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The life and times of a Domestic Extremist in the UK

Exclusive to Nuclear-news.net

Posted on 27th May 2021

As a young man I was doing work for Greenpeace, CND and other Green Groups for the Turnham Green Green Fair organisers. When Chernobyl happened I was in London and information about nuclear accidents was very hard to find. I even considering paying hundreds of pounds to access the Hiroshima report. As time progressed though, things seem to calm down in the media and very little else was said or thought of concerning this matter. My life got busy, I raised a family who eventually flew the coup and I worked as a motorcycle courier sub contracting for the Daily Mail, NHS, UK Home office amongst many others.

I had a good level of security clearance (for a courier) and my reputation and job references were good. Then one day whilst watching the news I saw the first explosion at the Fukushima Prefectures Daichi nuclear reactor site. Unlike after the Chernobyl accident, we had the internet for information. Searching the web I found very little about Fukushima and also even less about Chernobyl. TEPCOs nuclear disaster seemed to quickly disappear and eventually I found an obscure forum where many people had gathered to investigate the TEPCO disaster.

As time went by through the summer of 2011 many bloggers and forums sprang into being with both anti and pro nuclear people trying to ascertain the truth. I found myself organising with Fukushima residents and other groups and individuals from Japan. Sharing info from on the ground that seemed to highlight inconsistencies with the formal narrative.

Come the summer I went to Norway where I was blocked from accessing a website in real time, that was a bit of a shocker at the time but my connection came back and the website was behind a protected paywall. At this point I had linked with groups around the world trying to monitor radiation in various ways. We were determined to find any radiation that might still be about.

Whilst looking for radiation releases we tumbled across some incidents that did try to blame Fukushima (IAEA report) then when challenged with data we had accumulated the IAEA said it was from Pakistan!. Our data disproved this and it was later confirmed by CRIIRAD of France to be a release from a medical isotope reactor in Hungary that did not admit to the incident in full.

This led me to see where else radiation pollution might be coming from that is not declared. I decided to buy a Geiger counter and monitor the air in London whilst driving around on my motorbike. Some of the results were interesting and I tracked pollution from Sellafield as well as other reactors.

One point to note with Sellafield was that it came with high CO2 levels that could be measured with a Geiger counter as well, as the pollution was mildly radioactive. I say mildly but that was in London and Sellafield has been shutdown because of releases being pushed down on the site instead of going up and away. There could be issues with people locally getting high spikes of radiation and CO2 that have not been fully addressed as was the case in Hungary in 2011.

So I have completed that whole year researching and sharing info from Fukushima and many other nuclear related areas.

During 2012 I accrued 2 police crime numbers for my BT and Vodaphone numbers being hacked. Long story short, My Vodaphone account was hacked by GCHQ who were doing the Daily Mail phone hacking Inquiry at the time. They interrupted a call and cleverly pretended to be the Daily Mail reception (I called to pay a parking fine and have never called the Daily Mail directly). After lodging a complaint with my local police station (who I worked with helping Young people while in custody – Appropriate Adult) the guy from GCHQ called me direct and said they wanted to know who I was to rule me out of the investigation and after a short talk I had passed muster.

We finished the conversation with my concerns abated and I kept the whole thing confidential as agreed. However a few weeks later I contacted a scientist with some simple inquiries (well known in the media) concerning radiaiton harm and the same day my BT internet email account was hacked through my Vodaphone mobile and I was locked out. I reported it to the Vodaphone police liaison officer who informed me that the account was hacked and they had the IP address. I was later to find out that the investigation into that IP address was turned around withing days to being an investigation on me. The excuse for nothing happening that Vodaphone gave initially was that the investigation was blocked by the police. I did get a crime number for that as well though.

As the months progressed, the overt surveillance got worse. My internet was a law unto itself and I had to use cafes and libraries to upload posts. The only problems I had with my phone connection happened in those months.

By the end of 2012 things got serious! It began as I was doing an NHS blood run for a well known cancer hospital. When i got home, I looked at my mobile and realise I had been texted from the Insurance company as I was driving and they had cancelled my Insurance! If I had been stopped the police would have taken my brand new 700 cc Honda and crushed it immediately, as per new law.

Calling the brokers was interesting, The underwriters came into the call and said that the price for reinstating the Insurance was £1,500 and left the call. The original price was £500. It stopped me paying my TAX bill (which was about the same amount £1,500). What a coincidence I though!

Now is a good time to mention Number Plate Recognition Software. I hate it. Once I saw 2 police arguing in their vehicle whether to give me points for “filtering”. Pointing at the screen (showing clean license, no record, 10 yrs Insurance clean and a blood sample box on the back of the bike). Another occasion was in the snow and my MOT was a day late. They were printing of the fine before i got to their window. Looking them in the face, I asked, “Did my name come up as a Domestic Extremist?” and both officers looked awkward with one looking away. I had my answer (I trained in body language with Brunel Uni on an MA level psychology course).

So where was I? Oh yes, Christmas had a bit of extra stress that year but I was still working, had a roof over my head and Insurance (for now). On the downside, It looked as if I had been blacklisted and the buggers had scooped my Tax payment for 2013 to boot!

2013 was shaping up to be interesting and I was not to be disappointed.

The Tax man kept insisting that I use digital forms even though I repeatedly asked for paper quoting my 2 crime numbers in mitigation. By the time they agreed I had been let go by the Daiily Mail using strange procedures, threatened by the Insurance underwriters twice with them using questionnaires (same questions both times), likely using software analysis to find the lies. They finished with “You wait until your insurance is up for renewal because it will be going up by alot” (paraphrased).

As i got into difficulty financially, I contacted the bank and asked for a 3 month cushion and they agreed but a couple of weeks later I got demands for everything now! At this point i was cashing cheques to get cash to survive and paying bills was a hardship. I got 2 computers hacked and damaged after the requested increase in GCHQ Cyber warriors in 2013 (Called Battalion 77 now I believe) April approx of 30,000 posts. I think they used me for practice?

I think you get the gist of the pressures, I have left out a lot of day to day details. So the question is, what to do now? Having my financial security and ability to contact and make arrangements, find work, get insured etc being undermined in the way it was, was a real eye opener! So far the attacks were purely over the phone and interference in the digital domain and they were enough to destroy my life in a matter of months.

Who else did this happen too? Would they know if a situation was an attack or some unfortunate luck? In my case the overt and in my face interactions said the former but some of these are still subtle enough to make one wonder? How hard would it be to destroy someones life without them knowing someone was behind it? With the UK heading in an even worse direction now I shudder to think.

Well, I have documented, in brief, to about half way through 2013 and the best is to come yet.

I summary I and my colleagues and friends around the UK were targeted in various ways. I became more isolated as friends etc were targeted and most backed off quickly and some tried to resist but they got work email accounts deleted, internet, email, phone problems and even straight up threats!

In 2014 I found myself using a homeless charity address who saw my postal mail was always blocked. I had my tyres punctured severely requiring replacement and had to leave London when my friends phone was cut off for 24 hrs after i used it and he began to get concerned. I lived like a Nomad relying on cash to survive but as the targeting got worse I had to make a decision to leave.

For the record. I witnessed £60,000 being removed (without trace) from the Swift money transfer system. It only re appeared when concerned bank managers realised that Swift was easily hackable. That was to stop me getting money for selling my remaining motor bike before i moved to Ireland but thanks to the quick work of the bank managers and a solicitor I got the money in time to leave for a new life in April 2014

Oh! and of course I have been part of this blog and supported by fellow admins and friends Herve and Christina amongst others!

Statement of Fact (partial) from Shaun McGee aka arclight2011

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

For USA, health care is too costly, while weapons makers wildly profitable -as $634 Billion to go to nuclear arms

The US Will Spend on Nuclear Weapons in the Next Decade,  https://jacobinmag.com/2021/05/military-spending-nuclear-weapons-department-of-defense

BY JULIA ROCK, 26 May 21, According to a new Congressional Budget Office report, we’re set to spend well over a half a trillion dollars over the next decade on nuclear weapons. Yet we’re somehow told that Medicare for All is too expensive.

As Capitol Hill lawmakers continue to insist that initiatives like Medicare for All are too expensive, a new congressional report shows that the United States government is on a path to spend more than a half-trillion dollars on nuclear weapons in just the next decade. The report emerges at the same time a separate analysis shows that a handful of top executives at defense contractors are being wildly enriched by a Pentagon spending spree.

The first report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) finds that the federal government is on track to spend $634 billion over the next decade to maintain its nuclear forces. Almost two-thirds of those costs are for the Department of Defense, mostly to maintain ballistic missile submarines and intercontinental ballistic missiles. About one-third is for the Department of Energy.

For comparison that is:

The new CBO estimate represents a 28 percent increase over the last ten-year estimate that the CBO made on US nuclear forces two years ago.

The figures were released just a few weeks after a new analysis from the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank in Washington, found that “In 2020 alone, the CEOs of the [Pentagon’s] top five contractors received a total of $105.4 million in compensation.”

When accounting for all top corporate officials, these firms paid out more than a quarter billion dollars of total executive compensation in 2020 — and paid out more than $1 billion over the last four years.

About half of the Pentagon’s budget goes directly to corporations such as Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, according to the report.

So far, the deficit scolds who wanted to narrow eligibility for stimulus checksstudent debt cancellation, or rent relief haven’t complained about the spending.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

American experts warn Trudeau that Moltex small nuclear reactors are likely to prove a nightmare for Canada

The critics contend that SMRs are costly, unproven and creators of toxic waste of their own. From a practical point of view, it is hard to make the case that SMRs will be crucial in the battle against climate change, since they won’t come off the drawing board for years, if ever. Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May says that opting for experimental SMRs is just another way of delaying real action on global warming.

US Experts to Trudeau: Your Nuclear Dream May Turn Nightmare   https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/05/26/US-Experts-Trudeau-Your-Nuclear-Dream-May-Turn-Nightmare/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=260521

Rethink backing the Moltex reactor, urge nine non-proliferation heavyweights.

Michael Harris TheTyee.ca, 6 May 21, A blue-ribbon group of American nuclear non-proliferation experts warns that Canada’s investment in new nuclear technology could lead to the spread of nuclear weapons and new threats to the environment.

“We write as U.S. non-proliferation experts and former government officials and advisors with related responsibilities to express our concern about your government’s financial support of Moltex — a startup company that proposes to reprocess CANDU spent fuel to recover its contained plutonium for use in molten-salt-cooled reactors.”

The warning came in the form of an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that was delivered on Tuesday and signed by the nine experts.

The group is spearheaded by Frank von Hippel, professor and senior research physicist at Princeton University; it includes Matthew Bunn, the Schlesinger professor of the practise of energy, national security, and foreign policy at the Harvard Kennedy School; and Thomas Countryman, former U.S. assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation.

“We understand your government’s motivation to support nuclear power and to reduce fossil fuel use but saving the world from climate disaster need not be in conflict with saving it from nuclear weapons. Also, like other reprocessing efforts, Moltex, even in the R&D stage, would create a costly legacy of contaminated facilities and radioactive waste streams, and require substantial additional government funding for cleanup and stabilization prior to disposal,” they wrote.

Rory O’Sullivan, CEO of Moltex North America painted a very different picture of his company’s experimental technology in an interview with World Nuclear News: “We are working to develop a technology that uses the fuel from the first generation of nuclear power to the next. This reduces the challenges associated with spent nuclear fuel, while expanding nuclear power to help Canada achieve its climate change objectives.”

The Trudeau government has invested $50.5 million in Moltex, and backs the company’s plan to build a 300 MW molten salt reactor in New Brunswick on the Bay of Fundy. Theoretically, it would then reprocess spent fuel from the Point Lepreau nuclear plant, which is set to be decommissioned in 2040.

The Moltex reactor belongs to a class of nuclear power plants termed small modular reactors or SMRs that generate small amounts of electricity in comparison with typical CANDU reactors.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has said that Canada can’t get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 without nuclear as part of the equation, along with renewables.

Despite marketing its roll of the dice on Moltex as part of its war on climate change, Ottawa isn’t getting much love from environmentalists, or many other people. Three federal political parties, the NDP, the Bloc and the Greens; the Green Budget Coalition; and the Canadian Environmental Law Association all oppose the federal investment in small modular reactors. University of British Columbia professor of public policy and global affairs M.V. Ramana has levelled criticisms in these pages as well.

The critics contend that SMRs are costly, unproven and creators of toxic waste of their own. From a practical point of view, it is hard to make the case that SMRs will be crucial in the battle against climate change, since they won’t come off the drawing board for years, if ever. Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May says that opting for experimental SMRs is just another way of delaying real action on global warming.

One who has closely followed and opposes the two experimental SMR reactors planned for New Brunswick, the ARC-100 and the Moltex SSR, is Dr. Susan O’Donnell, an adjunct professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick. O’Donnell is also the primary investigator of Raven, a research team based at the university dedicated to highlighting rural environmental issues in the province.

O’Donnell points out that Moltex has never built a nuclear reactor before. In fact, only two molten salt reactors have ever been built — 50 years ago. Neither of them produced electricity. One of them lasted four years before shutting down, the other, just 100 hours.

On the environmental side, O’Donnell says that SMR pollution or a serious failure could lead to “disasters and no-go zones.”

On the non-proliferation front, she denounces the plan to broadly “export” the Moltex technology, assuming it ever gets up and running.

“What we have learned from Canada’s role in making India a nuclear power is that one of the dangers of the Moltex proposal is its plan to export the technology. We’re exporting bomb-making capacity,” she told The Tyee.

O’Donnell has pushed for public consultations to help develop a national radioactive waste policy. Last Aug. 13, she made an offer to the federal minister of natural resources to have the Raven project organize such a public consultation in New Brunswick. It would be online because of the pandemic, in both official languages, and would include Indigenous nations and rural communities. Minister O’Regan responded two months later, on Oct. 30, turning her down.

“Strangely, he cited the pandemic, even though our offer clearly stated the consultation would be virtual,” the professor said.

O’Donnell’s take on the Moltex project is backed up by Allison Macfarlane, former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The specialist in the storage of nuclear waste told the CBC in January that the molten salt technology is totally unproven with respect to viability, costs and storage risks.

“Nobody knows what the numbers are, and anybody who gives you numbers is selling you a bridge to nowhere…. Nobody’s been able to answer my questions yet on what all those wastes are, and how much of them there are, and how heat-producing they are and what their compositions are,” Macfarlane said. She is now the director of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at UBC.

But the Trudeau government does have allies at the provincial level for its nuclear ambitions. The governments of New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta have all signed a memorandum of understanding to develop SMRs, which means promoting them.

They are excited about the promises by Moltex that it will be able to produce clean energy at a low cost by recycling something that everyone wants to get rid of — the three million spent fuel bundles in Canada that the government still doesn’t know how to dispose of safely and permanently.

The U.S. experts made clear to the PM in their letter that they are not convinced by the company’s assertions. They want the Trudeau government to convene a high-level review of both the non-proliferation and environmental implications of Moltex’s reprocessing proposal. Key to that proposal is including “independent international experts,” before Ottawa makes any further investments in support of the Moltex proposal.

The earliest projects to reprocess nuclear waste extracted plutonium to make nuclear weapons. The letter signees worry Canada’s new generation of reactors will afford the same opportunity to anyone who buys them.

“Our main concern is that, by backing spent-fuel reprocessing and plutonium extraction, the government of Canada will undermine the global nuclear weapons non-proliferation regime that Canada has done so much to strengthen. Canada is a founding member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which was established in 1974 in response to India’s misuse of a Canada-supplied research reactor and U.S.-supplied reprocessing technology to acquire the plutonium needed for its first nuclear weapons.”

The reprocessing of nuclear waste was “indefinitely deferred” in the United States by president Jimmy Carter in 1977 after India tested its first nuclear weapon. At the time, the Americans discovered that several other countries including Brazil, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan were all surreptitiously headed down the same nuclear weapons path that India had taken. Of that group, only Pakistan managed to get the bomb.

The U.S. experts who signed the letter to Trudeau also rejected the claim by Moltex that by using spent fuel from older Canadian CANDU reactors, its reactor would reduce the long-term risk from a deep underground radioactive waste repository.

The Trudeau government promised it would base its major policies on science. It’s time for the public consultation, far from the greasy paws of lobbyists, and with the best minds that can be brought to the table.

This is a letter to take to heart. 

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

New research highlights need for international standards to safeguard against plutonium ”hot” particles.

New study delves into issues relating to soils around Maralinga region,  https://www.portlincolntimes.com.au/story/7262167/study-shows-radioactive-particles-from-nuclear-testing-persist-at-maralinga, Luca Cetta,  

A new study has highlighted the first international standards needed to safeguard against contamination from nuclear testing, and a Kokatha Elder says the impact of nuclear testing at Maralinga cannot be forgotten.

More than 100 kilograms of highly toxic uranium and plutonium was dispersed in the form of tiny ‘hot’ radioactive particles after nuclear tests were conducted by the British in remote areas of South Australia, including Maralinga.

Scientists have new evidence these radioactive particles persist in soils to this day, more than 60 years after the detonations.

The British detonated nine nuclear bombs and conducted nuclear tests in South Australia between 1953 and 1963.

There had previously been limited understanding in how plutonium was released from the particles into the environment for uptake by wildlife around Maralinga.

The new study, published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, led by Monash University researchers, warns the hot particles are more complex and varied than previously thought.

Currently, there are no international best practice standards for the environmental impact or risk assessment of plutonium and uranium-rich hot particles released during nuclear testing.

This study provides the first mechanism for future modelling to predict the environmental life cycle of plutonium from hot particles, including how they are slowly broken down in the environment over a long period, and potentially exposed to animals and humans through inhalation, soil or ground water.

“The resulting radioactive contamination and cover-up continues to haunt us,” lead study author from Monash University’s School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment Dr Megan Cook said.

“The results of our study profoundly changes our understanding of the nature of hot particles at Maralinga – despite the fact that those were some of the best studied particles anywhere in the world.”

Sue Haseldine, who grew up in the Koonibba district in the 1950s and 1960s, has long campaigned against nuclear testing and weapons.

She has been part of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an organisation awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, and has spoken about her experience growing up in the shadow of nuclear testing at Maralinga.

Ms Haseldine said the people in the area had long-suspected there were health issues deriving from those tests.

“Experts would tell you that radiation will not last for 60 years, nor 60,000, but for a long, long time, and it is still causing troubles today,” she said.

“The old ladies told me these cancers and illnesses were not around before the bomb and over the years I have seen the rates go up.

“There are a lot more younger people with heart problems – it is known that radiation problems can cause heart diseases – and it is coming down through the generations.”

Ms Haseldine said the testing and fallout from Maralinga was not spoken about enough and that was why her campaigning with ICAN was so important.

“It is important to let people know what the government’s legacy is to us through their testing and we have to keep the past alive to protect the future, so they don’t do it to future generations,” she said.

“I grew up in the Koonibba district, but the radiation didn’t just stay in the Maralinga area.”

Study co-author professor Joël Brugger said the study invited a revisit of the implications of earlier results for the fate of plutonium at Maralinga.

“Understanding the fate of hot particles in the arid environment setting of the Australian outback is critical for securing Australia in case of nuclear incidents in the region, and returning all the native land affected by the British tests to the traditional Anangu owners of the Maralinga Tjarutja lands.”

The research team used synchrotron radiation at the Diamond Light Source near Oxford in the United Kingdom to decipher the physical and chemical make-up of the particles.

At Monash, they dissected some of the hot particles using a nano-sized ion beam, and further characterised the complex make-up of these particles down to the nano-size.

“It’s a major breakthrough,” study co-author associate professor Vanessa Wong said.

“Our observations of the hot particles from Maralinga provide a clear explanation for the complex and variable behaviour of different hot particles with respect to the chemical and physical weathering that has hindered predictive modelling to this day.

“This study provides a mechanistic foundation for predicting the future evolution of hot particles from high-temperature nuclear events and the likely exposure pathways.”

The researchers demonstrated the complexity of the hot particles arose from the cooling of polymetallic melts from thousands of degrees Celsius in the explosion cloud during their formation.

“We found that the particles contained low-valence plutonium-uranium-carbon compounds that are typically highly reactive – which is unexpected for particles that survived for over 30 years in the environment,” corresponding author Dr Barbara Etschmann said.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, AUSTRALIA, environment | Leave a comment

Activists force shutdown of Israeli weapons factory in UK

Activists force shutdown of Israeli weapons factory in UK, Mohamed Elmaazi The Electronic Intifada 24 May 2021  British police are struggling to end a protest at an Israeli weapons factory in Leicester, England, where activists have holed up on the roof for several days.

Members of Palestine Action climbed up on the roof of a drone manufacturing facility belonging to UAV Tactical Systems, a subsidiary of Israeli weapons manufacturers Elbit Systems and French firm Thales UK, on 19 May.

Elbit also provides surveillance systems, equipment to Israeli police and electronic detection technology for the illegal wall in the West Bank.

Elbit has 10 offices and factories in the UK.

Palestine Action members also “barricaded gates, destroyed property and vandalised the premises to prevent any more British-made drones being sent to commit atrocities in Gaza”, according to a statement from Palestine Action………………………..  https://electronicintifada.net/content/activists-force-shutdown-israeli-weapons-factory-uk/33221

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three U.S. Democrat Senators introduce Bill to prop up nuclear industry

U.S. senators set to introduce nuclear power credit in energy tax reform bill, Reuters 26 May 21,  Three Democratic U.S. senators were set to introduce a measure on Wednesday to boost existing nuclear plants to a wide energy tax reform bill, after the Biden administration pushed for such a measure to help [?] curb carbon emissions…….. (subscribers only)    https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-senators-set-introduce-nuclear-power-credit-energy-tax-reform-bill-2021-05-2

May 27, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Russia launches a mission to investigate te Komsomolets, Soviet nuclear submarine sunk 32 years ago .

Bellona 25th May 2021, Russian scientists have embarked on a mission to the Komsomolets, a Soviet nuclear submarine that sank 32 years ago during an onboard fire off Norway’s northern coast, killing 41, in a bid to determine whether the wreck presents threats to the undersea environment.

The scientists, from Rosgidromet, Russia’s state weather agency which also measures radiation, set sail from Arkhangelsk last week aboard the Professor Molchanov research vessels, reaching the accident site over the weekend, Russian media reported.

https://bellona.org/news/nuclear-issues/2021-05-russia-launches-mission-to-the-sunken-komsomolets-nuclear-submarine

May 27, 2021 Posted by | oceans, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Uranium at lowest price since 2007

Uranium Week: Struggling With Low Prices

FN Arena    Weekly Reports By Mark Woodruff May 25 2021, As the uranium spot price rose 2% for the week and 9% for the month, an EIA report revealed the lowest price paid since 2007 by owners and operators of US commercial nuclear plants

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released both its 2020 US Uranium Marketing Annual Report and its 2020 Domestic Uranium Production Report last week. 

Despite covid roiling energy markets during 2020, the reports pointed to nuclear energy being a fundamental source of base load electricity generation (20%) with capacity factors steady at 94%, explains Canaccord Genuity. The broker believes coverage of future demand will continue to provide an impetus for a more active term market over 2021.

The EIA is responsible for collecting, analysing and disseminating energy information to inform policy making and efficient markets. It also adds to the public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.

The released reports in 2020 quantify developments in the US uranium industry, including decreased inventories, explains industry consultant TradeTech. They also showed an elevated aggregated contractual coverage rate among owners and operators of US civilian nuclear power reactors. Additionally, lower weighted average uranium prices and historically low uranium production were reported.

The Uranium Marketing Annual Report showed owners and operators of US commercial nuclear plants in 2020 purchased nearly 49mlbs uranium from US and foreign suppliers. These were transacted at a weighted-average price of US$33.27/lb, which represents a 1% increase in volume and a -7% decline in price compared to 2019 data. The weighted average price is the lowest price paid by owners and operators of US civilian power reactors since 2007.

Of the US deliveries, 76% were through longer-term contracts, averaging US$34.74/lb. As Canaccord notes, it’s always darkest before the dawn, with pricing failing to represent the marginal cost of production let alone the incentivisation price for restarts or new developments.

During 2020, 11.7mlbs or 24% of sales were on a spot basis, up from 10.5mlbs in 2019 and the highest since 2014. This illustrates that long-term contracts signed post-Fukushima (2011-2015) are starting to expire, explains Canaccord.

The report showed Australian and Canadian-origin uranium combined accounted for 42% of reported volumes by country of origin. Uranium purchased by owners and operators of US civilian power reactors from Russia again was the lowest weighted average price paid at US$25.73/lb, while purchases from Australia occupied the highest cost position at US$39.86/lb.;;;;;;;;;;;;;; https://www.fnarena.com/index.php/2021/05/25/uranium-week-struggling-with-low-prices/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

In 1958, U.S military had plans to use nuclear weapons against China, in a crisis over Taiwan.

US military considered using nuclear weapons against China in 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, leaked documents show   https://edition.cnn.com/2021/05/24/china/us-china-taiwan-1958-nuclear-intl-hnk/index.html

By Ben Westcott, CNN, May 24, 2021  Hong Kong, Military planners in Washington pushed for the White House to prepare plans to use nuclear weapons against mainland China during the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1958, newly leaked documents appear to confirm.The documents, first reported on by the New York Times Saturday, reveal the extent of Washington’s discussions about using nuclear weapons to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, including the acceptance by some US military leaders of possible retaliatory nuclear strikes on US bases.

The new information was provided to the Times by Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon Papers that detailed the US government’s duplicity in its handling of the Vietnam War.”US first use of nuclear weapons should not be contemplated, prepared, or threatened anywhere, under any circumstances, including the defense of Taiwan,” Ellsberg said in a post to his Twitter on Sunday.

The Taiwan leak comes from previously classified sections of a 1966 report by think tank Rand Corporation on the 1958 Taiwan Straits crisis, written by M. H. Halperin for the Office of the then-Assistant Secretary of Defense.After the Communist Party took power in mainland China in 1949, following a brutal civil war, the Nationalist government fled to Taiwan. But Beijing viewed the island as part of its territory, and the two sides clashed intermittently over the following decades.

The closest the US and China came to armed conflict was during the Taiwan Strait crisis in 1958, when the People’s Republic of China fired artillery at Taipei’s outlying islands. Washington worried the shelling could be a precursor to a full invasion.he shelling focused on the Quemoy and Matsu island groups, which lie between Taiwan and mainland China and are described by Rand Corporation as “the first line of defense” for Taipei.Although it is already public knowledge that the Eisenhower administration debated whether to use nuclear weapons to deter China from attacking Taiwan, the documents appear to reveal the extent of the planning for the first time.According to the leaked documents, some US Defense and State department officials were concerned the loss of the outlying islands in 1958 could lead to a full “Chinese Communist takeover of Taiwan.”

In the event of an air and sea attack on the islands, US Air Force Gen. Nathan Twining said the US would have to use nuclear weapons against Chinese air force bases “to prevent a successful air interdiction campaign,” beginning with “low-yield ten to fifteen kiloton nuclear weapons.”If this didn’t lead to a break in the assault from mainland China, “the United States … would have no alternative but to conduct nuclear strikes deep into China as far north as Shanghai.”According to the documents, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs acknowledged this would “almost certainly” lead to nuclear retaliation against Taiwan and the US military base at Okinawa in Japan. “But he stressed that if national policy is to defend the offshore islands then the consequences had to be accepted,” the document said.Given China had yet to develop its own nuclear capabilities, any nuclear retaliation would have come from the Soviet Union, possibly sparking an even more devastating global conflict. The report said it isn’t clear where the nuclear retaliation would have originated.

The document said the US Joint Chiefs, and Twining in particular, saw the use of atomic weapons as “inevitable.” In one section, Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, the top Air Force commander for the Pacific, “flatly” states that any US air action against a Chinese attack on the outlying islands “had no chance of success unless atomic weapons were used from the outset.”In the end, Eisenhower was hesitant to use nuclear weapons and pushed for the US troops to stick to conventional arms. Joshua Pollack, editor of the Nonproliferation Review, said on Twitter Sunday that the idea the US would have risked a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union over islands with “no military value” was “jarring.”“It’s no surprise the White House said no,” he said.A ceasefire was reached in the Taiwan Strait on October 6, 1958, although there have been ongoing tensions between Beijing and Taipei.

In January 2019 speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping warned he would take “all means necessary” and not “renounce the use of force” to rejoin Taiwan to the Chinese mainland.Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, even though the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.With military tensions rising again between the US and China, whistleblower Ellsberg said in his interview with the Times that he had supplied the documents due to his concerns over the possibility of a new war over Taiwan.

On Sunday, Ellsberg took to Twitter to call for both sides to exercise restraint.“Note to @JoeBiden: learn from this secret history, and don’t repeat this insanity,” he said.

May 27, 2021 Posted by | history, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China says Japan ‘repeatedly betrayed public trust’ in Fukushima response

China says Japan ‘repeatedly betrayed public trust’ in Fukushima response
Beijing says Tokyo’s handling of Fukushima disaster casts doubt over ‘so-called safe methods, credibility of data’  
https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/china-says-japan-repeatedly-betrayed-public-trust-in-fukushima-response/2253463
Riyaz Ul Khaliq   |25.05.2021   ANKARA

China on Tuesday repeated its criticism of Japan’s plan to dump treated nuclear waste from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea.

“Japan has repeatedly betrayed public trust over its handling of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” Lijian Zhao, spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference in Beijing, according to state-run daily Global Times.

He said Japan’s response to the Fukushima disaster of 2011 has left “a big question mark over the rationality and scientific nature of its so-called safe methods, as well as authenticity and credibility of the data it had provided.”

Apart from China, South Korea, North Korea, the island nation of Taiwan, and other international bodies, including the UN, have previously voiced concern over Tokyo’s idea to release treated wastewater from the destroyed nuclear plant into the ocean in the next two years.

The US, however, has backed Japan’s proposal, which come after years of talks on how to get rid of more than 1 million tons of water accumulated at the Fukushima nuclear complex since the meltdown triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has vowed to play a “central and permanent role in monitoring the discharge.”

Tokyo has said it aims to have an action plan by the end of 2021.

“We will proactively take swift measures to deepen understanding of people in Japan and overseas,” Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief Cabinet secretary, said last month.

Virus-free. www.avast.com

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Russia’s plans for nuclear-powered spacecraft to Jupiter

Russia Wants To Send A Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft To Jupiter This Decade, IFL Science  26 May 21,Russia is planning to send a nuclear-powered spacecraft to the grand gas giant of the Solar System, Jupiter, in 2030. 

Roscosmos, Russia’s federal space agency, announced the plan for the mammoth 50-month journey last week. The journey will take it on a mini tour of the Solar System, taking pit stops around the Moon and Venus, dropping off spacecraft along its way, before heading on to Jupiter. 

More specifically, a “space tug” with a nuclear-based transport and energy module dubbed Zeus will head towards the Moon where a spacecraft will separate from it. It will then pass by Venus to perform a gravity assist maneuver and drop off another spacecraft, before venturing towards Jupiter and one of its satellites.

“Together with the Russian Academy of Sciences, we’re are now making calculations about this flight’s ballistics and payload,” Roscosmos Executive Director for Long-Term Programs and Science Alexander Bloshenko told reporters, according to TASS news agency.

Most spacecraft use solar panels that convert the Sun’s energy into electricity. However, the deeper a spacecraft goes into the Solar System, the further it strays from the Sun and less solar energy is available. While batteries can be used for backup, some missions – such as Cassini and Voyager – have been powered from a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), which is a bit like a nuclear battery that uses heat from the radioactive decay of isotopes. RTGs are not nuclear reactors, however, as a chain reaction does not take place.

The new Zeus project, by comparison, is a whole nuclear reactor that will use fission reactions to drive the propulsion. In the words of Russian state media, it’s a “secrecy-laden project in development since 2010” that involves a 500-kilowatt nuclear reactor, weighing around 22 tons….

The Soviet Union launched a bunch of nuclear reactors into space during the Cold War as part of the RORSAT missions, a set of Soviet nuclear spy satellites launched between 1967 and 1988. On the other hand, the US has launched just one: SNAP-10A or SNAPSHOT, a nuclear-reactor power system launched in 1965. 

The US has regained interest in nuclear-powered space travel over the past few decades. Just recently, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has commissioned three private companies – Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics – to develop nuclear fission thermal rockets for use in lunar orbit, with the goal of demonstrating the technology above low Earth orbit in 2025. https://www.iflscience.com/space/russia-wants-to-send-a-nuclearpower-spacecraft-to-jupiter-this-decade/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | Russia, space travel | Leave a comment

Fission reactions have been spiking in an inaccessible Chernobyl chamber since 2016 – possibility of a runaway nuclear reaction

Chernobyl Alert and The Doomsday Clock The Conversation,  BY ROBERT HUNZIKER  21 May 21, Like the mythical Phoenix, Chernobyl rises from the ashes.

A recent… “Surge in fission reactions in an inaccessible chamber within the complex” is alarming scientists that monitor the ruins of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. (Source: Nuclear Reactions at Chernobyl are Spiking in an Inaccessible Chamber, NewScientist, May 11, 2021).

It is known that this significant renewal of fission activity is located in Sub-Reactor Room 305/2, which contains large amounts of fissile material from the initial meltdown. The explosion brought down walls of the facility amongst tons of fissile material within the reactor as extreme heat melted reactor wall concrete and steel combined with sand used to control the explosion to form a lava-like intensely radioactive substance that oozed into lower floors, e.g., Room 305/2. That room is so deadly radioactive that it is inaccessible by humans or robots for the past 35 years.

Since 2016, neutron emissions from Room 305/2 have been spiking and increased by 40% over the past 5 years. It signals a growing nuclear fission reaction in the room. According to Neil Hyatt/University of Sheffield-UK: “Our estimation of fissile material in that room means that we can be fairly confident that you’re not going to get such rapid release of nuclear energy that you have an explosion. But we don’t know for sure… it’s cause for concern but not alarm,” Ibid.

If it is deemed necessary to intervene, it’ll require robotically drilling into Room 305/2 and spraying the highly radioactive blob with a fluid that contains gadolinium nitrate, which is supposed to soak up excess neutrons and choke the fission reaction. Meanwhile, time will tell whether the monster of the deep in Room 305/2 settles down on its own or requires human interaction via the eyes and arms of a robot, which may not survive the intense radioactivity. Then what?

Meanwhile, an enormous steel sarcophagus, a $1.8bn protective confinement shelter, the New Safe Confinement (NCS) was built in 2019 to hopefully prevent the release of radioactive contamination. NCS is the largest land-based object ever moved, nine years construction in Italy delivered via 2,500 trucks and 18 ships. It is expected to last for 100 years. Thenceforth, who knows?

Nevertheless, according to nuclear professionals, the question arises whether this recent fission activity will stabilize or will it necessitate a dangerously difficult intervention to somehow stop a runaway nuclear reaction.

Inescapably, the bane of nuclear power, once dangerously out of control, remains dangerously out of control, forever and on it goes, beyond human time. Unfortunately, one nuclear accident is equivalent to untold numbers, likely thousands, of non-nuclear accidents.

“We thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” (Albert Einstein)    https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/05/21/chernobyl-alert-and-the-doomsday-clock/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | safety, Ukraine | Leave a comment

1st U.N. nuclear ban meeting may be postponed until after Non Proliferation Treaty review

1st U.N. nuclear ban meeting may be postponed until after NPT review,  https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/05/7809e5aa594f-1st-un-nuclear-ban-meeting-may-be-postponed-until-after-npt-review.html

The first meeting of parties to a U.N. treaty banning nuclear weapons, set to be held next January, may be pushed to the spring so that it takes place after a rescheduled U.N. conference on nuclear nonproliferation, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

The review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, held every five years in New York, has already been pushed back multiple times from its original date of April last year to August this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are talks of postponing it again to the beginning of next year.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which is the first international pact outlawing the development, testing, possession and use of nuclear weapons, came into effect in January this year with the support of many non-nuclear states.

Its first meeting, which must be held within one year of coming into force, is currently scheduled for January next year in Austria. Japanese survivors of the 1945 atomic bombing are also expected to attend.

With the momentum for nuclear disarmament waning due to the pandemic, the international community stands at a critical juncture concerning whether nuclear-armed states will curb their nuclear expansion.

As it will be unrealistic to hold both conferences in January next year, proposals have been made to postpone the first meeting of the nuclear ban treaty by several months or hold the meeting in January as scheduled but postpone substantive discussions until after the NPT review conference.

There are strong calls among countries supporting the nuclear weapon ban treaty to hold the NPT conference as soon as possible, with many likely eager to also observe the discussions at the review conference attended by the nuclear powers

May 27, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Costs of upgrading USA’s nuclear arsenal has jumped up by $140 billion in just 2 years.

Surprise! Upgrading America’s Nuclear Arsenal Will Be Stupefyingly Expensive

The cost jumped $140 billion in just 2 years. Here’s why. Popular Mechanics, BY KYLE MIZOKAMIMAY 26, 202

May 27, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

EDF’s report on silo collapse at Hinkley Point C nuclear construction raises more questions than answers

Stop Hinkley 24th May 2021, EDF Energy has published its report on the Ground Granulated Blast-furnace Slag (GGBS) silo collapse which took place on the Hinkley Point C construction site on 10th June last year. The report’s headline conclusion on the sudden silo collapse – that it was caused by the overloading of a bolted joint due to inadequate design, raises more questions than it answers.

http://stophinkley.org/

May 27, 2021 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment