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Nuclear energy – Nuclear weapons – the inseparable link


Nuclear energy – Nuclear weapons – the inseparable link, Jonathon Porritt, 4 June 21 

whether we’re talking big reactors or small reactors, fission or fusion. The simple truth is this: we should see nuclear as another 20th century technology, with an ever-diminishing role through into the 21st century, incapable of overcoming its inherent problems of cost, construction delay, nuclear waste, decommissioning, security (both physical and cyber), let alone the small but still highly material risk of catastrophic accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. My ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’ report goes into all these inherent problems in some detail.

So why are the UK’s politicians (in all three major parties) still in thrall to this superannuated technology? It’s here we have to go back to Amchitka! Some environmentalists may still be taken aback to discover that the Government’s principal case for nuclear power in the UK today is driven by the need to maintain the UK’s nuclear weapons capability – to ensure a ‘talent pool’ of nuclear engineers and to support a supply chain of engineering companies capable of providing component parts for the nuclear industry, both civilian and military. The indefatigable work of Andy Stirling and Phil Johnston at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit has established the depth and intensity of these interdependencies, demonstrating how the UK’s military industrial base would become unaffordable in the absence of a nuclear energy programme.

”……….nuclear power plays no part in Greenpeace’s modelling of a rapid transition to a Net Zero carbon world. It’s been very supportive of my new report, ‘Net Zero Without Nuclear’.

I wrote this report partly because the nuclear industry itself is in full-on propaganda mode, and partly because that small caucus of pro-nuclear greens (that’s existed for as long as I can remember) seems to be winning new supporters.

And I can see why. The Net Zero journey we’re now starting out on for real (at long last!) is by far the most daunting challenge that humankind has ever faced. Writing in the Los Angeles Review of Books in June 2019, author and Army veteran Roy Scranton put it like this:

‘Climate change is bigger than the New Deal, bigger than the Marshall Plan, bigger than World War II, bigger than racism, sexism, inequality, slavery, the Holocaust, the end of nature, the Sixth Extinction, famine, war, and plague all put together, because the chaos it’s bringing is going to supercharge every other problem. Successfully meeting this crisis would require an abrupt, traumatic revolution in global human society; failing to meet it will be even worse.’

Not many people see it like that – as yet. But more and more will, as signals of that kind of chaos start to multiply. And we already know that the kind of radical decarbonisation on which our future depends is going to be incredibly hard. So why should we reject a potentially powerful contribution to that decarbonisation challenge?

………….. there is no longer any doubt about the viability of that [renewables] alternative. In 2020, Stanford University issued a collection of 56 peer-reviewed journal articles, from 18 independent research groups, supporting the idea that all the energy required for electricity, transport, heating and cooling, and all industrial purposes, can be supplied reliably with 100% (or near 100%) renewable energy.[i] The solutions involve transitioning ASAP to 100% renewable wind – water – solar (WWS), efficiency and storage.

The transition is already happening. To date, 11 countries have reached or exceeded 100% renewable electricity. And a further 12 countries are intent on reaching that threshold by 2030. In the UK, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology says we can reach 100% renewable electricity by 2032. Last year, we crossed the 40% threshold.

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June 12, 2021 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

A nuclear plant in a volcano zone? What could possibly go wrong, Mr Gates? 

A nuclear power plant, built in partnership with two of the world’s most notorious egoists with funding from questionable sources, using technology developed in tandem with the Chinese, and sited on one of the most active seismic systems on the planet. What could possibly go wrong?  

A nuclear plant in a volcano zone? What could possibly go wrong, Mr Gates?  ht tps://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/a-nuclear-plant-in-a-volcano-zone-what-could-possibly-go-wrong-mr-gates/ By Kate Dunlop June 11, 2021  NOT content with being the biggest private landowner in the US, blotting out the sun and jabbing the world, Bill Gates is getting over his divorce by building a ‘next-generation’ nuclear power plant in Wyoming. 

The Republican state’s governor Mark Gordon announced the deal between Gates’s TerraPower Company, PacifiCorp owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and the US government on June 2.

He said the multi-billion-dollar project, called ‘Natrium’, is to be constructed on the site of a ‘soon-to-be-retired coal-fired plant over the next several years’. TerraPower President Chris Levesque said costs would be split evenly between government and the two billionaires.

No information has been published about the contractual elements of the deal or the likely rate of return to Messrs Gates and Buffett but this is a ‘commercial not a charitable’ effort.

According to the press release, the nuclear plant will feature a 345-megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system, which will produce enough power for 250,000 homes. New storage technology will be able to boost output to 500 megawatts of power for about five and a half hours, equivalent to the energy needed to power 400,000 homes.

Wyoming is both a leading coal mining and uranium mining state, and Governor Gordon promised that the development did not signal any lack of commitment to fossil fuels or to making the state ‘carbon negative’.

He said, ‘I am not going to abandon any of our fossil fuel industry – it is absolutely essential to our state and one of the things that we believe very strongly is our fastest and clearest course to being carbon negative. Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy.’

Last month Gates’s TerraPower signed a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) which they called ‘the next step towards developing a prototype’.

Wyoming is a glorious, sparsely populated state of 97,000 square miles and 580,000 people. It is also home to a ‘hyperactive volcanic region’, the 3,472-square-mile Yellowstone National Park.

At the park’s centre lies a bubbling caldera that is the scar of a supervolcano eruption 640,000 years ago. The Norris Geyser Basin to the northwest of the caldera has more than 500 hydrothermal features, with dynamic geysers and pools that often change from day to day, but a much larger transformation has been taking place as well. For more than two decades, an area larger than Chicago centred near the basin has been inflating and deflating by several inches in erratic bursts.

Daniel Dzurisin, a research geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory, and a co-author of new research published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, explains why the land is so unstable.

To be clear, the research does not indicate that the supervolcano that created Yellowstone’s caldera is any more likely to erupt now. Instead, researchers speculate that the changes below Norris may mean an increased chance of hydrothermal explosions taking place throughout the basin.

In March 2014, a magnitude 4.9 earthquake rocked Norris Geyser Basin. The ground fluctuated between sinking and rising until early in 2019, when it began to subside. The basin today is five inches higher than it was in 2000.

Researchers suspect that magma-derived fluids are sitting just beneath the entire surface of the region. Hydrothermal craters caused by geologic pressure cookers of boiling water may violently explode on to  the surface, an event that is all but impossible to forecast.

In the Northwest, on the borders of Yellowstone, the Teton Mountain Range rises along the Teton Fault Line which forms part of one of the most seismically active areas in the Intermountain US. The entire area is prone to storms and considerable earthquakes.

These facts will increase the many challenges of delivering a safe nuclear power plant, as well as protecting it from hackers, ‘green activists’, and domestic or foreign terrorists.

An example that Gates and Buffett could learn from happened in Japan on March 11, 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami caused a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The risk of tsunami had been engineered into the plant design but underestimated the potential flood risk. Three of the six reactors sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. Explosion of the released hydrogen damaged the reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts.

None of this data prevents the building of a nuclear power plant in Wyoming but it highlights the requirement for authentic public consultation, absolute transparency, and perhaps, humility in the face of nature – behaviours that have not hitherto been associated with the global activities of either Gates or Buffett.

A nuclear power plant, built in partnership with two of the world’s most notorious egoists with funding from questionable sources, using technology developed in tandem with the Chinese, and sited on one of the most active seismic systems on the planet. What could possibly go wrong?  

June 12, 2021 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

NFLA report on UK plutonium policy amid new concerns over plutonium dumped in the Irish Sea

 

   

NFLA publishes report on UK plutonium policy amid new concerns over plutonium remobilisation in the Irish Sea     https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/nfla-report-uk-plutonium-policy-concerns-plutonium-remobilisation-irish-sea/

The UK & Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) publishes today on its website an expert overview of national plutonium policy and recent concerns over the potential for plutonium remobilisation in the Irish Sea. (1)

The report was developed by the NFLA Policy Advisor, Pete Roche, and was first published on the website ‘No2nuclearpower.org.uk’. (2) Recent research on this area was also presented by Pete to the most recent meetings of the NFLA English Forum and NFLA All Ireland Sustainable Energy Forum. (3)

The report notes that the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) expects the Magnox Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield to close this year (2021) – one year later than previously planned. This follows on from the closure of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP) in November 2018. Reprocessing, which NFLA has always argued has been completely unnecessary, is the chemical separation of plutonium and unused uranium from spent nuclear waste fuel.

When reprocessing ends there will be around 140 tonnes of separated civil plutonium stored at Sellafield – the world’s largest stockpile. Since 2008, the NDA has been discussing how to deal with this embarrassment, given that it is highly toxic, poses a permanent risk of proliferation, and will cost taxpayers around £73 million a year to store for the next century. (3) 13 years later, after much dithering, the UK Government has failed to make any decisions, but still appears to favour the re-use option, which would probably involve transporting weapons-useable plutonium or Mixed Oxide Fuel (MoX) fuel to reactor sites, such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B (and C if it is ever built) with an armed escort.

The report looks at this sorry saga and the options for dealing with this stockpile. NFLA believe that the plutonium should be immobilised and stored safely. NDA is continuing to investigate how immobilisation and reuse might be implemented, arguing that using the material as MOX fuel in light water reactors is the most mature option from a technical and licensing perspective. The UK government says it can only make a decision when it can be underpinned with sufficient evidence.

When reprocessing ends there will be around 140 tonnes of separated civil plutonium stored at Sellafield – the world’s largest stockpile. Since 2008, the NDA has been discussing how to deal with this embarrassment, given that it is highly toxic, poses a permanent risk of proliferation, and will cost taxpayers around £73 million a year to store for the next century. (3) 13 years later, after much dithering, the UK Government has failed to make any decisions, but still appears to favour the re-use option, which would probably involve transporting weapons-useable plutonium or Mixed Oxide Fuel (MoX) fuel to reactor sites, such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell B (and C if it is ever built) with an armed escort.

The report looks at this sorry saga and the options for dealing with this stockpile. NFLA believe that the plutonium should be immobilised and stored safely. NDA is continuing to investigate how immobilisation and reuse might be implemented, arguing that using the material as MOX fuel in light water reactors is the most mature option from a technical and licensing perspective. The UK government says it can only make a decision when it can be underpinned with sufficient evidence.

The NFLA report also highlights its concerns that plutonium particles dumped in the Irish Sea from Sellafield could remobilise. Low-level aqueous radioactive waste has been discharged from the Sellafield site into the Irish Sea for more than 50 years.

Unfortunately, it has since emerged that a proportion of such sediment associated radioactivity has remobilised, and is being actively transported around the Irish Sea, while the remainder is temporarily “sequestered” in the seabed but subject to any future disturbance mechanisms such as storm, wave and seismic activity. In addition, a proportion of dissolved nuclides did not necessarily remain dissolved in liquid form in the water column, but it could become incorporated into organic particles and deposited into sedimentary environments where they could be temporarily sequestered, but subsequently recycled back into the environment by dredging, trawling storm and seismic activity.

For NFLA, there remains real concern that this ‘Sellafield Mudpatch’ in the Irish Sea could be disturbed if either a deep-underground coal mine is developed off the coast of Cumbria, or similarly if a deep-underground radioactive waste repository is built under the Irish Sea again off the Cumbrian coast. It calls for the NDA and Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) to study these issues urgently before any such development is ever considered to be developed.

FLA Steering Committee Chair Councillor David Blackburn said:

“This report on the NFLA policy outlines one of the most embarrassing and perplexing elements of UK nuclear policy – what to do with its world record plutonium stockpile. The NFLA report highlights there are no easy answers, but delays on pursuing sensible immobilisation options have cost money and lead to further storage challenge. This report also highlights ongoing scientific and environmental alarm about building deep-underground facilities off the Cumbria coast that could remobilise plutonium and other dangerous particles that lie on the Irish Sea. Real caution and detailed research are required before any decisions are made. I urge councillors and council waste management officers to reads this important report.”

Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 07771 930196.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | oceans, technology, UK | Leave a comment

Pacific Ocean was once a garbage dump for nuclear waste, now Japan’s doing it again

Pacific Ocean was once a garbage dump for nuclear waste, now Japan’s doing it again. CGTN, Zeng Ziyi  11 June 21, ”………… Japan’s plan, which looked to dilute the contaminated water and pump them into the Pacific Ocean, drew swift condemnations from neighboring countries and environmental organizations. Kazue Suzuki, an energy campaigner at Greenpeace Japan, said the government’s decision has discounted radiation risks and looked over the fact that enough storage space is available in Fukushima and surrounding districts.

“Rather than using the best available technology to minimize radiation hazards by storing and processing the water over the long term, they have opted for the cheapest option, dumping the water into the Pacific Ocean,” Suzuki said.

In March, a panel of UN experts said that Japan’s nuclear wastewater poses major environmental as well as human rights risks, and any decision to discharge it into the Pacific Ocean cannot be an “acceptable solution.” The panel also pointed out that there’s a lack of meaningful public participation in the decision-making process, especially the populations and communities who are most affected.

The Japanese government insists that radioactive elements in the water will be treated and diluted to safe levels before releasing. So far, this plan has received support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which points out that other countries have done so in the past. Besides, Japan’s allies, including the U.S., have also back Tokyo’s decision.

The assurance buys little confidence among Pacific nations, whose economies depend heavily on the environment of the ocean. In a statement rebuking Japan’s decision, the Republic of Marshall Islands government pointed out that its entire nation consists of coastal communities whose primary food source comes from surrounding marine life.

Sheila Jack Babauta, House member of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, said the Pacific Ocean already faces major threats such as unregulated commercial fishing and the activities of the U.S. military, which have severely damaged the environment of the ocean.”We are part of the Pacific, we are intimately connected to the ocean, and therefore, we must be included in all decisions that impact ocean health, ocean sustainability, and ocean recovery,” Babauta told CGTN.

“The dumping of nuclear waste is extremely irresponsible and disrespectful to our Pacific Ocean.”Since the dawn of the nuclear age, people of the Pacific island countries have suffered the horrific consequences of nuclear experiments carried out at their doorstep. Continued exposure to radiation has caused many survivors of the initial blasts to develop different types of illnesses, most commonly cancer and reproductive health issues. Even today, their descendants are still suffering the effects of radiation.

.The U.S. detonated dozens of nuclear devices in a series of nuclear weapons tests at several test sites sprawling across the atolls of RMI between the 1940s and 1950s, including in the air and underwater. The detonations vaporized at least three atolls – ringlets of islands made of coral – and rendered many more uninhabitable.

Ocean dumping of nuclear waste continued to be carried out by Britain, France, and others until 1972 when growing public pressure worldwide gave birth to the London Convention, which prohibited the practice.”The threat of nuclear contamination continues to be of significant concern to the health and security of our Blue Pacific continent,” said Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, in an address to the IAEA earlier this month.”Our 50-year history as the Forum has been overshadowed by our nuclear legacy issues, which continue to impact affected communities today, and we should not accept anything less.”………https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-06-11/How-the-Pacific-became-a-garbage-dump-for-nuclear-waste-110rY09VsqY/index.html

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, oceans, wastes | Leave a comment

A nuclear start-up company could undermine Canada’s global non-proliferation policy: experts

A nuclear start-up company could undermine Canada’s global non-proliferation policy: experts

the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that “Nuclear weapons can be fabricated using plutonium containing virtually any combination of plutonium isotopes.” All plutonium is of equal “sensitivity” for purposes of IAEA safeguards in non-nuclear weapon states.

Similarly, a 2009 report by non-proliferation experts from six U.S. national laboratories concluded that pyroprocessing is about as susceptible to misuse for nuclear weapons as the original reprocessing technology used by the military, called PUREX.

By SUSAN O’DONNELL AND GORDON EDWARDS , THE HILL TIMES, JUNE 11, 2021www.ccnr.org/undermining_non-proliferation_2021.pdf

Important national and international issues are at stake, and conscientious Canadians should sit up and take notice. Parliamentarians of all parties owe it to their constituents to demand more accountability. To date however, there has been no democratic open debate or public consultation over the path Canada is charting with nuclear energy.

The recent effort to persuade Canada to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has stimulated a lively debate in the public sphere. At the same time, out of the spotlight, the start-up company Moltex Energy received a federal grant to develop a nuclear project in New Brunswick that experts say will undermine Canada’s credibility as a non-proliferation partner.

Moltex wants to extract plutonium from the thousands of used nuclear fuel bundles currently stored as “high-level radioactive waste” at the Point Lepreau reactor site on the Bay of Fundy. The idea is to use the plutonium as fuel for a new nuclear reactor, still in the design stage. If the project is successful, the entire package could be replicated and sold to other countries if the Government of Canada approves the sale.On May 25, nine U.S. non-proliferation experts sent an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressing concern 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.

The nine signatories to the letter include senior White House appointees and other U.S. government advisers who worked under six U.S. presidents: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama; and who hold professorships at the Harvard Kennedy School, University of Maryland, Georgetown University, University of Texas at Austin, George Washington University, and Princeton University.

Plutonium is a human-made element created as a byproduct in every nuclear reactor. It’s a “Jekyll and Hyde” kind of material: on the one hand, it is the stuff that nuclear weapons are made from. On the other hand, it can be used as a nuclear fuel. The crucial question is, can you have one without the other?

India exploded its first nuclear weapon in 1974 using plutonium extracted from a “peaceful” Canadian nuclear reactor given as a gift many years earlier. In the months afterwards, it was discovered that South Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan and Argentina—all of them customers of Canadian nuclear technology—were well on the way to replicating India’s achievement. Swift action by the U.S. and its allies prevented these countries from acquiring the necessary plutonium extraction facilities (called “reprocessing plants”). To this day, South Korea is not allowed to extract plutonium from used nuclear fuel on its own territory—a long-lasting political legacy of the 1974 Indian explosion and its aftermath—due to proliferation concerns.

Several years after the Indian explosion, the U.S. Carter administration ended federal support for civil reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel in the U.S. out of concern that it would contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons by making plutonium more available. At that time, Canada’s policy on reprocessing also changed to accord with the U.S. policy—although no similar high-level announcement was made by the Canadian government.

Moltex is proposing to use a type of plutonium extraction technology called “pyroprocessing,” in which the solid used reactor fuel is converted to a liquid form, dissolved in a very hot bath of molten salt. What happens next is described by Moltex chairman and chief scientist Ian Scott in a recent article in Energy Intelligence. “We then—in a very, very simple process—extract the plutonium selectively from that molten metal. It’s literally a pot. You put the metal in, put salt in the top, mix them up, and the plutonium moves into the salt, and the salt’s our fuel. That’s it. … You tip the crucible and out pours the fuel for our reactor.”

The federal government recently supported the Moltex project with a $50.5-million grant, announced on March 18 by Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc in Saint John. At the event, LeBlanc and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs described the Moltex project as “recycling” nuclear waste, although in fact barely one-half of one per cent of the used nuclear fuel is potentially available for use as new reactor fuel. That leaves a lot of radioactive waste left over.

From an international perspective, the government grant to Moltex can be seen as Canada sending a signal—giving a green light to plutonium extraction and the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel.

The U.S. experts’ primary concern is that other countries could point to Canada’s support of the Moltex program to help justify its own plutonium acquisition programs. That could undo years of efforts to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of countries that might want to join the ranks of unofficial nuclear weapons states such as Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The Moltex project is especially irksome since its proposed pyroprocessing technology is very similar to the one that South Korea has been trying to deploy for almost 10 years.

In their letter, the American experts point out that Japan is currently the only non-nuclear-armed state that reprocesses spent nuclear fuel, a fact that is provoking both domestic and international controversy.

In a follow-up exchange, signatory Prof. Frank von Hippel of Princeton University explained that the international controversy is threefold: (1) The United States sees both a nuclear weapons proliferation danger from Japan’s plutonium stockpile and also a nuclear terrorism threat from the possible theft of separated plutonium; (2) China and South Korea see Japan’s plutonium stocks as a basis for a rapid nuclear weaponization; and (3) South Korea’s nuclear-energy R&D community is demanding that the U.S. grant them the same right to separate plutonium as Japan enjoys.

Despite the alarm raised by the nine authors in their letter to Trudeau, they have received no reply from the government. The only response has come from the Moltex CEO Rory O’Sullivan. His reply to a Globe and Mail reporter is similar to his earlier rebuttal in The Hill Times published in his letter to the editor on April 5: the plutonium extracted in the Moltex facility would be “completely unsuitable for use in weapons.”

But the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has stated that “Nuclear weapons can be fabricated using plutonium containing virtually any combination of plutonium isotopes.” All plutonium is of equal “sensitivity” for purposes of IAEA safeguards in non-nuclear weapon states.

Similarly, a 2009 report by non-proliferation experts from six U.S. national laboratories concluded that pyroprocessing is about as susceptible to misuse for nuclear weapons as the original reprocessing technology used by the military, called PUREX.

In 2011, a U.S. State Department official responsible for U.S. nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries went further by stating that pyro-processing is just as dangerous from a proliferation point of view as any other kind of plutonium extraction technology, saying: “frankly and positively that pyro-processing is reprocessing. Period. Full stop.”

And, despite years of effort, the IAEA has not yet developed an approach to effectively safeguard pyroprocessing to prevent diversion of plutonium for illicit uses.

Given that history has shown the dangers of promoting the greater availability of plutonium, why is the federal government supporting pyroprocessing?

It is clear the nuclear lobby wants it. In the industry’s report, “Feasibility of Small Modular Reactor Development and Deployment in Canada,” released in March, the reprocessing (which they call “recycling”) of spent nuclear fuel is presented as a key element of the industry’s future plans.

Important national and international issues are at stake, and conscientious Canadians should sit up and take notice. Parliamentarians of all parties owe it to their constituents to demand more accountability. To date however, there has been no democratic open debate or public consultation over the path Canada is charting with nuclear energy.

Countless Canadians have urged Canada to sign the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that came into force at the end of January this year. Ironically, the government has rebuffed these efforts, claiming that it does not want to “undermine” Canada’s long-standing effort to achieve a Fissile Materials Cut-off Treaty. Such a treaty would, if it ever saw the light of day (which seems increasingly unlikely), stop the production of weapons usable materials such as Highly Enriched Uranium and (you guessed it) Plutonium. 

So, the Emperor not only has no clothes, but his right hand doesn’t know what his left hand is doing.

Susan O’Donnell is a researcher specializing in technology adoption and environmental issues at the University of New Brunswick and is based in Fredericton.Gordon Edwards is a mathematician, physicist, nuclear consultant, and president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, and is based in Montreal.

June 12, 2021 Posted by | - plutonium, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are dead wrong: Bitcoin does not incentivise clean energy — RenewEconomy

Bitcoin mining has formally entered its greenwashing phase. Things are getting messy, and they’re going to get even messier – and we pay the price. The post Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are dead wrong: Bitcoin does not incentivise clean energy appeared first on RenewEconomy.

Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey are dead wrong: Bitcoin does not incentivise clean energy — RenewEconomy

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Bill Gates ‘a nice man in a jumper’ or a power-hungry egotist?   

Is Bill Gates ‘a nice man in a jumper’ or a power-hungry egotist?    The Conservative Woman    ByKate Dunlop, May 6, 2021 

”…………According to Forbes, Gates is worth £93billion and is the fourth richest man in the world after Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and French luxury goods owner Bernard Arnault (obviously they are not counting anyone in China)…………

Bill Gates is known to be difficult, but he is extraordinarily adept at managing his own reputation. Over the years he has forked out millions to the world’s media to secure sympathetic and uniform reporting. They would have you believe he is a ‘nice man in a jumper’. Bill Gates is a power-hungry, obsessive, manipulative egotist. He is not like you or me.

I say that not out of cruelty, but as a warning. The upside of his marital breakdown may be that he finds himself distracted, even for a few months, which might give the rest of us respite from his pursuit of world dominance.

Who might benefit from his absence?  Well, the first thing to come to mind, is the unwarranted and undemocratic influence that Gates has on our cultural and political masters.

Writer Naomi Wolf, a former political consultant for the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and Al Gore, compared the current political situation to the rise of the Nazis in the 1930s but observed that the current rise in political tyranny and ‘bio-fascism’ is not restricted to one state. It is almost universal, with liberal and conservative governments across the world, ‘all reading the same sound bites’………

Wolf discussed Gates’s increasing influence over global news corporations in the August 2020 Columbia Journalism Review. Her article revealed his substantial financing not only of ‘media, media, media,’ but also of ‘K through 12 education [kindergarten to age 18].’

She warns people to avoid imagining that Bill Gates, the ‘tech bros,’ Soros, and China ‘think like us’ because ‘they don’t’.

If Gates were off the world stage, even temporarily, governments might be able to see him for the hypocritical manipulator that he is. Some leaders might break free from the path to perdition that they are set on. The brave might even develop a strategy to counter him. ………..

It’s not science fiction, it’s just capitalism,’ Naomi Wolf says, ‘It’s just a kind of Asperger’s kind of psychopathic guy with too much power surrounded by . . . communists who have perfected inhuman, anti-individualist thinking and Silicon Valley guys who are making billions of dollars from it and who also don’t think in terms of human rights and freedoms, but a “new space”, as they put it, to monetise.’

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, PERSONAL STORIES | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear politicians angry at suggestion of canceling sea-launched cruise missile.

Lawmakers Fume Over Acting Navy Secretary’s Call to Cancel Nuclear Sea-Launched Cruise Missile,  Military.com 11 Jun 2021Stars and Stripes | By Sarah Cammarata

I think we’re all shocked to have heard the news of the acting secretary of the Navy appearing to take action to zero out the sea-launched cruise missile. This is something that is incredibly important,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee subpanel on strategic forces. 

WASHINGTON — House and Senate lawmakers voiced concern Thursday over the acting Navy secretary’s move to cancel the service’s nuclear sea-launched cruise missile in fiscal 2023 as top defense leaders said they had not been briefed on the decision. 

“I think we’re all shocked to have heard the news of the acting secretary of the Navy appearing to take action to zero out the sea-launched cruise missile. This is something that is incredibly important,” said Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee subpanel on strategic forces. 

“We know that the Nuclear Posture Review isn’t underway, and yet we have the first steps toward actions that would be unilateral disarmament,” Turner said during the committee’s hearing to review the fiscal 2022 budget proposal for nuclear forces.

Multiple media outlets reported this week that acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker directed the service in a June 4 memo to “defund [the] sea-launched cruise missile.”

The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review — an examination of U.S. nuclear policy that occurs when a new administration takes office — supported pursuing this type of missile. The strategy under former President Donald Trump’s administration called for expanding the role and capability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

The Defense Department’s Melissa Dalton testified Thursday that the review by President Joe Biden’s administration is “on the cusp” of commencing. Biden has said he wants to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.

“The sole purpose of the U.S. nuclear arsenal should be deterring — and if necessary, retaliating against — a nuclear attack,” Biden’s campaign said in an online statement before the president’s election. …….. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/06/11/lawmakers-fume-over-acting-navy-secretarys-call-cancel-nuclear-sea-launched-cruise-missile.html

June 12, 2021 Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Another corrupt executive pleads guilty in South Carolina’s nuclear scandal


‘Key Westinghouse witness’ in SC nuclear scandal told lies to help SCANA fool public, The News and Observer, 

BY JOHN MONKJUNE 10, 2021  COLUMBIA, SC

A former Westinghouse executive who oversaw construction on SCANA’s doomed $10 billion nuclear project in Fairfield County admitted lying about the project in an effort to fool people into thinking the doomed project would be a success, a federal prosecutor said Thursday in federal court.

The former Westinghouse official, Carl Churchman, 70, was in court in Columbia before U.S. District Judge Mary Lewis to plead guilty to one count of lying to FBI agent Aaron Hawkins.

Churchman, who now lives in Utah, was the third person so far to plead guilty in an ongoing four-year FBI investigation of criminal acts connected to the 2017 failure of SCANA’s effort to build two nuclear plants at the V.C. Summer facility in Fairfield County, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.

It was the biggest business failure in S.C. history and threw more than 4,000 people out of work. At first, the July 2017 failure of the nuclear project was attributed to cost overruns and mismanagement, but the FBI investigation established that top SCANA officials engaged in a criminal conspiracy to hide the looming business failure from the public, regulars and investors who owned SCANA stock.

“There is more to come (in the investigation), and Mr. Churchman is a key witness for us,” assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday told Judge Lewis, indicating that more people would face criminal charges.

In 2020 and this year, two former top SCANA executives — Stephen Byrne and Kevin Marsh — pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges related to their knowing about costly delays to the project, delays they unlawfully kept secret for years from regulators and shareholders. Sentences in those cases are pending.

“There is more to come (in the investigation), and Mr. Churchman is a key witness for us,” assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Holliday told Judge Lewis, indicating that more people would face criminal charges.

In 2020 and this year, two former top SCANA executives — Stephen Byrne and Kevin Marsh — pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges related to their knowing about costly delays to the project, delays they unlawfully kept secret for years from regulators and shareholders. Sentences in those cases are pending.

In several court hearings, prosecutors have described the lies told by SCANA executives not as crimes of greed but crimes of hubris and an abuse of public trust — an inability to tell the truth and admit publicly that such a huge project that was supposed to showcase a major commitment to nuclear energy with Westinghouse nuclear reactors had turned into such an abject failure…………    https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/south-carolina/article252009438.html

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Legal, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 1 Comment

Marginalized voices are ignored in favor of nuclear development

How Nuclear Waste Impacts Marginalized Communities, Geopolitics. By Ainsley Lawrence -June 11, 2021

(Amazingly, this excerpt comes from a quite enthusiastic pro nuclear article)

‘………………..Marginalized Voices are Ignored in Favor of Nuclear Development.

All over the world, nuclear power plants are planned and developed within communities that do not want them and question their safety. Yet, corporations press on with their plans. One prominent example occurred in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in which an estimated 32 million people were affected.

Marginalized Voices are Ignored in Favor of Nuclear Development

All over the world, nuclear power plants are planned and developed within communities that do not want them and question their safety. Yet, corporations press on with their plans. One prominent example occurred in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, in which an estimated 32 million people were affected.

As a direct consequence of their being ignored, marginalized communities like those below the poverty level or with higher populations of minority groups tend to live closer to nuclear power plants. According to Stanford University research, a larger percentage of African Americans lived within 50 miles of nuclear power plants than their white peers.

Infamously, Chernobyl represents exactly what happens to marginalized communities when a nuclear disaster occurs. The city’s many subsistence farmers found themselves suddenly without the means to make a living when the disaster occurred. As a result, they were forced to rely on government subsistence to make ends meet, and many have either returned or stayed in the region where housing is cheaper.

Because the risks associated with nuclear power lower property values, lower-income families both already live in planned sites for nuclear development or come to live there after they’re built. This means when a disaster occurs, it is the poor who face more of the devastation. 

Protections Aren’t for Everyone

The leaks at the Savannah River nuclear site in the American South showcased just how racially and financially disparate the effects tend to be when dealing with dangerous nuclear waste. From the evidence that emerged that black workers were frequently sent into high-radiation areas without the proper protection to the lack of job mobility experienced by the same, historically marginalized workers and the larger black community in Savannah River took a disproportionate amount of the fallout.

There were at least 30 cases of cancer and ailments associated with the Savannah River site in its earlier days, but the leaks of nuclear containments continue to give the community health concerns, especially when it comes to the availability of safe drinking water. Poor water quality can lead to illness and even death. When polluted with radiation, the effects of contaminated drinking water can be even worse.

But Stanford research shows that ionizing radiation standards are designed more to protect adult males. For nuclear facility workers, even these standards can be waived, allowing facility owners to expose workers to as much as 50 times more radiation than is allowed for the common citizen. Often, these workers don’t even receive hazard pay.

Minority and low-income communities are at higher risk of the radiation pumped via nuclear waste into their communities because of their proximity. At the same, these communities have statistically higher levels of women and children. These risk factors, much like the reasons nuclear power plants are built in these areas in the first place, perpetuate racist and classist outcomes………

June 12, 2021 Posted by | civil liberties, health, USA | Leave a comment

Fears Antarctic glacier could melt faster as it speeds up and ice shelf ‘rips apart’

Fears Antarctic glacier could melt faster as it speeds up and ice shelf ‘rips apart’ ABC Science / ABC, By environment reporter Nick Kilvert, 12 June 21,

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier has started moving faster again, according to new research.

Key points:

  • The glacier’s movement was stable between 2009 and 2017 but sped up between 2017 and 2020
  • Researchers think the acceleration was caused by the glacier’s ice shelf ‘ripping apart’, reducing friction on the glacier
  • They say it’s possible the ice shelf could break up in the next decade or two

Scientists said the glacier increased its rate of flow toward the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica by 12 per cent between 2017 and 2020, in a paper published today in Science Advances.

This latest acceleration in flow speed and the mechanisms which caused it, mean the melting of the glacier could be “much more rapid” than previously expected, the researchers said

The Pine Island Glacier has contributed the most to sea-level rise from Antarctica over the past few decades, and holds enough water to raise global sea-levels by half a metre. 

“What is worrying is that we weren’t expecting this much shelf loss from this part of the ice sheet,” said lead author Ian Joughin from the Polar Science Centre at the University of Washington…………….. https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-06-12/glacier-pine-island-antarctica-ripping-apart/100197856

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Elimination of the Cold War’s Nuclear Heritage: 20 years of international cooperation

Elimination of the Cold War’s Nuclear Heritage: 20 years of international cooperation, https://bellona.org/publication/elimination-of-the-cold-wars-nuclear-heritage-20-years-of-international-cooperation 11 June 21, A little more than 20 years ago, in Murmansk, Russia, the relics of the Cold War were still close at hand. Nealy 200 nuclear submarines, the calling card of the once-feared Soviet Navy, sat rusting at dockside at bases throughout the country’s Northwest, their reactors still loaded with nuclear fuel. Whether they would sink, possibly sparking uncontrolled nuclear reactions, was unknown.

Further from shore and under the waves laid other submarines and nuclear waste intentionally scuttled by the Soviet Navy. Still more radioactive spent fuel was piling up in storage tanks and open-air bins in shipyards and leaky submarine refueling points like Andreyeva Bay near Russia’s border with Norway

Political turmoil and economic lack in the wake of the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991 made removing and disposing of these nuclear hazards nearly impossible without international help.

But within Russia, even mentioning these environmental storm clouds was taboo: At a time when the Russian Navy had to beg the public for donate potatoes to feed its sailors, the Kremlin prosecuted environmentalists who drew attention to the mounting radiation troubles as spies

In this bleak period during the early 1990s, many Russian experts despaired that the toxic remains of the Cold War would lie neglected for decades – or at least until the country somehow woke up wealthy enough to deal with them.

Now, after more than two decades of international effort spearheaded by Bellona, nearly all of those threats are the stuff of history. How that came to pass is the subject of our new report entitled “Elimination of the Cold War’s Heritage: 20 years of international cooperation.”

Read the report here. 

June 12, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, wastes | Leave a comment

Is Silloth and the Solway Plain the target once again? — Cumbria Trust

As we highlighted back in January, Allerdale has been volunteered by an individual as a potential site for burying the nation’s nuclear waste in a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF)   Over the last few months Cumbria Trust has met on a number of occasions with the developer, Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) and with a Working Group […]

Is Silloth and the Solway Plain the target once again? — Cumbria Trust

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans,

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Harrowing stories reveal decades of fallout for nuclear test veterans, STUFF, Jimmy Ellingham , June 12 2021 

 More than 500 young Kiwi sailors were unwitting witnesses to British nuclear testing in the Pacific in the late 1950s. Jimmy Ellingham talks to three men who were there.

One by one they spoke of cancers and birth defects in their children.

Four decades after Operation Grapple, hydrogen-bomb tests off Christmas Island witnessed by New Zealanders on two frigates, HMNZS Rotoiti and Pukaki, the stories were harrowing and the suffering unbearable.


It was the early days of the New Zealand Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, created through the efforts of navy veteran Roy Sefton, from Palmerston North.

At the city’s Returned and Services’ Association home, Grapple sailors shared their stories of the tests’ after-effects.

“I knew people were sick. I didn’t know how sick. I didn’t know about the generations,” says Pukaki veteran Clive Strickett.

“That really broke me up.”

Sefton told veterans to bring their wives and children. They told stories of miscarriages and, in extreme cases, babies born with missing limbs.

“There wasn’t a dry face in the place,” Strickett says, remembering the moment when the terrible effects of what they were exposed to hit them.

“Everyone cried. It was so terrible. We decided that we’ve got to do something about this.”

That gathering in the late-1990s was also when fellow Pukaki sailor John Purcell learned what his old mates and their families were going through.

“A person speaking had throat cancer. He was in terrible trouble.

“As I sat there and listened to all the other disabilities that our members and their families have had, I suddenly realised that I had a story to tell as well.”…………….

In the fallout zone

In August and September 1958, there were five nuclear tests off Christmas Island, south of Indonesia, as Britain looked to match the arsenals held by the United States and Soviet Union.

Strickett saw three, the second of which was huge, 20 times bigger than Hiroshima, he says.

“That’s a huge explosion. That created a huge vapour cloud across the Pacific we had to monitor. We had to monitor it until it evaporated.

“It took days and days to evaporate, so we were under that cloud for a long time.”

It rained. Hard. Pukaki had a problem with its salt water condenser, so an awning was put up to collect rain water for washing and drinking. This potentially exposed the crew to more radiation.


Strickett remembers the explosions as horrific, although they were an amazing sight. Beautiful, some said.

“It was picturesque, but it wasn’t for me. I can’t say I enjoyed it. I don’t think we were prepared for it.”

Sailors were told to tuck trousers into socks and cover their eyes. Those on deck sat with their backs to the detonation zone and waited.

“We did that and the bomb went off, and that was it for me. I could see the bones in my hand. It was scary.”

For that second, big bomb, after two minutes the men were told to open their eyes and look towards the blast.

“It was right in front of us… It was huge.”

Purcell saw four tests. Two smaller ones and two big ones, equivalent to 800,000 tonnes and 1 million tonnes of TNT, respectively.

Protective clothing wasn’t up to much, he says – a pair of trousers, hat and gloves.

“It’s so archaic they thought this was the uniform that would assist us with the blast..

“The biggest blast was a huge mushroom that climbed. It took up the whole horizon.”

Purcell also remembers sitting with his back to the blasts, waiting for them to explode as naval officers counted from one to 40.

“The explosions were rumblings in the distance. Then you felt the heat on your back.”

He also saw the bones of his hands, a common memory of Grapple veterans. “That’s the biggest memory I had, really.”

Toomath was below deck for two or three explosions. In recent years he’s learned that may have been the worst place to be, as the boiler room sucked in air from outside.

“We had all the radiation coming down.”

But at the time he felt safe.

“I was in the boiler room for one of them. I think that was the biggest one. I know it got pretty hot down there. It was that hot I couldn’t even touch the handrails on the ladders.”

Above deck he saw the Pukaki steaming towards a huge mushroom cloud full of lightning and thunder, but was told not to worry.

“We were just young, innocent. We were up there for adventure.”

The aftermath

Purcell spent 8½ years in the navy before joining the prison service, including being in charge of Napier Prison.

His list of medical ailments is substantial. He doesn’t want to delve into the detail, but it includes cancer.

Purcell gets a war veterans’ pension because of his health, but such support, which was hard-won, does not extend to children or grandchildren of veterans.

In 1966, Purcell’s daughter Lynette was born with a hole in her heart and cerebral palsy. She was never able to sit up unsupported and died in her mid-40s……………………..

Waiting for an apology

Sefton, the Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association’s chairman, died in January, aged 82. Bulls Grapple veteran Tere Tahi, who was aboard the Rotoiti in 1957, has taken over his mate’s mantle and is determined to meet with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

He estimates about 60 veterans survive and the association wants an apology for the young men who were put in harm’s way and the effect the blasts had on their health.

It also wants research undertaken and medical help for children or grandchildren of veterans.

Association patron Al Rowland is a retired Massey academic involved in research that found there was long-term genetic damage to the veterans and their families, but this hasn’t been enough to convince the New Zealand or British Government.

Toomath says support for veterans’ children and grandchildren is crucial, as is understanding the effects of radiation exposure down the generations. He would like to see research into this.

Strickett says he doesn’t need money from a payout, but would like an apology.

Like Toomath he wants the Government to fund research into Grapple veterans’ descendants and for it to push the British Government into acknowledging it was wrong to risk the young sailors’ lives.

Purcell says he’ll write a letter to the latest Veterans’ Affairs Minister, Meka Whaitiri, as he has done to her predecessors.

“What I find hard to accept is the lack of recognition from the Crown that these young boys were handed over to the Government to be treated like guinea pigs.

“If the testing was so safe why didn’t the British carry it out on their own shores?

“All we want is simply a public apology for the treatment of all navel test veterans and their whānau. That’s not hard.”

Purcell and Toomath are featured in a photography exhibition at Te Manawa Art Gallery, Palmerston North, until August.   https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/300330166/harrowing-stories-reveal-decades-of-fallout-for-nuclear-test-veterans

READ

June 12, 2021 Posted by | health, New Zealand, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Israel’s outgoing top Mossad chief reveals that they caused recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and murdering their scientists.

Israel spy on Iran nuclear scientists: ‘We offer them a way out’, Aljazeera

The outgoing spy agency chief reveals Israel was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and its top scientist.  
The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgement yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear programme and a military scientist.

The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 investigative programme Uvda in a segment aired on Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.

It also gave a clear warning to other scientists in Iran’s nuclear programme that they too could become targets for assassination even as diplomats in Vienna try to negotiate terms to try to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. United States President Joe Biden has dispatched his diplomats to revive the landmark deal from which his predecessor, Donald Trump, walked away in 2018.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, then yes, sometimes we offer them” a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from air strikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz’s advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.

Discussing Natanz, the interviewer asked Cohen where he would take them if they could travel there, he said “to the cellar” where “the centrifuges used to spin”.

“It doesn’t look like it used to look,” he added.

Iran nuclear programme is peaceful

Cohen did not directly claim the attacks, but his specificity offered the closest acknowledgement yet of an Israeli hand in the attacks. The interviewer, journalist Ilan Dayan, also seemingly offered a detailed description in a voiceover of how Israel snuck the explosives into Natanz’s underground halls.

“The man who was responsible for these explosions, it becomes clear, made sure to supply to the Iranians the marble foundation on which the centrifuges are placed,” Dayan said. “As they install this foundation within the Natanz facility, they have no idea that it already includes an enormous amount of explosives.”

They also discussed the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist who began Tehran’s military nuclear programme decades ago. The US and its regional ally Israel suspect that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons. But Tehran has long maintained its programme is peaceful.

While Cohen on camera does not claim the killing, Dayan in the segment described Cohen as having “personally signed off on the entire campaign”. Dayan also described how a remotely operated machine gun fixed to a pick-up truck killed Fakhrizadeh and later self-destructed.

Cohen described an Israeli effort to dissuade Iranian scientists from taking part in the programme, which had seen some abandon their work after being warned, even indirectly, by Israel. Asked by the interviewer if the scientists understood the implications if they did not stop, Cohen said: “They see their friends.”

They also talked about Israel’s operation seizing archival documents from Iran’s military nuclear programme. Dayan said 20 agents – none Israelis – seized material from 32 safes, then scanned and transmitted a large portion of the documents. Cohen confirmed that the Mossad received most of the material before it was physically taken out of Iran……… https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/11/ex-mossad-chief-signals-israel-behind-iran-nuclear-attacks

June 12, 2021 Posted by | Iran, Israel, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment