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USA’s unnecessary plutonium pits production to cost $10+ Billion

Cost Estimate for SRS Plutonium Bomb Plant to Soar to $10+ Billion? Causing Trouble for Contractors and Boosters Pushing New Pit Plant and “Money Pit” ICBM “Needing” New Plutonium Pits? 11 May 21,

Stay tuned for the release by the US DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration of a “Critical Decsion-1” determination on the proposed SRS Plutonium Bomb Plant. CD-1 would approve the basic project design and present an update cost range. The cost for the bomb plant could soar to $10 billion or more, more than double the earlier estimate of $4.6 billion to convert the partially finished plutonium fuel MOX plant at SRS to pit production.

The CD-1 document package was turned over to NNSA by contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) in January 2021. In March, the CEO of SRNS told the South Carolina Nuclear Advisory Council that a decision on CD-1 by NNSA could come in late May or June.
A huge jump in the cost of the SRS Plutonium Bomb Plant will ramp up the pressure on DOE/NNSA/Department of Defense to fund such an expensive facility and the new ICBM, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) – aka the Money Pit Missile – with a lifetime cost over $200 billion.  The new ICBM and its W87-1 warhead would require new plutonium pits.

This missile and pits for it are not needed.  As it’s part of planning for full-scale nuclear war, it would undermine national security and transfer a vast amount of money from patriotic taxpayers to contractors such as Northrop Grumman, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and pit-production contractors at Los Alamos National Lab, the other site being considered for expanded pit production.  In sum, the GBSD and plans for new pits must be canceled and the CD1 document will be a wake-up call for decision makers.

Meanwhile, Congress is still refusing to investigate possible waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement of the failed MOX project by NNSA and contractors.
How the heck can they just sweep under the rug the waste of $8 billion on the failed project?  Who is Congress protecting and why???

May 11, 2021 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear fission reactions are happening at Chernobyl again

Nuclear Fission Reactions Are Happening at Chernobyl Again

Scientists are scrambling to neutralize the threat. Popular Mechanics, BY CAROLINE DELBERT, MAY 10, 2021

  • melted amalgam of nuclear fuel at Chernobyl is beginning to react.
  • The issue is rainwater, which has activated materials buried deep within the closed plant.
  • The reaction could burn out naturally, but it could also require human intervention.

On April 26, 1986, Reactor No. 4 exploded at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, causing the worst nuclear accident in history. Now, thirty-five years later, smoldering nuclear “embers” are still buried within Chernobyl site, raising questions about just what might happen there—and what’s at stake.

Ukrainian scientists recently realized that leftover nuclear fission fuel made of uranium has begun reacting again in an “inaccessible room” deep within a damaged area of the shuttered plant. The telltale sign is increased readings of neutron activity—a measurable byproduct of nuclear fission, according to the scientists from Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power Plants (ISPNPP) in Kyiv, Ukraine, who held discussions about dismantling the reactor last month, according to Science magazine.

  • Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is surrounded by a massive megastructure called Chernobyl New Safe Confinement (NSC). At NSC, there are hundreds of sensors working around the clock to monitor factors like air quality, and the sensors have detected increased neutron activity near the fallen reactor hall where the “embers” are.
  • Some zones within the NSC are fully sealed off in their own sarcophagus-like structure called the Shelter—including the reactor hall where scientists have noticed the increasing neutrons. That means tough questions about what the best course of action is.Inside the reactor hall, everything is a dangerous mess. 
  • Science’s Richard Stone reports:
  • “When [the] reactor’s core melted down, uranium fuel rods, their zirconium cladding, graphite control rods, and sand dumped on the core to try to extinguish the fire melted together into a lava. It flowed into the reactor hall’s basement rooms and hardened into formations called fuel-containing materials (FCMs), which are laden with about 170 tons of irradiated uranium—95 [percent] of the original fuel.”

It’s important to note that experts don’t fear a second Chernobyl disaster, as there isn’t enough viable material or surrounding collateral for that kind of threat or damage. But the right kind of small nuclear activity could bring down the Shelter itself, which is 34 years old and “rickety.”

Scientists believe rainwater leakage has caused similar higher neutron readings in the past, and they’ve since installed special chemical sprinklers that can stanch neutrons in most of the interior of the Shelter. But some basement rooms are just out of reach even for the sprinklers……….

May 11, 2021 Posted by | incidents, Ukraine | Leave a comment

India is operating the world’s most dangerous, fastest-growing, nuclear weapons and missile programs in the world

World’s most dangerous fastest-growing nuclear weapons programme

Nowadays, South Asia is categorized by international analysts as one of the unstable regions of the world, where the chances of nuclear brinkmanship are high because of the longstanding rivalry between Pakistan and India,  The Nation, Syed Zain Jaffery, May 11, 2021   

‘…………………India is operating the world’s most dangerous fastest-growing nuclear weapons and missile programs in the world, which are not only threatening for the region but world peace because of flawed nuclear safety and security standards. Increasing stocks of Indian fissile material and the development of nuclear triad capability – bombers, missiles and nuclear power/capable submarines – have increased the capability of New Delhi in the strategic realm. Contrary to International media claims, the Indian triad consists almost 500 nuclear weapons including thermonuclear weapons and has the capacity to produce over 2,600 nuclear weapons for tactical and strategic use.

Today, the undisclosed plutonium stocks have not been under IAEA’s inspection and left with Indian arms production facilities under the discriminatory nuclear cooperation deal between the United States and India. The civilian Plutonium reserves that are outside the safeguards of the IAEA and designated for strategic purposes are the main cause of concern. In a three-stage plan, India is continuing to expand its unsafeguarded nuclear power program. The installation of several nuclear reactors has also been announced by New Delhi. This capability will generate excessive fissile material, other than the fuel necessary for breeder and naval reactors. Over the next few years, India will be capable to replace China, France and the United Kingdom in terms of its abilities to produce nuclear weapons to become the third behind the US and Russia.

Under the influence of the rising economy of India, like-minded Western analysts are trying to divert the consideration of the international community from the fastest growing Indian nuclear weapons program and threats associated with it to the peaceful neighboring countries. Since 1974, the Indian intentions are clear that it will use any kind of advanced technology, which provided under the rubric of peaceful purposes, for military use and will violate any international law related to nuclear, space and missiles program to exercise hegemony in the region. The Indian policy aims, concerning nuclear weapons, are solely constructed to push its hegemony in the region. Now it is time for the international community to realize the Indian nuclear threat.

May 11, 2021 Posted by | India, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cyberattacks grind Hanford nuclear energy workers’ benefit program to a halt

Cyberattacks grind Hanford nuclear energy workers’ benefit program to a halt, Seattle Times May 10, 2021   By Patrick Malone

Cyber attacks on the U.S. government have abruptly paused processing of benefit applications for workers who were sickened while working on nuclear weapons programs at Hanford and other Department of Energy sites, delaying aid to some dying workers, according to advocates.

Without warning, advocates from the Alliance of Nuclear Workers Advocacy Group received notice late last Friday that effective Monday, a vital component of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program would be offline for two to four months.

The Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program databases’ sudden hiatus could delay approval of new benefits for groups of workers who believe they’ve been exposed to workplace hazards.

Among them are more than 550 workers from Hanford, a mothballed plutonium processing site in Richland, who were potentially exposed to radiation and toxins when they were provided leaky respirators, according to a Seattle Times investigation last year.

Those workers are seeking inclusion in the federal benefits program administered by the Department of Labor. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health plays an instrumental role in determining eligibility.

Hanford, born in secrecy during World War II in a rush to develop the first atomic bomb, processed the plutonium fuel for nuclear weapons for four decades, a process that fouled the 580-square-mile site with radioactive waste and toxic vapors that sickened and killed many workers.

Washington’s U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Adam Smith, both Democrats, sponsored legislation in response to The Times investigation that would expand benefits to include the Hanford cleanup crew who were given faulty respirators and other nuclear workers across the country who aren’t yet eligible.

Others who could be affected are some 1,378 individual workers across the country currently applying for assistance, and those with recent terminal diagnoses, who normally would be eligible for benefits awarded as quickly as a day after application. Those benefits can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Terminally ill workers often do not have 2 to 4 months to live,” Terrie Barrie, ANWAG founder, wrote in a Monday, May 3, letter to NIOSH director to Dr. John Howard. “Will they no longer have the option to have their claim expedited so that they can receive the medical and financial benefits before they die?”

The source and nature of the cyberattacks are unclear, but in a May 4 letter to ANWAG, Howard said that an ongoing review of the energy workers’ compensation databases “identified very significant concerns about the cybersecurity integrity of the Program’s claimant database,” forcing an immediate and secret shutdown of the claims process…………………….

May 11, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, employment, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Tallying up Russia’s nuclear weapons

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have in 2021? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, By Hans M. KristensenMatt Korda, March 15, 2021 
  T his is a very long article.  Some introductory bits:

Russia is in the middle of a decades-long modernization of its strategic and nonstrategic nuclear forces to replace Soviet-era weapons with newer systems………

Putin also noted his disappointment with the “deterioration” of the US-Russia arms control regime, and declared that the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty under “contrived pretexts.”……..

As of early 2021, we estimate that Russia has a stockpile of nearly 4,500 nuclear warheads assigned for use by long-range strategic launchers and shorter-range tactical nuclear forces……

Russia has significantly reduced the number of warheads deployed on its ballistic missiles to meet the New START limit of no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads. Russia achieved the required reduction by the February 5, 2018 deadline, when it declared 1,444 strategic warheads attributed to 527 launchers (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2018)………

Russia (like the United States) could potentially upload several hundreds of extra warheads onto their launchers, but is prevented from doing so by the New START treaty limit, which has been extended for an additional five years to 2026. The treaty provides for important transparency of Russian (and U.S.) strategic nuclear forces: As of December 2020, the United States and Russia have completed a combined 328 on-site inspections and exchanged 21,293 notifications (US State Department, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance 2020b). Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there have been no on-site Type One or Type Two inspections since April 1st, 2020……….

What is Russia’s nuclear strategy?……….

 Russia’s publicly stated policy. In June 2020, President Putin approved an update to the “Basic Principles of State Policy of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Deterrence,” which notes that “The Russian Federation considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence.” The policy clearly lays out four conditions under which Russia could launch nuclear weapons:

“arrival of reliable data on a launch of ballistic missiles attacking the territory of the Russian Federation and/or its allies;

use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction by an adversary against the Russian Federation and/or its allies;

attack by adversary against critical governmental or military sites of the Russian Federation, disruption of which would undermine nuclear forces response actions;

aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy” (Russian Federation Foreign Affairs Ministry 2020).

Submarines and submarine-launched ballistic missiles

The Russian Navy operates 11 nuclear-powered nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) of three classes:……….

May 11, 2021 Posted by | Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How to deal with a nuclear-armed Kim Jong Un

How to deal with a nuclear-armed Kim Jong Un, bDavid A. Andelman, May 10, 2021,   CNN,The Biden administration has pledged to pursue “calibrated” diplomacy.

to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to halt his mad dash toward a deliverable nuclear weapon. But that is a vain hope. Instead, the world and especially the United States must find a way to live with a North Korea armed with The Bomb. And keep Kim from using — or selling — it.

Discussions with a number of individuals who have dealt with the North Korean government or monitored the actions of its ruling family have convinced me that no Kim — neither Kim Jong Un, nor his father nor his grandfather — ever has or will give up a quest for a deliverable nuclear weapon. Nor is Kim likely to relinquish such a device once it can be deployed. Indeed, North Korea clearly does have any number of such devices — some analysts say it could be more than 60 — though the delivery vehicles are still in development.

That brings us to the realm of what may be possible and achievable. For Kim, possession of a nuclear weapon is a question of existential survival. His ultimate fear is no doubt the fate of Libyan strongman Colonel Moammar Gadhafi — dragged from a drain pipe by rebels and executed, a direct consequence of the decision to relinquish his own nuclear program that allowed his enemies in the West to undermine his regime.

Still, it’s not clear that President Biden or his principal advisers are prepared to accept any nuclearized North Korea. President Joe Biden has said that any diplomacy “has to be conditioned upon the end result of denuclearization.” At the same time, he and his team are rightly rejecting former President Donald Trump’s “go big or go home” approach — agreeing to remove all sanctions in exchange for North Korea fully dismantling its weapons program — which Kim rejected out of hand at their last, abortive summit in Hanoi……….

The essence of any such [diplomacy] plan must lie in the United States finding a way to persuade the North to join the global nuclear non-proliferation club. Implicit would be the acceptance that it already has a weapon. In turn the North will need to make its weapons and their security clearly visible and open to inspection…………
The essence of any such plan must lie in the United States finding a way to persuade the North to join the global nuclear non-proliferation club. Implicit would be the acceptance that it already has a weapon. In turn the North will need to make its weapons and their security clearly visible and open to inspection.

May 11, 2021 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 2 Comments