak Ali, a progressive Pakistani historian, recently wrote on social media that the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic in India and Pakistan proves that “oxygen is more important than uranium.”

Both India and Pakistan are grappling with an acute public health crisis brought on by coronavirus. India lacks oxygen for COVID patients, and Pakistan can’t afford to buy vaccines.

However, both nuclear-armed states continue to devote a large chunk of their national budgets to military spending.

The pandemic situation in India is nightmarish. During the week following April 18, India reported 2.24 million new cases, the highest number recorded by any country in a seven-day period since the pandemic began.

India also logged 16,257 deaths, almost double the 8,588 deaths recorded the previous week, according to Health Ministry data. Since the start of the pandemic last year, India has registered over 17.6 million COVID cases and almost 200,000 related deaths.

This “second wave” is particularly lethal and has exposed the fragility of India’s health infrastructure. Hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients, and there aren’t enough places to cremate or bury the dead.

The situation is Pakistan is getting worse by the day. Infections and deaths are surging.

As of Tuesday, April 27, Pakistan has recorded almost 805,000 COVID cases and 17,329 deaths. Experts say the actual numbers are likely much higher.

The vaccine rollout has been quite slow in Pakistan because the government doesn’t have the funding to purchase doses. China and other countries have donated a few million vaccine doses, but it is not enough to vaccinate a country of 220 million people.

Stubborn arrogance

Yet, the ruling classes in India and Pakistan are not ready to reevaluate their public spending policies.

For over 70 years since both countries gained independence from British rule, India and Pakistan have invested more in defense than in the wellbeing of their people.

Their militaries have thrived, even as a large segment of their populations have fallen below the poverty line.

This is what happens when a developing county prioritizes security-based national spending. India and Pakistan have the latest tanks and fighter jets, yet their hospitals lack ICU beds and ventilators………

Misplaced priorities

Even the world’s most developed health care systems have been pushed to the edge by the coronavirus pandemic. And for developing countries, the pandemic has demonstrated the necessity of a functional health care system for prosperity.

Powerful militaries and massive defense budgets cannot fight a virus. 

Therefore, India and Pakistan can no longer justify supporting a nuclear arsenal while their populations suffer due to a lack of medicines, oxygen cylinders and hospitals.

The rulers of the two nations must put an end to their warmongering and resolve their disputes politically and diplomatically. The best way to deal with COVID – and potential pandemics in the future – is through regional cooperation.

The way many Pakistanis have offered support to Indians during their health crisis is proof that the two nations can overcome many challenges if they help each other.

The pandemic has demonstrated that if the arch-rival south Asian neighbors don’t move toward reconciliation and peace, their economies are bound to collapse in the long run, and even their mighty armies will not be able to stop it.   https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-oxygen-is-more-important-than-uranium/a-57350243?fbclid=IwAR3Cwkkmbw2jocuXnqY6MpWWHOnWzy182c0WUa1XIkWRvAntNSlZS2t4CVY

May 1, 2021 Posted by | health, India, Pakistan, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Czech Republic’s nuclear plan hangs on hope for European Commission to call nuclear ”green”

The EU’s Nuclear Showdown Comes to a Head in Czechia, World Politics Review, Tim Gosling Friday, April 30, 2021 A fight over nuclear power is heating up in the European Union. While the Czech Republic and other Central and Eastern European states insist that the technology is vital to their transition from coal-generated energy, others in the bloc want to cut it out of the equation. The outcome of the debate could also help determine the fate of a stalled tender to build a new reactor at Dukovany, one of the country’s two existing nuclear power plants.

[Nuclear] Hopes in Prague were boosted in March when the Joint Research Center, an expert group for the European Commission, delivered a report stating that nuclear power qualifies as a “sustainable” source of energy………

However, the commission was quick to state that the Joint Research Center’s opinion is far from the final word, indicating that the tussle would continue. And indeed, on April 21, when the commission finally published its first list of sustainable energy sources—known as the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities in Brussels’ policymaking circles—nuclear power was not included. Some member states, as well as lawmakers in the European Parliament, had threatened to veto an earlier draft that included nuclear and gas-powered energy.

But that’s still not the end of the story. Referring to “a delicate compromise on whether or not to include nuclear energy,” the EU executive said it would make a final decision based on further expert opinions. That could be presented in June, said Vladis Dombrovskis, the European Commission vice-president in charge of the economy.

That gives the nuclear lobby two months to push its side of the debate……

Germany will switch off its last nuclear plant next year, as part of a phased drawdown adopted in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. But Berlin’s anti-nuclear drive isn’t limited to its own reactor fleet. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze pledged in March that the country plans to quash nuclear power globally, with a particular focus on its neighborhood.

“Nuclear power is neither safe nor clean,” she said at the time, as she unveiled a 12-point plan that argues the technology cannot be considered part of any solution to the climate crisis. “The future is for renewable energy.”


……….. in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, the challenges and costs of building new nuclear reactors have risen dramatically, and that’s what makes the EU classification key. Classification as “sustainable” would significantly lower the cost of financing for private investors, according to industry lobbyist Foratom.

Such a classification is also crucial to staying on the right side of the EU’s competition regulations, as it’s now all but impossible to build new nuclear reactors without state aid.

“The Czech government does not hope to use EU funds to build new nuclear reactors,” says Vit Havelka of the Prague-based think tank Europeum. “They’re worried that Brussels will block [the provision of] state aid, which would make it economically unfeasible.”…….

critics contend that the alternatives haven’t been properly researched. Global consultancy Deloitte suggests that renewables could deliver the same capacity of new energy generation as Dukovany 2—which is optimistically earmarked for completion in 2038—more quickly and less expensively, helping to modernize the energy sector and support the economy along the way. According to another study, it is the focus on nuclear that is helping to keep renewable power-generation underutilized.

Jiri Jerabek from Greenpeace says in an interview that the Czech government has “no proper support schemes for most types of renewables.” Moreover, its target to raise the share of renewables in its energy mix from around 16.2 percent in 2019 to 22 percent by 2030 is well below the EU’s goal of 32 percent, earning it reprimands from the European Commission…….. https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29616/for-eastern-europe-nuclear-power-depends-on-eu-taxonomy

May 1, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international | Leave a comment

Mobile nuclear reactors? Scathing report slams ‘disturbing’ military program

Mobile nuclear reactors? Scathing report slams ‘disturbing’ military program, Times, 1 May 21, Todd South The author of an academic report on Pentagon plans to build mobile nuclear reactors to power future combat bases called the effort “extremely disturbing” and “based on a lie.”

The report released Thursday slams the Pentagon and Army G-4, logistics — specifically the Army office’s 2018 report that lays out the potential uses and needs for such mobile nuclear reactors in future operations.

Alan J. Kuperman wrote the 21-page report titled, “Proposed U.S. Army Mobile Nuclear Reactors: Costs and Risks Outweigh Benefits,” in his role as coordinator of the University of Texas at Austin’s Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project.

“They don’t reduce casualties, they increase costs and they increase threats to the lives of U.S. service members,” Kuperman said.

The program, known as “Project Pele,” is prototyping the mobile advanced microreactor concept under the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office……..

The DoD spokesman pointed out that the project is part of a collaboration involving the Department of Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private industry. Project Pele is not being designed for a specific military service branch but does include experts across defense for a variety of requirements.

Army officials for G-4 deferred comment on the program to DoD……..

Congress approved funding for prototype reactors and the Army awarded $40 million in contracts to three nuclear reactor companies in March 2020 for Project Pele, according to the NPPP report.

Kuperman struck at the Army’s rationale, calling the project unnecessary and dangerous. He counters some of the main justifications that have been provided by DoD and Army reports:


  • High cost
     – Kuperman said the Army’s claims that nuclear power can provide cheaper electricity for powering future forward bases is “based on unrealistic assumptions.” Those include that such a reactor would have low construction costs and operate for 18 hours a day over 40 years. The more likely scenario is a mobile reactor would run for half that time over about 10 years, meaning nuclear electricity could cost 16 times more than estimates and still seven times more than diesel-generated power.
  • Vulnerability to missile attacks – The report points to the 2020 missile attack on forces at al-Asad air base in Iraq. Even with warnings hours ahead of time, more than 100 U.S. personnel suffered traumatic brain injury from the 11 strikes that hit the facility. And the missiles were 10 times more accurate than the Army has predicted in its report on the vulnerability of reactors to precision strikes. The service admits that a direct hit on a reactor would destroy the device. Kuperman notes that even the Army’s plans to protect the reactors, by burying them underground, could inadvertently cause meltdowns by impeding air cooling and causing overheating. A similar strike on an similar such future base with a reactor could cause far more devastating consequences.

  • Captured reactors 
    – Should a U.S. base housing a mobile reactor be overrun or abandoned, the radioactive waste from the reactor could be used in “dirty bomb” terror attacks.
  • No mission for reactors – One of the chief purposes of pursing such reactor programs was to reduce casualties from diesel transport to remote bases. But Defense Department data shows a dramatic drop in casualties of five per 1 million gallons of fuel delivered in 2005 to nearly zero by 2013.
  • High-energy weapons don’t need reactors – Kuperman states that the justification that future high-energy or laser weapons that the Army hopes to have protecting bases don’t require a reactor to power. “A high energy weapon would have to be fired millions of times to justify a reactor,” Kuperman said. “In reality such a weapon would be fired perhaps hundreds of times in its lifetime.”
  • Transport problems – The Army wants to air deliver these reactors to combat posts. Kuperman questions the “regulatory nightmare” that would create. The program calls for initial tests flying the reactors domestically to run then returning them, and their radioactive waste, to another domestic location. Foreign transport would require approval of countries airspace traversed and the approval of a host nation where the reactor would be placed, he said. Other Army recommendations include truck or rail transport domestically and either ship or over-the-ocean flights to friendly ports to then move the reactors again via truck or rail.

  • Army Times
     reported on the proposed program in 2019, which had drawn backlash from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its then-director of the Nuclear Safety Project, Edwin Lyman, who called the proposal, “naïve.”The original proposal, approved by the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office asked for industry solutions in January 2019 on providing a less than 40-ton small, mobile nuclear reactor design that could operate for three years or more and provide 1 to 10 megawatts of power.Planners want the reactor to fit inside a C-17 cargo plane for air transport to theater. More recent moves have reduced the power output to 5 megawatts……..

Lyman notes a major failure with one of the original eight designs in 1961 when a core meltdown and explosion of the ML-1 reactor in Idaho killed three operators.

The three deployed to Antarctica, Greenland and Alaska proved “unreliable and expensive to operate,” Lyman wrote in his response to the Army’s 2018 report on the mobile reactor program.Lyman told Army Times on Thursday that a number of those old reactors required decades of decommissioning and one used at Fort Belvoir, Va., near Washington D.C. is finally scheduled for decommissioning in late 2021……….. https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2021/04/30/mobile-nuclear-reactors-scathing-report-slams-disturbing-military-program/

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Feds: Underground nuclear waste tank at Hanford Nuclear Reservation may be leaking

Feds: Nuclear waste tank at Hanford Nuclear Reservation may be leaking,    Statesman Journal NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, 30 Apr 21, Associated Press   SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — An underground nuclear waste storage tank in Washington state that dates to World War II appears to be leaking contaminated liquid into the ground, the U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday.

It’s the second tank believed to be leaking waste left from the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The first was discovered in 2013. Many more of the 149 single-walled storage tanks at the site are suspected of leaking.


Tank B-109, the latest suspected of leaking, holds 123,000 gallons of radioactive waste. The giant tank was constructed during the Manhattan Project and received waste from Hanford operations between 1946 to 1976.

The Hanford site near Richland in the southeastern part of the state produced about two-thirds of the plutonium for the nation’s nuclear arsenal, including the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, and now is the most contaminated radioactive waste site in the nation.

A multi-billion dollar environmental cleanup has been underway for decades at the sprawling Hanford site.

The Washington state Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were notified Thursday that the tank was likely leaking…….

The leak from Tank B-109 was first suspected in March 2019, when there appeared to be a small drop in the level of its liquid waste. Monthly checks showed the level stable until July 2020, when another drop was detected, and the DOE launched an investigation. https://www.statesmanjournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2021/04/29/feds-nuclear-waste-tank-hanford-nuclear-reservation-may-leaking/7401579002/

May 1, 2021 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Like Trump, Biden administration to ramp up nuclear bomb-making

US pushes ahead with nuclear plans despite watchdog concerns, 9 news, By Associated Press Apr 30, 2021  The Biden administration appears to be picking up where former President US Donald Trump left off as the federal agency that oversees US nuclear research and bomb-making has approved the conceptual design and cost range for infrastructure investments for a multibillion-dollar project to manufacture key components for the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

The National Nuclear Security Administration in a decision announced Wednesday stated that planning and construction could cost upwards of $5.15 billion initially.The agency did not articulate what exactly that money would be spent on nor does it include the cost of other preparations that would be needed for Los Alamos National Laboratory to begin producing 30 plutonium cores per year.

The push to resume production of the nuclear triggers has spanned multiple presidential administrations, with supporters arguing that the US needs to ensure the stability and reliance of its arsenal given growing global security concerns. The nuclear agency also has said most of the cores in the stockpile date back to the 1970s and 1980s. Lab Director Thom Mason during a virtual community meeting Thursday evening fielded several questions about the project, saying the goal of the work is not to expand the arsenal but rather to extend the life of the existing stockpile……… 

watchdog groups have been sounding alarms over the potential for more security and safety lapses at the northern New Mexico lab and the potential for environmental contamination. Another concern is the nuclear waste that would be generated by the work. The groups have said the cost estimate outlined by the agency in its decision is roughly double the projections made just last year.

Greg Mello with the Los Alamos Study Group said the ballooning budget and uncertainty over whether the lab can meet the federal government’s mandated production schedule “throw further doubt on the wisdom of proceeding with industrial pit production” at Los Alamos.“ LANL’s facilities are simply too old and inherently unsafe, its location too impractical,” he said.“Even with a much smaller stockpile, LANL could not undertake this mission successfully.”

Some groups have threatened to sue the US Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration, saying a more comprehensive review should have been done on the plans to produce plutonium cores at Los Alamos and at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

They argue that nearby communities already have been saddled with legacy contamination from previous defence work.Critics are fearful that the project will result in factories that resemble the Rocky Flats facility in Colorado, which had a long history of leaks, fires and environmental violations and needed a $9 billion clean up that took years to finish………..J

Jay Coghlan of Nuclear Watch New Mexico called the federal government’s plans “unnecessary and provocative,” saying more production will result in more waste and help to fuel a new arms race……https://www.9news.com.au/world/us-pushes-ahead-with-nuclear-plans-despite-watchdog-concerns/506472b5-da49-4939-971c-4a36586a3843

May 1, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

South Korean fishermen protest against the dumping of Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific Ocean

S.Korean fishermen hold boat protests against Japan nuclear plans, Reuters 30 Apr 21,  Hundreds of South Korean fishermen across the country held protests on Friday calling on Japan to reverse its decision to release contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

About 800 fishermen participated in rallies at ports in nine cities, according to South Korea’s National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives.

At one port, at Gungpyeong on the west coast, fishermen held anti-Japan banners and chanted slogans such as “Withdraw Japan’s decision” and “Condemn irresponsible nuclear attack”. Twenty fishing boats with banners denouncing Japan’s decision sailed near the port.

“My father bequeathed this sea to me and I’m going to pass it on to my son, who is also fishing,” said Park Re-seung, chief of Yongdu-ri fishing village, who has worked in the fishing industry for 38 years. “Why is Japan doing this? How could they do such a bad thing against the sea? Don’t they eat fish?”…….

“For us, this issue is about making our living,” Park added. “If the customers continue to see the news of the water release, they wouldn’t be even buying fishes that we caught here.”  https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/skorean-fishermen-hold-boat-protests-against-japan-nuclear-plans-2021-04-30/

May 1, 2021 Posted by | oceans, South Korea, wastes | Leave a comment

Extinction Rebellion climate activists block Faslane nuclear base

Extinction Rebellion block Faslane nuclear base entrance,  Climate activists set up a blockade at the Faslane nuclear base by attaching themselves to plant pots.  https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-56941041 30 Apr 21,

Members of Extinction Rebellion Scotland staged the protest at the north gate of the base on the Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute.

The all-female group placed three planters painted with the words “Safe”, “Green”, and “Future” on the road.

Police Scotland said they were made aware of the incident at 06:20 and officers were at the scene.

HMNB Clyde – known as Faslane – is the Royal Navy’s main presence in Scotland.

It is home to the core of the submarine service, including the UK’s nuclear weapons, and the new generation of hunter-killer submarines.

The protest group said they were demanding a future “safe from the threat of nuclear weapons and environmental destruction”.

Extinction Rebellion said the action was part of the Peace Lotus campaign, a global day of anti-war resistance celebrating the anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

An HMNB spokesman confirmed police were in attendance and assisting Ministry of Defence officers in dealing with the protest. He added: “Well-established, fully co-ordinated procedures are in place to ensure the effective operation of HMNB Clyde is not compromised because of protest action.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war, Women | 1 Comment

Following Biden climate summit, USA govt keen to promote and export Small Nuclear Reactors

A Spotlight on Advanced Nuclear after the White House Climate SummitJD Supra, 30 Apr 21. -”…….. With the nuclear ban lifted by the Development Finance Corporation for investment in innovation projects, the U.S. government acknowledged the importance of nuclear in the transition to [?] clean energy in developing economies. 

………..  the Department of State announced the launch of its Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program. Through an initial $5.3 million investment, this program will strengthen international collaboration between the U.S. and partner countries seeking to deploy nuclear energy in their clear energy initiatives. This cooperation includes supporting the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors (SMRs),…….

May 1, 2021 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Even with water release to the Pacific, Fukushima nuclear plant needs more storage tanks

Even with water release, nuclear plant needs more storage tanks, Asahi Shimbun, By KEITARO FUKUCHI/ Staff Writer, May 1, 2021   The plan to release treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the sea will likely not resolve the chronic problem of contaminated water accumulating there, Asahi Shimbun calculations show.

The maximum rate of water discharge allowed under the government’s basic plan would be less than the inflow of rainwater and groundwater at the nuclear power plant, meaning that additional water storage tanks would inevitably be needed at the site.

The government on April 13 approved the basic plan to release more than 1 million tons of treated water into the sea. The government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. hope to start discharging the water two years from now. Existing storage tanks at the site are expected to reach full capacity around the same time.

The Asahi Shimbun studied this plan based on documents and materials published by the government and TEPCO……… http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14332645 

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Delays, increased costs and geopolitical uncertainties throw doubt on construction of nuclear power station in Finland.

Nuclear power plant construction in north Finland faces delay, increased costs and geopolitical uncertainties

Costs for the partly Russian-owned controversial plant will be €1 billion more than previously estimated. Barents Observer,    By Thomas Nilsen , April 29, 2021

“Further deterioration of political and commercial relations between the EU, the USA and Russia could lead to more sanctions between the parties. Such deteriorated international affairs and sanctions could influence the project’s schedule and financing, in particular,” Fennovoima writes in its updated construction license application to Finnish authorities on Wednesday. 

Work on the site in Pyhäjoki south of Oulu is in full swing despite final permission for the reactor itself at Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant is not yet granted.

The original application was delivered in 2015, but as Fennovoima sees “changes in boundary conditions,” an updated application was made. Among other things, the application includes an additional survey on the power plant’s impact on the marine environment and fishery during operation.

Other changes are related to security and preparedness arrangements and design solutions, although, no changes to the key principles of the power plant, Fennovoima underlines…….

Russia’s state-owned nuclear corporation holds a 34% stake in the plant. For Moscow, export of civilian nuclear power reactors is both a commercial revenue and a source of symbolic technology pride.

Last week, government officials in the Czech Republic said they were kicking Rosatom out of the play for bidding at a planned new reactor for the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The move came amid the diplomatic turmoil between Prague and Moscow following a 2014 blast in a weapons storage which Czech intelligence blames Russian military spies for being involved.

Like with the Czech nuclear power plant, also Fennovoima’s Hanhikivi 1 reactor is planned to receive uranium fuel supplies from Russia……..  https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/nuclear-safety/2021/04/construction-nuclear-power-plant-runs-delay-costs-increase-and-geopolitical#.YIp3J6ITqk0.twitter

May 1, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, politics international | Leave a comment

When USA attacks a foreign state, the media calls it ”Defense”

It’s Aggression When ‘They’ Do It, but Defense When ‘We’ Do Worse   https://fair.org/home/its-aggression-when-they-do-it-but-defense-when-we-do-worse/ALAN MACLEOD Aggression, in international politics, is commonly defined as the use of armed force against another sovereign state, not justified by self-defense or international authority. Any state being described as aggressive in foreign or international reporting, therefore, is almost by definition in the wrong.

It’s a word that seems easy to apply to the United States, which launched 81 foreign interventions between 1946 and 2000 alone. In the 21st century, the United States has attacked, invaded or occupied the sovereign states of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Despite the US record, Western corporate media overwhelmingly reserve the word “aggression” for official enemy nations—whether or not it’s warranted. In contrast, US behavior is almost never categorized as aggressive, thereby giving readers a misleading picture of the world.

Perhaps the most notable internationally aggressive act in recent memory was the Trump administration’s assassination of Iranian general and political leader Qassem Soleimani last year. Yet in its long and detailed report on the event, the Washington Post (1/4/20) managed to present Iran as the aggressor. The US was merely “choos[ing] this moment to explore an operation against the leader of Iran’s Quds Force, after tolerating Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf for months,” in the Post’s words.

t also gave space to senior US officials to falsely claim Soleimani was aiming to carry out an “imminent” attack on hundreds of Americans. In fact, he was in Iraq for peace talks designed to bring an end to war between states in the region. The Iraqi prime minister revealed that he had invited Soleimani personally, and had asked for and received Washington’s blessing to host him. Trump instead used that information to kill him.

For months, media had been awash with stories, based on US officials’ proclamations, that Iranian aggression was just around the corner (e.g., Yahoo! News,  1/2/20Reuters4/12/19New York Times11/23/19Washington Post6/22/19). The Hill (10/3/19) gave a retired general space to demand that we must “defend ourselves” by carrying out a “serious response” against Iran, who is “test[ing] our resolve with aggressive actions.”

Russia is another country constantly portrayed as aggressive. The New York Times (11/12/20) described a US fishing boat’s mix up with the Russian navy off the coast of Kamchatka as typical Russian aggression, complete with the headline, “Are We Getting Invaded?” The Military Times (6/26/20) worried that any reduction in US troops in Germany could “embolden Russian aggression.” And a headline from the Hill (11/14/19) claimed that “Putin’s Aggression Exposes Russia’s Decline.” In the same sentence that publicized a report advocating that NATO expand to take on China directly, the Wall Street Journal (12/1/20) warned of “Russian aggression.” Suffice to say, tooling up for an intercontinental war against another nuclear power was not framed as Western warmongering.

Other enemy states, such as China (New York Times10/6/20CNBC8/3/20Forbes3/26/21), North Korea (Atlantic11/23/10CNN8/9/17Associated Press3/8/21) and Venezuela (Wall Street Journal11/18/05Fox News3/10/14Daily Express9/30/19) are also routinely accused of or denounced for “aggression.”

Corporate media even present the Taliban’s actions in their own country against Western occupation troops as “aggression” (Guardian 7/26/06CBS News11/27/13Reuters3/26/21). The New York Times (11/24/20) recently worried about the Taliban’s “aggression on the battlefield,” while presenting the US—a country that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and still has not left—as supposedly committed to the “peace process.”

Even as the US has been flying squadrons of nuclear bombers from North Dakota to Iran and back, each time in effect simulating dropping atomic bombs on the country, media have framed this as a “defensive move” (Politico12/30/20) meant to stop “Iranian aggression” (Defense One1/27/20) by “deter[ring] Iran from attacking American troops in the region” (New York Times12/30/20).

In February, President Joe Biden ordered an airstrike on a Syrian village against what the White House claimed were Iran-backed forces. The Department of Defense absurdly insisted that the attack was meant to “deescalate” the situation, a claim that was lamentably uncritically repeated in corporate media, with Politico (2/25/21) writing that “the strike was defensive in nature” and a response to previous attacks on US troops in Iraq. Needless to say, it did not question the legitimacy of American troops being stationed across the Middle East.

That the US, by definition, is always acting defensively and never aggressively is close to an iron law of journalism. The US attack on Southeast Asia is arguably the worst international crime since the end of World War II, causing some 3.8 million Vietnamese deaths alone. Yet in their seminal study of the media, Manufacturing Consent, Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky (Extra!12/87) were unable to find a single mention of a US “attack” on Vietnam. Instead, the war was commonly framed as the “defense” of South Vietnam from the Communist North.

Even decades later, US actions in Vietnam are still often described as a “defense” (e.g., Wall Street Journal4/29/05Christian Science Monitor1/22/07Politico10/10/15Foreign Policy9/27/17). In a 2018 autopsy of the conflict headlined “What Went Wrong in Vietnam,” New Yorker staff writer Louis Menand (2/26/18) wrote that “our policy was to enable South Vietnam to defend itself” as the US “tried to prevent Vietnam from becoming a Communist state.” “Millions died in that struggle,” he adds, as if the perpetrators of the violence were unknown.

It was a similar story with the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, which was presented as a defense against “Soviet and Cuban aggression in the Western hemisphere” (San Diego Union-Tribune10/26/83).

There have only been three uses of the phrases “American aggression” or “US aggression” in the New York Times over the past year. All came in the mouths of Chinese officials, and in stories focusing on supposedly aggressive Chinese actions. For example, at the end of a long article warning about how China is “pressing its territorial claims aggressively” from the Himalayas to the South China Sea, in paragraph 28 the Times (6/26/20) noted that Beijing’s priority is “confronting what it considers American aggression in China’s neighborhood.” Meanwhile, two articles (10/5/2010/23/20) mention that Chinese disinformation calls the Korean War the “war to resist American aggression and aid Korea”. But these were written off as “visceral” and “pugnacious” “propaganda” by the Times.

Likewise, when the phrase “American aggression” appears at all in other leading publications, it is largely only in scare quotes or in the mouths of groups long demonized in corporate media, such as the Houthi rebels in Yemen (Washington Post2/5/21), the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad (Associated Press2/26/21) or Saddam Hussein’s generals (CNN3/3/03).

The concept of US belligerence is simply not being discussed seriously in the corporate press, leading to the conclusion that the word “aggression” in newspeak means little more than “actions we don’t like carried out by enemy states.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | politics international, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Rapid melting of huge Antarctic glacier -catastrophic impact of global heating.

Christina Macpherson <christinamacpherson@gmail.com>11:29 AM (3 hours ago)
to me

Antarctic ‘doomsday glacier’ may be melting faster than was thought

Antarctic ‘doomsday glacier’ may be melting faster than was thought

Study finds more relatively warm water is reaching Thwaites glacier than was previously understood,  Guardian,    Matthew Taylor Fri 30 Apr 2021
,   An Antarctic glacier larger than the UK is at risk of breaking up 

after scientists discovered more warm water flowing underneath it than previously thought.

The fate of Thwaites – nicknamed the doomsday glacier – and the massive west Antarctic ice sheet it supports are the biggest unknown factors in future global sea level rise.

Over the past few years, teams of scientists have been crisscrossing the remote and inaccessible region on Antarctica’s western edge to try to understand how fast the ice is melting and what the consequences for the rest of the world might be.

“What happens in west Antarctica is of great societal importance,” said Dr Robert Larter, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey and principal investigator with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, the most ambitious research project ever carried out in Antarctica. “This is the biggest uncertainty in future sea level rise.”……….

Wahlin said the front of the Thwaites glacier was resting on a number of “pinning points” under the sea. But as relatively warm water from the deep ocean increased the melting, she said, these would be lost, breaking up the ice and allowing warm water further under the ice. This would speed up the flow of the glacier into the sea……..

The worst-case scenarios for Thwaites are grim. It is the widest glacier on the planet, more than 1km deep and holds enough ice to raise the sea level by 65cm.

Ice loss has accelerated in the last 30 years and it now contributes about 4% of all global sea level rise. Experts say this could increase dramatically if the ice at the front of Thwaites breaks up, with knock-on effects for other glaciers in the area.

To heighten scientists’ concerns, west Antarctica has been one of the fastest-warming place on Earth in the past 30 years, and since 2000 it has lost more than 1tn tons of ice.

Last year, a team of British scientists discovered cavities half the size of the Grand Canyon under Thwaites that, like decay in a tooth, allow warm ocean water to erode the glacier, internally accelerating melting. And because a lot of the ground on which the glacier sits is below sea level, it is thought to be particularly vulnerable to melting as warmer water encroaches further under the ice inland……

Ella Gilbert, a research scientist at the University of Reading, said what was happening in the polar regions demanded an urgent response from the international community.

“The polar regions are the canary in the coalmine – they are the symbol of climate change,” said Gilbert, who was a joint author of a recent study warning of the catastrophic impact of global heating on Antarctic ice.

“We really do need to minimise our emissions because if we lose the polar regions, not only are we going to amplify climate change … it will contribute to sea level rise which affects everyone around the globe.”   https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/30/antarctic-doomsday-glacier-may-be-melting-faster-than-was-thought

May 1, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Double standards on radioactive waste disposal in Australia

This is very interesting. They say it’s ”low leve” – presumably ”safe”. Yet for the residents of a posh Sydney suburb, its worth a century-long fight to get it removed – and sent to America !! Makes you see why the residents of Lucas Heights , – now called Bardon Ridge – might be keen to have their much higher-level radioactive trash foisted on distant rural Kimba, South Australia

Hunters Hill radioactive waste to be removed  sent to United States  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-30/hunters-hill-radioactive-waste-to-be-removed-sent-to-us/1001
BRani Hayman  1 May 21,

Key points:

  • The land was the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915
  • The removal will begin in the coming weeks and take 12 months
  • Melinda Pavey said the issue had taken a long time to resolve because it was “complicated”

Several properties on Nelson Parade at Hunters Hill were built on land contaminated by a former uranium processing site, which closed in 1915. 

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades fighting for the state government to remove the affected soil.

Finally, their calls have been heard, with the waste due to be excavated and sent to the United States.

Philippa Clark from the Nelson Parade Action Group said she was pleased the issued had finally been resolved.

“This is the way you deal with this kind of contamination and the best way possible for us and the environment and future generations,” she said.

The NSW government said the process would begin in the next few weeks and was expected to take 12 months. 

The Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the health and safety of the community would be the main priority during site remediation works and the transportation of the material.

“The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) will supervise the excavation and packing of the contaminated material into sealed bags and containers prior to transport to the USA,” she said.

While there is a sense of relief within the community, the decades-long battle has put strain on the affected residents.

When asked why it has taken so long to find a solution, Ms Pavey said: “Because it was complicated.”

A parliamentary committee in 2008 called for a comprehensive remediation plan for the site and in 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a management order to Property NSW to commence the works — although it said the development consent still had not been issued.

A plan to move the contaminated material to Kemps Creek in Sydney’s west was also abandoned in 2014 following community backlash.

The Mayor of Hunters Hill, Ross Williams, said the residents were looking forward to the area being rehabilitated.

“It’s been a health issue and a legacy issue for all that time.

It’s low-level radioactive material and it came from an industry that was essential [really?] back in those days,” he said.

“In modern times the environmental consequences wouldn’t have been tolerated.

“Once it’s totally cleaned up it will be available for any use.”

Ms Clark is pleased with the outcome despite how long it has taken.

“The government has listened to what we all wanted and what the parliamentary inquiry recommendation had been,” she said.

“We overwhelmingly just want to see ordinary houses and [go] back to [living in] an ordinary street, but without the stigma and without the constant anxiety that we’ve had to live with.”

May 1, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, wastes | Leave a comment

Whistleblower can’t sue U.S.Dept of Labor, because it has ‘sovereign immunity’


Federal Nuclear Engineer Loses Whistleblower Retaliation Appeal
, Bloomberg Law, May 1, 2021,

  • Safety reports on nuclear plant allegedly cost him promotions
  • Energy Reorganization Act doesn’t allow suit against government

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission engineer who blew the whistle on health and safety risks at a nuclear power plant can’t sue the Department of Labor for alleged retaliation because it’s shielded by sovereign immunity, the Fourth Circuit said Friday.

Michael Peck worked as senior resident inspector at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. After he left the plant, Peck took three actions regarding concerns he had with safety conditions there—he filed a formal “differing professional opinion” with the NRC; sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which oversees the NRC; and provided testimony to the…… (subscribers only)  https://news.bloomberglaw.com/us-law-week/federal-nuclear-engineer-loses-whistleblower-retaliation-appeal

May 1, 2021 Posted by | employment, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

High level of radioactivity near France’s uranium processing factory

France Info 29th April 2021, Residents of the largest uranium processing site in France, in Narbonne
(Aude), are worried: samples taken near the plant and analyzed in the laboratory show a high level of uranium. The site manager, however, says there is no danger to residents.

The most important uranium processing site in France is located three kilometers from Narbonne (Aude). Concerned local residents regularly check the level of radioactivity in the vicinity of the plant.

At the barrier that limits access to the site, the meter is racing and exceeds four times the natural level of radioactivity. The Orano Malvési plant is the entry point for nuclear power in France. Uranium arrives from all over the world in the form of yellow powder and must be purified and transformed into nuclear fuel. In 60 years, already more than 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste have been produced and are contained in basins, in the form of sludge.

https://www.francetvinfo.fr/sante/environnement-et-sante/narbonne-les-riverains-de-lusine-duranium-orano-malvesi-inquiets-des-taux-de-radioactivite_4604407.html

May 1, 2021 Posted by | environment, France, Uranium | 1 Comment