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A People’s Guide to the War Industry -5: Portfolio of Conflicts

“They ignored the real threat: The U.S. Armed Forces’ rampant carbon-based military activity contributes to anthropogenic climate change, which melts Arctic ice, which opens up northern sea lanes, into which the Pentagon projects its polluting arsenal, which puts more carbon in the atmosphere.”

A People’s Guide to the War Industry -5: Portfolio of Conflicts — Rise Up Times A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO THE WAR INDUSTRY -5: PORTFOLIO OF CONFLICTS June 9, 2021 ·
When war is profit, death ensures a healthy bottom line, writes Christian Sorensen in this  final installment of his five-part series on the military-industrial-congressional complex.
Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 (also available on Rise Up Times)   

By Christian Sorensen  Special to Consortium News  June 2, 2021 Without looking at military adventurism through the lens of the corporation, analysts are bound to produce error-filled studies. For example, one analyst contended in an interview on The Real News Network, “Military force is almost never going to achieve your political aims. The Americans learned this in Vietnam. They’re learning it in Afghanistan. They’re learning it in Syria… So [President Barack] Obama supporting the Saudis and Emiratis in Yemen is a sign really of incoherence on the part of the United States.”

Far from incoherence, the behavior actually is quite rational. A variety of conflicts, disparate and some seemingly futile, is precisely the aim. Conflict itself — producing untold mountains of profit for war corporations and Wall Street — is the goal.

Recall that capital is money used to expand business in order to make more profit. Capital isn’t just building new factories to produce more goods from which to profit.

Capital is also putting money toward cultivating and promoting politicians who advocate for wars and broad military deployments; media and think tanks to propagandize and generate militant narratives; attaining through neoliberal economic policies a U.S. military establishment so rife with corporations that it becomes one bloated, self-sustaining, profitable entity; arranging industry pressure groups and think tanks to encourage and award high-ranking military officers who support and extend conflicts overseas; and marketing, pushing, and operating goods and services that harm populations and destabilize countries around the world, generating more profitable conflict.

The war industry pursues a portfolio of conflicts as any organized, dominant industry views the global marketplace, parses demographics, shapes consumer tastes, and pursues profit maximization at all costs. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Colombia, Iraq, Iran, Korea, Libya, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, the Sahel, Ukraine, Yemen — each conflict has advantages and challenges, unique terrain and unique obstacles.

Industry’s products monitor, control and destroy populations. The particular goods and services selected are not the point here. The real rub is that from the eyes of the corporate suite, conflict must endure. Peace is not profitable. A strong portfolio of conflicts, which vary in intensity and scope, is what industry has achieved. Global capitalism demands infinite growth. War corporations’ portfolio approach demands endless, dispersed armed conflicts of varying intensity.

The U.S. war industry sells to capitalist regimes around the world through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales (FMS). FMS tend to deal with big-ticket items or goods and services of a sensitive nature. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers industry goods and services to allied governments and international organizations.

The U.S. war industry sells to capitalist regimes around the world through direct commercial sales and foreign military sales (FMS). FMS tend to deal with big-ticket items or goods and services of a sensitive nature. Through FMS, the U.S. government procures and transfers industry goods and services to allied governments and international organizations.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) is the intermediary between the U.S. war industry and the FMS customer overseas. On any given day, DSCA is managing “14,000 open foreign military sales cases with 185 countries,” Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper explained at the Brookings Institution in 2019.

Violent and oppressive regimes are frequent customers, including London, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv. The Leahy Law, which is intended to prevent U.S. military assistance from reaching militaries that have committed serious human rights violations, is almost never enforced when it comes to FMS. The Arms Export Control Act requires recipients of U.S. war industry goods and services to use them only in self-defense.

So, customers of the U.S. war industry typically affirm that they’re using the goods and services in self-defense, and the U.S. government doesn’t press them on the matter. After all, there is a lot of cash at stake. In fiscal year 2020 alone, the war industry sold $50.8 billion through FMS and $124.3 billion through direct commercial sales.

The Pentagon often cites industry’s claim that FMS reduces the cost of military systems to the U.S. Armed Forces. The Pentagon supports FMS because foreign militaries dependent on U.S. equipment, knowhow, training, parts, and software are more likely to listen to the U.S. government on military matters, the direction to take in regional conflicts, and international policy.

Without tensions, military provocations, and ongoing hot or cold wars (e.g. Japan v. China, South v. North Korea, Taiwan v. China, absolutist Arab regimes and Apartheid Israel v. Iran, Apartheid Israel v. Arab populations, the global war on drugs) to justify endless transactions, the U.S. war industry would lose billions in annual sales to allied regimes and sales to the U.S. military that is “responding” to such conflict.

Major war corporations place people in charge of selling to each Arab country in the Persian Gulf (e.g. Joe Rank, a career soldier who helped guide Middle East policy for the U.S. Secretary of War, now oversees Lockheed Martin’s business with Saudi Arabia). U.S. flag officers who work on FMS often doff the uniform and then join war corporations to help sell goods and services overseas.

For Profit, Against Democracy

From May 2015 through March 2016, U.S. war corporations sold over $30 billion of goods and services to anti-democratic Arab Gulf allies. Given the U.S. war industry’s long sales history to regimes like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it stands firmly on the side of profit, and firmly against democracy. Or, as Raytheon’s website puts it,

“With more than 50 years in the Middle East, Raytheon’s steadfast commitment and uninterrupted presence in the region is a testament to the tremendous value we place on being there for our customers.”

The 1945 Quincy Pact between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz al-Saud started it all: Washington would entrench bases in and around the Persian Gulf and protect the House of Saud, while the latter would keep the oil flowing and give preferential treatment to U.S. corporate interests.

The Saudi regime would later agree to use the dollar in international oil trading. Saudi Arabia purchases a lot of goods and services from U.S. industry, including the war industry. The Washington regime assented when in 2015 the Saudi and Emirati regimes turned U.S. weaponry on Yemen.

The U.S. war industry, in addition to U.S. military and intelligence assistance, has been the cornerstone of the UAE/Saudi destruction of Yemen. Yemenis now suffer from raging famine, disease outbreaks, and crippled infrastructure. The UAE-Saudi coalition has hit civilians (school field trips, funeral processions, weddings, markets) and prevented humanitarian aid from entering Yemen.

In autumn 2018, the head of the U.S. State Department’s legislative affairs team (a former Raytheon lobbyist) certified that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were taking steps to reduce civilian deaths in Yemen. Roughly 233,000 people have died in Yemen as a result of the war, according to the United Nations humanitarian office. Such destruction is evidence of the military-industrial-congressional triangle functioning as designed.

In early February 2021, the Biden administration announced it would halt support for Saudi-UAE “offensive” operations in Yemen. This claim is full of loopholes and is unlikely to substantially alter or end the myriad of ways the U.S. ruling class aids and abets anti-democratic Arab regimes.

Zionism is the ideology that justifies the colonization of Palestine and the maintenance and expansion of that colonization using brutal violence and espionage. Zionists declared independence when they set up a new state, Israel, in Palestine in May 1948, ethnically cleansing hundreds of thousands of Arabs from the land.

Each year, Washington gives roughly $3.8 billion to Israel, which then is supposed to use such monies to purchase from the U.S. war industry. The occupation of Palestine and Zionist aggression against neighboring countries provide the U.S. war industry with a valuable slice of its portfolio: an outsourced proving ground to test, evaluate, use, and improve weaponry.

When war is profit, death ensures a healthy bottom line.

The Advantages of Zionism The aggressive military posture inherent to Zionism is a commercial advantage from an industry perspective. Israel has killed Arabs quite effectively with a variety of aircraft and weaponry purchased from U.S. corporations. The U.S. State Department turns a blind eye, as it is once again doing in the current Israeli operation.  Of course, Israel claims self-defense when using U.S. and Israeli weaponry to kill Arabs……….

This is the final installment in the author’s five-part series.

Christian Sorensen is an independent journalist mainly focused on warprofiteering within the military-industrial complex. An Air Forceveteran, he is the author of the recently published book,Understanding the War Industry. He is also a senior fellow at theEisenhower Media Network (EMN), an organization of independent veteranmilitary and national security experts. His work is available atWar Industry Muster.   https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/09/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-5-portfolio-of-conflicts/

June 10, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We don’t need nuclear power to tackle climate change .

(I had great difficulty trying to get this excellent article. Below are just a few extracts from it – C.M. )

I’ve always kept an open mind about nuclear power, but after four decades working on this issue, I’m still waiting for someone to prove me wrong. Jonathon Porritt, Greenpeace, 1 June 2021

I’ve been ‘anti-nuclear’ since 1974, and my basic position hasn’t changed much during that time. Not because I decided back then that nuclear power was an inherently ‘wicked’ technology that must be avoided at all costs. I’ve simply concluded that it’s the wrong technology at the wrong time for sorting out all the challenges that we face. I can genuinely claim that I’ve been waiting more than 45 years for someone to prove me wrong.

……..  the alternatives to nuclear power have performed better than almost anyone expected.

……. there is no longer any doubt about the viability of the 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. The solutions involve transitioning ASAP to 100% renewable wind – water – solar (WWS), energy efficiency and energy 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.“The only impediment to change is political. At the current 15% to 20% growth rates for solar and wind, fossil fuels will be pushed out of the electricity sector by the mid-2030s, and out of total energy supply by 2050. Poor countries will be greatest beneficiaries. They have the largest ratio of solar and wind potential to energy demand, and stand to unlock huge domestic benefits.”

Nuclear plays no part in any of these projections, 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.

The work of Andy Stirling and Phil Johnston at Sussex University has shown the strength of these connections, demonstrating how the UK’s military industrial base would become unaffordable in the absence of a nuclear energy programme.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy – The solution to climate change?

Nuclear energy – The solution to climate change?

Science Direct, NikolausMuellnerNikolausArnoldKlausGuflerWolfgangKrompWolfgangRennebergWolfgangLiebertI Institute of Safety- and Risk Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria

Received 24 August 2020, Revised 7 April 2021, Accepted 4 May 2021, Available online 16 May 2021. 

Abstract

With increased awareness of climate change in recent years nuclear energy has received renewed attention. Positions that attribute nuclear energy an important role in climate change mitigation emerge.

We estimate an upper bound of the CO2 saving potential of various nuclear energy growth scenarios, starting from our projection of nuclear generating capacity based on current national energy plans to scenarios that introduce nuclear energy as substantial instrument for climate protection. We then look at needed uranium resources.

The most important result of the present work is that the contribution of nuclear power to mitigate climate change is, and will be, very limited. At present nuclear power avoids annually 2–3% of total global GHG emissions. Looking at announced plans for new nuclear builds and lifetime extensions this value would decrease even further until 2040. Furthermore, a substantial expansion of nuclear power will not be possible because of technical obstacles and limited resources. Limited uranium-235 supply inhibits substantial expansion scenarios with the current nuclear technology. New nuclear technologies, making use of uranium-238, will not be available in time. Even if such expansion scenarios were possible, their climate change mitigation potential would not be sufficient as single action.

1. Introduction……………

1.2. CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants

The direct CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants during operation are low. However, looking at indirect emissions as well and considering the whole life cycle of nuclear power (uranium mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, construction and dismantling of the nuclear power plant, spent fuel processing and storage), nuclear power is certainly not emission-free…………..

6. Conclusions and policy implications

Anthropogenic climate change requires a rapid shift towards a CO2 neutral economy, if the global average temperature increase is to be kept below 2∘C, or, preferably, below 1.5∘C compared to pre-industrial levels. By 2050 the economy should be CO2 neutral, therefore climate change mitigation measures are needed in the near term to medium term future. Such a shift would strongly influence the energy (and electricity) supply system, which is currently based to a larger part on fossil fuels.

The most important result of the present work is that the contribution of nuclear power to mitigate climate change is, and will be, very limited.   According to current planning nuclear power would avoid at most4 annually 2–3% of total global GHG emissions in the years 2020–2040. Moreover, nuclear power cannot be expanded to be the main source of future electricity generation. Expansion scenarios require an increase in uranium mining, which is met by two limitations: uranium production could hardly keep up during the expansion phase, and the overall amount of available uranium is limited. Such scenarios would leave new nuclear power plants without fuel during their planned life time. Fast breeder reactors promise a solution to the problem of limited uranium-235 resources, but will not be available for commercial deployment before 2040–2050. And given the considerable research effort and research times up to now, it is even doubtful if a commercially deployable fast breeder reactor will be available then. But even assuming such a scenario were feasile, even % of projected global GHG emissions from other sectors in 2040 and would still require drastic actions to reduce all emissions to zero. However, current nuclear reactors, no matter how safe they may be, always carry a residual risk for severe, catastrophic accidents (Sehgal, 2012) and large releases of radioactive materials (Seibert et al., 2012). New reactors attempt to reduce the residual risk, but even with the future technologies currently envisaged a nuclear catastrophe cannot be fully excluded. The main contribution to current nuclear electricity generation stems from reactors built 1970–1990, which were designed 1960–1980. New reactor technologies promise that the risk for severe accidents is reduced by a factor of ten. However, according to current plans, the major part of future nuclear generating capacity stems from lifetime extensions of existing plants and only a limited part will come from new builds (in 2040 ~30% new builds, ~70% current operating reactors life time extended and/or in long term operation according to ISR-projection).

Given the modest contribution of nuclear power to climate change mitigation another option is feasible, which is the phase-out of nuclear power. This finding is in agreement with substantial evidence of a comprehensive global energy study of the International Institute of Applied System Analysis (IIASA, 2012). In this study a normative approach was adopted, a scenario that by 2050 society is on a climate pathway to fulfilling the 2∘C target while still providing access to modern energy services to all humans. Starting from the goal of a sustainable, CO2 neutral economy, IIASA (2012) calculates back and investigates which energy pathways lead to such a future. One of the important results of the analysis shows that none of the evaluated boundary conditions make it necessary to use nuclear power. Even high energy demand assumptions without substantial change in the transport system allow other energy sources to substitute nuclear energy.

The current contribution of nuclear energy to climate change mitigation is small and, according to current planning, will stay at this level in the near-to mid term future. Nuclear expansion strategies are not feasible due to resource limitations. New nuclear technologies without those limitations will not be ready in the critical time frame 2020 to 2050 due to the long research, licensing, planning and construction times of the nuclear industry. Current plans would keep the nuclear capacity roughly at its current level mainly by life time extensions of existing reactors. But given the limited contribution to climate mitigation, complete phase out is a feasible option as well. Society must decide, given the drawbacks of the use of nuclear energy (risk of catastrophic accidents, proliferation, radioactive waste), whether the nuclear option should be pursued, or whether other climate change mitigation technologies should substitute the nuclear contribution……..https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421521002330?via%3Dihub

June 10, 2021 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Great powers’competition – the war industry’s best tactic

”……………..Pretexts keep the military budget elevated, sustain the war industry’s profits, and incite a violent foreign policy. Manufactured fear is essential. After pumping the “War on Terror” for trillions of dollars — and with veterans and the U.S. public growing skeptical of such interventions — the war industry has returned to targeting Russia and China through “great power competition.  

A PEOPLE’S GUIDE TO THE WAR INDUSTRY -5: PORTFOLIO OF CONFLICTS,  By Christian Sorensen     by Rise Up Times · Great Power Competition , 9 June 21,

  ”……………..Pretexts keep the military budget elevated, sustain the war industry’s profits, and incite a violent foreign policy. Manufactured fear is essential. After pumping the “War on Terror” for trillions of dollars — and with veterans and the U.S. public growing skeptical of such interventions — the war industry has returned to targeting Russia and China through “great power competition.  

Facing off against Russia and China is more comfortable territory for war corporations. In the calculus of corporate suites, the big-ticket items inherent to competition with another major industrial nation are where the real money can be made. A war on terror was lucrative for a decade or two, and it will continue, but it is not enough to justify excessive spending on cyber, submarines, satellites, hypersonic propulsion, anti-ballistic missiles, nuclear weaponry, artificial intelligence/machine learning, and aircraft carriers.

Competition against Moscow and Beijing also continues the militarization of U.S. society, channeling anger (which might otherwise manifest itself as class awareness and/or physical protest against Washington’s corruption) into outrage against a stereotypical enemy that resides overseas — just as the War on Terror did.

Great power competition is fully entrenched in the Pentagon, as made clear by the 2018 National Defense Strategy, developed in 2017 by military and corporate personnel. It emphasized, “inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”

Etching the National Defense Strategy into stone, the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph Dunford declared in November 2018, that great power competition was here to stay, demanding a shift in Pentagon funding priorities and weapons development. Dunford was speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, sponsored by corporations (e.g. Boeing, CAE, United Technologies) and NATO, among other powerful groups, including energy and IT firms.

Four months later, the war industry pressure group NDIA presented General Dunford with its most prestigious award. Dunford soon retired and joined the board of Lockheed Martin.

Great power competition has enabled a high volume of war industry goods and services and U.S. military personnel to deploy to Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and eastern Europe, particularly in the Baltic States and Romania, as well as other clients surrounding China, particularly South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Guam. Large engineering and project management firms build and sustain the associated infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Beijing’s construction is framed as a threat. “I mean, this is insane. Look at all that crazy construction,” remarked a U.S. naval officer observing Chinese military construction projects in the South China Sea. Though a useful bogeyman, Beijing’s construction in the South China Sea does not hold a candle to what Washington has built up overseas.

Great power competition fills peaceful voids. At the Sea Air Space Forum of 2019 (sponsored by CACI, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls), MIC officials cited the “threat” of great power competitors in order to justify expansion of U.S. military power into the Arctic.

They ignored the real threat: The U.S. Armed Forces’ rampant carbon-based military activity contributes to anthropogenic climate change, which melts Arctic ice, which opens up northern sea lanes, into which the Pentagon projects its polluting arsenal, which puts more carbon in the atmosphere.

Great power competition’s consequences are terrifying: increased militarization of an already militarized U.S. economy and public life; greater likelihood of wars big and small; more pollution (notably toxic particulates, carbon emissions, and radiological contamination) in an era of climate catastrophe and mass extinction; nuclear weapons on a hair trigger; narrowing of permissible speech and assembly; and relentless corporatization of the U.S. Armed Forces, the world’s mightiest organization.

The pretext known as great power competition is off to an impressive start, financially, bureaucratically, and industrially. It is incumbent upon the workers of the world to stop it. ”https://riseuptimes.org/2021/06/09/a-peoples-guide-to-the-war-industry-5-portfolio-of-conflicts/

June 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s problem with nuclear wastes is becoming critical

  Le Monde 7th June 2021, Storage of nuclear waste: the Nuclear Safety Authority urges France to take decisions. ASN estimates that in the absence of a management choice in the next five years, no management system would be operational in the next twenty years.

  Le Monde 7th June 2021, Storage of nuclear waste: the Nuclear Safety Authority urges France to take decisions. ASN estimates that in the absence of a management choice in the next five years, no management system would be operational in the next twenty years.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) called on the authorities to quickly take decisions on nuclear waste management. “Decisions will be necessary, in the short term, so that safe management channels are available for all types of radioactive waste in the fifteen to twenty years to come”, she underlined, Monday, June 7, in an opinion.

https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2021/06/07/stockage-des-dechets-nucleaires-l-autorite-de-surete-nucleaire-presse-la-france-de-prendre-des-decisions_6083257_3244.html

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy is not a solution to climate change

Important new study – Nuclear energy is not a solution to climate change , Gordon Edwards, 9 June 21

the contribution of nuclear power to world electricity usage has declined from 17% (25 years ago) to 10% (today), and is expected to continue to decline for the next couple of decades at least.  But electricity is only one slice of the energy pie. Nuclear power currently contributes about 2% to global energy use including all modes. 


So let’s see — some 440 nuclear reactors produce 2% of global energy usage.  If none of those stop working, and we add 440 more reactors of equivalent size in the next two decades – that’s 22 large reactors per year, every year, starting now, a clearly impossible scenario – then we could theoretically supply 4% of the world’s energy needs by 2040, assuming energy demand doesn’t grow at all in the meantime   

But that is dreaming in technicolor. Most of the operating reactors are very old and will be retiring at a rate much faster than new ones can in fact be built. New reactor construction projects have run way behind schedule with massive cost over-runs, and very few “takers”. Forecasts say the nuclear contribution will be going down, not up. 
It is also a fact that the least costly and quickest options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are (1) improved energy efficiency and (2) off-the-shelf renewables.  And statistics show that these are by far the fastest growing energy options worldwide. Renewable energy costs are still going down while nuclear costs are not. 

The point is, investing in nuclear is not solving the climate crisis. The money, time, and political will expended in promoting nuclear would be better spent on subsidizing energy savings through efficiency improvements and installing renewable sources of energy. Climate science tell us that we have no time to waste. Common sense dictates that we start with the surest, safest, fastest, and most affordable options first.  By preferentially promoting and subsidizing unproven, slow and costly new nuclear projects, Canada is defying common sense and abdicating its responsibility to the electorate, to parliament, and to the planet.  At the very least, we need transparency, openness, and peer review of many absurdly optimistic claims – some of them blatantly untrue – being made by the nuclear salesmen, who are tapping into public finances while being shielded from public accountability.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Navy to cancel development of super expensive nuclear missile

Navy eyes canceling nuclear missile

By BRYAN BENDER , 06/09/2021 NIXING A NUKE? PoliticoActing Navy Secretary Thomas Harker has issued a memo directing the service to cancel development of a nuclear-armed cruise missile in fiscal 2023, a potential signal that the Biden administration could dial back some nuclear modernization programs, Aerospace Daily scooped on Tuesday.

The June 4 memo, also obtained by POLITICO, is part of preparations to craft a five-year spending plan. The memo declares that the Navy may have to choose either a new fighter jet, destroyer or submarine and delay two of them.

“The Navy cannot afford to simultaneously develop the next generation of air, surface, and subsurface platforms and must prioritize these programs balancing the cost of developing next-generation capabilities against maintaining current capabilities,” Harker wrote.

It “makes clear that budgets aren’t expected to increase enough in the coming years to undertake all of the modernization efforts envisioned by the Navy,” as our colleague Paul McLeary writes for Pros………. https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-defense/2021/06/09/navy-eyes-canceling-nuclear-missile-795839

June 10, 2021 Posted by | business and costs, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia?

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia?

Explosion forced Indian Navy to return nuclear submarine to Russia? The INS Chakra was inducted into the Indian Navy in 2012 on a ten-year lease  The Week, Web Desk June 09, 2021 On June 4, Twitter was abuzz after photographs from Singapore showed the Indian Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine INS Chakra transiting through the Malacca Straits.

Later in the day, reports emerged that the warship was on its way back to Russia. India agreed to lease the INS Chakra from Russia nearly two decades ago and inducted it into the Indian Navy in 2012 on a ten-year lease. The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) bans the sale of nuclear-powered vessels, but is silent on leasing of such ships. This was the second Indian Navy submarine to have the name Chakra.

The ‘early’ return of the INS Chakra had triggered a buzz as she was the only nuclear-powered attack submarine in the Indian Navy. Attack submarines are meant primarily to destroy enemy surface ships and submarines. The Chakra was from a Russian class of submarines that NATO codenamed the Akula (shark in Russian). Before being handed over to the Indian Navy, the Chakra was known as the Nerpa in Russian service….

On Wednesday, Russian state news agency TASS reported the early return of the INS Chakra was necessitated due to an explosion on board the vessel in the spring of 2020, which damaged both its hulls. The Chakra, like many other Russian-designed submarines of its era, is a ‘double-hulled’ submarine, with a pressure inner hull and a lighter outer hull to allow for more buoyancy and capacity to absorb damage in the event of being hit by a torpedo or mine.

The Russian language website of TASS quoted a source in the Russian “military-industrial complex” as saying, “The explosion of a high-pressure air cylinder on the Chakra submarine… occurred in the spring of 2020.” The report claimed the high-pressure air cylinder was located between the two hulls. In addition to damage to the hulls, the explosion also damaged “electronic weapons and hydro-acoustic equipment”.

Previous accidents……….     https://www.theweek.in/news/india/2021/06/09/explosion-forced-indian-navy-to-return-nuclear-submarine-to-russia.html

June 10, 2021 Posted by | incidents, India | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes, illegality, public opposition, high costs, not discussed in media enthusiasm for nuclear power

Nuclear energy’s complications  https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/nuclear-energy-s-complications-1.4587543 KEVIN HARGADEN, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Wed, Jun 9, 2021,  Sir, – In the last six months or so, there have been many letters published on these pages advocating from various directions for the development of nuclear fission power plants in Ireland. The fact that such developments generate epoch-lasting waste which we have no way of processing or securing is not discussed. The fact that such developments would require importing an expensive non-renewable resource is not discussed. The fact that such developments would be opposed in any region where they are proposed is not discussed. The fact that such developments would be illegal has been discussed, but only to suggest that we can get around that by deleting the offending lines from our democratically passed acts. And the fact that such developments would cut against the global trend, which has seen the amount of electricity produced from nuclear sources more than halve since the 1990s is not discussed.

Discussions proposing nuclear power as an environmentally friendly option repeat this pattern of meandering around unspeakable complications. Few of us have a grasp of the engineering feats that may unfold within small reactors, but we do have a sense of what the words Fukushima and Chernobyl have come to mean. – Is mise,

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Russia’s Approach to Nuclear Power in Outer Space

Russia’s Approach to Nuclear Power in Outer Space

Jamestown Foundation,  Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 18 Issue: 92 By: Pavel Luzinune 9, 2021

 Russia has been conducting research and development (R&D) on using nuclear power in outer space for years. On May 22, Alexander Bloshenko, executive director for advanced programs and science of Roscosmos, announced that the first mission of the nuclear-powered spacecraft, also known as the transport and energy module (TEM), is scheduled for 2030 (TASS, May 22). A week before this announcement, there was a deliberate leak from the Keldysh Center, a Roscosmos subsidiary entity, that this nuclear-powered spacecraft might be used for military purposes along with civil ones (RIA Novosti, May 13). These verbal interventions almost coincided with the hearings in the US Congress on the NASA budget request that proposes $585 million for nuclear thermal propulsion technology in FY2022 and ongoing American efforts in this field (SpaceNews, May 19; Physics Today, May 28). That means the Russian program on space nuclear power systems has not only technological but also geopolitical goals.

The current Russian program has a Soviet background. The USSR launched 33 military reconnaissance and targeting spacecraft with nuclear reactors into low-Earth orbit from 1969 to 1988. Most of them used thermoelectric nuclear power plants “Buk,” and the last two spacecraft used more advanced thermal electron emission NPPs “Topaz” with 4.5–5.5 kW of electric power. The Soviet Union also developed the prototypes of nuclear rocket engines, but the project was closed in 1986. In the early 1990s, a Russian-American project aimed to develop the “Topaz” reactors further, but was canceled by 1995. In 2000–2007, Russia tried to cooperate with China in this field (Kukharkin, 2012).

Despite long-term economic decline, Moscow has also tried to continue its independent efforts in space nuclear power systems since 1998, and during the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, these efforts were proclaimed among the Kremlin’s key priorities (Pravo.gov.ru, February 2, 1998; RG.ru, November 13, 2009).

The program’s budget of 17 billion rubles for the period 2010–2018 was divided between Roscosmos (9.8 billion rubles) and Rosatom (7.2 billion rubles), totaling $560 million according to the exchange rates of 2010 (RG.ru, October 3, 2012). However, the actual spending was smaller. In 2010, only 500 million rubles ($16.5 million) were assigned for the purpose (Roscosmos, February 10, 2010). During the following decade, the total spending has reached almost 10 billion rubles or $213 million according to open data on federal budget funds and procurements released by Roscosmos and Rosatom (Vesti.ru, January 19, 2011; Interfax, October 12, 2020; Zakupki.gov.ru, 2013–2021). The current results of these efforts are less than initially planned………..

In comparison with NASA that tries to design a 10 kW space nuclear reactor with a Stirling engine intended to increase efficiency, the thermal electron emission remains the central paradigm of Russia’s R&Ds and the idea of using engines or turbines together with space nuclear reactors still remains theoretical (NASA, May 2, 2018; Issledovaniya Naukograda, July–September 2017). It is doubtful that Russia will develop the space nuclear power system with 1 MW of electric power and ion thrusters with more power in the foreseeable future. Still, Moscow definitely will try to convert existing results into some advance in outer space and foreign policy.


Along with a significant deficiency in other dimensions of Russia’s space activity and the country’s overall economic weakness, these problems prompt the Kremlin to look for an ace up its sleeve. While there is still a long way to go to develop nuclear reactors for space exploration missions, Russian industry and authorities are seeking to apply nuclear power for military satellites (KB Arsenal, September 1, 2020). Such spacecraft may be used for radar reconnaissance and electronic warfare (jamming) and be deployed to low, medium or geosynchronous orbits. However, there have not been any flight tests or technological demonstrations of such a satellite yet. This means Moscow will not be ready to deploy these satellites any time soon………   https://jamestown.org/program/russias-approach-to-nuclear-power-in-outer-space/

June 10, 2021 Posted by | Russia, space travel | Leave a comment

Australia is in denial over one-way relationship with U.S.

Australia is in denial over one-way relationship with U.S. https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/australia-is-in-denial-over-one-way-relationship-with-us,15171#.YMBaWGL2H14.twitter By Bruce Haigh | 9 June 2021,  Tensions with China resulting in economic sanctions are the result of Australia’s blind allegiance to the USA that began decades ago, writes Bruce Haigh.

AFTER THE AMERICAN defeat by the Japanese in the Philippines, it needed a base from which to regroup, resupply and take the fight back through the Pacific. Australia was a bread bowl, training camp and aircraft carrier. Its north was intersected with airfields used by American bombers and fighters in attacks against Japanese bases and  shipping on and around Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and other nearby Islands.

Australia was fearful of attack by the Japanese after their rapid advance through south Asia and the Pacific. The Americans arrived as the Japanese were advancing over PNG toward Port Moresby. The Australian Army had been conducting a successful fighting retreat in order to shorten their supply line, extend that of the Japanese and organise a major offensive. Douglas MacArthur, the arrogant American general in command, sacked a number of Australian generals and ordered the retreat to stop.

Instead of being angry with MacArthur, the average Australian thought he was a hero. The myth was born that America had saved Australia, whereas America came to Australia purely for self-interest.  Australians were impressed with American largesse and technology. Many bought into the American “dream”. This was the point at which America could do no wrong. The ANZUS Treaty came into being at the time of the Cold War and hostilities in Korea. America was seen by Australians as the protector against Russian and Chinese expansionism.

Australia was also seduced by American consumerism, Hollywood, Nashville and Detroit. A common language facilitated the absorption of American culture. Military, academic and business exchanges grew. However, it was largely a one-way street, although that went mostly unnoticed in Australia given the sycophantic nature of the relationship. Australians were in awe of American power and wealth.

They undertook no foreign policy initiatives without first checking with the Americans. The exception being the recognition of China by the Whitlam Government in 1972, which many junior diplomats welcomed with pride and pleasure.   Australia bought into the American line on the civil war in Viet Nam, much to its subsequent but unacknowledged regret. That did not stop the “provincial” Prime Minister, John Howard, from buying into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a favour to the equally limited George Bush.

Australia bought military hardware from the Americans, under pressure, to increase U.S. force structure in the region. We bought the F-111 which took forever to iron out the cracks (pun intended), the single screw FFGs, the next to useless Abrams tanks, the F35 flying lemon and to boost the alliance, Australia has ordered 12 submarines from the French which it does not need.

America has a highly sophisticated spy base, Pine Gap, in the Northern Territory, but from which Australia is excluded from sharing sensitive information. They have access to Tindal Airbase from which B52s, in theory, could bomb submarine pens in Sanya and they have established a military base in Darwin for 10,000 American marines.

None of this offers any advantage for Australia, although the Americans have convinced the conservative governing establishment that it does. They believe that no matter what, Australian interests are best served by remaining in lockstep with American interests. The Australian Government lacks emotional intelligence and courage. They are “provincial” politicians who know and understand very little of the wider world. To illustrate the point, the Government does not believe in climate change, at least insofar as believing in the efficacy of fossil fuels.

As products of the Howard-era Prime Ministers, Tony AbbottMalcolm Turnbull and, most recently, Scott Morrison have all demonstrated blind faith in the American alliance. They have placed a great deal of trust in the word of Americans. Morrison has possibly been the most naive and gullible. He took Trump at his word — a big mistake. Trump fired up Morrison over China and convinced him that not only did the COVID-19 virus originate in Wuhan, but he should unilaterally make a demand that an international investigation take place. Morrison took Australia way out in front with an unsustainable and undiplomatic demand — the U.S. and Trump stood in the background and grinned.

Australia refused to back down and apologise, so China imposed sanctions on a range of Australian imports in order to obtain a change of attitude on the part of Australia. The loss of income has not been felt because of unprecedented levels of borrowing by Australia to meet the economic challenges of COVID-19. And Australia has allowed itself to be lulled into a false sense of security by words of reassurance from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who guaranteed that America had Australia’s back.

It does not and it never did. America acts purely in self-interest. Australia, because of its long love affair with the U.S. and its inferiority complex, is in denial. Australia seems blind to the fact that the U.S. has stepped in to supply China with many of the goods denied through trade sanctions.

China does not seem to understand the extent of the incompetence and naivety of the Australian leadership. Thinking people and intellectuals in Australia are appalled at Morrison and his Government. However, tough Chinese sanctions and harsh words have only given Morrison the domestic ammunition he needs to bolster his claims that China is aggressively expansionist and seeks to dominate the region. Bruce Haigh is a political commentator and retired diplomat.

June 10, 2021 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics international | Leave a comment