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USA’s $634Billion nuclear weapons budget

CBO: US nuclear arsenal to cost $634B over 10 years, REBECCA KHEEL – 05/24/21 Updating and maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next 10 years is projected to cost $634 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said in a report published Monday.

The cost estimate for the nuclear forces from 2021-2030 represents a 28 percent increase compared to the last CBO 10-year cost estimate two years ago.

About half of the $140 billion increase comes from the fact that the new estimate now includes 2029 and 2030 when nuclear modernization is expected to be further along and “more expensive,” CBO said.

Of the CBO’s $634 billion estimates, about $551 billion is what would be needed to fulfill the Defense and Energy departments’ current nuclear plans. The remaining $83 billion is what CBO projects could be cost overruns based on how much costs have grown for similar programs in the past, according to the report.

Of the $551 billion, about $188 billion is projected to go toward modernizing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems, the report said.

The United States is in the midst of plans to modernize all three legs of the nuclear triad that the Government Accountability Office has projected could cost $1.7 trillion over 30 years. The triad refers to delivering nuclear weapons by sea, air and land.

“Over the coming years, the Congress will need to make decisions about what nuclear forces the United States should field in the future and thus about the extent to which the nation will continue to modernize its nuclear forces,” the CBO report said. 

The report could also inform the Biden administration’s expected review of U.S. nuclear policy and programs, with CBO noting “the Biden Administration is widely expected to undertake a nuclear posture review to determine the nuclear policies and forces it will pursue.”

The new CBO estimate is likely to fuel calls from some Democrats to curb the costly nuclear modernization plans, which were largely started during the Obama administration. In particular, some Democrats have frequently targeted plans to replace aging intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), arguing it would be more cost-efficient to extend the life of the current arsenal.

Earlier Monday, a group of Democrats in the Senate and House, led by Sen Ed Markey (Mass.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), introduced a bill to cut $73 billion from the nuclear budget.

The bill, dubbed the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, would do that by barring the development of new ICBMs, air-launched cruise missiles and submarine-launched cruise missiles. It would also cap the number of Columbia-class submarines the Pentagon can buy at eight, cut the existing ICBM fleet from more than 400 to 150 and reduce deployed strategic warheads from about 1,500 to 1,000.

May 25, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | 2 Comments

Another former Westinghouse executive pleads guilty to lying in South Carolina nuclear power scandal

3rd official to plead guilty in SC nuclear debacle,  By Associated Press| May 24, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Court documents show a former official for the contractor hired to build two South Carolina nuclear reactors that were never completed will plead guilty to lying to federal authorities.

Carl Churchman was the Westinghouse Electric Co. project director for the failed plant that cost ratepayers and investors billions of dollars.

Authorities say Churchman lied about whether he communicated with utility executives on completion dates for the reactors.

Utility executives swore construction was on track to keep regulators approving rate increases and maintain support from investors, even though the project fell behind.

Two top-level executives have already pleaded guilty in the multi-year federal fraud investigation.

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

TEPCO’s history of covering up radioactive water risks

Japan’s TEPCO a repeat offender in concealing nuclear wastewater risks: FM, By Global Times May 24, 202
1   Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has been a repeat offender in the manipulation of data and in concealing risks, and is always reluctant to admit until the incidents are exposed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Friday’s routine press conference, in response to reports by Japanese media which said the company has admitted the gel-like objects previously found on the ground of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant are caused by the leakage of a radioactive.

The company said that some of the leakages are suspected to have been carried into the sea by rain as drainage close to the area that has been detected as having elevated levels of radioactivity, but it still insists that the accident has had no impact on the environment, according to reports.

No matter how shocking the results are, the incident has simply been attributed to negligence which might have catastrophic consequences for innocent people, Zhao commented on the above claims.

As a matter of fact, the gel-like substance was found in March, according to media reports. TEPCO didn’t respond until late April with information that the storage tank containing radioactive waste at the Fukushima nuclear power plant may have leaked……..

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Senator Markey and Rep. Blumenauer introduce Bill to cut $73 billion from USA’s bloated nuclear weapons budget.

SENATOR MARKEY AND REP. BLUMENAUER ANNOUNCE LEGISLATION TO CUT $73 BILLION FROM BLOATED NUCLEAR WEAPONS BUDGET   United States slotted to spend $1.5 – $2 trillion on upgrading its nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years

Washington (May 24, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) today reintroduced the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, which would cancel or reduce nuclear weapons programs over the next decade and generate at least $73 billion in cost savings. This legislation would restore budget sanity and advance U.S. national security by cutting redundant and destabilizing nuclear programs, and factoring in affordability analysis into programs, a course of action recommended by the Government Accountability Office

Upgrading and maintaining nuclear warheads and their associated infrastructure through FY2046 is anticipated to cost $1.7 trillion, adjusted for inflation, forcing tradeoffs in other areas of the U.S. discretionary budget.“President Biden can create a future safe from nuclear weapons, not for them, by stopping production of unnecessary nuclear weapons acquisition programs,” said Senator Markey. “The United States can deter our adversaries and reassure our  allies without making an insane investment in nuclear weapons overkill, including capabilities that may invite rather than prevent a nuclear exchange. While President Trump’s actions tilted the ‘Doomsday Clock’ towards midnight, President Biden has a chance to build back a better nuclear weapons policy that does more with less. We must bring the same energy in arresting the climate crisis to reducing another existential threat – that posed by nuclear weapons – and that begins with smart cuts to our nuclear arsenal.”

“These disastrous weapons will never be the answer to solving our complex and ever-changing national security threats,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “We should not be investing trillions of dollars of our budget on an outdated and irresponsible nuclear arsenal. There are far more important programs and initiatives that will actually help and protect the American people. This legislation will put us on the path towards a safer, nuclear-free future.” A copy of the SANE Act can be found HERE. The legislation is co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Representatives Jared Huffman (CA-02), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Peter DeFazio (OR-04), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09).

CBO estimates that the current plans for nuclear modernization would cost $494 billion through FY2028; the proposed cuts to these plans could reduce those estimates by at least $73 billion over the same number of years. The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Actwill prohibit the fielding of so-called “low-yield” warheads, prohibit space-based missile defense, remove the nuclear mission from the F-35 and reduce the purchase of Columbia-class submarines from 12 to eight, cut the existing ICBM fleet from over 400 to 150, and reduce deployed strategic warheads from approximately 1,500 to 1,000 – saving at least $13.6 billion.

Additionally, the bill would:

Cancel the development of a new air-launched cruise missile and an associated warhead life extension program – saving $13.3 billion.Cancel the development of new ICBMs and a new nuclear warhead – saving at least $13.6 billion.Cancel the development of a new submarine-launched cruise missile – saving $9 billion.Limit the plutonium pit production target to 30 per year – saving $9 billion.Prohibit funding for a nuclear processing facility – saving $2.6 billion.Retire the B83-1 megaton bomb as previously planned – saving $4.4 billion.

  • Prohibit development of the new W-93 warhead – saving $7.5 billion (half of the estimated total acquisition cost according to NNSA).

The legislation is endorsed by Beyond the Bomb, Massachusetts Peace Action, the Ploughshares Fund, Peace Action, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and the Arms Control Association……………

May 25, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Iran agrees to extend IAEA nuclear monitoring deal for one month

Iran agrees to extend IAEA nuclear monitoring deal for one month.   BBC, Iran has agreed to extend by one month an agreement allowing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to keep surveillance cameras at nuclear sites.
25 May 21,

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters that the deal would now end on 24 June.

Iran reduced its co-operation with the watchdog in February in retaliation for sanctions reinstated by the US when it abandoned a nuclear deal in 2018.

It said the extension was a gesture of “good faith” while talks on lifting the sanctions continued in Vienna.

However, it will expire soon after Iran’s presidential election on 18 June, when hard-line opponents of the outgoing Hassan Rouhani are expected to do well and the Iranian negotiators in the Austrian capital are likely to change………….

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Iran, politics international | Leave a comment

Canadian government in the grip of the nuclear lobby’s NICE dishonest spin about small nuclear reactors.

”…………….To date, not a single SMR has been built in Canada, but no matter, the technology is the current darling of nuclear power circles, and not just at home, either; other countries, from China to the United States, are pursuing the development of SMRs. Currently, 12 proposals for SMR development are winding their way through the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) pre-licensing vendor review process, which enables CNSC staff to provide feedback on proposed designs at a company’s request. But not a single project has yet been approved.

For the time being, any vision of SMRs is largely aspirational. A Conference Board of Canada report in March on SMRs outlined that from concept to commercialization, the technology will require about a billion dollars of development expenditure. The same report noted that as an emerging technology, costs are still uncertain, and the “risky pre-commercial phase needs capital investment, but governments will be reluctant without major private capital commitment.”

It’s early days for financing the technology. For instance, one infusion of federal funds, the $50 million granted to New Brunswick’s Moltex Energy in mid-April, only supports research and development, employee recruitment and the expansion of academic, research and supply chain partnerships, not the physical construction of that firm’s SMR.

Beyond financial considerations, the Liberal government will have a tough time convincing environmentalists to embrace the merits of SMRs, or any nuclear power, as a clean energy source. More than 100 groups have signed a letter issued by the Canadian Environmental Law Association condemning the government’s push to pursue nuclear power and SMRs. Among their concerns are that SMRs are more expensive to develop than renewable energy and that the reactors are “dirty and dangerous,” creating new forms of radioactive waste that are especially dangerous to manage.

For now, however, nothing is slowing the momentum. In mid-April, the Canadian Nuclear Association triumphantly announced Alberta was joining Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan in the development of SMRs.

Those aren’t the only recent developments in the burgeoning SMR industry. Ontario Power Generation is teaming up with SMR developer Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation to develop a micro modular reactor at Chalk River. Ontario Power Generation is also carrying out engineering and design work on SMRs with GE Hitachi, Terrestrial Energy, and X-energy…….

Europe is now shifting away from nuclear power. In 2019, solar installed capacity exceeded nuclear for the first time in the EU, with 130 gigawatts versus 116 gigawatts, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status annual report, which provides independent assessments of global nuclear developments. And a technical expert group convened in the EU chose not to recommend nuclear energy when asked to advise on screening criteria that would substantially contribute to climate change mitigation or adaptation while “avoiding significant harm” to other environmental objectives.,…..

the federal government has been lobbying hard on behalf of the industry since at least 2019. The Department of Natural Resources, for instance, is a member of the international initiative Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future, or as it’s better known, NICE,  Besides Canada, members include Japan, the United States, and a number of nuclear associations. The goal “is to ensure that nuclear energy receives appropriate representation in high-level discussions about clean energy.”

Freelance researcher Ken Rubin turned up a number of documents using freedom-of-information requests that showed the federal government is collaborating with NICE and others to promote nuclear power and SMRs. The federal government, for example, offered $150,000 for the development of a “Top 20 book of short stories” on “exciting near-term nuclear innovations” designed to showcase nuclear power as an environmental force for good. The book includes stories on the safe storage of nuclear waste as well as on the emerging SMR market.

According to the book, uses for the latter technology include “energy parks” providing heat for industrial processes, steam for heating and electricity for cooling homes, offices and shops, all without emissions. The story breathlessly declares: “This isn’t science fiction.”

No matter how hard the government lobbies the public for a NICE future, though, it’s going to remain a tough sell to Canadian environmentalists. While the environmentalists have nothing specific to fight yet, given that a viable SMR has yet to be built, they’ll be ready when the technology reaches development. Already, a who’s who of groups has signed a letter protesting the next thing in nuclear.

Theresa McClenaghan, CELA’s executive director and counsel, told Canada’s National Observer: “It’s not a climate answer for many reasons, including the fact it’s not realistic and it’s way too far down the road for us to meet any serious climate targets. We’ve characterized it as a dirty, dangerous distraction.”

Susan O’Donnell, a researcher and adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Brunswick and a nuclear activist, says SMRs are too slow and costly as a climate crisis solution. “It’s important to remember that these technologies basically don’t exist yet,” she said. “They’re at a very early stage in development. They are speculative technologies. It will take at least a decade to get them off the drawing board and then it will take much longer than that to find out if they work.” – from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 20 May 21

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Where is a safe place for more than 350,000 tons of high level nuclear waste?

Radiation Free Lakeland 23rd May 2021, Members of the Copeland and Allerdale “Working Groups” are a few self
selected people who have put their faith in the nuclear industry’s
promises, they do not speak for Cumbria – or even for Copeland and
Allerdale although the Borough Councils’ have been persuaded to

We urge the “Working Groups’ to watch this film and
reconsider their reckless volunteering (once again!) of Cumbria’s
scientifically recognised complex and faulted geology as a deep dump for
high level nuclear wastes. Check out our Lakes Against Nuclear Dump website
for more information.

Over the last 60 years, more than 350,000 tons of
high-level nuclear waste have been amassed all over the world. This
material must be deposited for thousands of years in a safe place, i.e. one
that will not harm humans or the environment.

However, such a repository
has yet to been created and the production of nuclear waste continues
unabated. Swiss-based nuclear physicist and internationally renowned
repository specialist Charles McCombie and some of his most important
allies provide director Edgar Hagen with insight into their persistent
struggle to find the safest place on earth in order to resolve this grave
dilemma. “The question is not whether the nuclear waste will leak out of
Yucca Mountain, the only question is when it will happen.” Steve
Frishman, Nevada State Technical Policy Advisor and Yucca Mountain Project
Fighter since 1987.

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

May 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Can You Charge An Electric Car With A Regular Outlet? Hell Yes!” • Can you charge an electric car with a regular outlet? This is actually a very common question. Many people even skip past asking this question and assume the answer is “no.” And you don’t even need special hardware to do […]

May 24 Energy News — geoharvey

May 25, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment