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As USA ramps up its nuclear weapons, China is urged to follow suit

China urged to increase sea-based nuclear deterrent amid US intensified strategic threat  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202105/1224773.shtml By Zhang Hui May 28, 2021  Facing a serious strategic threat from the US, China was urged to increase the number of nuclear weapons, especially its sea-based nuclear deterrent of intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to deter potential military action by US warmongers, Chinese military experts said on Friday, after reports that the US’ new defense budget will modernize its nuclear arsenal to deter China. 

Having a nuclear arsenal appropriate to China’s position will help safeguard national security, sovereignty and development interests and establish a more stable and peaceful world order, which will be beneficial for the world, they said.The US defense budget, set to be sent to Congress on Friday, is expected to include investments in troop readiness, space, and the Pacific Deterrence Initiative aimed at countering China’s military existence in the region, and nuclear weapons technology, Reuters reported on Thursday. 

However, Chinese military experts believe that US attempts of increasing military deployment in the Indo-Pacific region will not increase returns for the US as most countries in the region will not allow the flames of war initiated by the US to burn themselves. 
The US would buy ships and jets and develop and test hypersonic weapons and other “next-generation” weapons systems to build capabilities to counter Russia and China. The total national security budget will be $753 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over the 2021 figure, Reuters said. 

China has kept its defense spending at around 1.3 percent of GDP in recent years, which is far below the average global level of 2.6 percent, data shows. The US, by far the world’s top military spender, has spent about four times that of China in recent years.
Chinese analysts said China has never taken aim at US military spending, nor does China want to engage in any form of arms race with the US. 

But the US has applied greater military pressure on China, sending warships and warplanes at an increasing frequency to the South China Sea and Taiwan Straits.

The US is also preparing what US media called its “biggest navy exercise in a generation with 25,000 personnel across 17 time zones,” as it’s preparing for a “possible conflict” with China and Russia. 

The US attempted to deepen the militarization of space with its new budget plan, including its investment on future weapons. Considering that the US deems China its top imaginary enemy, China needs to increase the quantity and quality of nuclear weapons, especially submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to effectively safeguard its national security, sovereignty and development interests, Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Friday. 

Some military experts said China should increase the number of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), the DF-41, which has the longest operational range among all Chinese ICBMs. 

Facing a serious strategic threat from the US, China was urged to increase the number of nuclear weapons, especially its sea-based nuclear deterrent of intercontinental submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to deter potential military action by US warmongers, Chinese military experts said on Friday, after reports that the US’ new defense budget will modernize its nuclear arsenal to deter China. 

Having a nuclear arsenal appropriate to China’s position will help safeguard national security, sovereignty and development interests and establish a more stable and peaceful world order, which will be beneficial for the world, they said.

Song said that strengthening sea-based strategic nuclear deterrence is also an important direction for China’s future development, as these weapons are better at stealth and secondary nuclear strikes. 

China could use its most advanced submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) to effectively counter the US threat, Song said. 

China just commissioned three PLA Navy warships, namely the Changzheng 18, the Dalian and the Hainan, at a naval port in Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province in April. Observers identified the Changzheng 18 as a likely Type 09IV nuclear-powered strategic ballistic missile submarine. 

Burning themselves

The US Pacific Deterrence Initiative, created to counter China, focuses on competition in the Indo-Pacific and aims to boost US preparedness in the region by funding radars, satellites and missile systems, according to Reuters. 

Wei Dongxu, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Friday that the initiative enables the US to use a variety of spy satellites to conduct reconnaissance and intelligence gathering to provide extensive and accurate intelligence support for US military operations, including joint military operations with its allies, and the US will also use allies, such as US overseas military bases, to deploy more radar systems to guide its weapons.

On the day its budget was sent to Congress, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was expected to meet with India’s Minister of External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as part of India’s first cabinet-level visit to Washington, the Pentagon said. 

“The secretary’s meeting with the external affairs minister will continue discussions that the two held in New Delhi in March and will continue the robust bilateral defense and security relationship between our two countries,” the Pentagon said. 

Chinese military experts said it’s likely that India would buy more American weapons, have more military drills with the US or deepen its cooperation with the US in military intelligence sharing, and the US will use these in exchange for India’s cooperation for its Indo-Pacific strategy. 

But India will have second thoughts on US military deployment on its soil, Song said, noting that weapons and radar deployment involves a country’s sovereignty, and India, which has been claiming to pursue an independent foreign policy, will unlikely give the US a satisfactory answer.

Even if India would like to deepen its military cooperation with the US, certain cooperation such as opening military bases to the US is not an option for India, Song said. 

India may not be a very ideal partner, and most of US allies in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, also fear that the flames of war would eventually burn themselves. 

In South Korea, protests against US military presence have become louder in the past years, and South Korea will not allow the US to turn Northeast Asia into a battlefield and drag itself into war, nor will it sacrifice its relations with China, observers said. 

Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, told the Global Times on Friday that Australia is likely to allow the US to deploy more military equipment on its soil, making it the only US friend on its Indo-Pacific strategy. 

By doing this, Australia will make itself a target for future military conflicts between the US and other countries, Zhang said, adding that a responsible government which really cares about the interests of its people would never allow it.  

May 29, 2021 Posted by | China, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Ionising radiation the big danger to astronauts

NASA says that not only does space radiation potentially put astronauts at greater risk of radiation sickness, but an “increased lifetime risk for cancer, central nervous system effects, and degenerative diseases.”

Astronauts in space are exposed to the radiation equivalent of 150 to 6,000 chest x-rays  https://www.revelstokereview.com/news/morning-start-astronauts-in-space-are-exposed-to-the-radiation-equivalent-of-150-to-6000-chest-x-rays/ May 28, 2021 

As noted by NASA, radiation is a type of energy that is emitted in the form of rays, electromagnetic waves and/or particles. Radiation can be seen as visible light or felt as infrared radiation. However, some forms of radiation, like x-rays and gamma rays, are not visible.

Space radiation differs from the type of radiation experienced on Earth because intergalactic radiation “is comprised of atoms in which electrons have been stripped away as the atom accelerated in interstellar space to speeds approaching the speed of light – eventually, only the nucleus of the atom remains.”

So how much space radiation are astronauts exposed to? They’re exposed to “ionizing radiation with effective doses in the range from 50 to 2,000 mSv. 1 mSv of ionizing radiation is equivalent to about three chest x-rays. So that’s like if you were to have 150 to 6,000 chest x-rays.”

With that being said, NASA says that not only does space radiation potentially put astronauts at greater risk of radiation sickness, but an “increased lifetime risk for cancer, central nervous system effects, and degenerative diseases.”

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, space travel | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors in space, – enthusiasm by corporations and governments ignores the dangers.

You have to read through this article – about  ”a major advance” – very carefully –   to see that nothing much is really happening.   You have to get to the end of the article  =to learn how very dangerous is this plan.    Of course there;’s no mention that (A) the whole thing is totally connected with militarism, and (B) only the tax-payer would be willing and able to pay for these space toys 

Companies and government agencies propose nuclear reactors for space.  The technologies could help the US Space Force monitor the region between Earth and the Moon    Physics Today, Sarah Scoles 28 May 21,  ,,……….

Someday, such a system could power and propel spacecraft or keep the lights on in lunar or Martian habitats. That sort of nuclear electricity source would be a major advance…..

Eric Felt, space vehicles director at the Air Force Research Laboratory (which supports both the air and space forces), spoke to Physics Today on behalf of the space force’s interests. The branch, he says, is monitoring developments in space-based nuclear reactors but not yet funding them. The recently established branch has no immediate plans to use off-Earth nuclear reactors and hasn’t determined if or how space fission fits into its portfolio. Felt says both the technological and policy barriers have shrunk; the obstacle that remains is to find a goal that needs nuclear fission.

One place where nuclear technology could fit is cislunar space—the expanse between Earth and the Moon. 

………  McClure, Poston, and former Los Alamos associate director Andy Phelps have spun out their innovation into a company called Space Nuclear Power Corp, or SpaceNukes……..

SpaceNukes is not the only group working on nuclear reactors for cislunar “space domain awareness.” Among others, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is pursuing a related project, the Demonstration Rocket for Agile Cislunar Operations, or DRACO. The craft would be propelled by a nuclear-thermal system and capable of surveilling a large area……….

Felt has met with the DRACO team and agreed to consider partnering with DARPA to transition the technology to the space force once it’s mature. The caveat—as with the Kilopower project—is that the space force must first find a “killer app” for it, says Felt. “Maybe ‘raison d’être’ would be more accurate,” he adds…….  https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.2.20210528a/full/

Sarah Scoles

……………..Nuclear reactors in space are not without hazards. Accidents involving nuclear reactors could put Earthlings at more risk than with conventional spacecraft. And any technology involving uranium could stir international objections, especially if it uses highly enriched uranium (HEU), as Kilopower does. “The problem with HEU is it’s weapons-grade material,” says McClure. “There’s always the concern that, if we lost it on launch, some bad person would recover it and do nefarious things.” Some policymakers and nonprofit groups worry that producing and using more HEU, which the US has worked to minimize for decades, poses proliferation risks.

The bomb-ready fuel isn’t banned completely, but its use would put the Kilopower design in the most stringent launch-approval category. The system can use a less-controversial fuel called high-assay low-enriched uranium, or HALEU, which does not carry the same proliferation risks, but it would add 700 kilograms to the reactor’s mass. “We prefer to use HEU because the system is lighter,” says Poston. But by using HALEU, DRACO’s launch approval would be greatly simplified.  https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.2.20210528a/full/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, space travel | 1 Comment

How the American war industry infiltrates education (extract from A People’s Guide to the War Industry )

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception Consortium News 26 May 21, ”…………..Academia

Education in the United States exists within narrow confines. The working class educated in elementary and secondary schools are not given the opportunity to learn about capitalism, let alone the horrific nature and devastating effects of the U.S. war industry. They are not taught about how the interests of the ruling class (including the Pentagon’s leadership, industry executives, Wall Street financiers, and Congress) clash head-on with the interests of the working class. An uneducated population will not mobilize effectively against its oppressors. This atmosphere of ignorance greatly benefits the MIC.

The war industry and the Pentagon fund extensive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives across the U.S. and in allied countries. By attracting students into STEM careers, the war industry and the Pentagon prepare and safeguard their future. Industry promotion of STEM lays the groundwork for future design, engineering, and production capacity, while the Pentagon promotes STEM in order to foster a technologically literate workforce and future generations of enlisted troops who are capable enough to operate the war industry’s products. STEM efforts are comprehensive, covering a wide geographical area and all ages, from elementary through university.

Many universities in the United States are part of the U.S. war industry. The role of these academic institutions is threefold: research and develop technology, serve as a holding station (e.g. Harvard’s Belfer Center) for MIC elites before they rotate into government or corporate suites, and accept philanthropy from war profiteers thereby whitewashing capitalist brutality. The main academic participants in the war industry include but are not limited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of Dayton, and Georgia Tech.

The U.S. government runs many research labs pursuing military and intelligence R&D. The Army Research Lab and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity are located in Maryland. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research are in Arlington, Virginia. The Air Force Research Lab is run out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, northeast of Dayton, Ohio, with branches in New Mexico and upstate New York. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research & Development Center is in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Most work in and for these labs is carried out by corporations and academic institutions, not uniformed military personnel.

report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in September 2020 detailed, “DOD does not know how contractors’ independent R&D projects fit into the department’s technology goals.”

“Brain drain” happens when industry herds intelligent people toward purposes of war, like when a graduate of an engineering school goes to work for a war corporation instead of a municipality. Humanity thus loses skilled human beings as a result. Brain drain is a great tragedy, and the war industry’s biggest success. In Boston, the U.S. Air Force alone funds ninety different research projects, according to the Air Force Secretary. And that’s just the publicly declared actions of one branch of the military in one city.

Lockheed Martin alone employs nearly 50,000 scientists and engineers, according to its CEO in her presentation to the Society of Women Engineers. Imagine if these minds were working on problems and projects for the betterment of humanity and the planet, instead of devising more ingenious ways to surveil or murder. Imagine the possibilities.

Effective science is based on free, open discussion. Military funding and stipulations (compartmentation, shoehorned focus, classification, near-term deadlines, stove-piped fields) oppose free, open discussion. Breakthroughs benefitting humanity rarely happen when people are tied to military-industry funding priorities, schedules, and narrow cognitive confines. Military and industry shun and condemn the polymath, the free thinker, and the uninhibited tinkerer. Military and industry embrace and fund the careerist, the complicit academic, the rigid functionary, the greedy corporatist, and the aspiring bureaucrat. Military-industry science may possess strong minds, but it does not often make the scientific breakthroughs society needs…… https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Education | Leave a comment

How the war industry captures government (extract from A People’s Guide to the War Industry )

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception  Consortium News, May 26, 2021   Christian Sorensen ”…………….Capitalists running the war industry utilize a five-step strategy to capture government:

  • Pull retiring military officers into war corporations
  • Stack the deck by placing ex-industry officials in the Pentagon’s leadership
  • Finance congressional campaigns
  • Lobby creatively and expansively
  • Fund think tanks & corporate media

War corporations recruit retired high-ranking military officers. War corporations use these eager retirees to open doors, influence policy, and increase sales. Generals and admirals retire from the U.S. Armed Forces and then join war corporations where they set to work converting their knowledge (about the acquisition process, senior military and civilian leaders, long-term military policy, and how the Pentagon works) and connections into profit.

Corporate jobs for these retired officers include manager, vice president, lobbyist, consultant, and director. Only a small number of 3- and 4-star officers declines this systemic corruption. War corporations have plenty to pull from, as there are more generals and admirals in uniform today in 2021 than there were at the end of World War II. Mere issuance of a bulletin announcing the hiring of a former high-ranking general or admiral often leads to a boost in stock price.

U.S. military officers benefit professionally and financially from implementing MIC aggression. There is no downside for high-ranking officers who support nonstop war. They’ll soon retire with full benefits, and likely go work for a war corporation. Officers who make it to the highest military ranks are very good at conforming to the system.

These officers support nonstop wars of choice and broad military deployments, and defer to pro-war pretexts and jargon coming from industry think tanks and pressure groups. They judge military activity in terms of numbers (dollars spent, weapons purchased, bases active, troops deployed) instead of clear soldierly goals.

Many officers are unable or unwilling to distinguish between the needs of a war corporation and the needs of a professional uniformed military. These U.S. military officers don’t see war corporations; they see a total force in which military and industry work together. An officer who dissents in a forceful manner risks their career. As the MIC crafts pretexts to justify its own existence and expansion, officers who go against the system from the inside are isolated, shed, or spit out.

Reality is difficult to stomach: There is an absolute dearth of class consciousness and moral courage within the Pentagon. The upper ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces are rife with a caliber of officer predisposed to seek out profit and reward upon retirement.


Executives move smoothly from corporations to the Pentagon, particularly the sundry civilian offices (secretary, deputy secretary, and assistant deputy secretary). These men and women who run the Pentagon have been raised in an environment of profiteering; they are steeped in corporate thought; their allegiance is to corporate success. They bring with them their industry contacts and an exploitative ideology. They turn to corporate products when presented with a military problem. They benefit professionally and financially.

Industry executives, the most rapacious of the capitalist class, enter “public service” and influence programs and policies. This invariably boosts the profits of former industry employers, who, thenceforth, capture and direct more of the U.S. military establishment. (Such actions, profit invested to make more profit, is money functioning as capital.)

Giant corporations finance the campaigns of people running for congressional office. Those people, once in office, help out the corporations. Washington is so corrupt that they’ve basically legalized this process — they’ve legalized bribery. In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that limits on election spending are unconstitutional; in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court distorted the First Amendment’s free speech clause, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political contributions; and in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014), the Supreme Court got rid of limits on the total number of political contributions one can give over a two-year period.

We are told that the Supreme Court defends liberty and provides a check against the executive and legislative branches, however, the function of the Court, as its rulings demonstrate, is to abet corporate authority and financial interest in line with what the Executive and Legislative branches pursue.

The war industry targets both houses of Congress, particularly elected officials on relevant committees (Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence, Foreign Relations). The war industry finances many political action committees, or PACs. These are tax-exempt organizations that aggregate donations to fund political campaigns or influence federal elections. Super PACs (a.k.a. independent expenditure-only committees) allow unlimited contributions. Funding congressional campaigns directly impacts the way U.S. elected officials vote.

Politicians and their war industry bosses are proficient at claiming the “defense” industry creates jobs. Take caution when a war corporation throws the word “jobs” around. Many of these jobs are part-time, temporary, or menial (e.g. painter, welder, roustabout), parsed out to an increasingly desperate workforce. Some are construction jobs that vanish in a year or so. Working-class jobs in the war industry are often in difficult conditions.

Industry jobs that pay very well typically require advanced degrees, which the majority of the population does not have. Furthermore, some jobs are non-U.S. jobs (e.g. microchips manufactured overseas). Other jobs are induced (e.g. the mom making less-than-minimum wage on a ridesharing app driving an industry executive from work to a pub, or the waiter at a St. Louis restaurant where a missile engineer dines). Industry inflates job tallies. The goal is to confine the congressional side of the MIC, which cites the inflated jobs numbers and goes along for the ride.

The claim that the “defense” industry brings jobs is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth: Spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on the military.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability coming from Washington: Capitol Hill is largely content letting Corporate America police itself. Readers are likely familiar with cases where corporations get to inspect their own product (e.g. the airline industry, the pork industry) instead of external government inspectors doing the job.

Corporations policing corporations is rampant in the war industry, like when the advertising agency GSD&M measures the effectiveness of its own efforts at recruiting working class youth into the military. Sometimes one corporation polices part of industry, like when Calibre Systems conducts “cost and economic analysis of major weapons system programs and associated acquisition/financial management policies and procedures.” ………  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | politics, Reference, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Unlike products from other industries, the war industry’s products are useless to people (extract from A People’s Guide to the War Industry )

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception  Consortium News, May 26, 2021   Christian Sorensen 

”…………Civilian Use

Unlike products from other industries, the public cannot eat, consume, play with, learn from, or interact with most goods and services sold by the war industry. Employees of war corporations invoke civilian applications of military technology: The internet, the jet engine, radar, and satellite technology all came about from military funding.

But these are ancillary benefits. Imagine what technological benefits society could achieve if $750 billion per year was directed intentionally toward research and development of technology that benefits human wellbeing and the natural world, not military and war.

We can harness the human mind in many ways. Nonetheless, so far — by the numbers — the U.S. government has only spent significant monies on military and war. Try throwing that kind of money at the sciences and arts every year — via other federal departments, such as Interior, Agriculture, Health ………  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A People’s Guide to the War Industry, by Christian Sorensen — Rise Up Times

“The main role of the federal government under capitalism is to maintain the capitalist economic system and set the general conditions by which large corporations and billionaires are able to accrue more and more profit.”

A People’s Guide to the War Industry, by Christian Sorensen — Rise Up Times A People’s Guide to the War Industry -2: Profits & Deception  https://consortiumnews.com/2021/05/26/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-2-profits-deception/May 26, 2021   Christian Sorensen maps out the global system of weapons mongering. Second in a series of five articles on the U.S. military-industrial-congressional complex.   By Christian Sorensen

Special to Consortium News   War corporations are spread across the United States. The top war industry hubs in the U.S. are Huntsville, Alabama; greater Boston; greater Tampa, Florida; the Dallas-Fort Worth region; southern California; and the corridor stretching from northeast Virginia, through Washington, to Baltimore (consistently home to the wealthiest counties in the country).

The U.S. war industry profits well through global supply chains, including setting up subsidiaries in allied capitalist countries and using those countries’ industrial bases to produce parts of a weapons platform (such as the costly, underperforming F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, parts of which are built in locations as diverse as Italy and Japan).

War corporations manage global chains by organizing, coordinating, and enforcing a hierarchical command structure upon disparate locations. Orders flow down the chain and capital flows up, allowing the corporation’s executives, and ultimately Wall Street — not workers who make the products — to harvest enormous amounts of wealth. This exacerbates inequality, not just in Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania, and Marietta, Georgia, but also Rochester, England, and Aire-sur-l’Adour, France — all locations where U.S. war products are made. War corporations paint these actions as “building lasting capacity” and other euphemisms.

A euphemism is a kinder, gentler term used in place of a direct, often more accurate one. The MIC employs euphemisms adeptly. Public relations gurus know the English language very well. Recall George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language:”

”In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

With the care of a sommelier, MIC propagandists select the perfect euphemisms to mask their activities and present death and destruction in comfortable terms. Getting rid of euphemism, pursuing an honest language, is one step toward achieving a system that benefits people and planet.

Globe-Spanning Installations

Military installations are avenues through which corporations route goods and services. Sometimes the U.S. military sets up an installation overseas with permission from the allied capitalist regime. Sometimes the ruling class orders the military to take the land by force. It stole land in Guam, compensating locals a paltry sum or nothing at all. It took the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It stole Vieques, Puerto Rico. It teamed up with the Danish government to remove the indigenous Inughuit to make way for Thule Air Base in northwest Greenland. And the Pentagon and State Department teamed up with the United Kingdom to remove Chagossians from the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean in order to set up what is now called Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia.

Incredible corporate profit (e.g. base operations, ordnance, platforms, construction, fuel, maintenance) runs through each military installation. Most U.S. military bases overseas are not located in active war zones. The largest concentrations of U.S. troops are on bases in the Persian Gulf, Europe, and the Western Pacific.

There are thousands of U.S. military installations inside the United States (land stolen from the Native Americans). As contract announcements indicate, Corporate America is sometimes put in charge of studying and documenting the effect a planned base or weapons range might have on the surrounding community — aircraft noise, potential for mishaps and accidents, and the extent to which land use works with or against local designs — even though Corporate America stands to benefit if the base or range gets established.

Duping Workers

In the capitalist economic system, relatively few people control the means of production (e.g. machinery, factories). In order to survive, most people (the working class) sell their ability to work. They receive a wage in return. A worker’s work is what makes money for the ruling class. This is true across all industries, including the war industry.

Workers who design and assemble the major weapons of war form the core of the working class within the war industry. They put together missiles at Raytheon’s factory in Tucson, Arizona. They manufacture drones at General Atomics’ factory in Poway, California. They fabricate land vehicles at AM General’s factory in South Bend, Indiana. They build landing craft at Textron’s factory in New Orleans, Louisiana. Whatever the workers produce is not theirs to use or sell. Instead, their output belongs to the capitalist class. These rulers (literally sitting in corporate suites) decide what to produce, how to produce it, and to whom to sell it.

The ruling class profits by underpaying the workers. A given worker on a given day produces value, which we’ll call A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. The corporation pays the worker a wage comparable to F and G. The rest (A, B, C, D, E) is “surplus value.” This difference between what a worker is paid in wages and the value a worker creates is how the corporation profits

Those profits go toward executives’ compensation (CEO pay at the top five war corporations totaled almost half a billion dollars over the course of 2015-2019); boost stock price and allow for stock buybacks; and are invested to make more profit. Money used to expand business to increase future profits is functioning as capital. An example of this is General Dynamics building a 200,000-square-foot building for submarine assembly at its Groton, Connecticut, shipyard in order to make more goods to sell for profit.

The ruling class inundates the working class with various forms of advertising, public relations gimmicks, propaganda, and disinformation in order to keep the working class (which greatly outnumbers the ruling class) passive and compliant. Many within the working class have swallowed such deception.

Working class jobs within the war industry are various, and include administrative assistant, analyst, armed mercenary, astrophysicist, data officer, engineer, lawyer, lobbyist, linguist, mathematician, public relations specialist, technician, and tradesperson. From the haughtiest academic to the humblest welder, what propaganda have they seized in order to justify working in the war industry?

Civilian Use

Unlike products from other industries, the public cannot eat, consume, play with, learn from, or interact with most goods and services sold by the war industry. Employees of war corporations invoke civilian applications of military technology: The internet, the jet engine, radar, and satellite technology all came about from military funding.

But these are ancillary benefits. Imagine what technological benefits society could achieve if $750 billion per year was directed intentionally toward research and development of technology that benefits human wellbeing and the natural world, not military and war.

We can harness the human mind in many ways. Nonetheless, so far — by the numbers — the U.S. government has only spent significant monies on military and war. Try throwing that kind of money at the sciences and arts every year — via other federal departments, such as Interior, Agriculture, Health & Human Services, Transportation — and see where unpressured, non-militarized research and development lead.

Distancing 

Lockheed Martin’s director of communications once said, “The missile has nothing to do with the manufacturer… Lockheed Martin was not the one that was there, firing the missile” (Robert Fisk, Independent,May 18, 1997).

Such distancing is no different from an engineer at a U.S. university who justifies her work on nuclear weapons along the lines of, “Well it’s not me pushing the button. Surely, there are military professionals in charge of these weapons.” Other workers in the war industry rationalize by arguing, “I might disagree with the wars, but I’m not the one elected to make such decisions. I’m just doing my job.” Those who resort to distancing focus on their own daily, incremental tasks, blocking out all consequence.

Traditional Patriotism 

Traditional patriotism rallies a person around the flag and shuns holding authority to account. Traditional patriotism allows the wars to continue. True patriotism, however, involves questioning government, making government accountable, and changing government when it is polluted and corrupt. True patriotism, as retired Major Danny Sjursen puts it, is “participatory and principled.”

Support the Troops 

Some people justify working for the war industry by saying they do it for the troops. Journalist Jeffrey Stern describes how one machinist at a missile factory rationalizes his role:

“[T]he thing that he said made him most proud about working at Raytheon was helping to keep American servicemen and women safe. The company makes a point of hiring veterans with combat injuries, which reminds him of whom he’s working for and why. He feels it when he sees the gigantic photos of service members that the company hangs in the most prominent parts of the plant. The photos, he explained, are of relatives of Raytheon workers. When he’s at work, the notion of helping American servicemen and women is not abstract. It’s almost tactile.”

Well played, Raytheon! The phrase “support the troops” is a clever slogan through which the MIC throws a blanket of patriotism over the underlying issue: supporting the wars. “Support the troops” has been very effective in getting the working class to line up in favor of war.

Delusion & Moral Bankruptcy 

Many people within the war industry are deluded or morally bankrupt and therefore have no problem working in such a destructive industry. Delusion and moral bankruptcy are the direct result of decades of refined capitalist propaganda and indoctrination. Many workers don’t understand that the system exists because of their exploitation. Many don’t understand that the war industry exists as a means of profit. Nor does the increasingly privatized and standardized public-school system emphasize the critical thinking needed to alter such a sad state of affairs.

Lack of Courage

Many smart people, blissfully comfortable with the paycheck that being part of the war industry work brings, lack the courage to act. Consider one plucked at random from the middle ranks of a war corporation. The man’s résumé is impressive: degree from a prestigious university, awards from industry and the Pentagon, and not one ounce of moral courage. His participation in the war industry leads directly to the deaths of innocents abroad and perpetuates war.

This flexible, powerful recipe allows one to justify working in the war industry.

A few people within the MIC recognize the gravity of the situation — that funneling so much money toward military, espionage, and war has a negative effect on U.S. security because it drains manpower, time, and capital, and forestalls social care — but are afraid of the consequences of speaking up.

Group think, hierarchy, compartmentation, economic incentive, and chain of command enforce the status quo. Violence and social isolation deter the few who push back against the machinery of war. The minor whistleblower is ostracized and demoted, the leaker fined and locked up. When just a few people push back, the MIC crushes them. When the working class pushes back, united and together, the MIC has a problem on its hands.

The ruling class employs other devices to ensure the workers continue to sell their labor power. Divide and conquer is a popular device: pit the workers against one another, profiting the capitalist while exhausting the worker. Wedge issues, such as race and nationalism, further split the working class along arbitrary, divisive lines, as seen when U.S. workers buy into the demonization of Arab, Persian, or Chinese workers.


Capitalists also elevate a few workers here and there above other fellow workers (think of the foreman in a Virginia shipyard or a taskmaster in an office producing signals intelligence software). These elevated few are given a tad more money in exchange for keeping the majority of the workers in line.

Replacing workers with machines and automating jobs keeps the workforce desperate. With so many people unemployed and underemployed, capitalist rulers get to pick the most passive laborers for war industry jobs, the ones who will keep their heads down and not raise a fuss about the relative pittance they’re paid. Purchasing the necessities of life (e.g. food, exorbitant healthcare, sky-high rent, utilities) requires that workers continue to sell their labor (the products of which maim and kill the working class in other countries) through which the ruling class becomes fantastically wealthy.

Academia

Education in the United States exists within narrow confines. The working class educated in elementary and secondary schools are not given the opportunity to learn about capitalism, let alone the horrific nature and devastating effects of the U.S. war industry. They are not taught about how the interests of the ruling class (including the Pentagon’s leadership, industry executives, Wall Street financiers, and Congress) clash head-on with the interests of the working class. An uneducated population will not mobilize effectively against its oppressors. This atmosphere of ignorance greatly benefits the MIC.

The war industry and the Pentagon fund extensive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives across the U.S. and in allied countries. By attracting students into STEM careers, the war industry and the Pentagon prepare and safeguard their future. Industry promotion of STEM lays the groundwork for future design, engineering, and production capacity, while the Pentagon promotes STEM in order to foster a technologically literate workforce and future generations of enlisted troops who are capable enough to operate the war industry’s products. STEM efforts are comprehensive, covering a wide geographical area and all ages, from elementary through university.

Many universities in the United States are part of the U.S. war industry. The role of these academic institutions is threefold: research and develop technology, serve as a holding station (e.g. Harvard’s Belfer Center) for MIC elites before they rotate into government or corporate suites, and accept philanthropy from war profiteers thereby whitewashing capitalist brutality. The main academic participants in the war industry include but are not limited to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, the University of Dayton, and Georgia Tech.

The U.S. government runs many research labs pursuing military and intelligence R&D. The Army Research Lab and the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity are located in Maryland. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research are in Arlington, Virginia. The Air Force Research Lab is run out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, northeast of Dayton, Ohio, with branches in New Mexico and upstate New York. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research & Development Center is in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Most work in and for these labs is carried out by corporations and academic institutions, not uniformed military personnel.

report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued in September 2020 detailed, “DOD does not know how contractors’ independent R&D projects fit into the department’s technology goals.”


“Brain drain” happens when industry herds intelligent people toward purposes of war, like when a graduate of an engineering school goes to work for a war corporation instead of a municipality. Humanity thus loses skilled human beings as a result. Brain drain is a great tragedy, and the war industry’s biggest success. In Boston, the U.S. Air Force alone funds ninety different research projects, according to the Air Force Secretary. And that’s just the publicly declared actions of one branch of the military in one city.

Lockheed Martin alone employs nearly 50,000 scientists and engineers, according to its CEO in her presentation to the Society of Women Engineers. Imagine if these minds were working on problems and projects for the betterment of humanity and the planet, instead of devising more ingenious ways to surveil or murder. Imagine the possibilities.

Effective science is based on free, open discussion. Military funding and stipulations (compartmentation, shoehorned focus, classification, near-term deadlines, stove-piped fields) oppose free, open discussion. Breakthroughs benefitting humanity rarely happen when people are tied to military-industry funding priorities, schedules, and narrow cognitive confines. Military and industry shun and condemn the polymath, the free thinker, and the uninhibited tinkerer. Military and industry embrace and fund the careerist, the complicit academic, the rigid functionary, the greedy corporatist, and the aspiring bureaucrat. Military-industry science may possess strong minds, but it does not often make the scientific breakthroughs society needs.

Influence

Strategy involves establishing priorities, making choices, and then matching available resources to goals, means to ends. Capitalists running the war industry utilize a five-step strategy to capture government:

  • Pull retiring military officers into war corporations
  • Stack the deck by placing ex-industry officials in the Pentagon’s leadership
  • Finance congressional campaigns
  • Lobby creatively and expansively
  • Fund think tanks & corporate media

War corporations recruit retired high-ranking military officers. War corporations use these eager retirees to open doors, influence policy, and increase sales. Generals and admirals retire from the U.S. Armed Forces and then join war corporations where they set to work converting their knowledge (about the acquisition process, senior military and civilian leaders, long-term military policy, and how the Pentagon works) and connections into profit.

Corporate jobs for these retired officers include manager, vice president, lobbyist, consultant, and director. Only a small number of 3- and 4-star officers declines this systemic corruption. War corporations have plenty to pull from, as there are more generals and admirals in uniform today in 2021 than there were at the end of World War II. Mere issuance of a bulletin announcing the hiring of a former high-ranking general or admiral often leads to a boost in stock price.

U.S. military officers benefit professionally and financially from implementing MIC aggression. There is no downside for high-ranking officers who support nonstop war. They’ll soon retire with full benefits, and likely go work for a war corporation. Officers who make it to the highest military ranks are very good at conforming to the system.

These officers support nonstop wars of choice and broad military deployments, and defer to pro-war pretexts and jargon coming from industry think tanks and pressure groups. They judge military activity in terms of numbers (dollars spent, weapons purchased, bases active, troops deployed) instead of clear soldierly goals.

Many officers are unable or unwilling to distinguish between the needs of a war corporation and the needs of a professional uniformed military. These U.S. military officers don’t see war corporations; they see a total force in which military and industry work together. An officer who dissents in a forceful manner risks their career. As the MIC crafts pretexts to justify its own existence and expansion, officers who go against the system from the inside are isolated, shed, or spit out.

Reality is difficult to stomach: There is an absolute dearth of class consciousness and moral courage within the Pentagon. The upper ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces are rife with a caliber of officer predisposed to seek out profit and reward upon retirement.


Executives move smoothly from corporations to the Pentagon, particularly the sundry civilian offices (secretary, deputy secretary, and assistant deputy secretary). These men and women who run the Pentagon have been raised in an environment of profiteering; they are steeped in corporate thought; their allegiance is to corporate success. They bring with them their industry contacts and an exploitative ideology. They turn to corporate products when presented with a military problem. They benefit professionally and financially.

Industry executives, the most rapacious of the capitalist class, enter “public service” and influence programs and policies. This invariably boosts the profits of former industry employers, who, thenceforth, capture and direct more of the U.S. military establishment. (Such actions, profit invested to make more profit, is money functioning as capital.)

Giant corporations finance the campaigns of people running for congressional office. Those people, once in office, help out the corporations. Washington is so corrupt that they’ve basically legalized this process — they’ve legalized bribery. In Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that limits on election spending are unconstitutional; in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the Supreme Court distorted the First Amendment’s free speech clause, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political contributions; and in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (2014), the Supreme Court got rid of limits on the total number of political contributions one can give over a two-year period.

We are told that the Supreme Court defends liberty and provides a check against the executive and legislative branches, however, the function of the Court, as its rulings demonstrate, is to abet corporate authority and financial interest in line with what the Executive and Legislative branches pursue.

The war industry targets both houses of Congress, particularly elected officials on relevant committees (Armed Services, Appropriations, Intelligence, Foreign Relations). The war industry finances many political action committees, or PACs. These are tax-exempt organizations that aggregate donations to fund political campaigns or influence federal elections. Super PACs (a.k.a. independent expenditure-only committees) allow unlimited contributions. Funding congressional campaigns directly impacts the way U.S. elected officials vote.

Politicians and their war industry bosses are proficient at claiming the “defense” industry creates jobs. Take caution when a war corporation throws the word “jobs” around. Many of these jobs are part-time, temporary, or menial (e.g. painter, welder, roustabout), parsed out to an increasingly desperate workforce. Some are construction jobs that vanish in a year or so. Working-class jobs in the war industry are often in difficult conditions.


Industry jobs that pay very well typically require advanced degrees, which the majority of the population does not have. Furthermore, some jobs are non-U.S. jobs (e.g. microchips manufactured overseas). Other jobs are induced (e.g. the mom making less-than-minimum wage on a ridesharing app driving an industry executive from work to a pub, or the waiter at a St. Louis restaurant where a missile engineer dines). Industry inflates job tallies. The goal is to confine the congressional side of the MIC, which cites the inflated jobs numbers and goes along for the ride.

The claim that the “defense” industry brings jobs is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth: Spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on the military.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability coming from Washington: Capitol Hill is largely content letting Corporate America police itself. Readers are likely familiar with cases where corporations get to inspect their own product (e.g. the airline industry, the pork industry) instead of external government inspectors doing the job.

Corporations policing corporations is rampant in the war industry, like when the advertising agency GSD&M measures the effectiveness of its own efforts at recruiting working class youth into the military. Sometimes one corporation polices part of industry, like when Calibre Systems conducts “cost and economic analysis of major weapons system programs and associated acquisition/financial management policies and procedures.”

The claim that the “defense” industry brings jobs is a stale public relations ploy. It hides the truth: Spending on healthcare, education, or clean energy creates more jobs than spending on the military.

The war industry can inflate job numbers because there is no accountability coming from Washington: Capitol Hill is largely content letting Corporate America police itself. Readers are likely familiar with cases where corporations get to inspect their own product (e.g. the airline industry, the pork industry) instead of external government inspectors doing the job.

Corporations policing corporations is rampant in the war industry, like when the advertising agency GSD&M measures the effectiveness of its own efforts at recruiting working class youth into the military. Sometimes one corporation polices part of industry, like when Calibre Systems conducts “cost and economic analysis of major weapons system programs and associated acquisition/financial management policies and procedures.”


Second in a five-part series by the author. Part 3 on Friday: ‘Bribery and Propaganda’

Christian Sorensen is an independent journalist mainly focused on war profiteering within the military-industrial complex. An Air Force veteran, he is the author of the recently published book, Understanding the War Industry. He is also a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of independent veteran military and national security experts. His work is available at War Industry Muster

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Education, employment, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Radioactive Fukushima soil stored in flood zones

Contaminated Fukushima soil stored in flood zones, audit finds  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14359377?fbclid=IwAR3vSQl1UVoSDAqpoxsL8nYsWhRVPVM55o749Uw1NXEJ9FtvOxh6aquOyq8, By RYOTA GOTO/ Staff Writer, May 27, 2021 Many of the temporary storage sites for soil and waste contaminated by radiation from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant are located in areas vulnerable to natural disasters, a government audit found.

The Board of Audit of Japan submitted an investigative report to the Diet on May 26 warning the central government to address the contaminated materials that would be in jeopardy in the event of disasters such as landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains, or tsunami.

The board studied the Environment Ministry’s reviews of the temporary storage sites for contaminated soil and designated radioactive waste from October 2019 to April 2020, and took issue with some of its assessments.

The results show 159 out of 170 sites in Fukushima Prefecture, where contaminated soil resulting from the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is being temporarily stored, are within areas deemed vulnerable to landslides and flooding from heavy rain.

The ministry had surveyed locations but concluded that preventive measures were not necessary at 158 sites because the materials were fenced in or the contaminated soil was stored in bags and covered by liner sheets.

As for the remaining location, the ministry moved the contaminated soil to an intermediary storage site.

In nine prefectures including Fukushima, 130 of 379 locations that store contaminated waste are in areas expected to be flooded or hit by landslide in the event of a disaster.For 117 locations, the ministry concluded it is unnecessary to take preventive measures because the waste is stored inside buildings.

But for 13 locations, the ministry said discussion is needed over the necessity of taking preventative measures.

he board said the ministry’s reviews did not include a check of whether each site is located in an area considered vulnerable to tsunami or flooding. The ministry had reasoned that embankments or other obstacles are either in place or under construction, and that the need to take measures against a potential tsunami is low and any impact from a reservoir collapsing would be limited.

But the audit board surveyed 153 temporary storage sites for contaminated soil and found that five of them are vulnerable to a tsunami and three are vulnerable to reservoir flooding.

The board said the ministry needs to consider residents’ concerns about the potential of a leak of contaminated materials, check if the areas are vulnerable to disasters and take preventive measures.

The ministry responded to the audit by defending that it “prioritized quickly securing storage sites at the time and did not have time to check the sites against a hazard map.”

A representative of the Fukushima prefectural government admitted some mistakes were made.

“We knew the locations of storage sites but failed to think about disaster-prevention measures,” the representative said. 

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

NATO’s U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe not safe. U.S. soldiers’ Flashcard Apps reveal secrets

“secrecy about US nuclear weapons deployments in Europe does not exist to protect the weapons from terrorists, but only to protect politicians and military leaders from having to answer tough questions about whether NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangements still make sense today. This is yet one more warning that these weapons are not secure.”

US Soldiers Expose Nuclear Weapons Secrets Via Flashcard Apps, Bellingcat,  Foeke Postma, May 28, 2021,

For US soldiers tasked with the custody of nuclear weapons in Europe, the stakes are high. Security protocols are lengthy, detailed and need to be known by heart. To simplify this process, some service members have been using publicly visible flashcard learning apps — inadvertently revealing a multitude of sensitive security protocols about US nuclear weapons and the bases at which they are stored.

While the presence of US nuclear weapons in Europe has long been detailed by various leaked documents, photos and statements by retired officials, their specific locations are officially still a secret with governments neither confirming nor denying their presence. 

As many campaigners and parliamentarians in some European nations see it, this ambiguity has often hampered open and democratic debate about the rights and wrongs of hosting nuclear weapons. 

However, the flashcards studied by soldiers tasked with guarding these devices reveal not just the bases, but even identify the exact shelters with “hot” vaults that likely contain nuclear weapons.

They also detail intricate security details and protocols such as the positions of cameras, the frequency of patrols around the vaults, secret duress words that signal when a guard is being threatened and the unique identifiers that a restricted area badge needs to have. 

Like their analogue namesakes, flashcard learning apps are popular digital learning tools that show questions on one side and answers on the other. By simply searching online for terms publicly known to be associated with nuclear weapons, Bellingcat was able to discover cards used by military personnel serving at all six European military bases reported to store nuclear devices. 

Experts approached by Bellingcat said that these findings represented serious breaches of security protocols and raised renewed questions about US nuclear weapons deployment in Europe.

Dr Jeffrey Lewis, founding publisher of Arms Control Wonk.com and Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said that the findings showed a “flagrant breach” in security practices related to US nuclear weapons stationed in NATO countries.


He added that “secrecy about US nuclear weapons deployments in Europe does not exist to protect the weapons from terrorists, but only to protect politicians and military leaders from having to answer tough questions about whether NATO’s nuclear-sharing arrangements still make sense today. This is yet one more warning that these weapons are not secure.”

Hans Kristenssen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, broadly agreed and said that safety is provided by “effective security, not secrecy.”

Some flashcards uncovered during the course of this investigation had been publicly visible online as far back as 2013. Other sets detailed processes that were being learned by users  until at least April 2021. It is not known whether secret phrases, protocols or other security practices have been altered since then.

However, all flashcards described within this article appear to have been taken down from the learning platforms on which they appeared after Bellingcat reached out to NATO and the US Military for comment prior to publication.

………………For nuclear disarmament activists, however, the information revealed by US soldiers emphasises what they see as the dangers of hosting nuclear weapons in Europe as well as the lack of strategic sense in doing so.

When contacted to comment on these findings Susi Snyder, project leader of the No Nukes program at Dutch peace organisation PAX and coordinator of the Don’t Bank on the Bomb campaign, remarked “The public in European countries hosting B61 bombs overwhelmingly support the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Policies of secrecy that deny democracy can’t last, and risk the security of the population. Secret stationing, like nuclear weapons, are no solution to the threats of today, or tomorrow.”

Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists added: “There are so many fingerprints that give away where the nuclear weapons are that it serves no military or safety purpose to try to keep it secret. Safety is accomplished by effective security, not secrecy. Granted, there may be specific operational and security details that need to be kept secret, but the presence of nuclear weapons does not. The real purpose of secrecy is to avoid a contentious public debate in countries where nuclear weapons are not popular.” https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2021/05/28/us-soldiers-expose-nuclear-weapons-secrets-via-flashcard-apps/

May 29, 2021 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

New technology comes nowhere close to solving the problem of nuclear waste

New technology comes nowhere close to solving the problem of nuclear waste, Toronto Star, By Thomas Walkom May 27, 2021  What is to be done with nuclear waste? It is a question that dominates the Atomic Age. It is also one that has never been satisfactorily answered…..

nuclear waste is a relentless certainty. A plant that produces nuclear power creates nuclear waste. It is that simple.But what to do with that waste? Up to now, the assumption was that such waste would be buried in deep geological caverns, or repositories. Two potential sites for such repositories have been identified — one in Northwestern Ontario and one near Lake Huron. The usual political battles are being waged over whether either or both sites are safe.

But over the last few years, more attention has been paid to a different solution — using radioactive waste as fuel to create more nuclear power from so-called small modular reactors (SMRs). The governments of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick have been particularly interested in developing this new SMR technology.

One New Brunswick start-up, Moltex Energy of Saint John, has received $50.5 million in federal funds.

The new technology has its critics. In the first place, it can create new and even more dangerous radioactive waste. As the Globe and Mail reports, Moltex says it produces an impure form of plutonium as a waste byproduct from its SMRs. Pure plutonium is used in the manufacture of atomic bombs.

Indeed, some nuclear experts, including former senior U.S. officials, were so alarmed that seven of them took the unusual step of penning an open letter this week to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In that letter, they warned that reprocessing waste in a manner that creates plutonium would undermine global efforts to limit nuclear proliferation.

They also noted that the new technology wouldn’t solve the waste problem. Rather, it would just produce different kinds of nuclear waste.

“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,” the letter said.

All of this is true. But none of it is enough to derail the new interest in SMR technology. Governments like it because it promises to be cheaper to build than classic Pickering-style nuclear power plants. The nuclear industry sees it as a political lifeline at a time when atomic power is not particularly popular.

So regardless of what its critics say, don’t expect this new technology to fade away. It may not be the silver bullet that its adherents claim it to be. It comes nowhere close to solving the waste problem.

But it is supported by important political constituencies. History has shown how crucial this support has been to the nuclear industry.  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/05/27/new-technology-comes-nowhere-close-to-solving-the-problem-of-nuclear-waste.html

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Canada, technology, wastes | 1 Comment

Report on the threat of nuclear terrorism

Etidal publishes report on threat of nuclear terrorism,  https://www.arabnews.com/node/1866166/saudi-arabia 28 May 21, RIYADH: In a report published on Thursday, the Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) warned that terrorist groups are attempting to exploit the humanitarian effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop their capabilities, including the aim of obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

“The Great Threat: Extremism and the Spread of Nuclear Terrorism” reviews the risks posed by terrorist organizations through their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, which has been a goal of such groups for decades.

Etidal noted that “the signs of terrorist practices around the world following the coronavirus pandemic shed light on the extremist organizations’ attempts to extensively exploit the global humanitarian situation in order to develop their destructive capabilities.”

RIYADH: In a report published on Thursday, the Riyadh-based Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (Etidal) warned that terrorist groups are attempting to exploit the humanitarian effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop their capabilities, including the aim of obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

“The Great Threat: Extremism and the Spread of Nuclear Terrorism” reviews the risks posed by terrorist organizations through their efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, which has been a goal of such groups for decades.

Etidal noted that “the signs of terrorist practices around the world following the coronavirus pandemic shed light on the extremist organizations’ attempts to extensively exploit the global humanitarian situation in order to develop their destructive capabilities.”

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The time to divest from Bitcoin is now

The time to divest from Bitcoin is now, Independent Australia, By John Quiggin | 29 May 2021  The rising price of cryptocurrencies is resulting in higher demands for electricity in order to produce them, writes Professor John Quiggin.

TWO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS in financial markets have big and directly opposed implications for the future of the global climate. On the one hand, financial institutions of all kinds are divesting from carbon-based fuels. On the other hand, they are increasingly embracing one of the most pointless and destructive trends of recent times — cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Let’s start with the good news. Not so long ago, divestment from coal mines and coal-fired power stations appeared a symbolic moral gesture, undertaken by socially-minded investors who were willing to narrow their investment options rather than profit from environmental destruction. As it turned out, the socially-minded investors did well, while the hardheads who kept coal miners and oil companies in their portfolios lost badly.  

Jumping forward to the present, divestment has become the norm, though the process has typically been made in a series of baby steps. At this point, nearly all financial institutions in developed market economies have limited their exposure to coal and indicated a strategy to end any association with thermal coal, used in power generation. (Alternatives to metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking, are in an early stage of development, unlike solar and wind electricity generation)………………….

The progress being made on divestment from coal contrasts sharply with the eager embrace of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Although they were once supposed to replace existing currencies as a medium of exchange, cryptocurrencies are now used only as a speculative asset and as a way of conducting illegal transactions like ransomware payments. 

The “proof of work” process by which Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are generated depends on “miners” competing to solve increasingly elaborate, but pointless, mathematical problems using specially designed computers and lots of electricity. The higher the price of Bitcoins, the more electricity it is worth burning to generate them.

Calculations a few years ago suggested that the electricity used in Bitcoin mining was comparable to the total demand of a small country like New Zealand. But as the price has risen, so has the demand on electricity resources, to the point where abandoned coal-fired power stations are being reopened. Even when Bitcoin is mined using renewable electricity, that electricity is diverted from other uses, which must then rely on coal-fired or gas-fired electricity.

As concerns have risen about the environmental damage caused by cryptocurrencies, attempts have been made to find “green” ways of producing them. Past efforts of this kind have failed, but perhaps these will succeed. However, we don’t have time to wait and see. Financial institutions need to divest from cryptocurrencies and financial regulators need to shut them down. When and if an environmentally safe version emerges, we can take another look.

John Quiggin is Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland. His new book, The Economic Consequences of the Pandemic, will be published by Yale University Press in late 2021……………   https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/the-time-to-divest-from-bitcoin-is-now,15137

May 29, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY | 1 Comment

The sixth high-ranking FirstEnergy executive fired, in Ohio nuclear corruption scandal

FirstEnergy fires another executive over consulting contract  First Energy fires another executive over consulting contract https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2021/05/28/firstenergy-fires-another-executive-over-consulting-contractCLEVELAND (AP Ohio)) — A FirstEnergy senior vice president was fired Thursday for her “inaction” regarding a 2015 amendment to a “purported” consulting contract with someone who was later appointed as Ohio’s top utility regulator, the company announced in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Eileen Mikkelsen’s dismissal makes her the sixth high-ranking FirstEnergy executive fired since the U.S. Department of Justice alleged last July that the company had secretly funded a $60 million bribery scheme aimed at winning legislative approval of a bailout of two nuclear power plants operated at the time by a wholly-owned FirstEnergy subsidiary.

CEO Chuck Jones and two other vice presidents were fired in October for what FirstEnergy said were violations of company policies and its code of conduct. Two of the company’s top attorneys were fired the following month.

FirstEnergy did not specify the reason for their dismissals.

Jones was appointed CEO in 2015.

A message seeking comment was left for Mikkelsen on Thursday. A FirstEnergy spokesperson declined to comment about the firing.

While FirstEnergy has not named the regulator in question, it has not been disputed that it was Samuel Randazzo, appointed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine in early 2019 as chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. Randazzo resigned last November after the FBI searched his Columbus townhome and FirstEnergy disclosed it had paid him $4.3 million before his appointment to end a consulting contract in place since 2013.

“FirstEnergy continues to believe that payments under the consulting agreement may have been for purposes other than those represented within the consulting agreement,” according to Thursday’s SEC filing.

FirstEnergy has been engaged in damage control over the last year as it tries to restore is corporate reputation, emphasizing efforts the company has made to strengthen its internal controls. FirstEnergy officials have said the company is cooperating with investigations by the DOJ, SEC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and that it has discussed a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ attorneys.discussed a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ attorneys.

The Legislature earlier this year repealed the $1 billion bailout in the wake of the scandal and the plants’ new owner, Energy Harbor, indicating it did not want the subsidy worth about $150 million a year. Energy Harbor took control of the plants and other assets of the FirstEnergy subsidiary in February 2020 as part of a deal struck in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Two sets of lawsuits seeking certification as class action complaints have been filed against FirstEnergy since July. Outside attorneys representing the company have said in recent motions to dismiss the lawsuits that FirstEnergy’s actions regarding its contributions to dark money groups controlled by former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder were legal.

Householder and four others were indicted on racketeering charges shortly after the DOJ unveiled criminal complaints against them in July. Householder has pleaded not guilty.

May 29, 2021 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Mr Nuclear Waste and Mr Coal – Top Cronies..Shhh — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

Originally posted on Keep Cumbrian Coal in the Hole: As you know, with the help of many individuals and organisations we have been successful in persuading Cumbria County Council to withdraw their support for the Cumbrian Coal Mine.? However the battle is not over yet and another may have just begun. No doubt you will…

Mr Nuclear Waste and Mr Coal – Top Cronies..Shhh — RADIATION FREE LAKELAND

May 29, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment